An Interview With Actor Vinicius Machado



is an actor who plays Nomar Arcielo who is a pedophile on the Starz show Power. Mr. Machado has appeared on many network shows including Cold Case and CSI Miami; here is a link to his IMDB page:


Q: When did you know you were an actor?


A: In my sophomore year in High School. I had to pick an elective to complete my classes for that year. I hated drawing and painting. So, I chose drama. I didn’t have a natural inclination for the stage or anything like that. I just wanted an easy grade. Well, one of the requirements for the class that year, was that I had to audition, for one of the school plays. So I auditioned for A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I don’t remember specifically, what my monologue was entirely for my audition, but I do remember, that it had nothing to do with nothing. I took a sentence off a billboard sign and I wrote something about it. I just made it my own, I was actually trying not to get it. Well, I got it. I played one of the Athenian workers, Robin Starveling. Don’t know why I actually accepted the role. Didn’t fight it, didn’t put much effort behind it either. Leading up to performance night, I was oblivious to what was happening to me. I fell in love with the stage. The applauses came like gasoline, fueling my heart towards that world more and more with each clap. It was then, that I decided to move to that world permanently…I ended up being in almost every other play for the rest of my high school years.


Q:  How did you get your first big break?


A: Within the first month of being out here in Los Angeles. I got my manager and agent the first two weeks. One of my first few auditions was for Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide on Nickelodeon. It was a guest starring, possibly recurring role initially. I played Faymen Forchin, the exchange student from Brazil that becomes Jennifer Mozely’ love interest (played by Lindsey Shaw). The role recurred and became a regular on the show. I got a lot of recognition for it. Doors opened up for me immediately because of that, and I began working consistently for the next few years.


Q:  How did you prepare for the role of Nomar Arcielo on Power?


A: So I knew that Nomar was a pedophile. I initially wanted to stretch that, as far as I could in my head as I was thinking about preparation. I remember, watching all these pedophile confessions and documentaries and all. One of the things that intrigued me so much about these people, was the fact that they all had normal and in most cases, decent lives. They were family members, with children, good jobs, etc. Of course you have your extreme cases, but generally speaking, pedophiles are not on the surface, the monsters we know them to be. On the contrary. Most, are even sweet people to talk to. So I decided to dress Nomar that way. Externally pure and well suited for life. But, internally, he’s a frustrated man. A man with unsatisfied addictions, and desires. I also used the influence of specific music to help me grasp his mindset.


Q:  What makes the show controversial?


A: I think the title of the show, “POWER”, alone, is controversial. There’s a lot of things that make the show controversial. But, I think the two most important, which I must mention, are. One, the racial element of the main character’s story. This is a man of color, rising in a difficult world. A world filled with prejudice towards his person, culture, etc. Two, is the social class injustices every character in this series is experiencing, in one way or another. “He who has the gold, makes the rules” right? If that’s the case, then POWER, by definition, is reserved for the Elites alone. What implication does that have to a seemingly “free world”?


Q:  You’ve been on some major shows, what’s was your weirdest celebrity encounter?


A: I think meeting Lucy Liu on Southland. She was my favorite Angel, so meeting her was supposed to be love at first sight for me. Which it was. But, when I met her, she was sitting next to me for the table read. I turned to look at her and introduce myself and in between us, was her dog, the cutest chocolate lab I have ever seen. I’m a huge dog lover. I grew up with six (6) dogs. So meeting her was like being reconnected with my dogs. It was so weird. Indeed, it was love at first sight, for me and the dog.


Q:  What qualities do you think you have, that made you successful in Hollywood?


A: Definitely my versatility with the languages i speak. I speak fluently Portuguese, Spanish and a little bit of English. lol. Also, my Brazilian complexity, which gives me universal appeal, which has afforded me the look to be diverse in casting.


Q:  If acting didn’t work out what was your back up plan?


A: A Sales Entrepreneur. I love selling, I’m good at it. I used to sell things on Ebay for a living at one point of my life. I’ve sold everything you can imagine, literally. I’ve sold things on the streets too. I used to load up my car with things to sell, I would find a hot spot, park, open the car doors and begin making money. That was obviously before I was introduced to Ebay.


Q:  What do you miss about Brazil?


A: I miss my family. I come from a big family.  I’ve lost a lot of family members within the past few years, some way before their time. Which has made me realize how important it is to enjoy the people you love while you have them because we never know. I miss them all. There’s nothing more important to me today, then spending time with my family.


Q:  What character from literature would you most like to play?


A: The Infamous, young, Emperor Nero! For many different reasons.


Q:  What would you change about Hollywood?


A: I plan on finding ways to open up more doors for Actors and Artists of color like myself. My goal is to change the way we are perceived for casting. To no longer be a minority, or a stereotype, but an Actor, known and accepted for our talent, not our skin color. That’s my goal at least.


Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

An Interview With GreenSurance Founder Kari Gray



Kari Gray is the founder of GreenSurance; here is a link to the website:




Q:  What is GreenSurance?


A: The People’s Voice for Insured Alternative Medicine


Q:  Would pharmaceutical medications be covered as well?


A: They will not be covered by the policies once in force, This is 100% alternative medicine which is not covered by conventional insurance. We are not duplicating what is instead we’re pioneering a voice for coverage for what has never been covered before.


Q: What kind of providers are you looking for?


A: Integrative, Complimentary, Holistic & Alternative


Q:  Will marijuana be covered?


A: Hemp or CDB nothing illegal unless prescribed


Q:  Will it count as insurance in terms of Obama Care?


A: No this is not Obamacare


Q:  What is your personal background in alternative medicine?


A: At 27, as a young wife and mother I faced the unthinkable; terminal liver cancer and two ‘no hope of survival’ medical diagnosis. Faced with certain death and left with no medical options, I chose to ‘fight like a girl”. It was that choice and the determination to never give in, that put me on the path to a changed life. As a terminally ill person, I had a small window of opportunity to seize before the clock ran out. Making the alternative choice meant I was to carry the financial load of paying insurance premiums for my family while self-funding  my alternative cancer care that cost thousands in a time sensitive window.


Working with an alternative practitioner, I followed a battery of treatments prescribed which included changes in diet, work, thinking, emotions, living, and more. Nothing remained the same as she now spent thousands on organic foods, multiple cleanses, detoxes, and myriads of food supplements, plus the equipment needed to manage the life crisis


It was life altering to say the least” because what frustrated me most was no matter the premiums I paid, I had no medical options and no say in insured treatment choice. Left without medical options, my life looking back was a ‘death sentence’ that saved me because it pushed me to chose alternative. And while my insurance company called what I chose “out of coverage” and “unproven”, the results eight months later proved all the money spent was the best money I could have ever spent when new blood work verified my enzyme count was normal. New test results verified I was diagnosed a cancer free miracle! That was 25 years ago.


Q:  Your website says that you had a business that gave you access to confidential court document records; what kind of business was it?


A: Litigation funding


Q: In her book Gulp Mary Roach says her  research indicated that neither pharmaceuticals or natural alternatives are the best thing to cure intestinal aliments and that fecal transplant is the best alternative. What are your feelings about this procedure?


A: I can’t speak because I have no idea what this is


Q:  Why do you think people are hesitant to try alternative medicine?


A: People are uneducated and kept intimidated by the medical cartel who controls people out of fear and ignorance of the beautiful healing power each of our bodies posses.


Q: Why do you think so many pharmaceutical drugs are approved and later taken off the market?


A: Because the FDA is in bed with big pharma. Do the research and you will see the executives of Big Pharma as directors and inspectors of the FDA. They’re the fox guarding the hen house.


In my experience through litigation funding, court documents tell the story. FDA approved patent drugs empowers big pharma to promote ‘off brand use’ to capture all the market in the 20 year patent protection window. With that they know so many people will be injured and die and they call it the ‘ cost of doing business’ the human suffering that happens when profits are put over people. Tens of billions in profits settled by pennies on the dollar settlements to the injured is the game, and its a profitable ‘game’ at that. It’s a numbers game that comes in the way of lives ruined, healths destroyed.


Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

An interview With Writer John S. McFarland

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John S. McFarland is the author of Annette: A Big, Hairy Mom. Mr. McFarland’s work has appeared in National Lampoon and Twilight Zone Magazine; here is a link to the website:

Q: What is Annette: A Big Hairy Mom, about?

A: Annette: A Big, Hairy Mom is the allegedly true story of a spoiled eight year old who gets lost in the woods and is saved by a lonely Sasquatch mom suffering from empty nest syndrome. Annette protects the boy from a hungry mountain lion and other dangers as she hatches her plan to return him to his family. On the way she teaches him about empathy, sharing and how to have fun, while she herself avoids a sweets-loving cryptozoologist bent on capturing her.

Q: What inspired you to write it?

A: I have always had an interest in Bigfoot, ever since I saw a story on the subject in one of my grandmother’s magazines when I was about ten. It would have never occurred to me to write a book for young readers, though, if I hadnt met my illustrator, Brenna Vaughan. I wanted to think of something I could write that she could illustrate. Annette is the result.

Q: How did you get it into schools?

A: Word of mouth gets me into schools. Moms tell their kids’ teachers about the book and how their child loved it and often an invitation follows.

Q: What do people not understand about Bigfoot?

A: Evan Nestor Bettancourt, in the novel doesnt understand that Bigfoot are not monsters, just creatures. They are moms, dads and kids. Current research suggests, if it can be peer-duplicated, that they are actually a type of human, most likely a hybrid and our closest living relative.

Q: Your work has appeared in some very prestigious magazines, what is the key to writing publishable fiction?

A: Study the publication in which you want to appear and try to write something appropriate for their readership. It has to be well-written obviously, but also has to fulfill their guidelines for submissions and be in proper format, as they require.

Q: What sort of day job do you have and how does it influence your writing?

A: I am a color chemist. I do lab work on chemical compounds like urethanes and epoxies. Mostly what my writing takes away from the day job are insights into human nature. And lots of humor.

Q: Who are some of your literary influences?

A: I grew up loving 19th century classic horror like Frankenstein and Dracula, Jules Verne and H. G. Wells and many others. As an adult I love Shakespeare, James Joyce, Flannery O’Connor, F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Q: What trends in children’s literature annoy you?

A: Trend that annoys me in children’s literature is the notion that anyone can write it, that it’s the simplest was to get into print. I go to seminars and most of the writers there have self-published a kids book, and as Homer Simpson says, every celebrity writes one!

Q: What do you think makes a children’s book stand the test of time?

A: A Compelling story, well drawn characters, a timeless theme all make a kid book, or any book stand the test of time.

Q: What life experiences do you draw from when your write?

A: I try to put my humor and understanding of universal human conditions into my writing. Observation, empathy and irony are key elements, I think.

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

An interview with Public Speaker And Author Rich James


Rich James is a professional public speaker and the author of the novel  Fearbreeders; here is a link to his website:


Q: What is Fearbreaders about?

A: Fearbreeders is crossover YA fantasy that tells the story of three streetwise east London kids who also happen to be powerful psychics with near-superhero abilities. But being psychic has its downside if you can’t control it!

The kids soon discover that the shape-shifting monsters that have been pursuing them their whole lives are actually the manifestations of their own darkest doubts and fears, made real by their fledgling powers.

Knowing this, will they be able to – quite literally – face up to and recognise their fears in order to have a chance at defeating them and bettering themselves?

The idea strikes a chord, I think, because, if we are all honest, this is the same question we should be asking ourselves in our own everyday lives – but we are too afraid to confront it: what are we really afraid of in life that is holding us back? My book encourages readers to ask themselves this question, and face their own fears as well in a fun and non-threatening way.

Q:  What gave you the idea for the series?

A: It was actually a process I had developed as part of a research assignment back in college whereby the goal was to visualise your fears, write them down in a comedy/dramedy format to reveal to yourself how silly the root cause of these fears were. I followed that through to its natural conclusion and wrote a whole novel (or three).

Oh, and on that subject: the second edition of the novel, out in January, will contain a companion self-help preface: my aim is interactivity: I faced my fears and wrote a book, got up on stage to speak publically, etc., and it worked out great for me. Now it’s my readers’ turn – and I’ll show them how.

Q:  What are some of the ways in which it is interactive?

A: Basically, the fact is – and please, please publishers, hear me out on this – an eReader is a specialised browser, which means an e-novel should be seen as a specialised website. Plain and simple. I followed this through to its natural conclusion and included multimedia links in my text to take readers “down the digital rabbit hole” and into the web to explore my ideas further through video sharing, web site and game links. The weirdest thing in all this is how my “fantasy” world works so seamlessly when juxtaposed with the (“real”?) online world. Kind of makes you rethink the internet, doesn’t it?

Q:How did you get your first speaking gig?

A: I developed a system of performance based teaching for learners of English as a foreign language. This system was developed from the various “direct” teaching methods available. From there, I started to get invited into private language schools to teach/demonstrate this, and from there companies asked if I could teach not only their employees English but their managers how to deliver a speech in the manner I taught; i.e., dynamically.

Q:  What can your public speaking book offer that other books of its kind cannot?

A: I am busy rebranding my public speaking manual to go with the second edition of my novel, actually (which is part of the answer to that question). The self-help preface the novel will come with provides an introduction to the principles I practice and preach of “dissociating” in your everyday life through the techniques of creative dissociation. In the same way, my public speaking manual develops the idea of dissociation in your everyday life (as well as public speaking) through the techniques that I also practice and preach of breathing and audience interaction.

Thus, my public speaking materials give you the in-depth psychology behind the activity that is equally applicable in your own life, breaking down the “mystery” behind public speaking the same way my preface breaks down the “mystery” behind the creative fiction process. In other words, all my “self-help” stuff is about not only talking the talk but walking the walk.

My motto is: the proof is definitely in the pudding – so try a piece of my cake first and then I’ll show you how to bake your own!  Most other books, CD’s, etc. on the subject just want to sell their own cake. Period. That is the real difference with my materials.

Q:  You say you write dissertations for some of the top universities in the world. What are some of the subjects that you have written about?

A: Just to clarify that: I do write for Oxford and Cambridge grads, and these universities are world-class, however I don’t write for all top universities everywhere. I think this is a distinction worth noting as it is important a writer is familiar with the structure and needs of any given institution or course: the job of essay writing is not a one-size-fits all cop-out (online “essay companies”, I’m coming for you on that one – and you know who you are!)

As regards the subjects I tackle, my last three dissertations were an eclectic bunch: they included one on sectarianism and the Shia dominated government in Iraq, exploring a way to peace in the wake of the Shia upsurge in political power; another on the effectiveness of special education needs (SEN/D) legislature in mainstream UK schools; and finally one on the fiscal implications on global oil companies in the wake of government backed “green” initiatives.

Q:  Are you writing them on behalf of students or do you just edit what they have?

A: In reality, somewhere in between. Quick market comparison: 99% of all those essay companies that “write it for you” are scammers of the very worst kind, turning out pieces of work a trained rhesus monkey could’ve improved upon, and are insulting to my profession. (Trust me, kids: avoid.) Moreover, the best writer in the world can’t “write it for you” as it has to be specific to you and your course needs.

On the other hand, I have never, not even once, ever seen an essay or dissertation that “just needed editing”: generally speaking, if a writer is good enough to structure, argue and expound on his or her core thesis then he or she would by default need a very high level of English to do so in the first place. For this reason, essays generally need a lot of structural work as well.

So I’ve carved out a particular niche: I work with students, helping them shape their ideas and I will then write/edit as much as they need to express these ideas, structuring it for them and showing them how (which the universities aren’t set up to do) to write academically as they go. So students learn while we write together! It’s a unique but rewarding process.

Q:   What kind of educational background do you have?

A: I have a BA in Creative writing and English lit. – so I am basically unemployable in the real world: I had to make my own opportunities! Oh, the fact I can write dissertations on all those other subjects above (if you were wondering) is, I like to think, a triumph of research, structure and communication, as well as being CMoS and MLA conversant, over intrinsic technical knowledge.

Q:  What is the oddest thing you have done to promote your writing?

A: “Odd” as in “odd-innovative-unique” would have to be the idea to slap a self-help preface onto a fiction novel and tap into a whole new market on US radio and, hopefully, TV. (“Self-help”-style tomes don’t fly so well in the UK!) The fact that the idea works so seamlessly across all the areas I work in was actually very gratifying to me: it showed me I must be doing something write! (And yes, that last misspelling was a deliberate juxtapositional pun – I am a writer, I get to do those things!)

Q:  What famous fictional character’s blog would you most like to read?


A: Great question: the links in my novel actually take you to a guest blog site (apparently) set up by a murdered teenager, her/its idea being that the dead can use it to leave posts for (and hence communicate with) the living. How many of these posts are “fiction” or “real” is, again, anybody’s guess – especially the YouTube sites and blogs you can go and explore through my book that are set up by my (allegedly) fictional characters. Life imitating art imitating …

So if I were to pick a fictional character whose blog I’d like to read it would have to be Sherlock Holmes: I mean, which other character would have the intuition to figure out how to use WordPress plugins? – lord knows I struggle!

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

An Interview With Stream Now TV Founder Ron Valderrama

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Ron Valderrama is the founder of Stream Now TV, which is a new video platform; here is a link to the website:

Q:  What inspired you to start Stream Now TV?

A: I was starting to meet with some filmmakers who kept asking me to get involved with projects they were working on.  I decided to start working with an amazing filmmaker named Michael Campo and we actually landed a meeting with two of the most powerful film executives in Hollywood.  We planned on turning one of Michael’s films, which these executives already had licensing rights to, into a series. I thought a series based off of a successful film they already engaged with was a no brainer.  Turns out I was wrong, and the project was not picked up.  It was at that point that I decided to create a platform for indie filmmakers to gain exposure and truly make a living off of their work.

Q:  What kind of professional background and training do you have?

A: I actually have no experience in film or technology.  Most of my career has been in healthcare finance and revenue cycle.  Along the way, I have helped people put deals together which I believe is why some of these filmmakers wanted to work with me.  It’s actually pretty amazing when you don’t know the rules of an industry you are trying to work in because you will try anything.  You will wind up breaking some rules that others won’t even attempt because “that is not how the industry works”.  In the end, I think that is what is leading to success.  The game is changing.

Q:  How does one go about getting a show on Stream Now?

A: When the platform launched in June, I was basically scouring the internet for content and begging content makers to take a chance on me.  Now that we are almost five months into it and it has taken off, we can’t keep up with the submissions.  Content makers can email us at for consideration.  If we are on the fence about it, we actually rely on fan votes to help us decide.

Q:  What kinds of things do you look for when procuring videos?

A: There are some really talented people that just need exposure and that is what we look for.  People that can hit on all three phases (production value, acting, writing).  If one of those phases is lacking but it make up for it in the others, we may still give it a go.

Q:  Are there any kinds of videos that you would not have on your site?

A: There aren’t really limitations from a censorship perspective with the exception of porn.  It is not my job to decide what is right or wrong, but rather to give a platform for good content.  For instance, we have a show about tacos called Taco Talk.  I almost did not know what genre it would go under but I knew it was really good, so I went with it.

Q:  What is the biggest hit on your site right now?

A: There is an episode of FIRSTS called “First STD scare” that really took off from a total views perspective.  We also have a show called Teacher’s Lounge that has some big name comedians guest star in each episode.  The one with Lewis Black was pretty big for us.

Q:  What do you think made it a hit?

A: All of these shows and films are good.  We try and put all of them out there from an exposure standpoint, but those two really took off from after a campaign on some bookmarking sites.

Q:  Why should someone have their web-series on your site instead of YouTube or Funny or Die?

A: The real question here is “why would someone put it only on one platform?”  We have shows that are currently on YouTube and Funny or Die.  The reality is content makers need to be everywhere unless someone has offered an equitable exclusive licensing deal.  In fact, I just introduced all of our content makers to another site ( that would also feature their content and several are going to be on that site too.  This is still a new medium to a degree.  The way I view it is, if the water rises then all the boats rise with it.  We all need to support the medium not just ourselves to win.

Q:  What is the oddest video anyone has submitted?

A: We had someone submit a game show about picking up women.  Honestly it is a good concept but lacks on the production value, so I am not sure if we are going to pick it up yet.

Q:  What is the biggest mistake you see people make when making a web-series?

A: The biggest mistake people make is thinking that making a film or web series stops after it is produced.  You can’t just make an awesome project, load it on YouTube and expect massive results.  YouTube is an amazing platform but its filled with cat videos and babies biting fingers.  It does nothing to expose this type of content.  These projects are like any other product, it can be the best in class, but it will fail if no one sees it.

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

An Interview with DeStress to Success Author Leo Willcocks





Leo Willcocks is the author of DeStress to Success; here is a link to his website:

Q: What is the basic theory behind your book?


A: The theory behind DeStress to Success is that everyone experiences stress, but no one has to be a victim to stress. With the right tools, many stresses can be resolved and overcome. However for the most part, stress relief tips (such as go for a walk, count to ten etc.) aren’t enough to really beat stress. They can help reduce stress temporarily, but in many cases, stress returns at a later time, doesn’t it?


Stress relief tips are important, but they are just one way of dealing with stress. Relying on stress relief tips alone is like riding a bike with only one pedal, and no handlebars. In DeStress to Success I’ve focused on the stress relief tools you don’t hear about. I include quick stress relief techniques, and then focus heavily on stress resolution- ways of resolving stress so it doesn’t return. I include tools to identify, grow from, and resolve challenges that cause stress. This creates lasting happiness and satisfaction.


Q: What qualifications do you have to write it?


A: When I first left school I had a career in a stock broking firm, which is a high stress environment. While I enjoyed it and had opportunities for progression, I realised it wasn’t what I wanted to dedicate my life to. One thing I enjoyed in the firm was helping my colleagues relax and de-stress when they had a high workload.


So I left the firm and chose tertiary education. I have been working as a therapist for almost ten years helping people, organisations and sports teams to minimise their stress. I get a lot of enjoyment helping people to build confidence to go out and achieve things that they never thought possible.


Q: What kind of research did you do for your theory?


A: DeStress to Success is not a presentation of a new theory, but rather application of existing psychology and behavioural theories into practical techniques people can use. DeStress to Success draws heavily on client experiences and the results that my clients have had in their lives. I have written DeStress to Success for everyday people, so it is not full of medical jargon, but rather the practical use of that information.


Q: What are some of the services you provide?


A: I work with clients one on one, as well as speak and do trainings for organisations. In consultations, I help people when stress from a challenging circumstance is impacting their life. Most clients experience a major turnaround within a few appointments, and feel completely empowered to deal with the situation. Stress is minimised very quickly.


With organisations, I train staff on stress resolving techniques, and understanding where stress is coming from and how to reduce its power over thoughts, feelings and behaviour. Stress is a physiological process that impacts thoughts, feelings and behaviour, however it doesn’t have to dictate those things. I also discuss common workplace stressors and how to resolve them.


Q: What are the most common stressors you see in your clients?


A: Common situations include workplace harassment, business setbacks and difficulties, partner separation, abuse, relationship frustrations, childhood trauma impacting adult life and financial stress.


Q: What are some of the more unusual things you see that stress people out?


A: This is very common but it is really unnecessary- that is the stress from trying to live up to unrealistic goals and expectations. Some people focus so much on ideals and goals (usually a learned behaviour from their childhood) that they feel continually unhappy, despite incredible progress. One client was years in front financially, but still felt unhappy because as a young adult she had not attained her parents’ results as retirees. She compared herself at the beginning of her adult life, to her parents at the end of their successful careers. Her need to achieve now was causing her so much stress that it was destroying her relationship, and making her incredibly unhappy.


Q: What are some coping techniques that you recommend?


A: There are the usual like doing yoga, going for a walk, and getting a massage. These things are great but they will not particularly help you resolve an issue you are dealing with. When you come back from doing yoga or going for that walk, life is still waiting for you along with all the stressors that you left.


However they still have an important place and can help with general stress reduction. Meditating can be helpful as well. I teach clients a quick meditation technique that helps them to refocus and separate themselves from stress. When stress is simply from a busy schedule or modern life, zoning out and reenergising can be enough. When stress is actually from a challenging situation, different tools are needed.


One very easy technique to reduce general stress levels is a gratitude journal. This is where you think of 5 things you are grateful for, each day. This is a very simple technique that increases your perception of happiness- it helps you to notice the good things in life. As a society, we are conditioned to focus on the negative and stressful situations (think about news headlines), but doing a gratitude journal helps you have a more balanced perspective. Yes, the stressful things are still there, but the good things are there too. Clients report feeling more energised, happy and less stressed by simple day to day upsets, when they use this technique.


Q: Isn’t a certain amount of stress necessary for survival?


A: Stress is a natural part of life and a very important part of life. Without stress, there is no progression. However too much stress, or stress that is not dealt with properly, can become very detrimental to your life happiness and cause a lot of problems. Recognising the positive side of stress can help you grow during difficult situations.


Imagine how Steve Jobs felt when he was fired from Apple- the company he started, risked everything to start and grew into a very well-known brand. Do you think he walked out happy and cheering? Of course not. But through that hard time in his life, he gave birth to PIXAR, the company you see at the beginning of many Disney movies, heavily involved in the creation of the hit movie Toy Story and many since then.


While stressful situations can have lasting negative effects if not dealt with properly, they can also have lasting positive effects, when you grow from them as Jobs did. The best Chinese translation of stress is “crisis”- containing two characters- “danger” and “opportunity”. In times of stress there are opportunities to build more future happiness for ourselves. Many of my clients have survived terrible circumstances, where stress was an understatement to how they felt. However with the right help they have grown from their stress, and now feel more happy and empowered than they did before the stressful situation occurred.


Some self-help books encourage the idea that life can be easy and even effortless. In reality, life can be a lot easier than it is, however it will never be completely stress free. It can be meaningful and fulfilling, even with periods of challenge. Your response to challenge will impact how stressed or happy you are. But trying to live up to an illusion of an effortless life can create stress in itself, as you feel frustrated at the fact that your life isn’t perfect (as opposed to being frustrated with the difficult circumstance itself).


Q: What are some examples of how stress is contagious?


A: “Second hand stress” is a term that has been coined fairly recently, as research has shown that stress is in fact contagious. It comes from the ability to empathise with others and mirror other people’s body language and emotions. It is very easy to think of examples in daily life; no doubt you have experienced some of these things yourself!


  • If you think of when a boss or colleague is having a bad day, notice how they speak and then notice that others start to speak in a similar way. Even if they don’t “stress out” at you, you will most likely feel stressed or tense just being in their presence
  • Closer to home, actually in the home, have you ever noticed when a parent is grumpy it seems to filter through to the children. Or one child’s bad mood quickly spreads to others, even if they don’t directly “take it out” on them
  • When a friend starts talking about a stressful issue, sometimes friends will reassure and uplift the person feeling stress. Often however, many of the friends start talking about all the “bad” things about the situation and the tone spirals down quickly. If you are in one of these conversations you leave feeling stressed


Q: To what theories of psychology do you ascribe?


A: I find that several theories of psychology apply in life. There is not one theory that helps with everything and everyone. Another important factor to be aware of is that while an entire theory may not be applicable, the fundamentals learned from the theory contribute significantly to therapy today, and my work specifically.


Approaches that I find helpful are classic and operant conditioning, attachment theory, Erikson’s Theory, parenting styles, the fundamentals behind humanistic psychology, Glasser’s control theory, Selye’s General Adaptation Syndrome and stages of stress, the work of Demartini, the list goes on.


Another area is neuroplasticity, and how even heavily ingrained behaviours and stresses can be overcome.


The biochemical approach is also important to understand, as stress impacts biochemistry, and biochemistry can also impacts stress levels. I think that biochemical intervention is not the first line of approach (research shows that talking therapies are just as effective), however it is important to be aware of, as some hormonal imbalances can cause depressive symptoms, or constant anxiety and stress. Obviously not everyone experiencing these things has a hormonal imbalance, but it is important to be aware of as a possible cause.



Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

An Interview With Spiritual Consultant And Author Cher Slater Barlevi


Cher Slater Barlevi is a spiritual consultant and the author of the book DOG of GOD: The Novel, here is a link to her website:


Q: What does a spiritual consultant do?


A: As we step into the new paradigm it can be a bumpy road because every thing that we knew before doesn’t seem to work or bring us satisfaction any longer. This paradigm is referred to the Age of Aquarius, where we are the stepping from the 3rd and 4th dimensions into the 5th. I am a Way Shower; as a clairvoyant, I am able to see through that curtain that separates us from the Otherside and share what I see. An enormous amount of souls are awakening now;  they are confused and  thirsty for the knowledge and guidance, and that is where a spiritual consultant comes in



Q: What qualifies one for the job?


A: I have been preparing for this consciousness movement for more than 40 years, culminating my learning with a Masters in Spiritual Psychology at the University of Santa Monica. With my peers and fellow students, we are gathering a community of awakened souls to carry and share a new way of learning, teaching, healing, and being.


Dog of God: the Novel transports the reader into the 5th dimension or (the Otherside) through the eyes of a dog wanting to know what and how to heal people; all the while healing his confused understanding of human life. His guide is the all knowing: THE VOICE…the inner voice, that we all have. The path to healing and enlightenment is to learn how to trust this Voice within implicitly. And to discern when you are listening to the Voice (your God-self) and not your ego-self.


Excerpt from the book:







In the space where there are no words – I am.

Although I understand every language ever created.


I dwell here also without ‘time’ to lead me astray.

I know no ‘space’ to make me large or small.


I only know what is… Is.

Is-ness exists only in my knowing, yet I can know

All at one time. Because that is all there is.


I love intensely.

I only know love.

I am love.


I look for humor everywhere

and look upon humor is the greatest healer.

But what is healing?

Healing is returning to our innate perfection.

Healing is the perfect teacher of Souls.

I am the caretaker of Souls.

They are the caretakers of Me.


We are one.


I speak softly most often.

Sometimes I need to yell.

I am the voice.



Q: What are soul paintings?


A: Since I was a child I was able to see the soul of the person upon meeting them for the first time. When I paint with the person in mind, magical things appear on my canvas, unexplained things having to do with the mission and direction that Divine Being has come here to learn and do in the human experience. Information comes in symbols sometimes, or it comes in what looks like a story in a painting  It always surprises me to see images, guides, and family members who magically appear in the paintings with information that they want to convey. I am able to create paintings for clients which have messages to do with the mission of their particular soul.


Q: How do you go about creating one?


A: Usually I am commissioned by someone with a strong intention to know about their mission they’ve come to employ here on this Earth. Then I set a strong intention and go into a meditative state, asking the Ascended Masters to lead me in my painting. I paint a representation of the images that I see during the meditation.


Q: Who is John of God?


A: Joao De Dues, (Medium John of God) is a world-renowned Brazilian psychic surgeon who has been healing millions of people from all over the world, for over 45 years. To him, I owe my life the quality I have now. I was walking two canes after a car accident and looking at a life of being a cripple and in pain for the rest of my life. John of God was able to help me construct the life that I truly wanted to live — being able to hike, to bike, to dance. And all of it, without any pain whatsoever. The things that I experienced and learned through this journey made it possible to write my 1st novel:

DoG of GoD: the novel

a wild romp through magical worlds


Q: How did you come to meet and work with him?


A: I run in an informed crowd. Anything new and unusual in the healing modalities, are at my fingertips and hearing shot, at all times. When I was told that I would have to live my life as a cripple, in immense pain for the rest of my life;  I chose to look into to the unconventional ways of healing. Shortly after, a friend of mine happened to call and tell me that she had just heard about John God; she had 11 surgeries due to an infection in her jaw.  She’d been told the 12th surgery was going to be very close to her brain and she opted to go work with John God…She invited me to go with her and one of God’s angels was introduced into my life to help me heal. I listened, and acted. I came to him walking on 2 canes and after 2 weeks left without any.  Likewise my friend was spared the 12th operation.


John of God brings hope to the hopeless. John of God brings a connection to the possibilities extended to us from other dimensions. And John of God’s loyalty to this mission is beyond all measure. When I was there, I met a little dog (Xico) that was a little dog renowned the village in Brazil where I went to work with John of God for healing. The experience with Xico inspired me to write my novel, and use my ability to “see” dimensions of Spirit, to help explain and bring alive the profound healing that John of God facilitates.


Q: How much of your Dog of God: The Novel, is real and how much is fictionalized?


A: DOG OF GOD is based on true facts. I just was asked by John of God to change the names and places. The book appears as fiction because it’s written in a non-conventional way. Like most works of Fiction, there is a large river of truth that feeds the characters and situations.


Q: You say you wrote it in an unconventional style; how so?


A: Well, I have written most of the book in dialogue and I have coined new words in the creative language of the dolphins .It is written in a very experiential way, so that the reader feels like they are in a film. I take readers way out of the box and into spiritual dimensions beyond the physical plain and refer to it as the real Reality. The storyteller speaks…with incomplete sentences, run on sentences, and no punctuation except periods, question marks, commas, and double dashes—and maybe an explanation mark here and there


The book is referred to as unconventional…or just plain weird…or a heck of a lot of fun!   I love breaking rules, like most of us ‘Boomers’ do.


Q: What other kinds of jobs have you had and how did they effect your ability to pursue your current career?


A: Right now iI am traveling all over the world promoting my book. That rocks! Before novel writing I was a screenwriter for 12 years in Hollywood. Screenwriting has always been my passion–I love telling stories that are reality based. The up and down grind of show biz became something that was holding me back as an artist; which caused me to look at writing the novel. I’m just doing the same thing only in a different form; and with a much larger venue. The space of a novel is vast, you can go anywhere with it. I love that freedom.


I would like to return to writing screenplays, and fortunately a couple of opportunities are knocking at my door. I have passion for writing, I love what I do and I am the happiest I’ve ever been in my life; it fills me with an appreciation for being alive.



Q: What are some of the children’s books you have written?


A: I illustrated the award winning SPOOKY HAND MYSTERY with Children’s press.

I illustrated THE MERRY GO ROUND (Children’s press) and teen text books…one being, an ALGEBRA TEXT book that had a sense of humor.

I worked with Toddy Fields and Jeremy Tarcher on her humorous coffee table book.

And… I have a number of unpublished books that I’ve written, but sit in my art studio because I’m the illustrator…on tour…all over the world. So much awaits me. I will NEVER be bored!

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)


An Interview With The Perfect Prescription Author Reigh Simuzoshya


Reigh Simuzoshya, PhD is the author of the book The Perfect Prescription; here is a link to her website:


Q:  What is The Perfect Prescription about?


A: The rising cost of health care is of critical concern for everyone, insured and uninsured alike. This is the reason why public health, with its emphasis on disease prevention, is an important aspect of health care delivery anywhere in the world.  The book, The Perfect Prescription, highlights the similarities between the preventive health care guidelines articulated in The Bible, particularly in the Old Testament and those espoused by modern public health professionals. This book attempts to establish that, in Bible times, preventive health care, one of the most cost-effective approaches to individual and community health promotion, was as relevant as it is today. This book does not proselytize. It merely advocates preventive health care principles that can benefit any one regardless of their religious affiliation. Pathogens know no religious boundaries. The book compares modern public health guidelines with preventive health guidelines articulated in Bible times, millennia ago.

Q:  What qualifies you to write a book on the subject of wellness?


A: As a public health professional and an epidemiologist, I have come to understand the significant impact disease prevention can play in optimizing people’s health by fending off onset of certain diseases. As I studied the Bible I discovered some amazing teachings that are consistent with the teachings of my profession and I decided to share what I had discovered with whoever might be interested. I have personally experienced some of the benefits of adopting preventive health guidelines advocated by the Bible and by modern public health professionals.


Q:  What are some examples of how The Bible can be a guide to health?


A: The Bible is not a public health text book per se. But it has much to say about public health that is of great benefit to mankind. For example, the Bible spoke about quarantining individuals with infectious diseases such as leprosy millennia ago (Leviticus 13: 1-3, 45, 46). Whenever it was confirmed that an individual had leprosy, that person was immediately sent to live away from the community in an isolated place. If they ever ventured to approach uninfected people they were required to cover their mouth and shout “unclean, unclean” as a warning to those who did not have the disease to distance themselves from them. By putting a covering over their mouth they were preventing saliva droplets from spreading through the air.  This preventive principle was established long before the Germ Theory.


Furthermore, researchers have written about the severity of infectious diseases such as the Black Plague, which ravaged Europe in the 14th century and how efforts to contain it seemed futile until “the city leaders of Venice decided to adopt the 40-day segregation practices employed by the Jewish ghettos at the time,” according to J.R. Gwilt in his article, Public Health in the Bible, published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Health, 1987. This is just one example. There are many more elaborated in the book.


Q:  Are there any other similar principals about health in the writings of other religions?

A: I do not claim to be an expert in the writings of other religions about health. As such, I will refrain from speaking for them. I am sure they can speak for themselves. If they teach about health promotion, all the better. The goal is to promote the well-being of the general public by making them aware of practices that are deleterious to their health and those that are of benefit.


Q:  Some of the Jewish dietary laws suggest not eating pork or seafood. Both port and seafood have been shown to be bad for people. Why do Christians not follow these laws?


A: I know some Christians who have voluntarily chosen to abstain from consuming pork and other foods that are forbidden in the Bible in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14. I also know of other individuals who are neither Jewish not Christian who are practicing the same. Remember that I am writing from a health perspective; as a public health professional and not as a theologian. As such, I would like to add that some scholars who were fascinated by these biblical dietary guidelines conducted experimental research to compare the toxicity levels of the foods that were designated unclean by the Bible with those classified as clean. One such scholar was Dr. David I. Macht who was a pharmacologist, doctor of Hebrew literature, Johns Hopkins medical researcher, and experimental biologist. Macht conducted an experiment in which he compared toxicity in muscle juices and skeletal extracts of species of clean and unclean animals, birds and fish according to Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 4. He added these juices and extracts to the soil solutions of two sets of seedlings of Lupines albus (a legume that is traditionally grown around the Mediterranean). In one soil solution he added juices from unclean species and in the other he added the specimen from clean species. The third set of seedling had no animal specimen added to the soil solution-a control set. The findings of the study indicated that the soil solutions that had muscle juices and skeletal extracts from clean species were neither toxic nor did they hinder the normal growth of the seedlings. Conversely, the extracts from species classified as unclean were found to be significantly toxic for seedling growth when added to soil solutions, and the growth of the seedlings’ roots was significantly hindered. This experiment was replicated later with similar results.

I have spoken to a few Christians who eat the foods classified as unclean. Some of them have based their decision to eat on their interpretation of the Apostle Peter’s vision found in Acts chapter 10. I would also like to add that it is not given to me to judge anyone. I am sure each side of the argument has valid reasons to justify their positions.

Q:  What would you recommend to someone if they followed The Bible and they still get sick?


A: We live in a world that is replete with pathogens and cataclysmic occurrences that can easily impact our health, negatively. The new earth has not been created yet. I think it is for this reason that it was necessary to have the biblical guidelines for health. If our world was pristine there would be no need for health guidelines because it would be devoid of health threats. Illness and suffering are not always a consequence of the sin or wrong-doing of the afflicted individual or else the Book of Job would be meaningless. In the Gospel of John chapter 9 we read that upon seeing a man who was blind from birth the disciples asked Jesus who had sinned, the man or his parents because they assumed that the condition of the man was due to retributive judgment. In answer Jesus said that the man’s blindness was for the glory of God to be made manifest. As such, we can conclude that people fall ill for various reasons. There are also times when people might have congenital health conditions probably due to epigenetics (alterations in gene expression that can impact the health of future generations). Other times people who might have adhered to biblical guidelines might become inadvertent victims of some traumatic event, which triggers a health condition.


I would not discourage anyone from observing health guidelines just because they have fallen ill.  Rather, I would encourage them to adhere to them because that could help mitigate the progression of their health condition. The guidelines could also help them manage their condition well.


Q:  What kind of professional background do you have?

A: I am a public health professional and an author. I manage ResourcefulResearchPro, an organization focused on conducting academic research, and teaching research methods to college and university students, online.


Q:  What kind of research did you do for your book?


A: Extensive research was conducted from the books and journal articles of public health professionals, biomedical scholars, researchers, theologians and other published authors in related fields. A list of these valuable sources to whom I am deeply indebted is found in the reference section of the book. A lot of time was also spent combing the Scriptures for information included in the book.


Q:  What was the most surprising thing you learned during the course of your research?


A: Probably the most astounding thing for me was the similarity of biblical health guidelines written millennia ago to modern day health guidelines. This underscored the relevance of biblical teachings to life in general for me.


Q:   What are some things you have done to promote your book?


A:  I have websites:

I also have a Facebook Fan Page:

I have a tumbler, twitter and LinkedIn accounts.  I also have a blog:

I have a book trailer from my publishers, Tate Publishing and Enterprises, Inc.

I also have a YouTube video:

The book is also available at

It is also found at Barnes and Noble

I try to use these tools to promote this work. Sometimes I organize book-signing events. I have also contracted with some social media companies to help me build a platform.


Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)


An Interview With Lets Fly Academy Founder Matthew Martino



Matthew Martino is the founder of Lets Fly Academy he is also the founder of Matthew Martino Benevolent Fund or MMBF which provides sponsorships and grants to aspiring pilots and young film-makers worldwide; here is a link to his website:

Q: What is Lets Fly Academy?

A: Lets Fly Academy is an aviation consultancy and training firm I set up in 2012, its based in London but we serve aspiring pilots and aviation enthusiasts worldwide, we provide information on pilot courses and also provide assistance for pilots seeking funding as well as working with pilot training organisations to arrange training courses and open days. Our goal is to get everyone flying.

Q: What made you want to be a pilot?

A: It was just being able to explore something different, from when I was in Africa I often looked up and saw planes flying past and this always intrigued me and since my first flight in a Cessna 152 I just enjoyed the freedom being in the air brought, it’s amazing! Although I’m not a commercial pilot right now I enjoy being able to go up and fly every now and again it’s a good hobby.

Q: What inspired you to start the MMBF Trust?

A: I think my biggest inspiration was seeing how far I’ve come and thinking of all the assistance and support I received in my early years I thought its high time I give back. Im not where I want to be yet buy I’ve been brought up and taught to share hence why I’ve decided to form something charitable and give back to the future generation who I’m sure with the right support will go far.

Q: How does one go about starting a charity?

A: Starting a charity is mostly about first having a mission of what your charity wants to achieve, getting help in terms of Trustees onboard and then you will need to register with the appropriate bodies if you want to fundraise or earn public funding but for private funded charities such as MMBF its then down to making sure that you use the funds to work towards the objectives that you have set. When running a charity its also important to realise that its not a business so profit isn’t the object but impact is.

Q: How did your charity become involved with the Colchester Film Festival?

A: I can’t claim all the glory for the Colchester Film Festival award we introduced that was spearheaded by Sharon from my HQ. We teamed up with them to introduce a Rising Star Award at their festival this year and the award is there to empower a young filmmaker or actor who has shown potential and I personally hope the award gives them confidence and a reward for all their hard work.

Q: What made you connect flying with filmmaking?

A: Well it was quite a hard connection but I made it work, flying was my first love and when I first bean working on films and then producing it did at times make me feel like I was abandoning my flying. What I am now able to do is incorporate my flying when I make films I often try and make sure there is some aerial shots and I always try and sneak in a cheeky helicopter shot as well.

Q: How can people overcome their fear of flying?

A: Fear of flying is mostly a mental condition, if you channel your thoughts towards the positives of flying you will be fine. I used to be scared of flying as I would think ‘what if’ this and ‘what it’ that and as soon as I stopped thinking that way my confidence grew.

Q: What do filmmakers miss when making movies about flying?

A: I think most filmmakers miss the technicality of flying and also keeping it realistic. A few flying or aviation based films I’ve watched even recently will often have their crew saying the wrong thing at take-off or their pilots will be dressed up in the wrong format – for a film its fine as most people don’t know what happens in the cockpit but when I watch these films I want to scream.

Q: Do you think life is better or worse for the average citizen in Zimbabwe since gaining its independence from Britain?

A: From what my parents and relatives have told me life is a little worse now, of course before independence there was arguments that Zimbabweans didn’t get the good jobs or hierarchy as jobs were snapped up by the British but now just getting a job in Zimbabwe can prove tough let alone a good job.

Q: The Great Waldo Pepper or Top Gun?

A: It’s always going to be Top Gun all the way, Tom Cruise carries that role and I like how the story not only involved his passion for aviation but his passion for his instructor, it’s a good old aviation romance film.

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

An Interview With Spoken Director Stacy Lightner





Stacy Lightner is the writer/director and producer of the film Spoken who has appeared on the web-series Stupid Hype; here is a link to her IMDB page:

Q: What is Spoken about?

A: Spoken is a film about a group of individuals who are struggling to find balance in their rocky relationships. The lead character Mya struggles with whether or not to walk away from a relationship with an unfaithful partner while her best friend tries to mend her marriage after suffering a tremendous loss.

Q: What life experiences did you draw from when creating it?

A: Spoken is definitely based on a number of experiences I’ve dealt with in life. All of my projects have pieces of me in them. The feelings these group of characters have and the situations they face, I too have dealt with. I’ve been in a relationship where my partner was not committed and I had to decide whether or not to stay in a relationship because I’d invested so much time in it and because I was committed to making it work or to walk away and start anew. I’ve also suffered the same loss that the married couple in this film is dealing with. (I don’t want to give too much of the film away) When I create I draw from all of my life experiences, the good as well as the situations and experiences that may be hard to deal with or talk about.

Q: What were some of the challenges you faced in producing it?

A: I honestly cannot say I faced many challenges making this film. Spoken is a passion project, I financed it out of pocket and I’m extremely proud of it. If I had to name a challenge while producing this film it has to be the challenge of balancing a 9-5 and devoting enough time to the project. Spoken was shot on the weekends and once on set it was an amazing experience. I was blessed to work with an extremely talented group of actors who love what they do as well as an extremely talented crew that taught me a lot. The challenge occurred after the film had wrapped. That challenge was wanting and needing to be in the studio on the weekdays working on post production. At the time I was working about 60-65 hours a week and working with my editor on post production only on the weekends. I believe this was a small challenge and I was blessed not to be faced with many challenges.

Q: How did you obtain funding for it?

A: Spoken was financed out of pocket. As I mentioned I was working about 60-65 hours a week while shooting the film and although it was my desire to be in a position to devote all day every day to the making of the film I’m grateful for my day job because without it I would not have had the finances to produce this project.

Q: What is Stupid Hype about?

A: Stupid Hype is a web series created by Hart of Dixie’s actor Wilson Bethel. Wilson Bethel stars in this comedy which is set in the 90’s. He plays the character Hype (which later becomes Stupid Hype) It’s about an ex break dancer who decides to become a rapper. The series follows his life as he battles the hottest rapper currently on the scene while trying to win the heart of the woman he loves.

Q: What role do you play?

A: In the series there’s a battle night where Hype must prove himself as a rapper. I was present during the battle first as someone who laughed and booed Hype but later cheered for him as he rose to the occasion and proved himself as a rapper.

Q: What is the oddest thing you have seen someone do to promote themselves?

A: I have to say the oddest thing I’ve seen someone do to promote themselves would be going on a reality show that presents them in an unflattering way. Doing a reality show may not seem odd and it certainly doesn’t have to be however I find it odd when up and coming artists whose work is unknown go on certain types of shows to promote themselves as serious artists but act in a manner that might hurt their chances of actually finding work.

Q: What sort of day job do you have and how does it affect your filmmaking?

A: I am the building operations specialist for a bank. I usually work from 7am – 4pm, however I sometimes work much longer hours. My day job affects my filmmaking because most of my time is committed to my day job, but it also helps me finance my filmmaking.

Q: Who are some of your filmmaking influences?

A: I am definitely a lover of films. A few of my influences are Spike Lee, Tyler Perry and Robert Rodriguez.

Q: What would I change about the film industry?

A: I would open more doors for more artists who have a harder time breaking in. I would focus more on assisting and developing up and coming talent. I’d level the playing fields.




Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)