Friday, May 31, 2019

Mike R. Aikins, Author of A Simple Guide to Child Support Redemption

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Today we are interviewing Mike R. Aikins, author of "A Simple Guide to Child Support Redemption."

Tell us a bit about yourself and your background in the child support payment system.
I was tricked into signing up to pay child support for my own children by the very first attorney that I hired to do my divorce.  She staged a phony final divorce case hearing and instructed me to “Go downstairs and sign-up for Child Support.”  And since I thought an attorney was supposed to do things that were in the best interests of my children and also for me, I didn’t hesitate to sign the paperwork (without reading it carefully) because it was always my intent to take care of the children that I brought into this world regardless of whether or not I was married to their mother.. 

Describe your book, “A Simple Guide to Child Support Redemption,” for readers unfamiliar with it.
“A Simple Guide to Child Support Redemption” is a self-help guide created for the non-custodial parent going through a divorce.  I wrote it to help those parents eliminate the costly mistakes that attorneys don’t even tell them about so that they can get a better understanding of what the child support payment contract that they signed is all about.  I start out with the history of how and when the institution of Child Support started.  Then, I slowly progress and get into the unwritten rules, fraud, and corruption that most people have to go through when they voluntarily sign-up to pay it.  

I explain how Child Support is really a voluntary adhesion contract very similar to a Driver’s License, Social Security Card, Marriage License or Birth Certificate.  These are all government adhesion contracts that innocent and ignorant citizens of this country automatically sign and adhere to usually without reading the fine print or getting a clear understanding of what the contract they're signing really means.   

What inspired you to take control of your role in the child support payment system? How did what you learned, change your life?
After years and years of going through unfair wage garnishments of my income, going back and forth to Family Court, working with at least ten different attorneys, losing thousands of dollars, being arrested 3 times and losing every job that I had prior to spending that time in jail, I decided that something had to be done and that these agencies needed to be exposed.  The fact that they use extremely unfair policies on unsuspecting, innocent tax-paying citizens by putting them into bad financial predicaments, is the reason I took on this extremely tough and thankless mission.  

Usually, people go to the Family Court system and then retain a lawyer because they’re trying to get a divorce as quickly and efficiently as possible.  They're not expecting to get ripped-off or cheated, and they’re thinking that this is the best and only possible way to obtain a divorce.  But more often than not, these State agencies, with support from the Feds, end-up cheating them out of large amounts of their hard-earned money while virtually destroying their lives and finances from that point on with harsh treatment and unfair wage garnishments.  But the saddest part about this entire process is that the money they garnish from the non-custodial parent’s paycheck usually doesn’t even make it back into the hands of his/her children.  

The system has reached an all-time exploitation level high now because State and Federal agencies are only concerned with how much of a profit they can make.  They do this so that they can keep the dollar-for-dollar grant money coming in from the Feds. Federal agencies end-up matching every dollar that these State agencies collect from the non-custodial parents causing an extreme “conflict of interest.” The saddest part about it is that the primary intent of these agencies is to manipulate and financially ruin the non-custodial parent’s life so that he falls behind and gets into arrears on his/her child support payments. At the other end of the spectrum, this evil and unjust way of doing things actually provides job security for the Call Center workers and other employees of the Child Support Enforcement Agencies all the way down from the Court Clerk to the Sherriff and Bailiff as they remain gainfully employed by the Family Court System.

Who do you think would most benefit from reading this book?
The non-custodial parent will benefit the most because they go into these types of situations against the Family Court System with blinders on thinking that they’re going to be treated fair and square, but little do they know, the exact opposite is about to happen.  If they read my book and learn as much as they can about the system, they’ll save a ton of money.  

What inspired you to write a book about child support redemption?
I was inspired because, throughout my journey, I saw so many people being hurt, being rendered homeless, being incarcerated, losing their jobs and even committing suicide because they weren’t allowed to see their kids. I felt that I had to do something about it by literally becoming an advocate against all of the fraud and corruption that these agencies hide behind.  

What are some of the main issues non-custodial parents face with the child support payment system?
The main problem is that the amount that they are often required to pay to so-call support their own offspring, is far too expensive and the courts do this on purpose to control the narrative and also the financial future of anyone coming to them wanting a divorce.  They’ll usually make the non-custodial parent’s child support payment obligation so expensive, that there isn’t anything left over after the wage garnishment to live on.   This will usually cause him/her to fall behind, while at the same time being basic job security and equity for anyone working on the enforcement side of collecting the payments.  

Your book is packed with resources, documents, and verifiable information. What was your research process like for getting the best information to include in the book?
There is a ton of information at the local libraries as well as the Law Library located at the courthouse.  Ironically, I found out very early in my research as it was stated in plain English on the main document that explains the child support system, that this system is not intended to be in the best interests of the non-custodial parent.  All of this information is easy to find so the State and Federal enforcement agencies are relying on the fact that most citizens don’t read and will probably never actually read or comprehend it.  

One of the main topics in the book is ways to save thousands of dollars in costs associated with paying child support payment. To help people get a general idea of their options, can you tell us some of the topics you cover?
I cover important aspects of working with or without an attorney because this is usually the most expensive cost associated with going through the process.  I also cover things that can be done prior to marriage and having kids, which really should be taught in schools and especially prior to obtaining a marriage license. I cover the Temporary Orders Hearing process and how to go in there prepared for it and also how to use the proper etiquette in Family Court.  However, the most important thing that I stress is how keeping a cool head in these extremely tough situations and predicaments can save the non-custodial parent thousands of dollars over the 18-23 year period of making child support payments.

A strength of the book is that it goes into ongoing legislation to keep readers current. What are some recent changes in child support law?
Joint-custody and joint-parenting is really the only way to go when it comes down to Child Support.  Most of the current systems stress Sole Custody because this is how the enforcement agencies end-up holding the non-custodial parent primarily responsible for 100% of a child’s well-being after a divorce.  This is the crux of the vast corruption related to the Child Support payment system today.  Illinois recently distinguished itself from every other State by adopting policies that allow joint-custody and this was a huge milestone in the plight of former non-custodial parents living in that State.  Hopefully, other States like Texas (the infamous leader in Child Support collections) will follow suit.  

Another topic you cover is the controversial issues pertaining to Title IV-A and D of the Social Security Act. Can you elaborate on some of these issues?
Title IV-D of the Social Security Act is the contract that Child Support is based upon.  It gives employers exclusive rights to garnish wages and also gives the Child Support Enforcement Agencies the power to meddle into a tax-paying citizen’s finances.  Title IV-A is simple the Welfare-like services that the CSEA use to manipulate and exploit the financial situation of both the custodial mother and non-custodial father.  The States do a great job of separating both of these entities to the point that everyone thinks it’s a simple matter of the CSEA collecting child support from the non-custodial parent and then giving it back to the custodial parent, but this is not how it’s done.  

In most cases, the money that comes from the wage garnishments of the non-custodial father is going right to the State, whereas, when the custodial mother signs up to receive TANF (welfare-like) assistance, those funds are funneled and distributed through Title IV-A.  This is how the CSEA controls the financial narrative and future of even the sharpest money managers going through a divorce.  People going in with good intentions of just wanting to continue paying for their children’s support after a divorce, end-up falling down a treacherous rabbit hole and into the conundrum that is Title IV-A and D of the Social Security Act.  

Outside of your book, are there any other resources that are helpful for people struggling with the child support system?
Most States are geniuses at manipulating this system because most people that are struggling through it don’t know whether the laws being enforced are coming from their State or whether they’re coming from the Feds.  The State is really in control of this system, but they get really great support from the Feds. In fact, the Feds lets each State write and enforce their own rules pertaining to Child Support.  Usually, a government agency like the State Attorney General is really supposed to be there to help the tax-paying citizen in these and other types of financial matters, but when it comes down to all the money that they can make from collecting past due child support payments, they turn against the citizens and go for the enormous profits that they stand to make.  

Texas is the leader in Child Support collections and their Attorney General is all-in with them enforcing it and putting citizens in jail when they can’t pay the unfair and unjust child support amounts. So to answer your question, it would behoove anyone struggling with Child Support, to use the well-documented self-help approach and strategies listed in my book.  They would also need to understand that no attorney is going to help them because, ironically, that’s not their job because their loyalty is to the Bar Association and the Courts.  Finally, to sum it all up, their constitutional rights are not going to be given to them automatically. Constitutional rights were originally written to let people know that these are the rights that they are allowed to have, but inevitably, they might have to engage in a legal battle to actually obtain them.     

One of the highlights of your book is the writing style. You take complicated topics and distill them into a digestible, easy-to-read guide. What is your writing process like?
I’m more of a free-lancer and blog-style writer.  I started out writing about sports and easy topics like that before I progressed into the tough stuff like Child Support.  However, nonfiction genre such as this requires someone that has actually gone through it, to be able to break it down into lament terms so that the average person can understand it.  Lots of research is required to cite references and give a book the credibility it deserves.  

In your book, you include documented testimonies from people that have struggled through the child support payment system. What are some of the issues their testimonies cover?
It’s hard to believe but it’s obvious now that many people are being rendered homeless, they're losing their families, they’re being alienated from their children, and they’re also losing their jobs based on having to go through the current Child Support payment scam.

If you had one piece of advice for someone looking to take control of their child support situation, what would recommend?
People need to do their research and become a student of the game.  Government agencies love the fact that most people don’t read their contracts or read the fine print until it’s much too late.  Before getting married, seek a second opinion and do your research on all sides of the issues like pre-nuptials and other pre-marriage agreements.  You really need to be cognizant of the repercussions that will happen if you obtain a marriage license, get married, and have kids, and then end up getting a divorce. The best possible advice is to always stay cool and don’t get into any arguments with your ex because this will extremely exacerbate the situation and cost thousands of dollars when it’s all said and done.  

What was the most interesting thing you uncovered while doing research for the book?
That the entire Child Support system is based on a voluntary contract that’s signed by an unsuspecting non-custodial parent.  Little do they know what they are about to go through when they sign-up to pay it.  Most want to take care of their children and will keep working and finding jobs in order to do it.  However, the CSEA primary objective is to take a good situation and turn it into a bad financial predicament so that they can make a huge profit off the backs of innocent people that love their children.  

Did writing the book take you to unexpected places or reveal things you hadn’t thought about before?
I took it to the Supreme Court thinking that they would treat me fair and with justice.  But, I found out that they are in on it with the State and Federal governments and that I didn’t have a leg to stand on without researching and finding out what the laws were all about on my own.  The Supreme Court dismissed my case without prejudice citing the Rooker-Felman Doctrine which simply means that they won’t come back in and intervene in a court case where someone is claiming they were injured by a decision or judgment from their State. This was simply a ploy and 100% evidence that proves they are in on it with the State and the only way to get around it is through self-help techniques that are offered in my book.

What was the most challenging aspect of writing the book?
The most challenging aspect was keeping it professional and not making it a racial issue. When people read my book, they’ll find out that I never once mentioned in the entire book that anything that was done to me was racial.  The fact of the matter is; Child Support has everything to do with “class” issues like rich vs. poor, the haves vs. the have-nots, and only a small portion of it has anything to do with race.  The only part that really has to do with race is the total amounts of different people of all races that are forced to go through it. 

What do you hope readers will gain from reading your book?
I want to keep people from getting ripped off by an evil, deceptive and thankless system where the judges are not real and the system is rigged in order to make a profit. 

How have readers responded to your book so far?
I’ve sold a few on Amazon but I’m in the process of really marketing it and getting it out there to the masses.  Once I record my Audible version, I think it will sell more as well. I’m hoping an educator, rich investor or Hollywood producer will purchase a lot of copies, teach it as curriculum, or even turn my manuscript into another movie on the big screen like Divorce Corp.

What do you have in mind for your next writing project?
I’m going to tackle the subject of the At-will Employment Contract to help people understand the nuances of signing a contract to work in Corporate America.  

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?
My book is being offered and sold worldwide because many other countries have the same policies as the States for a Child Support system that’s used to manipulate and exploit people and their children to make a profit.

More Information

Buy the paperback version on Amazon. 

Buy the Kindle version of the book. 

Visit the author's WordPress blog.

Check out the author's Youtube channel.

Like the author on Instagram.

Check out the author on LinkedIn.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Tasha Waller, Author of "When The Stones Fell I Picked Up A Rock: Soul Trauma."

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Today we are interviewing Tasha Waller, author of  "When The Stones Fell I Picked Up A Rock: Soul Trauma."

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a mother of two, a Christian that loves God. I was a preschool teacher for 12 yrs. I'm currently a blogger and a Life Coach.

Describe your new book, “When The Stones Fell I Picked Up A Rock: Soul Trauma,” in a few sentences.
My book is an a inspirational book that was written to help others overcome their fears and trauma from what I have experienced from childhood to adulthood. The stones that were supposed to break me actually made me because I held on to my rock (God).

Who do you think would most appreciate this book?
I feel like anyone that has experienced any pain, suffering, and unfortunate trauma. They may not know how to overcome. They may get the knowledge through this story to give them the courage to speak up and speak out.

What inspired you to write a book about facing adversity?
Having experienced domestic violence, molestation, and wrongful conviction and seeing numbers of incidents increasing. I believe by myself coming out and giving my testimonies. Others will have the courage to come out fearlessly.

The book deals with a lot of sensitive topics, such as domestic violence, molestation, and wrongful conviction. Was it difficult to cover these topics in your writing?
No, writing is my form of expressive therapy. It helped me heal emotionally as I was writing. I was bought all the way back from my childhood to my adulthood memories that I overlooked for so long.

In the book, you write about transforming the mind while standing through the storms. How did the woman find the strength to do this?
She had to find God which is her rock.in order to gain the necessary strength to be healed and overcome her trauma.

How long have you been writing?
2 years.

What is your favorite book and why?
“When the Stones Fell I Picked Up a Rock.” It is my favorite book I have written because I have overcome my fears and trauma by my testimonies.

What genre do you read most frequently?

How have your readers responded to the book so far?
Many are inspired and eager to read it.

Is there any aspect of writing you don't like?
The challenging part of writing is usually the ending/closing.

What do you have in mind for your next writing project?
I'm currently working on multiple titles.

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?
This book is not just an ordinary book; this is a picture frame of my life's timeline of what I had to stand through when the storms got rough. Without God, this book would not have been possible. At one point in my life every trauma I had experienced I bottled it up in Shame and lived secretly suffering inside, and now I finally have to courage to let it out and be free and made whole. I now live in my true Identity.

More Information
Buy the book on Amazon.

Dawn Witte Be ...: A Coloring Journal Planner That Celebrates Living a Life of Purpose by Design

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Today we are interviewing Dawn Witte, author of  "Be ...: A Coloring Journal Planner That Celebrates Living a Life of Purpose by Design." 

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a certified life coach and the founder of the Desire to Inspire Foundation and upcoming Be Line skincare and fragrance products, and the co-founder of The Be Tour. Being a mom to my two daughters, Taylor and Carrington, is my proudest role and title. Because of my tremendous love for children I started my Foundation to help provide children around the world with a mother's love and care while helping them find and use their own special gifts and talents. All that I do began with my lifelong passion for helping and inspiring others. My books are my way of sharing all that I have learned with others so that they too can live fulfilling lives of purpose.

Describe the purpose of your book, “Be ...: A Coloring Journal Planner That Celebrates Living a Life of Purpose by Design,” in a few sentences.
The Be…Coloring Planner and Journal is something I hope inspires others to live their happiest and most fulfilling life. My co-creator, Deborah Louise Brown, and I wanted to create a book that we would love to have. A place to write hopes and dreams, a place to plan, and a place to celebrate living a life of purpose by design.

Who do you think would most appreciate this book?
I am a little biased but I think that everyone could enjoy this book. We created this journal to help people intentionally design, discover, and record their desires so they can find their own gifts and live into their own unique purpose. We wanted it to be a reminder for everyone that whoever they choose to "BE" in the world will come back to them; that everyone's life has challenges and being strong will help them persevere. We wanted them to understand the importance of being grateful for the life they have, to be inspired so that they can share their great passions with the world, and to realize that kindness and love are currencies more valuable than money. We hope it is a reminder to always be true to who you are and genuine about who that is in the world. And we wanted people to choose happiness, because it puts a special energy into the world that brings about even more joy as it spreads.
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Dawn Witte, author of "Be...: A Coloring Journal Planner."

What inspired you to write this book?
My daughters have inspired me to be the best role model I can be in all I do. Inspiring them, as well as others, to live lives full of happiness, love and kindness inspired me to write my books. 

Why is journaling your innermost thoughts and dreams so helpful for well-being?
No one knows us the way we know ourselves. Many philosophies throughout history believe that we all come into this world with a calling or purpose The way to live into that calling is by paying attention to the things that bring us to life, things that make us happy, things that excite, inspire and attract us. All of those parts of us that make us uniquely us are like puzzle pieces that when all put together create the whole beautiful picture. Through journaling, doodling, planning, and inspiration, we can start tapping into that inner voice that we all have and start putting our own puzzles together.

More Information
Buy a copy of"Be..." on Amazon. 

Visit the Desire to Inspire foundation website.

D. Sidney Potter, Author of The Essayist: Reflections from a Real Estate Survivor

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Today we are interviewing D. Sidney Potter about his work, "The Essayist: Reflections from a Real Estate Survivor: (A Collection of Essays from The Huffington Post, Dissident Voice and CounterPunch.com)."

Tell us a bit about yourself and your background in real estate and finance.
Born and raised in Southern California. Both sides of the family were in the real estate brokerage industry in one form or another.

Describe your essay collection for readers just learning about your work.
It’s a compendium of essays I wrote over a 5-year period from 2011 to 2016 as I traversed the country working for the very banks that provided home mortgages to the American populous, pre-implosion. I would fax in or email to various online periodicals, such as Inman Real Estate, Huffington Post, Dissident Voice and CounterPunch.

Who do you think would most benefit from reading your essay collection?
Anyone whose looking for an insider perspective, I suppose.  

What inspired you to share your experiences in the real estate finance mortgage industry?
Great opportunity to Monday quarterback the whole situation.  It just made sense at the time.

One of the themes in your writings is your criticism of the banking industry. What do you think is the biggest mistake they made in handling the situation?
That’s a perplexing question, since I think it can be argued that the biggest mistake was in how they the banks handled the post-crisis aftermath. And this was the loss mitigation aspect of it all. They did not have the appearance (or even the blue prints), on how to mitigate the foreclosures.  As a result, there were multi-billion dollar class action settlements for those that had their homes wrongly foreclosed upon. Those were the mortgage operation centers I worked in during that 5-year period of writing.

You also comment on the American populations eagerness to work with subprime mortgages. For people unfamiliar with subprime mortgages, can you briefly explain what they are? 
Subprime mortgages are essentially easier to get mortgages then let’s say prime mortgages.  Meaning, you put less money down, have a lower FICO score and document less income and assets, and viola – you should be able to get a mortgage. They are however reappearing in the market place, so instead of calling them subprime loans, they’re called Non-QM loans. The QM stands for “qualified mortgage”, which essentially means they did not meet the standards to be called qualified mortgage, which is a loan that the federal government will insure and buy back worst-case scenario. The only separation between Non-QM and Subprime today, is that they have a 10% down requirement for an investment home, compared to 0 to 5% for subprime back in the day. Give it about another 3 to 5 years before it goes back down to about 5%, and then things will start to rock n’ roll once again.
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The back cover of The Essayist: Reflections from a Real Estate Survivor.

Why do you think Americans were so eager to use subprime mortgages? And how can this mistake be avoided in the future?
They were eager, since some realized that the American Dream was only a signature away – literally and metaphorically. By simply signing a mortgage note they became a member. As to whether or not it will happen again, that’s the $64,000 question. Who knows?

When revisiting your experience through writing, did your perspective change compared to your views while in the midst of it?
I hate to say it, but my perspective only changed a small percentage. Keep in mind, I had been in the business over a decade before I started to write.  I wasn’t coming in as an outsider. 

What role did professional legislators have in the mortgage crisis?
Everything and nothing. Meaning, the laissez-faire declawing of banking legislation of the late 1990’s and the poisonous Kool-Aid that resulted in new mortgage product was Exhibit A for the mortgage crisis. Ultimately, this product was feed to a somewhat unwitting public to purchase homes. Simple as that.

What was the most challenging aspect of writing your essays?
Being as balanced as possible without displaying too much cynicism.

What do you hope readers will gain from reading your book?
Ideally, a jaded, but balanced and objective view of the money changers in this country.

How have readers responded to your book so far?
Positively, I hope.

Are they any authors who have influenced your writing style?
I admire writer practitioners. Meaning those that have actually worked in the industry in which they write about.  That would include Nomi Prins (All the Presidents' Bankers, Black Tuesday, and Other People's Money), and Michael Lewis (Liar's Poker, Moneyball, and The Big Short).

What do you have in mind for your next writing project?
It’s a memoir that lends itself as a cross between Death of a Salesman meets Glengarry, Glen Ross.  In short, The Broker chronicles the pathos of middle-aged men experiencing career failure, the nuts and bolts of real estate brokerage, and racism – as filtered through the eyes of a Black Italian Jew, raised in part, in South Central Los Angeles to West Los Angeles in the 1960’s and 70’s.  

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?
Nope, not at the moment.

More Information
Visit "The Essayist" website.

Buy "The Essayist" Kindle edition. 

Buy "The Essayist" Hardcover Edition.

Buy "The Essayist" Softback Edition.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Isabella Skye, Author of Pleasing Sarah

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Today we are interviewing Isabella Skye, author of "Pleasing Sarah."

Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hello everyone my name is Isabella Skye and I have been a obsessed romance reader since the age of ten years old. I'm a first time romance writer and I'm so happy to fulfilled my dream of writing on Amazon.

Describe the plot of your new book in a few sentences.
"Pleasing Sarah" is my baby because this book deals with real life issue that some couple's goes through. "Pleasing Sarah" is about Andrew and as you can read from the title Andrew is learning to please Sarah sexually. Andrew was in a past relationship where he was not fulfilling his ex girlfriend orally and his confidences was very low because he wanted to learn how to please a woman orally. He met an older woman Sarah and they fell madly in love but Andrew is scared that he can't satisfied her orally and he tells Sarah is fear. Sarah make it her mission to teach Andrew how to please a woman the right way.

Who do you think would most appreciate this book?
Anyone that is not confident in their skill of oral pleasures.

Andrew has issues in the bedroom stemming from a prior experience. How does Sarah help him?
Sarah help Andrew by using the climax of music. She show him steps by steps in classic music how you can move slower and then faster like music to bring satisfaction when pleasing a woman orally. How great is that.

Is Sarah sympathetic to Andrew’s issue initially?
When Andrew told Sarah his issue she was very fascinate and sympathetic and she wanted to show him there's nothing to be ashamed of and of course she had a lot of fun showing him how to please her orally.

Who was your favorite character to write?
Andrew and Sarah.

What are your goals as a writer for the next ten years?
To continued to write my fantasy and write bestsellers books.

How have your readers responded to the book so far?
Well from my review's and downloads they love it. I have a lot of reader's from the United Kingdom.

What do you have in mind for your next project?
Well I can't say anything yet, but I'm onto my third book and let's just say I think my readers are going to love it.

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?
My book is about my fantasy and I have so many ideas in my mind that I will continued to write for a very long time.

More Information
Buy "Pleasing Sarah" on Amazon. 

Christine Reidhead, Author of How to Ace a Job Interview: A Simple Guide to Landing Any Interview

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Today we are interviewing Christine Reidhead about her new book, "How to Ace a Job Interview: A Simple Guide to Landing Any Interview."

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I have been a College Business Professor for over two years.  I have my Master’s degree in Accounting.  I am passionate about being a life-long learner.  I would categorize myself as a mother, educator, humanitarian and podcaster.  I like to continually challenge myself and strive to be better every day.

Describe your book, “How to Ace a Job Interview: A Simple Guide to Landing Any Interview,” in a few sentences.
It is a guide to help you prepare for a job interview. It describes three different types of interviews and what to expect: face to face interview, video interview and phone interview.  Then it discusses the three stages of the interview process: before, during and after. It also provides common questions that are asked in interviews and common mistakes that are made and how to avoid them.

Who do you think would most appreciate this book?
It is a very easy to read step-by-step guide.

What inspired you to write a book about job interviews?
My college students keep asking me for guidance on job interviews. I felt this would be a great guide to help them along the way.

It seems there are some alarming stats in the news these days about college grads being underemployed.  How is the job market today compared to how it was ten years ago? Is it easier or harder to land a job? 
It is difficult to land jobs these days, probably a little harder than it was before. You really need to set yourself out in front of the pack. 
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Christine Reidhead, author of "How to Ace a Job Interview."

What are some common mistakes that people make during their first job interview?
I think one of the most common mistakes is being unprepared. This book will provide a guide that will help first time interviewees know what to expect and how to respond. I believe this book will help bring them a little more confidence if they apply the skills that they learn.

Is there a certain amount of time that people should allocate to preparing for a job interview?
As far in advance as you can. Practice and confidence are key to being successful in a job interview.

What to wear is always a big question for people going into their first interview. Business casual or formal? Do you have any tips for this?
Always dress for success. You are there to impress the interviewers and show them you are serious about the position. When you dress appropriately you will garner a little more respect. 

In terms of facial expressions, is this an important thing to be mindful of? Should people smile a lot or is there a risk of not seeming genuine?
The organization probably wants to hire a happy staff.  It is important to be cheerful and maintain a smile, but also be serious. You want to give the impression that you are serious about the position.

In a job interview, when talking about the applicant’s achievements, is there a chance that they can appear to be bragging? Or should they just demonstrate confidence? What are your thoughts?
It is common for job interviewees to become too confident.  It is bad for you not to be confident at a job interview, but a turn off if you are too confident.  It is important to strike that balance because you don’t want to leave an impression of arrogance.

What do you hope readers will gain from reading your book?
I hope they gain a confidence in themselves. Knowledge brings power and when you know a little more about what you are getting into, the more successful you will be.  I hope this book prepares them for success.

How have readers responded to your book so far?
It has been very positive!

What do you have in mind for your next writing project?
I’m working on a book titled, “21 Steps to Starting a Nonprofit Organization.”

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?
Enjoy and please leave a review!

More Information
Buy the book on Amazon. 
Visit the author's website. 
Like the author on Facebook. 
Follow the author on Instagram. 
Connect with the author on Twitter. 

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Hicks Road: Jacob's Story by Julian P. Flores

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Today we are interviewing Julian P. Flores about his young adult/adventure book, titled "Hicks Road: Jacob's Story."

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a very spirited, open person. I tend to be the person to bust out a very funny joke during gatherings.  I have a lot of artistic hobbies and skills including painting, digital design, and making fermented things like sauerkraut and Kombucha.  I also love everything about the outdoors, from gardening to fishing to camping. As a storyteller I love reading whenever I can, and watching movies, especially thrillers and horror.

Describe the plot of your book, “Hicks Road: Jacob's Story,” in a few sentences.
This is a story taken from a “personal journal.” As you read you’re alongside the main character, Jacob, as he goes through his life to develop into the person he is destined to become.

Who do you think would most appreciate this book?
Readers who have a love for a deep story, perseverance - overcoming huge obstacles and survival. It’s a story for people who can relate to “doing what needs to be done, at any costs.” 

What inspirations contributed to this book? 
Being a native to the land, being born and raised near Almaden, and growing up hearing the urban legends of Hicks Road inspired much of this story. As well as the local history of the Ohlone tribe that used to occupy this land, plus my own personal experiences, contributed greatly to this book.  

Tell us about the protagonist, Jacob.
Jacob is an incredibly caring person who is very, very strong willed. He goes through a lot in his life, growing up with struggles or what not, but he finds a way, and a purpose, to keep going. Some of our fans question how I found this character, I would say most of this character is based on me… 

The book is set in the 1850s. Was it challenging to capture the spirit of that time? Did you have to do any research? 
Putting myself into that time when I was writing was a big help.  Researching enormously was another thing, detailing down to the clothes that they used to wear back then.  It was a challenge in the beginning, but after immersing myself in the era I started to get a good feel for it.

What made you choose to set the story in Almaden, California? What can you tell us about the history of this location? 
Hicks Road weaves through Almaden, so the location naturally had to be, Almaden Valley. Growing up in the area sites like the iconic “Casa Grande” hotel and the Quicksilver parks, the New Almaden mines, inspired the history of Jacob’s story. Historically, the region grew their wealth due to mercury, nicknamed “Quicksilver,” and to this day remnants of the mines and equipment can be found in Almaden Quicksilver County Park.
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Author Julian P. Flores.

Mount Umunhum plays an important role in the story. Can you tell us what is special about this mountain? 
It is a very spiritual mountain, the name itself translates to mean “resting place of the humming birds” for the Ohlone people.  And yes, hummingbirds do occupy and nest there. When you look at the mountain in person, which can be seen from almost anywhere in Almaden Valley, you can feel the spiritually of the landmark and monumental presence of it.    

In the story, Jacob moves from being a victim of bullying to playing an important role in fulfilling his destiny. Did you set out to explore the theme of someone fulfilling their destiny? Or was it something that evolved as you wrote?
I think it was about 85% established from the beginning, that he’d be fulfilling his destiny, but the rest evolved through my storytelling.

An ancient Native plays a pivotal role in changing the course of Jacob’s life. What can you tell us about this character? 
Bodaway is a very wise and deeply spiritual character. He meets Jacob early on in the book and it is revealed that Bodaway has a sense of what the future of the tribe will be. He reveals that Jacob plays a major part in that and becomes Jacob’s primary teacher throughout his journey. I will go out and say he naturally becomes a role model for Jacob. 

Are there any authors who have influenced your writing style?
I would say Stephen King, especially his book called “On Writing,” which really gave me that extra boost to start writing. Of all my hobbies I’d say that storytelling is my specialty. I’ve been creating ever since I can remember, kindergarten, maybe before. I’ve always had a very big imagination.

What genre do you read most frequently?
Mysteries/thrillers, then horror and then fantasy.

How do you think you've evolved as a writer since when you first started?
I am learning quite a bit of the “ins-and-outs” of the book industry, and especially being self-published (for now). I am learning as I go.  I can already see the progression forming at a good pace.

Are there any aspects (e.g. character building, world building) of your writing that you've been practicing?  
I tend to get very detailed when I write, I am not sure if that is a good thing or not yet, LOL.  I am pretty much just letting my writing flow and not changing anything. Outlines are my life savers.

What are your goals as a writer for the next ten years? 
To keep doing what I love (storytelling) and create stories for the whole world to see.  

How have your readers responded to the book so far?
The response has been good, the locals and non-locals love it and the character.  I get a lot of responses about how they were very attached to the character, emotionally. Of course, not all responses are like this. Some say it’s “not their cup of tea,” while others may not realize that the book is intended for young adult readers, so it’s an easy read for some, but not all.

Is there any aspect of writing you don't like?
None whatsoever.  I appreciate all parts of writing.

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?
Yes, MANY times! How I dealt with it is to just stop, “stop what you’re doing,” I tell myself. I would either go for a walk, go to a coffee shop, garden, or tend to my hens. Whatever it took to clear my mind and then it eventually would come back to me.

What do you have in mind for your next project?
Follow the Hicks Road/ Silent Eye Productions via social media to see.
Or  www.silenteyeproductions.com  ☺

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book? 
The way my storytelling is, well, I think it makes my book different than others out there.  It definitely does not follow a normal type of structural reading. I like to bend the rules a lot. If you are into that, then give my book a shot.   

An excerpt from "Hicks Road: Jacob's Story":
I followed the sounds, turning my body around, and in amazement watched as the tribal marking became visible in the darkness.  They were light, very slowly shimmering.  I started to hear the loud cracklings behind me and turned to face it. 
Unsteadied by the turn alone, the ground began to shake and I fell down.  On the ground it felt as though everything was moving very quickly.  The ground itself was moving and the voices became much louder.  With it the cracking came too, more violently than before.  Rolling on my back I looked at the markings on the cave walls.  They had started to glow brighter and brighter.  
In awe of the spectacle I noticed new noise had come to the cavern, it was an “ummmm” sound. 
Suddenly, the light from the markings burst out and the glow of the source took form.  Spirits walked towards me.  The shapes, although dark, I knew were dressed in feathers.  Nearing me something else followed them, birds.  Flying behind the spirits.  They soared quickly before the approaching figures and I saw that they were giant hummingbirds.  Their eyes were large and glowing. 
There were a total of six spirits, all comprised of light, that approached me.  At least that is what I saw at first.  They slowed in their pace as they neared me and tilted their heads back, all looking at one particular marking in the cave.  They took one last step then stopped when the marking burst and light was expelled from the cavern.  A man stepped out. 
His face was pale and he had long hair.  The other spirits moved aside to let him through as he exited from the marking.  The spirit looked directly to me and spoke in Skitchan.  Then there was silence followed by the humming of birds, flying around me. 
I said, “I do not understand you.” 
Silence fell again in the cavern.   
The man said, “Jacob, I am The Skitcha.  The Skitcha people know me by this name alone.  And you Jacob, are my grandson.” 
I must have taken a step forward towards The Skitcha because we grew closer as he said this.   
“You are the chosen one.  You are chosen because my blood runs through you.”  
“You, you are my grandfather?”  
More Information
Visit the "Hicks Road: Jacob's Story" website.

Buy the "Hicks Road: Jacob's Story" on Kindle.

Buy the "Hicks Road: Jacob's Story" paperback edition on Amazon. 

Buy the "Hicks Road: Jacob's Story" audiobook. 

Buy the "Hicks Road: Jacob's Story" paperback on Barnes and Noble. 

Buy the "Hicks Road: Jacob's Story" on audible. 

Follow the "Hicks Road: Jacob's Story" Twitter.

Like the "Hicks Road: Jacob's Story" Facebook page.

Check out the "Hicks Road: Jacob's Story" on Instagram.

Find "Hicks Road: Jacob's Story" on GoodReads. 

Visit the "Hicks Road: Jacob's Story" YouTube channel. 

My Little Travel Black Book by Christina Sanders

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Today we are interviewing travel author Christina Sanders about her travel book, "My Little Travel Black Book."

Tell us about yourself and what got you interested in travelling.
My mom was my biggest influencer for travel.  She would always try to make sure that I was exposed to things outside of my hometown.  It was a small start - like road trips or trips with my high school band and church group, but I think I always enjoyed the thought of going somewhere.  It was in 2003 that I decided to go somewhere different every year, mostly to entrepreneur conferences but also for leisure.  

Describe your book, “My Little Travel Black Book,” in a few sentences.
"My Little Travel Black Book" is basically a guide in which I share strategies and resources to help people save money on travel.  I also share various travel tips that I’ve learned along the way.

Who do you think would most benefit from reading your book?
Anyone who wants and loves to save money.  Travel can be quite expensive, especially airfare and lodging - which make up most of the trip.  I share how one can save on both without cutting the quality of the trip itself.

What inspired you to write a book about travelling on a budget?
I like to save money, period.  That’s pretty much with any type of purchase, I am always looking for a savings.  I like quality, but I like to save as well.  So when I decided to make a yearly tradition of going somewhere different every year, I knew that I wanted it to be cost effective.  After much research as well as trial and error, I’ve found numerous ways and resources to do just that.  Most people don’t like to take the time out to research and I love to do so and because I gathered so much information, I decided to make it easier for people to get the information that they need.

For people who have never traveled, what do you think are some of the benefits of travelling?
Exposure.  Exposure is a necessary element in life.  When you are exposed to new experiences, new cultures, new opportunities, and new ideas you become a better individual overall.  You begin to think differently and a lot of inspiration comes from that.  Traveling gets you out of your own box and helps you to see that there is so much more out there and ways to do things than what you are accustomed to.

What are some of the favorite places you’ve traveled to?
Curacao was my first solo international trip. Though it is a Dutch Caribbean island, it was definitely a learning experience.  I met some cool people there and I’m still friends with them.  Curacao is a very beautiful and colorful island that is rich in history.  I can’t wait to go back.

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Christina Sanders, author of My Little Travel Black Book.
You write a lot about websites and apps that are helpful for travel. How important is technology for the modern traveler on a budget?
Honestly, in this day and age, you cannot go without technology.  When it comes to travel, you have things like GPS or location tracker for safety, apps like Yelp - find places to eat, and practically everything centered around your trip can be managed from your phone, including plane and entertainment tickets.  I am a technology enthusiast.

Is now a good time to travel? How are flight costs and housing costs now compared to a decade ago?
The thing about travel is that the industry is always advancing but rates can vary.  Travel expenses as you know, can be quite costly.  However, we live in a new ’sharing’ economy in which  makes the market quite more competitive.  Even if you don’t want to take advantage of the “sharing economy” options, there are other alternatives that are quite comparable.  You can literally pay $500 or less for a whole trip and that’s not a turnaround trip.

When planning a trip for the first-time, what do you think travelers should consider when selecting a destination?
I really want to say budget, but that might deter people.  But I always want to be realistic.  However, there are various tools out there that will allow you to pick a destination based on your budget.  My book is not to encourage people to travel if they are struggling in their finances, but if they read the book, they will find ways to save up for travel or even pay off debt. 

A lot of people are dissuaded from travel by the cost of flights. Are there ways to save money on airfare?
Absolutely.  I cover a lot of different resources in the book.

How have readers responded to your book so far?
The readers are loving the information.  In fact, I had someone reach out to me the day after they had received to book to let me know how helpful it was and how it was able to help them save half on lodging at the last minute.  That means a lot and lets me know that it is effective and valuable to my readers.

A lot of first-time travelers are recommended to stay in hostels to save money. Can you tell us a bit about hostels? Do you recommend them for first-time travelers?
Great question.  I probably would not recommend staying at a hostel for first time travelers, just because they would have to consider safety and sharing of resources and that might deter them from traveling.  However, I do know that hostels are popular and very affordable.  In fact, on a random trip, I stayed at one.  It was very interesting to say the least.  I can’t say it was a bad experience but very different, almost like staying in a co-ed dorm.  I met a lot of people from all around the world…literally!

Do you have any specific locations that are great for first-time travelers who want to experience a new country and culture on a budget?
I don’t have much international travel experience, so I really can’t recommend places per se, but what I do recommend is asking around.  Facebook Travel groups are a great place to start because you will connect with people that solo travel or even with family and friends and they can give you the best details on where to go.  Then once you’ve got a place and mind, check out my book on how to make it happen.

What do you have in mind for your next writing project?
I am looking to create a student guide for travel as well as break my compilation copy out into mini books, which was the original plan.  Those mini books will be for solo travelers, couples, families, groups, and business travelers.

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?
Enjoy your life.  Don’t get stuck thinking that things are impossible because 9 times out of 10, someone has figured out a way to do something that once seemed impossible.  In the words of Nelson Mandela “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

More Information
Visit the "My Travel Black Book" website. 
Check out the author's website. 
Follow the author's travel Instagram. 
Follow the author on Instagram. 
Find the author on Twitter.