Thursday, May 8, 2014

Interview with Mario Zeleny, Author of Ritual Tea: How the 9 Secrets of Tea Can Transform Your Life

Mario Zeleny – Lover of all things tea. Mario spent 15 years in healthcare and social services in clinical and administrative roles that offered coaching to employees and volunteers. An artist and entrepreneur from an early age, Mario now brings his love of writing, art, spirit, coaching and ritual together online at his creative living site, Sancti Spiritus and also from his transformational art site, Art Spellz. Mario looks forward to completing his education with Mentor Coach and St. Clement Seminary. He currently resides in Sacramento with his husband of 8 years, their children and their domestic sovereign, a pug named Brigit.

His latest book is the self-help inspirational, Ritual Tea: How the 9 Secrets of Tea Can Transform Your Life.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I grew up in the Portland, OR metro area. At the time, where we lived would not have been considered a suburb, but it one now. I grew up in a very small town called Aloha. We had a half acre garden every year and we raked up leaves and pine needles from the front and back yard 3-4 times during the season. The black walnut tree was my favorite; I loved the smell of the rotting leaves. The tree was also great to climb, too.

My fondest memory was getting the Vincent Price’s Shrunken Head kit. OH, I loved it and that thing worked fabulous! I loved building models from scary movies like Dracula. My most favorite was watching Sinister Cinema on KATU on Saturday nights!

How long have you been writing?

I have been writing for over 30 years… since middle school. It was mostly stories back then. Later, as an adult, it became technical and business writing. My main interest has always been how-to, inspirational and personal growth writing.

What is this book about?

My book is about the transformational power of tea. Tea has an incredible, unusual and sacred history which included changing people’s lives; some lives were not always changed for the better. But for those who are open, tea can change your life in wondrous ways.

Most folks believe you have to be a monk or a tea master to practice a tea ritual; I wanted to confront that mistaken belief and make tea a transformational practice approachable by anyone. My book gives them the help to get started.

What inspired you to write it?

I was having a Mad Hatter Tea Party on my blog in July of last year and decided I wanted to offer something valuable to my party goers. So, I started writing this little e-book on tea. The partiers were going to be gifted the book because they signed up for my email list. But, they never got the book because it kept growing and became a “real” book!

Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

The greatest challenges to writing my book were:
• “Book fatigue”- When I get fatigued I lose my spark, my intuitive creativity, and I cannot see my errors.
• Life changes- bouncing back from life changing and re-establishing a writing routine can be difficult.
• Too busy with other projects I started
• Converting my manuscript for Kindle and print
• Finding and keeping my proof readers- this one is tough for an indie author. I just didn’t have $500-$1000 to pay a professional editor

If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?

No, I would not have done anything differently. I learned so much from the entire process, I wouldn’t trade it for the easy way—whatever that is!

That doesn’t mean I will be repeating some things, however. For instance, I lost my proofreaders as I was getting ready to publish. I scheduled them both too close together. But, I made a commitment and couldn’t back out. So, I recruited my husband to proof. Even though I had a bad case of book fatigue, I did more proofing, too and I published anyway. The benefits to publishing now for the indie publisher, we can replace manuscripts easily.

As soon as I had my proof copies in hand, other friends with literary experience stepped forward to help. Both the Kindle and Print versions have been update. Whew…

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

Purchase my book at:

  • Amazon- both print ($8.49) and Kindle ($1.99) - Blogger's note: right now only 99 cents for Kindle.
  • The softcover ($7.49) can be purchased at my Art Spellz Shop at (we are giving away tea with book sales, but only for this month).

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

Advice that I would give authors for promotion would be NOT to depend solely on one promotional idea. Develop multi-layered avenues of promotion. It should all be interconnected somehow. The second thing I would suggest is to begin planning 6 months before the release and do your homework to make sure that what you are investing in (time and money) is worth it for you to reach your tribe. Take a hard honest look at it 3 months and then again at 6 weeks by putting every step and what each step requires on a timeline. Be prepared to make adjustments.

What is up next for you?

I will be writing e-books that go with my courses. I am planning on combining a number of courses and e-books into a full fledge book. I am planning on completing this project around the end of the year.

You can find me:

1 comment:

Mario Zeleny said...

Thank you for interviewing me and being apart of my release celebration.

Mario Zeleny