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Sunday, 28 September 2008
A Talk With Anna Maria Prezio, Feng Shui Ghostbuster
Topic: Author Interview
Anna Maria Prezio the person:

1.   What three words do you think describe you as a human being?

Generous, Intuitive, Humanitarian

2.  How do you think others would describe you?

Humorous, Generous, Dependable

3.  Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing.

Photography, Cinema, Family.

4.  Do you have any pets?  If so, introduce us to them.

No but I love animals.

5.  What is your most precious memory?

Seeing my son for the very first time.

6.  What is your most embarrassing memory?

Standing in from of my 4th grade class with a drippy nose and without a tissue.

7.  If you weren't a writer, what would you be doing with your life?

Fundraising
 

Anna Maria Prezio the writer:

8.  Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a "real" writer?

While studying journalism in college, my first English class project involved writing poetry that I enjoyed.

9.  What is going on with your writing these days?

I write every day and as much as I can.  

10.  What are your future goals for your writing?

I would like to do public speaking, consultations, radio shows, and TV shows to bring about awareness of how ghosts can be released and how to alleviate the fear around the subject of spirits, ghosts and entities as well as to introduce people to the positive effects of Feng Shui.

11.  Can you describe a typical writing day for you?

There is nothing typical about a writing day.  Inspiration comes in many forms.

Sometimes my book ideas come to me in a dream.  Sometimes they come to me in my meditations.  I'm blessed with inspiration.

12.  Why do you write?

Writing for me is cathartic.

I write to inspire, to heal, to give of myself, my knowledge and my wisdom.

I write to enjoy wonderful words on paper. I write to teach. I write to be heard.

I write to give something to someone who needs it.  I write because the imagination gives us new experiences to pass on to others and old stories, traditions, cultures, experiences to hand down to generations to come so that they can be preserved.  Writing allows me to tell my innermost part of me in the form of a character or a story.  Writing is creating, imagining, dreaming.  What would be do if we could not imagine, dream or create?

13.  What writer most inspires you?  Why?

Writers who inspire me are so many from Aristotle, Plato and Socrates to Tom Clancy, Ernest Hemingway and Anne Frank.  The authors who inspire are those who give a bit of themselves as they write, fertile with imagination and spirit.

14.  How do you define your writing?

Simplistic, Daring and Provocative in a very understandable way...I want to provoke your thinking and I want you to open your mind and your heart when you read my works.

15.  In one sentence-what do you want people to say about your writing in fifty years?

She was ahead of her time.

Art and Science do mingle, mix and match...

Anna Maria Prezio was an innovator...

Anna Maria Prezio the details:

16.  Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Website?  Blog?

http://www.prezio.com/

http://www.fengshuiharmony.net/

My blog on my website is full of information.

 

17.  Is there a place where readers can reach you?

prezio@sbcglobal.net or my website, www.prezio.com

18. Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?

Confessions of a Feng Shui Ghostbuster

You can opt-into my website and receive my free report entitled, "Power &Prosperity Through Feng Shui and Color"

19.  For new readers-what can they expect when they read your book(s)?

Clarity, knowledge and intrigue on a subject I write about for the first time.  It will inspire you and enlighten you to a new way of thinking about entities, ghosts, spirits and supernatural forces.


Posted by joyceanthony at 12:02 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 28 September 2008 12:03 AM EDT
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Saturday, 27 September 2008
A Look Inside Confessions of a Feng Shui Ghostbuster
Topic: Blog Tours

As promised, today we get to look inside Confessions of a Feng Shui Ghostbuster, the latest book by Anna Maria Prezio.  Please come back tomorrow when we get to talk with Anna Maria!!!

***

Table of Contents

About the Author................................................... 9

About the Book.................................................... 11

Forward............................................................... 13

Introduction......................................................... 19

PART ONE: My Journey....................................... 25

Chapter 1: Spirits ................................................. 27

Chapter 2: Ancestors............................................ 35

Chapter 3: See-ers ................................................ 37

Chapter 4: Body Language................................... 41

Chapter 5: Honor Thy Intuition ........................... 45

Chapter 6: Metaphysician .................................... 49

Photo Album ....................................................... 53

PART TWO: Basics of Feng Shui and Ghosts........ 65

Chapter 7: Art or Science ..................................... 67

Chapter 8: Earth Energy and Chi ......................... 73

Traditional or Classical Feng Shui..................... 76

Black Hat or Black Sect Feng Shui .................... 78

Color ................................................................ 78

The Five Elements .............................................82

Number Symbology...........................................85

Eight Aspirations ...............................................86

Evil Lines (Kong Wang) ....................................87

Chapter 9: Remedies.............................................91

Talismans, Amulets and Cures ..........................92

Rock Salt ...........................................................92

Xiong Huang Wine............................................93

Cinnabar Powder...............................................94

Coins .................................................................94

Sword of Coins ..................................................96

Crystals and Rocks ............................................96

Rocks and Stones...............................................99

Sound and Light ..............................................100

Chapter 10: Animals ...........................................103

Mythical Animals ............................................103

Real Animals ...................................................105

Zodiac Animals ...............................................108

Deities .............................................................109

PART THREE: Ghost-Busting .............................111

Chapter 11: Confused Entities ............................113

Chapter 12: Feng Shui and Spirits ...................... 117

Chapter 13: Intense Energies.............................. 121

Chapter 14: Space Clearing ................................ 125

Clutter............................................................. 127

Chapter 15: Earthly Disturbances....................... 129

Chapter 16: Feng Shui Experts – Yin and Yang . 131

Chapter 17: Yin Houses ..................................... 135

The Yin and Yang Areas of a House ............... 139

Chapter 18: Cultural Traditions and Beliefs........ 143

Chapter 19: Five Ghosts Carry Money............... 147

Chapter 20: Ghostly Houses and Feng Shui ....... 149

Walter............................................................. 149

Carla............................................................... 155

Chapter 21: Mamma .......................................... 161

Epilogue............................................................165

Appendices .......................................................171

Factors That Influence Our Success! .................. 173

10 Rules to a Serene & Ghost-Free Environment 175

Glossary of Terms.............................................. 177

Notes ...............................................................186

*****

Chapter 1 : Spi ri t s

I felt my warm blanket being pulled off me and, suddenly, a hurtful slap on my behind. It startled me awake. I was a terrified 6-year-old. It was All Saint’s Eve in a small village town in Italy. Everyone invited the spirits of their dead relatives to visit them. Glasses of wine and plates of food were left for visiting spirits. My small bed was placed in the dining room where my family members thought the spirits would enter. They even left the front door open for them, as this was the custom. I was afraid, but told no one. I remained very still, but my heart was racing and the seemingly large, cold hand that struck me with only one blow never returned.

It was not a dream and it was not imagined. To this day, I have told only a few people. They wanted to comfort me, so they made excuses. They would say, “It was a prank” or “Maybe it was a joke by your siblings.” One person even said, “You may have had a very active imagination then.” After all, it was Halloween night. As a young child remembers things in their past, some things are unforgettable. This was one of those incidents. Why would I repeat anything that may have been mocked or
misconstrued by the people who loved me? I never mentioned it again … until now. It was a spirit.

My grandfather used to tell me ghost stories when I was a little girl. Story telling was the only entertainment there was in that small village in southern Italy. No television. No radio. And hardly any books to read to keep our active minds occupied. At the end of the day, we would gather around the brasciere, a large container made from brass or copper, filled with coal for warmth and heat during cold winter months. It was the only heater, except for our rustic fireplace. We would gather around the brasciere and listen to the stories being told. Some were folklore and others were thought to be real. Very scary for a young imagination to absorb. My grandfather, Vincenzo, was the best at telling spooky stories. Every sound was amplified. He became animated. At the end of the story it was hard to fall asleep.

Our house was a large two-story. It was built by my grandparents, Mamma’s mother and father. They lived downstairs. This is where I slept, because it was too crowded on the second floor. We were a large family of seven. I actually enjoyed having the entire dining room to myself and I didn’t have to share a bed with any of my sisters. I felt like a princess. My grandparents gave me lots of attention. Can’t say I didn’t like it.

This was the house where I was born, and grew up in until almost age 8 when my family left Italy to travel to the US. It belonged to my mother and father. They bought the house from Momma’s parents. In the Italian tradition, parents left their houses to their daughters. The two daughters, my mother Maria and her sister Filippina, would have possession of the house and keep it in the family unless one sister would sell to the other. My mother bought her sister’s share at a time when her sister was having financial difficulty. My aunt was grateful that my mother offered to buy her share. The money my father earned was always placed directly in my mother’s hands. Mamma was frugal. She knew how to stretch a lira. She set aside a small amount from their earnings. She had saved enough to make the purchase. She paid 250,000 lire for the house. In 1939, that amount was equal to approximately $2,500 US.One day my father came home from a long day working at the annual carnival miles away from home. He was the only photographer in the region. He photographed couples, children, even priests and nuns. He would travel on his bicycle, sometimes 80 miles, to bordering towns to set up his camera equipment at the fiera annuale. Each day, when he came home, he gave my mother the day’s earnings, as usual.

She sat him down as if something very important was going to be said and told him that the house now belonged to them. She showed him the deed. He got very excited! He jumped up and said, “Maria, you made me the happiest man alive. How did you do it?”

Every time Mamma told the story, she would get very animated and you could see from her face how much love she had for my papa. She spoke about how he picked her up and swung her in the air and twirled her around. My mom was almost five feet tall, if that, and my father was almost six feet tall. She felt like she was on top of the world. The way he lifted her, as she told it, was as if she was crowned queen. He placed her on that pedestal that women crave. She felt his love, his respect, his devotion and affection in one fell swoop. She told me that she felt so much love from her husband that day that nothing could compare to it. I can still hear her tell that story. Any of my sisters or brother will tell you this story in the exact same way.

My grandfather, Vincenzo, was a gentle soul. He spoke softly. He seemed very tall to me. He had white hair, blue eyes and was light skinned like my Mamma. He taught me how to count in English. He had been to America, but frowned upon any one of
his immediate family members moving there, because of the hardship he endured. He knew that no matter what he said, someday, we would follow in his footsteps.

In Roggiano Gravina everyone knew each other. Everyone told ghost stories, even my father. They called him Maestro Angiolino. He served in the Italian army during World War II as bandleader for his battalion in Tripoli. Even though my father had made a name for himself as the only photographer, and the only music teacher of his time, in this small village, he wanted to journey to America to make a better life for his family.

My uncle Salvatore, my father’s brother, was a successful man in America, or so we thought. Uncle Sal was one of the reasons why my father left Italy for Philadelphia. As it turned out, Uncle Sal was a cabinetmaker foreman, and had a house with a white picket fence in an Irish neighborhood, much like everyone else on the block. When papa left for the US, we missed his ghost stories. That’s when my grandfather took over and embellished on the scariest of stories, especially when told in the dimness of night.

I wanted to stay up and listen to all of them and hear every small detail. I did not want him to
skip a beat. Nonno did not like interruptions, and so he commanded a silent audience.

One night in front of the fire when I would not listen to my mother’s request to go to bed, my slumber took over. Slowly but surely as I was sitting straight up in my chair, I fell right into the fire, palms up, into the burning hot coal. The palms of my small hands were severely burned. The pain was excruciating. It felt like a million stab wounds. The skin was charred and ready to fall off. My screams woke everyone out of their sleep.

My mother, our neighbors, and even my Zia Mara, heard my screams and rushed right over. Auntie lived two houses away. No sooner did she show up, than she ran right back out to pluck several large leaves from a nearby large plant called cento nervi, which means one hundred nerves. She dampened and placed these large green leaves over my palms.

She knew immediately what to do. She wrapped my hands with gauze to keep the leaves in place and told me to be still. Mamma brewed a cup of chamomile tea to calm me down. Shosha Annita, our next door neighbor sat with me to make sure I was OK. She was like a mother to all of us. The very next day the burning was gone, and so was the pain. No scars were left on either palm.

From that point on, Nonno was not going to allow me to stay up late. He liked having an audience, but had to modify his schedule … and mine. Needless to say I was sadly disappointed.


Posted by joyceanthony at 4:50 AM EDT
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Friday, 26 September 2008
Feng Shui Ghostbuster Anna Maria Prezio
Topic: Blog Tours

The next four days sees me bringing together two of my favorite topics, feng shui and ghost-busting.  Author, Anna Maria Prezio is visiting us.  Today, we get to meet Anna Maria and take a look at her book, Confessions of a Feng Shui Ghostbuster.  Tomorrow I will share an excerpt from the book and Sunday I'd like everyone to join me as I talk with Anna Maria Prezio.  On Monday, I'll share with you my impressions and review of Confessions of a Feng Shui Ghostbuster.  Please visit often and I know Anna Maria would love to hear your comments!

Confessions of a Feng Shui Ghost-Buster is the result of a lifelong journey that begins in a tiny village in Italy and has yet to truly end. To help you understand this journey – and benefit from the lessons learned along the way – the book is divided into three parts.

Part I will capture your attention with a ghostly first experience of an intuitive and vulnerable 6 year-old child. The culture and experiences of the author growing up in a rural and mystical village in Italy where ghostly occurrences and stories were part of every day life serve to set the stage for what would be a life long study of the mystical and the Divine.

Part II describes Feng Shui, like medicine, as both an art and a science. Here, the definitions and different sects of Feng Shui are discussed to provide a backdrop for the connection between environmental balance and the appearance of ghosts. You will learn how mastery of Feng Shui helps us to understand the occult, or hidden knowledge, as it applies to all aspects of our life here on earth.

With the formation of a solid foundation and understanding of this art and science, Part III delves deeper into the correlation between environment and entities with ideas, cures and stories about ghost-busting as a result the author’s direct and extraordinary experience.

This book – part memoir, part guide – promises to intrigue you from cover to cover. However, the price of admission to this world is an open mind. In return, you will not only better understand yourself, but the metaphysical world in which you live.

*****

Anna Maria Prezio, is a professional Feng Shui Consultant and Practitioner with an advanced graduate certification from the American Feng Shui Institute, Chinese Metaphysical Studies, and the Imperial School of Feng Shui.

She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications from Villanova University as well as a Business Graduate Degree. Her expertise is in the communication arts, visual arts and entrepreneurship. She is a certified entrepreneurship instructor for the Executive Entrepreneur Institute and has held positions as a marketing executive for multinational corporations.

As a marketing consultant in health care, entertainment, and the non-profit sectors she has incorporated her knowledge of Feng Shui and its effects on personal environments to enhance people’s lives. Ms. Prezio’s mission is to help people gain the knowledge and tools of Feng Shui to improve and enhance their wealth, health, creativity and relationships.

Anna Maria Prezio has audited hundreds of Feng Shui sites. Her clients include: Hollywood casting directors, costume designers, actors, writers, directors, engineers, airline executives, business owners, doctors, real estate agents, building contractors, architects, corporate executives and brokers.

Ms. Prezio is a writer. She has published screenplays, articles and books. Her love for the visual arts has led her to produce feature films, film shorts, music videos, and photography. Her experience, Feng Shui knowledge and highly intuitive talent gives her the ability to sense people, places and things which help to nurture and facilitate her clients’ lifestyles.

For more information on Anna Maria Prezio and Confessions of a Feng Shui Ghostbuster, please visit http://www.fengshuiharmony.net/  and please come back tomorrow when we take a look inside this book!


Posted by joyceanthony at 1:05 AM EDT
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Thursday, 25 September 2008
Bobby's Diner--An Excerpt and a Review
Topic: Blog Tours

Excerpt
Bobby’s Diner©
by
Susan Wingate

Chapter One

For the reading of Bobby’s will, the attorneys sat Vanessa – the ex, Roberta (Bobby and Vanessa’s daughter), and me in a conference room together. I was instructed to bring a lawyer, as were the other two ladies. I didn’t. That sort of thing isn’t in me. Vanessa did. The lawyer read Bobby’s will. It was pretty much as I expected. I got the house we shared, most of the money accounts, Roberta received two hundred thousand dollars in a fund her father had set aside for her upon his death. Then, the lawyer read further. Bobby did something none of us expected. He gave me half the interest in the diner and Vanessa, the other half!
Just like Bobby to be equitable. Finally, the lawyer read a statement Bobby had hand-written before he died. The note said something about his guilt for leaving Vanessa, but his great love for me, about Vanessa’s interest of nearly half her life spent building the diner, and my creativity to keep it going.

Have you ever heard the term ‘livid’ before? Well, Vanessa’s face turned every shade of livid I’ve ever seen. I remember sitting there and imagining her head filling up like one of those water balloons at the fair and exploding right off her shoulders. Her lawyer patted her hand and told her “not to worry”. I giggled to myself at the mess of it all, said my “thank yous” and “goodbyes” to his former family and the lawyers, and I left feeling pretty good too considering what had just happened. Financially, I was solid and didn’t need to worry about money for a while, anyway.
I closed the diner for three weeks.

When I went back to re-open, Vanessa was there waiting outside the door. She offered to buy my interest. I told her I had no intention of selling and offered to buy hers. She fumed at my boldness and told me she’d never sell. Bobby knew I was stubborn as a mule in a blizzard and he knew his former wife had some of my same shortcomings.

“Well, isn’t this a fine mess.” Vanessa threw her hands up and when they came down, they landed on her lap as she sat hard against the window’s ledge.
“Guess Bobby had the last laugh, huh?” I looked out onto the day with one hand protecting my face from the bright sun. It was early spring then and the cacti were putting on a show that would embarrass the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, gorgeous.

“Since this place is now legally half mine, I want a key.” Vanessa was indignant.

“Fine. After José gets here, I’ll have him run up to Charlie’s to get his copied.”
Vanessa let out a small huff and stood back up. “What are we supposed to do now?”

“Well, the diner needs managing. I guess we manage it.”

“Together?” She put her hands on her hips.

“What else can we do?”

“It just won’t work.”

“Why is that, Vanessa? After all these years, do you still hate me so much?”

“Oh, hell, I could care less about you.” She turned away and looked out over the burgeoning desert. “How’s this gonna look to the folks around here? Did you ever think about that?”

“I just put my husband in the ground. I guess I haven’t had too much time to worry about what people are thinking.”

“He was my husband too.” She scowled when she looked at me. I couldn’t very well argue her point and decided by the look of her, saying nothing was best. Vanessa turned her head away. “Fuck.” She spoke it like a tire going flat.
We looked at each other for a few seconds. I’d been sitting on the planter outside the door across from Vanessa the whole time and my ass felt numb, so I stood. Face-to-face with her, it was uncanny how much Vanessa and I looked like each other. She was older, of course, and had severely short, dark copper-colored hair. Her eyes were almond-shaped and emerald green, like mine. She was tall and had some meat to her, like me. Her skin was radiant pink with freckles. Here, standing in front of me, was the only other woman Bobby had ever loved. We stared into each other’s eyes. I can only guess what she was thinking. The scowl on her face was worth a thousand words. Time seemed to stall out and we began to feel ill at ease.

Through it all, a strange feeling welled-up deep inside me. For the life of me, I don’t know why I did what I did at that moment. I stuck my hand out like I was making a deal.

“So, what d’ya say, partner? Shall we give her a go?” I said it emphasizing my Georgian drawl like an actor in an old western.

And, Vanessa did quite the unexpected thing. She grabbed my hand and gave it one hard shake downwards.

As we walked together toward the restaurant’s door, she shook her head in disbelief and grumbled, “Dear God, help us.”

*****

A Review

Bobby's Diner. When I read the title, I had the idea this would be another one of those books describing the everyday details of small-town America.  Truthfully, I thought I'd find the book rather boring.  I was completely wrong!

Susan Wingate has created a unique situation with this novel, bringing together two unlikely women--an ex-wife and the woman who stole her husband--and placing them in a situation where they have to deal with each other on a daily basis.  As the new co-owners of Bobby's Diner, these women must learn to work together or give up--and both are too stubborn to give up.  Adding in a scalaway bent on taking over the diner, and the situation gets even more intense.

Moments of humor mix with deep emotions in this book.  Susan Wingate shows an understanding of human nature well beyond what is normally seen in a novel.  She has a mastery of dialogue that I find refreshing--I felt as though I was right there, listening.  It isn't often I find dialogue so true-to-life. Between her mastery of dialogue and understanding of human nature, Susan Wingate held me captive  with this book.

Can these women come to terms with past hurts?  Can they work together to save Bobby's Diner from dying?  Is it possible for these women to understand that there was a reason they both earned the love of the same man?  You will have to read Bobby's Diner to find out. 

Give yourself several hours to read this book.  You will find yourself saying "Just one more chapter" over and over again.  It is one of those rare books you won't want to put down.  I look forward to reading more of Ms. Wingate's work.


Posted by joyceanthony at 3:19 PM EDT
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Stop Believing in Your Own Weakness--A Special Message
Topic: Miscellaneous
Stop Believing in Your Own Weakness

It is our fear of being alone and in doubt, of wanting to feel certain that
what we are doing is right, that compels us to seek the approval of others. So this tells us that the chief cause of why our lives so often wind up in the hands of others is not that they are superior or that the world is too strong for us, but that we don't want to face the uncertainty and aloneness we think we are too weak to bear. This is the real cause of all of our wrong relationships in life. We have been betrayed by a belief in our own weakness.

The conscious refusal to go along with what our weakness wants us to do to escape its uncertainty is what invokes and finally delivers real inner confidence. This new kind of strength gradually becomes the
cornerstone of a true individual existence -- the life we've always wanted. The stakes are actually eternal -- but self-victory is as
certain as the fact that light always triumphs over darkness.

Use the following ten key lessons to help strengthen your understanding of these vital ideas. Think about them; welcome their healing insights as "lights along the way" to true self-liberation.

Special Study for Lasting Self-Possession

1. When you don't know what to do with yourself, someone will always be happy to tell you.

2. Why seek the approval of someone who doesn't even approve of himself?

3. Fawning before an angry person is like asking a rabid wolf for its
approval.

4. The more approval you get, the more you have to have.

5. Keeping any person or circumstance in your life that demands you
surrender your right to be a whole and happy human being is wrong for everyone involved.

6. When you are out standing in a storm, don't blame the weather.

7. Real strength always follows uncovering one of the roots of weakness.

8. Don't seek yourself. Dare to be yourself.

9. If you were really doing the right thing with your life, you wouldn't
need anyone to tell you that you were.

10. Permitting your life to be taken over by another person is like letting the waiter eat your dinner. (Vernon Howard)

No human being has any authority over you. Your life belongs to you and to you alone. No scowling face or irritated manner, no challenging posture or threatening tone, has any power to make you feel nervous or anxious, frightened or angry. Your true nature answers to no one. This is a fact, and anyone who is tired of letting someone else tell them how to feel can use this self-liberating principle to win true and lasting independence.
                                                                 -- Guy Finley

Posted by joyceanthony at 2:07 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 24 September 2008
A Talk With Susan Wingate
Susan Wingate The Person:

1.  What three words do you think describe you as a human being?

Loyal, generous, sincere.

2.   How do you think others would describe you?

In three words? Weird, funny and helpful. Usually, when I say something, people give me that doggy-head-tilt-look, like "what?" Scooby-doo does it best. So, I think they think I'm a bit off-kilter. Oh well.

3.  Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing.

My animals. I love my animals. My husband too, Bob, he's a doll. He puts up with all my animals!

4.  Do you have any pets?  If so, introduce us to them.

We have two lovely dogs, Robert and Rocky. Robert is a Westie and Rocky is a Cocker. Robert is white and Rocky is black. They are the outnumbered kids in our household. We have fifteen cats - Winky, Pinky, Twinkle, Serena, Raspberry Jam, PNut Butter, Apricot Jelly, Vincent, Tabatha, Marmalade, Midnight, Audrey, Marilyn, Sinatra and Humphrey. We also have about twenty-five birds. I'm not listing their names. Suffice to say, they are sweet and love it when I sing to them.

5.  What is your most precious memory?

Being with my father when he died.

6.  What is your most embarrassing memory?

Showing up at school naked. Oh wait, that was just a dream. Phew! Good lord, there are so many embarrassing moments - I'll have to just grab one out of the hat. Okay, here it goes... I was dancing in this show, a glitzy nightclub act, and someone spilled a drink on the stage in the exact spot I was supposed to do a full-on leg extension - a high-over-the-head kick. Needless to say, I slipped and fell right on my bum in front of about 200 people. That was pretty embarrassing as I recall.

7.   If you weren't a writer, what would you be doing with your life?

Eating. I have no idea. I'm certain that I'm completely unemployable at this stage of my life, what, with the looks I get when I speak and all. I really don't know what I'd be doing. Maybe I'd still be an accountant. I was once an accountant long ago in a land far, far away in another galaxy.
 

8.  In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.

It's funny you should have this in here. My husband thinks I'm crazy because I've been planning my own funeral for about six months now. I want to have the perfect party so that people just kind of forget why they're there. So, it's going to be fabulous. I'll put you on the guest list. Okay, here's my obit:

Susan Wingate, leaves this world for the great beyond at age eighty-eight. She also leaves many cat boxes behind. She is survived by Tweedle and Dee and Tweedle and Dum, her twin cats and twin dogs. And, we mustn't forget Tweedy the cockatiel. Because of her illustrious writing career, her country home (on Peter Pond) is set to be transformed into a writers' colony. Only animal-lovers need apply. They have much work to doo doo.

Susan will be remembered as a writer who wrote, strangely enough, stranger than fiction not to mention one who put words into other people's mouths with her many plays and scripts. Her agent, who will remain nameless, stated, "I have an empty spot in my heart and an empty slot on my client list." Services will be held in Phoenix and Friday Harbor - red wine and ashes will be served.

Susan Wingate The Writer:

9.  Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a "real" writer?

It was the year my father died. He was a writer and part of me feels like his soul passed through my body on his way to Heaven.

10.  What is going on with your writing these days?

Tons. My second novel, "Bobby's Diner," was released on September 1, 2008. I'm very busy with its eTour but also, I've begun my fourth novel and hopefully will sell my third novel within the next couple of months. I'm a feature writer for the AZ Authors Association newsletter and a contributing writer to the emagazine Literary Magic, to mention a couple of sidelines. I'm working on a two screenplays and I hope to write another play for the theatre in the near future. I'm teaching three weekly writing classes this September and four weekly classes starting in April 2009 that will repeat quarterly.

11.  What are your future goals for your writing?

To keep writing novels, primarily. I love to teach so I hope to spend more time at writer's conferences giving presentations.

12.  Can you describe a typical writing day for you?

First, I answer my emails and if I'm into a story, I'll edit in the morning and write new material after that. If I'm in-between books, I usually do a lot of self-promotion and publicity. You hear how agents and publishers want to be able to pick up a writer with a platform, well, that's what I work on. I try to increase my reader base, get speaking and teaching jobs, write magazine articles, and write short stories, poems and plays. But, generally, I spend anywhere from ten to twelve hours a day working.

13.  Why do you write?

There's nothing else I want to do. I used to love to cook and play around with decorating the house - all creative outlets. But, once I landed on the writing, it was all over. I never looked back and don't regret one day of the heartache and frustration that is inherent to this job.

14.  What writer most inspires you?  Why?

Jeez! There are so many great writers out there. But, I'd have to say, right now, at this point in my life, I love W. Somerset Maugham. His writing goes to the core of human emotion. I love his conflict - it's never bombs blazing or cars crashing - that surface stuff. His conflict is universal and gut-wrenching, like leaving your family in search of a dream, like taking your spouse into a plague to stop her from cheating, like a little deformed boy losing his mother at age eight and being placed in the home of a cruel uncle. Maugham uses heart-breaking themes that are very plausible.

15.  How do you define your writing?

My writing seems to bounce back-and-forth between mainstream and women's fiction. "Bobby's Diner" is what I would categorize as women's fiction but my third novel would be better categorized as mainstream. The themes found in each of my three novels describe that special brand of conflict that arises between a woman and her mother. I think this is a very universal theme, one in which half the people of the world - the women - can relate to.

16.  In one sentence-what do you want people to say about your writing in fifty years?

She was a great storyteller.

Susan Wingate The Details:

17.  Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Website?  Blog?

Yes! My website is at http://www.susanwingate.com/ and my blog is http://www.susanwingate.blogspot.com/. I also have information posted on Poets & Writers, Romance Writers of America, Pacific Northwest Writer's Association, Author's Den, Authors & Experts, MySpace and FaceBook, Xing, Ning and a few others that I can't remember now.

18.  Is there a place where readers can reach you?

Yes. They can contact me from any of the above location. It's always nice to hear from people.

19.  Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?

My first book is a compilation entitled, "Ravings of a Mad Gentlewoman" and it's available through Lulu.com. My second book is my first novel, "Of the Law." You can get "Of the Law" at http://www.ofthelaw.com/ or through Amazon.com. My third book and second novel is called "Bobby's Diner." You can get "Bobby's Diner" through the publisher, ebooksonthe.net (http://www.ebooksonthe.net/), or at the following: Mobipocket, Amazon.com or FictionWise. Oh, you can also get "Bobby's Diner" by connecting through my website at www.susanwingate.com/bobbysdiner.htm.

20.  For new readers-what can they expect when they read your book(s)?

Well, I hope I've created believable characters, detailed settings and juicy conflict. Some people have described my work as gritty and honest.

In conclusion:

21.  Take as much space as necessary to speak to our readers-what would you like them to know about you and your writing?

Writing is my passion. Reading is my passion. Writers make me smile. I love meeting other writers because we're an odd group and it's nice to sit and talk with others of the same cloth - it kind of feels like experiential therapy!

Thank you, Joyce, for allowing me this time to visit with you. -Sincerely, Susan Wingate.

Susan Wingate's website - http://www.susanwingate.com/

Susan Wingate's blog - http://www.susanwingate.blogspot.com/

For more information about Susan Wingate's virtual book tour and her full schedule at http://virtualblogtour.blogspot.com/2008/08/bobbys-diner-by-susan-wingate.html

To order your copy - For more information visit - http://www.ebooksonthe.net/catalog/eBooks_Catalog_NewBooks2.html

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Tuesday, 23 September 2008
Introducing Susan Wingate
Topic: Blog Tours

Website Address:             http://www.susanwingate.com

 

Primary Blog Address:             www.susanwingate.blogspot.com

  

Author’s Bio (complete bio):

 

Susan Wingate, novelist, poet and playwright, received a BS in Accounting from AZ State University. Wingate brings a rare and diverse background to her creative writing. Presently, she lives in Washington State and writes full time. Wingate has written three novels. Her second book, BOBBY’S DINER, just received a book contract with eBooksonthe.net and will be released in the fall of 2008. Her short story, “The Lion of Judah” received 1st Place honor (a monetary award and publication) in the August 2008 Fantasy Gazetteer Short Story Contest. One of her most recent accomplishments comes on the heels of completing her third novel, The Last Maharajan, with an excerpt selected for publication in literary journal the Superstition Review, an ASU press publication. She is a contributing writer for several magazines. Since the 2007 publication of her mystery novel, Of the Law, Wingate has kept busy teaching at writing workshops and at her studio. Her short stories and poems consistently receive awards and articles can be found in many magazines, journals and reviews. Wingate publishes an online newsletter called, “Sincerely, Susan” which has a readership of close to one thousand subscribers. She is also a co-founder of the San Juan Island Creative Women's Group. Currently, she organizes a series of reading events for her local library. These events spotlight the community’s writers and provide a wonderful venue in which to hear their work. For hobbies, Wingate likes to read and paint.

Please stop back tomorrow for an interview with Susan!!!

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Monday, 22 September 2008
Susan Wingate and Bobby's Diner
Topic: Blog Tours

Over the next couple of days, four to be exact, we will be visiting with author, Susan Wingate and talking about her newest release, Bobby's Diner! 

About Bobby's Diner:

Georgette Carlisle explains a tale of events that lead up to this morning's funeral. Fifteen years earlier, searching for a place to call home, Georgette accepts a ride from a philandering trucker who offers to take her from a bus stop in Kingman, Arizona to Phoenix but she never makes it. After an abrupt stop along the highway, Georgette jumps out of the truck and heads off on foot until she comes to the small town of Sunnydale.

The day Georgette first arrives in Sunnydale her life is empty. When she saunters into town she meets a married man, Bobby, who owns Bobby's Diner. After he leaves his wife, Vanessa, for Georgette, Bobby marries her.

Fifteen years later, after Bobby has died, Georgette's life is about to change. During the reading of the Bobby's will, his last wish is to leave his diner to both women - his widow and his ex-wife. Each refuses to sell to the other or anyone else for that matter. They decide they will try to make the restaurant work with both managing it.

However, Bobby's Diner sits squarely on a corridor property through Sunnydale. Sunnydale has caught the eye of a large developer in Phoenix. Zach Pinzer, an up-and-coming executive at Chariot International Incorporated, envisions Sunnydale as a flourishing boutique tourist location - the next Sedona. With the underhanded help of Sunnydale's mayor, Pinzer can acquire the land he needs for his pet project - to develop the land and incorporate the spot where Bobby's Diner sits. When Zach offers to buy the diner from Georgette and Vanessa, they flatly refuse him.

Infuriated, Pinzer takes matters into his own hands and hires a thug to frighten the owners. It doesn't work. In fact, the damage he inflicts upon their property only fortifies the women's mettle and their relationship.

During Pinzer's second attempt to scare the women, their beloved busboy and gardener, José is murdered. Later that evening, after she's looked all day to find Vanessa, Georgette happens into the diner and finds Roberta (Vanessa's daughter) slipping into unconsciousness from a gunshot wound to her stomach. Roberta has lost a lot of blood and she's rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery. Georgette still cannot find Vanessa. Finally, while Roberta is resting quietly in recovery, Vanessa shows up.

After years of living with his dishonesty, the mayor's wife decides to help Georgette and Vanessa successfully bring down Zach Pinzer and foil his attempt to seize the land in and around Sunnydale.

Now, as Georgette reflects on Vanessa's funeral earlier this morning, she understands the true meaning of "home" - home is family. She sees how family can come in all the shapes and colors. She understands family isn't something to contain in a pretty bottle and put away on a shelf. Family is the bottle, one that doesn't always contain rose oil. Sometimes it contains vinegar also. Georgette finds that every once in a while, if we give the bottle a few good firm shakes, the contents will fuse and become a beautiful creamy miscellany of all the parts. Georgette's reflection of her life in Sunnydale makes her realize that she's learned the true meaning of home.

For more information on Susan, or to purchase this book, please visit http://www.susanwingate.com/

 


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Sunday, 21 September 2008
Getting to Know Jordan Vinyard, Illustrator
Topic: Blog Tours
Today I have the pleasure of sharing with you a talk I had with Jordan Vinyard, the talented artist that took a picture in Holly's mind and brought it to the surface for all of us to see and love. 
1.  First, can you tell us a little about yourself?  Who is Jordan Vinyard? 

Well, I am 25 years old. I am a studio artist, mural painter, and of course an illustrator. I am married to a sculptor, so I am really in an art friendly environment. I work like a maniac, but it feels more like play because I so love what I do. I have a twin brother, who I am very close to. My entire family is amazing and they have all believed in what I do from the get-go. 

When I first saw this question, I e-mailed a few of my friends to see how they would describe me. Lol, I got some pretty funny answers : highly energetic, trouble, and funny. Those are probably all pretty accurate :)

        
       
2.  How do you become involved in book illustration?  Was it a dream you worked for or did the opportunity just appear and you went for it?

To be perfectly honest, it kind of happened upon me. I didn't know a lot about illustration before I really got into it. 
It all began when one of my professors called me about a posting she had seen from Vivian. 4RV needed an illustrator. I thought about it, and decided that I would give it a shot. I have always been a studio artist, so I really didn't know what it would be like, except that it involved art. That being said, I figured there was no way I could dislike it. What I didn't know, is that I would love it.  I continue to work in several areas of the art world, but to add another was quite a thrill. I have a real passion for doing artwork. I love everything about it.
3.  Writers so often have a picture already in their mind of characters, how do you work with them to bring those characters to life?  Is there some process you follow to draw their image out?

With Holly, it was easy! I felt like the images of the characters popped into my head so vividly right from the beginning. I wanted them to be extremely expressive. I achieved this by making about a billion sketches. I like to work and rework the character until they feel fluid, until they have a real sense about them. Once I am attached to a character, I feel that I can pass this "attachment" on to the readers. 

Also, when I was working with their expressions I looked in the mirror a lot. I will do whatever it takes to get the emotion of a character right, even if it means making goofy faces in the mirror!!! My husband happened upon this action several time, often asking me what on earth I was doing. lol.
 
4.  Have you always wanted to be an artist?  What steps did you take along the road to get where you are now?

I have always wanted to be an artist. From the time I was about 5 years old I was drawing and painting. 
As far as steps along the road, practice. Lots and lots of practice. I had some amazing and inspirational teachers. All of them have been so encouraging. To get where I am now I knew that it would take hard work. All through college I worked my tail off. I even worked so hard on one drawing that I had to go to the doctor because my finger had swollen up so big. He said he had never seen someone with a drawing injury before. He put a splint on my finger and I was banned from doing art work for 2 whole weeks. That was not easy for me to do.  
In addition to hard work, I firmly believe in asking questions. I have called artist and literally hounded them about how they go about a certain technique. Fortunately, all of them that I have encountered admired my persistence, and I learned a lot from them.
5.  What advice can you give to young artists who may be considering book illustration as a career?
  
In response to this question, I will pass along a quote that one of my professors  gave to me:

" You don't ever need the tricks of the trade, if you actually learn the trade."

I firmly believe this. Learn everything you can about what you are doing. Know the ins and outs of it, even if it means hounding people with questions.

6.  Is there anything you would like to share with our readers about yourself, your life or your work?  

I think all in all, I love my work. I think that is the common denominator in everything I do. I am passionate about it, and I love for others to be excited about art. I feel like with everything I do, I put myself so completely into it. I hope that the passion for my work comes across to the viewers, and most of all I hope they enjoy it!!!

 ***

Please don't forget to leave a comment for one last chance to win a Trockle totebag here.  I want to thank Holly, Jordan and Vivian for allowing Trockle and Steven to stop by and visit with us.  I wish you ladies's the best of luck!!

Starting tomorrow, we will be visiting with Susan Wingate, author of Bobby's Diner.


    


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Saturday, 20 September 2008
A Talk With Holly Jahangiri
Topic: Author Interview
Today we get to talk with Holly Jahangiri, author of Trockle. Her friend, Vivian Zabel, who knows her quite well, put in her opibion on a few questions :-)   We hope you enjoy the interview!!
 1. What three words do you think describe you as a human being?

Honest, empathetic, imaginative

From Vivian: Excellent insight on Holly's part.
2.  How do you think others would describe you?

Intimidating. I'm very direct and not shy about speaking out on issues I feel passionate about.

From Vivian: Many people are intimidated by Holly, but under that tough exterior is one tough woman. Seriously, her exterior is more intimidating that the person she is inside, but she is not shy about speaking her mind (and she's very often completely right).

3.   Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing.

My husband and my children. Freedom of speech. Civil rights. You know how kids will stomp a foot and yell, "That's not fair!"? I have always had an overactive sense of righteous indignation – I may not stomp my foot and yell, but dismissing injustice with a shrug and saying, "That's life" just doesn't do it for me.

From Vivian: Believe her when she says she does not take injustice lightly, and the anger at injustice or unfairness is not limited to her family only. I know of times when I'm glad she couldn't reach some people who were not "fair."


4.     Do you have any pets?  If so, introduce us to them.

Right now, we have a green anole named Bob and a whole slew of tiny crickets that ultimately belong to the lizard. Bob's a little shy; I'd introduce you, but he goes all brown and skittish around strangers.
5.     What is your most precious memory?

You ask such impossible questions, Joyce! I have to choose just one? If forced to choose, it's going to be the obvious cliché answer – childbirth. But now, if my kids read this, they're going to ask, "Which one of us?" How about the day I walked down the stairs on my father's arm, and saw my husband smile from across the room as he waited for me to join him in taking our marriage vows? How about the moment I first held Trockle in my hands? Don't make me choose just one, Joyce – life's too full of precious memories to play favorites.
6.     What is your most embarrassing memory?

When I was ten, I got a tape recorder for my birthday. I used up a whole hour of tape singing, "Happy Birthday to MEeeee!" and running a sort of radio show in which I sang, announced that I would "never be nine again," and generally babbled nonsense. My parents found it, played it, declared it "adorable" and put it in a safe place - basically, any place where I couldn't find it and destroy the evidence in later years.

My mother said that she knew J.J. was destined to be her son-in-law the day I had her dig up the tape and play it for him. The only other people I let listen to the tape are my kids, to demonstrate to them that even the most mortifying moments can be cute, laughable, silly, and totally harmless in retrospect. So they'd know, next time they're feeling humiliated, that they'll survive – even look back, some day, and laugh.
7.  If you weren't a writer, what would you be doing with your life?

I probably would have chosen one of my fall-back options: volcanologist or lawyer.
 
8.      In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.

Holly Jahangiri died today at the age of 105. She is survived by her husband J.J., her daughter Katie, and her son William. She finally ran out of words and turned the page. She will be missed by a generation of young readers who remember learning to love reading with her books.
9.     Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a "real" writer?

I should have realized it in middle school. My English teacher, Lee Thorsten, assigned an essay. I took my dog for a walk by the lake, and while we rested on a log, I wrote the essay. Mrs. Thorsten liked it – she wrote all up and down the margins, correcting this, praising that – I learned to love the red pen. I started writing unassigned essays and short stories, and Lee Thorsten read every word. She took the time to comment on all of them. I loved being able to convey my thoughts and ideas to someone else, to form pictures in their minds using nothing but words.

Along the way, I got distracted; for a time, I wanted to be a volcanologist, an actor, an archaeologist, a veterinarian, a lawyer. I even went to law school. And then it hit me – I was already a professional technical writer. I loved writing fiction and poetry. And I was pretty good at it. I didn't have to "practice" like lawyers and doctors. If I made a typo, no one was likely to go to jail or lose their home or family. And I didn't have to work eighty hour weeks unless I wanted to. I don't think I ever doubted I was a "real" writer, but it took a while to accept that that was what I was going to do for a career.
10.      What is going on with your writing these days?

I have a contract for the second book with 4RV Publishing – its working title is A Puppy, Not a Guppy – and I'm mulling ideas for a young adult novel.

11.     What are your future goals for your writing?

I'd like to be the Judy Blume for boys. Seriously? I don't think there are enough novels that appeal to middle-school aged boys. I'd like to see more of them become bookworms.
12.     Can you describe a typical writing day for you?

There's nothing "typical" about it. I come home from work, have dinner with my family, and then, if the characters are talking to me, I write.
13.     Why do you write?

To entertain readers, for the most part. To teach them how to do something, or to make them think, or to transport them to another world for a little while. I don't write just for myself. That has always struck me as a bleak and lonely thing. I love it when someone tells me that they enjoyed reading what I wrote.
14.      What writer most inspires you?  Why?

I've always thought my writing was what you'd get if you mixed a little Edgar Allan Poe, Erma Bombeck, and O. Henry. Poe, for the chills; Bombeck for the wry humor; O. Henry for the impatient urge to quickly wrap up loose ends in a surprising twist and bring it all to closure.

I have been told that some of my writing is like Spider Robinson's. At the time, my reaction was "Spider WHO?" I've since read his books and banged my head repeatedly against a desk – Spider does Spider better than I ever could. There are shades of Douglas Adams in there, too, but less so now that I've read his work and Robinson's.
15.     How do you define your writing?

I don't. I think that's for others to do. I just hope that they find it worth reading and defining.
16. In one sentence—what do you want people to say about your writing in fifty years?

"Wow, this is a great book! Have you read it?"

When I was in college, majoring in Rhetoric & Writing, I was nearly scared off a career in writing by my graduate level Lit courses. There are few things I dread more than the thought of a bunch of college students picking my brain, my life, and my stories apart posthumously, playing "Let's Psychoanalyze the Dead Author." The speculation we indulged in regarding D. H. Lawrence and James Joyce would make your hair curl.

From Vivian: There is no way anyone could psychoanalyze Holly now or in the future. She is unique, and doesn't follow any drummer but her own.

I would love to be a fly on the wall listening to the nonsense students and professors might utter trying to "find" the real Holly Jahangiri.

17.  Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Web site?  Blog?

I have my own Web site at http://jahangiri.us and a blog at http://jahangiri.us/blog.
18.     Is there a place where readers can reach you?

Holly.Jahangiri@gmail.com
19.     Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?

Trockle
Hidden Lies and Other Stories
Walking the Earth: Life's Perspectives in Poetry
Lost Souls, Restless Spirits
Dealing with the Demon…and nine other short stories
Mood Swings
20.  For new readers—what can they expect when they read your book(s)?

I hope that NEW readers – kids who are fairly new to reading – will find an engaging story that they can enjoy having read to them or reading on their own.

 

Please don't forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a Trockle totebag--and come back tomorrow when we talk with Jordan, the one who did so wonderfully with the illustrations in this book!

Posted by joyceanthony at 12:50 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 20 September 2008 2:06 AM EDT
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