Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Janet Lane Walters, Author of Temple of Fyre

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I'm proud to interview Jane Lane Walters, author of the fantasy romance novel Temple of Fyre, as part of the Enchanted Book Promotions blog tour.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’ve been a published author for  46 years but not consistently. I took time out to return to nursing to help put four children through college. I’ve written about everything except horror and fiction that tends toward the scientific. As to calling myself as the eclectic writer that came about because I just can’t stick to one genre though most of my stories have a romantic element present. I’ve been married to the same man for fifty plus years. He’s a psychiatrist who refuses to cure my obsession with the written word. There are four children, one an adopted biracial girl. I’ve seven grandchildren. Four are biracial and three are Chinese. Besides writing and reading I’ve an interest in Astrology and delved into a number of handicrafts like needlepoint and knitting.  I have also composed music and have heard my compositions performed a time or two.

Describe the plot of Temple of Fyre in a few sentences.
A rebelling priestess who can use the fyrestones with ease meets a stone finder. As they unite to defeat the evil priestess of the Temple of Fyre attraction becomes a love that unites them completely.

Who do you think would most appreciate this book?

Lovers of fantasy. People who like strong heroines. Those who enjoy handsome and resourceful men. Lovers of romance.

Fyrestones are a prominent part of your story. Can you explain what they are and how priestesses can use them?
Fyrestones are a total invention of mine. The stones are the colors of the flames. White, yellow, orange, red and the rare blue ones. The priestesses attune themselves to the gem and thus can cause havoc or healing in other parts of their section of the Island of Fyre.

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Tell us a bit about the two main characters, Ari and Ria.
Ari is the hero and a stone seeker. He was abandoned as a child and wishes to know who left him and why. He is tall and his hair has streaks of the colors of the flames. He has a red fyrestone though according to the chief priestess of the Temple of Fyre a man cannot have one and cannot use it.

Ria was sold by her desert clan after the death of the man she was to wed. The slavers brought her to the temple and Malera the chief priestess bought her and trained her. Even as a child Ria had a streak of rebellion and her searches of the archives of the temple lead her to doubt some of the things she has been taught, Her doubt leads her to rebel against the chief priestess during her testing causing many of the fyrestones of the lesser priestesses to burn out. She is beaten and stoned. Left to die outside the temple she fights for life and is discovered by Ari.

The chief priestess, Melera, has insidious intentions, and seems to have little regard for the lives of others. What drives her?
Malera is driven by power. Believing there is no priestess stronger than she is she seeks to destroy anyone who rebels against her. No one will take her power from her and she has used her ability with the red firestone to gain her position and to destroy others and even towns.

Who was your favorite character to write?

I really don’t have any favorites among the three characters. When I’m writing them I become them.

Can you tell us a bit about the creative process of writing this book, from the initial idea to the finished manuscript?
I have a fascination for gems and spend time studying them. For some reason the word fyrestones came into my head. Now the way I usuallly begin a book is to start telling myself a story as I’m falling asleep. This gave me the plot. I’m very plot oriented. I sat with my note book and began to develop the main characters and slowly I began the rough draft of the story. This was rather short. All the chapters in about 20,000 words. Then I scribble over the typed pages adding details or notes about what I’ve written. Then I write the story again, making notes on characters, plot, setting, dialogue, emotions. Then I rewrite and go through the story for word choice and other things.

What are your goals as a writer for the next ten years?
At my age, I really can’t look at ten years. I really only decide what I’m going to write in the next year. At present this includes a complete revision of a right’s back book, finishing the fourth in the dreams series and starting and maybe finishing the third Islands of Fyre – Mages of Fyre. When each book is finished I add a new one to the list. Some are for existing series and some are new.

Have you ever had writer's block?
Never had writer’s block but I did have a time and exhaustion block. During the time I worked as a nurse on thirteen hour shifts and going to college to finish my BA in English and BS in nursing I made notes and jotted ideas.  Perhaps the reason I haven’t had writer’s block is that I look at each project as fun and I do vary what I write.

Do you write with a computer, typewriter, or pen and paper? Why do you use this tool?
I write with a pen and paper, then type and often do the next draft on paper and type. Then it’s going over the typed ms as many times as it takes until I decide I’m sick of this project and am ready to do something new.

What do you have in mind for your next project?
My next project has already begun. That’s called Divided Dreams and involves a doctor who gives up being a doctor to write and a nurse practitioner who he hurt 12 years before and a baby who is niece to both of them. There’s also the Taurus Scorpio romance I’m re-writing to bring up to modern times.

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Monday, April 27, 2015

Edlyne Verna, MPA, Director of CUASVAHH

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Edlyne Verna, MPA Executive Director of CUASVAHH, and Coordinator of the Office of Ethics, Compliance, and Oversight of the City of Jacksonville. CUASVAHH is a non-profit working to end sexual violence and homophobia in Haiti.

Tell us a bit about Christians United Against Sexual Violence And Homophobia in Haiti.
We are a non-profit organization of people from many Christian faith traditions, cultures and racial groups committed to the end of sexual violence and homophobia in Haiti.  We welcome and value the unique contribution that each Christian tradition and our diverse experiences/backgrounds bring to our work. We grow from the ways we learn from each other to serve the people of Haiti and debunk the harmful teachings of hatred brought by certain foreign missionaries in Haiti.

We believe that our religious values of equity and freedom from discrimination and harassment mobilize us to affirm the dignity and worth of every human being and to uphold the right of each person to live without fear and threat of violence.

We believe that the teachings of certain Christian traditions have been a source of pain, confusion, discord and violence for the Haitian people. Thus, we ought to become a source of strength and healing for those facing sexual violence and homophobia.

We believe that the teachings of our Christian traditions obligate us to work towards an end to sexual violence and Homophobia globally but most specifically, in Haiti.

We believe that it is possible to transform individuals, families, communities and institutions through education and the power of our faith traditions.

We believe that the voices of survivors of sexual violence and the LGBT community in Haiti are primary sources of knowledge and direction for our work.

Are you open to any other religion or faith? 
Yes, of course. Haiti consists of 80% Catholics and 16% Protestants  that is why we focus on Christianity but our faith enable us to accept and welcome all other religion or even atheist and agnostic who are like us against sexual violence and homophobia.

Why was CUASVAHH founded?
CUASVAHH was founded as an answer to the increased rapes and sexual violence towards women; the flagrant and condoned culture of pedophilia; child molestation and incest in Haiti; the normalcy of rape culture and the harmful tendency to blame the victims.

America is a melting pot and one of the countries with the most diverse immigrant population; Haitian represent close to a million people from that population. For example in Florida the last census has shown that cities like Gables is consisting of 33% Haitians, in New York the percentage is also high.

To better understand the culture in Haiti when it come to sexual violence let me share something with you. A common joke in Haiti goes as follow: a older man said to his friends “ man, instead of having one 30, I’d rather have two 15” and the friends would laugh and agree. What this older man is talking about is his preference for 15 years old children instead of a 30 year old woman. This story alone paints the picture perfectly. Haitian men are not punished for dating anyone under 17 and poverty makes the situation worse. Pedophilia is rampant, a 30 year old with a 15 year old is pedophilia! Now ask many Haitians and its a different story.

Haitian culture regards Incest often as a family matter, to be dealt with privately and more often than not, victims do not have a voice. We do not have a 911 or any other number to report these crimes. Nobody comes to the rescue in these situations. There is no official number to call for help during the ordeal or after. The UN has attempted to work locally to establish some sort of support system, unfortunately the number does not work and theses organizations only provide limited services to one sector of the population, the poor. Children and victims of the other sectors of the population are left with no where to turn at all. If the victims remain in the situation, they are often blamed because for the majority of Haitians, the psyche of a victim/survivor remains an enigma. Haitians are not aware that incest can happen anywhere to anyone, by perpetrators who are often pillars of society and members of their own family.

Rape is perceived as a person’s inability to control his/her desire, not as a power issue.
There is no shame for the rapist in certain situations such as a man forcing his wife, his girlfriend and/or a drunk female into intercourse. The term “flagrant deli” requires that in order for a perpetrator to be prosecuted, the rapist must be caught red handed in the act. Rape is rampant in the tent cities, during home invasions and kidnappings. It is also very present in the homes, in the schools and in the churches.

Unfortunately, there are no rape kits done at the hospitals, and attempt was made to introduce then by many foreign organizations but they horribly failed, and coming forward with incidences of sexual violence, is often detrimental to the victim/survivor due to the views of Haitian society. Often you would hear: “she asked for it”, or “this little girl is promiscuous” , even when grown men are dating a young female child; and little boys are way too afraid to even hint that anyone has violated them.

When it comes to homosexuality: Most uneducated and some mis-educated Haitians gladly equate pedophilia to homosexuality. This idea or belief  seems to be repeatedly accepted throughout Haiti, further putting fear and hatred of homosexuals in the heart of the people.

Pedophilia is a disease, it is a crime and is damaging physically and psychologically to innocent children, boys or girls and sometimes also involves even infants. On the other hand, homosexuality is an “etat d’etre”,  a consensual relationship between two adults  and doesn’t hurt anyone.

This subject of Sexual Violence in Haiti is too broad to cover here for the purpose of establishing CUASVAHH history. We have discussed it in depth in our trainings, webinars and future discussions on our website and Facebook page.
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A large part of your work is educating Haitians in Haiti. Why is that important for our diverse community here?
To respond to the need of the 907,790 Haitian immigrants living in the USA which consist of 52.7% of non English speakers, including only 48.7% of the total population who can read and write.  The information provided by American organizations about Sexual Violence, Hate crimes, homophobia and “rape culture” is not within their reach. We are here to fill up this gap by not reinventing the wheel but rather by using all the available information out there and make them relevant to the Haitian population. We have seen an increase of sexual and violent crimes against woman by Haitians here in America. CUASVAHH understood that lack of education on the matter has a lot to do with it. We have decided to work proactively and educate all Haitians in Haiti and here in the states about these important issues.

 73% of Haitians in America lives with extended family which often includes temporary visitors from Haiti.   What happen there do impact us here. 34% of the Haitian population in America is under the age of 14 potentially living with immigrant parents who were raised within the rape culture, homophobic ideals, and acceptance of gender inequality. We believe our work can break the cycle and empower the future American generation to be fierce advocate against sexual violence and homophobia and not becoming victims.

What methods does CUASVAHH use for educating people?
Only 15.7% of Haitian immigrants hold a higher education degree, and are capable of fully use the information available on the subject in America. You must keep in mind that the Haitian population in the US consist of more 51.3% of people who can’t either read or write, We have resolve this problem by providing them with videos and trainings in creole. The Powerpoint presentations in English and french is a way to reach the rest of the population. Having videos with images in creole breaks all social barriers. The taboo subjects of incest, child molestation and rape, rape of men by men and/or woman, spousal rape etc… are not discussed openly and disseminate properly. Victims in Haiti do not have much help, our school system do not provide counseling or training to their staff to respond to allegations of incest, rape or molestations nor Haitian churches.  
In addition to the tragic loss of life, what impact did the Haitian earthquake and subsequent involvement from outsiders have on Haiti?
After the earthquake rape was rampant in the tenet cities women and children were not safe anywhere. The United Nations as many reports on this and the subject is week documented. But the LGBT population also suffered greatly and little was done to protect them. During the days following the earthquake the blame game started and you have the 700 Club who claim on TV that the earthquake was caused by the presence of voodoo practitioners in Haiti, and others started talking about homosexuals in Haiti bringing the destruction there. These missionaries, as they serve the poor/needy Haitians with white rice on one hand,  are with the other hand, serving an interpretation of the Bible and God that is full of hatred, calling for homosexuals to be put to death. This is not the Bible or the God I know, this is not the Bible and the God you know. God is love and in the Ten Commandments,  “Thou shall not kill” or “love your brother as you love yourself” is  too often forgotten.

The organization, CUASVAHH was also founded as an answer to the increased violence and murder of  homosexuals in Haiti. Being a homosexual in Haiti is not illegal and all people are protected by the Haitian Constitution against such violence. But certain police officers found a Caveat in the law concerning “Moral” and discriminate against them anyway.

Many people like to claim that homosexuality is not part of their culture; many Haitians perpetuate this idea and believe that homosexuality is borrowed from the United States of America or from other developed countries. This is, of course false, because in the first place, homosexuality is not a cultural phenomenon but a biological occurrence.

The Haiti of  yesteryear had always embraced its homosexuals even if they were to live on the down low. The level to which society would embrace the individual would of course, be intertwined with the social class to which he/she belongs. This is Haiti for you.  The wealthier you are, the more accepted you are.

On the other hand, homosexuality was always a taboo subject in Haiti; it was never openly dealt with or discussed. Yet, everyone knew of the homosexual man around the corner making the best food, the musician who played his instrument so beautifully, the singer with the sultry voice, the makeup artist so handsome that you ought to look at him twice, the two single old ladies around the way raising their nieces/nephews, the fabulous hairstylist whose hands are magical, or hot spots where the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transexual (LGBT) community would meet. Haiti was never unaware of its homosexuals.

Haitian LGBTs, when too apparent or flagrant, were often ridiculed and harassed if they were from the wrong social class. Now they are stoned to death, burnt, killed, persecuted and vilified as pedophiles and criminals. Their situation has gone from bad to worse. With the aftermath of the devastating earthquake of 2010 and the new developments regarding LGBT rights, certain international missionaries have found the perfect targaet to spread fear and hatred in Haiti. Homosexuals are blamed for the earthquake, and they are blamed for everything that is wrong with Haiti as they are perceived as an abomination to humanity.

Does CUASVAHH do any work with recent Haitian immigrants in the US? Or is the work focused on Haitians in Haiti?
Yes, we do work with recent Haitian immigrants but as a new organization we are still building our relationships with other established businesses, churches and community leaders to inform them and educate them on what we do. Through our facebook page we target Haitians here in the USA and provide them with presentations on subject such as how to protect your children from predators, where to find help if you are a victim etc.. As I said earlier we did not invent the wheel we are a member of Florida Council Against Sexual Violence, and we are also a supporter of RAINN ( Rape, Abuse, Incest, National Network) where we find a lot of our information. We also have in-house Medical Doctors, Therapists, researchers and psychiatrists among other professionals who provide us with research, presentations and best practices for our trainings.

Nevertheless we mostly focus on Haitians in Haiti, because like Nelson Mandela said: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Education on sexual violence is not being done adequately and efficiently in Haiti. WE distinguish our self by providing free DVD, videos and even in person trainings to any grassroots organization in need of them.

We have established a Pastoral care department with the sole purpose to empower, educate and support congregations in the formation, training and integration in their teachings against sexual violence,and homophobia.  We do not discuss dogmas yet we focus on the Bible teaching of love, acceptance and tolerance.
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CUASVAHH also does a lot of work on educating about sexual assault. How do you educate people on this topic?
We have a team of researchers/ writers who prepares powerpoint presentations on different issues. We also, with their permission, make relevant to Haitians information found in established US Organizations dealing with these issues. We ask for experts in their respective field to donate their knowledge by providing CUASVAHH will information that can be translation into Videos, Trainings and powerpoint presentations. Live trainings and articles are also posted on our website. When you are dealing with a population that is comprised of  a large number of non-literate people having  trainings and videos in their own language is the only efficient  way to educate them. Flyers, websites etc… will not work for all.
We travel to Haiti and conduct week long trainings for churches, schools and grass root organizations. We have community volunteer who we train to answer the many questions that arise during our seminars.

Here in America, we relay heavily on social media and people like you to disseminate the information about our trainings. EVERY WE DO IS FREE OF CHARGE. All of our employees are volunteers, survivors of sexual violence and many non-Haitians.

We hope in the future to be able to shoot short movie, PSA, documentaries that depict these situations and help us educate a larger part of the population. There are plenty in English but as of now CUASVAHH do not have the ability or technology for voice-over, subtitling etc…
How do interested people get involved with CUASVAHH?
We are made mostly of volunteers, therefore anyone that has something to offer  is welcome it can be from creating a powerpoint,  a PSA, a documentary, whetting a script; or Helping us develop of our website, integrating a chat room, a e-kerning software for our trainings, translating the website in french, helping with trainings, and even donating  their time to edit part of the website, donating money to support our trainings to Haiti. Anything that can help us walk into a class room or community center in Haiti or here in the US and educate our children about safety and letting them know that they are not alone. We also welcome victims that are open to share with us their story, we know how healing it can be for a victim to see herself in a survivor.
Liking us on Facebook, or twitting about us is also great. The economical fiasco that is ongoing in Haiti right now is only the tip of the iceberg in regards to human right violations which are the norm in Haiti. WE ARE OPEN TO ANY HELP. WE LOVE YOUNG ACTIVISTS, INNOVATORS etc..
We are open to suggestion from anyone. you can email us at everna@cuasvahh.orh or info@cuasvahh.org  We also have a toll free number 888-735-3536.

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Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Lastly I would like  to quote two of Mandela’s quote, the second is a CUASVAHH adaptation. He says:
“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.”
Child sexual abuse is a combat that we all must undertake because it destroy lives.

“The power of education extends beyond the development of skills we need for economic success. Even when economic freedom is very important in making victims less vulnerable. The proper education  can contribute to nation-building and gender reconciliation. Haiti is today extremely divided in every sectors, sexual violence is common, rape is rampant and gender gaps prevalent. CUASVAHH is steadily but surely introducing education and training on sexual violence and homophobia that enable our people and most importantly our children, women and men, and LGBT to exploit their similarities and common goals of a non-violent society, while appreciating the strength in their diversity and harboring tolerance.

More Information

Thursday, April 16, 2015

AJ McKinney & David Gunter, Carpet Cleaning Experts

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AJ McKinney and David Gunter are co-owners of Brighter Image Carpet Care, a company that does carpet cleaning in Fayetteville, NC.
Tell us a bit about Brighter Image Carpet Care.
We are a veteran owned and family operated company that has proudly served Fayetteville, NC and surrounding areas since 1987. Our services include carpet cleaning, upholstery cleaning and water damage restoration. Brighter Image Carpet Care was founded under the principle of providing a quality service with exceptional results and the best customer service around.

What should people do to ensure their carpet looks great and lasts a long time?
The #1  thing we tell our customers is to vacuum regularly. If you have a family with small children and pets we highly recommend vacuuming 4 to 5 times per week. Dry soil that accumulates over time will actually damage carpet fibers and give it the dull worn out appearance. We also advise staying away from store bought cleaners as these chemicals can sometimes make a spot on your carpet worse than if you just left it alone. You can easily find homemade recipes online for spot treating that will work much better.

How often should people have their carpet professionally cleaned?
Everyone’s living situation is different. A family with pets and children will need their carpet cleaned more frequent then a single person with no pets or children. We recommend at a minimum, at least once per year. If you have pets that have accidents then you would need to have your carpets professional cleaned and treated for pet urine more frequently. The EPA has put out the following guidelines:

-2 Person Household (Non-smoking): Carpets should be cleaned at least annually.

-2 Person Household (Smoking): Carpets should be cleaned at least three times a year.

-Family w/ Small Children: Carpets should be cleaned twice a year.

-Family w/ Small Children and Pets: Carpets should be cleaned at least three times a year, preferably four.

A common issue a lot of people face is they get a spot on their carpet, for example, from spilled wine. How should people deal with these spot stains? Is there anything they should avoid doing?
The most common mistake most people try and do which only makes the spot worse is scrubbing. Not only are you pushing the spot deeper into the carpet fibers and also the padding, you are also damaging the carpet fibers in the process. Having a shop vac on hand will work wonders when removing something that is spilled on the carpet. Soak up what you can with a plain white towel. Apply a carpet spot treatment and then extract with the shop vac. The problem with this is that sometimes people use the wrong type of cleaning solution for spills. Some household cleaners contain bleach and other harsh chemicals that can actually permanently discolor the carpet. Make sure to always read the label of the product you are using and be sure to test an area first. We recommend testing the product in a closet.

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Carpet cleaning by Brighter Image Carpet Care, Fayetteville, NC.

What methods do you use when cleaning carpets?
Our method of cleaning is hot water extraction also known as steam cleaning.

Should people vacuum before getting their carpet professionally cleaned?
Removing dry bonded soil is the most important step of the cleaning process. If you are unable to vacuum the service technician with our company can certainly provide this service for our customers. Be sure to ask the carpet cleaning company you plan on hiring if they offer this service. A lot of companies these days do not carry a vacuum on their truck. Think of it like this…if you go outside and pour water on the dirt, what happens? It turns to mud right? The same thing will happen on your carpet if a thorough vacuuming is not completed.

How should people address pet stains in their carpet?
Stay away from anything that has ammonia in it. The ammonia will actually attract your pet back to the same spot. A shop vac  with vinegar and water would do the trick or you can purchase a product called Natures Miracle from your local pet store. The most important thing to do when dealing with pet stains is act QUICKLY.

What is carpet protection? How effective is it?
Carpet protection when applied properly creates a barrier around your carpet fibers. If something is spilled the carpet protectant will repel it not allowing it to be absorbed into the carpet fibers. It also makes cleaning up spills a breeze.

Brighter Image also cleans upholstery. How should someone test his or her furniture to see if it needs professional cleaning?
The easiest way to do this is to take your vacuum with the hose detached….place a cloth or napkin over the end of the hose where the suction is and slowly vacuum over your cushions and arm rests. After a few passes remove the cloth and see how much dirt you have pulled up. If you have never had your furniture professionally cleaned you will be amazed out how much residue will show up…especially if you do not frequently vacuum your furniture. Depending on your findings after doing this test will determine if you should have your upholstery professionally cleaned. You can perform this same test on your mattresses as well.

What techniques do you use on cleaning furniture?
The process we use for carpet cleaning is the same for upholstery cleaning. It is a hot water extraction process but we use different tools and the pressure during the cleaning process is much lower to prevent over wetting. The steps are exactly the same but the drying time is much quicker.

If someone’s interested in learning more about Brighter Image Carpet Care, how do they get in contact with you?
You can visit us at www.brighterimagecarpet.com or send us an email with any questions or concerns you may have at contact@brighterimagecarpet.com
Anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you for having us!

 Video of Brighter Image Carpet Care, Fayettevile, NC

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Carleton C. Booker, Author of Things You Need to Know About Non-Profits

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Carleton C. Booker is the author of Things You Need To Know About Non-Profits.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
A Carleton Booker strategy provides business consulting & business marketing services in Calif. He’s committed to helping small and medium-sized businesses and nonprofits grow and succeed. We’re there when you need to drive revenue, foster growth and build sustainable business results. Carleton is committed to helping your business generate a return on investment that will make your stockholders happy and business owner. This is so important to him that if he’s don’t believe it’s possible, he will tell you straight out, and be specific in explaining our reasoning.

Describe Things You Need to Know About Non-Profits in a few sentences.
This book is the GPS to guide you the correct path how to start a nonprofit and what it takes to keep it!

Who do you think would most benefit from reading this book?
Anybody who wants to start a nonprofit and current nonprofit that have question on what’s next?

What inspired you to write a book that simplifies the process of applying for non-profit status?
I meet so many people starting nonprofits, and they always seem to have issues! And the main issue is not understanding that the nonprofit is a business! It still has to function like a business; you just don’t have stockholders Your main function is to serve the community and to raise funds, funds, funds -- did I say funds -- to support the nonprofit so it can function.

A lot of people starting non-profits seem to be confused with whether to apply for a 501(3) c. Why do you think there is so much confusion?
So churches are automatic exempts under the 501(3)c and it’s not require to file for the exemption, and the IRS doesn’t make it easy to apply. The application asks a lot of questions on the application; if you don’t know how to complete it the application will be delayed.
What are frequent mistakes people make when starting a non-profit?
A business plan and a fundraising strategy.

Many people starting a non-profit seem to hit hurdles with funding early on. What can people do to avoid problems with funding their non-profit?
Get help! A (business coach) that will help in areas like fundraising that you have no understanding, getting the right people in the right position .  

How do you think reading Things You Need to Know About Non-Profits will impact people?
I hope it give an insight what it really takes to operate a “business” it’s just don’t take a profit for a one person to profit.

What do you have in mind for your next writing project?
The next book is to show business owners to operate your business like a real business from “mom and pop” when it comes to corporate credit. Title: Corporate Credit Makeover.   

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about Things You Need to Know About Non-Profits?
It’s a real easy read to give you foundation if you’re looking to start or currently have a nonprofit. It tells you the down and dirty of the nonprofit business, the “real stuff “that no one tells you, if they do, it's $3,000 to $5,000 to get the information. Instead, you can read the book or contact me to coach you!

More Information About Carleton C. Booker and Starting a Non-Profit

Carleton C. Booker Answers Common Questions About Starting a Non-Profit
What happens if my non-profit status has been revoked?
You become a business for profit, and will be tax on all funds donated

What’s the key to raising funds for my non-profit?
Have a plan.

Why do I need By-laws?
This is your SOP; this is how you’re going to run your business

What's the difference between a Church and a Religious Organization?
A church is any place of worship. A Religious Organization could be a faith base nonprofit that is not a place of worship .

How much income can I received for my non-profits?
As much as you can raise or incoming donor will give to your organization is the answer.

What’s the difference between a non-profit and a for-profit business?
Non-profit: no one person owns it; it’s the public. Profit Business: it’s a profit for gain to someone or body of people to bring a profit to everyone that is part of the company.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Martin Wilsey, Author of Still Falling

martin wilsey, deep space survey ship, still falling book, solstice trilogy
Martin Wilsey is the author of the science fiction novel Still Falling.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
This is my first novel. I actually started writing the book as a way to keep from going stir crazy after a bad injury to my spine. TV and Facebook get real old, real fast, when you’re trapped in your recliner. I have been a science fiction lover for as long as I could read. I still read a hundred books a year and they are mostly Scifi and Fantasy.

I am lucky enough to know a few published authors and they gave me a lot of great advice. Advice about tools to help me write. Advice about how to power though and get the first draft done. All their advice has served me well.

I also have a lot of support from friends and family.

It’s been fun.

Describe the plot of your book in a few sentences.
Still Falling is a story about a man named Barcus, that crashes to the planet Baytirus after the destruction of a deep space survey ship. It follows his struggle to survive with the help of a powerful Artificial Intelligence, housed inside a spider like, all terrain vehicle, that is specifically designed help him.

Finding himself in the middle of some kind of genocide he slowly begins to discover who murdered everyone he knew and cared about in the universe.

Who do you think would most appreciate your book?
I think the people that will like it the most are readers that enjoy an escalating epic story, that ups the ante. Also, people that love a good mystery with their science fiction, deep foreshadowing, world/culture building and strong female characters.

I’m told that people that love the second amendment also love the book.
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Author Martin Wilsey

Still Falling is your first novel. What inspired you to move from just having an idea to publishing your first novel?

The answer is actually on the dedication page: “For Eric, Because you never got to read it.”

My brother Eric died suddenly died when he was 53 years old. I still miss him. His loss got me really thinking. It really made me think about what I wanted to get done before I was done. Publishing a novel was on the list.

When you decided you wanted to write Still Falling, did you have to consult any writing resources before starting the manuscript? Or did you just dive into the manuscript?
I just dove in. I had a general outline to the story I wanted. It’s amazing where characters decide to go. It’s not always where you expect to go.

Is the process of writing a science-fiction novel different than writing a mystery novel? Does the process of having to create another world with a different set of rules make writing the plot more time-consuming?
It is more work when you have to create the foundations of a new world, a new culture, a new religion. Even clothes. So I guess it is more time-consuming but it also more fun, more interesting, more creative.

Are there any authors who have influenced your writing style?

I’m sure I have been influenced. The list would be way too long for this interview but some of the biggies would be: Robert Heinlein, J.R.R. Tolkien, Arthur C. Clark, Orson Scott Card, Larry Niven, Terry Brooks, Terry Pratchett, Simon Hawke, Jim Butcher, Lois McMaster Bujold and more.

What made you decide to write your story as a trilogy? Do you have the entire trilogy planned out?

I personally love stories that are a series. I personally love series where each book is a fully realized novel on its own. So I am writing the kind of books I love to read.

The entire trilogy is planned out. Book 2: The Broken Cage has already been written and I have already started Book 3: Blood of the Scarecrow.

martin wilsey, solstice trilogy, deep space survey ship
Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?
If you closely read the headers of each chapter you will realize that these books are a reassembled narrative that led up to the Solstice 31 Incident, that occurred on December 22, 2631. This investigation occurred 32 years later in 2663 due to the discover of new evidence. 

I hope people enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it!

An excerpt from Still Falling:
Barcus crashed back into consciousness when his face smashed into the inside of his helmet. 
He was in a three axis tumble. He knew the feeling. All inertial dampening was off. His maintenance suit was powered up, docked in place, but off-line.  
He coughed and could feel blood spray into his helmet. Great! His nose was probably broken. Again. 
Then he began to remember. 
His mind was coming back on-line. 
“Status! Visual!” His helmet systems came alive. Temperature and pressure were normal. He confirmed it was a freefall spin. Wherever he was, it was pitch black.
“Lights!” The suit’s work lights all activated.
He saw immediately that he was locked into the suit dock on the bridge of Chen's shuttle. Chen was strapped into the command chair. Her flight suit didn't have her helmet, and her arms swayed with her neck in the tumble. The shuttle seemed dead. 
The shuttle bridge was all white in the suit’s harsh work lights. It was a perfect oval dome around them, like they were on the inside of a huge egg. The command chair was in front left. Two support stations were behind that and the four passenger seats.  
He hammered the EXIT control in the suit causing its helmet chest plate to hinge open and back. He pounded the restraint release in the center of his chest, and the straps retracted smoothly, freeing him. 
In the chaos of the tumble, he slammed first on the ceiling and then into the seats, but he managed to cross the compartment to grasp Chen's belt. As he felt for her pulse, her eyes fluttered open. 
She blinked for a moment and focused by force of will, saying, “Display Delta” to the air, as something impacted the exterior of the shuttle. Suddenly, it was like they were in a convertible, the dome turning into an exterior display. They were in a gut churning three axis, high-speed spin with no control. Debris tossed all around them. Some more chunks crashed into them, slowing the spin along one axis. The suit was locked into place in the dock. Otherwise, the heavy armor thing would have killed them by now, crashing about loose. 
 Barcus could see life pods and other shuttles that had managed to get aloft from other bays, but they were destroyed by plasma cannon fire.  
“Chen. Don't stabilize.” Suddenly a giant explosion destroyed what was left of the main ship. The shock wave crashed more debris into the shuttle.  
“Display, Baker,” Chen said weakly. It changed to a 3D rendering of the ship tumbling with massive chunks of debris. The display showed the expected path of the shuttle to its crash to the planet. 
“Chen, I have no idea what happened, but we have to let the ship tumble towards the planet as debris. I don't see any enemy ships at all. There has got to be some kind of automated defense system that is shooting down anything that looks like it's under power and has people in it.” 
“Barcus...I'm bleeding...bad.” He could see the blood splattered on her neck, flowing up from inside her pressure suit. 
“Is the cabin holding pressure? Do we have a breach?” Barcus asked. 
“Yes, it's holding, but we can't get you out of your flight suit until we stop the tumble. If we stop, we're dead.”
“Slow the tumble with manual thrusters,” Barcus said. Chen did until the ship was just turning gently.
Chen's eyes fluttered again. “Shrapnel in my guts, man. It's bad. Listen...” She fell unconscious again.
“Display Delta,” Barcus said. Nothing happened. “Damage Report.” Nothing. He then saw on one of the log display windows: “Unauthorized Command Attempts 2.”  
“Status Report!” The count moved to three. 
“Chen, wake up. I can't fly this thing.” Her faced winced in severe pain. Then her eyes opened. 
“Stu. Activate AI, Emergency. (Gasp) Pilot injured...grant full master control authority to Roland Barcus. Present. All systems.” She winced and fell silent, except for the occasional gasp. Barcus had to hold tight in the weightlessness. 
“Stu. Follow this same trajectory and passive scan the potential crash site. The tactical screen indicates that orbital decay will be in about three orbits. Give me stats on this planet.”  
“Mr. Barcus, it's an E7 class world. It seems to be sparsely populated by humans, with .89 gravity.” He had heard Stu’s voice before. “Temperate climate. If we maintain present course, we will land in a very rocky mountainous region.” 
“Population there?” Barcus asked, looking at the tactical map display. 
“Unable to tell with passive scans only. Little to no population expected. Harsh climate and terrain in that region. Cold temperatures. Estimate, -4 Celsius,” Stu reported. 
“We need to continue to look like debris as we descend. Grav-foils only until we need the engines and even then, thrusters only. Can we wait until we are well within the atmosphere?” Barcus asked the AI. 
“Yes, sir. Our Polycarbon hull can withstand unpowered re-entry temps easily.” The computer was calm. 
“Find a nice ledge in those mountains and set us down, Stu. Grav-foils only.” He began unstrapping Chen. 
“Chen.” He said. She winced as Barcus moved her. “This shuttle has a med bay. Stu. Stop all tumble. I need free fall in here.” Moments later, the tumble sense was gone. He drifted gently down to the lower level and into the infirmary with Chen. The med bay was the dominant feature at this end to the front of the hold. 
The door slid closed behind them as Barcus set her on the scanning table still in her spacesuit. Drops of blood drifted everywhere. A vacuum sound began emitting from the table and the floor while a fluids-elimination unit kicked on. The blood was sucked down to collectors. The midsection of Chen’s suit was shredded. The unit scanned her and confirmed that her injuries were beyond the abilities of the auto-doc.  
Barcus felt his weight begin to return as the Grav-foils activated in preparation for landing when the ship entered the atmosphere.   
If they were being tracked, now was when their deceleration would be noticed.  
“Chen. Wake up. What do I do?”

E. McNew, Author of Long Blue Line

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E. McNew is the author of Long Blue Line, a memoir about planned teen pregnancy.

Describe your book in a few sentences.
This is a memoir of my life from ages 14-22. It descriptively and honestly narrates the consequences that I faced after my planned teenage pregnancy became a reality. My childhood was suddenly gone, and I unknowingly stepped into a life of loss, grief, guilt, substance abuse, domestic violence and so much more.

Who do you think would most benefit from reading your memoir?
Any person who has struggled with guilt, substance abuse, losing children to the system, and other hardships will find inspiration from this story, and my hope is that it can offer other strength in knowing that they are never alone.

Additionally, my memoir can benefit any person who wants an insider’s look into teen pregnancy and other issues, including parents, grandparents, teenagers, or any person just wanting to read a good book.

Many readers have had a powerful, emotional experience reading your book and say it is a story that needs to be told. Why do you think people have responded so strongly to your book?
I think that because my story is so dynamic there are many level of trials in life that many - if not most all people can relate to in one way or another. The book sparks an emotion that really takes you back to yourself as a kid, and the well-intentioned yet unrealistic ideas that came to mind as we tried to find ourselves.

Although most of the responses to your book have been positive, a few have criticized you for the bad decisions (drug abuse, etc) you describe in your book. What was the purpose of sharing these incidents with readers?
When I decided that I was going to tell my story by writing a book, I instantly knew that the story could not be told if I were to sugar-coat it. As difficult as it was, I forced myself to take myself back to those days of many, many mistakes and the consequences that followed. I put myself in the same frame of mind that I was in, writing down my every thought that I had as the events were unfolding. I did this to give myself a better understanding of my choices that were made, as well as offer others the same understanding that addiction can and will change a person overnight.

The book is not meant to “redeem” myself for my choices. That simply can’t happen and I will not force it. The book is meant to spread awareness through education. And hopefully, prevent others from making the same mistakes.

In your book, you chronicle a dark period of your life, involving addiction, jail, and other challenges. How is your life today compared to what you describe in the book?
Although my current life is not in the book, I will be writing a sequel in the upcoming months. My life today is lived with purpose. I live with compassion, and I rarely judge others regardless of their own hardships. I live every day being grateful for what I do have, and I try to never take advantage of that. I’ve been blessed with a new family and a safe home, and beautiful two year old daughter who I treasure every minute of every day.

You’ve made a dramatic transition, from struggling with addiction and being in jail to being a successful author and entrepreneur. What inspired you to put your old life behind you?
I’ve realized that if I ever do get a chance to see my girls again, it will probably be my only opportunity to allow them to form their own opinions and feelings of me. I have no choice but to work hard each day to become the best person that I can be and live as an example for others. If I do not do this, it would only be a selfish and disrespectful way of life and wouldn’t show my girls how much I love them and want to be in their lives. Actions are really what speak, much more beyond words.

One of the themes in the book is that being a parent is a huge responsibility and rushing into it can have disastrous consequences. Why do you think teen pregnancy continues to be such a large problem in America?
I believe that society in general has formed guidelines, or a specific way to live by. Society tells us from a very young age what we are “supposed” to do. We are “supposed” to go to college, we are “supposed” to get married and have kids, we are “supposed” to work 40 hours a week. This is giving kids the impression that their personal happiness is only going to come from what we are “supposed” to be doing. I think that this is the core of where the teen pregnancy issue exists. If our parents, teachers and other examples were able to put an emphasis on allowing kids to explore and find their identities in less of a “by-the-number” way, our future generations could become full of amazing, talented and happy young adults. There needs to be more art, music, and creative programs available for every child to participate in. By helping children find their passion early in life, they are going to be enabled to chase their dreams and live their purpose right away. The void of boredom, curiosity and even depression would be replaced with who they are and what they love about life.

How do you hope your book impacts readers?
I hope that my book will ultimately soften them. I hope it will educate them, help them to become less judgmental and motivate them to help themselves or others in a productive, yet compassionate way. Anger, judging and criticizing people, and stereotyping people into “statistics” will never change the sad realities that many people live in. It’s not going to improve the future for our children and grandchildren, unless we allow ourselves to become open-minded, compassionate and productive members of society.

At the end of the book, you share a bit about your current life and your children, but many readers still have a lot of questions. Do you plan to write a sequel to your book?
I do! The sequel is going to mainly cover the positive elements that have led me to my life today, which is certainly a life worth living!

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?

I’d like readers to go into this with an open mind and the primary goal of educating themselves. They should know that there are parts that will probably spark emotion, and maybe even anger. But, if the book is able to do this, it means that it must be one worth reading as it connects with you on a level beyond just reading a story.

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