Books, Publishing, and the Creative Life

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Ignite CALM: Achieving Bliss in Your Work

Today is the official launch date for Deb Snyder’s new book, Ignite CALM: Achieving Bliss in Your Work. 9780990686224

  • If you’re struggling with a job you hate, this book is for you.
  • If you work with people who drive you crazy, this book is for you.
  • If you want to change careers but have no idea where to begin, this book is for you.
  • If you’re totally stressed by your life, this book is for you.

Spiritual teacher Deb Snyder tells us, “Everything in life is connected. We can’t expect to live happy lives if we’re miserable at work. Not only do we spend about 50 hours per week at our jobs, we end up wasting precious energy complaining about work during our off hours.  This often leads to frustration and disappointment with our friends and family who’ve heard it all, again and again. Yet, within us, we each have the power to create working lives that are both pleasant for us and profitable for our employers. It’s up to us to make changes in our own hearts and actions.”

Ignite Calm takes the steps of embracing conscious business qualities, teaching how to bring your best self to work each and every day and discover true happiness while on the job, no matter what the job.

Also Featuring 12 CALM Conscious Collaboration Exercises with Holistic Practitioners and Self-Development Experts 

  • David B. Goldstein
  • Jennifer Crews
  • Elizabeth Harper
  • Deane Driscoll
  • Tam Veilleux
  • Lynne McGhee
  • Sunny Dawn Johnston
  • Dede Eaton
  • Sue Yarmey
  • Evelyn C. Rysdyk
  • Suzanne Silvermoon
  • Lisa Holcomb
  • and a foreword by Lisa McCourt

 This book is already listed as a Hot New Release on Amazon.com.  I know you’re going to love it!   

Deb Snyder Ph.D. is an inspirational speaker, personal development teacher, and award-winning author of four books for adults and kids. She holds a doctorate in metaphysical philosophy and empowers people to live their best lives through embracing their own unique challenges, opportunities, and blessings. Deb offers her heart-centered services in workshops and private sessions worldwide to individuals, businesses, and groups of all sizes. She is also founding director of The HeartGlow Center, a public charity focused on wellness and conscious living.

Click here for more information: http://ignitecalm.info/      Click here to purchase: http://dld.bz/d2a2a

The Anatomy of Fear

9781935254973What are we afraid of, and why do we love being scared by movies?

This question occupied my mind during the time we edited and published our newest book The Anatomy of Fear.  I am a wimp when it comes to horror movies, but I do enjoy a good scare. Both genres tap into a shady part of the human psyche. Horror wants us to laugh when we’re uncomfortable, keep looking when we want to turn away, and live with a total lack of happy endings.  And because no one expects horror films to toe the line, they get to flirt with madness and imperfection while making the most interesting, controversial observations.

The Anatomy of Fear explores all this, and more. Filmmakers Chris and Kathleen Vander Kaay interview 21 horror and science-fiction film writers and directors to get the inside story on the scared-womaninspiration, creation, and behind-the-scenes experiences of box office blockbusters.

This book is not about films, exactly; it’s about the conversations those films create. All the films and the discussions with filmmakers have something to say about society, religion, sex, death, and the universal fears that connect us to each other in a fundamental way that no language or common interest ever could.

The Anatomy of Fear explores all the permutations of this, and more, in ongoing conversations with all the horror and thriller writers and directors you’d most love to meet:

John Bruno

Jeff Burr

Stephen Chiodo

Thom Eberhardt

Larry Fessenden

Alec Gillis

Tom Holland

Eric Luke

William Malone

Jim Mickle

Glen Morgan

Lance Mungia

William F. Nolan

J.T. Petty

Eric Red

Eduardo Sanchez

Jack Sholder

George Sluizer

Ethan Wiley

S.S. Wilson

William Wisher

The Anatomy of Fear is essential reading for every horror movie buff.  Buy the book and see the movies!

attitude-affects-workSammie Justesen is a publisher with NorLightsPress and the author of Dialogue for Writers, released in May, 2014. She is also an artist and president of the Lawrence County Art Association.

A great investment for writers

The Last of the Living Blue

Living Blue Front Cover FINALNorLightsPress is proud to announce our newest book: The Last of the Living Blue: A Year of Living and Dying Among the Trees.

This book is an intimate, intense look at the effects of the changing climate in our big back yard: Colorado’s majestic mountains and the Weminuche Wilderness.  This is a story real and raw, told in a soft, yet powerful voice, taking readers along through one year of drought, fires, floods, and the healing of mountain and mind.

The exquisite prose of author Gin Getz is an inspiration to people who love nature, writers, fellow bloggers, and her many friends throughout the world.  Ashley Kent Carrithers says, “Gin steps TCOW-Author-Imageout of the pages at us,naked, as she does at 10,000 feet, baring her emotional soul courageously while challenging us to embrace her love of the wilds.”

I recommend that readers double their pleasure by purchasing The Last of the Living Blue AND Gin’s first book, The Color of the Wild.  I guarantee you’ll enjoy both books.  Also follow Gin’s wonderful blog at: http://www.gingetz.com      Purchase this new book on Amazon at:  http://dld.bz/dtRbD

For a review copy of either book, contact sammie@norlightspress.com

The Color of the Wild

Too Much of Everything?

Do you ever get the feeling we’re hemmed in by too much stuff and too many choices?

JamStanding in the jelly section at the grocery store is a case in point. When I was a kid back in the dark ages, we had about two brands to choose from and only a few flavors: grape, strawberry, raspberry, and maybe something weird like orange marmalade. The choice was easy. Now the jelly selection is are mind boggling.

In a well-known marketing study, researchers offered customers either 24 jams to sample, or 6 jams to sample. Sixty percent of customers were drawn to the large assortment, while only 40 percent stopped at the small one. But 30 percent of the customers who sampled the small assortment actually purchased jam, while only 3 percent of those confronted with multiple choices made a purchase.  The hypothesis is that people like the idea of having multiple choices, but in reality more choices become less appealing.

In other words, when confronted by too many choices, customers leave empty handed and move on to something else.

Jelly is only one example of the bewildering choices we face every day. We’re fortunate to have so many good things in our lives, while others in the world have few choices, such as “this jelly or no jelly.” Yet, abundance can be too much of a good thing. All day long we’re bombarded by seemingly infinite choices, from billboards, magazines, email, Internet ads, and of course television. We aren’t even safe in movie theaters, where we’re now forced to sit through twenty minutes of advertising before the film begins.

Choice overload is stressful. Research shows that an excess of choices often leads us to be less, not more, satisfied once we actually decide. There’s often a nagging feeling we could have done better.  Though we now have Decisions_clipartthe capacity to endlessly research choices, that doesn’t mean we should do so. Spending too much time on choices actually decreases our freedom, while increasing our unease and frustration.

On the web page Tiny Buddha (Simple Wisdom for Complex Lives), UK author Andrea Wren offers seven ways to deal with choices:

  1. Ask what you’ll really achieve by keeping all options open. You’ll probably realize that the time and stress you invest in a huge range of choices does not outweigh the benefit of saving a few dollars.
  2. Cast your net small. Eliminate most of the choices up front and consider only three or four, based on your most important criteria.
  3. Unless your budget is extremely tight, stop worrying about saving a small amount of money. Your time and emotional well-being are more important than saving a few bucks.
  4. Stick with your decision once you’ve made it.  Believe in yourself and your ability to choose.
  5. Let go of the other choices. Whether it’s your husband, your wife, a new air conditioner, or a box of cereal—don’t obsess over what might have been. Let it go.  Seeking the perfect choice is a recipe for misery.
  6. Do I really need this, and do I need it now? Focus on choosing things that add meaning to your life.  Don’t waste time on things you don’t need.
  7. Trust yourself to know what you truly need and what’s right for you.  Be happy with your choice  when you’ve made it, and know the world will not explode if, by the slightest chance, this was the wrong choice.

SimpleChoice overload can also happen when we face decisions in our creative work. Given the endless options of which route to take, we can sometimes end up going with the more conventional path simply because it’s the easier way to go. A study from New York University found that “restricting the choice of creative inputs actually enhances creativity.”

In other words, letting yourself have less options to choose from can help you arrive at a more creative answer.

“Keep it simple” is a fine rule to follow in all things.  Choice

If you’d like to further explore this topic, I recommend a powerful book by psychology professor Barry Schwartz, The Paradox of Choice: Why Less is More.  This book may change the way you think.

And thank you for taking time to read this blog, out of the million choices of your day!

 

 

A great investment for writers

A great investment for writers

About Sammie Justesen

Sammie Justesen is a publisher and the author of Dialogue for Writers, released in May, 2014.

She is also an artist and president of the Lawrence County Art Association.

A recent review of Dialogue for Writers

What I left with after reading Sammie’s book is a brain swimming with ideas she has generously shared based on her years of experience in all aspects of the industry. She shows us, not just tells us, with style, humor and an easy, comfortable voice. Her examples bring the points to life. Sammie indeed practices what she preaches, and shares with us as reader and writer a fun to read and handy compilation based on experience and insight.   –Gin Getz, author of The Color of the Wild andThe Last of the Living Blue

 

A 70-year Anniversary

A guest post from Nadene Carter, publisher and author:

Japanese mapDuring the past few weeks we’ve heard much about 2014 being the 70th anniversary marking the end of the Japanese American detention during World War II. In December 1944, Public Proclamation number 21 marked an end to the Japanese internment, following four years of the mass incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans who had lived on the West Coast prior to the War.

I was only four years old in 1944, but the aftermath of the War had a profound effect on me. I had a nightmare that to this day I remember clearly. I suppose my parents talked about the German concentration camps that were discovered following the war, and about the mass execution of millions of Jewish people. That must have left a serious imprint on my young, impressionable mind to instigate that nightmare. But in the dream there was a big, round, brick building with several big windows and a fire burning inside. People were being herded along wood planks, through those windows, and into the fire. I was there—a little girl being pushed along a plank toward that fiery furnace

Now, fast forward 36 years.

In 1980 I was living in Adrian, Oregon, a small town about sixty miles west of Boise, Idaho. I belonged to the Spinners and Weaver’s Guild, and three of us from that Guild traveled to a Weaving in the Woods Workshop near Chiloquin, Oregon. The workshop taught Native American weaving, where each of us built and lashed an upright loom between two trees, designed our own pattern, and created a tapestry.

The three of us from our guild camped in a tent together. One evening around the campfire, we were exchanging background information about ourselves. I had moved to Adrian the year prior, and one of the women and her husband had recently moved there from the Midwest and purchased a business. The other was a Japanese woman—Janet Takami, about 25 years old at the time. I asked her how she had come to live in east-central Oregon.

I will never forget the shocked look on her face and her words, “My parents were part of the Japanese internment during World War II.”Japanese 3

Then it was my turn to feel shock. I was 40 years old at the time and had never heard of the Japanese internment. Hearing that U. S. citizens had been detained in camps was impossible for me to understand. That bit of history had never been included in any of our history books, and was never touched on during my school years. I had an immediate flashback to the dream I had as a kid and experienced the horror of it all over again.

japanese-evacuation1After the workshop I went home and spent days in the Ontario, Oregon public library, researching information about the Japanese internment. I learned that “the internment” was a taboo subject, seldom discussed or acknowledged. Later, I talked at length with George Iseri, who had lived in the camp. He was Nisei, second generation Japanese-American. He told me the history of that small group of families from the Minidoka, Idaho internment camp who agreed to move to a small work camp near Nyssa, Oregon, to help as laborers in the sugar beet fields of eastern Oregon rather than sit idle until the war was over. That’s how they came to be located there.

He told of their plight after the war. Everything they owned before the war began was gone; they had nowhere to go. A camp council was held and a decision was made. This group of Japanese families pooled their funds, formed a lottery, and bought the first family a farm. The farm family and the people still at camp continued pooling their money Japanese camp 1until they had enough to buy the second family a farm, and so on until all of the Japanese families owned their own land. They have since become some of the most successful farmers in Malheur County, Oregon

I spent many years gathering information and trying various ways to construct a fictional format that would present a story of the courage and tenacity of these people in the face of adversity. Out of that research,my book  Echoes of Silence was born.  This book juxtaposes the innocence of childhood against the backdrop of bigotry and prejudice prevalent during World War II. It provides a unique perspective into the lives of three families who endured those years and who were shaped by the events of this period in U.S. history. This novel also illustrates the complex choices we all make without considering the effect on future generations. The choices, made years earlier by the adult characters of this story, create echoes that reverberate forward into the lives of their children, which change and shape all of them in unexpected ways.Echoes of Silence

Find the book here:  http://dld.bz/dsv9w

NadeneAbout Nadene Carter

I have always loved books. Growing up in Bear Lake County, Idaho, they enriched my young life and provided an outlet for my insatiable curiosity. So I suppose it’s no accident that I gravitated toward publishing. As the prepress arm of NorLightsPress I have the opportunity to work with each of our authors, turning their edited manuscripts into print and ebooks.

My other interests focus around the fiber arts: knitting, spinning, and weaving. They provide balance to my life and a much needed diversion from books and publishing, which can become intense at times.

The Art of Seeing With Joyce Hicks

Anything under the sun is beautiful if you have the vision. It is the seeing of the thing that makes it so. –Charles Webster Hawthorne

Joyce Hicks bookJoyce Hicks, my favorite watercolor artist has just released her first book: Painting Beautiful Watercolor Landscapes: Transform Ordinary Places into Extraordinary Scenes.  I eagerly awaited Joyce’s book and was fortunate to receive a review copy from the publisher.  However, I’d already purchased a book before the review copy arrived, because I couldn’t wait any longer.

Art is my escape from writing and publishing.  When I can’t stand one more minute in front of the computer screen, I head for the studio and let watercolors soothe my spirit.  There’s something magical about watching wet paint blend on fine cotton paper, granulating and flowing into extraordinary colors and shapes.  I can choose to control it, or not.   I can paint an actual scene or let the paint go where it will.

Joyce Hicks has a special gift for transforming scenes.  She will detect special elements in an ordinary looking barn surrounded by overgrown bushes.  She snaps an unremarkable photo and then uses paint, brushes, and her imagination to create a captivating scene.

Isn’t that what great writers do?  Both the pen and the brush capture our imaginations.  We change scenes to fit our own view of the world, and sometimes we’re able to transmit that magic to our viewers and readers.  That’s why we work so hard to perfect our technique in writing, art, dance, theater, and all other creative endeavors.  What we end up with isn’t always pretty, but it’s real.

In her book, Joyce says, “ I think the art of seeing has been lost because there are so many distractions in today’s world. It is pure joy when we really begin to see and feel beauty, and if we slow down enough, maybe we can attempt to describe it.” Joyce’s tips for artists fit any medium of self- expression. (I have added the parentheses)

  • Perseverance and determination are traits far more important than any talent you may possess.
  • The most common mistake artists (and writers) make as beginners is to follow the natural tendency to try to say too much . . .  Doing so leads to confusion and overshadows the piece’s main message.
  • Fear of failure blocks the way to bold, confident statements.
  • It is not enough to simply want to paint beautiful pictures; you must also arm yourself with necessary skills and knowledge. . .
  • As your skill and experience grow, you learn to eliminate unnecessary clutter from your work.
  • If you want to create a work of art, exaggerate  your feelings for the subject and paint (or write) ideas instead of things. . . . use your imagination to uncover hidden potential.

Demonstrations

How-to art books contain photos of the artist’s work with demonstrations and instructions. I’ve seen many how-to books that leave out vital steps in the process.  Either the publisher had to eliminate steps to save space, or

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the author doesn’t want to reveal her special secrets to the masses.  Either way, an artist finds those demonstrations hard to follow.  I’ve sent back several art books  because I was unhappy with the demonstrations.

Not so with Painting Beautiful Watercolor Landscapes.  In this book, Joyce shares twelve of her finest paintings and shows exactly how to recreate them.  The goal is to help each artist develop confidence and find a personal style.  Her teaching reflects deep concern for readers and fellow artists.

About Joyce Hicks

Joyce Hicks May 20

A demo for this painting is included in the book.

Joyce instructs national and international workshops and acts as judge and juror for watercolor exhibitions. Her paintings have received wide recognition through various shows and awards and she is a Signature Member and three time award winner of the prestigious American Watercolor Society. Numerous books and publications have featured her paintings and written articles about her work. She resides in a light-filled Texas home with her husband Larry and little dog, Sassie.

Painting Beautiful Watercolor Landscapes is everything I hope for in an art book.  If you’re a watercolor artist, I recommend you place this book at the top of your list.  If you’re considering watercolor, Joyce’s book will inspire you.  

About Sammie Justesen

Sammie Justesen is a publisher and the author of Dialogue for Writers, released in May, 2014.

A great investment for writers

A great investment for writers

She is also an artist and president of the Lawrence County Art Association.

A recent review of Dialogue for Writers

What I left with after reading Sammie’s book is a brain swimming with ideas she has generously shared based on her years of experience in all aspects of the industry. She shows us, not just tells us, with style, humor and an easy, comfortable voice. Her examples bring the points to life. Sammie indeed practices what she preaches, and shares with us as reader and writer a fun to read and handy compilation based on experience and insight.   –Gin Getz, author of The Color of the Wild and The Last of the Living Blue

 

 

Memories are Made of This

I recently started working on a memoir, and at the same time I’ve discovered how difficult this genre can be. Fiction seems much easier—just make stuff up as you go along.  Need a villain?  Create one and give him both good and bad traits to make him believable.  Need a handsome hero?  Find a photo and invent a personality and a past.  Need a happy ending?  No problem!  But memoir is another story, with so many things to consider:

  • Who will read it?
  •  Where should I begin?
  •  What should I include—how much detail?
  • Will people be hurt or angry about the things I reveal
  • Will they think less of me?
  • Is my story even worth writing about?

I have many questions, yet I know people have already walked this path and left clear directions.  So I spent an hour shopping for books on memoir writing. I finally settled on one that suits me best: Fearless Confessions: AFearless-confessions6 Writer’s Guide to Memoir by Sue William Silverman.   This book is fun to read and addressed all my concerns about how to dredge up memories and turn them into fascinating (or in my case, at least tolerably interesting) stories that will resonate with readers. She answers such questions as:

  •  How do you identify and combine the voice of your younger, less experienced self with your wiser, reflective voice?
  •  How do you devise plot powerful enough to make the leap from mere story to universal meaning?
  •  How do you sift through thousands of memories to find expressive metaphors?

The exercises in Silverman’s book are deceptively simple and progressively lead readers to dig more deeply into the past and use richer language to describe it.  As the author of a writing guide, I know it isn’t easy know what, and how much, to tell your readers. Sue Silverman seems to intuitively know what matters most to a memoirist, and she provided all of that in Fearless Confessions.

deanmartin-logoMemories are Made of This

Take one fresh and tender kiss

Add one stolen night of bliss
One girl, one boy
Some grief, some joy

Memories are made of this

Don’t forget a small moonbeam
Fold in lightly with a dream
Your lips and mine
Two sips of wine

Memories are made of this

Then add the wedding bells
One house where lovers dwell
Three little kids for the flavor

Stir carefully through the days
See how the flavor stays
These are the dreams you’ll savor

With his blessings from above
Serve it generously with love
One man, one wife
One love through life

Memories are made of this
Memories are made of this

Sammie Justesen is the author of Dialogue for Writers, a new book from NorLightsPress.

FRONT cover final

http://dld.bz/dngkg

Sammie is also an artist and president of the Lawrence County Art Association

From a recent review:

Did you know dialogue matters even for poetry? I didn’t, and I am so glad I do now! This small book packs a punch. It easily and accessibly convinced me of just how and why good dialogue matters, why many pieces could use more of it, and when not to use it. The author also helps the reader learn to plainly identify what makes good dialogue good and what does and doesn’t work through the use of a plethora of useful examples. It is also full of different kinds of useful information for writers of all sorts. There are gems in it such as “Usually the best point of view character is the one with most to lose.” (page 83) If your writing could benefit from some good editing, try this book. If your writing could benefit from some new tricks, try this book. It won’t disappoint. I think of it as a course on dialogue in itself and there are exercises at the end of each chapter.

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