December 29, 2020

Opportunities to Donate Books

Dear Book Lovers,

There are multiple ways to get involved in sharing your love of reading and paying it forward. With nonprofits and institutions in need of used and new books, below are a few avenues to consider for donating books. 

Better Word Books - Based out of Mishawaka, Indiana, this entity provides drop boxes that collect book donations primarily along the East Coast, Mid West and part of Southern United States. Interested members are welcome to look up their closest donation box here.

Books Through Bars - Headquartered out of West Philadelphia, this nonprofit welcomes book donations that are forwarded to prisoners behind bars. Volunteers and donors make it possible for the prison population to have access to reading materials representing multiple genre that deliver educational, historical and entertainment value. This nonprofit has sustained its presence for 30 years and is going strong thanks to good Samaritans supporting this cause from within United States and beyond. Learn more how to get involved here.

Salvation Army - One of the greatest providers of social aid, this nonprofit welcomes donations from books to household items that extend a second chance to individuals starting all over. Donations are put to good use through items shared with domestic, social and professional groups in need of resources. Find a location closest to you, or schedule a pick up for your donation here. 

Reader to Reader, Inc. - Supporting global literacy in action, this group's mission is to support the distribution of books in low income areas and making book donations available for state wide public libraries. Learn more about this program here.

Local Libraries - Get the local community involved through hosting events that raise monetary resources and book donations to support public libraries that make accessible a broad genre of reading materials available to students and local residents. Find a library near you.

Credit: Books

December 28, 2020

Why Orwell Matters by Christopher Hitchens

 

Credit: Why Orwell Matters


In this widely acclaimed biographical essay, the masterful polemicist Christopher Hitchens assesses the life, the achievements, and the myth of the great political writer and participant George Orwell. True to his contrarian style, Hitchens is both admiring and aggressive, sympathetic yet critical, taking true measure of his subject as hero and problem. Answering both the detractors and the false claimants, Hitchens tears down the façe of sainthood erected by the hagiographers and rebuts the critics point by point. He examines Orwell and his perspectives on fascism, empire, feminism, and Englishness, as well as his outlook on America, a country and culture towards which he exhibited much ambivalence. Whether thinking about empires or dictators, race or class, nationalism or popular culture, Orwell's moral outlook remains indispensable in a world that has undergone vast changes in the seven decades since his death. Combining the best of Hitchens' polemical punch and intellectual elegance in a tightly woven and subtle argument, this book addresses not only why Orwell matters today, but how he will continue to matter in a future, uncertain world. Overview Credit: Hachette Book Club.


Credit: Christopher Hitchens

December 21, 2020

Casey Bell's Insights on Writing, Art and Life

Credit: Sasha Talks | Casey Bell

Casey Bell is an author, playwright, screenwriter, poet, and A.S.C.A.P. songwriter. As an author he has published over twenty books in multiple genres from poetry to children to horror to non-fiction to young adult. His latest work, American History is a children's book series. He has also authored many plays one of which has been produced three times, twice for the stage and once as a play reading for YouTube. He has also produced a short film for YouTube. Casey Bell is also a member of A.S.C.A.P. as a songwriter. His motto in life is to be as unique as your fingerprints. Learn more about Casey here. Credit: Casey Bell, Theatre Art Life


Casey Bell's Book Club - Visit Here
Sample Portfolio - Fiction | Non-Fiction | PlaysContact Casey

December 13, 2020

Sasha's Book Pick: Self Compassion

 

Credit: Self Compassion

About the Author

Kristin got her Ph.D. in 1997 at UC Berkeley, studying moral development. She is currently an Associate Professor in Human Development at the University of Texas at Austin.  During Kristin's last year of graduate school she became interested in Buddhism, and has been practicing meditation in the Insight tradition ever since. While doing her post-doctoral work she decided to conduct research on self-compassion - a central construct in Buddhist psychology and one that had not yet been examined empirically. In addition to her pioneering research into self-compassion, she has developed an 8-week program to teach self-compassion skills. The program, co-created with her colleague Chris Germer, is called Mindful Self-Compassion. (Credit: Kristen Neff, Ph.D., Amazon)

December 11, 2020

Meet Dr. David Schwerin, Author & Speaker


Credit: Sasha Talks | David Schwerin, PhD.

Dr. David Schwerin joins Sasha to discuss his latest book 'Know Your Soul', Bring Joy To Your Life. He's also the author of 'Conscious Capitalism' and 'Conscious Globalism'. David has served on the board of several non-profit organizations as well is the former President of The Institute for Ethical Awareness and Chairman of Pathwork Press. To learn more about his work, visit here.

Credit: Know Your Soul


November 30, 2020

November 10, 2020

Christina Powers American Goddess

 



Credit: Christina Powers

Meet Author & Entrepreneur James Aiello making an appearance to introduce his new novel, “Christina Powers American Goddess” and his ultimate dream is to one day see Christina Powers on the big screen! James was was born in Middletown, New York. His early years were spent growing up in the beautiful Hudson Valley area of the great State of New York, where he enjoyed lazy days on the Hudson River, climbing the Catskill Mountains, and jet skiing across Lake George. Later life took him to Florida which he loves even more. In June, 2014 James formed his own publishing company, James Aiello Productions, with “Forbidden Child” as its flagship novel. James and his modern day literary masterpiece has received award winning attention from the Hollywood California Book Festival, Southern California Book Festival, New England Book Festival, London England Book Festival and the Florida Book Festival. Now he celebrates the reception of his fourth fiction novel, Christina Powers American Goddess. (Credit: ForbiddenChild.com)

November 08, 2020

Meet Lady Kathryn, Akashic Records Reader

Explore the Akashic Records.

Learn about their purpose and how they serve as a powerful healing tool. 

Credit: Sasha Talks | Lady Kathryn

Learn more about Kathryn here.

November 04, 2020

Meet James Aiello, Author of Christina Powers

Welcome James! As the founder of James Aiello Productions, what have you learned about entrepreneurship while also nurturing your successful writing career? Among your few professions which include you working as a registered nurse, how have these various roles groomed you to become the writer you are today?

I have learned that starting your own publishing company is a difficult thing to do, but it can be done.  First you need to create a business plan, then Incorporate the business.  Next it is creating a dynamic web page and then begin an advertising program to promote your new business and website.  Google advertising is a great way to start.  Once you finally have things running smoothly it is extremely exciting.  Creating my own publishing company has also help me to publish my own novels and taken the stress off that comes with trying to find an agent to represent you or finding one of the larger publishing company to take an unknown author on.  Selling novels in today’s market is exceedingly difficult and that is why a good advertising campaign is the key to a successful writing career.  I also have worked as a registered nurse for most of my career and learning to document on medical charts has helped me immensely with my writing skills. (Photo Credit: James Aiello)

Your successful writing career emanates from personal trials which include your beloved Michael's passing as well yourself overcoming thyroid cancer. Please share the inspiring story with audiences that initially empowered you to embrace your passion for writing. Also how have these experiences influenced your perspective on living a wholesome life?

I always dreamed of becoming a published author, but a busy life with a full-time nursing career, raising a child with my partner Michael, caring for family members and being active in the local food bank, never allowed me that opportunity.  All that changed in one year with the deaths of three of my beloved family members including my partner of 24 years Michael.  It was the pain of that loss which I had to escape in order to survive and I hid in my writing.  My writing was also the catalyst which brought me to a higher awareness of my own spirituality, and I believe allowed me to channel the energy needed to write my first novel “Forbidden Child”.   Shortly after the publishing of Forbidden Child I had another hurdle to leap over, I was diagnosed with Thyroid cancer which stopped me from going on a national book tour which I had set up. I had to have a thyroidectomy and after a short recover time I was able to begin the book tour.   This was a setback, but I was not fearful.  Death no longer scared me. The awakening to my own spiritual guides has heightened my awareness that we are all connected and that much more needs to be done to save our environment for our children’s futures. 

Being raised near the Hudson Valley in NY, what experiences from your upbringing made you curious to explore the notion of a love child between former President John F. Kennedy and his alleged mistress Marilyn Monroe? As a twelve year old, did you share such curiosities with others around you? If so, what were their reactions and responses to your creative musings?

I was 12 years old when a thought came to me and I wondered what a child of JFK and Marilyn Monroe would be like.  I remember seeing a documentary on JFK and Marilyn Monroe and the way she was dressed when she sang happy birthday to him at his birthday party at Madison Square Garden on May 19th, 1962.  I never told anyone what I was thinking, but that thought stayed with me for years.  And when I begin to write my first novel, “Forbidden Child” that was the question I had to answer.

As the author of the "Forbidden Child" trilogy, what lessons did you learn about writing a fiction story during the first book? Are there any writing techniques and tips that new authors can benefit from? What part of crafting the story did you find to be the most challenging? And the most emotionally satisfying?

While writing my first novel I learned to let my imagination go wild.  I needed to become each character, to feel their love for each other, their passion for life, their desire for revenge and their ultimate awakening to what really matters in life.  Then and only then could I convey that to my readers.   The most challenging to my writing was finding my sweet place to create.  For me I found it many nights driving around at 2 am with a recorder in my hand.  The most emotionally satisfying was the spiritual connection I felt with my higher power as the story unfolded.

When writing the "Forbidden Child" series, were any of the characters in the story inspired by real life personalities? What professional guidance do you have for authors aspiring to write a series versus a stand alone book/story? 

In writing the Forbidden Child series I was very inspired by the real lives of Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Tayler. Both women survived and flourished in a time that was considered a man’s world and they used everything they had and every trick up their sleeves to do so.  Marilyn Monroe was a great actress, model, and singer.  Known as the blonde bombshell and became the most popular sex symbol of the 1950s and early 60s and was emblematic of the era’s changing attitudes towards sexuality.  She overcame a difficult childhood and the Hollywood elites who tried to destroy her career to become an American Icon.  Elizabeth Taylor was a child prodigy who became a great actress, businesswoman and humanitarian.  I tried to mold Christina Powers after them both. The reason I wrote Forbidden Child as a series was because I was hoping to create a following and I felt if I released the entire story in one novel it would be over in one reading and I did not want that for my readers until I was ready to complete the entire story in one novel.  If you are aspiring to write a series then please create a plot that continues to climb, reach a cliffhanger like a musical crescendo and then leave them hanging for more.  And in the next novel give them more.

Credit: Christina Powers American Goddess

In the book "Christina Powers", the story celebrates a woman as an independent beauty in a leadership role. Who are the women in your life that have taught you about the graces of women contributing to society in multi-faceted roles? What are the top two virtues of the protagonist Christina Powers? What are her top two vices?

The gift of my protagonist, Christina Powers came from growing up in a household with strong independent women.  My mom ran our Italian family style restaurant, and my two older sisters worked all day beside her and then would train and race our family harness horses in the evenings better than any of the guys in the paddock.  They taught me to love and respect the strengths of women.  This is why Christina’s top virtues are her determination to overcome any obstacle and her ability to fight for unconditional love towards all creation.  I would say her top two vices where her temporary addiction to cocaine and her almost seemly blinding drive for revenge.  But even these become learning experiences which make her a better person in the end.

Christina Powers endures all sorts of emotions, including pain and suffering, during her rise to power. When conceiving Christina's character, did you implement any personal lessons learned of grief and suffering to devise a realistic character in a fiction story?  

All the pain, suffering, loves and losses Christina must learn to survive in this story have come directly from what I have learned in my personal experiences of life’s pain, life’s losses, and life’s loves.  This was the only way I could bring this fictional character to life in a real honest way.

At what point in your writing career, did you comfortably embrace that you've evolved into a seasoned writer? What benchmarks do you aspire to achieve as a writer today compared to when you started out several years ago?

I did not feel I was a seasoned writer until I had completed my second novel in the Forbidden Child series “Forbidden Child Secrets Revealed”.  That is when I truly felt that I had become a seasoned writer.  I am sure it was because I realized the power and passion of the love story woven in that novel was exactly what a character as strong as Christina Powers needed.  It is a love story that one day should be proclaimed a masterpiece in the literary industry.  When I first started writing I just hoped to be recognized as a creative writer and now my goal is to see my work come to life on film.

As a celebrated professional and father, what have you taught your son Tyler about unconditional love? How are you able to weave the concept of respect and love into the characters you create for entertainment purposes?

I pride myself in the knowledge that my son, Tyler has grown into a man who can accept others for who they are without negativity or judgment.  He understands people are different and has learned to express unconditional love for others even in the hardest times.  I feel that the love and respect my characters show through my writing for entertainment purposes is my attempt to enlighten my readers in the possibility that all things are possible when people come together for the common good.

James, are there any books from your childhood that resonate with you to this day? Is there a character or a timeless theme that you hold dear in your heart and why?

As a child the first time I read “The Lion the witch and the wardrobe” by C.J Lewis I became fascinated.  The theme of good vs evil, betrayal and forgiveness, courage and transformation became a seed planted within my soul a long time ago.  The ultimate lesson I took away from that story was Love for all life can overcomes any hateful obstacle that tries to stand in its way.  

If "Forbidden Child" was chosen to be made into an entertainment film, who would you choose to play the main characters? Are there any personalities, from the past and/or present, that you would like to audition for "Christina Powers"?

I would love to see Megan Fox play Christina Powers, so much so that I have started a petition campaign asking her to review Christina Powers American Goddess.  My hope is that she will bring Christina to life on the big screen.  I believe in my heart that if I could only get her to read the novel, she would realize that she is the perfect actress for this part.

James, when you feel the need for inspiration, what do you do? Do you have a favorite song, quote or activity that elevates your mind and soul to continue creating new chapters of your life?

I find my creative inspiration is the strongest at 2 am when I walk alone in a quite tranquil place just looking up at the stars.  I have learned that the heavens and connecting with my higher power is where my stream of creativity flows from.  

Please share with audiences how they can support your work.

Website: www.forbiddenchild.com

Facebook: @ForbiddenChildBook

Twitter: @ForbiddenChild_

November 03, 2020

Dr. Nuccitelli on Technology & Human Behaviors

Credit: Dr. Nuccitelli

Dr. Nuccitelli, thank you for sharing your insights today. What inspired you to become a psychologist? What have you learned about the free-will of humans and accountability in their life?

I wish I had a better reason for what inspired me to become a psychologist. The fact is in 8th grade I fell in love with Suzanne Pleshette. She played the wife on the 70s TV sitcom ”The Bob Newhart Show”. I thought that I needed to become a psychologist like Bob Newhart in order to get a girl like her. 

I do subscribe to the idea of free will and accountability in one’s life. Being a practicing psychologist and having worked in behavioral healthcare since the age of 17 years-old, it has become clear that “You Reap What You Sow”. Like all people; I’ve made many mistakes in my life and I have suffered the consequences ranging from insignificant to life changing. The beauty of being human is that we can recognize our mistakes, correct them, make amends and work to prevent them from happening again.  

At what juncture of your career did your professional focus gravitate towards the presence of cyberspace and its effects on society? 

I’ve always been fascinated by the mind and its complexities. Early in my college years I became quite intrigued by what is called “Philosophy of Mind” and the study of human consciousness. Soon after I wrote my concept Dark Psychology (2006), I began to learn about the new environment called cyberspace. I remember reading that cyberspace was best defined as an abstract artificial electronic environment where people could visit and explore. It was then I realized that the criminal, perverse and angry person could target the innocent and vulnerable. It was not long after writing my Dark Psychology concept that I began to formulate the idea of iPredator.

“Cyberspace can be a classroom, insane asylum, dance floor or lethal weapon. It’s your choice what metaphor you choose.” 

What are three action items that individuals can immediately implement to improve their online experience? 

1. Digital Citizenship: The responsible and respectful use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT). Being compassionate and respectful online reduces the probability of being targeted by an iPredator. 

2. Internet Addiction Assessment: It is not the amount of time a person spends online but whether or not they suffer negative consequences from their usage.

3. Offline Distress Dictates Online Response (ODDOR): Never forget an online user’s offline psychological functioning has a direct effect upon their online actions and how they compile, disseminate and exchange information.

What is a common misconception of becoming a psychologist today? 

Becoming a psychologist is an excellent career choice. The only misconception I can think of would be that psychologists are not confined to working in clinics and private practices. Psychologists function in multiple industries providing a variety of work functions. In the not too distant future, psychologists will increasingly be working within the realms of Cyberpsychology, Online Safety, Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality.   

Your work through ipredator.org educates audiences on how to coexist in cyberspace by engaging as a responsible member of society. Is there a clear distinction between a person being reckless through their decisions & actions versus an individual becoming a victim of external circumstances? 

There is a clear distinction. Not being respectful to others online, spending too much time online despite suffering negative consequences and allowing one’s offline state of mind (ODDOR) to negatively skew online behaviors all lead to an increased probability of being targeted or becoming an iPredator oneself. Online users cannot completely rule out being cyber-attacked, but they can significantly reduce their probability of becoming a target. And just as important, they can eliminate ever becoming an iPredator themselves.

What is the best career and life guidance you've received? What is the most insightful critique you've received in your career? 

“And this too shall pass.”, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say nothing at all.”, “What goes around comes around.” and “Patience is a virtue.” These are the four mantras I reflect upon frequently. Lastly, my Godmother (Anna Sovik 1911-2004) taught me to always be kind to others. God rest her soul and she was and will always be the most influential person in my life.    

What is one book that you've read which you advocate others to read and why? 

For those who are Philosophy of Mind, Psychology, Cyberpsychology and Criminal Psychology enthusiasts; I recommend “Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us” by Robert D. Hare Ph.D. (1993). Dr. Hare presents an excellent description of the mind of the psychopath. It used a great deal of his work to present my concept of the Online Psychopath.

As an author of 26 Online Cyber Risk Assessments, what do all these assessments have in common?What differentiates these benchmarks from one another?

 All 26 of my checklists and inventories are free to direct download in PDF. No personal information or an email address is required. The primary difference is that the checklists are to confirm an online user’s online safety practices and the inventories are to inquire about an online user’s online safety practices. There is redundancy with many of them given cyber-attack prevention and online assailant identification are typically common sense and/or rooted in human error. Link: Cyber Attack Risk Assessments   

What is ODDOR? What purpose does it serve? 

Offline Distress Dictates Online Response (ODDOR) is a sub-tenet of iPredator, which posits that offline psychological functioning directly influences one’s online interactions and interpretations. Whether someone is an online assailant, cyber-attack target or both, ODDOR does not discriminate. ODDOR postulates that temporary and long-standing psychological states can significantly taint an online user’s behaviors and interpretations.

Perceptually isolated, ignorance of the existence of ODDOR and experiencing atypical affective and cognitive states increases the probability of being targeted by an online assailant. In addition to being at a greater risk of being cyber attacked, ODDOR influences an online user to partake in destructive and self-destructive online activities.

An online user who is not affected by ODDOR is neither overly idealistic nor fatalistic, but realistic. To reduce the probability of becoming an online target; it is vital to always be aware how one’s state of mind influences one’s online presentation. It is common sense to know that subjective processing is how we perceive and interpret our offline environment. What is not yet understood is how our offline state of mind skews our online activities.   

How has the onset of COVID impacted cyberspace behavior? What tips can you offer adults to save their time, energy and resources?

The 8 types of online assailant in the iPredator concept include cyberbullies, cyber harassers, cybercriminals, cyberterrorists, cyberstalkers, online sexual predators, internet trolls, and online child pornography consumers & distributors. The COVID pandemic has led to extended periods of isolation, frustration, anxiety, boredom and stress. I hope I’m wrong but I suspect there will be an increase in Internet Addiction and malevolent online activities by 7 of the 8 types of iPredator. I do not suspect there will be a cyberterrorist attack due to COVID. The best advice I can offer online users can be best summed up by these three points:

“Although the benefits of information and communications technology decisively outweigh damages for society; humanity has been seduced by the notion that more technology translates into a greater quality of life.” 

“The modern concept of being “connected” paradoxically makes us less united. The more dependent society becomes upon mobile device technology; the less we know our neighbors and the more it is naively assumed that online associates can be trusted.”

“Comfort the Victims, Educate the Ignorant & Conquer the Corrupt.”   

Please share with audiences how they can support your work.

Website: iPredator |  Facebook: The iPredator |  Twitter: #iPredator |  

Instagram: drnucc

Sasha's Book Pick: Presence by Amy Cuddy

“Focus less on the impression you’re making on others and more on the impression

you’re making on yourself.”  ― Amy Cuddy

Credit: Presence by Amy Cuddy


Credit: Presence by Amy Cuddy

Here's Amy delivering one of the most historically popular Ted Talk.

October 28, 2020

Worldly Insights by Larry Taunton

Credit: Larry Alex Taunton

Larry, Welcome to Authors by Sasha. 
You're a celebrated award-winning author, freelance columnist, and producer among several roles you host. If you have to choose between writing more books or producing more speaking engagements, which one would you choose and why?

Thank you, Sasha. I love writing. The speaking engagements are popular, but they are best, in my view, when they are an outgrowth of something that I have written.

Fixed Point Foundation publicly defends Christianity by empowering Christians and challenging skeptics. The foundation invests its resources in speakers, hosting events and sharing faith based material. What led to the inception of this respectable organization that is recognized as a fair and sensible platform for exploring faith from different perspectives while maintaining the integrity of Christianity?

I cut my teeth in an academic setting. There, as now in the public space, there was very little room for real, fair, sustained dialogue. It was hard to hear ideas as those presenting them were marginalized and their ideas politicized. We needed a space for the development of ideas, for conversation, to “reason together,” to use a biblical phrase. Thus, Fixed Point was born. In recent weeks as I and many other Americans have grown frustrated with presidential and vice presidential debates where the moderators confuse their role with that of participants, I have again wondered if Fixed Point doesn’t need to facilitate these kinds of discussions once again.

You've also participated in faith based debates with Christopher Hitchens (God or No God?) and Michael Shermer (Do We Need God?). Have any of your views evolved on any lifestyle or religious topics during your career from engaging in at least twenty debates of such nature? Have you encountered any surprising epiphanies about yourself in the process?

I’ve always been a bit rougher around the edges than the typical evangelical. I grew up on military bases and around rough men, so I’ve never neatly fit the evangelical mold that some want to apply to me. That said, I am less legalistic than I once was. Legalism is a product of the human heart, not religion, and it is at its worst, I think, in our youth. Perhaps age and experience have mellowed me a bit or maybe it is the result of my own mistakes. Regardless, I have come to appreciate the heart of the Christian message more in recent years.

In terms of my debates with atheists, they have largely been disappointing. Even the brightest of them rely on old arguments that are simply repackaged for a new generation. Perhaps my greatest epiphany has been a rather cynical one: contrary to what I believed when I first entered the public arena, truth seldom matters. That was naive.  

Your book "The Grace Effect" is inspired by your adopted daughter Sasha's life story in Ukraine. How did you two cross paths?  How soon did you recognize Sasha was meant to be a part of your life? What has she taught you about life, faith and fatherhood?

I did not meet Sasha until her adoption was well underway. My wife and my three boys participated in a mission trip to bring relief to children languishing in Ukrainian orphanages. There they met Sasha who, as an HIV-positive child, had little hope of being adopted. Lauri proposed we adopt her. We did. She had a huge influence on us all in many ways, not the least of which was the fact that I grew up in a family of boys and had all boys. When Sasha, with all of her girliness, entered our household, it was … an adjustment! But her life, her suffering, her perspective, is much needed in a country were so many see themselves as victims when they aren’t. Not really. By contrast, Sasha has known suffering on a scale that beggars the imagination. That continues to shape my perspective.

The book "The Faith of Christopher Hitchens" presents insights into Christopher's personal beliefs throughout different milestones of his life. If your friend Christopher can hear you from the other side (granted 'life after death' exists), what would you like him to know about the global state of affairs today? Is there anything you would ask Christopher about since he's already on the other side? 

I would tell him that he’s needed! America, his adopted country, is committing suicide, and I am quite confident that he would savage a Democratic Party that has changed so radically in the decade since his death. In his final years, he had become an American patriot, and he grew to detest the anti-Americanism that has come to characterize the Left.

Credit: Larry Alex Taunton

"Around the World in More than 80 Days" explores what makes America great among 195 countries in the world.  You've visited at least 55 of these countries throughout your life's journey. What benchmarks were applied to narrow down the list of countries that you would visit and research for this specific book?

I was in search of a winner for a mythical prize: The World’s Greatest Country. When making a list of those countries that have some reasonable claim to that prize, the list is small. No more than ten countries would make most lists. I included all of those that most would put on such a list, and most of those are there for entirely statistical reasons: wealth, availability of healthcare, clean water, etc. Is that a legitimate measure of greatness or only a component of it? I would explore that question on the journey.

Then, to season the narrative and give the reader a broader perspective, I included another dozen or so countries. And why not? According to the data, 69 percent of Americans have never been abroad. I would wager that most of the other 31 percent have only been to, say, Mexico, Canada, or on a Caribbean cruise. The point is, most have no means of properly evaluating a claim like that made by the New York Times last year in the headline: “America is not great.” The world disagrees.

From your research and travels, which country impressed you in how they invest their resources (human capital and money) to operate a self-sufficient economy without relying much on their neighboring countries or global organizations for assistance?

Oh, my. That’s a tough one. It is cliché to say so, but the world is deeply interconnected. Japan, for instance, a very impressive country for many reasons, has almost no natural resources. Africa, with its vast natural resources, is dependent upon the rest of the world to access them. South America is generally dominated by corrupt regimes. The United States would have to be near the top of this list, I think, along with Canada, and the democracies of Western Europe. But I speculate here. This was not a question I explored for this project.

Larry, what are the top three travel essentials you cannot live without? 

I discuss this in the book. Indeed, I could write a book about this topic.

Top three essentials (assuming food, passport, airline ticket, and accommodations are all included):

1. The savvy travel takes twice as much money (cash) as he thinks he will need.

2. A global phone. That gives you access to maps, up-to-date news on the political situation, transportation, first aid, and much more.

3. Attitude. Go expecting nothing to go as planned. Frankly, that’s when the fun begins, forcing you to extemporize, take chances, and get outside of your comfort zone. I have learned that you don’t know someone until you have traveled with them, and even then you don’t really know them until that travel brings some measure of stress, be it in the form of fatigue, danger, or uncertainty. A travel companion who is prepared to roll with the punches is a treasure. One who isn’t becomes a burden and perhaps even hazard to your safety. Real adventurous international travel—as distinct from traveling the safety of a tour group—is not for “Karens.”

What packing tips can you provide to those traveling on a budget and/or time constraints?

Packing tips:

- Get the Around the World ticket. Most airlines have one and they are the most efficient way to see the world.

- If you adhere to no. 1 above, you can afford to pack less. Don’t be afraid to buy things along the way or dump others as they are no longer needed. Move light and fast.

- Be flexible. A rigid schedule is a recipe for misery if not disaster. Like a place? Stay longer. Hate another? Move on. Don’t feel that everything has to be your way. Be willing to do things differently as the situation requires.

- An up-to-date knowledge of where he is going and how to get out quickly (if necessary)

- Don’t make the often disastrous mistake that so many naive Americans make: believing the rest of the world is a safe place where people think like you. It isn’t and they don’t.

As a freelance columnist, are there any redundant topics that you believe need to be retired in the news and media? 

Good question. Yes, the stereotyping — which is quite bigoted — of evangelicals and so-called “red state” Americans.

In your opinion, has the quality of journalism improved in the past decade, or has it stagnated due to society's need to produce 'fast food news' to appease hungry minds seeking quantity over quality? 

I could never have imagined it so bad as the current situation. MSM and Big Tech, rather than reporting news and facilitating it, have become active participants in a cultural war, suppressing dissent and spinning news to fit a political agenda. It is atrocious. Where are the Ted Koppels and the Tom Brokaws? Gone, I am afraid.

What guidance would you offer to a student pursuing a career in journalism today?

Don’t — unless you are prepared to sell your soul.

You've taken many risks in life as well overcome hurdles in your path with grace. Do you believe you're living on borrowed time? What new adventures do you want to share with your family, advocates and audiences moving forward?

Another interesting question. Yes, I do believe I am on borrowed time. I suffered a life-altering accident five years ago when I was hit by a car while cycling. I was not expected to live. There are many residual physical issues from that accident. It changed me to this extent: I don’t hold my life quite so dear. I was declared dead on the scene of that accident and was then revived. I am reconciled to my mortality. I am prepared to die. Thus, I am prepared to take risks. Not silly ones, mind you (though my wife would dispute that), but worthwhile risks. There is something liberating in that approach to life.

 Please share with audiences how they can support your work.

Send money!! Buy my books!! ;)

Website: www.larryalextaunton.comAbout Larry |  Amazon: Profile & Books |  Twitter: @LarryTaunton

Credit: Amazon Snapshot, Books by Larry Taunton

October 27, 2020

#Community Help Support Literature

 

Support Author Jeffery Tracey here.


Credit: Jeffery Tracey, GoFundMe

#authors #books #storytelling #community #support
#writing #fiction #nonfiction #projects #goals

October 26, 2020

Meet Larry Taunton, Author and Cultural Commentator

Larry visits Moving Mountains to discuss Around the World in More than 80 Days.


Credit: Larry Alex Taunton
Author, Cultural Commentator;
 Executive Director, Fixed Point Foundation

Learn more about Larry's professional contributions and appearances on CNN, CNN International, Fox News, Al Jazeera America, BBC, Vanity Fair, TIME, NPR, The New York Times & more by visiting LarryAlexTaunton.com.

Credit: Larry Alex Taunton


October 21, 2020

Meet Dr. Nuccitelli, NYS Licensed Psychologist

 

Credit: Sasha Talks | Image: Dr. Nuccitelli

Michael Nuccitelli, Psy.D. is a NYS licensed psychologist, Cyberpsychology researcher and online safety educator. He completed his doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology in 1994 from Adler University. In 2009, Dr. Nuccitelli finalized his online aggressor concept called iPredator. Since 2010, Dr. Nuccitelli has educated and advised the private & public sectors involving cyberbullying, cyberstalking, internet addiction and online safety. In 2011, Dr. Nuccitelli launched his website, iPredator, offering site visitors an incredible amount of free educational content. He also has volunteered to serve a multitude of online users who have been cyber-attacked, defamed, and cyberstalked. Credit: iPredator

Facebook: The iPredator |  Twitter: #iPredator |  Instagram: drnucc


Credit: iPredator

October 12, 2020

#TuneIn Larry Taunton Visits Moving Mountains

 #ComingSoon

Meet American author, columnist, and cultural commentator Larry A. Taunton.

Larry is a frequent guest on on CNN, Fox News, Al Jazeera America, BBC; etc.

He joins Sasha to discuss his latest book scheduled for release on October 27th.

Credit: Sasha Talks | Image: Larry Alex Taunton


Credit: Larry Alex Taunton

Secure a copy of the book here.

October 09, 2020

Sasha's Book Pick: Just Listen by Dr. Mark Goulston

Imagine how our lives can improve if we work on becoming better listeners.

Most of life's solutions are derived from listening.

Improve your relationships, defuse conflicts and acquire a new perspective.

Credit: Just Listen, Mark Goulston

This book is also recommended by Harper Collins Leadership Essentials.

October 05, 2020

Meet FM Ellis, Author of My Life as a Lemon

Credit: FM Ellis

Faye, the audiences are excited to learn about you. Can you please share what was the turning point that inspired you to start writing "My Life as a Lemon" back in 2011? The book is a culmination of several years worth of writing stemming from a few year-long breaks. How did these mini writing breaks refine your approach to penning your story?

Thank you for having me. I am excited and privileged to be able to speak with you and your audience in hopes to spread my message and intentions. I do not recall one specific point that inspired me to start writing, but for years prior to 2011, I had entertained friends and co-workers with my crazy stories. At one point, I stopped sharing all the juicy details of my weekend or encounters and started saying, “read the book” and the idea just stuck. The breaks in writing, sometimes years at a time, allow me to mature and get out of my story so that I could write it. It was like a pregnancy, my story had to develop through proper nurturing for it to be born. Through that process, I became the woman I am today. The mother of this beautiful, twisted story that I can share with empathy, love, and confidence. Ensuring that the intended message is conveyed. Had I rushed it, countless lessons would have been overlooked and my purpose thwarted. 

"My Life as a Lemon" is your first book as an author. Writing an autobiography demands the author to relive events from a reservoir of memories and shelved emotions. Our bodies even host cellular memory of our life events. What was the easiest part of penning an autobiography? What was the most challenging part of the writing process when sifting through these personal experiences and deciding what to share with audiences? 

Surprisingly, the easiest part was recounting events. The who, what, when, where, why and how. The challenge was reliving those moments. Being as authentic and naked in my descriptions as possible. There were stories I had to sit on for years because the mere thought took everything out of me. There were plenty of nights I wrote through tears, self-reflection, and doubt. It was the final stages of delivery, and it was the hardest. 

Your autobiography highlights a loving childhood in a close-knit family while exhibiting a balanced religious and cultural home. Your father was an advocate of Elijah Muhammad and Louis Farrakhan while your mom devoted her life integrating the presence of Jesus in the home. Did you ever encounter moments where you felt the need to accommodate one parent's interests over the other? How were you able to coexist alongside such diversified ideologies under the same roof? 

I cannot speak for my brothers, but I never felt the need to sort of juggle my parents’ interest to please one over the other. What I did do was show interest in those things each parent presented. For a child, this is just another way to bond with your parents. Additionally, demonstrating interest in what someone else liked was modeled by my parents themselves. They did a wonderful job of tending to the things my brothers and myself showed interest in, so it was a natural reciprocation. As far as the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and Jesus Christ coexisting under one roof, both taught of loving oneself and living an exemplary life. The world may see the teachings as conflicts, Islam picked up where Christianity may have stopped. Both teachings were essential for our household. As black people trying to navigate through a system not necessarily designed to propel people that look like us. 

Most successful family units pride themselves in building a strong circle of trust and healthy boundaries. In "My Life as a Lemon" various layers of trust are explored as secrets begin to unfold over time. You were raised in an environment that nurtured a strong pillar of strength, empowerment, and faith. How did you define trust as a child? How did your perception of trust evolve as a teenager? How do you define trust today as a mature woman? 

As a child I define trust as love and protection, as demonstrated by my parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts. Trust was being able to depend on someone to take care of me. That definition has not changed, the reason I lost trust and struggled in some relationships was because I stopped feeling cared for. What rose in the place of trust was anger and disappointment. That belief still holds true for me today. 

Given your past life experiences (some which include patterns of blacking out from drinking and questioning your self-worth), at what point in time did you finally start trusting your judgement again? In today's age, people are often looking outward for validation and life direction. As a mother of two daughters, what have you taught your daughters about trusting their own judgement?

I began to trust my own judgement when I started seeing the fruits of my labor pay off. It took years, but the discipline, hard work and sacrifice worked. I still enjoyed a social life but revisiting my list of “things to do”, setting deadlines and seeing things to completion had become my new norm. It is because of these disciplines I knew I could trust myself to be and do whatever I wanted. That is a feeling everyone should experience. Unfortunately, far too often, those feelings are centered around negative outcomes. But a simple shift in perception and habits will transform that expectation and ultimately your life. 
As a mother, I attempted to be as transparent as needed with my daughters. They witness me win and lose, free and incarcerated, inspired and lost. Through it all my results came with an explanation and from that point they were free to make their own choices, fully aware that each comes with consequences or benefits. I also spoke openly about my financial and legal troubles. As young adults they have been more level -headed, giving and self-assured than I ever was at their ages. It seems that something worked. 

Secrets, like promises, are dangerous if not kept. "My Life as a Lemon" discloses secrets which challenge you to cope as these skeletons come to life interfering with your life journey. In your opinion, are there any secrets that should never see the light of day? Under what circumstances should secrets be disclosed (even at the expense of breaking trust) to offset any dire repercussions down the road? 

The definition of the secret is something that is kept or meant to be kept unknown or unseen by others. That being said, what is done in the dark will soon find light. We should ask ourselves, if the repercussions of the secret will be worse through voluntary disclosure or by other means. Yes, there are times when we need to mind or own business and refrain from telling secrets that have nothing to do with us, secrets that have no benefits if disclosed, and vengeful secrets(disclosure with the intent to hurt).

On the flip side, innately we all know what should and should not share. Those secrets that are eating at us and holding us in bondage are the ones that should be addressed. It is like ripping a bandage off a sore, it’s ugly underneath and still hurt, but the exposure can accelerate the healing process. 

Faye, the elements of trusts and secrets also touch upon human boundaries in a literal and metaphorical sense. How do you define and manage healthy boundaries in your life today? How do you know when you are not being true to yourself?

Today I define healthy relationships as the ones that make me feel healthy. Those relationships that enable me to be the change I want to see in the world. For even in my darkest days, I knew that relationships can only do one thing…fill you up or deplete you. I know I am not being true to myself when I feel depleted, rather that is through my own actions or someone else’s. Nowadays, I am comfortable with stating my desires and addressing the issues. I trust results.

Discovering and applying our inner voice is a lifelong process. Speaking up isn't always easy nor is it always welcomed in society. Can you recall a time when you tapped into that voice and exercised courage to speak up for a cause important to you? 

Recently, I started FM Friday on Facebook to speak about my childhood experience with abuse and how to educate and empower our children and ourselves against the pandemic of sexual abuse. RAINN which stands for Rape, Abuse, Incest national network reports that in America (someone, not just women) is a victim of a sexual crime every 73 secs. If that is not a pandemic in need of a cure, then I do not know what is. I am using this platform to give the experts, like my local police department’s sexual victim unit, and other national organizations to speak with my audience and arm them with the correct utility to win this war. I have found my purpose. 

When it comes to self-development, is there any specific aspect of life where you've significantly grown? How did this shift evolve over time? Were there any activities or resources that helped you manifest the "FM Ellis" today?

Today, I trust my decision-making because I know what it is that I want. At any given moment, I can assess to see if my actions and activities are contributing to my big picture or taking from it. The realization of not having a defined purpose, which allowed everything to be of interest and ultimately a distraction. To finally, accept that I could not figure everything out myself. Going to therapy was the commencement of the shift. At that point, I began to hold myself accountable for my day-to-day activities, which eventually led to better results than I previously produced. In addition to therapy, I started a morning ritual of waking up earlier, listening to an online sermon, going to the gym, and using my commute to work to listen to motivational audios and books. Over time these habits changed my approach to everything. 

As a self-published author, can you please share two tips that can benefit new writers seeking direction for presenting their work online and offline.

Although I am still navigating my way through this literary maze, I would strongly suggest growing a following via social media, reaching out to other authors for insight and advice and stay in the public’s eye. Podcast, article, radio interviews, YouTube, collaborations with other up and coming artists/authors. Talk to anyone that will listen, participate, volunteer, just a grassroots effort daily. Eat, breath and live your book. 

Faye, you're a proud St. Louis native spreading joy in Georgia now. What are two things that you miss about St. Louis? What are two things about Georgia that you've grown to love over time?

The authenticity or realness of the people, Midwesterners are pretty much “what you see is what you get”. Also, the sense of community. Regardless of the years that have passed since I was a resident of St. Louis, there is always welcoming warmth I can depend on when I go back. 

As far as Georgia is concerned, it is a staple of progress and has made an impact in one way or another on the world. It is a great place to be associated with. The talent, education, innovation, and influencers that come from this state is unbelievable. Secondly, The landscape both business and literally is something to behold.

If today were your last day, how would you invest your remaining hours on earth?

I would spend it with my family, ensuring they could pick up where I left off in fulfilling the goal of eradicating sexual abuse through education, empowerment and a legal system that believes in a victim innocence without victimizing them again. 

Your life story encapsulates several genres in "My Life as a Lemon". If you had to pair a song to reflect the book's essence, what song would it be and why?

It’s in the opening credits of my FM Friday Facebook live show (I do not own the right to this song) Mary J. Blige’s Know. When I heard it for the first time, I pulled over on the side of the road because of the transparency and truth this song speaks. 
“Oh, Lord, Lord, Lord
They just don't know, know, know
How hard I had to go, go, go
To get through, to get through
They just don't know, know, know, know
Know, know, know
How many times I lost (how many times I lost)
Just so I could win (ooh, yeah)
They just don't know, know, know, know
Oh no, no
How many times I've died (how many times I've died)
Just to live again, oh yeah”

Please share with audiences how they can support your work.

Subscribe at Fmellis.com and follow me at lifeasalemon on Instagram. Best of life to you all!!


Credit: My Life as a Lemon, Author FM Ellis


October 03, 2020

Children's Corner: Books for Consideration

 There's a book for everyone. 👍

Celebrating Authors & Illustrators.

Something's in the air. There's a running theme at book stores lately.

Parents, Teachers and Caretakers...Check it Out!


Credit: Poop Party by Samantha Berger


Credit: I Broke My Butt by Dawn McMillan

October 01, 2020

Meet Liliane Grace, Global Author & Speaker

Credit: Liliane Grace

Liliane, Nice to meet you. You've authored several genres of work among short stories, novels, articles, plays, songs and poetry. Do you recall the type of stories you wrote at the age of seven? What genre of work did they represent? What were the themes in those stories? 

As a seven-year-old I modeled my stories on Enid Blyton! (Eg. The baddies smuggling diamonds in oranges.) As a teenager, I was modelling on Mills and Boon… (One famous line that my sisters recall is, ‘He kissed the creamy curve of her breast.’…) Sadly – or happily – not many of my childhood writings have survived multiple house moves, and I don’t recall any other dominant themes.

Your fiction and non-fiction writings educate audiences on life skills, spirituality, self and professional development. The presence of cancer is referenced in the book, The Hidden Order - Can You See It?, The Power of the Light as well in your work The Dream. What is the purpose of lacing the presence of cancer in your literary presentations? 

I began to explore the theme of cancer because I was learning that it’s not the death sentence so many believe – it’s really a wake-up call to change one’s diet and lifestyle to some degree – and I felt that this was powerful and empowering information that people needed to know! 

My short play, The Dream, was inspired by a friend who died of cancer. I felt that she had ‘lost herself’, in a sense, and so was writing about the cancer message to create time for oneself and nourish oneself. The Hidden Order is a novel for youth that addresses the belief that life is chaotic and unjust – it presents the idea that there is actually a ‘hidden order’, if we know what to look for. Cancer offers a great wake-up call and is really an invitation to heal rather than a reason to go to war against our bodies (i.e. the ‘cut, burn or poison’ response to a tumor). I really enjoyed the research I did when writing Power of the Light when I interviewed people who have recovered from cancer naturally, by changing their minds (attitude) and diets. To my mind, cancer is much more of a pandemic today than covid-19, and is also more easily healed than most people realize. 

As a Coach and an Editor, what are the common challenges that writers face when they embark upon their storytelling experience? As a Coach, do you find yourself spending more time nurturing the writers' mindsets, emotions or skills?

It’s always a pleasure encouraging people to trust themselves and write! I’ve been teaching Creative Writing classes since 1987 and I never cease to be touched and impressed by the originality and skill that even beginner writers demonstrate. So far, I’ve found that most of my clients are very dedicated and committed to their project, even when quite a bit more work is required than they were expecting. (This applied to, for example, the author of a fantasy novel for youth, and several authors of books with personal growth themes.)

As an editor working with first-time authors, I often have to remind them that writing requires an apprenticeship, like any other skill. Just because we can walk, doesn’t mean we can be an Olympic runner; likewise, just because we can speak, doesn’t mean we can automatically write articulate books. There’s an art to it that requires practice. Most people’s grammar is a little dodgy in places, too, so there’s some humility required in receiving feedback and fine-tuning one’s work.

Do you believe that most individuals have the ability to refine their communication skills in order to become better writers?

One of the first things I do in my Creative Writing course is to ‘Bust the Talent Myth’. There is research indicating that ‘talent’ is really ‘deliberate practice’; i.e. those who demonstrate great ability are usually the people who apply themselves more diligently/passionately than others. (This includes the classic example of Mozart, who had already practiced several thousand hours by the age of six.) I’m not particularly interested in arguing the point philosophically that there is no such thing as talent, but I do like to give my students this acronym: TALENT = Time, Application, Love – Energy, Not Talent. It’s not about being lucky enough to have been bestowed with talent; writing skill comes about as a result of writing (and reading).

​Is there an ideal personality that garners better chances of succeeding as a writer?
​ 
I don’t know that I’d identify a particular ‘writing personality’. The x-factor is the desire to write! One of my editing clients is a tradie who traveled around Australia on a motorbike. He might not fit the stereotype of a writer but his book is a compelling and colorful read. I felt as if I was there with him, he had described his journey so vividly.

"Let's Bully on Purpose in Schools" teaches students the significance and application of communication skills through role playing scenarios. In your opinion, what factors in society have compromised the quality of communication in schools, work places, social settings and domestic environments? If you had a magic wand, what aspect of communication would you like to change forever?

Gosh, where do you start?! My sister is a psychotherapist who specializes in domestic violence. She feels that our society has become very ‘left brain’ and has lost contact with feelings/right brain/body wisdom/intuition. I think this is very true. Schooling has ‘externalized us’, making us dependent on approval from outside of us, and we’ve lost connection with ‘within’. 

Bottom line, most people don’t know how to communicate. I remember when I first attended a communication and conflict-resolution skills workshop in the 80s being very impressed with the content, which struck me as brilliant and yet was really common sense. It seems to me that those skills should be a core curriculum for all children from Kindergarten to Year 12+ as they are much more urgently needed by literally all of us than most school subjects. We might never need to know the name of cloud formations but we all need to know how to ask for what we want, how to listen properly, how to stand up for ourselves, etc. And yet we are rarely given the opportunity to practice those skills, and communication is a SKILL – it doesn’t come naturally unless we’ve been brought up by highly skilled communicators, and most of us have not. So… with my magic wand, I would make Communication and Conflict-Resolution Skills a required school subject (and I’d make sure that it was taught in a fun, interesting, useful way).

Most students globally are encouraged to read classic literature in their academic curriculum. Are there any literary classics that you enjoyed reading during your academic years? Are there any literary characters that have influenced your work over the course of your four decades long career?

I’m probably a little unusual in that, while my first love as a writer is fiction, I tend to mostly read non-fiction, and my reading of classics was (too) long ago. As did many, I struggled at first to decode Shakespeare but when I got it, I loved it. There have been a number of characters and authors who influenced me, such as Anne (of Green Gables) – I loved those books when I was a teenager, and more recently Marcus Zusak (The Book Thief) and Guus Kuijer (The Book of Everything). These latter two books are the epitome of language originality and mastery. 

The book "Quest for Riches" delivers financial literacy as a tool for young adults. There are four money personalities presented in the book which exhibit each identity's strengths and weaknesses. What was the motivation behind writing this book? Which money personality do you relate to the most? 

I was approached by a financial coach to write Quest For Riches. She had created a workshop to teach financial literacy and wanted a novel that could accompany the course. She presented the idea of four ‘money personalities’ to me and we agreed that these teenagers would demonstrate their personality in the process of raising money for a school trip to India. I loved the idea of presenting the basic four personality types viewed through the lens of finances and thoroughly enjoyed the project – especially researching India. I had to set one-third of the book in India but we didn’t have the budget to send me there, so all my research was online and through interviews. (But I’m told I nailed it!) I probably relate most to the personality type that works hard and does their best but doesn’t necessarily find it easy to generate abundance! But I also have an entrepreneurial streak… 

Different schools of thought debate whether motivation is inherent while others believe motivation can be derived from our environmental resources. As a motivational speaker, do you believe motivation is an internal or external element of our existence? 
It's funny that you should call me a motivational speaker as I’ve never used that expression to describe myself, but found myself described that way today when looking at my own Facebook page! Both my Tech Support Person and I contemplated the description and wondered how that had happened… 
I think of myself as an inspirational speaker – i.e. I have the aim of inspiring my audience rather than motivating them. I learnt this distinction from one of my mentors, Dr John Demartini, who explains that motivation is external whereas inspiration is ‘an inside job’. I’m not a rah-rah kind of speaker; I tend to speak honestly about my own journey and the principles that inspire me, and hope that listeners will resonate, will hear something that speaks to them, and will find whatever next steps they need to take from within themselves. I don’t tell people what to do. 

As a parent who has home schooled three children, what are the benefits of homeschooling compared to learning in public schools? What advice do you have for prospective adults contemplating the future of their children's education? 

One of the greatest benefits of homeschooling is the child’s freedom to play and find their own way, and especially to create a rich inner life. Schools were designed in the industrial age to prepare children for adult lives in the workforce (slavery…), to condition us for responding to bells and timetables and other people’s agendas. Home education, especially the sort that doesn’t try to replicate school (workbooks and timetables), gives children the opportunity to find what is truly meaningful to them. It’s a risky endeavor, of course, because not all children are immediately able to be self-sufficient and resourceful, and not all parents have the skills to guide their children in managing their time well or becoming an autodidact. 
I have been very inspired by the schedule adopted by American teacher John Taylor Gatto, who was awarded Teacher of the Year a couple of times and addressed a home education conference I attended many years ago. He described his students school week like this, and I wished I had learnt of this model sooner:

Monday: Student is apprenticed to a member of his/her family to learn a family trade or skill
Tuesday: Student is apprenticed to someone in the community who is working in a field of interest to the student
Wednesday: Student spends the day in community service
Thursday: Student spends the day at the town library researching a topic of interest
Friday: Student attends school to discuss the experiences of the previous four days. 

If I had my time again, I would definitely home educate again but I would make sure that we travelled more. I think that children whose parent models are engaged in observable physical activities do the best – eg. gardening, cooking, construction, design, etc. It’s important for a child to be inspired by their parent model, and difficult if that model is immobile, gazing at a screen all day. Reading is a key: parents who read to their children often and across a range of genres are usually effective home educators. There are many inspiring books to be read on this exact subject! 

One last tale is this: when my son was 14, he was struggling with Maths and we were clashing about it. I enrolled him in Kumon where he was told his skill level was that of a Grade 2 child… The very same year he spent a day doing work experience with a staircase builder and was told that his maths skills were on a par with Year 10 students. The difference here: the tutorial setting made him feel like a young child where he had to follow the rules and do busy work that didn’t inspire him; in the workshop, surrounded by timber and wood dust and rulers and saws and presented with the real-life, important requirement to measure accurately, he ‘stepped up’ and did well because this was meaningful man’s work. This is the x-factor: one’s ‘study’ must be meaningful. 

Wanted: Greener Grass is a novel that binds the ideologies of love, envy and courage in one. What were you taught about love while growing up? What have you learned about love in your adult life prior to meeting your present life partner? Is there anything about love that surprises you in the world?

My parents did not create a very happy marriage so I didn’t grow up with a healthy model for how couples should communicate, express their love or manage their disagreements. I was in one marriage (de facto) for 29 years and together we had three children. There were many rocky times and we even reached the low point of not even liking each other anymore, but we had some core values in common and persisted – his skill was in just hanging in there and mine was in continually trying to connect. I learnt how to take any crisis and communicate our way through it. One of our counselors did us a great service when he pointed out that we were both operating under myths about good relationships: I wanted to hear my partner say ‘I love you’ more often and he didn’t want to say it unless he felt moved to do so; our counselor gave me the task of asking him to say it, even if I felt I shouldn’t have to ask, and told my partner he had to say it, even if he felt he didn’t want to. We both found this quite transformational. When we did finally part ways, a few years ago, it was with great love and respect and friendship. 

My current life partner came into my life unexpectedly after I had finished writing the Greener Grass novel. After meeting him, I felt intuitively called to leave my partner of 29 years and begin a new relationship journey. I knew absolutely that there is no such thing as ‘greener grass’ but of course every relationship begins with a sweet ‘fall’ into infatuation, and then one’s eyes are gradually opened… I wanted growth and I got it – after all, the purpose of marriage is growth, not happiness. I love observing how each relationship is a magnificent blend of alignment and difference, and how each person brings to the party the exact lessons and opportunities that the other person needs to experience. 

Liliane, you're also a ghost writer. What parts of ghostwriting do you enjoy? Are there any obstacles that ghost writers need to confront when composing work on behalf of a third party?
I’m going to confess that I’m only a baby ghost writer at this point in time. I have danced around the edge of this role when working with beginner authors whose book project required bigger shoes than they could yet wear, and my examples of what was needed became part of their books. I especially love writing fiction, and when presented with a story that is not quite flowing, or is lacking in the sort of detail that brings it to life, I find that ideas just leap into my mind. Being an author of books about creating one’s reality, I decided to declare to the universe that I am a ghost writer as I think it would be rather delicious to be given a fictional project by an author who doesn’t have the time to do the work, and be paid to flesh it out for them!

Being a seasoned writer has introduced you to several professions through the literary arts. Aside from your present occupations, is there any other role you would like to explore for pleasure or business?

I enjoy my role as a public speaker, which is allied to my author role as usually I’m speaking on themes that show up in my work and simultaneously marketing my books. I’ve spoken in a number of environments now, such as libraries and seminars, though my favourite was on a cruise ship! I’d like to do more speaking, especially events that give me travel opportunities.

Please share with audiences how they can support your work.

Thank you for the opportunity. My website is https://lilianegrace.com and I’d be delighted to sign any books personally to any audience member who is interested in my work and wishes to support me by purchasing them. Book reviews on Amazon and Goodreads are also greatly appreciated. I’m a self-published author without a great record for marketing myself, so all word-of-mouth recommendations help enormously. 
My books aim to empower readers through the pleasure of story, so if any of the themes resonate with your audience or if they feel my work would appeal to someone they know, I’d be grateful for any efforts on my behalf. ​(Eg. introductions to other media or school teachers or anyone who might be interested in purchasing books in bulk!)

 

Credit: Sasha Talks | Liliane Grace


Moving Mountains SPOTLIGHT ** Author and Entrepreneurs Alexis & Justin Black **

Featured Post

Meet Megan Davis, Hollywood Actress and Producer

Credit: Actress Megan Davis Megan, Welcome! Your history traces back to acting from the early age of three years old working on commercials....