Thursday, December 14, 2017

Interview with writer Ellen Wood about her memoir

Writer Ellen Wood is sitting under the spotlight today (not at all stressed out) to answer questions for me about her self-help, memoir, Joy! Joy! Joy! 7 Mind Body Spirit Self-Help Practices to Relieve Stress and Anxiety, Reverse Memory Loss and Live Happy.

Welcome, Ellen. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I live in Taos, New Mexico and I am an award-winning author, (she said blushingly) a columnist and inspirational speaker. Five years after watching my mother waste away with Alzheimer’s Disease, my own cognition and memory began a downward spiral (I have the Alzheimer’s gene, APO-e4). I was determined to do everything in my power to reverse aging, so I developed a program of mind/body/spirit techniques. That program proved so successful, I couldn’t keep it all to myself. I then published Think and Grow Young, the prizewinning book which lays the mental and spiritual foundation for rejuvenation and provides vital first steps. With my latest book, Joy! Joy! Joy!, I expanded my message to thriving in deep-rooted joy and happiness at any age and give a step-by-step action plan for all 7 practices for growing younger and living happy.

Please tell us about your current release.
Joy! Joy! Joy! is a detailed self-help guide for relieving stress, reversing memory loss, and living happy, seasoned with stories of how 7 easy Mind Body Spirit habits dramatically and permanently transformed my life. It is endorsed by four internationally-renowned M.D.s.

This book is not about stopping anti-depressants. It's about ending habitual emotional patterns that abuse the body and scar the soul; it’s about creating new life-affirming habits to grow younger and dissolve that lingering depression malaise: the blahs, the blues. It’s also about being filled with quiet joy for no reason.

What inspired you to write this book?
My mother died of Alzheimer’s and five years later, I began a downward spiral of cognitive decline, low energy and painful joints. After a “wake-up call” to change my life, I put together seven mind/body/spirit practices that evolved into a daily program that worked so incredibly well for me, I had to share it.

Excerpt from Joy! Joy! Joy! 7 Mind Body Spirit Self-Help Practices to Relieve Stress and Anxiety, Reverse Memory Loss and Live Happy:
It was five years after Mom died of that person-snatching disease [Alzheimer’s] that my own mind starting deteriorating. My short term memory became very fragile and my tongue kept tripping on words – if I could even find the word. I tried sneaking around it, not asking a question because I couldn’t remember if I had just asked it, and using bumper crops of sticky notes. But my attempts at hiding my muddled brain didn’t escape my kids. They noticed the difference in me and insisted I go to my doctor for testing.
            So I did. He sat across from me on a short stool and in his tender doctor voice asked, What year is it, Ellen? I thought he was kidding me so I laughed. He wasn’t – that was the first question on the standard Alzheimer’s test and the next one was, Who is President of the United States? Well, I wasn’t that bad so I aced the quiz. Because I had asked for the Alzheimer’s test, though, it went into my medical records. Then when I applied for long term care insurance, they turned me down. They’d found the Alzheimer’s test in my medical history and they weren’t taking any chances.
            It was the “wake-up call” I needed.
            Even though I had correctly answered the questions on the Alzheimer’s test, the slow deterioration of my mental function was very real to me and my family. And very scary! That triggered me to put all my “fight” into recapturing the clear, sharp mind of my younger years.

What exciting story are you working on next?
The Five Tibetan Rites – the RIGHT Way

A major part of my self-help program is a series of physical movements for growing younger called The Tibetan Rites of Rejuvenation, which will be a separate book. Also called The Five Tibetans, they were developed about 2500 years ago by lamas in Tibet and kept secret in monasteries for centuries because they were considered to be a path to higher consciousness and youthfulness, ONLY for the initiated.

The Tibetan Rites were introduced to the Western world by author Peter Kelder and first published in 1939 in a book titled, The Eye of Revelation, later renamed, The Ancient Secret of the Fountain of Youth.

I first learned about the Tibetan Rites in 2004 and have been practicing the Five Tibetans daily since then. My book will be based on a recently discovered manuscript of Kelder’s from the 1940s which gives additional details and information on the correct way to do the exercises. It was brought to light and edited by W.J. Watt in 2008. My experiences with The Five Tibetans and the way that I practice them will be emphasized in my next book.

To see how to do them, go to It’s the third video on my home page.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
As feature editor for my high school newspaper and one of the top students in a class of over 200 kids, I was thrilled when a university initiated scholarship talks so I could get a degree in journalism (my parents couldn’t afford to pay for college). And then I got pregnant! Scholarship talks ended, I had to leave school (the law changed in 1972 with Title IX), my mother went to work at the Five and Dime and sent me to secretarial school. The twists and turns of this story are in my book.

Do you write full-time? No. If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
For me, my daily practices are of primary importance (most of which take only one or two minutes a day, but my meditation in the morning is 20 minutes and in the evening is 15 minutes). I own and manage two vacation rentals in Taos, New Mexico, have a column in a newspaper and a magazine and I am also busy with speaking engagements. I’d like to say I have regular writing hours, but my writing time is more haphazard. Luckily, I don’t need a lot of sleep.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
My writing group is composed mostly of poets, whereas my writing is, well… quirky and usually funny. For example, for a writing prompt: METAMORPHOSIS, I wrote a story that started, “Sally met a morphosis last Sunday…”

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A nun or a movie star.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
In just minutes a day, by making these 7 mind/body/spirit practices into habits, it’s possible to change your life forever. If you’re stressed out and have the blues, and it seems like the whole world is going crazy, these habits can calm your mind and help you access inner peace and joy. If you are experiencing mild memory loss (and perhaps worrying about Alzheimer’s because a parent died of it), take heart: through these practices I was able to reverse early Alzheimer’s and overcome depression.

Joy Joy Joy site | Ellen’s site | How to Grow Younger site | Amazon

Thank you for joining me today, Ellen!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Interview with children's author J.R. Becker

Children’s author J.R. Becker is here today to talk about his newest book, one with a focus on science, called, Annabelle & Aiden: Worlds Within Us.

During his virtual book tour, J.R. will be awarding 2 personally-signed Annabelle & Aiden books, along with 3 limited-edition Annabelle & Aiden bookmarks (US ONLY) to a randomly drawn winner. To be entered to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit his other tour stops and enter there, too!

AUTHOR: J. R. holds a B.A. in Philosophy and a Juris Doctorate from Emory University School of Law. When he's not practicing entertainment law, playing drums, or enjoying the great outdoors, Joseph enjoys all the science and philosophy books and podcasts he can, pondering the bigger questions and dreaming up ideas for future children stories. (Got any? Send them in!)

After publishing his first (philosophical, dystopian) novel, The Spider & the Ant, and later becoming a father, Joseph was inspired to found the Annabelle & Aiden series to foster curiosity and scientific awareness in the next generation.

Joseph lives in New Jersey with his wife Leah, and two children, Annabelle & Aiden.

ILLUSTRATOR: Max lives in a small town just outside Venice, Italy. As an illustrator, she is proficient with multiple mediums (from physical to digital) and can draw in multiple styles, as seen in her portfolio below. Max is especially fond of cats, Game of Thrones, and Lindsey Stirling. After wandering the cosmos in search of the perfect illustrator, we're lucky to have found her, just on the other side of our blue planet. Check out Max's site HERE. See Max at work on her YouTube page HERE.

Welcome, Joseph. Please share a little bit about your current release.
This gorgeously-illustrated book takes children on an adventure through the earliest stages of our universe. “How did our universe form?" Annabelle wonders to Aiden. Luckily, the friendly Tardigrade Tom answers by taking the children on their biggest adventure yet! Soaring through space and time, they marvel at the big bang, and learn how each and every one of us is literally made of the same stardust. This book empowers children, who learn how we each hold a part of the universe inside us, and are far more special, interconnected, and 'larger' than we may think.

What inspired you to write this book?
My inspiration for this book, and in fact, the entire Annabelle & Aiden series, is to show children that our actual reality can be just as exciting as fiction, or more, and can help us change the world.

Excerpt from Annabelle & Aiden: Worlds Within Us:
Did you know you hold the strength of hydrogen bombs?
Or that there’s parts of different stars in each of your palms?

We’re made of pieces that used to be part
Of dinosaurs, Shakespeare, and Amelia Earhart.

So when you feel small, that you don't matter much,
Know stars are inside you, whole worlds you can touch.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I hope to write the very first children’s book that explores death from a scientific and humanist standpoint.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I very much took to writing in high school. I’m in love with the written word.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
Nope. I’m a civil rights attorney, and work with inmates at Riker’s Island. I write at night, and wish I had more time.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I need just the right music to write to. That may involve anything from Radiohead to Sigur Ros to Beethoven, depending on the night.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
An architect.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Annabelle & Aiden is a children's book series dedicated to inspiring a new generation of scientists, thinkers, and all-around adventurers. Our books are tailored to foster curiosity, wonder, critical thinking skills, and inspiration on the line where science and philosophy meet.

Thank you for being a guest on my blog!

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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Interview with young adult novelist Jocelyn Bly Karney

Welcome, Readers. My special guest today is YA author Jocelyn Bly Karney. She’s chatting with me about her new young adult fantasy, Priela.

Jocelyn Bly Karney, the author of Priela, has a background in finance working for Wells Fargo, TD Ameritrade, and AccessData, where she's always viewed her role as something of a fortuneteller. Although, when you use spreadsheets instead of a crystal ball and wear dark suits instead of a colorful headscarf, people take you far more seriously.

Jocelyn graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University and received her MBA from the Marshall School of Business at USC. She also has two strong, confident daughters and a husband who loosely inspired the character of Daniel, particularly that part about not being able to dance.

Welcome, Jocelyn. Please tell us about your current release.
Priela is the story of a teenaged girl who doesn't fit in at high school. Then one day she turns invisible, grows wings, and figures out she’s not even human, but a muse. She hopes to escape humanity and delve into the muse realm, but quickly discovers that she’s a misfit there too. How can Priela live her life being no one and nowhere? How can she hope to inspire others when she doesn’t even understand herself? Ultimately, her journey is a coming of age tale where Priela must reexamine everything she thought she knew in order to find her place in the world.

What inspired you to write this book?
With a background in finance, I’ve often been asked, "How do we teach young people about financial literacy?" The book, Priela, is my attempt to answer that question. The novel is young-adult fantasy fiction, but it also has an educational message that's woven throughout the story in what I hope is a subtle, nuanced way. Specifically, the goal of the book was to teach young people about the importance of education, the hazards of debt and unrestrained spending, and the notion that financial decisions made today can have an impact far into the future.

Back of book excerpt:
Priela had always had this heightened insight. She knew things about people she simply shouldn’t know, like their plans to ditch school, or to buy an essay online, or to cheat on a boyfriend. Her abilities went beyond empathy, beyond well-honed intuition, as if Priela could genuinely hear people’s thoughts and sense their emotions. She’d mostly succeeded in hiding her clairvoyance, but then she learned the truth about who she really was and everything changed.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve always loved writing and I’ve always written for pleasure, but it’s only recently that I’ve started to introduce myself as a writer.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I work full time in financial planning and analysis and I’m also a mom. But I can’t stop myself from writing. It’s the activity that I delve into whenever I’m having insomnia, or when I’m on a long airplane flight, or when I’m feeling overwhelmed and simply need an escape.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I like to color-code my fonts as I write. Green might mean, ‘this section needs editing,’ while purple might mean, ‘this section is in good shape.’ It’s a way for me to jump around a file and still keep track of my progress without having to write in a linear fashion.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be different things at different times – a gymnast, an actress, an architect, a writer. I definitely never saw myself working in finance, but today I’d encourage young people to consider it as a career path. It may not be glamorous, but you never know what you’ll enjoy until you give it a try.

Thank you for joining me today, Jocelyn.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Interview with writer Leslie Croxford

Writer Leslie Croxford joins me today to share a bit about Deep Sahara. The book is both a psychological novel, partly poetic in places, and an investigative story. Leslie considers this mixture a strength. The book needs suspense, as in increasingly finding the insects are deformed because of nuclear testing, and emotional resonance as in the quest for the protagonist’s father. Either without the other would impoverish the novel.

During his virtual book tour, Leslie will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit his other tour stops and enter there, too!

Leslie Croxford is a British author and Senior Vice-President of the British University in Egypt. Born in Alexandria, he obtained a doctorate in History from Cambridge University. He has written one novel, Soloman's Folly (Chatto & Windus), and is completing his third. He and his wife live in Cairo.

Welcome, Leslie. Please share a little bit about your current release.
In Deep Sahara, a man, recovering from a nervous breakdown provoked by the death of his wife, takes advice from a family friend and retreats to a monastery in the deep Sahara to sketch desert insects for a book.

Upon arrival, however, he comes upon an appalling crime: the murder of all the monks. Numb and exhausted, he declines a police chief’s urgent suggestion that he leave. Despite his shock, the desert seems to promise solace, a vast nullity against which he can take stock of himself and do his work.

Yet, over the following weeks and months, his solitude is broken by a succession of encounters, all strange but somehow connected to him. Each appears to conceal some kind of secret. Even the insects he has come to study are mysteriously deformed, embodying an awful, hidden reality…

The man is forced to confront the echoes of one of the darkest moments in modern history, and to come to terms with the deepest mysteries of his own past.

Deep Sahara is a suspenseful exploration of one man’s emotional resurgence, rendered sparingly with great physical and psychological precision.

What inspired you to write this book?
I’d long had in mind some kind of a story about a monastery, because I knew some monks personally and used, as a student, to stay in monasteries as if they were YMCAs offering cheap holidays. Then in the 1990s I heard about the murder of monks in Algeria. And from that point on I had atmosphere, setting and the starting point for my plot.

Excerpt from Deep Sahara:
The main character lives in Rome and the novel starts as follows:

The front door has just closed. I’m finally alone in the apartment, using this morning’s stillness to begin the account I’ve been wanting to write for days. It’s a letter to myself after the battering I’ve received from the media – not to mention the anonymous death threats – for attacking the so-called “pillars of society”.

I need to sift through all that happened at the end of the world, coming back to me now like some dream. For the Sahara’s a place of mirages you can actually photograph: palm trees, oases, expanses of cool water, silent cities – there, but unreal. Conjuring up the past, I want to reassure myself that all I have claimed to have found among those shifting sands, on returning here to Rome, far from being the figment of my imagination critics allege, is actually the case: that the experience of unearthing – of understanding – what I have revealed has made me into a new person.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I have almost finished another novel about an English historian revisiting a Spanish pueblo where Albert Speer’s driver had convalesced after decades in Russia as a POW. He has an affair with the driver’s ex-lover, drawing him into an unexpected review of Speer, himself and of the nature of history.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I saw the film of TREASURE ISLAND at the age of 5 I wondered how movies were made. I was told they were based on books. As a result, I thought of myself in terms of film, as an actor but also as a writer of stories.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I am a university administrator, currently Senior Vice-President of the British University in Egypt. So, I have had to use every spare minute for my writing. This has made the development of novels longer than they’d be if I were a full-time writer, but it does make me ponder themes and characters more deeply than I might otherwise do.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I like to write as soon as I get up, in pyjamas, over breakfast. My wife doesn’t appreciate this since she enjoys breakfast and would like us to have it together. Apart from that, I read over my paragraphs repeatedly to make sure that they flow. And I follow the advice that no reader should have to read a sentence twice.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
As I say above I was first fascinated by film, but this was a mixture of wanting to be an actor and inventor of stories.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I feel I am influenced by film. If I can’t see a scene in my mind’s eye, I don’t consider it successful.

Buy link | Amazon UK

Thank you for being a guest on my blog!

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Friday, December 8, 2017

Interview with dark fantasy author Konn Lavery

Novelist Konn Lavery is my special guest today. We’re chatting about his dark fantasy book, Dream, the second in a series.

Konn Lavery is a Canadian horror and dark fantasy writer who is known for his Mental Damnation series. The second book, Dream, reached the Edmonton Journal’s top five selling fictional books list. He started writing fantasy stories at a very young age while being home schooled. It wasn’t until graduating college that he began professionally pursuing his work with his first release, Reality. Since then he has continued to write works of fiction ranging from fantasy to horror.

His literary work is done in the long hours of the night. By day, Konn runs his own graphic design and website development business under the title Reveal Design ( These skills have been transcribed into the formatting and artwork found within his publications supporting his fascination of transmedia storytelling.

Welcome, Konn. Please tell us about your current release.
The latest release is part two of the dark fantasy series, Mental Damnation. It is titled Dream, which continues the reptilian, Krista's journey while she deals with the nightmare-enhancing disease. She begins to experience the dreamworld known as Dreadweave Pass, a realm of the dead, during her sleep. While dealing with this disease's illusions, a human doctor is trying to help cure her of the disease. Mental Damnation is an obsession of his.

The timeline of book two has the first several chapters happen before book one, Reality which provides some insight into the events of book one. It also explores Krista's close friend Darkwing, who tries to find her after her mysterious disappearance in Reality.

What inspired you to write this book?
This book has been a long process (since 2006 actually) and has had many inspirations throughout the years. The current release, and Reality back in the spring are technically second and final editions of the series. The inspiration throughout the years has varied from when I used to play video games (RPGs) and read fantasy novels. I've also had a lot of inspiration from Clive Barker's work.

Excerpt from Dream:
The loud crack of a leather whip echoed throughout the red sandy streets. The noise muffled out the other surrounding groans, chiseling stone, and footsteps with its strident sound. The leather material lashed down onto the bare, charcoal-scaled back of a bony humanoid, splitting the scales aside and exposing black blood that oozed down the spine.

The humanoid hissed, flickering his tongue as his tail perked straight up reflexively to the sudden strike of pain. He dropped his chisel and hammer from the impact and glanced back to see the attack came from a well-built reptilian draped in gunmetal armour from head to toe. The assailant’s scowling face could be seen under his helmet; its metal frame formed two horns that extended past the jawline. A third point arched over the head and past the back of the skull. His armour had a glimmer from the distant molten lava that projected light onto the otherwise black environment, creating a sight orange hue over the scene. The armoured being raised his whip to the dark sky, ready to strike again.

“Work faster, scum!” he shouted with a scowl on his face. The mesmerizing red, smokeless flame that surrounded his eyeballs flickered rapidly, highlighting his grey skin. “You’ve been dragging your scaly ass around all day. This district won’t build itself. Put your back into it.” He lashed the whip again, striking the poor being in the outer thigh and collapsing him to his knees, limbs shaking.
The being let out a yelp as he fell, glancing around to see the other ‘scum’ around him work faster and avoid eye contact with him. “Please!” he cried. “No more.”

“Put some effort into your work and we won’t have an issue,” the armoured reptilian hissed while marching down the row of dirt-covered reptiles.
About a dozen workers were lined up along a clay wall, each one using their own chisel and hammer. They carved away at the rock, forming simplistic shape-based designs on the exterior of an incomplete building; planks of wood were still being nailed together above, creating the frame of a roof.

“Damn Renascence Guard,” the whipped reptilian muttered to himself while retrieving his tools with one hand. He used his other hand to brush his black scalp-feathers from his face.

Beside him, a young girl—also a reptilian—kept her head lowered while ignoring the scene and working quietly. Her long black and blue scalp-feathers draped down past her bare shoulders, hiding her face.

“They are supposed to help us regain order after our banishment by the humans. Instead they behave the same. Seem like a bunch of hypocrites if you ask me,” the whipped reptilian continued to complain.

The girl swallowed heavily and kept her focus on the task of carving her portion of the building’s exterior design. She chiseled faster with the tools, raising some dust in front of her face.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I am in the process of finishing a thriller novel that is unrelated to the fantasy series. It is a standalone book that early readers have said is a cross between Marvel's The Punisher and Frank Miller's Sin City. This is projected to be out in early 2018.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I've always had a fascination with telling stories. I've tried many forms while growing up from comics, to video games, cartoons and even board games. I found that I got caught up in the technicalities of the medium and could not focus on the story. Eventually I began writing short fantasy stories for my games and they broadened into novels.

Professionally I started in 2011 and had my first release in 2012 (the first edition of Reality) and have continued to write new work ever since.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
Writing is full time hours if that counts! Unfortunately, it doesn't pay the bills, yet. I also run my own home-based business as a graphic designer and website developer. It is pretty time consuming as well but is another passion I have. This skill set has allowed me to create the book covers, branding and marketing materials used to promote the books.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I tent to write sentences backwards, even if they still work. Often these get corrected in the editing phase but sometimes they slip through into the final manuscript. This quirk is seen more often in my emails since they are sent out on a more regular basis.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a writer when I was twelve. Before that I wanted to make cartoons. I quite enjoy animation but found it to be very time consuming and I didn't want to invest the hours needed to become proficient at it.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
If you are interested in checking out the Mental Damnation series, check out the book pages on my website where you can explore the graphic-based illustrations I have done to accompany the books.

Or if you are a writer, my site has frequent blog posts about writing. It offers tips and ideas to improve the writing process.


Thank you for joining me today.
Thank you for having me! It's been a pleasure.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Interview with non-fiction writer Paul Cummings

My special author guest today is Paul Cummings. We’re talking about his new business, non-fiction book, It All Matters.

Enthusiastic. Driven. Intense. Paul Cummings has been educating business professionals for over thirty-five years and has developed revolutionary techniques in sales, customer service, and leadership development. Filled with the desire to not only teach but to also make a lasting difference, Paul is well-known for teaching his students and clients with unrivaled zeal and unmatched passion as he enthusiastically lives out his business motto, changing lives through dynamic instruction. A thirteen-time winner of the Telly Award and five-time winner of the Communicator Award, Paul’s ultimate desire is to tangibly and exponentially improve both personal and professional performance.

He has continued to revolutionize the way that people and businesses learn and improve by making it simple, affordable, fun, and efficient. In 2009, Paul developed Woople, a web-based learning system that delivers a variety of online training programs, including his very own, Paul Cummings University. PCU is an award winning, cutting-edge sales training program that is used daily by thousands of students.

Through dynamic live events and impactful eLearning videos, Paul Cummings has been instructing business professionals, leaders, managers, as well as today’s youth, for over 35 years. His desire is to teach and inspire every student and client to not only increase their personal capacity to learn and grow, but to also make a difference with their lives.

Fueled by his vision for lifelong learning and education, Paul also created TechTown in 2014 to engage the underserved youth in his hometown of Chattanooga, in science and technology summer camps and year-round after school programs. He is the proud father of five adult children, who have blessed him with eight wonderful and amazing grandkids. Paul’s personal mission is to always leave it better than he found it because he truly understands and firmly believes that It All Matters.

Please tell us about your current release.
How can you live a life of real intention and purpose instead of duty and obligation? It All Matters offers one hundred and twenty-five life-changing strategies to inspire you and help you to develop your skill sets, build more knowledge, improve your attitude, and develop work habits that truly pay off. When you read It All Matters, you join Paul Cummings, an award-winning worldwide public speaker and trainer as your personal coach. He’ll ask you questions that challenge you to find your "It"...inspire you to define your "All"... and encourage you to begin your journey towards greatness so that you can determine what truly “Matters.”

What inspired you to write this book?
My grandfather told me at a very young age that “It All Matters” and it lead me on a journey to define what was my “It” and what was my “All” and to truly be able to define what it was that “Mattered” to me. So that is where the title of the book came from. I was inspired to write the book from all the people that I met when I was traveling and speaking around the world that needed help finding their own “it” and their own “all” as well as help defining what “mattered” to them personally so that they could live the life that they were created to live.

Excerpt from It All Matters:
The key to It All Matters is the unique process that I help people discover called U.B.U. It stands for “Understand who you are”, “Be true to yourself”, and “Always Stay Unique”. The U.B.U is a proven approach that has been successfully implemented by professionals across the globe.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I continue to write every day and I am currently working on another book called Leave No Doubt. It’s about how leaders leave an evidence trail behind them that “leaves no doubt” in the people that they meet and that are around them, about who they are, what they stand for and what they believe.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write? I write a lot early in the morning, as I like the creative spark that it brings into my day. I have written all of my own training material over the last 35 years, so in that sense, I do write “full time”, but I also do a lot of speaking and training as well on the topics of the things that I am writing about.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
My most interesting quirk is that I write everything on my phone. I actually type it out in on a program called wordsmith on my phone, which I know, is kind of strange, but it is actually true.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I was really into sports when I was a child and I received so much great advice from all the amazing coaches that I had throughout my childhood, that I truly hoped to maybe do something in sports one day. However, after an injury in high school, that ended and I got into sales and eventually into sales training and then into leadership training and executive coaching. However, I see myself as a more of a “teacher” and a “coach” with my clients. I was greatly impacted by the many teachers in my childhood as well and I have so much respect for teachers in general, that I am truly humbled when I am referred to as a “teacher” or a “coach” by my clients.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
One fun fact about me, that many people don’t know, is that I also love to paint. I’ve even had a few of my paintings sold in galleries, in fact. I find that writing and painting both spark my creative juices flowing and they kind of work hand-in-hand to really get me creative side going.

Website | Twitter | Facebook 

Thanks for being here today, Paul.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Interview with writer Charles Denyer

Writer Charles Denyer joins me today. We’re chatting about his political history non-fiction book, Number One Observatory Circle, the Home of the Vice President of the United States.

Charles Denyer is a federal cybersecurity and national security expert, and a noted vice-presidential historian. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin, along with a Master of Information Systems from The Johns Hopkins University, and a Master of Nuclear Engineering from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. He lives in Atlanta with his wife, three children, and their happy crew of dogs.

Professionally, Charles specializes in a wide variety of security and compliance initiatives, such as FISMA, DFARS, 10 CFR Part 810 National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) compliance, FIPS, FERC, NERC, U.S. National Security Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP), CMSR | SSP, GLBA, FFIEC, NIST SP 800, HIPAA, ISO 27000 series, payments industry, and more.

He is also actively involved in numerous professional associations and organizations for a wide range of industries and business sectors, such as the American Nuclear Society (ANS), ISACA, and the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA), just to name a few. Expertise includes information security, cyber security, national security and homeland defense, and conducts independent research projects on specific subject matter for various entities.
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Welcome, Charles. Please tell us about your current release.
It’s the first ever publication written on the home of the Vice President of the United States of America.

Built in 1893, the handsome and stately Queen Anne-style home is surrounded by a forest-like setting, complete with lush greenery, wildlife, and the serene sounds of nature, yet sits just footsteps away from the bustling traffic on Massachusetts Avenue.

From never-before-seen photos to candid conversations with former Vice Presidents, family members, political power players of their time and others - Charles Denyer brings to life untold stories and memorable moments of the three-story, green-shuttered mansion covered in layers of off-white paint and the people who were privileged to call it home.

What inspired you to write this book?
I was just outside of the Pentagon on 9/11 and as I walked back to my apartment, I passed by this beautiful home and was adamant I learn all I could. When no book was present, I decided to author one.

Excerpt from Number One Observatory Circle, the Home of the Vice President of the United States:
Former Vice President Walter F. Mondale chuckled as he spoke about kids foolishly attempting to jump the fence onto the grounds of the residence, only to find themselves spread-eagled on the ground by a cadre of Secret Service agents. “It didn’t work out for them, and I’ll bet you they didn’t know what hit them . . . it was not what they planned on,” laughed Mondale in reference to a party William had thrown one evening.

What exciting story are you working on next?
A book on Camp David.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
In high school.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
No, just part-time, as I work in national security and cybersecurity.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I only write 250 words at a time!

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Police officer.

I appreciate your time today, thanks for stopping by!