Monday, March 25, 2019

{Author Interview} Larry Spencer, Author of Material Things


LARRY SPENCER published his first novel, The Tipping Point Of Oliver Bass in the summer of 2017. A story that covered the life of a pathologically arrogant, wealthy young man who sets off on a journey of self-discovery, family tragedy, and sexual conquest in a modern California noir backdrop.   Spencer has been a Writer’s Guild of America member since the late 70s, having written and produced a multitude of highly successful TV shows, which culminated into writing several feature films. He was then encouraged to pen his second book, Material Things, a story based on true events that takes place in the 60s &70s and tackles organized crime, drugs and embezzlement during a time when bellbottom pants ruled the fashion scene.  He lives in Valley Village, California.

Visit his website at www.larryspencerauthor.com.

About the Book:

Title: MATERIAL THINGS
Author: Larry Spencer
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 367
Genre: Fiction

BOOK BLURB:
Larry Spencer’s riveting, interlocking narratives circle the lives of Matthew Street, Jon Lewis and Christopher Styles, in a 1970s California backdrop that takes them from owning and operating a fashionable clothing boutique into the gripping world of an FBI under cover operation, drug trafficking, prostitution and a nefarious criminal element, that brings to light a Mafia contract killer, who’s out to bump off a stoolie in their midst. 
    
Material Things is based on true events surrounding the store that introduced bellbottom jeans to a hip Southern California crowd and how it became, not only a cottage industry but also an arena fraught with danger and moral strife that put the store and it’s owners under close scrutiny after an alarming number of felonious activities surface.

The climax is anything but conventional as Matthew, Jon and Christopher are confronted with a life threatening reality that they never imagined could happen just by selling bellbottom pants.

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 Interview

Thanks for this interview, Larry, and congratulations on your new book! Would you say it’s been a rocky road for you in regards to getting your book written and published or pretty much smooth sailing?  Can you tell us about your journey?

Here’s the thing. I love to write. I write everyday. I’ve never had writer’s block. I’ve always had something say, but not all of it is superb. A lot is crap but I keep going. Smooth sailing? No. The hardest part for me is marketing this book. I know nothing. I still know nothing. I need help in this area. I love the process. I hate the results if I’m going to fail. 

If you were to pen your own autobiography, what might the title be?

Larry Spencer’s journey from TV to Film to Novels—in just over 30 years.

When not writing, what do you like to do for relaxation and/or fun?

Watch a lot of movies and good TV on Netflix, HBO, and Showtime. I’m hooked on shows like Sneaky Pete, Bosch, Goliath, True Detective. Look, I spent over twenty years writing bad TV. Except for Taxi. That show was prolific and had strong characters.  I avoid most network shows altogether. I’m an early riser. After breakfast I walk my Golden retriever.

What makes your book stand out from the rest?

For one the cover I must say is outstanding. It should draw people. I think it has great nostalgic value. It’s relatable in so many ways to everyone or anyone who was in love with the 60s/70s. It has charm, mystery, loveable and hateful characters. And a compelling twist ending that’ll make the hairs on the back of neck stand up. An adrenaline rush. Pretty sure Jack Kerouac would’ve loved this book.  

Can you give us the very first page of your book so that we can get a glimpse inside?


CHAPTER  1

NOVEMBER 10, 2016
7:30 a.m. Valencia, California. A neighbor calls 911 and reports what might have been the sound of a gunshot ringing out from the house next door. Police arrive at the home of Logan Alexander, sixty-nine, and discover a body sprawled in a pool of blood on the floor of the garage. In the victim’s grip is a .357 Magnum revolver.
It's one horrific sight. First responders ID the body as the homeowner, wearing nothing but his boxer briefs and a sweat-stained Grateful Dead T-shirt. A fitting item of clothing in keeping with this unfortunate tragedy. He is noticeably thin and scrawny, almost anorexic, as if he hasn’t eaten in months. It’s reported that the victim is DOA with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. It appears to be an apparent suicide, but they're not ruling out foul play. The only witnesses to this horrible scene were his lawn mower and 2012 Toyota Camry, its engine still idling as if to say, I saw it go down.


If your book was put in the holiday section of the store, what holiday would that be and why?

Christmas. Because it’s a retro/inspirational gift.

Would you consider turning your book into a series or has that already been done?

I assume you’re talking about a literary series. This story doesn’t fit that bill. But the book has been considered for a movie.

When you were young, did you ever see writing as a career or full-time profession?

No. I have a degree in animation. Wanted to be a cartoonist. A real disappointment when I walked away from a career I wanted my whole life and pursued a career in TV.  But it was worth it.

Did any of your books get rejected by publishers?

Yes. Think Penguin turned me down. Or never got back to me.

What is your view on co-authoring books; have you done any?

I have to write alone. Or at least allow me to write the first draft alone. I wrote my films with a partner and it was disastrous.  We no longer speak.

What’s next for you?

Lunch. Then possibly return to my first book The Tipping Point Of Oliver Bass and pick up where it left off. I can’t tell you where I left off because that would giveaway startling  the  ending.

{Author Interview} Mike Martin, Author of 'Sgt. Windflower Mysteries'


Mike Martin was born in Newfoundland on the East Coast of Canada and now lives and works in Ottawa, Ontario. He is a long-time freelance writer and his articles and essays have appeared in newspapers, magazines and online across Canada as well as in the United States and New Zealand. He is the author of Change the Things You Can: Dealing with Difficult People and has written a number of short stories that have published in various publications including Canadian Stories and Downhome magazine.

The Walker on the Cape was his first full fiction book and the premiere of the Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series. Other books in the series include The Body on the T, Beneath the Surface, A Twist of Fortune and A Long Ways from Home, which was shortlisted for the Bony Blithe Light Mystery Award as the best light mystery of the year. A Tangled Web was released in 2017 and the newest book in the series is Darkest Before the Dawn.

Twitter: @mike54martin


What is your name?

Mike Martin

What do you look like?

I am tall, dark and handsome. In my dreams. In real life, I am in my sixties still trying to grow while learning to age gracefully. That means limiting my complaining.

Where are you today and what are you doing?

I am in the country surrounded by trees and softly falling snow. There’s a warm fire in the other room and a cold, cold wind blowing outside my window.

Describe the outside of your home.

There are few things stirring outside toady, except for the tall pine, ash, maple and walnut trees that are swaying a little in the wind. The birds are huddled up within the cedar hedges for warmth and even the deer and foxes who occasionally visit have stayed home today.

You come face to face with your worse enemy. How do you react?

I run. I’m no hero. But I am still a fast runner.

You keep a photo album of memories from your lifetime. If you could only keep one photo, which one would that be?

It would be a picture of my granddaughter, Sophie.

Are you a morning person or a night owl?

I’m an early bird. I write best and most often in the morning. After coffee, of course.

A police officer stops you for a minor violation. What violation is that and how do you react?

Speeding. I take my medicine with a sigh.

Open your wallet, purse, or briefcase. What do you find?

I have a membership card from the Newfoundland Writers Guild. That’s the first writing group I ever joined.

How do you feel about mortality?

We are born to die. But we pretend, forget and hope that it won’t happen. I am grateful to have had a full life. I don’t know the exact details, but I know how this story ends.

What scares you?

Being in a coma or vegetative state.

What’s the last thing you do before you go to bed at night?

I review my day and give thanks.

Who is your best friend?

Joan, my partner in life and love. We row well together.

Who is your worse enemy?

Myself.

Are you faith-oriented?

No. But I am spiritual

Do you have children?

I have a boy, Jonathan and a daughter Sarah. They are adults but still my babies.

You are at the zoo. What is your favorite animal?

I love most animals. But could watch the monkey and apes all day. They might well be more human than most people I know.

You just woke up to find that war has been declared. What’s the first thing you would do?

Pray, And march for peace.

If there was one thing you could change about yourself, what would that be?

I would like to have discovered what was really important earlier, instead of chasing fame and fortune, I would have focused on love and serenity.



SERIES BLURB:

The Sgt. Windflower Mysteries are a light mystery series set in Newfoundland on the east coast of Canada. These cozy-like books follow the adventures of Sgt. Winston Windflower, a Cree from Northern Alberta as he finds a new life and new loves in the tiny village of Grand Bank. There are crimes and mysteries for the Canadian Mountie to investigate and solve but the Sgt. Windflower Mysteries are more about family, friends, good food and good times.

The recurring cast of characters include the love of his life, Sheila Hillier who keeps him well-fed and grounded in reality. There’s also his fellow Mounties like Corporal Eddie Tizzard and a long list of bad actors, both local and just visiting, to cause havoc in their sleepy little town. Windflower brings his native background and traditions with him and finds ways to use them to help himself and his friends through difficult times. Rounding out his life are his collie, Lady, who often has adventures of her own and some new additions to his family that appear in the latest book, Darkest Before the Dawn.

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Thursday, March 21, 2019

Love and the Mystery of Betrayal by Sandra Lee Dennis




LOVE AND THE MYSTERY OF BETRAYAL by Sandra Lee Dennis, Relationships/Spiritual/Self-Help, 290 pp., $19.95 (paperback) $9.99 (Kindle)




Betrayal of love inflicts a unique, unprecedented pain you can only comprehend once you have experienced it. If you are suffering from an intimate betrayal, you know. Betrayal is stunning. It is mind-boggling. You feel paralyzed, mystified, enraged, panicked, bewildered; but, mostly, you hurt. Betrayal is a make-or-break event that marks a cataclysmic divide in your life. It changes you. When you believe in someone so completely and then realize they have been deceiving you about their love and loyalty, the worst thing happens: Your faith in yourself crumbles. The shock lifts a veil from your eyes, and you can never see yourself or the world in the same way again.

ORDER YOUR COPY:

______________________



In the messiness and ignorance of our humanity we struggle to cope with the demands of being human. We all make mistakes, especially in our closest relationships. Everyone can recall times of disappointment with friends, companions, family members, advisors, teachers, or coworkers when we have felt betrayed or betrayed others or ourselves. We gain self-knowledge and learn to apologize and to forgive as we work through the many ways we let each other down. There are minor, everyday betrayals, and then there are the life-exploding disclosures that I explore in this book, the ones that break your heart, fracture your world, and threaten to destroy your soul. I specifically address betrayal in love—a shattering of trust by the one you have been most
intimate with and relied on to protect you from harm.

If you are suffering from an intimate betrayal, you know. Betrayal is stun-ning. It is mind-boggling. It traumatizes you and upends your life. Mostly, it hurts. Betrayal inflicts a unique, unprecedented pain you can only compre-hend once you have experienced it. Interpersonal trauma changes you. It lifts a veil from your eyes, and you can never see the world in the same way again. Yet we live in a culture that is blind to both the depth of wounding and the heart-expanding potential of such a blow.

Before your trust was shattered, you lived shielded from the indescribable pain you feel now that the veil has lifted. Such havoc betrayal wreaks, the multilayered torments of body, mind, and soul are so extreme that it can feel like nothing less than torture. No wonder we tend to turn away, minimize, and bury the hurt. If you are like me, you also do not want anyone to know what is happening to you. It is humiliating and maddening to be in pain, obsessing about someone that has left, deceived, or cheated on you. You can begin to feel like a character in One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Friends and family tend to look the other way, too. No one likes to see a person so out of control of their destiny.




I know because I had the veil lifted from my eyes, in a familiar way known to many. The man I loved left me. With virtually no warning, my partner of six years walked out a few weeks before a big wedding we had planned. When he went from “I’ll love you forever” one day to “I’m finished with you” the next, it stopped my world. His wholly unanticipated exit from our home and my life led me to suffer more than I believed was humanly possible. At the same time, the distress awakened depths of my heart that took my capacity to love into uncharted territory.

Meanwhile, friends and family advised me to get over it and move on as quickly as possible. They were right, I reasoned, I would move on…I tried, but it was not to be. Once the initial shock lessened, I began to grasp that my trust in life had disappeared. My entire world had suddenly turned hostile, or so it seemed, because of the faithlessness of one person—albeit one very central person, the one I had counted most in the world to be there and care for me. His abrupt about-face marked a cataclysmic divide in my life.

Prior to the moment he walked out, I had considered myself a together, self-aware person. After he left, I was more like a delusional broken heap. I put on a self-assured face, but wandered around like a Swiss cheese, shot full of holes, bewildered, with a secret, stabbing pain in my heart. I vacil-lated between rage, panic, and bouts of grief. Often I could not stop crying. Falling apart was to be expected—“everybody has been there”—after a tough breakup. But the problem was, as time went on, my condition got worse, not better. Instead of a few weeks or months, it went on for years.

I could not comprehend why I had gone from competent professional to terrified, whimpering child, unable to do much of anything, let alone “move on.” It was only later that I realized this was no ordinary breakup. Eventually, I realized how deeply I had been traumatized, and that the nightmare of post-traumatic stress had set in.

Mine is not an obvious or sensational horror story of betrayal and abuse. I was not hit, or cheated on, raped or stolen from, yelled at, or bullied into submission, not even abandoned dramatically at the altar. I wrote this book to help show how relational trauma these days is often not obvious. Many of us have become too educated, smooth, or sophisticated for such overt aggres-sion. The damage to my trust and the erosion of the quality of my life came from mind-bending subtleties, primarily half-truths concealed as exceptional honesty: from bouts of seduction and warmth laced with withholding and withdrawal; insincere profusions of praise, affection and loyalty, interspersed with blame and criticism; important omissions of personal history; sexual manipulation masked as the deepest love; systematic devaluation; and finally



a complete Jekyll-and-Hyde character reversal. Abandonment and replace-ment were only the final and most obvious blows to my sanity and stability.

Emotional abuse and mental cruelty can be more damaging than blatant physical abuse because, at least when someone beats you, or cheats on you, it is clearly their problem. When you have a dagger plunged into your heart while being held in a loving embrace, on the other hand, you do not know what hit you. When you are betrayed with charm and a smile, it is stunning and crazy making. If you have given the benefit of the doubt to and believed in your partner, it can take a long time to get the hook out and make sense of your world again. Meanwhile, you wonder if you are fit any longer for human company, or if you should have yourself committed for observation.

As I tried to make sense of what happened, my mind flooded with ques-tions. Perhaps the most painful was, “How could I not have seen this com-ing?” When you believe in someone so completely and then realize they have been deceiving you about their love and loyalty, the worst thing happens: Your faith in yourself crumbles. The instincts you relied on to perceive and under-stand your world have misled you, and you do not know how you will ever be able to trust yourself again. It alarmed me when I realized I had lost faith, not only in myself, but also in other people—and, most disturbingly, in life itself.

My heart goes out to you if you are in a similar situation. Perhaps what I share will help you sort through the bewilderment and confusion, regain trust in your own perceptions, and get through the worst. I had lived a lot of life and had a lot of psychological experience and inner resources when this ax fell. If anyone “should” have seen this coming and been prepared when it did, it was I. But I was not at all prepared.

To make it through this ordeal, I turned instinctively to my spiritual prac-tices: mindfulness meditation, inquiry, yoga. I coped by sitting for hours each day, breathing and watching the chaos, tracking sensations, thoughts, and feelings. I was astonished at how much I learned—more, I thought, in two years than I had in the ten previous. As a former college psychology professor, and a teacher at heart, passing on what I learn comes almost as second nature.

I did a lot of research in the effort to understand what I was going through. I read hundreds of books and talked to scores of people. I researched a wide range of subjects and touch on many here—trauma, posttraumatic stress, domestic violence, subtle-body experiences, attachment theory, projection and splitting, death and dying, faith and conscience, grief and forgiveness, Buddhist meditation and Christian contemplation and prayer. I found that prescriptions and advice abound on how to survive the loss of love, to heal from a broken heart, to endure a dark night of the soul, to put your life back




together, and to move on after being betrayed or abandoned. But for a long time, I found little that validated my extreme experiences.

Those around me, and even I, considered being abandoned by the person I intended to spend the rest of my life with an unfortunate, but minor event to be swept aside and forgotten, the sooner, the better. After all, people readily recover from far worse things. Conventional wisdom, I discovered, was way off with its clich├ęd treatment of heartbreak and betrayal as minor blips on the screen of life that you tend to for a while before moving on to better things.

The shame I felt about the depth and duration of the pain, along with the fact my friends, family, and even counselors did not understand, encour-aged my silence. The lingering effects on those of us who receive such a shock become a secret we do not want to share with anyone. We even want to hide the life-changing repercussions from ourselves. Amidst my struggle to recover, I recognized that many who had undergone similar experiences had simply shut down. For a time, I feared I would do the same. The continuing torment of having my heart torn out by someone I believed loved me deeply and to whom I had committed my love and life was just too much to bear.

When you hurt this much, instinctively you want to help make it less difficult for anyone else in pain. I never set out to write this book, but once it started pouring out of me, I felt how much I wanted to bring more light to the facts of what an experience like this actually does to a person. There was so much to learn about this underrated trauma—the “most difficult of all woundings,” as one author put it. I decided to base this book first on immer-sion into the lived experience, a type of phenomenological research. I believe this approach led to the emergence of a more nuanced perspective and a deeper understanding than a study based on analysis and theory alone could offer.

The orientation that guided me was to turn with curiosity toward the suf-fering, rather than stifling the pain or distracting myself. This approach will be familiar to many spiritual seekers and to those who have struggled to come to terms with great loss—the way out is through the darkness. What it takes to make this turn, to go from theory to practice in the midst of prolonged psychological pain, tells an unforeseen story for each of us.

Taken to heart this way, I found betrayal to be an initiation into an unknown self. The shock launches the betrayed on a “night sea journey,” that stage in spiritual growth known in mystical traditions as a dark night of the soul. In this mythological descent you are taken suddenly into deep waters and swallowed up by a sea dragon. Like Jonah, you are stripped bare and robbed of what is dearest to your heart. The metaphors of darkness and night apply because you do not know what is happening. You feel as if you must be dying



and you are. Some part of your old nature is being shorn away to make way for the new you cannot imagine, and over which you have no control.

Ultimately, we each have to find our own way in the dark, until we are thrown back onto land and the light of day. I share my truth, knowing no one can tell another what it takes to welcome this unwanted journey. It took me years to recover myself, and I fought it all the way, but I finally came to recog-nize that betrayal and trust form two poles of experience. Apparently, we can-not embrace one until we have drunk deeply of the other. Through destroying my trust, and taking me into more suffering than I had ever known, betrayal catalyzed a transformation inside that awakened qualities of faith, compas-sion, and love I barely imagined were possible.

During the long days and nights of blame and rage, of tears and star-ing off into space, beneath my awareness, strange mystic moments penetrated through the pain. These elusive flashes of truth, fleeting at first, but arrest-ing, planted seeds of renewed faith and trust in the ground of my own raw heart. With time, against all instinct, I learned to embrace the humiliation and heartbreak as the terrain I needed to pass through in order to deepen into secrets of a love my soul was hungry to taste.

Never before had I felt such intimate kinship with life around me. Never had my heart beaten in such rhythm with others in pain. Never had I sensed such a fervent need not to harm anyone else with my actions. Never had I felt the vast sadness I had carried in my bones my entire life. Never before had I sensed the touch of the “hands of light” comforting me, or the gentle power of the earth and sky supporting me, or the tender stirrings in my heart of what I could only call divine love flowing toward me.

All this took time, much more than I approved of. Meanwhile I thought the pain would never end. A turning point in my struggles came when I began to question the true source of my torments. One day, in one of those flashes, I intuited that the obvious villain—the person who had hurt me so griev-ously—had been but an instrument in the hands of an unseen destiny. I real-ized the peace I needed to make was not with my errant partner, but with my own heart, my fate, my God. The insight came and went, but the truth had touched my core.

While each story of love’s betrayal is unique, as are the individuals involved, betrayal is an archetypal experience. It is an event that we each carry in our collective memory, from the moment of being born into this world. Because of its archetypal core, the study of betrayal’s dynamics and impact has something to teach us all. If, however, you have been spared the trial of an intimate betrayal, what I describe may not make much sense to you. It may seem extreme, exaggerated, even melodramatic. That would have been



the case for me before I passed through this ordeal. I would not have had the slightest interest in a book such as this one. I had no idea.

For this reason, I offer this book primarily, and believe it will be most help-ful, for those who have been betrayed, now or in the past, by someone they loved and trusted; and for those wishing to help another navigate these waters. I offer my story and my perspective, along with the results of my research, not as an authority, but as a fellow traveler. I offer companionship, validation, and solace if you are going through this harrowing time. I admit right now that in the extended darkness, I despaired of ever trusting or caring enough to engage life again. While I hoped against hope that the proverbial “pearl of great price” was waiting to be found in the ruins of my torn-up heart, my doubts were grave. I chronicle many of those doubts here.

I can report that finally the miracle of saying yes to what I wanted least in my life did take root in my soul. To my surprise, the shattering of my world had magnetized a grace that was teaching me how and what to trust. As I write now, nearly five years later, recovering myself is a work in progress. But I have learned the greatest lesson in my life to date. Deep suffering invites us into mystery: The pain speaks a message we need and long to hear. The rage and yearning are prayers for truth, for love. At the point of utmost brokenness, I did indeed find a golden pearl—the longing cry of my own heart for a love that endures, a greater, divine love that cannot and does not die.

Please let my words resonate with your own experience where and how they will. I know I cannot speak for what anyone else is going through. But I trust that the universal core of this journey into and through the heart broken in love will ring true for many. I wish for you, too, to find your gold.

*  *      *          *          *

This book is divided into four parts, some of which may only be of interest to certain readers. Part I revolves around the shock and shattering of intimate betrayal. In terms of a rite of passage, this section deals primarily with the radical separation from one’s past life a traumatic betrayal initiates. Included in this section is the overall narrative of “my story” (chapters 1 and 2) and of my early efforts to cope with the trauma and make sense of what happened. Some may be inclined to skip the story segments. Starting with chapter 3, I discuss the psychological dynamics of betrayal and introduce a number of themes, such as recognizing and coping with the ego-shattering trauma, and the spiritual perspective that will be developed more fully later in the book.

Part II shifts the focus to the mystery of relationship itself. I explore the impact on the subtle body of intimate relationship through the lens both of my husband’s death and of the abandonment that impelled me to write this


book. This is a section that I imagine will be most accessible to other women. Sexual bonding, wounds to the etheric body, adultery, the role of psychologi-cal projection in intimate relating are all considered. This section also includes a discussion of the cultural blindness to betrayal.

Part III focuses directly on the dark night or threshold phase of initiation: the shock and suffering. I begin with an in-depth discussion of the trauma and dive into the details of the dark night passage, including the opening up of earlier trauma, infantile and existential, the unloading of the unconscious, a travelogue through isolation, fear, shame, rage, helplessness, meaninglessness, and more. The spiritual perspective emerges as acceptance of pain becomes a prayer of the heart.

By Part IV the book moves more directly into the shift to the awaken-ing heart that is taking place. I chronicle the grief that pours forth as the deep heart opens, explore the role of conscience, and grapple more fully with forgiveness. The desperation of the dark time leads gradually to surrender, to prayer, to the acceptance of grace and love, and finally I discuss the challenges of the return to ordinary life coming back from the descent. If you are inter-ested in the narrative, read the book from the beginning. Otherwise, please just dip into topics of interest to you.

*  *      *          *          *

Because I write from personal experience, I speak from the perspective of a woman betrayed by a man. I am, of course, aware that women play out this same dynamic with men and other women, and that men betray other men. I have chosen the orientation of a woman speaking to other heterosexual women for the sake of consistency, and because it best reflects what I have lived. I believe that our common humanity transcends gender, and that the descriptions of betrayal as an often unwitting abuse of power on the psycho-logical level, as well as an initiation into the mysteries of heart on the spiritual, will also resonate for those in same-sex relationships and for men betrayed by a woman. That said, please forgive whatever gender bias has slipped into the telling.

I ask your forgiveness also for whatever blame, harshness, or hurt may still accompany my tone with regard to “the betrayer.” I have tried my best to restrain the impulse to character assassination, and, I think, have at least partially succeeded: but I have plenty of blind spots, I am sure. Opening to the compassionate heart that can hold it all in love is a work in progress, the work of a lifetime.


Please be forewarned that I often use the word God in this writing. I use God to refer to the unknowable mystery that animates our world. Other terms that point to the same indescribable source of life include: Spirit, cre-ator, Christ or Buddha nature, the Divine, Atman, Allah, Holy Spirit, source, Higher Power, Divine Mother, the Tao, the mystery, love, truth, silence, still-ness. Maybe these words should all be capitalized to indicate a compelling, alive presence, both independent and yet part of us. Some people by tempera-ment experience this reality as a presence or a being, others as a place, or a state of mind. My inclination is toward the personal. In this writing, they are all pointers—to the living love that surrounds us, the creative source of all that is.
 





SANDRA LEE DENNIS, PhD, is an author, teacher and explorer of the interplay of depth psychology and spirituality. She holds an MA in Psychology and a PhD in Integral Studies/ Psychology and Religion. She has been on the faculty of several universities, as well as the San Francisco Jung Institute.

Sandra’s writings bridge the world of scholar and visionary. She loves to bring light to those subtle interior spheres that defy description, and can appear frightening or unreal to the logical mind.  Her deep-diving explorations have helped many to “translate their darkness” — to name and bring compassion to their grief, anger, confusion and pain.

She was a teacher in the Gurdjieff tradition for many years, an Ananda Yoga instructor, and a long-time student of Diamond Heart work.  Currently, she is enjoying life in the Bay Area.

Website Address: www.sandraleedennis.com
Blog Address: http://www.sandraleedennis.com/healing-a-broken-heart-blog/
Twitter Address: https://twitter.com/Sandraleedennis
Facebook Address: https://www.facebook.com/SandraLeeDennisAuthor



http://www.pumpupyourbook.com

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

{Author Interview} A.L. Bryant, Author of Blessed the Prodigal Daughter


A.L. Bryant was born and raised in St. Petersburg FL. She became interested in writing at an early age; an interest that depending on the circumstance brought punishment (detention for passing out the latest installment of her novella during class) and praise (being chosen for a youth writers conference at the Poynter Institute.)  A.L. Bryant gets her inspiration from both her mother and her Great Grandmother. Her mother recently published an inspirational children’s book under a pseudonym and her great grandmother is South Carolina’s first published African-American female author and playwright.

Until recently writing had simply been a pastime for A.L. Bryant who although she attended several writing courses, graduated with a B.A. in International Business. It was shortly after her second job as a Financial Office Manager at a Goodwill correctional facility that she realized she loved writing more than anything else. It would still be some years before she would convert the short story she wrote in college into a novel.

Besides writing, A.L. Bryant loves traveling the world. God has blessed her with the opportunity to visit a total of seven countries. She has studied abroad in Seoul and has traveled throughout Kenya; two locations she researched for her Blessed series. Her dream is to visit every country in the world.

Her latest book is the supernatural Christian thriller horror novel, Blessed: The Prodigal Daughter.

SOCIAL LINKS:                                                      




About the Book:

Title: BLESSED: THE PRODIGAL DAUGHTER
Author: A.L. Bryant
Publisher: HSW Publications LLC
Pages: 279
Genre: Supernatural Christian Thriller/Horror

BOOK BLURB:
On New Year’s Eve 2021 the staff at St. Ann’s Hospital witness a medical miracle when a semi-conscious woman walks into the emergency room. The Jane Doe has been stabbed multiple times and as the staff struggle to keep the woman alive in the end all they can do is stand back and watch as their mysterious patient revives herself.

Glory wakes up in St. Ann’s Hospital gravely injured from an attack she cannot remember. However, her memory loss is no ordinary amnesia and she is no ordinary patient. Much to the shock of the hospital staff Glory heals at three times the rate of an average person. Soon the administration hears of her unique case and waste no time convincing the recovering Glory to be a part of an experiment to discover the origins of her power.

Once outside the comforting walls of the hospital it becomes apparent that healing is just a small portion of Glory’s capabilities. Abilities that to Glory’s distress are becoming increasingly unstable. Deciding that the hospital’s experiments are in vain, Glory embarks on her own Journey to discover the source of her power, unaware that she is a major pawn in a war between two secret organizations.

The two syndicates continue to clash in their fight for control and their battles result in several casualties. The crimes of their warfare surface and draw the attention of Dennis Wilson, a NYPD Detective known for solving his cases in the first forty-eight hours. Dennis follows the trail of bodies out of curiosity. But when his curiosity causes the deaths of his loved ones Detective Dennis becomes obsessed with the case.

In his overzealous attempts to find the murderer Dennis becomes the syndicates’ next target. Now the Detective must run for his life and the only person capable of saving him is the very person he suspects.

Blessed: The Prodigal Daughter is a hybrid of government espionage and supernatural Thriller. This novel is intended for audiences 18+ that seek an edgier outlook on Christian fiction. Blessed: The Prodigal Daughter is the first installment of the Blessed trilogy.

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Congratulations on your new book! Would you say it’s been a rocky road for you in regards to getting your book written and published or pretty much smooth sailing?  Can you tell us about your journey?

I wish I could say that it was smooth sailing. I started writing Blessed: The prodigal Daughter during college and I did not intend to publish it. I was under the impression that you can't make any money writing unless you are already established; so, writing (although I love it) was only a hobby for me. Somewhere along the line I decided that this is what I love and that I should at least try to make a living out of it. So, I started sending my novel out to publishers. I attended some writer's conferences and quickly became disillusioned. I can't speak for all publishing companies but the ones I ran into were only interested in already established writers, topics that were proven to sell tons of books, and/or self-published writers who had already made it big on Amazon. Instead of beating my head against a wall, I decided to self-publish. 

If you were to pen your own autobiography, what might the title be? 

Has anyone seen A.L?

When not writing, what do you like to do for relaxation and/or fun?

I read a lot, and I play video games. I also love to travel whenever I get the chance. 

What makes your book stand out from the rest?

Reading Blessed is like admiring the look and smell of a delicious plate of food only to take a bite and find it’s totally different from what you were expecting. Blessed: The Prodigal Daughter is one large mixing bowl. In the bowl is a little crime drama, a little historical fiction, a little supernatural thriller, and a dash of paranormal horror and somehow, it works. It feels like all of those genres and none of them at the same time. 

Can you give us the very first page of your book so that we can get a glimpse inside? 

New Year’s Eve, 2021
Manhattan, NY

                                        
The moon struggled alone to provide the only natural light in the onyx sky. Neon signs and street lamps had chased away the stars.
She noticed the moon first, followed quickly by the large rat that gnawed at the hairs on her temple. Her body lay half submerged in a puddle of murky liquid. She could not feel the cold water that soaked her clothes and hair, nor the ravenous assault of the alley rats; from where she lay under the fire escape, she could only see them reflected in the enormous piece of glass hanging from one rusty bar.
Judging by the clarity of those reflections, the piece of glass was most likely a mirror. While she foolishly pondered the misplaced looking glass, it swayed a little harder and faster in the wind. The sound of glass and metal aggressively rubbing against one another must have been unbearable, but she heard nothing.
Slowly, her mind cleared, and with clarity came anxiety. There was a mirror equivalent of a swaying blade hanging just above her waist. It could drop at any moment, severing her torso at her waist. Within the second it took her to register the danger, the mirror slipped.


If your book was put in the holiday section of the store, what holiday would that be and why?

Perhaps Easter? In many ways the novel is about a spiritual re-birth. Not precisely a resurrection but I believe it fits this holiday the best.

Would you consider turning your book into a series or has that already been done?

Blessed: The Prodigal Daughter is part one of a trilogy.

When you were young, did you ever see writing as a career or full-time profession? 

No, I had always heard of the starving author/artist and I did not wish to starve. So, I went to college for International Business. It took me a year longer to graduate because I took as many creative writing classes as business courses. 

Did any of your books get rejected by publishers? 

Blessed: The Prodigal Daughter is my debut novel and yes, it has been rejected. It is important for new authors to know that being rejected by publishers is not a reflection of your novel or your writing skills. DO NOT GET DISCOURAGED. 

What is your view on co-authoring books; have you done any? 

I have never co-authored a book, so I have no views on the matter. 

What’s next for you?

I am writing the second book in the Blessed trilogy. It is called Blessed: The Peacemaker. I am also the founder of H.S.W. Publications LLC and under this company I intend to re-publish a charming Children's book named Ray's Wisdom.