Category Archives: 10 QUESTIONS FOR…

10 QUESTIONS FOR…Robert V. Wickes, “The Hornbrook Prophecy”

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INTERVIEW WITH Robert V. Wickes, author of The Hornbrook Prophecy

1. Tell us about your latest book, The Hornbrook Prophecy.

Let’s see. This is my second first book. That is, it’s the second book in print, but it’s actually the first one I wrote. I still think of it as my baby. When I began to write it in 2002, it was a very tough sell for a new author. I was writing a story about what I saw as a logical endpoint for where the country was heading, and it seemed too fanciful. I also filled the manuscript with too many polemic discources. Eventually, I pulled out most of the ranting and streamlined the rest into a faster-paced, more exciting saga of the struggle about the inevitable result of blind ambition and the abuse of power. The material I deleted became the basis of my non-fiction The Myth America Pageant: How Government & Politics REALLY Affect The Ordinary Joe.  So, if Myth America was about “here are the problems and here’s how you can fix them, and if you don’t someday it will all hit the fan,” then Hornbrook is about what happens when it really DOES all “hit the fan.” My dad’s been telling me for the last few years, “If you don’t get it published pretty soon, it won’t be fiction anymore!” I’m not so sure he won’t turn out to be right.

If you think that the notion of a “second first book” is odd, you’ll love this–The Hornbrook Prophecy is the first of what I’ve outlined as a four-part trilogy! I’ll explain that some other time.

2. How did you get started as a writer?

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I was driving up I-5 through the northern California outback when I saw an exit sign for two small towns called “Henley” and “Hornbrook.” I thought, “What an interesting name that would be for a character in a book.” To pass the time as I drove I began to watch signs for other character names and over time I had collected an entire telephone book full of names.  Twenty years later, I’m still collecting. When I finally decided to use some of them, I thought I’d write a disaster novel but they’d all been done before hurricanes, tornados, fires, earthquakes, floods. However, after teaching a class called, “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World,” I realized that the biggest and most likely disaster of all was going to be a social one, not some act of nature and anything to do with society today is going to have a heavy political tone. It wasn’t difficult to dream up a story with all the mischief politicians are up to. The day I finally decided how the story was going to end was the day I sat down and began writing it (although I ultimately changed that ending). Henley Hornbrook was the first name I had collected and he became my lead character.

3. What does a typical day look like for you?

I wish I had one. It took two years to write the first draft of Hornbrook because it was so difficult to find the time. I’d go to work all day, come home, take care of home stuff, kick back for a while and, finally, as the house grew quieter I finally could pull out my laptop. I did most of my writing between ten pm and two am, but the fact of the matter is that I write when the words “arrive”–and they can arrive at the oddest of times. A 3×5 index card and a pen can be your best friend when you are away from your keyboard.
4. Describe your workspace.

Me, a chair, my lap, and a laptop. Could be anywhere.
5. Favorite books (especially for writers)

Anything written by Raphael Sabatini.  Although his 17th and 18th century story lines are swashbuckling fun (such as Captain Blood, and The Sea Hawk), I loved them because the characters are well-defined, the prose elegant, and the dialog demonstrates how rich (and civil) the English language can be. The generations today being raised on text messaging, Twitter, and email, will never discover or understand the beauty of language and its ability to create emotion and convey ideas. That is sad. On the other hand, J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter) is not a great technical writer, but she is an amazingly creative storyteller. Her ability to transport the reader and fully immerse them in another time or place is wonderful. There were seemingly minor story elements in the first book of the series the importance of which was not fully realized until the seventh book. That’s storytelling!

6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you

I’d love to do a standup comedy routine sometime–you can’t survive the world today and still be sane without having a sense of humor, and in my tender years on this sphere I’ve found there’s a smile to be found in almost every situation.

I have no interest in motor homing in my upcoming retirement (from my day job). I’d rather sail off to the Bounty’s Pitcairn Island, but I don’t think I can persuade my crew to try that. So, instead, I want to get a boat and travel the Great Loop, a 6000-mile circumnavigation of the eastern half of the U.S. using the intracoastal waterways, Great Lakes and canals, and the inland river system. I think it would be quite the adventure, and I’ve invented a new word for it:  Boaterhoming!

Once upon a time MANY moons ago, I particularly enjoyed a day off I had from my summer job as a bronzed god at Camp Emerald Bay on Catalina Island off the coast of southern California. After sunning and swimming and wining and dining the day away in Avalon, my buddies and I just didn’t want it to end. We deliberately passed up the last boat to our end of the island, figuring we would be able to hitch a ride on the backroads later on. No such luck. We ended up walking 33 miles in the starlight, often using some narrow shortcuts we knew of through cactus-filled canyons, from one end of island to the other, because we had to back to work by 7:00 in the morning. We made it–barely. I was a tad nuttier–and a lot younger–in those days.

7. Favorite quote

I use a quote at the beginning of each chapter and section in each book, so I have a lot of favorites. Will Rogers once said, “It’s easy to be a humorist when you have the whole government working for you.” Today, however, it’s getting a lot tougher to be funny when you’re talking about politics. I am a vigorous advocate for liberty over tyranny. One of my favorite quotes could be, “We don’t live in a democracy; we live in an AUCTION!”, but that actually was just a bumper sticker I made up once. Thinking of how anyone who today raises his voice in opposition to political or corporate business as usual becomes the victim of character assassination and marginalization, I am reminded of El Capitan Esteban in the movie, “Zorro, The Gay Blade,” who said, “Yes, everyone is free to speak their minds; we will simply arrest everyone who listens!” But if I delve deep into my psyche for the true inspirations for my passion for liberty, I find two quotes that are neck and neck for my favorites. The first was by Richard Rumbold, a Cromwellian rebel who fought against the Stuart monarchy. As he stood upon the gallows in 1685, he proclaimed, “I am sure there was no man born marked of God above another; for none comes into the world with a saddle on his back, neither any booted and spurred to ride him.” The other is by Henry David Thoreau who wrote in Civil Disobedience in 1849, “The State is not armed with superior wit or honesty, but with superior physical strength. I was not born to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion. Let us see who is strongest.”
8. Best and worst part of being a writer

The best part is creating something that will outlast my pathetic little carbon life form, making a statement about life or about ideas and feelings in such a way that others will (hopefully) enjoy or learn from long after I’ve written the words. When I first held a finished copy of my initial book, it was like savoring the long-awaited arrival of a child. The worst part is that once you begin you are hooked. It’s too easy to let the rest of life fend for itself sometimes, as long as I can get at my keyboard.

9. Advice for other writers

Writers write because they must, not because they expect to be famous or rich (because few do). Don’t write so you can see your name in print. Write because you are passionate about your subject. If you aren’t, your reader won’t get anything out of it anyway, and you’ll both just ending wasting your time. But if you are, you’ll never lack for words and your readers will benefit from your inspiration. There’s nothing that hasn’t already been written, but your passion will lead you to express it in new ways.

Don’t be discouraged if you meet with repeated rejection as you try to get published. Tom Clancy couldn’t get ANYBODY interested in The Hunt for Red October. If you believe in your writing, just keep at it. Even if you end up self-publishing you will have accomplished something that most people could never manage to do.

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience.

We were having lunch in a chowder house on the Oregon coast some years ago, before I’d written anything of note, when we spied an oar hanging from the ceiling with the woodburned inscription, YISDERSOMENIMORORSISASISDENDERISORSIS  We spent the better part of lunch trying to decipher it before I realized that the first letter, Y, was really a word, Why, and that it was, therefore, a question. The rest fell into place rather easily and it revealed one of the most profound queries about the nature of man and society. What makes it profound is that the answer is really self-evident within the question (I challenge you to figure it out right now). I printed it out on my computer and hung it as a sign in my office. Years later when I was writing my non-fiction work, The Myth America Pageant, I used it to summarize the “state of the union” on the last page of the book.  I’m sure that my fictional hero, Senator Hornbrook, has the same sign hanging in his own office.

Where can people buy your book?

If you ever happen to find yourself in Montesano, WA (the GOOD Washington), drop by my office on main street and I’ll fix you up with a nice copy. Otherwise, you’ll find it on Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, and in as many book stores as my publisher can manage (after it releases on August 1). Or else swing by my website at www.robertwickes.com where you’ll get the scoop on all my literary goodies.

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10 Questions for…Alysa Braceau, “The Sorcerer’s Dream”

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Author interview with Alysa Braceau, Dreamshield

I am Dreamshield, Alysa Braceau and I live in the Netherlands (Europe) with my 6-year-old daughter. I studied social work and the last ten years I developed my (freelance) writing. I combine my writing now with my Healing Practice and being a publisher. Besides that I also give workshops about Mastering the Art of Conscious Dreaming and Dream Healing.

The Sorcerer’s Dream is my first book. The theme of the past years has been the sorcerer’s tradition and mastering conscious dreaming. I have carefully recorded my personal experiences which finally led to this first book.

1. Tell us about your latest book.

The Sorcerer’s Dream is about my initiation into the sorcerer’s world and mastering conscious dreaming. This spiritual adventure takes the reader throughout the magic realms of the unknown.

You can read and learn more about:

Mastering conscious dreaming, dreaming practices,  traveling to the unknown, dreaming and the meaning of sexual energy, the healing of your inner child and the way to reach the totality of the self by facing and releasing your emotional,  physical and spiritual blocks.

2. How did you get started as a writer?

I started writing about ten years ago as a freelancer for magazines about my own experiences following spiritual New Age workshops and courses. Since I felt more and more energetic doing the things I liked (writing and developing my spiritual side), I continued on this path.

3. What does a typical day look like for you?

I have a lot of variety in my work but I can tell you how a day looks when I start a writing project. My day starts (after breakfast) with taking a walk in the dunes nearby because the fresh air and the natural beauty relaxes me and gives me inspiration. Then I make a pot of coffee for myself and then my writing starts at about 10 a.m.. I take a short lunch after about three hours and continue till about 5 p.m.. I prefer non-stop writing and of course I write after dinner. After bringing my daughter to bed I might start writing a few more hours.

4. Describe your workspace.

My workspace is on the second floor, an attic kind of place with the desk at the window with a good view over the neighborhood. You will find all kinds of books on my desk, a telephone and a printer on a desk to my left, and under my keyboard a world map. This world map is obviously saying: I like to travel to the nicest spots on this globe. Doesn’t sound very romantic, does it? But … there is enough silence to write, I hear the birds whistle outside  and sometimes I hear the doves walk over the roof.

5. Favorite books (especially for writers)

Books were writers/adventurers explore other worlds like Carlos Castaneda, Lynn Andrews, Paulo Coelho.

6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you

1. I always try to do things as if I’m quite normal (but If you read my book you know I’m not);

2. I am afraid of water and I have a broom so I must be a witch;

3. And YES: I can travel with my dream body and visit places I want to visit in my dreaming (and you can learn that too, it’s exciting!).

7. Favorite quote

Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the things you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
— Mark Twain

8. Best and worst part of being a writer

The best is the writing itself.

Worst is that I cannot stop writing once I start writing (a book) and almost forget to eat, drink and… live.

9. Advice for other writers

… Don’t forget to publish your work… and… don’t be shy.

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience.

When I start promoting my book in the Netherlands I performed by singing a song on the Dam square in Amsterdam accompanied by my 6-year-old daughter on the xylophone.

After the song I started talking about my book and it felt good to find out that lots of people stopped by and listened in a circle around us. When I finished my speech, they didn’t ask for my book but rather for my daughter to play another song on the xylophone. My daughter smiled at me and the show was hers!

Where can people buy your book?

The Sorcerer’s dream, an initiation into the sorcerer’s world and mastering conscious dreaming.

Buy it at: http://www.booklocker.com/books/4654.html

Also available via Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Sorcerers-Dream-Dreamshield-Alysa-Braceau/dp/1609101561

Please visit my website: www.dreamshield.nl

Blog: http://dreamshield.wordpress.com

We invite you to join s on the virtual tour for The Sorcerer’s Dream by Alysa Braceau (Dreamshield). The full schedule can be seen at http://bookpromotionservices.com/2010/05/03/sorcerers-dream.  You can learn much more about Dreamshield and her work on her website – www.dreamshield.nl. The book can be ordered on Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Sorcerers-Dream-Dreamshield-Alysa-Braceau/dp/1609101561. SPECIAL OFFER – Every time you post a comment on any tour post – you will be entered into a drawing for a $35 Amazon gift card — so, share your thoughts with us.

About The Sorcerer’s Dream: An Initiation into the Sorcerer’s World

This is the autobiographical story of a young woman bumping into the enigmatic sorcerer Running Deer and her initiation into the sorcerer’s world and mastering conscious dreaming. It takes the reader throughout the magic realms of the unknown and gives a new approach to the traditional training of women sorcerers.

The riveting autobiographical account The Sorcerer’s Dream written by Dreamshield takes the reader throughout the magic realms of the unknown and mastering conscious dreaming. This book, following the traditions of Carlos Castaneda and others, gives a new approach to the traditional training of women sorcerers.

The author describes her initiation into the surrealistic world of dreaming and magic, following the teachings of ‘Man of Knowledge’ Running Deer. In the heart of Amsterdam, a thrilling stride unfolds in obtaining the knowledge of the Second Reality on the way to the ultimate goal: finding the Totality of the Self!

The combination of unusual instructions and experiences within the sorcerer’s world and the level-headedness of a very Dutch woman offers the reader excitement and contemplation on the way to the source of this reality, finding the ultimate self through the experiences and understanding of Dreamshield herself. Up until the last page the reader remains intrigued whether Dreamshield will reach her goal.


10 Questions for Cindy Bradford, “Promises Kept”

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Author interview with Cindy Bradford

Cindy Bradford is the author of Keeping Faith, recently released on Amazon and Promises Kept, which will soon be released. She lives at South Padre Island, Texas, and spends several months a year in Ruidoso, New Mexico. A retired public school educator and university professor, she holds a B.A. in journalism and English, a M.Ed. and a Ph.D. in educational administration/higher education. Prior to writing fiction, she wrote numerous professional articles that were published in various journals and educational periodicals.

Her hobbies include traveling, which she does extensively, gardening, and cooking. Tasting, drinking, collecting, and reading about different kinds of wine and the countries that produce them is a passion of the author. She often incorporates her knowledge of wine into her writings and shares the beautiful places she has visited, known for outstanding wines, with her readers.  She is currently working on two more novels. Cindy’s blog is http://www.doccbradford.com

1. Tell us about your latest book.

Promises Kept is Faith’s story, an unforgettable young woman whose life’s journey has been filled with uncertainty, of searching for people and answers that others take for granted. Compassionate and courageous, she never gives up, showing strength and character beyond her years. It is also the story about the power of the human spirit, of family, friends and love.

The book is a sequel to the novel, Keeping Faith, but can also standalone as an independent book. Avid readers of the romance genre will fall in love with Faith O’Brien’s gritty determination. After finding the father she never knew until adulthood, and graduating law school, she is focused on bringing down the priest who abused her father as a child. She wants the cunning, deceitful cleric put behind bars long enough that no other young boy will ever have to fear his touch. To do this, she takes on a veteran, highly experienced and shrewd Boston lawyer who will go to any means to win a case. But, he underestimates her passion for justice, her fight for right against a wrong.

The story transforms from the legal battle on behalf of her father into a beautiful love story as she falls madly in love with her colleague, Tyler England. Soon, her fighting instincts are called on like never before. Only this time her intelligence, perseverance and resolve may not be enough.

The author weaves the plot through the local charm of various locations around the world globe, including Italy, Boston, Texas & New Mexico, which provides the reader with a sensory experience. She also develops the characters through their experiences, needs, and inner conflicts. No one who reads this novel will finish without tears and a longing to read more of what this author has to offer.

2. How did you get started as a writer?

I don’t ever remember not writing. In high school I wrote poetry, but even before that when I was just a little girl I wanted to be a journalist, so I wrote little stories on leftover typing paper at my house. In college I wrote feature stories for a local newspaper and for the college newspaper. I taught English and journalism and then became director of communications for the school district. In that job, I wrote stories every day.

I had numerous articles published in professional journals, but I always wanted to write a novel. When I retired I began my first novel, which turned out to be Keeping Faith.

3. What does a typical day look like for you?

There is no typical day for me. Even though I am retired, I do educational consulting, so some days I am in schools evaluating them for accreditation purposes. I enjoy this because I am able to visit schools all over the world. When I am home, I wake up about 8:00, have breakfast and start work on my computer, answering emails, writing, whatever. I try to quit by 4:00 so I can clean up and be prepared for Happy Hour! When I want a break from writing, I work in the yard.

4. Describe your workspace.

I have an antique desk in one corner of my huge bedroom. It is surrounded by my bookshelf, printer and filing cabinet, computer and phone. It really all looks good in spite of how it sounds. It’s my little sanctuary because it is cozy and looks out over my swimming pool and beautifully landscaped backyard.

5. Favorite books

That’s a tough one because I like so many. I have to say that Rage of Angels is probably my all time favorite.

6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you

I’m funny. I have a crazy sense of humor and nothing is sacred. Everything and everybody is at risk, especially me, because I laugh at myself and the dumb things I do before anyone else. I am one of the most persistent, impatient individuals in the world, which can be a great asset at times, but it causes me and everyone around me stress at other times.  I am very adventurous with an untamed curiosity that helps be a lifelong learner, but also gets me into deep trouble on occasion.

7. Favorite quote

I have always loved quotes and old sayings so there are many, but my favorite is “Hitch your wagon to a star,” because my dad told me that when I was very young and I have always remembered.

8. Best and worst part of being a writer

Interruptions are the worst part of writing, and satisfaction and enjoyment the best.

9. Advice for other writers

Just do it! Nobody can do it for you, and if you never start you can never finish. Let it be fun or you won’t last at it.

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience.

My dad, who has since passed away, was extremely proud of everything I did, but especially my writing. Because of my writing, I had an opportunity to go to New York City on a journalism internship in college.  He was beside himself with pride, telling everybody he saw. As a Sunday school teacher and deacon in the Baptist church he was, however, equally conservative.

When I called home to report about all my experiences and what I had done and seen, he must have taken notes because he called the local newspaper and told them everything, including my going to see Hair and Oh Calcutta. I never had the heart to tell him most people in the two plays were naked, and that the latter was a little on the erotic side. He would have never been proud of my writing again.

Where can people buy your books?

Keeping Faith is available on Amazon (paperback & Kindle) and on other websites such as wikio.com, Indiependentbooks.com, eBay, m.goodreads.com and BiggerBooks.com. Createspace extended distribution channel and Paragraphs Book Store on South Padre Island.

Promises Kept will be available at Amazon in April and eventually in the same channels.

About Promises Kept

Promises Kept is Faith’s story, an unforgettable young woman whose life’s journey has been filled with uncertainty, of searching for people and answers that others take for granted. Compassionate and courageous, she never gives up, showing strength and character beyond her years. It is also the story about the power of the human spirit, of family, friends and love.

About Cindy Bradford

Cindy Bradford, Ph.D., is also the author of Keeping Faith and Promises Kept. She lives at South Padre Island, Texas, and spends several months a year in Ruidoso, New Mexico. She is a retired public school educator and university professor. She often incorporates her knowledge of wine into her writings and shares the beautiful places she has visited with her readers. http://www.doccbradford.com

We invite you to join us on the Promises Kept virtual tour and every comment you post on the tour posts – will get you an entry into a drawing for a copy of the first book in this series – Keeping Faith. Visit http://bookpromotionservices.com/2010/03/02/promises-kept/  for the complete schedule. We have a FREE gift for you – visit http://doccbradford.com/my-books/#excerpt  to download a preview of both Cindy’s book. For more details about Cindy Bradford, visit -www.KeepingFaithTheNovel.com  and http://www.DocCBradford.com/my-books

Author interview with Alyssa S. Dver, “No Time Marketing”

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10 Questions for…Alyssa S. Dver, author of “No Time Marketing”

1. Tell us about your latest book.

It’s called “No Time Marketing: small business-sized steps in 30 minutes or less.”  It’s a very short, easy read which includes all the worksheets you need to develop a solid marketing plan.  It is targeted at smaller businesses that don’t’ have many resources for nor experience in marketing.

However, it is also a great refresher for longtime marketers too.  Whether you are marketing a product, service or book, No Time Marketing can really help you think through your strategy and decisions so your tactics deliver the best possible leads and happy customers.

2. How did you get started as a writer?

As CMO for a public software company about 6 years ago, I decided to try writing as a potential fallback career.  Software wasn’t doing well and I was having children and wanted more flexibility and options.  I put two goals on my wall at my desk: one was to write my first book, and second was to write for BusinessWeek.  To accomplish these very lofty goals, I wrote prolifically for the business to build a profile and gain experience.  I wrote a chapter of the book each trip I made to the corporate headquarters traveling on Amtrak (there is a picture of a train on the cover of the book in fact as homage!).  My mother called one day mid-year saying her friend needed help writing an article for BusinessWeek on RM which was the area I was writing on for my company.  Strange coincidence but since I then had a portfolio of articles, I got the gig.  And while interviewing one of the experts for the article, I asked him about publishing books since he had done a few.  Turned out he was a publisher as well and he took my book on.

We’ve been working together ever since.  So that year, I accomplished both writing goals and became a writer.

3. What does a typical day look like for you?

There is no such things as a typical day. Some days I am working to promote my book, writing articles related to it, doing interviews or webinars. Other days, I am heads down doing marketing work for clients or going on site for meetings. I present a lot at conferences and association meetings but I try to limit travel to once per month and do a lot of drivable gigs. Every other morning, I go to the gym (I am not a morning person and work my best at night!).  5:30 kids and husband come home, he cooks and I clean up. Put kids to bed and back at my computer for 3 hours of work but often have evening meetings or other events to attend (business and personal).  If you ever see the time fairy send her here!

4. Describe your desk/workspace.

I moved in July for many reasons including getting a proper home office.  So now I have a lovely room with French doors so, noise, kids, dog and world = OUT!  Lots of light and room to work and meet – It will be quite interesting to see how my habits change when the new farm that borders my yard is filled with livestock in a month!  My productivity tools include a large whiteboard listing my work priorities and annual goals so I am always reminded plus pictures of my kids, dog and inspirational sayings so I remember my REAL priorities!.  Lots of artwork is around to keep me thinking creatively, plus books from fellow authors who have shared their work and wisdom with me along the way.

5. Favorite books

My Life as a Geisha; Passion at Work (a friend who is a master writer and story teller), Eat Pray Love, Strunk and White

6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you

I play badminton every week with my high school doubles partner.  I just reconnected with my college badminton buddy too through Facebook!

I lived and worked in the South of France for almost 2 years.  I lived between Cannes and Nice and had every expense taken care of by the company that sent me there as a 24 year old product manager.  Remind me why I am now living in freezing Boston?

I bombed my English SATs but aced the math (780) – and still got into UPenn Wharton and became a writer…so much for assessment tests!

7. Favorite quote

“Life is too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so love the people who treat you right, forget about the ones who don’t, and believe that everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said life would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it.”

8. Best and worst part of being a writer

Best = learning new things on someone else’s expense

Worst = having to conform to editors demands and often uneducated requirements

9. Advice for other writers

The power of the pen is still very mighty.  Use it well to help educate and motivate other people.

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience.

I met with a prospect at a local Panera who wanted me to help him with promoting a medical device that helps women with incontinence.  However, his real interest was to create anew version of it that was a sex toy.  It turns out that the device helps women have better sex as it helps them develop the pelvic floor muscles.  So during “treatment test” many women refused to give back the device…they enjoyed it so much.   He is still trying to raise the money to fund this spin-off idea….we’ll see!  It was quite the conversation over coffee!

Where can people buy your book?

www.NoTimeMarketing.com (orders here include a free pen and bookmark) or on Amazon, Barnes and Noble.

No Time Marketing(tm) cuts to the chase about how to do marketing most productively.  Written for smaller businesses with limited resources but big opportunities, No Time Marketing won’t insult your intelligence nor waste your time.

10 QUESTIONS FOR…Michele Wahlder, author of “Alphatudes: The Alphabet of Gratitude”

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Author interview with Michele Wahlder

Michele Wahlder is a certified life coach, career counselor, licensed psychotherapist, motivational speaker and gratitude enthusiast. She is the founder of Life Possibilities, LLC, a company that guides people to become the highest vision they hold for themselves in their lives, careers and relationships through the vehicles of coaching, seminars and books. She holds an MS in Counseling and Development from Texas Woman’s University and a BA in Communications from Tulane University. Wahlder has worked with numerous organizations, including Match.com, The Nielsen Company, Lucent Technologies and Girls, Inc., to improve individual performance and organizational effectiveness.

Honored as the Global Spokesperson for Bayer’s Global MS Campaign, Wahlder is a dynamic media guest who has appeared in numerous print, radio, and television outlets including WFAA-TV’s Good Morning Texas, KDAF-TV’s The 33 News, CBS and CNN Radio. She has served as a contributing expert for publications such as Fitness magazine, Dallas Morning News, Texas Jewish Post, and Dallas Child.  Wahlder lives in Dallas, Texas, with her fiancé Michael, “bonus daughter” Zoe and Portuguese water dog Moses.

Alphatudes is her first book.

1. Tell us about your latest book.

Alphatudes: The Alphabet of Gratitude—26 Solutions to Life’s Little Challenges, reveals the unexpected and simple secret to living a joyful life: gratitude. In a world obsessed with negativity, we must deliberately choose to focus our attention toward the positive.

The good news is the homework is already done! Alphatudes utilizes your earliest grade school victory—the ABCs—to elicit a sustainable shift in your thinking and outlook on life. This book will help you:

  • Heighten your awareness and appreciation of life’s daily gifts
  • Attract opportunities with a positive mind-set
  • Surmount life’s challenges with a healthy reservoir of gratitude
  • Find the hidden blessings in difficult situations
  • Free yourself from worry, negativity and resentment

* In honor of Alphatudes, Olivia Newton-John has given a free song download of her beautiful song, “Grace and Gratitude” with purchase.

2. How did you get started as a writer?

I had been writing in newsletters, my journal and for professional trade journals for years. Alphatudes is my first writing/book for public consumption! The inspiration for Alphatudes: The Alphabet of Gratitude, my first book, came to me in a most unlikely way.  I wasn’t feeling grateful at all.  In fact, I had been going through a period of disrupted sleep and was quite cranky over my inability to sleep soundly.  I had tried many different techniques, but none had worked. On one particular night, while lying in bed, the concept of gratitude entered my thoughts.  I spontaneously started thinking of things I was grateful for using the structure of the alphabet –it was easy and fun! Counting my blessings instead of counting burdens or sheep, turned out to be a habit that had begun to affect my outlook on life in a productive and positive way. I shared the process with clients and friends and they found the process changed their lives for the better. I wanted to share it with a larger audience and began writing Alphatudes.

3. What does a typical day look like for you?

I wake up, meditate or read, then let my dog Moses outside, get a cup of tea and then the two of us cuddle up on a chair while I begin my day of writing, answering emails and coaching. I usually find time in the day to get at least one walk or bike ride in.

4. Describe your workspace.

My workspace is filled with warm yellows, reds and greens. I have a big yellow leather chair that I coach and sometimes write from.

5. Favorite books (especially for writers)

Recently, The Help by Kathrine Stockett, Everyday Holiness by Alan Morinis and Now Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham.

6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you

My mother was the Israeli poster girl and that is how my Dad found her.  I am Jewish but went to a Catholic High School.  When I was little I had three horses that all died.

7. Favorite quote:

Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it. Mark Twain.

8. Best and worst part of being a writer

The best part is writing, the worst part is rewriting, again and again.

9. Advice for other writers

Work with a subject that inspires you to push through the challenges that inevitably come up on the way to publication.

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience.

I went to BEA in NYC searching for a publisher for Alphatudes. After a day of being frustrated and not getting anywhere I went to a Broadway show that evening. While in the ladies room at the show, I met a woman who was an author representative and learned a lot in a conversation with her about how to proceed. You never know where you might serendipitously meet up with divine assistance.

Where can people buy your book?

The book can be purchased on-line at the Alphatudes store through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders or direct through Life Possibilities at: www.alphatudes.com

For more information about me or life & career coaching, more information can be found at:  www.lifepossibilities.com

10 QUESTIONS FOR…Kevin Coupe, “The Big Picture: Essential Business Lessons from the Movies”

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Author interview with Kevin Coupe

Kevin Coupe has been a working writer all his professional life.  He is the co-author, with Michael Sansolo, of The Big Picture:  Essential Business Lessons From The Movies, which uses movies to illustrate tenets of leadership, the importance of marketing and branding, and how to survive in the workplace.  For the past decade, he’s had his own website/blog – MorningNewsBeat.com – providing what he calls “business news in context, and analysis with attitude.”  In addition to speaking at hundreds of conferences in the U.S. and abroad and reporting from 45 states and six continents, Kevin has worked as a daily newspaper reporter, video producer, bodyguard, clothing salesman, supervised a winery tasting room, run two marathons (slowly), drove a race car (badly), taken boxing lessons (painfully) and acted in a major (and obscure) motion picture.  He is married with three children, and lives in Connecticut.

1.  Tell us about your latest book.

The central premise of The Big Picture:  Essential Business Lessons from the Movies is that it is much easier and more effective for a business leader to communicate his or her vision to co-workers, employees, business partners and even customers if the leader can create a narrative…in other words, tell a compelling and understandable story.  If you cannot tell your story in resonant terms, it is hard to get people to coalesce around your business vision.  For us, movies are a way of creating a common language, or a common mythology, that leaders can refer to in telling their story. 

Q: Have you always wanted to be a writer?

A.  Pretty much.  Both Michael and I started out as newspaper reporters and moved into business magazines, though I’ve stayed a working writer my entire adult life and Michael made a detour into the corporate world where he was in charge of education for a major trade association.  But even in that role, where he gave many speeches and planned educational events, the importance of a good story was always central to how he approached his job.  We’re storytellers.  Which is a cool gig, if you can figure out how to make a living from it.

Q: Tell us briefly about your book.

The Big Picture:  Essential Business Lessons from the Movies looks at about 60 different movies from seven decades – encompassing comedies, musicals, dramas and action films, and including both legitimate classics and some that are a little less memorable – to create narratives through which business people can approach issues of leadership, branding, customer service, and even career development.  It really is very simple – we want people to read the book and say to themselves, “The situation I’m facing at work is a lot like the scenario in Jaws.”  Or in That Thing You Do.  Or The Godfather.  Or Bridge on the River Kwai. And when they do so, they may be able to find new ways to deal with whatever business issue they are facing, or at least see it in a different and broader context.

How did you get started as a writer?

I’ve always been a working writer.  I started out in daily newspaper journalism, did a short stint in PR, worked for some business magazines and then wrote and produced a series of videos about the business of global retailing.  For the past dozen years or so, I’ve written about retailing for a series of websites, including my own – MorningNewsBeat.com – for the past eight years.  It is probably a good thing, since I’m not much good at anything else and being a writer has always served my need for some degree of personal autonomy.    That’s not to say that I don’t do other things.  My co-author, Michael Sansolo, and I spend a fair amount of time on the road giving speeches about the business of retailing…and that helps to pay the mortgage.  But basically, I’ve always been a writer.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Up by 5:30 am.  I skim the business sections of about 25 newspapers to find topics for my daily blog/column, MorningNewsBeat.com.  I let the dog out and drink the first of about six cups of black coffee.  At 6 am, I turn on “Morning Joe,” which plays in the background as I work – I find the political discussions to be energizing and thought provoking, and both passionate and civil, which is increasingly rare for discourse these days. At 6:30 am, I bring my wife a cup of coffee the way she likes it – with two Splendas and frothed light cream.  (She’s the person in the family with a steady income and medical benefits, so I like to keep her happy.) By 9 am, my wife and daughter are off to school (my wife is a third grade teacher, my daughter is a high school sophomore), MorningNewsBeat is done, and things get a little more relaxed.  Three days a week I go to the gym and work out.  In nice weather I jog the other three days…though I’m slower than I used to be after two knee surgeries.  After that, I spend the next three or four hours making calls, going through email, writing columns for some print publications, working on speeches (I do about 25 a year), and gathering stories for the next day’s MorningNewsBeat.  At 3:30 pm most days I pick up my daughter at school…and then the rest of the afternoon I try to spend writing whatever project I happen to have on the front burner, or do a little reading – rarely about business, since at that point my brain is a little fried.  (Sometimes, I’ll take a quick nap – I have the ability to fall asleep on a moment’s notice and wake up after 15 or 20 minutes completely refreshed.)  At around 6 pm I uncork a bottle of wine and make supper for everybody.  After dinner, I either watch a ballgame (during baseball season), maybe a TV series I like, or a movie…Michael Sansolo and I already are planning our sequel to The Big Picture:  Essential Business Lessons from the Movies.  There are so many movies and so little time.  If I can, I like to stay awake long enough to watch The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.  But I don’t always make it…because at 5:30 in the morning, it starts all over again.

Describe your workspace.

It depends.   During much of the year, when my 20-year-old son is away at college, I commandeer his room and desk and work there – it has a couple of windows, and my dog, Buffett, likes to hang out with me there.  Plus, the kitchen is just a few feet away and it makes me easily available to my daughter when she’s home.  When my son wants his room back, I have a small office a few blocks away that I go to – it is over a pub, which I find pleasing.  A third of the time, I’m on the road…which means my workspace is wherever I happen to find myself – hotel rooms, airport lounges, restaurants, coffee shops, bars, or airplanes (which happens to be where I am responding to these questions).  One of the great pleasures of being a writer is that I can do it anywhere, anytime.

Favorite books (especially for writers)

A Drinking Life by Pete Hamill

Piecework by Pete Hamill

On Writing by Stephen King

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

Early Autumn by Robert B. Parker

The Night of the Gun by David Carr

The Big Picture:  Essential Business Lessons from the Movies by Michael Sansolo and Kevin Coupe

Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you

A.  I once was a bodyguard for Farrah Fawcett.  Really.  I was 30 years younger and 30 pound lighter, but I actually had the job in late 1977 and early 1978.

B.  Some of the best hours of my week are spent in a local gym where I take boxing lessons and work out on the heavy bag.  It is a great stress-reducer, and it clears the mind.

C.  My co-author, Michael Sansolo, and I grew up in the same town.  His mom and my dad worked for the local school system.  Michael went to high school with the woman who later married me.  We worked for Gannett as newspaper reporters when we got out of college in offices just a few miles apart.  And yet we did not meet until the late eighties when we found ourselves working for the same magazine company, him as editor in chief of a print publication and me running the editorial side of the video division.  It was like meeting a brother I did not know I had… and it led to a fast friendship and constant telephone conversations that spawned a number of business projects and, now, this book, The Big Picture:  Essential Business Lessons from the Movies.

Favorite quote

There are many…so many that it is hard for me to choose one. So I’ll go with this one:

“Indecision may or may not be my problem.”  – Jimmy Buffett

Best and worst part of being a writer

The hours and the money.  Not necessarily in that order.

Advice for other writers

Write.  And if you don’t understand why that’s the most important advice that can be given to a writer, find another line of work.

Tell us a story about your writing experience.

Woody Allen once said that the most important thing in life is showing up, and my career is proof positive of this, though I’ve also been exceedingly lucky.  Let me explain…

After I graduated from college, I was looking for a job as a writer, but couldn’t get one…I really wanted to work at a newspaper, but I’d never taken a journalism class, which was sort of a handicap.  So a friend of mine who was both the stunt coordinator and head of security for Farrah Fawcett’s first post-“Charlie’s Angels” movie, gave me a job on her security detail because I did know something about movie sets.  This was late 1977, early 1978.

Once the movie wrapped, I went back to looking for a writing job.  In February 1978, I managed to get an interview with the head of human resources for Gannett’s suburban New York newspaper group.  This was a big deal.  The interview was at 10 am, and when I woke up at six that morning, I discovered that we’d had more than a foot of snow overnight, which was going to make getting to the interview problematic.  So I woke up my two younger brothers – I was living at home – and got them to dig my car out of the driveway.  Then, I took them with me for what should have been a 15-minute drive to the interview, but instead took more than an hour because we kept getting caught in snow drifts…I made them come with me because I had a feeling this might happen and that I’d need their help.

When I got to the office – on time – the security guard looked at me like I had three heads and told me that the HR guy wasn’t there…he had not been able to get to the office because of the snowstorm.  I made sure that I left my resume on his desk with a note that said something along the lines of “I got here, sorry you were not able to,” and we headed home.

Now, this was completely deliberate on my part.  I knew that the odds were that the office would be closed because of snow, but I also knew that I needed to find a differential advantage to make my resume stand out from those of people far more qualified than I to work for a newspaper.  Which is what happened.  I got the reputation for being the guy who showed up in the snowstorm, and the HR guy promised to get me an interview with the first newspaper editor in the chain who had an opening.

About a month later, I got the call.  Bill Chanin of the Rockland Journal-News wanted to meet me.  I drove to the newspaper building and was ushered into his office…and there, on the wall, was the iconic Farrah Fawcett poster (which could never happen today, but remember, this was the seventies).  I instantly thought to myself, “I got this job.”   And I did.

I haven’t stopped writing for a living since.

Where can people buy your book?

The Big Picture:  Essential Business Lessons from the Movies is available from the publisher:

http://www.raphel.com/osc_catalog/product_info.php?cPath=21&products_id=55

And from Amazon.com:

http://www.amazon.com/Big-Picture-Essential-Business-Lessons/dp/0971154287/ref=pd_rhf_p_t_1

To read our daily blog, go to:

http://www.MorningNewsBeat.com

To learn more about Michael Sansolo, go to:

http://www.MichaelSansolo.com

To learn more about Kevin Coupe, go to:

http://www.KevinCoupe.com