Category: writers

An Interview With Author Laura Roberts


Laura Roberts is the author of several humorous erotic books including, the Vixen Files and Naked Montreal. Here is a link to her blog:
www. buttontapper.com

Q: What made you decide to write The Vixen Files?

A: The Vixen Files is a collection of writing from my sex column, “V for Vixen,” which ran in a Montreal weekly paper that was recently retired. I decided to release the material as an ebook so that it would always be available to friends and fans who enjoyed it in print. It also makes a great nonfictional introduction to my novel, Naked Montreal, which will be released this fall.

Q: What makes someone a sexpert?

A: “sexpert” is someone who claims some expertise in the sexual realm. Sometimes these people are doctors or nurses (like Dr. Ruth or Sue Johanson), sometimes they’re sex workers (like Violet Blue and Tristan Taormino), and sometimes they’re just regular people who have good advice to give (like Dan Savage). You don’t necessarily have to have a degree in sexual psychology in order to be a sexpert, but your advice should be backed up by credible sources.

Q: I don’t really like the term “sexpert,” because it seems to imply that there’s only one right way of looking at sex and sexual relationships, and if you’re not the “sexpert,” then you’re doing it wrong. I certainly think that the concept of sexual experts is a good one, in terms of being able to ask knowledgeable people for help with issues pertaining to their field, and I do believe that if people feel comfortable asking for help in bed, that can only be a good thing. But really, anyone who has open, honest answers to sexual questions can be a sexpert.

A: What separates good erotica from bad erotica?

Q: Good erotica gets you off, both mentally and physically. Bad erotica keeps pulling you out of the story with its bad grammar or clumsy comparisons. Good erotica is like any other well-written story: it has a plot, well developed characters (and not just characters with overdeveloped body parts!), a conflict of some kind, plus the action required to move the story to its climax. Those who have not mastered the basics of storytelling should certainly not attempt erotica, nor should anyone who believes it’s just about putting Tab A into Slot B.

Q: What is Rebels of the 512 about?

A: Rebels of the 512 is the tale of Suzie Jimenez, a high school history teacher who is suddenly dismissed from her job due to budget cuts passed by the governor of Texas, Nick Harry. Instead of getting mad, Suzie goes rogue and joins up with a band of ninjas to take back her job and stop the governor’s evil plan to take over the United States with the use of a mind-control device. Though it’s partly a satire on Texas state politics, it’s also a humorous adventure pitting ninjas against pirates, where the ninjas are on the side of truth, justice and the American way. Since ninjas are usually viewed as faceless assassins, I thought it would be fun to make them the heroes in my book, as the kind of freedom fighters I’ve always admired throughout American history.

Q: What are the advantages of self publishing an e-book?

A: One definite advantage of self-publishing is that you get to keep a lot more of the money you’re making than you would with a traditional publisher. It’s also fun to have all the control over the publication process, and meeting other self-published authors to help cross-promote each others’ work has also been a positive side for me. I’ve met some really good writers who are doing unique work that crosses and bends genres, which is an experience I definitely wouldn’t have had if I had published with a traditional publisher.

Q: What are some of the disadvantages of it?

A: The disadvantage of self-publishing is also the advantage: you only get out of it what you put into it, so if you don’t have a lot of time to devote to marketing and promotion of your book, you won’t make a lot of sales. To me, it’s all a learning experience, so I try not to be discouraged. I figure if you keep on writing and promoting your books, eventually you will reach your audience and the sales will follow.

Q: How realistic was Sex and the City?

A: Sex and the City was definitely not a realistic depiction of life as a sex columnist. For one thing, I’ve never been able to afford even a single pair of Jimmy Choo shoes, much less purchase my own condo. That’s not to say it’s a lifestyle of poverty, but it’s certainly not the lifestyle of the rich and famous that Carrie Bradshaw’s fictional existence depicts. Although the part about writing on your laptop in your underwear is pretty true.

Q: Why do you think erotica is so popular?

A: Erotica is popular because our culture is very uptight about sex. Now that you can instantly download erotic pictures, books and movies, it’s becoming more acceptable to do so (at least in the privacy of your own home), and I think that eventually people will become less judgmental about it. As for erotica vs. pornography, I would identify erotica as the “thinking person’s porn,” because more is left to the imagination. Erotica can definitely be explicit, but because it’s written instead of acted out, you have to use your mind to picture the characters and their interactions, and I think a lot of people get off more on reading erotic works than watching porn because there is that element of working your brain–which is, after all, your body’s largest erogenous zone.

Q: What is the strangest feedback you’ve ever gotten about your writing?

A: The strangest thing, to me, is that lots of people assume that everything I write about is true, or that it has all literally happened to me. Since I have written both fiction and nonfiction about sex, there’s a tendency for people to believe that *everything* is actually nonfiction, but I wouldn’t be much of a fiction writer if that were the case! Certainly I am inspired by real-life events, but I also take ideas from stories in the news, stories my friends have told me, other erotic writings and such. I guess it’s just the type of thing people like to read these days; they prefer to believe it’s all true or inspired by reality.

Q: What would you say to someone who says there is too much overkill in the media when it comes to sex?

A: I think the problem is not so much that we are oversaturated with sex, but that the media typically presents sex in a very limiting (and limited) way. We see lots of sexual relationships, but they are almost comical in their caricatures of both men and women. Sexual dysfunctions are still considered more something to be joked about than serious issues. Sexual scandals usually involve conservatives who try to appear morally superior to the rest of us. Lots of relationships, such as open relationships or gay or lesbian relationships, are either skipped over as if they don’t exist or presented in such a token way that it’s offensive. I think it’s really quite telling that sex is considered worse than violence by our society. So I would say that it’s not that we talk too much about sex in the media, but that we don’t go deep enough with our discussions or treat sex as a serious or legitimate topic of interest, worthy of our time and attention. Ironic, given the fact that none of us would be here without it, don’t you think?

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/Actor J.D. Glasscock

JD Glasscock is a local poet, writer and actor who appears in the short film Out For Buckner. Here is a link to his Facebook page:

 

 

facebook.com/jdglasscock1

 

Q: What is the Team For Spoken Word?

A: National competition in spoken word or slam poetry has been going on for thirty something years. They hold it once every year with usually teams from over 60 or so cities. It is teams of 4 with a fifth alternate. To make a team you had to be a winner of preliminary slam which put you into the finals of 12 to 15 poets in which the top 5 made the team. A competition usually consists of 3 rounds with 5 judges and your scores are cumulative. It has to be original work and you have a 3:10 time limit with penalties on your score for those that go over.

Q:  What is the difference between a poetry slam and a traditional poetry reading?

A: Poetry slams are much more performance oriented and usually have a higher skill level then most open mics as people know they are being judged.

 

Q:  A lot of your poetry is critical of Hollywood, yet you live in Los Angeles, what causes the love/hate relationship people have with Hollywood?

A: Hmm, some pieces are but Ii believe you only looked into the first few pages of one of my books and I believe those first few pieces fall into that category. Personally I am against nepotism and such in any forum I find it in. I believe people should be given opportunities based on skill and merit.

Q:  What is your most disturbing Hollywood story?

A: Don’t really have any. I believe sometimes the egos that insecure people in this industry throw out and force others to deal with are difficult. Many in this industry seemed to have skipped the child hood lessons of respect and courtesy and too much elitism goes on for my tastes. The opposite as well though. I worked with Clint Eastwood and he walked up to everyone regardless of position and said “Hi, my name is Clint, thanks for working for me.” A beautiful person.

Q:  What interested you about “Out for Buckner”?

A: It was a friend of mine’s project and I like to support people in their aspirations.

Q:  What kind of day jobs have you had and how have they influenced your writing?

A: I have been writing and performing for 22 yrs, most of that spent as a waiter/bartender to eek a living out while I pursued my music and writing. I moved to Los Angeles 3 yrs ago to finally pursue my aspirations as a screen writer/lyricist/actor and some day Director. I currently make a living in acting.

Q:  You have nine self published books. If I only have time t read one of them which one should I read and why?

A: All of them are of equal skill. I do not put out anything less. You can find them on lulu.com under my name,

Q:  Who are some of your creative influences?

A: I have many. Poetry — Yeats, Rimbaud, Poe Music — Doors, Marley, Ozzie, Eagles, Steve Miller Directing/Script Writing — Lynch, Tarentino, Guillium

Q:  Why have you decided not to submit your writing anywhere?

A: I am starting to now(Film scripts) But through my career I chose not to till I had access to major movers. Personally I felt it a waste to submit to small publishing houses/productions etc as most likely they would own my product and it would go nowhere and the product would be burned. I always had faith that I would get where I am going. In addition as far as film, I write High Concept, High Imagination, larger budget material.

Q:  What can we do about Hollywood racism, sexism and looksism?

A: I think the only viable solution is to make it in your own art with great success then show by example that a better business model is to hire based on merit, and skill, not nepotism.

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 Comedian Roxy Rich

Roxy Rich is a stand-up comedian and retail employee who has written a book entitled Roxy Does Retail. Here is a link to her website:

www.roxyrich.com

Q: What made you want to be a comic?

A: Actually, I never intended to be a comedian. I was an actress. While growing up, I got the lead in every Christmas

Play every year. I do remember that I was constantly performing; on the playground, on my friend’s trampoline, whatever. I had the ability to remember jokes. I never forget something funny. In the tenth grade, I was voted “Funniest Person in Class” at Douglas Anderson School of Arts. I was shocked. I got the Hoffman’s Scholarship to La Grange Speech Communication and Theater College in Georgia by doing a comedic monologue which won me a contribution for the first year. While there, I was in the play, Steel Magnolias, as Ouiser, where I got amazing reviews at having “stolen the show.” My professor told me, “Your timing is impeccable.” It was the greatest compliment I’d ever received. Then, I was asked to perform a stand- up routine for an on campus Sketch show called “Lost Comedy.” I remember telling the producer, “I’m an actor! I don’t write this stuff. What am I going to say?” She told me: “Tell those jokes you were saying at the party Saturday.” I reluctantly agreed, but was terrified. I fretted for two weeks trying to come up with something funny to say. In the end, I did write some jokes, did well in the show and the next day at lunch overheard my classmates telling my jokes and they were looking at me with admiration. I remember feeling very good about that. I made people laugh. They were delighted. It’s a marvelous feeling. I suppose it was then that it dawned on me. I thought, “Hmm. I’m funny!” I was hooked. I still wanted to act, but I knew I would continue comedy as well.

When I left college, I began doing open mics in Florida starting at Bonkers Comedy Club in Orlando and throughout the state. I won “Funniest New Female Comic” at Hilarities in 1991. I moved to LA in December of 1992. Although I was interested in comedy, my primary focus was acting. I was young and ill prepared. I couldn’t get an agent. No acting was happening. I realized that in order to stay on stage and get seen by agents, I could do comedy which I enjoyed. So I made the decision then to buckle down and focus on it. It was basically the door that opened, so I walked through it. As time went by, I became more and more fascinated by it and was glad I made the choice to do comedy.

Q: What makes someone funny?

A: Well, jokes to start. And the ability to deliver them with perfect timing. Real funny is taking something with a grain of truth in it then stretching it to the Nth degree of ridiculous. For instance, I had a good mind to do a bit about Starbucks. I was annoyed at all the flavors because I just wanted regular coffee. I was knocking jokes around in my head, but hadn’t gotten it in order yet. I pop over to the Comedy Store and Mike Ricca is on stage talking about Starbucks. He said exactly what I was thinking, only HE had it set -up punch-line already. He said, “They have everything except what I want. Cappuccino, Frappuccino, Al Pacino. How about coffee flavored coffee? Do you have that?” Hilarious. I abandon my bit to work on something else, he’d already done it and so perfectly. I admire this skill and it’s how I like to work my own act.

I don’t really think it’s a formula. It’s saying things that indicate to the audience with reality and delivering them in an unexpected way. Part of this is just living long enough to have a viewpoint on different subjects. When you are young, you haven’t seen enough to be funny to an eclectic audience.

Funny is in the eye of the beholder. Personally, I prefer dry humor over slap-stick. But there is an audience for that as well.

Things that are the funniest to me are when a comic addresses my intellect and sets up a joke in such a way that I fill in the blanks.

When you tell a joke that invites the audience to participate or assume, I think that’s funny. There’s no need to be vulgar. You can talk about sex or similar subjects without ever saying “sex” or swearing and everyone understands what you are referring to. Also, just pointing out the parts of life that don’t make sense at a job or in politics or whatever your experience is. If you can do that very cleverly, well, you’re funny. It takes some effort to create a joke like that and comics, myself included, are constantly rewording their acts. Just add, delete, add, delete. Sometimes you have a premise for a bit, but no real jokes. Then as time goes by, the jokes come and suddenly you have ten minutes of material. The key is keeping it playful and ultimately, timing.

Q: What inspired you to write your book?

A: I’ve been writing all of my life. A poem I wrote in the third grade was published in the school newspaper. Many articles and other poems followed, such as a hilarious poem I wrote while Lifeguarding at Walt Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon. It was published in the WDW newsletter. I have nine chapters of a Romance novel in my computer, and three short stories about cats, which I will publish when I get another ten. The problem with writing is that it doesn’t pay anything. A writer writes to write. If you are constantly working at some other job, you lack time and motivation. But a real writer still finds a way to write.

This particular works came about when I suffered life-threatening injuries a couple of years ago. I had no insurance and as soon as I was able, had to go back to work. At the time, I had two concussions, whiplash and my jaw did not work properly. I could not perform comedy, but I still had to have an income so I worked as a stylist in a boutique. I was in a lot of pain and had vertigo most of the time. Imagine working any job in that condition! Retail was particularly difficult because you are dealing with the public and people are simply unobservant. They are rushed and want what they want right now and you are standing there, so you have to be friendly and help them.

What used to be annoying or just commonplace behavior that I would tolerate and not really have too much attention on became infuriating and unbearable. People asking stupid questions over and over again. People demanding I run around getting them things. Constant complaining about prices or asking for discounts. At the time, it hurt just to talk, I was deprived of sleep and had an eye-popping migraine almost every day. These behaviors from customers that I normally could just chalk up to a day’s work were overwhelming.

I started taking notes and writing in a journal each evening my experiences of the day. Sort of as an outlet. I was also trying to figure out a way to find the humor in it and make a comedy routine out of the material. I knew many people work in customer service and it probably would have a wide appeal to address bad customer behavior. Somewhere along the line, I realized I had eleven chapters and that if I continued, I’d have a book. Then, of course, it was no longer me venting. It became work. I had nothing else to do at night because I was nursing these injuries, so I wrote. And I wrote and edited and wrote and before I knew it, I had twenty-five chapters. I also had a comedy routine. I went on a two week tour at my first opportunity and was bombarded with audience after the show saying how they loved the retail material. A book and a stage are very different venues, so it’s taken some effort to figure out a way to do them both. The book, although initially meant to be funny, can sound serious to the reader because the joke said on stage is accompanied by facial expressions and verbal inflection. When I read the book it’s hilarious to me because I hear myself talking on stage. There are places in the book that are straight up slams on bad behavior which when said out loud, are dry and incredibly funny. For instance, I say, “I hate browsers. Buy something and get the hell out!” Well, in a comedy club that’s hysterical. A reader may see it differently, as hostile. I’m not changing it though. It is an etiquette book written by a comedienne, so the reader should know that and keep that in mind while reading. It’s educational and a bit snarky. This is my first completed book. I am working on the next presently, which will have my secrets to styling and truly being a great salesperson. I have handed the customer their arse on a platter, now it’s time for the staff! Customers get rightly annoyed when the salesperson or stylist does not know her business. So I’m addressing the other side.

Q:  Every retail worker I’ve ever met hates their job; why is this?

A: To answer that, I suggest you read: Roxy does Retail!

Any type of customer service can be gruelling. Not only are you dealing with the boss, corporate policies and other employees, you are handling the public, which can be fun, but also very taxing. People tend to treat retail workers as servants. Get me this, get me that. Very rude. And one is expected to stand there smiling! When you work with the public and like people, it is usually pleasant. It’s the odd customer who is taking their frustrations out on you that makes it hard work. You aren’t allowed to bite back or even just leave if you are uncomfortable. It’s a lot of hours standing and looking busy even when the store is empty. Your feet ache, your back hurts. Retail is very much like a restaurant; it’s feast or famine. Hours can go by when there are no customers and you are bored stiff and often required to do “Busy-Work.” Then, all at once near closing, you are bombarded with customers who all want your attention. It can be very frustrating and unless you are in a high-end boutique, you are making very little money. It doesn’t pay well. You can survive on it, but you’ll never be wealthy unless you own the shop, and most shop owners I know are struggling. That worry passes on to the salesperson in the form of pressure to sell. Commission is frustrating as well. When people return things, many companies dock the salesperson’s next paycheck. So you are penalized in retrospect because some one bought something she couldn’t afford.

Q:  Who was the worst customer you ever had when working retail and why?

A: I don’t have a specific one that comes to mind. There have been so many who wasted my time. The worst was most likely

a woman I mention in my book who spoke to me in a very threatening tone. She was super antagonistic. I tell the story very bluntly in my book in the chapter: Client or Menace? She just had this hostile tone about her. She kept picking things up and then suddenly she didn’t have them in view and I was suspicious she was stealing. I had to ask her where she put a clutch. She went off on me. I was alone in the store and she was obviously crazy and looking for a fight. I can hold my own, but at the time, I was in recovery from serious injuries and knew I couldn’t defend myself if she hit me. I was very concerned that if she attacked me, either I’d be hurt or out of sheer adrenaline, I’d pick up something very hard and sharp and she would be hurt. She really frightened me.

Q:  Have you ever been a bad customer?

A: Yes! Recently, I had to deposit money into my account at Bank of America. I was in a hurry and the teller insisted I show my ID.

I was a bit nasty to her in my questioning of why. Seriously, why do I need to show my ID to deposit a check.? That’s ridiculous. If I were withdrawing, I would understand. I did as I was told, but I complained the entire time. At the end I told her I knew she didn’t make the rules and sort of apologized, but not really. When I walked off, I thought, “What the hell is the matter with you? She does not make the rules and here you have a book out teaching people not to do exactly what you just did!” I felt bad after that knowing that I’d upbraided her for something she had no control over. She was just enforcing company policy. Oh Gosh. I am sorry!!!

Q:  What makes fashion so important to people?

A: People want to fit in to society. They want to appear rich up to date and in style and show that they know the latest trends. Fashion is exciting. It’s art. It’s new and old and interesting. It’s fast paced and is a social status to wear the “hot” new look. There are always new ideas coming out from designers and these can be fun for daily wear or for costumes. Sometimes, however, I am in such a disagreement with the new styles that come out and loathe it when I see women insisting on wearing them when they are completely wrong for that woman’s body type. (Such as Skinny Jeans! And leggings! Oh, I hate to see a fifty year old in Leggings and a dress. NO! NO! NO!) I want to look my best and I’m a difficult fit. I’m only five feet tall and I’m hourglass, which is lucky. I’m built proportionately, but gain one ounce and it looks like five pounds. At this size, it’s hard to get jeans or dresses or even tops. They all run long. A short girl has to spend a fortune in alterations. That is why fashion is important to me. I wanted to learn to get “The Look” which was a daunting task with my tiny frame. I made it my priority to figure this out. My entire life has been an effort to appear taller and thinner. I do try to stick to fashionable items, but I if it is something that does not suit me, I use accessories that are in style to get the look instead of wearing an outfit made for a runway model half my age. When I dress someone, I am teaching them about their body, how to dress it fashionably but also in the correct cuts for their figure. I also enjoy relaying what I have learned to other women. I really focus on what is beautiful about them and exacerbate that through clothing and accessories. When people know they look good, they feel good and do well and that is why fashion is truly important.

Q: . What do you like about Los Angeles?

A: The food. Honestly. When I leave LA, I miss the food. When I go on tour to do comedy, it’s usually in the mid-west and it’s canned vegetables, potatoes, steak, fast -food. In Los Angeles, I can have something different and tasty every single day. No, check that. Every single meal! On a single block there is authentic Chinese, French, Armenian, Italian, Mediterranean and a slew of other types of foods. I can get health food easily in LA and not spend a fortune. I love Quinoa! LA is big on salads and I’m a salad girl. All types of exotic vegetables, too. Trader Joe’s is my favorite store. Can’t find that in Paris! Been there. No half and half in the whole of France. I like cream in my espresso already! And organic food isn’t difficult to find. Definitely the food.

There are many other things to like about Los Angeles. I like the industry, the glitz, the glamour, that something is always going on. And I like the people. I came here from Florida. All white people. I like white people. I’m white. But when I am away, I miss the diversity. People are interesting. It’s cool to meet people from other countries and of other races. I found that all people are really about the same. We have cultural differences, but you meet a Mexican, he’s got a sense of humor. And so does that Japanese guy. And so does that Swedish girl. People are fun! They are exotic. And they are talented. I work at The Comedy Store and many other comedy clubs. The comics are funny. They all come from somewhere else and it’s interesting to hear so many different viewpoints. And people are beautiful. LA is full of beautiful people and I like beautiful people. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a shite-load of ugly out there, too, but you can see truly beautiful people in LA and it’s often. I like it. Full of artists, LA is. Painters and singers and writers and actors and dancers. Just buzzing with talent. It’s great. It’s competitive, but if you want to be the best, you have to go up against the best and be able to hang with the best.

Q:  What don’t you like about it?

A: The traffic! It’s rush hour all day long. Every day, 24/7. Often, I wish I had a “Car-Bo-Copter”. I’m nudging along bumper to bumper looking at the dashboard thinking, “Where is the ‘wings’ button?”

LA is also transient. People come and go. They come out to make it, then one day , they disappear. Relationships tend to be difficult. I mean romantic and also friendships. People are working. If they are serious about making it, that is what they are doing. I have many friendships I have developed with comics I’ve come to know over the years, but we don’t hang out. How can we? The night I’m off, they are on stage somewhere. If they are in town, I’m on tour. It’s hard to have a party and all your friends are there. We hang out at the comedy club. It is good that you can develop these types of relationships. People like you and remember you and we all flow each other contacts and work. But getting together outside of work can be difficult.

Men can be fickle here, too. Not all of them. But there are many people here just to “taste” everyone and everything. They aren’t serious. You almost have to leave here or meet someone not from here to have a real relationship. I know many single women here in their thirties and forties, and men too. They want a relationship and complain that people are flakes. It’s almost like the regular rules don’t apply here in dating. It’s too fast. If you aren’t available on text or immediately, you are history. A guy is off to the next hot blonde who is and there are plenty just as pretty. It’s not across the boards, but I’ve seen it. And women do the same to men. Just, “Bye!” I find the dating scene to be rude.

Work is competitive. I know so many extremely talented people who do not work. Or they work, but for free or for very little. I see people who go to acting class and write and perform and just bang, bang, bang it out for years and then some director’s niece gets the part. It can be “who you know.” So if you came here not knowing anyone, even if you are the best, the game is getting to know someone. Get to know everyone. Get yourself out there so people know you. And that can take time for even the most talented performers because they are struggling just to stay alive out here. The one’s who make it persist. They find a way to stay here while they get good. Eventually they are seen and things start rolling.

Q: Considering your experience as a retail employee, would you say are people basically good or bad ?

A: Good. People are basically good. I’ve supported myself doing some form of retail for twenty years. Most of the people I interact with are friendly and interesting. They want help. They want to look good. They are easy going. They are there to shop and are happy to find something. My book addresses the exceptions to the rule. There are quite a few exceptions and the ones I mention are the people who exacerbate the “bad.” They are all true stories and there are definitely bad people out there. But the majority are not bad. They are good. It’s that goodness in people that makes the job worthwhile and the goodness in the salesperson that makes him or her continue to show up and be interested in retail. Most retail shop owners are good as well. There are bad days, but they set the shop up because they love fashion or whatever they are selling and they want to earn a living at it by doing a good job for the customer and doing right by their employees.

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 Blogger Carmen Varner

Carmen Varner is a Los Angeles based blogger whose subjects include vegan cooking, hip hop music and skateboarding. Here is a link to her blog:

http://www.itscarmen.com/

Q:  What inspired you to start blogging?

 

A: My website is basically a giant resume. I started it my last year of university because I wanted to refer future employers to it. It’s different than writing researched articles and meeting deadlines. I get to be my own boss, which is nice.

Q:  Who are some of your favorite bloggers.

A: I couldn’t even begin to narrow it down. I have a short attention span so I look to one topic then another. However, I tend to follow a lot of vegan and do-it-yourself blogs.

 

Q:  What made you chose vegetarianism?

A: I’ve been vegetarian for 7 years, vegan for about a year. I decided to do it because I’ve always gotten along better with animals. I’ve always cared very deeply for them & they for me. Everything I’ve learned about nutrition points to vegan/vegetarianism. As well as the fact that animals are treated so heinously; I wouldn’t dare touch the stuff. Personally, I don’t want to drink milk that came from a cow whose utters have been pumped for so long that puss and other bacteria get into the milk. No thanks. That’s just gross.

Q:  How would you define the skateboarder lifestyle; is there a core philosophy?

A: I wouldn’t be able to define the skate culture. Those guys & gals are all so different, it would be difficult to stereotype them into one definition.

Q: What qualifies one to get a job as a hip hop blogger?

A: You have to have a passion for the music & keep up with the what’s going on in the hip hop world.

Q:  Who do you think is the next big hip hop star?

A: Azealia Banks, if she isn’t already a star. But there are so many underground artists & people who haven’t had the opportunity to have their music heard yet.

Q:  What is the most annoying trend in hip hop music?

A: I’d say the most annoying aspect is the weird grunting. Yeah. Yeah. Uh. Uh. What’s with that?

Q:  What do you like about living in California?

A: I love the California sunshine, the sandy beaches, the diversity of food, culture & architecture.

Q:  What don’t you like about it?

A: Nothing. It’s awesome.

Q:  What is the best vegan restaurant in California?

A: I try not to go out too much. It gets expensive & I make better food at home. But I visited Loving Hut recently & that was tasty. I also like Thai food, there tends to be a lot of vegan options.

 

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 Self Help Blogger Rob Young

Rob Young is a self help blogger. Here is a link to his website:

Q:  What inspired you to start your blog?

A: Basically, I wanted to share what I’ve learned with other people. I’ve gone through quite a number of trials and tribulations, as you can read in my blog. My family went broke, my parents died when I was young…I have had a lot of challenges to overcome. There were a lot of dark days but these unfortunate experiences led me to develope a deep spirituality which helped me bounce back. I’ve discovered that even the worst of times can be a good learning experience and I hope my experience and insights can help other people who are feeling down and feeling hopeless. That’s why I started Native American Buddha.

Q: What is the most common misconception about Buddhism?

A: Many people think that Buddhism is a religion and that Buddha is the God of that religion. This is all false. Buddhism is a spiritual practice, designed for self improvement and enlightenment. It’s meant to bring you closer to yourself rather than to God. And Buddha is not a God. He was the founder of the religion and is still a revered figure, but Buddhists don’t think of him the way Christians think of Jesus. Buddha was just a man. A great teacher but very human.

 

Q:  What is the most common misconception about Native Americans?

A: There are so many! The Hollywood stereotype that has been perpetuated over the last 100 years still affects the way people think of the First Americans. We think of Indians as stoic, red-skinned people with feathered headdresses, living in teepees. That’s a Hollywood myth. Indians aren’t any more grim or stoic than anyone else and they do not have ‘Red Skin’. You really can’t tell their pigmentation from most Europeans. Most Indians didn’t live in Teepees, even in the old days and they certainly don’t today. And the feathered head dresses are only ceremonial, not daily wear.

Q:  What makes a blog interesting to read?

 

A: To me, an interesting blog has a sense of familiarity. You should read it and say “I totally get that!” If it’s a personal story, you should feel a sympathetic bond with the writer and relate to the writer’s problems. If it’s a hobby blog, you should share the love of the topic. A self-help hub should draw the reader in by discussing a problem that the reader and writer have both experienced and suggesting ways to solve those problems. A good blog should create a bond between the writer and reader.

Q:  What is the best way you’ve found to get readers to your blog?

 

A: Probably the best way is to use links to other places like Facebook and my Hub Pages articles.

Q:  Do you do any other kinds of writing?

 

A: I do a whole variety of writing. I just finished the script to a TV pilot about drug addiction and recovery. It’s been filmed and is being edited. I’ve written a biographical film screenplay about the Marx Brothers, (Which I unfortunately haven’t sold yet) and I have over 150,000 views to my series of articles on Hub Pages. I’ve written film reviews for JustPressPlay.net, published some short stories, authored a play, wrote a graphic novel and I’ve ghost-written seven books.

Q:  What sorts of jobs have you had and how do they influence your writing?

A: I’ve done everything. I’ve been an advertising man, a dog groomer, a security guard, a convenience store manager, a janitor, an inventory clerk, a cashier and now I’m a freelance writer. It’s all a learning experience to me. I’ve worked with rich advertising Mad Men and dirt-poor grocery store employees. All these experiences have given me a good view of human nature in every strata of society. It’s a big help in writing to have a good insight into human nature.

Q:  What are some blogs that you follow?

A: Most of the blogs I read are written by people I know. However, I like to read ‘One City: A Buddhist Blog for Everyone’ which is done by the people at the Interdependence Project at Belief-net. Also, as film buff, I enjoy readng Roger Ebert’s online journal.

Q: What made you interested in Native American spirituality?

A: When I was going through my toughest period after the death of my parents, I experimented with a whole lot of different religions, philosophies and practices. The two that really stuck with me were Buddhism and Native American spiritualism. Something about the way they held onto their core beliefs through adversity resonated with me at the time. They still do. I visited the Shinnecock Indian reservation in Suffolk County and attended some of the Native American festivals they have around NY city. I became overcome with awe at their spiritual strength.

Q:  What is the best book you have read about the Native America experience?

 

A: There are a lot of good books but the best one is still the classic Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West by Dee Brown. That book really had an impact on me when I first read it. Powerful!

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 Food Blogger RC

RC is a New York based food blogger. Here is a link to his blog:

RoodonFood.wordpress.com.

 

 

 Q:  What makes someone a foodie?

 A:  A foodie is someone who recognizes the connection between food and love. Also a foodie is someone who at any given time can drop everything to discuss the best place to get, say, samosa chat.

Q:  What is the biggest misconception people have about vegan food?

It’s not nuts and twigs. Although not vegan myself I’ve learned that it can be delicious and not as limiting as people assume.

A:  A lot of your posts are about gluten free food. What are the benefits of eating gluten free?

I don’t know that it’s more beneficial than a regular diet as there are still chances to eat fried and junk foods even if GF. It does require more planning however to make sure you get variety and nutrition which often means fewer impulsive junk food purchases.

Q:   What restaurant in New York serves the best vegetable korma?

A: Tiffinwallah is a wonderful all vegetarian restaurant at 127 E 28th between Lexington and Park. Their South Indian stuff is worth checking out too.

Q:  What is the best vegan restaurant in New York?

 A:  Right now I’d recommend Sacred Chow. They have amazing GF/Vegan Tempeh reubens. I got a craving just thinking about it.

Q:  What makes a meal worth blogging about?

 A: If it puts a smile on your face or brings out a happy memory then it’s worth blogging about.

Q:  What do you think of the foie gras ban in LA?

A: I understand why it’s banned but haven’t researched what’s considered humane versus inhumane. It’s a high-end food so I was never really tempted to try it.

Q: Do you think it will catch on in other cities?

 A: It’s pretty likely to catch on in other major markets especially if it’s doesn’t have a big economic impact in California.

Q:  What do you think of the trend toward vegan comfort food? (will it get more people to be vegan?)

 A: I think it’s great. Who can argue with comfort food as long as it’s at comfort food prices? Not everything needs to be gourmet. Sometimes you just want the foods you grew up with.

Q:  What was the most annoying food fad ever? (and why)

A: I actually find the cupcake shops to be really annoying. I’d rather have an actual slice of cake with a cup of black coffee.

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 Yoga Instructor/Blogger Jessica Tyner

Jessica Tyner is a blogger and yoga instructor. She currently resides in Costa Rica. Here is a link to her blog:

http://getitohm.blogspot.com/

Q: What inspired you to start a yoga blog?

 A: Get it Ohm! is in its early stages, but what better way to get the word out? Let’s face it, I offer karma (free) yoga classes which means I have no paid advertising. Word of mouth has always been one of the best (if not the best) ways to spread messages. Blogging is the virtual equivalent with the added bonus of getting information straight from the horse’s (ahem, yogi’s) mouth – perhaps while in horse pose.

   Q: How did you first get into blogging?

 A: As a freelance writer, many of my clients/projects are blog-based. Currently I blog for everything from a Boston flower shop to a London arts organization. Get it Ohm! is the first blog I’ve created for my own project.

 Q: Do you think it’s possible to make a living from blogging?

A: Absolutely, I do make a living from blogging. I regularly juggle about eight projects at a time including blogging, SEO writing, web content creation, grant proposals, and advertising. I enjoy having a variety of different types of writing for different kinds of organizations. However, had I decided to focus solely on blogging as my income, it would be very doable.

 Q: Who are some of your favorite bloggers?

A: I regularly check out Cake Wrecks and Diary of a White Indian Housewife – obviously for very different reasons. Cake Wrecks is a way to feed my inner 20-something that wanted to go to Paris to study patisserie while I was living in London during my graduate program. I like the ridiculous wrecks set off by some of the most incredible pieces of cake art imaginable. Diary of a White Indian Housewife is one of my regularly checked out blogs because it’s difficult to find someone who has already gone through what I’m facing. Talking with friends about relationships is great, but it really takes someone who’s been on a similar path to relate.

Q: What sort of blogs don’t you like?

I wouldn’t know because I don’t read them. I don’t seek out blogs for blogs sake. I’m usually perusing for something in particular and stumble upon them.

A: What is the biggest misconception about yoga?

There are a lot. That it’s expensive (it can be). That it’s too hard. That it’s all uber-crunchy and spiritual. That you have to “look” a certain way, live a certain lifestyle, or have certain interests to enjoy it. I created Get it Ohm! as a means to allow communities access to yoga that might otherwise not have it, or might not be comfortable in the yoga studios that are available.

Q: What will you miss most about Costa Rica?

A: Immediate access to a (warm) beach. The Oregon coast simply can’t compare when you feel like swimming.

Q: What won’t you miss about it?

A: The sheer loudness of the city, the dirt, the inconvenience (it often takes a full day just to take care of business at the bank), the traffic, and the bars and razor wire around every house.

Q: What type of yoga do you like best and why?

A: My personal practice is Vinyasa with a peppering of Hatha and Hot Yoga. I began practicing with Vinyasa, which is a flow movement connected to breath. It had very little spirituality woven through it and is guaranteed to work up a sweat. To decompress I like taking a hot yoga class – plus going outside after being in a hot room always feel amazing.

Q: If someone doing yoga in their jammies fell on the floor while attempting downward dog, and no one heard them, would they be embarrassed?

A: It depends on the person. But not nearly as embarrassing as if they were attempting savasana.

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