Saturday, August 31, 2019

Blake Sherrie, Author of Who Am I?

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Today we are interviewing Blake Sherrie about her motivational children’s book “Who Am I?"

About “Who Am I?”
“Who Am I?” is a motivational book encouraging children to explore their identity through respect for self and others, positive behavior, and character building. Promoting positive self awareness will have a lasting impact on our next generation and generations to follow. Let’s inspire the youth in your life to affirm who they are with confidence!

Who do you think would most enjoy this book?
Teachers, parents and grandparents reading it to toddlers through early elementary school age children.

What inspired you to write a children’s motivational book?
Always had a desire to inspire.

Your book has a theme of exploring one’s identity. Why do you think it is so important for children to explore their identity and have self-awareness?
They can learn any lesson and respect.

“Who Am I?” contains a number of important lessons about respect, positive behavior, and character building. Was it difficult to write about these important lessons yet also make the book fun and approachable for children?
No, because I believe we play a major part in speaking good behavior into their life.

Tell us about the characters in “Who Am I?”
The main characters are the brother and sister Evan and Eden. Then there are the twins Payton & Paige. Evan is a problem solver that is always helping his friends to find answers.

What are some of the issues the characters face while learning about their identity and exploring self-awareness?
Think smart and dream big, don’t put limitations on yourself, if you apply yourself the sky is the limit.

Did writing the book take you to unexpected places or reveal things you hadn’t thought about before?
Yes, it helped me realize, “Never allow fear to detour your trajectory, when life’s waiting on the one thing that most tend to avoid change” – by Blake Sherrie. 

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Children's motivational author Blake Sherrie.
Can you tell us a bit about your writing process?
My goal is to always inspire and encourage children to do their best. Reaching for the stars should be a challenge but, they can have fun in the process.

Do you have any tips for people looking to build confidence in their children?
Speak positive and remember, “When it’s your destiny you don't have to chase it, Faith and Aspiration brings you that much closer to your Dreams” by Blake Sherrie 

How did the book evolve from the initial idea to the finished manuscript?
Wanted to reach the masses, children are our future, and we must take the time to stimulate them with love.

Are there any authors who have influenced your writing style?
The author that influenced me the most and some of my favorite authors Dr. Seuss, Hans Augusto, and Margret Rey.

What was it like working with the illustrator, Christina Brown?
The illustrator was very helpful, and it was like she was seeing what I was thinking.

What do you hope readers will gain from reading your book?
You must love yourself and always respect others. Treat people how you want to be treated hoping what goes around will come back around.

How have readers responded to your book so far?
They love that it is bright, colorful, and eye catching also the fact that it’s 2 languages in one book and can serve to teach either language.

Can you share how your interest in writing developed? Did you always know you wanted to write or was it something that evolved with time?
Love working with children and wanted to inspire them all over the world.  Had been writing a manuscript for adult then it came to me one Saturday afternoon why not write for children because you can inspire, be creative with your ideas yet keep it simple.

In ten years, where would you like your writing career to be?
I would like to have numerous character building series that will teach valuable life lessons.

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How do you feel about the increasing popularity of ebooks?
I think ebooks are the future and we working on the format as we speak.

What do you have in mind for your next writing project?
The next book is a character book series one teamwork and the other helping others.

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?
I wrote with the raising money to open a facility for children. This would expose them to knowledge and activities that would make a difference it the world. 

About the Author
Blake Sherrie is children’s author who writes motivational help book that inspire students. She is a native of Baltimore that believes in times of uncertainty and negativity we all must remember these two words---dignity and respect. She believes you must never lose focus because dignity and respect for one another will surpass the evil that you encounter in some people’s hearts. You can contact me via email at blakesherriebooks@gmail.com. 

More Information
Buy a copy of "Who Am I?". 

Friday, August 30, 2019

Dr. George Ampat, Author of BANDAIDE

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Today we are interviewing Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon George Ampat about his new book on back and neck pain, titled "BANDAIDE: Back and neck discomfort relief with altered beliefs, intelligent postures, dynamic movement and exercises."

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I work as a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at Royal Liverpool University Hospitals. I also teach at the School of Medicine, University of Liverpool. After years of surgical practice I now specialise in treating people with spine, feet and other musculoskeletal problems without surgical intervention if possible.

Describe the purpose of your book in a few sentences.
Provides a concise but comprehensive understanding of spinal problems and how it can be addressed. Contains 65 color illustrations with a short text below each illustration. 

Intelligent postures are a major part of your book. Can you tell us a bit about them and how they help with back and neck pain?
Traditionally we sit with our thighs parallel to the floor. Unfortunately this stretches the muscles at the back of the lower back and curves the lower back the wrong way. It should be in lordosis (curved forwards) but the stretch reduces the lordosis. However when sitting with the hips higher than the knee, like when sitting perched on a seat, the stretch is less and the lower back remains in lordosis. This is a more healthier position. 

What are some of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to address their back or neck pain?
Fear of exercising and movement. Kinesiophobia. Lack of movement weakens the muscles. The weak muscles will not support the spine and will increase the pain. 

Exercises are a major part of your book. How frequently do you recommend people do these exercises? And how much time do they take?
Three times on each occasion and three times daily. Only 10 to 15 minutes on each session. 

One of the strengths of your book is it is written in a concise yet thorough manner. Was it challenging to capture the detailed information contained in the way and write about it in a manner that is easy-to-understand?
Yes it was.

For someone who isn’t suffering from back or neck pain but wants to take preventative measures, is there anything they can do to lower the chances of experiencing back or neck pain as they age?
Keep moving. Keeping the core strong. Sitting on a dynamic seat like a saddle chair. 

What was the most challenging aspect of writing the book?
Keep it simple for all to understand. 

What are some of the most common reasons people experience back or neck pain?
Lack of muscle strength i.e lack of core strength. 

What do you hope readers will gain from reading your book?
By empowering them to self help themselves. 

How have readers responded to your book so far?
Very well 25 5 star reviews on Amazon. 

What do you have in mind for your next writing project?
A title called Free from pain. Another self help book for seniors with bone and joint pains. 

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

More Information
Buy the book on Amazon. 
Check out the author on Facebook. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Christina Kilmister, Author of Passion, Fashion & Heart

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Today we are interviewing Christina Kilmister about her non-fiction / self-help book “Passion, Fashion & Heart.” 

Describe your book, “Passion, Fashion & Heart: Discover the unique ways to feel fabulous in your skin!,” in a few sentences.
It is about following your heart, finding and living your passion in life, and discovering how to dress and style your own body shape. 

Who do you think would most appreciate this book?
Women that are any age and from all walks of life, who don't have the time or know how to dress and style themselves. Women that don't enjoy shopping for themselves because they don't know what to buy. Women who would love to discover an easy way of defining and enhancing their body shape so they look and feel fabulous. Or simply a fashion lover who would love to hone their styling skills, or just enjoy reading about the personal journey of a fashion obsessed designer chasing her dream! Lastly, of course any woman who loves fashion tips, secrets and backstage fun.

What inspired you to write about your journey in the fashion world?
My inspiration was drawn from my desire to help women feel beautiful inside and out, and not just with their closet but in their life as well. To show them that they too can be doing what they love. I wanted to share the highs and lows, experiences, and challenges from my journey, so hopefully the readers could relate too. Whatever they were passionate about it, could also become a reality for them as it did for me.

One of the major turning points in your life was when you left the black-and-white corporate world. Can you tell us a bit about compelled you to make this change?
It was taken out of my hands to a degree and started with a deterioration of my health, which came from working too hard in a stressful role. The day came when it took it's toll, and I was taken to hospital after collapsing at work. From that day, my eyes were opened to how totally miserable I was in my career. That I was inside a "black and white" world that felt like I was on a spinning wheel, just going round and round, when all I was really craving, was a world of "colour".

I didn't want to spend the rest of my life building someone else’s dream, someone else’s business, and if I didn't walk away, I would lose myself altogether.

A great strength of your book is that you follow five women from all walks of life as they share their personal stories and learn how to dress. Why do you feel it is important in the fashion industry to share the perspectives of such a diverse group of women?
It's important because that is the reality, we are all different, individual, we all come from different backgrounds and upbringings. That every single one of us was created with a totally unique body shape. By discovering how to feel good about yourself through fashion, is something that really can change you. People may say, "But how can just putting on a pretty dress make that much difference?" It does, and believe me I have seen it first hand myself, time and time again. It is about the way it makes us feel. I wanted to share these perspectives, to let women know it is OK to look after you. To make sure you feel great, you look great, and that no matter what your body shape is, love it or not, there are ways of highlighting, enhancing and embracing your own body shape. I always say, if you feel amazing you are amazing.

For women just getting into learning how to dress yet are intimidated, do you have any tips for them?
Yes- read my book! Haha but really the first step is to simply discover your shape, find out what you should be wearing, start wearing things that make you feel special, beautiful. Leran how to shop for yourself the right way, the easy way, it really can be fun! When you know what to look for, you won't be trying on a hundred things that only make you feel yuck about yourself, because simply, they are not for your shape. You will shop with no more exchanges and refunds. A step at a time, tick it off and move to the next.

What advice do you have for someone who is just getting into fashion for the first time?
Push away the doubt, push away the fear, push away others opinions of what they think you should be doing. Go with your gut, it always has your back. A really important thing, is to be resilient, that's the advice I was given once and it is so true. Just make the first move, don't look at the "big picture" that can daunt you. Baby steps, You've got this!

Did you always know you wanted to be a designer? Or was it something that developed over time?
Well, from a young age I was surrounded by it and also adored it. My mother loved fashion and was always making beautiful clothes for me and my three sisters. Our dolls and ponies too for that matter! I would watch her sew for hours, go with her to the fabric shops and play immersed in fabrics, designing dresses for my dolls. My grandmother was also a great fashion lover and would design and make her own garments. So I am the third generation of fashion obsessed women. That may have something to do with it!

What was the most interesting thing you uncovered while following the stories of the five women in the book?
One of the most interesting and also most surprising to me, was that they all thought it was selfish to have time spent on themselves. They thought that somehow wanting to look and feel good wasn't important, Especially the women with families, that once you became a mother you lost the right to care about yourself as a woman, your loves, your desires, your body, your closet, pretty much you. Yet when they finally did do it, it was actually, and literally life changing for them. Even they couldn't believe how different they felt, how even the little things in their everyday life now seemed happier, better in some way.

Did writing the book take you to unexpected places or reveal things you hadn’t thought about before?
It revealed to me that since I've started writing  I never want to stop. That my writing was another way I could help and guide women through my passion for fashion. I could share my own experiences, advice and tips through words. Through my book. Through sharing a part of my life. Before I started writing, my only option for helping, was being a fashion designer and creating beautiful clothes for women to wear. 

When I now look back at what I have achieved since launching my brand, and all the amazing opportunities that have come to me,  made me see that  no matter how scary it felt at the time, walking away from my corporate career to follow my true love-fashion, had definitely been the right thing to do.

What do you hope readers will gain from reading your book?
I dearly hope that they will gain a love and confidence in their body, shopping and most importantly for themselves. They will now know it is absolutely, and more than OK to have "me" time, to do things for themselves, to take care of them. Also that it can be easy and effortless to dress and style, if you just discover how. Life is too short to settle, and they too can be doing what they love in life.

How have readers responded to your book so far?
Wonderfully, amazingly and in a way I had only dared hope for. I feel incredibly appreciative of every person that has read my book and allowed me to share my journey with them. More and more I am receiving such kind feedback and stories of how it as helped and inspired them, and how they are really feeling great about themselves, how things are changing for the better. 

What do you have in mind for your next writing project?
Well, it is all under wraps at the moment but I will say, I will be embarking on another amazing adventure in the near future. There is so much to look forward to and I am super excited, there is definitely another book on the cards!

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?
You are in for a bit of a ride, some laughs, some tears and some moments when I'm sure you will be saying out loud " Oh no, what an earth was she thinking?!" Mostly I hope when you turn the pages, you will feel the love and passion that I wrote this book with. That I truly do want you to feel beautiful inside and out in yourself, and in your life. Thank you

More Information
Visit the author’s website. 
Buy the book on Amazon.
Follow the author on Instagram. 
Like the author on Facebook. 

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Carrie Coupland, Author of A Day at the Zoo!

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Today we are interviewing Carrie Coupland  about the children's picture book "A Day at the Zoo!"

Tell us a bit about yourself.
My interest started when I was a little girl reading animal books. I had many pets growing up so I was inspired to write my own stories about them. 

Who do you think would most appreciate this book?
Anyone who likes colourful pictures and rhyme. Although the general consensus is around under 8 and the parents that enjoy reading to them!

What inspired you to write a rhyming book about animals at the zoo?
I enjoy writing rhymes and have always been good at it. I also love animals.

How did you balance writing rhyming prose that is suitable for reading aloud with describing the illustrations? Did you have prior experience with rhyming? 
I drew up a story board and wrote the rhymes before illustrating them. 

You’re also an illustrator. Did your interest in writing and illustrating develop alongside each other? Or did one develop first?
I always loved drawing as a child and when I could write I was writing books about my pets.

What medium do you use to do your illustrations?
I sketched them on a pad and redrew and coloured them on procreate.

What are some of the animals featured in the book?
A lion, a monkey, a hippo.

Do you have a favorite animal in the book?
The hippo, he’s funny

Is there an author that had a major influence on your writing style?
I grew up reading Dick King Smith and loved all his animal books! I also love A.A Milne.

How long have you been writing?
Since I was big enough to hold a pencil!

What are your goals as a writer for the next ten years?
To not give up and keep writing and drawing. As long as my daughter enjoys my books that’s all that matters.

How have your readers responded to the book so far?
My friends and family have just ordered their copies and they love them. It helps I know many people with small children!

Is there any aspect of writing you don't like?
Getting stuck at a point but not really a problem with short children’s books.

What is your favorite part of writing children’s books?
Hoping that a little boy or girl loves reading or getting read your book. And that my own little girl likes my book too.

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 think all writers get blocks, you just have to put it down and come back to it. Meditate, go out in nature or anywhere that will inspire your book, will help for inspiration!

What do you have in mind for your next project?
Possibly more “days at”. I’m illustrating lots at the moment, so hopefully I can write a book based on an illustration I’m proud of. 

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book? 
Enjoy reading to your little ones. Time goes so fast. My book easy and enjoyable to read!

More Information
Buy the book on Amazon.

Dr. Joyce Addo-Atuah, Author of The Power of Thanksgiving: A Blueprint for Contentment, Fulfillment, and Well-Being through Gratitude

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Today we are interviewing Dr. Joyce Addo-Atuah about her Christian inspirational book, titled “The Power of Thanksgiving: A Blueprint for Contentment, Fulfillment, and Well-Being through Gratitude.”

You are a new author and so it is important that people get to know who you are. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am a pharmacist by profession but since 2008, I have been in full time academia as a college professor at the Touro College of Pharmacy in New York City. I am a very passionate educator, teacher, speaker, motivator, and storyteller. I have spoken and taught on several professional as well as Christian platforms and have travelled widely to nearly 40 countries. My husband and I are blessed with 4 children, all young adults now. Although I have been writing in the scientific world as a college professor is expected to do, this book, “The Power of Thanking: A Blueprint for Contentment, Fulfillment, and Well-Being through Gratitude” is my first one in the non-academic world.

Describe your new book, “The Power of Thanksgiving: A Blueprint for Contentment, Fulfillment, and Well-Being through Gratitude,” in a few sentences.
One reader of the book has described it as “the Genesis through to Revelation of thanksgiving.” Genesis is the first book of the Bible and Revelation is the last one so I believe that this reader meant to say that the book is a comprehensive text about thanksgiving and indeed it is.

It starts with why we should be thankful, to what we should be thankful for, followed by how to express gratitude to God and people, to how to develop a lifestyle of gratitude, through to the physical, mental, relational, and spiritual benefits of a gratitude lifestyle. Chapter 7 calls every reader to action to begin their individual life journeys of gratitude. The chapter describes a 4-step process of Acknowledgment ( of our brokenness as people), Reconciliation (with friends and family), Giving (paying it forward; doing good to others in appreciation for all that we have); and ending with the Sustainable Lifestyle of Gratitude stage in order to obtain the full range of the benefits of thanksgiving over the long term.  

What inspired you to write The Power of Thanksgiving?
You see I am naturally a very grateful person and so taking stock of my life and reflecting on all the opportunities that God in His infinite mercies has brought my way, I have since 2013 felt a strong urge to write a book that will publicly thank Him and the people around the world He has used to bless me in diverse ways. For example, I dedicated a section of the book to write about my encounter with and appreciation for all the assistance and support I received for my PhD program in the United States because of Dr. Dick R. Gourley (Professor Emeritus and former Dean of the College of Pharmacy at the University of Tennessee in Memphis and his wife Dr. Greta Gourley who I met in year 2000. 

Let me state here that I have spelt out my 3 goals for writing this thanksgiving book in the chapter “Why I Wrote This Thanksgiving Book.” So my first goal as explained above is to thank God and people who have contributed to my life in diverse ways. My second goal I will address in answer to the next question.  

But my third goal which is the most important to me is to demonstrate in concrete ways that I am grateful for all that I have received in life by paying it forward. So I would like everyone to know that proceeds from this book will provide the seed funding for the Shalom: Health & Education in Ghana (SHEG) Foundation which I am planning to set up to assist in meeting the basic health and educational needs of people in Ghana, especially those in the rural areas. I have seen heart-wrenching pictures of pregnant people sleeping on the bare floor in healthcare facilities or others being turned away for lack of hospital beds. In the area of education, school children in many areas don’t have properly constructed classrooms, even basic structures; some learn under trees siting on pieces of stone or on the bare floor. My passion is to make a difference here. 
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Author Dr. Joyce Addo-Atuah.

What do you hope readers gain from reading your book?
By the way, the book is available in 3 formats-Ebook, paperback, and audiobook. So whether people read or listen to the audiobook, I sincerely hope that both readers and listeners of this book would learn about the wide-ranging benefits of a lifestyle of gratitude, starting from increased happiness and translating into good physical and mental health, better relationships, a positive outlook on life, higher productivity, and long life among others. Not only will they learn about these life-transforming benefits of thanksgiving but I do hope that they will take the 4-step process to initiate their own gratitude life journeys in order to actually experience these benefits over the long term. I also do hope that readers and listeners of this book will gain even more benefits when they realize that they are actually contributing to a worthy cause bigger than themselves and do whatever they can to partner with me in accomplishing the goal of improving the education and healthcare resources for rural Ghana.

Who do you think would most appreciate your book?
I think everyone, no matter their background, would appreciate The Power of Thanksgiving. This is because everyone is happy when appreciated for an act of kindness. Also the wide-ranging health and relational benefits that people who practice gratitude derive is not limited to any group of people. However, because I wrote the book primarily to thank God and the people who have been kind to me in my life thus far, and because of my Christian background, some chapters in the book, especially chapters 3 and 4, is scripture heavy and so may turn off the non-Christian reader. Having said that, every person, no matter the religious or cultural background, stands to benefit from developing and demonstrating gratitude (Chapter 5), experiencing the health and social benefits of a gratitude lifestyle as described in chapter 6, and the call to action as has already been described in chapter 7. 

It seems more and more people are discontent and unhappy with their lives. Do you think social media and technology are factors in creating a materialistic culture?
Technology has certainly made it possible for people to show off their lives to people around the world on social media. Whether these seemingly exotic lives are the reality all year round is another matter but they create images which may evoke feelings of inadequacy in people who may be prompted to compare themselves and their surroundings to those depicted by those they see on social media. This certainly may be one of many sources or causes of discontent and unhappiness among people today. This may be true for people of all ages but may be even more so for the younger generation because of peer pressure.

One of the strengths of your book is it draws from science, scripture, and your experience. Was it challenging to write about this vast amount of information while still making the book relatable?
I must say that the connection between a gratitude lifestyle and good health and well-being among others have already been established by science although I must admit that I didn’t know about it or the extent of the studies. I chanced over these priceless scientific findings when reading another book on thanksgiving which made references to these scientific studies and that drove me to get to the source of these fascinating research findings. These findings greatly enhanced my desire to write The Power of Thanksgiving: A Blueprint for Contentment, Fulfillment, and Well-Being through Gratitude because I realized that I now had 3 sources of evidence regarding the benefits of a gratitude lifestyle; i.e. Scripture and my own life experiences buttressed by scientific evidence. This makes this book unique because it has something for everyone no matter who they are or their background.

In addition to easy-to-follow methods for seeing God’s hand in our daily lives and advice on how to be grateful, your book also contains Bible passages and hymns. How did you select the scripture and hymns to include? Do they share a theme?
Yes, the Bible passages and hymns in the book all share the same theme of thanksgiving and gratitude to God for His love, protection, provision, opening of opportunities for His people and so on. 

The specific scriptures selected and where they appear in the book depends on what is being discussed in that particular section of the book. For example, I bring in the Bible passage of David fighting and killing the giant named Goliath to demonstrate one of the many reasons we have for being grateful to God-giving us protection from our enemies and supernatural abilities to overcome difficult situations. 
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Are there any people in the Bible who standout as inspirational examples of practicing gratitude?
I quoted extensively about King David because, as I stated in the book, he was a shining example of someone who knew where God had taken him from, a shepherd boy alone in the fields taking care of his father’s sheep, to be anointed by Samuel on the direction of God to become arguably the greatest king of the Jewish nation in his time. He did not hide his gratitude to God; even as king, we are told that he could sing and praise his God with careless abandon of his status as king. Let’s remember that in gratitude to God, he had the intention to build a temple for Him, although he was told that it was his son Solomon who was to do the building. However, King David made sure to make all the things required for the temple building ready for his son before his death. It takes a heart of gratitude to do all these and let’s also not forget that he wrote the majority of the Psalms of praise and worship in the Bible.

What was the most interesting thing you uncovered while doing research for the book?
When I started to write this thanksgiving book, I decided to watch the daily practice of people with respect to thanksgiving and gratitude. I began to look out for people who were showing gratitude and those who were not and the circumstances under which these practices occurred. So for example, during my morning commute in the New York City subway system, I began to take note of various acts of ingratitude which I had previously overlooked. These acts of ingratitude included people taking seats vacated by others for them without even a nod of acknowledgment; some people also waved off attempts by others to vacate their seats for them often to the embarrassment of the philanthropic person. It was really interesting to watch these everyday human interactions in the context of gratitude and thanksgiving. 

Did writing the book take you to unexpected places or reveal things you hadn’t thought about before?
I can definitely say here that writing this book reminded me of so many things in my life and that of my family which I had forgotten about or taken for granted. As I began to write, I was reminded of these life experiences that reflected whatever section of the book I was writing about. Recounting these life experiences I sincerely believe would make the message of the power in thanksgiving much more real and relatable to both the readers and listeners of the book. 

You have an interesting background, as a Pentecost Bible College board member and college professor, in addition to being an author. What drew you to writing as a way to share your message? Did you always know you wanted to write?
You see, as a college professor I have to write in order to see any career progression. We have a saying in academia which goes like “Publish or Perish.” So I have many published papers and book chapters to my credit in the academic world but as I have already stated “The Power of Thanking: A Blueprint for Contentment, Fulfillment, and Well-Being through Gratitude” is my first non-academic book. Now that you’ve asked, I remember that during my primary school days in Ghana, I wrote a story entitled “My Grandmother’s Funeral” which described vividly the elaborate burial proceedings for my loving grandmother who was very much alive and well at the time. I still don’t know why I chose that topic because I truly loved my grandmother and didn’t in any way wish for her death, but what I remember is that the story won the inter-schools’ essay competition for my school. That’s when I realized that I have a writing talent.

What are some of the common mistakes people make when they decide to start practicing gratitude?
Practicing a lifestyle of gratitude is a 2-way street which involves the person showing appreciation for kindness received both in word and deed. The latter includes paying it forward by showing kindness or doing good not only to the person who was the initial benefactor but also to other people. What is important to remember though is that not everyone would show appreciation for the good that we do on their behalf; some people may even do things intended to harm us in spite of our kindness to them.  If we don’t take care, we may allow these inevitable cases of ingratitude to make us bitter or angry and we may even decide not to follow the path of gratitude any longer. What we need to remember is that by aborting the gratitude path, we actually hurt ourselves and deprive ourselves of all the long-term benefits of gratitude and thanksgiving.

Do you have any advice for people who are intimidated by the process of changing their lives to practice gratitude?
I encourage people to start small, wherever they are and at whatever stage in life they may be right now. They can start the practice of gratitude by appreciating the “small things” in life. Research has shown that even writing down one thing that one is grateful for on a daily or weekly basis yield measurable health and other benefits. 

What was the most challenging aspect of writing the book?
I would say the most challenging aspect of writing this book was finding the time, the commitment, and the determination to start and complete it. By joining a community of writers and would-be writers through enrolling in the Self-Publishing School was the best investment I have made for my self-development for a long time. Because by hearing and seeing the results of community members’ achievements in their writing and publishing journeys gave me the impetus and determination to start my own writing journey and to become a published author in November 2018 after a 3-month period of focused work.

How have readers responded to your book so far?
I thank God that readers and listeners of The Power of Thanksgiving: A Blueprint for Contentment, Fulfillment, and Well-Being through Gratitude have really responded positively to the book. I have over 30 five-star ratings on Amazon from verified customers and everyone who has read or listened to the book say it has reminded them to be thankful and not to take anything for granted. The book has also received excellent editorial reviews from the Readers’ Favorite (Five star) and a 4/4 star rating from the Online Book Club of over a million members. More importantly, the book has won 4 awards this year alone-a winner in the National Indie Excellence Awards, a Bronze Medal winner in the Global Ebook Awards (Christian Non-Fiction), a finalist in the Book Excellence Awards and also a finalist in the International Book Awards (Christian Inspirational).  So all in all the response has been very positive across board. 

Where can people get copies of the book to buy?
People can get copies on Amazon in the U.S. and also in Canada, Europe, India, and Australia, among others. Other outlets include Barnes & Noble, Books- a-Million, Hudson books, and independent bookstores supplied by Ingram Spark. People can also check with their local bookstores and recommend this book for them to stock copies if they haven’t done so already. The Audiobook is available through Amazon, Audible, iTunes and many other audiobook outlets.

You said one of your goals for writing this book is to get seed funding to assist in providing resources for education and health for people in the rural areas of Ghana. That is a very laudable goal. So how can our audience help in achieving this goal? 
I am appealing to individuals and corporations, institutions, influencers, society icons, for profit and not for profit organizations, and communities of faith to get involved and put their weight behind this very worthy cause. Let’s promote this book to become the go-to thanksgiving book for all people all year round in order to generate the funds needed to improve the education and healthcare resources for Ghanaians especially those in rural communities. Libraries and bookstores can contribute their quota to the success of this project by stocking copies of the book and partnering with me to promote the book through book signing, book reading and similar book promotional events and activities. 

Readers and listeners would be contributing a great deal by posting reviews of the book at the sites of their purchases and also encouraging their family and friends to also get involved.   

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers and listeners to know about your book? Any closing remarks you would want to share with potential readers?
Yes, I would like to announce that we are running a 7-day Kindle countdown deal on Amazon for the Ebook beginning on Friday, September 13 with a starting price of $1.99 which will be increased gradually through to September 20, 2019 when it returns to the normal retail price. This is a deep discount from the normal price of $5.99. I encourage people to take advantage of this great discount to get their kindle copies on Amazon because this purchase would qualify them to get the audiobook for only half the price. For those who may be doubting the value of the audiobook, please read the experience shared by an Audible member below:

“I enjoyed this audiobook. I intend to listen to it over and over again. I found a lot of peace listening to each chapter. We are reminded to be humble in all that we do and that God’s grace sees us through. The nice aspect of the audio version of this book is that one can hear the music (piano versions) and it’s a lovely addition.”

I would like to thank you all for your support for this book and for making the project in Ghana possible for the benefit of the less privileged. I am truly grateful and appreciate you all.

More Information

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Ian Primmer, Author Hometown: The Puget Sound Kids of the 1990s

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Today we are interviewing Ian Primmer about his new novel, “Hometown: The Puget Sound Kids of the 1990s.”

Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Ian Primmer. I am an Pacific Northwest author. I reside in Washington State and have lived there for most of my life. I have a wife and five children.

Describe the plot of your new book, “Hometown: The Puget Sound Kids of the 1990s,” in a few sentences.
The story is about a boy named Cody Muller growing up in the Pacific Northwest in the 1990s. A young misfit who experiences quite an array of wild adventures and crazy encounters. Cody struggles his entire life to find himself, making one mistake after another. He suffers loss and small victories like no other. In essence, Cody is the poster child of what not to do, and how not to act in this 90s circa theme. 

Tell us about the troubled young man who is the story’s protagonist.
Cody Muller struggles his entire life to find himself, making one mistake after another. He suffers loss and small victories like no other. In essence, Cody is the poster child of what not to do, and how not to act.

The main character struggles as a result of poor decision-making. What kind of poor decisions does he make? How does he cope with his situation?
Suicide attempts, smoking oregano in the band room, shooting Darrius Rucker in the rear with a pellet gun on the golf course, popping all the number pads off of the lockers so other kids cannot retrieve there items between classes, assaulting a political figure with a paintball gun, Cody almost can’t help himself. He wants to make good choices and is by no means morally bankrupt. He just can’t quite get a grip on psyche and behavior. 

Can you tell us about us about the main character’s relationship with his friends?
Making friends is not a challenge for Cody. However, choosing his friends is. This is Cody’s downfall. With the exception of his childhood best friend Wesley, Cody struggles to find a friend as worthy after Wesley moves to Seattle.

Tell us about the setting, 1990s Pacific Northwest.
The Pacific Northwest in the 1990s was a prosperous times for all ages. The economy was pretty good, and the Seattle music scene was considered revolutionary to most living in the area. 

Was it difficult to capture the 1990s with your writing? Did you have to do much research?
As the author, I had a significant advantage as I was raised in the Pacific Northwest during the 90s and didn’t need to do much research to capture the circa. However, I did have to double check some of the dates given movies and music to match the age of the protagonist at times. 

What draws you to the coming-of-age genre?
Childhood youth is universal and relatable. 

Grunge music was a big part of the 1990s Pacific Northwest. Did you draw any inspiration from this culture?
Absolutely! Before the explosion of Seattle’s grunge scene. Music was kicked off by an up-and-coming band called “Mother Love Bone.” In my opinion, this eventually led to Temple of the Dog, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden. Kurt Cobain and Nirvana were a given. A freight train couldn’t stop that movement from happening and Jerry Cantrell along with Alice in Chains simply couldn’t be passed over. For many of us, we felt a sense of great pride growing up in an area that was so recognized musically. Many of us were devastated by the loss of Kurt Cobain. 

Are there any authors who have influenced your writing style?

How long have you been writing? How has your writing changed since when you first started?
I started writing after a long and exhausting family court battle in my early twenties. I couldn’t understand how a lawyer could charge so much money for writing in such an argumentative form. After awhile, I attempted to mimic the style and began to like writing. I later ventured in to technical and political writing and eventually wanted to write my own stories. 

Who was your favorite character to write?
Cody’s mother Doris Muller. I have an emotional attachment to the character similar to my own mother. A sweet innocent victim of a toxic teenage wasteland. 

How do you think you've evolved as a writer since when you first started?
Honestly, I believe I’ve got a long way to go. We never stop learning and I really wished I would have furthered my academic career before diving head-first in to my writing ambitions.

Are there any aspects (e.g. character building, world building) of your writing that you've been practicing?
Yes! I am proud to say that I have been using the Novelist app on my google chrome laptop. The app allows you to build and mold each character before writing the story. 

What are your goals as a writer for the next ten years?
I’d like to finish my next book entitled “Hang em’ high”- The modern punishment for an active shooter. I would also like to complete a box set series of small town stories throughout several cities in my home state. 

How have your readers responded to the book so far?
I think “Hometown” is still a little new to the market. I have not received any reviews yet. 

Is there any aspect of writing you don't like?
No. I love all aspects of writing. 
ian primmer, hometown the Puget sound kids of the 1990s, coming of age, pacific northwest author, Washington state author, 1990s pnw, pnw novel, grunge novel
Author Ian Primmer.

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 have had writer’s block. Fortunately, it never lasts very long. I always have several book ideas floating on the Novelist app at all times. I have also found that in times of writers block. This is the best time to work on the book cover. Working on the cover snaps me out of any anger or frustration from the block, and motivates me back into my work and generally creates a new perspective or idea that snaps me right out of writer’s block. 

What do you have in mind for your next project?
My next project is entitled “Hang em’ High” – The modern punishment for an active shooter. I am deeply saddened and concerned about our current social situation. I am dedicated to writing ideas to assist in preventing active shooter situations. Nobody should have to suffer the wrath of an unstable human being firing high powered weapons at will in any situation or scenario. My next project is solely dedicated to the victims and families who have suffered due to these unspeakable acts of domestic terrorism. 

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?
Despite the trials and tribulations contained in this novella. It is honestly an interesting short read. It can be done in a few hours. Follow along as Cody, family, and friends make there way through life in this coming of age story. 

An Excerpt from “Hometown: The Puget Sound Kids of the 1990s,” Chapter 4: Officer Glenn:
The following morning was Memorial Day, and Cody's parents did not have to work, and Cody did not have to attend the school that day either. However, Cody was rudely awakened by the sound of pounding at the front door. Cody found it strange that his parents had not responded to the banging at the door. He quickly threw on some basketball shorts and a T-shirt and ran to the front door to see who was at the door. Before answering the door, he peered through the living room window to see who it was. All he could see was his stepfathers' brown 1980 Chevy Silverado parked along the street in front of the house in the early morning fog. Had he lost his keys? Cody wondered while he rubbed his eyes trying to quickly shake off the cobwebs from being awoken from a dead sleep. That can't be right Cody thought as he tried to reexamine the situation, he wouldn't have been able to drive home as the house key is on the key ring to his truck. Cody opened the door anticipating an angry stepfather to instead an angry police officer with a black eye. Cody immediately slammed the door in the cop's face yelling "just a minute officer." Cody rushed to the stairs and met his mother halfway down.  
"Who is it?" Doris asked Cody. 
"It's the police" Cody responded back.  
"What in the hell do they want at this hour?" She asked.  
"I don't know, is dad home?" Cody asked. 
 "Yes, he's upstairs, and nobody better wake him, you know how he gets, he got in late last night," Doris said.  
Doris walked towards the front door to speak with the police officer.  
"Go back to bed," she shouted at Cody. Yeah right, this ought to be good Cody thought to himself.  Doris stepped outside and shut the front door behind her. Cody tried to listen in from the living room but had a hard time trying to make out what was being said between his mother and the officer. Finally, Cody heard shouting "he took my god damn car" coming from who assumed to be the police officer.  
His mother then opened the front door and walked out to the garage.  
"Get your ass back to bed Cody, I'm not kidding young man," she ordered. She then opened and closed the door to the garage from the house behind her. Cody could hear the garage door open. He then ran to the living room to see if he could get a view of anything happening in the driveway from the living room window, but the outside of the garage blocked his view. Moments later, Cody saw the police officer leave in his patrol car, and his mother moved the truck and parked it back in the driveway.  
"I thought I told you to go back to bed," she screamed at Cody.  
"What happened?" he asked.  
"Apparently Ben and officer Glenn had an incident last night after your father left a bar in town and the two of them got their cars mixed up somehow, now get back to bed and don't wake your father" she replied. 
More Information
Buy the book on Amazon. 
Visit the author’s website. 
Like the author on Facebook. 

Friday, August 23, 2019

Dawn McLaughlin from Positively Publishing Kids

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Today we are interviewing Dawn McLaughlin about Positively Publishing Kids, a multicultural book publisher. 

PPK is a multicultural book publisher. We work with kids to create books. We write and they illustrate our stories. Our goal is to provide kids with financial opportunities through book sales and to help close the diversity gap in children's literature.

What inspired you to start a publishing company for kids who have a story to share?
Actually we have the stories, we look for kids to work with, creating illustrations for us. A few years ago, after over 20 years of trying to get my stories published I decided that I needed to find another way to make it happen.  At the time I was working in Newark, NJ at Big Brothers Big Sisters and had met so many amazing children and realized that there was no lack of talent or creativity, just outlets and opportunities. So I decided to create a publishing company working with kids to get our stories out there. Creating both creative and financial for kids, while helping to close the diversity gap.

You have a unique process for getting the author’s story out there. Tell us about the process of publishing a book, from the initial idea to the published book.
The story is given to the student. It is broken down in pages. The student then creates the illustration for each page. They are given creative freedom. It does take some time, going over the illustrations and tweaking them. From there the book goes to a graphic designer to get designed and then off to print.

Why do you think it is so important for kids to be able to express themselves creatively?
I believe kids have a lot to teach us, but I also believe that as humans we are meant to create. I think today children have limited opportunities to be creative and it is important that they have this as an outlet.

Publishing multicultural kids books is a big part of your publishing company. What made you decide to make diversity a cornerstone of the books you publish?
There is a big issue in children's literature when it comes to diversity. Even though the statistics have changed for the better the last few years, it is still not good. Only 1% of kids books have Native American representation, 5% Hispanic, 7% Asian Pacific, 10% African American, 27% animals and 50% white. I don't think that is an accurate view of the world. A lot of kids aren't seeing themselves in books. Why would they want to read or think books are for them if they can't see themselves? I also think that we shortchange the 50% that are represented because they are not given a fair view of the world. We are doing all of our children a disservice.

Tell us a bit about one of your latest book, “Who do you think I am?”
This is our first book, we are currently working on our second title. However, “Who do you think I am?” is about possibilities. Your child can be anything they want to be. It was illustrated by Hannah Rowe, who was a teenager at the time.
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For someone looking to buy one of the books, how do they go about purchasing a copy?
Right now they can head to our website, positivelypublishingkids.org.

Are you still accepting submissions for new work? How does a young author or illustrator submit his or her work?
Yes! We are looking for stories and artwork. Students can email us their work at dawnolson@positivelypublishingkids.org.

What are your goals for POSITIVELY PUBLISHING KIDS for the next ten years?
We would like to become a successful independent book publisher, creating diverse literature, guiding our illustrators and authors to success, financially and professionally.

How have your readers responded to the books so far?
So far, everyone that has purchased the book has really been happy with it. It is a really positive and uplifting book. You can check out some of the reviews on our website

What is the most challenging part of running POSITIVELY PUBLISHING KIDS?
Getting our name out there so that people can see what we are doing!

More Information
Check out the Positively Publishing website. 
Follow Positively Publishing on Facebook. 
Visit Positively Publishing on Instagram. 
Connect with Positively Publishing on Twitter.