Notice for Review Requests

I receive review requests weekly. However, my personal schedule is hectic and I no longer review actively. (I also manage another blog called The Toronto Cafe and Food Blog). I do read every request sent but I apologize in advance that I do not reply to them all.

If I do take on a request, I will forewarn that it may take some time before I can review it. I am now looking to review adult fiction and self-help books instead of young adult fiction because I have grown out of it. If you are to request a review for either adult fiction or self-help, I will more likely to give it a shot.

In the meantime, Stop, Drop, and Read! serves as an archive book review blog. When I have the time, I may post a review. Thank you for understanding.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Author Interview: Dave & Lillian Brummet

Merry Christmas everyone! Everyone enjoying their winter break? Good, so am I! Well, today I have a new author interview for you! Dave and Lillian Brummet are the authors of Trash Talk (an informative book about the concerns of the environment), Towards Understanding (a collection of poetry on the meaning of life and finding one's self), and Purple Snowflake Marketing (a guide to how to make your book stand out in the market). They also are the hosts of the talk show Conscious Discussions and the Author Reads radio program. I wish you enjoy this interview as Lillian gives a lot of useful tips on how to more environmentally-friendly. For more information, please go to

Firstly, in your published books they deal about finding one’s self and how to become a better person along with the concerns of the environment. What led you two to write about these topics?

Well honestly it goes way back to a series of car accidents that I was in that left me seriously pondering the value of my life. I realized how quickly acquirements - like a degree, self-employed businesses, careers or bank accounts – can disappear or be destroyed by unforeseen circumstances… things beyond our control. It was then that I felt my life must change or I could not go on living. I have felt driven from that moment on to give my life meaning. At that time my husband (Dave) and I had several deep conversations on where we wanted our lives to go, and perusing ways of leaving a positive legacy continues to be our focus. Through our writing we want to encourage the reader to realize their incredible value as an individual – the impact they can have on the sustainability of their community, on the health of the planet – it is really staggering when you really understand the power of the individual. Each and every one of us need to realize that WE ARE the hero that we are seeking in society.

When writing non-fiction books, I'm sure they require a bit of research. Did you come across anything you found that was quite a shock/surprise while you were researching for your book? If so, what were they?

An excellent question! I did find myself shocked to the core a number of times. Dave and I have personally had discussions with people in our society who would be considered fairly environmentally conscious here in the US and Canada that have not understood the importance of keeping organics out of the landfill. What shocked me most was that these people were considered to be fairly educated and conscious consumers. The number of people that do not recycle, or that do not use the system fully blew me away. I’ve had questions over the years from people who weren’t aware that soup cans were recyclable, which were one of the first items accepted in the recycling system (cans were incorporated soon after newspapers and beverage containers). I see people every week putting out their garbage bags WAY too early on the curb, sometimes as much as a full day in advance of the pick-up service. This invites stray animals, and dogs who are allowed to walk themselves by their owners, to tear into the bags dragging litter all over the neighborhood where the wind picks it up and carries it to our waterways. It is very sad that these kinds of everyday activities are still going on despite the efforts to educate the public by numerous government agencies, individuals and organizations.

In terms of today, do you think the world is more environmentally-conscious or not?

Oh, definitely more conscious – there is no doubt about that. We like to reminisce about the olden days when the pioneers first arrived, but really those times were incredibly polluted. This question reminds me of an interview I did recently on our radio show with Rosemary Chaulk (Conscious Discussions; Oct 30,008) and she was explaining the horrible toxins that were used to steam velvet. She also showed how the toxic dyes in clothing and wallpaper were driving people insane and they would die very young in “unusual ways”. They didn’t understand health or vitamins diet or exercise any more than they understood the workings of this planet or how their hunting practices were wiping out entire species. We have much more understanding now and there are billions of individuals out there working every day to create innovative sustainable positive change across the planet. Young children are influencing change by bringing knowledge from school with them wherever they go. It is a very exciting time that we are living in.

Fast forwarding into the future about twenty years from now, do you think the world will be in a huge crisis due to global warming and pollution rates that are increasing today?

Absolutely. We are changing our lifestyles, becoming more conscious and instituting huge technological advances to reduce current contributions to global warming and environmental destruction. And this is a wonderful thing to be on this road towards positive change. However, we have yet to learn how to remove the pollution and gasses that are already warming the planet and causing toxic acid rain, and other issues. When we learn how to do this, we are on the road to recovery.

I honestly feel that we will face many challenges in our lifetime; our children and grandchildren will likely face just as many. However, humans are extremely adaptable as a species. We are also armed with a much better understanding about the world and our impact on the universe. Every single day I learn of some new innovation, some plan being put in place that will create positive change. The Internet is the best place to go for this kind of information. Traditional media is there to doom-and-gloom us to death – literally; if you want to be inspired by the amazing things happening in the world - go online.

There are so many things that contribute to pollution and global warming. If you can do only one thing to help the world's health, what would it be?

Anyone that knows me or has listened to my radio show is grinning in anticipation of my answer – knowing that I will say: Compost!!!! Here’s why:

Keeping organic waste out of the trash can be considered one of the most important steps we can make. Improper composting is a major source of greenhouse gases including methane, which is a highly toxic greenhouse gas that is at least 23 times more destructive than Carbon Dioxide. According to an organization known as Gaia - landfills account for 34 % of human-related methane emissions.

When organic waste is covered in the landfill, it is deprived of oxygen, which creates an anaerobic environment that reacts with other waste materials, producing leachate and a number of toxic gasses including methane - a threat to ground water and a producer of greenhouse gases.

Start a compost or worm bin to convert organics into nutrient rich compost instead. You can use the product in your potted plants, flower beds, landscaping, yards, around trees or gardens. If your property or apartment building does not have these things, find a friend or neighbor who does.

People will find that they do not have to put the trash out as often, because both the odors and volume are greatly decreased – the average individual’s organics equate to 30% of their contributions to the landfill. At the same time they are helping to build nutrient-rich soil, full of microbiological life that requires fewer pesticides, fungicides, moisture or amendments. * – Did you know that North America is losing its viable soil in devastating amounts? What we have left is void of many nutrients and farmers are forced to introduce expensive amendments, raising the costs of our food. Additionally, composted organics is considered a Carbon Sink because some of the carbon is retained in the soil – and this is yet another way that composting can help us fight global warming. So there are all kinds of reasons to compost.

Besides the 3 basic Rs (Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle), what are your top 5 ways to help the environment?

Actually there are 4 R’s in waste management. The first R is Refuse – Refuse to accept manufacturer’s standards. Refuse to by the non-recyclable product packaged in non-recyclable materials. Refuse to accept your governments current standards and support of alternatives. Instead, encourage change by voting with your dollar, by communicating with businesses letting them know how you feel about their product or practices. …But to answer your question –

We can also help the waste management industry run more efficiently. For instance, when only full garbage bags and Blue or Green boxes are put out on the curb, the garbage truck does not have to stop as often and waste fossil fuels inefficiently while idling. Similarly, by collapsing items like cardboard and paperboard (cereal or pet food) boxes, cans, plastic bottles and other bulky items before recycling we are ensuring that space is used more efficiently - thereby reducing the number of bins needed for transporting materials.

Vehicle idling alone is responsible for 3-5% of the air pollution problem in North America and we can all take a stance against this with simple daily conscious driving actions. When starting out for the day take a moment to consider where the least congested routes might be that you can take advantage of; also – we can choose to travel during quieter times of the day. We can choose to turn off the vehicle when sitting at drive-through service areas, waiting for ferries, while waiting for someone who’s run into the store or for the kids outside the school. Basically, if our wheels aren’t moving, we need to question why the motor is running.

Use your bicycle or scooter whenever you can. We live about 14 blocks from the center of town and it takes only 6-8 minutes to bike right into town center.

Grow green things wherever you can. Indoor plants will clean the air and regulate air moisture more efficiently. Plants on your balcony will help reduce urban glare and increase green space in your community. Growing gardens rather than large lawns will use the water and soil you consume more efficiently, while providing you with free food that is grown well, harvested when ripe and at its most nutrient-rich state, and that has notconsumed fossil fuels to get to your table.

Support local growers in your area; their product has not consumed huge amounts of fossil fuels in transporting it to the table.

Pick up litter wherever you are: on the beach, on the trails, out around the neighborhood, in the alley behind your office building, on the sidewalk… everywhere. 80% of the litter found in our waterways (streams, oceans, bogs….) is carried from our streets by air currents. …and don’t forget to sort that garbage into the appropriate recycling bin or trash bin.

You two have not yet published any fiction novels - Are you planning to do so in the near future?

Dave and I have several individual fiction projects in the “to-do” files. J We keep going back to them and hope to do something with them one day. Time is such a factor in our lives and finding a balance can be difficult – though we hope to be able to return to those projects in a few months.

One of the stories I am working on involves some of America’s historical civic war, and has some Native Indian adventure, loss and paranormal elements to it. It is purely creative fiction and not meant to be historically accurate. This story was sparked by a dream I had, which is the case for most of the fiction work in my “to-do” files.

Lastly, are there any books that you are about to release soon? If so, how about telling us what it is going to be about briefly?

Last year we compiled a cookbook holiday gift for family and friends using the recipes Dave and I created from our own garden harvests. We also included several memorable family recipes from those that are no longer with us. We did this as a small way of celebrating those people and a way to remember them by. We have talked about giving a chapter away at a time on our main website ( or turn it into an e-book. We are still undecided as to whether we’ll do something for the public in the future with this particular project.

Our current project is the new edition of Purple Snowflake Marketing –How to Make Your Book Stand Out in a Crowd, which is due to be released in mid-to-late Feb 2009. This new edition has at least one extra chapter, several chapters have been increased in size to more deeply cover those subjects and we will be increasing the number of resources for writers to use as opportunities to market their book by several hundred new contacts.

I’m also working on a gardening book, which was my mother’s dream. She is a gardening genius and was the owner of Elison Arms Herbals specializing in rare and endangered varieties of herbs, veggies and farm animals. Dave and I tutored under her for 11 years gleaning from her copious piles of notes on scrap paper and gleaning from her mind as well. We took that information and refined it, trying the various techniques out through our own market garden and the organic gardens at a spa we managed for one season. This manuscript has been in the works for a long time, obviously, and I hope to have it completed in the next 2 years. My mother is chronically ill and not expected to be with us much longer so I do hope that I can complete the project or at least be finishing it before my mother passes on.

I’d love to complete a book 2 for Trash Talk and a second book of poetry, but only time will tell if those dreams come to fruition. ☺

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Bhuvan Chand said...

i really impress with you blog and plz keep writing for this blog. i also start collection of information about causes of global warming in my blog.

Diana Dang said...

Thank you very much for visiting! Since this blog focuses a lot more of YA fiction and Japanese graphic novels, there won't be a lot of posts about the environment. But I will post up whatever chance I get.

I will always be updating! =)

Melanie said...

Just wanted to post some links to information on PublishAmerica, the publisher of "Trash Talk," to keep teens and others from being led astray when searching for their own publisher.

Diana Dang said...

Thanks for the info Melanie! =)