Tag Archives: relationships

A Conversation with T.J. MacLeslie, Author of Designed for Relationship

MacLeslie photoT.J. MacLeslie has been involved in a variety of Christian ministries since 1990, including pastoring, church planting, leadership development, prayer, and spiritual formation. He currently lives in the UK with his wife and two children where he leads a team focused on prayer and spiritual formation. You’ll often find him walking the fields with his dog, reading a book, or enjoying a warm cup of coffee.

Visit the author online at http://about.me/tj_macleslie.

Q: Thank you for this interview, T.J. Can you tell us what your latest book, Designed for Relationship, is all about?

A:  There are so many ideas about God floating around in our world today. Many present God in terms that are uninviting, and frankly, inaccurate. I grew up with a view of God as a distant and forbidding king and judge. I have joyfully discovered that while God is the King of kings and Lord of lords, He is also much more. The God of scripture is relational at His core, Father, Son, and Spirit, constantly loving and interacting. God decided to expand this community of love and created humans to be partakers of the divine nature and little images of His relational self. This is very different than the picture I received as a kid growing up in church.

The book invites you to rediscover the relational nature of God and humanity in two parts: Part One examines ancient truths in the Bible to renew our vision of God and humanity; Part Two applies these truths to our lives, using the Five Circles, a practical tool to understand what it means to be human and provide a framework for growth. All of this has come as a result of my own search for God in the confusion and chaos of the real world.

Q: How did you come up with the idea?

A: This book is a summary of the lessons I have learned in my search for truth and meaning. Along the way, I have met wonderful people who challenged me and encouraged me in my pursuit. Now, I have the opportunity to help others. It was in the process of listening to and serving others on their journey that the idea for this book came up. Some of those I have journeyed alongside kept asking me to write something down so they could share it with others. While the message of the book is ancient, the way it is assembled is unique, particularly the paradigm I call The Five Circles.

Q: What kind of research did you do before and during the writing of your book? Designed for Relationship cover

A: I spent a lot of time studying the Bible and checking everything against this unchanging standard of Truth. I also studied those who have walked similar paths through the years: from St. Augustine and St. Patrick, right through to Henry Nouwen, Dallas Willard, and David Benner. The book is heavily referenced and has an extensive bibliography, but above all this is a practical book. The lessons gleaned from others have been tried and tested in the laboratory of the real world. In a sense, my whole life has been research for this book. I draw on my own experiences as well as those of people I have worked with through the years, to share the principles and tools that we have found helpful for our journey.

Q: If a reader can come away from reading your book with one valuable message, what would that be?

A:  When we fail to understand who we are and who God is, we are missing out on the very core of what is available to us as people. There actually is an amazing, abundant, eternal kind of life available to us. Don’t give up hope! Keep searching along the ancient paths.

Q: Can you give us a short excerpt?

A: Here is a short section from Chapter 5:

People are incredibly diverse and our backgrounds are so varied that the problems we face deserve more than a ‘one size fits all’ solution. Whether we are working on our own issues or helping someone else, we need to ask questions and listen carefully to the answers. The Five Circles can guide us in asking questions, gaining insight, rightly understanding problems, identifying potential solutions, and suggesting practical steps toward healing, wholeness, and intimacy with God.

We need to be careful to remember that our relationship with God is the core pursuit. God is the One who heals and frees as we draw near to Him. If we make our goal wholeness, healing, or freedom, those goals can subtly become our idols. It is not that freedom is a bad goal, but it is not the ultimate one. I have found that as we grow closer to God we become more whole and free. We become like the thing we behold, the thing we exalt, the thing we worship. He made us for relationship with Him, and each aspect of who we are is important to that relationship. We cannot be content just to do what comes easy to us. Growing in relationship with God means embracing all of who God made us to be, and striving to become who we are. As we do that, freedom results.

Only human beings have to struggle to become who we are. Other creatures do not have a choice about what they become. Trees grow without making conscious choices. Only humans think about what we would like to become. We make decisions that affect the direction of our lives. The flip side of this is our capacity to stunt ourselves. We have the capacity for denial. We can choose to move into or withdraw from relationship. Sometimes these are conscious decisions and other times we choose them without realizing why. By pursuing God, we can cultivate awareness. We can choose to love God with all we are, leaving nothing out and holding nothing back. When we fail to love God with our mind, our will, our emotion, our spirit, or our body, we are failing in the most basic, the most central command – the command to love God with all we are.

Q: In your own experience, is it hard to get a nonfiction book published today?  How did you do it?

A: I think it is easier than ever to get a book published, particularly with digital printing and print-on-demand as options for the self-publishing author. I was fully intending to go this route for both of my books, but it seems that God had other plans.

I create in community, and invite people to read and respond to the manuscript, throughout the creative process. My goal was to hone and improve the book by getting a variety of perspectives, but an unintended consequence was the buzz being generated, and in both cases a small publisher asked to print the book.

This is my second book and my second small publisher. I feel like a small publisher has a lot of the benefits of self-publishing without the complications and loss of control that comes with a major publishing house. I like that the small publishers are responsive and are invested in marketing and selling the book, the parts that I find most difficult. I wrote the book because I wanted to help people and I believe in the message. I find the creative process to be a joy, but the publishing process to be really draining. I am happy to let someone else take the lead in the design, printing, distribution, and marketing of the book.

Q: What’s a typical day like for you?

A: I lead a team for an international missions organization, Pioneers, providing prayer and soul care for pastors and missionaries serving around the world. It is such a joy to get to listen to, pray for, and share with people who are experiencing God and helping people each day. Most days I pray with the team for people around the world, and then correspond  and talk with people that I am involved with in mentoring and spiritual companionship relationships. We live in a small town in the UK that provides some great places to walk through the fields and along the coast, so most days I take walks in the fields with my dog to connect with God and talk with Him about the people I love.

Q: What’s next for you?

A: I love my primary job, helping people to grow and experience God more day by day, and I see writing as an extension of that. I plan to explore the issues of faith, culture, and personality in fiction next. But one of the really interesting parts of living connected with God is the adventure of letting Him lead you into what’s next. I have my plans and ambitions, but if the past is any indication, my plans will have little bearing on what comes next.

Q: Thank you so much for this interview, T.J.  We wish you much success!

A: Thank you for interviewing me. I pray that you will be successful in all you set your hand to, and that you will become ever more who you truly are.

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Interview with Fiction/Family/Relationships Author Richard Alan on ‘The Couples’

Richard Alan

Richard Alan lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with his wife, Carolynn. They are the proud parents of three wonderful adult sons.He is a Vietnam combat and 101st Airborne Division veteran.

After an education in mathematics, a 17 year career in manufacturing engineering and a 22 year career in software engineering, he has started a career as an author. Richard writes novels about people trying to find their life-partner, soul-mate, the person they are meant to be with for life. His first two books, Meant to Be and The Couples, are available on his website and most online retailers.

Richard’s other interests range from mathematical analysis and photography to anything with an engine. His current projects include writing the third (Finding Each Other) and fourth novels in the “Meant to Be” series, and discovering the properties of functions of p-adic numbers. Having completed a potting bench for his lifepartner, Carolynn, he is busy driving her to watch salmon runs, visit National Parks, and anywhere that provides an opportunity to view her avian friends.

His latest books in the Meant to Be Series are Meant to Be and The Couples.

You can visit Richard Alan’s website, VILLAGE DRUMMER FICTION at www.villagedrummerfiction.com.

CONNECT WITH RICHARD:

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon Kindle Store (Meant to Be)| CreateSpace (Meant to Be) | Amazon Kindle Store (The Couples) | CreateSpace (The Couples)

 

ABOUT THE COUPLES

 

 

Acclaimed author of Meant to Be, Richard Alan, once again enchants us with characters that we really want to know. You will laugh, cry, and love with them as you seek the answers to the relationship questions posed by this talented author.

Will a tough techy lady be able to find love with a man who is still mourning his deceased fiancée?

Will an intellectually snobbish genius learn that there is more to the truck mechanic than meets the eye?

Can a nerd and a party girl find happiness together?

Can a teenage boy musician get past his unrequited love to learn to love a ranch girl instead?

Will a troubled rape victim be able to have a normal relationship with a man?

The Couples is about people who may belong together and how the world around them helps them, or sometimes defeats them in their search for a life partner. It follows the lives of couples,their friends, and their support systems,as they explore their relationships.

The Couples is Richard Alan’s second novel in the “Meant to Be” series. It continues to explore relationships, love, and life.

Q: Thank you for this interview, Richard. Can you tell us what your latest book, The Couples, is all about?

The Couples continues the theme established in Meant to Be of people who may belong together and how the world around them helps, or sometimes defeats them, in their search for a life partner.  It follows the lives of couples, their friends, and their support systems, as they explore their relationships.

Meyer and Joan return in The Couples, along with several other characters from Meant to Be.  New people are introduced who also interact with Meyer, Joan, and others.

Q:  Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters? 

Anna and Michael, both of whom are techies, are the main characters.  Michael is emotionally hurting due to the sudden death of his fiancée a few weeks before their wedding.  Anna has to get over her poor self-image and learn to trust her feelings.  The book centers on their ability to help each other and to grow to become a couple.

There are several supporting characters.  One of the them is suddenly confronted with the opportunity to become the mother of the daughter she gave up for adoption ten years earlier.  Another is a rape victim who is trying to rejoin society as a whole person.  One is a teenage boy musician who is trying to get past an unrequited love and finds happiness with a ranch girl. These and several others come together as a community to support each other in their quest to find their life partner.

Q: Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination? 

They are totally from my imagination.

Q: Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel, or do you discover it as you write? 

First I develop characters and then the characters tell me their stories.  The stories they tell me always provide twists and turns.  I follow them wherever they take me.  Sometimes I am as surprised at the outcome of a relationship as I’m sure my readers will be.  Occasionally, a subplot will be very interesting but not fit the main thrust of the book.  I save those for subsequent novels.

Q: Your book is set in the Pacific Northwest, including the Seattle area and the Boise, ID area.  Can you tell us why you chose these cities in particular? 

The stunning backdrops of the stories my characters wish to convey is provided by the rich tapestry of the mountains, plains, deserts, forests, and marine environments of the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

Q: Does the setting play a major part in the development of your story? 

No; the interactions between, and the growth of, the characters is the major theme of the story.  The setting provides reasons to interact.  The characters reaction to the scenes around them may provide insight into their personalities.

Q: Open the book to page 69.  What is happening? 

A 10 year old foster child is visiting with a family who might adopt her.  When a bully is about to hurt the girl, he is stopped by the potential future father.  She smiles at him and wonders if this is what it’s like to have a father.

Q: Can you give us one of your best excerpts? 

As they sat in front of the campfire, Anna’s eyes were filled with tears.  She told Michael, “Just when things were the best, they became the worst.  I could never provide that kind of love for someone, like Sharon did for you.”

Michael left his chair, kneeled in front of Anna, and holding each of her hands in his, told her, “You can and you will.”

He leaned forward and kissed her lips.  Anna’s mind was spinning.  She tightened her grip on Michael’s hands with as much strength as she could.  She knew that business partners shouldn’t act this way but… it was heaven to be kissed by Michael.

Anna closed her eyes and said in a quiet voice, “Michael, I’m scared.  I’ve never even had a boyfriend and sometimes, just the thought of you, does things to me I don’t like to think about.  That frightens me.  I’m not sure…”

Michael stood up in front of Anna.

Interrupting her he said, “Please stand up, Anna.”

“Michael, please listen…”

Michael lifted her arms slowly pulling her to a standing position.  He guided her arms around his neck, and in a soft voice told her, “This is how to get rid of that scared feeling.”

Michael wrapped his arms around Anna, pulling her body tightly against him and put his cheek against hers.  He could feel Anna’s arms slowly tightening around his neck.  Michael thought “Thank you Lord, for bringing Anna into my life and finally letting me hold her.”

Anna thought that having Michael’s arms firmly around her was better than her dream.  With the warmth of the fire pit, the cool evening breeze blowing on her, and the warmth from Michael’s body against hers; Anna didn’t ever want to let go.

After a while Michael asked her, “Does this help you feel better?”

“Yes, Michael,” she whispered.

 

Q: Have you suffered from writer’s block and what do you do to get back on track? 

I have never suffered from writer’s block.  I have the opposite problem.  This is a good problem which has allowed me to write four books in the last fifteen months.

 

Q: What would you do with an extra hour today if you could do anything you wanted? 

Create world peace.  Oh, no – this is not a beauty contest.  Seriously, I’ve written a storyline for my fourth book where a woman in her late twenties takes a six year old girl for her first ride in a sailboat.  I would use the extra hour to continue polishing that story so my love of sailing, and being on the water, comes thru and becomes part of the girl’s character.

 

Q: Which already published book do you wish that you had written and why? 

Roger Penrose’s The Road to Reality.  Only a genius can take a reader from arithmetic to particle physics and beyond in one volume.  In my opinion, this one volume provides more science than any two years’ worth of college courses.  His clarity of thought and purpose should be a guiding light for any writer, in any genre.

 

Q: What kind of advice would you give other fiction authors regarding getting their books out there?  

Do not try to edit your own manuscript.  Have a group of beta readers critique your book before you have it published.  Listen to the editors and beta readers, but be careful not to let them ruin the spirit of your story.  They are not the author, you are.  The final product ultimately is your responsibility.  Start creating buzz about your book long before the manuscript is even finished.  Read blogs about writing.  There is a wealth of information out there and many authors who are extremely supportive.  Good luck and have fun.

 

 

 

 

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How to Get Published by ‘Romancing the Soul’ Dorothy Thompson

How to Get Published is a continuing feature at As the Pages Turn where we ask authors to tell us their publishing stories.  Was it a rocky road or did it come easy for them?  Did they start with an  agent and get a NY publisher interested in their book or did they self-publish?  What words of wisdom do they have for all of us who would like to be published one day?

Today’s guest is Dorothy Thompson, author of the relationships anthology, Romancing the Soul (Zumaya Publications).

A Fairytale Publishing Story…Then Reality Smacked Me in the Face

By Dorothy Thompson

Once upon a time, it was every author’s dream to be published by the Big Six.  Thoughts of living in mansions and money to burn, not to mention the PRESTIGE of being published by a NY publisher, just seemed to be at the top of the list.  One such author I know quite personally thought it was the right move for her new book she had just put together but yet hadn’t published.  Yet.  The author had a friend who recommended her agent who had gotten her into the Big Six and the author knew she was on her way.

The agent accepted her manuscript and was about to go on the Big Six Hunt when she had a few suggestions for the author’s book.  She told the author that in order to get NY to publish you, you had to make a few changes.

The author knew what she had to do.  Based on the agent’s suggestions, she had to cut the book in half and take out the really good parts.  “My suggestion to you,” she said,  “would be to cut the book in half, make each shorter and do away with the out of the norm stuff.”

The author started cutting and it was about halfway through when a light bulb went off.  “Wait a minute,” she said, “if I do this, I lose the whole focus of the book.  Am I supposed to go by the Big Six’s rules in order to get a NY contract but give up on why I even wrote the book in the first place?”

See, NY has rules.  It has to be “their” way or the highway for reasons that makes sense to them, but not to us.  They want to be able to sell the book and that was the bottom line.

The author stopped cutting.  And fired the agent.

You probably see where I’m going with this.  That author was me.  Yes, I had a chance to have my book being represented by the Big Six, only I just couldn’t do it.  Let me explain.  Romancing the Soul is a collection of true soul mate stories I collected from people all over the world.  Not one of those stories could be cut.  The agent wanted me to take out the non-normal stories of people believing their cat was their soul mate, or their aunt was their soul mate or something other than “what was normal” had to be cut.  But you see, this was the essence of the book – to help people realize there was more than one kind of soul mate and the reasons behind it.  Had I cut it down to only boy/girl relationships, it would have been just like all the other books out there.  Sure, it might seem a little different, but this is all based on scientific fact and beliefs I knew to be true and was trying to show the world why they should think it to be true, also.  My book would have lost its soul to the almighty Big Six and how would I deal with that?

I couldn’t and didn’t and instead let it sit….but…I was a member of an online group and was telling them this story.  I added that I knew this book would sell even if I had to put up a card table in my front yard and sell them that way.  What I didn’t know was that there were publishers lurking in the group.  Elizabeth Burton of Zumaya Publications was one such publisher.  She emailed me offlist and told me to send her the whole book, that she wanted to publish it.

Zumaya Publications is a small press.  What I believe makes them stand out from anyone else is that she fully believed in my book.  I’m sure there are lots of other small presses who will tell you that in order to get you to send them your book, but over the years since the book was published, I had a gut feeling about Elizabeth and I was right.  She had my back on everything and that’s all I could hope for.

This was back in 2004 and no, the book hasn’t made any bestselling lists, and it’s hit or miss as far as sales go, but I’m happy with that.  The true fairy tale ending in this story is when you find someone who truly believes in your book and is sending you reminder emails to get that next book to them pronto, that’s the real fairy tale.  I’m happy to say the next book in the soul mate series, The Soul Mate Triangle: Unlocking the Mysteries of the Soul Mate Triangle will be published soon. ;o)

Dorothy Thompson is the compiler/editor/co-author of Romancing the Soul: True Stories of Soul Mates From Around the World and Beyond, as well as other relationship ebooks such as How to Find and Keep Your Soul Mate and 101 Facts You Never Knew About Soul Mates.  Her relationship columns have appeared in eNotAlone, SistersDiva Magazine, MindBodySpirit Magazine, Singles Cafe, SinglesStop, Innerself, Single Again, Free Spirit Centre, Holistic Harmony, SpiritualMinds, Self-Growth, Into the Mystic, Romance Stuck and many other relationship ezines as well as The Eastern Shore News and The Daily Times, both Gannet Publications.  She has been featured in the supermarket tabloid, OK! Magazineas well as appearing as a special guest on many radio programs including Lifetime Radio, Single Talk, Cuzzin Eddie Show and A Book and a Chat.

Her many upcoming projects include a self-help book titled The Soul Mate Triangle: Unlocking the Mysteries of the Soul Mate Relationship (due to be released by Zumaya Publications in 2013) and several other books in various stages of production.

Dorothy is also CEO/Founder of Pump Up Your Book, an innovative public relations agency specializing in online book publicity and social media.  You can visit her website at www.PumpUpYourBook.com or follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pumpupyourbook and Facebook at www.facebook.com/pumpupyourbook.

Dorothy lives on the beautiful island of Chincoteague, Virginia.

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A conversation with Dee A. Levy & B. Sheffield Hunt, authors of ‘The Cross Dresser’s Wife’

Dee A. Levy & B. Sheffield HuntDee A. Levy is the founder of the nonprofit organization Cross Dressers Wives, whose mission is to provide a safe environment for cross dressers’ wives everywhere. Since 2006, the website www.crossdresserswives.com has emerged as one of the top support sites designed to address the needs of all women who are (or were) involved in an intimate relationship with a cross dresser. The Forum encourages cross dressers’ wives from across the globe to reach out and anonymously share their experiences in an effort to learn from each other without fear of being judged or humiliated. Levy holds degrees in women’s studies and education.

B. Sheffield Hunt is a writer, producer, and artist living in Hollywood, California, who holds a degree in fine art and is also the cover illustrator of The Cross Dresser’s Wife: Our Secret Lives.

You can visit the authors’ website at www.crossdresserswives.com.

 

About The Cross Dresser’s Wife: Our Secret Lives

The Cross Dresser's WifeAt long last, valuable and emotionally intimate social commentary on the taboo subculture of cross dressing is revealed in the pages of THE CROSS DRESSER’S WIFE * OUR SECRET LIVES. Culled from the nonprofit website www.crossdresserswives.com by authors Dee A. Levy (the website’s founder) and B. Sheffield Hunt, this international collection of stories exposes, for the first time, the shocking secret lives of cross dressers’ wives or partners who silently grapple with the issue of transvestism in their marriage or relationship. This is the duo’s first literary collaboration.

Levy was married to a cross dresser for 20 years, a secret she hid from everyone in her life. Instead, she eventually tried seeking help online, which for her proved to be an exercise in frustration. “I found thousands of sites on cross dressers, although some wouldn’t allow me to post as the wife of a lingerie-wearing cross dresser. Other religious sites would refer you to their clergy, who would refer you to an immediate annulment. Many sites were critical of ‘unaccepting’ cross dressers’ wives, sending a message that we were selfish, reneged on our wedding vows, and should just enjoy it and go shopping for matching outfits. Finding nothing online that applies to how you feel only makes it worse and when you feel alone, it’s too easy to slip into invalidation. I kept thinking, I can’t be the only cross dresser’s wife who feels this way! I needed to talk to another cross dresser’s wife trapped in a situation similar to mine.” Ultimately, in 2006 Levy created the oasis she could not find: a nonprofit organization, Cross Dressers Wives, and its website, http://www.crossdresserswives.com. The site, she reports, now receives over two million hits a year. “No one knows how many of us are really out there.”

Originally, the book was meant to be an article about Levy’s own experience. However, while she was writing it, some of the women on the website’s Forum posted suggestions that they write a book of their collected stories, and Levy agreed. Naturally, to protect personal identities, all names, dates, and identifying details in the book have been altered. (All women on the website’s Forum post anonymously and utilize pseudonyms.)

Levy and Hunt invited the women on the Forum to tell their stories as they wished; once the stories were submitted, Hunt communicated with the writers to flesh out the details. Then, from the www.crossdresserswives.com Forum, they selected posts to sprinkle in between the stories. “The posts pages are meant to illustrate the powerful ‘emotional speakeasy’ sense of camaraderie, caring, and support that is evident on the Forum on a daily basis, each enhancing the themes of the five stories.”

Hunt describes the stories:

1. The Queen of Denial examines denial, a self-defense mechanism utilized by many cross dressers’ wives;

2. The Golden Nugget explores the significance of desire in helping a relationship remain intact;

3. Gaslighting exposes the lengths one cross dresser will go to cover up his secret;

4. His Favorite Woman asks if cross dressing hints that he really wants to be a woman, or is merely a doorway to other sexualities? and

5. Mr. Wonderful – Levy’s own story – ponders the ramifications of a woman’s choice to stay in the marriage.

“Multiple thorny issues can surround cross dressing. Often, it involves some sense of romantic betrayal at its deepest, messiest level. These relationships are operatic in scale and shake these women to their core,” Hunt contends. “Why else would a sound woman consider leaving the love of her life and disrupt her family if this issue was merely about ‘scraps of clothing?”

The book’s prospective audience, Hunt believes, includes “cross dressers; cross dressers’ wives; gender counselors; therapists; anyone in a relationship where someone is harboring a shame-based secret; or the avid reader / armchair psychologist eager for a penetrating peek into the human psyche.”

The authors hope that readers will gain a deeper understanding of the issue, and that the book will help bust the myths and eradicate the need for such secrecy. “In the little we do see about this issue on TV and entertainment, the women accept it,” Levy points out. “But what about the ones who don’t? These women are marginalized, minimized, and are a subculture that no one knows about. I want people to start thinking – and start thinking twice!”

Q: Thank you for this interview, Dee and B. Can you tell us what your latest book, The Cross Dresser’s Wife * Our Secret Lives, is all about?

 

B. – The Cross Dresser’s Wife * Our Secret Lives busts the myths by offering valuable and emotionally intimate social commentary on the often misunderstood and taboo subculture of cross dressing.  At long last, this new collection of gripping memoirs pulls a forbidden topic out of the shadows and into a circle of understanding by giving voice to a corner of society that many of us don’t even know exists – cross dressers’ wives.  Authored by five trailblazing women joined together on the Forum at http://www.crossdresserswives.com, these stories expose for the first time the shocking secret lives led by many cross dressers’ wives or partners who silently struggle with cross dressing in their marriage or relationship.

 

Q: How did you come up with the idea for your book?

 

Dee – I lived it for twenty years.  For the first decade of my marriage to a cross dresser, I was clueless.  Then, on a New Year’s Eve, the love of my life, my husband and father of my only child, exposed his secret to me:  he was a lingerie-wearing cross dresser!  For the next ten years, I lived in the shadows of his insidious, creeping secret, which became my own.  I told no one, not even my own weekly therapist, and the toll it took on my physical and mental health was devastating.  I was that woman driving too fast on a rainy freeway curve… ‘Will it happen tonight?’  After our child left for college and my nest was empty, I was gone.  Emotionally battered and broken, I searched for help, answers, compassion, and camaraderie.  However, my Internet search only left me feeling more invalidated and alone than ever.  I was insulted, dismissed, and told I should not “miss out on all the fun,” embrace my husband’s feminine side, and go get manipeds with my “new girlfriend” every weekend.  The onus was on me to accept cross dressing in my marriage, move on.  In spite of my initial findings, my woman’s intuition told me that there had to be other cross dressers’ wives out there who, like me, felt betrayed, bewildered, and were struggling with this issue.  Ultimately, in 2006, I created my nonprofit organization Cross Dressers Wives and its website www.crossdresserswives.com, which provides a safe haven for cross dressers’ wives and partners everywhere.  I had already started writing my own book, My Secret Life as a Cross Dresser’s Wife, when women on the Forum, our anonymous oasis where women share and support one another, suggested we write a book of our collected stories.  On that day, Labor Day 2009, My Life became Our Lives.

 

Q: What kind of research did you do before and during the writing of your book?

 

Dee – As a social scientist with a BA in Women’s Studies and an MA in Social Sciences and Comparative Education, and a cross dresser’s wife, I was compelled to research this topic.  My website, www.crossdresserswives.com, offers a wide variety of resources and links.  I’ve read every book and journal article that I could find on the topic of cross dressing.  For the past six years, I have had the honor of interacting with cross dressers’ wives and partners from around the globe.  Additionally, I have been fortunate to establish warm friendships with many cross dressers; they might have come to me with assumptions that were incorrect, but through dialogue and sharing, we now have a better understanding of both sides of this issue.  Also, Cross Dressers Wives has been collecting comprehensive questionnaires over the years that shed shocking new light on this seriously unrevealed subject.

 

Q: If a reader can come away from reading your book with one valuable message, what would that be?

 

Dee – Tell.  The.  Truth.  When a closeted cross dresser marries, he misrepresents himself.  Give your fiancé the choice of whether or not she wants to be a cross dresser’s wife.  It’s not just about clothing.  Most often, lies, deceit, and romantic betrayal can become the monumental issues that poison a marriage and rip families apart, not cross dressing.  Through sharing, discussing, and ultimately demystifying this issue, perhaps we can all eliminate that shame-filled yearning for absolute secrecy, which can take too high a toll on all involved.

 

Q: Can you give us a short excerpt?

 

          From story #3, Gaslighting, by Shelly -

“I don’t consider myself a stupid woman… When I first discovered that my husband had a secret, I was ten years into a happy, deeply committed marriage.  My children were two years old and three months old, and I had recently stopped working to become a full time mom.  My husband and I had been together since I was fifteen and he was eighteen.  I had known and loved him unquestioningly for over half my life…  “Paul” was my hero, advisor, mentor, and best friend.  I trusted him more than I trusted myself.

The pair of women’s panties was hidden under a layer of drying towels in the bathroom.  I immediately knew they weren’t mine.  The panties were large and stretched out, silky but cut for comfort, not attractiveness; definitely not something taken as memorabilia from an affair.  I was calm but genuinely puzzled when I asked Paul about them.

He gathered me in his arms, turned me around, and sat me on his lap at the kitchen table.  His voice muffled by my hair, he reluctantly began talking.  The women’s panties were his…”

 

Q: In your own experience, is it hard to get a nonfiction book published today?  How did you do it?

 

B. – Wanting to retain 100% control of how these stories were told, we decided to self-publish.

 

Q: What’s a typical day like for you?

 

Dee – Our website gets over 2 million hits a year.  Therefore, no matter what, the first thing I do every morning is go on to the Forum at www.crossdresserswives.com.  Checking in with these women has become a lifeline for me, one that I am eternally grateful for.  I need to know that the Forum is maintained as a safe haven for cross dressers’ wives/partners.  I really never have days off but I am thankful to be so busy.

 

Q: What’s next for you?

 

Dee – Cross Dressers Wives, the website www.crossdresserswives.com, and The Cross Dresser’s Wife * Our Secret Lives are taking on lives of their own.  In short, they’re on fire!  I’m trying to keep up!

 

Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Dee and B.  We wish you much success!

 

Dee & B. – Thank you!

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How to Get Published by Stephan Labossiere

How to Get Published is a continuing feature at As the Pages Turn where we ask authors to tell us their publishing stories. Was it a rocky road or did it come easy for them? Did they start with an agent and get a NY publisher interested in their book or did they self-publish? What words of wisdom do they have for all of us who would like to be published one day?

Today’s guest is Stephan Labossiere, author of the relationships book, How To Get a Married Woman To Have Sex With You…If You’re Her Husband (Firefly Publishing).

How I Got My Book Published

By Stephan Labossiere

When I finally decided to go forth with writing my book How To Get A Married Woman To Have Sex With You…If You’re Her Husband, I knew I had to figure out which route I would take to get published. I immediately started looking into self publishing because I thought this would be the most realistic route to take. I did research on the internet to find the best deal and a reputable company. There were many options and I just needed to pray about which one to go with.

One day I felt the need to see what the internet had to say about trying to get a publisher. This is when I learned about sending out query letters. I found many sites with large directories of literary agents available. They provide useful information that help narrow your search for the right person to query. At this point I figured I have nothing to lose. So I sent out 8 to 10 queries and waited to see if anyone bites. Worst case scenario I will just go back to the self publishing route that I originally intended to do. I received about 4 responses, and though some had encouraging things to say, nobody was prepared to take on my book. While waiting for more responses (which I never did receive) I was told by a friend about a publishing company owned by an old acquaintance. So I sent my query to Firefly Publishing, and they loved the idea. I am grateful for being able to get my book published but I am just as grateful to have gone through the process of exploring my options. It allowed me to learn a lot and be much better equipped for future projects.

Stephan Labossiere is a man on a mission to help men and women experience more successful and authentic relationships. He knows firsthand how challenging the male and female dynamic can be and strives to bridge the gap of communication between the sexes. The only male in a family of three older sisters, one of whom is his twin, Stephan has learned early on to take the time to understand and embrace the inner workings of a woman’s mind.

Stephan grew up in Miami, Fl before moving to and settling in Atlanta, Ga. He has worked as an entrepreneur for the past ten years and, most recently, has served as a Life Coach as well as a relationship consultant to married and dating couples. In addition, Stephan is a motivational speaker conducting speaking engagements with topics such as personal and spiritual growth, financial stability and relationships. How To Get A Married Woman To Have Sex With You…If You’re Her Husband is his first book in a series aimed to break down the barriers and turn the battle of the sexes into nothing more than a pillow fight with a mutually pleasing ending.

You can visit Stephan Labossiere’s website at www.StephanL.com or his blog at http://stephanl03.blogspot.com/.  Connect with him at Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ManLikeNoOtha and Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=527211929.

Giveaways, Contests & Prizes!

In celebration of Stephan Labossiere’s new release, he will be appearing at  Pump Up Your Book’s 1st Annual Holiday Extravaganza Facebook Party on December 16.  More than 50 books, gifts and cash awards will be given away including a paperback copy of of How to Get a Married Woman to Have Sex With You…If You’re Her Husband!  Visit the official party page here!

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Guest Blogger: What Do We Mean By Creative Writing by Heidi Ann Smith

What Do We Mean By Creative Writing?

By Heidi Ann Smith

What is creative writing?  By this question I do not mean to ask how we can cause those who are not creative writers to understand a work of creative writing rather, by this question, I mean to provoke others to ask how we might understand the question. For a long time I labeled myself as ‘a free-verse poet’ until it occurred to me that if I did not label myself as aligned with any particular genre I might have more creative writing options. Rosemary Butcher argues that, “the thesis is produced in a sense in the making of the work”. By this I mean to suggest that a creatively written text is evidence of a performance that has ended and that the performance must not aim at reproduction and by ‘re-production’, I mean a ‘preconceived’ idea.  If a creative writer is aware how a creative writing performance will end before the writing process has begun this necessarily limits the creativity since the nature of creativity implies that something will ‘arise’ or ‘come to light’.  It is in the making of the text that the artist supplies the necessary space and all of the materials that provoke a work of art to come into being.

Some may argue with the above proposition by asserting that anything can be interpreted as a work of art, for example, by arguing that Marcel Duchamp’s “Fountain” (1917) and other ‘readymade’ art proponents, have demonstrated that anything ‘chosen’ by an artist can be a work of art.  If you will recall, Duchamp argued that a urinal is a work of art simply because he ‘chose’ to submit urinal to an art exhibit (that claimed it would present all works of art).  Duchamp signed the urinal with the pseudonym, ‘R. Mutt’.  I would counter this argument by suggesting that the work of art was the designer of the urinal not Duchamp.  ‘Choosing’ a common object and signing a pseudonym does not instantiate a work of art no matter how famous the artist’s signature or how ‘well chosen’ the object. In terms of creative writing, the previous argument would imply, for example, that the poet Mark Strand could sign his name to a store receipt and that store receipt would suddenly become a creatively written artifact.  While an object signed by a famous poet may be of value, history demonstrates that monetary value or affiliation with someone famous does not necessarily translate into a work of art. Vincent van Gogh, for example, sold only one painting in his lifetime (and received very little money for it) and Friedrich Nietzsche and Charles Peirce’s writings did not gain popularity until after their deaths. The previous examples demonstrate that the artist informs the field of artistic practice, not the viewer or the object, no matter how well ‘chosen’.  How was Vincent van Gogh’s “Starry Night” altered by the viewer’s ever increasing appreciation of it?  How was Duchamp’s urinal informed by Duchamp’s artistic practice? While some may suggest that anything is a work of art, I would argue along the lines suggested by Deleuze that a work of art is ‘molded’ by a skilled and practicing artisan and that the work of art itself ‘causes sensations’ or ‘affects’ regardless of the viewer. Is a tree in a forest, a tree in a forest, if no human is there to view it? Following along similar lines of reasoning, some may want to say that a machine is a work of art. I suggest that a machine may be a work of art but a machine cannot manufacture an art theory, a machine can only instantiate an art theory.  Artists are creators of art theories that arise in the ‘making’ of the work of art. If this is not the case, then what are the fundamental notions by which we might arrive at understanding of what we mean by ‘creative writing’ and what are the conditions that allow or cause a work of creative writing to come into being?

About Heidi Ann Smith

Heidi Ann Smith grew up in the Chicago area and began publishing poems as a child. At a young age, she won various local and academic awards for her writing; based on her writing abilities, she was awarded a scholarship to a private high school and attended college courses during her high school years. After high school she began raising a family and was taken away from her writing, but soon returned to complete a Bachelor of Arts from Eastern Illinois University. She then earned a Master of Arts in Humanities from California State University and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Goddard College. Several of her poems recently found homes in various journals, and she published a scholarly thesis on the German artist George Grosz. Heidi is currently a PhD student studying Creative Writing at Middlesex University in London, England. THE CLARA ANN BURNS STORY is her first novel.

You can visit the website at www.monkeypuzzlepress.com.

About The Clara Ann Burns Story

In Heidi Ann Smith’s short novel THE CLARA ANN BURNS STORY, a woman who suffered child abuse looks back over her turbulent life as she approaches her fifties. Smith describes it as “a story of a young girl, Clara Ann Burns, who was tortured, abused and neglected by her family. When she was old enough to go out on her own, she got herself into situations that were not always the best. But in the end she raises her own family and holds onto the hope of healing and living without fear.”

Smith explains that the story “is based on some of my life experiences,” which included sexual abuse. “I needed to write this book–and I needed to have the right and the freedom to bring together different events.”

Rather than creating a traditional narrative text from start to finish, in THE CLARA ANN BURNS STORY, Smith–who holds one master’s degree in fine arts in creative writing, another in humanities, and is a PhD student in creative writing–chose to express child abuse and loss by experimenting with literary genre. The result is that the protagonist, Clara Ann Burns, tells her story through written memories (short stories, lists, poems, one-minute plays) and memorabilia (hospital records, photographs, personal records). All are presented without explanation: a grandmother cooks breakfast while she speaks to her deceased husband; a mother scalds her child in a bathtub; the funeral processions of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr.; the death of a child’s father; and the rape of a stepdaughter. This multi-genre approach, Smith feels, more accurately conveys “the impossibility of piecing together this story, and reflects the inconsistencies of an abuse victim’s memories that tend to jump from one instance of abuse to the next, rather than flowing through, perhaps, what might be considered the normal ups and downs of life.”

In addition, Smith points out, “These isolated memories of abuse that flash through Clara’s mind are what it means to have post-traumatic stress disorder. I suggest further that these isolated incidents also represent the perplexity of healing from prolonged neglect and abuse, since a constant state of fear is what is most familiar to Clara since she was abused by family members and friends for many years. If a child believes his or her own family is not adverse to his or her own torture, neglect, or rape, the child cannot survive as emotionally or psychologically intact. In Clara’s case, the abuse is pervasive, there is no relief for many years, nor hope of relief until she is an older woman and capable of looking at what happened to her objectively through the instantiation of the events as presented in the text.”

Despite the personal inspiration behind THE CLARA ANN BURNS STORY, Smith’s academic and scholarly understanding of both creative writing and fine art informs the book’s power. She likens writing to fine art: “All the great artists I studied reflected their life; in a great work of art, you cannot extricate the artist’s life from their work. When you look at a work of art by Van Gogh or Caravaggio you see some truth about their life. For me, the truth does not necessarily read like a biography; there are details that are blurred from your view. When I was engaged in the writing process, some things that were hidden from my view came out–which may grab the reader because it hit me as well.”

Smith hopes that readers who can identify with THE CLARA ANN BURNS STORY will find some comfort in it. “When I was a little girl I was very sick and I didn’t have a happy home life. I started reading poetry, and I felt some kind of resonance and a kindred spirit with the other writer’s work. I hope my work will reach someone and that they will also know that they are not alone.” And, she adds, “I also hope the work is received as a work of literature.”

 

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Theory Cream Ice The: A Mirror Review by Steff Deschenes

We have a special guest today!  Steff Deschenes, author of The Ice Cream Theory , is here to give us a “mirror review” of her own book!

Theory Cream Ice The

A Mirror Review by Steff Deschenes

The Ice Cream Theory is a charming “self-help” book that draws a unique parallel between ice cream flavors and human personalities, a tongue-in-cheek celebration of the variety inherent in a well-lived life.

While I agree with this snapshot summary of what the book’s about, I disagree, and have from the start, with the “self-help” bit of that statement.

But then again, I’m allowed to.

Because I’m the author.

I didn’t have much of a choice, though.  When it came time to pick a genre for my self-published book, “Super Cool Almost True, but Somewhat Inaccurate Anecdotes from My Life” was not a viable option.  So, the powers that be shuffled me into “Self Help: General.”

Which makes me feel altogether silly – because, really, what the heck does a twenty-something know about life outside of their own little world?

Apparently something more than nothing, considering the book has gone on to win 12 independent book awards and has had had a number of glowing reviews from ice cream companies, bloggers, and newspapers.

The reviews tend to say the same thing.  “Her writing style is conversational and down-to-earth,” which I know is true.  Friends, and even fans who’ve met me after reading the book, tell me its uncanny how similar reading the book is to talking to me in real life.  That’s good.  I like that.  Every author strives to find their literary voice and if I’ve found mine so strongly at such a young age, then I know I’m doing something right.

Reviews have also said, “It takes a special kind of braveness to put one’s life out there for the entire world to judge.”  The line between bravery and stupidity is very small though.  Writing about raw, honest thoughts and emotions about ex-boyfriends has resulted in several late-night, overly-drawn-out conversations with said ex’s to discuss what was written about them and us.  As a general rule of thumb, I make them take me out for ice cream if they want to talk.

And, across the board, reviewers agree that “by the end of the book, you come away thinking and looking at yourself, the people in you know, and your life experiences wondering what flavors would match up.”  Success!, considering that’s kind of the whole point of the book.

There are a couple of things, however, that not a single reviewer, blogger, friend or family member seems to have picked up on.  And, if I was asked to write a review about The Ice Cream Theory, I would have made it a point to focus on the fact that:

A)    There isn’t a single curse word in the entire book – the language, while sassy and filled with adult references and undertones, is entirely PG; and . . .

B)     There isn’t a single social, pop culture, or brand reference made.

Both of which were done intentionally, and are relatively impressive.  Especially the latter of the two: to be able to write an entire book about ice cream, and yet not once actually reference or name an individual store or brand is especially remarkable, if you ask me.

We are an impressionable society constantly surrounded and berated by an influential media, multi-billion dollar corporations, and the entertainment business.  It’s nice to be able to think for ourselves on occasion; and, I hope that I contributed to that by creating something devoid of such references.  I also am under the personal opinion that when we include celebrity or brand names in our art, then we are dating ourselves.  In essence, by excluding those things, I feel I’ve written something timeless.

And the no-swear-word rule simply originated as a “can I do it?” concept, because I tend to have a potty mouth. I quickly realized that I could still effectively say what I needed to say sans any colorful language, and create a delightful story that is apparently readable and relatable to regardless if you’re seventeen or seventy-seven.

With its upbeat, conversational tone and broad appeal, The Ice Cream Theory is not a typical “Super Cool Almost True, but Somewhat Inaccurate Anecdotes from My Life” kind of book.  It’s a must read for anyone bruised by life’s tough lessons and in need of a cheerful pick me up!

Or so the reviewers say!

# # #

Steff DeschenesDespite a failed attempt at majoring in ice cream in college, Steff Deschenes is a self-taught ice-cream guru. After publishing the now twelve-time award-winning The Ice Cream Theory, she began exploring food on a more universal level. As a result, she now photo blogs daily herself at dinner and the challenges of being a vegetarian in a predominantly seafood-oriented state. Steff also writes two articles a week entitled “Maybe It’s Me” (personal essays and reflection on life and the living of it) and “Fact Is Better” (real life conversations she couldn’t make up if she tried); all of which can be found at www.steffdeschenes.com. You can also visit her at www.theicecreamtheory.com.

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‘The Mermaid’s Pendant’ LeAnn Neal Reilly on virtual book tour October & November ’10

LeAnn Neal ReillyJoin LeAnn Neal Reilly, author of the general fiction novel, The Mermaid’s Pendant (Zephon Books), as she virtually tours the blogosphere in October and November ‘10 on her first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!

LeAnn Neal Reilly grew up in St. Joseph, Missouri, near the Missouri River, in that fertile land where corn, children, and daydreams take root and thrive. She spent countless hours reading and typing chapters on an old Smith-Corona in her closet, which luckily for her didn’t have doors. Then she put away her daydreams and her stories and headed off, first to graduate magna cum laude from Missouri Western State University, and later to Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh for a master’s degree in professional writing. Along the way, she majored briefly in chemistry, served as opinion editor and then editor of her college newspaper, and interned for the international design firm Fitch RichardsonSmith in Columbus, Ohio. The highlight of her internship came when she generated the product name renata for a Copco teakettle (although designing the merchandising copy for ceramic tile adhesive and insulation packaging surely runs a close second).

After graduate school, LeAnn worked first for a small multimedia startup and then a research group in the Carnegie Mellon School of Computer Science. At the startup, she spent her time writing user manuals and multimedia scripts for software to train CSX railroad engineers. While working among geeks, LeAnn became enamored and decided to take one home for herself. After getting married and starting a family, she returned to her adolescent daydreams of writing novels. Never one to shirk from lofty goals, she added home schooling her three children as her day job.

After years of working in an office not much better than an unfinished closet, LeAnn has finished The Mermaid’s Pendant and is currently working on her next novel. LeAnn joined GoodReads three years ago where she writes reviews regularly.

LeAnn lives outside Boston with one husband, three children, a dog named Hobbes (after Calvin &), and a cat named Attila. The Mermaid's Pendant

Inspired by the beloved classic The Little Mermaid, THE MERMAID’S PENDANT is a modern fairy tale about growing up and discovering who you are—and what you believe in. At times lyrical, this novel is a fantastic journey filled with magic, myth, romance, and adventure.

Four years after John Wilkerson claims the mermaid Tamarind for his wife, they have an idyllic marriage that depends on a talisman that she crafted on their island paradise. But Tamarind learns a painful truth: it takes more than legs to live on land and more than magic to sustain a bond. When the talisman breaks, she and John are forced to rely on themselves instead of magic.

Three wise women play key roles in the young lovers’ journey to mature love. Ana, Tamarind’s aging mentor, casts spells and performs seductions to keep the lovers apart. Valerie, an expat jewelry maker cum fairy godmother, works her own magic to bring them together. Lucy, their widowed neighbor, grounds the couple in the realities of marriage, parenting, and family.

THE MERMAID’S PENDANT is a story for anyone who has ever believed in the transforming power of love.

You can visit LeAnn’s Web site at www.nealreilly.com.

If you’d like to follow along with LeAnn as she tours the blogosphere in October and November, visit her official tour page at Pump Up Your Book. Lots of fun in store as you travel the blogosphere to find out more about LeAnn Neal Reilly’s newest book, The Mermaid’s Pendant.

Join us for the LeAnn Neal Reilly’s The Mermaid’s Pendant Virtual Book Tour ‘10! Pump Up Your Book is an innovative public relations agency specializing in virtual book tours. You can visit our website at www.pumpupyourbook.com.

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Interview with Steff Deschenes: ‘Like people, no ice cream flavor is perfect every single time’

Despite a failed attempt at majoring in ice cream in college, Steff Deschenes is a self-taught ice-cream guru. After publishing the now twelve-time award-winning The Ice Cream Theory, she began exploring food on a more universal level. As a result, she now photo blogs daily herself at dinner and the challenges of being a vegetarian in a predominantly seafood-oriented state. Steff also writes two articles a week entitled “Maybe It’s Me” (personal essays and reflection on life and the living of it) and “Fact Is Better” (real life conversations she couldn’t make up if she tried); all of which can be found at www.steffdeschenes.com. You can also visit her at www.theicecreamtheory.com.

Q: Thank you for this interview, Steff!  Can you tell us what your latest book, The Ice Cream Theory, is all about?

The Ice Cream Theory is a charming, tongue-in-cheek exploration of the parallels between human personalities and ice cream flavors.  Utilizing humor and satire, it brings together anecdotes from my own adventures with broader-reaching social commentary to help others recognize the wisdom and joy inherent in a beloved dessert.   In the same way people have ice-cream preferences, people also have people preferences.  Like ice cream flavors, social preferences shift based on age, experience, even mood.  There are exotic flavors that one craves when feeling daring, comforting flavors to fall back on, flavors long-enjoyed that eventually wear out their welcome, and those unique flavors that require an acquired taste.  Like people, no ice cream flavor is perfect every single time, and it’s in this realization that the crux of the theory lies.

Q: How did you come up with the idea?

I had my first heartbreak when I was sixteen (it was a trite, superficial teenage girl thing, but at the time it felt like the seams of my world were coming undone), and the best remedies to get through it were friends and ice cream!

Q: What kind of research did you do before and during the writing of your book?

I ate a lot of ice cream.  And dated a lot of boys.  And ate more ice cream after breaking up with said boys!

Q: If a reader can come away from reading your book with one valuable message, what would that be?

That life is beautiful in its imperfection.  That if we obsess over the next best thing or over what might happen tomorrow, then we miss out on everything we have right now in this present moment, which is the only thing that’s real.  We need to be a culture that slows down, recognizes, and truly feels their way through all the good and bad things that life is made up of.  Yes, life could be better (the weather could be better, our health could be better, anything, really, could be better than it is), but it’s more than good enough.

Q: Can you give us a short excerpt?

Sure . . . this is from the first chapter which explains what The Ice Cream Theory is all about:

“There are loads of different flavors of ice cream: Almond, Amaretto, Banana Nut, Black Raspberry, Blueberry, Bubblegum . . .

Just to name a few.

Nobody likes them all. Everyone I’ve ever met has eaten flavors that they couldn’t stand; flavors that they liked when they were younger and hated as adults, or hated when they were younger and loved when they were adults; flavors that they could eat all the time; flavors that they ate all the time and got sick of; flavors that they’ve never tried and haven’t had the opportunity to; flavors they’ve recommended to friends; flavors that are exotic and daring and out of the norm; flavors that are comfortable and common; flavors that they had only once because they could never find it again; flavors that they eat just because it’s there; flavors that remind them of a person, place, or time.

Because of this, to me, people are like ice cream flavors.

We get along with certain people because we have common ground with them, or they bring something new to our lives, or perhaps they balance us out.  We don’t get along with certain people because we have no similarities.  Or perhaps that one thing you can’t stand about yourself, you see in them.

People like or dislike certain ice cream flavors for one reason or another.

People like or dislike other people for one reason or another, too.

Once when I was at one of those ice cream parlors that make your ice cream treat on marble slabs right in front of you, I had tiramisu ice cream with marshmallows and gummy bears.

Yes, it sounds disgusting. And, yes, it was disgusting.

But here’s the thing: someone, somewhere, adores tiramisu ice cream with marshmallows and gummy bears.

Just not me.

But, see, I had to try it.  It seemed interesting; something new that I had never sampled before.  I tried it, didn’t like it, and moved on.  But I had to know what it was like because, if I didn’t, than I would have never known if I was missing out on something extraordinary.”

Q: In your own experience, is it hard to get a nonfiction book published today?  How did you do it?

I don’t think that nonfiction is hard to publish; I think it’s the genre within nonfiction that makes it difficult.  Personally, I never intended to write a self-help book.  I was trying to write, what I tell my friends and family, a “super cool collection of almost true, but slightly inaccurate anecdotes from my life.” But that genre doesn’t exist!  (Yet).  I got lumped into self-help, which is really unfortunate given that the market is inundated with these types of books.  So, for me, I felt really blessed that I had a tremendously unique concept – like comparing people to ice cream flavors – to share with the world.

I think most self-help books force some very opinionated central theme down the reader’s throat, which, in my opinion, makes it counterproductive.  The Ice Cream Theory, I think, does an exceptional job at letting the reader interpret, digest, and gleam what they specifically need to from it, which sets it apart from other self-help books on the market.

Q: What’s a typical day like for you?

A typical day for me includes procrastinating more than I should, people watching, conducting random social experiments, giving my friends and family something to laugh or think about, eating really wonderful food with people that I love, and hopefully being inspired enough by these events to write something clever or two before sleeping like a starfish in my ginormous bed.

Q: What’s next for you?

Besides continuing to work on my “365 Project” where I blog daily about my dining habits, I’ve begun writing my next nonfiction book about my adventures being a beer spokes model.

Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Steff.  We wish you much success!

Cheers!  It’s been an amazing ride so far, and I have to admit that I look forward to how my own life’s plot continues to develop!

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Is Perfection a Myth?

Today’s guest is Terry M. Drake, co-author of the hugely popular self-help book, Live Happily, Ever After…Now! (Lake House Publishing).

Live Happily, Ever After… Now! uses age old, time tested secrets (found in NLP, Law of Attraction, Positive Psychology, and Hypnosis) to teach you how to create the life you want! Ask yourself: Are you in control of what you think, act and feel? Are you living the life you want? Would you like to be happy and successful in everything you do? The key is learning how much control you have over your life, your beliefs and attitudes about yourself, others and the world you live in.  Once you understand that you are in control (and you will), then you can use the 9 simple steps to begin living the life you want.

If you want to find out more about Live Happily, Ever After…Now!, visit the author’s website at www.livehappilyeverafter-now.com.

…………………………………………………….

Perfection is a MYTH!

by Terry M. Drake

What is perfection?  Have you ever researched its meaning?  For a word that creates such a challenge for people and can ruin lives, it isn’t very perfect! Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia defines it as, “broadly, a state of completeness and flawlessness.”  It then goes on to discuss its earliest known definition, which comes from Aristotle and his book Delta of the Metaphysics.  Aristotle describes it in “three shades of one meaning:”

1)              Which is complete- which contains all the requisite parts;

2)              Which is good that nothing of the kind could be better;

3)              Which has attained its purpose

It appears that those of you who struggle with the idea of perfection and being perfect only understand perfection in its second shade, “That of which nothing of the kind could be better.” That is a very high standard to hold oneself and everything around you to.  What a highly unrealistic expectation, one that results in negativity and frustration, limiting true success.

“Perfectionism is not a quest for the best. It is a pursuit of the worst in ourselves, the part that tells you that nothing you do will ever be good enough – that you should try again.” - Julia Cameron b. 1948

The term perfectionist has taken on a negative meaning, although, this isn’t necessarily fair.  The reason is related to self-proclaimed perfectionists who use this as an excuse to demand it from themselves and others.  Demanding would be the key word in the previous sentence; to demand is not to allow for flexibility and is to expect.  When perfection is expected and little other options remain, then it becomes unrealistic.  These high expectations and the perception that nothing is good enough results in anger and agitation.  This anger and agitation is taken out on others or internalized towards yourself, most times both.  This is certainly going to create disappointment and frustration.  When one demands, they take a position of authority.  This position of authority is then setting forth a requirement and it is the requirement to do or be perfect.  These requirements, added to the fact that perfection is unrealistic, result in the idea that nothing is good enough.  To believe that nothing is good enough will certainly create anger and frustration, which will be expressed inward as depression or outward as abusive or mean.

“In order to go on living one must try to escape the death involved in perfectionism.”

-Hannah Arendt 1906-1975

Become perfect:

- Decide you have options

- Accept feedback

- Self define perfection

- Choose and use what works!

The original concept of “perfection” and the idea of one always striving for it are realistic and healthy.  To strive for this concept is to seek and desire to be complete, purposeful, and the best of it’s kind.   However, as a desire it allows those who seek it the freedom to come close and not give up.  To understand perfection based on this understanding of its meaning would be to understand that there is a no failure only feedback, to think of what you want and the fact that you have a choice over how you think, act, and feel about your life and those around you.  These simple ideas, no failure only feedback, thinking about what you want, having a choice over your thoughts, actions, and feelings, combined with the fact that perfection is based on perception and it is meant to be pursued you realize perfection, as you know it, is a myth!  It is impossible to even achieve anything of which nothing of the kind could be better, because this is a matter of opinion.  If you want to value yourself and others based on your idea of perfection, then do so understanding that it is completely subjective.  You will also want to understand that if you plan to value yourself based on another’s standard of perfection, then you’re going to need to know what their definition of perfection is.

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