Category Archives: relationships

Publisher accepting nonfiction book proposals


Crown Publishing’s Ten Speed Press

Book subjects: cooking, how-to, crafts, gardening, relationships, how-to, gift, humor and pop culture, business

Guidelines to submit HERE:

10 QUESTIONS FOR…Lilia Fallgatter, JD, “The Most Important Letter You Will Ever Write”


Author interview with Lilia Fallgatter, JDAuthorPhotoBookCoverFinal

Lilia Fallgatter, JD, is an author, speaker and publisher (Inspirit Books, LLC.) Her book, “The Most Important Letter You Will Ever Write, How To Tell Loved Ones How You Feel Before It’s Too Late” was written following the loss of a close friend to cancer. In both the book and in a workshop by the same title, Lilia teaches participants how to communicate their feelings in writing. In addition, Lilia speaks, consults and offers workshops on forgiveness, workshop development, writing & publishing, online learning and empowerment of women. She lives in Chandler, AZ with her husband and two children.

1. Tell us about your latest book.

My first book, The Most Important Letter You Will Ever Write,  has been out for a while.  I was inspired to write it after the loss of a close friend to cancer. Following her death, I wrote a letter expressing how much she had meant to me. Although I felt better, I deeply regretted not having shared my feeling before she died. So I set out on a mission to not let it happen again and to teach others how to avoid the same regret.  My current projects are a humor book on pet peeves, another self-help book, a book for women on self-empowerment, and I will also be writing fiction for the first time.

2. How did you get started as a writer?

I have “aspired” to write for as long as I can remember. However, I was not “inspired” to write until I lost a close friend to cancer. Following her death, I wrote my friend a letter. Although writing the letter made me feel better, I deeply regretted not having shared my feelings with my friend before she died.  I decided that I would not let that happen again. I wrote “Loving Letters” to loved ones who were still alive. I then made it my mission to help others do the same. I wrote the book and developed the workshop.  

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

In addition to working on my various book projects as a publisher and author, I am an online education consultant, speaker, wife and mother. I try to make time each day to move forward with one or more of my writing projects.

4. Describe your desk/workspace.

Although I consider myself a highly organized person, my desk is usually cluttered with books, manuscripts, articles, research materials and the many projects which are works in progress.

5. Favorite books (especially for writers)

Fiction: A Fine Balance, Rohinton Mistry

Non-Fiction: Most any personal growth/self-help book

6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you

I have a law degree, but chose not to practice law

I am founder and president of Inspirit Books, LLC

One of my biggest pet peeves is mispronounced words

7. Favorite quote

I have two favorite quotes:

“Good words are worth much and cost little.” ~George Herbert

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ~Nelson Mandela

8. Best and worst part of being a writer

Best:  Doing what I love to do most in the whole world and feeling that I might be helping others to improve their lives or reach their potential.

Worst: Trying to convince others how talented I amJ

9. Advice for other writers

Ideas and writing that arise out of inspiration will be the most meaningful and satisfying work you do.

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience.

Learning that my writing has touched or benefited others has served to confirm that the time invested in writing and publishing my book was worthwhile and serves an important purpose.  I have been blessed to have this confirmed on many occasions.

Where can people buy your book?

My work is available though my website – , blog –, on or

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…J.L. Smith, “Reporting for Doodie”


Author interview with  J.L. Smithheadshot2jpugh_book_0308_fnl_front

Reporting For Doodie is my first book and I am very excited about the reviews it’s been getting!  I also do a lot of freelance writing for various business owners.  I grew up in a very small town in Pennsylvania, but felt the fire inside and had to break loose!  I left the small town at an early age and never looked back (except to visit my siblings).  Now I live in paradise…Long Beach, CA…and couldn’t imagine living anywhere else!  It has everything and I love it!

1.    Tell us about your latest book.

My book is entitled “Reporting For Doodie:  One Grandmother’s Story of Commitment, Frustration and Unwavering Love”.  

What would you do if you were a (suddenly) single grandmother and both your daughter and son-in-law were deployed at the same time, leaving you as primary caregiver for your 2-year old grandson?  You’d do exactly what I did…Report for Doodie!

So many events inspired this book…some happy, some frustrating, some sad…but all life-changing.  My story starts with one incredibly funny incident that served as an epiphany to share my story.  This was not the first time I was “Reporting for Doodie”, but it was the first time I was doing it all alone.  Or so I thought…I discovered a secret vault filled with friends I never knew I had.  Sadly, I also lost a few along the way.

I found myself in the midst of an unexpected divorce, facing the possible loss of my home and making a major career change, when someone, somewhere took a look at my proverbial “plate” and thought…”there’s a little corner of her plate that isn’t taken, she needs a toddler to care for…oh, and at the same time, let’s throw in a rarely-heard-of medical condition to make her life even more interesting”.

I hope readers enjoy my account of how this beautiful child saved me from myself and how I used ‘The Secret” to channel the inner strength my mother gave me…all compliments of the U.S. Military.

2.    How did you get started as a writer?

My mother instilled the love of the written word in me, particularly through the words of Erma Bombeck; readers of my book have been comparing my style to hers…the ultimate compliment!!

So many events inspired this book…some happy, some frustrating, some sad…but all life-changing.  My story starts with one incredibly funny incident that served as an epiphany to write the book I had always dreamed of.

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

Up early…write anything…go to my ‘day job”…back home to write some more!

4.    Describe your desk/workspace.

Home office in one of my bedrooms.  White board on the wall that lists all my projects and their deadlines.  A “vision board” right in front of me with pictures (or other documents) depicting what I want…and will get…out of life!

5.    Favorite books (especially for writers)

Again…anything and everything written by Erma Bombeck.  Also enjoy the teachings of “The Secret”.  Anything that entertains me or makes me think.  That was the goal with my current book…making people laugh, cry and really think…and it’s been successful at doing that!

6.    Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you

My book was inspired by an incident that happened with my grandson…he ran out the front door of my house – in front of all my neighbors – with my vibrator in his hand yelling: “Gramma…toy…BRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!

I got myself on the Oprah Winfrey Show with one well-crafted email.  They contacted me by phone within 3 hours and days later I was in Chicago for the taping of a segment on inspirational self-reinvention stories.

I got my first tattoo at the age of 50.  I was just separated from my husband, had reinvented myself – inside and out – and feeling fabulous at 50!!  I was visiting my siblings in PA and decided to get a tattoo on the back of my neck.  It means “life and birth” because I felt reborn.  I also drug my 2 brothers and my sister (who is 65) along with me and made them get their first tattoos too…what a day!

7.    Favorite quote

Now that’s a tough one…couldn’t name just one…but some of my favorites are scatters throughout my book.

8.    Best and worst part of being a writer

Best part:  being able to express yourself.

Worst part:  there aren’t enough hours in the day to write everything I want to!

9.    Advice for other writers

Follow your dream…don’t give up.  Everyone has a story inside them…just let it out!  When I got the first copy of my book – in draft form – I began shaking.  I’ll never forget that feeling!

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience. 

Again, I must revert to the vibrator story…it was included in Redbook Magazine recently in their embarrassing stories section.  Can you imagine????

Also, when writing my book on my new laptop, I lost the entire book – twice – with no backup due to computer problems.  I guess the third time really is the charm.  I think it’s because as time elapsed while recreating it, the best ending came about with my son-in-law back from Iraq safely. 

Where can people buy your book?

10 QUESTIONS FOR…Elizabeth Fournier, author of “All Men are Cremated Equal”


Author interview with Elizabeth FournierFournierElizabethHeadshot0309All Men Are Cremated cover art

Elizabeth earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications and Broadcasting in 1991, and soon became a local radio personality at KBOO-FM in Portland. Elizabeth is currently the voice of the autopsy exhibit in the forensic wing at the United States National Museum of Medicine. You can also see her online as the Video Spokesperson for Chinook Winds Casino Resort. She and her dance partner, Scott, teach Ballroom Dance at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. Oh, and she’s also a full-time mortician.

1) Where did you get the idea to write a book about a blind dating spree by a woman in her 30s who happens to be a mortician?

It’s my life story. I live the mortician part daily, and unfortunately I lived the 77 blind dates, too. Thankfully it was for only a year!

I readily admit that my job title made dating more complex. Since I work in the funeral industry, my career choice made the whole dating situation somewhat awkward. I was always up-front about what I did for a living, because I wanted men to be in the loop before we met. But I also steered the conversation to other topics because my career was too often the focus when meeting people. The first date could easily turn into a question and answer session all about me. I was there to screen them, after all!

The idea to actually write the book came from my beloved father, a member of no less than three Catholic singles groups at the time. He decided this was fun he didn’t want to miss out on. It was his idea to number the dates, run down each thumbnail sketch to him on the phone before each date, and keep a journal of highlights. I would e-mail him after each date, and he kept encouraging me to share these e-mails with other women.

2) When did you write the book?

When I wrote “All Men Are Cremated Equal: My 77 Blind Dates,” I was newly married. After planning a wedding across the country in only five months, I decided I could do anything. So I promptly sat down at the keyboard after our return from New Jersey and cranked out my manuscript.

3) When coming up with your characters, did you base any of them on people you knew?

Most were real, and here’s the deal: I checked with friends to make sure I could identify them by name and characteristics. The women in my memoir are long-term, fabulous friends who are all important to the story. I confided in them, garnered support from them, and still love them all so much.

My merry group of mansion housemates are all real people, but their names are changed since I wasn’t able to contact anyone to gain permission. They portrayal is flattering, although I use different names out of respect for their privacy, in the event they wanted privacy.

The blind dates all have aliases. Their monikers correspond with their jobs. Names were changed to protect the rejected!

4) What do you think of the chick lit genre in general? Are you thrilled to be apart of it?

I love chick lit! I don’t read it exclusively, but I know who’s out there, what they’re writing about, and am also a sucker for late-night movies on the Oxygen Network.

Chick lit has created millions of new book lovers. Not only women, I might add. I get emails from male fans, too.

5) Tell us a story about your writing experience.

No one knew what to make of me. I have a stockpile or letters and e-mails from literary agents stating “not sure what to do with this.” That was such a common theme. The title was unique, the story was about a single girl in her 30s who wasn’t into Prada or Cosmos, and I’m a mortician. It just didn’t sound too sexy for most people. I did, however, find wonderful, brave souls with a vision who expressed great interest. I will always keep them in my prayers.

6) What newspapers or magazines do you read?

Daily reads are the Oregonian and the Washington Post online, monthly reads are Funeral Home and Cemetery News, Mortuary Management Magazine, and the Black Lamb. There are a few fun blogs I like to sneak a peak at if I have a spare five minutes.

7) What is your greatest achievement?

About 10 years ago I had a great paying job and was able to help three women working in prostitution get off the streets in San Francisco. I had served as the Chair of the Board for the Council for Prostitution Alternatives in Portland, Oregon five years prior to that, so I was aware of the challenge women on the streets face. They need options, and I was able to provide that for these women who truly wanted out of their current lifestyle. I know I made a tremendous difference in their lives, and I’m very proud to say they never looked back.

8) Do you believe in love at first sight?

Absolutely! I am a rainbow-and-ponyland sort of girl who loves love. I certainly feel that someone can walk in the sort of grace that resonates with our soul in a particular moment.  I believe this is rare, but extremely special gift. It is one that I have never received, but do know two people who have.

9) Do you have any irrational fears?

I have an irrational terror of shipwrecks. The skeletal remains of a large vessel laying on the bottom of the sea floor just plain scares the hell out of me. I also very much dislike really loud water in unnatural circumstances like hydro-electric power stations, lock gates, or mill races. Water alone is OK it is when it is pouring into machinery that I hate the noise and the rush of it.

10) What would you like to be your epitaph?

Inspired many to believe in humanity.

“All Men are Cremated Equal: My 77 Blind Dates” can be found on

Visit Elizabeth at

10 QUESTIONS FOR…Brad Berkowitz, author of “The 21st Century Guide to Bachelorhood”


Author interview with Brad BerkowitzBrad Book PhotoBook Cover

1. Tell us about your latest book.

My book, The 21st Century Guide to Bachelorhood: Lessons Learned Over 20 Years is a funny, but poignant look at dating from a guy’s point of view. The book is a practical, sometimes hilarious, guide to being a single guy and describes why guys do the things they do. The book will show guys the best places to find women, how to prepare for a date, the common pitfalls of a relationship and the things to avoid in relationships.

2. How did you get started as a writer?

I have had many interesting and funny dates in my life. Friends told me that it would make for a funny book so one day, I sat down, and started to put my thoughts together. I decided not to make it a book about my dates, but about the things I have learned along the years.

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

I used to be a Wall Street analyst/trader, but left the business in September 2008 thinking the economy was going south and along with it, the stock market. I had been working on Wall Street for 22 years and wanted a change. I had been working on 3 different books along the past ten years, but just never had time to finish them. As a goal, I have decided to finish all three this year. The first was published in February and my publicist begins work on it on Monday. The second is a book about the life of 3-time world champion boxer Iran Barkley. The third is a science fiction book.

I have also been working as the Director of Business Development for a sports marketing company.

4. Describe your workspace.

I work from my apartment at my desk in the corner. I have everything I need here.

5. Favorite books (especially for writers)

I have always enjoyed Stephen King books.

6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you

a) I used to co-host a sports television show in Manhattan for fun for six years. I have met many interesting athletes and have some funny stories about them.

b) I drove a car in then VP George Bush’s motorcade when he was running for President. It was a great experience, even though I didn’t vote for him, driving along the streets of Manhattan with all the people watching.

c) I went shark cage diving a couple of years ago for Great White Sharks

7. Favorite quote

“No one’s gonna really be free till nerd persecution ends”

8. Best and worst part of being a writer

Best: I am my own boss. I work when I want to. Worst: Lack of personal interaction. Getting into the proper mindset to write.

9. Advice for other writers

Learn about how to get a publisher. Do as much research as possible. Write an outline before you write the book.

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience. 

I saw a guy on the subway reading my book and laughing. I asked him if he liked it and he said the book was very funny. When I told him I wrote it, he didn’t believe me since I have a stock photo on the cover.

Where can people buy your book?

My book is currently available on line at and The reviews have been very positive. My author website is:

Interview with Joe Bruzzese, author of book for parents


Author interview with Joe Bruzzese, “A Parents’ Guide to the Middle School Years” (Ten Speed Press, 2009)bookCover-1colorJpg340

**This interview is slightly different than my usual 10 questions because Joe already had a great Q&A of his own.

What led you to write this book?

With nearly 40 million families entering middle school in the coming decade I knew there was a need to fill. My own experiences as a teacher, coach and teacher trainer gave me further cause for looking at the changes and challenges kids face as they make one of life’s toughest transitions. Books about teens have become confrontational. Often the tone and ideas of teen centered books focus on reacting to the state of chaos that has become synonymous with the teen years. I wanted to create a guide with proactive ideas that would help parents put strategies in place prior to, rather than in response to, moments of frustration.


Where did the original idea come from?

While the book focuses on the changes children experience it also highlights how parenting changes. Walking hand-in-hand through the park may have been fun in first grade, but middle school often marks the beginning of a child’s drive to establish an identity, independent of their parents. The shift in a parent-child relationship leaves many parents feeling alone and excluded. Staying connected in positive ways, throughout the middle school years, paves the way for a positive relationship as kids transition into young adulthood. Keeping kids and parents connected underlies many of the ideas and strategies I share throughout the book.


Do you have any stories about the writing process?

Talking with people is one of my strengths. Writing was a new genre to pursue, but a passion I had always wanted to explore more fully. Writing a book seemed like a nearly insurmountable goal at times. Words fled from my mind as I sat in front of my computer hunting for the “right” ideas to share. It was only when I shifted my mindset from needing to write to wanting to write that the ideas truly came to life. On the best days, words leapt onto the page. From beginning to end writing a book is a journey, not unlike the journey parents travel with their children. I cherish everyday with my own children, knowing our days together are numbered before they leave home for the last time. As truly challenging as this book was to write I relish in the thought that its message will touch parents in a truly unique way, opening a path toward a fulfilling future.


How is your book unique? 

Whereas most books attempt to provide answers this book prompts questions; questions that lead to conversations, which in turn, build relationships. The book wouldn’t be complete without the addition of a selected number of tips and strategies so I’ve included the nuts and bolts of getting organized, managing time and meeting the expectations of teachers across a seven period schedule. My intention in bringing this book to the nearly 40 million parents starting middle school is to provide a solid foundation for thriving in the years ahead.


Whether a child starts middle school or junior high in 4th, 5th, 6th or 7th grade the transition to middle school will mark a significant change in your family. Thriving throughout the middle school years doesn’t happen by accident. Kids and parents who find fulfillment during these years do so because it is their intention and vision to do so. This book lays the groundwork for building a vision that takes parents into, through and beyond the challenges and changes of the middle school years. The logistics of navigating a heavy course load at school and finding the ideal organization system, although important, comprise only a small slice of the pie that families are expected to consume during these years.

Taken at its roots, this book is a conversation about three ideas:  confidence, connection and challenge. Parents looking for a book filled with band-aids and the quick fixes will be disappointed. However, reading from beginning to end will reward the parent who is committed to taking action not just today, but everyday as their child tackles middle school and teen years to come.


Favorite childhood book?
Norman the Doorman, by Don Freeman. A stoic mouse stands guard outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art, awaiting a group of friends who eventually celebrate Norman’s sculpture as part of the museum’s artist contest. The illustrations emblazoned a feeling of safety and comfort amidst the frostbitten New York winter. I loved sharing the story with my Mom at the children’s library growing up.


What was the hardest thing about writing a book?

The first word and the last word. Taking the first step requires intention, energy and a commitment to steps two, three and four. Believing in your ability to create something of meaning is a formidable obstacle to overcome. Equally foreboding was the last word. How does it end? What’s the right way to say goodbye. I never have been good at saying goodbye.


When did you know you were a writer?

I’m not. Technically yes I am a writer. Hemingway was a writer. It’s like saying you’re a swimmer because you finished first in a few races during your college years. Michael Phelps is a swimmer.


Who is your hero?

I have two. My daughter Jordyn and my son Tristan. They inspire my days (and nights). I’m in awe of the simplicity they bring to the world and the courage they summon in spite of challenges they face. I couldn’t imagine my life without them.


Where were you when your found out your book would be published?
I remember vividly sitting in front of pile of rejection letters as I opened the acceptance from Ten Speed. Instinctively, my hand had already made the move to deposit the letter a top of pile.


What book do you re-read every few years?

Change the Way You See Everything holds the premier position in my bookshelf. Inevitably I give my copy away or gift one to a friend. The message inspires my life and the choices that guide my work. Thank you to good friend and colleague, Jason Womack. My life was forever changed the day you shared this book with me.

**Joe just finished the online companion to the book – and it’s now included with the purchase of the book!

You can purchase books online at Amazon and through Joe’s site at

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…John Kador, author of 15 books


Author interview with John Kadoreffectiveapologycoverlosreskad061_lores 

Effective Apology is my 15th book.  My other titles cover such areas as leadership, ethics, careers, finance, and business history.  I got my start as an advertising copywriter.  My career then moved to freelance journalism, speechwriting, and ghostwriting.  I currently live in central Pennsylvania.  I am married and the father of two children.  For recreation, I like to fence. 

1.     Tell us about your latest book.

Effective Apology: Mending Fences, Building Bridges and Restoring Trust is a guidebook to apology.  Most of us have little experience with apology, either offering it or accepting it.  No wonder, then, that many of us mess it up.  We don’t need more apologies; we need better apologies.  Using over 75 examples of actual apologies from the worlds of business, relationships, sports, and politics, this book tells you exactly what constitutes effective apology.  Briefly, I see effective apologies having five components.  I call these the Five Rs:  Recognition, Responsibility, Remorse, Restitution, and Repetition.  The bottom line: apology is a critical leadership skill.  The willingness to apologize signals strength, character, and integrity—real leadership is impossible without it. Progress occurs one apology at a time.

2. How did you get started as a writer?

I sold out early.  I got my first job as a writer at an advertising/public relations agency.  The training was invaluable.  Every day a different client, a new assignment, and a tight deadline.  Eventually I started doing freelance technical writing and magazine work.  Only in the last ten years have I been writing books.  

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

I do my creative writing in the morning.  I’m generally at my desk by 8:30 AM.  I like to go out to lunch.  Take a walk.  Clear my head.  See a friend.  Writing can be an isolating life.  It’s vital for me to get evidence that other people have different preoccupations.  Then in the afternoon I do other necessary stuff like research, phone calls, billing, marketing, etc.  I try to knock off by 6 PM or so and try not to think about work until the next day. 

4. Describe your desk/workspace.

I work at an L-shaped desk.  A large flat screen monitor dominates one end of the desk.  A music system is at the other end.  I have music on constantly.  I also have a big bookcase filled with books, which I constantly refer to, and CDs.  My office has a large outside deck.  On warm days I can take my laptop out to the deck and work there. 

5. Favorite books (especially for writers)

Check out Artful Sentences: Syntax as Style by Virginia Tufte.

To see the possibilities of language, I pick up Ulysses by James Joyce.

On Writing by Stephen King is a favorite.

6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you

For exercise, I do fencing at a local fencing club.

I was born in Hungary.  English is not my first language.

I’m still friends with the very first friend I ever had.  I met her when I was two. 

7. Favorite quote

Listening is not the same thing as agreeing. 

8. Best and worst part of being a writer

Best part is the flexibility.  Worst part is the isolation. 

9. Advice for other writers

A piece of writing can always be incrementally improved by holding on to it an extra hour, day or week.  Know when good enough is good enough and let it go.  Remember that a piece of writing is never finished, it’s abandoned.  Editors would rather have an assignment good enough on time rather than something perfect late. 

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience. 

This is how my first book came about.  One of my clients asked me to ghostwrite a book for him.  I had never written a book before.  I had six weeks.  I didn’t know it was impossible, so I did it.  The project was a success.  McGraw-Hill (which published that book) was so impressed, it invited me to write a book of my own.  That was the first of—so far—15 books.  I realize how incredibly lucky I am. 

Where can people buy your book?

Effective Apology is published by Berrett-Koehler, an incredible publisher quite unlike any other  The book is available at bookstores, Amazon, Borders, B&N, etc.  Links can be found on my web site



10 QUESTIONS FOR…Karin Schumann, author of “Mothers Need Time-Outs Too”


Author interview with Katrin Schumannmntot_cover_art

Katrin (center)

Katrin (center)



Katrin Schumann is an award-winning writer, editor and artist who has struggled to be published for 15 years and FINALLY DID IT: Mothers Need Time-Outs Too (McGraw-Hill 2008). She is currently completing a novel, The House of a Thousand Eyes, about the search for love and redemption in post-war East Germany. After five years working for NPR in various capacities, Katrin started her freelance fiction and non-fiction work. In addition to teaching, she ghostwrites and edits non fiction book proposals (one of which sold for almost $¾ m). She studied Modern Languages at Oxford (BA) and journalism at Stanford (MA). Born in Germany, Katrin grew up in NYC and London, and now lives with her family in Dedham MA.

1. Tell us about your latest book.

 The fact that I broke into publishing with a self help book is nothing short of a miracle as I had never read a self help book in my life. (Something to do with being German, or something to do with never realizing how much help I needed getting my life in order?) It’s been an eye-opening experience on many fronts: working alongside two co-authors; working on deadline; dealing with a large publishing house; getting insight into the self help industry…

For the past three years I have been saying I’m almost finished with my novel The House of a Thousand Eyes.  I’ve day dreamed many times that when I’m being interviewed on NPR I’ll be able to claim, “the first part of the book wrote itself—it was almost no work at all!” So when, in my last edit, I cut almost the entire first part out… I had to wonder what that meant…

If it weren’t for my agent, I would be a nervous wreck. She loved my novel the minute she read the first page (yes, which is now edited out…) and I have to believe she knows what she’s talking about. Right?

It’s a novel about the Germans after the war. I think it’s a fascinating topic, and still totally taboo.

2. How did you get started as a writer?

On my mother’s typewriter in the dining room, writing about horses. Of course.

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

I fantasize about having a typical day that starts around 8 and finishes around 5, but I do not ever have a typical day, although I work about 40 hours a week.

I have three kids. My work day is constantly interrupted. I am an incredibly focused writer, however, and find that the busier I am the more I can achieve. Martinis in the evening help, too.

I try to get to a writer’s coop in downtown Boston once a week. It’s pathetic how hard that is to achieve. I love being downtown as I get about ten times as much work done then as when I’m standing in front of my fridge eating day-old noodles.

4. Describe your desk/workspace.

I have lilies from my mother-in-law on my desk. My book, in Spanish, (HASTA LAS MAMAS MERECEN DESCANSO!) is propped up on my windowsill, as are two mocked-up copies of my novel (for inspiration). I have three in-boxes with my current projects and bills. Three spiral bound notebooks (one for each project). A Real Simple magazine (pitching them for the mom book). A Spanish music CD. All 400 pages of my novel, printed out and hand-edited. An article my mother sent me about why we shouldn’t be drugging our kids. Nail polish. Tissues. Gum. Water. And of course, a computer.

5. Favorite books (especially for writers)

I was inspired in the early days by a book called HOW TO WRITE A BLOCKBUSTER, by Albert Zuckerman. No nonsense and helpful. My favorite book of all time for writers is Anne Lamott’s “Bird by Bird.” Buy it. Read it! It’s a must have. In fact, I use her mantra about writing “shitty first drafts” every single time I sit down to write something. All I have to do is write a shitty first draft. It takes the pressure off, and then like magic, what I write is usually not so totally shitty after all.

6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you

Oh, crazy… I wish! I have a big tattoo but how crazy is that, these days?

Um, interesting? I grew up in London and used to hang out on the Kings Road munching No-Doze. I sometimes yell affirmations out loud when I’m driving.  I’m a night owl who has to be up and running by 6am every day TO DRIVE CARPOOL!

7. Favorite quote

It’s on the back of my business card: I merely took the energy it takes to pout and wrote some blues, Duke Ellington.

8. Best and worst part of being a writer

Best: Getting to write

Worst: Getting paid for writing

9. Advice for other writers

If you stick with it long enough, you will make it.

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience. 

I was hobnobbing with the literati at a book party with my agent and some of her clients. The owner of the agency was chatting with me and asked me who my editor was at McGraw-Hill (for the book I had just published). The editor is the person who BUYS YOUR PROPOSAL and EDITS YOUR BOOK and SENDS YOU A MILLION E-MAILS.

I blanked on her name. Then this uber-agent asked me who my first agent was. I blanked on his name.

Smooth, very smooth.

Where can people buy your book?

Go to