Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Judgment Fire and Mystery Author Marilyn Meredith

We’re rounding up the month of August with another great writer. Marilyn Meredith is the author of the award-winning Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series. Not only has Marilyn written numerous books, she is also an editor, freelance writer, instructor, and writer’s conference presenter. Judgment Fire is the latest book in her Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series and Marilyn is floating around the blogosphere on her first ever virtual book tour to chat about it. She was nice enough to pay The Book Connection a visit and tell us all about it.

Welcome to The Book Connection Marilyn. It’s wonderful to have you with us!

Before we talk about the book, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I'm a fourth generation Californian, mother of five, grandmother of nineteen (just got a new granddaughter this year when my second oldest daughter became legal guardian to a sixteen year-old), and great-grandmother to eleven.

How long have you been writing?

I began telling stories through drawings when I was four and have written ever since. I didn't begin writing novels until I was in my forties. Before that it was mostly plays for my Camp Fire group to perform, PTA newsletters and short stories.

Do you have a mentor or a source of inspiration?

Willma Gore, a woman who was in the first critique group I joined, taught me so much about writing and was and is a wonderful friend.

What is your writing process like? Do you write every day?

I do write every day though not necessarily the novel I'm working on. At the moment I'm polishing up a new Tempe novel--one that probably won't be published for about two years. Once that's done, I'll begin another.

Is there a time of day when you’re more productive than others?

I do best first thing in the morning. In the afternoon, I'll do some promoting chores or editing.

Judgment Fire is the next book in your Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series. Can you tell us a little bit about this series? Is this new one the sixth?

Actually, Judgment Fire is the seventh in the series. Deadly Trail is the prequel, though it was published a bit later than Deadly Omen which came first. Unequally Yoked, Intervention, Wingbeat, and Calling the Dead are the others and in that order.

Tempe Crabtree is a Native American resident deputy in the mountain community of Bear Creek in the Southern Sierra. In each book she learns more and more about her Indian heritage and often has some supernatural or mystical experience while solving a crime. Her husband, a Christian preacher, loves her but fears for her soul.

How challenging can it be to write a series?

I love writing the Tempe series. I doubt if I'll ever run out of story ideas.

Do you ever get tired of the characters?

Tempe and her husband Hutch are as real to me as any of my friends or relatives and I certainly know more about my characters since they live inside my head.

How do you keep loyal readers interested but not lose new readers if they’ve picked up book #3 in the series?

Every book I write as a stand-alone so that someone can read a later book and not feel left out. Hopefully, though, that reader will want to find the rest of the series to read.

Deputy Tempe Crabtree is part Yanduchi Indian and Native Americans play a prominent role in this series. What kind of research did you have to do to accurately portray Native American customs and beliefs?

Yanduchi is not the name of a real tribe--however the tribe is based on the Yokut Indians who live on the Tule River Reservation near my home. I've borrowed a lot from the reservation and the Indians history and legends. Though I have done a lot of research, I am writing fiction. I've tried to respect my neighbors and their beliefs--that's the main reason I want everyone to know I'm writing fiction.

Tempe is married to the minister of a local church. Is she fully accepted by the members of her husband’s congregation?

Tempe definitely is not a normal minister's wife. Because she's also the resident deputy everyone knows her and relies on her.

Does she have to deal with any prejudice because of her mixed heritage?

Her being of Indian heritage doesn't seem to matter much in Bear Creek. The detectives she often works for seem to think because she's an Indian if a crime involves a Native American she'll have special insights. The fact that she is female causes more problems for her with her male superiors.

If you had to describe Tempe in only three words, what would they be?

Strong but vulnerable.

In addition to being a deputy sheriff, Tempe is also a wife and mother. Does she have to deal with the same challenges other working mothers do? How does she handle them?

Tempe's son is nearly grown in Judgment Fire, a senior in high school. In previous books, he's had a bigger role. Blair is infatuated with fire-fighting and serves as a volunteer on the local volunteer fire department. Blair was only two when his father, a highway patrolman, was killed in the line of duty. Being a young widow, Tempe returned home to Bear Creek where she had relatives to help with Blair, and went to the academy and became a deputy in Tulare county.

In Chapter One, we meet a shaman named Doretha. What can you tell us about her? Has she always lived in Bear Creek?

Doretha is a Native American shaman who lives on the Bear Creek Reservation. In Unequally Yoked, she puts on a grieving ceremonial for a murder victim and Tempe participates.

The descriptions in the excerpt of Judgment Fire left me feeling like I had just driven in the Blazer along with Tempe, as if I were there in Dorothea’s car, and like I was right in the middle of Tempe’s conversation with Dorothea about the strange accident. How do you bring your fiction to life? How do you know which details to include and which things it is just better to let the reader figure out for himself?

Wow, what a compliment! Thank you! Whenever you're writing fiction you want everything to keep moving the story along. Leave out anything that's unnecessary. Dialogue always needs to do two things, either move the plot or reveal character--and best if it's doing both.

Where can readers order a copy of Judgment Fire and the rest of the books in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series?

Judgment Fire is available from Mundania Press (http://www.mundaniapress.com) as a trade paperback and ebook, or can be ordered through your local bookstore or Amazon.com soon after the first of August.

The other books can be ordered from my website or Amazon.com. All of the books can be ordered in electronic format from Fictionwise.com.

I really could keep going, but I don’t want to be greedy with your time. What’s up next for you?

Of course I'm working on the next Tempe. I'm always about two books ahead.

Do you have any exciting news to share?

Yes, Calling the Dead, the book prior to this one, just received Best Mystery for 2006 from the Readers Choice Awards at Author Island. And another of my books, Wishing Makes It So, was chosen as best horror.

Wow! Congratulations!!!

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Thank you very much for letting me talk about Judgment Fire and Tempe. I hope some of your readers will take a look at my series.

Thanks for spending so much time with us today. I think I might just have to break open my piggy bank to buy all the books in this series. May you be blessed with continued success.

Again, my most heartfelt thanks for your wonderful questions.

This Virtual Book Tour brought to you by:

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Short Meditations by Dr. Susan Gregg--Book Review

If you are looking for a way to improve the quality of your life through quieting the mind, then I have found the book for you. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Short Meditations by Dr. Susan Gregg will help you learn how to quiet your mind and soothe your soul so that you can experience a life full of peace and happiness.

Divided into four parts, this book is not something you read once and put on the shelf. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Short Meditations is a book you need to keep on the nightstand next to your bed, beside your favorite comfy chair, or anywhere else where you will have a few moments to concentrate on these fabulous and simple guided meditations.

Dr. Gregg begins by telling the reader how the brains works and how he/she can use short meditations to bring about desired changes in his/her life. The next two parts provide step-by-step exercises to ease the reader into the meditations. And the last part of the book shows the reader how to apply the techniques he/she has learned.

Anyone can use The Complete Idiot's Guide to Short Meditations. You don't need to have prior experience using mental imagery, but I did find it helpful in allowing me to clear my mind and concentrate on the meditations. This was the first time I ever used guided meditations, and with Dr. Gregg's book I could focus entirely on what I wanted to change about my life.

Included in this book are quotes from many famous people, like Picasso, Martin Luther King, and Albert Einstein, which allow the reader to reflect upon the purpose of the book and inspire him/her to continue along the path to inner peace and happiness.

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Short Meditations by Dr. Susan Gregg will make you aware that you don't need to suffer through life, filled with stress over everything that could and does go wrong. Dr. Gregg and this powerful book will help you unlock the window to a brighter and more peaceful future for you, where you can enjoy life to its fullest...the way it was meant to be.

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Short Meditations
Published by the Penguin Group
ISBN 978-1-59257-614-2
U.S. Price $12.95

Cool Kids Ain't Us by Meredith K. Laskow--Poetry Collection Review

Poetry is one of those art forms that can seem so easy, but rarely is. But once you read Meredith Karen Laskow's Cool Kids Ain't Us, you'll be convinced she could write free verse in her sleep.

Emotionally honest, this collection of poems follows the life of a young girl from the age of 15 to age 22. It starts off with a poem titled On Being Left Out, which I read with tears in my eyes. How did this poet know exactly how I felt during those years of my life? Did she gaze into my soul to see the pain I suffered? Her words touched upon emotions I hid from my peers.

Boy on the Beach tells the story of a chance meeting between this young girl and a handsome boy on the beach. It explores the choices we make and the impact they have on our lives in a touching way that seems too sophisticated for one so young. But then, life has made this young woman wise beyond her years.

God and the Bible are mentioned in several of the poems in this collection, but their use is unique and allows the readers to catch a glimpse into how this young girl views her world. My God speaks of how at the age of fifteen she gave herself body, mind, and soul to her God and how she cannot understand why people do not see him the way she does. But it is who her God is, that makes the reader appreciate her predicament even more.

Genesis/Exodus brings about an epiphany to the young girl as she realizes certain truths about the world and the importance of needing to change with the world, but not lose herself.

Cool Kids Ain't Us is packed with emotions that will relate to many young adults who struggle with the same things now, that this young girl did many years ago. I believe it is also an amazing read for parents who may be searching for ways to remember what it was like for them or their peers during those challenging years when so much change takes place--when young people are seeking independence, but still need the acceptance of their peers and parents to be truly happy.

The most astonishing part of this poetry collection for me was when I found out that Laskow left these poems in their original forms from when she wrote them as a young adult and that the cover art for this book is also her original artwork from 1963.

Cool Kids Ain't Us by Meredith Laskow has a voice that will resonate with young adults today, tomorrow, and in the future. From teenage pregnancy to drug use, from loneliness to heartache, from the pain of dealing with a less than perfect world to finding your place in it, this poetry collection draws the reader in with its symbolism and substance.

Buy it for your kids or buy it for yourself...but make sure you buy it!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Waiting for the Big One by PG Forte

The temperature is about to get hotter in here because today PG (it’s a name, not a rating) Forte is going to chat about her latest release, Waiting for the Big One which was published by Liquid Silver Books. This is PG’s first virtual book tour and I am thrilled to have her stop by.

Welcome to The Book Connection PG. It’s great to have you with us.

Thank you, Cheryl. It's great to be here.

Let’s find out a bit more about you before we chat about the book. When did you decide to become a writer? Did anyone inspire you to travel along this career path?

I'd say it was more of a challenge than an inspiration. I was working in a re-touching studio in Manhattan when I got to talking about books with a co-worker. It turned out we both had written short stories and poetry, etc. He was really the first person to challenge me to do something with that.

This is the one question I ask everybody because I am so curious about how other writers work. What is your writing process like? Do you write every day? Is there a time of day when you are more productive than others?

I do try to write every day--other than when I'm between series. There's a certain amount of switching gears that takes place when I'm starting a new project, so sometimes there's a little downtime then. But, if I'm in the middle of a book, I have to write on a regular basis. I get cranky if I don't. I even took my laptop with me when we took a cruise to Hawaii a few years ago. I wrote on the deck. Every day. It was lovely.

I also tweak and edit and re-write as I go, so my 'first draft' is usually not very different from my final version. I know some people just write to get something down and then go back and re-write and re-write but that doesn't work for me. Also, I like to plot things out in detail ahead of time. That's very important.

I definitely am more productive at some points of the day than others. When I first started--back when my kids were in school full time and I was driving them back and forth, getting up early, etc, I found my most productive time was during the day. When that changed, I began to stay up later and later. For several years I did all my best work late at night--after everyone else was asleep. Lately things have changed again and now I find I'm doing more work during the day.

I read an article in the April 2007 issue of Writer’s Digest (The Power of Titillation) which spoke of the sometimes blurry line between romance and erotica. Where do your books fit in? Are you happy with that?

Well I'd be thrilled if they'd throw out all the categories and just called it all fiction! Since that's not likely to happen...the books I'm writing right now fit pretty squarely into the erotic romance category. Meaning that it's a romance story first and foremost but the characters sexual relationship is a key component to the story. Of course, I suppose you could read them strictly as erotica, if you wanted.

And yes, I'm very happy about that. My previous series 'didn't quite fit' into several categories at once--as a result they were much harder to sell.

Are you ever asked why you choose to write the books that you do? Has anyone ever questioned why you don’t write something a little less…controversial?

Yeah, my father wishes I'd write something with less sex in it. And my brother once complained that he thought my romantic-suspense would have been better without the romance. I disagree. I tend to let my characters dictate the story and this is how they want it.

My goal is to write stories that I would want to read--and then hope other people share my tastes.

Let’s move on to Waiting for the Big One. Tell us a bit about this book.

This book was so much fun to write! It was my first 'erotic romance' and I wrote it at my critique partner's urging. It's the story of Gabby Browne, her search for true love and ultimate pleasure, and the two men who help her find it.

Based upon the synopsis, Gabby seems to be looking for love in all the wrong places. Is it hard to create a character like Gabby who might seem superficial to some people? How do you make the reader care about her?

I fall in love with all my characters--I think that's the secret to creating characters that readers really respond to. Gabby is young and somewhat silly but she's also sweet and vulnerable. Even though she makes mistakes, she tries hard to be a good friend. What's not to like about that? Well, other than her penchant to relate everything to Astrology, I guess. Some people have found that tiresome. Unfortunately, that's a character trait she has in common with me--ack! I might have to shut up and never again mention that I'm also a Pisces and my husband is a Scorpio...and our son's a Pisces too.

And, no, despite all that, the book is not autobiographical. lol!

Tell us about Derek, the man who Gabby is friends with. Is she even aware of his attraction to her? By the synopsis he seems kind of possessive. Is he really?

Oh, thank you for asking about Derek--I think he's just so cool. He plays a key role in the book I just finished writing (the third in this series) and he's just a darling.

Yes, Gabby knows he's attracted to her. She's attracted to him as well. But they were both seeing other people when they first met and he made it very clear that they could be friends or they could stay away from each other. They opted to become friends and that friendship came to mean a great deal to Gabby. Now that they're both single, she's not willing to risk losing Derek as a friend by crossing boundaries that he set.

Sure, now he's all of a sudden saying that they can have sex and still be friends but Gabby's viewpoint is that guys in lust will say anything to get laid! It's not that she distrusts him, it's just that she feels she's protecting their friendship.

No, I really wouldn't characterize Derek as possessive. He wants Gabby but he's been willing to wait her out, let her figure things out on her own--until Zach enters the picture. And, yes, at that point, Derek does what he can to sabotage things--but mostly because he's afraid he'll lose her forever if he doesn't step in and do something.

Waiting for the Big One is written from Gabby’s point of view. Why did you choose first person? Could the story have been written from a third person point of view?

I'm so glad you asked! I never intended to write this book in first person. But once I heard Gabby's voice in my head, I knew I had to. She makes the story, in my opinion. I don't think I could have shown her personality anywhere near as well in third person. In fact I tried to re-write it in third person and I was completely dissatisfied with it.

And that's another reason I love Derek so much. Somehow, his personality manages to come across very, very clearly despite the fact that we're never in his point of view.

In Chapter One the reader meets Gabby and Derek. Gabby is late for her workout and Derek is majorly ticked. Gabby describes Derek to us as she sees him--his dark-chocolate voice, his classically perfect nose, and his lovely muscles. Right from the get go you’ve brought sexiness and physical attraction into the story. Is that important in a book like Waiting for the Big One?

I think so. I think it adds to the sexual tension between the main characters. I wanted it to be clear right away that these two were both very attracted to each other. They've both been waiting--for a sign, for the right time, for the other person to make the first move. And I wanted the readers to feel like they were waiting right along with them.

I’m going to move away from your book to talk about something that I feel very strongly about. There are groups out there who would seek to ban books like yours. How do you feel about that? Do you think censorship is ever justified?

I'm totally opposed to censorship of any kind. Not just because of what I write but because I think it's dangerous and just plain wrong for any group of people to decide that they should determine what someone else should or shouldn't be allowed to write or read or think or say.

Freedom of speech and freedom of the press are pretty damn important. Frankly, I'm appalled at all the recent attempts to dismantle the Constitution--for whatever reason. As Voltaire supposedly said, “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”

I think the idea of censorship only serves to point out the extraordinary power inherent in writing. It's the whole 'the pen is mightier than the sword' kind of thing. Not that I'm writing the kind of thing that could topple empires--I'm absolutely not. I'm writing entertainment, pure and simple. But I believe everyone should have the freedom to decide--for themselves--what they're going to read or write or say or think.

Whew. Long answer, huh? What can I say? I live in Berkeley--we're all about the politics here.

Have you ever been approached by someone opposed to what you’ve written? How did you handle it? Do you have any advice for writers who might find themselves in the same boat as you?

I really haven't had that happen...unless you count rejections? lol! I've had plenty of those. But, you know, no one's ever going to write something that everyone's going to like, so I won't be surprised if it happens.

And, I hope that's something other writers will realize too. I mean, there are people who don't like Shakespeare! Or Hemingway, Faulkner, Dickens, Whitman--anyone. From the moment you put pen to paper, there are going to be people who won't like what you're writing. Who cares? You're not writing for those people anyway. Just don't let them stop you!

So, now that we’ve got all the fun stuff out of the way, how can people get their hands on a copy of Waiting for the Big One?

Well, I hope people will find that fun too. lol! Here's the very long URL:


People can also find links on my website http://www.pgforte.com/ Or by going to Liquid Silver's website at: http://www.liquidsilverbooks.com/

What’s up next for you? There are lots of works in progress listed on your website. Do you have any exciting news you would like to share with us?

Too many works in progress I sometimes think. I feel a little like the proverbial ditched centipede. At the moment I'm between books and not quite sure what I'm going to work on next. I think the most exciting news I have to share is that I've recently finished Let Me Count the Ways--which is the third book in the LA Love Lessons series. So readers who love Derek and want to see more of him can look forward to that.

I also want to let anyone interested in my Oberon series to know that I'm hoping to have them available again soon.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Well, I suppose I might mention that, for anyone who's enjoyed Waiting for the Big One and wants to read more about Zach, Love, From A to Z is also available now from Liquid Silver Books. I didn't really talk about him today, but he's another sweetheart.

Thanks for joining us today, PG. It’s been a great pleasure to chat with you. I wish you and your career all the best.

Thank you so much for having me! It's been great fun chatting with you. These were some fabulous questions.

This Virtual Book Tour brought to you by:

Jamieson Wolf is celebrating a birthday!

My special friend Jamieson Wolf has a birthday today and to help him celebrate we are chatting about another one of his fabulous novels, HUNTED. Check out our interview below:

August has been such a fabulous month here at The Book Connection. And today makes it even better as I welcome back my talented friend, Jamieson Wolf so that he can tell us about another one of his recent releases, HUNTED.

Welcome to The Book Connection Jamieson. It’s great to have you back with us!

Awww, you're going to make me blush! And it's great to be here. I always love stopping by Cheryl! Thanks for having me.

If I remember right, you’re celebrating a birthday today. Happy Birthday!

That's right, I turn 29 today. It doesn't feel any different but it's a good to have a day for yourself. Thanks for the Birthday wishes!

So, are you old enough now to go out alone at night? Of course, with some of the creepy stuff you write maybe you’re afraid of the dark.

I'm pretty sure that everyone is a little afraid of the dark. Otherwise where would the excitement be?

Can you tell us what you’ve been up to this past year?

Gosh, what haven't I done? The Ghost Mirror came out in June in eBook format. HUNTED came out in June in eBook format as well, Hope Falls was published in July and The Ghost Mirror came out in paperback on Amazon in August.

I started writing for The American Chronicle and The Gotta Write Network. As well, my romantic novella Cupids Delight was accepted for publication by Mardi Gras Publishing for January 2008.

I've been hard at work on my memoir for The Friday Project and took on the post of Producer for PreViews (Book Videos) at ReaderViews.

I celebrated my one year wedding anniversary with my husband and tried to enjoy life as much as I can. But there's been lots going on!

I know I’ve asked this before, but when in the heck do you sleep? Seems you’ve always got a million things going on.

You know, I've actually slowed things down a bit. I quit the second job I was working and closed down two of my web sites and several of my blogs. I wanted to take it easy and focus on the writing that needed to get done.

I'm still busy but now I'm doing the things that need to get done. It's nice being able to breathe a bit.

You have been inflicted with Cerebral Palsy. If you don’t mind my asking, how has this impacted your writing? Does it have anything to do with how diligent you are when it comes to your work?

Well I was born with Cerebral Palsy. I personally feel that it's made me a better person. It's given me a tougher skin certainly and I've had to work harder for everything I want.

It's become such a part of me that I don't look at myself as having a physical disability anymore. I look at myself as differently-abled instead of disabled.

It's helped my writing a lot. I've had the determination to go for what I want and to achieve my dreams. I pushed myself so that I could walk without the aid of a wheel chair or crutches. After that, writing's a breeze.

We’re going to chat about another one of your recent releases, HUNTED, which was published by Write Words, Inc. - http://www.ebooksonthe.net/. This story--like many of your others--includes an element of magic and demons. Where did this fascination with magic and the undead come from?

You know, I don't think it's a fascination with the undead or with magic. I think it's more a fascination with "What If?".

I love to take characters and place them in real situations; then I usually like to say to myself "What if this happened…?" and see what comes of it.

Of course, I'm a speculative fiction writer. So fantasy elements and magic have always interested me. It's what I love to write and what I have the most fun writing.

In HUNTED, soap opera star Susan Halliway leaves television after thirty years to live a life as a writer in her secluded home in Pine Lake. But that ends up being harder than she thought. Someone is watching her and using an old script from the soap opera to torment her. How did you come up with this idea? What inspired you to write it?

Soap operas, naturally. I love how Soaps can throw so many things at you that don't make sense and people will watch them anyways, myself included. I thought what if there was a fan who just couldn't let go, just wouldn't let his favorite character leave the show?

I wanted it to be a strict police procedural but the story got away from me as it usually does. Which is fine with me as I don't know a thing about police procedures. I think it turned out a lot more fun anyways.

There’s a bit romance in this novel too. Afraid for her life, Susan turns to Derrick Madison who used to be the love of her life. Can you tell us a bit about Derrick and Susan’s past relationship and how that impacts the present day?

Well, I wanted there to be a bit of steamy romance in HUNTED. On soaps there's always a love scene or two so I had to have one or four. LOL Their past relationship was hard; Derrick was a lawyer and studying to be a cop and Susan was a mega successful actress. The two grew apart.

But that doesn't mean they still don't know each other, that they still don’t love each other. They will have to depend on each other, trust in each other again if they have a hope of surviving.

In walks Sandy Duran, the mother of the first victim killed by the man stalking Susan. She tells them that evil is afoot. The girls with blond hair and bright eyes are sacrifices to a demon who is hungry for lust, for blood, and for Susan. Up until now this seemed like a regular romantic suspense novel. But now, it’s much, much more. How do you bring paranormal elements into normal, everyday events?

Well like I said, I ask myself the What If question and see what happens. I wanted to throw something exciting into HUNTED and the paranormal was crying out to be used here.

Plus, look at soaps. On Days of Our Lives, Marlena has been possessed by the devil, a serial killer stalked Salem using mind control and Celeste saw visions of death. The paranormal is in every soap so I figured why not in HUNTED? And it's just more fun, don’t you think?

Now, on to the good stuff. Where can people get their hands on a copy of this chilling tale?

Well, you can buy HUNTED at several locations:

You can buy them at the publisher's web site:


You can buy it at Fictionwise:


Or, you can buy it at MobiPocket Books:


Let’s wrap this up by finding out what’s up next for you. Can you tell us more about your memoir?

The memoir is for The Friday Project and will be published in the summer of 2008. It's called One Step at a Time and is based off of my blog with the same name. You can find the blog here: www.jamiesonwolf.wordpress.com

The memoir is about my growing up in an abusive home and living with Cerebral Palsy. It's probably the most difficult thing I've had to write and the most harrowing but also the most cleansing.

I'm beyond the half way mark so I'm in the home stretch. I hope that it will be a book that will give hope to survivors of abuse and others living with physical disabilities.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us today?

You can learn more about HUNTED by stopping by The Hunted Blog:


Or by stopping by the Hunted Web Site


There's even a Free Ebook available at the blog! It's called SOMETIMES I WORRY ABOUT ZOMBIES By Howard J. Gogglewack! It's the survival guide everyone needs to protect themselves from Zombies!

And stay tuned to the Hunted Web Site which is being redone to include the next three books in the series. HOPE FALLS, the second book in the Hunted Series is currently available at MobiPocket too!

Thanks for stopping by Jamieson. It’s always such a delight to chat with you. HUNTED sure sounds like a novel that should be in a lot of people’s book collections.

Well I always love talking to you and it's been a pleasure as always. I'm just thrilled that you enjoyed the novel and I hope that others do too! Make sure you check out the sequel and I'll stop by soon to talk to you about that book too!

Thank you so much Cheryl! It's been a pleasure.

Friday, August 17, 2007

THE TRUTH by Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein - Book Review

THE TRUTH, My Secret Diary, I'm Ten, I'm Smart and I Know Everything by Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein is the charming tale of one girl's view of life starting from age ten until right before her twelfth birthday. Told as a series of diary entries, the reader follows this young girl as she falls in love for the first time, deals with troubles at home, attempts to fit in with her peers, and watches her body begin to change.

Woven into these humorous and sometimes angst-filled snippets of life is a powerful message Dr. Holstein calls, THE TRUTH. As young girls we once knew all about our strengths, our talents, and our future potential. But along life's journey women have forgetten this TRUTH and replaced it with self-doubt, concentrating on where we don't measure up and putting aside the dreams we once held so dear.

Dr. Holstein helps women rediscover what they've lost in less than 100 pages of delightful diary entries from a girl who has yet to be tainted by an adult world. Immature, but wise beyond her years, this girl will wiggle her way into your heart and remind you of what it was like to be so sure of yourself.

The book also includes a set of 18 questions for discussion, making it the perfect read for any book club discussion.

Every woman needs to read THE TRUTH. It will remind you of who you once were, who you always wanted to be, and who you can be once again! And it is such a short an easy read you will want to pick it up over and over to reaffirm what you already know is THE TRUTH!

Note: Check out my August 6th interview with Dr. Holstein to find out more about THE TRUTH. Click here: http://thebookconnectionccm.blogspot.com/2007/08/meet-positive-psychologist-and-author.html

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Infinite Space, Infinite God Tour Continues

Joining me today is author and editor, Karina Fabian. We’ll be chatting about the 2007 EPPIE award-winning Catholic Science-fiction anthology Infinite Space, Infinite God (ISIG), which is available in eBook format through Twilight Times Books - http://www.twilighttimesbooks.com/InfiniteSpace_ss1.html - or in trade paperback through Amazon, Bamm.com, Barnes & Noble, Borders, and other bookstores. Karina and her husband Robert edited and contributed to this anthology.

Welcome to The Book Connection, Karina. It’s great to have you here!

Thanks, Cheryl! This is Day Nine on the Infinite Space, Infinite God tour for readers, but something like day 45 for me! I've been filling out interviews, sending out synopses, and doing guest blogs in preparation for this for months. I love the Internet and I love sharing both ISIG and my stories with folks like you.

There is so much we could talk about, but let’s get started with finding out a bit more about Robert and you. How long have you both been writing? What other writing projects have you worked on--together or separately?

It sounds cliché, but I've been telling stories since around age five, and have been writing them since I could string sentences together. I tried to write my first novel in third grade. In high school, I did a lot of bad poetry and good Star Trek fanfic--about what you'd expect from a teen geek! In college, I started exploring my own worlds and characters, and finally got serious about it in 1995, after I'd left the active duty Air Force.

I've written nonfiction articles about parenting, pregnancy, travel, people, businesses--you name it, I probably wrote about it. In fiction, I mostly stick with science fiction and fantasy. I have three craft books out, all tied to the Little Flowers and Blue Knights clubs. In addition, I have a fantasy trilogy I'm shopping around, a fantasy comedy going to a publisher soon (Magic, Mensa and Mayhem), and stories published in Eternal Night, Samsara, Firestorm of Dragons and some others. Oh, and there's all that fanfic I had published back in college. In addition, I keep up my many websites, contribute to blogs and host a weekly authors' chat.

Rob's solo writing has mostly been in the non-fiction arena--military space operations and doctrine, ballistic missiles, space economic development--and published in professional journals like Proceedings of the Naval Institute and Astropolitics. However, he has notebooks of ideas (fiction and non-fiction alike) to pursue once he's retired and has more time to pursue his writing.

Together, we've edited the SF anthologies, Leaps of Faith and Infinite Space, Infinite God. We've also written several stories in a near future universe where humans have colonized the solar system and an order of nuns, Our Lady of the Rescue, conducts space search-and-rescue operations. We have stories in both anthologies and one in Hereditas Magazine (www.hereditasmagazine.com), and are working on our first novel in that universe, Discovery. We're already making plans for Infinite Space, Infinite God II.

Infinite Space, Infinite God is an anthology of Catholic Science-fiction. Being a former Catholic, this intrigues me. How do you mix Catholicism and science-fiction? Doesn’t the Catholic Church believe in creationism, not science?

It's a myth that the Catholic Church is anti-science. Nothing could be farther than the truth. The Church held onto the wisdom of the past through the Dark Ages, helping to foster the Renaissance. Mendel, the father of genetics, and Copernicus, who originally proposed the heliocentric theory of the solar system, were both Catholic monks. Moving into more modern times, the Vatican has a working observatory, a Pontifical Academy for science, and hosts symposiums for scientists of all religions.

What about Galileo? There are a lot of factors in that case, including the fact that we could not prove Galileo's theories until decades later when telescope technology improved, Galileo's slander of the Pope of the time, and other factors. It was not just a question of theology vs. science. The Catholic Church could not endorse Heliocentric theory--which was then unproven--but neither did it reject it or science out of hand. Proposing a new theory about the universe, not a problem. Bad-mouthing the Pope while you propose your new theory, yeah, that would get you into trouble.

As far as Creationism, the Church does not have a doctrinal position for or against it. Like evolution, it is a theory. The Church does not dictate a literal word-for-word interpretation of the Bible. Catholic teaching is that the Bible is for the salvation of our souls, not the scientific explanation of our universe. There are several genres included in the Bible, including history, poetry and allegory. The Creation Story is allegory, meaning it is True, but not literal. For example: Truths: God created the world in an orderly fashion; humans are a combination of the natural (of the earth) and divine (God's breath into Adam); God rested (as we should). Literalism: God said a sentence and light spontaneously appeared. God took six 24-hour periods to create everything. God made the first human out of dirt.

If you think about it, can you imagine God explaining the Big Bang to ancient man? "And God said: E = Amv^2 - Ze^2/r ..."

God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. God has power over everything. That's what our souls need to know. Want to figure out how? Go for it, but don't expect that to get you to Heaven.

Having said all this, Catholic doctrine does not prohibit Catholics from embracing Creationism, either. It's another theory of how God created the universe.

The Catholic Church does, however, take very seriously its role as a moral guide, including in the area of science. Where science impacts on the Ten Commandments, or where it tempts humans to take the place of God, the Church will be there to advise restraint, caution and clarity of mind and soul. A lot of the stories in Infinite Space, Infinite God draw on this important role.

So a long story short is that science, science fiction and Catholicism blend together quite well.

Having read several of these stories already, the topics are very diverse with the Catholic Church playing a role in all of them. What inspired you to bring together the Church and a genre that Catholicism might not be typically associated with?

We believe Catholicism should be associated with science--and in a positive way.

As long-time science fiction fans, we were often frustrated at the lack of any religion in the genre, except when used as a foil for the "Evil Scientist" or to play the villain against Progress. To be fair, that's not the only time you saw it--Canticle for Liebowitz by Walter Miller is a classic of science fiction and undeniably Catholic--but they were rare enough that we wanted to explore the idea.

Our initial exploration was to create the universe of the Order of Our Lady of the Rescue. This led us to compiling our first anthology, Leaps of Faith (which covers many Christian faiths), then to Infinite Space, Infinite God.

Why these authors? Why these stories? What did you find in these fifteen different stories that made you want to include them in ISIG?

We had three criteria:

1. Engaging stories. They had to catch our interest with unique ideas, strong characters, well-done action or well-written prose, or preferably all of these things.

2. Sound science fiction: The science had to be internally believable and where based on real science, realistically projected. (We had some writers work with scientists for their stories.)

3. Sound Catholic doctrine: the stories had to stay in agreement with current Catholic doctrine, or the reason for going against those doctrines had to be extreme and well explained that it was not a casual choice.

In stories like The Harvest and Interstellar Calling, the main character goes through certain experiences that lead him or her to be called into service for the Catholic Church. But as I think about these stories, they truly seem to be more about the calling than about the circumstances which led the main character to decide to serve. But in Hopkins’ Well we find out something surprising about Bethesda. And it is that surprise, along with what he witnesses that makes him decide to want to share what he has learned with the Wellers and the people on Earth. So, in this instance, the story becomes more about the circumstances and less about the calling. Why do these different approaches work in the same anthology?

They work because this is an anthology. We wanted different approaches, fresh ideas, new twists, and varying angles. We were also blessed with some very talented writers with different backgrounds, faith experiences and writing styles. Finally, because religion itself affects people in so many ways, we felt the anthology should do the same.

As you've noted in our stories, some people are led to a Calling, and the Calling is the focus; in others, like "Little Madeleine," their Calling is the solution to their troubles. In other stories, like "Understanding," the Catholic faith, misused or badly considered, causes problems. In some, like "Brother John" practicing Catholicism brings peril, while in others like "Brother Jubal in the Womb of Silence," it brings incredible peace.

You'll see different approaches to the science fiction aspect, too. Science causes problems, solves problems, is the means to tell the story, or is simply the necessary background. Science acts in opposition to faith and in cooperation.

Finally, you'll find a variety of science fiction styles as well: hard science where the principles are based in fact, thought out and discussed, soft science where, for example, you're simply given "time travel exists" and the story moves on, space opera (a long time ago or ahead in a galaxy far, far away), "furry" (a genre I never knew existed until I started this, but that involves intelligent animals), adventure, mystery…

Like you said, it works. One consistent comment we get from readers and reviewers is that they kept turning the pages because they never knew where the next story would take them. We think that's the mark of a great anthology.

The opening pages of ISIG discuss the Catholic Church’s support and encouragement of scientific advancements through the centuries. Why was it important to include such history? Also included, was information about the Catholic faith which helped to introduce the aspects of Catholicism that these stories dealt with. How was this approach decided upon and what does this information add for the reader?

Actually, we did this, in part, as a nod to the original publisher. This would have been their first step into genre fiction, as they publish mostly non-fiction, historical, biographies, and such, and we thought this might prove a transition. When they turned us down--because of the genre aspect--we decided to keep them in. (I worked hard on those!)

The history specifically answers those who pick up the book and think, as you mentioned above, "Isn't Catholicism anti-science?" The story introductions provided some organization and framework. We thought it interesting to learn about the past and present before going on to the future. However, we also specifically crafted the introductions so that they are not necessary to understand or enjoy the stories. (So if you want to skip them go ahead; you won't hurt our feelings.)

Now that we're with a secular publisher, we're glad we included them, because one thing folks have said is that this book makes them think, and that was our goal. I wrote the introductions to try to give folks a reference from which to start, to know what the Catholic Church has done and is doing and may do in the future. Someday, we'd like to put together a study guide--but that's another project, and frankly will depend on how well ISIG sells and whether we think there's an audience for it.

I really could go on, but then what would people learn at the rest of your blog stops this month? Is there anything you would like to add?

Infinite Space, Infinite God is entertaining science fiction with a Catholic twist. That means you don't need to be Catholic to enjoy it--and in fact, our reviewers have spanned the spectrum of faith. (Our writers, too, for that matter.)

Folks can learn more about Infinite Space, Infinite God by checking out our website at http://isigsf.tripod.com. There, you'll find synopses of the stories, interviews, event news, teasers and more.

Infinite Space, Infinite God is already available as an e-book from www.twilighttimesbooks.com or fictionwise. After August 15, it will be available in print from www.twilighttimesbooks.com, amazon.com, or from your favorite books store.

If you enjoy ISIG, please consider asking your local library to purchase a copy so that others might discover it. And let us know how you liked it! Our contact information is on the website.

Thanks for stopping by Karina. I congratulate the authors, Robert, and you for putting together an anthology of thought-provoking, diverse, gripping stories. No wonder ISIG has received such rave reviews. I wish you all much success in the future.

Thanks, Cheryl. I enjoyed answering these questions for you and your readers!

To find out where the Infinite Space, Infinite God tour goes next check out the ISIG website at http://isigsf.tripod.com.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Meet Motivational Speaker and Author Robin Jay

This really is turning out to be a week packed with great stuff. Today, motivational speaker and author Robin Jay joins us to chat about her award-winning book The Art of the Business Lunch ~ Building Relationships between 12 and 2. Robin has also written articles for Forbes.com, Hospitality Executive Magazine, and What’s On Magazine.

Welcome to The Book Connection Robin. It’s great to have you here!

Thank you so much! It’s a pleasure to share with you and your readers.

It sure seems like you are one busy woman. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m originally from Cleveland, Ohio, but I have lived in Las Vegas, Nevada for more than 33 years. I guess I really don’t like the cold. We’re in the middle of summer right now and even though it’s 110*, it’s still better to me than scraping ice off a windshield in January!

I sold advertising for more than 18 years. During that time, I hosted more than 3,000 client lunches and I saw my sales increase by more than 2000%! I knew I was on to something and I wanted to share that information with other business professionals so they could also enjoy more success.

Let’s talk about relationships for a minute. Why is it important to build good, strong relationships in business? How can you teach people this skill which is so vital to success?

Ask yourself, “When was the last time I was made to feel special…REALLY special?” I’m afraid that most people would be hard-pressed to remember exactly when someone made them feel special. And it’s quite likely that no one has made your client feel special, either. I would take my clients out to lunch and make it all about them. By asking them about what’s going on in their lives, listening to their answers and sharing quality time with them, I’ll manage to make them feel special. If they enjoy their time with me, then they are going to want to do business with me. There is an art to it.

Relationships are important because people prefer to do business with people they LIKE. No one every spent their money with someone they hated just because they had the best price. Almost everyone has traveled farther or spent more because they preferred the way one business operated over another. It’s what Brian Tracy calls “The Friendship Factor.” In other words, people will not do business with you unless they are convinced that you have THEIR best interest at heart. You really have to believe it, too. You have to put your client’s or customer’s needs first…and in doing so, your needs will ultimately be met as well.

And yes, it’s a skill that anyone can learn IF they have the right attitude and the willingness to learn it. In my book, I reveal specific ways in which the reader can differentiate themselves from their competition. So few people work to elevate themselves to a higher level - that it can actually be quite easy to sail past your competition by applying the principles that I share in my book.

Your book, The Art of the Business Lunch is receiving rave reviews and endorsements. What is it about this book that makes it so popular?

I think it’s popular because it’s so easy to follow! There are so many ideas in the book that you can implement to achieve outstanding results. It’s not brain surgery. It’s just a lot of ideas that will make you say, “Hmm…I never thought of that!”

Here’s an example: when you are first seated, hand your credit card to your server. Not only does it eliminate any awkwardness at the end of the meal, but it also designates you as the host of the party. This is especially important if you are a female taking male clients to lunch or dinner. And, by the way, everything in the book can apply to breakfast, lunch, dinner or even networking mixers. I have a chapter on networking luncheons, too. A lot can go wrong, but if you’re prepared, you will excel.

This book has been called, “the definitive guide to the business lunch”. It includes topics such as how to select the right restaurant, how and what to order, and when to bring up the subject of business. It even tells you what the one entrée is that should never be ordered at a business lunch. Are business deals really jeopardized by ordering the wrong food?

Absolutely! It might rattle a client’s confidence if they are asked to sign a $100,000.00 contract by a man wearing his spaghetti sauce all over his shirt. Never, ever order spaghetti with red sauce! And with so much riding on your business deals, why not stack the deck in your favor by being completely prepared for whatever comes your way?

While listening to your sample chapter online, I picked up on an important skill which I have struggled with in the past--active listening. How can people improve their abilities in this area so that they aren’t doing all the talking? How does this build good relationships?

Listening is the most important part of a great lunch. If you are just trying to sell something to your client or customer, then you are likely going to spew a bunch of facts, features or benefits. If you are trying to HELP your client, then you are going to have to LISTEN to learn about and understand what your client needs. If I think I’m the best salesperson in the world and I’m trying to sell you dog food, but I don’t know that you don’t own a dog, how am I helping you? Unless we learn to LISTEN to what our clients are saying, how can we really be of service to them?

Plus it goes back to what I said earlier about making your clients feel special. Asking questions and then listening to their answers and responding accordingly works to build a solid relationship. By listening to them, you will discover common ground. Once you have found that, you will be able to share even more, eventually building a friendship. Everyone’s job really is to make friends. The more friends you have, the more successful you will be. A wider circle casts a greater net. You may not know someone in particular, but if one of your friends knows that person, then a connection is just a quick lunch date away.

If you could give a sales person only one piece of advice about business lunches, what would it be?

Go on as many as possible. I think anyone in sales should have a minimum of five business “dates” each week…including networking events, breakfasts or dinners. Do that for one month and you’ll see a difference in your sales by the end of the month.

Where can people find out more about The Art of the Business Lunch and your speaking engagements?

They can visit my website at http://www.robinjay.com/.My contact information is there and they can e-mail me if they have any specific questions or lunch stories to share. My books are available wherever books are sold, but for a signed copy, they should visit my website. I also have audio books available (6-CD sets or Mp3). And if they mention “The Book Connection,” I will include a special gift!

Most of my upcoming speaking engagements are private, corporate events, however I have a unique event coming up here in Las Vegas on Saturday, 9/29. I will be speaking at the Creative Cooking School. This class is being put on by the College of Southern Nevada. For more information, you can visit: http://creativecookingschool.com/CourseSchedule.Asp?CourseID=389. The course fee includes a copy of my book and they will learn how to create a top gourmet lunch. It should be a fun day. And Las Vegas is perfect at that time of year!

Is there anything you would like to add?

I would like to thank you for hosting this wonderful interview. You must have been in sales at some point, because your questions demonstrate an understanding of the most important aspects of business. And for your readers, if they have any questions at all, they can contact me. I enjoy being able to help others and coach them to achieve their dreams, too.

Thank you for joining us today Robin. It has been great getting to know more about you and your award-winning book. I wish you continued success.

This Virtual Book Tour brought to you by:

Monday, August 6, 2007

Meet Motivational Speaker and Author Judi Moreo

Only seven days into August and we’re up to two great interviews here at The Book Connection. Today, motivational speaker and author Judi Moreo joins us to chat about her latest release, You Are More Than Enough Every Woman’s Guide to Purpose, Passion & Power. Judi is a leading authority in communications and motivation having conducted consulting assignments, training workshops, seminars, and keynote speeches in 26 countries on 4 continents. She is currently President of Turning Point International, Inc., an international performance improvement consulting firm in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Welcome to The Book Connection Judi. It is a thrill to have the opportunity to chat with you.

It is a bigger thrill for me to be here.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? What was your professional experience before becoming a motivational speaker? How did you make the move towards motivational speaking and writing?

For l7 years, I owned Universal Models Agency & Finishing School in Las Vegas, Nevada. Our training programs were so popular, we had executive men and women, teenagers, housewives, and blue collar workers who took the programs to achieve better self-confidence and learn how to handle themselves in the situations that life presents. Over and over I was asked to present programs on how I built a successful business as well as the various subjects that we taught in the school. Then I moved to South Africa where I was the Group Promotions Manager for a media group of 24 newspapers, two radio stations, and a television station during the end of apartheid. Here I discovered that corporate people at all levels had the same problems….as well as the members of the community that I worked with on a daily basis. Once again, I was asked to speak at seminars and symposiums to explain my work and that of the media group. Speaking became a way of life. Then it started to make more sense that if I wanted to reach more people, I should write a book. I had written columns and articles for newspapers and magazines for years.

You also offer professional, personal, and executive coaching. When do people need a one-on-one coach and what can they expect to get out of your program?

People need a one-on-one coach when they need to hear the truth about themselves; when they need discipline to accomplish their goals; and when they need or want knowledge or expertise the coach has.

I want to move on to your fascinating new book, You Are More Than Enough Every Woman’s Guide to Purpose, Power & Passion. What can you tell us about it?

You Are More Than Enough is a powerful guide to discovering your purpose, unleashing your passion, and shaping your habits to realize the success you want in all the areas of your life...personal and professional relationships, career, finances, and security. In this book, I talk about recognizing and releasing the fears that hold you back; how to turn your thoughts, hopes and dreams into positive action; how to motivate yourself to set powerful goals and passionately achieve them; how to use your imagination to visualize and shape the future you desire as well as how to associate for success and build faith.

What inspired you to write this book? Why do you feel that there is a need for a book like this?

When I traveled around the world speaking to audiences of 50 to 3000 people, approximately 75% of the audience answered “Yes” to the questions, “Did you think you would be more successful by now?” and “Do you want something, but don’t know what it is?”

This book helps people decide what they want to achieve in order to accomplish that “something more” they know is their destiny. It will help you determine what you can change in order to live a more fulfilling life...a life of purpose, passion, and power.

I have shared tools and techniques with the readers ....things I used which immensely helped in my journey to becoming the person I knew I could be. It was my goal in writing this book and sharing my personal stories to make my readers lives a bit easier, more successful, and a great deal more satisfying. If it changes even one life for the better, it will have been worth the writing.

Chapter One opens with some powerful questions: “Why is having confidence in ourselves and our abilities so hard? Why do many of us have the tendency to overestimate other people’s abilities and power and underestimate our own? Why are we so concerned with what other people will think about us?” How does You Are More Than Enough answers those questions? What kinds of advice can people expect to receive from reading this book?

You Are More Than Enough spells out how we have come about many of the beliefs we have; what part our background and culture play in our belief systems; how other people have influenced us.

It seems like you are involved in so many things: motivational speaking, writing, coaching, not to mention your involvement with many organizations. How do you juggle it all? Is part of being able to handle so many things tied into some of the advice that people will read in your book?

Yes, it is in the book. I have learned how to prioritize and how to manage myself, because I have certainly realized you can’t manage time. Motivational speaking, coaching, and writing are how I make a living as well as hopefully making a difference in the world. I work at what I believe will make my life count. Being involved in community activities is how I give back for all that has been given to me. I’m not as active as many people. I just do what I can with the time I have. My first priority though is my family.

I could ask a hundred more questions because this book sounds like an excellent resource for women everywhere. But, I don’t want to be greedy with your time, so can you tell us what other projects you’re involved in? What’s up next for you?

Just this week, I approved the final galley on the Achievement Journal which is a companion to this book. The audio book is in final edit. And I will be video taping 12 five minute segments on the subject matter of the book which will be used by a national seminar company in their programs and webinars.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Faith is the confident assurance that something we believe is true or something we desire is going to happen. I am absolutely certain what you hope for is waiting for you…if you believe and take the necessary actions.

Thank you for joining us today, Judi. It has been a great pleasure to find out more about you and your book, You Are More Than Enough. I wish you continued success in all you do.

Thank you so much. It’s been my pleasure.

Note: Look for my review of You Are More Than Enough Every Woman's Guide to Purpose, Power and Passion - COMING SOON!

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Sunday, August 5, 2007

Positive Psychologist and Author, Dr. Barbara Holstein Talks about The TRUTH

We're going to start August off with a bang. Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein, Ed. D, just released a new book in June titled THE TRUTH, My Secret Diary, I'm Ten, I'm Smart, and I Know Everything. Dr. Holstein is a leading positive psychologist who focuses on helping women to be happy, and live meaningful, purposeful lives by reclaiming their talents, strengths, and even lost potential. In addition to her private practice, she conducts seminars, lectures, tele-classes and workshops, and appears on radio and television. Dr. Holstein will chat with us about this book and her work as a positive psychologist.

Welcome to The Book Connection Dr. Holstein. It is a distinct pleasure to have this chance to speak with you.

I'm thrilled to join you.

Let's start off by getting to know you better. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your work?

I am a Positive Psychologist in private practice in New Jersey. I've had a practice, shared with my husband, Dr. Russell Holstein for 25 years. I've also been a school psychologist, and I taught 1st and 2nd grades. On a personal note, I love mystery stories, laughing, being with people who are interesting and pleasant, eating great food and meeting strangers. I am really passionate about helping women led better, happier lives.

What is a positive psychologist?

A positive psychologist focuses on, along with treating a person's problems, talents, potential, and resilience in the client. A positive psychologist is eager to strengthen a person's sense of hope and optimism and is looking often at what is right about the person rather than what is wrong.

Are they different from other psychologists?

Yes, in the sense that many psychologists have been trained to look for pathology and treat it. Positive Psychology augments and broadens that position in the treatment room.

How would people go about finding a positive psychologist if they needed one?

I would suggest calling the American Psychological Association in Washington, D. C. or the state psychological agency in the state you live in. They will have names.

Your first book (The Enchanted Self, A Positive Therapy) was published in 1997. What made you begin writing self-help books?

When I had my 'aha' moment examining the answers women gave me to my case study questionnaire about growing up and the messages that linger in us as adult women, I knew I had to write a self-help book. I just couldn't sit quietly on the truth I had discovered. That truth was that women have so much more capacity for happiness, positive states of being and joy than we recognize in ourselves or that society recognizes and/or reinforces. I realized that unless I took my discovery public I would be part of the cycle, already hundreds of years old, of not giving women all the information that they needed about themselves. I couldn't do that! I had to share and I called what I discovered and how to find it in yourself, THE ENCHANTED SELF(R).

Ten years later, you have four published books, a radio program, a wide-read e-radio magazine, and you appear on television in New York and New Jersey. Why do you think positive psychology is so popular and necessary in today's society?

We live in a very negative culture in terms of what we hear on the news. We also live in a culture geared to externals rather than the internal parts of ourselves. Positive Psychology helps people to find what is best about themselves from the inside out, not the outside in. When we work with who we really are and we don't get caught up in externals values such as how thin we are, we have a chance for true happiness and to really live lives of meaning.

Let's talk about THE TRUTH, My Secret Diary, I'm Ten, I'm Smart, and I Know Everything. Can you tell us what this book is about?

My new book, THE TRUTH, My Secret Diary, I'm Ten, I'm Smart and I Know Everything, is a delightful, humorous secret diary, written by a girl who is 10-11 years of age. She is wise and yet so innocent. She makes us cry and laugh and remember ourselves. Behind this very easy read is the psychological message to the women reading THE TRUTH that they can and must recapture the fire and passion of their girlhoods not only for themselves to flourish and be happy, but for the next generation to also have the gifts of good emotional and spiritual health.

Women love the book and so do girls, ages 10-14. Women find it a pure delight-a hot fudge sundae with a secret message inside and no weight gain, while girls recognize themselves and finally feel totally understood.

With everything you've done and written about in your previous books and articles, why did you feel inspired to write THE TRUTH?

I felt complelled to write THE TRUTH because women do have an unique path back to happiness that has been sorely overlooked. That path is themselves and in particular, the parts of themselves that had sparks of energy, enthusiasm and wisdom way back into childhood. Here's how I put it:

THE TRUTH... how do we carry the truth from girlhood to adulthood? That priceless 'truth' that we all recognize as kids? How do we walk over that bridge into growing up, carrying the Truth? Remember that truth? It was filled with an appreciation for affection, a capacity for humor, a love of new adventures, a delight in just being alive. It recognized wisdom and what was right as well as what was wrong. How do we recognize THE TRUTH in our children and help them carry their most precious selves into adulthood?

What if we could pass the gift of our early wisdom and brilliance along to our children, giving them permission to hold on to their most precious jewels. What if we can rekindle it in ourselves so that we are filled with passion and energy?

You've taken a unique approach with THE TRUTH, using the diary of a ten-year-old girl to share an important message with your readers. Why did you choose this format?

Because it was through 'the girl's' voice that I could most honestly portray what I was trying to recapture and to ignite in the reader.

As I read the excerpts of THE TRUTH, I was laughing just thinking about my own childhood and what it will be like to watch my daughters grow up. How important was the ingredient of humor in this book? How did you manage to weave in the message you want your readers to take from this book while keeping it a light and easy read?

Humor was very important. We have to be able to laugh at ourselves and yet at the same time have compassion for all our adventures and misadventures.

As far as how did I weave in the message, I just let 'the girl' come alive. She really did become her own beacon of light and she lead the way as the book developed as to what she would be sharing with us and in what form.

If you had to describe THE TRUTH in only one sentence, what would it be?

THE TRUTH, I'm Ten, I'm Smart and I Know Everything! is a fun read in which you laugh, cry, identify with the girl and learn once again how to have fun, enjoy the delights of life, be honest, and best of all find yourself again in a marvelous way that can be enjoyed by all--including your kids.

Should we expect more books from you in the future? Are there any writing projects you are currently working on?

Yes, defiantly expect more books. I'm already more than half way through the sequel to this book in which the girl becomes 12-14 and boy does she still have a lot to say and to teach us!

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Just that I am so eager for mothers and daughters to read this book and can't wait for your reactions. Please feel free to write to me at drbarbara@enchantedself.com

I thank you for joining us today Dr. Holstein. THE TRUTH sounds like a book everyone should read. I wish you continued success and much happiness in the future.

Thanks so much. I loved talking to you!

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