Thursday, April 25, 2013

Welcome Dr. Bob Rich

I'd like to welcome Dr. Bob Rich to my blog today.    Let's find out more about him and his book.  "Ascending Spiral: Humanity's Last Hope."

Here are the Q&A

1-How long have you been writing? 
In 1980, I invented a new way of making adobe bricks. Then the local kids invited me to a game of soccer. I joined in, muddy boots and all -- slipped over and wrecked a knee. In hospital, I was bored witless, so borrowed the office typewriter (yes, that's what people used then) and wrote an article about it for my favorite self-sufficiency magazine, "Earth Garden." This led to an ongoing association: I still have a byline column in the magazine, and have had one or more contributions in pretty well every issue since.
The result was my first book, written in partnership with the magazine's publisher: "The Earth Garden Building Book: Design and build your own house," which is still in print.
Creative writing started in 1986. I was a student nurse, and lived in a nurses' home. During my time off, I had a choice of making a fool of myself chasing gorgeous 18 year olds, or doing something constructive with my time. So, I started writing short stories instead. Won my first writing prizes that year.

2- What is your favorite genre to write? 
Robert Heinlein wrote, "An ant is a specialist. A man is a generalist." Well, nowadays he'd have to substitute "human" for "man."
I write about anything that grabs my attention. My second book after the building one was "Woodworking for Idiots Like Me." I have two psychology self-help books, and one on dealing with cancer. One more nonfiction book is a biography that has won 4 awards: "Aniko: The stranger who loved me."
In fiction, I have a series of historical adventures set in 700 BC (when I was quite young), with 4 books for sale, and one to give away. One of them won a Dream Realm Award. A science fiction novel, "Sleeper, Awake" won an EPPIE Award. My other fiction books are anthologies, 3 of them.
Then there is my just-published novel, "Ascending Spiral: Humanity's last chance," which is science fiction... sort of; historical fiction... much of it; self-help psychological therapy, but fun to read... metaphysical fiction... Oh I don't hold with genre.

3-What are you working on now?
Publicizing Ascending Spiral!
Actually, I have a very full week anyway. I work as a counseling psychologist and that's pretty demanding. I do editing, and the jobs keep trickling in just slowly enough that I can cope, I am an environmental activist and a professional grandfather. So, writing needs to fit in where it can.
My current work is titled "Hit and Run." I have this lovely old lady, Sylvia, who was nearly killed on a school crossing, and witnessed the death of a bunch of little kids. When I started the story, I thought it would be one of just retribution, but that's not Sylvia's style. Instead, it turned into the redemption of people doing evil acts, and the way love conquers hate and despair.
This is not my fault, I didn't do it. I only write down what my characters tell me to.

4-When you begin a story do you start with character or plot? 
As a beginner, I wrecked a couple of excellent ideas by just writing intuitively. My first good novel was meticulously plotted. A recent issue of my newsletter explains how to do this:
But, as I say there, I am now experienced enough to create some people, put them in a setting, give them a situation -- and then get off the stage and let them develop the story.

5-Tell us about your latest/upcoming release. What inspired it? 
Well, it's out. You can  buy Ascending Spiral at B&N
and Amazon
Or go to your favorite bookshop and/or library and order it.
What inspired it...
One day, I woke with a sentence in my mind:
"The first time I saw my love, she had long straight dark hair held in place by a red band, and pansy-blue eyes, and a long elfin face that was quick to flash into a shy smile."
I knew that the follow-up would be:
"The second time I saw my love, she had golden hair, and a square face, and a terrible temper."
"The third time I saw my love, I didn't recognize her."
I knew what the story would really be about: inviting people to help change a crazy culture based on greed and conflict into a sane one based on compassion and cooperation. That's what I just HAVE to write about, because I am a professional grandfather. I love lots of little kids, and not so little ones, and I want a future for them. Since I am a scientist by training, I can see that many of them don't even have a chance for a present.
Everything I do and say, including this book, is intended to be a catalyst for culture change.
There once was a man called Hypocrates. His dictum was, "Above all, do no harm." I want a culture where everyone acts in accordance with this.
But of course it's no good preaching at people. Instead, I have an exciting, gripping story, that goes where it needed to go without guidance from me.
I hope you join me and enjoy the ride.


Ascending Spiral: Humanity's last hope.


Pip was born into a Jewish family in a Nazi country because he needed suffering to grow into a healer, shaped to fulfill his purpose: to help change our culture from greed and conflict to cooperation and mutual care -- our only hope for survival. But he is the latest reincarnation of far a older being: the last turn of a spiral that started 12,000 years ago when an unthinking act resulted in a horrendous crime.
This book is his account of a few of his past lives, which have shaped him to become a tool for saving humanity.


Pip 2011 AD

In 2008, a young woman came to me as a victim of crime. I’d been warned that she was suicidal. She started to cry when I asked her to tell me her story. For five minutes, every time she tried to speak, tears ran down her face, sobs shook her body and she needed to wipe her nose. Hunched forward, hugging herself, all she could do was to feel her despair.
“Come on, Alison,” I said, “we’re going for a walk.” I led her outside. Speaking gently, calmly, and just loud enough to be heard over the noise of the traffic, I said, “Alison, look at the sky. See the color. Don’t put a name on it, just see it. The clouds. They’re just shapes.”
A truck went by. “Hear that sound. It’s just a sound. And now the smell. Don’t judge it, don’t name it, just experience it. And look at this wall, that pattern on it.” We walked a few steps. “Feel the pressure of the ground on your feet. Just feel it. And how your legs work. And your breath: chest rising and falling. That tree. Look, every leaf is different.”
Slowly we walked around the block. Waving blades of grass... the pressure of her T-shirt on her back... the look of a rose... the crunch of gravel under our feet... the pattern a butterfly wove in the air... I focused her on Now. This moment. This instant. This.
In ten minutes, we were back in our chairs. She could now tell me of her tragedy. She’d been pregnant. While tidying, she found the tools for shooting up heroin. When her guy came home, she confronted him: drugs or me. He bashed her up, so severely that she lost the baby.
We needed two more sessions. Then she left my area, back to her family.
Last week, I met her again. Health and contentment shone out of her. She carried a two-year-old girlie. “Hi Pip, remember me?”
“Alison. Of course I do.”
“Claire, sweetheart, say hello to Dr Lipkin.”
Kids are my joy. I made friends with little Claire.
“I’m so glad to see you! I now have a lovely husband, and this little darling, and life is terrific!” To my delight, she blamed me for her great improvement.
Then there are the emails, from all around the planet. Mostly they’re from kids. So, I have hundreds of grandchildren, most of whom I’ll never meet. Here is one I’ll call Maria Rodriguez:
Dear Dr. Pip,
I don’t really know how to do this because I never ask for help but I typed “I hate myself” in google and you came up first so I clicked it. I saw what you’ve done for other people and I was hoping that maybe you could help me.
I just turned 16. Ever since I was 14 I’ve thought about suicide. My mom found out a few months ago and she yelled at me, said I was disappointing her, and to be honest I don’t think she understands how serious I am about it.
I hate myself because I’m ugly, stupid, fat, can’t be loved, and I’m a liar. Kids made fun of me, so I made up stories about myself so that someone would talk to me and have even the slightest interest in me. However, I’ve been thinking that if something happened to these people, they’d die not knowing that I lied. So, I told my two best friends. One was completely understanding and is helping me. The other hates me and won’t talk to me which is a constant reminder of what a terrible person I am. I can’t tell some people because I have no idea how to find them and I feel terrible because I can never take back what I did. And there’s one person I want to tell but I’m afraid of her hating me too. My friend said to tell her when we get older but I can’t guarantee how long I’ll live. Then she said just to tell her. I can’t because she has been my role model since I was 5 and now she talks to me and I don’t want to lose that.
I hate what I’ve become, and I want to change. I’ve tried really hard but I couldn’t do it. No matter what I did something always kept me back whether it was the kids at school calling me fat, whore, lesbian, and retarded or my parents just making me feel inadequate to my other siblings, something always messed me up. I feel like suicide is my only way out. I don’t have money to pay you but I was hoping that you could help me despite that. Please help...I don’t want to live another day where I wish I was dead.
With love, Maria
We have now exchanged eight emails. The second-last was:
Dear Pip,
I’m sorry this has taken me so long but I’ve been meaning to thank you. You really changed the way I look at life. I just have one last question:
How can I forgive myself for all the mistakes I’ve made?
Love, Maria
And my answer:
Maria my darling, thank you for cheering me up. I’ve been very tired after work all day, and dropped my bundle a bit. Then you picked me up.
There is no such thing as a mistake, a fault, or a defect. This is my view of everyone:
You are perfect.
Some of the things you do are excellent.
Most of the things you do are OK.
The rest are the growing opportunities.
If you find that a past act was a mistake, that’s proof that you’ve gained in wisdom. If you could do it again, you’d do it better. So, congratulate yourself.
If a past mistake has caused harm to yourself or someone else, then apologize within your heart. If it’s possible and appropriate, apologize to the other people affected. If possible and appropriate, make restitution. But there is no need for guilt or shame. Celebrate the fact that now you know better. Work out how to do the same kind of thing if the situation arises.
Maria, only two things matter in this life: what you take with you when you die, and what you leave behind in the hearts of others. Everything else is Monopoly money.
What can you take with you: Lessons learnt, gained wisdom ¾ or the opposite: hate, bitterness, blame and the like. So, you either advance in spiritual development, or go  backward, or of course a bit of each.
Look after the heart, the Love, and you can let go of everything else.
Thank you for sharing the planet with me.
And finally, for now:
That helped so much. Thank you so much.
Love, Maria
I have this ability to heal hurt, to lead people from despair and helplessness to strength and Love. This gives me joy, so, whatever may go wrong in my life, I am content. I am content despite seeing all the terrible things on our world. I see the craziness, the suffering, the way people hurt themselves, each other, and the wonderful natural environment we’re a part of. But it’s all right. I hate it but accept it, both at the same time.
What craziness am I talking about? When people ask me to introduce myself, I often say I’m a visitor from a faraway galaxy. At home, I’m an Historian of Horror, so Earth is my favorite place in all the Universe. Where else do you find an organized game (called war) in which intelligent beings kill each other? Where else are child-raising practices designed to damage children? And best of all, where else do you see the entire economy of a species designed to destroy the life support system of their planet? For an Historian of Horror, that’s delicious.
Well, one day I learned that this joke is based on truth. Indeed, I am a visitor to your planet. Don’t believe me? I’m just an old guy with a gray beard, right? A professional grandfather children love, a fellow whose sense of humor keeps getting away from him... not so. I really am a visitor from off planet, and I’m here to do a job.
I was not always content with life. For much of my existence (which, as you’ll read, has lasted over 12,000 years), I was hurting. But, you see, a person is like a diamond. Put some coal into a place of great pressure and heat, and it becomes the hardest jewel known. A person is like steel. Put iron in red-hot coke and blast it with oxygen for nine hours, then drop it, red hot, into cold liquid, then heat it again, and you have hardened and tempered steel. I needed all that suffering to turn me into a tool designed for my job. That job is to help you save your life, and the lives of those you love. Like everyone on this planet, you’re in great danger, and my reason for being here, being a human for now, is to be part of the effort to save us.
When it was time, I was shown what I had to know for my task. This book is the account of what I learnt. Let me tell you my story, and you can judge for yourself. I’ll start with the earliest recall of living on your planet I’ve been given, on an island off Ireland.

Dr. Bob Rich is an award-winning Australian storyteller who has just had his 15th book published. He is also a counseling psychologist, a mudsmith, a professional grandfather and lots of other things that are none of your business.
Check out his websites: is his writing showcase where you’ll find free reading; offers advice and inspiration on every way people make themselves and each other miserable; and is his conservation site.
Bob writes with passion on many subjects, covering several genres. He helps you to build a house, protect yourself from cancer, gain control over your emotions and heal your inner pain. He also entertains you with stories that take you into other people’s worlds. Some of those people are human.

Barnes&Noble purchasing


  1. Lily, thank you for hosting me here. I am happy to chat with your visitors. Only beware, I am cursed with a sense of humor.

  2. And I am a lousy business man. So, I have decided that anyone who makes a comment has earned a free electronic copy of one of my books. They are listed at
    You can let me know your selection by finding the email icon on one of my pages (and clicking on it).

  3. Ascending Spiral is a good read with important messages. Good luck on your book tour.

  4. I got the following from an old internet friend, Mike Kechula, who is awesome at writing "flash fiction:" stories in a few hundred words.

    Hi Dr Bob,

    I read the super interview and tried to add my comments. But I'm such a dummy when it comes to such things, that I couldn't get it to post. Perhaps you can tell me how to do that. I made a copy of what I wrote so I can add it when I find out how to make that work. Here's what I wrote, but can't manage to get appended to the comments section of the interview:


    This super interview demonstrates that Dr. Bob is a man for all seasons. His interests are boundless. His devotion to the healing of the emotionally and mentally ill is strongly portrayed in the preface he's given us above. Certainly it gives us comfort to know that there are still some people in this world that have a high level of compassion for humanity. What's noteworthy is that Dr. Bob not merely thinks about how life can be improved for us, but acts on his world view for the benefit of family, friends, and patients.

    I've never met the good Doctor, but a few years ago, I had the pleasure of formally reviewing one of this books containing science fiction tales. I found him to be a spell-binding story teller in that genre. So, I can imagine that this new book, which involves the real world, might be ten times as intriguing as his sci-fi musings.

    I'm in awe of anyone who can develop a novel. I'm lucky if I can get beyond telling a story in 1,000 words or less.

    I was quite taken by the words that came to Dr. Bob when he woke up. The first sentence, followed by a second, followed by a third. Those three dynamic sentences could lead to a separate story all by itself, quite apart from his latestest novel.

    Good luck with your book, Dr. Bob. I hope you make a million.

    Best regards,

    Michael A. Kechula
    Arizona, USA


    If you can get these words to post to the interview comments sections, that'd be fine with me.

    Regards, Mike Kechula

  5. Dr Bob is an old friend I have not met yet!
    Every time I sit down and read something Dr Bob has written I find myself musing, "Wish I had written that." He is an engaging and amusing story teller with a solid grasp on the english language. If someone could find his shopping lists for me I am fairly confident they too would be good reading!
    I possess a copy of his first book, it had been standing around on the shelf of a second hand book shop in the NSW town of Glen Innes for a long time. I was standing around in the same bookstore waiting for something to jump out at me. The Earth Garden Building Book seemed to stand out of the crowd. I admit upon finding the book feeling a sense of glee. At that point in time I had known Bob Rich for a few years over the Internet and I had known he had written such a book. It felt like a tangible connection to Bob to be standing in that bookshop holding his book, yes, I know it was co-written, but to me it was Bob's book. It is with that same sense of child-like glee that I await the arrival of Ascending Spiral, I know Bob has a preference for elcetronic books, but to me there is a real connection to have a paper product book and so I await anxiously for my copies to arrive. I do buy and recommend to others to buy e-books, it is better for our environment, but for Bob's book nothing but the very tangible nature of a paper product will do. So from his first book about earth building to his latest Ascending Spiral there is indeed a connection to the man who authored both, firmly and squarely planted on planet earth and yet in and of himself an Ascending Spiral of spiritual life. Like a giant old gum tree his roots are deep into the earth and his branches reach far into the sky and beyond.
    Cheryl O'Brien

  6. Cheryl, you shouldn't fog up my glasses! (not that I wear any).
    For those who don't know, Cheryl is a talented and passionate writer, and the kind of person people come to when they are troubled. She is a perfect example of the kind of person we should all aspire to be: compassionate, selfless, giving.

    1. Dr. Bob - I wish I could write like you. Your storytelling is really out of this world (sorry, just couldn't resist that). Looking forward to reading more of your works.

    2. Thank you, "Curre."
      There are a few tricks to developing any skill, including storytelling.
      One is to give free rein to your creativity. We are all creative, but the crazy culture knocks it out of many people in elementary school.
      Second, it's a muscle. It gets stronger with exercise.
      Third, find people who find fault with it. As a beginning writer, I learned from 3 paid edits of 3 different books, and learned from each. As an editor, I consider myself to be a teacher.

  7. I reviewed Dr. Bob Rich's book, Cancer - A Personal Challenge which gives hope to survivors in many ways, emotional, spiritual as well as medical. He was in the forefront of total patient care, combining the mental aspects of treating the whole patient. Now large cancer centers provide the kind of support to patients he does. This kind of inclusive approach, combining the emotional, spiritual, science and medicine is also a hallmark of the best writing. Using positive and insightful words helps readers in subtle, yet profound ways. Thank you, Dr. Bob for telling stories that help and heal.

    1. Thank you Georgiann. I have also been impressed with your work on cancer.

  8. You're welcome Dr. Bob. I hope you have a lot of success with your books.