July 22, 2013

Review of “Wake Up Successful”

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

Wake up SuccessfulWake Up Successful – How to Increase Your Energy and Achieve Any Goal with a Morning Routine, by S.J. Scott, is a self-help book that helps you create a morning routine that aims for making you successful in whatever it is you wish to do.

The suggestions in this book are best applied if you have time to spare in the morning, but if you don’t, you can adjust your daily schedule so that you can incorporate this 1 1/2 hour routine into your life.

The author says that first thing in the morning is the best time to gain energy for the day and work towards your goals. He suggests doing revitalizing activities for 30 minutes, and then follow that with 30-60 minutes of working on what you have the most passion for and/or what will change your life for the better. He says it’s best to work on only one project at a time in order to be most effective at achieving your goals. Once a goal has been achieved, you can move on to your next goal to accomplish.

The 30 minutes of revitalizing activities will wake you up, get you motivated for the day, and give you energy to tackle your day. The author explains how the activities you usually do in the morning do not increase your energy. He gives examples of energy stimulating activities that you can do instead.

This book gets you thinking about your life – your life purpose, what you want to do with your life, what you want to change about your life, and how you can change your life.

This book has a unique angle on how to be successful that anyone can implement and see immediate results. The author knows what he’s talking about. This book will change your life for the better and your life will improve. At the very least, it will get you to evaluate your life and make some adjustments.

I highly recommend this book!

You can get your copy here.

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 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.

May 30, 2013

Review of “Chasing Joy”

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

Chasing JoyChasing Joy is a self-help book on the topic of how to live a joyful life. The author points out that joy does not mean being oblivious to what is going on, but, rather, being realistic about life’s circumstances and choosing to be joyful even in negative times. Joy is a state of mind that stems from our thoughts, so if we change the way we think about life, we can have joy in our lives the majority of the time.

The book is exquisitely written and pleasant to read. The words flow in such a way that you feel as though you are being guided carefully through the book by the author. The book is informative and insightful. In addition, the author weaves in her experiences in relation to the topics she discusses, so you know she understands your perspective and is an expert on the topic. The book is structurally written, but it is also creatively written with a unique touch.

The author covers several main topics related to joy: self-care, anxiety, acceptance, being present, and spirituality. She expands on these topics, goes into detail on how they are a part of living a life of joy, and discusses how you can apply them to your life to live a more peaceful, content, and positive life. It is not a long book, but it is a fulfilling book of great quality.

I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in being happier and improving the quality of their life. There is a lot of helpful information in this book. If you are seeking inner-peace, or simply wish you had more peace of mind, this book is for you. It will change your perspective on life.

If you get a copy of Chasing Joy you will not be disappointed.

May 29, 2013

Review of “Top Life Coaching Tips”

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

Top Life Coaching TipsTop Life Coaching Tips is a self-help book that offers multiple ways to live life with more peace, passion, energy, and joy. It is a book that everyone could benefit from, because any one of us could use more of those traits in our lives.

The book has 31 tips on how to live a better life. It is perfect for perfectionists, pessimists, and people who could use more happiness and less stress in their lives. And, as the author explains, we have the power to make it happen; we have control over our happiness and our level of stress.

If you are under a lot of stress – you might not even be aware you are – or feel depressed about your life, this book will give you hope that your life can change, and it all begins with you. If you change your thoughts, you’ll change your perspective, and since life is based on perspective, your life will change.

The author’s writing instills peace in your heart when you read it. Her positive words calm you and give you the idea that your life doesn’t have to be so bad. She shares poems, quotes, and affirmations in the book. The variety those features bring to the book, and the fact that it’s broken up into a series of different tips, makes the book a breeze to read.

The tips the author provides are on the topics of thoughts, generosity, time, passion, awareness, goals, trust, inspiration, collaboration, song, support, disappointment, intuition, play, love, celebration, fear, success, and many more. As you can see, there is a wide variety of topics the author discusses and they are helpful to many facets of a person’s life.

Each tip is followed by a quote or affirmation, making it a nice way to start each day – by reading a tip that will get you started in the right direction. The entire book is uplifting.

I recommend this book to all readers. It is a very easy and quick read, but it’s full of helpful advice on how to live a positive life.

You can get your copy of Top Life Coaching Tips here. I know you’ll enjoy it!

May 27, 2013

Interview with Jennifer Raygoza

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

Jennifer RaygozaJennifer Raygoza was born in Riverside, California. She attended Fullerton College with a Major in Psychology.

She lives with her husband and two children in Corona, California.

“I have always wanted to write a book that readers would love. I spent a lot of my High school years writing poetry, but never had the nerve to put a story down with pen and pad. I hope everyone enjoys the story as much as I did writing it.”

Christine: Welcome, Jennifer. Are you solely a writer or do you have multiple occupations?

Jennifer: For the last six years I was a manager for a Market Research firm. I also had a purse retail business on the side, but I had to manage some health issues so I have been off work at home working on my writing.

Christine: How much time do you spend writing each day/week and what do you normally work on?

Jennifer: I try to dedicate parts of everyday to writing or promoting my work.

Christine: What marketing techniques do you use to promote yourself as a writer and your writing?

Jennifer: I use Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads. I also run ad campaigns once in a while to keep the audience fresh.

I made my own press releases and located online sites that would post them for free. I also do giveaways to get the readers excited.

Christine: Where can we find your published writing?

The GuardiansJennifer: www.amazon.com/The-Guardians-ebook/dp/B00C13CKVG

Christine: What interests you about writing fiction?

Jennifer: I love creating events that don’t happen in life. It makes me laugh when people read a fantasy fiction book and say that’s not realistic. Isn’t that the point to writing a fantasy fiction book-to make things happen that wouldn’t normally?

Christine: What are your favorite characters that you have created? Tell us about them.

Jennifer: I love Gianna and Caleb. They are my two leads. I wrote them and watched their relationship develop and it was fun to see them unfold together.

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

Jennifer: I did my homework and read about how many authors who tried to traditionally publish and were constantly declined. The thought of that was discouraging. I didn’t even try that route. I didn’t want anyone raining on my parade. I had heard about self-publishers who were successful and I thought I would give it a go. It’s been tough because when you self-publish you don’t have the man power of a publishing house doing all of your work for you. You have to get a good editor, publish it, promote and advertise until you drop. I love it though.

Thanks for joining us today, Jennifer. Good luck with your book!

April 27, 2013

Interview with Stephen Brayton

Posted in Interviews tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 6:00 am by Christine Rice

Stephen BraytonStephen L. Brayton owns and operates Brayton’s Black Belt Academy in Oskaloosa, Iowa. He is a Fifth Degree Black Belt and certified instructor in The American Taekwondo Association.

He began writing as a child; his first short story concerned a true incident about his reactions to discipline. During high school, he wrote for the school newspaper and was a photographer for the yearbook. For a Mass Media class, he wrote and edited a video project.

In college, he began a personal journal for a writing class; said journal is ongoing. He was also a reporter for the college newspaper.

During his early twenties, while working for a Kewanee, Illinois radio station, he wrote a fantasy-based story and a trilogy for a comic book.

He has written numerous short stories – both horror and mystery.

His first novel, Night Shadows (Feb. 2011), concerns a Des Moines homicide investigator teaming up with a federal agent to battle creatures from another dimension. His second book, Beta (Oct. 2011), was the debut of Mallory Petersen and her search for a kidnapped girl. In August 2012, the second Mallory Petersen book, Alpha, was published. This time she investigates the murder of her boyfriend.

Christine: How long have you been a writer?

Stephen: Well, I can’t claim I was a writer right from the womb, but soon afterward. ‘Soon’ being a relative term, of course. I loved books from an early age, and one day I thought that with all of the books I’d read, mysteries and science fiction and horror, I’d like try my hand at writing some stories. I created a character called Sam P. Petersen who lived in the Quad Cities (where I spent my early years) and worked for the East Moline Police Department. I wrote short stories featuring him. Those were my first attempts at short story writing and character profiling. From the time I started talking about writing, my parents encouraged me to continue creating stories. I wrote during college and became serious in the late-90s.

Christine: What have you published recently?

Stephen: Well, my last book, Alpha, was published in August of 2012, but my most recent publication has been the first part of a serialized short story called “White Belt Weapons” in Taekwondo Times magazine. The March issue published an interview with me as a ‘Person of Interest,’ and the May issue began what I hope to be a long-term relationship with them on short stories.

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

Stephen: I’m a Fifth Degree Black Belt and own and operate a taekwondo club in Oskaloosa; plus, I have a full-time job. I have to find time to write during the slow hours or days off.

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

Stephen: Depends on the day. My schedule is never the same from week to week. I could work weekends or nine nights in a row. Usually, I’m on the graveyard shift from 11-7; sleep until the middle of the afternoon; class on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings; back to work at 11. During the night, I have plenty of time to write. On days off or afternoons, I may head outside to write or fish or visit family. I wish I could tell you I was an international spy in a different locale every day… At least the travel part sounds fun.

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

AlphaStephen: Alpha is about Mallory Petersen, a Fourth Degree Black Belt in taekwondo and private investigator in Des Moines, Iowa. Usually her cases involve the oddballs of society, but every now and then she takes on a serious investigation. In this book, she’s relating a story to her current boyfriend about her involvement in the investigation of the murder of her previous boyfriend. Along with that case, she’s also searching for a missing woman.

Christine: What are your favorite characters that you have created? Tell us about them.

Stephen: Of course I’m in love with Mallory. Six feet tall, blonde, blue eyes, drop dead gorgeous, excellent martial artist and instructor, strong, independent, quirky sense of humor, and a romantic.

I know an author is supposed to know almost everything about all the characters, but I’m still discovering things about Mallory’s office manager Darren. Currently, he doesn’t have a last name. That issue will be solved in the next book. He’s enigmatic, quiet, loyal, and always seems to know where Mallory is and what she’s doing. This drives her crazy sometimes.

Christine: Where can we find your novels?

Stephen: Alphawww.amazon.com/Alpha-Stephen-L-Brayton/dp/1610091159
Beta (Mallory’s introduction. Ebook only) – www.amazon.com/Beta-Mallory-Petersen-Mystery-ebook/dp/B005UHEWPC
Night Shadows (eBook only) – www.amazon.com/Night-Shadows-ebook/dp/B004O0VD1M

Christine: Who are your favorite authors?

Stephen: Ellery Queen – I think I’ve read almost every one of his mysteries.
Erle Stanley Garnder – Ditto.
H. P. Lovecraft – The master.
Clark A. Smith – A close second to Lovecraft.
Elaine Viets – She helps inspire my humorous creativity.
Sparkle Abbey – Who doesn’t like dog and cat mysteries?
Robert Pobi – A true genius with words.
Frank Kane, Carter Brown, Day Keene, (and others in the same genre) – Pulp fiction mysteries. I really enjoy the flavor of these stories.

Christine: Where can we find you on the Web?

Stephen: Website – www.stephenbrayton.com
Blog – www.stephenbrayton.wordpress.com
Book Review Blog – www.braytonsbookbuzz.wordpress.com
I’m also on Facebook and Twitter (@SLBrayton).

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