Thursday, June 28, 2012

Check this out:
Read interview on Catherine MacDonald

Interview with Author Catherine MacDonald



1) Please tell us about what you like to write? List your websites, what you do and anything else you'd like our readers and writers to know about you. (Please list your accomplishments too).

I like to write stories about women who overcome odds, who look struggles squarely in the face and go forward. My own website is and my daily blog is where I illustrate my struggles with following the seven steps of The Way, which was a number one best seller on Amazon in July 2010. A former teacher for twenty-five years, I have taught everything from first grade to English 102 in college. I created the first novel writing course at Truckee Meadows Community College and taught the Artist Way. I was the former vice-president of the Romance Writers of Nevada, before we disbanded. I have a Masters Degree in Education, which has come in handy, as I own, operate, and manage (along with my husband) Sierra RV Super Center. I write my own radio commercials, and am known around the industry as the RV Lady.

2) Tell us about your new book, Seasons of the Vineyard.

Seasons of the Vineyard is about a woman coming home to herself, her family, and coming to terms with her past. Like all of us, Francesca has parts of her past she doesn't want to acknowledge, but life is funny. It puts them in our face, whether we want to deal with them or not. She must deal with the failing vineyard, her father's dementia, her old lover, and her teenage son. Francesca is a collector of famous quotes, and she gathers her daily strength from them. Francesca rediscovers that the rhythms of the vineyard are deeply restorative and she becomes convinced she wants to resurrect the vineyard and prove everyone wrong. She is willing to do just about anything to prove she can be a world-class vintner--even if that means sleeping with the bad boy of the Sonoma Valley. Of course this develops problems with Enrico, the foreman and her former lover. He abandons her and the besieged vineyard and she is left to fend for herself, but is determined to uncover the secret of the Zinfandel wine that once made the vineyard famous. This wine will allow her to become a renowned vintner, but the secret is buried with her mother. The progression of the book follows Francesca as she saves the vineyard, uncovers the secret of the Zinfandel, deals with the past, and comes to terms with her true love.

3) Do you have anything else in the works? Can you tell us about that?

Yes. I have been working on a book called The Divorce Ranch, set in Nevada in the 1930s. Not far from my house, are several former divorce ranches. Divorce was big business in Nevada in the 1930s and the time period fascinates me. I've also started thinking about a sequel to Seasons of the Vineyard: Bella Serrano, The Tale of the Zin. For the moment, it's marinating in my mind.

4) Can you tell us a bit about yourself? What are your interests and what do you do for fun?

My interests are varied. I love to hike. I practice yoga. I love to play in my art studio and of course I'm always reading. I own and operate my own business, and in my free time I love to spend with my family. I've been happily married for thirty-five years and I am the mother of two grown children. I have a wonderful son-in-law and two adorable grandchildren to which I am Nana.

5) I am excited about a possible sequel to Seasons of the Vineyard. I really enjoyed that book. The Divorce Ranch sounds fascinating. Can you tell us a bit more about it? Was the ranch for getting divorces?

The Divorce Ranch, set in the 30s, is set on a ranch where people did come and wait out their six weeks to obtain a divorce. Nevada passed a law in 1931 (I think) that required six weeks residency to obtain a divorce. This was during the depression, and was a huge boom for the economy. An entire cottage industry developed. Many famous people came from around the world to get a quickie divorce. In my novel, I have three main characters: an actress, a New York socialite, and a woman from San Francisco. The owner of the ranch accompanied women (and men) to the courthouse to inform the judge that the person was indeed in residency for the required six weeks.

6) What kind of challenges do you find in writing?

Time proves to be a challenge for me. In the slower season, I take writing Tuesdays when I don't leave the mountain and stay up there and write. Currently, it is prime season and writing takes more effort. I find I am more creative in the morning before the noise of the day gets me.

7) What do you find more difficult about the writing process? Characters? Dialogue? Setting? Etc.?

I know it might sound funny, but for me, I need a working title. My subconscious flows when the right cornerstone is in my mind. Then, the "shitty first draft" (Anne Lamott) is the next hurdle. Once I have a template, it's easier. I think of the first draft as the frame of the story. It changes from there.

8) What writing processes do you like the best?

Writing Processes: making the time to "sit". Which I interpret, is spend the time actually writing. Many people want to write. We all have "that story" inside us, but we need to take the time to write. Yep--that self-discipline. Thank God for the nuns!

9) Do you have a set formula you use? Outline?

No. I don't use a formula, although, the hero's journey, for me, has followed the story arch for some of my novels. Maybe I'm a three-act layperson, but Joseph Campbell's work has been a template.

10) What advice would you give a first time writer?

WRITE! Many years ago I told a person I wanted to be a writer and she suggested I carve out a half hour a day and start writing. At that point, and I was very young. I had two little kids, a full time teaching career, a husband and business, and I couldn't wrap my head around that profound statement. But several years later, I read The Artist's Way, by Julia Cameron, and I started writing. My life didn't change, but I changed.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Living Consciously In An Ego Driven Society by Karen Monteverdi

I just found a book that aligns with my thinking and I wanted to share it with you. There are a few of books out there that talk about this subject, but none so easy to understand, and simple to use. In writing Living Consciously In An Ego Driven Society, Karen Monteverdi, is offering a shortcut, a possibility… you won’t have to wait years to “get it”!

A life that you LOVE living.
A life that you can’t wait to get into each day.
A life that calls forth YOUR unique expression.

We dare to say "Healing by the medical community and alternative health practitioners, are missing bits and pieces." The effectiveness of the conventional health community has always been trial and error.

Karen Monteverdi sets the stage for a new way to look at health, a new way to express ourselves. We call the complex system the Total Holistic Integrated System, and we see it as a expression of how you experience life. You can change your mind, heart, spiritual awareness, become emotionally intelligent and improve your body awareness to create a positive experience of life, letting go of the distress.

Living Consciously in an Ego Driven Society is a guide to understand what that means, how different aspects of “Self” being expressed can affect our quality of life. When we live in ego, we may create unwanted symptoms in our mind/body/spirit and emotional body. The "Ego Driven Society" is a "Stress Full Society!"

What are stress driven illnesses?
(According to the AMA & Natural Healing Communities)

Individuals who have frequent moments of stress and do not take steps to manage their stress are prone to developing stress induced illnesses. Here are some stress-related diseases.

Physical Disorders Related to Stress
• Coronary
• Heart disease
• High blood pressure
• Heart attack
• Hypertension
• Diabetes
• Ulcers
• Allergies
• Asthma
• Rheumatism, arthritis
• Colitis
• Chronic bronchitis
• Sinus problems
• Sexual dysfunctions

Emotional Disorders Related to Stress

• Hyperactivity – Bi-Polar Disorders
• Depression – Social Disorders including Agoraphobia
• Suicide
• Violent anger – Irrational thinking
• Nervous System & Brain Disorders e.g. PTSD

And here's the best part, when you buy the book, you can download dozens of similar bonuses that will help you with your own growth. Enjoy!
Easy & excellent read with a powerful message - "Living Consiously In An Ego Driven Society" changed my life! RT
Easy & excellent read with a powerful message - "Living Consiously In An Ego Driven Society" changed my life! RT
You deserve a deeper understanding of yourself. Karen Monteverde tells you how in this book: RT
Guide yourself thru the resources that support awakening 2 your true nature by reading Karen Monteverdi's book: RT

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Stop Bullies - teach your kids about bullying while they are young!


I had to share this important book with you – hopefully it will save some of your children the pain of bullying or being bullied.

One day after major surgery, my friend Nadia Sahari was looking out her window and began to think of what to do during her six month recovery. There it was right in front of her face! She saw him - THE BULLY CAT. The title came instantly and the story began.

Star was a bully cat and he was mean to all the other cats in her yard. She pulled out the laptop and wrote the story as she lived it and as she saw it for the next six months. All the cats were her inspiration as well as the news on TV and in papers. She could not stand the idea of another child being bullied and then possibly committing suicide. Her heart broke each time and each time it caused a setback for her. She thought of the children and the animals that are so innocent and have no control over what happens to them. Something had to be done!

I knew her children’s book, THE BULLY CAT would definitely help younger children understand, learn and give them the teachings from an interesting cat story since all kids seem to love cats. She made it fun and colorful, too.

The statistics are alarming. According to the ASPCC each day an estimated 160,000 in the USA refuse to go to school because they dread the physical and verbal aggression of their peers. Many more attend school in a chronic state of anxiety and depression. It's reported that 6 out of 10 American youth witness bully at least once a day.

Buy this book for your own family or someone else, but spread the word and help stop this terrible trend. Thanks for your care and concern.
Give your little kids’ teachers this excellent book on bullying – The Bully Cat. RT Pls
Help your little kids learn how to handle bullying – it’s a big problem in schools nowadays. RT Pls

Wednesday, June 13, 2012



1) Please tell us about your and your book. What is the genre? What’s the book about? (If you have any websites of other links, please post them.)

Women Writing on Family:Teaching and Publishing
Editors: Carol Smallwood & Suzann Holland
Foreword: Supriya Bhatnagar, The Writer's Chronicle editor
Publisher: The Key Publishing House Inc. ISBN: 978-1-926780-13-9 26780132/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1321978679&sr=1
Release: February, 2012; Price: $27.99
Dimension: 6x9, 343 pp.

Book Review,

Women Writing on Family: Tips on Writing, Teaching and Publishing provides guidance and insight for women who write about family. Award winning women writers from all walks of life share their experiences in planning, composing, editing, publishing, teaching, and promoting work in a variety of writing genres. Readers will learn to tackle sensitive family issues and avoid pitfalls in memoir writing, poetry, fiction, and others. Filled with tips, exercises, and anecdotes, this anthology is appropriate for both well-seasoned writers and those just beginning.

2) I love that you wrote with women in mind. What challenges did you face? What did you learn?

There are so many talented women writers it was difficult to turn them away because of space limitations. Women have a lot of important things to share and do often find it very challenging to be published.

3) What challenges did you find in getting published? Did you find a publisher or self-publish? What do you prefer?

It took quite a few months to find a publisher. It ended up being accepted by a Canadian publisher in Toronto.

4) Do you have anything you’re working on at the moment?

I'm working on co-editing or editing various anthologies for librarians for Scarecrow Press and the American Library Association. I'm trying to get another anthology for women accepted but am not sure it will find a publisher.

5) I face lots of challenges as an editor. What would you say most writers seem to struggle with?

Getting their work accepted.

6) What is the most important element of writing, in your opinion?

You enjoy it.

7) I am always curious about the working surroundings of a writer. Could you describe that for us? What do you see from your working station?

It really is anywhere--that is, ideas can filter in at odd times away from a computer or paper.

8) Where do you get your inspirations? Who inspires you?

Opposites--things that don't match encourage the making of links.

9) How do you develop your characters?

Try and use people I've known.

10) Do you have any last comments or advice for all of us?

Trial and error--we learn the most from our mistakes!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Ann McCauley Interview, by Carol Smallwood

1. How did Runaway Grandma gain the seal of: Top 100 Book Club Choices?

It happened about 8 months after the book’s release and on its own momentum because several book clubs around the country were reading it at the same time. These book clubs used to record and rate the books they were reading. Of course, I’d done a considerable amount of marketing.

2. How is one nominated for the Foreword Book of the Year Award?

I placed an ad for Runaway Grandma in ForeWord, a literary magazine, they read the book and nominated it for Book of the Year in Women’s Issues, since it deals with elder financial abuse. Another very nice surprise!

3. When did you begin writing for publication?

I had done some freelance work for the local newspapers and a few church and nursing journals while still working as an RN. I stopped working full time in 2002. I’d been trying to write my first novel, Mother Love, for five years, in my spare time and had only completed 40 pages! It took me nine months of writing at least four to five hours a day, five days a week to complete the first draft.

4. What are you working on now?

Actually, I am in the end of preparing a revised edition of Mother Love. The ownership of the novel reverted back to me last year, but through a series of stressful errors I discovered I did not own the cover or the formatting, only the words! My grandson, a college art student, created my new cover which I like it much better than the old one anyway…and then after the reformatting was completed, I ended up doing major edits since my writing has improved considerably since the early days. Initially I only planned to make it available for ebooks but now it will be available online in paperback on B&N and Amazon in a few weeks.
I also have a collection of short stories, almost ready for a publisher and another novel in second draft stage.

5. I am really enjoying reading your novel, Mother Love. Can you tell us how it
came about?

I had the idea in my head for many years before it became a novel. I didn’t need a story outline because I’d worked out nearly everything in my head. I do not get bored, when I am in situations that hold little interest for me, I d simply tune out with a pleasant expression, nod my head occasionally when someone looks at me questioningly and plot my stories! As a young girl, I’d gone through a stage of wanting to be a missionary, and later a Peace Corps volunteer. When I read that Jimmy Carter’s mother was a Peace Corps volunteer…and slowly over the years it evolved.

6. Mother Love is 111,764 words. How did you manage keeping it such a page

I’m glad most of Mother Love’s readers felt it was a page turner; I tried to maintain a pace that would not allow the reader’s mind to drift away from my characters and their problems. Barbara, her parents, mother in-law, all had their foibles but it made them more real. Family was everything to them as it is to me.
Being the oldest of seven children, I especially enjoyed writing the parts of the sibling interactions because that’s kind of how it is. We all live in different parts of the U.S. and yet when there is a family crisis of any kind, even though we may not have spoken to each other in weeks or even months, we pull together, irritating and loving each other all at the same time!
One day my sister called while I was writing Mother Love, and asked, “How are the kids?”
I answered, “Do you mean the real ones or the ones from my book?”

7. What suggestions do you have for writers just starting out?

First of all, if a person wants to write, he/she must write! I have met many people since my books n have been published who say things like, “Oh I should/could write a book with everything that’s happened to me.”
Secondly, writers must be readers. Read all kind of books and a wide variety of authors. Also read books about writing.
Finally all writers need a support group of other writers. It may take some time to find the right one for you.

Carol Smallwood co-edited (Molly Peacock, foreword) Women on Poetry: Tips on Writing, Teaching and Publishing by Successful Women Poets (McFarland, 2012); Compartments: Poems on Nature, Femininity and Other Realms (Anaphora Literary Press, 2011) was nominated for the Pushcart. Women Writing on Family: Tips on Writing, Teaching and Publishing, (Key Publishing House, 2012) is her most recent book. Bringing Arts into the Library, (American Library Association) is forthcoming.

Photo Adventures in Cuba ~ Unlock Your Power of Positivity

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