TWO GREAT Book Reviews

Thanks to everyone for the wonderful feedback I’ve been getting for my two new books – both published this year. Yesterday I received two GREAT book reviews from delighted readers.

“This book is a superb piece of work: an incredibly sensitive and perceptive insight into both the female and male emotional psyche. I read, In the Deep End, straight through – between laughter and tears. You are truly exceptional. Can’t wait for masterpiece Number Three.” Sean Lowe

“Long after you have put the book down, haunting images remain – such is the power and pull of Nicky’s words in ‘No Ordinary Man’. She has a sound grasp of her characters and the storyline of a war that impacted the entire world. What surprised me was the level of compassion and the resolution of this compelling story.”  Karen Bowller

Buy direct from the Author ($25 incl postage within NZ ) or Amazon ($39 incl postage) link below:

Click for paperback and kindle versions of Nicky Webber’s new books

The Chemistry of Stories That Bind Us

The power of story-telling and the impact it has on our lives is undeniable. From ancient cavemen history where blood, charcoal, and ochre communicated before language was born, humans expressed their experiences in stories. Our history abounds with legends and myths, and it seems that nothing much has changed today. Instead of sitting around a campfire, we bask in the electronic glow of the internet where social media, news links, and gossip is conveyed moment by fractured moment. There is an addictive quality amongst our tribes where we hanker after news, views and more information. We only have to observe the modern obsession with Facebook, and the like, to realise the growing drug-like dependency, in online offerings to realise there’s something else at play. So, what’s going on?

What is it that holds us and keeps us glued to our devices and pulls us together and apart from others? The polarising of information is addictive, them and us, divided along political and religious lines which has become more pronounced over recent years. Rest assured, it’s not merely the stories exchanged amongst members of specific ethnic, political or religious groups. It goes a whole lot deeper.

Recent research shows that when we watch a movie, read a book or engage online with podcasts, social media or listening, our human brain lights up in the feel-good and primal areas. This response surprised and encouraged researchers to take blood tests from participants and see what chemicals the brain was unleashing on unsuspecting humans. The results were intriguing.

When people listen or read stories of any kind, including, sometimes, destructive gossip on social media, their brains release a series of feel-good hormones. Three hormones were identified; Dopamine, the hormone that gives people a sense of well-being, contentment and promotes calm acceptance, Serotonin, the anti-depressant uptake hormone often experienced after exercise, and Oxytocin, the bonding hormone that floods the bodies of mothers and babies during childbirth. This hormone is active in bonding lovers and parents to their children, and it appears, human tribes, that share the same stories too. We are, in fact, connected by our chemistry.

 It’s more than our culture and language that binds us. It is the hormones flooding our bloodstreams when we participate in collective story-telling. Let’s go back to the primitive Neanderthal times of our pre-existence. We need to be bonded, in any way possible, to ensure our tribe’s survival. Stories, legends, myths, gossip, and in more contemporary times, social media and cyberspace allow us to connect and remain addicted to the positive, feel-good hormones and stay closely connected to our cohort.

It will come as no surprise then, that humans are suffering from sleep deprivation at an alarming rate. Scientific research has confirmed that the glowing blue light from smartphones and computer devices breaks down the sleep hormone, melatonin in our brains, affecting our essential biological ability to function. After all, sleep deprivation has been a form of torture throughout centuries of historical conflict. So, the message is, break from your addiction and turn those devices off at least two hours before bedtime, to let your primitive biological human brain do what it’s supposed to, and support your ability to sleep.

Written by New Zealand author, Nicky Webber. For more information see Nicky Webber’s author page on www.nickywebber.com and https://www.facebook.com/nickywebbernz

A Win-Win!

I was one of five winners who received Whitcoulls vouchers for a short 100 word writing competition at the Waitkato Writers and Associated Arts group, a branch of the NZ Society of Authors. Even better, Whitcoulls were running a sale – Buy One book and get the second one for half price! One of them is called, The Binding, and is featured in the latest NZ Women’s Weekly with a lovely review written by Books Editor, Nicky Pellegrino. YES I’ll have a bit of that too! THANKS WWAA judges!!

My 100 words below delivered two GREAT books. No bad for 20 minutes work on a Sunday! Can’t wait to read them:

The Pilgrimage

Winter’s claustrophobic skyline met the tall pines rustling uneasily in the early morning air. The coastline mapped the shape of a fetal pig as they trudged towards Vivian Bay. They were both silently buried in their own thoughts. Nora stopped, resting her hand on a Redwood. She wanted to hug the deeply ridged bark, as if gouged by rainwater tracking down the trunk to the roots embedded in the dark earth. She resisted. It was bad enough that Mark thought she had lost her mind. Any tree-hugging would confirm his suspicions. She wouldn’t be giving him anymore ammunition.

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