James Garrett: The Brain Behind Brain by Design


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Recently, I was listening to a webinar at Los Angeles Chapter of International Coach Federation. Impressed by the content and presentation, I went to the presenter’s website and realized that he offered a full course. I was lacking a couple of CCEUs to support my International Coach Federation certification so I signed up for a piece of it.

When my two planned hours were taken, I did not want to leave the course! I thought:” Let me get through the first module – it’s pretty interesting!”. So I did. Soon it was over – then what’s next? I could have said “Thank you,” taken my certificate and left. How I found myself in the second module, and then the third, is now hard to say. I am an experienced coach, I had met my requirements, yet I was enjoying every moment.

I was talking to James later, shedding at him lots of compliments and questions.

A couple of days ago I realized that he is repeating the course on June 30 and offered him a chance to visit my blog.

James Garrett

So, today we have James Garrett who was glad to share his insights on human psychology. For over a decade, James has been studying and teaching the psychology of success, and unpacking the brain science behind what makes human beings thrive. As an entrepreneur, scientist, trainer, and coach, he is passionate about turning academic knowledge about the human brain into practical tools that anyone can use to change their life—and the world.

Here is my discussion with him:

Hi James! Can you please share your personal growth path? How did you get in this trouble? 🙂 

James and his brother Brennon at graduation

I fell in love with Psychology at Columbia University, but was always fascinated by human behavior — why we do what we do.  The deeper and more personal story, though, is that I struggled with OCD growing up and throughout my life.  So I was deeply interested in part because I thought there was something “wrong” with my brain.  This is partly why I fell in love with neuroplasticity, because it is the science of human change.  It gave me hope.

I thought there was something “wrong” with my brain.

In your course you have three sections. Tell us about them

That’s right, Janna. The course takes hundreds of the very best books on the science of habits, happiness, and productivity, and makes it easy to digest in videos and exercises.  In a six week period, you’ll cover all the most cutting edge neuroscience and behavioral science, but in a format that’s clear, easy to apply, and feels relevant to your life.  In a sense, I did all the reading so hopefully you won’t have to.

I did all the reading so hopefully you won’t have to.

The happiness portion of the course is an exploration of the science of positive psychology and the science of flourishing. This is where you’ll start to understand what role mindfulness plays in your wellness, how positive emotions can be utilized for creativity, and how to tap into flow states.

The happiness portion of the course is an exploration of the science of positive psychology.

Finally, the productivity portion of the course helps you design your work life (and personal life) to be distraction-proof.  We’re swimming in a sea of distractions and the best way to increase your ability to stay focused is to design for focus.

The productivity portion of the course helps you design your work life.

Is your course certified for Continuing Education?

About a third of each group who takes the course is doing it purely for personal growth reasons.

I’m currently working on getting the courses certified for other types of professional groups (e.g., health care workers, teachers, etc.).  Sometimes (but not always) professional development organizations will honor the continuing education credits from another certifying body like ICF.  So if you take the course, it’s worth getting the certificate at the end and asking your institution if it will accept the continuing education credits.

What should someone who goes through your course expect?

The course has a live portion and a pre-recorded portion.  There are 6 live sessions and 12 pre-recorded sessions.  For example, the first live session is on habits.  So in order to prepare for that live session, each student will watch the first and second pre-recorded sessions of the Habits by Design course and then come ready with questions about how they can deepen their learning, how to overcome an obstacle they’re facing, or how to help a client with a problem they’re having getting their exercise routine to stick. 

The live sessions are designed to be purely interactive and are an opportunity to discuss how to apply what the students are learning from the pre-recorded sessions in their real lives or the lives of their clients. 

The live sessions are designed to be purely interactive.

The last piece of the course is that if you are doing the course for continuing education credits, ICF requires you to fill out a brief 3-question reflection sheet for each of the pre-recorded sessions.  If you’re not going it for CCE credits, that piece is optional.

May I please, pretty please, have a discount to offer my readers?

Absolutely! I am happy to offer them a discount. This link will give your readers $100 off.

Thank you, James! That’s very generous! And how has COVID-19 affected how you are doing business?

Most of my business was online, even before COVID-19 hit, so it hasn’t affected my business as much as I thought it might.  Two resorts that I do weekly presentations at temporarily closed down, so some parts of my business have slowed.  But overall I feel really grateful because my courses have actually grown over the past few months — possibly because people have a little more time to catch up on their CCEs or do online E-learning while they’re quarantining at home.

Any specific advice for someone who is reading this article?

The advice I would give you is to take the neuroplasticity science seriously.  You have more dormant potential than you can possibly imagine — just waiting to be accessed.  You can learn how to unlock the power of your brain, but it takes a bit of training and understanding to help it work better. 

Take the neuroplasticity science seriously. 

I sometimes think of it like an airplane.  When we board a plane, we all turn right and go to our seats, right?  Imagine turning left and going to sit in the cockpit.  What do you see in front of you?  Dials, levers, gauges, buttons — things that don’t make much sense, unless you’re a trained pilot.  The only difference between you and a pilot is that the pilot has been trained for how to operate the machine. 

And what, James, is the best part of your job? 

I love watching people transform as they understand more about how their brain works and how to get it to work better.  It inspires me to watch people master the skill set of habits and then apply that to forming better exercise habits, better eating habits, better sleeping habits, better meditation habits, better empathy and listening habits.  As I watch their relationships with themselves and their loved ones improve, this is why I do what I do. 

I love watching people transform.

Confidence soaring!

I also love to watch people’s confidence soar as they feel like they’re not at the mercy of their emotions or negative thought patterns.  People genuinely start to figure out how to manage their minds in a way that is empowering and creates an upward spiral of positive change in their lives.  It’s incredible to watch!

Do you still do coaching yourself?

Yes, Janna! I do still do coaching myself, and am actively accepting clients at this time.  

Anything personal you want to share?

The best part of my life is definitely my 6-year old Sophia and my 4-month old Aeon!

What I’ve been trying to do through something called the Deep Change Project is really live the science in my own personal life.  Since my passion is getting science out of the labs and into people’s lives, I knew I wanted to get out from behind the science and experiment with applying it in various areas of my life.  In a sense, I’m doing a big experiment on myself to see how much I can change.  This year, I’m focusing on overcoming fear.

Deep Change Project

Thank you, James, for your visit! Where can people can find more information on your training?

They can find all the information on my website.  Or if they just want to go straight to the information about the courses, they can go here.

My Social Media posts:

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/james-garrett-82b45a24/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=brain+by+design

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brainbydesign/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/james.garrett.123276

Twitter: https://twitter.com/_BrainByDesign

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brainbydesign/?hl=en

How It All Began

An Excerpt from Love Is Never Past Tense by Janna Yeshanova

Serge didn’t try to catch up to the shuffling, thin, leather skirt.

Love Never Audio

Serge didn’t try to catch up to the shuffling, thin, leather skirt. He hadn’t a clue what he would do if he actually caught up with her. So he continued following her along the high embankment for a fairly long time, until they crossed the whole of Lanzheron Park. But, reaching the beach, the girl quickly descended to the sea. Serge even began to jog a bit to keep her in sight. His head was clear this morning, and soon he would try out his cunning for the first but not the last time this day. The spy set up camp at the upper solarium and watched over her. Maybe she was waiting for some company, or a young man, or a girlfriend (which would undoubtedly seem to be better), but to our spy, all were equally bad possibilities. This guessing game carried on in his head, but it seemed she wasn’t looking for anyone. She ducked into the changing room, and her leather skirt momentarily hung over the edge of the stall. After a minute, she exited, and Serge, pulling his long hair away from his head with both hands in anguish, groaned something unintelligible. Her breasts exited the little room first. The spot from where Serge looked down provided such visibility that his knees began to tremble. Her face was impossible to discern through her long hair and sunglasses, but something told him it would also be in order. She laid before her a light beach towel, and laying down she took a book from her bag and began to read. Burning her “landing site” into his mind, Serge took off like a shot to the nearest cabana rental. Fast as lightning, he exchanged his clothes for a key, crammed two metal rubles in the pocket of his swimming trunks, and became Don Juan. He feared, though, that there were already a bunch of admirers slinking ever closer to the sacred beach towel, and that he would simply be too late. He’d have to crawl to his place in line, and like the others, would have a poor chance of success.

He flew down the stairs and quickly found the beach towel, but … its owner was nowhere to be found. There was a book, a beach bag, and sunglasses, but their owner had disappeared. Oh, yes! This would be the second time that a smart thought visited Serge’s head today. People come to the sea to swim, after all! This interpretation of her disappearance comforted and delighted Serge. He became bolder and impudently tossed his glasses onto the same towel and cheerfully marched to the water. With his half-blind eyes, he surely could not see her. And where, among dozens of bathers? He dove into a wave, and swam away from the shore. First, he couldn’t stand to watch bathers jumping around like frogs in the shallow water. Secondly, at this moment, his exceptionally quick-witted head told him he couldn’t be the first to return to her beach towel. Then he’d have to take his glasses and fiddle around a bit in front of the beach towel to buy time as he came up with a new plan. Perhaps he’d cover himself with the towel, or maybe … no, he needed to work on his initial scenario.

He even came up with a sophisticated opening: “Excuse me, young lady, but I left my glasses here on your towel. I simply didn’t have anywhere to put them, or myself for that matter.” With this, his stockpile of ideas was depleted …

At last he climbed out of the water and headed along the well-trodden route to her beach towel. The towel was in place, and on this towel lay the magnificent body of its hostess, but Serge’s glasses were lying a little bit farther on the edge of the towel. Serge squatted down and mumbled his introduction. He was counting on her to respond with typical beach chit-chat: “Where are you from? How long ago did you arrive in Odessa?” or other such nonsense.

“Your glasses are fine,” she responded. “I figured someone just confused their beach towel with mine, but have a seat anyway.”

She scooted over, freeing up half the beach towel. He got scared. If he lay down, then he wouldn’t be able to resist the urge to nuzzle up to her. Then he’d certainly look like a pervert, a youth brought up with no manners, or a pest—in a word, he would give the exact opposite impression than he wanted. He mumbled something like a “thank you” and lay down beside her on the sand. She motioned towards him with a little bag of sunflower seeds, “Help yourself.”

”Oh God, what’s this?” resounded in Serge’s mind. “Are you kidding me … sunflower seeds?” And his hand with a subsequent “thank you” reached in the bag.

“Do you like Ilf and Petrov?” 1

”Lord, who is she talking about? I’ve only heard of them in passing, but I don’t know the slightest thing about them …” Serge thought to himself.

“My name’s Janna,” she came to his rescue.

“Sergey,” he stammered in reply, “but at the institute everyone actually calls me Serge, or Seriy …”

She chuckled – in Russian, Seriy means grey.

“Grey. You’re actually black as tar. Where did you get such a tan?” she asked, spitting out sunflower seed shells. Not even awaiting a response, she exclaimed: “Here is an interesting moment”—and she began to read her book aloud, something about Ptiburdukov and his Varvara, who was leaving her first husband for him but couldn’t make up her mind. Janna read for a while, probably about five pages, and then thrust the book towards Serge and said, “You read from here,” marking the place with her fingernail. Serge began to read, but he didn’t understand a word. He was too busy worrying about his diction, trying not to miss any letters or words. He fought through two pages, but his audience was clearly not impressed.

“Would you like a cigarette?”

“If he has a smoke, then he’ll stop reading.” Serge could almost hear her thinking. He pulled a cigarette from a mashed-up pack of Javas, the best tobacco the Soviet Union could offer at that time. She handed him the matches. He brought the flame close to her face. She took a drag and rolled over on her back. Serge absolutely didn’t know what to do: read, blow sand from her, ask her about something. But she was not waiting for any questions and didn’t ask any questions. It was as if he simply was present. And that was that. The only thing that remained was for Serge to stare dumbfounded into the sand and observe the ants. Having smoked half the cigarette, she jammed the other half into the sand and turned back over on her stomach, brushing her leg up against Serge’s. But she did not hasten to remove it. Silent Serge, who really didn’t look the part of a reasonable person, turned into an animal. His uncontrollable desire sprang to life, pulling his swimming trunks down into the sand with such force that it became painful. Serge secretly burrowed a hole in the sand, easing the pressure. He became obsessed with a craving to climb on top of her. But this was out of the question, which made his desire even stronger …

“It’s hot. Let’s go for a swim,” she said, lifting herself up on her elbows. For the first time he could see her breasts up close, causing his heart to leap through his ribs like a bird in a cage. He muttered he’d catch up to her, and when she left, his desire ever so slowly began to hide itself away, until he was finally able to get up and head towards the sea.

She splashed around in the waves, which towards midday became quite sizable. He flopped about next to her, often brushing up against her body. Then he suggested tossing her in the waves. He cradled her head and shoulders, gathered her hands into his, and finally lifted her up and tossed her into the waves. Janna liked it, and so did he, but for a different reason: every time she hit the waves, her bathing suit slid down slightly, and when her breasts finally became exposed, he was ready to splash to his very death. Suddenly, she ended up cradled in his arms. With one arm, she grasped his neck, and he now understood that everything will happen, he just needed to patiently wait.

Once something starts, eventually, it ends. The delightful swim as well: they returned from the water and again lay down on the beach towel.

“I want to get tanned like you.” (She had already switched to the informal you4 in the water. He liked this, as it made him feel less uneasy around her). She placed her arm next to his for comparison, and her brown skin seemed much paler than his almost blackened arm. Guiltily, he informed her that he just returned yesterday from his apprenticeship in Baku, and so it was not surprising that he was so dark.

“You have beautiful hands,” she pensively remarked. Then, determined, she added, “No, you just wait. I’ll catch up with you in two days. Just wait and see.” These words poured over his body like oil. For Serge, this meant that he would spend at least two more days with her.

“Get some ice cream. Do you need some money?”

“I have it,” answered Serge, but before he could get up and leave, he had to turn and crawl to hide his “desire” …

An Excerpt from Love Is Never Past Tense by Janna Yeshanova

Audio Book at audible.com https://adbl.co/2FrEWAs

Audio Book at Amazon US https://amzn.to/2Bt9s8W

Amazon UK https://amzn.to/2yBSpDa

Audio Book at iTunes https://apple.co/2Kvh8KX

Amazon Author Page https://amzn.to/2AhhY9j

Amazon Kindle https://amzn.to/2Ku6h3S

Audiobook sample https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nBbMxrEb1g



What Could Go Wrong?


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It was open mic night at the Comedy Club, and nothing was working for the aspiring comedian. He picked up the audience’s disapproval which made him even more nervous.  At one point, his gesture contradicted his story, and the audience laughed at the incongruity. As he came off the stage, the manager said “I’m sorry”.

The comic responded “Sorry? Didn’t you hear them?  I got a laugh!”

Sometimes, success comes in small doses.  As an independent author looking to find a buyer to the screenplay for my novel Love Is Never Past Tense, I find myself in interesting and unexpected places.

On the evening of July 26, over 100 filmmakers converged on the Gateway Film Center for the kickoff to the local 48 Hour Film Project. My team, led by TJ Cooley and Lewis Gordon was one of dozens of film crews that had signed up for this two-day event.  At 7.00 PM we were drawing our assignments.  By 7.30 PM we were racing out the door. We were one of 48 teams that showed up two days later with a completed film.

My friend Lewis Gordon is an officer of MOFA (Mid-Ohio Film Makers Association). He was part of the writing team for my screenplay, so I encouraged him to enter the contest. I figured that at a minimum it would develop connections to movie people that might help. He agreed if I stepped in as Executive Producer.

The 48 Hour Film Project is a grueling (yet fun) race to write, shoot and deliver a seven-minute film in two days. Teams enter local contests all over the world, drawn in by the line ” What could go wrong?”

Problem one: penciling me in as Executive Producer…  What does EP do anyway? High on the list of duties is finding a Director to take on the project, and I had already done that. Lewis sweetened the offer by suggesting that my book be included in the film. With that, we struck a deal.

Every team was given the requirements used to prevent getting a head start.

  • Required character – Jordan or Jayla Tillerman, detective.
  • Required prop – a sheet or roll of paper towel.
  • Required line – “How did you do that?”

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Each team drew genre assignments from two lists. Our team drew the genres “Family Film” and “Musical” – we could pick either or combine them. Lewis and his writing/directing/producing partner TJ Cooley spent a sleepless night putting together a screenplay. By 7.00 AM, cast and crew showed up ready to work. That’s when I discovered…

Problem two: I had been written into the script! Do EPs do that? Apparently, sometimes they do!

The work on our Family Film began in earnest. If Family Film and Musical bring up an image of The Sound of Music for you, scratch that and think the Sopranos. Yes, we made a gangster family film!

Problem three: In mid-afternoon, with the clock ticking, a camera failed.  Rehearsals and rework went on while another camera was shuttled across town. By early evening, filming was done and the focus shifted elsewhere for editing and production.


Problem four: About 7.00 PM Sunday, I saw a Facebook post of our “delivery” car stopped in traffic.  In the end, the car and the film made it to the delivery point on time, along with 47 other contestants. Two weeks later, all of them, including our masterpiece A Kill of Her Own got premier screenings at the theater where the madness began.

Problem five: Although we filmed the book in a couple different places, the angles were


After the Screening at Gateway Film Center, August 10 2019

picked to move the action along — the start of my book’s film career ended up on the virtual cutting room floor. You can see the result of our work on YouTube. You won’t want to miss the last few seconds of the film.

A Kill of Her Own is now at the mercy of the judges. If it wins, it goes to the next level of competition and could help us get attention for the Love Is Never Past Tense screenplay. Sometimes success comes in small doses.poster


See the video

Shop for Love Is Never Past Tense

Happy Second Birthday, Mom!


We celebrated May 9 for as long as I can remember! May 9 was the end of World War II. May 9 of 1945 became a day destined to be commemorated through generations!

Several years ago, I visited Czech Republic and was surprised to be a part of the parade devoted to the celebration of Victory Day – on May 8! “What happened?” I thought. Why did they switch the date? I wanted to scream: People! I know! It’s not today! It’s tomorrow… Wait when May 9 comes! But nobody could hear my scream: it was in my head!

Victory Day, in America VE Day, celebrates the triumph of the Allies over the Nazis in 1945. In western countries. Including Germany with Nazism defeated, official events are celebrated on May 8. Ukraine and Baltic countries do the same. Russia, many other former Soviet States and now Israel celebrate on May 9. The two different dates are an accident of history showing that even allies don’t always agree. On the night of May 7, 1945, Hitler’s Germany officially acknowledged its defeat, and its Fuhrer, Adolf Hitler, had been dead for a week. On May 7, 1945 at 02.40 AM Central European time in French Reims, the surrender of Germany was signed. On behalf of Germany, the document was signed by General Alfred Jodl. Representatives of the anti-Hitler coalition allies — the American General Bedell Smith and the Soviet Major General Ivan Susloparov — accepted the surrender.

In Europe and then in the United States, there began a spontaneous celebration and universal rejoicing. Especially stormy celebrations were in London, and then in New York — millions of jubilant people gathered on the streets. However, the leader of the USSR, Joseph Stalin, decided the document signed at Reims did not satisfy him as sufficiently reflecting the role of the Red Army in the victory over Nazism.

Stalin demanded the signing of a new act, and by his order Marshal of the Victory Georgy Zhukov accepted in Berlin a general surrender of representatives of all the arms of the defeated Germany. From Germany, the Berlin Act of Surrender was signed by Field-Marshal Wilhelm Keitel, as well as the leadership of the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) and the German Navy. Also, out of respect for Stalin, the document was signed by representatives of the allies – the United States, Great Britain and France. The Berlin Act of Surrender was signed on the night of May 8–9, at 00.43 Moscow Time, that is, in fact, it began in Moscow on May 9. Note that in Europe it was at 23.43 CET, that is, there it was May 8.

For me, World War II is a collection of horrible/amazing stories shared by my Mom. She experienced the war first hand, as I shared in a previous article. She celebrated the end of the war on May 9. I still have and use a small metal bowl she used during the war.

A few months after my family and I came to the US, I was driving through a small Ohio town. Suddenly, on a nearby driveway, I saw a sign “Fresh Honey!“ I translated it to my Mom, and she said “I want it!” I made a turn into the driveway and my Mom and I were greeted by a tall man, my Mom’s age.

My Mom knew Russian, Romanian, and French, but English at that time was so far away from her ear! My Mom asked me to translate for her.

Considering the age of this man she decided to ask him if he participated in the WWII – Russia and America were allies in that horrific period! I translated. He confirmed. The next thing I saw they were hugging each other. The interpreter was not needed anymore: both of them had tears. The man invited us in the house and started showing his pictures from THAT very time… The friendship and peace were established in one moment!

I am reposting my blog article from two years ago… This Article is devoted to my Mom. She is not here anymore, but she is and will be with me always!

Janna Yeshanova

My Mom (in a white dress) with her cousins just before the war.

Senior Lieutenant Malka-Galina Lerner, 1944

Today, May 9, I celebrate my Mom’s second birthday. I call this day her second birthday, as she did, because her actual birthday was on another day years earlier. She chose this second birthday herself because it represented a huge change in her life and the lives of everyone around her. It wasn’t that this was a beautiful spring day, or that the lilacs were in full bloom. May 9th is the day Russia marks as the end of World War II in Europe.

On 22 June 1941, the Germans broke their agreement and invaded the Soviet Union in ‘Operation Barbarossa’. It was a Sunday. The day before in Soviet schools there were graduation parties. When bands stopped playing, yesterday’s classmates, by tradition, went to meet the dawn. Young Muscovites headed to…

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I Can Hear You Now!


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Recently, I presented training at the International Coach Federation Columbus Charter Chapter. Interactive and dynamic training is always a blast!  It was a reminder of how we should listen to invite better communication in our lives.

shutterstock_407475370 LISTENNING SKILLS

Keep in mind LISTENING is a skill – not an inherent ability. Good listening means fewer family divorces, better relationships with coworkers, clients, friends, neighbors and everybody around us.

At the end of our session I shared a poem of Leo Buscaglia that really impressed me. I decided to share it with you here. I hope you like it too.

When I ask you to listen to me, and you start giving me advice,
you have not done what I asked.

When I ask you to listen to me
and you begin to tell me why I shouldn’t feel that way,
you are trampling on my feelings.

When I ask you to listen to me
and you feel you have to do something to solve my problem,
you have failed me, strange as that may seem.

Listen! All I ask is that you listen.
Don’t talk or do – just hear me.

And I can do for myself; I am not helpless.
Maybe discouraged and faltering,
but not helpless.

When you do something for me that I can and need to do for myself,
you contribute to my fear and inadequacy.

But when you accept as a simple fact
that I feel what I feel,
no matter how irrational,
then I can stop trying to convince you and get about this business
of understanding what’s behind this irrational feeling.

And when that’s clear, the answers are obvious and I don’t need advice.
Irrational feelings make sense when we understand what’s behind them.

So please listen, and just hear me.
And if you want to talk, wait a minute for your turn –

and I will listen to you.


Janna Yeshanova, MA, MEd, PCC – http://www.life-spark.com



Blog Tour – Love Is Never Past Tense by Janna Yeshanova

The Book Mistress

Originally from the former Soviet Union, Janna Yeshanova escaped in 1989 when persecution became violent during the crumbling of the Soviet state. This required getting permission to emigrate and a long dangerous train trip across central Europe with her elderly mother, her young daughter, and the $126 she was permitted to take out of the country. She did this by overcoming gridlock in Russia, animosity and graft at the border, and neglect in the west. Safely out of Soviet control, Janna and her family spent months as refugees waiting for permission to come to the United States.

Arriving in the United States knowing not a soul, Janna settled in Ohio and began to rebuild her life. She earned a second masters Degree and was invited as a speaker at the Bosnia and Herzegovina International Peace Conference in 1996. While building her business as a Leadership Trainer and consultant, she has…

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Spotlight – Love Is Never Past Tense

C.A. Milson

Originally from the former Soviet Union, Janna Yeshanova escaped in 1989 when persecution became violent during the crumbling of the Soviet state. This required getting permission to emigrate and a long dangerous train trip across central Europe with her elderly mother, her young daughter, and the $126 she was permitted to take out of the country. She did this by overcoming gridlock in Russia, animosity and graft at the border, and neglect in the west. Safely out of Soviet control, Janna and her family spent months as refugees waiting for permission to come to the United States.

Arriving in the United States knowing not a soul, Janna settled in Ohio and began to rebuild her life. She earned a second masters Degree and was invited as a speaker at the Bosnia and Herzegovina International Peace Conference in 1996. While building her business as a Leadership Trainer and consultant, she has…

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A Gift From Afar



A friend of mine from Israel sent me this piece. It was in Russian. I started reading it just out of respect to her and suddenly realized the message echoed my thoughts. The more I read the more I was recognizing that I’ve been thinking the same way.  I felt that I wouldn’t want to change a word.


Portrait of Mario de Andrade by Lasar Segall

The original text was written by Mario Raul de Morais Andrade,  a Brazilian poet who wore many other hats: novelist, musicologist, art historian and critic, and photographer. The poem was first written in Spanish. The fact that I could find the poem in three languages (Spanish, Russian, English) tells me that many people share these thoughts.

My Soul Has a Hat — Mario Raul de Morais Andrade

I counted my years and discovered that I have
less time to live going forward than I have lived until now. I have more past than future.
I feel like the boy who received a bowl of candies.
The first ones, he ate ungracious,
but when he realized there were only a few left,
he began to taste them deeply.

I do not have time to deal with mediocrity.
I do not want to be in meetings where parade inflamed egos.

I am bothered by the envious, who seek to discredit
the most able, to usurp their places,
coveting their seats, talent, achievements and luck.

I do not have time for endless conversations,
useless to discuss about the lives of others
who are not part of mine.

I do not have time to manage sensitivities of people
who despite their chronological age, are immature.

I cannot stand the result that generates
from those struggling for power.

People do not discuss content, only the labels.
My time has become scarce to discuss labels,
I want the essence, my soul is in a hurry…
Not many candies in the bowl…

I want to live close to human people,
very human, who laugh of their own stumbles,
and away from those turned smug and overconfident
with their triumphs,
away from those filled with self-importance,
Who does not run away from their responsibilities ..
Who defends human dignity.
And who only want to walk on the side of truth
and honesty.
The essential is what makes
life worthwhile.

I want to surround myself with people,
who knows how to touch the hearts of people ….
People to whom the hard knocks of life,
taught them to grow with softness in their soul.

Yes …. I am in a hurry … to live with intensity,
that only maturity can bring.
I intend not to waste any part of the goodies
I have left …
I’m sure they will be more exquisite,
that most of which so far I’ve eaten.

My goal is to arrive to the end satisfied and in peace
with my loved ones and my conscience.
I hope that your goal is the same,
because either way you will get there too ..

To reach me:


Twitter https://twitter.com/JannaYeshanova




Now an Audio Book!


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Today I am announcing that Love Is Never Past Tense is now available at Audible and Amazon and is expected soon on ITunes.  If you sign up for a 30-day trial on Audible, you can get it free.

Love Never AudioSound brought a new dimension to my story. Getting it just right was very important, which meant selecting the right narrator was vital. Over the past few years, I listened to dozens of samples. Finding someone with the right voice and the right technical skills was a big effort. I was looking for a person who could not only read the text, but feel it.

I went through many voices: actors, students, voice over artists—you name it. None of them seemed good for the book.

One day, when I nearly decided to leave the project alone, I went to ACX — a market for matching authors with freelance narrators who have the talent and access to the technology.  ACX had samples available, thousands upon thousands of samples. I clicked on a sample of Daniela Acitelli — I was attracted by the beautiful name.  To my wonder, this was the one!

The Right Voice

Daniela is a narrator from the UK who has created numerous audio books and logged hundreds of finished stories. When she sent me the sample, I was thrilled to realize that she picked up and expressed feelings, intonations, and character features perfectly!  She brought out the characters, the romance and the drama so vividly!  This wasn’t a simple reading. It was a story—the story I heard in my head as I was writing the book.

And More

I included a short fragment of a beautiful violin piece by my dear departed friend Karo Hayrapetyan, the famed Armenian master. His son who lives Armenia gave me permission.

I dedicated the book to my Mom and my daughter Alla.

Find It Here

The eBook is available exclusively on Amazon. If you are a Kindle Unlimited user, you can download it for free.

Here is where to get the audio book, the eBook or both.

Kindle: https://amzn.to/2zXsp1y

Audible (includes a sample): https://adbl.co/2FryMjR

Book Trailer: http://bit.ly/2LtdlfS

How could he possibly know that she, a complete stranger, would inexplicably impact his life and be with him forever, whether she was at his side or not?


How could he possibly know that she, a complete stranger, would inexplicably affect his life and be with him forever, whether she was at his side or not? Drawn together in Russia on a romantic Black Sea beach, Serge and Janna fall headlong in love and rush into marriage. Their divorce months later leads to years of “if only …” Pressured apart by family and fate, they repeatedly cross paths, never quite reconnecting, never quite letting go.

He faces Soviet corruption and self-doubt, his life falling toward disaster. She pushes out through Soviet bureaucracy to safety in America. As they build separate lives and families, their destinies, shaped by post-Soviet political intrigue, collapse into a struggle for their very survival, and dreams of a better life. Years later, distant memories of young, passionate love spawn emails that lead to international calls reviving an intimate, romantic connection.

They meet in the town they first met.  It was as if they had been apart only a day.

“How did you end up abroad?”  And the story of her unbelievable exodus follows; an exodus from a crumbling country with her child, her elderly mom, and $126 in her pocket.

The world had tried to tear them – and itself – apart, but years have made them wiser. They decide to give their romance another chance, proving that Love Is Never Past Tense.

I look forward to your comments.

Janna Yeshanova



Honoring Memories: Veterans Day 2018

Here in the United States, Veterans Day is coming up November 11. Originally tied to the end of World War I and honored by different countries under various names, the day has more significance than we sometimes give it credit for. I’ve shared a bit in the past about my mother’s service in uniform during World War II. As a Baby Boomer, it isn’t surprising that others in my generation have stories to share as well.

R Grey Hoover is an Air Force veteran with a family tradition of military service that dates back to the American revolution.

RGreyHoover Photo

R. Grey Hoover

He wrote his book KICKER (The Forgotten Front): A WWII thriller about a family’s hardships on the home front and the Army airmen who flew unarmed missions over Japanese territory in China, Burma and India to honor his father and the other veterans of World War II who fought in the China-Burma-India (CBI) theatre.  During the war, the European and Pacific theatres got most of the supplies and media attention leaving the CBI theatre with the leftovers. Even in today’s media coverage of World War II the CBI theatre is never mentioned. The author’s book is an attempt to correct this gross oversight.


We have scheduled this blog post to coordinate with the launch of your book. Can you tell us why you selected this date?

Every year I watch the TV programs on Memorial Day and Veterans Day that are presented to honor the veterans of World War II, and every year I am disappointed that a segment of those veterans is forgotten.  The history and actions of veterans of the European, African and Pacific theaters are always well represented and honored, but the veterans of the China-Burma-India (CBI) theater are never mentioned. The CBI gave us such notable units as the Flying Tigers, Merrill’s Marauders and the first military use of gliders. It was the largest WWII theater with the worst weather conditions imaginable and it featured over 700,000 allied troops completely supplied from the air for over 3 years.  As the son of a veteran of the CBI theater, it is very disappointing to me that such an important segment of our honored military is always overlooked.

This Veterans Day I want to see that the men and women who fought in the CBI theater are recognized for their service. I intend to do this by making my ebook Kicker CoverKicker (The Forgotten Front) available on Amazon for free during the Veterans Day holiday. Kicker is based on actual experiences and military records and tells the story of my father and many other CBI veterans through the eyes of a single protagonist. The book does not contain vulgar language or erotic scenes and is acceptable for teens as well as older generations. It tells the story of our forgotten veterans both on the home front and the CBI front.

You must have done a huge amount of research. How did you select your sources?

I spent 7 years researching my book. The primary sources of information about the CBI theater came from attending meetings of many CBI veterans groups. They called their groups Bashas which is the Indian term for house. I was lucky to be able to meet with those groups because most have been disbanded due to the loss of members. Another excellent source of data was a monthly magazine called the Ex-CBI Roundup which contains many stories submitted by CBI veterans. I was given about 10 years worth of these magazines by a veteran I met and befriended. Of course I had the actual experiences of my father as my most intimate source.

You’ve been involved in independent books since before we met, but this is your first work as an author. Tell us about that transition.

I started out with the intention of just documenting my father’s war time experiences for my family. However, as my research let me to meet many veterans of WWII, I felt I needed to tell their stories too. That is when I decided to write a book in their honor.

Your bio says you were a commercial airline pilot. Can you tell us about that?

I have always been interested in flying, and although I am not an airline pilot, I used by GI benefits to obtain both fixed and rotary wing commercial licenses and I was a flight instructor. I enjoyed flying all kinds of aircraft, but I enjoyed flying helicopters the most.

I’m ready for a flight lesson if you are? Is there anything you want to share that I haven’t asked?

Thank you for this opportunity to share my concerns about our forgotten WWII veterans from the CBI theater. During my years of research I met many of them and was impressed with their dedication to our country and to our freedoms. I can also say that about all of our past and present veterans.


And where can people find more about you?

Amazon URL for Kicker   http://mybook.to/Kicker

Links to my website and pinterest boards that honor veterans



Social media links:

Twitter https://twitter.com/rgreyhoover

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/rgrey.hoover

Excerpt from Kicker

April 4, 1944 – Dinjan Airbase, India

                Sam and Bobby Joe were totally exhausted when they crawled into their charpoys. The harrowing events of the day had taken its toll on them physically and mentally. In spite of the heat and noise of the jungle, Sam felt the blessed relief of sleep approaching soon after his head hit the pillow. However, as he drifted off, a feeling of unease came over him. It was a feeling that something was wrong, not here in India, but at home. He didn’t know if he felt uneasy because he still hadn’t received mail from home or because of some unknown reason, but the feeling stayed with him until he finally succumbed to his exhaustion and slipped into a deep sleep.

Thankfully, his slumber was not disturbed by his recurring nightmare, and he slept soundly until the wee hours of the morning when he suddenly awoke not knowing what had disturbed him. A light rain was falling outside, and except for an occasional flash of distant lightning, the basha was in total darkness. He lay very still, listening to the sounds around him. He strained his hearing, but no sound came except for the steady breathing of the sleeping men around him. After several minutes, he relaxed, thinking his imagination was playing tricks on him. He was almost asleep again when he thought he detected a faint unfamiliar sound coming from somewhere in the basha. Once again, he listened intently, not sure he had heard anything; but then he heard the sound again—only this time it seemed closer, and he was sure it came from within the basha. He couldn’t quite place the sound, but it seemed like something soft brushing against an object. He listened closely, but all was silent. None of the other men in the basha stirred, and after an extended period of silence, he relaxed once again in anticipation of sleep.

He was in that dreamy state just before slumber when he felt the presence of something or someone nearby. Once again, his senses came to full alert, and he made a conscious effort not to move. He listened carefully, bringing all his senses to bear. He could see or hear nothing, and yet he was sure something was there. He was startled when someone at the other end of the room moved, but then all was silent once again. He was lying on his back, so he slowly moved his head to the right and scanned the darkness.

At first he saw nothing, but then attention was drawn to a slight movement at the foot of his bed. He couldn’t make out what it was. It appeared to be an undistinguishable shadow against the darker background of the room. As he watched, the shadow moved, and he held his breath as it silently glided along the side of his bed. There was no sound as it moved, and it slowly drew nearer and stopped near the head of his bed. He could tell that it was something large, but due to the extreme darkness, he was unable to see what it was. His instincts told him this was something dangerous and evil, and the hairs on the nape of his neck stood erect. At that moment, a distant flash of lightning faintly illuminated the scene, and in that instant of light, Sam could see the large form of a tiger standing beside him.

The animal’s head was enormous. Its eyes, momentarily reflecting light from the faraway lightning, gave the beast an evil, devil-like appearance. This was death incarnate staring directly at him.

Sam was frozen with fear, and his heart seemed to stop. His .45-caliber pistol hung on the wall not three feet away, and he cursed himself for not keeping it inside the mosquito netting with him. He knew the tiger could see that he was awake, and he feared any movement would cause it to attack. The animal stepped closer, and Sam could see its dim outline and smell its damp fur and the fetid odor of its breath. The tiger appeared to know its victim was helpless. The great beast took its time as it sniffed the mosquito netting as if testing its strength. Slowly it raised a huge paw and placed it against the puny impediment. The tiger’s claws caught in the netting, and with a mighty swipe, it ripped the flimsy material away from the bed.