#Interview with Jamell Crouthers, author of America Under Mind Control

Today we are in conversation with Jamell Crouthers, the author of 4 books and the hard hitting, America Under Mind Control! He answers some of our questions about writing:

Jamell can be found at:

Q: How many novels have you published? What are they about?

I have published 4 books so far and it’s been so much fun writing them.

The first book is The Struggles and Growth of a Man. It’s a story about a young man named Robert who is dealing with various experiences as he’s growing into a man. He grows up in a tough neighborhood with his younger brother Michael as his mom is addicted to drugs and his father left the family. He is saved by his guidance counselor in school and he becomes Robert’s role model and father figure and helps him turn his life around. Through it all, he learns that the world has taught him things that aren’t true about life, growth and being a man.

The second book is The World We Live In, this book is about various people who have dealt with experiences in their lives that have changed them in many ways. This book tackles on societal issues that go on in the world daily. You only get the character’s name and you do not know of their race or ethnicity. The goal is to make people understand that societal issues such as rape, domestic violence, drug addiction and other issues have no specific race or ethnicity, it can happen to anyone.

The third book is The World We Live In Part 2, this is a continuation of a 5 part series of books that will be published where the 19 characters deal with the aftermath of the events they’ve experienced in their lives. Some characters deal with their situations and head for the better, some for the worst but it’s a matter of reading the book to find out what happens.

The fourth book is America Under Mind Control which tackles all of the issues that are going on in America and how we are controlled mentally in so many ways from what we watch on TV, what we listen to on the radio, and how Corporate America along with the government do anything to keep us in control. A lot of subject matter is discussed such as the education system, television, radio, credit cards, gambling and many others.

 

Q: What prompted you to write this book?

What prompted me to write this book was I felt it was time to be blunt, honest and truthful in what’s going on in America and what are we doing to make change. I knew I had plenty of things to say and the only way I can get it all out was to write a book. It’s hard to discuss societal issues with people so a book was only fitting to write so everyone can read it. My mind is a churning motor that is full of thoughts so I needed to tackle these issues accordingly.

Q: Why poetry?

Poetry has always been my format of writing. I’ve tried to write the traditional format that everyone reads and it didn’t work. So I went with what what I’m good at, it’s about self-awareness and utilizing your talents and abilities. Poetry is a form of expression but to incorporate that into a storyline, format it correctly and make sure you get the point across, it was only fitting that I write it that way. I’ve managed to incorporate poetry and societal issues into one and was able to write books, it’s not something that’s ever been done before. Plus I wanted to carve out my own niche, be different and not be the traditional author who writes a certain way.

Q: What do you think is wrong with America today?

Where do I begin? I’ll try to formulate my thoughts without writing a biography since I tackled a plethora of issues in my recent book. I think the biggest issue is we’ve become programmed robots and we let the world/society dictate our lives and our every move. We spend most of our lives living average, buying things we don’t need, to impress people we don’t like all to prove that we have something. Perfectly said by actor Will Smith, he nailed it with that line.

Q: Tell me about your writing process.

My writing process isn’t anything crazy but I do have routines and things I do. For starters, I write a bunch of book ideas that I have (most of them turn into books or will eventually turn into books). Next is brainstorming sessions I have on chapter titles and what I feel I can discuss in my book. The goal is figuring out what message I want to convey and how to engage the reader and keep them engulfed in my book (the first chapters of every book are always eye openers or controversial to get the reader sucked in).

When I write, I mostly do it on Fridays, Saturdays and Sunday’s, I listen to music to allow my thoughts to flow freely. I listen to a lot of ambient/electronic music with no words. Joey Fehrenbach, Kodomo, Koan, Mokhov are a few artists I listen to to get my mind flowing and just write. Later on I re-read/edit and change sentences to make them sound better. After I write my books I figure out an appealing synopsis that sounds good, that’ll draw people in.

Q: What advice do you have for newbie writers?

Carry a book with you and pens to write down all of your ideas, whether good or bad. Spend time writing content and just let it flow. Set goals for yourself, find different ways to motivate and inspire yourself. Do things your way, not what other people tell you. Always do what works for you and what your vision is, no one knows it better than you.

If you want to get things done, it takes a lot of mental focus. Learn the business of publishing, creating book covers, writing a synopsis, formatting and royalties, don’t bank on a publishing company to do it all for you. Publishing companies are a business too so self-publish if you must. Ball on a budget (it means spend wisely), there are websites and places to utilize, where you can accomplish your goal for publishing your book.

Lastly, enjoy the process, embrace the grind, if you want this as a career forever, it’s all about patience and going at it everyday. You won’t make money on your first book, so plan your first 3 books that you’re going to write. More content, means more readers. Build connections and utilize your favorite social media pages to connect with people.

Q: What is your inspiration?

My inspiration is the world around me, the people I meet, the experiences they’ve dealt with and been through. A lot of my writing comes from experiences I’ve been through, or what others have been through. I watch the world and the things that go on and understand that there are a lot of things we need to discuss more.

We spend most of our lives not living for ourselves and others. I feel inspired to tell stories that make people emote and understand what’s going on around us. Sometimes we forget to be there for each other and take time to understand what we’re going through. There’s a lost art of feeling and emoting and that’s why I continue to write my books. I want people to be angry, be happy, cry, and bring out other emotions while reading my books.

Q: Any parting words or a line you swear by?

I have a quote that I made up years ago. You have a birth date and a death date, but it’s what you do in between that time that matters the most in life. It basically means, make the best out of everyday, impact someone. Make someone smile or laugh. We’re not meant to just grow up, become adults, become robotic machines with monotonous routines of working in Corporate America making others richer to not follow our own goals and dreams, pay bills, retire at nearly 70 years old to die not long after. Follow your goals and your dreams, have a passion for something and pursue it.

Thank you Jamell for those amazing pearls of wisdom. We wish you all the best.

Jamell can be found at:

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#Interview – I’m Just A Regular Guy says Author Oliver Phipps

Oliver Phipps’s book excited me when I read the blurb on Amazon. It made me want to read it immediately. But first, I thought let me get to know the author. And to my surprise, he agreed to be featured in an interview on my blog.

1. How did you start writing?

I started writing stories around the age of ten. I wrote lyrics with bands that I played with in my twenties. Then in 2004 I published a ‘how to’ book about auctions. I began working on my fiction books around 2010 and it sort of snowballed from there.

2. Tell me about your childhood?

My father worked for the railroad so I was sort of a “railroad brat” if there is such a thing. We moved around a lot and it gave me a diverse experience growing up. I’m sure this had some bearing on my writing. One example is The Ghosts of Company K.

oliver phipps 1

3. How many books have you published?

I’ve published ten books, though one of these has been taken off the market until I can rewrite and re-edit it. Another I published under a pen name. I’ve also written various articles and short stories under pen names.

4. What makes you tick as a writer?

I love to entertain people. I love the thought of making someone smile or causing one of those ‘good and scary’ chills to run down someone’s back when reading a my book. My music career never took off, but now I think that’s for the best as I love writing stories.

5. Any quirks you have as a writer?

I don’t know if it could be called a quirk or not, but I’m rather merciless when it comes to staying true to the story. I remember getting many comments about the bestseller Tears of Abandon. Everyone liked the book but they were sad that some of the characters had to die. I told them that it wasn’t a pleasant thing for me to let these characters die, but it’s how the story played out and I would do what was necessary to stay true to the story. I won’t allow a last minute “rescue” of a character unless it’s possible in real life and true to the story.

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6. How do you think of your characters? Do you use any real life references?

I have had so many people in my life over the years that I seem to have a treasure trove of character material. I’ve traveled the world and lived many places. I think this has benefited my character building abilities immensely.

7. Tell me about you, as a person and as an author

I’m just a regular guy for the most part. I love to do guy things and spend time with my family. When I was younger I couldn’t sit still and wanted travel and adventure. I got a healthy dose of that travel and adventure until I was about thirty five. Then I began to settle down, and now I live those adventure desires out with my stories. I’m just happy to share them and very happy that people seem to enjoy them.

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Oliver can be found on Goodreads, Facebook and Amazon

Do check his work out!

 

I was bullied as a child, says S.J Hermann, author of Morium

After self-publishing his Urban Fantasy novel, Morium, S.J Hermann gets candid about his life and writing.

Morium_cover_draft_1

 

Q: How did you start writing?

A: I used to write stories way back in High School. Started many, and finished none of them. I never found the motivation to complete the ones I started. 

 

Q: How has the self publish journey been?

A: It has been more work than I anticipated. More work has gone into marketing the book than actually writing it. As the release date gets closer, nerves start to take over, and I keep asking myself if there was anything I may have missed. I have read my story so many times, none of it makes sense. All the letters become a jumbled mess like a crossword puzzle.

 

Q: Tell me about your childhood

A: I grew up in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago. Most of my book Morium relates to some of my experiences growing up, with the exceptions of gaining special abilities. I was bullied during my school years and at least one of the things that happen to one of the characters happened to me.

 

Q: What do you do when you encounter ‘writers block’ 

A: Move on to do something else. I take step away from the computer. If I get stuck on a certain part, I forget about it, then it usually hits me when I least expect it. I am a painter so I usually go and paint a landscape to clear my head.

Morium_cover_draft_1

Q: What more do we see from you ahead?

A: I am currently writing the second part of the Morium trilogy. After that, I have many more stories floating in my mind.

 

Q: Any tips for newbies?

A: Write. Write some more. Then write even more. Never give up even if you think your story is not good enough. Who knows, you might have a diamond in the rough waiting to be unleashed to readers everywhere.

 

Thank you so much for that lovely interview!

 

Brilliant for Self Branding- The Perfect Fit for Careers by Latrice Collins

The blurb reads,

The Perfect Fit for Careers is a powerful introspective book that strengthens your personal career brand, identifies what you need and want in a company, and explores strategies for advancing your career (how to get promoted).The Perfect Fit for Careers includes empowering tools that enable readers to:

  • Determine the strengths of their career brand
  • Identify any career-sabotaging behaviors
  • Assess their career brand value
  • Determine the needs and wants from an employer
  • Identify the needs and wants from a role
  • Review nine types of interviews
  • Review interviewing questions, and
  • Develop a salary negotiation strategy

 

This book comes to me for review at a perfect time. I’ve just given my professional exams and I am a fresh entrant in the extremely competitive job market in India. I have been hunting for career guidance and interview guidance everywhere.

The importance of a brand cannot be stressed enough and the importance of building YOUR own brand is so very important in these days! When everything is now coming online, having a stellar reputation is all that matters now.

This book was very systematic in its approach. What I loved about the book was the way it made you ponder on your previous job experiences and how you should mould them into learning for your future.

There are many terms which Human Resource consultants and professionals use like Impact, Experience, Core Proficiency which you wouldn’t know what they meant. This is where this book helped. It decoded a few terms for me. It turned out the view I had of the terms was different from what the HR Professionals had and changing my view made a lot more sense when I went out to look for a job.

The crux of evaluating your own brand takes place when you take a 360 degree feedback, from people who are your managers, your subordinates and those at the same level as you. The book talks about a system which the author has developed which helps to develop a brand. I’m in talks with people to fill it in for me so that I can work on my own brand.

The book had a lot of tips on how to improve Business Image and I feel when I start making my own resume, I’ll work with this together so that I come across as a balanced package for employers.

My Rating: 4.5/5

This is a very practical book which I am sure is going to help me a lot in the coming days when interviews begin.

 

Continue to Write Even if You Hit a Wall, says Debutant Julie Ryan

Jennas journey largeWe had a rather interesting start, Julie and I. We followed each other on Twitter and when I put a tweet stating my availability as a beta reader, she replied asking for me to read her debut novel ‘Jenna’s Journey’. What followed was a spellbound me reading her Greek Mystery and then finally turning reviewer for her.

She returns to Books, Food and Me as an interview participant today!

1. Tell me about yourself!

I come from Yorkshire in the North of England originally and went to University in Hull where I studied French Language and Literature.  I spent many years travelling and teaching English as a Foreign Language before returning to the UK. I now live in rural Gloucestershire in South-West England with my husband and young son and a dippy cat with half a tail. I still work part time as a distance language tutor as well as running a small post office so I don’t have a lot of free time. When I do you are likely to find me writing or with my head in a book as reading is my passion. I love many types of genre but especially novels set in foreign countries, contemporary romance and historical fiction.

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The Local Church

I suppose the writing gene has always been there. At school I was always writing short stories but got told off by my teacher for being too much like Enid Blyton. She was my inspiration and I am convinced that my love of reading and writing stem from her influence. Then life got in the way, like for so many people, but on moving to the country I found I had the perfect lifestyle in which to develop my dream of writing a novel. I truly believe that life is full of coincidences, some of which are just meant to be. The catalyst for me was meeting fellow author Linn B Halton as she has given me so much encouragement, not to mention technical advice.

3. Tell me about your travels

At the age of eleven I remember telling my parents that I wanted to be a French teacher. I absolutely loved learning a foreign language and discovering how people in other countries live. I didn’t actually go abroad though until I was seventeen when there was a school trip to Germany. After that there was no stopping me. I spent a year as an ‘assistante de langue’ in a school in France. This was a fantastic experience and broadened my cultural horizons considerably. I trained to teach French which I did for a while and then before long I was off again, this time to Greece. I wish I could say it was love at first sight but arriving in Thessaloniki in the early hours of the morning after travelling by train for two days didn’t endear me immediately to the country. Greece, however, grows on you and once I visited the islands I was in love with everything Greek. This love has stayed with me throughout my life. A totally different but no less enjoyable stay was teaching in Bangkok in Thailand. This was so different to anything I had experienced before as there was literally something different to see around every corner. The sounds and smells and sheer hustle and bustle made a lasting impression on me. For a complete contrast my final travels were to Poland, a real shock after the heat of Thailand to find winter temperatures of minus 15. I felt a real empathy with the people who were very hospitable. I never did get used to the shots of neat vodka though!

The Dippy Cat

The Dippy Cat

4. How close are you to your characters?

Many writers put a lot of themselves into the protagonist of their first novel and I’m no exception. The idea came about when I was gazing out of my window one snowy wintry morning and idly wondered how my life would have been different if I had stayed in Greece instead of returning to the UK. In a way Jenna started out as an alter ego but by the end she had developed a personality all of her own. The moment I realized this was when she ‘spoke’ to me. Her original name was to have been Jenny but it became clear that it didn’t suit her so I had to change it. Although there are elements of me in her, she has become a ‘person’ in her own right. The rest of my characters are pure figments of my imagination but a writer draws on all of life’s experiences and adapts them as necessary.

5. What have you planned for your characters further?

My original goal was simply to write a novel. However, once I’d finished ‘Jenna’s Journey’ I found it very hard to let go. I didn’t want to write a sequel though as the novel is self-contained but as the setting was still so fresh in my mind, I found myself writing a second novel set on he same island but with different characters. Some of the minor characters from ‘ Jenna’s Journey’ will also be making an appearance. That’s the intention at any rate but as ‘Sophia’s Story’ is still very much a WIP, who knows how it will develop?

6. Tell me about your childhood

Julie's Very Own Superman

Julie’s Very Own Superman

I had an idyllic childhood growing up in Yorkshire with my two sisters. I was always the one to be found skulking in a corner with a book and loved being transported to different worlds. I suppose I was quite an introspective child but I always came alive in drama lessons where I loved to act out the plays we were studying at school. I still indulge this extrovert side of my character today as I belong to a local amateur dramatic group. There wasn’t a lot of money around when we were kids but my parents more than made up for it in love. As the eldest of three girls I’ve often wondered how your sex and position in the family influence your future. Perhaps I wouldn’t have been so bossy if I’d been the youngest for example, or maybe I’d have been less independent if I’d had an older brother? It’s an interesting idea so maybe I can use that in another novel?

7. A funny travel experience

I don’t know how familiar any of you are with driving in Bangkok, but for a Westerner the streets are an absolute nightmare, especially when you can’t read the signs! One day a friend and I were driving in a car loaned to us by the company we worked for. It was small but quite nice with tinted windows and Thai registration plates. My heart sank as we were stopped by a police car and beckoned to pull over. We had no idea what we had done wrong and to this day I’m not sure if it was supposed to be a scam or if we had inadvertently broken some traffic regulation. Anyway, with heart in mouth and expecting to be arrested at any point soon or at least have to pay a huge fine, we wound down the tinted window. The look on the very young policeman’s face was a picture as he muttered the Thai for ‘oh no, a foreigner’ – that was the only bit we understood. Obviously deciding that the paperwork wasn’t worth his time, he groaned, gave us a ticking off and let us go. Huge sigh of relief all round!

8. Tell me some quirks!! A writer always has some peculiar habits :p

Quirks? Me? None! Well not unless you count always having a full cup of coffee by my side when I write but becoming so engrossed that I never drink any of it. Same routine every day. You would think I’d have learned by now, but I still do it. I also have to use my lucky pen for making notes. It’s nothing special but it’s the one I started using at the beginning and it would be unlucky to change it now.

9. How has the self publishing journey been?

I love the fact that anyone can self-publish a novel. The world has changed so much in just a few years and it’s marvelous to think that people in far-flung countries can read my novel. It’s been a steep learning curve as I knew nothing about how the system works but with the help of friends, I am proud to have published my novel on Amazon. The worst part was the editing and formatting but it’s been well worth it as I want my book to be the best that it can be. I don’t like sloppiness so it was important to me to check for basic grammatical errors.

Julie's Greek Urn

Julie’s Greek Urn

10. I actually became friends with you via Twitter!! How helpful has that been on your journey?

I can honestly say that before I’d written my novel, I didn’t have a Twitter account and only had about ten friends on Facebook whom I preferred to email. Then I was reliably informed that if I wanted to sell books then I needed an online presence. I’m not totally convinced that tweeting and posting  will sell my books but then I wouldn’t have met you otherwise and it’s a good way to interact with people. I don’t think it works if all you do is advertise, you need to really engage people.

11. A penny for your thoughts?!

At the moment my mind is turning over different possibilities for my WIP. I don’t think my thoughts would be worth anything as it stands as my brain feels like scrambled eggs just now.

12. Some tips for new authors

Persevere! Even if you don’t feel like writing or have come up against a brick wall, try to write every day. Just 500 words per day means you could have a novel written in three months. Oh, and don’t expect it to be easy, the hard work starts when you’ve finished writing.

 

If You Have any Comments, Leave them below!!! If you have anything to say to Julie, please fill the ‘Contact Julie’ Form Below

I ask Spirit Guides for Help, says Psychic Collette Sinclair

Collette Sinclaire lives with her husband, seven children and two Golden Retrievers in a home filled with love. She believes strongly in international adoption and has three children – so far – that have been adopted from Ethiopia and Guatemala. She has a special affinity for diet cola, pajamas and cupcakes. But that can change on occasion as she’s not always ‘herself’ when she’s at work.
images-wallpaper-800-1372662452Collette has always been a staunch proponent of human rights and philanthropy, donating a great deal to many deserving organizations. She continues to do so now through The Risch Foundation, a charitable organization which focuses on the needs of children with special needs. The organization was founded by her and her husband, Camden Risch to support and help special needs children in emerging countries. Her dream is to open locations for education, health and support in countries with few resources, to care for those who need it most.
On a good day, Collette will talk with upwards of six or more dead people. On a great day, she’ll be in Paris, not talking to any dead people at all and drinking a $12 soda, somehow thinking it’s the best deal in the world. She is also continually surprised that she actually likes documentaries and art house films.
Collette is living proof that dead doesn’t have to mean boring.

Today’s Exclusive Feature in the AUGUST AUTHOR INTERVIEW SESSION has her answer a few questions

Why do you feel you had to write The Real Book of the Dead?

I didn’t write the book.  The spirits did.  It’s their life and death stories.  The Real Book of the Dead really is a book by the dead for the living.

By dead, do you really mean DEAD?

Yes, I really mean dead.  As a psychic medium, every single article, every word and chapter is the personal story of not only a deceased person’s life, but their death.  The Real Book of the Dead details exactly what each person experienced when they died, how they died and what came next as they crossed over.

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So, what really happens when we die?

It all depends.  I’ve interviewed over 500 souls in developing the books.  What Happens to Bad People When They Die will be out soon, detailing exactly what it is that happens and why it’s important for people who have been through difficult times to know that there is a certain sort of cosmic justice.

What happens to good people when they die?

Each person’s experience of death is different.  What one person experiences and finds true, another person will develop and interrupt differently.  This is what makes their life and death stories so compelling. Each life and death is so deeply different and personal.

Are there any that stand out in particular for you?

There are sweet stories of unending love and harrowing stories of violent murders.  I like to carry the lighter ones, but this doesn’t mean that I’m not haunted by the darker ones.  I actually experience what the victim experiences. I experience the duct tape over the mouth. Struggling against the rope, the piercing of the knife as it goes through the skin. Without getting too graphic, it’s safe to say that I’ve died or at least had the experience of dying many, many times.

images-wallpaper-800-1372662471With that in mind, how do you let go of the violent death experiences that you have had?

I meditate and ask my spirit guides for help.  I’m naturally a very grounded person.  Having seven kids will do to you, but I’m thankful for how the experience of seeing the world through someone else’s eyes but also their death has changed me.  I think about intention and positivity much more.

 

Places Books Can be Found

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-real-book-of-the-dead-vol-1-collette-sinclaire/1116149791?ean=2940148620570

http://www.amazon.com/The-Real-Book-Dead-ebook/dp/B00DPOFI9Q

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-real-book-of-the-dead/id675597026?mt=11

http://www.lulu.com/shop/collette-sinclaire/the-real-book-of-the-dead/ebook/product-21104633.html

Website: ColletteSinclaire.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ColletteSinclairePsychicMedium

You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/user/ColletteSinclaire?feature=watch

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheRealDeadGirl

Tumblr:  http://www.tumblr.com/blog/collettesinclaire

Homeopathy has made me see the BIG PICTURE says Dr. Aarti Patel

Dr. Aarti surprised me with her book on Homeopathy and it led me to writing a review as an ode to the medicine that had made me a healthy person from my childhood. She readily agreed for an interview and was candid and funny in her responses.

Here are excerpts!

aarti patel pic resized1. Tell me more about you
I was born in Tulare, California, spent a small part of my childhood in Johannesburg, South Africa, and then ended up in Canton, Ohio for my schooling. As a kid who spent time in environments that were 180 degrees from each other, I spent a lot of time observing people! I was always intrigued by the unique traits that made individuals different from one another and that made up their “quirks.” I would say this is the primary force that drew me to the field of medicine. I even wondered at times where I got my own habits…I still do, actually. I attended college at Boston University (an awesome place to people watch) and majored in French and Biology on the pre-medical track. After much internal debate, I decided to apply for naturopathic medical school rather than pursuing a conventional medical degree. I now practice naturopathic medicine and homeopathy in San Francisco, California with specialties in chronic conditions, fatigue, women’s health, hormone balancing, stress relief, and dermatology. My hobbies include drawing, writing, making websites, biking, dance, and playing the piano.
2. What drew you to homeopathy
During my 4-year training at Bastyr University, I was most attracted to my homeopathy courses. I felt like I’d finally found a healing art that discussed in-depth what makes medicine tick:  People! Homeopathy unabashedly talks about how it’s not the specific symptom that stands out in primary importance in health care. It’s the whole person, including his or her personality, past health history, totality of symptoms, physical health, mental-emotional health, and what I enjoy the most—quirks. While seeing patients for homeopathy visits, I felt like I could really grasp the “big picture” of each patient’s health profile. The big picture is what my natural health practice is all about now, even during times I don’t include homeopathy as part of the treatment. I’m grateful to homeopathy for bringing that perspective to my doctoring style.
 
3. Did you think you would author a book some day
I never imagined I would author a book some day! The way “Picture It: Homeopathy” came about was almost random. I was sitting there rsz_aarti_parroton a break during one of my homeopathy clinical rotations….my fourth and last year of grad school. Up to then, I had been taking notes for many medical school courses including Anatomy, Biochemistry, and Pathology. I did this job for work-study, and students got to download the notes and use them during each semester. My style of notes-taking is pretty unique. From the time I started school as a kid, I’ve always been prone to doodling, so I eventually started incorporating these doodles and drawings into my class notes. I’m a pretty visual learner, so it helped me learn better and I continued this habit throughout college and grad school. So… during my homeopathy rotation, I started drawing out each homeopathic remedy and personality using cartoons. I had always wanted to see homeopathy in action on paper, because many of the traditional texts involved tons of small writing that made my eyes tired! I showed the drawings to some classmates who suggested I compile them into a book, so that’s what I did. I kept drawing and writing about common homeopathic remedies until the book was complete.
4. Tell me about your “study” days (those days when you were a medical student)
Those days were challenging and they presented a big journey of finding myself as a young adult and as a health professional. Grad school is obviously academically strenuous, but I found it to be socially strenuous as well. There can be a lot of competition and strict ideas on the “right way” to do it. I agree it’s important to learn the correct procedures and framework for each individual health profession. I don’t, however, believe that there is strictly a right or wrong way to work with patients or to be a healer. All of this is so hard to see during 4 years of grad school amid tests, homework, lectures, and so on. After I graduated and started practicing independently four years ago, I’ve entered my own personal schooling on what natural medicine is about.
5. A penny for your thoughts on health
I believe health is unique to each individual. You can’t compare one person to the next in terms of his or her symptoms or overall health. I also believe there are many important underlying connections in health that can’t be measured with labs, imaging, or blood pressure cuffs. Chronic health symptoms are best seen in context with a person’s full symptom picture, their physical health, mental-emotional health, lifestyle habits and preferences, and personal health goals. Each person has his or her own strengths and weaknesses in health, and it’s important to strike balance where possible. In practice, I also see many connections of inner health to outer health. When people feel good, they look good and vice versa. To strip these factors out of the health care equation can be a disservice to patients in both the conventional and alternative health spheres. For just another penny, I’ll say that health should not be ruled by fear. Health takes courage in the face of diverse life challenges that can present for many people. The journey of health can also be a great learning experience for each individual, and even be fun at times. My view of medicine is not black and white, it’s many shades of color in between.
You can find some of my natural health resources and blogs online at www.healthovers.com and www.healthconstellations.com. These websites go in-depth into my view of the important underlying connections in health and wellness.
rsz_apatel_basketball6. Any message for people looking to self publish?
Sure! I’d say let it be fun, especially if it’s your first book. Don’t think of it as something that has to be perfect. Rather, write and organize your book in a way that’s meaningful for you. If you like it, it’ll have a higher chance of naturally reaching others. For my book, I made sure the content was coherent and tight before I went searching for self publishing avenues. I also asked the publisher tons of questions, so don’t be shy to ask for help where it’s needed. Then, have fun promoting your book! My biggest overall message about self publishing is write, write, write. The rest will follow naturally. If you are en route to self-publishing and have any questions for me, feel free to e-mail me at apatelnd@innerbalancenaturalhealth.com.
7. What sort of books do you read?
I love gritty crime mysteries, where the main characters are shown with all their strengths, flaws, and of course quirks. Mystery novels are great because the writing style can be so simple and yet say so much. I also love the honest way with which they paint social and political dynamics. A recent favorite is “King Con” by Stephen J. Cannell. I also like reading occasional sci-fi books, as well as books on natural health, traveling, and art once in a while. I enjoy honest and insightful books full of life, and with powerful meaning. Some of my favorites books include “The Power of One” by Bryce Courtenay, “Where the Red Fern Grows” by Wilson Rawls, Stephen King books, and “The Fountainhead” by Ayn Rand.
8. Your posts are liberating and expanding. Have you thought of being a Life Change Coach or a Motivational Speaker?
Thank you! 🙂  Right now, I do health consulting in my practice which involves a bit of life coaching. But I haven’t thought about being a Life Change Coach or Motivational Speaker before. I’m totally open to doing something along those lines if the opportunity presents. I definitely like talking. People who know me well will freely tell you that I talk a lot—I mean a lot! 🙂 I do enjoy focusing my thoughts to provide insight that can be motivational or inspirational to both myself and others. Words can be very powerful, and very healing.
 
homeopathy 29. What was the most rewarding experience after being published?
I loved seeing the book sell! I thought, wow, people are learning about homeopathic remedies using the summaries and cartoons that I created during my last year of grad school. Maybe the learning style will benefit students of homeopathy, maybe the pages will serve as a fun personality guide to some, and maybe this will be a first introduction to homeopathy for others. I enjoyed picturing how readers would use the book. My second most rewarding experience was starting up the associated health/homeopathy blog atwww.pictureithomeopathy.com. That blog has been my first foray into regular writing. Previously, I had started one mystery novel (currently half done) and completed one science fiction short story. But with this blog, I was writing every week and regularly thinking up and jotting down new ideas. I update the “Picture It: Homeopathy” blog every Sunday, so anyone out there who is interested in some new reading material about health—please check it out!homeopathy
10. Tell us a little about your book
“Picture It: Homeopathy” is a book that describes 32 common homeopathic remedies and their personalities. The book uses quirky and humorous cartoons along with straight-forward and concise summaries to illustrate each remedy’s physical, mental-emotional, general, and clinical traits. There is a notes section for readers who want to jot down observations about their own health or for students who want to take notes during class. “Picture It: Homeopathy” provides a fun way to learn about homeopathy, remedies, and health! For example, you can think about your friends, family members, coworkers, and favorite movie or book characters and try and figure out which homeopathic remedy and personality state best matches them. The book celebrates quirks and individual uniqueness, both in homeopathy and in life in general.
copy it11. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I’ve thought about this question before and my answer keeps changing because there are still so many places I want to travel to. Currently, I’d love to spend time in India because I’ve never been! Australia is also intriguing to me. I’d enjoy trying out different places 🙂
12. 4 Things you always wanted to do
1) Run my own integrative health clinic. 2) Write and publish a mystery novel and a natural health book. 3) Invent my own Indian-based dance style and make videos/classes for it. 4) Write and perform an original song.
Dr. Aarti has a fabulous website and she writes very well!! I highly recommend a dekko!!
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Grasp Feedback Firmly says Indie Author Jo Sparkes: Candid Q&A

Here’s what Jo says about herself

”  Born in Rison, Maryland, which is ‘no sir’ spelled backwards. Studied martial arts — and lacking any natural ability, made every mistake along the way. Eventually the old adage, “a white belt is a black belt that never quit” proved itself. 

I’ve published articles, watched commercials I wrote on television, and helped on set with various projects and corporate videos. Past member of the Pro Football Writer’s Association, when I covered the Arizona Cardinals for a popular fan website. Unofficially (very unofficially) the first to interview Emmitt Smith as a Cardinal. 

Did a short stint on a local children’s television show, wrote pilots for some wonderful producers, and have been in development on a feature script of mine. Four feature scripts, actually. I’ll let you know when we get the green light. 

Discovered the wonderful world of teaching at The Film School at SCC. There is so much talent in the world. It’s an honor and joy to facilitate creativity.

At this very moment we (the husband and Oscar the dog) live in Portland, Oregon. It’s sort of like living in Rivendale — without the ears.

Jo Inserts 10

I ask her for a candid interview and she readily agrees, the vibrant and bubbly person inside her taking charge. Here she is answering a few of my much oft asked questions about her!!

Q . How did you start writing?

JS: I began writing before I could even read. That silly little girl would actually draw circles and squiggles, insisting she was writing. I couldn’t wait to learn to read, so I suppose I couldn’t wait to write.books 3

Telling stories was a so much fun. Mind you, those early stories didn’t always stir others passions quite as they stirred it in me. I needed to hone the communications part.

Q. Tell me about your initial years as a writer?

Jo laughs and says:

I wrote my first book in high school – The Witch of Lackey High. Sadly, it was turned down by several publishers and never made it to print.

When I was 26, I switched jobs, and took a month off between them to write a book. It was much better, but still not quite good enough. Years later, I took a screenwriting seminar and loved it. It was screenwriting that taught me the art of brevity.

A friend wanted – and got – press access to the NFL football team the Arizona Cardinals. He had a fan website, and pushed me to write articles for him – which I both dreaded and longed to try. His name was Jim Skane, and it was he who gave me the confidence to keep writing. I actually got to talk to Emmit Smith, Anquan Boldin, and others. It was such a blast.

From there I began to earn a little money, writing video and commercial scripts. Eventually I even adjunct taught at The Film School at SCC – I loved teaching others.

And now I’ve come home, as it were, in writing a stories again just for the sheer pleasure of telling them.

Q. How does the self-publishing journey feel?

jo sparkesJo says:

It’s both wonderful and a little scary. There are still all the decisions to make – where to spend advertising dollars, how to distribute, finding the right editor and cover artist.

But there’s a heady freedom as well. No more gatekeepers. For me, especially after working with scripts, that’s a powerful feeling.

Q. What are a few quirks readers should know about?

(laughs) ..That’s a quirky question (smiles)

I can’t stop rewriting. I mean seriously – as in neurotic. I have to force myself to let go. The rule is, when I catch myself changing words back to earlier choices, I stop.

Teaching one class, there was guy who’d made a lot of changes after I’d marked up his first draft. When he handed in the revision, I marked it up again. Poor guy was stunned. It prompted a whole class discussion on the art of rewriting.

After all, there’s no little green flag that pops up, no beeper to tell you the piece is finished.

I think confidence – on certain things, the things that really matter to my core – has been a bit of a personal issue. That’s why I took up helping other artists – writers and actors particularly. I use to do a special lecture on feedback for artists, and even wrote a book on it. It is in teaching that we truly begin to learn.

Birr-Elixir-OptimizedThe answer, by the way, is not to avoid feedback. Instead, you grasp it firmly and make it serve you

Q. Tell me about you!!

(laughs)

Just like everyone else, really. I have my hopes and dreams and goals. I love dogs, and have been blessed with a wonderful husband.

And I still root for the Cardinals.

Q. Tell me about your family Oscar-Blog-Headshot

My Dad was a physicist, and I suppose I was a Daddy’s girl. My mom used to write poetry, but kept it in a drawer. She had a wonderful humor. I’ve got two sisters and two nieces.

My husband works hard and races tiny sailboats – lasers — for fun. And there’s a mischievous dog named Oscar that keeps me from taking myself too seriously. His philosophy of life is when the going gets tough, play a hard game of hedgehog.

You can visit Jo’s Website or check out her Goodreads Profile

(If you have liked this interview and want to ask Jo some questions, please fill out the contact form below)