Tag Archives: inspirational

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 factor-Match.com 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…Gary Spinell, author of “It Was YOU, All Along”


Author interview with Gary Spinellcover_proofJune022008Bio

1. Tell us about your latest book. 

Many people have heard and written about the law of attraction, yet millions of people still have difficulty incorporating the concepts into their daily lives. My book, It Was YOU, All Along, goes a step beyond the law of attraction by providing the reader with the necessary unique balance of practical and spiritual information and insight to truly have everyone create their own reality as desired.  The reader learns how to uncover the beliefs and actions that are holding them back from success.

2. How did you get started as a writer? 

The hard way, I just started…..by nature I am analytical and a numbers person, so writing never was my strong suit.  But as I helped create, great instructors came in to my life at the right time to help improve my writing style.

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

Well, I have a day job so that gets a lot of attention, and then I write at night, on weekends, on airplanes – especially airplanes – there I am a captive audience then.  I wrote most of my book on airplanes.

4. Describe your desk/workspace. 

I am one of those people who make notes of thoughts for my book. I carry around a pad and pen just to be sure I capture a thought when I have it.  My desk usually has small piles of articles and important papers, and I do know which pile something is in when I search for it.  I am not the greatest filer.

5. Favorite books (especially for writers)  

I like books that help motivate, like what Tony Robbins, or Deepak Chopra writes.  I have to say that my book does that too. 

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

I earned a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, read tarot cards, and am a financial professional by trade – now how is that for an unusual combination?       I have 2 dogs and 4 cats, and my wife and I are planning to add horses and more dogs and cats to the family.  

7. Favorite quote  “Even if you are on the right track you will get run over if you just sit there” – Will Rogers

8. Best and worst part of being a writer?  

Creating something you believe can impact lives. 

Editing is definitely difficult and time consuming. 

9. Advice for other writers?

Just start.  Create it your way, yet take advice where ever you can find it.  Don’t expect perfection, as you will find it will never be perfect.  You could keep editing it for the next 10 years. 

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience.

As I mentioned, I am not the greatest writer.  Once I began writing the book, I knew I would need some help, not that I am a bad writer, just to be sure it grammatically it all flowed, etc.  Well I end up landing a job in my normal profession and I end up having to do a lot of writing for public communication in the job, AND when I got there my company had hired a consultant for me to work with whose prior experience was being an English teacher!!!!!  Sometimes you just can make this stuff up!  She obviously helped me a great deal.

Where can people buy your book?

Go to www.youallalong.com , or Amazon, and watch the book video trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WB3xCtjR2vE


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 http://www.WidowsWearStilettos.com, 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…Shonika Proctor, multi-genre author


Author interview with Shonika Proctorcasstdcrop

I am a Washington, DC based writer. I write freelance for local newspapers. I have published 3 books and recently created branded training curriculum for teen entrepreneurs.

 1. Tell us about your latest book.

Indeed that is a loaded question because avid writers often have multiple projects in the works.  I have 3 books in final production (back from editor in layout and 1 book I am writing.

    • And Zen Again, 52 Thought Provoking Affirmations for Adults in Rhyme just came back from the editor. I originally wanted to call it ‘The Seuss Shall Set You Free’ but it was too difficult to get permission to use Seuss in the name.  
    • Chocolate Moose It is a children’s book that I released in early 2000. Highly disappointed with the final production of the first book, I hired a new illustrator and expanded the storyline so it can be published in a hardback version.
    • Building Blocks of Wonder: This is actually a 60-page coloring book. It will be bundled in a kid’s club package for a high profile individual in Washington, DC. I wrote the storyline and also created the kids club package for them so that they can reach the youth market.

The book I am currently writing is called 365: Infinite Expedition. It will be a collection of 365 inspirational stories from teen CEO’s who share the obstacles they have overcome as a teen CEO. It will also feature 12 stories from high profile CEO’s who got the entrepreneurial bug in their teens. ‘365’ represent the days of the year. I am actually collecting 730 stories because I am doing a U.S. and International version. I have allotted 2 years for this project.

 2. How did you get started as a writer?

When I was 8 years old my 3rd grade teacher, Ms. Lamboly, told me that I did such a marvelous job on the creative writing exercises that she thought that when I grew up I would be an author. I had no idea what that meant. She told me to write everyday. Although I wrote in that journal for years, well into my teens and early 20’s I never considered writing as a profession. In the early 90’s in the process of being dumped I wrote a letter to the prospective dumper to ‘argue’ my side of the story.  After reading the letter he thought that I plagiarized it, lol. Then he said that I was definitely a keeper because I was masterful with words which he believed was an incredible gift and he thought that I should definitely pursue writing seriously and professionally. So I did.

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

I can find inspiration in everyone and everything around me so I move with my internal compass. As I do not have children, I have lots of ‘open time’. At any given point in the day I might be motivated to go out and explore the city, catch up with a local friend, volunteer for a few hours or take a mini multi day trip to the beach.

 4. Describe your desk/workspace.

I live in a ‘small’ row house so you have to be really ‘creative’ with use of space. My office is at the top level of my house and essentially shares the ‘landing pad’ of the spiral staircase. The landing pad is a 10 x 10 glass floor with a small wooden extension and my desk fits perfectly on the wooden extension. The interior walls of my house are glass and the separating walls of my house are brick. There is a huge light tunnel on the roof. So it feels like you are outside. The ceilings are 13’ tall and natural light shines through the house from all directions so it is very inspirational for writing. As for my desk it is crammed with piles of things to do, huge notepads to write ideas, mini recorders and a cup of tea is always nearby. My favorite thing about my desk is my chair that is like a vintage wooden chair from probably the late 60’s or early 70’s with some really offbeat green color fabric and leather. It is a bit eccentric and quirky…kinda like me 🙂

 5. Favorite books (especially for writers)

My favorite book is Slowing Down to the Speed of Life by Dr. Richard Carlson. It is my annual read and brings me so much personal and professional growth each year.

I also enjoy reading Dr. Seuss books. They are fast to read, have timely but timeless life lessons and always spark new ideas for me.

In terms of writing related books I tend to use reference books like The Writer’s Market or Grammar Girl’s tips and techniques on improving my writing. I am not sure how much it helps though as I write fast and usually don’t feel like going back through and checking behind myself because I just want to get stuff done and out of the way. So my editor always has a field day.

 6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you

·      I have not owned a TV since 1990….yes, I realize that I have missed life changing television series like Friends, Seinfeld and Sex in the City.

·      I am an avid volunteer. My mother got me started in volunteering when I was 12 years old and these days I volunteer more than 25 hours a month. I attribute volunteering with many life changing experiences including finding my purpose. In 2008 I did something volunteer related every single week and so did my significant other even though our interests are completely different.

·      I do not have a sense of smell (never had one) and people always think that is the strangest thing ever. I am still trying to figure out what other sense improved since I am without that one ;- )

6. Favorite quote

“The Earth’s most precious natural resource is truly a rare find. As it changes by the second it is that of our time.”

I made up that quote because the time I spend with others and myself is extremely valued.

7. Best and worst part of being a writer

The best part about being a writer is your exact words can be shared over and over again and every person who reads them will experience and feel something different. It is also the best all natural therapy that no money can buy.

The worst part of being a writer is the more you write the more ideas you come up with. So then you start to feel frustrated that there will never be enough time to say everything that you really want to say.

 8. Advice for other writers

Think Elvis! Copyright and publish your work even if you don’t plan on marketing it. Print on demand and self-publishing have simplified the publishing process and removed the barriers to entry. You don’t need to expend all your resources and time trying to get a huge advance and earn millions of dollars from book sales. However, you do need to get credit for your intellectual property and your original creations. If you can make enough money to supplement your income then that’s an added bonus. You never know how in the future, perhaps long after you are gone that something you create will come into play and earn licensing fees or royalties for your children, grandchildren or a charitable cause you feel strongly about. www.createspace.com is a very inexpensive and relatively easy way to get your work published and out there.

9. Tell us a story about your writing experience. 

In 2005 completely by a very random set of circumstance I started volunteering with teen entrepreneurs. Three years later while still working with them, a book idea popped in my head. The book idea was on a holistic theme in entrepreneurship that I thought was badly needed but missing in the industry. So I sat down and wrote the entire book in 12 days (36,000 words, 143 pages and no writers block).

Where can people buy your books?

My books are available on Amazon.com

Teen Entrepreneur Success Secrets: The Essential Guide to Starting and Growing a Business

Double Click on This, Preschoolers and Computers: How to Go Beyond Sit and Giggle

My blog is www.renegadeceos.com

Twitter: @teenbizcoach


10 QUESTIONS FOR…Marilyn Hontz, author of “Shame Lifter”


Author interview with Marilyn Hontz 978-1-4143-1896-7hontz_marilyn_03edited

I’m married to a minister and we’ve been at the same church for 33 years. I’m also a mom of 5 grown children and 6 grandchildren, living near gorgeous Lake Michigan in Holland, Michigan. I speak at various conferences, retreats and workshops. I’ve written two books, Listening for God and Shame Lifter, both published by Tyndale House Publishers.

1. Tell us about your latest book.

Shame Lifter is about a subject that is not too often talked about – unhealthy shame.  I believe shame is responsible for many of things we can’t stand about ourselves.  While shame is usually at the core of most addictions and eating disorders, I believe it plays out most openly in the “lies” we believe about ourselves. Shame has a hideous way of encouraging you to believe lies about yourself, i.e. I’m not good enough, I’m worthless, I’m fat, ugly and stupid.  That kind of shame paralyzes a person.  Shame Lifter, written in narrative form, takes you on a journey which begins by examining whether or not shame exists in your life. It reveals shame’s tenacious grip in your life as a result of verbal, sexual, physical or emotional abuse.  The book shares steps to overcome shame, helps you recognize shame in others, and how to become a shame lifter for someone else.  Bottom line: To extend grace to the disgraced – either to yourself or to others.

2. How did you get started as a writer?

I came into writing in a very non-conventional way. No literary agent – no manuscript.  I experienced the every “wanna-be” writer’s dream. I was approached by Tyndale House Publishers and asked to write a book based on a recording of a speaking event of mine they had heard.  Thus began my life as a writer.

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

Starting early in the morning is my best writing time.  I generally start around 8 a.m.  I break at noon for lunch and then maybe tack on 1 or 2 hours after lunch.  I seek to keep my evenings free…unless, of course, a thought comes while I’m standing at my stove fixing gravy for dinner. I suppose I should add that my writing routine is generally interrupted every two or three hours by my chihuahuas, Paco and Zorro who want to be let outside.

4. Describe your desk/workspace.

I write at a desk in my kitchen where the sun can stream into our large bay windows…that is, when the Michigan sun actually shines.

5. Favorite books (especially for writers)

I enjoy the classics like:  Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion, by Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte’s, Jane Eyre.

6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you

1.  It’s exhilarating to find a long lost sock and realize I still have its mate!

2. I received an Autoharp when I was 12 that has been sitting in my closet…I’m thinking about dusting it off and giving concerts at my speaking events.

3.  I absolutely love praying for people.


7. Favorite quote: “God has good works that were planned in advance for us to do.”

8. Best and worst part of being a writer:

Best:  Having written

Worst: Writer’s block

9. Advice for other writers

·      Give yourself permission to write – let other things go

·      Consistent time slot for writing

·      Remember writing is fluid…some days its easier to write than others

·      If an idea or quote comes to mind, write it down on a piece of paper right away

·      Write with a person in mind

·      When you write, don’t just tell it, show it

·      Write!  Even if you’re not published, keep writing


10. Tell us a story about your writing experience. 

When the publishing company first called to ask me to write for them, I laughed and said, “I can’t write. I’ve never had a creative writing class.”  There was a moment of silence.  Then the publisher said, “Can you send us just one chapter and then we’ll be the judge whether you can write or not.”

Where can people buy your books?


Barnes and Noble

Christian bookstores

10 QUESTIONS FOR…Pulitzer-nominated author Ric Morgan


Author interview with Ric Morganbookcovergraphic

As an award-winning and -nominated writer, I have been living amongst the bears on the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Gatlinburg, Tennessee for the last eight years. Indiana University Press published my first book, The Train Of Tomorrow, in 2007.

1. Tell us about your latest book.

The Keys: The Textbook to a Successful Life is an easy-to-read and understand 80-page power-packed, life changer. It is about the K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple and Smart) philosophy and talks about three major keys…thought, choice and action…plus a smaller secret key, and a set of lessons that will help you learn how to live a smarter, simpler and saner life. The book is under consideration for a 2009 Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction and is up for two 2009 Nautilus Book Awards. There are several editions available including one in large-print, an e-Book and one called The Keys for Teens. Radio talk-show host, John Fleming called the book a condensation of the “Wisdom of the Ages in an easy to read book with a lot of clarity. The amount of wisdom is astonishing.” Don McCauley, Business Executive and Radio Host, says, “Whatever that elusive ‘it’ might be we collectively seek, Ric Morgan has found ‘it’. I am amazed at his ability to take complex roadblocks to success and offer simple, easy to understand solutions that can be implemented easily and immediately. Ric offers an easy, step-by-step approach. He is a consummate public speaker, motivator and teacher whose ability is to communicate to his listeners the simple keys of life. Pay attention to this man…” The book is published by SimpleWords Press.

2. How did you get started as a writer?

By accident years ago. It was never something I set out to do, but got caught up in it. As a matter of fact I hate to write, but for many, many years people have told me I was a good writer.

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

I have so many things I do besides write I don’t write everyday…only when I feel like it, even if facing a deadline for a magazine or newspaper article.

I have decided that I am going to change that. Monday and Tuesday, do the research, Wednesday and Thursday, write, and Friday, proof-read, edit and submit.

4. Describe your desk/workspace.

BIG desk, with an All-In-One (AIO) printer, talking book machine, 17” large screen laptop and a little space for the thing that wind up on my desk and need attention. I sit looking out a window at the surrounding mountains, noting the ever-changing weather and seasons.

5. Favorite books (especially for writers)

Anything by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and O. Henry.

6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you

I see the humor in EVERYTHING. I have a very odd sense of humor, and people laugh a lot of times at what I say when I don’t think it’s so funny.

I am held up, by many people, as someone very special, full of courage and wisdom, and yet, I see my self as a low-maintenance average guy.

I love to go naked. (Others don’t think so because I’m fat.)

7. Favorite quote

You are what you think about all day long. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

It’s true….

8. Best and worst part of being a writer

WORST – I hate writing.

BEST – I like the fame that has come to me as the result of it.

9. Advice for other writers

Write…write…write, and read, read, read writers you think do it well.

I don’t understand why people think it is so hard to figure out what to write about when there is so much going on in this world. Take a photo you like and write about what you see. Look at a house, or building, and write about what you think is going on inside. I have more ideas than I’ll ever be able to write about, and it should be that way with every writer.

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience.

There is nothing better than to get feedback from a reader of your book that says that what you wrote saved or changed their life…literally. To be able to reach out to someone who is in pain, or going through a difficult period in their life through your words on the written page, makes all the effort in writing and everything else associated with a book worth it.

Where can people buy your book?

The Keys: The Textbook to a Successful Lifehttp://thegreatkisser.com

Buy the book on the website ($10, autographed and shipped free) instead of Amazon ($15, plus shipping).

Blog – Just Some Thoughts (http://ric-morgan.blogspot.com) is going to gear up again on March 1, 2009.


10 QUESTIONS FOR…self-help/inspirational author Karen Sherman, Ph.D.


Author interview with Karen Sherman, Ph.D.maocmy_pic_for_logo

  Most of my time is spent as a practicing Psychologist and also teaching.  But I love to do lots of things rather than the same routine.  After lots of different experiences, I felt the need to share them with others and felt the best way to do it was through a book.  Initially, I co-authored “Marriage Magic! Find It, Keep It, and Make It Last” to help couples rejuvenate their stale relationships.  I tend to write about what I have experienced.  I also write for various websites regarding relationships, which is one of my specialties.

1. Tell us about your latest book. 

My latest book, “Mindfulness and The Art of Choice: Transform Your Life” is a self-help book that enables the reader to get past their past.  It’s the result of a personal journey that was quite devastating from which I recovered with a lot of lessons on how to live a life of choice, a life of joy rather than being a prisoner to your past.  After going through such an experience, I felt compelled to share with others what I had learned so that they, too, could live a better life.

2. How did you get started as a writer? 

As I said, after going through my own experiences I guess I was a bit egotistical in thinking others could benefit from what I had learned!

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

Each day varies – which I love.  But generally, it’s a mix between seeing clients, teaching, writing, and Fridays is left for watching my grandson.  That’s really the best day of the week.

4. Describe your desk/workspace. 

Organized clutter.  I can find anything as long as I don’t get frustrated going through the piles.

5. Favorite books (especially for writers). 

Just about anything Deepak Chopra has written and I have fun with James Patterson’s Alex Cross series when on vacation.

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

       As a psychologist, I’m a bit unusual in that I’m willing to share personal information if I think it will benefit the client.

      My next book is about in-laws.  Yep – you got it, another experience I’m going through that I think might help others.

       I couldn’t care less if alcohol was never on the face of this planet again; but bagels and ice cream – not that’s a whole different thing!

7. Favorite quote:  “I took the road less traveled and that has made all of the difference.” (Robert Frost)

8. Best and worst part of being a writer

     Best – People hold you in high regard.

     Worst – Marketing the book so you can get your message out.

9. Advice for other writers: 

It’s true what is said – writing the book is the easy part; getting it published and marketing it is the real work.  You need to be persistent and believe in what you have to offer.

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience. 

After self-publishing my first book, I decided to go the more traditional route for the second one.  It was a challenge finding an agent to represent me (also part of the process).  I still remember the day he signed me on – I felt so validated – someone believed in my work!  A year and a half later, though there had been a couple of bites, none of the larger houses wanted to take me on.  Supposedly, my title wasn’t sexy enough.  My agent and I parted ways – certainly not the same exhilarating feeling as the initial one.

A small independent house, however, showed an interest in publishing my book.  I was apprehensive in signing on with them.  But I had heard all sorts of stories about how I would still be required to do a large portion of the market with a large publishing house and that if the book didn’t take off in 90 days, it would be problematic. 

So I took the risk and signed.  I have such a nice relationship with the company and get such personal attention and backing.  I’ve never regretted it!

 Where can people buy your book?

My book can be purchased through any online bookstore (Amazon.com, Borders.com, Barnes&Noble.com) or through either of my sites: www.drkarensherman.com or www.ChoiceRelationships.com.


10 QUESTIONS FOR…Alan Lurie, “Five Minutes on Mondays…”


Author interview with Alan Lurie0137007787hs121008-sm_1045

“Five Minutes on Mondays: Finding Unexpected Purpose, Peace, and Fulfillment at Work”


1. Tell us about your latest book.

I am a Managing Director at Grubb & Ellis, a large national real estate firm in New York City, and am also an ordained Rabbi. My new book, titled “Five Minutes on Mondays: Finding Unexpected Purpose, Peace, and Fulfillment at Work”, published by Pearson/FT Press, is a collection of thirty weekly “messages” that I wrote for the New York business community, addressing such topics as authenticity, balance, honesty, happiness, humor, and how to understand difficult times. Grubb & Ellis’ weekly staff meetings (of over 100 people), begin as I read these messages, which are then sent to our entire staff, clients, colleagues, and friends – reaching thousands of people every week. The book captures a selection of these, along with several other pieces, written of the course of one year. The messages encourage people to view work as a “spiritual gymnasium” where opportunities for growth occur daily, to embrace change, and to see that all great wisdom traditions, whether religious, philosophical, political, or business management theory, point to the same goal – how to become more aware, sensitive, effective, and awakened human beings.

2. How did you get started as a writer?

As a Rabbi I have written for years on spiritual and religious topics, and have published sermons and prayer books. I have also written extensively as an art history student in college. The path to writing and publishing “Five Minutes on Mondays”, though, was very unexpected. Suddenly I became a published author when a friend of mine, who is a well-known writer, sent samples of my weekly messages to Pearson. An editor there loved the work, and asked if he could publish a collection.

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

My days are varied, usually hectic, and no two are ever the same – a typical business executive’s day, but with the added responsibilities of a writer and clergy. Since my responsibilities include sales, management, training, recruiting, and being the face of our company to the New York market, some days are spend on the road, meeting with new and prospective clients, and others are spent behind my desk, reviewing my staff’s work, coordinating with other business units, and developing strategies. As a writer, though, which is my passion, I set aside time every day to write, usually during lunch, often at a local Starbucks, after work in my office, and on the train heading home. My writing usually stem from an event or insight that occurred during the work day, so I often write quick notes to myself that later are expanded. As a Rabbi, I am often called to perform weddings, visit the sick, console the bereaved, or lead prayer services. These are the moments that are most meaningful to me.

4. Describe your desk/workspace.

I have a typical business office (with actual walls!) – credenza, desk, pull up chairs, book cases, etc, – which faces out toward Times Square. Nothing unique, except behind my desk is a series of certificates that often surprise people: architectural licenses from several state registrations, a real estate sales license, a certificate that allows me to perform marriages, and my rabbinic diploma.

5. Favorite books (especially for writers)

1. Souls on Fire, by Elie Wiesel: Stories of the lives of the great Chasidic mystics

2. The Five Books of Moses, by Moses, a committee, or God (depending on your inclination): The source and reflection of western consciousness

3. Green Eggs and Ham, by Dr. Seuss: Powerful spiritual lessons told in an accessible and lighthearted way, with great illustrations

6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you

1. I collect found children’s toys: Several years ago as I was walking home I looked down to see a small finger puppet with the face of a mouse lying on the curb. I took it home and placed it on a bookshelf. Since then, I have found more than a dozen children’s objects in many locations- the sidewalks of New York, the gym parking lot, the local park, on the floor at Starbucks, and on my walk home from the train station. Perhaps these are waiting for my future grandchildren, or are a reminder to me to stay young and playful.

2. I used to be a body-builder: People are surprised to learn that a Rabbi used to be a hard-core gym rat. I loved to lift heavy weights, and to push myself to lift more each time. This was a spiritual experience for me, and taught me the possibility of transformation (literally). I also looked awfully good in jeans and a tee shirt!

3. I make bonsai trees: There was a period when I was obsessed with bonsais. I had a collection of nearly 50 trees, and would spend my weekends (before I got re-married to my current wife) shopping for new material, pruning, wiring, and caring for my little trees. The combination of natural material with human intervention felt very satisfying. This was also something to care for and nourish after my kids went to college.

7. Favorite quote

“Love your neighbor as yourself”. My second favorite, “Are you talkin’ to me?”

8. Best and worst part of being a writer

I absolutely love writing, and the idea of “being” a writer. I can think of no higher calling for me, and new ideas for books and essays are constantly bubbling up. I usually do my best work at Starbucks, sitting in a large green armchair, surrounded by the noise of conversation, grinding coffee, and eclectic music. The worst part of writing is my self-critical nature as I pick apart my writing, and agonize whether I have captured something true and transformative.

9. Advice for other writers

Write from the deepest place of knowing and connection. It is easy to get caught in a circular brain amusement, and at times that’s OK, but the core of the writing must spring from a voice that is not located in your head, or even your stomach or sexual center. The real source is a voice that truly knows. Getting to that, though, requires the ability to move yourself aside long enough for it to be heard.

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience. 

The unlikely ingredients in the recipe of events from which “Five minutes on Mondays” emerged include a commuter train, a sweltering August day in New York City, a sweaty business card, recurring random encounters, and a spilled beer. Through these events I met David Arena, President of Grubb & Ellis, a national commercial real estate firm. David and I first met on a hot and humid day in August on the Metro-North commuter train, which travels from Grand Central Station to Connecticut. I had just run 20 blocks to catch the 6:15 train and slipped in as the doors were closing. Sitting across from me was a man whose face I recognized from a recent cover of Crain’s Business Journal.

That’s David Arena! I should introduce myself, I thought, but look at me. I’m drenched. Hey, what’s the worst that can happen?

So, I leaned over to introduce myself. With sweat dripping from my forehead, I reached in to my pocket and pulled out a soggy, limp business card, which he politely accepted, then returned to reading his newspaper.

That certainly went well, Lurie, I thought, assuming I had just blown a promising business opportunity.

Several months later, we ran into each other again. This was on a Friday afternoon, as I was sitting on the train studying a Hebrew text and drinking a beer (two things that I like to do as I head home for the weekend). I looked up to see David sit down next to me. He glanced at my book and, apparently not remembering that we had met, said,

“Excuse me. Is that Hebrew?”

“Yes. It’s actually a section from the Bible.”

“Really? Are you a religious man?” he asked.

“As a matter of fact, I’m an ordained Rabbi,” I answered, “but I also work in commercial real estate. We actually met briefly on this train last summer, and I gave you my card.”

We struck up a conversation, and discovered a shared interest in religion and theology (a conversation that he later described as “being kinda’ out there”). As I got up to leave, I bent over to shake his hand and accidentally spilled beer on his sleeve and into his briefcase.

“Now I’ve been baptized by a Rabbi,” he laughed.

I walked off the train, wondering how I could have been so clumsy, and why I seemed to keep spilling things on this man.

The third time I saw David was in a midtown office reception area. I had taken the day off to do some work around the house but came by this office to drop off a package. Unshaved, uncombed, and dressed in worn jeans and a tee shirt, I turned to see David walk in.

This makes sense, I thought. God forbid I should run into him looking professional!

“Good to see you again, Rabbi,” he said, patting me on the back. “Let’s meet for breakfast soon. Here’s my card. Please call me.”

“Why do you think I keep meeting this man under such awkward circumstances?” I later asked my wife, Shirona. “The first time we met, I looked like I had just run a marathon in a business suit. The second time, I spilled beer all over him, and the third time, I could have been mistaken for the delivery man.”

“Don’t worry,” she said, “At least he’s going to remember you! I think there’s more to this than just random encounters, though.”

After this, David and I continued to run into each other on numerous occasions on the street, in offices, at industry events, and on the train, and we soon became friends. Then, unexpectedly, he asked me to join his team at Grubb & Ellis. (Now, after two years of working together, I have only seen him on the train twice.)

“I’ve got to tell you, it’s not often that a stranger on a train hands me a sweaty business card, discusses mystical ideas about the nature of the cosmos, and then pours beer in my briefcase. You definitely made a unique impression,” he said, then added, “I believe that this will be a good place for you, Alan. With us, you’ll have the opportunity to do good work, both in your profession as a businessman and your passion as a Rabbi. Look, I have an idea. Our entire group meets every Monday morning at 8:00 AM, and I’d like you to begin these meetings by delivering a short message. Something about business and ethics. Something inspirational and informative.”

This was certainly a novel idea. A Rabbi/businessman delivering a sermon to a New York City real estate meeting! David had never heard me speak in public, and didn’t ask to review what I was going to say, yet he somehow had the faith that this would work. Initially, I was not so confident.

And so, on one Monday morning in January 2007, I awkwardly stood in front of 100 or so hard-nosed New York real estate professionals to deliver my first message. I had searched for something to talk about that I hoped would be interesting, useful, inspiring, and entertaining to a business community whose reputation is not exactly toward things spiritual. This first message was titled “Donkey for Sale.” (Well, you’ll have to read it to get the reference!)

Where can people buy your book?

The book is currently available on Amazon.com and directly from Pearson.