Today I welcome Michael Lorde author of Blind Veil.
VH: If you could change one thing about our world, what would it be and why?
ML: I’m sure this answer will get me into trouble with a few folks I know. If I could change a design of humanity, it would be that people's motives and intentions would be as clear to others as window glass. I think those are the two things that lead to most folk’s sorrow, distrust of others and to the destruction in this world…the manipulation of one, by another without their knowledge or consent. Thankfully I can usually see trouble coming so can often times avert that damage, but some folks can’t see it. I wish they could. I’m a person who tends to root for the underdog.
VH: For what are you grateful?
ML: Well, I’m pretty grateful every day when I wake up in the morning and I’m here. And my kids have been the motivating factors that have kept my feet on the ground most of my adult life. They encourage and inspire me like no others can. I’m also grateful to my mother, who was the one responsible for my stubbornness, and for the great lesson that there is no limit to what one can do; except for the limits that a person puts on themselves, in their own mind. Thanks mom! I’m also grateful for my friends, my dogs, my health, and that I had the great fortune of being born in this country.
VH: When was the last time you helped someone? I mean really helped someone. What did you do for this person? Were they grateful or did they resent it?
ML: I like to think I help people every day. I’m one of those people who talk to total strangers. Yep… one of ‘those’. I tend to think it’s the small things that matter each day; the often forgotten ‘golden rule’. In this stressful world, so many folks seem to be in a rush, constantly stressed and feeling lost; no matter how many people are around them. Many people don’t know how to look a person in the eyes. If you do that, you can see if somebody is feeling less than good about their day. Sometimes a few words to them is all it takes for that person’s whole day to change (and in turn it changes the days of those around that person to some degree). Just like a few harsh and asinine words to a person can ruin their mood, a few well chosen ones can brighten their day. I try to choose words that reflect a positive outcome. For a more specific response to your question, for the past few days I’ve helped a friend of mine who’s writing her first book. We’ve been tackling the subject of social media and advertising. I’m hoping my help will in some small way help her to change her future, so she can find the one she’s seeking.
To ‘help’ someone, you need to give them the help they are asking for, NOT the help you think they need. The latter of the two, is no real help at all if you think about it. I’ve never had someone resent any help I’ve offered; or if they did, they didn’t tell me about it. I find out specifically what it is that they need, rather than what I think they might need. As I’ve been told by some folks, there is a huge difference between the two.
VH: If more people adopted your outlook on life, the world really would change for the better. A few kind words truly can go further than we think.
Thank you Michael it was great to get to know you better.
Blind Veil begins as a story about a mild mannered rancher in the West, in the 1960’s. While the plot of this story is not about civil rights, the turmoil of the times is mentioned in the first few set-up chapters. The social stress that occurred in those times is the reason why this man decides NOT to report a violent rape and murder that occur on his land… but that’s just the beginning. The murder ultimately affects the rancher’s nephew forty years in the future. We fast track to the present, where we find his nephew Simms (now a grown man in his forties working as an Officer for the New York City Police Department). Simms is a Patrol officer and very well respected. He works hard; cares about people; protects the citizens of the city; brings home a paycheck. All of that, changes in one day when he takes his new boat onto the water for a well deserved break. He ends up on board two other boats, and neither by his choice. As Simms world spins on its end and out of control, the reader is dragged through every crazy event right along with him. This officer of the law breaks many rules as he tries to keep alive, in an effort to make sense of things that his mind cannot believe. This psychological thriller is the first in a series. The second book is due out in December.
About Michael Lorde
Michael was raised in a rural town in upstate New York and has two sons and two daughters. After living in a warmer climate for nearly thirty years, Michael has since moved back north with the youngest daughter of the four. They are dog lovers and have two. Blind Veil is Michael’s debut novel.
Today I welcome Wendy Siefken co-author of Kai's Journey.
VH: When was the last time you felt alive? I mean really alive!
WS: The last time I felt really alive I was young, 16 years young. I didn’t have family or pressures of everyday life. I felt a connection to someone for the first time in my life. It was as if I could feel every cell, every molecule in my body coursing with life. It was night and there was a group of us just talking and enjoying the evening. I just felt so free and happy and alive. My whole life was ahead of me and felt as if I could do anything!
VH: I remember a similar feeling. Gosh, it seems so long ago.
When was the last time you helped someone that was desperately in need? What did you do? Was this person grateful?
WS: I helped a fellow student who was trying to go to a job interview in Kansas and he was short some money. Now we are by no means rolling in it. As a matter of fact, we are hurting pretty bad right now too. Only one income and he just took a 10% pay cut. I had enough to cover what he was short so I gave it to him. I figured his need was greater than ours so I gave it to him. Yes he grudgingly accepted. He does have his pride but he really needed that job. He got the job so it worked out.
VH: What is the one thing, good or bad, you wish you could have said to a former boyfriend/girlfriend? Why didn’t you? Don’t worry he/she probably won’t read this.
WS: I never dated this person but always felt a strong connection with him. I wish I could have been brave and said how I felt about him. I wish I could have said I cared about him. There was a connection with him, not just an, "Oh I think he is cute" connection. That deep down soul bonding connection. As if you could tell each other anything and feel safe. It was as if we had known each other for a life time. I didn't say anything because I was supposed to be dating his friend and didn't want to come between them and I was too scared to. He is one of my many regrets; I guess that is why I try not to let opportunities pass me by like that. If I care about someone I tell them. If they don’t say anything back at least I said something. It’s that way in other aspects in other situations too. I always try when it comes to something even if it might be scary or out of my comfort zone, I do it anyway. Like publish a book!
VH: That "deep down soul bonding," feeling...I call it soul recognition. In my humble opinion it is one of the greatest experiences in life.
WS: Thank you for letting me come into your life for just a moment Van!
VH: You're welcome Wendy.
Kai has been fighting for survival and trying to find a way to rid the world of the disease his father created. His father was a military scientist charged with the task of perfecting a formula that would create a superior breed of soldiers. Kai's father accidentally created a race of zombies. Like a virus, it soon spreads to the entire world, unleashing a period of unsurpassed chaos and conflict.
In the midst of this turmoil, Kai comes across a young woman named Clover, who is part of a clan traveling across the United States to try to find what is left of humanity. Clover is a part of a clan of werewolves who can turn at will but aren't blood thirsty savages as depicted in general history. .
Along the way Kai and Clover come across stragglers who join with the group as they journey across the upper part of what used to be known as North America.
One night while Kai and Clover were watching a meteor shower they meet a group totally out of this world. Kai and Clover begin a heroic journey, fueled by the increasingly dim hope that somehow, the human race will have a chance to start over.
Wendy Siefken (1966-Present) Currently working full time from home on writing stories and now interviewing new and independent authors. Wendy lives on a farm with her family and enjoys reading, gardening and other activities with her family and friends. This is our first publication with many more to follow. This all started as a school project for her aib son and business partner, Charles Siefken, that has grown into a desire to be published.
The book is a journey into the fantasy realm of what if's. What if zombies took over the world? What if werewolves were real? What if dragons were really not from earth but from another planet? I hope you enjoy this YA book. This book is ideal for a young reader who you may not want reading a book with a lot of blood and gore. This book doesn't have that. It has a story without all the graphics of a battle. I hope you take a look and enjoy!
Today I welcome Juls Duncan author of the Morgan Koda Adventures Series.
VH: If a zombie virus took over the world, how many days do you think you could last before you were infected? And what would you do to postpone the inevitable?
JD: I would probably die of fright without them touching me. So none of the following would take place. Five years, 1825 days is the answer I came up with. I would hunt down the person(s) responsible for the virus, and do some major butt kicking. The Zombies, however, would have to really work to get me...I would take as many of them with me as I could. But the last bullet I would save…and with my luck the bullet would be a dud and all my carefully thought out plans would go south in a hurry. So in the end I would be—zombie bait.
VH: For what are you grateful?
JD: I am indebted to my family and friends for the support and encouragement they have showed me in writing Morgan’s stories. And I am thankful everyday that Morgan is in my head.
I know that to a non-writer this makes me sound crazy, and I should be in line for the next available straight-jacket, but, without her I would never have become a writer.
VH: If you knew the exact date of your death down to the minute, what would you change about your life starting tomorrow?
JD: Well I could just quote Tim McGraw’s song - Live Like You Were Dying, “I went sky diving,” no way would I ever jump out of a perfectly good airplane, so that one is out. “I went Rocky Mountain climbing,” I like mountaineering, so I could keep this one. “I went 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fu Man Chu,” no way, I’ve been around bulls most of my life, and I prefer to stay on the other side of the fence.
But this really doesn’t answer your question. So Ok, here we go…I would finish Morgan’s story. And I really have no idea how many books that will take. Spend time with family and friends. See the Great Pyramids of Egypt, and the Valley of the Kings and Queens. My educational background is in anthropology. I would see all the great ruins that fill up our world.
VH: Well, I truly hope that one day you will finish your series, and press many footprints upon the ancient sand steps of yesteryear.
Thank you Juls.
Morgan Koda has landed in a world full of magic; now she must survive it. He’s The Dark Emir. He’s deadly and he’s out there waiting for her.
Thirteen years old Morgan Koda has never had an adventure in her life until she hands her letter to a fabled old man. This mythical man leads her into a new world full of adventure, where magic is typical, and danger is the norm.
Discovering there’s an ominous object, a golden mask that has the capability of controlling or destroying a wizard’s power - is one thing. Being hunted because she’s the last in her line with the ability to control it, is quite another. For within the shadows of her new home a horrifying opponent prowls and The Dark Emir will stop at nothing to control her abilities with the aureate mask.
With the prospect of success Morgan travels through time in pursuit of the ancient artifact. Running afoul of a T-rex, a crazed band of war painted natives, and coming across a talking polar bear might seem a little strange. But to Morgan it’s all about the balance of power.
The plant life was much larger. Huge leafs of green flora and enormous flowering plants of reds, pinks, yellows, and oranges surrounding her from three sides. Their blossoms were as large trash can lid.
Morgan slowly turned her head taking in the plant life around her. She had transported the four of them to the very edge of a lush meadow which was miles long and just as wide.
She stared in awe at the hundreds of huge beasts. They had gigantic bodies, long necks and tails, and were grazing throughout the valley.
Morgan had once seen animals like these in a book at her old school. The massive creatures looked like Brontosaurus some had their necks stretched reaching into the very top of the trees eating leaves. While others were drinking from the river that snaked through the center of the valley, many of the other smaller species of dinosaurs were moving around the larger ones. Morgan looked over the animals searching for familiar ones that she could name.
Movement from above the creatures caught her attention, and she did a double take on the sky. There were huge blackish-blue birds with leather-like wings flying in lazy circles over the dinosaurs.
A loud cry from the trees over their heads drew Morgan attention, and she followed the sound up to what she thought was a very colorful parrot with an immense beak and overly long tail. However, when the bird opened its mouth and hissed at her, she saw a mouth full of razor-sharp teeth.
A loud screaming echo wrenched her eyes back to the grasslands. The brontosauruses and the other smaller dinosaurs were suddenly in full flight across the valley. Several sizable beasts were giving chase on their powerful hind legs.
Tristan, Raine, Rex and Sonny on the other hand, were not looking at the creatures charging across the meadow, nor were they staring at the colorful parrot-like bird in the tree above them. They had eyes only for the three massive creatures, which had been slowly making their way into the valley. The sudden appearance of Morgan, her friends, and the dog had caught their attention. One of the brutes had halted in mid-step, slowly turning its ugly head in their direction, and slowly moved for where Morgan, Tristan, Rex, Raine were standing. It observed them with terrifying orange eyes. The beast slowly stalked towards what it thought was enjoyable victims.
It took Morgan a moment to realize that someone was yelling at her.
“Morgan…” The voice shouted again.
“What,” She finally took her eyes of the meadow and turned towards the voice.
“Do you think you could get us out of here...?” Fear clearly etched Rex’s face, but he had yet to lose his since of humor.
“That looks exactly like a T-rex, and to tell you the truth, a T- rex with skin on it - is just plain wrong.”
Morgan turned to where Rex was pointing and saw a vast creature bearing down on them.
The T-rex had started to run on its enormous hind legs. Morgan, Tristan, Rex, Raine and Sonny stood petrified as the brute suddenly opened its huge jaws, showing long yellow pointed teeth. The whole group drew back as a horrible roar exploded from its gaping mouth.
Sonny panicked and would have run if he could have remembered how. His body was pressed so tight against Morgan’s side that he was about to push her to the ground. His body was slowly sinking en route for the hard packed soil under their feet.
“Get us out of here.” He whispered. Sonny’s pleading chocolate brown eyes were wide with terror.
Morgan tightened her hold on her friends. At the same time as the T- Rex slid to a stop towering over them, that Morgan Blinked.
The T-rex howled enraged as its meal vanished. The creature stared at the spot where its victims had disappeared, then shoved its great head under its abdomen searching through its huge powerful hind legs. The T-rex was utterly confused as to where its prey had gone.
Candy-cane-striped trees, ogres, and chameleon-dragon might seem like an adventure, but to Morgan Koda, it’s all about friendship.
Morgan has unintentionally altered her time-line and that of her world, and she will do anything to preserve it.
As her second school year starts, she must face her adversary, The Dark Emir. He has kidnapped one of her best friends and holds him hostage Demanding the surrender of The Mask of Noesis, and the restoration of their time-line.
By resetting the time-line Morgan risks losing the one thing she has yearned for her whole life. But relinquishing the golden mask will give her enemy the key to controlling her and her world.
Morgan Koda has no intention of doing his bidding, and there’s a little more than magic up her sleeve…
Morgan Koda may hold the four elements of earth in the palm of her hand.
But a little thunder storm might be her undoing.
The island of Edenwiess is under attack from what seems to be a simple storm. However, lighting is striking repeatedly in the same location, over the vast volcano, causing those who are observing to realize that this is no typical storm, something evil is at work.
In order to save the magical world she loves, Morgan and her friends must return to the Island after their school has been evacuated. Not only will she place her life in peril, but those of her friends as well.
Morgan will go beyond the limits of her magic, and discovering the identity of the one responsible for the attack will leave her feeling betrayed.
Juls Duncan is the author of the urban fantasy series, Morgan Koda Adventures. Her books include (Book One) The Mask of Noesis. Note: This novel is going through publisher changes and will be available shortly by Mythic Dragon Publishing.
(Book Two) The Forest of Carren, published by Mythic Dragon Publishing 2012.
(Book Three) The Other Island, by Mythic Dragon Publishing.
Juls Duncan lives in Montana with her family and a yellow lab - Sonny Jr.
She has always felt the need to tell a story, whether it was a bedtime story, as Morgan Koda was in the beginning, or a short story given as a Christmas present for family and friends.
Her education includes a Bachelors degree in anthropology from Oregon State University. Juls is continuing her education with a Masters degree, then a PhD in anthropology from the University of Montana.
How Morgan came to be:
My daughter loved bedtimes stories, but not the typical ones, like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella, or Sleeping Beauty. She wanted one of her own, one that we made up. So the character Morgan Koda started more than twenty five years ago as a bedtime story.
My daughter learned that only in a book could she go to different worlds where she could be the hero. My daughter is now in her thirties and is a devoted reader to her own young readers.
In 2006, I remarried and my new husband came with a six year old son. And Morgan Koda came alive again as she had before - in a bed time story.
But this child was different. He wanted his new step-mother to add something new to the story every night. So Morgan Koda grew as my new son did.
When my step-son reached seven years old, he told me that he didn’t need to learn to read, because reading wasn’t fun, nor was it important. So I started writing down Morgan’s story. The one story he enjoyed more than any other. I, however, was a little resourceful, at night when my step-son wanted his bedtime story; I would read up to a really good part. Then I handed him the pages to read. Though tears, fits, and just plan angry outbursts, he learned to read.
In June of 2010, I was arranging my files, and to my great surprise, I found that I had over a hundred pages of Morgan’s story. And just four months later, Morgan Koda and the Mask of Noesis was born. The series now continues with Morgan Koda and the Forest of Carren (Book Two), Morgan Koda and the Other Island (Book Three), and Book Four, Morgan Koda and the Plight of Indy is nearing completion.
Today I welcome F. Simon Grant author of The Swimming Away as well as several other works including The Egg-Shaped Room and Vanishing Point.
VH: If you could go back in time to when you were seven years old, what wisdom or advice would you pass on to yourself?
FSG: My seven-year-old self was planning all kinds of books to write because I'd been a big hit with my first book, "The Platypuses of Platypus Desert," so I'd tell myself, "Don't stop" and "Don't listen to other people: You can do this!" and "This is who you are, you can't change that." I don't know what advantage this would give me other than time. I've always been rejected, and I've never felt like I fit in or that I was accepted by other writers, and knowing this is who I am wouldn't make me feel like less of a monster, but this may encourage me not to give up, as I have too many times in my life, because I'd know at least weird time traveling Future Me believed in me.
VH: When was the last time you felt alive? I mean really alive!
FSG: Nine years ago I had a ruptured diverticulum that would've killed me except for some remarkable chance occurrences. I had to have three feet of intestines removed, and the doctor said I came very close to dying. I've had many opportunities to feel really alive after that, but they're not always the sort of beauty you see in greeting cards. I was in graduate school at the time, and once on campus, soon after my surgery, I found myself suddenly surrounded by a hundred screaming cheerleaders, and I realized life was this sort of terrible ululation, from the screaming of babies for food or love to the rasping old age scream need of death beds.
VH: What is the one thing, good or bad, you wish you could have said to a former boyfriend/girlfriend? Why didn’t you? Don’t worry he/she probably won’t read this.
FSG: The first girl I ever kissed went missing, and I didn't see her again until thirteen years later. It was a complicated family situation involving custody and foster care, but I was led to believe, because I did not have her to ask, that she had tried to kill herself with valium and was put into a mental institution. One of the many things I regretted when she went missing is that, despite the many times she told me she loved me, I never told her I loved her back. When I saw her again thirteen years later, I got to say many things I had wanted to say, but I couldn't tell her I loved her. I was married by that time, so I had to let it go unsaid.
VH: That's too bad. However being married, you probably made the right decision. Interestingly enough I am on the other side of the coin. I have an "I love you" I would like to take back.
Thank you F. Simon Grant. I wish you the best health and a long life. One filled with minimal regret and maximum well-being.
The Swimming Away is the story of a first love that might bring about the apocalypse. Artemis, a rebellious and constantly disatisfied girl who takes up a new hobby each week to find something to excite her and believes she can bring her imagination to life, meets Meek, a tennis player who's not like other tennis players. He's quiet and awkward, but at the same time he's strange and wise and powerful. They're both haunted by the death of their mother. Artemis believes she killed her mother but refuses to remember how or why, and Meek urges her to explore what she's afraid to face. When Joy, Artemis' friend who is always too proud of her own intelligence, warns her that dating Meek could bring about the end of civilization, Artemis somehow believes her. Meanwhile, she inspires Meek to make a discover that challenges the boundaries of reality and just may bring an end to everything we know.
I am delighted to have A.J. Walkley on Three Questions. She is the author of Queer Greer and Choice.
VH: If you had two years left to live from this moment, what would you change about your life starting tomorrow?
AJW: For me, life is all about packing in as many varied experiences as possible. With a two-year deadline to experience all I can, I would immediately buy a round-the-world plane ticket (after begging money from every single family member and friend to fund the trip!). It has always been my dream to stand on every continent at least once, not to mention trek through as many countries as possible. I would recruit a couple of travel companions to accompany me – no doubt my parents would drop everything to come with me to at least a few of my destinations. First stop? I’m thinking I should visit Hawaii before really getting the expedition underway in Japan, tackling Asia and making my way west.
As a writer, I would also bring several journals with me and catalog the entire trip in vivid detail so as to be able to leave behind something once that fateful day two years from now arrives!
VH: I think Hawaii is a great start. Knowing me, I would stay there and call it quits.
When was the last time you felt alive? I mean really alive!
AJW: There is one specific moment that comes to mind – jumping off a 50-foot cliff into the ocean. I was 17-years-old and on a family trip to Jamaica. My brother, 13 at the time, was game to take a running jump off of this cliff and I refused to be shown up by him. So, not only did I jump off that cliff, but I did it TWICE to prove it was no fluke the first time. It was terrifying and completely exhilarating all at once. That sense of free-fall is like nothing I had ever felt before. I couldn’t have been in the air for more than a couple of seconds, but it felt like time was stretching out as I got closer and closer to hitting the water. The Caribbean Sea rose up to meet me, giving me a pretty nice wedgie in the process. I have never been a religious person, but I can honestly say cliff jumping brought me closer to any type of Higher Power than I had ever felt before in my life.
I think it might be time for me to take it up a notch for my next adrenaline-pumping adventure. Sky diving, anyone?
VH: I'm in! Wait, no I'm not. You're crazy A.J!
When was the last time you helped someone? I mean really helped someone. What did you do for this person? Were they grateful or did they resent it?
AJW: In many ways, I have been really helping someone since 2009 without stopping. For the past three years I have been corresponding with an inmate in Texas whom I have come to believe has been wrongfully convicted of the crime she was incarcerated for back in 2003. Her name is Elizabeth Burke and she was charged with the murder of her seven-week-old son, Ian. Not only have I been boosting Elizabeth’s morale with biweekly letters, but I am actively working on her case with the goal of getting her a retrial. I visited her in Gatesville, TX, last July for the first time, furthering her hope in her future. The case is complicated, to say the least, but I feel that with the right attorney, she can attain the justice she deserves. I have pledged to her that I will not stop fighting for her, even if this takes another decade to sort out. Elizabeth is nothing but grateful for my friendship and my assistance in all legal matters. I’m no lawyer, but I know how to research and I am nothing if not persistent. It’s only a matter of time before others see her case and trial for what it was – a miscarriage of justice.
VH: What an incredibly selfless act. If she is truly innocent I wish you success and Godspeed.
Thank you A.J.
Greer MacManus is uprooted from her childhood home in South Carolina when her father is determined to fulfill his strange but pressing dream to become a border-crossing coyote. Her parents take her and her younger sister to Prescott, Arizona to start a new life closer to the border. Greer enters a new school with the hopes of reinventing herself from the wallflower with one friend to speak of, to a social butterfly. She soon finds herself among the company of athletes, a swimmer herself. While Greer tries to get comfortable in her clique under the admiring eye of Cameron Keeting, the most attractive jock in school, she becomes increasingly interested in someone else. Rebecca Wilder, the beautiful swim team captain and infamous lesbian in town, befriends Greer, taking her under her wing. A love triangle soon overtakes Greer's world, leading to drug experimentation and mental confusion as she comes to grips with her sexuality as her world starts to fall apart. Without anyone to turn to, Greer must find an inner strength and the courage to be herself in a society that doesn't always understand.
Haley Fry and her twin sister, Jamie, have been compared to one another since birth. Haley is the quieter twin, a lover of music who prefers solitude to spending time with multiple friends. A prodigy on the saxophone, she dreams of a career as a musician. Jamie, on the other hand, is the athlete of the family who prides herself on her popularity and how many boys are after her. The twins’ parents, Larry and Maggie, place more trust in Haley because of her calmer nature. They expect the unexpected from Jamie, but not Haley. When Larry and Maggie learn that sixteen-year-old Haley is pregnant, they are shocked. Surprising everyone, but mostly herself, Haley faces a life-changing decision: Does she abort the baby or become a teenage mother? Choice presents Haley’s dilemma in a unique way. The first half of this novel narrates what happens when Haley chooses an abortion, while the second half reveals Haley’s life when she chooses to keep the baby. Told through the eyes of the entire family, Choice illustrates the tough decisions involved in a teen pregnancy.
A.J. Walkley is a novelist currently writing out of Tempe, AZ. She has written two novels that are available for purchase – Queer Greer and Choice – and is now hard at work on her third novel, Vuto, inspired by her experience as a U.S. Peace Corps health volunteer in Malawi, Africa.
Today I welcome Teresa Kennedy author of In The Country of No Compassion.
VH: If you could change one thing about our world, what would it be and why?
TK: I would restore a sense of tolerance to society as a whole. It seems as though we've utterly lost the ability to 'live and let live'. As a result, the so-called "issues" that confront us only serve to polarize us into endless factions--rich and poor, gay and straight, smoker and non-smoker, liberals and conservatives--take your pick.Worse, every so-called issue is somehow being elevated to a state of equal importance, and people really lose sight of what really matters in this life. We need to focus on our common goals--everyone wants enough money, everyone wants to raise their kids, everyone wants to be healthy and productive. Instead we've been seduced into thinking we can only have our "rights" at the expense of someone else's and it's undermining the entire fabric of the culture.
VH: Amen to that sister.
If you could go back in time to when you were seven years old, what wisdom or advice would you pass on to yourself?
TK: I was a funny kid in the sense that I never really got a big kick out of being a kid. I mean, I knew the grownups had all the power, and I wanted to be one of them. Playing hide 'n' seek was never as cool as say, getting to drive. But I guess I would say: never lose your vision, your imagination, or your sense of wonder. Never lose your ability to love without question, and to view the world as a place full of endless possibilities, because in the end, the people who do that have all the power, anyhow.
VH: When was the last time you helped someone that was desperately in need? What did you do? Was this person grateful?
TK: I live in an area where there are lots of people in desperate need, so there are lots of opportunities. I've had illegals come through and take the laundry off my clothesline; I don't mind. They need those jeans and t-shirts more than I do. I used to have a kid named Manny show up once in awhile looking for work, and he'd do the yard or whatever odd jobs I had available. Sometimes he'd disappear for months, and I'd know he'd been deported again. Last time he showed up, he told me he was heading for Vancouver to be with his wife and baby. He had an ugly new scar that ran from his forehead to his chin, and when he took off his shirt, I could see the fresh bruises from where he'd been beaten. He never asked for anything except the usual ten bucks an hour. I packed him up a couple days' worth of food and water and all the cash I had on hand--about 60 bucks. When I gave it to him, he broke down and cried and said, "God bless you."
I cried too.
That was two years ago. I hope he made it.
VH: I hope he made it too. Sometimes we don't realize just how well off most of us are, even with all or our "problems." Thank you for spending time with me Teresa. Until next time.
In The Country of No Compassion
Offering literary fiction with a spiritual twist, Kennedy's collection focuses on characters in crisis and subjects as relevant as the daily news. A young amputee and Iraq veteran struggles for a definition of heroism in "Times New Roman", while a recovered ex-alcoholic frees himself from the past in "The Thirteenth Step."
Other stories in this collection focus on the controversy surrounding illegal immigration and the US-Mexican Border. "Ex Voto" finds a young Mexican relinquishing his dreams to discover his art, while in "Undocumented" a rancher tries to save his land, at risk of his soul.
A resident of Tucson, Arizona, author Kennedy's take on the issues is up close and personal. Hers is a vision rich with humanity, the promise of redemption, and a timeless understanding. As she leads readers through the borderlands of myth and reality, she reminds us that for all of our wars and conflicts and failings, God never takes sides and that compassion is indeed revolution.
Teresa Kennedy is an author, editor and publisher with more than 25 years experience in the publishing industry. An author or co-author of more than 30 published books, including fiction and non-fiction, she has also run an independent newspaper and published a variety of short stories and articles in publications around the world. Currently the Editor in Chief of Village Green Press LLC, http://villagegreenpressLLC.com She has served as a senior editor, acquisitions editor and consulting editor for a variety of publishers, agents, and book packagers around the country.
Today I have the pleasure of meeting Dvora Swickle, author of several children's books.
VH: Hi there Dvora, if you could go back in time to when you were seven years old, what wisdom or advice would you pass on to yourself?
DS: I would tell myself that looks are not everything. Do not hate people who are mean, just try to understand and be true to yourself. Go ahead and ask questions even if you are laughed at, it is the answer you want, not the reaction. Happiness is not a gift someone can give you in a box, it is inside you and to love yourself for who you are and all your quirks, for even the most popular kids have the same they just don't show it. Try to not be so open about your life, let people guess, sometimes they give more credit than you can imagine.
VH: For what are you grateful?
DS: I am so grateful for finding my husband and his family. He has taught me love and generosity and that failure is just a way of figuring out something different to do. I found that love is shown in action and compassion. My books have all of that and more. I struggled in life as a child and write for that child who has questions but not sure how to ask. My lovely girls are what drove my compassion to go from writing songs to short moral stories to questions and answers they wished, in the classroom I would see a problem and write a story for the next week on how to solve or understand things that happen in life. Remember youth is a clean start but it doesn't have to be written in gold. Growing can be very tricky, in this busy world we need books that will talk to each child and make them know there feelings are important no matter how small they may think they are.
VH: What is the number one lie you tell yourself? How is that working out?
DS: Well the number one lie is that eating one blizzard a month is not going to hurt me and I wont gain weight because it is just once. It was good in theory but now I am doing it with, french fries, onion rings, tacos, and yes it is not working out for losing weight at all. I think there is a book in that as well. We can tell ourselves anything we want, we can believe it too but really, in the end we eventually have to look at the whole picture and say maybe once a year. I will tell you how that worked out at a later date. :)
VH: Once a year!? Now that is comittment. Thank you Dvora.
The Wormy Story
A worm finds himself hanging from a fishy hook. Here he has to make a choice and the one he made was a good one.
Lil' Gobble listens into other turkey's conversions and gets the wrong message.
Suddenly he finds himself in a awkward, scary situation.
NEED MORE DVORA SWICKLE?
Today I would like to welcome a special guest. Paul Rega author of How To Find A Job: When There Are No Jobs, 2012 Edition.
VH: Happy to have you here Paul. Let's get started. For what are you grateful?
PR: What instantly comes to mind with this question and the reason I choose to answer it first is a time when I was sitting at my Grandmother’s bedside while she waited for a doctor to appear. Anyone that has ever been to a hospital, knows that this can be a long wait. She had fallen and it was suspected that she broke her hip, a common occurrence with older folks. I had always made an effort to get to know my grandparents usually spending time with them on my visits home from college. This time was different though, as she was in a great deal of pain and I feared she may die. I wanted to know more about this woman I had called “Grandma,” my entire life. As we talked, a question came to me, a simple question really but an important one. I asked her, “Grandma, what is the most important thing in life?” Without any hesitation, she responded, “Your health, Little Paul.” That’s what they used to call me back then as my father was “Big Paul.” Well, at that moment, I realized that my Grandmother was a person and not just some place we went to on holidays. I had learned something profound and I carry that idea with me every day as I strive to stay in the best condition possible.
VH: If you could change one thing about our world, what would it be and why?
PR: The wars across the globe have always bothered me as most seem senseless and cause undue hardship and death to millions. I can understand if you are attacked that you need to defend yourself with all of your might and will. But to start a war in an effort to conquer another is irresponsible in my view and unfortunately it keeps happening. It may just be a product of who we are as a species. Being that I am part German and Italian, my ancestors were certainly to blame as the Germans started the last two world wars and we all know what the Romans did. So, my answer is pretty straight forward, I would want to cease the starting of all wars and our world would be a better place for all who live here.
VH: At what age were you the happiest? What triggered such joy?
PR: I had just turned 15 years old in August of 1972. I was on a trip with my Boy Scout Troop where we rode our bicycles from our hometown of Wood Dale, Illinois to Jacksonville Florida. At the time it was a historic trip as it was hailed as the longest bike hike in Boy Scout history. There were no helmets then, and all we were armed with in addition to our new Sears Free Spirit ten-speeds, were our unique set of values we had learned as children during the early 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. When we completed our trip on August 20, It was an irreplaceable moment of time. The fact that we successfully completed our trip of nearly 1,400 miles was a euphoric feeling like no other I have since experienced. The trip is the subject of a new novel I am currently writing that should be released in approximately three months.
My current book, titled, “How To Find A Job: When There Are No jobs” 2012 Edition has risen to the top of Amazon’s charts and recently hit the #1 position in Job Hunting and Career Books, surpassing the iconic “What Color is Your Parachute,” now in its 40th edition! My book in now available at Amazon:http://www.amazon.com/How-Find-Job-Competitive-ebook/dp/B0056PFONW Please check it out.
VH: Paul I am half way through your book and looking forward to finishing it. I thank you for stopping by. I am sure we will chat again soon.
How To Find A Job: When There Are No Jobs, 2012 Edition: A Necessary Job Search Book & Career Planning Guide For Surviving And Prospering In Today's Hyper Competitive Job Market
★★★★★ Download this bestselling book by Paul Rega, nationally recognized Executive Recruiter with over 28 years of headhunting experience, and find out why it hit the #1 position in Job Hunting books in the country, surpassing "What Color is Your Parachute." The book continues to be one of the most downloaded books on Amazon with over 13,700 downloads in just 3-days! The book rocketed to #1 Job Hunting, Careers & Resumes, #2 Nonfiction, #2 Business & Investing, and was ranked in the Top 20 at #14 on Amazon Kindle during a recent promotion. "A Must Read in Today's Job Market!"
"This is much more than a job search book, it will motivate you and reveal the secrets to understanding life and how to mold your career in a way that you could have never imagined."
Paul Rega is president of Paul J. Rega & Associates, a retained executive search firm he founded in 1985. He is well-known throughout the business community as an executive search professional and career coach. His new bestselling book, "How To Find A Job: When There Are No Jobs" hit the #1 position in Job Hunting books in the country, surpassing "What Color is Your Parachute." The book continues to be one of the most downloaded books on Amazon with over 13,700 downloads during a 3-day promotion. It rocketed to #1 Job Hunting, Careers & Resumes, #2 Nonfiction and #2 Business & Investing. It was also ranked in the Top 20 at #14 on Amazon Kindle.
Paul holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with a minor in Journalism, having attended the University of Illinois and Western Illinois University. He began his writing career while attending Western Illinois University as a staff reporter for the Western Courier. Prior to establishing his executive search firm, Paul held the position of Chemical Marketing Manager with Fisher Scientific Company, a division of Allied Chemical where he sold and marketed food and pharmaceutical grade chemicals. He currently lives with his fiancée in a small town along the Gulf Coast of Florida where he is working on his next book, a novel and coaches his children in soccer, one of his other passions in life.
Today I welcome Victoria Washuk, editor of World War II London Blitz Diary (A Woman's Revelations Enduring War and Marriage) (1939-1940). The World War II London Blitz Diary consists of four volumes.
VH: Hello Victoria, if you could go back in time to when you were seven years old, what wisdom or advice would you pass on to yourself?
VW: If I could be seven again, I would tell myself to stop worrying, things have a way of working out o.k. I would also tell myself that it is not important what people think about you, you do not have to follow the crowd. Be passionate, follow what you love. Be kind to others. Have confidence in your abilities and don't doubt yourself. Most of all have fun, enjoy every day and go for it.
VH: For what are you grateful?
VW: I am grateful for every opportunity I have been given. I love life and my husband and three daughters who are all very happy and successful. I am grateful for my parents allowing me to believe I could be or do anything I wanted. I have awesome friends. I am grateful to live in this country.
VH: After a difficult day what do you do to recuperate? Does it work?
VW: After a difficult day I come home, talk to who ever is around and then drink several glasses of wine! It works marvelously.
VH: I think you and my mother would get along wonderfully. She has been known to squeeze a grape or two as well.
Your series looks intriguing. Thank you Victoria.
Imagine yourself seeing hundreds of Messerschmitt war planes overhead and hearing the explosion of bombs being dropped around you. Wondering if this is the day one will fall on your house.
Ruby Side Thompson’s personal diary was written during the terrifying World War Two London Blitz. Her diary is a true and detailed account of what she experienced during that horrific time. The diary chronicles Ruby's struggle to survive in the midst of a horrendous war, where London is bombed nightly.
Ruby speaks candidly about her unhappiness enduring an unsatisfactory marriage. She was the mother of seven sons, two of whom were enlisted in the R.A.F. One of which became an amputee as the result of hitting a land mine and the other son was captured and sent to a concentration camp as a prisoner of war. Her tale is a mix of the commonplace and the historic as seen through her eyes.
The diary was an outlet for Ruby’s thoughts and feelings that could not be spoken out loud; however, in publishing the diary it gives readers an honest and unfiltered look back at a time that may have been long since forgotten.
Join Ruby on her trying journey as she tries to keep her life and family together during this difficult time in history.
This is volume one of a four volume series written by Ruby Alice Side Thompson.
Victoria Aldridge Washuk
*Great Granddaughter of Ruby Alice Thompson Side
*Received a B.A. in Psychology from Fairfield University
*Currently working in the financial services field
*Married and Mother of three daughters.
I inherited a set of 43 diaries that span from 1909 – 1969. They were given to my grandmother Ruth Ferris Thompson and she passed them down to me.
I started re-reading the World War ll journals and found them extremely worthy of note on many levels. I realized how little I knew about the events surrounding World War ll and what the Londoner’s in particular had to endure. These journals are a combination of the historical and the exceptionally personal.
I thought that others may also find them intriguing and started a blog. In doing so I received reactions from people from around the world and this inspired me to publish them in print and eBook for all to enjoy.
My guest today is Madison Johns, author of Armed and Outrageous: An Agnes Barton Mystery and Coffin Tales Season of Death.
VH: Hi Madison, I must say before we start that I love your name. Okay, let's get to it. For what are you grateful?
MJ: I'm grateful for my amazing family who I love so very much, even though I say some real crazy things sometimes. My schedule is just nuts! I'm grateful for everyone on Facebook, many of whom stop by every morning to say good morning back even though they are from Australia and it's nowhere near morning there. I'm thankful for all my writer friends who I chat with daily. I'm amazed at how talented you all are. If not for all the encouragement you give me I'd be nowhere today. I'm so very grateful and can never say thank you enough. When I started project smiles and toted on about being positive, I had no idea so many people would respond the way they have. I think smiles are very contagious, and of course, saying thank you goes a long way.
VH: What is the worst advice you have ever given someone? How did it work out?
MJ: I have told someone that was single that he or she would find the right person or told someone that was down things would get better. I think it sounds good, but it's not good advice for the person. I know now that is the worst thing you can say. When you're single and can't find the right person, you hate it when people say so sweetly, "You'll find the right person." You kinda want to choke them. They don't know how you feel, nobody knows how you really "feel," how can they? I found this out the hard way when I was single. Same thing goes with telling someone that is depressed or down that things will get better. What if they don't? There is nowhere to go from there. I have learned to listen more. Sometimes all a person really needs is for someone to listen to them, unless you can share similar feelings. I will encourage anyone to find something they really enjoy and focus on that, it works for other writers at least.
VH: Yes, I agree sometimes listening can go a long way.
Lastly and on a lighter note, if a zombie virus took over the world, how many days do you think you could last before you were infected? And what would you do to postpone the inevitable?
MJ: I work at a hospital, and I'm exposed to many contagious diseases already and have yet to catch a cold. The way I'm thinking is that I'm immune to a point unless I get bit, right? So I figure I'm not going anywhere near the hospital! Now that might sound bad to you, but that's the first place an outbreak will occur. Haven't you watched a zombie movie before? Hospital. Dead. I'm not going into any alleys either. Come to think about it I don't think we have any in town. I don't own a gun so I think I'll use cane or walker for protection, it sure works like a weapon at the nursing home I worked at.
VH: Canes and walkers are all fair game. I'll definitely take your advice about staying away from hospitals. It's been great fun Madison. Thank you.
Armed and Outrageous
Agnes Barton is not your typical senior citizen living in Tadium, MI, on the shores of Lake Huron. She drives a red hot Mustang, shops at Victoria's Secret, rankles local police officials, and has a knack for sticking her nose where it doesn't belong. What does a murder that happened forty-three years ago have to do with missing tourist Jennifer Martin? Agnes makes it her personal mission to find out, and she's not letting the fact she's seventy-two get in the way. Butting heads with Sheriff Clem Peterson is something she's accustomed to, but lately Clem seems to be acting even more strange, making Agnes wonder what he may be hiding ala the Martin disappearance. Agnes’ partner in crime, Eleanor Mason tags along, Watson to her Holmes. Together, they unearth clues. If only Eleanor would behave, as although lovable, she has a knack for getting into trouble by tangling with her rival, Dorothy Alton, or flirting with anyone—male or female—and gossiping! She's incorrigible, but she does carry a Pink Lady revolver in her purse, one that has proved useful at times. Life for Agnes and Eleanor are shaken up when Agnes' former boss and secret crush comes to Tadium. Before long, the lady sleuths have more on their hands to content with as goons roll into town and bullets begin to fly.
Coffin Tales Season of Death
Two twisted tales of terror!
Curiosity gets the better of Travis and Willie, and they can't help but want to know what creepy Old Man Johnson is doing this year. Fifty years ago four children disappeared, rumored, from the Johnson farm. Mr. Johnson always had the scariest Jack-o'-lanterns every year, and they can't help but wonder how he portrays the images so graphically.
Hanover, Illinois, had always been blessed with bountiful crops, but it also attracts hordes of crows. Hell Crow is a legend in this town, but as the equinox approaches—Bobby Sue scrambles to rally the towns people to help build a scarecrow before it's too late!
As a child, Madison Johns preferred to distance herself from other children her age, and had been described as a dreamer. Even as a small child, she remembers staying awake many a night fighting dragons, being whisked away to foreign lands, or meeting the man of her dreams, all in her mind of course.
Madison Johns is a self taught writer who started writing at the age of 44 for no apparent reason, as if it were preordained. She then pounded out a book a year for the next three years and published her first horror ebook, Coffin Tales Season of Death, which is a collection of two short stories on November 2011, and her first cozy mystery and novel, Armed and Outrageous, May 2012.
Her caring nature led her to the healthcare field where she was employed at a nursing home, and it was there that she was inspired to write her first cozy mystery, Armed and Outrageous.
"When the going gets tough, the tough get writing!" Madison Johns
"For me, writing is a joyful torture or sorts." ~vh~
“In this life, seek your own answers, and quote yourself for a change.” ~vh~
The muse has tapped my shoulder and my ear is turned toward her lips. I am waiting for her whisper. ~vh~
"The funny thing about life: more often than not it’s laughing at you rather than you laughing at it." ~vh~
"At some point there is a moment when you should give up. I’m here to tell you that today is not that day." ~vh~
“If you are afraid of the truth, never ask a young child a question.” ~vh~
“The frailty of life is most evident at its last breath.” vh
“Prove not to the world but to yourself that you are above your current circumstance.” ~vh~
"Don't be wishful when it comes to your dreams. Take aggressive action in your pursuit of them. Start now with a single step, no matter how insignificant it may feel." ~vh~
"Nothing is more powerful than an unwavering, unapologetic decision to BE." ~vh~
"Strive to be the light in an ever-darkening world. SHINE!" ~vh~
"Think big and then think small. That’s where the details live." ~vh~