Meet the Author: Depression Hates a Moving Target by Nita Sweeney

Today we’re traveling to Ohio in the USA to chat with Nita Sweeney. She and I discuss how coaching, sloppy handwriting, law school, the number three, Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh, onions, and stubbornness come together as part of Nita’s past and present. Get your running shoes on, this one’s about movement …

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I write, coach writers, and teach classes. In May 2019, Mango Publishing released my first book, the running and mental health memoir, Depression Hates a Moving Target: How Running with My Dog Brought Me Back from the Brink. Tantor Media released the audiobook in September 2019. When I’m not writing or promoting the book, I run with my dog, and meditate.

Ohio, USA is home. I was born in Sandusky, raised in Licking County, and attended college in Athens and Columbus. I worked in central Ohio, and, except for three years in Taos, New Mexico, have lived in Ohio my entire life. I’m a third-generation Ohio State Buckeye.

My husband, Ed, and I currently live in Upper Arlington, a suburban neighborhood of Columbus, with Scarlet, our yellow Labrador retriever. She’s a two-year-old, adorable scamp, stealing whatever she can, then dashing away to shred it. This morning she got the newspaper . . . again.

In which genre do you write?

My magazine articles, news stories, poetry, and essays have been published in online and print outlets including Dog WorldDog FancyBuddhist America, and Country Living. One poem won the Dublin (Ohio) Arts Council Poet’s Choice Award. Three novels, four other memoirs, a book of daily meditations, more poetry, and several short stories sit in computer folders waiting for me to return to them.

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

As a child, I adored books so much that I wanted to write my own. I loved reading aloud and relished any chance to escape into a book. After a teacher gave me a failing grade on a paper because she couldn’t read my sloppy handwriting, my mother hauled her manual typewriter and typing lesson book into my bedroom where I typed and bound my first “published” book, Sheshak the Wild Stallion. I was 10 years old. I still have that first book.

But self-doubt is strong. Despite a degree in magazine journalism and a history of good marks on my paper, I feared I couldn’t make it as a writer. I went to law school. Ten years and a depressive episode later, I left the law firm and returned to writing.

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

I’m obsessed with the number three. I won’t set my alarm for 5AM, I’ll set it for 5:01AM or 4:59AM. The time must be divisible by three. The same is true of foods. If I can count them, I will take an amount of a snack that is divisible by three. Three pretzels. Three brazil nuts. Three chocolate squares. I’m currently in love with bacon and gruyere egg bites. I cut each egg bite in 12 “bites” before I eat it. Twelve, after all, is divisible by three.

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

A unicorn, a sloth or Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh come to mind, but I would choose Frederick the Mouse, from the children’s book by Leo Lionni. In the story, during autumn, while other mice gather food and build shelters, Frederick sits in the sunshine. He appears lazy and unmotivated. Then winter comes and food supplies dwindle. That’s when Frederick shines. He recites the poems he was “writing” and reminds the others of the sun’s warmth. He sustains them with his words. I have a small statue of Frederick in my office.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

Our spare bedroom is the ideal office with two large windows and enough room for my giant desk. And, I can’t write there. I hear Scarlet shredding (and eating) something she shouldn’t. I want to know what Ed is reading or who he is speaking with on the phone. Shouldn’t I unload the dishwasher, pay the bills, or take out the trash? Surely those things must be done before I can write.

And so, I flee the house. My two current haunts are Colin’s Coffee, a locally-owned shop where I can hog a table for hours. Colin’s founding of the decades-old band Watershed and his musician’s mindset floods the place with creative energy. It’s a true artist’s coffeeshop. My other “office” is a grocery story. The upstairs community room in Kingsdale Market District is a bit like study hall except no one will yell at you if you talk. Plus, there’s food. Retired women play gin rummy or Mahjong while head-phoned college students crouch over laptops. I’m there so often the staff knows me by name.

What are you currently reading?

I just picked up Mag Dimond’s Bowing to Elephants, a travel memoir written from a Buddhist perspective. I’ve followed her blog for several years and find her writing fluid, deep, and insightful.

Where did the title of your most recent book come from?

The phrase “depression hates a moving target” popped into my head while I was talking on the phone to a depressed friend. She was stuck in bed. I said, “You’re fighting inertia. Depression hates a moving target. Just sit up. Sit on the edge of the bed. Stand up. Anything. You just need to get moving.” We both laughed and she did get out of bed and it helped.

“Twenty-Six Point Freaking Two” was the working title, but few people outside of the running community know that a marathon is 26.2 miles long. Brenda Knight, my editor at Mango, wanted something with more universal appeal. “Depression hates a moving target” worked beautifully.

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

Ed, Scarlet, and I enjoy sitting down to a meal nearly every night at 5PM. Scarlet snarfs the kibble from her dish, Ed plates whatever amazing dish he’s whipped up, and I pick the onions out of whatever he cooked. Ed and I share observations and insights from our day and, once Scarlet has finished her food, she sniffs the table until I correct her then settles at our feet. It’s my favorite time of day.

When I’m not with them, I run! Running has proven to be as good as many of the mental health medicines I was on. At one time it took six mental health medications to keep me alive. Today I am on one. Now that Scarlet is two and her growth plates have closed, she joins me on the roads for a few miles. It only took one or two runs for her to recognize my running shoes. All I have to do is walk over to the show rack and she’s glued to my side.

What do you miss about being a kid?

Cantering around the front yard, pretending I was a horse. You can’t do that in the suburbs.

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

Brittany Runs a Marathon. Brittany’s story of overcoming a personal crisis through exercise is familiar and inspiring. It’s not a mental health story, and she doesn’t run with a dog, but the movie will appeal to many viewers whether they’re interested in running or not. We all need an uplifting story and that movie delivers.

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

1)      Which tasted best? The washcloth, the seats of my mother’s chairs, or the four, twenty-dollar bills?

2)      Is it necessary to stick your wet nose everywhere?

3)      Will you outgrow this phase?

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

I’m not sure if it is stubbornness or compulsion, or maybe passion, but whatever you call the part of me that refused to give up until I found a publisher for one of my books has served me well.

What are you currently working on?

In between podcast pitches, guest blog submissions, and phone calls to set up speaking gigs, I work on a proposal for that book of daily meditations I mentioned above. This surprises people. “You already have a publisher. Why do you need to write another proposal?” While I have a shoe firmly wedged in Mango’s door, each book is its own thing. I need to describe the book, explain the market and competition, and set out what I will do to help the book sell. Mango loves books and is happy with how hard I work, but publishing is a business. The proposal helps them decide if my next book will provide a good return on their investment.

Tell us about your most recent book and where we can find it.

Depression Hates a Moving Target is a couch to marathon story with anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder thrown in for good measure. It’s a bit memoir, some self-help, and, from what reviewers say, highly inspiring.

Readers can find Depression Hates a Moving Target wherever fine books are sold! I say this in jest, but folks can order it anywhere, worldwide, in paperback, ebook, and audiobook. My website, https://nitasweeney.com/about-the-book/, has a list of buy links.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

You’ve asked great questions. I appreciate every chance to share with readers. Thank you for so much including me in your interviews and for the work you do for authors.

It was wonderful to “meet” you, Nita. I also have a thing for the number three. How synchronous! Thanks for being a part of MTA. All the best to you! –Camilla

Depression Hates a Moving Target: How Running with My Dog Brought Me Back from the Brink

Can running save your life?

Nita Sweeney thinks so.

After decades of chronic depression from bipolar disorder, and a single year during which seven loved ones and a cat died, an overweight, sedentary, grief-stricken 49-year old Sweeney was willing to try anything. She picked up a digital kitchen timer, leashed up her yellow Labrador retriever, and walked to a secluded ravine near her central Ohio home to jog for 60 seconds.

She didn’t want to die.

In her running and mental health memoir, Depression Hates a Moving Target: How Running with My Dog Brought Me Back from the Brink, Sweeney recounts how, in the face of a debilitating mood disorder, and with a trusty canine companion by her side, she not only went from couch to marathon, but from a woman near suicide to one eager to thrive.

Connect with Nita:

Nita’s website: https://nitasweeney.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/nitasweeney/
Facebook: https://facebook.com/nitasweeneyauthor/
LinkedIn: https://linkedin.com/in/nitasweeney/
Pinterest: https://pinterest.com/nitasweeney/
Instagram: https://instagram.com/nitasweeney/

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Meet the Author: Walks: A Collection of Haiku by Cendrine Marrouat and See A Dream Within: Found ‘Poe’try Based On The Collected Poetry Works Of Edgar Allan Poe by David Ellis

Today we’re traveling to Winnipeg, Canada and to the UK to chat with Cendrine Marrouat and David Ellis. We chat about how sweet and savoury snacks, cuddly animals, movement, photography, being a French instructor, accepting praise, resourcefulness, uplifting others, trust, believing in yourself, and perfectionism come together as part of Cendrine and David’s writing life.

Tell us a bit about yourselves.

Cendrine Marrouat: Originally from Toulouse, France, I have called Winnipeg, Canada, my home for 16 years. I am a photographer, poet, author, French instructor, and the Head of marketing and communications at ConnexionFranco.Coop. I am also co-founder of two projects, FPoint Collective and Auroras & Blossoms Poetry Journal.

David Ellis: I am a UK based author of poetry, fiction and music lyrics. I have been writing poetry and music lyrics for years.

How many published books do you have?

Cendrine Marrouat: I have 13 published books in several genres — poetry, photography, social media, and theatre. I have a few more in the works.

David Ellis: I have published five books so far, with many more planned for the future! Three of them are poetry collections, the other two are short stories collections, one of which is a short story collection with stories written by myself and other writers. I aim to write and publish, in a variety of different mediums and genres.

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

Cendrine Marrouat: I have never been able to work on any idea without a title popping up in my mind first.

As such, the titles of all my books existed before a line was ever written. And only one or two have been changed slightly.

David Ellis: I like to be in my own creative environment when I write. It has to be supplied with sweet and savoury snacks, endless cups of tea, and most importantly of all – cuddly animals. I have Meerkats, a kangaroo and Gromit from the animation comedy series ‘Wallace & Gromit’, along with other ornamental animals nearby too. I’m building an ornamental collection of little elephants, plus I have a giraffe sent to me by one of my dearest friends. They keep me company, while I get down to the business at hand.

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

Cendrine Marrouat: Walks: A Collection of Haiku is a series of short books focusing on the idea of movement.

Movement is part of us. Even the shortest destination, such as going to our car or our kitchen, requires walking. Many people walk without thinking. As a result, they will miss many things that could have brightened their day.

As a photographer with a passion for details, I walk with intent. I pay attention to things around me and I want to help others do too.

David Ellis: ‘See A Dream Within: Found ‘Poe’try Based On The Collected Poetry Works Of Edgar Allan Poe’ is my most recent publication. It is a collection of inspirational and romantic poetry based on the entire collected poetic works of Edgar Allan Poe.

I’ve been dedicating myself to writing lots of found/blackout poetry recently and am thrilled at the results, as they can often be unpredictable, as well as being dependent on the source materials I am using. I chose to write a poetry book centred on Edgar Allan Poe’s works because of my love of his poem ‘The Raven’. I had previously written several found poems based on Edgar’s more popular poems and realised as I was drawn to writing even more of them, I could make an entire book of them, just in time for Halloween!

This poetry book gave me a good excuse to read every poem Poe has ever written or had attributed to him. I aim to do the same with all of his short stories for a sequel in the future. I feel like I am giving myself an excuse to educate and immerse myself in the world of a person I truly admire and am writing them a love letter that honours their memory, which I absolutely feel I have done with Poe. His spirit is still present after all this time, flowing in the words of my book.

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

Cendrine Marrouat: Many things! I am the Head of Marketing and Communications at ConnexionFranco.Coop. This platform seeks to bring together providers of services in French in Canada so that Francophone consumers can find them more easily, no matter where they are in the country.

I am also a photographer and French instructor to adults. Finally, I co-founded FPoint Collective, with Isabel Nolasco. David and I founded Auroras & Blossoms Poetry Journal earlier this year. We wanted to highlight and feature uplifting and inspirational poetry, no matter the topic. Our first issue was released on October 1. You can find it at http://abpoetryjournal.com/issues.

David Ellis: As Cendrine mentions above, we are both Co-Founders & Co-Editors of Auroras & Blossoms Poetry Journal. We have dedicated ourselves to providing an inspirational poetry journal that brings positivity to all those who read it.

I myself provide a variety of creative type interviews, primarily Author Interviews but I also conduct Comic Book/Graphic Novel Interviews, Photographer Interviews, Singer/Songwriter Interviews & Scriptwriting Interviews. My website is a creative resource hub, providing various comprehensive lists and tools to assist a variety of artists and writers.

My website can be found at www.toofulltowrite.com.

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

Cendrine Marrouat: That my voice matters because it is mine. You should never try and suppress your own story. It does not matter if it does not fit current social standards.

David Ellis: I think looking back, I doubted myself when it came to my writing when I first started out. I would look at other poets and admire their writing, wistfully thinking and wishing that I could write as well as they could. It was only when I started my own blog (after being encouraged to do so at my local Writers Circle) that I had a reason to fill up the blog with regular writing content from myself. I always had a keen interest in songwriting but I could not play any instruments, so I wrote poetry as a means to create music with words and was surprised to find that I had a knack for doing it. After I began writing and publishing, I noticed that my peers were taking notice of me, telling me how much they admired my work. This initially surprised and humbled me but I learned to accept their praise. It ended up giving me confidence in my abilities to keep striving to be a writer for my career.

I also constantly surprise myself with my resourcefulness, when it comes to my writing, finding inspiration in almost anything and everything out there, so what I feel I have learned through my own writing is what a resourceful person I am in many aspects of my life, especially when it comes to motivating others.

What is the most inspiring thing that has ever happened to you?

Cendrine Marrouat: The most inspiring thing that has ever happened to me was when one of my readers contacted me to let me know that one of my books (Short Poetry for Those Who Fear Death) had saved their life.

Real art is not meant to boost an artist’s ego. It is meant to help and uplift others, to launch important conversations. Otherwise, what’s the point?

David Ellis: Wow, a tough question! I can usually remember what I had for breakfast in the morning and quotable lines from films, books and songs but everything else in between is mostly a blur, punctuated with what I am going to eat for my next meal.

I think the most inspiring experiences I have had are ones where I’ve been approached by acquaintances who tell me what a positive impact I am having or have had on their lives in these troubled times. This can be from my writing or my constant sharing on Social Media of cute animals photos and videos. It costs nothing to give out positive love and kindness on a daily basis. To this day, I still maintain that I get the biggest thrill out of giving things to others, be it positive support, kindness, hope, love and inspiration. Also, if I know what your favourite animal is then I can’t help but end up giving you gifts based around that too 🙂

As for amusing or crazy things in my life, I always feel like I’m a few minutes away from something like that happening to me, I try to bring fun and a little craziness to the table wherever I may go!

You are about to speak publicly to a group and read from your latest book. What song do you listen to before speaking? Or, what do you do to prepare yourself?

Cendrine Marrouat: I have done a lot of public speaking in my career. I will listen to any song from my list of favorites, Genesis’ Ripples being at the top.

I am a language instructor by profession. I always prepare myself in the same way, by considering all questions people may ask me. It is a lot of work initially, but the more experienced you are, the easier it gets.

David Ellis: For me, I have a go to band that I imagine will be obscure to virtually everybody out there but that is just the way I like it 😉 I listen to a band called The Gone Jackals and specifically their album called ‘Bone To Pick’. I became obsessed with this soundtrack after it was featured in a videogame called ‘Full Throttle’. The story in the game is excellent and cinematic (it follows the adventures of a futuristic biker gang) plus since it has elements of a hero doing cool, heroic things, whenever I hear the music, it is easy for my mind to feel confident with it playing in the background. It has a bluesy rock vibe to it, very mellow in places and empowering in others. Go check it out on Spotify, if you have time.

Before publicly speaking, I would personally recommend listening to something that relaxes you and makes you feel confident too. Any genre will do, if it makes your head and spine tingle with euphoria. Furthermore, If you’re an alcohol drinker then have one (and I stress only one to calm your nerves, don’t get drunk!). If you’re teetotal then have a tea, coffee, soda, flavoured water (again just one, any more might end up giving you too much sugar/caffeine and making your more anxious). This should help make you feel more relaxed and mellow before your performance.

I agree with what Cendrine said above, the more speaking you do, the easier it gets. Make sure you have done plenty of research into what you are speaking about. If you are reading your own material, learn as much of it as you can off by heart, as it will come out more naturally when you read it.

Start speaking in smaller groups to get yourself used to dealing with larger audiences and never be afraid to voice an idea that you have in any discussions. If anything, I feel it is better to volunteer as early as possible, so you do not make yourself nervous and feel picked on, if several other people are chosen before it gets to be your turn! I’ve found as I get older, I am less worried about what other people think of me and more concerned about getting across my messages in the best way that I possibly can. Age really does bring experience.

It is important when you are publicly speaking to constantly mentally remind yourself that what you say has value to the audience that you are speaking to, they have come to support you and are interested in what you have to say. If you fumble or falter your words, take a breath, pause and then carry on as normal, as if nothing happened. You are human, people will understand and they will respect you even more for having the courage to stand up there and deliver your speech, so have fun with it and be sure to party hard afterwards once it’s done as a reward!

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

Cendrine Marrouat: Trust the fact that life will be even better than it is right now. Continue taking advantage of every opportunity.

David Ellis: Believe in yourself and your creative talent. You are making a legacy that you can be very proud of for years to come. Keep publishing and know that you are making a difference in the lives of your readers all over the world.

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

Cendrine Marrouat: Ad Astra. In this movie, Brad Pitt is an astronaut whose mission is to travel  across the solar system to uncover the truth behind the doomed expedition headed by his missing father.

I have a soft spot for the dystopian genre and anything even remotely similar to Interstellar in its premise will have my attention.

Brad Pitt has always been a great actor. But it’s probably one of his best roles!

David Ellis: I watch tons of movies and a lot of TV shows. Since we are talking about books, I shall focus on the latest film that I saw that was a book adaption, the 2017 film remake of Stephen King’s book IT. For those who don’t know, IT focuses on the small town of Derry, where children are going missing and a group of geeky teenagers band together to discover who is taking the children, while aiming to put a stop to it.

I have seen the original film version of IT with Tim Curry (made in 1990), which is genuinely frightening in places but with a lot of humour too and I’m glad they remade the original, considering how dated the effects are. The 2017 version is welcomed by me (unlike a lot of film remakes, which seem totally pointless when the films were so perfectly made in the first place), along with the significantly different take on the clown character (a superb performance by Bill Skarsgård).

I was keen to watch IT because of my passion for the TV show Stranger Things. I’m pleased to say that Finn Wolfhard (I really wish I had that surname!) who plays Mike in Stranger Things crops up here and is extremely entertaining throughout the film. The whole cast does a brilliant job of making you care for this intrepid band of geeks and losers, who take on a malevolent force of evil.

With the longer run time, the remake had to be split into two different movies, with the first film following the children and the second film following the children as adults, so we get to see what kind of nostalgia they will bring to the story, as the adults deal with Pennywise the Dancing Clown again many years after their first terrifying encounter with him.

Story is very important to me in films, with a strong, clever story, I can enjoy films and TV shows in many different genres.

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

Cendrine Marrouat: I absolutely believe that things happen for a reason. Call it karma, if you want. I believe in reincarnation. So everything I do, try to remember that it will have an impact on my current life or the next ones.

After completing the first draft of The Little Big eBook on Social Media Audiences: Build Yours, Keep It, and Win, I found myself stuck. I knew there was something wrong with it, but I could not pinpoint exactly what it was. So, I asked some people to read through it and share their honest feedback.

One reader tore my draft apart. He only had nasty things to say. It took me a day or two to get over the harsh criticism. Then, after re-reading his comments, I realized that, even though he could have been nicer, he had uncovered the issue.

So, with his and other people’s comments in mind, I started working on the book again. And this time, everything went according to plan. The book ended up receiving wonderful reviews and won an award.

David Ellis: I believe that if you have an artistic talent or flair for being creative, you were given this gift for a reason and it is up to you to try to share that gift with the rest of the world, no matter what the cost. Don’t let anyone ever discourage you from making your art and sharing your beauty with the world.

My father is an artist who went blind and mostly deaf many years ago due to disease but he never let it stop him from creating art. He found a way to keep making art, in spite of his disabilities and still does so to this very day. The process of making art is healing for yourself and can bring such emotional joy to others. We all have to work day jobs to earn a living but we should never let that stop us from doing what we want to do creatively.

Find your passions, make good art from them and that will give your life both meaning and reason.

You can read more about my father and see his artwork at http://www.blindartist.co.uk.

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

Cendrine Marrouat: In North America, perfectionism is seen as a bad thing. Had I not been the perfectionist I am, I would have had a short, uneventful career.

Instead, my attention to details and desire to achieve the best results, despite limited means, have allowed me to dive into many different fields and acquire a varied, and solid experience. Most people cannot believe that I have done so many things in only 16 years.

David Ellis: I think of myself as a very empathetic, emotional person. I am sensitive to the needs of people, which makes what I do very endearing and relatable. This has helped me to write poetry that connects with people on a spellbinding level. I also have a very determined mindset, like to do extensive, thorough research and construct balanced arguments. My former financial and business career made me a decisive individual, which when channeled with my professionalism is a powerful package. As an artist, it is extremely beneficial to take an interest in marketing yourself well, if you want to be seen by more people and if this does not come naturally to you then you should seek out others who can help market you to larger audiences.

Be generous with your time and support, these qualities will be reciprocated back to you by other like-minded people, whatever activities you choose to do in your life.

What are you currently working on?

Cendrine Marrouat: Volumes 3 and 4 of Walks: A Collection of Haiku. I wanted to release them earlier, but my schedule has been so busy!

Volume 3 is ready. Volume 4 is almost complete.

David Ellis: I have several plans and ideas in the works. I have two more collections of written poetry that I can compile/edit into full length books (one specialising in found poetry, the other original poetry by myself). I aim to be prolific as possible with my poetry writing, emulating my classical poetry heroes from many years ago.

I also want to write a book on creativity giving people inspiration on where to look in their lives for writing inspiration. I’m going to be working on more found poetry collections dedicated to individual poets, just like my Poe poetry book. I’d like to compile some writing prompt books too, in order to help writers with their muses, particularly around the time of National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo) and National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo).

Thank you Cendrine and David for joining us on MTA! It was incredibly interesting learning more about each of you. All the best to both of you. – Camilla

Cendrine Marrouat:

Book blurb for Walks: A Collection of Haiku:

“Haiku are unrhymed poems consisting of about 17 syllables spread over three lines. This poetry form started in Japan and has been very popular in many countries around the world for decades.

Haiku force you to be concise. They teach you impactfulness. As such, they are the embodiment of the “Show don’t tell” technique. A technique that allows readers to experience stories in a more personal and meaningful manner.

Walks: A Collection of Haiku is not just a celebration of Cendrine Marrouat’s love for haiku. It is also an invitation to enjoy the flitting moments that make life beautiful…”

Walks: A Collection of Haiku (Volumes 1 and 2) can be purchased via all major outlets — Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. For more information, visit https://www.cendrinemedia.com/Books.

Trailers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVm_JUdAbdY / https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PB5qAv-_SE

Bio:

Originally from Toulouse, France, Cendrine Marrouat has called Winnipeg, Canada, her home for 16 years. She is a photographer, poet, author, French instructor, and the Head of marketing and communications at ConnexionFranco.Coop. She has also co-founder two projects, FPoint Collective and Auroras & Blossoms Poetry Journal.

Cendrine specializes in nature, black-and-white and closeup images. Her photography seeks the mundane to capture the fleeting, but true beauty of life in its many forms.

Cendrine is passionate about haiku. She has studied the Japanese poetry form extensively and written many pieces since 2006.

In 2015, Cendrine was recognized as a Top 100 Business Blogger by BuzzHUMM. Social Media Slant, her former blog, also made Fit Small Business’ Best Small Business Blogs of 2015 & 2016 lists.

Walks: A Collection of Haiku (Volumes 1 & 2) are Cendrine’s 12th and 13th books. Other releases include five collections of poetry, three photography books, a play, two social media ebooks, and a spoken word CD.

Website: https://www.cendrinemedia.com

Email cendrine@cendrinemedia.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/cendrinemedia

Instagram: http://instagram.com/cendrinemedia

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

David Ellis:

Book blurb for ‘See A Dream Within’:

Decades after his poetry and short stories were published in the early to mid 1800’s, we still respect, revere and admire the writings of Edgar Allan Poe, celebrated master of the macabre, suspense and horror. Within this collection of found poems, David Ellis has examined the collected poetry works of Edgar Allan Poe and crafted new poetry that will move you and inspire you as much as the original works themselves. In this book, you will find many new ways to appreciate the words of Edgar and his distinguished poetic works, as he influences a passionate poet who is keen to breathe modern day life into his magnificent words. Poems like The Raven, Annabel Lee, Lenore, A Dream Within A Dream, Alone and many other literary gems are used as foundations that pave the way for a whole different kind of intimate poetic experience that will surprise you time and again. For Poe fans, this collection is an essential purchase. Edgar Allan Poe may be long gone but within these pieces, his spirit continues to shine and live on.

See A Dream Within: Found “Poe”try Based On The Collected Poetry Works Of Edgar Allan Poe can be purchased via all major outlets. It is available on Amazon Kindle and in print, along with being available on Lulu, Barnes & Noble and many other places.

The Amazon Kindle version has its own unique cover that is totally different to the equally gorgeous looking print version and is priced at about one dollar/one British Pound – a bargain in anybody’s book!

For more information on all of David’s published books visit https://toofulltowrite.com/my-books/.

Bio:

David Ellis is a UK based author of poetry, fiction and music lyrics. He has been writing poetry and music lyrics for years.

His debut poetry book ‘Life, Sex & Death – A Poetry Collection Vol 1’ is an International Award winning volume, having won an award in the Readers’ Favorite 2016 Book Award Contest for Inspirational Poetry Books.

Think of him like the thriller genre in that he is fast paced, relentless and impossible to put down!

Connect with him on Facebook:- TooFullToWrite (FB)

Like his Facebook Page:- Toofulltowrite – The Creative Palace For Artists & Author Resources

Follow him on Twitter:- @TooFullToWrite

For Creativity Resources, Writing Advice, Guides, Author Interviews and Poetry, visit his website/blog at:- www.toofulltowrite.com

For more information on Auroras & Blossoms Poetry Journal, visit https://abpoetryjournal.com.

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Meet the Author: The Sustainable Smallholders’ Handbook: A Practical Guide to Living off the Land by Lorraine Turnbull

Today we’re traveling to South West France to chat with Lorraine Turnbull. She and I discuss how being a police officer, gardening, the Milky Way, hay, and being single minded come together as part of her past and current life. Pull on your wellingtons, let’s get going …

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m originally from Glasgow in Scotland, but now live in sunny South West France after living in rural North Cornwall for many years running my very small smallholding and making cider.

In which genre do you write?

Well, I’m currently writing my second non-fiction book, but would love to write in another genre; although my head is so stuffed with ideas I don’t know I could narrow it down to just one other genre!  Perhaps there is a rural bonkbuster in me?  Fifty Shades of Hay?


(Lorraine in a beekeeping suit)

List 3 interesting facts about yourself.

Some time ago I was a Police Officer in Strathclyde Police.
I enjoy watching boxing on TV.
I have a morbid fear of wasps.

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

I have a beautiful home with two gite rentals here in Dordogne, so I’m often getting them ready for guests.  I love gardening and filling my garden with unusual plants, and I love taking photographs of local landmarks at night with the Milky Way in the sky.

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

I’m quite single minded, and find it impossible to accept being told I can’t do something.  What utter nonsense; of course I can do it!  So I just quietly get on with it, perhaps not in the way I first planned, but I get there.  I think self belief is one of the most positive traits anyone can have and I can often be found wandering round the house muttering ‘I can do it’ under my breath.

What is the most amusing, crazy or inspiring thing that has ever happened to you?

How would I narrow it down to just one thing?  Being told on the police radio to catch the runaway racehorse that’s galloping towards me on a residential street? Pulling on my wellingtons in the morning to find my foot squelching down on the remains of a mouse the cat had deposited into it?  Being hailed loudly in a supermarket by someone who has read my first book – “Are you the chicken woman?”

It was wonderful to meet you Lorraine! I am also quite single minded, so appreciate that you mentioned it. Thanks for being a part of MTA! – Camilla

‘The Sustainable Smallholders’ Handbook’   A Practical Guide to Living off the Land.

Where to Buy:

http://shop.posthousepublishing.com/The-Sustainable-Smallholders-Handbook

UK Amazon : https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sustainable-Smallholders-Handbook-practical-living/dp/1903872332/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=the+sustainable+smallholders+handbook&qid=1567336198&s=books&sr=1-1<

Connect with Lorraine:

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

The Sustainable Smallholders Handbook

A practical guide to making and saving money on your smallholding

  • Smallholding and living sustainably continue to be one of the most
    sought after and elusive ways to live and work in the UK.
  • This book is aimed at all those who aspire to live the ‘Good Life’ on a
    smallholding; those who are already living on a struggling
    smallholding; and those budding off-griders and self builders who are
    aiming to live a low impact life in the countryside.
  • A very practical guide with 10 ‘warts and all’ case studies from existing
    smallholders and rural businesses.

Contents

1) Size Isn’t Everything

Planning to live the dream; arranging finance and spreading the risk; aiming
for high value; time management.

2) Properties

Buying smallholdings, land with hope value and off-grid living. Agricultural
Occupancy Conditions – what they are, how to live with them and how to lift
them. Soil, location and aspect of properties.

3) Skills and How to Acquire Them

Skills to learn, private, community and college courses, HelpX or Woofer
experience, internet learning.

4) Livestock

Regulations and record keeping, poultry, bees, pigs, sheep, goats, cattle,
alpacas.

5) Food and Drink Production

Eggs; cheese, jams and honey, juice &amp; alcoholic drinks, meat, nuts,
seaweed and other exotics.

6) Orchards

Apples, cider, under-grazing, planting an orchard, mistletoe, tree stock.

7) Teaching

Adult learning, community teaching, private tuition, insurance, lesson
planning and risk assessment.

8) Markets and Marketing

The marketplace, branding, signage, the internet and social media.

9) Diversification and Adding Value

Exploiting land and buildings, holiday letting, crafts, weddings, services, field
sports.

10) Self Sufficiency

Adapting existing smallholdings &amp; rural businesses, energy efficiency, water recycling, heating, electricity, off-grid living.

11) The Last Word

Preventing project failure.

Appendices

About Lorraine:

Lorraine Turnbull has written occasional magazine articles on land based subjects since 2008. This is her first reference book. She ran a smallholding in Cornwall for many years, whilst working as a tutor for the Rural Business School, and latterly ran a craft cider business. In 2014 she was awarded Best Individual in the Cornwall Sustainability Awards.

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Meet the Author: Moonbeams from the Soul by Fay Knowles

Today we’re traveling to Nassau, New Providence Island in The Bahamas to chat with Fay Knowles. She and I discuss how being a newspaper reporter, seeking sunnier climates, travel writing, short stories, a babbling brook, and an old oak tree come together as part of Fay’s past and present writing journey.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am a Scottish-born writer who made The Bahamas my home many years ago. I live in Nassau, New Providence Island. I have been writing since the age of nine, penned a children’s adventure story book at eleven and won a school essay competition at age fifteen.

After leaving school at sixteen, I trained in Devon, England, as a secretary, then newspaper reporter. At the age of twenty I set off to “work my way around the world”, first emigrating by ship to Canada. I worked as a production/editorial assistant for the former Canadian Food Journal and Gift Buyer, Toronto. And then, to avoid a Canadian winter and to seek sunnier climes, I took a Greyhound coach down across the U.S. from Toronto to Miami, en route for The Bahamas.

I met my future husband Erskine in Nassau a month after that and we were married the following year. I never did “travel the world”!

As well as getting by-lines in British and Bahamian newspapers, my articles have appeared in Westward News (a former in house publication of British Telecom), the Kennel Gazette (official journal of the British Kennel Club), Christian Herald, and Sports Magazine Bahamas.

My writing assignments have included articles for Bahamas Information Services, travel writing for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, and as a photo journalist for Town Centre Mall, Nassau, Bahamas. I once worked as a “temp” for the late Sir Etienne Dupuch, former Publisher/Editor of The Tribune, Nassau, transcribing his long, captivating editorials.

My short stories have been published in The Lady magazine, London, England, and The Broadkill Review, Delaware, U.S.A.; with poetry in the U.K. magazine Evergreen.

Most of my short stories in Sunbeams from the Heart – A Collection of Twelve Romantic Short Stories were first published in The Lady or The Broadkill Review.

And I also have a new book of short stories “Moonbeams from The Soul: A Collection of Fourteen Provocative Short Stories”.

I drew on my Scottish background and knowledge of The Bahamas when writing my Romantic Suspense novel Love at Sunset, which is now Book One in my Buchanan Mystery Romance Series.

And my mini-memoir The Scottish Connection tells of my journey back to Scotland with my mother and young sons to revisit our Scottish roots.

My writer’s guide How to Be the Best Writer Ever!  is “An informal guide and source of inspiration for new and not so new writers worldwide.”

In which genre do you write?

Mystery Romance, Romantic Suspense, Literary Fiction, Poetry and Non Fiction

How many published books do you have?

Five so far + a short story. I am currently working on another novel “Oleanders End”, which is Book Two in my Buchanan Mystery Romance Series.

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

At age nine I read a lovely poem about a babbling brook, which sparked the passion in me for writing!

What does your ideal writing space look like?

A desk; an office chair that gives good back support; a computer and printer; pens and steno pads; a window with a window seat and view of ocean or countryside; and a comfortable chair for reading.

What are you currently reading?

I have just finished reading “The Guest Children” by Geoffrey Bilson (The Story of the British Child Evacuees Sent to Canada During World War II)

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

I’m “secretary” for any of my family members whenever they need me to help with their business ventures!

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

That I have actually managed to get books published!

Do you journal write or keep a personal diary? 

I used to keep a daily diary while growing up, but life interferes now!

What do you miss about being a kid?

Just climbing up onto the branches of an old oak tree and scribbling away to my heart’s content!

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

I’ve been told by a former schoolmate that as a child I was more self-assured than most of the other students and capable of expressing negative views whereas the rest tended to be “yes-men”! I never knew that about myself. I think this trait has helped me get ahead in life.

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

Starbucks! That’s where I meet other writers and chat about writing.

It was wonderful to learn more about you and your writings Fay. Thank you for being a part of MTA! – Camilla

Book Blurbs and Where to Find Fay’s Books:

MOONBEAMS FROM THE SOUL: A COLLECTION OF FOURTEEN PROVOCATIVE SHORT STORIES

From wild temptations to dangerous decisions, an eclectic assortment of thought- provoking short stories.

Available on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2PIAgd7

LOVE AT SUNSET – A ROMANTIC SUSPENSE (BUCHANAN MYSTERY
ROMANCE SERIES BOOK ONE)

Facing imminent danger and fierce opposition to love a second time around, Violet and Gordon seek a new life in Gordon’s homeland of Scotland, thousands of miles away from where they had lived in Nassau, Bahamas, but trouble catches up with them in their little loch side cottage. In the meantime, back in Nassau an unscrupulous attorney appears on the scene, along with a crooked realtor. What they do and the extent they would go to leads to a shocking ending.

Available on Amazon as an e-book and in paperback (regular and large print).
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01EVYUSAC

SUNBEAMS FROM THE HEART – A COLLECTION OF TWELVE ROMANTIC SHORT STORIES

“A beautiful keepsake. Love themes in this delightful collection of romantic short stories tell of nostalgia, bright new beginnings, homecoming, second chances – and the unexpected! Heart-warming stories that propel you on a journey through Scotland, England, The Bahamas and rural America.”

Available on Amazon as an e-book and in paperback (regular and large print).
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B019BS227K

THE SCOTTISH CONNECTION: A JOURNEY BACK – MINI-MEMOIR.

“Driving long distances in a short space of time throughout the United Kingdom is the norm nowadays. However, in the seventies it was often an adventure to cover the length or breadth of Britain. In this illustrated mini-memoir Stirling-born Fay Knowles shares memories of her 1978 journey back to Scotland with her mother and young sons, to revisit their Scottish roots.”

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MXVR7R0HOW

TO BE THE BEST WRITER EVER!

An informal guide and source of inspiration for new and not so new writers worldwide- Always wanted to write a book? Or are you a writer whose career is going nowhere? This uplifting writer’s guide outlines the craft and how to become the best writer ever in fifteen straightforward and easy to understand chapters.

FUNNELS (A SHORT STORY)

Annie endures a tedious existence with her baby daughter and irresponsible casino dealer husband in what to most people is a tropical paradise. She sometimes gazes from their dilapidated porch at the distant funnels of luxury cruise ships docked in the harbour. If the wind is in the right direction, she hears the huge creatures wail, promising to take her away. She longs to escape from it all, but is tied down to eking a living with grueling double shifts in a local restaurant. When an unexpected opportunity comes along she has
to make a sudden decision. However, she is torn between her family and the prospect of elevating herself to a better life. What she decides determines their future.

Connect with Fay:

Blog – https://fayknowles.blogspot.com
Amazon author’s page – http://www.amazon.com/author/fayknowles
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/faykwrites
Twitter – @faykwrites
LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/fayknowles/
Instagram – @faykwrites

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Meet the Author: 50 Ways to Worry Less Now: Reject Negative Thinking to Find Peace, Clarity, and Connection by Gigi Langer, PhD

Today we’re traveling to Michigan to chat with Gigi Langer. She and I discuss how marriage, hitchhiking, meditation, chocolate, and Kermit the Frog fit into Gigi’s past and present life. Get comfy as this one is wide open with raw truth and authenticity.

Tell us a bit about you.

I was born west of Chicago (Oakbrook/Hinsdale), went to college at University of Colorado, got married, and taught Spanish and French near Denver. In 1973 I divorced my first husband and had a series of adventures with my second husband in Brazil, Hawaii, and Germany. After dissolving that marriage, I spent four years at Stanford completing a PhD in Psychological Studies in Education. I got through it only by getting high every night. In 1982, I settled in Michigan with my third husband and began my 25-year stint teaching in Eastern Michigan University’s College of Education.

By 1984, I was deeply unhappy and escalated my use of marijuana and alcohol. After one particularly embarrassing episode, I went to a psychologist to find out why I couldn’t be happy. That began a long road of recovery, therapy, and a variety of other healing experiences. After 25 years, I retired and began writing “Worry Less Now” where I explain practical tools I discovered to help me heal.

I’m now 33 years clean and sober and just celebrated 30 years of happy marriage with Peter, my fourth husband. PS: I don’t have any children because I couldn’t stay married long enough! Maybe this book counts!!

In which genre do you write?

Non-fiction

How many published books do you have?

I’m the co-author of five books aimed at teacher education and improvement. This is my first personal non-fiction book.

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

My latest book began as a memoir chronicling my three short marriages, career as a professional horseback rider, and adventures hitchhiking across the north of Spain–all before I turned 38. My wise fourth husband suggested that, instead, I write a self-help book with “all those helpful things you say when you counsel people on the phone.” At that point, Worry Less Now was born. Throughout the six-year writing journey, the right people showed up at just the right time to make the book interesting, practical, attractive, and clear.

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

I meditate before I write so I can get the inspiration and clarity to flow.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

It’s full of inspiring vision boards, notes and gifts from friends, family pictures, a comfy chair & desk, and some of my favorite stuffed animals.

What are you currently reading?

JoJo Moyes is so much fun– light and entertaining. I’m reading her series of three books about caring for a man she fell in love with and her adventures afterward.

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

As a person in recovery, I attend 12-step meetings and support women in sobriety. I love spending time playing with my cat, Murphy, and joking around with Peter, my husband of 30 years. I also play golf very nonchalantly, and occasionally overindulge in Ghirardelli chocolate and historical novels.

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

When I’m working through a tough time in my life, I write a lot in my journal to get honest with myself about my feelings and the thoughts that underlie them. In 2008, I took all my journals on a trip and typed up every section I thought might fit into a memoir or article. Much of that material appears (heavily edited) in Worry Less Now.

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

I love Kermit the frog; he captures the essential vulnerability of life. And he makes us laugh about it!

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

Taylor Swift’s “Reputation” concert on Netflix. I find her songwriting so inspiring and real, but it’s her sincere, sassy and slightly gawky personality that endears her to me. I often work out to her music and find it totally energizing.

Gigi and I met online about 2 years ago. It has been a pleasure being connected online. Thank you Gigi for being a part of MTA! Much love to you! – Camilla

Where to find the book.

“50 Ways to Worry Less Now: Reject Negative Thinking to Find Peace, Clarity, and Connection” by Gigi Langer, PhD (Possum Hill Press, 2018)

Order your own PERSONALIZED SIGNED COPY for $13.45 (10% off, including tax and free shipping) at https://GigiLanger.com/buy (Discount not available from Barnes and Noble, Amazon, or other e-book vendors.)

The AUDIOBOOK version has been released through Audible.

Reviews:

It has 5 stars on Amazon and wonderful reviews in publishing journals. Readers say it’s very practical, honest, and inspiring, and that it has helped them immensely.

Description:

Many years ago, I used alcohol, romance, and professional accomplishments to soothe my frayed nerves. When I quit drinking, I was left with only my fears and worries. Over time, I discovered effective tools from therapy, recovery pro­grams, scientific research, and a variety of philosophical and spiritual teachings. My book describes how I and others have defeated the faulty thinking leading to dysfunctional relationships, perfectionism, addiction, and worry about loved ones. It contains practical strategies with directions, personal stories, and other helpful suggestions.

“Langer’s homing in on all the aspects of negative self-talk and worry add breadth to her advice and make it a powerful tool for readers.” – Library Journal

“Langer speaks from hard-won experience in her valuable, heartfelt manual on curbing excessive worrying. Langer’s frank and empathetic tone will comfort readers, as will the practical steps she teaches.” – Publishers Weekly (BookLife)

“Plenty of books advocate countering negative thinking; but too few actually provide step-by-step measures on how to do so. The pleasure of 50 Ways to Worry Less Now lies in its examples, specific exercises, and injections of how the author used various routines to find her way out of negativity. Highly recommended for anyone who worries too much, lives too hard a life, and searches for a better way.” – Midwest Book Review

“Even though I have been in recovery for more than 4 decades, and didn’t think another self-help book would make it to my treasured list, I was wrong. This book is a winner.” -Karen Casey, best-selling author of Each Day a New Beginning (Hazelden)

“Gigi Langer’s honesty will blow you away! It is beautifully written; filled with humor and authenticity. I can recommend Langer’s fresh, honest tutorial on growing into your true, healthy self.” -Al Anon member

Connect with Gigi:

FB. Gigi Langer Author

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Book Shelf: Dying to Be Me by Anita Moorjani

**THROWBACK TO DECEMBER 2015**

Dying to Be Me by Anita Moorjani

I can’t even describe what a deep connection I feel with Anita Moorjani and what she shares in this book … her childhood and the thoughts she had growing up and as an adult.

I read this book straight through in about a day back in December 2015. Her words were the catalyst for an internal shift within me … that was just waiting for the perfect tipping point. So amazing.

“I believe that the greatest truths of the universe don’t lie outside, in the study of the stars and the planets. They lie deep within us, in the magnificence of our heart, mind, and soul. Until we understand what is within, we can’t understand what is without. ……..

I understood that I owed it to myself, to everyone I met, and to life itself to always be an expression of my own unique essence. Trying to be anything or anyone else didn’t make me better – it just deprived me of my true self!

It kept others from experiencing me for who I am, and it deprived me of interacting authentically with them. Being inauthentic also deprives the universe of who I came her to be and what I came here to express.”

Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, inspiring, life-shifting book …. and I’m grateful to Anita Moorjani for sharing her story. A story about shifting from living life and making decisions from a place of fear to living life and making decisions from a place of LOVE.

And grateful for the friend who loaned it to me when I mentioned I had just heard an interview with her and that it had moved me greatly. xoxo

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/32E3vS4

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2MwRvvJ

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

Meet the Author: Awakening from Anxiety: A Spiritual Guide to Living a More Calm, Confident, Courageous Life by Rev. Connie Habash

Today we’re traveling to Menlo Park, California to chat with Connie Habash. We’ll talk about how The Golden State Warriors, being a licensed Marriage and Family therapist, sitting in the garden, and Mount Shasta integrate into Connie’s life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m Rev. Connie L. Habash – a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, yoga teacher, and interfaith minister based in Menlo Park, CA. My new book is Awakening from Anxiety: A Spiritual Guide to Living a More Calm, Confident, and Courageous Life. I lead workshops, trainings, and retreats around the San Francisco Bay Area, and online programs worldwide, in addition to my local counseling practice. Teaching and leading retreats that integrate body, mind, heart, spirit, and nature is my passion!

In which genre do you write?

Spirituality and Self-Help

How many published books do you have?

This is my first!

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

It was in the late 1990’s that I had the urge to write – but I knew I wasn’t a great writer. I needed to learn more about how to convey my insights into compelling written word, even though I seemed to have a knack for speaking them. So I undertook a commitment to write every month by starting a monthly newsletter! Almost every month since September of 2000, I have written at least one article, which became my blog. All that practice, together with having a couple awesome writing coaches over the years has nurtured my craft into something I’m proud of.

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

Most people would never guess that a “spiritual” person like me would enjoy (American) football and basketball – but I do! I find a lot of inspiration and insight from watching athletes and the cultural rituals of attending games and cheering for teams. In fact, I’m a Golden State Warriors fan, and wrote an article about several spiritual principles that I believe they exemplify.

I think attending sports meets a need we have – to have a common cause, to go through a challenging trial and see someone victorious, and to push past our limitations and allow something greater to emerge from within us. I don’t care for the violence in some of those sports, but I believe that can be changed and we can retain some of the cultural rituals that bring people together through athletics.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

I have written in many different spaces – cafés, my daughter’s dance studio, outside in my backyard, in my car, and of course, at my desk in my home office. That and sitting outdoors somewhere in nature are my favorite places for inspiration (but I much prefer when my desk is cleared off!). I like having things of beauty around me, which is part of why being outdoors fills me so much – for my writing, and on all levels.

What are you currently reading?

What the Robin Knows by Jon Young, and Ask and You Shall Receive by Abraham-Hicks

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

Collapse into bed! Seriously, though, I love sitting outside in the garden. I watch the birds, listen to their calls, observe other animals, feel the breeze on my skin, and connect with the plants and trees. It renews me and makes me feel connected to the Everything.

You are about to speak publicly to a group and read from your latest book. What song do you listen to before speaking? Or, what do you do to prepare yourself?

I’d put on Brave by Sara Bareilles. I love that song! It makes me feel joyful and empowered! But usually, I simply sit quietly, say a prayer, and align myself with the Divine. I ask that my thoughts, words, and actions support each person’s highest good, deepest healing, and greatest spiritual transformation. I do this before I see clients and lead groups, too.

What do you miss about being a kid?

Miss? I’m still a kid! 😉 I feel that our child-self is a vital part of who we are, the source of our joy, creativity, spontaneity, and aliveness. So I’m very much in touch with that part of myself. I think the only thing I miss is the lack of pressure, the ability to just play and not have to worry about promoting books or paying bills!

A penguin knocks on your door and is wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he there?

Hola, mi amiga! Have you gotten outside to play yet today? Come with me, and let’s slide on some icebergs!

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

I always believe that things happen for a reason. But not necessarily a reason ordained by some Being in the sky. I feel that everything in life is an opportunity – one that we chose to learn from or not. It’s up to us to decide the reasons why we experience what we do. What can I learn and how can I grow from this? It may not have happened specifically because of that, but I can bring meaning to whatever arises, and therefore life becomes transformative and beautiful.

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

I have two favorite places here in the United States, where I live (although there are many others that I love!). One is Mount Shasta – a sacred place in northern California. It’s an extinct volcano with incredible beauty (pristine alpine lakes, springs, and meadows) and powerful spiritual energy. The other is Sedona, Arizona. The stunning red rock formations and the elevated energy also deeply move me. My husband and I recently took our daughter there for the first time in the spring, and she fell in love with it!

Tell us about your most recent book.

It’s very exciting to have my first book out in print! It’s called Awakening from Anxiety: A Spiritual Guide to Living a More Calm, Confident, Courageous Life. It’s for spiritual and highly-sensitive people who, despite all the yoga, prayer, or meditation they might do, still struggle with stress, overwhelm, and anxiety. Spiritual folks are more prone to anxiety and I share why – and more importantly, the 7 keys to releasing it and using stress and anxiety for spiritual awakening!  If you’re interested in my online program based on the book, you can find out more at https://www.AwakeningfromAnxiety.com

Where to find the book:

You can find it on Amazon, or order it at a bookstore near you.

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/33kyBhh

UK Amazon:  https://amzn.to/33vsdUL

Connect with Connie:

https://www.AwakeningSelf.com

https://www.facebook.com/AwakeningSelf

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Meet the Author: Devil in the Wind by Frank Prem

Today we welcome Frank Prem to Meet the Authors. We’re travelling to Beechworth, in the North East corner of Victoria, Australia to hear what storytelling, Psychiatric Nursing, playing the ukulele, photographs, and the Grampians mean to Frank.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I describe myself as a storytelling poet with a forty year apprenticeship behind me. That’s about how long I’ve been writing my poetry – mostly in an idiosyncratic free verse style, that is part poetry and part storytelling.

I live, together with my wife Leanne, in a pretty little town called Beechworth, in the North East corner of Victoria, Australia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beechworth). Beechworth attracts thousands of tourist visitors every year because of its gold mining and bushranging background during the mid to late 1800s. A bushranger is the Australian equivalent of an wild west outlaw, or a highwayman, and we had quite a few around this way, most notably Ned Kelly and the Kelly gang about whom much has been written.

By profession, I’m a Psychiatric Nurse, and have worked across a wide range of roles in Psychiatry though my working career. My next published poetry collection will be a personal memoir of my experience in Psychiatry, tentatively titled – The New Asylum.

In my early days as a poet, I sought out as many opportunities as I could to get my work published, and had a good number of successes, but I grew weary of having my work not accepted, without knowing the reason, so I largely stopped seeking publication, in favour of developing my own writing style and voice, until just three years ago beginning to post my work on a personal creative blog (https://www.frankprem.wordpress.com) and using that as both, an online archive for my work, and as a way of attracting readers to find and engage with my work.

In the six months since December 2018, I have published two collections in book and ebook form. These are:

1. Small Town Kid – a free verse memoir of growing up in a rural setting in Australia in the 1960s and 70s.

2. Devil In The Wind – a free verse poetic rendition of the voices of survivors and victims of the catastrophic Black Saturday bushfires we experienced in 2009.

In which genre do you write?

I write almost exclusively in my own free verse poetry form. I write using very little punctuation, and in quite short lines.

As I’ve gone along I’ve developed my approach so that my line breaks and stanza breaks serve as a form of punctuation – encouraging pause and nuance in the reading, and giving a cue for taking a breath.

I don’t often write a line longer than about 4 words in length, these days.

Regardless of genre, though, I believe every piece, long or short, needs to convey a sense of story – beginning, middle and end. This can be a challenge, at times.

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

I was always a good reader at school and was very engaged with the stories that I read. That interest extended to story writing in English classes at high school as I progressed through the grades.

There was an occasion where, out of sheer laziness, I believe, I decided to cut corners and several hundred words off my assignment by doing it in the form of a poem. Very quickly and very easily.

I was a little dumbstruck to receive a high grade for the work and I think that may have been all the encouragement I needed to set me on the trail of experimenting with poetry as a genre.

I attempted to self publish some of my work in book form quite a few years ago, but the technology wasn’t helpful and the costs were enormous, so nothing much came of the first attempt. Print On Demand technology makes a world of difference to an up and coming poet like myself, but is probably a whole different discussion in its own right.

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

For a few years now, I’ve been playing ukulele and singing in a community choir/ensemble, here in Beechworth.

It has always been a delight to me to sing, but until I started playing the uke, I rarely managed to sing in tune. The uke has changed that.

Last Spring we recorded ourselves in a couple of songs that were pasted on Facebook. Readers might enjoy a listen, so I’ll pop in a couple of links to the songs:

Dog and Mob (written by Leanne and myself): https://www.facebook.com/springsingbeechworth/videos/20339179721516/

Boris and Maria – a very short little love song: https://www.facebook.com/springsingbeechworth/videos/765584533788001/UzpfSTEwMDAyNTI1MTY3NTExMzpWSzoxMzkxOTQ3NDE3NjA2NTU1/?q=boris%20and%20maria&epa=SEARCH_BOX

What does your ideal writing space look like?

At the moment it is my dining room and dining table – very impromptu quarters, but I don’t really need all that much.

We’ve begun planning to build a sort of Men’s Shed outside the back door that will become my Writer’s Den, but that is still to happen. I’m looking forward to it because my needs are changing. As I become more ambitious in my writing endeavours, I think dedicated space will be helpful.

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

I’ve been surprised at something that has become something of a skill for me, which is allowing photographs and other pictorial images to inspire interesting poetry. There is what feels like a kind of empathy that I am able to apply to allow a story to emerge.

Sounds a bit mumbo jumbo, but perhaps I can illustrate with a small poem.

This one was taken from a series of photographs I took while walking through a collectibles barn. I later sat down and wrote the story that each picture suggested.

Voices #15: chill factor

people say
I am cold

my demeanor

my manner

cold

I hardly consider them
worthy
of my time

You are about to speak publicly to a group and read from your latest book. What song do you listen to before speaking? Or, what do you do to prepare yourself?

I prepare by reading my material aloud several times in the lead up to a speaking engagement. On the occasion itself, I’m generally a little numb with performance anxiety. It always feels very important to me to present as knowing my material and also my limitations as a presenter, so the audience feels I’m within my range of competence at all times.

Where music is important to me is in the actual writing.

I find I write much better if I can find some music in my head – not a song as such, just music, as I believe that our language is musical and I need to be able to sing my way through the poem, in order to know that it will read well after I put my pen down.

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

I truly do believe things happen for a reason. I went through a long lifetime, doing the best I could – sometimes ok, sometimes not so good – but it was only after passing through a very low ebb that I met the lady who completes my life.

The whole of my life was spent, I now believe, preparing me to be the man I needed to be from that point on.

As an aside, we met at a poetry open mic session in Melbourne. I was reading my 3 poem set and she sang a song. Life is sweet, sometimes.

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

We have a quite wild part of our state named the Grampians (indigenous name – Gariwerd). Strange rock formations, wonderful wildlife and bush. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grampians_National_Park

This area is about a half days travel from where we live and we always find it to be a spiritually uplifting place.

Tell us about your most recent book and where we can find it.

My most recent collection is titled Devil In The Wind. This book is a free verse collection of poems that are my interpretation of the voices of survivors and victims of the catastrophic Black Saturday bushfires that took place here in Victoria in 2009.

I personally feel that the fires have left my whole State traumatised and that we haven’t psychologically recovered from the experience yet.

I enjoyed learning more about you, your life, and writing style. I also write poetry inspired by photographs, with a bit of twist from your style as mine are using the nature photographs I make. It’s wonderful to meet someone else who has a similar style. The Grampians sound like my kind of place to visit. I look forward to reading your poetry collections Frank! It was a pleasure having you be a part of MTA! –Camilla

Book Trailer:

I also have recently started a YouTube channel which I’ve begun to populate with a few videos of myself reading from Devil In The Wind.

The link to that is here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvfW2WowqY1euO-Cj76LDKg

Blurb for Devil In The Wind

Devil In The Wind is an account of catastrophic fire and its immediate aftermath.

In this 21st century, the whole world seems to be on fire. America burns. Europe burns. Greece is reeling after its own tragedy of fire.

And Australia burns, as it has always done, but now so much more fiercely.

In February 2009, wildfires burnt through entire communities, taking 173 lives and injuring hundreds, while destroying thousands of houses and other buildings. Up to 400 fires destroyed 450,000 hectares of forest, native fauna and habitat, livestock and farmland.

In the aftermath of the fires, the voices of people who had lived through the experience — victims, rescuers, and observers — were spoken and were heard.

Devil In The Wind is Frank Prem’s poetic anthology of the personal, and very human, accounts of those who themselves experienced and survived Black Saturday. Poetry writing that interacts directly with readers emotions.

The collection is available in paperback book form at all the good online retailers, and in e-book form through Kindle and Kindle Unlimited.

Devil In The Wind (ISBN 978-0-9751442-6-8):

Amazon (Available in all markets): https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/097514426X/

Booktopia: https://www.booktopia.com.au/devil-in-the-wind-frank-prem/prod9780975144268.html

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Devil-Wind-Frank-Prem/9780975144268?

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1130932330?ean=9780975144268

Small Town Kid (ISBN 978-0-9751442-3-7):

Amazon (Available in all markets): https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B07L6114KS

Booktopia: https://www.booktopia.com.au/small-town-kid-frank-prem/prod9780975144237.html

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Small-Town-Kid-Frank-Prem/9780975144237?

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/small-town-kid-frank-prem/1129995806?ean=9780975144237

Connect with Frank:

Author Page: https://FrankPrem.com

Poetry Blog: https://frankprem.wordpress.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/frank_prem

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/frankprem2

If it feels the thing to do and you are inspired to do so, I would be deeply grateful if you’d like to “Buy Me a Coffee” … Camilla – Founder and Host of Meeting the Authors …

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Meet the Author: Embracing Life After Loss by Allen Klein

Today we welcome Allen Klein as we travel to San Francisco, California to learn how short poems, a messy desk, gardening, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and New York City are part of Allen’s past and current life. Call upon your inner Jollytologist®, we’re gonna be more playful with this one ….

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I live in a Victorian house in San Francisco where I write books that show readers how to use humor and positive thinking to deal with not-so-funny stuff. In addition, I am an award-winning professional speaker as well as a TEDx presenter and blogger on happiness. Comedian Jerry Lewis has said, “Allen Klein is a noble and vital force watching over the human condition.”

In which genre do you write?

Non-fiction / Self-Help / Inspiration

How many published books do you have?

Twenty-Eight (28)

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

I used to write short poems in grade school, so I suppose my writing started there, but my real writing started when I had a passion to write about how humor helped me get through the loss of my wife when she was 34-years-old.

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

Sometimes I put things that interest in a folder, never knowing if I will ever use them again. When the folder gets real fat, I use those articles and notes to write something about that subject.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

Messy desk, computer on it, me facing the wall to avoid distractions. Sometimes ear-plugs to avoid outside noises.

What are you currently reading?

The Energy Code. It has a lot of what I’ve believed in for years…that we are all energy, all connected.

It is very much aligned to the principles taught by Unity, which is a worldwide new-thought spiritual organization and which is my spiritual home.

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

Walk my dog, garden.

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?

Woody Allen. I love his quirkiness and wonder if that is his persona or is he really that nutty and neurotic. I’d want to know if he was happy.

What is the most inspiring thing that has ever happened to you?

Although it has happened to me so many times, I probably should not be so surprised by it now, but I am. I have been able to create amazing things in my life, things that many might call mini-miracles. Some of them are:

-Wanting to march in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and getting to do so.

-Drawing pictures of Victorian houses and getting one when I moved to San Francisco.

-Having no place to stay when I vacationed in New York City and being offered a free apartment when I go there each year.

-Having a division of my publisher close their doors, thus stop publishing my books, and finding the ideal one by affirming “The perfect publisher will find me.”

-Adding that I wanted to do a TEDx talk in January to my bucket list and being asked to do one the following month.

What do you miss about being a kid?

I was a very serious kid, so I don’t miss much. I try to make up for it now by being more playful and having more fun. And also helping people to get more laughter and joy in their life. I’ve branded myself a Jollytologist®, so now I’m forced to come up with jolly stuff.

A penguin knocks on your door and is wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he there?

Since the publisher of my first book, The Healing Power of Humor, is now part of the Penguin publishing empire, the penguin is there to tell me that my book will be made into a major motion picture and to hand me the million-dollar advance. The sombrero is a fun way to indicate that the movie will be made in Mexico.

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

Definitely. My wife died at a very young age. I certainly didn’t want that to happen but her wonderful sense of humor, even during her illness, lead me to investigate the therapeutic value of humor, even in loss. As a result, I started writing about it. My first book, The Healing Power of Humor, is now the quintessential book in the field and has helped scores of people. I know there was a reason why my wife was in my life and why her death was instrumental for me, and as a result of my writing, to so many others too.

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

I’d ask my dog, what it’s like to be a dog, how does she handle never knowing exactly when I’ll return after I’ve left the house, how did she get so cute?

Tell us about your most recent books.

Two most recent books are:

Embracing Life After Loss, and Positive Thoughts for Troubling Times

Thank you Allen for joining us on MTA! It was great to learn more about you and your books. –Camilla

Embracing Life After Loss

Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult things you can deal with in life whether it is a spouse, a parent, a child, or a friend. Winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor, Jollytologist® Allen Klein knows how it feels—just like you, he’s lost loved ones. Inspired by Klein’s experience with the loss of his wife, Embracing Life after Loss will help you recover from grief and loss—just like author Allen Klein did. You never forget the people you lose. But you can grow stronger, wiser, and more appreciative of life as you move forward. And, believe it or not, you can even laugh again. Embracing Life after Loss will show you how to navigate the difficult times—how to take a break from the pain of your loss and find joy in life again.

Available on Amazon in both hardcopy and Kindle.

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

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2mkTw3q

Positive Thoughts for Troubling Times

The words in this book are the prescription you need for a daily dose of the positive. Words can warm our hearts and fire us up or clam us down when we are worried and stressed.

The inspired ideas and power thoughts in this book will provide you with hope, a renewed spirit, and a new perspective in which to view our worrisome times.

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2mKu1sP

Connect with Allen Klein:

AllenKlein.com

Social media links:

Facebook: facebook.com/allen.klein

Twitter: @allenklein

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/allenklein

Instagram:  allenklein22

If it feels right and you have the time (and you enjoy the interview) please like or comment or share it. The nature of the online world … the more eyes that see it the more it will spread and benefit the author and the website! Thank you!

And if it feels the thing to do and you are inspired to do so, I would be deeply grateful if you’d like to “Buy Me a Coffee” … Camilla – Host of Meeting the Authors …

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