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IT’S GOOD TO BE VULNERABLE! (WHY I REFUSE TO TAKE MYSELF SO SERIOUSLY.)

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photo credit: Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement

 

Don’t take yourself too damn seriously!

Accept that you are vulnerable, and make peace with that.

Be fearless!

If I had said these things to my younger self, it would not have had much of an impact. I wasn’t ready. But at some point in time, other people said these things to me, and even though I still wasn’t ready, they planted a seed. And every time someone plants a seed, he or she brings us closer to eventual healing and understanding. It certainly worked that way for me because, despite my stubbornness, I am always listening, and I always want to be a better version of me than I was yesterday.

So, last year, I read the first criticism of my work from a reviewer. Admittedly, it wasn’t scathing; she had many nice things to say, but I was able to handle that in a way that I couldn’t have all those years ago.I was curious more than anything, and I wanted to understand her point of view.

It was because, by then, I had stopped seeing myself the way I saw myself at the age of seventeen and for many years to come—as the writer, the destined one, or, ack, some kind of chosen one. I had come to accept that I am one writer in an endless sea of writers— just another voice in the choir.

Some people don’t like this perspective—at all. Back then, I would not have liked it either.

I’ve heard, in response, “You have to take yourself seriously or no one else will, right?”

Oh yes, for sure, but we can be serious, and we can be too serious. For me, the shift in perspective, from taking myself too seriously to taking myself just seriously enough has worked well.

When we see ourselves as a part of everything and not the center of everything, we begin to want for others what we want for ourselves—success! We’re not in competition for that because we know there is enough to go around. When we’re taking ourselves too seriously, those other people do not exist except as competitors. It’s about us and us only, so whatever happens to us is more important than what happens to everyone else. Less than favorable outcomes are magnified and often unbearable.

It helps to take it down a few notches and strive for a little humility. That includes checking ourselves and questioning the motivation behind decisions we make.

It’s not as hard as it sounds, and, eventually, it becomes a part of who we are.

By striving to keep my ego in check, I’m in a better position to handle criticisms and failures because I don’t have to prove I am beyond reproach. I haven’t placed myself up on a pedestal where I see myself as superior to and separate from others. I don’t believe I am so important that my haters are just sitting around watching and waiting to laugh at me when I fail. If they are, then they’re wasting precious time and won’t be able to achieve very much in their lives.

What this mind shift does is; it gives us permission to be vulnerable—permission from ourselves because no one else is stopping us. Then, instead of worrying about what others will think, we just write from the heart. We focus on learning to master our craft—something we absolutely cannot do when we think we already have it all down.

Of course, we all want praise. We want the glowing five-star reviews. There‘s nothing more gratifying than knowing your work has touched someone profoundly or thoroughly entertained as intended.

Friends kindly remind us that we all face rejection and that no one is above criticism. That’s true; someone has criticized every successful writer we know. But hearing that is not quite as comforting as it’s intended to be, so we secretly hope to be the exception.

We might be—if we tiptoe around—if we ask only our friends for reviews. We’ll get fewer reviews, but they’ll all be five-stars, right? On the other hand, if we want to reach millions of readers, we have to throw ourselves fearlessly into the arena, making ourselves more vulnerable to criticism.

Writer friends have said to me, “But, what about the internet trolls?”

Well, the truth is, people who take themselves too seriously are the perfect target for trolls. They are the ones who will argue with the trolls, thinking they will somehow get that person to sympathize or agree. It won’t happen because trolls lack empathy, or, let’s face it, they wouldn’t be trolls. If they know they’ve upset you, they will continue to provoke you. You can’t get caught up in the futility of that.

At the same time, not everyone who doesn’t like your work is a troll. There is legitimate criticism. We can get it from beta readers, good editors, and yes, honest reviews.

When it comes to betas and editors, we want that person who will say, about a particular scene, “You can do better than that.” We get lazy sometimes even with so much at stake. It’s wonderful to hear someone say, simply, “Oh, it’s great, I love it!” But if you’re still trying to iron out the kinks in your story, that’s not going to help you. I want to know where they got confused, where they got bored, what annoyed them, what characters they liked and didn’t like. That will help me determine whether I’m getting the effect I want. Not everyone will agree, of course, so it helps to get several people looking at your work—people who are not afraid to be objective and possibly upset you. Personally, I will not beta read for most people because I know I will give the honesty that I’d want myself, and I realize not everyone can handle that. I have gotten upset myself once, but I got over it fast. We don’t always have to agree with someone’s criticism, but we need to be open to it.

My beta readers have me laughing hysterically with some of their comments, especially with things that need fixing or clarifying. A simple, “Really?” or “Seriously?” can have me in a fit of giggles. The times we are laughing together on the phone or in person are the most fun. Even if they say, “This guy sounds like a douche,” I’m only going to be concerned if he’s not supposed to be sounding like a douche, and then we talk that stuff out. A bit of lightheartedness and a good sense of humor is key.

In an early draft that I wrote many years ago, I had decided to start at the beginning of my character’s life. By page 455, she was still twelve! I can’t help laughing now about how ridiculous that was. I had so much to learn about brutal editing (cut, cut, cut), where to begin a story, proper outlining, etc., and I’m still learning!

In my latest book, Shattering Truths, I was anal about how I wanted to tell this story. It is deep and personal, not my story, but a story about things I had witnessed over the years and one that had become very precious to my heart. It’s hard to be flexible when you are that emotionally involved, and, honestly, we become emotionally involved in all of our books, so we are incredibly biased. I needed feedback, and then, simply, to let go of what wasn’t working.

The truth is, we never stop learning, and there is always room to improve! I’m sure even the most successful writers would admit that, so it helps to embrace the learning process. Our confidence will increase as we evolve.

It’s all about honesty and integrity, and just being the best you can be. 🙂

 

© Copyright April 15, 2017 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

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Announcing New and Exciting Opportunities for Creative People!

 

At Thursday’s presentation, Ms. Koehler will discuss editing and other aspects of the book publishing process. Attendees will have an opportunity to comment and ask questions.

This presentation will be the first of many I will be hosting to feature writers, editors, designers, and advocates. It will be a wonderful opportunity for people to promote what they do and to help others. It is also an opportunity for people to network and learn!

All presentations will take place here in this chat room on Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. EST.

If you are interested, all you have to do is click that meeting link above, create your chat profile, and show up at the scheduled time. Keep the link handy and stay up to date on upcoming topics by following me on Twitter or my Facebook author page.

Please also share this information and these links with people you think might be interested.

Suggestions for presentation topics are always welcome, however, please note that presentations may not take place without approval, and presentations are always free. Presenters do not receive payment from anyone.

Note, too, that the room will be available for informal chat at any time, and we can always arrange other meeting times. Author readings will be a part of this workshop.

You can visit KHKoehler’s professional website here at khkoehler.net.

Hope to see you there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NEW CHAT AND FORUM FOR WRITERS AND OTHER CREATORS!

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As part of a community I’ve developed for writers and other creatives, I’ve added a message board and chat room to my website.

The message board has sections of interest to writers and areas for general discussion. Users may request additional topics that might be of interest to them.

A regular writer’s meeting will take place every Thursday at 7:30 p.m. EST. We can also arrange other meeting times. The room will be available for informal chat at any time.

I hope to have scheduled presentations and readings in the same chat room— by writers, editors, designers, advocates, and others. It would be a wonderful opportunity for people to promote what they do and to help others. Suggestions for presentation topics are always welcome.

Please note that presentations may not take place without approval, and presentations are always free. Presenters do not receive payment from anyone. I will, however, promote the event and provide moderation for the event. Presenters are encouraged to invite others.

You can bookmark the forum and chat room links:

http://somuch2talkabout.freeforums.net/

http://officialkyrianlyndon.chatango.com/

Or you can always bookmark my site for access. The links are under my Community menu.

https://kyrianlyndon.com/

We may eventually need additional moderators, but we’ll see how it goes!

Please share this information and these links with people you’d like to join you, or people you think might be interested in the promotional presentation opportunity.

Lastly, join my street team, and never miss a thing! It’s going to be exciting and mutually rewarding, I promise. Read all about it here!

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Photo #1 source by Surian Soosay

Photo #2 source by Elizabeth Cooper

 

Interested in my monthly newsletter?

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FIRE IN THE SOUL

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Interesting conversations with readers give me a lot to think about, so I like to provide a platform for those conversations.

Someone recently brought up amateur/aspiring v. professional.

I have known people who create guidelines for when a person can call himself or herself an author (or even a writer). It’s the same with most artists. Are they amateur and aspiring or professional and experienced?

Many of us have had this burning passion or determination to do something since childhood. Ideas and urges came, and we responded. We delivered. I feel we know whether we identify as poets, writers, artists, musicians before we ever have a book published, show our work in a museum or get on stage with a band. We may be aspiring to succeed and to master our crafts, but we are not aspiring to be what we are.

I remember a fifth-grade poetry assignment. The kid behind me copied my poem. When the teacher (nun) caught him, he told her he copied it from a book. I imagine he thought he’d get in less trouble for that, I don’t know. Maybe he just wanted me to go down with him. Nevertheless, she believed him. She asked for the book, and I was so confused that I was trying to find this book that didn’t exist… in my desk. (Nuns raising their voices to me invoked terror.) Then something strange happened. All these kids began calling out that this boy was lying because I was a writer, and I had always been a writer… other ten-year-olds! Amusing as it seems, they touched my heart for a lifetime. She asked me again if I copied the poem from a book, and I finally found the courage to say I didn’t. She gave me a gold star and displayed it on the wall for Parent-Teacher Conference Day. I will never forget this; how the kids knew this thing about me because it was already part of my identity.

As another example, my nephew was drawing since the age of five. I have never seen anything amateur about his approach, his expression, or his final product. (As an aside, he’s amazing.)

People may tell you things like, well you’re not published, you’re not an author, or you’re not a writer, even though you have been doing this thing ever since you can remember.

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If there is anything to separate the amateurs from the pros, for me, it is the desire and willingness to give your best and give your all.

Pros focus on mastering their craft. They set goals. It is a priority in their lives, and they will devote as much time to it as is possible. They can’t “not” do it. They know the passion is the fire in their soul. It’s their heart. They know it’s who they are.

Whether we are good or not, that is another story, but we have control over that, too.

From early on, characterization and dialogue were my strengths. Description was my weakness. I was not observant. I kept my mind clouded with other things, the obsessions of the moment. Eventually, I realized I had to work hard on that area, and I did with much success.

There’s no doubt in my mind that we often feel we don’t measure up, as people, as artists. If we believe that, that’s when we work to get better: identify problems, find solutions, expand our knowledge, and hone our skills. The desire exists for a reason, and learning is perpetual. We can always do better. That is all a part of mastering.

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© Copyright February 7, 2015 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

MY SPECIAL GIFT TO YOU: WIN FREE BOOKS & MORE!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

A few wonderful authors will join me this holiday season in giving away books to a few lucky winners.

Entering to win is easy! All you have to do is like the Facebook post for this blog. You can increase your chances of winning by answering the following questions in the comments of this blog or on the Facebook post of this blog. If you can’t answer all of them, just answer what you can.

1) What kind of books do you like to read?
2) What are you reading now?
3) What book have you wanted to read?
4) When you read the description of the prizes (below), what comes to mind?
5) In one word, how are you feeling this holiday season?
6) If you could do (or have) anything this holiday season, what would it be?

Please, no mention of political parties or political figures and nothing disrespectful toward anyone. Let’s keep this peaceful. 🙂 Violators of this rule will be disqualified from the contest, and the offending comments will be removed.

List of prizes:

A series of books from Yvonne Hertzberger (medieval fantasy series) including: Back From Chaos, Through Kestrel’s Eyes, The Dreamt Child: Earth’s Pendulum, Book Three, and Labyrinth Quest (Kindle books)

Go to links for individual descriptions.

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Seasons by David AntrobusEdward Lorn, JD Mader, and Jo-Anne Teal (Kindle book)

This collection of four inter-woven stories explores the quest for redemption in a world made chaotic by emotional disorder. Broken characters brace themselves against their elemental constructs – only to find that nothing is promised and that nothing comes without a price.  Four seasons. Four stories written by four critically-acclaimed authors. Are the seasons reminders of our growth or a glimpse at our slow decay?  The answer is not as simple as it seems.

ALL PROCEEDS FROM THE SALE OF THIS BOOK WILL GO TO THE NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE.

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The Dreadful Doctor Faust by K.H. Koehler (Kindle book)  (Gothic horror) *trigger warning, explicit*

Three victims disappear off the streets of New York, never to be seen again: a high school janitor, a top New York model, and a barkeep. Three people who have seemingly no connection to each other. Yet all three are connected to Louise, a teenage runaway who has recently gone missing. Louise came to the big city to create a new life for herself. That life ended when a cruel sadist abducted her, mutilated her body and face, and dumped her remains in the East River. Not quite dead, she floated ashore to the ruins of an abandoned church. There she was found and saved—but what saved her wasn’t human. He hasn’t been human in well over one hundred years. The underground calls him the Doctor, a shadow-figure who wields the powers of life and death in equal measure, and for his own dubious purposes. A Victorian-era, genius surgeon who has discovered the secret to not only defeating tissue rejection, but immortality itself, he rebuilds Louise, giving her a new face, a new identity, and a taste for revenge. Now Louise is back, remade and redesigned into a perfect murder machine by the Doctor’s talented hands. She is cutting a path of vengeance through the echelons of the city, and nothing in heaven—or hell—can stop her.

Listed a Top Book of 2010 by Literary Mayhem.

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Holiday Heartwarmers: An Anthology of Short Stories by Sunanda Chatterjee, Cherime MacFarlane, Hall and BeaulieuJ. Naomi AyTim WalkerJoanie Pariera, Shannon Youngblood, Christine Jayne Vann, Taki DrakeM.M. ChabotNeha GuptaC.L. Cannon, and D.H. Gibbs

Immerse yourself in this eclectic collection of short stories featuring authors from around the world. Travel to different places with them as they enjoy an unexpected journey back home to reunite with family and take a chartered flight to the North Pole. Shiver with the cold and anxiety as their loved ones get stranded in a snow storm in Alaska or share the amazement of gazing at the spectacular views during a hike to Machu Picchu. Explore the Indian subcontinent by train, share an unforgettable vacation in Cyprus or venture into Afghanistan in the midst of war. Holidays are a time of sharing and can take many forms. These stories explore the issues of family dynamics, reflections on life, and finding the true meaning of love and acceptance. They also show that sometimes, it is just as important to let go of old feelings and old memories. This collection of short stories is sure to warm your heart and light the spirit of Christmas.

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The SockKids Say NO to Bullying by Michael John Sullivan and Shelley Larkin (paperback)

Do you have children/grandchildren? This would be the perfect gift for them.

The SockKids focus on educating children and adults how bullying affects us all and what we can do about it.

Do you know where your socks go when they go missing in the washing machine? Well, the SockKids know! The SockKids are a mismatched family of socks that sometimes time travel through the spin cycle, teaching universal lessons of love and kindness, and focusing on creating a greater awareness of the many social issues that children are faced with today. The SockKids help to educate and encourage children from 2 to 92 to find solutions in helping to make this a better world. In this story, Sudsy and Wooly discover their human is being bullied at school and team up against bullies with Ethan’s newest friend, Olivia. They discover bullying hurts everyone and staying silent is not an option.

More Inside! Children’s counselor and licensed therapist, Jamie Ross, gives adults and children guidelines on how to handle bullies.

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DEADLY VEILS BOOK ONE: Shattering Truths by Kyrian Lyndon (signed paperback or Kindle/Nook version)  (literary fiction coming-of-age story for young/new adults and adults) *trigger warning*

This book is a re-branded re-release, revised with new material. It should be available by the end of the year.

For sixteen-year-old Danielle DeCorso, the old house in Glastonbury was an eerie place to grow up. Coping with mental health challenges exacerbated by a traumatic family dynamic, Danielle watches from the window for two men in a dusty black sedan who keep circling the house and harassing her with phone calls. The two predators drugged her and her cousin, Angie, and then lured them from Pleasure Beach in Bridgeport to a secluded cottage on Long Beach West. She remembers feeling dizzy, the room spinning. She recalls screaming, crying, fighting, and then slipping in and out of consciousness. Angie, however, has no recollection of the incident. When Danielle attempts to jog Angie’s memory and convince their best friend, Farran, that the two strangers had victimized them, no one seems to believe her. Alone in her pain, Danielle remains guarded, obsessed, and withdrawn. Soon she is sinking deeper into a tumultuous world of adolescent isolation and change. Grief, guilt, and anger send her spiraling into an even darker place. Tormented by terrifying nightmares, she fears she will lose her sanity, or possibly her soul. Is she having post-traumatic stress hallucinations, as one of her friends suggest, or are her recurring nightmares as real as they seem? Trapped in an unyielding emotional bondage, Danielle continues the fight to reclaim her power. Startling revelations awaken her newfound spirit, inspiring a once naïve girl to grow into a woman of defiance and courage.

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Whoozit: The Owl That Didn’t Give a Hoot (children’s book) by Jo Sarti

Whoozit has a problem. The farm animals at his new home try to help him. Can it work? Will Whoozit give a hoot?

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There’s A Cat On My Pillow (children’s book) by Jo Sarti

There’s a cat on my pillow, in my sink, in my closet, sleeping, stretching, yawning, sitting. What do I do?

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$15 Barnes & Noble gift card

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$ 10 iTunes gift card

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Also, if you would like a free copy of Shattering Truths in exchange for an honest review, please let me know. I will have a limited number of advance copies in Kindle/Nook editions.

Finally, please contact me if you are interested in becoming a member of my “street team”. Street team members share links for me about my book releases and can also share blog links. They do what they can to help promote my work. In exchange, street team members get free copies of any book I publish after they’ve signed on as a member. They also get any merchandise I purchase for the book. Most often, there will be bookmarks, but there may be shirts, postcards, etc., depending on the book.

Have questions? Please contact me: kyrianlyndon@kyrianlyndon.com.

© Copyright December 19, 2016 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com.

Feature photo by Jason Corey

RECLAIM THE GIFT THAT MAKES YOUR SPIRIT SOAR

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Photo Credit – Angela Marie Henriette

 

My nephew, Christopher, was about six when he gazed out the window in the backseat of the car and said, “I’m just afraid I will run out of things to draw.”

He began at an early age, sketching and drawing—leaving people in awe of his talent. You see the brilliance in his eyes when he talks to you, especially about art. When I ask him if he can do a certain thing, the answer is, “Of course, I can!” He is chock full of confidence.

It is not hard to believe in someone like him. We not only believe in him, but we also celebrate him. He touches our hearts and remains such a light in a dark world.

I feel the exact same way about my son who was educating strangers about Jupiter’s moons in the first grade. They are two people who came into the world with gifts and talents, and a clear sense of who they were from an early age. I can attest to this much: when you know, from childhood, what you are and what you love, you cannot imagine any other life. I feel strongly; people must allow you to be the person you are, not the vision of you and your future that they have in mind.

It is easy to recognize the apathy and pain of someone who never lived their dream; someone left to wonder what the outcome might have been had they followed their heart. You see glimpses of their fire, traces of the light gone from their eyes. They had their spirits crushed, their voices silenced, their true selves obliterated.

Children need to hold on to their natural confidence and infectious enthusiasm, along with the ability to trust their instincts. My heart tells me, we need to not only believe in them but also show them how much we do.

Perhaps this is one reason experiencing an incredible contribution to the arts– everything from singing and drawing to dancing—can move me to tears. I realize people make incredible achievements every single day, ones I don’t see. They may not have an audience or applause, but their achievements are no less important. But seeing people get out there, doing the thing they love most and nailing it speaks to the person inside many of us that might say, I want to do what I love as fearlessly as that. I want to celebrate that moment where I have the audacity to succeed and reach the hearts of others, all of us sharing the passion and joy. It is one of life’s beautiful and most cherished experiences.

For me, it is.

In these moments, I don’t think about the harrowing destruction of our world or of humanity. It is a brief lull because I don’t want to ignore that. It has affected me profoundly since childhood, and while I search my heart for solutions, I can only counteract with love and a message of oneness. I believe each of us can do that in some way, especially if we have a voice or means of communicating our passion and love to the world. It is one small contribution of many until we can do better.

Those of us who have made it thus far with our dreams intact are eternally grateful. Whatever the passion – no matter what happens in life, it is there, and it saves you. It just might save others, too.

© Copyright August, 2014 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

ANNOUNCING SPOTLIGHT OPPORTUNITIES YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT!

Are you interested in reaching a new audience?

I’m looking for blogs, poems, photos, artwork, short stories, even a web series that would appeal to my readers.

The submissions should not be promotional links for your books/work/sites, and I’m not looking for anything that is too graphic. I prefer posts that enlighten, help, and inspire with focus on recovery, coping, healing, and evolving. Pure entertainment is wonderful, too! Humor is much needed and appreciated, as are joyous wonders of the world in art form. Work published on another site is fine as long as it’s your original work, and you have properly edited any text.

Contact me first to discuss whether your contributions would be a good fit. I am particularly interested in people who would like guest posters for their own site, so we can exchange. It’s not necessary, but that’s something I’m definitely willing to do.

If you become a regular contributor, you will get your own tab under the guest post menu, so that readers can find all your posts in one place. A little further down the road, I’ll have a contributor tab where regular contributors can have a more detailed profile, and that’s where their promotional and social media links would appear. They will also be eligible for ‘spotlight features’ where they can do an interview (audio, text, or video), read an excerpt, or something along those lines. A link to that feature would be on their contributor page.

If we determine that we can work together, this is how it would go.

When you create a blog you think I’d like to share, send me a link. If you want to share photos or poetry, just get them up on WordPress, Blogger, or your website.

I would need a bio and photo of you. If you prefer not to have an image of you, it can be a trademark or something else associated with you or your work. You won’t have to submit the bio or photo for subsequent posts unless you want to update it.

A feature photo to accompany the work is highly recommended either included on the blog or sent as a separate attachment. You must also provide the source for your feature photo so that we can give proper credit to the artist or photographer. If you are the artist or photographer, indicate that. If you are not sure where to find photos you can use legally with proper attribution, I can recommend a couple of sites.

If you have preferred hashtags for sharing, please provide them, or I will tag accordingly.

The posts will go up on my website under the ‘guest post’ tab. I would copy any text and then link back to the original blog in the copyright notice, which will be in your name, appearing before your photo and bio. I’ll send you the link to your post, and you’d have a chance to request any changes or even change your mind. Once you give your seal of approval, I’ll share it on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google+, and possibly LinkedIn or Pinterest.

There may be a cutoff period for this offer, depending on the level of interest and my availability, but the posts would likely remain unless you request their removal.

Lastly, I would like to mention that I have created a private community for interesting discussions, exchanging ideas, and supporting others. It would fit in with the community/collaboration environment and could be a lot of fun. If you are interested in that, let me know. I’m thinking about adding a portal to that site on my website for easy access. It’s all about community!

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Photo by BK, original photo credit Jonathan Combe

© Copyright June 26, 2016 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

SPOTLIGHT: PAUL J. HOFFMAN

Paul Joseph Hoffman is a journalist and author who was born in Madison, Wisconsin.

He was raised in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, a suburb of Milwaukee. He is a 1981 graduate of Wauwatosa East High School and attended both the University of Wisconsin – Madison and the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, graduating from Milwaukee with a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications (Radio/TV sequence) and a minor in English.

He is a career journalist, working as a sports writer at the Milwaukee Sentinel; assistant sports editor at Pioneer Press, a chain of weekly newspapers in suburban Chicago; sports editor and news editor at The Shelbyville News in Shelbyville, Indiana; news editor at The Republic in Columbus, Indiana; and his current position, special publications editor at the Daily Journal in Franklin, Indiana, since 2001.

His first book, “Murder in Wauwatosa: The Mysterious Death of Buddy Schumacher,” was published by The History Press in 2012. It is the true story of the disappearance of an 8-year-old boy in 1925.

He lives in Columbus, Indiana with his wife, Kimberly, and has a son, three daughters, two stepdaughters, and one granddaughter.

Book Summary (provided by Paul J. Hoffman)

August 2015 marked the 90th anniversary of one of the few unsolved murders committed in the Milwaukee suburb of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, the killing of 8-year-old Arthur “Buddy” Schumacher Jr., son of a pharmaceutical supply salesman and grandson of one of the city’s key leaders in the early 20th century.

He was reportedly last seen by three friends after they hopped off a freight they’d hopped on to get a ride to a nearby swimming hole.

For seven weeks, the community and state searched desperately to find the boy before his body was found just a mile from his house with his clothing torn and a handkerchief shoved down his throat. It wasn’t long before police had what they thought was a sure case against a man who was living in a hobo camp near where the boy went missing. However, they were forced to let him go after witnesses changed their minds about key pieces of evidence against him.

A man who was serving a life sentence in Minnesota for the killing of a young boy there, later confessed to killing Buddy Schumacher. But police wavered in whether to believe him or not.

Nobody has ever stood trial for killing Buddy Schumacher.

My book, “Murder in Wauwatosa: The Mysterious Death of Buddy Schumacher,” that was published by The History Press in June 2012, discusses the reasons nobody was ever charged with the crime, as well as going into the background of main suspects, the Schumacher family and other key people involved in the investigation.

But it is much more than just a book about a murder. The book also hits subjects that touched this story, such as the state of mental health care during that time, homelessness, Prohibition and the forensic tools investigators had available to them. The book also shines a light on the good that came out of this tragedy and also raises several questions that have never been answered.

My Interview with Paul J. Hoffman

KYRIAN: Paul, why should people read this book?

PAUL: The themes presented in this book transcend time and place. The book discusses how a family attempts to deal with tragedy; how a small community is affected by the socio-economic trends that surround it; how to keep young children safe; what to do with the mentally challenged; and how some bit of good can eventually come from such a
horrendous act.

KYRIAN: What are you working on at the moment?

PAUL: I am in the beginning stages of writing a screenplay based on “Murder in Wauwatosa.” Progress has slowed due to things that have come up in life. I hadn’t really considered writing more true crime books; I wrote this one because I had to … the incident had been bouncing around in the back of my brain for 35 years or so, and it had to come out. But I’ve recently been asked if I would write a book about true crimes in the area where I live, so I may take that offer. I would also like to publish a book of poetry since I started writing some of that again recently.

KYRIAN: What actor/actresses would you like to star in a movie based on the book?

PAUL: I always envisioned John Cusack playing the role of the father whose boy was murdered. He seems to have the type of personality that would carry over to that character and I have always admired his work. I hadn’t really thought too much about the rest of the cast. I also have the highest regard for Shawn Franklin, an actor I’ve seen in many local plays. He has the right skill set to play Art Schumacher, too.

KYRIAN: What are your ambitions for your writing career?

PAUL: I take this career a step at a time since it’s my secondary career for now. I make plans, but sometimes those plans get sidetracked, so I make new plans. Who knows what will eventually happen. I’ve been working as a journalist for the past 30 years, the past 15 as the editor of several specialty magazines, and I am not ready to give up the steady income.

KYRIAN: Which writers inspire you?

PAUL: Most of the writers who inspire me are those I personally know. Understanding their backgrounds and some of their daily struggles and triumphs makes their work even more special to me. Some of them are journalists, some authors, some poets. Among them are Dale Hofmann, Michael John Sullivan, Bobby Tanzilo, Ron Collins, Wendy Stenzel Oleston, and Matthew D. Jackson.

I enjoy reading various genres, and I pick up whatever interests me at a particular moment. So, there are not a lot of authors whose works I have really studied a lot. I also read the Dilbert comic strip every day. I must experience humor at least once every 24 hours.

KYRIAN: What is your biggest regret and why?

PAUL: I suppose there are many things I wished I had done differently in life. But if I really go back and study those poor decisions, I recall the circumstances that led up to them and the lessons I learned from them. Doing that gives me a better understanding of how I can help people going through similar circumstances make better choices than I did. Sometimes, even when you make the best decision possible, people can get hurt; that can’t be helped. It’s when you make a poor decision, and someone gets hurt because of it, that really stings.

KYRIAN: What is your greatest fear?

PAUL: That I haven’t made it clear enough to my children what I stand for. I’ve tried to let actions speak louder than words. But sometimes, you don’t run into situations where your children will see you model what is in your heart. There are times we need to tell them what we believe in, how we feel about certain things. They will at some point make up their own minds about all that surrounds them, but I think they need to know where their parents stand on a lot of issues, especially as they get older.

KYRIAN: If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?

PAUL: Of all the places I have never been that I want to see, Hawaii tops the list. I love visiting my home state of Wisconsin, and anywhere my wife is works, too.

KYRIAN: Who are your heroes in life?

PAUL: My father, Ray Hoffman, has been someone whose unstated goal seems to have been “be a better person today than you were yesterday.” I can’t think of a better compliment to pay anyone than this. A former boss of mine, Bill Windler, taught me a lot about respecting everyone around me as well as several other life lessons. I also respect those who give of themselves and expect nothing in return.

KYRIAN: Tell me about your proudest achievement and why it was so gratifying?

PAUL: I am never prouder than when my children make good choices, put their all into accomplishing something worthwhile and are honest about their mistakes. I like to think I have had at least a little to do with them demonstrating those qualities, for the most part (nobody is perfect). A lot of people have told me that I’ve been a good father, although I’m fairly hard on myself and see a lot of instances where I could have done better. To have people tell you how kind, respectful and well-behaved your children are … there is no better“achievement” in the world.

Click here to read  Paul’s personal story of abuse and recovery.

Connect with Paul on social media:

Paul J. Hoffman Author website

Paul J. Hoffman Facebook page

Paul J. Hoffman on Twitter

Email: phof63@sbcglobal.net

 

SPOTLIGHT: LAURIE KOZLOWSKI

 

Interview with Laurie Kozlowski

KYRIAN: Tell us your latest news!

LAURIE: My first book–a contemporary romance novella–Serendipity Summer, will be released by Booktrope Publishing in late October. It has been amazing to see what had started out as a popular blogging series a year ago, develop into a book. I’m excited to share Jake and Anna’s sweet, funny, and sensual story with readers soon.

KYRIAN: What were the challenges in bringing Serendipity Summer to life?

LAURIE: I’ve felt a strong connection to the characters since the beginning of the series. After taking notes on what I could do to improve during revisions and implementing many changes, I recognized the value in taking extra time to develop the characters. Even in a novella like Serendipity Summer, it’s easy to let things go that you normally wouldn’t with a full-length novel. With my editor’s help and several hours and weeks in edits, I am thrilled with how far this book has come.

KYRIAN: Do you write an outline before every book you write?

LAURIE: Yes. I start with a synopsis of the entire work as a general working outline. The synopsis changes and is updated as the work evolves. I keep it at no longer than a page. I also have a logline for each scene that consists of no more than two sentences summing up the objective of the scene at hand. Loglines are used in screenwriting to describe shows and films. I’ve noticed it’s helpful in fiction writing, also. The final outline I keep is a block outline on a huge sheet of paper to keep track of scenes. Blocks consist of numbered scenes that help me know where I’ve left off, and it comes in handy when I consider moving scenes around, so I can track them. Scene blocks consist of what character’s point of view the scene is in, the setting, the time/holiday/special event, plot points, notes, and anything else relevant to move the story forward.

I used the synopsis method for Serendipity Summer, my first novella, but am implementing loglines and block outline this time around for the second book. I admit, I can be pretty stubborn when it comes to outlining. I enjoy pantsing (as us writers like to call making it all up as we go along and doing the organization later.) Pantsing is an effective way to let the creativity flow to get to the end of a first draft. However, the downside to pantsing is the story could become chapters and chapters of a tangled mess. This isn’t always the case, particularly in shorter stories, but I notice as I build onto novella-length or larger books, it is vital for me to organize as I go. Outlines keep me close to the story and better aware of what is developing with characters, setting, and plots as I go. I have the relief of knowing if I take a few days away the outline is there as a checkpoint so I can pick up where I left off.

Each writer has their process, but I don’t know of one person who has regretted having an outline. I encourage writers to try different types of outlines until they find what fits for their story. It will prevent headaches as they revise, and it sets up the editing process to go smoother, overall.

KYRIAN: Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?

LAURIE: It would be fun to have Gerard Butler play the part of Jake and Julianne Moore as the lead actress if Serendipity Summer is optioned as a film.

KYRIAN: What are some of the ways you cope with stress or panic on a day-to-day basis?

LAURIE: I wake up, often as early as 3 am, to hear the quiet of the day before I go on with family and work duties. The silence that comes from beginning the day so early helps to focus on all the possibilities for the day. It is an opportunity for the blessings in life to wash over my thoughts before the noise intrudes. Since I live in the countryside, I often hear crickets or frogs, or in the fall and winter, the chilly wind blowing or a steady rainfall on the nearby patio. This kind of ‘noise’ is the kind my soul responds to with an expressive and warm love. It’s my favorite part of the day and does wonders to fend off the brunt of anxiety on a regular basis.

KYRIAN: How much impact does your childhood have on your writing?

LAURIE: I submitted my first short story at the age of nine, and I have been writing as long as I could hold a pencil. I think the early start of writing, reading, and my mother encouraging perfection in spelling and penmanship has altered my respect for the written word in a very positive way. A few helpful lessons I carry with me even as I write now is: have an eraser handy for mistakes because the process will humble and strengthen you all at once. Don’t give up; finish what you start; and even when the words seem perfect at the time, nothing is final.

Click here to read Heartstrings Attached, an inspiring personal story by Laurie for Spotlight Evolve.

Laurie Kozlowski resides in Northeast Georgia with her daughter and husband. Having small town roots, she’s intrigued with the charm, drama, and humor of the south, often weaving those themes into the fiction she writes. She enjoys incorporating family-centered themes and stories including friendship, hope, and healing.

When not writing, Laurie loves to make music and jewelry, picnic near the river, or catch the latest comedy or drama flick at a local cinema. She hangs out mostly on Twitter @LaurieKozlowski when she isn’t caring for her daughter, writing, or driving her husband crazy.

Connect with Laurie:

Laurie Books
Twitter
Facebook
LinkedIn
Author Website
Blog

FORMATION OF NEW PUBLISHING COMPANY

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I am delighted to announce the formation of my new corporation, Moonlit Dawn Publications.

MDP will have a couple of functions, but I will share what may be of interest to others. Down the road, I would like to publish anthologies to showcase poets and writers of fantasy, sci-fi, romance, and a few other genres. It may one day be possible to take on full-length novels from other authors. That is certainly something that interests me, but for now, Moonlit Dawn Publications, LLC is established and open for business.

Would you like to receive updates about Moonlit Dawn ventures and my other literary pursuits? Use the form on this page to sign up for my newsletter, and I will keep you posted!

As always, I thank you for your interest and support.

© Copyright June 15, 2015 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

GUEST POST: RACHEL THOMPSON

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It is a delightful honor to present this guest post from author and activist, Rachel Thompson (pictured above). I got to know this phenomenal lady when we began following one another on Twitter. She was a guest on my radio show back in January, discussing the #nomoreshame project along with Bobbi Parish and Athena Moberg. Rachel  writes beautiful prose from the heart with refreshing honesty. Here, she discusses her latest book, Broken Places, and why someone who hasn’t had similar experiences, should read it.

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Book Summary:

Award-winning author Rachel Thompson courageously confronts the topics of sexual abuse and suicide, love and healing, in her second nonfiction book of prose: Broken Places. The sequel to Rachel’s first nonfiction book, Broken Pieces, Rachel bares her soul in essays, poems and prose, addressing life’s most difficult topics with honesty. As you follow one woman’s journey through the dark and into the light, you will find yourself forever changed. Rachel’s first book in this series, Broken Pieces, has been a #1 best seller on Amazon (eBooks) on Women’s Poetry and Abuse. Please note: this book discusses serious topics, and is intended for mature audiences only.

AWARDS

  • IndieReader Approved

Indie

 

 

 

PRAISE FOR BROKEN PLACES:

“BROKEN PLACES succeeds as the gritty memoir of a woman who was sexually assaulted when she was young and the author’s story of survival will surprise the reader because of its candidness and unexpected ending.”
~IndieReader

WHY SHOULD SOMEONE WHO HASN’T HAD SIMILAR EXPERIENCES READ THE BOOK?

by Rachel Thompson

Thank you for hosting me, Kyrian.

One of the reasons I wrote Broken Pieces, and the newly released Broken Places, is to give people an idea of the aftermath of living with childhood sexual abuse in an emotional, almost lyrical way. Poetic, really, as opposed to clinical. A personal view.

The books deal with my own experiences, but there are universal truths that many people, particularly women, are familiar with: depression, anxiety, PTSD, and how it all merges to affect my life now as a woman in all my many roles, in both positive and negative ways.

I’d like to say that it’s not something many people will experience, but sadly the statistics refute me, as one in three girls under the age of eighteen will be sexually abused, and of those, 90% will know their abuser; one in six boys will experience the same. And that’s just what is reported! (Source: RAINN.org)

The question many people ask me, if they haven’t been abused, is if writing about dealing with these tough subjects is cathartic, and the answer is: yes and no. Yes, because the response has been amazing – connecting with other survivors, starting the weekly Twitter #SexAbuseChat (Tuesdays at 6pm PST) with therapist/survivor Bobbi Parish is especially rewarding, as is co-creating the #NoMoreShame Project Anthology with Bobbi and survivor/life coach Athena Moberg (published later this year by Booktrope).

No, because it doesn’t change what happened. Despite having dealt with much of the feelings of shame involved (I was eleven when the abuse occurred), I still deal with nightmares, flashbacks, anxiety and depression. Writing about it doesn’t change the past, but what it does do is help others understand that survivors aren’t whining or using our experience as an excuse in life’s difficult moments.

Being a voice is crucial to me, so survivors and non-survivors alike will understand with compassion what so many women experience. Broken Pieces has won many awards and hit #1 on several Amazon lists. Broken Places has already hit #1 Women Authors and Poetry – I’m quite excited by the reception and the wonderful reviews. I hope your readers will be, too!

Thanks for having me, today.

*********

Rachel Thompson is the author of newly released Broken Places and the award-winning Broken Pieces, as well as two additional humor books, A Walk In The Snark and Mancode: Exposed. Rachel is published and represented by Booktrope. She owns BadRedhead Media, creating effective social media and book marketing campaigns for authors. For affordable group sessions check outAuthor Social Media Boot Camp, monthly sessions to help all authors! Her articles appear regularly in The Huffington PostThe San Francisco Book Review (BadRedhead Says…), 12Most.com, bitrebels.com, BookPromotion.com, and Self-Publishers Monthly.

Not just an advocate for sexual abuse survivors, Rachel is the creator and founder of the hashtag phenomenon #MondayBlogs and the live Twitter chat, #SexAbuseChat, co-hosted with certified therapist/survivor, Bobbi Parish.

She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut. She lives in California with her family.

Broken Places:

Title: Broken Places

Genre/Keywords: Non-fiction
Length: 124 pages
Extras: Authorgraph
Publisher: ebook: Booktrope * print: Booktrope Editions
Release date: ebook: January 13, 2015 * print: January 12, 2015
ISBN-10: 162015689X
ISBN-13: 978-1620156896
ASIN: B00S7R7BWI
Purchase: Amazon

Author Contact Information:

Website: rachelintheoc.com
Twitter: @RachelintheOC
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorRachelThompson
Google+: https://plus.google.com/+RachelThompson/
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/rachelintheoc/
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/rachel-thompson/24/784/b95
Goodreadshttp://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4619475.Rachel_Thompson
Author Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/j9oaH

It was a pleasure to host you on your book tour, Rachel. Best of luck to you in your new book journey!

“TO DEFINE IS TO LIMIT” – MY TRIBUTE TO OSCAR WILDE

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While I certainly appreciate and admire my fellow American writers, I must admit my favorite authors are typically English. I also love Irish writers!

Having no English or Irish roots must account for at least part of my fascination. (I am similarly intrigued with bygone eras.) However, it doesn’t take away from the fact that many brilliant storytellers have come out of Ireland and England.

Oscar Wilde is high on that list for me. I have been a fan of Wilde’s talent, insight, and humor since my teenage years. I have found him to be one of the most entertaining writers of all time. The Picture of Dorian Gray is probably the work I enjoyed most. “To define is to limit” is one of the many quotes that resonated with me. If I listed them all, this blog would go on forever.

In putting together this tribute, I uncovered some interesting tidbits about Oscar Wilde. I read, for the first time, about his wife, Constance and his two boys, Cyril and Vyvyan, the latter of whom was sickly as well as mischievous. I learned more about loyal Constance, who suffered because of Oscar’s affairs, and that she ultimately had an affair of her own! I read of accusations against his surgeon father having allegedly raped a patient while she was under anesthesia in his care.

Wilde certainly had a wealth material to incorporate into his incredible tales.

I was surprised to discover he had been buried not in Dublin, but at Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, France. He shares this resting place with Frederic Chopin, Jim Morrison, Edith Piaf, Isadora Duncan, Honoré de Balzac, Marcel Proust, and many more!

My tribute to Oscar Wilde has been fun to research and put together. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.

Oscar Wilde Bio and More
Great Oscar Wilde Quotes from World of Quotes
The Importance of Being Earnest (Trailer from 2002 Film)
A Video Clip From Lady Windermere’s Fan Brown Theatre Production
Picture of Dorian Gray Full Movie (1973)

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

© Copyright February 28, 2015 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

FIRE IN THE SOUL

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Interesting conversations with readers give me a lot to think about, so I like to provide a platform for those conversations.

Someone recently brought up amateur/aspiring v. professional.

I have known people who create guidelines for when a person can call himself or herself an author (or even a writer). It’s the same with most artists. Are they amateur and aspiring or professional and experienced?

Many of us have had this burning passion or determination to do something since childhood. Ideas and urges came, and we responded. We delivered. I feel we know whether we identify as poets, writers, artists, musicians before we ever have a book published, show our work in a museum or get on stage with a band. We may be aspiring to succeed and to master our crafts, but we are not aspiring to be what we are.

I remember a fifth-grade poetry assignment. The kid behind me copied my poem. When the teacher (nun) caught him, he told her he copied it from a book. I imagine he thought he’d get in less trouble for that, I don’t know. Maybe he just wanted me to go down with him. Nevertheless, she believed him. She asked for the book, and I was so confused that I was trying to find this book that didn’t exist… in my desk. (Nuns raising their voices to me invoked terror.) Then something strange happened. All these kids began calling out that this boy was lying because I was a writer, and I had always been a writer… other ten-year-olds! Amusing as it seems, they touched my heart for a lifetime. She asked me again if I copied the poem from a book, and I finally found the courage to say I didn’t. She gave me a gold star and displayed it on the wall for Parent-Teacher Conference Day. I will never forget this; how the kids knew this thing about me because it was already part of my identity.

As another example, my nephew was drawing since the age of five. I have never seen anything amateur about his approach, his expression, or his final product. (As an aside, he’s amazing.)

People may tell you things like, well you’re not published, you’re not an author, or you’re not a writer, even though you have been doing this thing ever since you can remember.

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If there is anything to separate the amateurs from the pros, for me, it is the desire and willingness to give your best and give your all.

Pros focus on mastering their craft. They set goals. It is a priority in their lives, and they will devote as much time to it as is possible. They can’t “not” do it. They know the passion is the fire in their soul. It’s their heart. They know it’s who they are.

Whether we are good or not, that is another story, but we have control over that, too.

From early on, characterization and dialogue were my strengths. Description was my weakness. I was not observant. I kept my mind clouded with other things, the obsessions of the moment. Eventually, I realized I had to work hard on that area, and I did with much success.

There’s no doubt in my mind that we often feel we don’t measure up, as people, as artists. If we believe that, that’s when we work to get better: identify problems, find solutions, expand our knowledge, and hone our skills. The desire exists for a reason, and learning is perpetual. We can always do better. That is all a part of mastering.

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© Copyright February 7, 2015 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

THE DICKENS SPIRIT, NOW AND ALWAYS


Among my favorite teachers was one of the two male teachers in an all-girl high school. He taught English, my favorite subject. In junior year, he took our class to see the Christmas show at Radio City Music Hall. The original black and white version of A Christmas Carol featuring Alastair Sim was part of their holiday spectacular.

Though I saw the movie decades after its original release, I found this old 1951 trailer for the film rather interesting.

Dickens painted Ebenezer Scrooge sympathetically and quite vividly. I fell in love with the spirited imagination of Dickens in all of its brilliance, his extraordinary larger-than-life characters, and the potent messages behind every one of his tales. My love of 19th-century British literature began, along with an ongoing yen for England. I was sixteen years old.

It may have been Oliver Twist that I read next. I recall being shocked by the harshness of this child’s reality.

By the time I turned 25, my love for Dickens knew no bounds. I named one of the two dwarf parrots I owned “Pip” after Philip Pirrip, the protagonist in Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations. I named the other one Nicholas after the character in Nicholas Nickleby. I had a fish tank I called “Copperfield Gardens” in homage to the hero of the Dickens’ book I loved most, David Copperfield. David, with his courage, strength and beautiful, benevolent heart, triumphed through one heartbreak after another. In this version, below, he was portrayed by a very young Daniel Radcliffe, better known to all as Harry Potter.

The same year I got the dwarf parrots, a precious friend from England gave me a miniature book of Dickens’ life story as a Christmas gift. I moved several times over the years, and this little book has always made it back onto my bookshelf. I loved reading about the man behind the fascinating tales.

Charles Dickens was already famous when he helped injured passengers in England during the 1865 Staplehurst train crash.

I saw, in Dickens, true heroism in the face of disaster and everyday heroism, as he was a tireless champion for the oppressed.

This final video is fitting in wrapping up my tribute. It’s my favorite song from the 1970 musical version of A Christmas Carol with Albert Finney in the role of Scrooge. In future visions foretold by the third visiting ghost, a town celebrated Scrooge’s passing singing, “Thank You Very Much.”

I also thank my beloved Dickens for his incredible contribution to the world, for all the inspiration, and for truly enriching my life.


Some of my favorite Charles Dickens quotes:

“Not knowing how he lost himself, or how he recovered himself, he may never feel certain of not losing himself again.” ― A Tale of Two Cities

“I wear the chain I forged in life….I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it.” ― A Christmas Carol

“I have been bent and broken, but – I hope – into a better shape.”

“A day wasted on others is not wasted on one’s self.” ― A Tale of Two Cities

“Give me a moment, because I like to cry for joy. It’s so delicious, John dear, to cry for joy.” ― Our Mutual Friend

“I hope that real love and truth are stronger in the end than any evil or misfortune in the world.”

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.”

“Have a heart that never hardens, and a temper that never tires, and a touch that never hurts.”

“Never,” said my aunt, “be mean in anything; never be false; never be cruel. Avoid those three vices, Trot, and I can always be hopeful of you.” ― David Copperfield
 

More About Charles Dickens:

Charles Dickens Info

 

© Copyright December 20, 2014 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

CELEBRATING FROM THE HEART

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On this month’s Heart-to-Heart with Kyrian radio show, my guests, Michael John Sullivan and Kathleen Nash shared their experience of having been homeless. They also talked about their recovery and their advocacy for the homeless. They have wonderful messages for everyone struggling and anyone who cares about the struggles of others. You can listen in on this podcast.

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Kathleen Nash is a uniquely creative individual. Photography and other forms of artwork are her passions. She also builds websites and works with her son, Dennis, who creates beautiful wire wrap jewelry.

Kathleen shares more about her journey in this blog:

Half Hitched and Homeless

Learn more about Kathleen and her work:

Kathleen Nash – Fine Art
The Knotted Branch

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Michael John Sullivan is the author of Necessary Heartbreak: A Novel of Faith and Forgiveness (Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster). Library Journal named Necessary Heartbreak one of the year’s best in Christian fiction for 2010. His second novel, Everybody’s Daughter (The Story Plant), was named one of the best books of 2012 by The Examiner. Michael published his third novel, The Greatest Gift (The Story Plant), in October of 2014. He is currently working on his next novel, The Second World. He is also the creator of the SockKids children’s series. Visit thesockkids.com to learn more. A former board member of the Long Island Coalition of the Homeless, Sullivan has written several articles about the plight of the homeless that have been published online by CNN, the Washington Post, Beliefnet.com, the Huffington Post, and Patch.com.

Michael has contributed a blog relevant to our topic today, along with a link to an article he wrote for CNN a few years ago. You may read it here:

Keep Kindless In Your Look

You can learn more about Michael and his books at Michael John Sullivan Author.


 
“Compassion, in which all ethics must take root, can only attain its full breadth and depth if it embraces all living creatures and does not limit itself to mankind.” – Albert Schweitzer

About Amazon Smile Program
 
35 Ways to Help the Homeless

The Holidays Aren’t Joyous for Everyone by @TruthIsHers


© Copyright December 15, 2014 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR LAURIE KOZLOWSKI

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Serendipity Summer is a wonderfully written love story reminiscent of classic old movies with its simplicity, angst, sweet romance, goofy moments and comedy. The author provides excellent visuals with descriptive scenes and characters we care about—Anna, a warm, courageous woman with admirable strength and Jake, who will ultimately win you over with his tender heart. Both characters are realistic with problems and insecurities everyone experiences, including all the awkward moments often glossed over or excluded in fantasy-based romance. The story moves along quickly. The dialogue is great. Many readers will identify with Anna’s reality of single parenting and co-parenting in difficult circumstances. Many will also relate to her conflicted feelings about committing to a new relationship. Lovers of romance will thoroughly enjoy this book.

I had the opportunity to interview the author, Laurie Kozlowski,  on my radio show, Heart-to-Heart with Kyrian. Here is a podcast of that interview.

 

lauriekauthorpic_Kyrian Lyndon

About the Author:

Laurie Kozlowski resides in Northeast Georgia with her daughter and husband. Having small town roots, she’s intrigued with the charm, drama, and humor of the south, often weaving those themes into the fiction she writes.

Her first contemporary romance book, Serendipity Summer, is the first of four books in the Riverbend Way Series. The Riverbend Way Series is contemporary small-town romance fiction. The series touches on serious modern day issues, a twist of earthy and sometimes bawdy humor, and a heavy dose of love.

Laurie enjoys incorporating family-centered themes and stories including friendship, hope, and healing.

She also writes under the pen names of Roxie Nash and Lulu Zoko.

When not writing, she loves to make music and jewelry, picnic near the river, or catch the latest comedy or drama flick at a local cinema.

She hangs out mostly on Twitter @lauriekozlowski when she isn’t “moming”, writing, or driving her husband crazy.

Connect with Laurie to learn more about her and her work:

Laurie’s Website
Laurie’s Blog
Laurie on Facebook
Laurie on Twitter

 

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Available at:

Amazon.com Paperback and Kindle versions
Barnes & Noble Nook book
txtr ebooks

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Available at:

Amazon.com
Barnes & Noble
ITunes
txtr ebooks

Thank you, Laurie, for being a guest on our show. I enjoyed chatting with you. You are a genuine, courageous and inspiring woman. I wish you the best of luck in your journey.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/kyrianlyndon

If you would like to be a guest on Heart-to-heart with Kyrian, please send your request with a short bio and photo to hearttoheartguests@kyrianlyndon.com. Thank you!

 

 

© Copyright November 6, 2014 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

A RETURN TO MY CHILDHOOD HEART

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A few years ago, when I began my literary fiction series, I chose New York City as the setting for my story. I was born and raised in Woodside, Queens, New York, so it seemed the obvious choice. I soon realized this was not the story I wanted to tell. The determination to write since early childhood had nothing to do with wanting or needing to tell my story. Fantasy drew me in, and I loved a challenge. Somewhere along the line, I became stuck in reality, and this created limits in the limitless realm of fiction.

I decided to find a different setting for my story, a place I’d never visited. I chose Glastonbury, on the banks of the Connecticut River. I would visit there eventually and numerous times but only after I created it first in my mind. Of course, these days, we have the Internet for research—images, maps and that little yellow Google person. One could travel the roads and study the map while sitting in a comfortable office chair drinking coffee, which I did.

This past Sunday was my first “actual” visit. I traveled there with my sister, Denise, my son, Jesse, and my nephew, Christopher. We decided we would go to Hartford first, which is about twenty minutes from Glastonbury.

We set out at 9 a.m. on the most beautiful September day. After an hour of driving, we stopped for breakfast at Cracker Barrel Old Country Store in Milford. Christopher tried the apple streusel French toast breakfast. Jesse had a bacon cheeseburger. Denise and I ordered scrambled eggs with biscuits.

Now, Jesse never wants photos of him on the Internet, which I thoroughly respect. He took these photos at Cracker Barrel, except for the goofy one where I tried on the cowboy hat. Denise took that one while Jesse watched Christopher take videos of a toy pig singing ‘Wild Thing’ and a toy dog singing ‘Dance to the Music’.

Our arrival in Hartford was at least an hour later.

Hartford Welcome

We bought tickets for a tour of Mark Twain’s house and poked around the museum until it was time for the tour.

 

I was thrilled at the first glimpse of Mark Twain’s Victorian Gothic revival home. I could see why this place was so special to him. (As an aside, the guide usually referred to Mark Twain as Samuel Clemens, Mr. Clemens or Sam. As I am sure most people are aware, it was his real name.)

When we went inside the house, the guide asked that we refrain from taking photographs or touching anything except the banister while walking up and down the stairs. I must say, the décor is impressive. I loved the ambiance, particularly in the cozy library, which faced a conservatory that had a fountain and lush plants. The interior of the house remains dark for the tours because the Clemens family had gas lighting when they occupied the home. I love dim lighting, but I imagine this much darkness can become dreary, not to mention a little spooky at night, going up and down those stairs, probably with a candle. It prompted me to ask about ghost stories. The guide informed us that people claimed to have seen the ghost of Susy Clemens, the oldest daughter. She died alone in the house, from spinal meningitis, at the age of 24. Employees also made claims that the butler’s ghost continues to work there. We learned that the show ‘Ghost Hunters’ featured the house. Apparently, there are ‘Graveyard Shift Ghost Tours’ that sell out quickly, so tickets must be bought in advance.

Some people in attendance were not thrilled to hear about the ghosts. I hadn’t thought about that since I don’t seriously believe in ghosts. Denise reminded us of the time we all walked through the haunted maze at Bayville Scream Park. While searching frantically for the exit, I said (loudly) there was no way out, then suddenly all these kids were crying hysterically. Their parents had to assure them there was an exit somewhere. It’s a good thing I believed in ghosts when my own son was a child. I was less oblivious to people’s fears and concerns about ghosts and other creatures that likely don’t exist.

The tour, while quite interesting, took much longer than they said it would. Through most of it, I didn’t focus on our confinement to a relatively small space where only three people weren’t strangers. Toward the end, this reality became painfully obvious. I wanted to ball gag anyone who asked another question.

Outside on the grounds, we took more photos. I came up with the unoriginal idea to pose with a book, since I like those seemingly candid shots of authors reading books. I am still laughing about this. Denise (and even Jesse) took a dozen photos like that—me reading on the grass, on the steps of the museum, on a bench, etc. Everyone made me laugh with funny comments about these “photo-ops” especially since I hate photos of me, let alone sharing them on social networking sites. During the last attempt, Jesse thought he had the perfect shot when Denise came over and said, “Still with the book?” I lost it and laughed hysterically in the only picture you will see of me with the book. It was the way she said it. She is funny. They are all so funny. Christopher later decided he, too, wanted a picture while reading a book. It became a thing…a silly thing. Silly is good.

Here are a few of the photos, which include some other houses on the property, like Harriet Beecher Stowe’s house. The Twain and Stowe houses are captioned at least one time.


I am including the link for anyone who would like to see the interior we could not photograph and some other interesting links.

Mark Twain House

Nook Farm: Mark Twain’s Neighborhood

Where Mr. Twain and Mrs. Stowe Built Their Dream Houses

Funny Mark Twain Quotes

By the time we arrived in Glastonbury, it was late afternoon. It was not easy to find certain places, and we often found ourselves on private property during the search. One or two of us got out of the car anyway, camera in hand. Jesse said we should have brought bail money. He wouldn’t budge from the car.

We drove around in circles trying to find the entrance to Shoddy Mill Coon Hollow’s pristine woodlands. That didn’t happen. The one person we asked sent us to the wrong place, though we thoroughly enjoyed the scenic drive through the woods of Kongscut Mountain Open Space and Mountain View Estates. It was gorgeous, but we didn’t take any photos. We were too busy looking for Shoddy Mill Coon Hollow.

Glastonbury is a pretty place. I wish we had more time to capture this in photos; however, it was great to be there. We did more laughing than anything, but that’s the best part of any trip. We had fun.

These are photos of my main character’s neighborhood (which is a bit too close to the cemetery). She attended Smith Middle School. Addison Park was part of her childhood.


Here is a link to the preserve we were looking for (Shoddy Mill Coon Hollow).

The Cotton Hollow Preserve We Didn’t Find

On the way back to New York, we saw the most incredible sunset. Denise loves to photograph sunrises and sunsets, but she was driving. I took a picture for her with her phone, except I never heard the click. I thought it didn’t work the first time, and somehow she ended up with I don’t know how many pictures of that sunset.

She was busy deleting sunsets at Red Lobster while we ordered our food, scolding me. We all joked. We were home in New York by then and starving. We savored every bite of our meals. Eating is part of the fun, too, isn’t it? Besides, we ran out of Twizzlers in Hartford.

Here is what I learned. Your heart, as a child, knows. Through life’s encounters and experiences, you can pile shovel after shovel of dirt upon it—bury it so deep that it is lost to you. It’s important to dig through all the dirt and find it, then embrace it, and never lose it again.

© Copyright September 20, 2014 kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR MICHAEL JOHN SULLIVAN

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The above podcast is from ‘Heart-to-Heart with Kyrian’ on Blog Talk Radio.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/kyrianlyndon

Michael John Sullivan is the author of Necessary Heartbreak, a novel published by Simon & Schuster, the sequel to Necessary Heartbreak, Everybody’s Daughter, published by The Story Plant, and the final book of this trilogy, The Greatest Gift published by The Story Plant. The Greatest Gift will be available in October of 2014. Michael is currently working on his next novel, The Second World. He is the creator of The Sockkids children’s series. Michael is also a former board member for the Long Island Coalition of the Homeless and has written several articles about the plight of homelessness for CNN, The Washington Post, Beliefnet, the Huffington Post, and America Online’s Patch service.

Learn more about Michael John Sullivan and his work:

Michael John Sullivan Website
The Sockkids Website
Michael John Sullivan on Facebook
The Sockkids on Facebook
Michael John Sullivan on Twitter
The Sockkids on Twitter

 



Thank you, Michael, for being a guest on our show, for your friendship and for being a light in this world. It is always a pleasure chatting with you.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/kyrianlyndon

If you would like to be a guest on Heart-to-heart with Kyrian, please send your request with a short bio and photo to hearttoheartguests@kyrianlyndon.com.  Thank you!