Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Our interview with Jonathan and David Bennett!

 Jonathan                                                                                                  David

                                                        Be Popular Now!

 It was our greatest pleasure to be contacted by Jonathan and David to interview them! They are twin brothers who have taken this journey together to write this book. They are both teachers and enjoy helping others! It is with great pleasure that I introduce you to Jonathan and David!

1.    What was the driving force that started you and your brother David on the journey to write this book that would help others?  


We had both gotten into some serious ruts around the time we hit thirty years old. And, we both decided we had to break out. We began to research positive affirmations and explored the science behind them. Then, we started thinking about what really drove us as individuals, trying to find our core essence. We discovered that our calling in life was really to bless others and make their lives better. We did this by being attractive to them: making them laugh, listening to them, meeting their needs, etc. And, being attractive to lots of people is...popularity! Our lives completely changed. It was like an awakening (for lack of a better term).


2.    As far as the writing goes who does what in the writing of the story? Are you two organized or do you write as you go?

One of us typically does the actual writing of the entire book. In the case of Be Popular, Jonathan was the primary writer. Yet, we both give creative input, feedback, and help with editing. We share the credit because we came up with the foundational ideas as a team anyway.


3.    How much time and research was spent in the writing of this book?

We spent around two years researching the techniques in the book. Basically, we looked at the scientific theory behind attraction, mainly by studying evolutionary biology and brain science. Yes, attraction is actually grounded in science! While humans “being human” can always throw a wrench in any conventional system, we feel our research has allowed us to speak in generalities about what men and women find attractive. It also allows us to help those who aren’t coming across as attractive, but who want to meet somebody special.  

4.    Who is your favorite author and how did they inspire you to write?

David and I (Jonathan) really like David Hawkins and Richard Bandler. They aren’t the most mainstream, but they both taught me some major lessons. Hawkins in his book “Power Vs. Force” really helped me discover what constituted the genuine power of individuals like Mother Teresa, what helped them change the world. Bandler, the co-founder of neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), taught me a lot about words and how to influence others. Popularity is ultimately about influence using words.

5.    It’s easy to see that you have a passion for writing but is there any part of it you don’t like?


We both enjoy writing when we’re in the flow with good ideas and helpful stories. However, there are times when it just seems difficult to express what is really in our heads. That can be frustrating. Usually it works itself out because of our teamwork: we discuss it and find a solution.


6.    Do you make time to read and if you do what are you reading right now?


Reading is very important to us and, in spite of being very busy, we still read frequently. We’re both reading Hermann Hesse’s Steppenwolf and Siddhartha right now. Those are some amazing books. They’re not just entertaining, but life changing. Hesse, we believe, really “gets” the nature of life.


7.    How did you come up with the idea to write this book?  Is there personal life experience in the writing?


Since we had our “awakening” a few years ago, we realized how much more fun and amazing life had become. And, we’d spread this joy to the world. We’d literally walk into a coffee shop for five minutes and leave with two new friends. We were making people laugh and creating a sense of fun and meaning wherever we went. We had such fun, we believed we needed to share these tips with the world, so that every guy could benefit. We believe these tips make men better, which, in turn, makes those around them better: wife, kids, friends, community, and culture.


8.    Your book has been published with Theta Hill Press, a company you and David started, and is available on Amazon; Does this mean you see the publishing industry headed this way?

We decided to start our own publishing company for a couple of reasons. First, we knew that in the current climate, first time writers pretty much do their own promotion, but still make a small cut of the profits. We figured we might as well do all the work and make more of the cut. Plus, we wanted to have some control. We started a publishing company because we are already business partners and think in those terms. So, we saw it as the logical step.

I don’t necessarily think the industry is heading in this direction, but I think it would be a good thing if it did. There are a lot of great books that would never have made it to print if not for self-publishing. It’s great those stories and ideas have made it to the world. Amazon has democratized the publishing process. While that’s led to a lot of bad books, it’s also led to some gems that never would’ve seen the light of day at a traditional publisher.


9.    Do you have any online sites where others can read more of your writings?

Our main sites are http://thepopularman.com/and http://thepopularteen.com/ and they are great examples of our writing.

10.Do you have any more stories in the works? What kinds of stories do you plan to write next?

We are releasing a teen popularity book around June. It’s focused on helping young people with confidence. As teachers, we both saw the dynamics of popularity, success (or lack of it), and bullying. We hope to help teens gain confidence, stand up to bullies, and lay a foundation for adult success. We think our book will be the answer to the problems of frustrated teens and their equally frustrated parents. We are also in the early stages of producing a book specifically focused on romantic attraction, dating, and relationships; David is working as the primary author on that one.

11.Who would be your first choice to play narrator of your book if it were ever to become a documentary?


I (Jonathan) think Morgan Freeman. I like him as an actor and I think he has the perfect voice.


12.If you could meet anyone from any time who would it be and what would be your first question?

I (Jonathan) would love to meet Alexander the Great, the young man who conquered most of his known world by the age of 33. I would hope to pick his brain to learn about charisma and leadership.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Blog Tour Linda Bolton Interview three

Welcome Linda Bolton! Please tell us the title of your newest release?

·       Take 2


I hear it’s a good time to pick it up because it’s on sale for the next couple of weeks. Where can we go to read a preview?

·       You can find my book, Take 2 on Amazon and there is a preview there for readers to take a peek. http://www.amazon.com/Take-2-ebook/dp/B00ATPVW2Q


Do you have any books in the works?

·       Yes, I have a few – The next one after Take 2, not sure of the title yet, is about Tristen Bane. He’s a minor character in Take 2.


·       I have four more contemporary stories in the works, 2 erotica (under Addison Murray) and a memoire. (so far…)


When you read, what is your favorite genre?

·       I love historical romance, specifically men in kilts! But I read a lot of different genre, things people recommend. If it’s good I’ll read it.


Do you have any hobbies? What do you like to do in your free time?

·       I spend time with my baby granddaughter, I love to cook and I used to scrapebook quite a bit. I’d love to travel but I don’t have much time for that these days.


If you would have time travel abilities and could meet anyone from any time, who would you like to meet?

·       I think I would like to travel into the future and visit my granddaughter when she’s in her 70’s. I’d love to know what memories she has of me, if I made an impact, if she felt the love I had for her.


What is your all time favorite movie?

·       I have a few…How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, What a Girl Wants, Titanic, Sweet Home Alabama and Legally Blonde


 Are there any specific authors that you admire?

·       I admire any author that can publish four or more books a year. I’d love to be able to do that.


If there was one author you could meet with and learn from, who would that be?

·       Shakespeare – I would love to sit down and find out how he ticked.


What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

·       Keep writing, research, research, write and don’t be afraid to seek advice!


Are there any tips you could give that you learned along your path of picking up the pen to having a published novel?

·       Keep writing, research, research, write and don’t be afraid to seek advice! Meet as many authors as you can and ask them about writing and publishing. Check out publishers’ websites, google everything! Learn about the process of getting published as well as how to improve your writing. Get a thick skin, you can’t please everyone, but learn from those with critiques. Always keep learning!


Do you plan on being a full time writer, or do you have other career plans?

·       I’d love to write full time but right now I work 50 hours a week and write very part time.


How long have you been writing?

·       I started writing poetry in high school but didn’t start writing novels until my late 40’s.


Do you prefer Ebook, paperback, or hardcover?

·       I used to prefer paperback, ebooks are growing on me. I like that I can carry multiple books around with me without all the extra weight. And I will be sad when physical books are a thing of the past, we know it’s coming, because I love the smell of old books at a used bookstore.


Do you have any writing rituals like a particular treat, good luck charm, etc?

·       I like to sit on my chase. No music, no noise. Just listening to the voices in my head speak to me.


Do you have a set writing schedule or do you write when the fancy hits you?

·       When I can fit it in. Working 50 hours a week and a few social obligations, I write around all that.


When you aren’t writing, what would we find you doing?

·       Working, working out, playing with my granddaughter, hanging out with my friends.


Is music part of your writing process? If so, what do you listen to?

·       I love music at every other time except when I’m writing.


Is your glass half full or half empty?

·       Always half full. I am a very positive person and can usually find the good in everyone, the rainbow at the end of the storm, a bright spot in a dark moment.


Thank you for taking time out to speak with my readers today. Is there a way they can stay connected with you online?

·        Sure! They can find my book Take 2 on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Take-2-ebook/dp/B00ATPVW2Q

·       I also have posted a few excepts on my blog – http://lindabolton.blogspot.com


·       And, of course, you can always find me on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/lindaboltonauthor


And there you have it folks, a little background about one of my favorite people and a great author, Linda Bolton! Feel free to post a comment or question for Linda below.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Our Interview with Kathleen Brandt and Max Maddox!

Walks on the Margins

A mother watches her son crush his painting and leave the remains under a “No Passing” sign along an empty highway to Iowa. For her, Max’s canvas, a reminder of her son’s promise becomes one more abandoned souvenir along the footpath of bipolar disorder. In Walks on the Margins, mother and son weave two narratives into a single powerful story of the illness once known as Manic Depression.

It’s the whiz kid and his vexed mother. His emotional unrest and her gentle compassion. She strives to piece together a semblance of her son as he takes another frenzied walk through the corridors of mania and is then paralyzed by depression. The two struggle to decode an enigmatic disease in a world beset by institutional failure. Down the twisted road to emancipation from the powerful forces looming over severe mental illness, they confront the new unknowns of their lives and find hope in recovery.

Kathy writes the Hannah Sampson Underwater Investigation Series (Swimming with the Dead, Dark Water Dive, Dangerous Depths, and Under Pressure), which were recently released as ebooks. She is also the author of Walks on the Margins: A Story of Bipolar Illness, co-written with her son, Max Maddox. The book was a finalist for the Iowa Review Award in Non-Fiction. Kathy was on the Board of Directors of the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Colorado Springs (NAMI) for six years and served as President. She is currently the NAMI-CS liaison to the Mental Health Court in Colorado Springs. She received the 2012 National Member of the Year Award for her outstanding service to NAMI. Kathy has a B.A. in English and an M.A. in Rhetoric and taught writing at the University of Colorado for ten years.

What was the driving force that prompted you to write this book “Walks on the Margins”?

 After my son, Max, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when he was twenty and in college, I struggled to help him and keep my family functioning.   Eventually I became active in advocacy for those with mental illness and became the President of the Board of the local affiliate of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness). As a writer, my advocacy inevitably involved writing about the issues.  And I wanted to tell Max’s story so that people would understand the difficulties of having mental illness and that recovery is possible.  But I wouldn’t do it without Max.  Though reliving the years of illness would be painful, Max agreed to write the book with me. The result is a memoir about our joint and separate struggles with bipolar disorder titled, Walks on the Margins: A Story of Bipolar Illness.

Writing the book brought us together in ways I never imagined and it helped us make sense of the years of chaos.  We have succeeded in telling an honest though often painful story that ends with the understanding that mental illness is a life time deal but that redemption and recovery are possible.  We hope that others with mental illness and their families will find comfort in the book will realize they aren’t as alone as they thought.  We also hope that we have succeeded in breaking down the barriers of stigma and made human and understandable an illness that so many fear or even demonize. 

This was a difficult book for both of us. We dredged up memories that we would have sooner left buried.  We wrote things that we’d rather have left unsaid, worried that our words would hurt one another and knowing we that we were revealing our most innermost fears and embarrassments.  I worry about the risks, especially for Max, because he is exposing his illness to the world, but it’s something he wants to do.  Like me, he’s become an advocate.

I have to say that this is the hardest book I have ever written, but the most important.

How did it work for you and your son to collaborate on the memoir? 

When we started, Max and I wrote our segments independently, knowing it was important to just get our own memories and emotions down.  At the time, he was living in Philadelphia and I in Colorado, so we began emailing our material back and forth and talking on the phone for hours.  Soon I began flying to Philadelphia for long weekends or Max flew to Colorado.  At one point we house sat for a friend with a beautiful house near the Garden of the Gods in Manitou Springs.  We spent a week there in isolated retreat working on the book.  That week was intense.  Tears were shed as we talked about our experiences during Max’s episodes.  Collaborative writing can be very difficult, but we have been a good team and as I said earlier, writing the book has brought us much closer.  We’ve come to understand how each of us was struggling during crises of illness.  It probably helped that we are bound together as mother and son and love each other very much. 

Are you an organized writer? Do you do things like take notes and make lists of characters?  Or do you free write and work it out as you go?

When my son and I decided to write, Walks on the Margins, I’d been keeping a journal of our struggles with mental illness for years so the material was at my fingertips.  The challenge was to turn it into a memoir, know what to include, what to leave out, and to make the narrative come alive.  We knew the material and how the book would proceed, so we didn’t outline before drafting. However, we did outline the book afterwards to get a complete picture of what we’d done.  Then we did a lot of restructuring and rewriting, cutting material, and working on the story arc.

When I write my Hannah Sampson Underwater Investigation mysteries, I start by doing some general research and plotting.  I simply can’t outline my fiction because about a quarter of the way through, I don’t know what happens next.   Instead, I do time lines and character descriptions and diagrams of the story arc. Then I write the entire book.   I find comfort in Anne Lamont’s statement that everyone deserves the luxury of writing “shitty first drafts.”  Mine definitely fit that category.  But it happens that I love the rewriting process.  My first draft is my chance to discover meaning—what it is that I really want this book to be about.  When I have a story—a beginning, middle, and end—I revise and revise.  I move scenes, drop characters, cut, paste, add, subtract and then I toy with prose. 

What is your normal writing day like? Do you write when you are inspired or do you have a schedule?

I plant myself down in front of my computer and write.  When I’m engaged in a project and especially when I have deadlines, I write–four or five hours, five days a week.  Often that can turn into eight when things are going well.  I’ve learned to protect my time and space.  Since I write full-time, I conduct my day like a nine- to-five job.  I take a cup of coffee to my office, spend an hour responding to email, then work until noon when I take a lunch break.  Then I’m back at it until three or four.  I do have the luxury of isolation. I live on seven acres down a long gravel driveway in the Colorado Mountains, so I’m seldom interrupted.

Who is your favorite author and how did they inspire you to write?  

There are so many authors I love that it’s hard to choose a favorite.  But there are two very different authors who have influenced me.  One is Carolyn Keene, who really isn’t one author at all but a series of authors who wrote the Nancy Drew books over the years.  I read every one when I was a kid and developed my love for mysteries – thus my mystery series. 

On the other end of the spectrum is Joseph Campbell.  His book, The Hero with A Thousand Faces, is a classic study of the function of myth in societies and cultures and a wonderful account of the story arc (the hero’s journey) that is part of all myth.  It’s turns out to be an excellent roadmap for the storyteller.

It’s easy to see that you have a passion for writing but is there any part of it you don’t like?

Writing is very hard.  I get stuck.  I agonize.  I question.  I wonder if it’s good enough, if I’m good enough. Sometimes I have to enlist every ounce of will power to avoid looking for something, anything, more satisfying.  Even cleaning the toilet sounds appealing.  But I just keep going.  I know better than to think that I can wait for inspiration.  I’ve spent many hours looking a blank computer screen, but I know if I get out of the chair, the book will never get done.  It can be painful. The good days keep me going, the days I peck out a word that turns to a sentence that turns to a page, the times my characters take on lives of their own and decide events for me. I guess that’s what people mean by inspiration but for me it can’t happen unless I’m actually writing.  Some writers call it “being in the zone.”

I see you have several books out with one being a memoir; in the other books are there any personal experiences in the others?

Those are the Hannah Sampson diving mysteries.  It’s funny how personal experiences creep into my mysteries.  I love it when that happens because the memories are vivid and I can translate those visual images into the books, such as in scenes of Hannah diving, what she sees under the water, storms my husband I weathered out on our sailboat, people I know.  Many of the island characters are based on the local people I’ve met.

Your books have been published with Penguin, do you see the tried and true staying around or do you see publishing going to the new way?

Penguin was a wonderful publisher to work with.  However, after talking with other writers  and doing considerable research, my son and I set up Monkshood Press to publish our memoir, Walks on the Margins, both as an e-book and a trade paperback.  As indie authors we will receive higher royalties—65-70 percent for the e-book, a bit less for the trade paperback, while royalties from traditionally published books usually run around eight percent.  Self-publishing also eliminates the middle people (publishers, agents) and gives the author full control—from book cover to pricing.   Promotion falls to the author whether you are traditionally published or not unless you happen to be a Stephen King as publishers do very little marketing for your books.  So to be successful, you’ll need to do your own marketing one way or the other.  And if you self-publish, once the book is complete, it can be published in a matter of weeks as opposed to a year or more with a traditional house. 

But self-publishing is not for everyone.  First and foremost, you’ve got to make sure to hire a good editor who will give you feedback on everything from structure to word choice, who will do line editing, and finally careful proofing.  Because my son is an artist, he was able to do all of the cover design.  And both he and my husband are very savvy when it comes to the technicalities of formatting and getting the books up as e-books and ready to print.  Otherwise, one may need to hire a cover designer as well as someone to format the interior and put the book online.  I’m extremely pleased with the way Walks on the Margins turned out and glad we decided to publish it ourselves. 

Do you have any online sites where others can read more of your writing?

Walks on the Margins is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and most of the other online sites as are all my mysteries. I also write a blog about mental health issues and writing at http://kathybrandtauthor.com/kathy-brandts-blog  and my website is www.kathybrandtauthor.com

Do you have any more stories in the works? What kinds of stories do you plan to write next?  

I need to finish a novel I’ve got sitting on my desk called “Out of Sight,” which is a mystery about a woman with bipolar disorder.  For a long time I’ve considered writing a story based on my mother’s life.  She had a tough childhood.  And then of course there are the Hannah Sampson Underwater Investigation Mysteries.  I’d like to add one or two more books to the series.

Who would be your first choice to play Max in your book “Walks on the Margins’?   

Hum…. Maybe Ryan Gosling or Colin Farrell.  They have the ability to convey vulnerability and sensitivity as well as strength.

If you could meet anyone from any time who would it be and what would be your first question?

My grandparents.  I would ask them to tell me everything, where they came from, how they grew up, how they lived, about their parents, my parents, everything.  Guess that’s a lot more than one question! 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Ian's Realm: Charity Event! One Day, A Host of Authors!

This is from Dianne Gardner's Blog, I think its a worthy charity and if anyone wants to help just follow the links!
Ian's Realm: Charity Event! One Day, A Host of Authors!: What a fantastic Charity!   Authors for Healthy Living! Teaching kids how to grow their own food! And these authors (including ...