Interview with Diana Raab, author of poetry collection ‘Lust’

Diana RaabDiana Raab, Ph.D. is an award-winning poet, memoirist, educator, transpersonal psychologist, and author of eight books, including four poetry collections and two memoirs, Regina’s Closet and Healing With Words. Her latest poetry collection, Lust, is available in softcover wherever books are sold and on Audible.

She is also editor of two anthologies, Writers and Their Notebooks and Writers on the Edge: 22 Writes Speak About Addiction and Dependency. She is advocate of writing for healing, transformation and empowerment and teaches workshop around the country. She also teaches memoir writing. She has been writing and publishing her work for more than 45 years.

She blogs for Psychology Today; The Huffington Post (Huff50) and BrainSpeak.

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About the Book:

Lust 2A passionate journey through private emotional moments, Diana Raab’s LUST voices the pain of loneliness and the heart’s yearning for love while transcending the depths of human desire. In her fourth book of poetry, Raab employs narrative verse that is alive, titillating, and seductive. LUST examines the emotional and physical complexity of love, helping readers navigate the risks of intimacy as we move toward the realization that every experience enriches our lives, whether we perceive it as joy, pain, or out of the ordinary. Yet for all their psychological richness, the poems’s simplicity and accessibility will resonate with women and men across all walks of life. LUST is a book you won’t put down and won’t soon forget.

“Diana Raab’s poetry collection, LUST, will make you fall head-over- heels in love with words. Words that are strung together, knotted like a perfect strand of opera length pearls. Some read like heartbreaking short stories. Some read like pieces of your soul. Some read like scented love-letters. Some like tearful, regretful voice messages. If you want to have a love affair with the written word, please, read this collection. It will make you a believer. Or maybe … just maybe, it will make you a believer in the pure absolute beauty of Diana Raab.”–Amy Ferris

“In the lyric tradition of Song of Songs, Rumi, Lady Murasaki, and Anais Nin, poet Diana Raab sings of carnal desire. The themes of LUST, the transcendence of sexual ecstasy, the range of its expression, the sorrow of its temporality, they surprise of its renewal in maturity, the physicality of its intimacy, are, at once, timeless and as contemporary as Raab’s short leather skirt and an espresso shared at Starbucks.”–Tristine Rainer

“Diana Raab in this daring book offers what shouldn’t be so remarkable, yet is, a fearless detailing of intimacy, of blissful ‘acts of kindness,’ of that worshipful sexuality which forms our birth- and adult-right. LUST celebrates the sacred ‘everlasting eros’ that we must admit most interests us, the giving and taking, the ultimate bonding, the very enlightenment through glories of the body. She sings ‘your oasis in the midst of me,’ and bless her for it!”–Barry Spacks

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Can you tell us who or what was the inspiration behind your book?

As a two-time cancer survivor, I am a believer in the lust for life, intimacy and work. I wanted to share this passion and belief with others.

Is this your first published book and if so, can you tell us your experiences in finding a publisher for it?

Lust is my fourth book of poetry and ninth book. I sent the manuscript to 4 publishers and the first one which responded was the one I went with because it was my first choice.

Where do you live and if I were coming to town, where would we go to talk books?

I live in Santa Barbara. We no longer have chain bookstores here, but we have fabulous Independent Stores. The names are Chaucer’s, Tecolote and Granada Books. There are also a lot of coffee shops, such as The Coffee Bean Tea & Leaf, Peet’s Coffee, and number of Starbucks where many writers meet to talk.

When you’re not writing, what do you do to relax and have fun?

Writers work 24 hours a day because our mind is always working. To be a writer means to be observant and tuned into our worlds. I always carry my journal with me and jot down possible poem or article ideas. I work out at the gym 4 days a week and take beach walks. I also like hiking. To be a writer, you also have to read a lot. I read many magazines, books and am current on the Internet.

Do you make a living off your books or do you have another job?

Writing is my hobby and passion.

In your opinion, what makes a good book great?

Every genre is different, but a great book holds a reader’s interest. The story or poems need to resonate with the reader. It is ideal when personal stories merge with the universal truths.

Psychologists tell us the thing we think we’d most like to grow up to be when we’re ten years old is our avocation. What did you want to be?

A writer and a teacher. Those are my two passions. As a transpersonal psychologist myself… I can say they are usually right!

Can you give us a short excerpt from your book?

You can buy the poetry book and also hear it on Audible read by NY actress Kate Udall. She is amazing, but here is a short poem:

Create

Make me the person I want to become

draw from me the secrets buried under

the façade of responsibilities.

Allow me to be who I want

as I whisper secrets into the pockets

of your open mind and the doorways

to your heart. Make me the one

you wake to every morning,

the coffee that brews you, the ice cream

which smothers you. Steal my heart

and hold it with your sculpted muscles,

massage it as if you want to keep it forever

and most important, please don’t tell

anyone our little secret of the person

we will become together.

What’s next for you?

I always write poems and my three blogs—Psychology Today, Huffington Post (Huff50), and BrainSpeak. I am also working on turning my PhD Dissertation into a book. It’s about the healing and transformative powers of memoir writing.

 

 

Interview with Jesse Giles Christiansen, author of ‘Captain Shelby’

Jesse Giles ChristiansenJesse Giles Christiansen is an American author who writes compelling literary fiction that weaves the real with the surreal. He attended Florida State University where he received his B.A. in English literature, and holds an M.A. in philosophy from Georgia State University. He is the author of Pelican Bay (book one in the Captain Shelby Series), an Amazon #1 list bestseller, outselling Old Man and the Sea by Hemingway. One of Christiansen’s literary goals is to write at least fifty novels, and he always reminds himself of something that Ray Bradbury once said: “You fail only if you stop writing.”

His latest book is the literary fiction/magical realism novel, Captain Shelby.

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About the Book:

Captain Shelby 2There are places even the sea cannot go…

In coastal Denmark, a young man named Nereus builds a longship and leaves at age eighteen to discover a new, enigmatic land. Faced with unimaginable obstacles, he crosses the North Atlantic, only to be captured by the Skraelings, the Inuit indigenous people who seek revenge on all settlers because of a “Great Red Man” who murdered many of their family members.

Many years later, Nereus is hired by a group of Irish settlers who are fleeing the tyranny of King Henry VIII, and he takes them across the North Atlantic to the New Found Land. A fierce battle ensues against the sea, the Little Ice Age, and the vicious Skraelings.

When Nereus falls in love with Laura Hodges, fiancée to the group’s leader, William Brockelby, he becomes embroiled in a dangerous love triangle…until the formidable mystery surrounding Captain Nereus H. Shelby is finally revealed.

For More Information

  • Captain Shelby is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Can you tell us who or what was the inspiration behind your book?

The Captain Shelby Trilogy, I’m almost ashamed to admit, all began with an eerie dream I had about the ex-girlfriend of ex-girlfriends—a narcissistic, deeply troubled librarian. Ever seen “500 Days of Summer?” Kind of like that. Fortunately, after I started writing, Captain Shelby leapt out of the pages and put the librarian in her place.

Is this your first published book and if so, can you tell us your experiences in finding a publisher for it?

Captain Shelby is my second published book, with the same publisher, Imajin Books. Not having found the literary agent who I want yet, I published with a small house to garner credentials. If an author is going to select a smaller publisher, in this century, one with marketing clout is essential. Now that I have more readership and social media presence, I hope to land a N.Y. agent next year. Wish me luck!

Where do you live and if I were coming to town, where would we go to talk books?

Great question! I live in Atlanta, and just happen to be across the street from a Barnes and Nobles. But we won’t go there. Java Monkey has much more real ambience, if you know what I mean.

When you’re not writing, what do you do to relax and have fun?

Play guitar (I’m also a singer/songwriter), watch movies, run, travel, and do any activity related to nature/animals.

Do you make a living off your books or do you have another job?

I’m also a musician. But I’m excited to announce that next year I will be doing about 80% writing, and 20% playing music!

In your opinion, what makes a good book great?

A great book is a new entity of memories that spawns out of nothing, and leaves the reader with everything.

Psychologists tell us the thing we think we’d most like to grow up to be when we’re ten years old is our avocation. What did you want to be?

An astronaut. Not too far off, eh?

Can you give us a short excerpt from your book?

In coastal Denmark, a young man named Nereus builds a longship and leaves at age eighteen to discover a new, enigmatic land. Faced with unimaginable obstacles, he crosses the North Atlantic, only to be captured by the Skraelings, the Inuit indigenous people who seek revenge on all settlers because of a “Great Red Man” who murdered many of their family members.

A few years later, Nereus is hired by a group of Irish settlers who are fleeing the tyranny of King Henry VIII, and he takes them across the North Atlantic to the New Found Land. A fierce battle ensues against the sea, the Little Ice Age, and the vicious Skraelings.

When Nereus falls in love with Laura Hodges, fiancée to the group’s leader, William Brockelby, he becomes embroiled in a dangerous love triangle…until the formidable mystery surrounding Captain Nereus H. Shelby is finally revealed.

What’s next for you?

I’m releasing a Christmas story in November called GOTH TOWN, which I’m very excited about!

Thanks so much for having me! Great questions!

Yours in literature,

J.G.C.

Interview with H. Peter Alesso: ‘There is joy in expressing your thoughts, so find your words—tell your story’

H. Peter AlessoAs a scientist and author specializing in technology innovation, H. Peter Alesso has over twenty years research experience at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). As Engineering Group Leader at LLNL he led a team of computer scientists and engineers in innovative applications across a wide range of supercomputers, workstations and networks. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy with a B.S. and served in the U.S. Navy on nuclear submarines before completing an M.S. and an advanced Engineering Degree at M.I.T. He has published several software titles and numerous scientific journal and conference articles, and he is the author/co-author of seven books.

His latest book is the science fiction space opera, Lieutenant Henry Gallant.

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About the Book:

Lieutenant Henry Gallant 2In an era of genetic engineering, Lieutenant Henry Gallant is the only Natural (non-genetically enhanced) officer left in the fleet. Many of his superiors, including rival Anton Neumann, have expressed concern he is not up to the challenge. However, his unique mental abilities have proven essential to the defense of the United Planets in its fight against the Titan invaders.

Serving on the first FTL prototype, the Intrepid, on its maiden voyage to Tau Ceti, Gallant finds a lost colony on the planet Elysium. Cyrus Wolfe and his son, manipulate planet politics against the democratic opposition led by James Hepburn and his granddaughter Alaina. Wolfe has allied himself with an ancient Artificial Intelligence which had lain dormant on the planet for millennia, but is now willing to protect the colonists against the Titans.

With Alaina’s help, Gallant discovers the ancient AI has a sinister ulterior motive and he matches his unique and exceptional mind against the complexity of machine intelligence to escape the ultimate trap and prevent the extermination of humanity.

In Lieutenant Henry Gallant, one man pits the naked human mind against the perspicacity of machine intelligence.

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  • Lieutenant Henry Gallant is available at Amazon.
  • Watch the trailer at YouTube.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Can you tell us who or what was the inspiration behind your book?

I think finding an author you admire and would like to emulate provides the stimulus to become an author. By examining just what it is that you find so compelling about that author will give you a start to developing your skills.

In my book, Lieutenant Henry Gallant, the hero is handsome, brave, and daring—just what you want in a hero who sets out on a great adventure. A rival challenges him for the love of a beautiful, young, and bold woman—just what you’d expect from a warrior princess. Together they face an alien invasion, a jungle full of dangers predators, and a malevolent artificial intelligence bent on exterminating humanity.

Can you guess who wins in the end? I’ll give you a hint, it’s not the corrupt politicians who maneuver to upset all Gallant’s efforts to protect the people and stop the malicious AI.

How much fun do you think I had writing this tale?

Actually, I had more.

Is this your first published book and if so, can you tell us your experiences in finding a publisher for it?

In the past, I’ve published several books through large traditional publishers, but for Lieutenant Henry Gallant, I chose self-publication in order to get the book to market more quickly. It allowed me more flexibility in editing and marketing choices.

When you’re not writing, what do you do to relax and have fun?

I like to work out both my left and right hemispheres of the brain using a wide variety of skill sets and abilities. As a result, I love to read, do word (or math) puzzles, as well as develop computer apps for Android.

In your opinion, what makes a good book great?

I found that science fiction novels provided wonderful adventures in unexpected places with unusual characters and strange circumstance. I’ve enjoyed them all my life, so when I first began to develop science fiction stories, I wanted to write adventures that I could vicariously enjoy.

Some of my favorite authors, I. Asimov, J. Campbell, and R. Heinlein have accomplished this. When they ‘set the stage’ at the beginning of a chapter, they offer elaborate descriptive prose, rich in adjectives and superlatives. For action scenes, however, their sentences become short, crisp, and emphatic. When involved in conversation, the individual characters each achieve their own ‘voice’—they demonstrate a distinctive characteristic of speech, or language, so that they can be picked out of the dialog. Of course, the arc of the main story must be seamlessly inter-wound with the subplots so that the reader doesn’t trip over the narrative. But the result is a reader so engrossed in the story that he is unaware of his actual reality, he has been transported elsewhere.

There is joy in expressing your thoughts, so find your words—tell your story.

Can you give us a short excerpt from your book?

Gallant ran—gasping for breath, heart pounding; the echo of his footsteps reverberated behind him.

He hoped to reach the bridge, but hope is a fragile thing.

Peering over his shoulder into the dark, he tripped on a protruding jagged beam, one of the ship’s many battle scars. As he crashed to the deck, the final glow of emergency lights sputtered out leaving only the pitch black of power failure—his failure.

He lay still and listened to the ship’s cries of pain; the incessant wheezing of atmosphere bleeding from the many tiny hull fissures, the repetitious groaning of metal from straining structures, and the crackling of electrical wires sparking against panels.

Thoughts flashed past him.

How long will the oxygen last?

He was reluctant to guess.

Where are they?

The clamor of dogged footsteps drew closer even as he rasped for another breath.

Trembling from exhaustion, he clawed at the bulkhead to pull himself up. His hemorrhaging leg made even standing brutally painful.

Nevertheless, he ran.

The bulkhead panels and compartment hatches were indistinguishable in the dimness. Vague phantoms lurked nearby even while his eyes adjusted to whatever glowing plasma blast embers flickered from the hull.

As he twisted around a corner, he crashed his shoulder into a bulkhead. The impact knocked him back and spun him around. Reaching out with a bloody hand, he grasped the hatch handle leading into the Operation’s compartment. Going through the hatch, he pulled it shut behind him.

He started to run, then awkwardly fought his own momentum and stopped.

Stupid! Stupid!

Going back to the hatch, he hit the security locking mechanism.

It wouldn’t stop a plasma blast, but it might slow them down, he thought. At least this compartment is airtight.

Finally able to take a deep breath, he tried to clear his head of bombarding sensations. He should’ve been in battle armor, but he’d stayed too long in engineering trying to maintain power while the hull had been breached and the ship boarded.

Now his uniform was scorched, revealing the plasma burns of seared flesh from his left shoulder down across his back to his right thigh. He had no idea where the rest of the crew was; many were probably dead. His comm pin was mute and the ship’s AI wasn’t responding. He had only a handgun, but, so far, he didn’t think they were tracking him specifically, merely penetrating into the ship to gain control.

Gallant tried to run once more, but his legs were unwilling. Leaning against the bulkhead, like a dead weight, he slid slowly down to the deck.

Unable to go farther, he sat dripping blood and trembling as the potent grip of shock grabbed hold. The harrowing pain of his burnt flesh, swept over him.

Hope and fear alike abandoned him, leaving only an undeniable truth; without immediate medical treatment, he wouldn’t survive.

I’m done.

Closing his eyes, he fought against the pain and the black vertigo of despair. He took a deep breath and called upon the last of his inner resolve and resilience . . .

No! I won’t give up.

What’s next for you?

A multi-book story arc requires a thorough understanding of the characters and their motivations, as well as considerable planning. An author always benefits from the encouragement and feedback of his co-conspirators in this endeavor—the readers. With the release of each book in a series, the voice of the readers becomes clearer. Their desire to see certain characters prevail and certain events transpire becomes plain.

I am looking forward to further developing The Henry Gallant Saga—if the readers encourage me to do so through their review comments.

Interview with Alistair McGuiness, author of ‘Round the Bend’

Alistair McGuinessAlistair McGuiness grew up in the UK in a town called Luton, which lies 30 miles north of London. Family holidays were spent in County Donegal, Ireland, staying with his Grandmother in their large family home where she had once raised fifteen children.

It was these annual trips that made Alistair realise his Great Uncles were Seanachaís (Irish story tellers). After a few pints of Guinness in the family bar, brothers Barney and Francis would entertain the evening crowds with their recitations of life in rural Ireland. As their rustic voices carried across the crowded room, Alistair would watch and listen as the animated tales mesmorised the overseas visitors.

44 countries and four decades later, Alistair now calls Australia home and in the tradition of Great Uncles Barney and Francis, loves to recite stories. He lives between the beach and the forest with his wife, two young boys and a fun puppy called Peppi. After decades of adventurous escapades Alistair is calming down and has decided to write more and bungee jump less!

He works as a Business Improvement Specialist and has just spent three years as a fly in fly out employee at a remote iron ore mine site in Western Australia. As a trainer and facilitator, he has worked in Europe and Australia and is passionate about helping people and organisations to become successful.

A fun family day for Alistair would be fishing from the local jetty with his boys, taking the puppy for a walk along the beach at sunset and cooking a scrumptious curry in the evening with his wife.

An ideal adventurous day for Alistair would be a days walking and scrambling in the Lake District with friends, followed by a visit to a village pub nestled deep in the English countryside.

His latest book is the adventure travel, Round the Bend: From Luton to Peru to Ningaloo, A Search for Life After Redundancy.

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About the Book:

From the Amazon to the Andes and Kilimanjaro to Cape Town. This adventure story captures the reality and exhilaration of leaving home to undertake Gap Year travel in South America, Africa, Fiji and Australia.

Round the Bend 2Three things happened simultaneously. The lioness charged, Alistair fled across the parched savannah and his wife screamed for him to run faster. Stuffed deep inside his tattered rucksack was a guidebook containing advice on what to do in wildlife emergencies, which he planned to read if he survived the next thirty seconds. Future plans to climb Kilimanjaro, teach English in the Amazon and live in Australia were temporarily forgotten as he turned to face the pouncing lioness, thinking back to the words of advice from his mother-in-law. “Don’t do anything silly, and look after Francine.” From deep underground in a remote Bolivian mine to the scorched Australian outback, Round the Bend is an adventure travel story. It explores the turbulence of redundancy, the excitement of travel, the anguish of leaving home and the challenges of starting a new life in Australia.

For More Information

  • Round the Bend: From Luton to Peru to Ningaloo, a Search for Life After Redundancy is available at Amazon.
  • Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Can you tell us who or what was the inspiration behind your book?

It was a few weeks after my dad died, when it suddenly dawned on me that I would no longer hear his stories again. He had been a Merchant Seaman and had tales to tell about all four corners of the globe. After his funeral, I decided to convert my travel diaries into an adventure travel story. Now our two children can read the many adventures of their mum and dad across South America and Africa!

Is this your first published book and if so, can you tell us your experiences in finding a publisher for it?

Yes this is my first published book. To be truthful I haven’t submitted to a traditional publisher yet, as finding an agent seems near impossible these days. As soon as I made the decision to become Indie, I knew it was imperative to use professionals for proof reading, editing and book cover design. My hope is that I will be able to prove to a traditional publisher that my story is worth investing in. This means that it is error free, has fabulous reviews, a compelling book cover, and a genre wanting to purchase it.

Where do you live and if I were coming to town, where would we go to talk books?

I live in South West Australia. If you visit between June and August it could be wet and windy, so I suggest a beachside café with a cosy log fire. If you arrive in spring and summer, we could head to a local winery, to enjoy cool drinks in a sensational bush land setting. If you prefer to talk while walking, we could go to the local cliffs and watch whales in the bay as we trek along the coastal footpath.

When you’re not writing, what do you do to relax and have fun?

I enjoy spending time with my wife and our two young children. We enjoy bike rides, bush walks, tennis and visits to the beach. On a personal note, I enjoy travel writing, soccer coaching, kayaking and mountain biking.

Do you make a living off your books or do you have another job?

I have just spent three years working in a remote iron ore mine site in western Australia as a business improvement facilitator. It was during this period that I began to write each evening for an hour. I have been a few times for magazine travel articles, but have a long way to go until I give up my day job!

In your opinion, what makes a good book great?

A central character that you really believe in.

Psychologists tell us the thing we think we’d most like to grow up to be when we’re ten years old is our avocation. What did you want to be?

Now you’re testing me as that was 39 years ago! From what I remember, I wanted to discover nomadic tribes and venture to faraway places. I used to play in the local woods, dreaming of one day making it to the Amazon jungle.

Can you give us a short excerpt from your book?

“Within an hour we were sitting on the deck of a modern catamaran gliding across the Indian Ocean towards the low shoreline of Zanzibar. It was hidden by a low band of ivory clouds shimmering in the late afternoon heat.

For centuries, travellers and explorers have been drawn to the labyrinth of crumbling walls and cobbled streets seeking fortune or adventure. The ancient town reeked of history. It was here that Livingstone stayed before his trek into the African interior, in search of the source of the Nile. Arabs have been using the island as a trading base for centuries, growing and exporting exotic spices of nutmeg, pepper and cloves to the four corners of the world.

If ever a tourist needed a map, Stone Town is the place for it. The epicentre is a hive of twisted paths, entwined with dark alleys, hidden pathways and unnamed cobbled roads. Even with a map the humidity, heat and distractions means that you will probably get lost. Stone Town moves at a different pace to the western world. Ambling slowly through the winding passages we came across intricate doorways carved with meticulous care but now fading with age.

Houses and apartments were alive with laughter as the zesty aroma of spices drifted in the balmy night air. Our aim was to exit this maze at the quay side, where each evening, local fisherman set up food stalls. More by luck than logic we ventured through a narrow unlit alleyway and found ourselves at the water’s edge. The first kerosene lamps were just being lit by the vendors, throwing pale amber light across the ancient harbour walls. We shared our meal of succulent king prawns, grilled kingfish and fresh chapattis with an extremely healthy cat. Anchored dhows clinked gently in the bay, waiting patiently for dawn.”

What’s next for you?

I am working on the follow up to Round the Bend, which is due for release in January 2015. After twelve years of living and working in Australia, I have written a series of short stories about life Down Under.

Thanks for letting me share my thoughts. I blog about all things travel and life in Australia at www.thecreativenomad.co

Happy travels,

Alistair

Interview with Karen-Anne Stewart, author of new adult romance ‘Ash to Steele’

Karen-Anne StewartKaren-Anne Stewart has always adored reading and has now fallen in love with writing. Her written works are The Rain Trilogy: Saving Rain, Healing Rain, and After the Rain, and the newly released stand alone novel, Ash to Steele. Her debut novel, Saving Rain: The First Novel in The Rain Trilogy, was a nominee for the Book Junkie’s Choice Awards, and Saving Rain and After the Rain were nominees for the 2014 RONE Awards.

When Karen-Anne isn’t writing, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, hiking, and visiting new places. She fuels her addiction of creating new stories by her only other addiction, caffeine, and listening to a myriad of musical genres. Tucked away near the Blue Ridge Mountains, Karen-Anne lives with her husband, daughter, two dogs, and their cat. She plans on writing new adult romance as long as her fingers maintain dexterity.

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About the Book:

Ash to Steele 8Emma

Who I am and all I believe is marred with just one glance into angry, steel blue eyes. He seems to control my air, my ability to breathe. He makes me crave everything I know is a sin. Pure becomes tainted and lines are blurred. It’s my fault; I’m the one who isn’t strong enough. I’ve been damaged…broken. Breck’s words haunt me…’There’s a consequence for every choice you make.’

Breck

I’ve had so many women I can’t even remember over half of their names, but none of them are mine; I make damn sure of that. I take what I desire and never look back. I don’t need or want anyone, ever…not until I met Emma. Those eyes bore into what’s left of my soul and her touch sears me, weakens me. I want to hate her for that. She is my ruin…my sweetest hell.

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Can you tell us who or what was the inspiration behind your book?

I was inspired to write Ash to Steele because, on many levels, I can relate to Emma with my growing up in a small town as well. I also have a thing for bad boys with a good heart, so creating Breck’s character was a blast! I live very close to where Emma grew up, and Boston was where I wanted to move when I was younger, but never did. It was an amazing experience tying these two places together with the story of a small town girl who is desperate to find her more and break the binds of her suffocating ex-boyfriend, so she moves to Boston and meets a cocky, panty-melting, insatiable bastard who is everything she was taught to stay away from her entire life. Seeing where the story led and how Breck and Emma grew from hating each other to developing such a powerful, healing love was my favorite part of writing their story.

Is this your first published book and if so, can you tell us your experiences in finding a publisher for it?

Ash to Steele is my fourth novel. Prior to Breck and Emma, I wrote The Rain Trilogy, Kas and Raina’s story, which was published last year. I’m a self-published Indie author and published the trilogy through Authorhouse but decided to take a different route with Ash to Steele and published with Kindle Direct Publishing and Create Space through Amazon.

Where do you live and if I were coming to town, where would we go to talk books?

I live in a small town near Asheville, NC. If you were coming to visit me, I would love to take you to the Square Root, sit on the patio sipping some cocktails while we unashamedly dished about our favorite book boyfriends.

When you’re not writing, what do you do to relax and have fun?

One of the best parts of living in the mountains is the forest. It’s beautiful every season of the year and there are tons of great hiking trails. I also love to hang out with family and friends and go to the movies. Biltmore Park is a fun place to go because there are quite a few shops, a nice movie theater, and a Barnes & Noble!

Do you make a living off your books or do you have another job?

Like many people, I wear a myriad of hats J. I’m a mom, wife, have a full time day job, and write every spare second I get.

In your opinion, what makes a good book great?

The development of the characters. I adore books where the supporting characters are just as lovable as the main ones. That also makes a great opportunity for spin-offs, which I also love to read! My favorite author is James Patterson; the man is a flippin’ genius. My favorite genre is romance, so a powerful love story will get me all weepy every time.

Psychologists tell us the thing we think we’d most like to grow up to be when we’re ten years old is our avocation. What did you want to be?

When I was ten? I don’t remember. When I was three I wanted to be a giraffe because I’m so short and they’re so tall. I know that I wanted to become a social worker when I was in middle school, and I did work in child protective services for almost five years after college. It wasn’t until college that I knew I wanted to be an author one day. I was a bit late to follow my dreams but am thrilled that I finally did!

Can you give us a short excerpt from your book?

Jess has dismissed last night as some major hormonal time of the month ordeal and waves it off without talking about it while she pours me a drink.  She’s getting the beers ready to take to the grunge band that’s playing tonight when a couple of guys start shoving and yelling at the bar.  Jess jerks her head towards Jason, who slides over the counter and steps in between the two just in time to catch a fist full of knuckles.

“Shit!” Jess leaves the tray on the bar and tries to demand the men to knock it off, but a beer bottle is thrown, smashing a few inches away from me at the bar, the dark liquid and glass splashing me.

The fight quickly spreads into an affray of arms, fists, and bodies being thrust left and right. Jess heads towards the door to get Gavin from outside. I’ve seen a couple of fights between some of Justin’s jock friends who had too much to drink at parties back home, but this is insane.  The crowded space in front of the bar has turned into a wrestling and boxing match, and I scoot back to avoid more shattered glass when I slam into a sharp elbow sending me stumbling forward. Panic ensues as I hit the ground and am knocked back and forth, keeping me from scrambling to my feet.  A pair of large, strong hands wrap around my waist, sweeping me off the ground and landing me on top of the counter.

“Get behind the bar and stay there,” Breck demands gruffly, directly before grabbing the tattooed fist of a shaved headed man whose intent was to send his fist into the crew cut military looking Goliath.

Breck twists the man’s arm behind his back, slamming his face against the bar.  No gratitude is bestowed by Goliath as he throws a punch at Breck, who ducks, landing his elbow against the man’s ribs, then administering a sharp jab and an upward thrust of his forearm into Goliath’s nose.  Blood streams as he falls backwards.  The scene in front of me passes in a minute but it seems like it’s playing in slow motion as I watch Breck single handedly defusing a large part of the melee, dodging fists and elbows as he lands perfectly precise blows too many times for me to keep count.

I’m in a state of stunned awe, horrified, mesmerized, and more than a little ashamed at how I’m completely turned on watching Breck’s toned body twist and turn, his shirt pressing tight against the outline of his chiseled muscles when he takes down man after man. Gavin reaches the bar and flashes an exuberant grin as he joins in the brawl.  The difference between the two is staggering. Gavin seems to be thoroughly enjoying the violent chaos, while Breck’s eyes are hard and calculated as he seems to find no amusement in the serious damage he’s causing.

Jess climbs over the top of the bar with me and grabs my arm, pulling me flush with her to the opposite counter.  Her eyes bounce between Jason, Gavin, and Breck, not fazed in the least.  She grabs a pitcher of water and throws the whole thing at a long-haired, pierced broad shouldered man who is gaining the upper hand on Jason.  A few more faces are bloodied before the fight is contained.

Breck’s chest rises and falls from his exertion.  His brow has a sheen of sweat and the veins on his neck are pulsating.  I watch how eerily calm he is as he glances around the room, his fists still tightly coiled and ready to strike.

Jess hauls herself on the bar, pushing to her feet, “If you are still in one piece, then count yourself as one lucky sonofabitch and have a beer on the house, but if you’re one of the bleeding assholes, get the hell out of my bar and don’t even think about dragging your ass back until you sleep it off, or you won’t be able to walk out of here next time.”

Gavin slaps the back of Breck’s shoulder, absolutely beaming, “Oh hell, yeah. Now, that’s what I call a good night.”

Seemingly satisfied that all the potential threats have been neutralized, Breck’s gaze lands on mine, and I’m amazed that he went through all of what I just had a front row seat to untouched.  I check out the small cut above Gavin’s eye, just shy of his temple, before cringing when I see Jason.  His eye and nose are busted and bleeding.  Breck shows no signs of what happened, other than looking as if he finished a heavy workout.

Jess grabs Jason’s chin, inspecting his bloodied face before pushing her thumb against the side of his nose.

“Damn, Jess, cut it out,” he snaps, knocking her hand away.

She laughs, “Not broken this time.”

Jason must see the residual shock registered on my face because he clicks his chin up when he looks at me, “You alright, Em?”

Jess slides back over the bar top, plopping down in front of me and wrapping my arm in hers, grinning, “This is her first party; she’ll be just fine, won’t you?”

Shaking it off, I scan the crowd that is now back to normal, drinking and talking like what just happened is a perfectly normal occurrence.  “This happen a lot? Broken noses, bloody floors, and all that?”

Breck’s gaze turns hard again as he barks, “Oh, that’s right.  You’re of the philosophy of turning the other cheek.”

Indignation rises, tinting my cheeks at his scoffing tone, “No. I – um- I mean-” not sure what I’m trying to say, I shut up, trying to match his admonishing stare but it comes out more like a twisted awed curiosity, “how did you do that?”

Gavin’s hand soundly slaps Breck’s back again, “Our boy here can kick some serious ass, go all the way to the pros, if he’d just embrace what he’s got.”

Breck shrugs Gavin’s hand away as Jess’ glare to shut up seems to mute Gavin.  With one quick glimpse, Breck inspects me, “Were you hurt?”  The words are gruff but there’s the tiniest flash of concern in his eyes.

“No – sorry,” I state hurriedly, realizing that I didn’t thank him for getting me out of the stampede before I did get hurt, “thank you for moving me.”

That strong, lightly specked jaw is still wound tight when he gives a sharp nod, “Don’t be late tomorrow.”

Wanting to be a smartass, I refrain from saluting at his order and let it go as he turns to leave.

“You just got here,” Gavin blurts, “throw him a beer, Jess.”

“Not tonight,” he mumbles before walking away.

I watch how the crowd thins, moving out of Breck’s way as he walks by.  His reputation seems to include more than just being a god and Casanova; apparently, he’s also feared.

What’s next for you?

Currently, I’m working on Feel, a paranormal romance that is due out late this year. I’m ecstatic to get Jensen and Saige’s story out there! Then, I will be working on Gavin’s (sexy, badass bouncer from Ash to Steele) story for 2015. Thank you so much for having me! I love to connect with readers, so feel free to connect with me at any (or all) of the following:

Website: www.karen-annestewart.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6920317.Karen_Anne_Stewart

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SKarenAnne

Facebook Author page: https://www.facebook.com/SKarenAnne

Instagram: http://instagram.com/skarenanne

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/SKarenAnne/

 

 

Interview with Daphne Michaels, author of ‘The Gifted: How to Live the Life of Your Dreams’

Daphne Michaels 7Daphne Michaels is an author, speaker and licensed psychotherapist whose institute has helped hundreds of women and men transform their lives through the “gifts” every human being is born with. Daphne began her own journey of transformation at a young age, pursued it fearlessly, and later studied formally in the fields of social science, human services and integral psychology. The Gifted: How to Live the Life of Your Dreams launches both Daphne Michaels Books and The Gifted series, whose goal it is to share with the widest audience possible the principles that guide the Daphne Michaels Institute. Daphne’s earlier book, Light of Our Times, featured her conversations with such international figures in the fields of spirituality and personal development as Ram Dass, Julia Cameron, Dr. Masaru Emoto, and Thomas Moore.

Visit her website at www.daphnemichaels.com.

About the Book:

The GiftedIn The Gifted: How to Live the Life of Your Dreams author, speaker and licensed psychotherapist Daphne Michaels celebrates the nine gifts that are our birthright, guiding readers in how to recognize and use them to transform their lives.  In her author’s preface, Michaels reveals how her own journey of life transformation began when she was young and realized that human existence wore two conflicting faces–one of love and joy, and one of fear and despair. She decided then to commit her life to reconciling these two visions because she knew that, irreconcilable though they seemed, together these two faces held the secret to living a life of endless possibility and authentic happiness. Her personal journey and formal education in social science, human services and integral psychology led to the founding of the Daphne Michaels Institute, which has helped hundreds of men and women design the lives of their dreams.

In The Gifted Michaels shows us that the first three “gifts” we must recognize and embrace within us if we are to re-design our lives are Awareness, Potential and Stillness. These three allow us to identify and use the remaining six with a life-changing power:  Disharmony, Harmony, Ease, Clarity, Freedom and Engagement.  Each of these six relies on the “essential three” for its own power to change our lives, and each has its own gifts–its “children.” By approaching the nine gifts with real-world metaphors, Michaels answers in easily understood ways what for many readers have been lingering questions about personal transformation—such as how it works, what kind of commitment it takes, and why, if we’re committed, real transformation becomes inevitable—and addresses obstacles that readers may have encountered in the past in trying to reach in life a happiness every human deserves.

While the human universe’s face of love is celebrated in The Gifted, so is the face of fear that haunted a young girl decades ago. As Michaels shows us in her book, even Disharmony—the “quagmire” of life born of the human ego’s fear, defenses, delusions and despair—is a gift, too, and one as important as the others if we know how to see it clearly and use it. Once we understand Disharmony, we are ready to understand the real purpose of Harmony in our lives. Disharmony does not need to rule us.  It is ours to use as we design the lives of our dreams.

The final gift in The Gifted, Michaels tells us, is the gift of Engagement. Engagement—with the universe and with ourselves—allows us to use all of the other gifts with more power and joy than we ever imagined possible.

That mountaintop decision never left me. It drove my life’s work and over the years led me to understand that there are gifts – nine of them, in fact – that we are all born with but rarely experience in their full glory and potential. These gifts – which make each and every one of us “The Gifted” of this book’s title – are the keys to living lives of endless possibilities and, in turn, achieving an authentic happiness that cannot be lost. They are, in other words, the keys to achieving the life of our dreams.

Can you tell us who or what was the inspiration behind your book?

I have worked with men and women of all backgrounds and personalities for over twenty-five years, guiding them to live the lives of their dreams. In addition to having a long-term psychotherapy practice, my institute offers transformational programs for people interested in living lives of endless possibility.

My own journey, which led me to eventually write this book, started when I was an angst-ridden adolescent. I smile today, because it was such a dramatic time in my life with classic teenage experiences. And even this was classic I’m sure, although I am still shaken today when I think of the first time I really saw the world beyond my limited scope of experience. I was devastated by what I experienced as a gut-wrenching discovery of two worlds existing side by side: the world of love and the world of despair. It was the world of despair – the fear and misery that I witnessed robbing people of the beauty in life — that propelled my journey to understand and help eradicate unnecessary suffering.

My personal journey took years and led to all sorts of experiences for which I am grateful today. After earning my degrees in human services and applied behavioral sciences, I launched my private practice in 1996 and my institute in 2001. Writing personal development books is a natural next step in my journey to take my message to as broad of an audience as possible.

Is this your first published book and if so, can you tell us your experiences in finding a publisher for it?

The Gifted: How to Live the Life of Your Dreams is my newest book and part of a five-book series. I chose to launch the Daphne Michaels Books imprint for many reasons. First, it is great to be part of the personal development genre as a long tradition. Our interest in self-help and personal development is part of the American story, really. To make one’s life better — to reach one’s potential and pursue happiness was the intent of our declaration of independence. Many of the successes in the personal development genre started out as self-published authors. It is great to be launching my imprint in an era where POD publishing and ebook publishing helps one reach an even larger audience … and it’s nice, too, that this is the first year Book Expo America has invited self-published authors to exhibit and PUBLISHERS WEEKLY and other venues are featuring the best self-published books. Being part of this new era in publishing allows opportunities to help shape it. This means teaming in new ways with new people and being free to see our projects all the way from conception to publication and beyond.

Where do you live and if I were coming to town, where would we go to talk books?

Pt. Defiance State Park comes to mind. We could sit under a canopy of trees and look out over the bay at majestic Mt. Rainier. Talking about books in an open setting like this seems appropriate to me — powerful ideas and open space complement one another.

When you’re not writing, what do you do to relax and have fun?

One of my favorite activities is walking. And living in the Pacific Northwest, where the beauty of nature is always within reach, makes walking especially relaxing and fun.

Do you make a living off your books or do you have another job?

I am a woman which means I have several jobs, right? While I say this in jest, I believe that regardless of how much I write, having variety in work is important. In addition to writing personal development books I am a licensed psychotherapist and the director of the Daphne Michaels Institute. And I must say that being a mom is an important job that I treasure. My thirteen year old son Gabriel lights up my world!

In your opinion, what makes a good book great?

It is so important to bring the human element to writing. If words don’t have a connection to humanity they won’t move us. They won’t wake us up. And they cannot possibly help us.

Psychologists tell us the thing we think we’d most like to grow up to be when we’re ten years old is our avocation. What did you want to be?

I wanted to be a positive force in the world.

Can you give us a short excerpt from your book?

When I was very young, and life was turbulent — as it often is for the young — I had an experience, call it a vision, that showed me two vast, human worlds in terrible contrast: One of love and one of despair. I couldn’t reconcile these worlds and was tortured by my failure. Human beings could choose to live in either world, and yet so often they chose the world of despair almost exclusively. Why? And who was I, a girl of nineteen, driving to a mountaintop to escape her terrible vision, to think she could figure out what our long human history of strife and suffering had not resolved: How to live with love for oneself and others, and, by doing so, achieve a beautiful and completely satisfying life — the kind human beings dream of.

But shouldn’t I, in my life (that teenager asked herself), try to understand how such different worlds could exist both within us and without? To understand how to acknowledge both? To find the secret to bringing heaven and earth together for an authentic, permanent human happiness and, in turn, an exhilarating life? Shouldn’t I at least try?

I had no choice but to try, though I did not know it at the time. That is the way of all life callings, isn’t it? All I knew as I drove down the mountain was that I had been changed by the stars that particular night. I had been given insights I could not name, and they would guide me – even if it took years — to realizing the kind of beauty in life that can only come from reconciling those two all-too-human worlds.

That mountaintop decision never left me. It drove my life’s work and over the years led me to understand that there are gifts — nine of them, in fact — that we are all born with but rarely experience in their full glory and potential. These gifts — which make each and every one of us “The Gifted” of this book’s title — are keys to living lives of endless possibilities and, in turn, achieving an authentic happiness that cannot be lost. They are, in other words, the keys to achieving the life of our dreams.

                                      THE GIFTED: How to Live the Life of Your Dreams

-Author’s Preface —

What’s next for you?

My book, The Gifted: How to Live the Life of Your Dreams is the first book in a five-part series. I will be planning my next launch!

 

A Trip to Treasure by Bernadette Bland, author of Flights of Fancy



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ABOUT FLIGHTS OF FANCY

 

 

9781450284523_COVER.inddTitle: Flight of Fancy
Genre: Poetry/Prose/Short Story
Author: Bernadette Bland
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 64
Language: English
ISBN - 978-1-45028-453-0

Life is filled with emotional highs and lows. Riding the wave of this experience is part of living, but for poet Bernadette Bland, dreaming was even more important. No matter the attitude, mood, or circumstance, Ms. Bland has always believed in the beauty of life. Never to be deterred from her heart’s desire, she has ridden her own life wave with an eye to her dreams and an eye to the beauty of nature.

In her new poetry collection, Flights of Fancy, Ms. Bland shares her imagery with the outside world. She delves into the lavish splendor of nature in “Drifting Grace: God’s Art Show.” She peers behind the protective mask of a weeping clown in “Behind the Mask.” She recalls watching her mother slowly grow old in the poignant “Mama.” In all her words, she reveals her deepest yearnings and fears with selfless honesty.

Flights of Fancy is an example of an imagination set free. Ms. Bland fills her poetry with wonder and will leave you longing to step out into the sun. She is not afraid to depict the sometimes traumatic rollercoaster of life; yet she encourages us to move on, move up, and not look back. Within every word, she calls to the reader, challenging each one of us to never stop dreaming!

Purchase your copy:

iuniverse

A Trip to Treasure – Boston, MA

 

H I recently had an experience of a life time traveling from Schenectady, N.Y.to Boston, MA. to attend and participate in the Annual Convention of the AARP -SO+ Uving. A huge event,the Centeris filled with all types of vendors that cater to the Oenior Citizens of this country.

 

As a newly published author, Iwas invited by iUniverse Publishing to represent them at the convention and to do some signing of my new book to be handed out to the attendees. What an exciting prospect for me. Imagine me! Signing my books for people to actually read. Iwas excited and terrified at the same time.It was all so new to me. What do Ido? How am Isupposed to look/dress appropriately for such an occasion?I’d have to meet and greet people, all strangers. How do Iact?

 

As the time got closer,Iwas provided with some tips and advice; directions to the to the center,and a layout of the floor plan. This trip was planned to be a time for my husband and myself for the day after the book signing. Boston has what is known as the Freedom Trail, 9originally Freedom Way), a walking tour of the most historic sites withinthe City of Boston. Many years ago, all these historic site were scattered about with no definite conjuction of the sites and probably no real interest. Ihave an Uncle (Bill Schofield) who lived and worked  in the city for most of his life. He was very interested in these sites and felt they should have a connection to each one. He planned out a  tour to make this connection and took it to the city’s planning/governing boards with his proposal for thewalking tour path. After many years of pleading and cajoling,these officials finally agreed and the walkway was built. Soon, tourists by the thousandsinstead of hundreds were making the tour to connect with some very important history, There are 16 sites incorporated into the 2.5 mile brick marker sidewalk tourIncluding The Old North Church, Faneuil Hall, the USS Constitution,The Paul Revere House,Bunker Hill Monument and more. Ifelt it to be part of my history too. Uncle,Bill Schofield, a veteran newsman. Honored as ‘Father of the Freedom Trail’ Schofield was an editor and

daily columnist for ‘The Boston Herald’.He was better known for his invention for the Freedom Trail.A Veteran Navy Captainwho served in

WWII,he wrote seven novels about the war and Navy Frogmen in particular. As detailed as they were, Icouldn’t find aninterestin them but my husband did being he is a 25 year Navy Veteran himself who served with the Navy Seals.

 

Unfortunately,Inever got to do the trail due to a bad fall which put me out of commission for a few days.Ididdo the signing though from a wheel chair and was so happy Idid. The people Imet were charming and shared some very kind words about my book which made the whole trip so very worthwhile,and if Icould, ‘d doit all again in a nano-second as they say.


ABOUT BERNADETTE BLAND

Bernadette Bland was born in Westerly, Rhode Island. A news reporter and photographer for many years, her poetry has been published by the National Library of Poetry, the Amherst Society, and the Iliad Press, among others. Ms. Bland lives with her husband in the Capital District of upstate New York.