Posted in authors, books, characters, conflict, family, favorite books, fiction, friend, love, mystery, novels, pain, publishing, purpose, readers, romance, series, small towns, support, WFWA, womens fiction, writers

Multi-published Women’s Fiction Author Kathleen Paterka says “don’t give up.”

Kathleen Irene Paterka Author

A very special welcome to Kathleen Paterka. We met through the wonderful group, WFWA, Women’s Fiction Writers of America.  Kathleen, when did you first know you wanted to be a writer and was there a particular inspiration to get started?

I fell in love with the written word in the 2nd grade reading my first Trixie Belden® book. In case you’re not familiar with the series, Trixie was a girl detective who teamed up with her brothers and best friend Honey Wheeler to solve mysteries occurring around their little town in the Hudson Valley area of New York. Trixie Belden changed my life. It was the first time I’d read a book with a plot and no pictures. I devoured the existing series (12 books), and anxiously waited for the next one to be published. It was around that time I made the decision that someday, I would be an author and write more Trixie Belden novels. While I never did tackle the world of Trixie Belden (the last book was published in 1986), I did start my own series. The James Bay novels (Fatty Patty, Home Fires, Lotto Lucy, and For I Have Sinned) are set in the fictional resort community of James Bay, Michigan. After finishing those four stories, I wrote another two books set in different locations. Royal Secrets is about a family-owned Las Vegas wedding chapel, while my upcoming release, The Other Wife, is set in Chicago. For my next book (which I’m currently researching), I’ll be taking readers back to James Bay.

I too well in love with writing over Trixie Beldon, as you can see from my own tattered copy. It is one of my treasured possessions.

Trixie Belden

Do you have a background in writing? What other work have you done, and how has it impacted your writing career?

In school, my teachers tried steering me toward Creative Writing classes, but I dug in my heels, screaming “No, no, no!” I didn’t like being forced to write poetry or short stories. I knew I wanted to be a novelist, and I couldn’t see any point in wasting my time by writing Haiku (sincere apologies to any Haiku-enthusiasts who may be reading this). While I concede that there are basics to the craft that must be mastered (sentence structure, proper grammar, plot elements, etc.), there’s simply no way another person can ‘teach you’ how to write a book. Want to know the secret? Sit down and start. It’s as simple as that. Caveat: notice I did not say it was ‘easy’. It may be simple, but it’s definitely not easy. After graduating college with a degree in Sociology, plus a few years spent working for a local newspaper, the Catholic church, and the law, I finally settled down where I belonged: in a beautiful castle located in Northern Michigan. My job as staff writer at Castle Farms (a century old French Renaissance castle listed on the National Register of Historic Places) is like a fairy-tale come true.

Kathleen, what advice would you give to new writers just getting started with their first manuscript?

The best advice I can pass along was given to me by an author friend when I was just starting out. This highly successful NY Times bestselling author told me: “Perseverance and persistence, along with discipline, determination and confidence, are EVERY bit as important as talent. Your belief in yourself… is THE ONLY THING that separates you from the hundreds who will fall by the wayside without their dreams and goals realized. Don’t give up. Don’t give up. Don’t give up. Work hard, work smart, work tirelessly. Be tough, be brave and be persistent. All clichés, yes. But when they apply to you and how much you want to realize your dream, they are very apt.” I’ve kept my friend’s message tucked close in my heart through all the ups and downs of my publishing career, and it’s served me well. Today, I’m sharing her message with you. Don’t give up!

FattyPatty ForIHaveSinned HomeFires LottoLucy RoyalSecretsCream

Tell us about one of your book in 3 sentences. Fatty Patty (my first novel) is semi-autobiographical. Though I’m now at a normal weight (and have been for over 35+ years), I weighed three hundred pounds while in high school. Fatty Patty tackles the issues of dieting, dating, self-esteem, and exposes the gritty honest truth of what it’s like to be overweight in a society that worships thin.

What is the premise of your novel we are promoting today? My upcoming release, The Other Wife, will hit the shelves (and the cyber-world of Amazon, Barnes & Noble, plus Kobo) in February 2015. What happens in a woman’s life when her husband dies? What kind of secrets might be revealed? I came up with the idea when my own husband, Steve, actually died in front of me early one morning. I was sitting at the end of his bed in the semi-darkness when he made a strange sound. At the time, I thought it was the oddest snore I’d ever heard. Turns out, it was the infamous ‘death rattle’. Believe me, if you’ve never heard it, it makes the hair on the back of your neck stand straight up! Luckily, Steve was in the cardiac unit of our local hospital. They called a Code Blue, and the medical team managed to resuscitate him. He’s since had a triple by-pass and doing well, thank you! But that hospital experience in 2011 got me to thinking: What if Steve had been at home, asleep in our bed? What if he’d let out that horrible sound, and I’d assumed it was only a loud snore? I probably would have poked him, rolled over in bed, and gone back to sleep… what a horrible thing to wake up to in the morning. And what would my life have been like after that? Thus, a new storyline was born.

Can you share a few paragraphs from your book to whet our appetite?

Here’s the Prologue from The Other Wife… I hope you enjoy it!

It wasn’t much of a sound. Later, she would remember it as an odd sort of grunt. Still, it had been loud enough to wake her. Eleanor rolled over in their king-size bed, stretched out an arm, and nudged him. Richard’s snoring had worsened in the past months. She lay there in the darkness, waiting to see if another nudge was necessary. Just the other day, she’d read how snoring could be a sign of sleep apnea, leading to other, more serious, health problems. Perhaps tomorrow, depending on what kind of mood he was in, she’d mention the subject over breakfast. Maybe she should insist that he see a doctor. Not that it would do much good. Richard rarely listened to her. For most of the thirty-eight years they’d been married, he hadn’t listened to much of what she had to say. He’d probably give her his usual shrug, tell her to quit worrying.

Quit worrying. It wasn’t until five hours later that she realized she’d had good cause to be worried. She should have known that sound was different. She should have stayed awake. She should have tried to rouse him. Instead, she waited another minute, surrounded by silence. Then, turning over, she laid her head back on the pillow and curled up in her spot, still warm from sleep, snuggling into the clean, fragrant smell of freshly laundered sheets changed by Martha the day before. Closing her eyes, Eleanor drifted off into the most pleasant dream… only to wake the next morning to every woman’s nightmare.

Richard, in bed beside her, was dead.

Readers, go to Kathleen’s website. There is a place where you can enter to win a FREE copy of her new book, The Other Wife. I have read Fatty Patty and Royals Secrets.  They are both fantastic.  I can’t wait for The Other Wife to come out.

Thank you, Kathleen, for being on Author Interview Friday on Writing Under Fire.

Author website:          http://kathleenirenepaterka.com/

Facebook:                    https://www.facebook.com/KathleenIrenePaterka

Twitter:                       https://twitter.com/KPaterka

Amazon:                      http://www.amazon.com/Kathleen-Irene-Paterka

Barnes & Noble:         http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/kathleen-irene-paterka

 

 

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Posted in family, fiction, fire, fire fighter, love, novels, purpose, romance, small towns, womens fiction, writers, writing

Learning to love among the ashes. A firefighter’s wife’s story.

Megan Kiffmeyer

 

I’d like to introduce you to one of our youngest writers. Megan (Truenow) Kiffmeyer is a 2004 graduate from St. Cloud Technical High School. She was a writer and editor for the high school paper. After graduating, she attended St. Cloud Technical College and received an AAS degree in Credit and Finance. Megan married her husband, Brian in 2007. They welcomed their first son in 2008, and a second son in 2009.

She currently resides in Kimball, Minnesota. Megan is a part of their local Fire Department Auxiliary, and is the wife of a fire fighter.

Her debut novel,  Moving On, is the first of a series that focuses on three couples who all have ties to the Hutchinson, Minnesota Fire Department.

Megan, what drove you to write your novel?

I had started reading more books after receiving a Kindle for my birthday. Out of habit, I was reading a lot of romance novels, and had a hard time finding books with the main male character as a fireman. I’m married to a fireman, and figured there had to be other wives that would want to read the same thing.

How long did it take to write your first draft?

I started writing the first part of June 2013, and had it done by the end of August. It took me a few weeks to outline the story in my head before any of it was written. I set my own deadline because we were moving, and wanted to have it done before the move.

Do you always use the same POV?

My first book is written as third person switching between the lead male and female, but I would like to try first person. It was hard using she/her all the time.

Tag Line:  After Beth’s husband dies responding to a fire department call, she fears finding new love. But sparks fly with a new member of the fire department, and Beth has to decide if she can handle a new relationship. Will she take the chance on another fireman?

Mving On

What was the hardest part in the writing process?

My husband is on our local fire department, and for me it was difficult to come up with names and situations that were not too closely related to people in our town and on the department. The characters are purely from my imagination.

Any advice for new writers?

Keep writing! If you enjoy writing, keep trying. The more patience you can have, the easier the process will feel.

Do you stick with the same genre when writing?

My first novel is considered a romance, and I will write more romance novels. I would like to write a children’s book with my boys as the characters, but I haven’t figured out what kind of story I want it to be yet.

Where can readers buy Moving On?

Blog:  http://mnfirefighterbooks.blogspot.com/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Megan-Kiffmeyers-Author-Page/564803140270543

Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Megan-Kiffmeyer/e/B00HX89T8G/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

Can you share a little from the  book?

Beth had known Josh since the first year of college. He was from Hutchinson, the town they later called home. She grew up in the cities, and wanted to get out of the busy, urbanized area. Beth had always felt trapped by the tall buildings and fast paced way of life. Both had attended many of the same general education classes, and the friendship grew into love. He proposed the week after graduation, and they got married the following April. Even at 23, she knew with him was where she was meant to be.

One thing that drew Beth to Josh was his willingness to help. It was no surprise to her that he desired to follow his dad’s footsteps and become a member of the Hutchinson Volunteer Fire Department.  He joined the spring before school was out, and commuted from Hutch to school every day. He didn’t want to miss any called and let his numbers slip. The fire department was a second family to him.  His best friend Petey, the brother he never had Josh always said, was the best man at their wedding.  It was a great source of friendship for both Josh and Beth.

They had been married 3 years when they started talking about having a baby. They were lying in bed tossing around ideas of what to name the future little one when Josh’s pager went off. He kissed her good-bye, and told Beth he loved her before grabbing his socks and getting his jeans on as he ran out the door. Beth caught part of the end of the page, hearing it was a car wreck on the main highway. Please keep the guys safe and get the people the help they need, she said in a quick little prayer. It became habit when she knew he was on a call.

A few minutes later, Beth heard the sirens. Their house was less than a mile from the fire hall, which usually resulted in Josh getting on the first rig to leave. About ten minutes later, there were more sirens. Car accidents meant at least one fire truck, the rescue rig, and an ambulance. She waited to hear the third set of sirens, and then got out of bed to get some things done. Josh wouldn’t be back for a while, longer if it was a really bad accident.

Beth worked on getting laundry done, cleaning the living room, and headed to their office in the half story of the house. The office was on the main level, and their room and a third room that was mainly used for storage in the top level. Beth went upstairs and stood at the doorway of the storage room, trying to picture what it would look like with a crib. They were ready to be parents. Josh would be a great father.

As the afternoon went on, Beth found herself cleaning the spare room. There were a lot of things kept in the room that could be moved to the basement already. She took a trip down memory lane as she flipped through photo albums of their wedding and honeymoon. Beth found a box in the garage and labeled it “Photos” before adding the albums and other pictures to it. She brought the box to the basement, along with a few other boxes.

As she came up the steps the last time, she took a look at the clock and decided to start making supper. Beth was filling a pot of water when she looked out the kitchen window and froze. The Hutchinson Fire Department car had just rolled up to the curb in front of their house. Petey got out, wearing a tired look. This couldn’t be good, Beth thought. He rubbed his face for a second, and then crossed the street and walked up to the door. The first knock on the door jarred Beth back to the present, and she turned off the water. Walking to the door, she knew Petey wouldn’t have shown up unless something had happened to Josh. She opened the door, and saw it was grim by the look in Petey’s eyes.

“Can I come in?” he asked her, leaning on the doorway.

“Sure.”

They walked into the living room, and Petey sat on the couch. Beth stood with her arms crossed.

“I think you should sit down, Beth.”

Beth let out the breath she hadn’t realized she was holding, and sat on the couch with Petey.

“What happened?” she asked, fearing the reason he was there.

“Do you know what the call was for?” Beth nodded yes, and Petey continued. “ We were out on 7 for a roll-over. The car was smashed so bad, but being the first crew on the scene, we were doing as much as we could to assess the victims’ conditions. Josh was on the driver’s side when a truck came barreling through our scene. The driver didn’t see Josh.” He put his head down in his hands. “He hit Josh.”

Beth didn’t notice the tears falling until they started hitting her arm. “Where’s Josh? I need to go see him.”

Petey looked up, his eyes also wet.

“He’s gone.”

Posted in books, characters, editing, fiction, purpose, readers, thanks, womens fiction, writers, writing

The Writing Process Blog Tour

Thanks to Patty Campbell for inviting me to be a part of the “Writing Process Blog Tour.   Reaching her goal to be published by a royalty paying publisher, Jelly’s Big Night Out, was released in 2012, and Once a Marine was released in late 2013. And that’s just the beginning. Her newest novel Still a Marine will be released soon. To check out her answers to these four questions, go to

http://pattycampbellauthor.blogspot.com

PattyWebsitephoto

My answers to the four questions:

1.  What am I working on?

My current work in progress is now in the final draft stage where we authors bury ourselves behind closed doors to edit, kill our darlings and tighten saggy middles. The premise of my novel, Re-homing Pigeon is about a Louisiana woman who wants to be a mother more than anything in the world. The problem?  She believes she has a Voo-Doo curse. Still her husband talks her into adopting a child from Russia. Things don’t go well and they have to make the decision whether to give the child up through disruption – commonly called “re-homing”.  That’s all I am willing to give away at this time.  No spoiler alerts.

2.  How does my work differ from others in the genre?

That’s a big one. I write women’s fiction. At a glance I fit into the typical mold for women’s fiction – a woman protagonist that experiences an emotional, spiritual or psychological journey. Where I stray from the norm is the subject matter. I always write about controversial, current day issues that force the reader to question what they thought they knew about a subject.

3.  Why do I write what I do?

First, I have to say that I don’t write to change anyone’s mind. But I do write to make people aware that sometimes (usually) there are two sides to a story and before you start to judge someone, walk a mile in their footsteps.  More or less, life is messy and it takes tough decisions.

4.  How does my individual writing process work?

I usually get my ideas  from watching the news. Then it stews around in my head for awhile to morph into a story.  I start by writing a character sketch for the major characters and a time line. Then I work on a very basic outline.

Once I start writing, the characters take over and  it always makes some detours. My outline goes through many revisions in the process. I spend a lot of time on research, trying to stay as accurate as possible about my subject matter. There is nothing worse than reading a book and thinking, “This author has no idea what she is talking about.”

Some stores fall flat on their faces. Others make it to final drafts and so far, two have made it to publication.

Want to know more about my books? Log on to my website.  http://www.joannetailele.com 

Lg cover from Creat Space      Town Without  Mercy 2.27.14

 

Posted in authors, books, Christian, fantasy, fiction, God, novels, purpose, writing

James Voris presents The Perfect Daughter

James Vois      James L. Voris

Welcome James to Author Interview Friday. Your story is an interesting one and I am going to let you tell it without my interruptions. Take it away James.

I’m probably going to sound like some weird nut case but I had this story in my head for many years. When I retired, I finally had some time and decided to try to write it. It ended up with over a million characters and I had to trim, trim, trim. The characters took over early on and all I did was write down what they dictated. I found my self laughing with them, crying with them and actually arguing with them. I would often say (out loud) I can’t get you out of this or that situation but low and behold they could, … and did.

My first writing endeavor began as a graphic adult love story with a science fiction twist (The Waters Series – 2 books). That was followed  by to science fiction that developed into four books (Tra$h Man Series). Then a change of genre, to a humorous memoir of my time in the US Air Force as a photographer (Helluva Ride), to a fictional religion based book dealing with the second coming of a messiah, a woman this time. (The Perfect Daughter)
 I am a lousy self marketer of my works. I chose to self publish because I don’t have to answer to anyone and write the kind of stories I like to read. They don’t fit to formula writing and if no one reads them, that’s okay. I’m just not concerned with selling books. I believe I’m a “author” not a writer. Writers write to earn a living and authors write in hopes of being read.
Without a doubt, for me the editing process is the most difficult. Luckily I have several very intelligent friends and the Pine Island Writers group that provided constructive criticism. I’m terrible at grammar and if it were not for computers and spell check writing would be impossible for me. Sorry to say that I don’t follow an outline. I tried to, but with my writing style of letting the characters go their own way, following an outline doesn’t work for me. My characters play in a similar manner to life itself, where despite the best of plans, what the next day brings is often a roll of the dice.
I am probably be the last person to answer any questions about writing as a career. If it’s for your own feeling of self worth then write what comes calling and let it flow. Let your story tell itself and don’t worry about things that are “cleaned up” later in editing.
The Perfect Daughter
 The title of my book is “The Perfect Daughter” You can get it on Amazon at the link below. Briefly, it is a strange twisting chain of events collimating in the second coming of the next Messiah, a woman this time. The product of an immaculate conception virgin birth, Christine brings a message of love and hope for humanity. Her mission is to find and train twelve women to carry on her message as she explores her own human side. (It’s kinda the story I think most people would like to know about Christ and his human side.)
 Here are excerpts from my book.
 (Character talking with God.) Why don’t you show yourself to me? I’d feel less afraid if I could see you.”
 “In all the religions of all the worlds throughout the universe, I made my creations with free will first, and secondly, I gave them an awareness of me. Please, understand this wasn’t so they would worship me. I am not vain. I neither need nor want the whole of creation falling on their faces at altars to sing my praises, or pray to me morning, noon and night ad infinitum. Certainly I never, ever, want sacrifices to me. I would never ask that of my children. The only reason I want my creation to know of me is so they know love, forgiveness, trust, and kindness. I greatest desire is for the whole of my creation to celebrate that. But nearly everywhere across the universe, where their writings proclaim me as their only God, I am assumed of have make them in my image. They often presume that I demand the blood of anyone that doesn’t believe in the religious cultures teachings in this country or that. The same as it is here on your world.”
 “Then, …” I asked clearing my throat and with a little fear in my voice, “ ahhmm … what do you really look like?”
 (Sara’s – [To be Christine’s mother] early introduction into story)
 So, this young woman, who had everything; brains, beauty, talent, and in the prime of her life only months from obtaining her PhD – was lying on the highway amid the cataclysm.
 Each heartbeat spurt from the gaping wound in her neck lessened her chance for continuing life.
 First, she was aware of the tumult, a cacophony of sounds, … sirens screeching, men and women screaming, people running, the deep, heavy rumble, crashing sounds of heavy things breaking and the ground shaking under her. Then the sounds of shattering glass and dogs howling, but it was the screaming and running that frightened her most.
Then she was aware of acrid, black rubber and tar-burning smoke that seared her lungs, stung her eyes and burned her throat.
 Dazed, she rose up on one arm to look through the fog in her mind. The caustic smoke, bedlam and carnage all about her overwhelmed her senses as she tried to understand what was happening. Looking at the ground through a fuzzy haze, she was aware of blood splattering, and the thought flashed through her mind….‘who’s getting blood all over my new, beautiful, yellow, dress, … I’ll have a devil of a time getting that stain out. Who’s doing that, … stop it!’ The blur increased as she grew weaker. The sudden realization struck her that she was the source of the blood. She began to cry as she slumped forward. It grew darker and she felt sick as the chill overcame her.
 (First meeting with 25 of the top world religious leaders  to show the proof of the divine miracle of virgin birth.)
 By the time they entered the vault room Keith had another lighting pack set up. There were twenty-five cases stacked. There were also comfortable chairs for those gathered to sit in. Robert stepped forward at this point and addressed the group. “This ‘proof’, is by far the most unbelievable of all. I’m a medical doctor and I had doubts, even though it was my own daughter, so rather than bore you with my story I’ll just show you the proof.” Robert gave a visual presentation of every record, the entire CT scans, Sonograms, MRIs, DNA evidence, detailing everything he had discovered. He had Sara and Victor tell their story in their own words of what they experienced. At the conclusion he wrapped it up with the statement. “I can’t offer you more proof than this. I’m giving you all the material I have, every scrap of paper, every note, memo, thought. I have to let you now decide what to do with it.”
Thank you James. It has been a pleasure having you on Author Interview Friday.
Posted in authors, books, poetry, purpose, readers, support, writers, writing

The Life of a Poet – Thomas Noel Smith

Thomas Noel ,

Joanne:  Welcome Tom Noel Smith to Author Interview Friday.  Tell us a little about yourself.

Tom:  I am interested in promoting my book anywhere I can. I am a local Florida writer—Arcadia—I have written three books of poetry.  “’Dust’ and Other Poems,” “Words of the Times,” and “Impressions and Memories.”  “Impressions and Memories” has just recently been published.  I have also written several short stores,  not yet  published.  I am currently working on my fourth book of poetry as  well as two short stories.

Dust  Words of TimesImpressions and Memories

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joanne: It is a pleasure to have you with us today. Do you have a background in writing or did you take any special writing courses that helped you along the way?

Tom:  I have a degree in English and a degree in Theatre.  Speaking strictly as an English major, I found myself fascinated by literary works of all genres.  In poetry I was fascinated by the works of such writers as Andrew Marvel, Matthew Arnold,  Longfellow, Emily Dickinson.  Of course I was enthralled by the master, Shakespeare.  I studied their words and listened to the rhythms of each piece.  It was like a grand symphony—words and rhythm, all working together to weave a wondrous spell on the mind, the heart, and the spirit. Yes, poetry touched me in that way and I wanted to be able to write with command of words and rhythm and music.

In terms of writing I was swept away by such writers as Dickens and Conrad.  I was fascinated by the works of Twain and Cooper, and even contemporary writers such as Pat Conroy fired my imagination.

But my background…I suppose life’s experiences demanded that I listen and hear and feel.  I spent the early years of my childhood in France, Germany, and England.  I lived in a number of states and I guess that the knowledge that we would be moving about every 18 months (or every 3 years, if we were lucky) taught me about the instability of the world around me, and that in itself must have sparked  the creative demon that came to live within me.  I suppose all of that guided my steps toward writing.

Joanne:  I think life’s experience can sometimes be our biggest inspiration.  You know the old saying, that truth is stranger than fiction. What other work have you done and how has it impacted your writing career?

Tom:  I began my experiences as a magician.  I did stage shows, close-up magic, mentalism.  I have worked in professional theatre.  I went to Ringling Brothers Clown College and travelled with a small, one ring circus for two years. I was a professional clown, I also did magic in the show.  I taught Theatre in the public schools, but I gave up teaching and went back to my first love—acting.  I now work as a film actor in Florida.

How has this impacted my writing?  I think that it is rare that any individual gets to experience so many different phases and faces; smiling faces, young faces, old faces, care-worn faces.  How can all these work experiences not impact my writing?  Just being an active part of life and all its experiences—all this must impact the manner in which one writes and the subjects about which he writes.

Joanne:  A magician, that is interesting.  Do you have any special time or place you like to write?

Tom:  Yes. I do have a special time.  I like to write late at night when all the world is sleeping.  The air is still.  There is a quiet that I may not find during the earlier hours.  I go into my office and I write for hours.

Joanne:  What does “finding your Voice” mean to you and how did you find yours?

Tom:  I think that our “voice” is always within us, just begging for the chance to free itself and find its way onto our pages.  Finding a voice, for me, is akin to listening to a melodic sound and then humming what’s within one’s head.  For me, it means casting away one’s inhibitions and allowing the passion that burns inside to have a vent, a way to express itself.  It means to me, that one must give himself permission to be himself.

I went to a poetry conference not too long ago, and there were poets who were telling me that I did not write in the modern style or the style that was accepted by the contemporary world.  At first I felt dejected. I felt as if I didn’t have any talent.  However, there was something within that telling me that if I heeded all those voices, I would not be true to myself. I would not be an individual poet.  I remember they kept asking me rather contemptuously if I just wanted to write for myself.  I took this as a rebuke.  Then I found myself.  Yes, I want to write for myself. If I am not pleased with my words how can I expect any reader to be pleased?  But I am writing with my own voice not someone else’s.  The key to finding one’s voice is to remember the words: “And this above all: to think own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.”

Joanne:  I can’t agree with you more. First, we must write for ourselves, before our voice can be heard by the masses.  What inspires you to write when you’re feeling down or less confident than usual?

Tom:  This is the time the I do my best writing.  I don’t know why but when I close myself off and I begin to write and the words seem to come more easily, and I often surprise myself at what happens in those dark hours when I am down or upset.

Joanne: Why do you write?

Tom:  Why does the sun rise each morning? Why do we pursue dreams that could easily be deemed foolish.  I write because there is that within me that I cannot explain. The words must come out.  They aren’t always intelligent words, sometimes the words weave nonsensical tales, but all those words are a part of me and they beg for release.  I would be miserable if I did not write.  Isn’t acting enough?  Acting is a very concentrated art form, like writing.  But each art form is different, and while acting satisfies one aspect of fulfillment, I also need writing to make me complete.

Joanne:  Spoken like a true poet. Thank you Tom. You are not alone in your feeling. I have heard it said “Writer’s write because we have no other choice.”  We walk around with these characters or thoughts in our heads all the time. We are never really alone.

Readers, if you enjoy poetry, click here to buy Tom’s books on Amazon.

Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Noel-Smith/e/B004MIE73C/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

 

 

 

Posted in disabilities, education, elder care, exercises, Florida, help, meditation, pain, pain relief, peaceful, purpose, relax, service, yoga

YOGA INSTRUCTOR JEAN ERLBAUM WROTE SIT WITH LESS PAIN

Jeanie and Stella Wisdom
Jeanie and Stella Wisdom

Jean Erlbaum, M.S., E.R.Y.T., L.V.C.Y.T, author, has been studying yoga and meditation since 1965 and has been teaching since 1972. An Experienced Registered 500-Hour Yoga Teacher, she is certified as a teacher of several styles of yoga, meditation, and stress reduction. She has studied Zen for over thirty years and in 2012 was designated as a senior Dharma teacher by Boundless Way Zen (Worcester, Massachusetts). She offers classes in Greenfield, MA, and Naples, FL, where she lives with her husband Richard Rumelt and their two dachshunds, Stella and Oscar. Richard and Jean have two daughters, Anna and Libby, who live in New York City.

Jeanie is a friend and colleague of mine through Marco Island Writers. I know you will want to know all about her new release, Sit With Less Pain.

Jeanie, when and why did you first become a writer?

I have been writing since my chubby little hand could form letters. Growing up I was not given a lot of space for expression. I think for me writing was a survival technique, a way of staying true to myself. Even when I was very young, I wrote essays and stories. I rarely showed my work to anyone. I wrote for myself and I wrote every day. As I got older I did begin to share my writing with friends and teachers. I began to feel confident about my ability to put words on paper, but I never considered myself a “writer” and never thought about being published. To me a “real writer” was someone who did creative writing – fiction or poetry. As an adult I have almost always written opinion pieces or instructional essays. Now that I have a book published, maybe I can begin to consider myself a writer. I have been encouraged to be more receptive to that designation by my wonderful Marco Island Writers Group!

What  is your book about?

Here’s the synopsis for  Sit With Less Pain:

Relieve and release the stiffness that comes from prolonged sitting—at a desk, behind the wheel, or on a meditation cushion—with these easy-to-follow exercises. Free yourself from pain with this beautifully illustrated guide. The book is organized anatomically, helping readers to immediately focus on the part of the body that causes them pain: tense shoulders, stiff knees, sore hips, etc. Sit with Less Pain also includes instructions for flowing series of movements, which combine several exercises into smooth sequences, for readers who have mastered the individual stretches and want a more complete experience. Gorgeous, clear illustrations and lay-flat binding—which lets the book stay open at the proper page—will help readers perfect the poses. Companion CD’s are available with  the author’s soothing voice guiding you through the sequences offered in the book. You can chose tracks and design your own unique stretching sessions focusing on the parts of your body that need special attention.

Sit With Less Pain by Jean Erlbaum

Few of us at Marco Island Writer’s are traditionally published? How did you find your publisher?

I have been teaching yoga for many years. One of my specialties is teaching yoga to people on meditation retreats. People who sit for long periods in meditation get achy in very specific ways. I designed classes that addressed those specific problems. One of the people who attended one of those retreats turned out to be an editor for Wisdom Publications, a Buddhist publishing house. He liked my classes and asked if I would consider writing a book to share the techniques I had developed. (He had no idea that I loved writing – he just knew he liked my yoga!) Even though I had never considered writing a book before, I immediately said yes. I liked the challenge of such a focused commitment and I welcomed the opportunity to empty my brain of 40 plus years of yoga information. (As I was writing the book, I often did have the sense of just tilting my head and pouring all these theories and techniques into the computer in front of me. And it was a relief to empty out in that way, to pass it all on.)

What do you hope readers will receive from your book?

As I was writing the book, I began to imagine that it could be beneficial anyone who sat for a long time – not just meditators. It could be helpful to people who sit in an office all day or behind the wheel of a car or truck; I realized that the techniques I designed could easily be adapted for folks in wheelchairs. As I started telling my yoga students and local health providers about the book I was writing, many people requested copies and told me how helpful they thought the stretches would be for them and for the people they worked with. After a while, I sensed that these people were not just being polite. I began to understand that techniques I was relaying in the book could be helpful in alleviate pain for many, many people. Along with the physical stretches, I added an element of meditative awareness to the exercises, so a wider audience could benefit from the centering and calming aspects of yoga. I decided also to create companion CDs for the book, so readers, once they have seen the instructions and illustrations in the book, can be led effortlessly through the stretches. My hope is that readers will enjoy doing the stretches and gain mental and physical ease in their daily activities.

Where can reader buy your book?

Jean’s website: http: www.sitwithlesspain.com  (This is the only place currently that you can get the companion CDs.)

Amazonhttp://www.amazon.com/Sit-With-Less-Pain-Meditators/dp/0861716795/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1396274570&sr=1-1

Barnes&Noble : http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sit-with-less-pain-jean-erlbaum/1117543237?ean=9780861716791

Wisdom Publicationshttp://www.wisdompubs.org/book/sit-less-pain

Powell’s: http://www.powells.com/biblio/62-9780861716791-0

IndieBoundhttp://www.indiebound.org/book/9780861716791

iTuneshttps://itunes.apple.com/us/book/sit-with-less-pain/id789539748?mt=11

Companion CDs for the book are available: $25 for a set of two chair yoga cds, $25 for a set of mat yoga cds, $45 for all cds. Contact jean.erlbaum@verizon.net, www.sitwithlesspain.com for ordering and more info.

 

Here is an excerpt from the Introduction to the book:

 Yoga can bring us into the authentic embodiment of each moment. When we pay full attention during a forward bend, we can drop all memories of how our back has been, judgment of how it should be, worries about how it may get worse, or fantasies of how to make it better. All there is in that moment is the stretch, the breath, and any physical changes or insights as they occur. Yoga used this way is not separate from meditation practice—it becomes the practice. By fully sinking into the specific sensations of each pose, we create the possibility of relinquishing the usual busyness of mind and expanding beyond the usual constrictions of the body, beyond the boundary of “this self.”

We can create regular yoga sessions for ourselves and take the visceral awareness this practice promotes into our every day lives. We can cultivate a larger yoga: an ability to align with our body while sitting, walking, washing the dishes, or climbing into bed at night. We can cultivate mindfulness of what changes with each movement and of the stillness that remains even as we move through our days.

Yoga can help us go beyond watching the movements of body and mind; it allows us to become “bodymind,” to embody this one thing we always are. My hope is that these stretches help you as much as they have helped me, so that we all can sit deeply and live with grace and flexibility in all circumstances.

Thank you Jeanie. This has been so much fun. As you know, my daughter is the owner of three yoga studios in Miami and has a nationwide non-profit organization that teaches yoga as an alternative to violence to at risk youth.  You handle the other end of the spectrum – the older generation and the less nimble.  Thanks so much for sharing with us today on Author Interview Friday at Writing Under Fire. Best of luck with your book launch.

Posted in authors, children, counselors, humor, Indie, non-fiction, parents, peaceful, purpose, relax, writers, writing

Laughter Salad by Kimberly Borin

 Kimberly Borin pic

Joanne:  Welcome Kimberly.  Learning and Growing with Laughter Salad is such a fun title.  When did you first know you wanted to be a writer and was there a particular inspiration to get started?

Kimberly:  At a young age, I wanted to be a writer.  I loved reading and would spend hours reading Nancy Drew books and more.  I distinctly remember reading one quote by Eudora Welty, that granted me permission to be a writer.  In her book, One Writer’s Beginnings, on the last page she writes, “As you have seen, I am a writer who came of a sheltered life.  A sheltered life can be a daring life as well.  For all serious daring starts from within.”  Her last words seemed to free me up to know that I too could become a writer.  I am still writing, and for some writing, I still feel like someone trying to be a writer.  I am grateful for her simple words of encouragement and freedom to pursue my heart’s calling.

Joanne:   Do you have a background in writing or take any special writing courses that helped you along the way?

Kimberly:  I belong to a writing group called, The Sunrise Circle Writer’s Group.  This group of women encouraged me to write, find my voice and tell my story.  I have had plenty of writing courses and have had to learn how to write for public relations, education, dissertation research and more.  I am always learning to write in a new style and my first book Laughter Salad helped me learn to write in the first person, as a personal narrative.  Of course, there is still so much to learn and so much to hone too!  The skill I did not know I needed was the courage to put my voice out there and promote my book. This skill seems to be a little tougher to develop!

Joanne:   Why did you choose to go the self-publishing Indie route in lieu of traditional publication? What were the deciding factors to choosing your publisher? Would you recommend that same Indie publisher to a colleague?

Kimberly:  I chose the self-publishing route because I was in a hurry to publish my book – I had to have it done within a year – and my friends had already used a self-publisher.  My first book was through iUniverse – I would never recommend them to anyone.  I have since published two books through CreateSpace, which I adore!  I work with a wonderful formatter, who is a lifesaver and allows the CreateSpace process to be easy for me.  I would highly recommend Judy Loose and her formatting services.

Joanne:   Authors and publishers are always talking about finding your “Voice”. Exactly what does that mean to you and how did you find yours?

Kimberly:  I am continually finding my voice.  In my first book, Laughter Salad I tried to just be myself and speak from a very honest place.  Of course, as soon as it was published, I said to my family, “I hope NO ONE buys the book!”  I felt so very vulnerable and afraid that people might see my inner feelings.  In my second book, Laughter Salad for Little Ones, I was writing letters to children.  My school counselor and friend voice came through in my writing and it was fun to see that on paper.  For my third book, Learning and Growing with Laughter Salad, I was writing stories and lessons for my colleagues who are counselors, teachers, and parents too.  I kept moving from a personal voice to a professional voice – it felt a little unnerving but seemed like what I was called to do.  I see that finding my voice also requires much silence, waiting and listening within.  The silence allows me to hear the small whispering voice, that I eventually bring to life on the page.

Joanne:   It is not enough to write a book and wait for the money to start rolling in. What marketing techniques do you implement to increase your sales?

Kimberly:  This is a great question, one I wrestle with weekly!  I am starting in small ways.  I work with local book shops to have book signings.  I enjoy being local and seeing friends that I know.  I have also given talks at our local libraries and in schools.  I often incorporate my work into my yoga classes too.  I am slowly and surely finding my voice in the marketing world.  At the moment, I am also relying on serendipity, synchronicity, some prayers and a miracle or two! (Doing more marketing is also my New Year’s resolution!  J)

Joanne:   What is the premise of your novel we are promoting today?

Kimberly:  Learning and Growing with Laughter Salad offers over 60 activities that bring simple moments of peace, relaxation, and nourishment to the lives of children, and the adults who work with them. This is the perfect book for teachers, counselors, parents, and anyone who works with children. The book is divided into three chapters, each one highlighting activities using Nature, Relaxation, and Stories.

These simple lessons are perfect for the classroom, counseling office, or the outdoors. They are easy to use and can be adapted to meet the needs of students of any age. In a matter of minutes students can feel centered, calm, and connected to all that is around them. These mindful activities also help children develop deeper compassion and caring for themselves. If you take a moment to flip through the playful activities within Learning and Growing with Laughter Salad, I promise, you’ll feel nourished, relaxed, and peaceful too!

Joanne:  Can you share a few paragraphs from your book to wet out appetite?

The Cover Design LS3i 11Best2

Here is a sample activity from the chapter on Relaxation:

Activity #1: Beginning Relaxation Strategies

In school, we want students to be able to handle stress by practicing simple relaxation strategies. We know that with practice, students can learn to calm down, ease anxiety, and easily feel at peace when they need to. These are skills we want our students to have as they take a test, prepare for a big game, make a speech, interview for a job or college, or ease their worries.

Please note that the activities suggested in this book require adult assistance and supervision. If you have any doubts or questions about the suitability of these exercises for a student’s social, emotional, or physical needs, please consult a healthcare practitioner. Below are some very simple and basic strategies to help with relaxation:

  • Awareness of Body Tension and Feelings – First, we have students take a moment to see how they feel, physically and emotionally. Students are asked to notice how they feel while sitting at their desks. We ask them to notice muscles that feel tired, sore, or energized. We also ask them to notice how they are feeling – happy, sad, concerned, tired, etc. We want them to know that they have the ability to change how they feel, but first they have to figure out what is happening and what they need. We also encourage them to talk with a trusted adult if they need help with any of their feelings.
  • Postural Awareness Students are asked to become aware of how they sit at their desks. We help them notice when they may be slouching and when they are sitting up tall. We point out how much more oxygen and breathing is possible when students sit up straight with good posture. Sitting with good posture can also allow them to feel more confident, alert, and energized throughout the day.
  • Simple Breathing Techniques Next, children are encouraged to take a deep breath. So often throughout the day, we don’t even think about our breathing and we forget how relaxing a long inhalation or exhalation can be. We practice taking a large inhale and then allow the breath to “travel” all the way down to our feet before exhaling. This long exhalation is the key to relaxing. When students are practicing just two or three breaths, we also ask them to be silent and notice sounds in the room, which will enhance their listening skills, concentration, and awareness.
  • Progressive Relaxation We also talk about progressive relaxation, which is used by professional and Olympic athletes, rock stars, corporate CEOs and more. Students are taught to tense muscles when inhaling and then relax them while exhaling. We start with our feet and tense and relax knees, stomachs, backs, arms, and shoulders. This simple act of tensing the muscles and relaxing them creates a more relaxed state as the body releases tension. Students notice a difference as they hold the tension in their muscles and then relax. This is also another good technique for managing emotions, preparing for a test or competition, or releasing fear or worry.
  • Imagination – When students are done relaxing, we ask them to use their imaginations to think about a peaceful place or an image of their “best self.” We encourage them to see their best self – with as many sensory details as possible. The images they share with us are always positive and encouraging. They have said, “I saw myself as smart and confident.” Or, “I saw myself as being a doctor, which is what I would like to do when I grow up.” We also talk about how professionals use visualization to see themselves making the perfect foul shot, scoring a touchdown, or auditioning for a Broadway play.
  • Staying Positive, Positive Self-Talk and Reframing We also speak with students about positive self-talk. In their visualizations of their best self, we ask them to choose three positive words to describe this image of themselves. We want them to notice the words they use when speaking about themselves. If the words are negative, we want them to know how to change those words to something positive. For example, if a student is saying, “I’ll never be good at math,” we want to help them reframe the words into something positive, like, “I am able to learn math in my own way and my own time. I am very capable of learning lots of new things.”
  • Other simple ideas that will help students stay positive include:

o   Laugh when you can, especially if you feel nervous.

o   Try to think in new, creative, and positive ways.

o   Use kind words, eye contact, and politeness to build a bridge to others and be an ambassador of peace. Your kindness will help others too.

o   Take good care of yourself by getting lots of sleep, eating well, and drinking water. The extra effort will keep you strong, smart, and happy!

o   Tell someone – a friend, a teacher, or any trusted adult – if something is bothering you. Telling someone is taking a positive step to help yourself.

o   Think positively about yourself. Everything that you do matters!  You never know how your kindness or help can have a positive, lasting effect on the people around you.

o   Try to learn something new. When we stretch ourselves, we realize that we are capable of great things, even when we make mistakes.

o   Take one moment (or two or three) to just take deep breaths!

o   Take one moment (or two or three) to know that you are an amazing person with unique likes, dislikes, talents, strengths, and needs!

o   Take a moment to celebrate your gifts, strengths, hopes, and dreams too!

 

Helpful Websites:

Laughter Salad: http://www.amazon.com/Laughter-Salad-Nourishing-Inspiring-Stories/dp/1475937539/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1392335512&sr=8-1&keywords=Laughter+Salad

Laughter Salad for Little Ones: http://www.amazon.com/Laughter-Salad-Little-Ones-Nourishing/dp/1482371995/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1392335534&sr=8-1&keywords=Laughter+Salad+for+Little+Ones

Learning and Growing with Laughter Salad: http://www.amazon.com/Learning-Growing-Laughter-Salad-Celebrating/dp/1489579125/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1392335562&sr=8-1&keywords=Learning+and+Growing+with+Laughter+Salad

Kimberly’s Website, The Encouraging Works: www.TheEncouragingWorks.com

Kimberly’s Art: http://kimberlyannborin.zenfolio.com

 

Posted in authors, books, disabilities, elder care, family, Indie, love, parents, purpose, readers, remember, schools, senior care, support, writers, writing

5 time author Pauline Hayton never intended to be a writer

Pauline Hayton

Pauline Hayton was born in 1946 in the north east of England and worked as a probation officer in her hometown of Middlesbrough before emigrating to the United States in 1991. She and her husband currently live in Naples, Florida with four abandoned cats who adopted them.

She started writing in 1996, after listening to her father’s war stories and reading his wartime diaries. She found them so interesting, she felt compelled to write her first book, A Corporal’s War.

Researching for this book, she discovered the true WWII story of a remarkable woman, Ursula Graham Bower and wrote Naga Queen. While researching Naga Queen she became friends with Ursula’s daughter through whom Hayton became involved in bettering the lives of the Naga tribes in north east India. This also led to a new book,Chasing Brenda, a lighthearted adventure in Nagaland, written after the author visited Magulong village where she and her husband support a school.

Myanmar:In my Father’s Footsteps. A Journey of Rebirth and Remembrance is a travelog of a trip taken in 2006. After recovering from two battles with cancer, Hayton wanted to do something to make her feel alive and decided to visit the places where her father fought the Japanese in Burma during WWII. It was a healing, life-changing journey for her.

Her latest book, If You Love Me, Kill Me,  is based on the author’s painful, personal experiences while caring for her elderly parents.

If you Love Me, Kill Me

You can purchase her books by going to her Amazon Author page  http://www.amazon.com/Pauline-Hayton/e/B003YGSLJY/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

Naga Queen by Pauline HaytonChasing BrendaA Corporal's WarIn my Fathers Footsteps

Joanne:  Pauline, it is a pleasure to have you on Author Interview Friday.  You say you never intended to be a writer, yet you have five books published. How did that happen?

Pauline: Thanks for having me, Joanne.  It’s true. I still don’t enjoy being a writer; it’s such hard, lonely work, but the stories keep coming into my head, and I need to share them for other to enjoy them. I started writing when my dad began to tell me his WWII stories. I was 55 at the time and was living in Florida after emigrating from England.  I thought them so interesting that I wanted to write them down for my grandchildren to read. They had only ever known their grandfather as a doddery old man. By reading his stories, they would discover that in his younger days he was a dynamic leader and a brave hero. His memory was detailed and incredibly accurate when he was telling me of his experiences at Dunkirk. Then he brought out the tattered diary he wrote when he was sent to India, and I discovered there were detailed records available at the Public Records Office in London and at the Imperial War Museum in London that I used to describe the bigger picture in which my dad’s personal story was taking place. The project blossomed into a book.

Joanne:   Do you have a background in writing or take any special writing courses that helped you along the way?

Pauline:   I took a Writer’s Digest novel writing course which helped a lot and read books on writing. Before that, the only writing I had done was as a probation officer when I wrote reports about defendants for the courts.

Joanne:  How long did it take you to publish your fist manuscript?

Pauline:  It took three years. After almost 40 rejections, I self-published. My dad was growing old and before he died, I wanted him to hold his book in his hands.  

Joanne: Do you always write in the same genre?

Pauline:  No. When I was researching for “A Corporal’s War”, I came across another amazing WWII story of a young British woman who was living with the Naga tribes of NE India, doing anthropological work. She was recruited by a clandestine unit of the British Army, V Force, to spy on the Japanese who were expected to invade India. She received a medal for her activities. I knew immediately that her story would be my second book, which I called Naga Queen.  Writing this book changed my life.

Joanne:  Naga Queen changed your life? How so?

Pauline:  I became friends with Trina, the Naga Queen’s daughter, when I researched her mother’s private papers. Trina moved to New Delhi, India and became involved in the neglected Naga tribes’ welfare. She told me how sad she was that one village school looked like it was going to close, because it was so remote and most of the villagers were so poor, they could not afford to pay teachers to teach the 100 school-age children in the village. That village was Magulong, the school was Mount Kisha English School. This village was Ursula Graham Bower’s (The Naga Queen’s) favorite Naga village, and it was where she married her British Army officer husband in a true Naga ceremony. In 2007, my husband and I took on the job of sponsoring the school. Now all the children in the village are being educated. We have been there twice. The village is like paradise, well worth the eleven hour journey from the nearest town of any size, in a four-wheel drive vehicle, over crumbling mountain roads, followed by a five hour hike up a mountain. The villagers treat us like family, and indeed to us, they are our extended family. 

Joanne:   That is a fascinating story and I can see how those people have changed you forever. Many of us cross over genres and it is difficult to pinpoint one to fit our books. For the book we are promoting today, If you Love Me, Kill Me, what shelf would we find it on if it were in a bricks and mortar bookstore and what is the premise to the story?

Pauline: It would probably be in general fiction.  I hope If You Love Me, Kill Me will help anyone going through tough times caring for a loved one to forgive themselves for not being perfect in their care. All you can do is your best. I didn’t have a support system during the years I cared for my parents. Get one in place before you become so worn out that you don’t have the energy to do it.

Joanne:  Let’s talk a little about the writing process.  Are you published through a traditional publishing house? If yes, how did you find your agent and publisher?

Pauline:  No. After numerous rejections, enough to paper a wall, and being a cancer survivor who wanted to ensure my stories were available for others to enjoy, I self-published. I don’t waste time trying to deal with regular publishers.

Joanne:  What were the deciding factors to choosing your publisher? Would you recommend that same Indie publisher to a colleague?

Pauline:  I published through Create Space, a part of Amazon.com. I am delighted with their service and would highly recommend them.

Joanne:  Do you always write in the same POV or narrative or do you switch it up in different stories?

Pauline:  I wrote If You Love Me, Kill Me in first person. It is a very personal story interwoven with some fiction, based on my 7 years of caring for my elderly parents.

Joanne:  Do you follow a structure pattern such as staying in chronological order, or alternating points in time or different POV’s.

Pauline:   I generally write in third person and usually stay in chronological order. However, I wrote my dad’s story, A Corporal’s War first of all in third person then rewrote it as a memoir because, in first person, it felt more personal and poignant. If You Love Me, Kill Me I also wrote in first person for the same reason. As in If You Love Me, Kill Me, the book I am currently writing will have some flashbacks.

Joanne:  What was the hardest part for you in the writing process; the outline, synopsis, query or building the story itself?

Pauline:  Building the story itself is the easiest part, especially since a psychic told me I had to write about my own life in order to have success in my writing. I’m afraid I laughed at her and dismissed such an idea. I couldn’t imagine anyone being interested in my life. Nevertheless, I wrote Chasing Brenda and If You Love Me, Kill Me, two stories based on personal experiences, as is the book I am currently working on. Once I decide to write a particular story, I let the idea ruminate in my subconscious and after several weeks, the storyline and title suddenly appear. Then I start pounding my keyboard. I find writing the synopsis and outline difficult and ask my writing friends to advise me about how to improve and tighten them up.  

Joanne: What marketing techniques do you implement to increase your sales?

Pauline: Marketing is my weakness. (Laughs) In my twenties, I once took a vocational guidance course as I had no idea, and therefore no direction, on what to do in my life. I scored the lowest marks possible for sales and marketing. The only things I do are to tell my Facebook friends when I have published a new book, hand out bookmarks I have designed when I meet people who are interested in my writing and ask Tom Witt of the Naples Daily News to review my books. I must say I have noticed my Amazon.com sales are slowly increasing in a few countries, which I assume is from word of mouth advertising.  

Joanne:  What advice would you give to new writers just getting started with their first manuscript?

Pauline:  Don’t let the big picture of writing a novel make you freeze. Start with a vignette or a scene and build from there.

Joanne: I too was the primary care giver of my father, so I can relate to this story. I know many others will find your book encouraging and helpful when they take on this task so foreign to most of us.  Can you share a few paragraphs from If You Love Me, Kill Me, to wet out appetite?

I half carried and half dragged her into her bedroom and laid her on the bed. Her left side seemed paralyzed.

“I won’t be a minute. I’m going to call 911.”

Waiting for the ambulance, I held her hand, stroked her hair—and silently cursed God.

   How cruel can you be, you sick bastard? She’s blind, deaf, can’t walk, and now you’ve given her a stroke! Couldn’t let her die peacefully in her sleep, could you? No, you just have to keep heaping on the shit. I despise you!

The paramedics arrived, and I took them to Mum’s room.

“I think she’s had a stroke.”

They took in her distorted face, asked questions, and generally agreed it looked like a stroke.

“Which hospital do you want us to take her to?”

I was flummoxed. I hadn’t been expecting the question, thinking the paramedics would make that decision. I was too distraught to think straight.

“I don’t know.”

“The Community Hospital has the best reputation for treating heart and stroke patients,” said one paramedic.

“Oh no, I don’t want her to go there!” I blurted out. “They killed my father.”

He looked at me questioningly.

“They infected him, and he died,” I said.

“It’s where I’d take my mother,” the paramedic persisted. “It will give her the best chance.”

Overwrought, I kept looking at my mother and back to the paramedic not knowing the best thing to do. Close to tears, I surrendered my power and acquiesced to his suggestion. They quickly gathered her up and carried her from the house.

Posted in authors, books, Christian, God, novels, purpose, womens fiction, writers, writing

Christian writer, Brenda Brown Elliott brings Courage Times Three

Please welcome Brenda Brown Elliott. She is a Christian woman who loves writing literary fiction and inspirational works as a source of comfort for all. Honesty & integrity are priorities in her life.

Brenda Brown Elliott
Brenda Brown Elliott

Joanne:  When did you first know you wanted to be a writer and was there a particular inspiration to get started?

Brenda:  The idea for my novel came to me while living and working in Phoenix, AZ back in 2001.  Many of the patients at the clinic I worked for were elderly, people who had emigrated from Europe and had survived the world wars over there in the middle of horrendous living conditions.  They ended up retiring in the warmth and sunshine of Sun City, AZ and became friends.  I worked as a Patient Service Specialist back then at the front desk.

Joanne:  Do you have a background in writing or did you take any special writing courses that helped you along the way?

Brenda: No, My novel was the first project I have ever written.

Joanne: How long did it take you to publish your fist manuscript?

Brenda: I wrote the entire story in four months in 2008 and but I just got it published.  I tucked it away for years due to chronic illnesses on my part.   Although I was bedridden most of the time while writing it.

Joanne:  Many of us cross over genres and it is difficult to pinpoint one to fit our books. What shelf would we find Courage Times Three  if it were in a bricks and mortar bookstore?

Brenda: I have a publicist, Hajni Blasko of Substance Books and she chose Literary Fiction for first genre and Inspirational Journey for second represented genre.

Joanne:  Why did you choose to go the self-publishing Indie route in lieu of traditional publication?

Brenda:  For me, it was the right choice. The cost effectiveness, my own choices, and quicker output were just a few of reasons.

Joanne: What were the deciding factors to choosing your publisher?

Brenda:  I heard good things about Create Space through Amazon.

Joanne: Would you recommend that same Indie publisher to a colleague?

Brenda: Absolutely

Joanne:  Authors and publishers are always talking about finding your “Voice”. Exactly what does that mean to you and how did you find yours?

Brenda: This story was in my heart, it was a Godly inspiration by the time I finally wrote it after I had been on my Christian walk for some time. I could see and hear the pain of living through these heavily accented voices of survivors how much they had overcome to get to their happy years in retirement.  Many widows by then tho.

Joanne: Do you follow a structure pattern such as staying in chronological order, or alternating points in time or different POV’s?

Brenda: I did read other novels to recognize how the flow should be patterned and to remember to go back to earlier references I had made in the story.  Not dropping anything of consequence was key to bringing it all together.

Joanne:  What was the hardest part for you in the writing process; the outline, synopsis, query or building the story itself?

Brenda: As a self-published author, I did not have to do any query letters or synopsis. With my illnesses, my cognitive abilities pretty much threw out my organizational abilities which caused me much frustration due to a lack of concentration. Also.  I just could not work on my project for several days.  On some days I couldn’t even get energized enough for a shower…I was very weak during those periods of time (which were frequent). So for me it was literally a physical struggle to keep going until the end of the story.

Joanne: That must have been very hard. I must commend you for sticking with it and accomplishing your goal. As I have heard many times, “It is easy to start a novel, it is finishing one that take real perseverance.”

As we know, it is not enough to write a book and wait for the money to start rolling in. What marketing techniques do you implement to increase your sales?

Brenda: I hired a publicist.  I created a website (quite poorly I think).  I started a blog on WordPress and I advertise on them with links to Create Space and Amazon.  I have set up my own appointments for book signings along with an upcoming radio interview.  I follow instructions daily from my publicist to give my novel further exposure.  I am joining various writing groups.  Looking to give and get reviews.

Joanne: Was there any mistakes you made in your writing process you could share with us and save a few steps for new writers?

Brenda: Don’t hand the manuscript over to anybody to read until you are near finished with it.  They may likely tear it apart wanting to seem knowledgeable. I found that minimal feedback works best for me.  If you don’t have a pretty good idea of just what you are working to achieve, nobody else really can either.

Joanne: That is so true. You must believe in your work before anyone else can. What is the premise of Courage Times Three that we are promoting today?

Brenda: To be the best person you can be.  To serve God’s purpose for your being.  To appreciate all of our liberties here in the United States in comparison to numerous countries throughout the world.  To be kind and gracious to others.

Joanne: Those are lofty aspirations Brenda. Sometimes easier said than done. Perhaps your book will be a guiding light for others to find their way.  Where can readers find your book?

www.createspace.com/4406951

amazon.com/author/amazon.com.brendabrownelliott

bbelliott.vpweb.com   – website address

1brelliott1@wordpress.com – blog address

1brendabrown1@gmail.com – email

couragetimesthree.bbelliott.vpweb.com

Thank you Brenda for being a part of Writing Under Fire’s Author Interview Friday.  Can you share a few paragraphs from your book to wet out appetite?

 Brenda Brown Elliott book cover

               Centrally located in the heart of the city, they were greeted by the concierge of the well established Hotel Concorde Saint Lazare. As with all prestigious guests, the concierge assumed full responsibility for their check-in and baggage. After receiving a quick history of the hotel, including the many amenities offered, the travel-weary, yet enthusiastic bride and groom comfortably settled themselves into their suite. A large sterling silver bowl, filled with various fruits, and an exquisite bottle of Dom Perignon, chilling in an ice filled silver bucket, awaited them in their luxurious suite. Madeleine was sure to remove the bottle from the ice once it had reached the perfect temperature of 45 degrees, a well known fact shared by most Parisians. 

Set high above the streets, the locality of their suite offered  sweeping views of the charming city. Never had Hal felt more like royalty. He had never been privy to that kind of luxury. But it also was a lavish treat for Madeleine.

The magnificence of the suite was more than intoxicating. Furnished in high-backed Queen Ann chairs and tables designed of rich marble, the rooms were dressed in finely hand-painted vases, filled with red, white and yellow long-stemmed roses strategically placed throughout their expansive quarters. Fluffy, white lace beddings adorned an enormous bed, lavished with soft, inviting pillows in the bedroom area. Massive, beautifully framed oil paintings, providing a taste of delicate French gardens, hung stately upon the softly painted walls.

The restaurant, located within walking distance of their hotel, provided a welcomed opportunity to stretch their legs as they leisurely strolled the cobblestone streets. Dining that first evening in Paris, Madeleine and Hal savored every bite of the fine French cuisine they’d been advised to experience. Always a necessary accompaniment with dinner, the fine wine they enjoyed was expertly chosen by the lovely Madeleine.

Feeling the after effects of their journey the lovebirds returned to their hotel for a good night’s sleep.

Standing on the terrace accompanying their suite, inspired by the nightly view of the city all aglow, they sent a sincere thank you to their Heavenly Father for providing their undeserving souls with such grandeur and beauty. With the charm of the city still enticing them, they closed the doors to the outside world, allowing themselves to fulfill each other’s Godly created desires.