Month: January 2016

An Interview With Actor And TV Host Lawrence Chau

 

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Lawrence Chau is the host of Ghostly Encounters; here is a link to his website:

 

 

http://www.lawrencechau.com

 

Q:   How did you become involved with Ghostly Encounters?

 

A: Via an audition.  It was that simple.  The producer, Brian Dennis was in the room and he was stunned after my read. Stunned could mean I either bombed or I did well.  Fortunately, it was the latter.  The callback with the executive producer, Phyllis Platt, however, wasn’t as smooth.  I nearly didn’t make it because there was a mix-up with the location (different address) and a snowstorm was brewing.  I got there all flustered.  Casting said take a breath and come in when you’re ready.  I went in and did a good script read.  However, I think the nail on the coffin was the enthusiasm in which I shared my own paranormal stories with them.  They didn’t just want a host, they wanted a believer.

 

 

Q:   Why do you think people are so fascinated with the paranormal?

 

A: The mystery of the unknown is a natural magnet for curiosity.  This applies to the esoteric arts, aliens, ghosts, and even religion.   Strange things happen which science can’t explain or has yet to explain, and that is intriguing.

 

 

Q:   Have you had any paranormal experiences of your own?

 

A: Quite a few.  I remember resting at an empty park after the Chinese New Year festivities in Hong Kong. I was dozing off when a gust of wind blew and woke me up.  I look up from the bench and notice an apparition standing about 40 feet away.  Separating us is a giant circular flowerbed.  I get up.  The figure is motionless, just staring at me. I think, “Maybe he’s come out to do tai chi.” I glance at my watch.  It’s 2am.  No one comes out to do tai chi at 2am!  I start to walk around the flowerbed, wondering if I should approach him.  Then the figure starts to slowly bob up and down in an eerie, unnatural way. A chill races through me, but I force myself to keep walking with my eyes locked on him. Suddenly his head starts to turn in an Exorcist-like way following my every step around the perimeter of the flowerbed. That’s when I jettisoned out of the park. I wasn’t hanging around for a Linda Blair 360 degree head rotation!

 

Q:   What is your new short For Glory’s Sake about?

 

A: It’s a short film about an attorney (me), who gets to the truth about a female student athlete accused of juicing (using steroids) to compete.

 

 

Q:   What made you interested in the project?
A: I have a general rule when it comes to working on dramatic short films or independent films:  If the project is topical, controversial, and has some sort of social significance with a positive message, then I get involved.

 

 

Q:   What kind of day job or income source do you currently have and how does it influence your creative work?

 

A: I was fortunate to have carved out an illustrious showbiz career in Asia for ten years before returning home to Toronto and then relocating to Los Angeles where I currently live.   I was wise enough to invest the money I made in Asia in real estate.  This has afforded me the luxury of pursuing my passion for acting and other showbiz interests in North America, where it’s tough, especially for Asian male entertainers to cut a break. When the cameras aren’t rolling, I’m either collecting rent or flipping a property, though I’m weaning out of it. I didn’t want to be a typical struggling actor in L.A. waiting tables or bartending to make ends meet (besides I’d be awful at it). Mind you, I have great respect for actors, who do that.  It’s a hard life.  Believe me, I know what struggling is.  Leaving Toronto for Hong Kong with two suitcases and $2000 and having to learn Cantonese in a foreign land and finding work was no easy feat.  I juggled multiple jobs at the same and barely slept.

 

 

Q:   Who are some of your acting influences?

 

A: Bradley Cooper because he’s managed to carve a sound acting career with creative control, that is, he is able to produce many of the films he stars in.  Plus, he defied the odds when a casting director said he wasn’t leading man material.  I’m all about defying the odds and breaking glass ceilings (Hey, I am one of the few Asian male entertainment hosts on air in America, right?).  Female-wise, I love Cate Blanchett.  I think she’s the next Meryl Streep.  Solid, solid, solid acting every time.

 

 

 

 

Q:   You say that Ghostly Encounters “went global.”  What exactly does that mean in layman’s terms?

 

A: Yes, it airs internationally on cable.  We started out in Canada on W Network and VIVA, and then it got picked up by BIO. in the U.S. in the early years.  It currently airs stateside on Destination America (as of last year), north of the border on OWN Canada, and most recently in Asia on Crime & Investigation TV.  I’m not involved with the production company and the deals it brokers with the cable companies; all I can say is: “It’s the show that keeps on giving.”

 

Q:   What is your oddest on-set story?

 

A: I wish I had an on-set Ghostly Encounter of my own to share, but nothing strange ever happened whilst filming at the old Crystal Ballroom atop the historic King Edward Hotel in Toronto.  No flickering lights, no slamming doors, no strange voices recorded on tape, no images captured on camera.  Nada.  Darn!

 

 

Q:   If you could interview the ghost of any celebrity, who would you pick and why?

 

A: Ooh, that’s a good question.  Probably Princess Diana.  Rumor has it she predicted her premature death in her own diary, and supposedly it involved a car.  Like I said, intriguing, right?

 

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

 

 

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An Interview With Writer Rob Neighbors

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Rob Neighbors is the author of Palm Avenue; here is a link to his website:

 

https://www.linkedin.com/in/rob-neighbors-98493239

 

 

Q: What is Palm Avenue about?

 

A:Palm Avenue,” is a classic tale about a farm girl from Kansas who comes to Hollywood to become a big star. It is a story about the “Hotel California.” I believe that song by the Eagles refers to how people come to California seeking fame and fortune and how they get caught up in that whole pursuit to the point where they can never return to place that they were before. They can “check out, but never leave.” The two main characters in “Palm Avenue,” Ashley and Brady come to California for completely different reasons, but they both become addicted to action in different ways, where they can’t return to their native state of Kansas. Not intact anyway.

Q:  What inspired you to write it?

 

A:  I received a phone call one day from a friend and he said, “Hey, write a book like “50 Shades of Grey” and you will make millions of dollars.” I had always wanted to write a novel, so I guess I needed a little push, and that was it. Millions of dollars would be nice, but it was time I wrote a novel for the experience of it. I went out and bought the book (50 Shades) out of curiosity.  I tried to read the book and hated it – I was only able to read four chapters. I thought about the demographic for that book (mostly women) and wondered if I could write something for that audience. I remembered an outline for a script I had done years ago and I dug it out. That outline had a strong female protagonist, and I decided to turn it into a novel, which is now “Palm Avenue.”

Q: What makes Ashley Duncan different than other characters like her?

 

A: Ashley is a character that has been written about many times and mythologized in reality and fiction.  Think of real life success stories like Marilyn Monroe, or more recently, Jennifer Lawrence.  Ashley is like Dorothy following the yellow brick road to the Emerald City. The difference is that Dorothy wanted desperately to get back home, but Ashley wants desperately to escape Kansas. Ashley decides early on to do anything it takes to be a part of the Emerald City (Hollywood) and everything that represents.  Ashley is a strong female character by the fact that she is driven and will not let anything stand in the way of her goal, but she is also very flawed.  She has self doubt and falls into some of the usual Hollywood traps of sex and drug addiction. By the end of the book she is transformed into someone very different than the person she arrived as.

 

 

Q: Who inspired the character of Brady?

 

A: Brady is like a lot of guys those of us who grew up in small towns remember. Brady was the big fish in his small pond (hometown Colby, Kansas). He was the award winning quarterback, homecoming king, and son of the beloved local veterinarian. Ashley was his “queen” in high school.  They were the dream couple everyone envied. Brady’s ego can’t handle it when Ashley leaves him and the hometown in pursuit of her Hollywood dream.  Brady runs to LA after her and quickly realizes  his hometown hero status will not get him a cup of coffee in this town.

 

Q: Who are some of your writing influence?

 

 

A: Probably my earliest writing influence was Larry McMurtry.  I used to visit my grandparents house when I was 10 or 11 and I was drawn to the book, “The Last Picture Show,” in their book case.  It is a very risqué book. I was able to find the dirty parts like a heat seeking missile. I didn’t understand sexual content at the time, but it made quite an impression. The sex in that book is not there for exploitation, but to show the often tragic consequence people face due to their choices. The movie was great also, but the book is fantastic. Other influences include Hemingway, Bukowski,  Carver, Steinbeck,  Mailer , and Tennessee Williams. I tend to like writers who go into depth about the human condition, rather than focus on plot points and fantasy.

Q: Why do you think there are so many books and movies set in Hollywood?

 

A: Everyone seems to be fascinated with Hollywood. There is the glamour aspect of course that everyone is drawn to – the red carpet premiers, movie stars, swimming pools and palm trees. Then there is the seedy underbelly that is equally fascinating. The whole setting lends itself to desperation and drama, which makes for good fiction.

 

Q: What is the most valuable lesson you have learned about promoting yourself as a writer?

 

A: I decided to self publish “Palm Avenue,” rather than to try to seek  a publisher. That could have taken years, and I don’t have that much time. I wanted to write a book that particularly people in Hollywood could relate to. This is a book that will ring true to I think anybody who has tried to make a go of it here – which could be thousands of people. I am writing two sequels to “Palm Avenue,” and think it will be more marketable as a three part series. Marketing is a challenge, but one thing about it, if I don’t market the book, nobody else is going to.

 

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

 

A: I have lived in Los Angeles for over 20 years and I have experienced a lot. I did the whole drug/nightclub scene in Hollywood in the 90’s. I have worked as a limo driver, a bartender, and a screenwriter. I have been married and had kids. I have been divorced, dead broke, and desperate, and I have been incredibly lucky at times.  I have been on the fringes of the industry, and an insider for a bit. I have known many actors, musicians, and writers, both wannabes and those with various levels of success.  I have seen many people wash out and die, and others rise to the top. I think I am certainly qualified to write about this subject matter.

 

Q: Why did you decide to write a novel after so many years as a screenwriter?

 

A: I have basically given up pursuing screenwriting as a career. The movie business has changed tremendously since I first started. The types of movies being produced now are generally not what I write. I am excited about the whole Netflix thing, which in the past few years has opened up a whole new world of opportunity for creative people. One thing I have noticed is that everyone wants to read a book, whereas nobody wants to read a screenplay. If someone offers to hire me as a screenwriter I will jump at it, but I am no longer seeking that out.  Novels are a product by themselves, but screenplays are only blueprints for films that are often never made. Screenwriting can be one of the most frustrating endeavors in the world.  For now, I will write novels and seek an audience, and then if people want to make them into movies, we will talk.

Q: If you could give Ashley one piece of advice what would it be?

 

A: Some folks might think my advice to Ashley would be to stay home.  Not so. I think that people are always going to be drawn to Hollywood. Those people have to do it. They have to try it. I say to those individuals, come on out and give it a shot if you have to!  Just remember you may have to sacrifice a lot for your dream. A veteran Hollywood guy once warned me before I came to Los Angeles to always “cherish my family.” I didn’t listen to him and that was a huge mistake. In the end, your family is all you can really count on. That would be my one piece of advice for Ashley – pursue your dream, but always cherish your family.

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 Anita Evensen

 

AnitaEvensen

 

 

Anita Evensen is the author of The Unassisted Baby; here is a link to her website:

 

http://www.theunassistedbaby.com/

 

Q:  What inspired you to write The Unassisted Baby?

 

A: When I was planning my first unassisted birth, there was not a lot of how-to information available on the topic. I had to do a lot of research to give birth at home without a midwife. For example, I had to figure out how to tie off the umbilical cord, what the placenta should look like, and how to get a birth certificate afterwards. I wanted to make it easier for others going on the same journey. So I actually started writing the book during my pregnancy while I was still planning my first unassisted birth.

 

Q:  What made you interested in unassisted birth in the first place?

 

A: It’s hard to pinpoint when I made the decision to give birth on my own. There were several things that led up to it.

 

My third pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. And as traumatic as that event was for me emotionally, my body handled it just fine. While I did have a conversation with a midwife over the phone, I was never examined or assisted during this time. Afterwards, I thought if my body can handle a miscarriage without assistance, why do I need help giving birth? My body seemed to have it all under control.

 

During my next pregnancy, I initially had midwifery care and was planning a homebirth with them. But the midwives weren’t as friendly as I would have liked them to be. They also didn’t communicate blood work results until I bothered them about it. And when I asked how I could prevent vaginal tears during birth, they had no answers for me. Instead, they assured me that they knew how to stitch the tears.

 

If I had really bonded with my midwives, I might never have considered leaving them. But it seemed like everything they knew how to do I could do as well. If something really went wrong, I would have to go to the hospital anyway.

 

And when I was already strongly leaning towards giving birth unassisted, I actually met a mother who had done the same. That was my final nudge.

 

Q:  What are the advantages of unassisted birth?

 

A: While my husband didn’t seem to think there was a big difference between my unassisted birth and my birth with a midwife at a birth center, they were completely different experiences for me. Giving birth unassisted is an incredibly empowering experience.

 

The greatest advantage about giving birth unassisted is that you really get to tune into what your body needs you to do. Instead of looking to someone else for guidance (how to breathe, when to push), you get to be in charge.

 

To a certain extent, you can still have that with a midwife, but you have to find the right caregiver.

 

Another advantage is that giving birth with only your partner present is that you can bond with him. I barely noticed my husband during the midwife-assisted birth. The midwife took center stage, and he faded into the background. When I gave birth at home, he kept me distracted from the pain, and he was right there ready to help.

 

Q:  What is the most misunderstood thing about it?

 

A: I think the biggest misconception people have about unassisted birth is that it’s risky. I can already hear medical professionals scream when they read this sentence.

 

Yes, things can go wrong in labor and childbirth, but in most cases they don’t. And when things go wrong, it’s often caused by the medical interventions. I know many women who ended up with C-sections because of inducing labor before the baby is ready, not letting women eat, given mothers an epidural etc.

 

Of course, before you can give birth unassisted, you have to realize that you’re taking on a big responsibility. You’re responsible for your birth at the hospital, too, but you can shift most of the burden onto others. Unfortunately, that doesn’t guarantee a good outcome for you. Babies die in hospitals, too, but that doesn’t make the news very often.

 

Q:  What kind of day job do you have and how does it impact your ability to write?

 

A: That’s a good question. About the same time that I started to write the first edition of the book, I started working part-time as a freelance article writer. Having editors review my work really made me a better writer. The articles I write are often instructional, too. Sometimes I wish had more time to write my own books, but I really enjoy writing it for a living, too.

 

My other, more intensive job is raising and homeschooling my 4 children. Taking care of them obviously cuts into the amount of time I have available to write, but I wouldn’t want it any other way.

 

Q:  What kind of formal training have you had?

 

A: I haven’t had any formal training as a writer. I have no background in medicine or midwifery, either. While I do hold a Bachelor of Science in Accounting, I haven’t worked in the field for many years.

 

But when it comes to unassisted childbirth, I have done my research. And I have some experience, too. So far I have given birth at home unassisted twice. And those were my favorite births.

 

Q: What have you done to promote your book?

 

A: I have created a website loaded with information about pregnancy and childbirth. I also have a presence on Facebook and Twitter, although I’m not very active on the latter. More recently, Holistic Parenting Magazine wrote a review of my book. I ended up putting excerpts of that review on the cover of the second edition of my book.

 

Q: I used Facebook groups to spread the word about my book initially, but I have since dropped out of all but one of them. I have contacted a few other sites about reviewing the book, but there hasn’t been a lot of interest.

 

A: For anyone looking for a book on unassisted childbirth, they’re bound to stumble over it on the web, especially on Amazon. Since it’s such a niche market, it’s really hard to reach the people who are interested in it. Traditional advertising wouldn’t work. But then again, I don’t really expect this book to become a national bestseller based on its topic.

 

Q:  What are some of the dangers of unassisted birth?

 

A: There is always a chance for something to go wrong. I would say that there are at least two things every woman should be aware of during an unassisted birth: umbilical cord prolapse and hemorrhage. Both are rare, but when they happen, they can be fatal for baby and mother respectively.

 

The good thing is that giving birth naturally at home can prevent both umbilical cord prolapse and hemorrhage, since they are often caused by medical interventions in the first place. And if the mother-to-be knows the warning signs when it does happen, then she can get to the hospital quickly.

 

As scary as giving birth unassisted sounds to the majority of the population, many official studies agree with my opinion that homebirths are safer than hospital births. And less than 100 years ago, giving birth naturally at home was the norm in the United States. Many societies around the world still give birth without medical staff just as every other living species on Earth.

 

Q:  What’s on your birthing cheat sheet?

 

A: That’s a good question. 🙂 But you don’t have to buy the book to find out. There is a printable copy of the birthing cheat sheet on my websites as well as a prenatal care and homebirth supplies checklist.

 

The birthing cheat sheet includes a quick early labor to-do list, what to check for after the birth, and a place to record baby’s measurements. It’s just a quick guide to remind mother and partner what needs to be done.

 

Q:  What makes an instructional book easy to read?

 

A: I tried to write the book as a how-to guide. I went through every step of the labor and childbirth processes and explained to the reader what would happen next and what needed to be done. And while I tried to include every eventuality, I also aimed to keep it short and relevant.

 

The book doesn’t have to be read cover to cover. The great thing about this book is that it has an extensive table of contents. This makes it easy for women to find what they’re looking for. I even included a Father’s Guide for partners.

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 Jazz Musician Spider Murphy

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Spider Murphy is a New Orleans jazz musician; here is a link to his website:

 

http://www.spidermurphy.net/

 

 

Q:  What made you interested in being a professional musician?

A: My mother absolutely hated the fashion and the message that was being touted  to the media by popular musicians back in the very early sixties. If Mom hated it,  as sure as the sun coming up in the morning , I was going to make it my mission in life.

Q:  When did you have your first public performance?

 

A: My first public performance was also my first paid gig. It  was in “64 for the Chicopee Massachusetts Girl Scouts Xmas Party.

Please ignore my answer to question #1.

Strapping on an electric guitar and all the girls suddenly digging on me at that 1st gig was what got me hooked.

My Mom hated that too.

 

Q:  What do you like about the New Orleans’ music scene?

 

A: I like the number of people here in The Crescent City that know the difference between “BAD” music, and the kind of music that I perform.

 

Q:  What kind of day jobs have you had and how do they influence your work?

 

A: I’ve worked delivering newspapers, in box factory, as a field hand in the tobacco fields, on shipping docks, as a telemarketer, a teacher, delivery driver, and I even worked for my Journeyman’s Papers, contractors license, and operated two of my own hardwood floor businesses in California and Colorado. I even worked for Goodwill here in Louisiana after Katrina for a while.

I used to use the tough and grueling physical aspects of all these day jobs to create the balance I needed for  my artistic endeavors.

I have abandoned and eliminated my day job years ago.  I have discovered that pampering myself usually gets a great performance out of me.

Ha!

 

 

Q:  Who are some of your musical influences and how can we see those influences in your music?

 

A: My four years at Berklee College in Boston had to be the most influential on me musically. During that period of time I got on the right path to developing  my own unique style.

Some of those teachers there were Gary Burton, Quincy Jones, Alan Dawson, Wes Hensel, Oscar Peterson, Dr. William Leavitt, and my personal guitar teacher was Pat Methany. For the 10 years before college I studied at the Pizzatola Music School under the musical guidance of Giuseppe Pizzatola and Robert Ezold.

I don’t know about seeing any of my influences, but you can sure hear them in my playing. I personally hear my teacher Bob Ezolds’ licks popping out just about at every performance.

 

 

Q:  How do you go about selecting a song set?

 

A:  As soon as I step onstage I qualify my audience.

That determines what songs I choose and in what order.

 

 

Q:  What is your weirdest work story?

 

A: Years ago New Orleans music legend Skip Easterling asked me to perform a duo with him at the Ponderosa Stomp at the House Of Blues. An hour before the performance Skip and I got in the shuttle bus at he hotel to take us to the gig. There was another couple sitting in the front seats sharing the ride. I was excitedly gushing to Skip about the possibility of meeting Scotty Moore, Elvis’s guitar player. Rumor had it that he was going to be at the Stomp. As I was bloviating about how Scotty Moore was one of my early guitar idols and when I was gigging at the Bahia Hotel in San Diego years before, Scotty Moore came up to the stage and complemented my guitar playing, the woman in the front seat of the shuttle bus turned around and said, ” excuse me, this gentleman whom  I’m with is Mr. Scotty Moore. He and his wife were on the way to the Stomp too.

We talked and talked and talked and talked and he and his lovely wife were in the front row when Skip and I had to play that evening…………it was good weird.

 

Q:  How did you select the members of your band?

 

A: My Dad played keyboards. He always said to me…….”Your problems son, will never be the music itself. Your problems will always be with the other guys you share the stage with.”

I select them with lots of care.

 

 

Q:  What kind of training have you had?

 

A: I have been very fortunate to have received excellent music training starting when I was six years old. Ten years at the Pizzatola Music School for reading and sight reading and then four years at Berklee for an Arranging and Composition. Music theory tempers your musical chops like fire and repetitious hammer blows tempers a sword.

 

 

 

Q:  What song tells the story of your life, and why?

 

A: The old Mississippi Fred McDowell song – You Gotta Move…….

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 Chris Mason

chris photo

 

 

Chris Mason is the author of the in a Box series of books which are guides to various free resources; here is a link to his Barnes and Noble page:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/entrepreneur-in-a-box-a-guide-to-the-best-ways-to-make-money-on-the-internet-chris-mason/1122643542?ean=2940152345537

 

 

 

Q: What inspired you to start writing?

 

A: Due to the fact that all my children went to an online charter school, I had to find ways to save money and found many free resources through the internet. In fact, I still think it is funny when I first asked my daughter’s teachers for resources that could help her when she first entered the world of online schooling, I only received 3 websites. I thought 3 websites from 6 teachers was a sad state of affairs, so Tutor in a Box was born. That was years ago now. My eldest daughter was in sixth grade then, now she is a sophomore in college.

 

My other books were born out of two things that happened at the same time. First, my family had to give up cable to save money but my kids still wanted to see the then popular That’s so Raven. Second, my mother came up with Mason Day to teach my kids that they did not need a lot of money to give someone a nice gift. Mason Day was when a person was assigned a family member and had to make them something, spending only 20 dollars. My thought was “Oh my God”. I had no artistic skills like my daughters’ and could not build things like my son, but I did have impressive research skills. So the “In the Box” series of books was born. All are reference guides to the best free stuff in a particular area. The series currently includes:

  • Tutor in a Box – A guide to free educational resources.
  • Book Store in a Box – A guide to free print and audio books.
  • Arcade in a Box – A guide to free video games.
  • Video store in a Box – A guide to free Television and Movies.
  • Record Store – A guide to free music
  • Production Studio in a Box: The Guide to make DVD, CD Websites and other Media at Low or No Cost
  • App Store in a Box: A Guide to the Best Free Applications for Mobile Devices on the Internet
  • Entrepreneur in a Box: A Guide to the best Free Websites to Make Money

 

 

I can be contacted at digitalattic95@gmail.com

 

 

Q: How are your books different than other guides to getting free things?

 

A: Since my books are in ebook format all the web links are hot linked. I also try to update the books every so often.

 

 

Q: What do most people do incorrectly when looking for freebies?

 

A: To be honest most people give up to early and stop after the first or second page of results on Google or they use the wrong key words.

 

  1. What sort of work did you do before becoming a house husband? I was an academic counselor, Tutor and did some crisis counseling in high school.

 

 

 

  1. What is the most surprising thing you found to be available for free? An anatomy and physiology lecture on the brain including a complete brain dissection.

 

Q:  You say your kids went to online charter school. How does online Charter school work?

 

A: Well like this each of my kids was given an online calendar which had all of their classes and work laid out in a schedule. Each kid could then work at their own pace and do the work as they saw fit. So maybe a child (such as my son) might do five lessons of Math in one day. Even though only one lesson of math was scheduled. As long as the work got done before it was due in what order it get done does not matter when it comes to what subjects you do. However, in each subject there is a course tree. Each tree is broken up into units. Each unit has lessons and all lesson must be completed in order. Each child has between 6 and 8 subjects depending on their pace and academic level. For example, my son was doing Algebra 1 in middle school which was going to count for high school class credit. Each teacher also does a live lesson through the computer at about 1 a week. So each kid has six classes or six subjects depending on grade level so that is at least 6 live lessons a week. All work is submitted via attachment and all tests and quizzes are given via the course tree. The entire system is known as the Learning Management System. (LMS). Clubs are also done in a live lesson format with one to three meetings a month. the school my children went to had about 22 clubs. Book and supplies are sent out at the beginning of the school year so a student has everything they will need for the year. So as you can see I was basically support staff. I would help them when it was needed. I would spot check homework when needed and remind them of live lessons but otherwise let them do it on their own. The only part that was a bit hard was the portfolios. These were more in depth projects. These included science experiments art projects or research reports and these would be due at 1 per unit so at 6 subjects a student would have 6 due every month. This is where I would be the most help as support staff. There was also field trips ever month. I don’t know about my kids but my favorites were the one to the Buddhist temple and the Civil War reenactment lesson at Riley’s farm.

 

Q: What have you done to promote your books?

 

A: Mainly I promote my books through print and radio interviews.

 

 

 

Q: What are one or two of the best free websites to make money?

 

A: I am partial to Smashwords for obvious reasons. I heard good things about Gift Card Granny but have not used it two amazing (because they make me wonder about people) crowdfunding websites they are http://myfreeimplants.com and www.offbeatr.com. Free Implants is for women to ask for money for better breasts and Offbeatr is for people who need more money to shoot adult entertainment.

 

 

Q:  What do you plan to do with your degree in psychology?

 

A:  I was originally going to be a school psychologist but due to the economic environment in 2008 I was unable to find work and then had to supervise my kids in their schooling. So I was unemployed living on SSI and was trying to get work. However, I now live on a big rig and am trying to give my writing a shot as a way to make a living now that my kids are grown.

 

Q:  What advice would you give to someone who is about to self-publish?

 

A: This is a multipart answer.

 

  1. Write what you love and are passionate about, if you care about it others will because your passion will leap off the page.
  2. Don’t write about what’s popular on Amazon. Stand out and be different.
  3. Have your audience in mind as you write it helps keep you focused.
  4. Match your subject matter to your deliver system. Not every book is good for every format. For example, the “In the Box” series would not be good for the audio format due to its online nature.
  5. Don’t be afraid to outsource parts of the writing process that are outside your skill set. For example, I outsource my cover creation and formatting. This way I can just focus on the writing. This includes marketing as well.
  6. Lastly as corny as it sounds believe in yourself. In the immortal words of Ed Wood “just write, if it is bad it will get better and if it is good it will become great just keep writing”.

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 Author Nataisha T. Hill

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Nataisha T. Hill is the author of Partially Broken Never Destroyed; here is a link to her website:

http://www.amazon.com/Nataisha-T-Hill/e/B00KW25CH2/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1

 

 

 

Q:  What is Partially Broken Never Destroyed about?

A: This book is about a young woman named, Kayla, who tries to pursue her dreams as well as have a happy personal life beyond her career. However, she gets side-tracked and allows negative situations to interfere with the important things that she should focus on. There are people in her life who are deceitful, abusive, and shady in every way.

Q: What life experiences did you draw from when writing the book?

A: I personally know women or know of women that have gone through similar situations such as Kayla. I’ve actually had similar experiences that the character endures involving relationships. There also are women out in the world who are actually in the process of going through one or more of these situations, so it was a partial objective to let them know they’re not alone and all situations can have a better alternative.

Q:  Who are some of your literary influences?

A: I definitely enjoy Omar Tyree. I read a book he wrote in three days and this was considering I was a full-time student, pregnant, and working part-time. He brought his characters to life and I enjoyed his male views about women.

Q:  What is the overall theme of your book?

A: Never settle for less. Every good person deserves an equally valued partner. I want women to find better avenues to deal with their problems as opposed to the way, Kayla, handled them. Secondly, I will stress the fact that you should never make a bad situation even worse, but overall, I want women to know that there really is light at the end of the tunnel.

Q:  What makes Kayla worth reading about?

A: I feel that this story is based on all women in some shape, form, or fashion. Most of us want to be loved and appreciated as well as have a healthy and stable relationship. Also, most of us have been hurt at some point in our lives. Then, there’s the fact that we all have thought or done spiteful things as well as have those little secrets.

Q:  You work as a customer service representative, like me. How does your job influence your writing?

A: I work in collections, so I’ve heard everything negative a human being could probably say. Since I am obligated to bite my tongue, I feel I am more expressive through my characters.

Q:  Who was the most annoying customer you ever had and what made them so annoying?

A: The fact that I’ve been cursed out hundreds of times becomes a norm, but I probably will say the people that won’t even give me a chance to help and cut me off before my first words, at times, can be pretty aggravating.

Q:  What have you done to promote your book?

A: The better question is what haven’t I’ve done. I’ve ran ads, social media post, local newspaper posts, book signings, free giveaways, and whatever else I can think of to promote my books.

Q:  What are you working on now?

A: Right now, I am in the process of finishing ‘Partially Broken Never Destroyed’ The Trilogy: and I am extremely excited!

Q:  If you could talk to Kayla, what advice would you give here?

A: Kayla, there is a bigger picture to everything. You have to have faith that good things will happen and good things will come in due time. Patience is a virtue that is frequently underestimated.

 
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 DJ Swykert

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DJ Swykert is the author of The Death of Anyone; here is a link to his website:

 

http://magicmasterminds.com/djswykert/

 

 

Q: What is The Death of Anyone about?

 

 

A: Detective Bonnie Benham has been transferred from narcotics to homicide for using more than arresting and is working the case of a killer of adolescent girls. CSI collects DNA evidence from the scene of the latest victim, but no match turns up in the database. Due to the notoriety of the crimes a task force is put together with Bonnie as the lead detective, and she implores the D.A. to use an as yet unapproved type of a DNA Search in an effort to identify the killer. Homicide Detective Neil Jensen, with his own history of drug and alcohol problems, understands Bonnie, and the two become inseparable as they track the killer.

 

 

 

Q:   What inspired you to write the book?

 

 

 

A: I became familiar with Familial DNA searches while still working in 911 and thought it would be a great story idea, detectives using an unapproved DNA search to catch a killer, then being unable to prosecute him.

 

 

 

Q: What exactly is Familial DNA searching?

 

 

 

A: When there is no match in the database for a DNA profile found at the crime scene, you search the database to find the closest match to the profile, and investigate persons connected to that profile. The technique is not in common use in the U.S., only two states have a policy regarding its use, California and Colorado. LAPD used the technique to catch serial killer, Lonnie David Franklin, dubbed by the media: The Grim Sleeper. Five years later, because of potential violations to his Fourth Amendment rights, Franklin’s trial has yet to begin.

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

A: I heard about Familial DNA searches from a CSI in our department. I wrote a first draft of a novel using the technique at the beginning of 2010. In early summer of 2010 LAPD caught the Grim Sleeper using the technique. I’ve followed the case via the internet and journalists writing about it ever since. There’s even a website now on the case.

 

 

 

Q: Who are some of your literary influences and how can we see those influences in the book?

 

 

 

A: I’m a Hemingway fan, I like his spare yet powerful prose. I try to keep my writing direct and to the point. I think the biggest flaw a writer can make is to be misunderstood.

 

 
Q: What makes your characters worth reading about?

 

 

 

A: I try to keep my characters like real people, imperfect, yet honest. And most people are a little flawed but honest. The exceptions are why we need police departments.

 

 

 

Q:  How does the experience of having worked as a 911 operator influence your work?

 

 

 

A: It brought me into contact with a lot of different kinds of people. There’s no place with a wider spectrum of humanity than a police station at three am on a Friday night.

 

 

 

Q: What was the most memorable 911 call you ever received?

 

 

 

A: A dozen naked men running down a major highway and the only car in the area had a lone female officer behind the wheel. I gave her the call, she took off in hot pursuit, and arrested six of them and transported them to jail. I still laugh when I think about her driving to the jail with a carload of naked men.

 

 

 

Q: What are the elements of a good crime novel?

 

 

 

A: The same ingredients as any other novel, interesting characters in an intriguing conflict.

 

 

 

Q: Based on her personality, if Bonnie couldn’t be a cop, what profession would she have?

 

 

 

A: Perhaps a marriage counselor. An occupation that dealt with helping people.

 

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