Book Shelf: The Ink Garden of Brother Theophane

“The Ink Garden of Brother Theophane” by C.M. Millen

**Throwback to 2016** – From the time Thomas and Lillian were born I read to them nightly before going to bed; leading to some time in 2017 when we all decided to discontinue doing so. Their tastes in what interested each of them had solidified by this point. We all continue to be heavy readers, reading daily.

Another book we really enjoyed. A wonderful fiction based on the monks of the Middle Ages from Ireland who established monasteries throughout much of Europe and parts of the Middle East. The monasteries were the place where books were made. The monks carefully translated and copied the great written works of antiquity. – Camilla

US Amazon – https://amzn.to/2wna0he

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Meet the Author: Love Earth Now by Cheryl Leutjen

Today we travel to Los Angeles to chat with Cheryl Leutjen about how being an environmental law attorney, writing in nature, trees, blogging, throwing darts, composting, conversations inspired by a dead bush, and a train ride come together as part of Cheryl’s past and current life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m the author of Love Earth Now, which is essentially a story book, chronicling my struggles to live more eco-conscientiously. I draw from my wide-ranging experiences as a geologist, environmental law attorney, small business owner, spiritual practitioner, and mother to navigate the fine line between eco-mindful and eco-madness.

Originally from Kansas City, Missouri, I now live in Los Angeles, my adopted home for some thirty years now, with my husband, two children (when they are home from college). I founded and host the Natural Muse Meetup for people wanting to write in nature. I serve as Vice-President of the Board of Directors of the North East Trees nonprofit. I also enjoy creating art from natural elements, to showcase nature’s gifts. I’m also the butler and handmaiden to three felines, none of whom care one whit about all my credentials.

In which genre do you write?

That’s an excellent question, one I’ve been pondering for a while. I used to think my genre was “creative non-fiction” because the stories I tell are all rooted in my own experience. Then I did some further investigation and learned that it requires a stricter adherence to facts than I exercise. “Outraged exaggeration” is my personal stock-in-trade. So now I’m going with “fanciful non-fiction-ish” as my genre. Which, until it catches on, makes it difficult to enter book contests.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?

I never made a conscious decision to become a writer, even though people had been telling me that is what I “should” be doing all my life. And that’s probably the reason I resisted so long; I tend to flee from whatever it is others think I “should” be doing. Especially if it involves any kind of laundry.

In my prior careers, I’d done a lot of writing for other people’s purposes—and none of it offered opportunities for creativity, nonfiction-ish or otherwise. My creative writing life was inspired by parenthood. I began writing as a way of processing the insanity that only mothers of tantrumming toddlers can know. I started a “mommy blog,” to share my wisest insights with my subscribers—all seven of them. Audience or no, I got hooked on the therapeutic benefits of the writing.

So when I went to a one-day writing workshop, I’d planned to hone my blogging skills. Instead, the environmental themes of my book, Love Earth Now, came pouring out, much to my surprise. Writing is now the essential therapy that keeps me from spontaneously combusting every time I hear more bad news for Life On Earth.

What would you choose as your mascot, spirit animal, or avatar and why?

I was given the coyote as my spirit animal when I completed my spiritual training through the Modern Day Priestess program. How disappointing! I was certain it would be the mighty eagle, a demonstration that I was meant to soar and that I possessed laser focus. Coyote seemed far too common.

A ragtag coyote clan clings to a bare hilltop near my home, a rare speck of open space in our densely-packed Los Angeles. Occasionally, one wanders down, especially in times of drought, looking diseased and bedraggled. Surely this was not the spirit animal guiding me to my noble calling.

Then I studied up on coyote in Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams & David Carson. In many native American traditions, the coyote is known as the great trickster. Coyote lays traps, much like the cartoon Wile E. Coyote, that backfire on himself—and usually forgets to learn from his mistakes. “As coyote moves from one disaster to the next,” they write, “he refines the art of self-sabotage to sheer perfect.”

Welp, I can relate to that. I excel at laying out the best plan for persuading someone to take on a task . . . only to find I’ve convinced myself into doing it. On a tight schedule and with no budget.

Now when I see the bedraggled coyote, I extend some sympathy. Some compassion for a kindred spirit.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

My laptop currently rests on an Army-green picnic table covered in graffiti, some faded and some so recent I had to check for wet paint before sitting. Surrounded by towering trees, the table perches on the hillside wilds of Griffith Park in Los Angeles. Tiny white flowers sprout from the sturdy jade plants at my feet while native oaks sway in the breeze above my head. Noisy blue jays, cawing crows and the occasional hawk circle overhead. Dappled sunshine filters through the leafy canopy, though my fingers cramp in the chilly winter breeze.

This is my ideal writing space. The hard bench offers just enough discomfort to keep me on task, while the natural beauty of this wild, urban garden unlocks the vaults of my imagination. I think of Alice Walker’s quote: “Earth was meant for joy. As an artist, connect with that joy. And you will forever be fed by it.” Steeping here in natural wonder inspires far more creative work than sitting surrounded by four walls.

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

When I’m not writing, you’ll find me doing yoga, hiking, bullet journaling, throwing darts, and reading books I wish I’d written, curled up with my cat, Handsome. You might also find me tending my compost bin—which gives me far more pleasure than you might suppose. Diverting my apple cores and banana peels from the methane-producing landfill gives me a solid sense of eco-righteous satisfaction.

What’s more, I like to imagine that I’m working in partnership with all the critters in heap, doing the hard work of converting our food waste into black gold. I used to feel guilty for the waste when some once-delicious dish turned moldy or, horrors, a bottle of wine was left open too long. Now, it’s cause for excitement, like finding the perfect gift for your hard-to-shop-for friend. “The compost critters are gonna love this,” I think. “Hang on, fellas, here comes HAPPY HOUR”!

What’s the strangest thing you’ve experienced in the process of your writing?

Writing outdoors produces some surprising experiences. Ducks inching closer, eyeing my trail mix. The dead bush that inspired a conversation. A wide-eyed, nose-wriggling mole popping out of the green grass next to me.

The strangest, though, was the day I was writing in a neighborhood park, my back against a stately oak. Engrossed in my own world, I suddenly felt a moist bit of something land on my arm. I brushed it off, but the wet bits kept coming, landing on my keyboard, my shoes and then my face (ugh). I looked up and discovered a squirrel on the branch overhead, spitting bits of green walnut flesh on me. I swear he was laughing.

These things just don’t happen when I’m writing in my local coffee shop.

Do you believe things happen for a reason? Do you have an example from your own life to share why you believe this?

Not only do I believe that things happen for a reason, I cling to that belief like the personal preserver it is. To maintain my tenuous hold on something like sanity, I need to know that there’s redeeming value in even the worst experiences. Not just that there’s “a” reason but a Hoover dam good reason why a precious keepsake was lost. Why the cat I rescued sees fit to shred me on a daily basis. Why my beloved mom passed away too soon.

The best example I can recall right now is the time when I got fired from my dream job. I’d slaved over my studies through law school, just for the opportunity to work for a top-notch, environmental law firm in downtown Los Angeles. I’d devoted two years to hammering my square peg into the round hole the firm assigned to me, trying to shoehorn myself into the culture of the firm. I’d asked for guidance and assistance when my reviews were discouraging. And still, I found myself out on the curb one day. Less than a month later, I began a new position in a law department where I fit in and excelled. I would never have given up on my so-called “dream job,” if I hadn’t been fired from it.

Describe the perfect solo date you’d take yourself on … where, time of day, weather, place, etc.

My idea of the perfect solo date is a train ride. Like that song from The Commitments movie, “destination anywhere, east or west, I don’t care.” I’ll bring too many books, journals, and magazines, so I can catch up on a year’s worth of reading. I’ll pack a lunch bag with cheese, crackers, olives, basil, grapes and dark chocolate—which may be consumed with a glass of Chardonnay from the café. I’ll intend to get some serious writing done . . . and end up staring out the window, bobbing my head to the chug-a-chug until I doze off.

What are you currently working on?

I’m working on a companion to my book, Love Earth Now, for people wanting more guidance in discovering their own eco-contributions. So many people who’ve read my book or hear me speak say, “just tell me what I should be DOING” about X, Y or Z eco-calamity. As much as I wish I could offer a simple prescription—”buy LED lightbulbs and all will be well”—it’s not that simple. Unfortunately.

Nor is it for me to dictate anyone’s eco-contribution. I believe that each of us, all seven-plus billion humans, come to this Earth with our own calls to action to satisfy, our “soul work,” I call it. How do your heart and soul call for you to contribute, to live, to be? Only you can know. That’s why I include a “Love Earth Invitation” at the end of each chapter in the book, a simple exercise for each reader to pause and reflect for themselves. The companion workbook will offer more in-depth exercises in eco-mindfulness, opportunities to discover what each of us can do right now that will mean more to the world than all that power and influence can buy.

Tell us about your most recent book.

Love Earth Now is a deeply thoughtful, often neurotic, and sometimes comedic exploration of my own efforts to make an eco-contribution. Hailed an “ode to our planet,” it’s both a tribute to the beauty of Earth, as well as a call for us each to honor our unique calls to action.

It was wonderful having you be a part of MTA, Cheryl. The Natural Muse Meetup sounds great!! I enjoy creating art from nature elements, too, so I know what you mean about showcasing nature’s gifts. Wishing you all the best! –Camilla

Where to buy the book:

I urge readers to shop local bookstores, if there’s one nearby. If Love Earth Now isn’t on the shelf there, request it. “Shop local” isn’t just a trendy catch-phrase; it’s one simple way that any one of us can vote for change with our dollars. Shopping local not only keeps our hard-earned dollars in our neighborhoods; it also fosters stronger communities.

If you’re not fortunate enough to have a local bookstore nearby, you can purchase Love Earth Now, both the paperback and the eBook, through all the usual etailers and through my Etsy shop. You can find links to them on my website at LoveEarthNow.us.

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2BzyVMn

Connect with Cheryl:

CherylLeutjen.com [author website]

LoveEarthNow.us [book website]

Etsy.com/shop/LoveEarthNow

Facebook: @LoveEarthNow

Instagram: @LoveEarthNow

Twitter: @LoveEarthAuthor

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Meet the Author: The Flowers of Time by A.L. Lester

Today we travel to rural Somerset in the UK to chat with A.L. Lester about how chickens, plotting, Kew Gardens, growing up on a horticultural nursery, making butter-lamps, Roobard and Custard, and an inability to quit come together as part of their past and current life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Hi, I’m Ally and I write as A. L. Lester. I live in rural Somerset in the UK, on the edge of the Quantock Hills with Mr AL, our two children, a variety of chickens and animals and an unsuccessful permaculture vegetable garden.

In which genre do you write?

I write queer, paranormal, historical romance.

How many published books do you have?

Three, with a fourth coming out in April.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?

I’ve always written, but I didn’t hit my stride and find a publisher until 2017.

What is an interesting writing quirk you have, that we wouldn’t know by reading your biography?

I’m not sure I have any interesting ones…I can never remember the difference between it’s/its and I loathe plotting. But they’re not interesting quirks, per se, more irritating ones, I’m sure my editor would say!

What would you choose as your mascot, spirit animal, or avatar and why?

Dachshund. Morris the Emotional Support Dachshund is my real life mascot.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

Empty of people wanting me to brush their hair or find their socks or remember whether they’ve paid the gas bill.

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading a really fab gay historical romance by Lillian Francis called Under the Radar. It’s set on a WW2 submarine and the details are amazing.

List 3 interesting facts about yourself.

· I can pluck a chicken in twenty minutes

· I have no sense of smell

· I used to run a farmer’s market stall selling eggs.

Where did the idea for your most recent book come from?

My most recent book is called The Flowers of Time and is a romance between a lady botanist and a non-binary explorer set in the Himalayas in the 1780s. The idea was jump-started by a picture of some 1920s plant-collectors from Kew Gardens. I grew up on a horticultural nursery, so I felt very drawn to the whole botanical thing.

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

I knit, I home educate my frighteningly articulate twelve year old, I care for my life-limited eleven year old.

If you could have a fantasy tea or coffee date with an author or famous person from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?

Dorothy Dunnett. I’d want to ask her about her historical research for the Lymond series.

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through writing?

That I’m non-binary. The Flowers of Time is basically me working that through!

What is the most enjoyable thing you’ve found through writing?

I’ve got a really nice circle of online friends from social media.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve done or experienced to help create a scene or plot or to help you remember something if writing a memoir?

Erm. I made my own butter for the butter-lamps in The Flowers of Time. I separated the milk, made the butter, clarified it and then used it with a wick for light.

At this stage in your life, what advice would your young self give to your more mature self?

Be less bothered about what other people think about you – just crack on and be yourself.

If you were trapped in a cartoon world from your childhood, which one would you choose and why?

Roobarb and Custard would probably be most realistic if I’m perfectly honest. Slapstick comedy and a dog and cat creating chaos.

Do you believe things happen for a reason? Do you have an example from your own life to share why you believe this?

Very much so. I believe very strongly in reincarnation and karma. Not karma in the ‘instant payback’ kind of way, but I believe that we get back what we put out, eventually, and that life is a series of learning experiences. If you don’t learn a lesson the first time the opportunity arises then you are presented with more opportunities to learn as you go through your life.

I think this is why I find questions like ‘what one thing would you change about your life if you could’ so hard. I wouldn’t change anything, really, not even the bad stuff, because it’s all shaped me in to the person I am and given me the life I have today.

If you could ask your pet three questions, what would they be?

· Why did you kill that chicken?

· Why do you keep digging a hole out of the corner of the garden and getting stuck down that badger hole?

· Why do you only jump on the bed when you’re muddy?

Which of your personality traits has been most useful and why?

Probably my inability to quit, even when that would be the best thing to do. I just keep plodding on and a lot of the time it doesn’t occur to me that I could give up!

What’s your favorite place to visit in your country and why?

Rural places with lots of trees and streams. But I don’t mind too much where, so long as it’s in nature somewhere. I love Exmoor and the Quantocks, which is where I grew up. Similar places really resonate with me.

Describe the perfect solo date you’d take yourself on … where, time of day, weather, place, etc.

In the morning, sunny but not hot, somewhere I could sit outside in nature with a pot of coffee and write, without interruption.

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on a romance set in the 1970s between a disabled farmer and a disgraced stockbroker. I’m about ten thousand words in and I’m aiming to have it finished by the end of March.

Tell us about your most recent book.

The Flowers of Time is the third in my Lost in Time magical universe. It’s a paranormal-historical-romantic suspense set in England and the Himalayas in the 1780s. It’s a love story between Edie, a determined lady botanist and Jones, a non-binary explorer. They travel across the mountains searching for rare flowers and trying to work out what killed Jones’ father three years before. There are monsters and yaks and a dog and mysterious caves and kissing. You can find it on all the major ebook platforms!

It was great having you be a part of MTA, Ally! I listened to the clip of you reading a chapter, and what a lovely voice you have. Captivating! All the best to you! –Camilla

Blurb:

Jones is determined to find out what caused the unexpected death of her father whilst they were exploring ancient ruins in the Himalayas. She’s never been interested in the idea of the marriage bed, but along with a stack of books and coded journals he’s left her with the promise she’ll travel back to England for the first time since childhood and try being the lady she’s never been.

Edie and her brother are leaving soon on a journey to the Himalayas to document and collect plants for the new Kew Gardens when she befriends Miss Jones in London. She’s never left England before and is delighted to learn that the lady will be returning to the mountains she calls home at the same time they are planning their travels. When they meet again in Srinagar, Edie is surprised to find that here the Miss Jones of the London salons is ‘just Jones’ the explorer, clad in breeches and boots and unconcerned with the proprieties Edie has been brought up to respect.

A non-binary explorer and a determined lady botanist make the long journey over the high mountain passes to Little Tibet, collecting flowers and exploring ruins on the way. Will Jones discover the root of the mysterious deaths of her parents? Will she confide in Edie and allow her to help in the quest? It’s a trip fraught with perils for both of them, not least those of the heart.

Where to buy Flowers of Time: http://books2read.com/flowersoftime

The first book, Lost in Time,  is currently free for the next few days as part of a bundle the publisher has put together collectively for people stuck at home. They are mostly queer romance: https://www.jms-books.com/free-c-440/

Flowers of Time booktrailer:

A.L. Lester reading an excerpt of The Flowers of Time:

Social Links:

Website: http://allester.co.uk

Twitter: http://twitter.com/CogentHippo

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

Find books: https://allester.co.uk/lost-in-time/

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Latest News: February 2020 Meet the Author Interviews with Most Views

Meet the Author Interview with Most Views for February 2020:

#1: Mud and Glass by Laura Goodin

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#2: A Very Important Teapot by Steve Sheppard

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#3 Bowing to Elephants by Mag Dimond

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Thank you for taking the time to read more about these authors and sharing the interviews on this website. A great deal of work goes into these interviews by the authors and by me. Deep gratitude! –Camilla, Founder & Host

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Meet the Author: The Twelve Man Bilbo Choir by Peter Staadecker

Today we travel to Toronto, Ontario, Canada to chat with Peter Staadecker about how Canada’s mountainous West Coast, mushroom picking, Cape Town, South Africa, vervet monkey thieves, being an unwilling soldier, and photography set the scenes of Peter’s past and current life.

Have you lived there in Toronto your entire life?

Not yet. I moved there in 1981 thinking it would be temporary because Toronto is flat and I missed the mountains. All these years later, it’s still flat, it’s still temporary. I’m still here.

Why are you still there?

Ask my wife. I would have liked Canada’s mountainous West Coast. My wife is from France. She says the West Coast is too far from her mother and family.

And you still believe Toronto is temporary?

Don’t trample on an old man’s dreams.

Tell us about yourself.

I was born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa. Africa back then had (and still has) some very wild spots. One night four of us were camped in Botswana by the Chobe River under nothing but mosquito nets when a pride of hunting lions walked through the camp. We had thought our campfire would keep them away. It didn’t. Another night, vervet monkeys stole freshly baked bread right off our campfire. We had thought the fire would … I’m not even going to finish that sentence. One monkey also stole some crucial antibiotics out of our parked car. We had detoured three days from Botswana into what is now Zimbabwe to get those precious antibiotics for a sick friend. The monkey thief sat out of reach in a tree, calmly watched our tantrums far below, opened the childproof lid with ease, poured the pills onto the ground, and took off through the trees with the empty bottle, the childproof lid and an enamel mug.

There are also wonderful mountain ranges in Africa. Did I mention mountains?

I’ve had jobs as varied as mushroom picking, salvaging a sunken yacht, being an unwilling soldier, etc. I studied and became a mathematician, worked in business and am now retired with time to write.

What do you do when you’re not working on your books?

You mean aside from time for books, house, garden, wife, children, pets, etc.? It depends on the season. Right now it’s still winter, which is cross-country skiing time if I’m free. For those that don’t know cross-country skiing, if you do it right it’s like flying. Unfortunately, I often plummet. I recently put up a video clip of myself x-country skiing, here https://vimeo.com/393348449. It shows both the flying and the onset of the plummet stage. The clip also contains some of my photography—another hobby when I get time.

What have you been reading recently?

Last year, I was bowled over by J.L. Carr’s “A Month in the Country.” I’ve reread it three times to analyze it and to steal the secret sauce behind J.L. Carr’s magic.

And the secret is?

I don’t know. Each time I read it, I forget that my goal was industrial espionage; I become an entranced reader all over again. I’ve given up trying to analyze it.

Another thing that bowled me over recently was an award acceptance speech by the late poet/musician/singer Leonard Cohen. You can see a video version at

It’s a wonderful example of a poet using language to put a spell on his audience.

Did you like the movie version of A Month in the Country?

For me, the magic is in the book, not the movie.

Did you always write?

Not before the age of about five. But after that, yes. I tried to publish a magazine when I was about ten. I sold one copy. Since then I’ve written occasional journal or newspaper articles and published four books.

What genre?

My first book, and the one I’d like to focus on today, is called “The Twelve Man Bilbo Choir.” The closest genre it approximates is historical fiction. Specifically, it’s based on an actual historical event, but it fictionalizes the event and transports it into modern times.

How did you get the idea for it?

Toronto has no mountains—did I already mention that—so, I started sailing on Lake Ontario. As a sailor, I became aware of an 1884 sailing tragedy that set a legal precedent for much of the world. Three men and a cabin boy survived a shipwreck in the Atlantic. They were adrift in a lifeboat for 24 days. The digits 2 and 4 look so harmless in print, but think about it: twenty-four days. I won’t spoil the story by revealing the key events that took place during those 24 days. The survivors were rescued and returned to Britain. The British Home Secretary took an interest in the events. He decided to bring two of the men to trial in spite of the public support the men had received. Again, I won’t reveal details for fear of spoiling the story. What I will say is that I discussed the trial with my teenage boys. I told them why, although the case was controversial, I supported the judge’s ruling. I found to my surprise that my boys were totally opposed to the judge’s ruling.

Fair warning: do NOT EVER, ever, ever find yourself shipwrecked with my teenagers. They are savage little so-and-so’s. You have been warned.

Anyway, I couldn’t get the case out of my mind, so I wrote the book. I was delighted to find it shortlisted for the Kobo-Rakuten Emerging Authors prize. I’m also delighted that copies are held in the USA by library of The National Registry of Exonerations and by the Equal Justice Initiative.

What advice would your now-self give to your younger-self?

Don’t camp where lions hunt. That’s stupid.
If you like the smell of freshly-baked bread you’ll be at peace with all creatures.
If you like the taste of freshly-baked bread you’ll hate vervet monkeys.
Also, find out in advance where your future wife refuses to move to.

It was great having you be a part of MTA, Peter. I very much enjoyed your sense of humor and wish you all the best with your books! –Camilla

Where can readers find your books?

Two of the books, including “The Twelve Man Bilbo Choir”, can be found on kobo.com in epub format

All the books can be found on Amazon sites world-wide in Kindle format, and in paperback wherever Amazon sells paperbacks

Most bookshops can special-order the paperback versions

Some New Zealand and Oz readers use a paperback ordering service called https://www.bookdepository.com/

Connect with Peter:

My photography is at https://gallery.staadecker.com
My blog on photography, writing and random musings is at https://blog.staadecker.com
My publishing website is at https://publishing.staadecker.com
My author Facebook page is at https://www.facebook.com/staadecker.books/
On twitter I’m @PeterStaadecker

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Meet the Author: Maybe Baby by Carol Thomas

Today we travel to to the south coast of England to chat with Carol Thomas about how teaching in primary schools, being a collector of conversation snippets, a snowy woodland, being a volunteer, and The Flumps come to together as part of Carol’s past and current life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I live on the south coast of England with my husband, four children and lively Labrador. I have been a playgroup supervisor and taught in primary schools for over fifteen years, before dedicating more of my time to writing. In the summer of 2017, I was delighted to gain a publishing contract with Ruby Fiction, an imprint of Choc Lit, for my romantic comedy novel, The Purrfect Pet Sitter, the first in the Lisa Blake series. Maybe Baby, the second in the series, was published a year later.

I have a passion for reading, writing and people watching, and can often be found loitering in local cafes working on my next book.

In which genres do you write?

I write for adults and children: My contemporary romance novels have relatable heroines whose stories are layered with emotion, sprinkled with laughter and topped with irresistible male leads. While my children’s books have irresistibly cute, generally furry characters, young children can relate to.

What is an interesting writing quirk you have that we wouldn’t know by reading your biography?

I am a collector of snippets of conversation that make me smile. I note them down and then slip them into my writing. This is especially useful when writing romantic comedy because I feel it adds an element of authenticity to the dialogue.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

Light, bright and airy, preferably with a good view. Some years ago, we looked at houses in Canada as we were contemplating moving there. One house was perfect and had a wonderful office. We visited in winter, and so the view looked out across snowy woodland. I like to imagine myself sitting in that window, writing. We didn’t make the move, so I am often found writing in local cafes; it’s not quite the same.

What are you currently reading?

I have just finished Mhairi McFarlane’s If I Never Met You. I love the author’s completely relatable characters and the very natural way they interact with each other. I also really enjoy the author’s ability to sum up a situation in a single and perfectly apt sentence.

List 3 interesting facts about yourself:

Growing up, I preferred playing with toy cars to reading books.
I hated school and then became a teacher.
I was a teen mum, and the birth of my daughter changed my life and gave me the drive to want to be more and do better.

Where did the idea for your most recent book come from?

Maybe Baby is a romantic comedy and the sequel to The Purrfect Pet Sitter. I wrote it because I had more I wanted to share about the characters. I also like exploring relationships beyond the happy ever after moment – seeing how characters react as a couple when faced with different situations. I have been with my husband for twenty-nine years, and so I appreciate that how you meet new challenges is an important aspect of maintaining a long-term relationship.

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

I am a volunteer at my local Cancer Research shop. Being a writer necessitates many hours spent alone with my characters, I think it’s important to go out and interact with real people too. This role enables me to do that, as well as to support the charity.

I’m also currently working as a Teaching Assistant in a local school. This is because I miss teaching and wanted to get back into the classroom. It has been lovely, and I am fortunate to be working in a great class in a very supportive and welcoming school. But, shh, don’t tell my colleagues about the collecting snippets of conversation thing, or they’ll think I am spying on them 😉

What is the most enjoyable thing you’ve found through writing?

I love the fact that writing allows you to create a fictional world where characters, who become your friends, interact and take on a life of their own. When it is all coming together, when the writing is flowing and the purpose of every character, every scene and interaction becomes clear, it is an amazing feeling.

What do you miss about being a kid?

Honestly, I don’t miss anything about being a child. If I could return to a time in my life, it would be around twenty-six – after I had got my degree and when I first started teaching. It was a wonderful time. I was happy, thin (ah there was a time) young and full of self-confidence.

If you were trapped in a cartoon world from your childhood, which one would you choose and why?

I am a child of the seventies, and so there are some genuinely crazy worlds to choose from. Though not a cartoon, I would choose The Flumps, I liked the fact they were all one happy family, and they seemed to have a good pace of life.

What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose to watch it?

I go to the cinema regularly, generally once or twice a week, this weekend I saw Harley Quinn, as I had seen the first, and I like Margot Robbie as an actor. I also saw Dolittle with my children. I wasn’t sure how much I would enjoy it, but it was very good, entertaining and quirky – though it has made me want to befriend a polar bear.

Tell us about your most recent book.

Maybe Baby is the sequel to The Purrfect Pet Sitter (Lisa Blake book #1), published by Ruby Fiction. While each book can be read as a standalone story, Maybe Baby revisits the characters readers have enjoyed in The Purrfect Pet Sitter as they move into the next phase of their lives.

It was wonderful to have you be a part of MTA, Carol. I love that you collect conversation snippets. I used to do that more often, and think I’ll return to that practice. All the best to you! –Camilla

The blurb:

Maybe Baby is the story of what happens after the happy ever after …

Lisa Blake is back with her first love, she’s reunited with her best friend Felicity, and life is looking good; even her pet sitting skills are improving – everybody knows you can’t believe all you read in the local Gazette, don’t they?

Felicity is on the cusp of achieving her perfect wife-mum-life balance; Her husband, Pete, is being wonderfully attentive, and her four children are getting older and wiser (sometimes too much wiser) by the day.

But with secrets to be revealed and discoveries to be made, it seems life is full of unexpected surprises!

Book Trailer: https://www.carol-thomas.co.uk/book-trailers/

Where to buy:

Amazon: http://getbook.at/MBAmazon
Ruby Fiction: https://www.rubyfiction.com/dd-product/maybe-baby/

Connect with Carol:

Website and Social Media Links:
http://carol-thomas.co.uk
http://facebook.com/carolthomasauthor
http://twitter.com/carol_thomas2
https://www.pinterest.co.uk/carol_thomas2/
https://www.instagram.com/carol_thomas2/

Blog:
http://carol-thomas.co.uk/blog

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Meet the Book Blogger: Tina Hartas of TripFiction

Welcome to this new series! We’re shaking things up at Meeting the Authors. Once or twice per month, MTA is turning the tables to feature Book Bloggers. A huge and hearty welcome to the first book blogger to take the Turning the Tables Plunge!

Today we travel to Wylam, which is in the Tyne Valley in Northumberland, near to Newcastle-upon-Tyne, to chat with Tina Hartas about how travel, Donna Leon, Inspector Montalbano, Boekenweek, being a trained psychosocial therapist, and David Attenborough come together as part of Tina’s past and current life.

Why did you choose to be a book blogger or how did you come to be a book blogger? How long have you been bookblogging?

I have been blogging for about 8 years on the back of setting up our website www.tripfiction.com – I have always loved to travel and I have always searched for books that are strong on location, set where I am going. It is wonderful to get those little insights that authors can offer when they know somewhere really well, it’s like looking over their shoulder and seeing a location through their eyes.

So we blog on books with a strong sense of place, we chat to authors and we combine that all with travel, both actual and armchair! Just think of what Donna Leon has done for Venice or Andrea Camilleri for Sicily (and did you know that the equivalent of two (yes TWO) aircraft land per day in Sicily with people following in the footsteps of his delightful main character Inspector Montalbano!

Are you accepting requests at the moment? How do you prefer to be contacted?

We are always happy to be contacted! If we can’t commit to a review, then the author can (in any case) add their book to our database and get exposure in that way, as long as the book is strong on locale.

What information do you want to receive with the request?

A bit about the book is always good! But it’s nice to have an informal chat with the author.

What types of book blog posts do you offer? Reviews, interviews, book spotlight, guest posts, etc.

We offer reviews, interviews, the opportunity to offer a #TalkingLocationWith… feature (authors, whose work is strong on setting, can talk about their setting and offer some top tips. Just get in touch). And if you authors already have a good quality video where they talk about setting, then, if it is suitable, we can possibly add it to our YouTube channel.

We also have a monthly Newsletter and a bi-monthly book club (#TFBookClub). In March/April we are reading The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo.

What is your preferred book format to read? If digital, what digital file do you prefer?

We tend to prefer paper format but certainly will read PDFs and digital on Kindle.

Do you only participate in official blog tours or do you accept requests from authors? 

We have stepped back from participating in blog tours because the deadlines were becoming quite stressful. And we also found that often creating our own schedule worked better for us. But I know that they work very well for many…

What is your preferred genre? Do you read nonfiction, memoirs, or any style of poetry? 

Love fiction, both contemporary and historical (with histfic a reader can really get a sense of the footsteps past. For example taking Alberto Angela’s wonderful novel A Day in the Life of Ancient Rome was just brilliant for getting a sense of what life was like in Rome, in proper Roman times!) Memoir, romance… most genres, really! Nonfiction, too, I just read Lisa Taddeo’s “Three Women” which is the story (yes, it focusses on the sexual side of their relationships) of, well, three women in modern America. It was insightful and thought provoking (Marian Keyes says she is busy giving a copy to every single one of her female friends!) and it read like fiction. If you ever read it, let me warn you, you will never look at a Cadbury’s creme egg in the same way (I will just leave that there! 😉 )…

Do you write a review if you did not like the book? Do you use a star rating system for reviews you write?

We do use a star rating and yes, we do write a – hopefully – constructive review if a book has a low star rating. I feel if you don’t write reviews that reflect the reading experience, both good and less good, then you are not offering a balanced overview.

Once contacted, when can the author expect to hear from you?

Within a couple of days. We have four reviewers contributing to our blog so sometimes we need to have a conflab about who does what!

What is your favorite aspect of bookblogging?

Meeting lovely people via Social Media!

What does your ideal reading space look like?

I can read anywhere, virtually (maybe not a sauna) and can immerse myself for a few minutes or an hour. It depends. Ideally I would love my reading space to have clean lines, white and uncluttered with a super comfy chair (or, thinking about it, a chaise longue would do the trick!).

What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading books for Boekenweek. That takes place 7-15 March 2020 and is a celebration of Dutch literature in translation. The Boekenweek phenomenon goes back several decades in the Netherlands and each year, to mark the week, a novella is published. It is then given out free to people who purchase a book and if you produce that novella when you travel there by train, then you have free passage, ANYWHERE on the Dutch railway network! How amazing is that!

List  something interesting about yourself.

I have always read but I am a trained art conservator and a trained psychosexual therapist (and no, the two do not go hand-in-hand!)

What do you do when not reading or writing book blog posts?

I would like to say I mainly travel but that all depends on other commitments and of course money!

If you could have a fantasy tea or coffee date with an author, book blogger, or famous person from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?

It would have to be David Attenborough. He has done so much to raise awareness for environmental issues and brought the joy of the natural world into people’s homes. He seems such a reasoned person, judicious and kind, which seems a little rare in this world at the moment. I think, though, that my questions would dry up if I actually met him. I would just be in awe.

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through reading and book blogging?

That I can write (well, to some extent, anyway!). When I did History A Level my teacher told me that I was an appalling and undisciplined writer! Thank you Miss Quinn!

What is the most enjoyable thing you’ve found through reading?

I love being transported to other worlds and places. What more can I say?

At this stage in your life, what advice would your young self give to your more mature self?

I would say, follow your intuition. As a counsellor it became so evident that people don’t listen to their inner voices and often get taken along a less desirable path. When I have listened to mine and given it a lot of thought, then it usually holds me in good stead. When I haven’t, I have sometimes got myself into a tangle.

What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose to watch it?

Parasite. I was curious to see the Oscar Winner for Best Film. Really enjoyed it, thought it was more bloody than anticipated and felt that it was a slightly curious choice for Best Film. Loved the house in which it was filmed!

Thank you for being a part of the book blogger interviews, Tina. I absolutely adore what you’ve created in having focused on a niche. Wishing you loads of great reading … and travel!! –Camilla

About TripFiction:

Connect with TripFiction:

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC71lR1VEe4wTwPKV2dqohVw?view_as=subscriber
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TripFiction.literarywanderlust/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tripfiction/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TripFiction

website: https://www.tripfiction.com
To ask for a Review: We ask people to use contact@tripfiction.com and take it from there…
Contact form link: https://www.tripfiction.com/contact/

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Meet the Author: Your Goal Guide by Debra Eckerling

Today we travel to West Los Angeles to chat with Debra Eckerling about how telling stories, journalism in college, freelance writing, an Instant Pot, Aikido, and cardio dance come together to form the screen play of Debra’s life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am a goal coach and project catalyst. I help people figure out what they want and how to get it, whether they are at a crossroads and need direction or they are seeking a plan and guidance for a specific project. I do coaching, workshops, and have an online and live support group for writers, creatives, and entrepreneurs, called Write On Online. There’s a Facebook page and group.

I live in West Los Angeles, and am originally from the Midwest (Chicago suburbs). I’ve written for national, local, trade, and online publications; have worked in publishing, education, financial services, social media, and technology; and speak on the subjects of writing, networking, goal-setting, and social media.

In which genre do you write? How many published books do you have?

I write non-fiction in the areas of writing/business/self-help with some tech and social media mixed in.

My first two books – Purple Pencil Adventures: Writing Prompts for Kids of all Ages and Write On Blogging: 51 Tips to Create, Write & Promote Your Blog – were self-published and only released as ebooks.

My third – Your Goal Guide: A Roadmap for Setting, Planning and Achieving Your Goals – was released by Mango Publishing on January 14, 2020, and is available in ebook and paperback formats.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?

Ever since I learned to write as a kid, I loved to write. Growing up, I mostly wrote fiction. I loved telling stories. I studied journalism in college, so I could have a solid writing background – it amazes me how much publishing has changed since the 1990s, btw.

Then, in my 20s I got my first freelance writing break a week after I wrote my first screenplay, which I did for fun. Freelance writing came easy to me. I still loved telling stories, but now I was telling real-people stories, rather than fiction. And, somewhere along the line, I started incorporating my knowledge and experience in my words, as well.

List 3 interesting facts about yourself.

I was never into cooking until I got an Instant Pot (pressure cooker) about three years ago. Sure, I could make the basics, and I love food, but I was never one of those people who thought cooking was meditative and fun. Now, I love my Instant Pot – and also my air fryer – and I will tell anyone who will listen how much I enjoy putting in ingredients and watching them turn into meals. I share recipes and have conversations about food prep. It still surprises me when I find myself discussing cooking or offering advice.

I studied Aikido for nine years. It’s the passive martial art you see on TV, where someone attacks you, you step out of the way, and the attacker falls down … their own power is their downfall. Aikido teaches things like self-awareness, being centered, and creating a mind frame to avoid conflict. Someone attacks you, even verbally, there are ways to use distraction or even kindness to diffuse the situation before resorting to combat, but only if necessary.

I went through a quiet phase as a child. No one believes that when they meet me, since I am very outgoing.

Where did the idea for your most recent book come from?

I started a writing-focused goal-setting group when I was the event coordinator for Barnes & Noble in Illinois, and re-launched the group in Los Angeles a few years after I moved here. Over time, Write On has transitioned from a live group to online. Now, it’s a hybrid of online – I have a Facebook page and group for goal-setting, accountability, and community – and live hangouts.

Several years ago, a member asked me to help him one-on-one, so I began doing personal coaching, speaking and leading workshops. I worked in communication and project management, so I was able to use all of my skills to help people plan their projects, troubleshoot, and complete them.

Then, in 2018 I re-branded my business as the D*E*B METHOD®. My goal-setting and productivity process worked perfectly with my new acronym. DEB stands for Determine Your Mission, Explore Your Options, Brainstorm Your Path.

The biggest reason people do not reach their goals is they don’t take the time to figure out what it is they really want and how to make it happen. DEB, which is Part One of Your Goal Guide, walks readers through my process. Part Two is all about setting yourself up for success.

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

My current fitness of choice is cardio dance. I take an amazing World of Dance UJAM class every week, and it is definitely my happy place. Dance is not only healthy and fun, it’s the best stress-reliever. It energizes me and keeps me going.

Do you journal write or keep a personal diary? Has this helped with your published writings? If so, how?

I have been keeping a journal for years. It was mandatory for a creative writing class in high school, and it literally changed my life. I discovered the power of getting your thoughts on paper; it keeps you healthier, physically and mentally, and also helps with problem-solving, as well as capturing what’s going on in your life, good and bad.

As an adult, I’ve used journaling more to track my activities, keep notes on my projects, and catalogue ideas. Journaling and brainstorming are significant elements in the process I teach and are a huge part of Your Goal Guide.

If you were trapped in a cartoon world from your childhood, which one would you choose and why?

I had this question as a college entrance essay for a creative writing program, and it stuck with me. I said I would want to be a cartoon version of myself, because I believe everyone should know how it feels to turn their head 360 degrees. And, yes, I got into that school, but opted to pursue a degree in journalism instead.

Do you believe things happen for a reason? Do you have an example from your own life to share why you believe this?

I believe everything happens for a reason and in a certain order.

About two years ago, when my primary freelancing client was making changes, I took it as a sign that it was time to focus on my goal-coaching. I re-branded myself – I took the goal-setting and productivity techniques I developed over the years and put them into a simplified process, called The D*E*B Method. Shortly thereafter, I met an agent (he found me), and he sold my book.

Ever since I decided to fully embrace what I believe I was meant to do, things have fallen into place.

Which of your personality traits has been most useful and why?

I did competitive public speaking in high school and college. When you master communication, you can interact with anyone, present anything, and get your ideas across.

Any parting thoughts?

I love to meet new people … and part of achieving goals is activating your network, and finding the information and resources you need to make your dreams a reality.

And please connect with me. You can find me on LinkedIn, Facebook – for Write On Online and The D*E*B Method, Instagram, and Twitter. I lead the #GoalChat Twitter Chat on Sundays at 7pm PT.

It was wonderful having you be a part of MTA, Debra. Here’s wishing you many great meals in your Instant Pot and much fun dancing! –Camilla

About the book:

One of the biggest reasons goals fail is that people often don’t put enough thought into what they really want before diving in. Your Goal Guide by Debra Eckerling starts with that first, crucial step: figuring out your goals and putting a plan in place. Eckerling presents readers with her own tested and proven method: the D*E*B METHOD®. DEB is a brainstorming and task-based system and stands for: Determine Your Mission, Explore Your Options, Brainstorm Your Path. It’s a roadmap for setting and achieving goals. Goals can be intimidating because of the pressure people often put on themselves to succeed. However, Eckerling believes that setting goals should be easy—you just need the right tools to tackle them. Through a combination of writing exercises and systems, Eckerling provides readers with a process for making and setting goals that is stress-free, easy-to-manage, and even fun.

Where to buy the books:

You can find Your Goal Guide: A Roadmap for Setting, Planning and Achieving Your Goals on Amazon or at your favorite bookstore. If they don’t have it, just ask them to order it for you.

Your Goal Guide: A Roadmap for Setting, Planning and Achieving Your Goals, from Mango Publishing

Write On Blogging and Purple Pencil Adventures

About Debra:

Debra Eckerling is the author of Your Goal Guide: A Roadmap for Setting, Planning and Achieving Your Goals from Mango Publishing. A professional writer, communications specialist, and project catalyst, she works with individuals and businesses to set goals and manage their projects through one-on-one coaching, workshops, and online support. After years of working, adapting, and polishing her goal-setting and productivity techniques, she put them into a simplified process, called the D*E*B METHOD®. DEB stands for Determine Your Mission, Explore Your Options, Brainstorm Your Path. Debra is also the founder of Write On Online, a live and online community for writers, creatives, and entrepreneurs, and host of the #GoalChat Twitter Chat.

Connect with Debra:

Main Links:
http://TheDEBMethod.com
http://WriteOnOnline.com

Follow Write On Online on Facebook and Twitter
Join the Write On Online Facebook Group
Follow The D*E*B Method on Facebook and Twitter
Join the #GoalChat Twitter Chat
Subscribe to the Guided Goals Podcast

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Meet the Author: Words of Alchemy by Camilla Downs

Today we travel to Reno, Nevada, USA to chat with Camilla Downs (yep, that’s me) about how a Swedish actress, going for walks, chromosome deletions, tiny house living, a construction company, being a paralegal, nature photography, Scooby Doo, and tenacity come together to form the ingredients for the alchemy of Camilla’s life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Hey! I’m Camilla Downs (pronounced like Pamela, but with a “C”). I was named after Camilla Sparv, a Swedish actress in the 1960’s and 70’s. I’ve been told that I’m the great great grand-daughter of a full blooded Chickasaw Indian and Irish immigrants (haven’t researched this yet, it’s on my to do list for this year).

I have lived in Reno, Nevada, USA for the past 14 years, moving here from the Seattle, Washington area in 2006. I spent my first 18 years in Jackson, Mississippi and Houma, Louisiana.

I love walking. I am out for walks anywhere from three to six days a week. Nature is partly the inspiration for my writings and poetry. The other part is a desire to process my life experiences; to give them an outlet through writing.

Writing in this way allows me to feel and release experiences and to receive comfort and answers. I also write narratives of my life experiences and how I’ve processed the experiences; sharing these on my blog and in my books.

I have been single parenting fourteen year old Thomas and eighteen year old Lillian since Thomas was 1 year old. Lillian has a chromosome deletion simply called 18p-. This means she is missing the short arm of chromosome #18.

My kids and I call ourselves Team TLC to correspond with the first letters of each of our names. During 2015-2019 we were tiny home dwellers, living in a 1 bedroom, 1 bath, 810 square foot apartment. That was one heck of an adventure!

In addition, we are an unschooling family. Thomas and Lillian focus on what interests each of them and learn about that topic. I act as a facilitator and provide assistance when asked or needed. Lillian is a proud graduate of 2019.

I am inspired by this place I chose as home in 2006. When he was seven years old Thomas summed it up with one beautifully inspired comment ….

“It’s like we are at an art show and nature keeps changing the art for us.”

In which genre do you write?

So far, my genre writing of choice has been memoir, with this latest book being a free-verse poetry memoir. However, I feel a fiction, maybe a creative nonfiction, bubbling and brewing along with more books to follow.

How many published books do you have?

I have 4 published books. Two are authored by me and the other two are with my children.

Words of Alchemy – Published December 2019
Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories by Lillian Darnell with Camilla Downs – Published January 2018
Biggest Little Photographer by Thomas Darnell with Camilla Downs – Published October 2016
D iz for Different – One Woman’s Journey to Acceptance – Published February 2012

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading four books. I read different books during different times of the day, also depending on my mood.

Anywhere That Is Wild – John Muir’s First Walk to Yosemite, Edited by Peter & Donna Thomas
What We Talk About When We Talk About Books by Leah Price
The World of Serendipity by Marcus Bach
Beyond the Known – How Exploration Created the Modern World and Will Take Us to the Stars by Andrew Rader

List 7 interesting facts about yourself.

We haven’t had a television since 2008, and do not miss it.
I have not used a microwave, for heating or cooking food, since about that same time, and have not missed it. However, I do use the timer and I store food inside it to keep it warm.
I’m headed into my second year of being a vegan and fourth year as a vegetarian.
I am certified in Reiki.
I was a paralegal for 10 years before I had children.
I swear a lot, I mean loads.
I’ve been a grocery checker, a bookkeeper, a receptionist, a paralegal, CEO of a construction company, social media consultant, substitute teacher, route delivery driver, pet and elderly person sitter, and an author.

Where did the idea for your most recent book come from?

I didn’t set out to write poetry, an accidental poet, perhaps? I began an incredibly deep and profound healing journey after my divorce. A major part of the healing was going for walks, lots and lots of walks, allowing nature to help me in healing. When in nature, poetic words would simply bubble to the surface of my thoughts. That was the original inspiration. Following this, I began to receive intuitive nudges to take photographs while on these walks.

After a walk, I would scroll through the nature photographs, choosing one to post on social media. As I began to type a comment to accompany the photo, poetic words spilled from my heart and mind, through my fingers, landing on the screen. This began to happen more often with the poems becoming more in depth. Eventually the poems began to flow simply from events I was in the midst of experiencing.

I thought my next book was going to be a memoir or creative nonfiction, detailing the years from 2012-2019. It turned out to be something like that, just not what I was originally thinking. Every time I sat to work on the next book, my thoughts would turn to the poems I had written over the previous six years. I finally listened to that knowing and began organizing the poems; which led to Words of Alchemy being published on December 2019.

Is there something special you do with your book before sending it to a reader?

I personalize each book with a hand written message, at times including a special message within the book. It’s always a little different. Sometimes it’s a handwritten message on a small card, others it’s a micro short poem or message created from the words of a book destined for the trash.

In addition to that, I offer readings from the book via telephone. I’m happy to do this one on one or on speakerphone to a book club (or in person if you are in the Reno/Tahoe/Sparks surrounding area). This is done at no charge and I’m happy to have discussions after the reading. If interested, go here to reserve a slot … https://camilladowns.youcanbook.me/

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

I go for walks, take nature photographs, read, meditate, do the grocery shopping (Ha!), cook for the three of us, have a solo dance party, update The Team TLC website, post on my personal website, post author interviews on this website, and keep track of and complete paperwork having to do with my special needs daughter, Lillian.

What is the most enjoyable thing you’ve found through writing?

The absolute most enjoyable aspect of writing is the feedback from those who are touched, inspired, and moved by the words that flow through my fingertips.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve done to help create a scene?

This has to do with the nature photographs I take … I have been known, and seen by onlookers, to lay flat on the freezing cold ground (or burning hot ground) to get at the perfect angle for a photo. I’ve contorted my body in all manner of ways, stood in precarious places … just so I could get the perfect photo. All of this fueled by my intuition. Many times I’m in the midst of a walk, and get the urge to stop, look up, look down, look sideways and know I’m supposed to take a photo. These photos are what inspired the early poetry.

Do you journal write or keep a personal diary? Has this helped with your published writings? If so, how?

Yes, I do. When I was a young girl I kept a diary, and still have those early diaries. When I reached Jr High and High School, and throughout my early adult years, I discontinued this practice, picking it up again when I separated and then divorced in 2006.

Writing holds my heart and guides me to confront the unlovely and harsh thoughts that litter my mind at times. Yet, also to fully experience the joyful and peaceful moments. Writing gave me solutions and direction for decisions I was faced with making. Many of the poems in Words of Alchemy came forth in journal writing. I feel writing is therapeutic and I suggest everyone write, even if they have no desire to be an author.

What do you miss about being a kid?

I experienced a pretty rough child hood in my home life, and always felt like an outcast in school, so … I certainly don’t miss that. However, I do miss both of my grandmothers, Estelle Mann and Elnor Downs. Their essence is within me and I call upon it, and them, often.

If you were trapped in a cartoon world from your childhood, which one would you choose and why?

Definitely the old school Scooby Doo, having adventures in the Mystery Machine! I would choose to be a new member of the gang, a cool cat! I’d be able to fit into all the places the rest of the gang can’t fit and I’d have a smashing sense of humor!

What were the last three movies you watched?

The Aeronauts – Based on the true events in 1862 of badass balloon pilot Amelia Wren teaming up with meteorologist James Glaisher to advance knowledge of the weather, while flying higher than anyone in history.

The Farewell – Beautifully warm true story of cultural differences when a family member is diagnosed with a fatal illness.

Blinded by the Light – A heartwarming true story set to the music and lyrics of Bruce Springsteen’s songs.

A giraffe knocks on your door and is wearing a bowler hat. What does he say and why is he there?

Excuse me, madam. I’m sure you may not remember me. We were childhood friends in middle school. It’s been a lengthy journey finding you and making my way here. I wonder if you would like to have lunch with me. I have never forgotten you and would like the two of us to catch up with one another.

Which of your personality traits has been most useful and why?

Tenacity
Laser focused attention to detail
Tenacity

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on getting the word out about Words of Alchemy, having my hands quite full with paperwork now that my special needs daughter has turned 18. If any book bloggers, or authors who blog about other authors and their books, are reading this, would you be interested in hosting me on your blog?

Tell us about your most recent book.

The writings in Words of Alchemy are a testament to how walks, nature, writing, and allowing myself to feel and process buried emotions and trauma alchemized my life experiences.

It’s been a hoot interviewing myself! I hope everyone enjoyed the show! HA! –Camilla

The poetry of nature, the poetry of healing, the poetry of appreciation, the poetry of love … in one beautiful book.

Book Blurb:

In Words of Alchemy, Camilla Downs invites you to walk with her to share her love of Nature and Life through a heartfelt free-verse poetry memoir.

During her daily strolls she is mindfully present as she delves into life in the raw and experiences her heart’s observations.

Camilla embraces what happens when she opens her heart and invites the written words to flow. The Alchemy of Love and Healing is what happens.

Praise for Words of Alchemy

“Words of Alchemy, a heartfelt new collection by Camilla Downs, lives up to its namesake in numerous ways. Downs spans the broad range of nature, healing, love, and parenting, while making sure we have a little fun along the way. And the bridge she creates from the mindfulness of how we see the world at large to the poetry of everyday life is certainly worth a stroll or two across its borders.” – Thomas Lloyd Qualls, Award-winning author of Painted Oxen

“This poetry collection offers contemplative words, soothing thoughts and peace to the reader.” – Sue Bentley, Bestselling author of Second Skin

“Camilla Downs shares truth, vulnerability and wisdom in her Words of Alchemy collection, inviting readers to be inspired, contemplate and dive into her world of self-awareness and growth.” – G. Brian Benson – Award-winning author, actor and spoken word artist

“These poems take you on a calm and loving walk through the verses of the author’s thoughts. Alchemy is a perfect word for the title as Camilla Downs understands nature; connecting with its magical, medicinal qualities and beauty which she conveys throughout her poetry.” – Ailsa Craig, Author of The Sand Between My Toes

“Words of Alchemy is a chronicle of hope. These poems are an encouragement, especially when we are feeling at our lowest, to keep seeking the light that is our way forward, and focus on the real. This collection is a walk through the positive nature of life. Camilla Downs is to be commended.” – Frank Prem, Author of free-verse memoir Small Town Kid

Where to Buy:

Amazon: (paperback and ebook) mybook.to/WordsofAlchemy (This link takes you to Amazon in your country.)

ebook is on sale for $3.44! mybook.to/WordsofAlchemy

If you’re in the U.S. and would like a personalised, signed book go to this link- free shipping! (I will ship internationally, if the reader would like to pay the international shipping fee): http://camilladowns.com/books/words-of-alchemy/

About Camilla:

Camilla Downs is a bestselling author, indie publisher, mentor, and mom. Nature and life experiences are a constant source of inspiration for her writing. She enjoys living a minimalist lifestyle, practicing meditation and mindfulness, reading, going for walks, and capturing nature’s essence with photographs. Camilla is the founder of MeetingtheAuthors.com and lives in Northern Nevada, USA with her two kids.

Website: http://camilladowns.com/
Family Website: http://theteamtlc.com/
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CamillaDownsAuthor/
twitter: https://twitter.com/camilladowns
instagram: https://www.instagram.com/CamillaDowns/
pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/camilladowns/
Amazon Author Central: amazon.com/author/camilladowns

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To support this website and the author’s interviewed, visit Support MTA for suggestions. Thank you! – Camilla, Founder and Host

Book Shelf: Turtles All the Way Down

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

A while ago my 14-year-old son asked me to help him find some juvenile and young adult fiction books having to do with mental health issues. This is one of them. I decided that instead of just giving him a list, that I’d read the books too.

It’s about a 16 year old girl who has a hell of a time with her spiraling thoughts. I really enjoyed the story and loved reading and getting absorbed in it.

However, I had something odd happen that is unique for me as something in the story triggered some issues from my own childhood and teenage years. This caused me to not like the ending of the story (but had to do with my own triggers). Seriously, it was pretty wild. I was angry and irritated for two days after finishing the book. Had to walk into the issue in my morning journal writing so I could connect with some issues, feel the discomfort of it all. Once I looked at it, embraced it and stopped rejecting it, I was able to move past it.

Again, totally unique to my situation as it triggered some deep hurt and pain within me from my past. Yet, that’s the beauty of life … We never know when or what is going to invite us to release past issues buried within.

Having said all of that, I did enjoy the book and I’ll be adding his other book, The Fault of Our Stars, to my list.

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Iozahu

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To support this website and the author’s interviewed, visit Support MTA for suggestions. Thank you! – Camilla

(The above are amazon affiliate links.)