Meet John Kaniecki, author of More Than The Madness


This book gives readers a glimpse into the life of someone living with bipolar disorder. It’s not a clinical book filled with facts and figures, but a book of humanity. Spanning childhood to early adult, through stories of abuse, being bullied, experimentation with drugs and alcohol, inpatient stays on psych wards, a night in jail, his college days in the fraternity, hitchhiking across America, and his time in a third world country, John gives the reader a personal and up-close look into his life as a manic depressive. The stories are sad, shocking, and at times funny as he shares his antics while at his most manic and delusional. Throughout his journey, John also struggles with his faith in God. More than the Madness is a testament of one man’s journey to grow closer to God while gaining a better understanding of himself. John wrote his story to help educate others on mental illness and remove some of the stigma associated with it. It is his hope that readers will get to know the person behind the diagnosis; take away the labels and meet someone's son, friend, and husband. See that there is More Than the Madness.

Where you can find More Than The Madness:

Interview with John:

1.  What made you decide to write your story?
This book was started about ten years ago. Every since I was a teenager I wanted to write but never aggressively pursued it. One day I felt inclined to write so I attempted to write a couple of science fiction stories. I got frustrated. Then I decided, why not write stories from my life?  I had a very interesting life. Besides it would be easier to write when you had the entire story already in your head instead of making things up. So I began to write what became “More Than The Madness”. At that time the manuscript consisted of short stories. Each chapter stood as individual works.  I shared these with my friends. When I started accumulating a lot of material I realized that one day it could be made into a book.
2.  What is the most important point you'd like readers to take away from your story?
This book is my memoirs. It deals with my successful struggle with bipolar disorder. The most important point I’d like to make is that I am, despite my mental illness, a human being just like everybody else. That there is “More Than The Madness”. My ailment is just one aspect of a complex creature. As such I would like to dispel the stigmata that are associated with mental illness.
3.  Have you written anything before?  If so, please tell me about it.
I have written a host of poetry. I have had my poems published on over seventy outlets. I have four books of poetry. “Murmurings Of A Mad Man” was my first book. This is a book of poetry dealing with a very low time of my life. I was committed to a state psychiatric hospital called Greystone. The book is written with strict meter and rhyme. My second book of poetry is called “Poet To The Poor, Poems Of Hope For The Bottom One Percent”. This book has some of my best writings in it including my award winning “Tea With Joe Hill”. As the title suggests this book is written for the oppressed peoples. Some of the subjects are historical figures and people from my life. “Sunset Sonnets” is a book of sonnets dealing with the subject of death and dying in a very positive and spiritual way. My last poetry book, which I self published, is entitled “A Day’s Weather”. I wrote this book at age twenty two and it serves as a marker to my thoughts at the time. The manuscript deals with a day’s weather, with a poem corresponding to a weather condition.
As far as prose I have a book of science fiction stories called “Words Of The Future”. These are unique quirky stories of which I take pride in their originality. Also I have two horror books out published by Jaded Books Publishing. The first is called “Scarecrow, Scarecrow” and the second is called “Satan’s Siren”. These follow the adventures of an Anne McFry. There are more books planned for the series. Also under contract is a book called “In The Mind Of Maggoo.” This book deals with a man in a nursing home who can only move the pupils of his mind. His mind is inflicted with marvelous dreams and thoughts of his past.
4.  What do you hope to accomplish as a writer?
I enjoy writing tremendously so that is a primary motivation. I hope to make a living from it as my wife is ill and I cannot work a traditional job as I need to take care of her. In my poetry I often try to contribute to some greater, nobler cause. To change the world for the better if you will. In my fiction writing I hope to entertain people. In both cases I hope to make people think.
5.  If you could give your readers one piece of advice, what would it be?
I would advise writers to never give up. When I started out I got rejected an enormous amount of times both in poetry and prose. A good part of successful writing is finding a friendly market for your work. That is if you write political poems don’t bother to send them to a romance magazine. Also I tried to get my science fiction stories published by the big names in the industry. While this was certainly worth the try I discovered there are a host of other, lesser prominent markets. I believe exposure is key to success. Remember that many famous writers got severe rejections before they had any form of success.
6.  What was your greatest challenge to overcome as a writer?
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Guest Post by Manda Pepper! A Mishmash of Holiday Traditions!

giftmas_100x100 A Mishmash of Holiday Traditions by M Pepper Langlinais

So here’s the thing. I started out Catholic, went to CCD until my mother got “born again” and started taking me to a much louder church. Dad was a holiday Catholic anyway, but Mom was all in on the (as she called it) non-denominational charismatic Christianity, so suddenly Christmas didn’t mean Advent and Midnight Mass. In fact, it ended up meaning a lot more time at church because Mom went Sunday mornings, Sunday nights, and Wednesday nights, and she dragged me with her.

The religious aspect notwithstanding, I grew up with some great traditions. The tree went up the weekend after Thanksgiving. Sometimes we pulled the old plastic tree out, and sometimes we got ambitious and went to get a live one. Having a live tree meant spending a large part of the season trying to keep our pets—we always had at least one dog and cat, often more—from drinking the water and that stuff you put in it to keep the tree from drying out.

Once the tree was standing, we’d put on the Christmas records (Bing Crosby, Andy Williams) and decorate. I’m an only child and very close with my parents, and holiday decorating was always a jolly time. We lived in the American South, so we didn’t have the traditional snow and cold, but Mom had grown up in Alaska and knew how to go all out with lights. Where she was from, winter meant 24 hours of darkness, so the lights were key.

We also had a very special nativity. It was from Italy, and I took great pride in getting to set it out each year. Besides the tree water, another big part of the holiday season was to keep the animals from knocking over the shepherd or chewing baby Jesus. (I’m sad to say one dog did get to the angel and, erm, clipped its wings. Our donkey also lost its ears.)

Having grandparents in Alaska had benefits. My grandfather convinced me he was a friend of Santa’s, that they were drinking buddies. So I always sent my wish list to my grandparents and would receive direct reports on what Santa had to say about it.

My birthday is the week before Christmas, too, which is a mixed blessing. There’s the fact that one can’t celebrate one’s birthday without being surrounded by Christmas carols and holiday decorations. It’s hard to feel special when everyone is celebrating. And there were always those friends who would hand you something and say, “This is for Christmas AND your birthday.” Um, excuse me? I bought you two separate presents, you can do the same, thankyouverymuch. And don’t you dare wrap my birthday present in Christmas paper either.

Also, my birthday fell at finals. And everyone was always traveling, or otherwise busy, so I never had parties.

But the up side is that my birthday does tend to be very festive. Like, there is usually a good mood around that time of year. And things are colorful, cheerful. So while I didn’t have birthday parties (still don’t), there was often a party atmosphere.

Also, my birthday is always around the time the big movies open for the holidays. All those Lord of the RingsI movies, and now the Star Wars ones . . . I can feel pretty special about that.

A few years ago I married a nice Jewish boy and had to learn how to incorporate Hanukkah into my seasonal festivities. We’ve blended things pretty nicely, I think. We decorate the weekend after Thanksgiving, just as when I was a kid. And we put up a tree but also have Hanukkah decorations. Blue and silver have been favorite colors of mine since I was young (were in fact my wedding colors), so I’m delighted to use them in my holiday color scheme. We light the menorah. We debate whether to do one big Hanukkah gift or several small ones, same as we argue whether to open one gift on Christmas Eve or wait until Christmas morning.

We have a tradition of going to Hallmark to each (we have three kids now) pick out an ornament every year. Lots of Disney princesses from our daughter, superheroes and space vehicles from our sons. Makes for a pretty eclectic tree.

No Midnight Mass. No church at all, actually, but I do bake a charm into a cake on Twelfth Night. Would decorate in holly and ivy if I could. As I get older, I lean toward embracing Yule. I’m not sure why; there’s just something about it that speaks more to me than other religious slants to the season. It’s so basic, this acknowledgement of the darkest day and the slow return of light. Something about that simplicity, when the rest of the season is so frilly and hectic, soothes me.

So at the end of the day, we’re celebrating a little bit of everything. Christmas, Hanukkah, Yule, and my birthday (my husband’s, too, is December 2nd) all come crashing into December, filling it with light and noise and seemingly ceaseless activity. It’s sort of a beautiful train wreck, if there is such a thing. So that by the time it’s finished and we’re looking New Year’s in the eye, we’re breathless. Ready for it to be over. And for all things new to begin.

About the Author:

Best known for her Sherlock Holmes stories, M Pepper Langlinais is also a produced playwright and screenwriter. She holds a degree in Radio-Television-Film from the University of Texas at Austin, where she interned on film sets and participated in the Shakespeare at Winedale program. She also earned a Master of Arts in Writing, Literature and Publishing from Emerson College. M now lives in Livermore, California. Learn more about her and her work at Find her books at And join her on Facebook at

You can also enter to win a couple of M’s books (among others) below!

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Merry Christmas! Enter My Giveaway!

Christmas Giveaway by Diamante

The Christmas season is upon us! To celebrate, I'm giving away a 14 x 14 pillow with my Infinite Beings saying on it! It's my way of thanking you for being a follower and friend! One lucky person will win as arranged by Rafflecopter!

Christmas is the season for sharing and caring. I hope all of you are enjoying your holiday preparations and are not allowing them to frazzle you! In this busy hustle and bustle world it's so important to take time to rest and reflect on the reason for the season.

I am grateful for another year and the new friends I've made. Thank you to everyone who has become a fan and follower...and a friend. I look forward to the years ahead of corresponding with you and sharing the moments and insights of life!

Even my cats are happy about Christmas! They wait for that tree to go they can climb it and knock everything down! The ornaments become new toys and the lights become a challenge to unravel! Yes, tis definitely the season to be jolly! For all creatures, apparently!

I wish for the holidays to find you happy and healthy, safe and sound. May your travels be delightful and your memories be amazing!

Here's the Rafflecopter code!  Good luck!

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