Tag Archives: personal growth

Read-a-Chapter: Stairway to AWESOMENESS! – 30 Fundamental Steps to Living a Life of Awesomeness! by Tanya Masse

Read a Chapter is *NEW* added feature at As the Pages Turn! Here you’ll be able to read the first chapters of books of all genres to see if you like them before you buy them. Today we are featuring the self-help book, Stairway to AWESOMENESS! – 30 Fundamental Steps to Living a Life of Awesomeness! by Tanya Masse. Enjoy!

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Being a happy, positive person and living a life of awesomeness is a choice. In the face of adversity, it isn’t always easy to make, but it is a necessary choice if you want to live life to the absolute fullest.

Written and illustrated with infinite wisdom and an original comic twist, Stairway to Awesomeness is the ultimate 30-step self-improvement guide that will make you want to change your life forever and encourage others to do the same.

Comic Strip Mama cartoonist and writer, Tanya Masse, shares her tragedy-to-triumph life story with the world and proves that no matter what adversity you are faced with, as long as you have a shred of sanity left, you CAN rise above and BE AWESOME!

Comic Strip Mama shows you how to:

  • CHANGE your way of thinking about certain things you have been conditioned to believe
  • STOP taking life SO SERIOUSLY
  • Focus on the POSITIVE lessons
  • Recognize the BLESSINGS
  • Find the HUMOR in everything. Yes, even tragic things!

Now make your choice, and start climbing the Stairway to Awesomeness!

Find out more about Stairway to AWESOMENESS! on AMAZON

Enter the Comic Strip Mama™ Blog Tour of AWESOMENESS Extravaganza Giveaway for your chance to win some AWESOME prizes!

http://www.comicstripmama.com/STAIRWAY-TO-AWESOMENESS.html

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My Childhood Years 

My childhood was bittersweet. I remember being very loved especially by my extended family, but I also remember being very scared and lost. In all honesty, my parents were not the best of parents. I’d like to believe that the reasoning was simply because they were not ready to be parents, so they were a little selfish and therefore made some really bad choices.

First, I will tell you about the good. I remember my mother being a beautiful, loving, spiritual and talented woman. She watched the Young and the Restless every day, she loved music and she could sew. She designed and made a lot of my clothes. She made me the most amazing Halloween costumes and some pretty funky “fashion forward” clothes. I like to believe that if she were alive today, she would have made it in the fashion world. She also loved to doll me up and experiment with my long hair. She was a housewife and a stay-at-home mom. She loved me and my little brothers. I know she did.

My father was a handsome, talented man. He worked as a shoe salesman on the Base, but his true passion was music. Before I was born, he was in a band. I remember that he played the guitar like a rock n’ roll star and he could sing too. I remember getting together with family and everyone would sit around listening to my dad sing and play guitar. Sometimes my mom would sing too. They were good times and awesome memories.

Now, I will tell you about the bad…and the ugly.

My father abused drugs and my mother was an alcoholic. When it wasn’t all fun and happiness, they fought…a lot. It was pretty extreme at times and when my father got angry with my mom, or with anybody for that matter, it was terrifying. He was loud and physically, verbally and mentally abusive. My parents abused each other mentally, emotionally and sometimes physically.

Over time, my mother became so severely depressed to the point that alcohol wasn’t enough to take away her pain anymore. She didn’t want to exist anymore and eventually, after several attempts, on November 2nd, 1981, she made that happen. The month before Christmas, 10 days after my 7th birthday and my brothers where only 3 and 5 years old. My mother was only 28! So young, so much to live for!

I know her brain was sick and she was tainted with abuse and alcohol. I know that what she did wasn’t my fault, but as you can imagine, trying to figure out the meaning of life after that devastation was extremely difficult and challenging for me. It is something that I struggled with tremendously throughout most of my life.

Do I blame my father for my mother’s death? I do, but only partially and he knows that. For years my father lied and told me and my brothers that my mom innocently and naturally died in her sleep. Another thing I had to struggle with until I finally found the guts to confront him and make him tell me the truth, the truth I already knew.

I don’t like to talk about this era of my life in detail, but you get the gist. I will say that their abusive behavior was mainly directed towards each other and quite often, thankfully, my aunt and uncle would stay with us, play with us and take care of us.

Very soon after my mother’s demise, in 1982, my father “rebounded” and re-married. I will call her the “evil stepmother”. I only say that because she was truly an evil person. She would hurt me and my brothers when my father was not around and she would leave us alone as a punishment to my father when she was upset with him. After she left me and my brothers on the side of a busy highway and told us to find our own way home while she and her daughter hitchhiked back to Ottawa, my father finally saw the light and separated from her for good.

Shortly after my father’s divorce from the “evil stepmother”, in 1983, he met another woman who has been my stepmother ever since. She wasn’t an “evil stepmother”. She was actually a very nice, kind and caring person. BUT, all of this happened within a span of less than 2 years after my mom died. Imagine the pain, the confusion and the insanity. Two new “moms” and I haven’t even truly had a chance to grieve or even begin to understand the loss of my real mom. I know that my father was desperate to find someone to take care of my brothers and me, but WOW it was hard. Yes, kids are resilient, but they aren’t THAT resilient!

I will admit that my childhood improved significantly after my father moved in with my stepmom, despite my fears and apprehension. My new stepmom had two children and although there were conflicts at times, we all got along pretty well, like regular brothers and sisters. I do remember a lot of love, a lot of happiness and some awesome, fun times. My new stepmom wasn’t my real mom, but she was the next best thing and I will refer to her as my “mom” from hereinafter.

In 1984 my father almost died from sepsis (blood poisoning) caused by a severe tooth abscess. Yes, a tooth abscess can kill you! Scary, right? Well it was very scary and I thought my dad was going to die and leave me just like my mom did. He was hospitalized in intensive care and when he didn’t come home that day after my mom took him to the ER, I cried and cried. My mom tried to comfort me and assure me that he was going to be fine, but I didn’t believe her and I demanded to see him so I could make sure he was still alive. My mom was told that children would not be permitted into the ICU, but she managed to convince the doctor to allow me to see him for just a few minutes. He was alive, but he was very sick and he had several tubes and machines hooked up to him. Thankfully, he pulled through and came home.

Over the next three years, my father changed his ways for the better. He had an awakening after his near-death experience. He wasn’t angry all the time. He still had his moments, but for the most part, he was happy and he decided to make some positive changes. This is when I started to admire my father and truly recognize how awesome and intelligent he was. He went to college as a mature student and graduated top of his computer programming class, with distinction. As a result, he was offered an amazing job in another city. This made me really proud and that is when I truly started to realize that people really can change their negative ways and get back to good, if they put their mind to it.

In 1987, we moved from the small town of Kingston, Ontario to the big city of Ottawa, Ontario. I was 12. I was all sorts of excited and positive and optimistic. We were moving on up! Then almost immediately after we moved, my body started to change, I got my first lady flow and hit the BIG “P”. Ugh! Puberty!

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STAYING GROUNDED IN SHIFTING SAND: Interview with Dr. Linda J. Ferguson

Dr. Linda J. Ferguson is an author, speaker, coach, and seminar leader to support people leading a joyful and awakened spiritual life. Linda’s website, www.lindajferguson.com , contains videos, meditations, affirmations, and other useful resources for spiritual growth and personal development. Readers find inspiring and informative ideas in Linda’sblogto enrich their spirituality for everyday living- www.lindajferguson.com/blog/.

Dr. Ferguson is author of two books “The Path for Greatness – Work as Spiritual Service” and “Staying Grounded in Shifting Sand- Awakening Soul Consciousness for the New Millennium“. Readers find the exercises at the end of every chapter valuable and practical. They can apply the ideas immediately in their life and see results. Linda has conducted three national book tours, presented at national conferences, and conducted worship services to inspired and appreciative audiences. Linda also leads Shamanic Journeys, spiritual study groups, and retreats for people who want to dive deeper into the insights and ideas offered in her books on spiritual growth and transformation.

Linda has developed a seven step process of Transformational EmpowermentTM, for personal mastery. She developed this powerful process of manifesting and creating positive life changes from her own life experiences, her work with her coaching clients, and her study of mysticism.

She uses the spiritual principles found in her Transformational EmpowermentTM process in her coaching practice so that her clients more effectively move through their important life changes. Her coaching provides a structured and consistent venue so that people can make positive changes in their life easefully and confidently.

Linda has been on radio interviews and has featured articles in Interbeing, a journal of personal and professional mastery. She also writes a weekly blog to support people’s desire to integrate their spiritual life with their professional life- www.managementhelp.org/blogs/spirituality/

Dr. Ferguson earned her Ph.D. from Indiana University (I.U.-Bloomington) in Organizational Behavior with a Masters also from I.U. studying Social Psychology. She has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in psychology and management. Linda did her coach training in 2004 from Coach Training Alliance, completed her certification in Team Coaching, and has CCE credits from International Coach Federation (ICF).

In 1994 she traveled abroad for six months to Asia, Australia, Israel, and Europe before moving to Virginia where she currently lives. Her personal spiritual practice includes daily prayer and meditation, Sufi Dances of Universal Peace, Integral Yoga, Native American Sweat Lodges and other Earth-based ceremonies.

Q: Thank you for this interview, Linda. Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

This is my second book. My first book is called “Path for Greatness: Work as Spiritual Service” published now with Infinity Publishing. My second /latest book is “Staying Grounded in Shifting Sand: Awakening Soul Consciousness for the New Millennium”

Q: When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published or self-published and why or how did you choose this route?

I got an offer with a small press initially, but turned it down as they were a new company and I was uneasy with their contract. There was no real promise that the book would be published and I’d have to go to court to get the rights back. So I decided to self-publish.

Q: How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?

With the self-publishing route it took me about 6 months initially and then when I re-issued my first book, only 2 months. With the second book, I self-published and it took me about 6 months to get into print.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

I was thrilled when I got the initial book contract. It was only in further conversations that I was more uneasy. I was very excited to see my first book (and latest one) in my hands! What a feeling of accomplishment.

I celebrated my first book with a big party with friends. With the second book, it was a smaller gathering with friends as I have moved. I will probably have a book party now where I live for the 2nd book.

Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

I don’t remember the first thing I did. I probably made some flyers and gave some talks around town. I set up 3 national book tours over the course of 2 years. It took A LOT of time but I was glad I did it and glad I had a job where I could take that kind of time off.

With the second book, I’m setting up speaking engagements and doing workshops. Now I’m promoting it a lot via Facebook and other social media outlets as well as my own website – www.lindajferguson.com

Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?

I think I write a bit more clearly. I did a lot of academic writing prior to writing my book, so I write more as a lay person now. I’ve written a blog for 2 years and have learned to scale down the length and complexity of words I use. I can’t say I completely dumb down what I write, but I do write in more of a conversational style now.

Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?

I was surprised that Amazon won’t tell me how many books of mine they’ve sold!! They said the only way I could get those records is to subpoena them! What a crock!

There’s no way to know how many books are sold on Amazon and since that’s probably the largest book seller now, it’s hard to know how well my book is selling.

I also learned that Author Solutions is horribly mismanaged and I wouldn’t recommend any of their divisions to anyone to self-publish.

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?

Having people email me and tell me how much they like my book, how much my book has helped them or spoken to them.

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

Stick with it. You’ll have to do a lot of your own promoting these days. You can’t just write a masterpiece and let it sell itself. You have to be willing to sell your work and do a lot of legwork on your own.

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Writing as a Sacred Path: Interview with Writing Coach Jill Jepson

Jill JepsonJill Jepson is a writer, writing coach, college professor, and linguistic anthropologist. She is the author of Writing as a Sacred Path: A Practical Guide to Writing With Passion & Purpose, published by Ten Speed Press. She runs Writing the Whirlwind, a business that offers workshops and coaching for writers, activists, caretakers, and others (www.writingthewhirlwind.net ). Her personal website can be found at www.jilljepson.com.

Thank you for this interview, Jill. Can you tell us what your latest book, Writing as a Sacred Path: A Practical Guide to Writing with Passion and Purpose, is all about?

Jill: Writing as a Sacred Path explores the practices of four spiritual vocations—that of the shaman, warrior, mystic and monk—to provide a new approach for writers. It is for all writers who wish to write with purpose and direction and to develop a deep connection to their writing. It contains more than eighty exercises—although I prefer the term “sacred tools”—using myth, meditation, ritual, dreams, crafts, nature experiences, and other means to help writers deepen and expand their writing practice. Writing as a Sacred Path offers readers a way to approach writing as a life-changing spiritual practice.

Writing as a Sacred PathIs this your first book?  If not, how has writing this book different from writing your first?

Jill: Everything I write is a new experience. I have two previous books out and many articles in newspapers and magazines, and every one of them has been a unique experience. Writing as a Sacred Path came in a clear, fresh stream. It is the work of my soul, something I believe in very deeply, so writing it felt very natural. I’ve spent many years exploring spiritual traditions throughout the world, and I’ve written my entire life, starting before I was even in kindergarten, so I had all that behind me and much of it went into the book. It seemed as if every time I needed an example or a specific idea, one would simply come to me out of that store of memory. The book was a pleasure to write.

How difficult was it writing your book?  Did you ever experience writer’s block and, if so, what did you do?

Jill: I don’t experience writer’s block and haven’t for years. The reason is because I’ve developed techniques for dealing with the fear that creates blocks. Fear is the major reason writers find themselves stuck. Fear of failure. Fear of success. Fear of exposing yourself on the page. It’s not that I don’t have fear—I think all writers do. It’s just that I’ve learned to write through it. To know it’s there and just keep writing anyway. I remember once watching an Olympic figure skater who took a terrible fall and got up and just kept going. One of the commentators said, “She must be in a lot of pain right now,” and the other—who was a former skater herself—said, “Oh, she’s not even feeling that pain. She’ll feel it later, but right now, she’s just skating.” That’s how I feel about writing. You may be in pain, you’re may be anxious and frustrated and scared out of your wits, but you’re not feeling it. You’re just writing.

How have your fans embraced your latest book?  Do you have any funny or unusual experiences to share?

Jill: I get some wonderful correspondence from people. It’s lovely getting an email from someone in India or Australia or Finland, saying that my book spoke to them or helped them in some way.

What is your daily writing routine?

Jill: I write every morning. I’m not really a morning person, in the sense of someone who gets up at dawn. I’m a fairly late riser. But once I do get up, that’s when I’m most creative. I try never to schedule meetings or appointments in the mornings if I can help it. I write for several hours, then have lunch. When I’m really in the flow of things, I can write right through the afternoon and evening as well.

When you put the pen or mouse down, what do you do to relax?

Jill: I read, I play Baroque music on the recorder, and I sit on my deck with my husband and just watch the waterfalls in my back yard. I try to exercise every day. My cats and dogs help me relax, too.

What book changed your life?

Jill: This may sound like an odd choice, but it was a book called The Forgotten Pollinators by Stephen Buchmann. It’s about all the creatures who pollinate the plants of the world, about how pollination takes place, and what would happen if the pollinators died out. I’ve always had a fascination with science, especially biology, and a regret that I was essentially shoved out of it by insensitive science teachers when I was a child. This book touched that love in a special way. It spoke to me about the web of life and the importance of protecting our precious planet.

If someone were to write a book on your life, what would the title be?

Jill: A Comedy of Terrors. Or A Farm Girl in the Twilight Zone.

Finish this sentence: “The one thing that I wish people would understand about me is…”

Jill: That I’m a bit of an empath. I don’t mean I’m psychic, I mean I seem to absorb the feelings of the people around me a little too much. It’s as if I have a super-refined intuition about what others are experiencing. It helps my writing, but otherwise it’s just a massive pain.

Thank you for this interview, Jill.  I wish you much success on your latest release, Writing as a Sacred Path: A Practical Guide to Writing with Passion and Purpose!

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