Thursday, May 30, 2019

The Yummy Adventures of Celia and Cedric

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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!

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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.

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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 ( 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. (

Relevant Links

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

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

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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?

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

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?

What are some things clients should keep in mind when choosing a boutique showroom to work with?
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?

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"