June 28, 2013

Review of “Live, Love, Laugh…Relax”

Posted in Book Reviews tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 7:00 am by Christine Rice

Live, Love, Laugh...RelaxLive, Love, Laugh…Relax by Jason Crawford is an uplifting self-help book about how to reduce your stress and live a more relaxed and happy life. It is a short, enjoyable read. The writing is positive, encouraging, supportive, and helpful. It is written in a conversational tone that seems as if the author is talking to you as a friend, sharing his advice on how to live a stress-free life.

There are three parts to the book and about fifteen chapters. Part one tells you all about stress and how it impacts your life. It includes chapters on the purpose of stress, how society has increased your stress, the impact of the technological world on your stress level, and how achievement brings stress.

Part two talks about good and bad aspects of stress, signs and symptoms of stress, and how to recognize symptoms of being overly stressed. Part three is all about live, love, laugh, and relax. It lists and explains the different ways you can reduce stress in your life and live a more carefree life. Part four discusses how you can implement stress-reducing techniques in your life.

Overall, it is a concise, light-hearted book that allows you to decrease your stress. It provides several techniques that you can apply to your life right away to become stress-free. It is an easy, pleasurable read and I highly recommend it.

You can get your copy of Live, Love, Laugh…Relax here. You will be glad you did.

June 26, 2013

Interview with Carla Woody

Posted in Interviews tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 7:00 am by Christine Rice

Carla WoodyCarla Woody has been mentoring people toward conscious living for more than twenty years. In 1999 she established Kenosis LLC to serve human potential and support the vision: “One tribe, one world.” In 2007, she founded Kenosis Spirit Keepers, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, to help preserve indigenous wisdom ways. Carla is the author of Portals to the Vision Serpent, Standing Stark: The Willingness to Engage and Calling Our Spirits Home: Gateways to Full Consciousness. She also writes articles related to personal growth, natural healing and advocacy of Native traditions, and is a fine artist. She makes her home near Prescott, Arizona.

Christine: How long have you been a writer?

Carla: I’ve been writing off and on since childhood. The first story I can remember writing was called The Empty-Treed Forest. Looking back, this was an environmental piece somewhat strange for a seven-year-old to produce. As a teenager I wrote bad protest poetry, and then set creative writing aside for a long time in favor of the academic reports and theses necessary to acquire degrees. In the early 1990s I picked up the pen again to start writing articles and books in earnest.

Christine: What types of writing do you do?

Carla: The themes have to do with spiritual evolution, natural healing, indigenous cultures, and advocacy related to Native wisdom traditions in danger of decimation. I cover these subjects in journal and magazine articles, as well as narrative nonfiction and fiction books.

Christine: Are you solely a writer or do you have multiple occupations?

Carla: I view my books and articles as vehicles for my lifework, a way folks can be introduced or as an adjunct to my programs. For more than twenty years I’ve been mentoring people toward conscious living. In 1999 I founded Kenosis LLC to support human potential through travel journeys working with Native spiritual leaders and healers in Peru, Mexico, Guatemala and the USA, and mentoring programs integrating Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and sacred world traditions. Then in 2007 I established Kenosis Spirit Keepers, its 501(c)3 nonprofit extension, to help preserve indigenous lifeways through various projects.

Christine: What is your writing experience?

Carla: I have a passion for expression. That’s why I find it so important to, as much as possible, integrate some form of it into my everyday life and live through deeply held values. There were too many years I didn’t do that and felt cut off, which—of course—is how I came to do the work I do with others. In particular, writing and artwork are how I work things out internally and keep the creative juices flowing.

Christine: What have you published recently?

Portals to the Vision SerpentCarla: Portals to the Vision Serpent was just released on June 17, 2013. It’s a coming-of-age novel—a Hero’s Journey—that takes the reader into the realms of shamanism and the Maya world as a young man searches for his lineage and missing father. Interwoven are the struggles of indigenous peoples to preserve their way of life and tragedies that often come from misunderstandings. It’s basically a book about spiritual healing. Readers are likely to see themselves in various ways, the same as reported to me from readers of my nonfiction books Standing Stark: The Willingness to Engage (2004) and Calling Our Spirits Home: Gateways to Full Consciousness (2000).

My article The Last Spirit Keeper was published in Sacred Fire Magazine in November 2012, Issue 16, about the last Lacandón Maya elder in the rainforest of Chiapas, Mexico still maintaining his traditions against great pressure. My article Acts of Creation was just accepted by Stone Voices, a spiritually oriented, literary arts journal, no date on publication yet.

Christine: What is a typical day like for you as a writer?

Carla: I’m definitely a morning person and have a ritual that sets my day. I usually get up before dawn, feed the cats, have a cup of coffee, and meditate for 20-30 minutes. I’ve been doing it, in that order, for nearly thirty years. Then I start writing if I have a project, or other work. Several years ago I put Joseph Campbell’s writing practice in place: at least three hours a day. It became automatic, and often the time extends itself without me noticing.

Christine: What interests you about writing fiction?

Carla: I’m most interested in teaching stories. The reader learns or resolves something themselves through identifying with different characters, in the course of being entertained. As the writer, the same is true for me. The process is magical to me. It’s like a movie unfolds in front of me, and I just write it down. It’s particularly surprising when a new character appears to take me somewhere I hadn’t imagined.

Christine: How do you come up with an idea for a new novel?

Carla: The ideas present themselves. It may be something I want to explore myself, or a point I want to get across. Right now I’ve got two different ideas vying for my attention, both well developed. I’m not yet sure which one will win out to focus on first. It would be great to be able to split myself in two!

Christine: Are you traditionally published or self-published? Why did you choose that path?

Carla: I’ve published articles through professional journals and magazines since the early 1990s. When it came to my books, I specifically chose to self-publish through Kenosis Press, my own small press, for these important reasons: 1) they never go out of print; 2) the publishing process is truncated; 3) I have control over the content. Since my books are vehicles for my work, I continue to feel this is important.

Christine: Where can we find your books and websites?

Carla: Find Portals to the Vision Serpent, Standing Stark, and Calling Our Spirits Home on Amazon, or order through local bookstores.

Please note that I donate 10% of profits from book sales to Kenosis Spirit Keepers, the 501(c)3 nonprofit I founded to help us with our projects to preserve Native traditions.

You’re invited to visit Kenosis and Kenosis Spirit Keepers to learn more about offerings and sign up for free material and the Kenosis Inspirations ezine. Follow my blog The Lifepath Dialogues.

Christine: Thanks so much for joining us today, Carla. Your work and your books sound so interesting. Best of luck with your articles and books.

June 24, 2013

Review of “Conscious Calm”

Posted in Book Reviews tagged , , , , , , at 7:00 am by Christine Rice

Conscious CalmConscious Calm by Laura Maciuika is a self-help book that explains how to reduce stress. Most people think stress is caused by outside circumstances. While that is partly true, how your mind reacts to those stressors is what causes the feeling of stress. Therefore, stress is mostly internal. This book teaches you how to internally manage stress so that it becomes less overpowering and so that you are better able to deal with life’s unavoidable stressors.

This book explains how to have more control of your thoughts and emotions so that you can reduce your stress level when it begins to rise. To gain power over your mind takes certain skills, and this book teaches them to you.

First, the book provides an explanation of exactly what stress is. Then each chapter explains methods for gaining an awareness of your stress and decreasing it. Each chapter builds upon the one before. There are exercises at the end of the chapters that will help you evaluate your life based on the chapter topics.

This book provides valuable techniques that anyone can learn and do well to lower the stress they feel. It is a well-written and organized book. It is practical and resourceful, because there are actual remedies for getting to the source of the stress and expelling it. The last chapter helps you to begin to implement the conscious calm techniques in your life.

This is a deep book that deals with the root problem of stress. If you are seeking a true solution to the anxiety and stress you feel, you will benefit from this book and will enjoy the reading. Feeling less stress, no matter what your life circumstances are, is well worth the small investment. You can get your copy of Conscious Calm here. Enjoy!

June 17, 2013

Review of “Acceptance: A Workshop for Perfectionists”

Posted in Book Reviews tagged , , , , , , at 7:00 am by Christine Rice

Acceptance - A Workshop for PerfectionistsAcceptance: A Workshop for Perfectionists by Liisa Kyle, Ph.D is a self-help book with writing exercises and activities to help perfectionists accept circumstances, others, and themselves.

The book is very well-rounded in the information it covers to help perfectionists grow out of their perfectionism. First, it discusses how they can accept circumstances that are beyond their control. Many events just happen in life and people are powerless over them. People can only change themselves.

Next it explains how to accept other people as they are, because a person cannot change others; other people have to want to change and decide to change on their own. Accepting them as they are, with their imperfections and quirks, allows the perfectionist a lot of relief and will improve their relationships and interactions with people.

The third section is about self-acceptance. Perfectionists have a hard time accepting themselves because of their high expectations. But they must accept the things they cannot change about themselves in order to feel peace about who they are.

There are suggested writing exercises and activities at the end of each chapter. The author suggests for the reader to write down their answers, because they will gain much more benefit by doing so. The author also suggests reading one of the three sections a week and then reflecting on life and applying what was learned, from the writing exercises, throughout the week.

Many of the activities encourage increasing a person’s self-awareness, because only when people become aware of their thoughts and actions can they alter them to live a higher quality of life.

Half of this book is about self-discovery and working through perfectionistic thoughts and behaviors to live a happier life. If a person is serious about changing their perfectionistic tendencies to improve how they feel and how their life is going, then this book is for them.

If you are a perfectionist, or simply want to stop trying to change everything and everyone, you should pick up this book. You can get your copy here. It is a great read!

June 13, 2013

Interview with Valencia Roner

Posted in Interviews tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 7:00 am by Christine Rice

Valenica RonerValencia Roner is a writer and blogger living in Greensboro, North Carolina.  Her work has appeared in Black Enterprise Magazine, USAToday.com, BusinessWeek.com and the Los Angeles Times. She is a member of the Writers Guild of America (WGA). She is completing her book, The 7 Most Common Barriers to Success and the Strategies to Overcome Them, which is due out in 2013.

Christine: How, and when, did you decide to become an author?

Valencia: I guess it’s fair to say that I first decided to become an author when I was 7 years old. I was in the 2nd grade and the teacher instructed us to write a story with pictures. I wrote a story about the Bionic Woman and the Bionic Man getting married and having a Bionic baby. Although I don’t remember the exact story, I do remember getting an A. I guess you could say right then and there I at least gave very serious consideration to becoming an author.

Christine: What interests you about writing nonfiction?

Valencia: I have always had a preference for nonfiction writing. I particularly enjoy biographies.  As early as age 9, I recall going into the school library and checking out biographies written about Abraham Lincoln and Wilma Rudolph. While I also tried to get through the entire Nancy Drew series (I think I got up to volume 18), I have always loved reading and studying about how people overcome adversity to achieve a goal or a life of success.

Christine: What is the writing process like for you?

Valencia: I take working on my books in project stages. By that I mean I play around with the title and chapter outlines. I also work on a draft of the book cover which provides me tremendous motivation. Seeing a mock cover lets me know the book can be real. I can do this pretty fast. However, when it comes to the body of the book, I try to write as much as I can in one sitting – even if it comes out to be a couple of pages per chapter.  From there, I begin to tweak and work on one chapter at a time – again in one sitting – until I have a solid, workable first draft. This process can take up to 10 – 15 hours per week.

Christine: Are you solely a writer or do you have multiple occupations?

Valencia: As of now, I do have the proverbial “day job”. However, I am working on a plan or variations thereof for that not to last forever. As a former business owner of a marketing and P.R. firm, I understand the value of a flexible work schedule. Meantime, I am grateful for a means by which to pay the bills.

Christine: What topics do you write about in your books?

Valencia: My primary genre is self-help/motivational books.  So many people are looking for possible approaches by which to enhance their lives. I consider myself among that group. I have had some interesting experiences and have overcome some challenging circumstances which allow me to believe I can offer something of value to those seeking encouragement.

Christine: How do you come up with an idea for a new book?

Valencia: I currently have nearly 50 book ideas. Having blogged since 2005, I have no shortage of ideas. Many can be current-event based. However, most of my ideas stem from my seeking to offer new perspectives on traditional ideas like faith, success, trust, relationships and self-awareness.

Christine: What is the title of your most recently published book and a description of it?

Chasing Joy 2Valencia: My most recent and first published book is Chasing Joy: Principles for Making Joy a Core Life Principle.  This book is my effort to address the ongoing quest of many people to find joy in their lives.  I attempt to share how the key to joy is first finding it within oneself as oppose to those things and others outside ourselves.

Christine: What are your strengths as a nonfiction author?

Valencia: My strength as a nonfiction author is that I tend to be able to write quite fast. I am one of those writers who can be laser focused. Once I get started, I tend not to stop until a designated phase of the project is complete. I can’t say that I’ve ever experienced writer’s block. Most of the time, if I have to stop writing, it’s because I’m tired, or because I have another commitment I must fulfill.

Christine: What marketing techniques do you use to promote yourself as an author and your books?

Valencia: Right now I am still working through this based on my current schedule. I do have a blog at www.right2peace.com . I also have Facebook and Twitter accounts. I was sure to have author profiles on both Amazon.com and Goodreads.com. While I know there are a host of other marketing techniques I could and want to employ, I want to make sure I have enough time and resources to ensure that all marketing efforts are executed correctly and of quality.

Christine: Are you traditionally published or self-published? Why did you choose that path?

Valencia: I am a self-published author. I chose this path because it is “easier” now more than ever with such tools as Createspace.com. I have more control, and many financial resources were not required to publish this first effort. Also, if I find a mistake it is a lot less stressful to fix with a POD (Print on Demand) format than with the traditional self-publishing route which requires you to order several hundred (or thousand) copies you have to peddle yourself out of the trunk of your car.

Christine: Where can we find your books?

Valencia: Currently, Chasing Joy can be found at Amazon.com in both paperback and e-book formats.

Christine: What advice would you offer writers seeking to become published authors?

Valencia: If you are passionate about your work as a writer and you are confident that your voice can serve of value to a segment of readers within the marketplace, write that book now. Start small. Chasing Joy may be small, but it was written to impact. Don’t be afraid to publish your first book on your own. I am extremely pleased with the process of Createspace and would highly recommend it.

In the meantime, find a way to get paid for your writing. I had my first major article in a national magazine at 27. I sold a movie script at 25 (although it didn’t get made into a movie). Selling my movie script did get me into the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA).

I will leave you with a quote by Stephen King that keeps me inspired:

If you wrote something for which someone sent you a check, if you cashed the check and it didn’t bounce, and if you then paid the light bill with the money, I consider you talented.

Christine: Thanks for joining us today, Valencia. It’s been a pleasure getting to know you. Best of luck with your books.

June 3, 2013

Interview with Carrie Golden

Posted in Interviews tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 7:00 am by Christine Rice

Carrie GoldenCarrie was born in a small city of Plattsburgh near the border of Quebec, Canada and grew up in the Adirondack Mountains. She now lives near Raleigh, NC with her husband and son, and a small cat farm.

Christine: How, and when, did you decide to become a writer?

Carrie: As a girl, I pretty much lived in my imaginary worlds. I felt like an outsider; different from the others mainly because of my hearing disability and my strange accent. The problem was I tended to act out whatever went through my mind. One time this landed me in the ER. When I was in 5th grade, a good friend and I decided, just for fun, to see who could write the best short story. From this single experience I discovered another way (safer too!) of bringing things to life. Writing changed everything for me. Since then, it helped me to stay out of the ER!

Christine: What types of writing do you do?

Carrie: I like to write different types especially micro-poetry, short stories, screenplays, and web novels.

Christine: Are you solely a writer or do you have multiple occupations?

Carrie: One day I’d love to be able to stay home and write on a full-time basis; in the meantime, I work in the banking industry as a Loan Servicing Specialist so my husband can complete his Engineering degree.

Christine: What do you like to read?

Carrie: I enjoy reading apocalyptic types of books that have elements of fantasy in them (books written by Terry Brooks for example).

Christine: What genre do you write, and why?

Carrie: I tend to write cross-genre. My favorite is blending Fantasy with Horror while sprinkling in a bit of Science Fiction. I primarily do this because I don’t like being confined to one genre.

Christine: Where can we find your published writing?

Carrie: I have several short works published on Piker Press as well as Zombie Poetry and Literature for Kids

Christine: What seems to be the recurring theme(s) in your writing?

Carrie: Death and hopelessness as well as hope and faith. I like to include most if not all of these in my stories. No matter how bleak things get, if you just hang on, there is an end to this darkness and misery. The light is just around the next corner.

Christine: Where can we find you on the Web?

Carrie: On Twitter or on my writing blog A writer and her adolescent muse.

Thanks so much for interviewing on my blog today, Carrie. Good luck with your writing and your writing career.

June 1, 2013

Review of “Brain Fog and Stress”

Posted in Book Reviews tagged , , , , , , , , , at 7:00 am by Christine Rice

Brain Fog and StressBrain Fog and Stress: Better Brain Health by Managing Stress Now is a book written by an expert on stress’ impact on the brain and how to deal with stress to improve brain health. The author discusses all aspects of stress and how it affects the brain. The author tells us that not all stress is bad; some is a necessary part of life. But most people stress over things that aren’t life-threatening, which negatively affects the brain and the person’s happiness.

Stress not only affects the brain, it also affects other aspects of health as well. The author discusses this and it’s quite eye-opening how much stress affects us. The author talks substantially about brain fog, which involves a lot of different symptoms that a good majority of the population has. But not to worry, because the author tells you different practical ways that you can manage stress to live a more peaceful life.

Lastly, the author provides a 5-week plan for getting to the bottom of your stress and turning your life around. There is also a final chapter that provides 20 stress help tips. This book has substantial information in it that many will find helpful. There are also references and resources with links, and further reading suggestions.

I recommend this book to everyone who wants to learn more about stress and how it affects you, and how to tackle stress and change your life for the better. You will learn a lot from this book. You can get your own copy here. I’m sure you will find it beneficial.