Book Promo: SKY by William Dale West

Sky: Immensely Compelling and Highly
Emotional Story of Love, Faith and Hope

Early in the decade of 2000, the Department of Human Services of Ellsworth, Maine, Child Protective Division, along with other municipalities, came under scrutiny for their questionable policies and immoderate tactics. Discover how a toothache led to a two-year nightmare for this quiet and law-abiding family. (Well… kinda quiet and law-abiding) SKY is a multi-emotion provoking love story about a mismatched couple and their struggle to save their marriage amidst their valiant battle for custody of their child against this powerful but once highly criticized state agency. An essential read for any parent who has picked up a drink or a drug. Interspersed with actual documents from the case, including brief news clippings, highly-personal letters and court decisions, Mr. West offers in chronological exposé, a passionate exploration and stark contrast to the realities of substance abuse and parenting, with mental illness and morals and with his occasional awareness of a presence of God. Written with wry humor, seemingly at times to mask his own heartbreak, West lays out his perspective with blunt, piercing honesty while allowing the reader to be the ultimate judge.

About the Author

William West is a laid-back, easy-going, family-oriented gentleman from the carefree times of the sixties, coping with Asperger’s Syndrome in today’s fast-paced, often nonsensical world of confusion. He resides in Bucksport, Maine, a ritzy little town, located halfway up the Maine Coast. He has two adult daughters from a previous marriage to Janet. In 1996, after their daughters had come of age, Bill and Janet divorced after twenty-two years. In 1998, at the age of forty-six, and after twenty-plus tiresome years of tediously painting wealthy people’s million dollar homes for a meager living, Bill attended Hesser Community College in Nashua, New Hampshire.  There, he took many courses in psychology and sociology in hopes of perhaps becoming a substance abuse counselor. However, he found himself receiving far better grades in the many writing courses they offered; achieving nearly all A’s and making the President’s Lists and Dean’s Lists on numerous occasions. Through the college curriculum, he began an internship at Keystone Rehab in Nashua. After about a week into his internship, and during his less than half-hearted attempt at becoming a substance abuse counselor, he met and fell in love with an inpatient of the rehab; a former NYC erotic dancer with anger issues named Rinska. The next five years of their lives play out in Bill’s emotion-packed love story about a family’s struggle with Child Protective Services to regain custody of their little girl caught up in a system of corruption, entitled SKY : CHILD, INTERRUPTED.

Customer Review

5 stars Emotional, with clever wit and sarcasm and an original and refreshing style of narration  by Jill Wagner

OH MY GOD! I love this book! This is an amazingly beautiful and thought-provoking book and everything it’s hyped up to be and much, much more! I was so moved by reading this true and endearing family story. The nightmare this family went through in battling this particularly cold and heartless Child Protective Services for custody of their little daughter has stayed with me since I finished the book. It made me cry, it made me laugh and it made me get angry, sometimes all at the same time.

Although a very serious topic, the author manages in keeping the reader amused with clever wit and sarcasm and with a very appealing and refreshing style of humor and narration. The story is so enticing and intriguing to the point where you’ll almost want to skip ahead to see what happens next. But what happens next is rarely what you might expect.

I totally fell in love with the characters. Bill, the father of SKY is sweet, lovable and totally wimpy, but I particularly loved Rinska. Rinska is Sky’s mom. She’s a streetwise, former NYC erotic dancer who takes crap from no one, especially these power-hungry caseworkers that the family has to deal with. It’s not likely they’ve ever met the likes of her, which makes her even more captivating to the reader.

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Meet Dr. George S. Glass

Helping Parents Blend Families Seamlessly
And Avoid The Pitfalls Of

While there are many books written by psychiatrists on parenting and blending families, their medical jargon is often confusing to parents. George S. Glass, MD, PA, did something extraordinary with his latest two books, Successfully Blending Families: Helping Parents and Kids Navigate the Challenges so that Everyone Ends up Happy, and The Overparenting Epidemic: Why Helicopter Parenting is Bad for your kids and Dangerous for You, Too! (Skyhorse Publishing). Drawing from his thirty-year career as a board-certified psychiatrist, Dr. Glass presents invaluable information in a common sense, often humorous, approach that is understandable and easy to apply!

We are a society of blended families, with less than fifty percent of our children now growing up with both biological parents. In Successfully Blending Families, Dr. Glass helps parents understand the challenges of beginning new lives as a blended family and explains how to approach unavoidable dilemmas when they occur, offering valuable lessons about the link between divorce and issues of self-esteem, depression, substance abuse, and relationship failures that often result from the breakup of a family.

Dr. Glass understands that blending a family is a process – it takes time to develop trust and acceptance. By combining his own personal experience as a member of a blended family with experiences from his many years in practice, he created an inspiring toolkit for families in need that provides specific advice and practical solutions to help improve communication skills and ease the transition from separate households into a larger, blended unit.

We can call it what we want, but overparenting may have finally backfired! In The Overparenting Epidemic, noted psychiatrist and parenting specialist Dr. George Glass cites studies that show parents who are anxious, invasive, offer excessive favors, or erase obstacles that kids should negotiate themselves, are producing children that are ill-behaved, narcissistic, anxious, entitled – and unable to cope with everyday life.

Sadly, the obsession to provide everything a child could possibly need has created epidemic levels of depression and stress in our country’s youth, and it could all be avoided if parents would just take a giant step back, check their ambitions at the door, and do what’s really best for their kids. The Overparenting Epidemic is a science-based, yet humorous and practical, book that features an easy-to-read menu of pragmatic advice on how to parent children effectively and lovingly without overdoing it, especially in the context of today’s demanding world.

George S. Glass received a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Swarthmore College, earned a medical degree from Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago, and did his psychiatric residency at the Yale University Medical School. His post residency training included intensive studies in the treatment of alcoholism and substance abuse. In 1972 he set up the U.S. Navy’s first alcohol treatment program at the Bethesda Naval Hospital, and has since served as chairman of departments of psychiatry at several Houston hospitals. For thirty years, he has helped families, attorneys and courts deal with the psychological consequences of divorce, has served as a forensic expert in family court cases, as well as conducted group presentations and divorce workshops.

Dr. Glass’s academic credits include appointments as a clinical associate professor of Psychiatry at the Baylor College of Medicine, the University of Texas Medical School and School of Public Health, and the Cornell Weill School of Medicine. For more information, please visit:

Available at bookstores, online outlets and Amazon
Successfully Blending Families: Helping Parents and Kids Navigate the Challenges so that Everyone Ends up Happy
Skyhorse Publishing
ISBN-10: 1629144312
ISBN-13: 978-1629144313

Available at bookstores, online outlets and Amazon
The Overparenting Epidemic: Why Helicopter Parenting is Bad for your kids and Dangerous for You, Too!
Skyhorse Publishing
ISBN-10: 1628737301
ISBN-13: 978-1628737301

Benefits of Private Adoption

Adopting a Child?
The Benefits of Going Private

Celebrities Gary and Cassie Chapman
Discuss Their Journey

For many married couples, there comes a time when having children becomes the first priority. Often, the urge to create life and see it into the world becomes overwhelming.

But that urge can put many couples on an unpredictable journey, especially when they decide that their love, time and resources can be best put to use through adoption, says award-winning singer-songwriter Gary Chapman. He and his wife, former Nashville Wives star Cassie Piersol Chapman, say they were open to whatever God had in store for them.

“We knew it was time to give our hearts to a child,” says Gary, 56, a five-time Grammy-nominated, seven-time Dove Award-winning artist who recently released his first album in a decade, The Truth, (

But, while the decision to have a child was made, conceiving was taking awhile. Gary, who had reversed a vasectomy and is 23 years older than Cassie, has three grown children.

“During this period, I got a call from a friend telling me about a woman who was four months pregnant and looking for a suitable adoption family,” says Cassie, who is proactive in multiple charity groups which facilitate a legal alternative to going through an agency. “It was as if God knew where this child needed to be after the birth. I immediately understood that this would be our path.”

Through private, or independent, adoption, the Chapmans received their blessing, a baby girl they named Eva Rose. Gary and Cassie talk about the benefits involved in private, or independent, adoption:

• Parents can begin bonding with their child more quickly after birth: Private adoption allows for the newborn infant to bypass foster care, which is typically required by state-run agencies. Most babies adopted between private parties go home from the hospital with the adoptive parents.

“In our case, the birth mother had a 10-day grace period starting from time of Eva’s birth,” Cassie says. “While that was tough, I think it offers more peace of mind for birth mothers.”

• It allows for more control, more collaboration and more choice:Independent adoption gives all parties greater autonomy in making important choices about the baby and each other. For many, the opportunity for the birth mother and adoptive parents to meet adds reassurance that decisions are being made in the best interest of the child. This dynamic doesn’t exist in the more common state-run agencies.

“I think some folks actually prefer a more anonymous approach,” Gary says. “Let’s admit it – these can be some of the toughest decisions in a woman’s life, and she may not want a relationship with adoptive parents.”

• Better access to information: What’s the child’s background? Should you anticipate medical issues down the road? What if a child wants to know more about his biological mother and father, including their spiritual background? Private adoption allows for direct communication between the two parties.

“Birth mothers may not even know if they’ll want contact with their child 20 years later,” Cassie says. “If adoptive families go this route, they ought to collect as much relevant information about the child’s birth parents as they can.”

• Adequate safety measures: Like other types of adoption, private adoption is governed by state laws. In addition, if a child is brought from one state to another, then the provisions of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children apply.

“Folks should understand that private adoption isn’t like the Wild West; it’s just a less bureaucratic method of adoption,” Gary says.

About Gary & Cassie Piersol Chapman

Gary Chapman is a veteran musician in the contemporary pop, country, Christian and southern gospel genres. His Dove Awards include Male Vocalist of the Year and Songwriter of the Year, and he’s written hits including I Prefer the Moonlight for Kenny Rogers and Finally for T.G. Sheppard along with songs for Alabama and Wynonna Judd. He was the host of TNN’s hit show Prime Time Country for four years and founded the record label that launched current Disney music mainstays Everlife, among many top performers.

Cassie Piersol Chapman starred in TNT’s 2014 docudrama Private Lives of Nashville Wives (from the Real Housewives creators). She grew up on her family’s West Virginia farm and was active in 4H and other agricultural activities. She also sang in a choir, modeled and became a star cheerleader in high school. She won two national cheerleading titles at Morehead State University in Kentucky. She has appeared in music videos, commercials and printed work. She works with her husband, Gary, on A Hymn a Week, a popular online devotional.

Take the Swimming Pool Plunge

Splish, Splash, IQ Dash:
How—and Why—
to Encourage Your Toddler to
Take the Swimming Pool Plunge

Princess Ivana shares a surprising benefit of teaching your young child to swim at an early age, as well as some tips to help toddlers overcome their fear of the water.

“If you want to learn to swim, jump into the water. On dry land, no frame of mind is ever going to help you.” —Bruce Lee

          Los Angeles, CA (August 2013)—Splash! Dive! Dog paddle! It’s no secret that most kids love to swim. (In fact, getting them out of the pool sometimes takes nothing short of a Herculean parental effort!) But did you know that getting your children comfortable in the water at an early age isn’t only fun, it can actually make kids smarter? Recent research from Griffith Institute in Australia shows that kids who start swimming early reach their developmental milestones earlier too. These include basic visual motor skills (like cutting paper and drawing shapes) and extend into more complex skills like language, math, writing, and understanding directions.

The earlier a child begins swimming and the longer that child takes lessons, the more lasting and beneficial the results.

“The toddler years are the perfect time to begin swimming,” says Princess Ivana Pignatelli Aragona Cortes, who has worked with children for over twenty years and has a master’s in education. She is also a featured blogger at Modern Mom, founder of Princess Ivana—The Modern Princess, and coauthor of A Simple Guide to Pregnancy & Baby’s First Year (Don’t Sweat It Media, Inc., April 2013, ISBN: 978-0-9888712-0-5, $15.95, “Researchers observed that before children can even count or express themselves in language, they respond to the cue, ‘One, two, three, go!’ when it comes to jumping into the water on three, or kicking to the count of ten. The physical link of thought, language, and action creates a body-wise understanding of the complex skills young children need to develop for pre-school and school.”

There’s just one potential problem: Convincing your little one to take the plunge can be easier said than done. New experiences are often uncomfortable, and coaxing an unhappy, frightened toddler into the water for the first time may be a challenge.

“My son hated swimming at first,” Ivana shares. “It took a number of try-try-agains and bucket loads of patience, but now Alessio is a little dolphin, proudly swimming across the skinny end of the pool like he has just won an Olympic gold medal.”

So, the scene is set: It’s a warm summer day and you’re ready to jump in the pool. But it’s your toddler’s first time swimming, and he is screaming with crocodile tears running down his face. He’s afraid of the water, afraid of the bigness of the pool—a thousand times bigger than his little tub. And the way he sees the water swallow you up to your neck is not that reassuring. How do you ease his fears? Here are five of Ivana’s tips:

Talk him through the experience. When you’re only a few feet tall, a lot of things—including a big blue pool of water—can be scary. Being assured that nothing bad is going to happen to you can go a long way toward easing your child’s fears.

“Don’t just ask your child to jump into the pool—tell her what’s going to happen after she does,” Ivana suggests. “Say, ‘Mommy is going to be right next to you the whole time. I will keep you safe and won’t let go of you.’”

Give him a choice. Even though your child may not be able to articulate the concept, feeling like he has been backed into a corner can exacerbate his fear. You know everything will be fine, but hedoesn’t. Don’t make jumping into the water an ultimatum.

“Say, ‘You can come into the pool with Mommy or just sit on the edge and get your feet wet,’” Ivana recommends. “Let your toddler dip his toes until he is used to the water. Then invite him in again.”

Have fun. Monkey see, monkey do definitely applies when it comes to having fun in the pool. Show your child how much you enjoy being in the water (even if you have to pretend).

“If she is sitting on the side of the pool, let her splash you,” instructs Ivana. “Splashing Mommy is usually a toddler favorite. It always gets them laughing—and that’s half the battle. It’s hard to laugh and hold onto fear at the same time.”

Reward courage. Facing your fears is a big deal whether you’re two years old or fifty years old. So when your child finally takes his first brave step into the water, reward his courage.

“Be sure to praise him,” says Ivana. “Gently encourage him to explore the new sensations. Splash and play. Keep the game going until he wants to get out. Do your best to make the whole experience a happy memory—one that he will want to do again.”

Sign up for a local swimming program. Like most activities, swimming is more fun for youngsters when they’re having fun with friends. Plus, you’ll feel most confident about your child’s safety in the water when you know she’s learning valuable skills from a knowledgeable instructor.

“Many communities offer swimming programs for children through youth centers, Red Cross, YMCA, and fitness centers,” Ivana shares. “Find out what’s available in your area and get splashing!”

“Keep in mind that the benefits of swimming are good for the whole family, so don’t sit on the sidelines once your youngster has become comfortable in the water,” Ivana concludes. “Jump in with your children! Water is 1,000 times denser than air, so you get a better workout in the same amount of time, burn more calories, and protect your joints thanks to water’s buoyancy. In the kind of record heat many of us are feeling, the cool splash of water is not only a super workout, but refreshing for body and soul. What’s not to like?

About Princess Ivana:
Ivana is the author of A Simple Guide to Pregnancy & Baby’s First Year, which was cowritten with her mother, Magdalene Smith, and her sister, Marisa Smith. Their blog, Princess Ivana—The Modern Princess, is a blend of humor, practical advice, and lifestyle tips on the essentials. Ivana is also a featured blogger on Modern Mom.

While she’s a modern-day princess, she comes from modest means and met her Italian Prince Charming (if you’re curious, he’s Adriano Pignatelli Aragona Cortes, Prince of the Holy Roman Empire) while on scholarship at Pepperdine. She didn’t wait for his kiss to save her, though—using her master’s degree in education, she forged a career of her own as a digital strategy consultant.

Ivana and her husband have two fabulous kids (ages three and two) who are the latest additions to a 1,000-year lineage that includes kings of Sicily and Spain, Catherine of Aragon, a pope, and a saint. Ivana is wild about kids and motherhood. For the past twenty years, she has worked with children, from designing learning toys to tutoring homeless kids.

Ivana’s Super Mom juggling act between life, love, kids, and career inspired her new book. She believes that life is more about attitude than money, and her goal is to help mothers live well on any budget. Consider her “Dear Abby” with a tiara and a baby sling!

For more information, please visit

About the Book:
A Simple Guide to Pregnancy & Baby’s First Year (Don’t Sweat It Media, Inc., April 2013, ISBN: 978-0-9888712-0-5, $15.95, is available at