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Interview with Praying Medic, author of ‘Divine Healing Made Simple’

Praying Medic 2Our guest today is Praying Medic, author of the non-fiction / religion, Divine Healing Made Simple. Praying Medic is a paramedic and author living in Phoenix, Arizona. Since 2009, he has written about the miracles God has done through his medical practice. He is married to his best friend and business partner. His first book Divine Healing Made Simple was published in December of 2013. His life goal is to teach people to live as ambassadors of God’s kingdom. His books and articles are intended to inspire, challenge and if necessary, provoke readers into a deeper relationship with God. If you’re interested in connecting with him outside of Amazon, he has a personal blog http://prayingmedic.com/ where he writes about the miraculous. You can contact him there.

What made you decide to become a published author?

Unlike most writers, I never had aspirations of being a published author. I was Divine Healing Made Simple 7happy just being a paramedic and I thought I would do this kind of work until I was retirement age. But over the last few years I wrote over 30 articles on the subject of supernatural healing. I’ve also had a lot of dreams where the keys to healing were revealed. The articles I wrote and the revelation from the dreams helped people understand healing better. A number of friends told me that more people would benefit if I wrote a book, so I spent about a year turning the articles into a book manuscript.

Would you consider your latest book, (divine healing made simple), to be a one of a kind? How so?

I would consider it to be one of a kind for several reasons. Most if not all books written on healing have been written by professional theologians, but my book was written by an average guy who works an average job and I think that helps people relate to my writing style better. The other thing that makes it unique is that I’ve shared information from dozens of dreams that provide the answers to some of the most common, unanswered questions people have about healing.

Where is your writing sanctuary?

I do about half my writing from the cab of my ambulance between calls and the other half from an office in my home that I share with my wife.

What do you believe a writer should not do as far as getting his or her book published?

My advice to any author who wants to be published is to start a personal blog. If you’re new to writing, developing a regular habit of writing can be a difficult process. If you’re a veteran writer – the problem isn’t writing, but marketing what you write. Writing regularly on a personal blog solves both of these problems.

Most people who want to publish books never write them because they never develop a regular habit of writing. Blogging can give you the motivation you need to write regularly. Blogging also puts your writing in front of an audience that can give you feedback and feedback hones your writing skill.

When you post regular messages on a blog you’re creating an audience of readers who will likely buy your book once it is written. You do the writing and let search engines bring interested people to your blog.

Publishing a book is one thing, but marketing it is a completely different matter. Most authors go unnoticed simply because they have no marketing plan. A personal blog connected to social networks like Twitter and Facebook can be the marketing tool you need to get your books in the hands of a larger audience.

What inspires you?

One of my mentors once said, “There’s nothing more boring than religion, and nothing more exciting than God.” What inspires me is when I sit down at my computer and open a document expecting to hear from God and He fills up page after page with the most amazing thoughts I’ve ever heard.

What is one thing you learned about your book after it was published?

I could not believe how many people replied to me by e-mail to tell me how much my book impacted (and in some cases radically changed) their lives.

Why do you love to write non-fiction / religion books?

Most of what I write is aimed at helping people develop their spiritual gifts – In particular healing. I get a lot of positive feedback from readers who try my suggestions and find that they work. In some cases, terminal cancer patients have been healed. When someone is set free of some kind of bondage or illness because of something I wrote – it is immensely gratifying to me and it motivates me to write more.

You’re concocting a recipe for a best selling book. What’s the first ingredient?

Build a tribe of loyal friends who believe in you and your message. Serve them with your gifts and talents. Give away what you have expecting nothing in return. Then write your book. They will make it a best-seller. That’s pretty much what happened to me.

What’s one fun fact about your book people should know?

Most people don’t know that God speaks to them through their dreams and He’s trying to guide them on the path to their eternal destiny through them.

Did any real life experiences find their way into your book?

Most of what I’ve written about in my book has come directly from my personal experiences with healing.

Aside from writing, what’s your passion?

I’m the world’s biggest Facebook junkie, but don’t tell anyone. Let’s keep it between you and me, okay?

What’s next for you?

I have a pretty ambitious publishing schedule. My next book is a collection of personal stories about the supernatural work of God in my life. The title is My Top 100 Craziest Adventures with God. It should be out late this summer.

I’m also working on a book titled: Seeing in the Spirit Made Simple that should be out in the fall.

I’m working on a fourth book titled: Traveling in the Spirit Made Simple. I hope to have it out by the end of 2014.

I began posting a series of fictional stories on spiritual warfare on Facebook that received rave reviews from my friends. They immediately demanded a novel be written from the stories. That book will likely be my first project for 2015.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Interview with Freddie Owens, author of ‘Then Like the Blind Man: Orbie’s Story’

Freddie Owens 2Our guest today is Freddie Owens, author of the Then Like The Blind Man: Orbie’s Story.

A poet and fiction writer, my work has been published in Poet Lore, Crystal Clear and Cloudy, and Flying Colors Anthology. I am a past attendee of Pikes Peak Writer’s Conferences and the Association of Writers and Writing Programs, and a member of Lighthouse Writer’s Workshop in Denver, Colorado. In addition, I am/was a licensed professional counselor and psychotherapist, who for many years counseled perpetrators of domestic violence and sex offenders, and provided psychotherapy for individuals, groups and families. I hold a master’s degree in contemplative psychotherapy from Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado.

I was born in Kentucky but soon after my parents moved to Detroit. Detroit was where I grew up. As a kid I visited relatives in Kentucky, once for a six-week period, which included a stay with my grandparents. In the novel’s acknowledgements I did assert the usual disclaimers having to do with the fact that Then Like The Blind Man was and is a work of fiction, i.e., a made up story whose characters and situations are fictional in nature (and used fictionally) no matter how reminiscent of characters and situations in real life. That’s a matter for legal departments, however, and has little to do with subterranean processes giving kaleidoscopic-like rise to hints and semblances from memory’s storehouse, some of which I selected and disguised for fiction. That is to say, yes, certain aspects of my history did manifest knowingly at times, at times spontaneously and distantly, as ghostly north-south structures, as composite personae, as moles and stains and tears and glistening rain and dark bottles of beer, rooms of cigarette smoke, hay lofts and pigs. Here’s a quote from the acknowledgements that may serve to illustrate this point.

“Two memories served as starting points for a short story I wrote that eventually became this novel. One was of my Kentucky grandmother as she emerged from a shed with a white chicken held upside down in one of her strong bony hands. I, a boy of nine and a “city slicker” from Detroit, looked on in wonderment and horror as she summarily wrung the poor creature’s neck. It ran about the yard frantically, yes incredibly, as if trying to locate something it had misplaced as if the known world could be set right again, recreated, if only that one thing was found. And then of course it died. The second memory was of lantern light reflected off stones that lay on either side of a path to a storm cellar me and my grandparents were headed for one stormy night beneath a tornado’s approaching din. There was wonderment there too, along with a vast and looming sense of impending doom.”

I read the usual assigned stuff growing up, short stories by Poe, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, The Scarlet Letter, The Cherry Orchard, Hedda Gabler, a little of Hemingway, etc. I also read a lot of Super Hero comic books (also Archie and Dennis the Menace) and Mad Magazine was a favorite too. I was also in love with my beautiful third grade teacher and to impress her pretended to read Gulliver’s Travels for which I received many delicious hugs.

It wasn’t until much later that I read Huckleberry Finn. I did read To Kill A Mockingbird too. I read Bastard Out of Carolina and The Secret Life of Bees. I saw the stage play of Hamlet and read The Story of Edgar Sawtelle too. However, thematic similarities to these works occurred to me only after I was already well into the writing of Then Like The Blind Man. Cormac McCarthy, Pete Dexter, Carson McCullers, Raymond Carver, Flannery O’Conner and Joyce Carol Oates, to name but a few, are among my literary heroes and heroines. Tone and style of these writers have influenced me in ways I’d be hard pressed to name, though I think the discerning reader might feel such influences as I make one word follow another and attempt to “stab the heart with…force” (a la Isaac Babel) by placing my periods (hopefully, sometimes desperately) ‘… just at the right place’.

Freddie Owens’ latest book is Then Like the Blind Man: Orbie’s Story.

Visit his website at www.FreddieOwens.com.

Then Like the Blind Man 7What made you decide to become a published author?

Well, I started writing back in the 1970s, poetry mostly, mostly because I didn’t know what else to do with myself. I had a couple of my poems accepted by Poet Lore, which was a big deal to me back then and wetted my appetite. My first writing desk consisted of an old door mounted on cinder blocks and set up in a clothes closet. I used an old Smith Corona typewriter and made carbon copies of the poems I wrote on onionskin paper. I remember the walls in that enclosure were of knotty pine and that directly to the rear of where I sat was the entry to a tiny bathroom with a sink, a mirror and a metal shower stall.

When it dawned on me in the early 90s that my heart was not into what I was then doing (practicing psychotherapy), I began to think again about writing seriously. I had been away from it for quite some time – though I had always found a way on occasion to write poems. I guess I realized I wasn’t getting any younger and that if I wanted to explore this thing that had been bothering me so long – this thing called writing – I had best get to it. I started experimenting with stream of consciousness and automatic writing – and by keeping a journal – and by developing the discipline of being on the spot each day before the proverbial blank page. I did that until one day my debut, Then Like The Blind Man: Orbie’s Story began to worm its way into consciousness. The notion that I might well become a published author, not just of a poem or two, but of an entire novel wormed its way into consciousness too.

Would you consider your latest book, Then Like The Blind Man: Orbie’s Story, to be a one of a kind?  How so?

Very much so. It tells a very complicated story simply and from the point of view of a nine-year-old boy in a southern vernacular that does not detract from the story or distract the reader. Thus the story comes off as believable from beginning to end. It is a sort of backwater Hamlet though the protagonist Orbie Ray makes very different and surprising choices than Hamlet did, choices that uplift without trivializing or sentimentalizing dark family psychodynamics. This is my opinion of course, and a good one it is. After all, I am the author.

What do you believe a writer should not do as far as getting his or her book published?

Well there are, of course, a lot of things a writer should not do but one that comes to mind immediately for me involves the process of sending out queries to agents and publishers. Don’t do this randomly i.e., haphazardly. Do your homework. Find out about the agent or publisher you’re contemplating sending a query to before you do so. Try to find some ‘in’, some ‘connecting link’ between that person or organization and your work. This may seem obvious but agents and publishers complain that many queries they receive are for work they have little or no interest in. Don’t be lazy. Shotgun methods don’t work well, if at all. Do the research!

What inspires you?

Okay, good one. Here’s an example.

I witnessed my grandmother wring a chicken’s neck when I was nine. It ran about the yard headless, spewing blood and flapping its wings as the life went out of it. For the chicken and for the boy I was too, there was something existentially irreversible about this, something horrific and final. I wanted to write about it, not so much just to describe the horrors of a chicken’s death but to say something about how I, a nine-year-old, experienced these. I wanted to get into the skin of the little boy I remembered and try to write from his point of view, which turned out to be quite fascinating. An alive, vibrant and vivid livingness manifested that I, as an adult writer, could not have matched without on a daily basis trying to slip into the boy’s world. This was not always easy to do, but once achieved, all sorts of possibilities for writing opened up. I’m talking about my book of course, Then Like The Blind Man: Orbie’s Story and its nine-year-old protagonist, Orbie Ray.

What is one thing you learned about your book after it was published?

I used to think that if I wrote a book I liked and was satisfied I had done everything possible to make it a worthy piece of writing and that if more than a handful of people liked it and of course some independent reviewers did too, then that would be success enough.  I think I did achieve at least this much, even as an independently published author – but since the advent of this ‘success’, the issue of earned money and how many books sold, etc. has reared its ugly head.  I find myself now stuck in a sort of marketing whorl that never seems to end. That sucks time and energy away from the actual work of writing – not at all what I had envisioned. Success becomes money becomes marketing becomes developing a platform and a brand and on and on and on. Success defined this way is so elusive as to be almost unachievable – unless of course one has large sums of money to throw at the problem. It gets to be like pleasure in life – relentlessly pursued, rarely realized and always followed by pain. One must remember not to forget to write!

Why do you love to write literary fiction?

I like to write so-called literary fiction because for me there’s more room to move about, freedom to evolve without the limitations implied by genre and/or formulaic kinds of writing. It’s messy and so I feel encouraged to rummage about as one might in an old attic with a flashlight late at night. This is not to say, however, that genre writing is necessarily over planned and therefore less artful. I daresay there’d be some dispute about that. I fantasize sometimes about writing the next Grisham-like blockbuster and see much artfulness in that type of writing.

Did any real life experiences find their way into your book?

I was born in Kentucky but grew up around Detroit. I would sometimes spend a week or two, once I spent six weeks, in Kentucky, staying with cousins or with my grandparents. And yes, it was an entirely different world for me, providing some of the best and worst times of my growing up years. I had a great time on a dairy farm with several of my cousins, milking cows, hoeing tobacco, running over the hills and up and down a creek that surrounded the big farm. I remember too, periods of abject boredom, sitting around my grandparent’s place with nothing to do but wander about the red clay yard or kill flies on my grandmother’s screened-in back porch. These experiences did find there way into the narrative, directly and indirectly.

Aside from writing, what’s your passion?

All my occupations in life, including writing, I consider adjunct to a spiritual path begun when I was 26, depressed and living alone in East Lansing, Michigan. That was in the mid ’70s. I read (devoured) Carlos Castaneda’s books and books on eastern mysticism, The Electric Cool Aid Acid Test, Alan Watts, Colin Wilson, Ramana Maharshi etc. and must have discovered somewhere in my readings that enlightenment was indeed a possibility. I think something in my attitude changed as a result, though I can’t even today say what that change was exactly. It wasn’t a change for the ‘good’ as opposed to the ‘bad’; no, it wasn’t that simple. Suffice it to say something got let out of its cage and has been developing ever since.

What’s next for you?

There’s a sequel to Then Like The Blind Man in the offing. I’m also planning an audio recording of the book. And I hope to render it as a screenplay for the movies. There’s a link to the trailer I’ll leave here narrated by yours truly (http://bit.ly/1dnWwwN), which provides something of the sound and visual world of the book. Enjoy!

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Interview with Elizabeth Fountain, author of ‘An Alien’s Guide to World Domination’

Liz FountainElizabeth Fountain left a demanding job as a university administrator in Seattle to move to the small town of Ellensburg, Washington, and pursue her dream of writing novels.  She started writing in grade school; fortunately, most of her tortured high school poetry and song lyrics are lost to posterity. Her first book was five years in the making, and offered lots of opportunities to give up along the way; that might be why it’s a tale of people, aliens, and dogs who face the impossible, and do it anyway.  An independent publishing house in Calgary, Champagne Book Group, released the novel in April. Now Liz has three more novels in progress. She takes breaks from writing to teach university courses, spend time with family and friends, and take long walks while leaning into the diabolical Kittitas valley wind.  She holds degrees in philosophy, psychology, and leadership, which contribute to a gently humorous view of humanity well suited to tales of aliens and angels, love and death, friendship and dogs. Liz strives to live according to a line from British singer-songwriter Chris Rea: “Every day, good luck comes in the strangest of ways.”

Her latest book is An Alien’s Guide to World Domination.

Visit her blog at www.lizfountain.wordpress.com or become her friend at Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ElizabethFountainAuthor.

About the Book:

An Alien's Guide to World DominationLouise Armstrong Holliday is the last person on Earth you’d expect to save the human race. But when she uncovers proof that her boss is an alien the color of lime jelly gone horribly wrong, and is at the center of a plot to destroy humanity, Louie decides to do exactly that. She begins a journey from her company’s suburban Seattle office park to the old cities and castles of Eastern Europe. Along the way, Louie is attacked by flying books, overly-sensitive bat-crow monsters, and her own self-doubts. She must learn the truth about her closest friend, stand up to her boss, confront her oldest enemy, and make peace with her Aunt Emma, who annoys her in the way only true family can. She also has to rely on Buddy, the little blind mini-Schnauzer who saves her life twice – and really is from Mars.

Purchase your copy at AMAZON.

Could you please tell us a little about your book?

An Alien’s Guide to World Domination was published by BURST!, the sci-fi/fantasy imprint of Champagne Book Group, in April. It’s the story of Louise Armstrong Holliday, the last person on Earth you’d expect to save the human race. But when she uncovers proof that her boss is an alien the color of lime Jell-o gone horribly wrong, and is at the center of a plot to destroy humanity, Louie decides to do exactly that. She begins a journey from her company’s suburban Seattle office park to the old cities and castles of Eastern Europe. Along the way, Louie is attacked by flying books, overly-sensitive bat-crow monsters, and her own self-doubts. She must learn the truth about her closest friend, stand up to her boss, confront her oldest enemy, and make peace with her Aunt Emma, who annoys her in the way only true family can. She also has to rely on Buddy, the little blind mini-Schnauzer who saves her life twice – and really is from Mars.

Did something specific happen to prompt you to write this book?

I’d struggled with this story for a while, trying to craft a realistic, serious novel. Then, after a conversation with a good friend in 2008, I dreamt about two people standing on a bridge in a faraway city, one telling the other he’s really an alien. When I woke up, the plot of An Alien’s Guide took form in my mind, as I realized the story needed to take place in a world like ours, only different. In this world, aliens are real and all around us.

What cause are you most passionate about and why?

After the horrific bombing at the Boston Marathon in April, something became very clear to me: we need more love, less hate. All the important causes in our world boil down to this simple equation, I think. More love for one another, for our planet, for all the critters we share it with, more love for peace, and more love for ourselves. It’s essential for me to write stories that help tip the balance toward more love, and less hate.

In the last year have you learned or improved on any skills?

I’m going to cheat just a little, and use the last year and a half since I moved to the small town of Ellensburg. Since then I’ve learned to:

  • Plunge a clogged toilet (fun!)

  • Run a reciprocating saw (a lot more fun!)

  • Season a cast iron skillet (not quite as fun as cooking in it)

  • Drive over the snow berm behind my parked car, piled high by the plow (not fun at all, but necessary in this climate)

  • Use the self-check out at the public library (fun for the librarians!)

  • Fix a leaking Bunn Pour-O-Matic from about 1984, by replacing a 37-cent washer (okay, technically I’ve only watched this being done, but I think I could do it)

  • Make freezer jam (well, I’m going to learn how to do it this summer if any raspberries from our farmer’s market make it past me while they’re still fresh)

  • Climb over the railroad trestle to find the best, sweetest-smelling patch of sage in the Yakima canyon, and avoid the rattlesnakes along the trail.

It’s been quite a year (and a half), as you can see!

What are you currently working on?

I have three more novels in progress! You, Jane is the tale of Jane Margaret Blake, whose ability to write stories that come true in the real world creates havoc for her friends and her love life. In her stories, animals, humans, spirits, angels, and even the Universe itself conspire to destroy Jane’s last chance to be with her old love, or, just maybe, to bring her an opportunity for new love. As her writing and her drinking spiral out of control, Jane must face reality about herself and her relationships, and discover her ability to write her own happy ending. The Life and Death of Saint Guineford explores what happens when Death wants to take early retirement, and offers Guinn a deal she can’t refuse: take over the job of helping souls cross the barrier to the afterlife, and absolve herself of the guilt of inadvertently causing a girl’s death. The hitch? She can’t touch the man she loves, or he’ll die, too.

And, I’m finishing the manuscript I started in 2012’s National Novel Writing Month, my first try at a novel-length work for middle-grade readers. The Law of Immediate Forgiveness is about Amy June Pilgrim, who is halfway through her twelfth year and desperate to prove she’s not a little kid anymore; and her Grandpa Marq, who leads a crack team of misfit computer and math geeks on the hunt for the mathematical formula for immediate forgiveness. If they find it, the world will be freed from war, violence, and suffering, so it’s no wonder so many people want to stop them. Amy June finds herself on a cross-country trek with her Grandpa, facing enemies real and imagined, longing to be reunited with her father who disappeared five years earlier, and finding the unconditional love of a black Lab whose well-timed dog fart helps foil Amy June’s kidnapping. Together they discover the true formula for forgiveness, triggered by the love of a dog.

Meanwhile, my short story Heaven, about a renegade angel and the human woman he falls in love with, will be published in a compilation from Champagne Books later this summer. There’s romance, and even a little sex, in that one!

What do you feel sets this book apart from others in the same genre?

This story is relentlessly and recklessly optimistic, when so much in our world begs us to give in to cynicism or pessimism. Louise Armstrong Holliday, our heroine, struggles mightily with self-doubt and the temptation to give up; but at her core, she’s as much of a reckless optimist as her friend Jack, who accompanies her on her adventure to save humanity from the stupid but brutal aliens. Even the villains retain their goofy positive spins on things. In this day and age, it seems somehow profoundly courageous to be an optimist. Oh, and the fact that it’s Louie’s dog who really saves the day – after all, isn’t that what dogs do? Dogs save us humans from our own worst tendencies, just by offering unconditional love and acceptance.

What is the most important lesson you have learned from life so far?

It would have to be the motto I use on my blog/website: “Every day, good luck comes in the strangest of ways.” It’s a line from a song by the amazing singer/songwriter Chris Rea. If we pay attention, it’s absolutely true. There’s a little gem of good luck in each and every day. We’ve just got to get our human egos out of the way to see it, sometimes.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

My bit of good luck for the day: Today it turned scorching hot in our town, nearly 100 F. My friend J. has cerebral palsy which makes it tough to get around on good days; his body has to work extra-hard to balance, stand, walk, anything. He loves jelly beans, and my job is to provision him with them at least once a week. Well, today I was able to put a smile on his hot and sweaty face by giving him a bag of that sweet sticky candy. Of course the next thing he said to me was, “Do ya think that’s enough to last a whole week?” As a writer, my job is to touch people with stories; my friend J. touched me this blazing hot day with his humor.

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