Tuesday, June 30, 2015

JoAnn Wagner, Author of Sir Pigglesworth’s Adventures in New York City

joann wagner, sir pigglesworth, piglet children's book, nyc children's book

Today we are interviewing JoAnn Wagner, co-author of the children's book "Sir Pigglesworth's Adventures in New York City."

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’ve always been a voracious reader, but had never given a thought to being a writer.  So I’m amazed to find myself where I’m at today!  For 30 years I worked in the medical field in various administrative positions.  After seeing the reaction people had to my little stress ball pig that I took with me everywhere I went, who I named Mr. Pigglesworth (the name just popped into my head, I thought it was cute), the idea just came to me one day that it would make an interesting book for children.  I renamed him Sir Pigglesworth and the ideas just took off.  The book grew into a series as more ideas came into my head.  I fast-tracked my retirement so I could spend my time writing and doing readings of my book to schools, churches, day cares, etc. I love my new life!!

Describe the plot of “Sir Pigglesworth’s Adventures in New York City” in a few sentences.

The City that Never Sleeps is in for a rude awakening!  Sir Pigglesworth has hit the streets of New York City with his friend JoAnn, continuing the search for his parents that leads him from London to Dallas, through Vancouver and into the Big Apple.  He hits all the exciting tourist spots, learning about the culture of the city from each place he visits.  He gets into mischief sometimes as he’s not always good about following the rules.  He meets lots of friends along the way.  His search for his parents ends in NYC, leading to a heartwarming family reunion.

Who do you think would most appreciate this book?

Children ages 5-10…and parents, grandparents, aunt and uncles of all ages!!

For readers unfamiliar with the series, can you tell us a bit about Sir Pigglesworth?

Spencer Pigglesworth is a lovable royal piglet who was dubbed “Sir Pigglesworth” by the Queen of England and has been commissioned to be an emissary to children around the world.  He visits cities across the globe and learns about their culture and language, which he shares with our readers.  He is very mischievous and gets into lighthearted trouble but always has fun whatever he does.  He is very polite and well-mannered, and teaches kids about proper etiquette.    

What inspired you to bring Sir Pigglesworth to the Big Apple?

I am a native New Yorker and wanted to highlight my hometown.  With all the attractions in New York City, I believed it was a perfect place for him to learn about American culture and have fun in so many exciting places.

In “Sir Pigglesworth’s Adventures in New York City,” Sir Pigglesworth visits a lot of iconic places in NYC, from FAO Schwarz to Radio City Music Hall. How did you decide the places that Pigglesworth visits?

As a child, I went to all of those places and will always carry those memories in my heart.  I already knew some of the history of NYC.  I wanted my piglet to experience all the fun times I had as a child and in turn share them with the rest of the world.  There’s so much history for him to teach other children about this great city. 

For people who are just now learning about the series, should they start at book 1? Or can they read the books out of sequence?
The books can be read out of sequence, but there is a storyline to books 1, 2 and 3 so it’s probably best to read them in order starting with book 1.  Subsequent books starting with Book 4 will be stand-alone stories with some recurring characters.

Can you tell us a bit about the creative process for this book, from initial idea to finished manuscript?

The first idea to come is where he will visit.  Once that’s established, I spend a while doing research online so I can learn what he can do, where he can go to learn about the history of the city, and what fun things there are for kids to experience there.  Next I do a storyline, outlining the flow of the book, where he will visit first, etc.  The book is then “fleshed out” by my co-author .  After several editings, it is polished, and read by several people to make sure it is grammatically correct and all spelling is correct.  Then off to the printers! 

Does having two authors make the process easier because you can share the work? Or does it make it a bit trickier because you have to get on the same page as the other person?

Actually, it makes the process easier because we bounce ideas off each other.  We are usually on the same page, but if I want to change things up, it’s not an issue…I just do it!  I always keep sight of my original vision for Sir Pigglesworth, and as the creator of the series, I have final say in how I want my books to flow, but am always open to suggestions. 

Can you tell us how you got involved with the book’s illustrator, David Darchicourt?

I had a vision about the style of illustrations I wanted for my books.  I logged into eLance.com and contracted several illustrators who did a great job but still couldn’t draw my vision.  So I continued the search for an illustrator on the site and saw some work that David had done previously.  One book he had illustrated in particular caught my eye.  It was very close to my vision.  I contacted him through the site and we talked on the phone the same day.  I told him which illustration of his caught my attention and just asked that he tweak it a bit to make my piglet come to life.  He did…and the rest is history. 
What did you hope to accomplish with the illustrations?

I hoped that the illustrations would bring my story to life and that they would capture the imagination of all children.  Mission accomplished!  If you looked at the illustrations and couldn’t read, you would still get an idea of what the book was about. 

How many more books are planned for the series?

I don’t have a specific number in mind, but I plan to publish 4 books a year.  Since they follow Sir Pigglesworth around the world, there are infinite places he can go to create mischief, teach kids about the culture of that country, and spread goodwill and cheer.   

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?

My books are very engaging and cause conversations to start with parents about the cities he visits.  I want to develop their curiosity and instill a lifelong love of reading and learning.  I want all children reading my books to be swept away by their imagination, and to realize that their imagination has no limit! To help with further learning, I believe my books have met my goals. 

More Information

Check out the Sir Pigglesworth website
Like Sir Pigglesworth on Facebook

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Eli James Summers, Author of The Winter Experience

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Today we are interviewing Eli James Summers about his gay romance novel "The Winter Experience."

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m not really the most fascinating person, even if I do pretend I am. I’m a normal homebody gay male. I enjoy spending my time writing, watching netflix or having an impromptu dance party at work. I’m currently working three jobs and saving up money so I can go back to school and get a degree in something that peeks my interest. Right now, that looks like it might be accounting. If I could write for a living, that would be something amazing. I love writing, so that could be something that makes absolutely everything awesome. For now, I’ll let my dreams live on while I work with numbers. Although, if I can have my five year old dream of being a police car, that would be pretty sweet; I won’t even lie. I’ve always had a crazy imagination.

Describe the plot of your new book in a few sentences.
Mattie Hawkins moves from a small town to a much larger city where he meets Morgan Winters, whom he falls in love with. They set out on a journey of love, self-acceptance and cute romanticness. Although like life itself, sometimes things don’t turn out exactly the way you intended it to.

Who do you think would most appreciate this book?
Probably other hopeless romantic gay boys. I also feel like fangirls of gay love would also feel the love in this book.

What inspired you to write a story about two teenage boys navigating romance and growing up together?

I’ve written a few stories that have had the main character as adults, seeing as that’s where I am in my life. But I wanted to do something fun and so I decided to have characters that were younger in age, when you didn’t really have to worry about normal household things like bills, having a job or having a family.

One of the protagonists, Mattie Hawkins, moves to Saskatoon and experiences a very different environment from what he was used to before. How does his experience at Saskatoon differ from where he lived before?

Eli James Summers, gay fiction author, gay romance author, lgbt fiction author
Author Eli James Summers.
Well, the biggest difference would definitely be that he met Morgan Winters *laughs*. He went from a very unproductive community, one that judges based on something as simple as sexuality to a community that embraces his differences and loves him exactly for who he is. It sort of happened to me when I went from elementary to high school. 

Describe the protagonists, Mattie and Morgan.
Opposites would be the simple answer. Mattie is the serious, get-to-work and make the money kind of guy. He did have a lot more fun after meeting Morgan but he is the cynical one, the one that would much rather just go day by day getting the best marks he could and getting some super serious job somewhere in the corporate world. Morgan is care-free, he just lives each day like it’s the last. He’s not worried about people or their opinions or really what happens tomorrow, he’s a very for the day kind of guy.

Were you able to draw from your own high school experience in writing this book?

My high school experience was nothing like this book, I don’t know where these ideas came from. In high school, I ended up being the school’s clown, always putting on a show for everything. Most high schools have their “cliques,” where people hang out with other people like themselves. I never had a clique, I just hung out with everyone. I liked something about everyone.

Who was your favorite character to write?

It’s very hard to pick your “favourite” character as an author, they are all your favourite because they are all your babies. Each one of my characters has given me something to think about, given me somewhere to go and think about where they need to be. If I was to choose one of my favourite characters, I would have to say Julian Coufe, the best friend of the main character who wasn’t actually meant to be a main character. He was supposed to just kind of be there, but then I saw the spark between him and Jenny and I knew I had something special, he just grew in my heart and he just seemed so amazing to write.

Tell us a bit about your creative process, from initial idea to finished manuscript.

I’m a hot mess, that’s probably how you could describe my “creative process”. I don’t really have one, an idea springs into my head and I just run with it. *laughs*

How long have you been writing?

I wrote poems and short stories for school when I was thirteen, but when I turned seventeen it really took off for me. I had been watching “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” for a few years and I loved vampires and monsters and the whole idea of there being one girl in all the world to pretty much save it. So, that’s where my first ever novel idea came from. I guess you could say I’ve been a writer for 12 years.

How do you think you’ve evolved as a writer since you first started?

Grammar! *laughs*. I’ve learnt how to make my emotions and the creative thoughts I have in my head come out much better. My dialogue has also had an uplift. When going back and reading those stories I had back in the day to today, you can totally see the huge difference a few creative writing classes can make.

Are there any authors who have influenced your writing style?

David Levithan is one of the biggest. His book, “Boy Meets Boy” was so well written but it didn’t bog you down with all the writing. It was light and fluffy, a really beautiful thing. It inspired me to leave some things to the reader’s imagination.

How do you feel about the increasing popularity of ebooks?

Ebooks have given indie authors something they never had before; a voice. It’s become a market for authors who might not have the means or type of book publishers are looking for to get published in their own ways. I also look at the environmental aspect of ebooks, it’s much better for the environment to have books on an electronic device then in paper format. I am definitely pro-ebook.

What are your goals as a writer for the next ten years?

I would like to have a steady income coming in from writing, not be world famous or anything but I would like to have a good fanbase. I’m not really into fame and fortune, but if this does happen by some weird creative force, I don’t think I would complain. I’d be able to support the LGBT community with donations a lot better!

Is there any aspect of writing you don't like?

Writer’s Block is absolutely the worst thing an author can have happen to them. Here you are, having a great time writing the best book in the world one minute and then the next, BAM! You’re sitting there with a blank word document, wondering if you might be able to actually put words down on the page. It’s a terrible thing. Other than that, I love writing. It’s freedom of expression for me, I couldn’t ask for more.

Have you ever had writer's block? If yes, how'd you deal with it? If you have not had writer's block, why do you think you haven't?

Music, that is the one greatest piece of advice I can give someone. If I’m ever in a pickle and don’t know what to write, I just turn off the computer and listen to music, sometimes it can get the juices flowing and words out of your head. If I’m having trouble writing, I also just go for a walk or do something else. The worst thing you can do when having Writer’s Block is to force words out, the story will be terrible if you do. Don’t ever give yourself a deadline, you’ll never reach it.

Do you write with a computer, typewriter, or pen and paper? Why do you use this tool?

I use a computer, it’s just easier to change ideas and whatnot. Sometimes I write a chapter and re-read it to see what I like about it and I can’t find a thing. It’s much easier to just backspace the whole thing them rip out the paper and start again. Plus, again it is better for the environment then throwing paper out everywhere. *laughs* I’m an environmentalist author, have you ever heard of that before? I think I might be a new breed.

What do you have in mind for your next project?

I’m currently working on the third book of the Seasons Experience Collection, which would be “The Fall Experience” but I do have other ideas floating around, so it could be something completely different.

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?

If you’re looking for cute romance, boys falling in love with other boys and the journey they go through when they do fall in love, this is the book for you. It’s a cute, fluffy story about life, love and loss.

As a special for those reading this interview, you can get a free copy of “The Winter Experience” by going to the designated book page (right here) and putting in the coupon code, MM95J on checkout. This is only available on smashwords, so you must have an account with them.

An excerpt from Book #1 of the Seasons Experience Collection:

I looked down at the photographs pinned throughout the scrapbook. I ran my fingers throughout the pages, remembering everything about the boy in the pictures. I never thought in a million years Morgan Winters and I would have ever started something as exciting as we did. From the tennis practices to the video game sessions in our underwear, I was in love with every part of his life. I loved every minute I spent with him, and I never wanted to leave his side no matter what.
I looked down to see the first picture we ever took together…  it was the first day of high school. Everyone was nervous to meet new people, start at a new school, and get new teachers, but Morgan seemed cool and collected with his camera in hand and a smile on his face. He had no worries. He wasn't interested in the future. He was only interested in what was happening right now, in the present.
It was a cool September day, and summer had left us behind as fall moved in quickly. It had gone from the blistering heat of the summer sun to the cool air of fall. I had a sweater hugged tightly to my body, and my fingers were getting slightly cold as I walked through the courtyard to the main doors. I looked up at the seven story building, not knowing how the hell this was a school and not an apartment block. I turned around to say goodbye to the open air of the world and say hello to the cramped hallways of Levitt High School. Sighing, I turned on my heels and went to open the door, only to touch the hand of someone beside me.
I quickly pulled away and turned to who the hand belonged to, and my heart stopped right there. I could feel my breath hitch, and my lungs wanted to burst. The boy standing beside me was gorgeous, well at least gorgeous in my eyes. His mousy brown hair clung tightly to the sides of his face, and he was wearing some ripped up skinny jeans and a red band tee-shirt. A small hoodie clung to his figure as headphones bounced with his movements. I found myself staring at this boy as a small smile danced across the thin lips of his face.
"S-sorry. I'm n-new here." I cursed at myself for stuttering. That's not how I normally talk, but I found it hard to find words with this boy staring at me. I quickly moved backwards, letting him open the door, but he just stood there and stared at me, that beautiful smile never leaving his face.
"It's all good. So you're in grade 10 are you? I'm in grade 12, so this will be my last year at Levitt." The way he talked seemed so effortless like he wasn't scared of anything. I was jealous. I wanted to be as carefree as that, but here I was, staring at this boy and trying to think of something cool to say.
"Oh. Out with the old and in with the new." I caught myself, and red started to form on my cheeks as his smile started to grow. "I mean, not that you're old. You're only in grade 12, but you know... I'm new to this school, and you're about to leave and that I guess makes you old. Not old as in grandpa old, because why would you be in school if you were as old as a grandpa? Why would you even be alive, y'know? Not saying nobody’s grandpa is alive..." I was rambling, and I really hated when this started happening. God dammit I probably sounded like an idiot.
"You're cute, did you know that? Here, I'm on the yearbook committee, let's get a picture of the new and the old, shall we?"
Without any further words, he wrapped his arm around my shoulders and put the camera in front of our faces.  He quickly snapped a picture before I even had time to fix my hair. I stood there with a dumbfounded look on my face, trying to think of what to say next, "Do I get a copy of that?"
The smirk returned to his lips, "What are you going to do with it? Masturbate to my beautiful face?"
I was now all shades of red, trying my best to not giggle or something really stupid. I looked up at him, and I saw his eyes, they were dancing and glistening with amusement. I wanted so badly to look into his eyes as I kissed his lips and put my hand through his hair. It was at that moment, I think I fell in love with Morgan Winters. I think it was that moment that I wanted nothing more than to be with him every day of my life, until the end of my life.
"Hey, Morgan, who's the new kid?" I heard a boisterous and deep voice call from behind us, and I turned to see another boy jogging to us. I turned back to Morgan, who was not going to be taken away from me by one of his friends. What if I never got to see him ever again? Well, of course, I would see him, because we go to the same school, but would this be the last time I was ever able to talk to him? I didn't think I would ever get this close to him again.
"I never did get your name, kid. I'm Morgan Winters. You are?"
I thought for a second, trying to think of a cool name, but decided on my own, "Mattie."
"Well, I'll see you later, Mattie."
He walked into the school, and I suddenly realized I never answered him. I swung open the door and yelled inside, "I'll only do that if you want me to, Morgan." I saw him turn around, the same devilish smirk on his face."I'll have one by the end of the day for you. Maybe I'll have to print an extra copy for you."
More Information
Visit Eli James Summers' author website
Check out "The Winter Experience" web page
Eli James Summers' wattpad
Follow Eli James Summers on Twitter

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Zelanda Dowell, Author of Let’s Eat! 13 Family Favorites from Zelanda’s Kitchen

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Today we are interviewing Zelanda Dowell about her cookbook "Let’s Eat! 13 Family Favorites from Zelanda’s Kitchen."

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am married to the best guy in the world, we have 4 wonderful children, and I absolutely love to cook and crochet!

Describe your book in a few sentences.
My book contains our family's top favorite recipes. Each recipe is fairly easy to create, versatile, and includes a full-size full-color image of each completed dish!
Who do you think would most appreciate this book?

I think that home cooks from beginner to intermediate skill levels with families will appreciate this book.

What inspired you to write a cookbook that contains your family’s recipes?
Well, I wanted my first cookbook to be based around my family because without them I wouldn't have even gotten this far! The dreams that I held in, that were close to my heart, didn't start coming to the light until I started building a family. :-)

How did you select the recipes to include in the book?
I selected the recipes in the book by popularity. I figured the recipes that my family requests more frequently are the more tasty popular ones. :-)

Where did you learn your style of cooking? Were your parents and grandparents influential in how you cook?

I adapted my cooking style, which is home style, from my grandma. Anything she saw or had before she always tried to recreate it at home. Yes! My grandparents love savory classic flavors so I make those a lot, my dad likes robust flavors with hints of heat which are very fun to use, and my mom is casserole queen which explains why I make a lot of casseroles! Lol. I plan on writing a book just for casseroles very soon.

What is your favorite recipe in your cookbook?
Oh goodness..... I can't just pick one! I'll have to go with brown sugar salmon with lime cilantro rice and double chocolate fudgy brownies! The salmon and rice is so vibrant and full of flavor, they complement each other very well! Because of this crazy sweet tooth I have, I have to have these brownies! They are chocolaty fudgy goodness!

Did becoming a mother and cooking for your family change how you cook? If so, how?
Definitely! Becoming a mother made me cook using fresher healthier ingredients. I also started using my measuring cups, and of course cooking bigger quantities. My grandma taught me how to cook without measuring, (cooking by eye estimates) but it sure is hard to cook larger meals by going on the way it "looks" :-).

How do you think reading your book will impact people?
I hope to display to people that you don't have to be professionally trained or eat out to eat great food that doesn't take forever! There is a short cut/easier way to do everything and as long as it tastes the same or even better, why not?

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Author Zelanda Dowell.

What do you have in mind for your next writing project?
I will be working on many more cookbooks! But as of right now I'm stuck on which to write first between a dessert or a casserole book. :-)

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?
Let's Eat! Is perfect for people with beginner cooking skills that are cooking for their families! Using these recipes will give you meals that taste like they're made from scratch without the time it takes to make from scratch. :-)

P.s. Let's Eat! Is available in eBook and paperback versions!

More Information
My blog, website,all social media accounts, and where to purchase my books are on my business card  www.prestoh.com/zelandaskitchen

Friday, June 26, 2015

Dion McTavish, Author of American Stripper

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Today we are interviewing Dion McTavish about this memoir American Stripper: A True Story of an Exotic Male Dancer.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Dion, and I am a male stripper.

Describe your book, American Stripper, in a few sentences.

Here’s the synopsis of the book:

As a teenager, Dion McTavish was a nerd. Smart, quiet, and scrawny, he surrounded himself with video games and books. He didn't drink or try drugs and he definitely did not party. But something happened when he got to the University of Florida. He began to work out. Soon, his new physique and a chance visit to a lingerie shop led him to a profession he'd never considered: male stripping.

American Stripper tells the story of Dion's personal and professional growth as a stripper and as a young man navigating a new world of debauched parties, drunk sorority girls, swingers, jealous boyfriends, and male revues. Come along as he acquires a highly prized cop uniform, has his first threesome, and falls in love--all while pursuing his original dream, to become an English teacher abroad. Vivid, thoughtful, and hilarious, American Stripper is a candid account of the transformation of an ordinary boy into a hunky, world traveling young man who knows how to balance business with pleasure.

Who do you think would most appreciate this book?
Anyone who enjoyed Magic Mike or Fifty Shades of Grey. Also, fans of the memoir and erotica genre.

What inspired you to write a book about your experiences as a male stripper?

When I first started stripping back in 2003, I wanted to learn more about the male stripping industry. I scoured the Internet for articles and stories about the job, but there was next to nothing on the subject!

In 2007, I started a blog about male stripping, and it took off. As I posted more stories, my readers wanted more. Thus, the book is a response to their demands.

What first got you interested in stripping?

Women and money. When I started at age 21, the veteran stripper who trained me promised that I’d get a healthy dose of both. Plus, I always wanted to be a rock star, but I lacked the musical talent. Therefore, stripping is a great way for me to be a performer and get paid for it.

Did being a male stripper turn out to be all you thought it would be? If not, what was different than you expected?

Yes and no. I had my share of wild encounters that exceeded even my wildest dreams! Handjobs, blowjobs, threesomes – you name it; it happened at the parties.

However, the nature of the job was a little different than I’d anticipated. For one, showing up and acting sexy doesn’t cut it. Women want to be entertained and stimulated. Therefore, being a good male stripper requires a charismatic personality, an entertaining routine, and a certain degree of showmanship.

Do you have a favorite place to strip (bachelorette parties, clubs, etc)?

Bachelorette parties, hands down. The shows last about an hour and consist of around a dozen women on average. I perform these solo, meaning there are no other male dancers to compete against for tips and attention.

There are other outlets for male strippers, such as male revues, gay clubs, etc. But I focus only on bachelorette parties.

In a similar vein, are some clients typically more fun than others?
Definitely! There are girls who will run and hide, and the performance becomes very awkward when that happens. Then there are girls who will outright molest you.

I prefer wild crowds because they are very enthusiastic, but not so crazy to the point where they are disrespectful.

Do you pick the costume or does the client pick the costume? Do you have a favorite costume?
The clients always pick. I’ll give them several options to choose from.

My favorite costume is the cop because I can arrive on the premise of a noise complaint. I’ll threaten to write citations and scold everyone in a stern manner. The look on the bride’s face when I start dancing with her is always priceless.

Have you ever gotten any bizarre requests from clients?
A bride asked me to make out with her best friend, who had been single for several months. A group of ladies wanted me to get completely naked and masturbate until I was hard. The most bizarre requests are the husbands who want me to seduce their wives.

I’ve heard so many different requests over the years that very little surprises me anymore, so my definition of “bizarre” has become quite warped.

How often do you practice your stripping when you’re not working?
When I first started, I practiced dancing all the time. Now, I will occasionally practice a few moves at home. I focus more on activities than dancing at private bachelorette parties.

How do people react when you tell them you are a male stripper?
I keep my stripping gig a secret. Only three or four of my closest friends and family know I do this. Because of my day job, most people think I’m ultra-conservative and boring. Little do they know…  

Back when I first started, however, I used to tell everyone. Most people reacted in amazement or disbelief. Many thought I was joking. A few guys would ask me how they could become strippers. Some men would get envious.

What do you think are some of the biggest misconceptions about male strippers?
One of the biggest misconceptions is the assumption that all male strippers are gay. I don’t know where this stereotype comes from. However, since the release of Magic Mike, this myth has died down a bit.

Have you showed your book/blog to other male strippers? What was their response?
I rarely meet other male strippers in person since I only do private parties. However, many other strippers stumble upon my site when searching for stories and reference material. Most like the book and blog, and some even ask me for advice.

In your book, you write about finding love through your career. Can you elaborate on this without giving too much away?
There was a girl in one of my college classes that I had a crush on. She was a beautiful girl who often voiced her intelligent thoughts to the teacher, and I was enamored with her, but never in a million years would I have approached her. I was the shy, nerdy guy who kept to himself in class.

Then one day while stripping at a birthday party, I saw her in the crowd. Now I had a great reason to approach her. On top of that, I mentioned our class together and shocked recognition flickered across her face.

After the party, we began talking and hit it off well, realizing that we shared many common interests. When I told her that I was going to teach in Japan, she expressed admiration and pulled some extra money out of her purse and gave it to me. That kind gesture really touched me, and I knew that I had to keep talking to her.

How do you think reading your book will impact people?
Male stripping is a little-known profession that differs greatly from its female counterpart, so this book will expose what goes on behind-the-scenes.

What do you have in mind for your next writing project?
I was considering picking up where American Stripper leaves off – about my experience teaching English in Japan. I faced strange moments over there that rivaled my stripping gig, such as living nearby several Russian sex workers, encounters with Yakuza (Japanese mafia), dealing with a suicidal student, and hanging out with Eishiro – an old perverted English student who would often shit himself.

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?
It’s available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play, Smashwords, etc.

More Information

Buy American Stripper on Amazon

Rolando Gayo, Author of For This Reason He Came

for this reason he came, rolando gayo
Today we are interviewing Rolando Gayo, author of the Christian Living book "For This Reason He Came."

Tell us a bit about yourself.
Rolando Gayo and his wife, Jill, are very versatile musicians who love to worship the Lord and teach people to mature in Christ. Rolando Gayo is the author of this book, "For This Reason He Came". He committed himself to knowing the will of God for his life and there are a number of reasons the Lord is using him to touch thousands of lives. He is now devoting himself in spreading the good news of living and walking in righteousness. Roland and Jill have one child, Ghale Jillian.

Describe the purpose of your book in a few sentences.
For This Reason He Came is a compilation of truth, revelation and information of what Believers needs to know about Christian living. It has 27 wonderful topics which starts from the beginning of time to the coming of Jesus Christ. I wrote this book because I was seeking for a greater knowledge of the intentions and ultimate plans of God for mankind. The book illustrate most of the process of what Christian life is all about. If you are looking for a book that will help you grow in your Christian walk then this book is for you.

Who do you think would most appreciate this book?


What inspired you to write a book about what Believers need to know about Christian living?


Your book contains a variety topics from the start of time to the coming of Christ. How did you choose which topics to include?


What are some of the things you learned while doing research for this book?


How do you think reading your book will impact people?


What do you have in mind for your next writing project?


Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?


More Information

Buy the book on Amazon

H.T. Yim, Author of Epiphanies Whilst High Out of One's Mind

epiphanies whilst high, ht yim
Today we are interviewing H.T. Yim about her book "Epiphanies Whilst High Out of One's Mind," as part of the book's blog tour.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m an aspiring novelist. Three things that I can say define me, which I love and which govern my daily life, are literature (predominantly science fiction and fantasy), marijuana and feminism.

Describe your book in a few sentences.

It’s a work of narrative nonfiction, describing in vivid detail the evolution of an average user’s relationship with marijuana, from initial trauma and aversion to profound appreciation.

It’s an intensely personal memoir, recounting a girl’s subjective experiences and development with both the substance and with love – the two of which coincided due to a consistent attraction towards potheads.

It’s a humorous collection of essays written on the subject of and inspired by marijuana, peppered with practical tips and references to recent research on health and sociological effects – references which dispel certain stereotypes and which promote conscious consumption.

Who do you think would most appreciate this book?
Based on feedback thus far, it seems that veteran users find the book relatable and that non-users find it interesting, as it describes experiences they’ve never had. But the individuals I imagine benefiting the most from this book are new users: people who’ve never fully experimented with marijuana for fear of legal and social repercussions.

Legalization won’t change the consumption behavior of existing users – we’ll just continue to do what we always have, only now without insensible and hypocritical laws looming over our heads – or that of non-drug users. If a person isn’t prone to taking any substances including alcohol and tobacco, they’re probably not about to start smoking pot just because its legality has changed. Legalization opens doors for people who’ve maybe tried weed or were curious about it, but for whom the risks always outweighed the benefits.

But it’s also imprudent to implement legalization alone: reform has to be complemented by education. No one’s died as a direct result of cannabis, but overconsumption is traumatizing to experience – depending on the form and method, exceeding tolerance can entail hours of intense paranoia and helplessness. I wish someone had warned me of the different effects of ingesting marijuana or of combining it with alcohol, or of the effects on REM sleep and working memory. Hopefully, Epiphanies will help impart such lessons on new users.

What are some of the biggest misconceptions regarding recreational marijuana use?
The two common misconceptions that bother me the most are that marijuana is a gateway drug leading to more dangerous substances and, on the opposite spectrum, that it’s harmless.

Marijuana hasn’t provoked me to start – or even entertain the thought of – using heroin or methamphetamine. But neither is it completely without risk: it’s habitually addictive, its daily use can lead to cognitive impairment (specifically in memory retention and learning, though the deficit is small and reversible with a break), and it really shouldn’t be used by persons with certain medical standing (such as pregnant females and individuals genetically disposed to schizophrenia).

How has the legalization of marijuana in several U.S. states impacted society’s perception of marijuana usage?
The reform movement in the U.S. has created the opportunity for meaningful dialogue and sensible, evidence-based policies. But I think it’s worth noting that cannabis is the most widely used illicit substance in the world, with nearly 40% of people in North America admitting to have tried it at least once.

So, a huge portion of society is already aware of the realities of marijuana usage – they don’t need to be convinced that it doesn’t incite violence and that it doesn’t lead to hard drugs, as they can draw from personal experience and observation. Even law enforcement officers are aware that marijuana poses less of a threat to society than alcohol.

What legalization offers in terms of societal perception is the ability for users to “come out” and admit their recreation publicly, as well as the opportunity for remaining members of society to learn that prohibitionist claims have been just yellow-journalism and propaganda all along.

Can you tell us a bit about the creative process for this book, from the initial idea to the published manuscript?
I initially conceived the idea as I was musing over the transformation of my perception of marijuana – how remarkable and ironic it was that I went from being the kind of girl who would grow upset if her boyfriend would get high frequently, to someone who perceives the substance as an indispensable part of her life.

The creative process largely involved forcing myself to write out a point-form summary when I would have a cannabis-induced epiphany. Nine out of ten times, the line would trigger my memory the next day and I’d write expanding on the topic. Once an essay was finished, I’d ignore it for a while and then edit it while high for a fresher pair of eyes and altered perspective. Then I’d edit again sober, ask for criticism from select readers, and repeat.

Copious amounts of editing, marijuana and tears were involved.

How do you hope readers respond to your book?
I hope it makes them laugh – preferably with me more often than at me, although the latter is sort of inevitable with such a self-deprecating narrative – and that they’re encouraged to be more mindful.

Are there any aspects of writing you don’t like?
The way, as with any art, creative proximity can lead to critical bias. As the creator, you become emotionally attached to the text. William Faulker once said that “In writing, you must kill all your darlings” and it’s true. Every word, every punctuation is a product of your imagination, conceived in your mind and translated into reality. And with that kind of closeness, it’s so difficult and arguably impossible to properly appraise your own work for its merits and shortcomings – hence the need for honest feedback.

Also, writer’s block. It can be demoralizing, depressing, and utterly soul-destroying.

What do you have in mind for your next project?
My next book and first novel is called Mimesis. It’ll be a coming-of-age title – with a male protagonist, strong romantic subplot and deep respect towards literary realism – which will make social commentary on celebrity culture and gender relations.

But it’s only about one-tenth finished with a lot of research to conduct, so I’d be astonished if this gets finished within a year.

More Information

Check out the rest of the "Epiphanies Whilst High Out of One's Mind" blog tour
Visit the author's website 
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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Stephen Richards, Author of NAPS: Discover The Power Of Night Audio Programs

Night Audio Programs (NAPS), mind power, subconscious power, stephen richards author, law of attraction, self-improvement, self-development
Today we are interviewing Stephen Richards about "NAPS: Discover The Power Of Night Audio Programs." 

Tell us a bit about yourself.
Million seller self-help author Stephen Richards is one of the world’s leading experts in Mind Power and Wealth Creation. Having over 90 titles to his name across all genres of self-help ensures he is always giving something new in the self-help and law of attraction genre. Stephen is a multi-millionaire property developer, former clinical hypnotherapist, film director and all because of how he used the Law of Attraction to help accelerate him to success.

Describe the purpose of your book in a few sentences.

The book shows how anyone can, design, create and use Night Audio Programs (NAPS) to help them secure success. Now with this you don’t have to be Merlin the Magician to manifest your desires, you just follow the simple to follow instructions. You then simply play the audio on loop through the night, and it works as you sleep!

Who do you think would most appreciate this book?
Anyone wishing to secure success of any nature will benefit from this. Can be used by any age, there are no limits to what you can achieve once you access your subconscious mind with the power of NAPS!

What inspired you to write a book about the power of Night Audio Programs (NAPS)?
I saw how others had unsuccessfully used NAPS from other sources and decided to develop the idea into something that could generate a successful outcome, which I believe I have done here.

stephen richards, naps, night audio programs
For readers unfamiliar with NAPS, can you describe them for us?
NAPS are just short affirmations or success sentences created in what I call “clean language”, recorded on your PC or laptop and then played back on a constant loop as you sleep at night. By doing this the subconscious mind is embedded with positive commands. I also show how you can beef up a NAPS to get even better results.

Can you tell us a bit about the history of NAPS?
We can go back over 7,000 years to when the original self-help gurus would whisper into the ears of those sleeping, this was the true way the Law of Attraction was used. Then many modern day gurus developed audios along the same lines, but they proved hit and miss with subliminals and other encoded sounds not fully accessing the subconscious mind. I have taken this one step further and gone back to the traditions of the original self-help gurus in how they would simplify words in a positive way that would inspire the subconscious mind to generate success.

What are the applications of NAPS?
The applications of NAPS are limitless, all within the bounds of a person’s capabilities and even beyond. The subconscious mind is an untapped source of power, and anyone with the desire to achieve success in their life will find by using NAPS that they unlock the true power of the subconscious mind. There are only limits that you set yourself, the rest is limitless!

Do NAPS have to be played on headphones or do speakers work as well?

Ideally it is best to play NAPS that have bianuaral beats or theta waves embedded in them through headphones, and since the listener will be sleeping whilst listening I recommend cordless headphones. However, if playing NAPS without any encoding in them then listening through speakers is OK, but I always recommend headphones so as to combat any ambient nose in the bedroom.  

What is one fact about NAPS that surprises most people unfamiliar with them?
NAPS are so easy to create, even a child could create them! When explain how simple it is to make such an audio and how powerful the use of clean language is then it amazes people. But not just that, the results people get from using them have been proven when I used many test audios on willing volunteers!

How do you think reading your book will impact people?
There is a clear message in my book that they do not need to embrace the self-help woo-woo currently being peddled on the internet. They can throw out there old copies of The Secret (as I do not know anyone that has secured success as a consequence of it, and neither does it offer any instruction on how to secure success), they can free up their time through the day that they once spent listening to self-help audios and just playback NAPS during the night as they sleep. They can save money by creating their own success audios instead of buying mountain loads of rehashed woo-woo currently available!

What do you have in mind for your next writing project?
I have had enormous success with past books, having many translated into numerous languages, and I pride myself i being a million seller author, but you are only as good as your next book! I have taken the self-help genre to new heights with this NAPS, so I believe I should build on that and go deeper into exploring the power of the subconscious mind in my next book.

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?

You certainly do not need to be Merlin the Magician to secure success, I do away with the entire spiritual woo-woo process so many are selling and go straight into the success artery – the subconscious mind. There is no need to spend hours and hours listening to self-help audios when you can create your own in a short time, and the uses are limitless. From encouraging being healthy to wealthy, that is the power of NAPS!

More Information

Buy the book on Amazon

Dora Carpenter, Author of Don't Bury Your Why in the Cemetery

dora carpenter, don't bury your why in the cemetary, live for the moment, focus on the present
Today we are interviewing Dora Carpenter about her non-fiction book "Don't Bury Your Why in the Cemetery."

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My mission and passion is to help individuals work through life transitions, grief, and fear.  I am a certified professional coach, author, speaker, trainer, mentor, and founder of The ANIYA Group Life Coaching Center.  I am honored to be one of a select group personally licensed by internationally known best-selling author and motivational speaker, Susan Jeffers, Ph.D. to teach her Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway® work in the United States.  Recently, I was recognized by The National Association of Distinguished Professionals as a professional in my field and will appear in a 2015 issue of Women of Distinction Magazine.  

Describe the purpose of your book in a few sentences.

I want to help individuals, especially entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs, to find their ‘why’ and go for it.  You were put on this earth to thrive, so what is stopping you?

Who do you think would most appreciate this book?

Entrepreneurs who have thought about quitting and aspiring entrepreneurs who might be sabotaged by roadblocks such as self-doubt or fear.

What inspired you to write a book about living in the present?

dora carpenter, author dora carpenter
Author Dora Carpenter.
After working in the death care industry for many years and hearing countless stories of unfulfilled hopes and dreams being buried in the cemetery, it became my passion to help individuals appreciate and live more fully in the present.

Why do you think it’s so difficult for people to live in the present? Do you think the increasing presence of technology has made it easier or more difficult to live in the present?
In our fast-paced lives of options, opportunities, technology, gadgets, etc., we tend to always seek more… the next best thing.  Sometimes, I question if our brains were even designed to handle the amount of multitasking and overload that we consistently impose on it. When was the last time you took a walk and noticed the petals of a rose?

What are some of the dangers of living in the past or the future?

You are held hostage by situations, or perceived situations, that prevent you from allowing and receiving all that life has to offer you right now.  Emotions such as guilt, regret, fear, and disappointment are a few emotions that can lead to unhealthy physical, mental, and psychological effects.

How do you think reading your book will impact people?

This quick-read is a dose of inspiration.  A boost of motivation.  A wakeup call to the fragility of life.  A call to action to say Yes! to yourself, your dreams, and your life! 

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?

In this complimentary eBook, I will give you my formula for achieving success and you will also be introduced to my 3-step Decide to Say Yes! coaching system.

More Information
Get the book here: http://www.doracarpenter.com/complimentary

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

H.J. Harley, Author of Finding Jordie

finding jordie, hj harley, military romance, love lies bleeding, nyc romance novel, nyc novel
Today we are interviewing H.J. Harley, author of "Finding Jordie," book one of the Love Lies Bleeding series.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
HJ grew up in Bricktown New Jersey, less than an hour away from New York City. As a teenager and early twenties, she loved hanging out in the glamor of NYC. She was a "City Brat" so it was pretty difficult for her to pack her stuff and three cats in 2005, for a life changing road trip, moving to California. She's travelled around the country until she met her better half in 2005.

After serving twelve years in the Air Force, the man of her dreams ended his military career and they moved to Georgia in 2007. Since then, they've settled down in Leesburg GA, and had their first child.

No place has ever come close to replacing the magic of New York City for HJ. So when it was decided to try this romance writing gig out, naturally her first book 'Finding Jordie' would be set there.

HJ enjoys reading, and spending time with her family. Reality TV is a guilty pleasure and she's a sucker for romantic comedies and Robert Pattinson. HJ is a pro at goofing off, She talks with her hands, (She's Italian!) She drinks way too much coffee, and gets too little sleep. Oh, and she has a thing for Jackie-O sized sunglasses. HJ's has five furry kids and most importantly, one beautiful daughter. HJ is always striving to be the best Mom possible.

HJ's very passionate about the things she loves, that's why she was outraged when they cancelled SMASH and Southland! It should be considered a small miracle if you ever get to see a serious or pic of her posing all nice and pretty...She's not that girl. She's a spontaneous goof and believes the best things in life come naturally. Yes, that includes random no make-up selfies during a 2:00a.m. writing marathon.

What inspired you to write a book about a successful woman who must come to terms with her past?

I’d moved from New Jersey to South West Georgia. There isn’t very much to do here so I began writing again. Jordie has a lot of heart and she wouldn’t have been able to make it through it without her bestie Rachel. Which was a huge part of me because Rachel is based on an actual person. You’ll get to see who inspired Rachel on the cover of the third and final book of the Love Lies Bleeding series: "Finding Rachel."
Author H.J. Harley

Tell us a bit about the protagonist, Jordie.
She is one tough broad. She keeps to herself, raises her kid alone and owns a very successful NYC hot spot that her hilarious best friend Rachel helps her with. The two of them are a comedic tag team. Never a dull moment.

After Jordie was widowed, she moved to NYC and became a successful business owner. What gave her the strength to overcome the tragedy in her life?

Jordie is a ‘Suck-it-up-butter-cup’ kind of woman. She doesn’t pity herself nor will she allow anyone else to pity her so succeeding was her only option. You find out a lot about Jordie and her deceased husband Jason’s relationship before he died.

Is there an author who has influenced your writing style?
Not really, I sort of have a style of my own. I really don’t want to be stuffed in a category box neatly on a shelf. I don’t do well in boxes. LOL

Are there any aspects (e.g. character building, world building) of your writing that you've been practicing?

Believe it or not the least of my troubles were world and character building because I wrote it exactly as I saw it in my head. If there were three steps with a crack in the middle and a wad of melted gum, I would put it in there. Now, my editor (Salome’ Jones) will most likely tell you I was overly descriptive and and I have a blatant disregard for commas. LOL As far as too much detail? I’d much rather have to take out than add.

What are your goals as a writer for the next ten years?

My goals are pretty simple. Write stuff people will love and hope they keep coming back for more. With out readers there are no writers.

Is there any aspect of writing you don't like?

Oh yes… The fear of putting it all out there. The fear of rejection. The fear of failing, essentially.

Have you ever had writer's block? If yes, how'd you deal with it? If you have not had writer's block, why do you think you haven't?

I experience writer’s block Every. Single Day. I have a seven year old. LOL How do I deal with it? After she goes to bed! :D

Do you write with a computer, typewriter, or pen and paper? Why do you use this tool?

Even though I’d love to use a typewriter, I use my Mac. All that ranking and changing after every sentence would wake up the sleeping seven year old and my fiancé. Then where would I be?

What do you have in mind for your next project?

It’s the continuation of a series I began this past Christmas. It begins with the start of London and Pratt’s story then will go on from there. It’s titled The Love & Sacrifice series.

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?

It’s an emotional rollercoaster. There’s a lot of best friend banter and a really book boyfriend worthy. A lot of readers say that he reminds them of Rob Pattinson. I say who knows. Maybe maybe not. :P He can be whoever you want him to be.

Book blurb:
Jordie has lived through the worst. Widowed at twenty-three and left to raise a child alone, she packed up, moved to NYC and beat the odds. Now, a successful business owner, nothing can shake this indomitable woman. Nothing until a chance at love arrives in the form of handsome movie star, Nathan Harper
More Information
Buy "Finding Jordie" on Amazon 
Check out all of H.J. Harley's books on Amazon 

Brandon Harper, Author of The Heart That Understands

brandon harper, author brandon harper, love self help, love book, love sex book, relationship book, insecurities book
Today we are interviewing Brandon Harper about this self-help/romance book, "Diary: From the Outside Looking In... The Heart that Understands."

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Brandon R. Harper is a young, Native American born in Houston Texas. He has always had a passion for reading and writing, and one day while surfing the internet. He read something that caught his immediate attention, the questions were, " Have you ever thought about becoming an author and pursuing a career in inspiring and motivating others? ".  After reading this, he pondered for a moment, then thought to his self, " This looks and sounds interesting. Hey I can do this! " He started attending various seminars, had the pleasure of meeting a few well known authors, and he became more familiarized with writing and becoming an author.

Describe the purpose of your book in a few sentences.

To give readers an in depth look on life, love and sex on different levels.

Who do you think would most appreciate this book?

Women and men that have experienced and gone through the ups and downs of relationships.

What inspired you to write this book?

Being involved in several different types of relationships and situations that I later realized were not healthy for me nor my life. But taught me a lot in the process. My dealings of battling with insecurities, loss, being hurt, left in the dark and fighting to find inner peace. These things motivated me to wanna help others in the world that may be dealing with some of the same exact situations that I have faced and had to find the strength within myself to overcome by placing my thoughts and experiences in dealing with real life occurrences down on paper.

What was the most interesting thing you uncovered while doing research for the book?

I discovered that a lot of women and men have all been through some of the same things.

How do you think reading your book will impact people?
I want people to gain clarity from this book. I want them to know that I get why they feel the way that they feel at times and put up with some of the things that they do because I have been in their shoes. "Diary: From the Outside Looking In" will provide informative information that will help to better assist people in their everyday living.

What do you have in mind for your next writing project?

More knowledge that will provide more clarity and help better a lot of relationships.

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?

It has topics in it that relates to everyone that has lived life.

More Information
Buy the book on Kindle: http://amzn.com/B00T7ZIYH0
Buy the paperbook edition on Amazon: http://amzn.com/1507802900
Buy the Nook version: http://goo.gl/vFJve5

Jamila T. Davis, Author of She's All Caught Up!

she's all caught up, jamila davis, inspirational memoir, prison reform, women's author, african american literature
Today we are interviewing Jamila T. Davis author of the inspirational memoir "She's All Caught Up."

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Jamila T. Davis. I am a motivational speaker, prison reform activist and the author of several books geared to inspire, empower and uplift readers. I call myself a champion of those who are considered "under dogs." I want them to know that despite our past circumstances in life, or our current conditions, it doesn't have to dictate our future.

Describe your book in a few sentences.

My book is a cautionary tale that illuminates the everyday problems that youth face, such as peer pressure and the desire to be loved and accepted. I openly expose my flaws and my weaknesses with the hope that readers will have the courage to do the same.

Who would you think would most appreciate this book?

I believe teens and their parents would benefit the most from reading this book. Teens can relate because many of them are experiencing similar situations. As adults, we often forget the struggles we encountered "coming of age." Therefore, this book is a good reminder about the thought process of teens, which will ultimately equip parents to relate to their children's inner struggles.

At an early age, you distinguished yourself as a well-behaved child who earned excellent grades. But in high school, you switched gears, becoming a rebel and living life in the fast lane. What prompted you to make this transition?
Like many teens, I wanted to be cool. The desire to be loved and accepted, and gain notoriety, was huge driving forces for me. Then, quickly after I began living life in the fast lane, I became addicted. I craved the power and respect it garnered me, which led me on a long, "wild-goose" chase.

What do you think are some of the biggest challenges teens face today?
By far, peer pressure tops the list! We tend to want to follow the lead of those around us whom we admire. Therefore, it is essential for parents to analyze the role models of their children, and expose them to quality leaders who teens find to be cool and inspirational.

What role do you think parenting plays in teens going astray? Do you have any advice for parents?
It's important that parents encourage their children to become independent. That doesn't mean you always let them do what they want. Instead, you provide options and help them develop good decision making skills. This will be one of the best tools you help them to develop. Then, regardless if you are around, or not, they will be programmed to do the right thing. When parents are too strict, children ultimately rebel. Even worst, they won't open up to you, so you will never know what is truly going on in their lives.

What do you have in mind for your next writing project?
I am writing the sequel to "She's All Caught Up," which illustrates my adult years. Now that readers understand how I framed my thinking, they will see how the vicious cycle of poor choices continuously caught up to me. I am currently serving a 12 1/2 year sentence in federal prison for my participation in a multi-million dollar fraud scheme. From local drug dealers and hustlers, my desire for power lured up the ranks to rappers and professional sports figures. Although my lifestyle improved substantially, my warped thinking patterns didn't. As a result, I had a hefty price to pay!

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?
Most memoirs are written to tell you about how perfect a particular individual was and it highlights all their accomplishments. Although these kinds of books can be inspirational, they often don't reveal the truth and the hidden stuff that people can learn from. We live in a society where we are taught it is acceptable to wear "masks," pretending everything is good, when it really isn't. I wrote my book to expose the deep dark secrets that haunted me for many years. Acknowledging my faults and my mistakes empowered me to make necessary changes. Today, even though I am behind bars, my spirit is free. I know who I am, where I am headed, and I don't have to look over my shoulders. Many people who are free can not honestly make that statement.

My book is written for those who have the courage to be honest with themselves. It is the truth that will empower readers and provide a real foundation to receive true liberation from the inside out!

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Madeline Andrews, Author of Ultimate Alchemy

alchemy book, using alchemy, madeline andrews, science of alchemy, what is alchemy
Today we are interviewing Madeline Andrews about her book "Ultimate Alchemy: Using the Alchemy Science of the Past to Empower Your Life Today."

Tell us a bit about yourself.
Madeline Andrews, the "inner g diva" holds a Doctorate in Metaphysical Sciences from the University of Metaphysical Sciences and has been studying topics in metaphysics, spirituality, sacred geometry, and energetics for over twenty years. As a Reiki Master and Kaballist, her promary vision is to empower people with energetic products and services of consciousness through awareness.

Describe the purpose of your book in a few sentences.

The purpose of this book is to provide options beyond a linear perspective. As humans, we sometimes feel stuck and limited in our choices. Alchemy is about transmuting or shifting states within oneself and Ultimate Alchemy is about using energetic concepts to shift states within oneself. This is done through the energy body and the mind, which the book explains.

Who do you think would most appreciate this book?

I think people who want to take personal accountability and responsibility for their inner states and perceptions would empower themselves and greatly benefit from this book. This book looks into concepts and systems and explains just what they are.

What inspired you to write a book about using alchemy science to empower yourself?

I wrote the book because I have talked with several people from various walks of life and the common denominator was that they were hurting from so many aspects of life - health, monetary, family, relationships and other issues. And the concept of alchemy - transmuting something that is "base within someone" into something that is "gold within" was a powerful way to empower them past their pain.

For people not familiar with alchemy, could you give a basic definition?

The word "alchemy" actually derived from the vibration of a tone. Alchemy entails transmutation or raising one's energetic vibration through awareness.

When did you first get interested in studying alchemy?

I became interested in alchemy and other conceptual presences classified as "metaphysical" over twenty years ago, after undergraduate school, when I had a thirst for this concept called "truth." The path caused me to study synergetics, quantum science, and other subjects that were vastly different from my degree in English.

In the book, you write about using conceptual modality behind the science of alchemy to shift conceptual perspectives in modern day life. Can you elaborate on this process?

In the book, I correlate the fourteen traditional keys of alchemy with fourteen modern day energetic concepts, and place them around a shape called a tetrahedron, while using certain energetic concepts in a way that all four worlds on the Tree of Life would be working simultaneously.

What do you think are some of the biggest misconceptions people have about alchemy?

Probably the biggest misconceptions are that alchemy is something evil or forbidden and that it is far out/ "woo woo." But the science of alchemy is a spiritual one that actually understands and teaches that nature of the Universe - that a spiritual seed can be planted into a dark earth (unawareness) and it produces something in the physical material world. It understands the aspects of energy upon the Tree of Life.

What was the most interesting thing you uncovered while doing research for the book?

The most interesting and empowering thing would be that everything a person experiences is a system and the powerful natural thing about systems is that there are twelve degrees of freedom built in every system.

How do you think reading your book will impact people?

I think my book will impact its readers because he or she will realize that quite a few solutions to their issues aren't our there, but are within, lying dormant, waiting to be activated through awareness. The way a person perceives things affects the way he or she sees "reality." If the reader plays with the energetic concepts presented in the book, that which is dormant has the strong possibility of awakening through awareness.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Jeff Gafford, Author of Casting Stones

casting stones, summertown novel, jeff gafford, arizona author, arizonian author, arizona novel

Today we are interviewing Jeff Gafford about his action/crime book, "Casting Stones," a Summertown Novel.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a native Arizonan, I’ve been working in the government and corporate security field for almost thirty years.

I’ve been writing for many years, but only began publishing my work about five years ago. Until earlier this year, I was a senior partner in a small publishing company. When that partnership ended, I started my own company, Chaparral Publishing.
Describe the plot of your new book in a few sentences.

The main character, Jimmy Stone is almost fully healed from a gunshot wound he received in Summertown, the first book in the series. His marriage is once more on the rocks and he is haunted by nightmares of a past experience. He doesn’t know that someone involved in that past incident is on his way to Summertown looking for revenge.

Who do you think would most appreciate this book?

Readers of Crime novels, Action novels. Casting Stones also has a fair dose of humor and small-town drama and romance. So, this book should appeal to a pretty broad array of readers.

Tell us about the protagonist, Jimmy Stone.

Jimmy is a guy who wants very badly to live a nice, quiet life. He recently married his daughter off to a young man he admires, his in-laws are close friends, he’s very involved and well-liked in the community. But he’s had a very unusual childhood, and some of the angst he harbors from that upbringing finds its way to the surface, complicating what is already becoming a rather complicated life.

Jimmy has a friend from his traumatic past visit him. Without giving too much away, can you describe the friendship these two characters once shared? 

His old friend had been a missionary at an orphanage where Jimmy did volunteer work many years before. They shared a mutual faith in God and a desire to help the very needy.

This is a book that draws from multiple genres (crime, action, love story, etc). Did you set out to incorporate aspects from different genres or did the story just develop this way as you wrote?

Both, actually. Summertown has a few of these elements, but it doesn’t have quite as much action, not is it quite as fast-paced. There were several sub-plots from Summertown that merited continuation, especially the romantic relationships, and I had hinted at Jimmy’s childhood in the first book. I had outlined Casting Stones with a slant toward more action, but as the characters became more real to me, the more began to happen among them.

One of the unique aspects about this book is it alternates between first and third-person point of view. What made you decide to take this approach to telling the story?

I wanted to open up the readers’ view of this little world I’d created, but I didn’t want them to have entirely unlimited access to everything that was going on. The first-person POV with Jimmy just made sense to me, since he is the primary character in the book, and first-person is the most intimate of the POVs. Third person is very flexible, which helps to tell the stories of a large cast of characters like the ones I have. IF I’d stayed with third person only, I don’t think the story would have been as emotionally evocative. If I’d stayed entirely with first person, it would have taken forever to complete the book and the reader might have given up half-way through.

Can you tell us a bit about your creative process, from initial idea to published manuscript?

Until a couple of years ago, I was entirely a “pantser”, a write-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of writer who took an idea and let it play out as I went. This is simultaneously fun and frustrating. It also tends to take forever to get a first draft done—which is usually the shortest draft to complete, since the 2nd and 3rd drafts require much more thought.

At the suggestion of my good friend and excellent writer, Erik Ekstrom, I began to write a general outline of the direction my stories should go. When I find myself deviating from the outline, I just take a break and reevaluated where my story is going. I usually end up revising the outline and move on, but sometime I find that the story has built up a momentum of its own, so I just let it move.

Who was your favorite character to write?

Jimmy was my favorite, simply because many—but not all—of my personal views are held by him. I’ve been asked if Jimmy is a literary version of me. He isn’t; he’s a much better man than I am, and that also makes him fun to write, but his world view is very much in line with mine.

A close second favorite to Jimmy is Jason, for reasons I can’t share without spoiling the story. However, I can say that much of Jason Hadley’s character was inspired by a dear missionary friend I knew in Haiti by the name of Tom Northen, who was the kind of man who did whatever it took to get a job done, no matter how tough or dangerous because his love for God and the people around him motivated his every move.

Are there any authors who have influenced your writing style? 

No author that I read is a direct model for my writing. But I learn aspects of the writing craft from different authors. For instance, I love to read the humorous style of Woody Allen in works like Getting Even and Mere Anarchy. His style isnnot mine, but it helps to keep innmind that humor is an important part of my writing style and that I can put into a story just about anywhere.

I’d like to say that I have learned from John D. MacDonald’s expository style, but I fall very far from the goal of emulating it. Hemmingway’s writings help me to be a brutal as possible with my manuscripts, cutting as much as my fragile heart can handle until only what I think is necessary remains. I am no Hemmingway, but his sparse writing style has definitely helped me during rewrites.

What are your goals as a writer for the next ten years?

To continue to write, to continue to entertain my readers and, hopefully, to make a living. In the words of Henry Higgins in Pygmalion, “Happy is the man whose work is also his hobby”.

Is there any aspect of writing you don't like?

I think I like the majority of writers out there when I say that just about every aspect of writing is alternately a love affair and a vicious circle of hate. It all depends where you are emotionally and mentally when you’re working.

Have you ever had writer's block? If yes, how'd you deal with it? If you have not had writer's block, why do you think you haven't?

Oh, I’ve been hit hard by writer’s block on several occasions. I combat it with busy work, doing things as unrelated to writing as possible. Gardening, going for long walks, projects at home, etc. Then I sit down and, without looking at whatever writing project I’m working on at the moment, I open a blank document and start typing freely (free writing) until something—anything—starts flowing. It doesn’t matter if it’s good, bad or even intelligible. I just lt it flow. So far, that’s helped me get back on track.

What do you have in mind for your next project? 

I have three works in progress right now: the next book in the Summertown series, which will involve one of the town's most-loved residents in a very uncharacteristic role; a novella revolving around a quiet young man who discovers that someone has managed to invade his mnd; and a non-fiction work of undetermined length on the very simple, uncomplicated subject of Life, the Universe and Everything.

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?

"Casting Stones" is available in both print and ebook formats, not only from Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble, but also at Chaparral Publishing Company's Amazon store: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aag/main/ref=olp_merch_name_1?ie=UTF8&asin=0990552462&isAmazonFulfilled=0&seller=A119GRHNOTCSTP.

An excerpt from "Casting Stones":
     Jason Hadley sat at what had become his favorite stool at the Little Creek Café, listening to Ken Shirazi talk about his travels in the service. When he saw a chance to cut in he took it.
     “So, tell me,” he said. “How long have you known Jimmy? Chad sure seems to idolize him.”
     “Oh, you saw that, huh?” Ken laughed.
     “Yeah,” Jason smiled. “I guess every young fellow needs someone to look up to.”
     “Yes.” Ken paused for just the tiniest of moments but Jason could see that he’d just hit a nerve. “His Uncle Jimmy is quite a guy. None of us really knew how selfless he really was until he took on Don Muir.”
     “It’s hard not to appreciate something like that, alright,” he nodded. “So, you two are close, huh?”
     “Oh, yeah,” Ken shrugged. “We don’t talk about everything, like we use to, though.”
     “Oh, Jimmy is family,” Ken said quickly. “I love him like my own brother. We just don’t have the same lives anymore.” He looked down at the counter, forlorn, “He’s been through so much that a…kind of a different side of him seems to show itself sometimes. Some kind of defense mechanism, I guess. He tries to hide it, but…” he shrugged.
     Jason nodded sympathetically. He saw that the subject was a difficult one, so he changed it. “So, are you thinking of expanding this place?” he asked. “You seem to be doing such good, steady business that adding some more space to the dining area would seem to be a good idea.”
     “No,” Ken replied, shaking his head. “We’re too much at the mercy of the weather. It can really snow heavy out here and then no one but the dedicated coffee addicts come in. For Jimmy not to come for coffee, it takes some serious weather,” he laughed.
     “A real coffee hound, huh?”
     “Oh yeah,” Ken said. “After the hospital let him come home, they told him he couldn’t have more than one cup every couple of days, because he’d lost a chunk of his intestines…”
     “He was hurt that badly?”
     Ken nodded. “The doctor said it was a miracle he survived. The bullet tore him up real bad.” He tilted his head, “Of course, having Gina Albright around didn’t hurt.” He smiled. “She’s cute—well, you’ve met her—and she shows more concern for his well-being than his wife does.”
     “Yeah, that’ll make a man think of straying…”
     “Oh, no,” Ken said. “Jimmy would never break his vows, no matter how bad things got. He’s a strong Catholic Christian and no matter how many people have tried to get him to leave her in the last several months, he refused.”
     Jason mentally noted the label “Catholic Christian”. So many Protestants ostracized their Catholic brethren for praying to saints, that they were careful about who they considered a Christian, despite a shared belief in the same God, Messiah and Holy Spirit. If only they were as careful about their own beliefs.
     “He’s a rare one, alright,” he said.
     “He is,” Ken replied proudly…but did Jason detect the slightest tinge of jealousy?
     “Well, you sure picked the right one, first time out,” Jason said. “Min is—if you don’t mind my saying—a very lovely woman.”
     “I don’t mind you saying it, as long as noticing is all you do,” Ken said with a wink. “I’ve always known that she was the most beautiful girl that ever walked the earth.”
     “I envy you, Ken,” Jason said. “All the years I spent running around and I never met a woman that could make me want to settle down and raise a family, especially one like you have.”
     “Yeah, God has really blessed us. That’s for sure.” He said it sincerely.
     “A big cup of my favorite beverage, please, Mr. Shirazi,” Ray said as he walked to the counter and sat down. “I feel the need for something hot and bitter to charge me up.”
     Ken and Jason looked at each other and smiled.
     “Alright, spill it. What did you hear?” Ray asked.
     “Well, apparently,” Ken began, smiling, when a small spray of red suddenly erupted from the left side of his head and a coffee pot on the shelf behind him shattered. Only then did they hear the gunshot.
     “Ken!” Ray shouted in alarm. “Get down! Everybody on the floor, now!” He barked. He jumped over the counter to check on his friend as the frightened customers scrambled to follow orders. He turned to Jason, who had already begun helping the older customers to get to the floor.
     “Jason, go back and make sure Min and Chad stay put!” he commanded.
     Hadley nodded and went immediately, keeping his head down to avoid being the next victim.
     “Sierra One to Sierra Two, 10-33!” Ray barked into his radio. “10-33, Shot fired, one man down at Little Creek Café! Respond immediately!”
     A short pause was all Gary took. “10-4, Sierra One. I’m en route. Any descriptions available?”
     “Negative,” Ray replied. “None of us saw a damned thing! The shot must have come through one of the front windows.”
     “10-4. Searching the perimeter now.” It seemed like an eternity, but it was really less than a minute before Gary was back on the radio. “No one visible in the immediate area, Chief…wait—I see movement across the highway…I’m responding now. Subject is armed and on foot, running northwest from the far end of the park.” He was breathing hard, the adrenaline taking effect. “About two hundred, two-twenty yards out.” The sound of the patrol car’s motor screaming up to redline could be heard inside the café. Then the thudding and bumping of the Crown Victoria muscling its way over the poorly maintained road and through rough brush, dodging the trees as the deputy gained on the shadowy figure that he could now see was carrying what appeared to be a long-barreled assault rifle and was wearing camouflage BDUs and a ski mask. Gary got as close as he could then he drew his weapon, veered right, braked hard, opened his door and took aim.
     “Stop now or…!”
     The figure spun around and fired…
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