Thursday, January 23, 2014

Announcement: Holly Bowerman Book Signing

I am happy to share an announcement of a book signing for Holly Bowerman's Say What You Need to Say coming up on Tuesday, January 28, at Secretly Spoiled in Layton, Utah. I featured Holly in a recent interview on this blog. You can buy her book here. Congratulations, Holly!


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Your Unique Voice

You have a unique voice, unlike any in the world. You are a true original.

Maybe you think you don't have anything to say or that what you have to say or want to say is not important. If you believe that about yourself, consider Louis Armstrong.

His gravelly voice. His broad smile. His signature handkerchief. Watch the video (below) of him singing Kurt Weill's "Mack the Knife" on a London stage in 1956.

Satchmo had a purity, an authenticity. He was unafraid to be himself. He became a jazz icon, an American celebrity, an international personality, because he was unafraid to share his voice with the world. He was fearlessly original.

His voice was unusual. It was raspy. To some ears, it was no doubt harsh and unrefined. But people loved his voice and they loved him.

He grew up in a tough neighborhood in New Orleans. His parents separated. His mother supported the family by prostitution. Louis had every reason to disappear quietly into the mass of humanity, into an obscure life of crime and poverty.

But he didn't. He and his trumpet spoke up. He and his music stood out. He must have been discouraged and heart-broken at times, but he never gave up.

He was himself. He let his unique voice be heard. And because he did, he touched millions of lives.

You have something to say, too. Don't hide it. It's completely okay to be yourself. It's more than okay. It's your gift to the planet. And it's your gift to yourself.

In a critical, dismissive world, it's easy—no, common—to get discouraged because of the disapproval of loved ones or strangers. But they are only there to make you stronger. Accept their service and step forward. Please.

We want to hear from you. Please speak up. You are unique in all the world. What you have to say is important. Let us hear you.




Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Author Interview: Kerry Fowers

Kerry Fowers was born in Ogden Utah and grew up in the small town of Hooper. He is an avid reader and loves the stories told by great authors through the ages. His first book, Divine Help, a mystery/suspense novel, appeared in 2012, and his second book, Divine Verdict: The Trial of The Butcher, just became available. He is at work on book three. He is married Elizabeth—the love of his life—and they soon will begin yet another adventure: foster parenting!

When did you first discover you wanted to become a writer?

I first discovered I wanted to be a writer when I was living in Oklahoma City with my ex-wife. She said she liked the way I wrote and said I should try writing a book. So I did. After that, my writing was on and off through that year and I really didn’t get back into until I got married to my current wife. I attended a writer's conference and met a ton of other authors and that is was inspired to finish my first book and continue writing other books.

How did you come up with the idea for your first book?

The main plot to Divine Help came to me as soon as my ex told me I should write a book. I put some of my experiences I had into this book and the rest just came.

Tell us about your writing habits.

My writing habits are kind of abnormal. I do most of my writing at night while I am at work [as a security guard]. It’s quiet and I can think easier and have less distractions. I usually turn on my muse music and go to work. I usually take breaks here and there and if I get stuck, I usually start watching a movie or bounce ideas off my buddy I work with.

Have you got another book coming out? What is it about?

Yes, my second book in the Divine Verdict series is out now. This book is about the trial of the bad guy in book one, although there are a lot of other things that happen leading up to the trial. Right now I have 10 books planned for the series. Currently I am working on book three, Divine Witness. Stay tuned to my social media sites and my blog for more info on book three as it becomes available.

Where do you see yourself as a writer in the next five years?

I see myself in five years as a better author. I also hope to have at least five more books out by then.

What advice would you give to writers who are just starting out?

The advice I would give to writers who are just starting out is first, go to as many writer's conferences as you can. I learned so much from the ones I went to and it put a fire under me so I could complete my first and second books. Also I recommend to friend as many authors as you can on Facebook so you can ask questions and get answers. I have learned a lot from the other authors I have as friends on social media.

Here is where you can contact Kerry on social media: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. You can also find him on his blog and website.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

A Christmas Gift to You: Write Your Book in 24 Hours

Monday, December 2, I'll begin publishing Write Your Book in 24 Hours serially, for free. It's my Christmas gift to you—a thank you to my readers.

Why did I write 24 Hours? I've met a lot of people who have felt inspired to write a book but they don’t know where to start or how to get the job done. This book will guide you step by step through writing, editing, publishing, and promoting your book. You’ll learn, among other things:
  • What blocks you from writing your book and getting it published
  • How to organize your ideas into a coherent stream
  • The key to getting your book down in written form in about 10 percent of the time
  • How to publish on Kindle and other platforms
  • Who to have on your publishing team
  • How to promote your book
  • And much more!
Merry Christmas to you all.

Note: The book was taken down on January 2, 2014. Thank you for reading!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Author Interview: Holly Bowerman

Holly Bowerman has always found joy in helping others. She has a BS degree in nursing from Weber State University, has spent most of her career in geriatric nursing, and is currently a hospice coordinator. Because she loves helping others, she feels driven to support and help those who want to improve their lives. She wants to share what she's received through her own healing process, to help others not merely survive but to thrive! "As you heal your life," Holly says, "You empower yourself to be the author of your own life story. This is my passion!" Holly lives in Utah with her dog Chancho.

1. Tell us about the book you are writing and what inspired you to write it.

I’m just putting the final touches on my book titled, Say What You Need to Say: Speak Your Truth. Heal Your Life. For the past two years I have been on an incredible journey of self-discovery and healing. When I first started my journey I began by writing a blog and the results of that are the contents of my book, with a few modifications.  I was simply trying to make sense of what was happening in my life. I had experienced that feeling of having the rug taken out from underneath me. My life had started to feel like a series of unfortunate events and the culminating moment was in February 2011 when my mom committed suicide. Just as I was trying to heal from the loss of my mom, only a few months later, I found myself filing for a divorce. What compounded everything was the fact that when my mom died our relationship was, as I described it, "a mess." I couldn't comprehend how I would ever find peace with my relationship with her or how I would live with the wounds I felt deep in my heart. Over time, however, and through writing on my blog, I have found the peace I was looking for and not just with my mom, but with life. It has been an incredible journey.  What's even more surprising is that through this process I discovered that my mom is one of the greatest spiritual teachers of my life. My purpose for writing this initially was to help me, but my purpose in sharing it is to help anyone who may be struggling to pick up the shattered pieces of their life. I like to think of it as a “blueprint” for healing your life. I hope in reading it others will also find courage to go on their own journey and even share their own experiences. I strongly believe with all my heart that we all have a story and each one of them matters.  I also believe that to start the healing process, we must give our lives over to God. One of the most profound truths I have discovered through this process is this: God is not waiting for you to become more “spiritual” to heal you, He is waiting for your permission.

2. If you had just one message for the world, what would it be?

Heal your life to write your own story.

3. What encouragement do you have for those who are discouraged?

As I mentioned before, I strongly believe that our lives are meant to be a success story. I say this despite many life experiences that have felt contrary to this statement.  Everything we are given in life can be used for our benefit if we will allow it.  No matter what the circumstances, there is always reason to have hope. Not everyone’s life path will unfold the same way, but each person’s path has a very important purpose! Don’t ever give up because you never know what is just around the corner!


4. How can people reach you to get your help?

I have a business website dedicated to my new purpose of helping people find healing. The web address is www.successstoriesllc.com. My contact information is listed there for those who are interested in meeting with me one on one. For those who just need a little pep talk or emotional boost, I have two blogs I manage with inspirational thoughts and stories that can be found on my website as well.  I look forward to hearing from you!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Three Reasons Why You Hate to Write

I sometimes hear people say, "I hate to write!" But I don't believe it. Writing is really just the surrogate issue. You most likely have another issue that you are wrestling with and writing brings it out.

I am of the opinion that everyone should write, and that the only way to get better at writing is through deliberate practice. Yes, I know some people are talented writers, but I also know that natural, raw talent is one of the most wasted resources on earth.

Talent alone does not a writer make, or a painter, or a skier, or a driver, or a mom, or anything. You can't develop talent without motivation, and you can't have motivation without hope. I also believe that you can develop and even create talent through hard work, but you won't work without hope. 

Here then are three reasons why you hate to write. There are more reasons, but I'll keep with three for now.

The more you reject these ideas, the more likely you will continue to hate writing; the more you understand them and embrace them, the more likely your writing will get better. And better and better.

1. You are afraid of sharing yourself and who you really are with the world.

Fear keeps people in check. It keeps them in hiding, even hiding from themselves, because they are afraid to know who they really are. You are ashamed to show up because someone might point a finger at you and ridicule you. But that is inevitable. Someone is going to rise up and tell you that your writing—or your fill-in-the-blank—is stupid and that you are terrible. But why should you believe such nonsense? You believe it because you're giving someone else more authority than they deserve. Fire your critics. Send them packing. Especially the ones that only exist in your imagination—"for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so" (Hamlet, Act 2, Scene 2). However, the more ardent your critics are, the more likely you are on the right track. Fear is your friend if you know what it really is. You have something valuable to say, something that will change other people's lives. What you have to say is part of who you really are. So say it. Please say it. The world is looking for the real you to show up.

2. You are a perfectionist. 

Because you are afraid of what your critics, real or imagined, might say, you strive too hard for perfection. That takes a long time and a lot of energy. Do you even really know what perfection looks like? I don't. I know what better looks like, but not perfection. Integrity is a different thing, and taking time to do your best work is showing integrity. If you are embalmed by perfectionism, you can't live. If you are frozen by perfectionism, you won't grow. You can't grow and you won't learn. Not very fast, anyway. You won't share yourself either, not fully.

3. You are impatient so you want your writing to be finished on the first try. 

Think of your ideas as seeds, and your story as a field. In order for those seeds to grow, you need plenty of rain. Each time you touch a key on your keyboard, it's like a drop of rain on your field. In writing, the more you rain on your field, the better. That's deliberate practice. So keep at it. Nothing grows in a drought, least of all your talents and skills. Don't expect your piece to be finished on the first try, no more than you are ready to receive a college degree on the first day of classes. Getting words right takes time, and it is always worth the time. It takes a million keystrokes to write a book, and many million more to write a good one. It takes time and patience.

The only obstacle to good writing is time and you.  Allowing fear, perfectionism, and impatience to overthrow your writing is your choice. You control the weather of your mind, so don't blame others for the storm in your heart. Until you let your real self out of the trenches, you will be at war with yourself. As long as you wait for perfection to arrive, you will never find it and you will remain in hiding behind your TV remote. As long as your umbrella is up, turning every which way to shield your seeds from rain, your field will lie fallow.

Be yourself. Express yourself. Be true to yourself and others. Be patient with yourself. Above all else, accept and love yourself. And let it rain. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Author Interview: Shawna Draper


Shawna Draper is the author of three books where she shares her miraculous journey from a
childhood of abuse to healing. Her uplifting message focuses on the wonderful Christian neighbors who helped her to learn that it was possible for others to actually love her and gives people hope that, no matter how bleak their life may seem now, or how traumatic their past has been, it is possible to heal and find joy and happiness.

For those who would like to read her story, her books My Tears Fall Inside, The Silent Cries, and Hear My Cry: Writings From My Soul are available at ShawnaDraper.com. Ebooks are available on Amazon.com.

1. What motivated you to write your three current books?

For many years, the only writing I did was to occasionally write in my journal. Later, I began to see a therapist and he was concerned because I hadn’t cried for over 10 years, even though I was dealing with very traumatic things. The result of those blocked emotions was physical pain, such as severe chest pain. The therapist encouraged me to find a way to get the pain outside of my body and suggested writing as a possibility. The next time my chest hurt, I wrote
four poems in an hour and the pain went away. Over the ensuing years I shared a poem or two with a few people and each of them asked me if I would please publish the poetry. I realized that my story needed to be told and that the poetry alone would not really tell the whole story. So I wrote my story in two books, My Tears Fall Inside, and The Silent Cries, and published the poetry in the third book, Hear My Cry: Writings From My Soul.

2. Did you think you would be a writer at a young age or did your "calling" come to you later in life?

I never thought I would be a writer when I was young. When I was in my mid-thirties I was going through a difficult healing process and began writing voraciously in my journal. During the nine year healing journey, I wrote over 10,000 pages in my journal. About three years into that healing journey I had a very strong impression that my story needed to be published. Within thirty seconds I knew that there would be three books, and I even knew the titles of each of them. It felt like a powerful “calling” from God.

3. If you could share any message with the world, what would it be?

My therapist once told me the abuse I suffered was the worst thing that could happen to a person in
this life. He said this because I not only lived through physical and emotional torture, but also mental and spiritual torture through intense brainwashing. With that in mind, I want people to know that no matter how difficult or painful your life may be at this time, you can come out on the other side and lead a happy and successful life.

4. Do you have more books in the works?

Not at this moment, but I never say “never.” Right now I am focusing on speaking to as many groups as possible sharing an uplifting message of hope, healing, and God’s love. I am also writing regularly in my blog.

5. What advice do you have for a new writer just getting started?

Write! Write! Write! The more you write, the better you will get at expressing what you would like to say. Don’t be afraid to begin because you think your writing isn’t “good enough.” Don’t waste your time comparing yourself to other accomplished writers. Each of them also had to start somewhere. Realize there will always be other writers that are better than you are, but don’t think that because your writing style isn’t the same as someone else’s, that it isn’t good. Try to learn everything you can from other writers and be humble enough to be able to accept advice.

6. Was it worth the effort?

Yes, mostly because I feel I have done what God wanted me to do. It also makes it worth the effort whenever I receive emails, or cards, or read Amazon reviews from those who have read my books, letting me know that my books have changed their life for the better in some way.

If you would like to hear more of Shawna's story, listen to a recent interview here.