Category Archives: depression

Author interview with Michael Rosenbaum, “Your Name Here Guide to Life”



Author interview with Michael Rosenbaum, “Your Name Here Guide to Life”MichaelRosenbaumPhotoFRONTCOVERYNHGUIDETOLIFE


Q. You’re not famous, are you?


A. In my house, almost everyone recognizes me, but I do get to walk

around town without being mobbed by paparazzi.


Q. That’s great, but why would anyone read a book of life lessons from

somebody who isn’t a celebrity?


A. First, I desperately need attention. If enough people read the

book, I won’t have to do something stupid that gets posted on You

Tube. And, if millions of people read the book, I WILL be a celebrity.


Q. Seriously. Why will people want to get their insights into life

lessons and happiness from you?


A. Because I was relatively unhappy for most of my life. I had to

figure out for myself how to make the journey…and I took notes along

the way.


Q. So the “Your Name Here Guide to Life” is really a biography?


A. If it is, it’s not my biography, because these are life stories

shared by millions of people. When I tell people a story from the

book, they often respond by saying, “I had a situation just like

that…” or “the same thing happened to my daughter…” The book is about

the human condition and the way all of us share our lives. In fact,

that’s why we have the subtitle, “The book you’d have written, if only

you had the time.”


Q. So if people know many of these lessons, why do they need you to

change their lives?


A. First, I am absolutely not going to change anyone’s life. All I can

do is change myself, and that’s the only person any of us can change.

The good news is that we all have the power within us.


Q. If people already have the power to change, why do they need

self-help and inspirational books like yours?


A. Too often, we make the mistake of ceding our power to someone else.

Maybe it’s our second-grade teacher or the person who stood us up at

the prom. We never get past the hurt, which means we continue to give

control of our lives to someone we might never see again. Among other

things, the book includes ways to regain the power we gave away to

someone else.


Q. Have you ever given other people that kind of power over your life?


A. Absolutely! At some point, we all make this mistake. Eventually, we

can learn to avoid most of the traps we set for ourselves. We never

get to perfection, but one day we tip the scales dramatically in the

right direction.


Q. In the book, you talk about the accidental teachers you’ve met. Who are they?


A. Some are cops, who almost always pick up incredible wisdom on the

job, and others are doctors, psychologists, moms, dads, morticians…you

name it. Everybody gains some priceless insight along the way and they

end up sharing their lessons one way or another.


Q. One way or another?


A. Sometimes, people demonstrate an important lesson by doing

something stupid. Many accidental teachers are seemingly ordinary

people who suddenly drop an incredible bit of wisdom into a

conversation. Others do the opposite, delivering a major lesson about

how not to think, act or speak. All of us lead by bad example at some

point in our lives.


Q. Including you?


A. Of course. I’m human, so I’m subject to all the failings described

in the book. That’s the whole point. Except for a few outliers, we’re

all living the same lives. We all end up with the same disappointments

and we all have similar experiences. Knowing how much we’re like other

people is a great comfort. It means we’re not alone in the world.


Q. Why would people want to read your book?


A. It’s honest and funny, and it resonates with the way people really

live. People connect my stories to their lives because they’ve been

there and done that.


Q. You deliver your lessons through stories rather than a direct

discussion of issues or values. Why did you choose this approach?


A. Storytelling is a great, non-confrontational way to share wisdom

and people respond better to stories than to lectures.


Q. I noticed that each chapter includes some space for people to write

in their own stories.


A. That’s very important, because everyone has personal stories and

lessons to share. By giving people a space to jot down their own

reminders, we can expand the impact of the discussion. We’ve even

asked people to share their stories and wisdom at .


Q. Does that mean there will be future Your Name Here guides with

other people’s lessons?


A. I hope so. We’re working on a few concepts right now and seeking

contributions at our website.


Q. “Your Name Here Guide to Life” is an unusual name. How did you come up with it?


A. We were talking about the universal nature of the stories and

lessons in the book, and somebody noted that almost anyone could claim

this as their own personal guide. That reminded us of the Your Name

Here tags we end up wearing at conferences and it seemed like an apt

reference to our universal uniqueness.


Q. One last question. What’s the most important lesson in your book?


A. Thanks for asking an impossible question. If I had to pick only one

lesson, it would also be one word: Choices. Many things happen in our

lives and we control very few of them. The one thing we can control,

almost invariably, is how we respond to life’s events. We choose how

we react, how we internalize and how we move forward. Having this

choice makes us very, very powerful.

“Your Name Here Guide to Life” is available on

Author interview with Muriel Gill, “The Ultimate Human Need”


(Note from Wendy: This Q&A is a bit different than the usual ’10 Questions for’ format, but Muriel already had her own Q&A.)

“The Ultimate Human Need” by Muriel GillmurielgillUltimateHumanNeed_160x256

1. Q: In a nutshell, what is the book about?

A: The book deals with a number of issues that affect relations in any society, but in a nutshell, it points at parental absenteeism as one of the causes of juvenile rebellion. It emphasizes the inner need for acceptance, love, affection and to be valued, by every human being

2. Q: Having said that, who is the book directed at? What is your target market?

A: It is for every teenager, to understand how to communicate and interact with their parents. It is for parents with teenage kids and preparing for those years. It is for everyone who has had what they term bad childhood, to be inspired and see and learn that a good, meaningful and fulfilling life is possible after bad childhood. It is for everyone who is battling some amount of unforgiveness and wants to learn how to forgive.

3. Q:  What inspired the writing of the book?

A:  I believe in the power of words, and just want to use the art of writing to help address some of the issues that affect us all. Art can be used as a form of entertaining, but that can always be combined with education and bring across a lesson or answer to societal questions in an edutaining way.  It’s funny, ‘cause the story line evolved in my head while watching a program on TV, debating the morality of euthanasia. Yet, euthanasia occupies only about 2 or 3 pages in the whole book.

4. Q: Have you always known that you wanted to write?

A:  Not always, I discovered the interest a little later in life, and find that I enjoy it. I first started with writing feature movie scripts, hoping I could sell them to anyone interested, but found it difficult to do so. Then I thought it might be a good idea to turn my movies scripts into a book.

5. Q: What do you want your readers to get from the book?

A: The book is both entertaining and educating. The blurbs describe it as riveting and un-put-downable. First of all, I want the readers to enjoy what they are reading, it’s hard to forget what has entertained you, and then I also want the readers to be reminded of all the moral lessons and self-help tips in the book.

6. Q: Is that the reason why you wrote it in a story form, rather than just a self-help book?

A: Precisely, learning something in a fun and entertaining way seems to be easily understandable and effective. It just stays with you for a long time.

7. Q: Are you a teacher, by training?

A: No, I don’t have any formal teaching training. Maybe by nature, ‘cause I find that I like to explain things in detail, and sometimes even repeat myself for clarity. But then, most of us women are detailed by nature, but that does not make us all teachers.

8. Q: What are some of the issues you deal with in your book, other than what you’ve already mentioned?

A: Towards the end, I take quite a bit of time, elaborating on the remedial issues. It is one thing to highlight an issue, dissecting it and talking about where it originates from; like talking about rejection as one of the causes of rebellion. But that is just half the truth, from here on, I think one needs to talk about the treatment, how to bring about total change and reverse the effects of a problem.

9. Q: Talking about the remedy, I notice you talk quite a bit about forgiveness in your book. What is the formula or process of forgiveness. If someone is struggling to forgive those that have hurt him what advice can you give?

A: There’s a 5 step program that is very effective. I found this out while doing research for the book, so I take no credit for it; it’s not my own invention. For easy recall, it’s called the REACH program. Recall the hurt – don’t try to deny or bury it, but don’t dwell on your victimization. Empathize with the one who hurt you. See things from their point of view, feel their feelings and identify with their pressures. Empathy is the key step in forgiving. Altruistically decide to give the gift of forgiveness. Commit to forgiveness publicly; verbalize it to someone, a friend, the perpetrator, or someone. Say it out loud. Hold on to that forgiveness. Do not replay the tape of hurt. Rumination is at the core of unforgiveness. Do not see the perpetrator as a personification of evil, out to deliberately ruin you. This form of forgiveness is difficult in the beginning, especially when you have to empathize with the perpetrator, but it is very effective. In fact, while doing research and reading up on forgiveness, I read about a research that was done, employing two methods of forgiveness. The first group was told to forgive for their own good. They were told that forgiveness benefits them more, and it releases them form bitterness and all the possible accompanying physical effects of unforgiveness, so they forgave quite easily. But after a week or two, when the two groups were compared, the group that forgave for their own benefit, had declined in their resolved to forgive. Forgiveness was mainly a gift to themselves, it was for selfish reasons, it did not necessarily replace negative emotions with positive empathy. But the second group had held on to their forgiveness, ‘cause negative emotions had been truly replaced by positive ones. It looks like we don’t just drop negative feelings; they need to be replaced by something positive.   

10. Q: Does forgiveness always inevitably lead to reconciliation?

A: Forgiveness is not synonymous with reconciliation. Forgiveness is one party deciding to give the altruistic gift of forgiveness, replacing negative feelings with positive ones. Reconciliation on the other hand calls for both parties to desire to reconcile, and both committing themselves to the process of reconciliation.

11. Q: What is the process of reconciliation?

A: Again, this is what I found out during research, again I take no credit for this process. The first step we’ve touched on already. Both parties need to desire and commit to reconciliation, then they need to discuss the transgression, in soft attitudes, with humility and empathy, and no denial. During this discussion stage, there’s the acronym CONFESS. Like I said, I take no credit for this acronym. Confess without excuses. Offer an apology, be sincere, show remorse and be specific. Note the other person’s pain, do not downplay it, do not call them too sensitive of just the imagination of their minds. Forever value. Love is valuing the other person. Equalize. Show an act of kindness to make up for the hurt. Say never. Commit yourself to never hurt the other person the same way again. Seek forgiveness. Ask for forgiveness.

12. Q: You mention parent absenteeism as one of the causes of teenage rebellion. In some cases, you find both parents present, presumably both plugged in, and yet the child turns rebellious. What could the cause be here? 

A: The problem might stem from the parenting style practiced at home. There are different parenting styles, depending on the values, teachings, temperament and personalities of the parents. Then there’s the traditional expectation of stormy teenage years. Parents expect his stage of their kids to be rough, and they talk negative things, in line with their expectations. But, results emerging from new research, show that teenage years need not necessarily be stormy. And to help their teenagers to make a smooth transition into young adulthood, parents need to change their views of their teenagers, change the way they think of them, their expectations, and learn new parenting styles that will actually help their teenagers. The most effective parenting style is when adults parent from the child’s strengths, rather than coming form the negative. Again, I take no credit for this approach. This is called the 5C’s of parenting. They are Competence, Confidence, Connections, Character, Caring. Parents need to find 1 of few things that their child in naturally gifted at, and encourage the child to develop that talent. As the child becomes more proficient at that, they develop confidence in themselves. Confident people are easy to relate with others. This naturally leads to connections. They interact easily with others, Parents need to encourage their teenage kids to develop relations with others outside the home, encourage socialization. Parents need to instill in their children character, both b teaching and by demonstrating it. Character is the internal moral compass, its sets boundaries for the child. It guides them as to what they may or may not do. Then parents need to teach their teenagers care; demonstrate it in the home. They can do certain things together as a family, like volunteering together at an orphanage or assisted living centre.

13. Q: How can a young person handle peer pressure, because at times, they do things purely because of peer pressure?

A: Having a sense of belonging is crucial, especially belonging to a group of people your own age. In fact, it is one thread that runs through the story of my book. Hence the title, The ultimate human need.  Unfortunately, some people will sacrifice everything to feel accepted and validated, especially if they do not have this need fulfilled at home, just like the character in the story in the book. That is why they make reckless decisions and hang out with the wrong crowd.

It’s important for parents to help their kids to develop social skills and good character, which we’ve already defined as an internal sense of moral compass, that defines borders. Hence, sense of belonging should be based on shared common values and interests.

 14. Q: What’s your message to absent fathers?

A: Get back to your child or children. Your absence is sending a damaging message of rejection, and that is hurting a child in ways you cannot imagine.

15. Q: What’s the first step they should do to re-establish, or in some cases, establish a first-time relationship with their child?

A: Apologize for their absenteeism. This takes us back to our CONFESS program, talking about the transgression; honestly and with humility. Acknowledging the pain that your absence or abandonment has caused the child, and honestly and sincerely apologizing for that, and asking to be forgiven. Father/parent, note that you’re not picking up where you left off. It’s new; you start afresh. You start with small unintrusive baby steps, and slowly build a more and mutually trusting relationship. The most important message you want to send to your child, is that you care and you value them.

16. Q: At this stage, can they offer an opinion or correction, when they see something wrong and dangerous that the child may be doing?

A: They can offer an advice, when asked for it. Beyond this point, they have not yet earned the right and privilege of a parent to correct. They forfeited that when they abdicated their parental responsibility, and they cannot return with a whip in their hand.

17. Q: What if it’s something very dangerous and self-destructive?

A: They might need to mention it to the parent who has always been present and let them do the talking. If they strongly feel they should deal with it, they might need to be very honest about it. They might need to begin with: “know I’m not exactly a model parent, I’ve hurt you in the past by my absence, and probably you may feel like I’m not qualified to talk to you about “such and such” problem. But, if you’ll allow me, I will give this “advice” or avail myself to give assistance in this particular way; e.g. like when it’s a case of drug abuse, he might avail himself to check the child in a rehabilitation center. We touched on this earlier on, offering an act of kindness to compensate or make up for the pain of the past. It also sends the message that you care about the welfare of your child.

Then, he will need to express his faith in the child’s ability to change that destructive behavior. This tells the child that he is intrinsically good, and that his father believes in him. Almost everyone who has made a positive change from a destructive behavior will always cite one person who believed in them. This is also the point in case in the life our young character in the book, The ultimate human need.

18. Q: Talking about making a positive change, how can someone who has had a bad childhood, or a bad past, make a transition into a positive life?

A: A good life after a bad childhood is possible, it’s not easy, but you can create   it. Again what I’m about to say, I’ve found out during my research for the novel, so I take no personal credit for it.

First, accept the truth that you were hurt, don’t deny it, but refuse to define yourself according to those experiences. If you do, you take over the abuse and become your own torturer. What was done to you in the past was not about you; it was not because you’re a bad person. So define yourself correctly.

Then accept who the abuser is, not embracing it, but accepting that that is who they are and leaning to relate with them around those shortcomings, knowing that you cannot change them, and neither are you responsible for their change. No one can change the other person. Accepting is liberating. Understand their emotional struggle and empathize with them. When you do, you cannot but let go. In other words, you forgive them. Empathy replaces hurt, anger, resentment and bitterness. Negative emotions are now replaced with positive ones.

When emotions have changed, behavior is easy to change. In bad childhood, you learned al the negative behaviors as coping mechanisms, now learn to replace them with new behaviors and reactions. 

Then reach out to someone and give some affection attention and approval. Hurting people have a tendency to want everybody to give to them, but they never or rarely reciprocate that love. But what you give, you will receive back. Give what you yearn for, and you will receive it back.

Decide to be a loving spirit, and find a greater purpose to live for, a passion to give yourself to. This takes the attention off of yourself. Hurting people have the tendency to obsess about themselves, but as you give yourself to something, you have less time to think about your hurt.

Then, learn to keep things in perspective. Without making light of anyone’s bad childhood, don’t think that your situation is the worst. There are others that are worse off than yours.

Lastly, adopt a positive attitude – it is a significant mind-set for a good life. Learn to count your blessings and be thankful.


This, “The Ultimate Human Need,” is Muriel Gill’s debut novel. She cares about social issues, and through her writing seeks to make positive contribution and promote better social understanding and harmonious interactions.

She has obtained her honors degree from the University of the North West in South Africa. She has worked as a Chief Data Coordinator, Information Analyst, Project Manager and has owned her own Bookstore.


Title: The Ultimate Human Need

Author; Muriel Gill

Publisher: American Book Publisher, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Number of pages: 300

ISBN: 1-58982-371-0

Binding; Paperback

Price: $22.00

The book is available either from my website or from the publisher direct online bookstore

10 QUESTIONS FOR…Dr. Helen McIntosh, “Messages to Myself”


Author interview with Dr. Helen McIntoshPhotoofDr.HelenMcIntoshMessagetoMyself(2)

1. Tell us about your latest book. 

 Messages to Myself – Overcoming a Distorted Self-Image is for those who are struggling with ongoing self-image issues as well as depression and anxiety, and are having difficulties in their personal life and in their relationships.  I give a method in the book to bring healthy and lasting life changes for adults and children. This method offers readers simple, tangible, concrete help both in their thought patterns and in their relationships with others.   

2. How did you get started as a writer?  My heart longs to give encouragement and lasting help to those who struggle with social and emotional issues.  I first got started with a children’s book (Eric, Jose, and The Peace Rug) to help them with their issues like anger management, bullying, reconciliation, and conflict resolution.  I was a school counselor at the time, and there was a deficit in literature that really worked!  For my adult friends, I saw another deficit! So many of us are depressed.  They have been given “sticky note” answers – and nothing has helped.  I love help, healing, restoration, and reconciliation, and so the book came to me as a natural flow from what I needed myself and needed for others.

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

 I am officially retired from the school system but still do some crisis counseling in my church and community, and I do some teaching.  I am also working on a grief book for children and an adult book on suicide.  [Why is a sanguine like me writing about so many dark subjects?  Well…I just love it!]  Best of all is time with my husband, also recently retired, and seeing my adult children and grandchildren.     

4. Describe your desk/workspace.  

BUSY!  It actually looks pretty awful.  The stacks on my left look formidable, but I know where everything is.  Otherwise, I have surrounded myself with nostalgic photographs and things I love.

5. Favorite books (especially for writers) 

Anything by Jan Silvious.  The book Captivating by Stasi Eldredge is also a favorite. 

6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you 

I was a drummer in high school (the timpani), smoked a few cigars in my after college days, and lived in Germany as a child and France when older. 

7. Favorite quote

My favorite quote is from the Bible in Habbukah: Though the fig tree should not blossom, and there be no fruit on the vines, though the yield of the olive should fail and the fields produce no food, though the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no cattle in the stalls – Yet! I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.

8. Best and worst part of being a writer 

The best part is hopefully helping others by putting down truth in ink.  The worst part is the “fight to be still” in our very busy world and how hard it is to hear “quiet” in order put that down in ink!

9. Advice for other writers

Write about things you are passionate about because the journey is hard.  Then you will persevere!  

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience.

I wrote a lot of the Messages To Myself book in my father’s hospital room when he was asleep.  He died weeks later – but I know he was with me on my journey just as I was there for him on his journey to heaven.

Where can people buy your book?

 Readers can buy it on!  Information and other ordering info can also be accessed on or

10 QUESTIONS FOR…Dr. Linda Seger (Making a Good Script Great & new book!)


Author interview with LINDA SEGERLindaHeadShotColorSpiritualStepsTypog

I’m a script consultant, speaker and seminar leader, and author of 11 books, including 8 on screenwriting and three on spirituality. In 1987, my first book, MAKING A GOOD SCRIPT GREAT, was published. It became an industry standard and is used throughout the world. That book opened up the world to me, and led to giving seminars in 31 countries around the world on screenwriting.

My educational background includes a ThD (doctorate of theology) in Drama and Theology from a seminary in Berkeley. I call it the least marketable degree in the world, since it’s an odd combination, and the drama people didn’t want someone with a theology degree and the theology people thought I was probably too dramatic for any job in theology. I finally started my own business, first out of desperation, and then I realized that I was very suited to being an entrepreneur. When I created the job of script consultant, it didn’t exist. I based my work on my doctoral dissertation on “What makes a script work?”

Since 1981, I have focused on the script consulting work and seminars. In 2002, my husband and I moved to my dream house in the mountains right outside of Colorado Springs in Cascade, Colorado. Around that time, I realized I wanted to expand my work to include books and speaking in the area of spirituality. My latest book is on spirituality and success.

1. Tell us about your latest book.

The book is called SPIRITUAL STEPS ON THE ROAD TO SUCCESS: Gaining the goal without losing your soul. It’s written from a Judeo-Christian perspective, although I believe the spiritual issues are universal. When I began my business, I decided to try to apply spiritual principles, and my own relationship to God, to my work, hoping that I could make a living while also being spiritual in the difficult, competitive world of Hollywood. I found the issues were different than I expected. Some of the chapters in the book  discuss “Becoming Important”, “Meeting the Seven Deadly Sins”, “Developing a Sense of Smell” (so one becomes wise at sniffing out the scoundrels), being “Willing to be Blessed”, and combining one’s contemplative life with the very active life of someone in business.

 2. How did you get started as a writer?

I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was 10, and began writing short stories, and then poetry shortly after that. I wrote my first novel when I was 13, which took three months to write, and then wrote more short stories all through college and into graduate school. When I started teaching screenwriting and discussing my theories, participants in my seminars kept asking, “When are you going to write a book about this?” I finally did, and then my agent asked when was I going to write another book. I realized that I loved writing non-fiction, and I am now writing both screenwriting books and spirituality books. Since 2008, I’ve written 11 books, and just signed a contract for another screenwriting book, and am now trying to sell a proposal for another spirituality book.

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

I generally start my day eating breakfast at the computer and reading my emails. If I’m on a tight deadline, I then write one to two hours, and then turn to my other work, such as the consulting work and emails. If I’m not on a tight deadline, I might write later in the day. It depends on how much creative work is necessary for the writing, and how much is more research, or thinking time. If I have reading and research to do, I tend to do that later in the day.

I usually write two mornings a week. I’m clearly a morning writer, and if I need to, I’ll get up very early, but usually I’ll start writing about 8 a.m. I wrote my 9th book, a book on theology and politics, in five months, working five to six mornings a week, while keeping my business going. But usually I ask for a year to write a book.

Two afternoons a week I go out to ride my horse. If I’m writing, I use the driving time to think about an idea or a chapter, or think about a consulting problem I’m trying to resolve. Several times a week I also go to the pool. Usually my writing time is 1-2 hours.

4. Describe your desk/workspace.

I have the dream workspace. I have a small cabin on our property, which is in the mountains (in the first mountain town west of Colorado Springs.)My computer is by the window, and I look out over hundreds of pine trees, magpies, sometimes deer. The cabin is large enough for a table and two bookcases and several file cabinets and just about anything I need.  And it’s just 29 steps down a small hill from our home. I have little knick-knacks on the window ledge in front of the computer that inspires me. One is of a Nordic sailing ship that I got from Norway that encourages me to go to big and new horizons. One is of a unicorn, that tells me I can be original and one-of-a-kind. I have a red metal lion from South Africa (very small, obviously!) that encourages me to be bold. A little Savorski piano that encourages me to sing my tune. An angel. Some sea shells. And a mug that has the Prayer of Jabez on it..that asks God to bless me and expand my territories.

5. Favorite books (especially for writers)

I love Anne LaMott’s writing, especially Bird by Bird. Years ago, I read a Journal of John Steinbeck’s that he kept while writing East of Eden, which is my favorite book. I think the journal was called the East of Eden Journal…really fascinating about his process.

6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you

I bought my first horse when I was 58, although I had been doing horse-back riding one-week vacations for about 12 years by then. I’m now competing in reining, which is a difficult form of western riding.

I am totally in love with Colorado, and have been since we first came here when I was 13. I remember the first time we entered the mountains, and I determined to live here somehow. It took many, many years.

I’m a Quaker. Many people find that interesting.

7. Favorite quote

From Maria Von Trapp in SOUND OF MUSIC, (although I think someone else said it first): “God never closes a door without opening a window.” I call Maria my favorite theologian.

8. Best and worst part of being a writer

The worst part is to keep trying to sell one’s ideas. Even when one is known, the selling still is a waiting game. On the other hand, I have a wonderful agent.

Best part – being able to work with ideas, and seeing people’s lives change as a result of ideas. I love to work with words, and as time has gone on, I have paid more attention to alliteration, internal rhymes, and having fun with words. I love working with the style of a book – and becoming better at making writing decisions about style. How funny should I be? How surprising? Should I be a bit outrageous? How tender? 

9. Advice for other writers

Writing is a process, and becoming good at it doesn’t happen overnight. True, we might do a very good job on our first book, perhaps because it’s been percolating for many years, but sustaining being a writer demands some kind of mastery over the craft and the ability to have found your own voice.

And it demands being honest and authentic. That means telling the truth, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction. 

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience.

Well, no crazy ones, but I have written sections of my books in very interesting places. I wrote part of my book, WHEN WOMEN CALL THE SHOTS, in the Beijing, China airport, while sitting on the floor against a column with my hands through all my personal belongings – purse, backpack, etc. My plane was delayed, so I used the time to write. Once I wrote  at the L.A. Airport while it was evacuated (the wing where I was waiting was the only area not evacuated, but we weren’t allowed to leave.) Once, when I was working on a book during an airplane ride, the plane landed and the man next to me looked at me and said, “I have never seen anything like that! You concentrated and never lost focus for 3 hours straight!” So, I can write just about anywhere.

Where can people buy your book?

My website is the name of the book:

My blog is being created, but will be part of this website.

The book is readily available on and, and will probably be in various Christian bookstores as well. Perhaps in other bookstores.

Readers can also visit my other Web site, for photos, speaking engagements, information on my other books, etc.  



10 QUESTIONS FOR…Alex Ong, the “Bruce Lee of Wellness”


Author interview with Alex Ong (the “Bruce Lee of Wellness”) Studio_18MindYourOwnWellness

Book Title: Mind Your Own Wellness – Turning Thoughts Into Reality


1. Tell us about your latest book.


Mind Your Own Wellness – Turning Thoughts Into Reality is a fun, lifestyle book. It is written by accident. If I have not lost my dear father to a suddent massive heart attack, I would not have the courage to publish this book. It contains priceless, hands-on tips to help you get your weight back on track again. It gives you full control over your thoughts, the choices to improve your health, and the chance to reduce your weight, as well as your aches and pains, NATURALLY. The small red book has been endorsed by Dr. John Gray – author of Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, Naturopathic Dr. Patricia Bragg, International Speaker Brian Tracy, and Dr. Joe Vitale – Co-author of The Secret.


2. How did you get started as a writer?

By accident! I have never thought of becoming an author, motivational speaker, and songwriter until I lost my father suddenly. He is my inspiration to help others live healthier and longer for themselves and very importantly, for their loved ones.

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

Long and challenging. I’m always learning to improve my writing skills and practicing my speech.

 4. Describe your desk/workspace.

Skyline of Chicago (Piles of papers and books).

5. Favorite books (especially for writers)

Believe and Achieve; Think and Grow Rich; Giant Steps; The China Study; Food For Life; Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus; Happy For No Reason; Chicken Soup For The Soul; How To Raise Happy, Healthy Self-Confident Children; The Attractor Factor; Training A Tiger; See You At The Top; Time Trap; Rich Dad, Poor Dad.


6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you

I love to dream big and set my target low, so that I can pad myself many times on the way up.

I treat every challenge in my life as a valuable lesson.

While driving, if someone sendd me a flying finger, I will give that person a hugh smile and say, “Wish You The Very Best!” It is so cool to see someone transform from being angry to a state of total confusion within a few seconds.

7. Favorite quote

A healthy body will help you attain the confidence that, coupled with a Positve Mental Attitude, will help you achieve your loftiest goals.
— W. Clement Stone

8. Best and worst part of being a writer

When is my day off?

9. Advice for other writers

Don’t die with a book in you – Dan Poynter. Keep on keeping on until your book is published – the sky will clear.

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience. 

I prayed before I went to bed. Ideas would come to me at 2am and I would get up and write till 4am everyday. While people were sleeping, I was writing. While they were working, I will catch some sleep. While others were having their day off, I was writing. While others were enjoying their vacations, I was still writing. However, the experience is priceless. When I saw the first hard copy of Mind Your Own Wellness, I almost could not believe I did it. And if Alex can write a book, anyone can – No Kidding!

Mind Your Own Wellness – Turning Thoughts Into Reality is available through




10 QUESTIONS FOR…Lloyd Lofthouse, “My Splendid Concubine”


Author interview with Lloyd LofthouseConcubineCoverTwoOn5-6-09_editeLowResAUTHORPhotoOneOn5-7-09_ed

Lloyd Lofthouse earned a BA in journalism after fighting in Vietnam as a U. S. Marine. He then taught English and journalism in the public schools by day and for a time worked as a maitre d’ in a multimillion-dollar nightclub by night. He now lives near San Francisco with his wife, Anchee Min, and they have a second home in Shanghai, China.

1. Tell us about your latest book.

      I will let the reviewers and judges tell you about “My Splendid Concubine”.

2009 San Francisco Book Festival Winner – Honorable Mention in General Fiction

2008 London Book Festival Winner – Honorable Mention in Fiction

“Packed cover to cover with intriguing characters and plot, a must read for historical fiction fans and a fine addition to any collection on the genre”  –  Midwest Book Review

“If even half of Lofthouse’s narrative is true, it’s a stunning work that enmeshes imperialism, modernity, miscegenation and plain old desire in a sweaty matrix of destruction and painful birth.” – City Weekend Magazine

“Those who are interested in unconventional romances with an out-of-the-ordinary setting will find plenty to enjoy.”  

    – Historical Novels Review

“Hart’s struggles adapting to Chinese culture, always feeling the pull and force of his Victorian British background, are compelling. His relationships with his concubine and his concubine’s sister are poignant—the novel is as much a study of the complexities of love as it is anything else. A powerful novel …”

                   – Judge of 2008 Writer’s Digest Self Published Book Awards

“Lofthouse eloquently weaves together historical facts into the lives and emotions of his characters … here is a story that will help you understand how one period can change the direction of the future—all for the love of a single woman.”

                    – Peter N. Jones, Great New Books

2. How did you get started as a writer?

After Vietnam and the United States Marines, I went to college on the GI Bill. During my first year in college, Ray Bradbury visited and I attended his lecture. Listening to Bradbury motivated me to write. I signed up for a creative writing class the next semester. That was in 1968 and 1969.  I haven’t stopped writing.

3. What’s a typical day like for you?

I spent the first hour or two exercising before going to my office and getting started. The first few hours are spent on the Internet replying and sending e-mails in addition to doing what I can to promote my writing.  I wrote and post poems, articles and post previews on Websites like Authors Den for the next two books I plan to publish.

4. Describe your workspace.

My workspace is a hundred square foot office on the ground floor of our hillside home. The computer sits in front of a window.  The view is of trees—many trees. I built bookshelves against three walls. There are two filing cabinets. Art hangs on the walls. Chinese woodcarvings collected while on research trips to China sit on top the bookshelves.

5. Favorite books?

The list is long. This is a sample:

Lord of the Rings

Interview with the Vampire

Memoires of a Geisha

all of James Lee Burke’s books

all of Patrick O’Brian’s books

6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you:

1. I came back from Vietnam combat with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and cannot sleep without a weapon of some kind near-at-hand. If the crickets outside the house stop chirping, I wake alert.

2. For several years, I was a maître in a multi-million dollar nightclub and gained a nickname from the other employees. They called me “Disco Lloyd”.  A friend, who was also a school counselor, told me I was an introvert extrovert and switched back and forth depending on the situation.

3. I don’t mind trekking into the mountains in winter when the snow is hip deep and few hikers are around. I also like to ski in blizzards since the slopes are empty and you don’t have to wait in lines.

7. Favorite quote?

“You can fool some of the people most of the time and most of the people some of the time but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.”  I believe Abraham Lincoln said this.

8. Best and worst part of being a writer?

I enjoy the right brain activity that takes place while writing the rough draft of a novel. The left-brain activity necessary to edit and revise is a tedious, necessary pain that many writers seem to avoid.

9. Advice to writers?

Writing is about story and craft, so never stop learning how to write because the competition is fierce. If you love to tell stories, never give up the dream that others around the world will read your writing one day.

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience.

I started writing in 1968. By 1973, I had earned a BA in journalism. For seven years in the 1980s, I drove more than a hundred miles each week to attend a writing workshop out of UCLA. Most of the writers in that workshop ended up published. Marjorie Miller, the instructor, eventually believed my work was ready and connected me with a big name agent.

That novel was about Vietnam. I came back from that war with PTSD. I sweated ink to write that story. However, at the time, no one was publishing Vietnam since the market was glutted with that topic and the reading public wasn’t buying. The agent dropped me once he couldn’t place my work. However, decades later, A Night at the Well of Purity, a chapter from that novel, was a finalist for the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards.

I started an MFA at Cal Poly, Pomona and finished it a decade later at another university.  Almost every step I have taken since 1968 was done to improve my writing.

I spent thirty years in the classroom as an English and journalism teacher. My students won state and regional awards in poetry, short stories and in journalism. The school paper I was advisor for won international recognition five years in a row.

For most writers that refuse to quit, writing turns into a painful labor of love. That is what it has been for me.

Where can people buy your book or learn more about you?

10 QUESTIONS FOR…”The Mustard Seed” author Alexandra Martinez


Author interview with Alexandra S. MartinezMartinezCovermoderatto

I’m Alexandra Martinez and I’m currently living between Miami, Florida and Guadalajara, Mexico. Now this might sound a bit outrageous, but I’m actually not a professional writer. I’m a Marketing graduate and I recently went through a very painful and disorienting time in my life, which is what surprisingly led me to writing.

1. Tell us about your latest book.

The Mustard Seed is a very small book that talks about my own research, my own little manual that meticulously describes what pursuing Greatness in a Guitar Hero coolness problem solver- American Idol wannabe- Globalizing Google- Daily tall caramel macchiato- Prada shoes, Chloe bag must haves- culture is all about.
2. How did you get started as a writer?

The Mustard Seed has actually been the very best therapy of my life. My father went to be with the Lord six months ago. He had a very serious case of bone cancer. Throughout the excruciating chemo-circus, when the time came that he could not get out of bed anymore, I somehow strangely found my heart and mind racing in very unexpected speeds and directions; entering undiscovered lands filled with spiritual and philosophical questions that I decided to write down as therapy. My family and I were going through extremely painful times, and somehow writing began to feel like a completely safe refuge of my own. Rivers of word began to pour out me like waterfalls in the middle of countless spiritual nights where vague ideas where replaced by chapters, fears were replaced by overwhelming discoveries and hours were replaced by seconds. Timeless grieving nights went by when suddenly, before I knew it, my beat-up eight year-old PC was holding my very own life manual, one that I now wish to share with whoever feels in need.

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

Well, things have changed in my life. I no longer make plans. I now know what I want out of life, I know the kind of person I want to become and the kind of things I wish to create, feel, and experience. I now know where I’m headed, but as for the rest of it, I no longer make plans, I actually like to be surprised. I like the idea of staying open to every possibility. I’m currently working on a design-photography-culinary book project which takes up most of my day. I like to work out in the mornings while I listen to my music in volumes that might leave me deaf, but sure make me feel alive. I then enjoy my almost religious morning coffee like you have no idea, I guess it has to do something with being a 100% morning person.  I then begin the more “professional” part of my day, I go to work, take pictures, meet with my team, see what other creative ideas we can add to the book. I lunch with my family, friends, or teammates, and get back to work. In the afternoons, if I´m not going somewhere like the movies, the theatre, an art opening, or just dinner with some friends, I like to go somewhere quiet and read. I love spending time alone, I like to think about my day, my week, my month and the upcoming events. I guess what I want to say is that I try to live every day in a way where if I happen to die, well, I died experiencing the life I wanted to live.

4. Describe your desk/workspace.

A mess! I’ve got famous quotes, pictures, pieces of fabric, postcards, cool photography, magazine cut-outs, pictures of places I want to go to, or moments I love to remember. Anything that inspires me!

5. Favorite books

The Alchemist, Pride and Prejudice, The Shack, Break of Dawn, Eat Pray Love

6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you

I`m a very extreme person, and not in the x-games kind of way. I`m very profound and I love to analyze life`s mysteries and enigmas. There are very few thing I enjoy more then a deep meaningful conversation, even if it`s only with myself. HOWEVER, I´m also sort of a party gal. I love parties! I love to laugh, I love to dress up, I love to be with my friends and just enjoy our company. I looove to go out and explore the night, see where it takes you, or who you meet, I love it!  Some of my most interesting experiences have been nocturnal. And when I question myself about this contradiction, my answer has always something to do with: “I guess I´ve got so much energy and emotions on the inside that dressing up, partying, joking, and laughing with my friends, is just another way of expressing them. Now how I manage to be both profound and a party-girl is the story of my life. Because I most certainly cannot live without either one, they`re both part of my essential nature, it´s what makes me…me.”

7. Favorite quote

“God doesn’t play dice” Albert Einstein

8. Best and worst part of being a writer

Best: WRITING!!! Finding a way to express the gigantic amounts of energy, feelings, ideas, visions, etc, inside of you is in my opinion one of life’s best experiences!

Worst: Promoting. Since I did not write this book to make money out of it, I feel very odd promoting it. I don’t really care if it sells, I care if it helps people and I care that it can be available for people who might need it.

9. Advice for other writers

Don’t try to copy other successful writers’ technique. Don’t write thinking about the reader, or sales, or reviews. Just write down what comes out of your heart, regardless of what happens. Write it for you! Write for the thrill of writing itself. Then will a very authentic piece come out you, even if nobody but you gets it. Remember, many successful people were never understood, yet they changed the world by creating such wonderfully unique things.

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience.

When I was writing this book, since it wasn´t meant to be a book but rather a therapy, I started out questioning myself: what was I really afraid of ? What was really bothering me? What was I really crying and grieving about? What was my life about or life itself about? Every night I would turn on my computer infuriated, I would begin writing with complete and utter rage, and as the time passed and the words started to more easily flow through me, as I started to get some answers and come across some very similar stories, as I little by little began to discover my refuge, a strange yet overwhelming peaceful comfort would ardently run through me. Major problems would remarkably feel like insignificant parts of the joyride of life. And as the sun would begin to rise, so would my mood. My family would begin to wake up and find me laughing or just filled with utter joy. Something that was not very well taken in the middle of such a chaotic family crisis.

Where can people buy your book?

10 QUESTIONS FOR…best-selling author Michelle Sedas


Author interview with Michelle Sedas01-16_AAGD_2004.Q6michelle-sedas

MICHELLE SEDAS is the author of the best-selling book Welcome The Rain and coauthor of The Power of 10%. She is the editor of twenty-two books, including WALK the TALK gift book and 212°the extra degree gift book. As Host of’s Inspired Living Café, Michelle writes on themes intended to stretch your mind, gladden your heart, and nourish your soul! She also writes a blog for Women Out West Magazine titled Loving Life Out West. Michelle graduated from Texas A&M University in 1999. She is a member of Mensa International and Toastmasters International and lives in Texas with her husband and two children.

1. Tell us about your latest book. My latest book is The Power of 10%: How Small Changes Can Make a Big Difference. Contained within The Power of 10% you’ll find inspiration to go after your dreams, whether through the ideas and examples we’ve written, or through stories of others who have made great strides with respect to improving themselves, their organizations, or society as a whole. Often, the original ideas were quite small yet, over time, the power of 10% allowed mighty transformations to take place.

2. How did you get started as a writer?

As a child I always dreamed of becoming a writer, but I chose finance as my major in college. Finally, in 2002, my heart pulled me back to my childhood dream and I began working part-time at a publishing company: The WALK THE TALK Company. I began editing their books and in 2005, started writing my first book: Welcome The Rain.

3. What does a typical day look like for you? My schedule is wonderful. Three mornings a week, I work in the office at The WALK THE TALK Company. The other two mornings, I write from home or from other outside locations, like the café at Barnes and Noble.  I pick the kids up after work and we usually go to the gym. Then, off to the park, or swimming, or playing at home. My husband travels often, so juggling my mother-wife-writer-office worker hats does take creativity.

4. Describe your workspace. 

My workspace usually has all kinds of unneeded items piled around. I’d like to say that it’s because I’m “creative,” but I really think it just means I’m “messy.” My favorite places to write, though, are outdoor cafes, out in the country, out by the pool…basically “out” somewhere. I love to hear those birds sing and feel the breeze as I write.

5. Favorite books (especially for writers). My very favorite is Marisa de los Santos’ Love Walked In. She’s such a poetic writer and I’m swept away by her words. I also love Nicholas Sparks’ Three Weeks With my Brother. I’m a fan of all of his books, but I especially enjoyed learning about his real life in that one. Then there’s Mary Higgins Clark. I’ve read all of her books. Isabel Allende’s are also great. And….well, there are just so many! I’ll move on to the next question!

6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you:

  • I use the variant grey rather than gray as a tribute to Grey’s Anatomy.
  • I changed my major five times in college, finally settling with Finance my senior year.
  • My first major was Engineering and I chose “Mechanical” Engineering since it began with “the letter M–for Michelle.”

7. Favorite quote

“Everything can be taken from a man but …the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Viktor Frankl

8. Best and worst part of being a writer

 I’d say the best part of being a writer is being able to use my creativity. I enjoy the outlet for self-expression and doing what makes my heart feel right.

I’d say the worst part for me is the fear that people will not like what they read. But, I imagine many artists struggle with worrying about what the public will think of their labors of love.

9. Advice for other writers

Continue to study your craft and read, read, read.

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience. 

I’ve dealt with depression off and on for twenty years and, over time, I’ve realized that I’m at my best when I make meaningful work a part of my life. Writing is a major way for me to do this. It is my hope that others will find inspiration through my story.

Where can people buy your books?

You can buy my books and find me at This website is “home base.”  I can also be found at and

10 QUESTIONS FOR…”Widows Wear Stilettos” author Carole Brody Fleet


Author interview with Carole Brody FleetWidowsWearStilettos.5.1.08_smallNews.h5_small


I am the award-winning author of “Widows Wear Stilettos: A Practical and Emotional Guide for the Young Widow”, (New Horizon Press); as well as the author and executive producer of my CD, entitled, “Widows Wear Stilettos: What Now?”.  I am the founder of Widows Wear Stilettos and, the first website of its kind; allowing actual interactivity between its visitors, as well as a place where widows of all ages find support, education and numerous resources.  I am currently working on my second book, “Widows Wear Stilettos: The ‘Answer’ Book – The ULTIMATE Question, Answer and Reference Guide for Widows”. 

1. Tell us about your latest book.

Widows Wear Stilettos is a self-help book for widows; particularly those widowed at a younger age.  Unlike other books of its ilk, Widows Wear Stilettos offers both practical and emotional guidance and includes advice relating to financial and emotional transition; raising children who have lost a parent; how to cope with the opinions and observations of those surrounding the widow; re-entering the world of dating and love after loss; beauty, fashion, diet and exercise and most importantly, returning to a fulfilling and abundant life after loss – and does so with compassion and where appropriate, a wry sense of humor. 

2. How did you get started as a writer?

Although I have always nurtured a passion and an aptitude for writing, and even though my previous career as a paralegal allowed me to write extensively (in the legal world anyway), it was not until 2005 that I began writing in earnest.  I wrote Widows Wear Stilettos in four months and was fortunate enough to have been signed by a literary agency forty-five days after I began the query process. 

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

Is there such a thing as a “typical day” for a writer?

Kidding aside, I will usually check email first thing; particularly because emails from the East Coast will have been sitting there for awhile.  This is also the time that I will respond to any urgent press queries, interview requests and so forth.  After emails have been sorted and prioritized, I take care of “office work” for the day, i.e., following up with media, returning phone calls, sending out thank you notes and so forth.  I generally do most of my “serious” writing in the late night and overnight hours. Of course, when there is a last minute interview or I’m on deadline to respond to a journalist, ALL of this goes right out the window! 

4. Describe your desk/workspace.

My office is in constant and complete disarray to the “untrained eye” – and by “untrained eye”, I mean any eyes that aren’t mine.  I have two calendars; one for all things book-related and the other for “personal business / time”; both of which are generally buried under paperwork, to-do lists and various legal pads.  I have a bulletin board that resembles a deranged multicolored porcupine because of all of the things stuck to and on it.  I surround myself with pictures of family, friends and other “creature comforts” – and there is ALWAYS music playing.  In other words, I have the typical “writer’s office”.  I was once told that if a writer’s office was neat and clean, it means that the writer isn’t working.  Whether that axiom is true or not, it makes me feel a little better.

5.     Favorite books (especially for writers)

Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers. Editors and Literary Agents (aka, a writer’s Bible)

Guide to Literary Agents (another writer’s Bible)

In an Instant (Random House), Lee and Bob Woodruff (beautifully written and a #1 New York Times bestseller)

6.     Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you

  1. For reasons that would take too long to detail here, my “mascot” of sorts has become a skull or skeleton (not “scary”; rather on the “kitschy” side).  I have since amassed quite a collection and my house looks like my last name should be Addams – but in a funny way.
  2. I am a classically trained musician (cello) who is an out-loud headbanging heavy metal fan who was also totally and completely into the “disco scene” (I came of age in the 1970’s after all).

7.     Favorite quote

I have two:

“When you do what you’re taught to do by people who have gone before you and have already achieved what you are trying to achieve, your own chances of success increase tremendously – because they are doing something that you’re not doing…yet!


“We will remain the same until the pain of remaining the same becomes greater than the pain of change”. 


8.     Best and worst part of being a writer

Best part:  SO many “best parts” but certainly having the opportunity to effect positive change, shift paradigms and create a “dialogue” would be my favorite aspects.  Another “best part” is receiving positive reviews; be they from professionals or the public-at-large.  It is a wonderful reinforcement of the work.

Worst part:  Mean-spirited critics. They are everywhere and it takes awhile to grow the “skin” that it requires to stomach petty criticism that has nothing whatsoever to do with your work. 

9.    Advice for other writers

  1. One of the wisest things that I learned early on is that agents and publishers want to represent “careers” not simply “books”.  Do you have an idea for your next book?  How about the one after that?  Could your book / idea be turned into a movie (theatrical or made-for-TV), a miniseries or a television series?  What about a CD or DVD series?  You will be asked about subsequent books and multimedia possibilities – have answers ready when the question is asked.
  2. My agent once told me that, “You are never finished until you quit writing”.  Choose never to be “finished”. 

10.  Tell us a story about your writing experience. 

Prior to being signed, I had queried a literary agent who reviewed my proposal and thereafter informed me that, “Death is a hard sell”.  Resisting the urge to tell her that my name was not Dr. Kervorkian and that I was not “selling death”, but in fact, offering advice, education and most importantly, hope, I quietly informed her that she clearly did not understand the message that the book conveys.  I love to share this story with new and aspiring writers as it obviously demonstrates that not everyone is going to understand what it is that you are trying to accomplish – but in no way does that mean that you should ever stop trying!

Where can people buy your book?

Widows Wear Stilettos: A Practical and Emotional Guide for the Young Widow  (New  Horizon Press) is available at all major booksellers and retailers; as well as online at all major bookselling websites.  The CD, “Widows Wear Stilettos: What Now?” is available exclusively at www.widowswearstilettos.comYou can also follow me on Twitter at @WidowsStilettos


10 QUESTIONS FOR…Sherry Reiter, PhD, “Writing Away the Demons”


Author interview with Sherry Reiter, PhDuntitledheadshot

   Sherry Reiter, PhD, is a clinical social worker and registered poetry therapist who combines talk therapy with writing therapy. As Director of The Creative “Righting” Center, she focuses on poetry, story, and the reclaiming of voice as dynamic healing components.   Dr. Reiter divides her time between writing, teaching at Touro College, Hofstra University, and private practice.  She is also the coordinator of Poets-Behind-Bars, a writing therapy program for inmates of the Indiana State Maximum Security Prison.  She is a past president of the National Association for Poetry Therapy, a recipient of the Art Lerner Pioneer Award (2005) and Touro College Teacher of the Year Award (2009).  She lives in Brooklyn with her family.  Writing Away the Demons is her first book.


1. Tell us about your latest book.

  When confronted with crisis, scientists tell us there are three human responses to stress: fight, flight, or freeze. Writing Away the Demons: Stories of Creative Coping Through Transformative Writing (North Star Press, May 15, 2009), spotlights a more constructive response to stress — writing.

I am a New York based registered poetry therapist and clinical social worker, who believes in the therapeutic power of expressive writing.  The book features thirteen narratives from my clients, students, and colleagues who wrote their way through crisis — ordinary (yet extraordinary) individuals who’ve written their way to a better life, along with my commentary.

          Writing Away the Demons is unique as a primer illustrating how people heal through writing. The stories in the book provide a window into what it is like to be a soldier after battle, a teenager who becomes pregnant, and an elderly person coming to terms with her final years. It opens the heart and the reader becomes both witness and participant, riveted and educated by stories that include first-hand accounts of alcoholism, domestic violence, sexual abuse, war, depression, illness and aging.

      It is a creative act of courage to tell the story and write the poem, to encounter one’s griefs, angers, and shame, and to choose a creative channel to intentionally funnel one’s emotions. Some authors in Writing Away the Demons charted their journeys on their own. Others enlisted the aid of a therapist as guide. All of the authors chose creative coping. They took to their journals instead of reacting with the more usual stress responses (fight, flight, or freeze). As a result, they were able to minimize disorientation, numbness, and emotional discomfort. All of the writers harnessed the restorative capacity of writing to identify, organize, contain and release their stories.

2. How did you get started as a writer?

I read a book of poems by Rod McKuen at the age of 18 and dared myself to see if I could write as well.

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

There are two days a week devoted to seeing clients. One and a half days to teaching college students, and the rest devoted to writing.

4. Describe your desk/workspace.

My workspace is located in a nook in the kitchen and papers and books are strewn on the table. Sometimes my work is spattered by spaghetti sauce or olive oil and when I protest, I am usually told by one of my sons, “You’d think this was a kitchen… oh, I just remembered– It is a kitchen!” (But I know it’s really my workspace.)

5. Favorite books (especially for writers)

Women Who Run With Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Awakening the Heroes Within: 12 Archetypes to Help Us Find Ourselves and Transform Our World by Carol Pearson

I also loved Bird by Bird; Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott

6. Tell us 3 interesting things about you.

My first paid job was as an actress doing a commercial film for Chiropractic Mattresses in 1972.

In my twenties I did professional voiceovers – changing my voice to be a child, a baby or an old woman. It was fun but most of the time was spent auditioning and often my work was finished within the hour. I later became a drama and poetry therapist, and much later a social worker who utilizes these tools. I now train people who want to be poetry therapists at The Creative Righting Center in New York.

7. Favorite quote

“All of life is a narrow bridge; the important thing is not to be afraid.” Reb Nachman of Bratzlav

8. Best and worst part of being a writer?

 The best part is seeing your work in print and the feeling of having articulated something that needed saying. The worst part is trying to sell it.

9. Advice for writers?

Try to balance your life so that you are not always writing. Good to take breaks, walk, meet friends and aim at having a balance in your life.

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience.

When I was in the 5th grade I wrote a poem that had the lines “Perhaps truth is beauty and beauty is truth”. I was real proud of it till my friend showed it to her mother who happened to be an English teacher and recognized John Keats’ lines. I had “borrowed” it from the Grand Master without being conscious of my theft. Boy, was I embarrassed.

Where can people buy your book?

Writing away the Demons: Stories of Creative Coping Through Transformative Writing by Sherry Reiter and Contributors is available through

 For more info, go to or