Ben Burgess Jr.’s: Monster ~ eBook Giveaway Blitz + Review!

He wanted more from life – but he didn’t know how to get it

Ben Burgess Jr. has FIVE eCopies & FIVE Print Copies up for grabs
by Ben Burgess Jr.
Tome Tender Rating: 5 stars – Must Read
Publisher: Wasteland Press
Publication Date: December 16, 2013
ISBN-10: 0988374501
ISBN-13: 978-0988374508
Genre: Urban Fiction | Erotic
Paperback: 282 pages
Available from: Amazon |
Barnes & Noble
Tormented while growing
up for being dark-skinned, and the son of a womanizer who deserts his
family regularly, Ken Ferguson longed for that feeling of being loved.
Ken promised himself that he wouldn’t be a manipulating, deceitful man
like his father, but after being cheated on and dumped by the girl he
thought he would one day marry, he begins his transformation. Fueled by
anger, and tired of being the “nice guy”, Ken drowns himself in
one-night stands, threesomes, affairs with married women, and sleeping
with one conquest after another. He adopts the philosophy of having no
commitment and no attachments, but meets his match with Ashley, a girl
that makes him want to stop his promiscuous ways. But Ashley turns out
to do even more damage to his ego and his heart, wounding him deeply.
With his philosophy reinforced, Ken spirals out of control and becomes a
MONSTER. Sleeping with and mistreating random women he meets at bars
and clubs, Ken uses sex to forget about his insecurities, his anger, and
his sadness. Will Ken learn to let go of his heartbreaks, or will he be
consumed by them and continue to be a MONSTER?
Tome Tender’s Review of…
 Monster by Ben Burgess Jr.
MonsterCan you name the types of people who are monsters in your mind? Some are born into conditions that breed anti-social behavior, some vow never to repeat the sins of their fathers, but heartbreak becomes their excuse to become a womanizing, sex-driven abuser of the worst kind. That is the kind of monster Ken has become as he spirals into the darkness of wanting more out of life and not knowing how to get it. Sure, he lives in a tough neighborhood where any softness makes one a target. He has his own group, complete with the false machismo young men strut in a world where how much sex you have is the mark of “being a man.” How far will Ken go in degrading himself and the women he uses? He has vowed to be the one to walk away from a one-night stand and never give his heart away, again. He has become the Master of his Universe, but little does he see his Universe is becoming smaller and smaller until he is the only one left within its borders. His minions and his stable of sex-partners have moved on, grown up and learned what the meaning of being a man is. Will it magnify his insecurities or open his eyes to the shame of weakness?Ben Burgess Jr. has created a character that stumbles, falls and fails to get up, for fear of failure. It is easier for Ken to build himself into a legend in his own mind. Follow Ken through his lurid escapades, as Mr. Burgess draws a raw and stark portrait of using sex to soothe a damaged ego. The acts are graphic, they are clearly not made from love and it shows. No flowery descriptions to sigh with, each act shows how crass and hollow Ken has become and one cannot help but wish there was a way to reach this young man with so much potential.Although written in an urban setting, focusing on a dark-skinned young man, this is more than a social statement of demographics, this is a look at the pain of a teen in crisis who finds no place to turn and attempts to create his own brand of cure. Will he discover he has more to give the world? He deserves better for himself, but first he needs to believe in himself and love, again.

Not for those who are squeamish about seeing the realities of others in stark relief, but if you are looking for a read that digs deep into the grit of life, Monster is both thought-provoking and heart-wrenching. Ben Burgess Jr. is a gifted author and he takes advantage of this with bold and confident strokes.


I want to be more than an author. I want to help change the world for the better…

 I’m all for giving to charity and setting up community-based events to unite people of all races and genders. My philosophy is:

Ben Burgess Jr
is the author of the award-winning novels “Monster”, “Wounded”, the
poetry book “Times Have Changed and Life is Strange” and the new novel
“Love and Happiness” He is an active performer of spoken word poetry.
Ben Burgess Jr uses his love of writing to inspire and influence youth
to strive for what they believe in, and to never give up on their
dreams. His poetry book “Times Have Changed and Life is Strange” and his
novel “Monster” are currently used in schools on the lower east side of
Manhattan. Ben Burgess Jr. has a BA in Business Management and an MA
in Educational Leadership. He is the proud father of his
daughter Jaelynn and is active in trying to improve urban neighborhoods
and communities.
To learn more about Ben Burgess Jr.’s Community Events go to his website
Other Books by Ben Burgess Jr.

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Gaining Gluten Free Baking Confidence

In the last several weeks, I’ve just bullied through my fear and baked muffins for breakfast.  Whether they were good (read: edible), or not, was irrelevant.

In my gluten-free journey, I have been too concerned about having the ‘perfect’ baked goods that exactly compare to gluten-based baked goods.  That is a complete fantasy of mine.  From what I’ve tasted, thus far, from GF bakeries and other home bakers of GF products, you can get close but the exact taste and texture of gluten-based baked goods is not something gluten free products can mimic perfectly.  So, I’ve stopped trying and am getting better results! (Weird, right?!)

Getting back to the matter at hand, I made GF muffins 4 days in a row using slightly different recipes each day adjusting to make it better and more palatable for the majority in my family.

The consensus on the best BASIC Gluten Free Muffins is this one:

Blackberry and Strawberry GF Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

1 3/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Baking Flour

1/4 cup Coconut Flour

1 tsp Xanthan Gum

2 tsp Baking Powder

1/2 tsp Baking Soda

1/2 tsp Salt

3/4 cup Vegetable Oil  OR 1/2 cup Earth Balance Margarine (softened)

1 1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp almond extract

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1/2 cup Half-n-Half (or, your favorite milk alternative)

1 cup of your favorite seasonal fruit, berries, &/or nuts

Preheat oven 425 degrees.  Prepare muffin pan and line with cupcake liners.  Or, spray the muffin pans with gluten free cooking spray.  (Or, use a bit of Earth Balance on a paper towel to grease your muffin pans.)

Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a bowl and stir until well blended.

In the bowl of your mixer, add the margarine (or oil).  If using margarine, add sugar and mix until light and fluffy.  Then add, eggs one at a time.  After each egg, mix well until fully incorporated into the sugar margarine batter.

Add half the flour (dry ingredients) mixture to the mixing bowl.  Mix until just combined.  Add 1/2 the milk to the mixing bowl.  Mix until just combined.  Add the rest of the flour mixture.  Mix.  Then the rest of the milk.  Add the two extracts last mixing until just combined.

Now, add your favorite berries and/or fruit to the mixture. (I used blackberries and strawberries!)  If the fruit are large, cut into smaller pieces.  If you are adding nuts, add them now, as well.

Fill your prepared muffin cups to the top.  This mixture rises well.

You can sprinkle the top of your muffins with brown sugar, if you’d like.

Place muffin pans in the oven and reduce heat to 375 degrees.  Bake for 20 – 25 minutes (watch carefully!).  [Please note: Gluten Free baked products do not brown as well as gluten-based muffins.]

You can use a piece of gluten free uncooked spaghetti to check for doneness.  If the GF spaghetti comes out clean, the muffins are ready.

Let cool for 5 – 10 minutes then enjoy!


My Gluten-Free Journey: Finally an answer…

For those who have been following my journey navigating a gluten-free diet, I finally have an answer for you, and for me.  I do not have Celiac Disease, even though I have half of the Celiac gene (found out through a simple blood test).  What is my diagnosis?

GF_Road Sign

Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity

What a mouthful.

I actually found out more about this condition from the Beyond Celiac website rather than the Celiac Disease Foundation website.

I will not bore you with all of the details but here is the crux of it.  Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity is an issue with digesting the carbohydrates (the sugars) that are found in certain foods.  And yep, you guessed it.  Some of these sugars are found in wheat, barley and rye — gluten containing foods.

When you have non-celiac gluten sensitivity, you are to look not at your intake of gluten — since that is not your real issue — you are to look at your intake of FODMAPs.  (Yeeaaah.)

What the heck is a FODMAP?  Fermentable Oligo-Di-Monosaccharides and Polyols

What that heck is that?!  I’ll make it easy on you, I’ll give you what the really smart people at Stanford Hospital and Clinics Digestive Health Center and Nutrition Services say they are:

“The FODMAPs in the diet are:

  • Fructose (fruits, honey, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), etc.)
  • Lactose (dairy)
  • Fructans (wheat, garlic, onion, inulin, etc.)
  • Galactans (legumes such as beans, lentils, soybeans, etc.)
  • Polyols (sweeteners containing isomalt, mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol, stone fruits such as avocado, apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches, plums, etc.)

FODMAPs are osmotic (means they pull water into the intestinal tract), may not be digested or absorbed well and could be fermented upon by bacteria in the intestinal tract when eaten in excess.

Symptoms of diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating &/or cramping may occur in those who could be sensitive to the effects of FODMAPs.  A low FODMAP diet may help reduce symptoms, which will limit foods high in fructose, lactose, fructans, galactans, and polyols.”

(You can read the full report and see the chart of low and high FODMAP foods by clicking here.)

Technically, someone who has non-celiac gluten sensitivity can eat gluten as long as whatever else they eat with the gluten is a low FODMAP food — they should experience no symptoms.  However, as with everything, one must test oneself to see what your own personal food triggers are.

Some low FODMAP foods are:

Proteins: beef, chicken, deli slices, eggs, fish, lamb, pork, shellfish, turkey

Dairy: lactose free diary (any), low lactose dairy: cream cheese, half-and-half, hard cheeses (cheddar, colby, parmesan, swiss, etc.), soft cheeses (brie, feta, mozzarella, etc.), sherbet, yogurt (greek), whipped cream [Not in the can, or the tub! Whip it yourself from real whipping cream!]

Fruits and Vegetables: bananas, blueberries, carrots, kale, kiwi, honeydew, quinoa, pineapple, strawberries, tangerine, rhubarb, passionfruit, cabbage, spinach, turnips, pumpkin, parsnips, etc.

Some high FODMAP foods are:

high lactose dairy: buttermilk, chocolate, creamy/cheesy sauces, custard, ice cream, milk (cow’s, goat’s, sheep’s condensed, evaporated), soft cheeses (cottage, ricotta, etc.), sour cream

Fruits and Vegetables: apples, apricots, dried fruits, pears, plums, watermelon, papaya, canned fruit, artichokes, cauliflower, mushrooms, sugar snap peas, boysenberries, etc.

So, in a very real way, having non-celiac gluten sensitivity is worse than haing Celiac Disease because with CD all you have to do is stay away from gluten.  With Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS), you have to stay away from a broad range of foods that are inherently all gluten free!!  (Arrgh.)

Lastly, how do you know if you have NCGS?  You HAVE to go through the process of being tested for Celiac Disease — DO NOT STOP EATING GLUTEN until you get tested!  Shall I repeat that? 🙂

Removing gluten from your diet hampers a diagnosis because the doctors need to see what your gut (your intestines) look like while on major gluten — and not for a short period of time.  So, find yourself a good GI doctor and get tested before changing your diet around.

So, back to the beginning.  What are the symptoms of Celiac?  Check it out here.

To see all of my posts about my gluten-free journey, click here.

Have questions?  Wanna talk about it?  Post your comments, your journey, &/or your questions in the comment section below.