Monday, July 15, 2019

Interview with Tutor Liesl Johnson

liesl johnson, word a day, vocabulary website, transience templeWe are sharing our favorite inspiring interviews from the past. This interview is from 2015; it features Liesl Johnson who is a self-employed private tutor as well as the founder of a word-a-day vocabulary email subscription, called Make Your Point.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
As a private tutor, I teach reading and writing to students one-on-one in their homes, and I love it! I’m always hauling in piles of books to recommend to kids and teens and helping them find topics that excite them to write about. Overall, my goal is to help each student I work with become an accurate, fast reader and a fluent, expert writer.  My favorite thing to teach is vocabulary, because you can always play games to review the words, and kids and teens are so proud of themselves when they use their new words.

Describe your vocabulary email subscription, Make Your Point, for readers unfamiliar with it.
Make Your Point is a fairly new project: it launched on January 1st of this year. It’s a free, daily email that goes out to anyone who wants it, and each email teaches you a useful, sophisticated word. The readers so far have told me that it takes about five minutes to work through each issue, and they’re happy with how I make the definitions really easy to understand.

Who is your target audience?
That’s interesting, actually! The target audience is practically everybody in the English-speaking world. My youngest reader is less than five years old. She’s highly precocious and is homeschooled by her mom. There are lots of ambitious, college-bound students who use Make Your Point to study. But I think most of the subscribers are just regular adults who care about being precise and colorful in their word choice, and they like to be reminded of nifty words that they knew before but have forgotten about. The oldest subscriber I know personally is a poet in her sixties who has sworn to never stop learning new things.

What inspired you to start a daily vocabulary email subscription?

Thank you for asking this! Ha ha. This is really important to me. Okay, two reasons: first, there are already several other word-a-day email services available, but I wanted to improve on them.  As a vocabulary teacher, I’m kinda critical of them. They tend to focus on really random words that you won’t be able to use in daily conversation—words like “perfervid” and “livery”—and they all just give some quick information about the word without actually teaching it to you. I felt like I could create a word-a-day email that would offer both practicality and research-based instruction. (My undergraduate degree is in English education, and my master’s is in educational psychology.) So basically, Make Your Point was created to help kids and adults focus on useful words and learn them well. 

And then the other reason I was inspired to create Make Your Point is that I love, love, love teaching vocabulary and I’m nerdy enough to want to gather up all the words worthy of being learned and share them with anybody who’s interested. The format and content of each issue are the result of about ten years of experience in teaching vocabulary.

So, what information do you include in your daily vocabulary emails besides just the word and definition?
So there’s that, of course, and the definition is always phrased in really plain language (as opposed to being reported straight from the dictionary.) Then you have:

•    The part of speech, with an explanation of how that helps us put the word into a phrase

•    Related forms (like “jerry-build,” “jerry-building,” and “jerry-builder”)

•    How to use it: the right phrases and sentence patterns

•    Two real-life, true, contextual examples

•    A prompt for you to explain the meaning in your own words without saying certain key words from the definition. (It forces you to think about the meaning of the word instead of just memorizing the definition!)

•    A template for making your own sentence with the word to describe something from your life, along with another example sentence in that template

•    A quick word game and a quote to ponder. These distract you for a moment so that when you try the upcoming review questions, you’ve temporarily forgotten about the word’s definition, and you have to call it to mind on your own. That strengthens your ability to remember the word.

•    Two review questions that get you thinking about the word

•    Answers to those questions

In addition to reading the daily vocabulary emails, do you have any other suggestions for people looking to expand their vocabulary?
Sure! Read, read, read. Read novels that take place in the 1800s when people did nothing but sit around trying to be witty. Read blogs and magazines about topics you know nothing about. Read the editorials and the reviews in the paper, because when those writers get mad, they spit out incredible words. And turn on the English subtitles every time you watch TV or Netflix and read what you’ve been missing.

Were you always interested in new words or is it something that developed through your education?
Always! One of my sharpest memories from elementary school was when I used the word “tangible” in class and my teacher, Mr. Cleek, let me share with the other kids what it meant. OMG, I was so happy. And to the other girls at my summer camp, I was that weird one who went everywhere with a copy of Kaplan’s Word Power, commented on people’s “exorbitant” canoeing skills.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Anyone who wants to get the vocabulary emails can sign up at www.HiloTutor.com/myp.html. And anyone who wants to nerd it up and chat about their favorite words can email me at Liesl@HiloTutor.com. Thanks so much!
Relevant Links

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

An Interview with Author A.S. Chung

as chung, a brand new day, diverse books, diverse children's book
We are sharing inspiring interviews from the past! This interview, from 2015, features A.S. Chung -- the author of the children's picture book, A Brand New Day – A Banana Split Story.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a mother of a young toddler with a very normal professional career in the service industry. The writing component of my personal career, whilst was always prevalent, didn’t become a reality until later on in life. A recent divorce sparked my need to put pen on paper as both an outlet for getting through difficult times and also borne out of a need that I found was lacking (see below for further details).

Apart from writing, I am a regular suburban mum with a great love for photography, travelling, event management and spending lots of time socially with my close friends. 
 
Describe your new children’s book in a few sentences.
A Brand New Day deals with the topic of divorce, without ever actually mentioning it. It details the life of a little girl who has to split her time between her parents throughout the week and during school holidays. The book highlights all the special things she does with each individual parent and how love can still provide the child with a very loving and engaging life, without the dramas of poor co-parenting. Essentially, the book is designed to highlight the positive, to give the child hope that the future can be bright.
 
Who do you think would most appreciate this book?
A Brand New Day is written for three groups of audiences. Of course, its primary audience is the young reader who is going through divorce. The beautiful illustrations and loving words are meant to sooth the pain and anxieties that come with it.

The book is also for the parent. A way to communicate what life could potentially be like. It doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. Sometimes it’s hard for the parent to paint a pretty picture at the end of it all whilst going through a divorce. This is just to aid that process.

Lastly, the book is also a resource for families and friends of divorce. I know that my circle of friends at the time, who also have very young children, had great difficulty explaining divorce when their families were perfectly fine! It made for a challenging conversation and I thought perhaps this book could help them understand it a little more.
 
What inspired you to write a children’s book that helps children learn how to cope with life’s challenges?
I was unable to find written resources for my then 4 year old daughter about divorce. In particular, I was looking for positive children’s picture books about the subject matter. In its absence, I was inspired to create Pigeonhole Books, which is a gentle resource to deal with life’s challenges. It was a way for me to communicate with my daughter and show her that life continues despite initial difficulties.

I have a great desire to preach positive messages and the importance of love and family to young children. Therefore, Pigeonhole Books is a project very close to my heart. Apart from the topic of divorce, Pigeonhole Books also deals with same-sex, blended and multiracial families.
 
Did you do the illustrations for the book? What goals did you want to accomplish with the illustrations?
I commissioned illustrator Paula Bossio for A Brand New Day. I was very open to how she would interpret the book and I didn’t want to restrict her style by giving too many boundaries to work with.  Paula has an incredible knack for turning my words into beautiful illustrations. For this book, I hardly even made any changes. It was perfect from the start to the end!

Ultimately, I wanted the illustrations to be lovely and beautiful, understated and not boisterous and most importantly to convey a positive outlook.
 
In addition to being an author, you’re a parent. How has your daughter responded to A Brand New Day?
When I first introduced the book to her, I didn’t tell her I had written it, let alone written it for her. By the time the book had been published, she had already gone through a year of co-parenting.

This is the second book I had done so upon finishing, she had an inkling I had written it and she asked me if it was about her. She laughed at all the right spots, pointed to scenarios which she could relate to and instantly asked me to read it again. A year down the track, she still requests that we read it together, except, now she reads it to me.
 
Are there any children’s book authors who have influenced your writing style?
I read a lot of books when I was a child, mainly all the classics. No one author influenced my style but they all in their own way showed me that I am only limited by my imagination. My style is my own and my writing reflects my message and in the tone I wish to convey it in.
 
Can you tell us a bit about the creative process of creating A Brand New Day, from the initial idea to the finished book?
I wish I had a great story to tell about the process or a sudden epiphany I had which led me to write A Brand New Day. Truth be told, I had a bad day with my daughter’s father. I ended the day completely dejected, tired and just plain miserable. I was ever so worried about my daughter and how we had changed her life forever.

I turned on the computer, opened a blank word document and just started typing. Two things startled me when I finished it in a matter for 30 minutes. There was an actual story, from start to finish, not just random words on a paper and also that I had written it in rhyme! Within the next 2 weeks, I had written another 4 manuscripts. Of course, since the first draft, I have edited the manuscript a million times.
 
What do you have in mind for your next project?
I am in the midst of having my next book illustrated. It is entitled Wishful Wedding and is the first book in the Pocketful of Pride series. This collection features stories about children from families with same-sex parents and marriage equality. 

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?
This book is not simply a children’s picture book to be enjoyed by all. It is a divorce resource. It is designed to help children and families alike. It is also about publishing diverse books. We don’t have enough of those!

Banana rhymes with my daughter’s name and is her adorable little nickname. Divorce is such a grown up, ugly, real word. To be honest, split isn’t much better but coupled with banana, it made for a cute series title! 

Relevant Links
Where To Purchase A Brand New Day
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository

Friday, July 5, 2019

An Interview with the Author of DESTINY

destiny, cornerstone deep, charlene a. wilson, fantasy romance novel

We are sharing our favorite past interviews! This interview, from 2015, features Charlene A. Wilson -- the author of the sci-fi/fantasy romance novel Destiny, book 3 in the Cornerstone Deep series.

Describe the plot of Destiny in a few sentences.
Destiny is the third book in the Cornerstone Deep series...

Angels, Gods, High Ones… Could anything else find its way into the prophecy caused by their father, Sylis Shilo, the renowned realm traveler? Vincent understands there were things in his father’s work he wasn’t privy to simply because his soul was too young, but how could this be kept a secret from even his brothers? The more he learns, the more he’s glad he hadn’t known.

The sentinels of Cornerstone Deep are in for their most difficult challenge yet. The portal to the Spectrum of the Realms must be sealed, and punishments must be carried out. Will the Gods take all that is dear to Vincent, James, and Cole Shilo?

In this book, Vincent discovers some of the things his father kept secret. Without giving too much away, how does his discovery impact his view of his father?
The Shilo brothers find that their father, Sylis, the renowned realm traveler, kept many secrets. It absolutely bashes the image of a loving parent seeking to do good in the name of humanity. In fact, Vincent is sickened by his father’s deceit. And now because of what he had done, the brothers must pick up the pieces in a foreign realm.

Vincent, James, and Cole have a very unique relationship with each other. Were you inspired by siblings you’ve met?

These three didn’t come from a pattern of siblings. This series developed around a dream I had long ago. The three “reapers” in the dream turned out to be my heroes in the story. How odd is that?

Who was your favorite character to write in Destiny?
I love all my characters but in Destiny I got to focus more on Vincent’s wife, Elaina, than in any of the other books. She’s sweet as they come, na├»ve, and discovers while prayers are answered, it might not turn out as we expect it to. Also, we have a new character in Destiny, the boys’ Uncle Rhune. He was a hoot to write. Bigger than life and charismatic, Rhune drags up much of the information the guys wish they didn’t need to know about.

Cornerstone Deep is a series that blends elements from sci-fi, fantasy, and romance. Do you try to keep these elements in balance or do you just let the story flow organically?
In this story, the elements blend naturally. I didn’t need to concentrate on making them level. It’s their world, it’s how things are. Magic, dimensions, rebirth, and soul mates are just part of it all. Oh and we can’t forget those Gods!

A fan said that Echoes, book 2 of the series, leaves the reader “reeling from the mind-blowing revelations and truly surprising twists of fate.”

Can fans expect the same level of twists and turns in Destiny?
Oh, yes! There are many twists that the Shilos face in Destiny and they’ll find this book fast paced… so don’t expect many potty breaks. (wink)

Do you think you’ve evolved as a writer since you started the series?
Yes, I think we all evolve as we learn and apply what it to our writing.

How do you feel about the increasing popularity of ebooks?
I think it’s a wonderful way to share our books. March on progress!

What are your goals as a writer for the next ten years?
I would love to have the rest of my other series, Aumelan, published. Also the next series that takes off from Cornerstone Deep, Midway Summit. Those are my base goals. I have several others waiting on the sidelines to see publication.

Have your family and friends been supportive of your writing?
The have been wonderful! My daughters are proud to have an author mom. And with Aumelan now on the market, they get to have that series in their school library.

Have you ever had writer's block?
Sometimes I just need to take some time off to regroup. So when writer’s block hits, I go to my bookshelf and choose a nice book to get lost in. It helps free my imagination!

What do you have in mind for your next writing project?
Book two of my Aumelan series is written and in terrible need of revision. It’s a monster of a job I’m facing with that one, so it will be the one I spear head next.

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?
Destiny is the third book in the Cornerstone Deep series. This series is best read sequentially. If you enjoy magic, true love, heroes that fight for the one they love at all cost, angels, Gods, rebirth, soul mates and… well… hot guys, there you have it. Enjoy!

Relevant Links

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

The Forsaken Queen - Interview with the Author

forsaken queen, paul james nolan, paul nolan, castle book, castle mystery, castle adventure
We are sharing some of favorite inspiring interviews from the past. This is an interview from 2015 with Paul James Nolan the author of the historical fiction/adventure novel The Forsaken Queen.
 
Tell us a bit about yourself:
I’m half part teacher and half part writer, living near Winchester, UK. For years, I have enjoyed reading books to my classes and own children, often changing the endings when I prefer my own. I have a real passion for history: the little free time I have I spend visiting historical buildings, reading historical books and watching historical dramas. You could say (and some do) that I spend more time in the past than in the present!

I have also written a couple of school plays (with historical links of course) that can be purchased at www.easyprimaryschoolplays.com.

Describe the plot of your new book in a few sentences.

A security guard at Hampton Court is badly injured. No-one believes his account of being attacked by a ghost except three school-children, each of them avid historians. A school visit to the Tudor palace provides the children with the opportunity to investigate but what they find there is far greater than any of them could have imagined. Their discovery sets in motion a chain of events that takes them into the deepest recesses of some of England’s greatest castles. They find a Queen Forsaken; only their bravery and determination can redeem her.

Who do you think would most appreciate The Forsaken Queen?

The book will appeal to anyone who loves a good adventure or mystery and anyone who likes to be scared (a little).  If readers enjoy deepening their understanding of the past, then they will like it all the better. I wrote the book with the 11+ market in mind but adults have really taken to it too!

What inspired you to write a book about someone who searches the Great Castles of London and discovers the truth isn’t what he thought it would be?

I took a group of schoolchildren to Hampton Court. There, in the chapel, an attendant told us the amazing story that the heart of Jane Seymour (Henry VIII’s 3rd wife) is buried beneath the chapel. We weren’t sure whether to believe him but at that moment, a story was born.

Tell us a bit about the protagonist, Henry Taylor.
Things aren’t going so well for Henry. He’s being bullied at school by Maddisson Manners and her moronic mob; singled out for being a loner and a book worm. The fact that he lives with his father above their little historical bookshop doesn’t help either. He sees so little of his father who spends most of his time reenacting battles in full regalia. He has only one friend of note: Dominique, until that is, a new boy Simeon arrives at school. After his arrival, Henry changes forever. 

How did you do research on the castles that Henry visits?
By visiting them! I have been lucky enough to visit Hampton Court, Windsor Castle and The Tower of London many times. In fact, I have visited Hampton Court so many times, that when I have spoken to the schoolchildren, tourists have mistaken me for a guide and joined our group! Other than that, I have topped up my knowledge by reading a plethora of books and watching countless documentaries. My readers will feel like they are in the castle with the characters.

What are some of the interesting things you discovered while doing research on the castles?

Other than the story about Jane Seymour’s heart, I think the most amazing story has to involve our present Queen, and the vaults of St. George’s chapel at Windsor Castle. The remains of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour are locked away in a vault away from the public. However, when the Queen is hosting dignitaries at the castle, she often takes them for a private tour of the tombs! Isn’t that cool! Of course - this too I have woven into the story!

How long have you been writing?
About 3 years. For years before that I wrote with my classes, modelling stories but I have been writing my own stories for three years. It took nearly two years to write The Forsaken Queen.

How do you think you've evolved as a writer since when you first started?

To begin with, I wrote what I wanted to read but I soon learnt that I have to adapt my own style and control my own preferences to ensure that my writing appeals to as many people as possible. I have also learnt to tone done my descriptions – sometimes a door can be just a door!

Is there any aspect of writing you don't like?

It can be quite lonely – a far cry from teaching a bunch of children! As I write historical fiction, sometimes I am very keen to end the research and just get writing. I usually research the time-period for about 3 months.

What do you have in mind for your next project?
My new book, Demons of Dunkirk is due for released this month (May 2015) to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the heroic evacuation from Northern France in the summer of 1940.  

It’s about a Conscientious Objector from WWI who wants to redeem his tarnished reputation by rescuing stranded soldiers from the beaches. It’s aimed at the teen market and I think it’s a thrilling read.

The book is now available to purchase in many places – give it a Google!
I am currently writing a book set in the Bronze Age. It has a title but I can’t tell you yet!

I also have a sequel in mind for the Forsaken Queen – if there is a strong enough cry for it!

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?
Lots but I’ll keep it short. Life in Henry VIII’s court was precarious; the fortunes of those closest to him changed with the blowing of the wind. The Forsaken Queen explores the real possibility that more than two of his Queens met a deadly end... Have a read and see if you agree!

An excerpt from The Forsaken Queen:
The figure turned: black cloak billowing. The hood stared straight at them. Into them. Through them. Three mouths opened but no words escaped, cold air scraping over their dry throats. Pressed back by fear, the children felt the wood of the door behind them, trapping them. Slowly, the hooded figure slid nearer, bringing forth a lavender wave. Held out in front of her, in black-gloved hand, flickered a taper of light, flame flecks dancing of the marbled floor. Above lamented Tudor Rose pennants, blood drops’ crying upon the children’s socks. Gradually, the gloved-hand retracted, its grip released on the flickering candle. But the flame didn’t fall to the ground, instead it hovered ahead of the figure, its flame growing brighter. Now a second hand joined the first, either side of the hood and slowly they began to part and fall, gradually revealing the face beneath. Breath vacuumed from Henry’s rigid body, squeezed from his motionless mouth, for he instantly recognized the haunting, pale face, staring back at him, through hollowed, deathly eyes. 

Relevant Links

Thursday, May 30, 2019

The Yummy Adventures of Celia and Cedric

celia and cedric, good childrens books, snacks for kids, read & bake

We are sharing some of our favorite interviews from the past. This interview is from 2015. The interview is with Erin Kurt, B.Ed. and Laara Exsnar, B.Ed, RHN who are the authors of The Yummy Adventures of Celia and Cedric.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
My mother and I have joined forces to write these fun, adventurous stories featuring our little characters, Celia and Cedric. Me, a former school teacher, and my mom, a retired school teacher and now nutritionist, have a passion for families, health and yummy food.  We've combined our expertise and created this Read & Bake Series that we hope will bring families continuous hours of fun and enjoyment!

Describe your new children’s book series in a few sentences.
This NEW, unique children’s book series links adventure, positive character traits and nutritious snacks for kids. The series is called, The Yummy Adventures of Celia and Cedric: A Read & Bake Series.

Our endearing characters  go on fun adventures that always have them needing to make or bake a nutritious, delicious snack - which we call Nutrilicious™! The recipe for each snack is provided at the back of the book so kids can re-create the exact recipe with their moms and dads.

Who do you think would most appreciate this series?
We recommend this book series for children aged 3-8.  We’ve tested the books on these ages, both boys and girls, and all just loved them! One reviewer said that these are some of the best pre-school and picture books for children she's seen in a while.  And, a few school teachers have already started to use them in their classrooms. They've shared with us that the children consistently ask for our books. It just thrills us!

celia and cedric, good childrens books, snacks for kids, read & bake
What inspired you and co-author Laara Exsnar to write a series about characters who go on adventures and bake nutritious, delicious snacks?
 After I had my first child, my mother and I were sitting on the sofa chatting and she mentioned she wanted to write a cookbook for kids so she could include all the delicious and nutritious snacks she had compiled over the years.  I told her that it was always my dream to write books for kids too.

After chatting for a while I remembered that when I was a school teacher I used to take any book that had food within the storyline and find a recipe to match it.  Then I’d turn the making of that recipe into different extension activities for the children, whether it be Math, Science or Health.  At the end of the school year, my students would often mention that one of their favourite memories of our year together was the making of those yummy recipes.

After remembering this, I had a light bulb moment and said, “Mom, what if we create our own children’s book series where we have two friends going on adventures and always needing to make or bake something based on that adventure.  She loved the idea.

Right then and there we brainstormed the adventures and matched one of her snack recipes to suit. I still have that brainstorming sheet!

Each of your books includes a recipe for a snack the characters enjoy so kids can re-create the snacks with their parents. How did you come up with the recipes? 
Mom has literally been making and baking yummy, nutritious food since I was young.  The Dirt Balls, featured in the Book Eat Dirt Balls, for instance was something she made when I was a child.  Mom is a kid at heart, so she is constantly emailing me a new snack recipe she developed.  In fact, just the other day I received a new cookie recipe from her!

Is there a recipe that you’re particularly fond of?
Well, the Dirt Balls are something I make on a regular basis, which my kids also love.  However they often ask for the Green Dragon Drink and I love that as well.  It makes me feel wonderful and it also comforts me when I see my kids drinking it and getting all those incredible nutrients!  That being said, mom's cookie recipe, which we MUST write a future story about is my absolute favourite.  I will make a quick batch of these after dinner and by bedtime they're usually all gone.  They are THAT good - but also healthy!

Do you have a favorite character to write?
Mom's very drawn to Celia. And for some reason I'm drawn to Cedric - but both feel like our own children.  We adore them!

Are there any children’s book authors who have influenced your writing style?
Because my specialty as a school teacher was Literacy, I read loads of books.  Actually my favourite thing to do is read stories to children.  So, I've been influenced by loads of authors.  As well, I have seen what kinds of stories my students and children tended to request over and over again.  If I had to mention a few though, I'd say, Paulette Bourgeois, writer of the Franklin series, Robert Munsch, and C.S. Lewis.

Can you tell us a bit about the creative process of creating this book, from the initial idea to the finished book?
Mom and I usually decide which recipe we want to focus on then we discuss what kind of situation our characters would have to be in in order to make or bake it.  We go back and forth with a couple of ideas and then I usually write the story and send it to her to add her ideas.  Mom has such a playful connection to kids, so she always has great ideas to add.

celia and cedric, good childrens books, snacks for kids, read & bake
How many books are planned in the series? How far along are you with them?
We plan to write and release continuously as we have so many recipes and cute story ideas to share.  Currently, we have brainstormed 20 stories, so we'll be going for a good while.

We decided to launch the series with 3 books.  It just didn't feel right to us, to offer 1 and then make kids wait for more.  We wanted them to love the first one and have immediate access to more.  These three will keep them busy for a while, but we'll soon be working on the 4th book, which we hope to release at the end of this year.

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?
We want the lives of kids and parents to be enriched by these books, so we plan to send them surprises on a consistent basis.  For example, we already have downloadable activity sheets on our website (http://www.celiaandcedric.com) that are based on the books.  So, not only can parents and children read the books and bake together, but they can also continue bonding with these fun and educational activity sheets!

Mom and I have also filmed ourselves making or baking some of the recipes and plan to do a whole lot more.  My kids are excited to get in on the action too,  so they want to help me make a video, and I also plan to send audios and videos of me reading the stories, since this is something I so enjoy doing.

To get all of these extra surprises parents just have to enter their name and email address at the top of our website. (http://www.celiaandcedric.com)

Relevant Links

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Tasha Waller, Author of "When The Stones Fell I Picked Up A Rock: Soul Trauma."

stones fell book, soul trauma, overcoming pain, wrongful conviction book, when the stones fell, tasha waller, influential book, god is my rock, spiritual rock, overcoming your trauma, life coach book
Tasha Waller is the author of an inspirational book, titled "When The Stones Fell I Picked Up A Rock: Soul Trauma."

Tell us a bit about your background.
I am a mother of two, a Christian that loves God. I was a preschool teacher for 12 yrs. I'm currently a blogger and a Life Coach.

Describe your book, “When The Stones Fell I Picked Up A Rock: Soul Trauma,” for readers unfamiliar with your work.
My book is an an inspirational book that was written to help others overcome their fears and trauma from what I have experienced from childhood to adulthood. The stones that were supposed to break me actually made me because I held on to my rock (God).

Who do you think would most appreciate “When The Stones Fell I Picked Up A Rock: Soul Trauma”?
I feel like anyone that has experienced any pain, suffering, and unfortunate trauma. They may not know how to overcome. They may get the knowledge through this story to give them the courage to speak up and speak out.

What inspired you to write a book about facing adversity and overcoming it?
Having experienced domestic violence, molestation, and wrongful conviction and seeing numbers of incidents increasing. I believe by myself coming out and giving my testimonies. Others will have the courage to come out fearlessly.

“When The Stones Fell I Picked Up A Rock: Soul Trauma” includes you exploring a lot of sensitive topics, such as domestic violence and wrongful conviction. Was it hard to revisit these topics in your book?
No, writing is my form of expressive therapy. It helped me heal emotionally as I was writing. I was bought all the way back from my childhood to my adulthood memories that I overlooked for so long.

In the book, you write about transforming your mind while enduring the storms. How did the you find the strength and power to do this?
She had to find God which is her rock in order to gain the necessary strength to be healed and overcome her trauma.

How long have you been writing and working on books?
Two years.

Can you tell us what is your favorite book and why?
“When the Stones Fell I Picked Up a Rock.” It is my favorite book I have written because I have overcome my fears and trauma by my testimonies.

What genre do you read most often?
Nonfiction.

How have your readers responded to the book?
Many are inspired and eager to read it.

Is there any aspect of writing you don’t enjoy?
The challenging part of writing is usually the ending/closing.

What do you have in mind for your book?
I'm currently working on multiple titles.

Is there anything else you'd like readers to know about your “When The Stones Fell I Picked Up A Rock: Soul Trauma”?
This book is not just an ordinary book; this is a picture frame of my life's timeline of what I had to stand through when the storms got rough. Without God, this book would not have been possible. At one point in my life every trauma I had experienced I bottled it up in Shame and lived secretly suffering inside, and now I finally have to courage to let it out and be free and made whole. I now live in my true Identity.

Additional Information
Get your copy of "When the Stones Fell I Picked Up a Rock: Soul Trauma."

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Christina Sanders, Author of My Little Travel Black Book

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Christina Sanders is the author of "My Little Travel Black Book: The Ultimate Guide of Travel Tips to Show You How You Can Travel Where You Want to and When You Want Without Breaking the Bank.” 

Describe the purpose of your book, “My Little Travel Black Book,” in a few sentences.
The Ultimate Guide of Travel Tips shows people how to save on travel.  It also includes other helpful travel tips and resources to create a better travel experience.

Who do you think readers would most appreciate this book?
The details and the various ideas that can be used to save money on travel. The compilation copy is the best because not only does it speak to various traveler types (solo, couples, families, groups, and business/entrepreneurs), any strategy regardless of the target audience can be customized to fit the needs of any individual’s travel goals.

What inspired you to write a book about travelling without breaking the bank?
It came from a personal experience and desire to travel but I was also on a very tight budget.  So I did a lot of research and figured out strategies, identified apps and other tools to help me to achieve that goal.

What was the most interesting thing you uncovered while doing research for the book?
That it is possible to not have to spend a lot on travel.  The new economy or travel ecosystem has created options for people to easily plan, compare trip prices, reduce lodging expenses, and practically create a dream tip without having to wait until retirement to enjoy it.

Did writing the book take you to unexpected places or reveal things you hadn’t thought about before?
Honestly, I had so much more to include in the book but I had to start eliminating the extra details and use it for another purpose.  The greatest thing that I discovered from this process is there is a plethora of tools and resources available for an individual’s specific need.
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Travel author Christina Sanders.

In your book, you write a lot about websites and apps that are helpful for travel. How important is technology for the modern traveler on a budget?
Apps and websites can save the day.  Say for instance, a traveler is on a trip and they have issues with lodging or rental car services.  There are alternative options that are available at the touch of one’s fingertips (via an app) that they are able to request at a lower rate.  Also, you can use apps and websites at any given time.

What do you think are some common mistakes people make when traveling for the first time?
Not properly planning, which also includes extensive or in-depth research about the destination they are traveling to, language barriers, foreign/currency exchange rates (if international).

What was the most challenging aspect of writing the book?
Finishing it.  I felt like I had a never ending story and I wanted to make sure that I included valuable information for the readers.

What do you hope readers will gain from reading your book?
Ultimately, to go away with having the right tools, ideas, and research in hand to apply to their needs and save $$$.

How have readers responded to your book so far?
Some have personally reached out to me to let me know that they love it.

Outside of your book, are there any travel books or websites that you recommend to first-time travelers?
Google Flights - I believe that it is one of the leading websites for finding great travel deals.  It has things such as predictive pricing and you can also identify the best and cost effective times to travel.

What do you have in mind for your next writing project?
I am looking to create a student guide for travel as well as break my compilation copy out into mini books, which was the original plan.  Those mini books will be for solo travelers, couples, families, groups, and business travelers.

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?
Go Get It, so that you can learn the strategies to save money for your travel whether you travel for business or for leisure.

Additional Information
www.mytravelblackbooks.com
www.brilliantwanderer.com
instagram.com/brilliantwanderer
instagram.com/christinasanders2911
twitter.com/brilliantwander

Thursday, May 23, 2019

JAANTE, a multi-brand fashion showroom located in Belgium and in Switzerland

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Today we are speaking with Sonia about JAANTE, a multi-brand fashion showroom located in Belgium and in Switzerland, showcasing and representing Premium Ethical & Sustainable brands and Top emerging designers.

What sets JAANTE apart from other boutique showrooms?
JAANTE | Multi-brand fashion showroom concept (Agentuur) and Communication agency located in Belgium and in Switzerland specialized on top emerging designers luxury sustainable labels, and premium brands, connecting them with international buyers, boutiques, celebrities and editorial placements.

Working with ethical & sustainable brands is a big part of JAANTE’s business. Why is this important for the consumer?
Our founder, Julie Atenda wanted to create a new concept that encompasses two markets: the brands/buyers (B2B) and the consumer (B2C). For the designers and the brands, JAANTE represents a creative community of remarkable talent and for the consumers; it is a premium brand of sustainable. 

The fashion industry is one of the biggest wasteful industry (as the oil industry). There are pesticides that are used on growing cotton, chemicals and dyes used to color clothing, tons of water now contaminated with these foreign bodies, energy that is used to power machines, and landfills that are filled with old clothing. You can never forget about the animals killed for their fur and hide. 

At JAANTE, we care about our planet and we do not ignore these startling facts. And we do not want to represent brands that are more focused on getting as much product to the consumers as possible in the quickest amount of time. Mainly we need to understand the vision and mission of the brand and see if their values fit with our principles. It needs to be a non-massive brand, preference for either sustainable, eco-friendly combining their design, work with the innovation and/or craftsmanship artisanal. 

Here a list of some of the brands that we are representing and actually have within our portfolio – BRINKLEYWOOL, LOLA ANTOINE, TINY INK, VICKEN DERDERIAN, MAREN DESIGNS, TALABAYA, VERAROAD, ROYAL BEAST DESIGN, MONOKROME... Most of the brands that we represent produced their products/clothing in Europe with sustainable.  

Two of our knitwear brands produce outside Europe. Producing in Peru, the Dutch brand GRACIELA HUAM create with Alpaca wool and the other knitwear brand BRINKLEY who uses sheep wool from Lebanon. Both brands produce their clothing handmade by the local artisans using the traditional techniques. In that way, they support their respective local community. 
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One of the great things about JAANTE is it offers fashion from around the world. What are some of the advantages of having this global perspective on fashion?
Besides being Premium labels, the brands that JAANTE represents in the showroom-boutique are sustainable fashion brands. Part of their strengths resides on their brand authenticity through their positive impacts upon the fashion industry and environmental well being. The second, I would say by the ‘awareness’ of the brand as most of them have a high acceptation and perceptions from not only from the fashion consumers but also from the general public. 

JAANTE provides both b2b/b2c platforms. Can you talk a bit about these for people new to the concept?
Fashion Showroom & concept store – a retail and b2b/b2c platform that acts as a PR Agency and showroom boutique representing and showcasing top emerging designers and sustainable luxury brand new and across to the European market.

JAANTE challenge was to create a new brand & showroom concept that could encompass two markets: the DESIGNERS / BRANDS and the CONSUMERS. For the DESIGNERS/BRANDS, JAANTE represents an exclusive community of remarkable talent and for the CONSUMERS; it is a premium brand of fashion.


For the B2B platform, do you use press and social media for promotion?
Yes. 

What are some things clients should keep in mind when choosing a boutique showroom to work with?
PERFECT DESIGNER-MIX
The special feature of JAANTE is that the designers are chosen very selectively, and thus the overall presentation and the image of the showroom is shown at a high level. JAANTE points always to the core of the business and its contact are well selected and maintained with constant contacts with the main buyers whether or not they come from JAANTE or from the trade; they have been always attracted by JAANTE brand awareness.

Our goal is to discover brands not yet known (non-massive) by our customers around the world. We offer consumers premium brands at fair prices comparing brands prices with similar products on the market to ensure we select those that offer fair and reasonable prices.
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What is the most satisfying thing about working with you clients?
JAANTE showcases local and international fashion designers, and is in constant search of emerging talent with a unique style and vision. We aim to discover great brands, not yet known to our customers, from all over the world. 

Premium brands at correct prices. We offer great pieces at great prices, whether full price or discounted. We compare the brands' prices to similar products in the market to ensure we only select those that offer fair and reasonable prices for the products.

Where you can find more about JAANTE?
W: http://www.jaante.com 
IG: http://www.instagram.com/jaante_showroom 

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Julious Fletcher, Author of Lessons from the Human Body

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Julious Fletcher is the author of "Lessons from the Human Body," a self-help book about learning life lessons from the human body.

Tell us about yourself.
I am a professional dancer, actor and model. I have obtained my BFA in Theatre Performance and I have traveled domestically and internationally, teaching children dance and drama as well as performing.  I have worked with children (ages 3-12) for five years in an educational setting.  I am currently pursing my Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a specialization in Expressive Art Therapy, emphasis in Dance Movement Therapy. I have produced short films entitled “Raped” which is a poetic expression that talks about sexual assault victims and “African Americans in Education,” which is a documentary about African-American educators who discussed today’s issues such as segregation, racism, education, and the importance of Black History month. They are posted on my YouTube channel, OnlyJulious. Overall, I am a down-to-earth and comical man.

Describe the purpose of "Lessons from the Human Body" in a few sentences.
It is a holistic book that takes the different human body systems, breaks them down, and analysis them on how they apply to our daily lives.   

Who do you think would most enjoy "Lessons from the Human Body"?
Anyone is in interested in the self-help genre and anyone who desire to heal and grow.

What inspired you to write about the lessons we can learn from the human body?
I would say part of it was because of my degree. One of the sayings in my field is that we should listen to our bodies because it has wisdom in it. I always loved Anatomy and Physiology back in high school; this book helped me combine my Anatomy and Physiology love and my aspiring counseling wisdom together.  

In society as a whole, do you think we are moving closer to or further from being connected with our bodies?
It’s both. Some people are becoming self-aware and becoming connected to themselves and some people are becoming further disconnected from themselves. When people are being connected to themselves, they are being self-full (taking care of themselves in a proper manner); when people are being disconnected, they are being selfish; selfish is a destructive form of self-care. Disconnected people also are focused on superficial things and materialistic things to keep up the appearances, not being the true self. 

One of the topics you talk about in "Lessons from the Human Body" is the relationship between the human circulatory system and the human need to distribute life to others. Can you expand on this for us?
Society does not discuss the balance of self-care and sacrifice enough. In that particular chapter, I talk about how we need to be able to contribute or distribute life to others by giving encouraging words, an act of kindness, listening or being there for people during tough times; however, distributing life to someone should not cause you to be in lack. For example, if someone needs $20 and I don’t have $20 to give, I don’t put myself in debt or in the hole to satisfy someone else’s need. This raise up another chapter which discusses boundaries and letting your “No” be “No.” However, if the need is able to be fulfilled such giving a ride or sitting with them as a form of support during a major doctor visit, that’s contributing life. In today’s society, we have focused so much about ourselves, we don’t consider another person. Then, when a person commits suicide, people feel bad because that person was crying out for help and no one heard him or her. That chapter helps us understand proper life contribution and identifying what is true love. 
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Something you bring up in the book is whether people are willing to learn the lessons of the human body. What do you think makes some people resistant to learning these lessons?
Lessons are: confronting negative emotions such as fear, denial, shame and guilt; understanding the root of mental illness, which come from trauma and/or historical pathology; confronting the excuses (or lies) we tell ourselves of why we are not being productive in our talents, gifts and skills; identifying healthy/unhealthy relationships and having the strength to leave unhealthy relationships.

What was the most interesting thing you uncovered while doing research for "Lessons from the Human Body"?
All of it was fascinating to me; I think the most interesting thing was my personal experience about misalignments. Misalignments are not only the improper adjustment in our backs but we can have a misalignment within our true selves and because we are misaligned within ourselves, then we connect to people, things or organizations that do not connect with our authentic self. It takes a moment of honesty and self-worth to understand our alignments. 

Did writing "Lessons from the Human Body" take you to unexpected places or reveal things you hadn’t thought about before?
It really did! It caused me to go within myself for healing as well. While I was writing this book, I became disappointed with someone and later that day, I found out my uncle died. In the midst of my hurt, I knew my uncle would have wanted me to move forward. When I went to work on the book, I was on the section where I talked about dealing with disappointment and grief. So, it helped me heal in certain areas of my life as well. 

Can you tell us a bit about your writing process?
Once I received the inspiration (or the idea), I draft out an outline of the chapters and topics within the chapters. Then it becomes writing my thoughts and researching on those topics. If I get hit a road block and inspiration is not flowing, then I take a break for however long it takes.  Once I have relaxed, I go back, review and pick up where I left off. If it is still something that is flowing, I move to other section of the book.   

How do you think reading "Lessons from the Human Body" will impact people?
It would encourage people change their way of thinking and it would challenge the review any lies that were said to them. It would cause people to come into a place of healing.  

What do you have in mind for your next writing project?
Right now, I am in between book projects. I am currently planning and working on some short film scripts. 

Is there anything else you'd like potential readers to know about your book?
I want you to read with an open heart and mind. I want you to have an expectation for healing. Most importantly, I want you to trust the process, which means be patient with yourself and take your time. 

Additional Information
Follow Julious Fletcher on Twitter
Watch Julious Fletcher on Youtube
Buy the paperback version of "Lessons from the Human Body"
Buy the Kindle version of "Lessons from the Human Body"

Friday, February 1, 2019

Caldric Blackwell, Author of The Sacred Artifact

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Caldric Blackwell is the author of the middle-grade novel "The Sacred Artifact," the second and final book in the Young Alchemist series.

Describe your new middle grade fantasy novel, The Sacred Artifact.
“The Sacred Artifact” follows fourteen-year-old alchemy student Craig Pike, his teacher, and a witty archer, named Audrey Clife, as they journey to the birthplace of alchemy to unravel the secret of an alchemical artifact. Their journey takes them to dangerous-yet-mystical lands where they realize the artifact has more powerful than anticipated, and they aren’t the only ones seeking to discover its secrets.

Who would enjoy “The Sacred Artifact”? Or the Young Alchemist series in general?
Anyone who enjoys a good middle-grade novel will enjoy the series. It’s aimed at ages ten to fourteen, although younger and older readers can certainly enjoy it. There’s plenty of fantasy, action, adventure, and mystery in the series. Additionally, the cast of characters have some interesting dynamics.

How was the experience of writing “The Sacred Artifact” different from writing the first book in the series, “The Missing Alchemist”? 
Well, it was different in a number of ways as well as similar in a number of ways. In “The Missing Alchemist,” I introduced readers to Craig Pike and Audrey Clife and the world they live in. In “The Sacred Artifact,” readers are already familiar with the protagonists, so I could focus more on developing the world and introducing a cast of new exciting characters. Readers also get the opportunity to learn more about the history of alchemy and even see where Cornelius, the famous alchemist in book one, trained … and meet his teacher! 

With any sequel, there’s the risk that you’ll lose the magic of the first book, particularly among die-hard fans. Was that a concern of yours? 
There’s always that possibility in sequels. A lot musicians face the same thing. People say, “The old stuff was better.” I didn’t write the second book really worried about it, though. All the magic of “The Missing Alchemist” I carried into “The Sacred Artifact.” I just made it bigger. You get to know Craig and Audrey even more. You get to see more of the world. And a lot of the questions raised in the first book get answered. Plus, there’s even more action, adventure, and cool places, as well as some really interesting new places.

In “The Missing Alchemist,” readers got a taste of alchemy. Is there more alchemy in this book?
Absolutely. Readers get to see the birthplace of alchemy itself and are introduced to more alchemists. Additionally, a lot more of the mechanics of alchemy are explained. In “The Missing Alchemist,” Craig was still very green in his experience with alchemy. In “The Sacred Artifact,” the reader gets to follow as Craig progresses with his alchemy training, including learning about metallurgy. There’s even some chemistry stuff in there.

Are there any new characters you enjoyed writing?
Yes! Quite a few actually. One of the things I enjoyed about this book was really expanding the cast of characters. There’s a character named Captain Charla. She’s a boisterous, no-nonsense captain of charter boat in a swamp region. She has a great sense of humor, so it was fun trying to capture her for the reader.

Another character I enjoyed writing is Quintus. He’s a wise, ancient alchemist who actually taught Cornelius. He’s very reserved and contemplative, and it was a nice challenge trying to relay this in his dialogue. He plays an important role in the plot, so I wanted to do him justice.

Did you have any goals for this book?
I had a few. I wanted the readers to get more experience with the characters they loved in the first book. I wanted to expand Craig and Audrey’s world, and I wanted to flesh out more of the alchemy history hinted at in the first book. And of course, as the final book in the series, I wanted to ensure readers had closure when they finished. Most importantly, though, I wanted to write a fun, enthralling book that really stimulates the reader’s imagination.

Speaking of it being the final book in the series, what was the experience like writing the last line?
Good question! I experienced a mixture of emotions. Although the series isn’t very long, I’d spent years with the characters by the time I finished it. So in a sense, there was some sadness seeing the story coming to an end, and there was some nostalgia remembering when I first started the series. There was also a sense of joy and satisfaction. I feel I really did the characters and the story justice, and I am excited to have the opportunity to share it with the readers.

What do you have in mind for your next project?
I’m currently working on a young adult book. I don’t want to say too much about it right now, but it’s quite different from my other projects.

Anything else you want to tell potential readers?
Anyone interested in learning more about The Sacred Artifact or any of my other books can find more information at www.caldricblackwell.com.

More Information
Visit the author's website
Follow the author on Twitter
Find the author on Facebook
Buy "The Sacred Artifact" on Amazon