Friday, October 15, 2010

Speech at Shoemaker--Blessing Galore

On October the 13th of 2010, I had the most intimidating, amazing day of my life. I had been invited, by the school counselor, to be a guest motivation speaker on senior day at Shoemaker High School in Killeen, Texas. It was career day for these kids, and I was asked to share my story in a motivational way.
This was something I had dreamed of since I started my journey of self-discovery and healing about 5 years ago, but I never thought I would truly have the strength and courage to do it. And I still don’t. It is only by the grace of God that I was able to share what I am about to share with you with these 300+ teenage strangers.
I arrived at Shoemaker about 20 minutes early. If you know me, you know I am perpetually early. I like to find where I am going, see my surroundings, gather my thoughts and calm myself before I begin any new endeavor. One of the hardest things that I had to do on this day was look at that huge courtyard full of students and not turn my car around and drive back home.
I played KLOVE on my radio the whole way to Killeen, about an hour drive for me, and it truly calmed me and gave me a peace that I needed to muster the strength to open that car door. I gathered my items for my EIGHT presentations, took a deep breath, and walked through that once so familiar, social jungle we know of as High School.
Once I checked in, and found my room, I organized my notes, said a little prayer, and waited for the kiddos to arrive. My first day of teaching high school flashed into my mind as that door to the choir room opened and those highly hormonal teenaged persons began to pour in.
They took their seats, all smiles and my day began.
I will from this point forward write as if I am there again. There were 8 separate 30 minute presentations and each one was unique with its own separate challenges and victories but I will share the highlights here with you as if I am back there. It still plays in my mind as fresh as the day it all occurred.
“Good morning guys!” I said. There was that all too familiar low rumble of good mornings as the kids settled into their seats.
“I will begin this morning by telling you a bit of general and vague information about myself just to get the doors of communication open. My name is Rachel Stolle. I am a 29 year old Baylor University graduate, ex-high school science teacher, theatre director and cheerleading sponsor. I am the mother of 2 beautiful children, currently a stay at home mom, staff writer for poetic monthly magazine, cake decorator and published children’s book author and illustrator. Before I go into any more detail about myself I want to give you an idea of what my plan is for us today and what I expect from you.
I am here to challenge you. (I had a dry erase board behind me with the word SUCCESS and the word Career.) I am here to challenge how you think. I am here to challenge how you think about success. I am here to challenge how you think about a career. And I am here to challenge, maybe before our time is up, how you think about yourself, your future, and your decisions.”
At this point I moved from the podium to the dry erase board and asked each group to define those words for me. For success I got words like money, possessions, pride, power, influence, achievement, goals, happiness etc. For the word career I got words like long term, money, job, passion, retirement, job security, internship, education etc. The kids were right where I hoped they would be and I expected they would be.
I asked the kids if they had all seen those mayhem commercials by allstate. That guy is standing in that tree jumping on the braches saying shaky, shaky and the branch falls on the car. Or the one where the teenage girl is driving that big pink suburban while texting and runs into that lady’s car.
“This is kind of why I am here today. Life can sometimes throw mayhem at us. Life can sometimes present situations that whether we create them or someone creates them for us, those situations can be bad. We can create mayhem for ourselves or we can create mayhem in other people’s lives.”
At this point I grabbed a handful of lemons and walked down level with the kids who were seated in choir risers.
“I told you a minute ago some simple information about myself. But I have something more to share with you today. In a minute I am going to be very honest with you. In a minute I am going to share with you something that a few years ago my best friends did not know about me. In a few minutes I am going to tell you something that even a year or two ago I couldn’t comfortably talk to my husband about. I am asking the same thing of you. I don’t want details, and I am not asking for details, but I am asking for honesty. I am going to ask you some questions and all I ask is that if that question applies to you, raise your hand.
Yes, I am holding lemons. Yes I AM going to be throwing these lemons at you, and yes I DO have a reason for that. We all have something. When I ask you the question, "Is there something in your past that you are ashamed of?” we all have something. (Hands go up and I toss a few lemons at the kids. They think it is great fun and the more questions I ask the more hands go up—they all want a chance to catch one of those lemons.) Three of four lemons tossed out at questions like, is there something in your past that embarrasses you? Have you ever taken advantage of another person? Have you even been taken advantage of? And I get serious. Guys when I asked you those questions, whether you raised you hand or not, you all thought about something. That thing you thought of, for the sake of conversation, we are going to call those things lemons today. I realize it is a cliché and kind of silly but bare with me and you will see how well the analogy fits.
I told you earlier some basic information about myself. I was 25 years old and had done everything I was supposed to do. I had checked everything off my list that I had created for myself, in my own mind, as to how to achieve success.
When I was your age I thought I had it all figured out. I was in the top of my class, I was a good student. I was also socially active. I was a cheerleader. I was even 2nd best NCA mascot in the nation my sophomore year. I was student council president. I was accepted to Baylor, and I thought I was well on my way to achieving success. I graduated from Baylor with good grades. I got a job as a teacher. I was happily married to a well-educated man and we owned our own home. We had 2 new vehicles and everything else that we were told that if we strived for and achieve that we would indeed be successful…
But something wasn’t right. Here I was 25 years old with everything I wanted. Two good incomes and the ‘world’ at my fingertips….but still something wasn’t right. I found myself at 25 years old standing in front of the mirror and I realized that I had a ‘lemon’. I had been living a lie. I wasn’t necessarily telling lies to people around me, but I wasn’t being honest. I wasn’t sharing who I truly was. I was ashamed. I was embarrassed. I was taken advantage of, and I was ignoring it.
This is where I am going to be honest with you. This is where I am going to tell you that thing that kept me from feeling successful. This is where I am going to share my lemons with you. But first I want to show you something. (I had 2 bags of lemons. One of which had been in fridge for a week and one of which had been on my porch.)
I picked up both bags and told the kids. I bought these bags of lemons last week. This bag has been in my fridge. I would take it out every now and then to be sure they were ok and fresh. These lemons have been taken care of and not ignored. I put down the fresh bag. I was still holding the rotten bag. This bag of lemons…well. I took this bag of lemons and I hit it on the steps, threw it up against the side of the house…STOMPED on it, smashed it and left in on the front porch all week. Would you make lemonade out of these lemons?”
Of course all the kids said no. I asked why. They told me it was rotten. I agreed.
“This bag of lemons is rancid, rotten, nasty, stinky, and gross. There are some bugs crawling around in here and there is no way I would eat these lemons.
I had a bag of rotten lemons.”
I took a deep breath and I said…
“I am a survivor of 11 years of incestual molestation at the hand of a distant family member. (You could have heard a pin drop.) All of the silliness, sarcasm, and goofing off instantly stopped. The kids that had been texting put down their phones. Those that had been doodling put down their pens and all eyes were on me. I officially had their attention.
For 11 years I was someone’s garbage can. For 11 y ears someone used my body in a way that they DID NOT have permission to. For 11 years someone took advantage of me. For 11 years I was being handed a rotten stinking mess of rancid lemons. For 11 years I was a victim. I was 25 years old before I was able to look in a mirror and say, WOW what happened to me was a BIG DEAL. I was 25 years old before I could admit to myself, "What happened to me was NOT okay". I was 25 years old before I could admit that that did not just happen to everyone.
This is why I am here to talk to you today. When I asked you at the very beginning today if you were ashamed of something, when I asked you if you had been taken advantage of, when I asked you if you had taken advantage of someone else…you all thought of SOMETHING. It doesn’t have to be as big and as shocking as mine. Mine is kind of biggie. Yours could be small or it could also be something big. It could be one-time drug use. It could be drug addiction. It could be premarital sex. It could be teenage abortion or it could be as simple as cheating on a test last week. But the point is that all of you thought of something. You all had something on your mind.
I stand here before you today and implore you, whatever lemon you may have, I beg you, don’t let it rot and fester and stink. Don’t let that thing that you thought of sit in your past, ignored, and grow and grow and stink and stink and rot and rot or one day—someday you find yourself looking in the mirror…
You find yourself with this list of things that you have done that for some reason left you feeling empty. You find yourself wondering why that new car didn’t make you feel successful. You find yourself wondering why those name brand clothes didn’t fulfill that need inside of you. You find yourself as a doctor in a hospital wondering why you STILL don’t feel accomplished.
This is my challenge. I challenge you today to dare to believe that there are more important things than pride. I challenge you to believe that your career can be something more important than a job.
So I have been dealing with and coping with my ‘lemons’ for a few years now. Last year something happened that really began to make this all stir inside me. Last year a strong Christian role-model in my life past away. Last year I lost a woman whom I loved dearly. This was a woman that even though I wasn’t related to her, she might as well have been my grandmother. She was the woman in the community whose door was always open. She was the woman who would give you the coat off of her back. This is the woman who would have dinner waiting for my family in the refrigerator when we got off the bus from school. She was THAT woman. And she died last year. Aunt Lou passed away from Alzheimer’s disease. And these lemons were stirring inside me. I had not been ignoring them for a few years at this point, but I had yet to do something with them. And that is when I made my decision. That is when I found a way to make my stinking pile of nasty, rotten, rancid mess into something beautiful.
I am now a Christian children’s book author and illustrator.” (Ok, so this is where I nearly lost my composure. As I mentioned earlier I spoke to 8 different groups, and the experience was different each time. But this one group…oh my! At this point I had the attention of 30-50 teen-agers who so very movingly and kindly proceeded to give me a standing ovation. OOOOH, it was all I could do to not go into the corner and cry for a few minutes—but I was able to hold it together. I thanked them and moved on.)
“Now I have something else important, and completely unrelated to my childhood abuse, to share with you, but just as important for a point I want to make to you. Eight years ago I also survived an attempted kidnapping turned carjacking. My point in telling you this is that it and my childhood abuse have left me with a disorder known of as PTSD, post traumatic stress disorder. I want you to know this because it is important for me to be sure you realize that I am not presuming to have it all figured out. I am not perfect. I am broken. There are still parts of me that are a complete mess—but I am still making it into something good and beautiful. And I ask the same of you.
Don’t wait til you think you have it all together. Don’t wait until you think you can paint a pretty picture with your life story. Life is messy. This world isn’t perfect. Dealing with stuff like this isn’t easy. You will never have all the answers, but you may have one that someone else needs to hear. You may have been through something that may inspire someone else. You may be going through something right then that you can go through WITH someone else.
I told you earlier that I was a teacher, and that my family had two incomes from 2 educated career fields. Well, today I stand before you as a stay at home mom. I work part-time at a preschool where my girls go, so that I can be there with them and so we can afford for them to go. I stand before you today and I only bring home $300 a month now. Granted, that isn’t our only income. My husband does work and is the provider for our family. But there was a time when money wasn’t a problem. There was a time when we had more than we needed. There was a time that I could wear all the designer labels, drive the new car, have the nice rims and big stereo---but not now. But you know what. I can look you in the face today and honestly tell you that I feel more successful today than I did 5 years ago.
My success is not defined by a paycheck. My success is not defined by my possessions. My success is not defined by my career. And neither is yours!
My challenge to you today is to find those lemons. Find them today. Don’t wait like I did and check all those things off your imaginary list, and expect them to fulfill you. Don’t leave that mess in your past ignored only to grow, rot and fester. I ask of you this one thing. No matter what your job is.
I don’t care if you graduate last in your class. I don’t care if you become a doctor or a lawyer of a burger flipper. Those things all do matter but they are not the MOST important. I challenge you today to make your career one of honesty.--one of truth--one of transparency. If you can do this one thing... If you can take your darkest, most embarrassing, saddest moment and make something good out of it then what better success can you have. If you can accomplish this one thing then there is nothing else that you cannot do.
I am not telling you to not go to school, or to not strive for a well paying career or to not buy a new car at some point---what I AM telling you is to not look for your success solely in those things. Do not expect those things to fulfill you.
I am not asking you to stand up in front of a group of 30 strangers and tell your life story. I cannot tell you how to deal with what hand you are dealt. I am not presuming to be an expert. All I know is how I have dealt, and how I have chosen to make good of my rotten mess—and maybe, just maybe my story can help you do the same.
I leave you today asking you this. No matter what job you have when you graduate. No matter how you think you will become successful—make your career one of honesty, truth and transparency. Turn those rotten lemons into something good and then, maybe then you will truly find a way to succeed.”

Oh what a glorious day. After each presentation I had 2-3 kids come up and shake my hand and thank me for being there. I had several girls come up and hug my neck. I spoke to two survivors and passed out my contact info to about 300 kids. One girl came up and told me she was also a Christian and thanked me for what I am doing. Oh God, my God I give you all the glory. I look back today at myself standing on front of those kids and I honestly cannot explain how I was able to do it. Only in Him can I find strength! Bless you all and I hope you saw His glory and work in this as much as I did.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Cool few days

I am a guest motivational speaker tomorrow at Shoemaker High School for their career day. I should speak to a total of 300 students before 1 pm.
I was also just featured on the speak up for teens website. You can check it out here:

http://speakupteens.webs.com/featured.htm


I will follow up with a post as to how it goes tomorrow at Shoemaker. Pray for me!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Boobie Babble Author Interview #5: Patrick D. House


Patrick David House was born June 1st 1976 in South Saint Paul, Minniesota but spent most of his teenage years in Orlando Floirda in a nieghborhood called Pine Hills. He believed in the ways of not following the traditional ways of writing and had a plan of rebelling against how one should be when it came down to becoming an author. He traveled through the United States looking to find the true grit of the American Life. He then settled roots in Louisville KY in 2009 and in 2010 signed with Publish America for two books he had finished The Nevaha Chronicles Book One: The Sword of the Itains and STREET REBELS while waiting the birth of his daughter. He is currently working on his 3rd book The Conquistadores of Pine Hills.

Q. AS A CHILD, WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GREW UP?

Well as a child I always loved to create stories. I wrote my first script while in 6th grade which was a horror slasher flick set in Ireland called The St. Patrick's Day Massacre. It was only 20 pages but it was when I moved to Pine Hills meeting two friends in school that we got together and write stories with screen plays that were anti hollywood. It was birth of the path of writing stories that were different then what you would read. Reading the works of Hunter S Thompson, Frank Herbert, H.P. Lovecraft, Robert E Howard had set the path of things. Plus listening to heavy metal bands while staying up late while writing put my mind in motion. So in a sense I always loved writing and creating stories that in my best knowledge saying to myself that these would be books I want to read.

Q. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT SELF-PUBLISHING?

Well coming from a place that when you were told constantly that no one would publish your works or the fact no one wants to read your work. It had set a mindful impact in my mind. When you come from a low economy back ground where you know that money is the one thing you can't dish out. You have to go with the fact that you have to do things yourself. The thing about self publishing is that you keep all your rights. Yes you have to promote yourself but its something that anyone who sells any product in this world even if you are backed by a corpuration in these times. So I am all for self publishing because you keep your rights and never loose them. So just to see my book in print was a dream come true. I personally couldn't care about the marketing conscept of things.

Q. WHAT KINDS OF BENEFITS COME FROM PARTICIPATING IN GROUPS AND ORGANIZATIONS?
It depends on the group or organizations you are for. As for me I am a huge supporter of stoping bulling in school as I am a former victim of such a thing. I am on a huge crusade also to all things that are stupid. I see pleanty of it going on today. In school I was apart of the Orlando Shakespare Young Company Actors Guild as well as apart of The Saw Dust Circle which was Clowns who entertain children both heathly and sick. I was active with the Drama Club and Theaspins. But as for today I am pretty much not much into groups unless its protecting the children.

Q. WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF WITH YOUR WRITING IN FIVE YEARS?

Well I have actually a large plan in the next five years. I have to finish The Nevaha Chronicles Trilogy which I will be starting next year. Then I will start on my vampire series called The John Malek Journals. When that is finished I will be working on my sci fi series trilogy called The Black Star Birgade. When that is finished I will be working on a crime series set in the 1980's called Inside Electric Blue. I hope some one turns all my books into films. The one I would love to see is STREET REBELS be done well. After that I will probably do some prequels to Nevaha and some side stories to Nevaha as well as the John Malek Journals. Who knows.

Q. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE GENRE OF WRITING?
Oh that is a tough one because I love all types of Genre. I guess thats why I dont follow the traditional ways of writing. I dont have a set genre when I write. I love all types of books when I find intresting. When I was younger I enjoyed sci fi and horror as well as reading fantasy. But as I got older I just stuck with the writers such as Hunter S Thompson, Robert E Howard, and others. So i really dont have a set genre of writing.

Q. HOW DOES WRITING HELP YOU MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD?
Well I am hoping to be the voice for those who are different and who have been bullied through out life. For my books to have them stand up for themselves without violence to become one with their spirits and show that they can make a difference in this world and they can over come anything thrown at them.

Monday, October 4, 2010

My interview as it appears on Conscious Discussions

-- World of Writing Interview # 31



Rachel Jeanette Hall Stolle was born and raised in a little town called Jefferson, in North East Texas. As an individual, she has endured economic hardships, sexual abuse by a internal strife. Today Rachel is a 29 year old Baylor University, Texas. graduate, teacher, poetic monthly staff writer, and a budget-conscious stay-at-home mom in Waco


Rachel's first Christian Children's Picture book is set to be released September 12, 2010: Why Did This Happen to Me, Aunt Lou?, and has many other books planned for this series. Find Rachel at: http://auntloubooks.weebly.com



Q: How would a good friend describe you?


A: My husband of eight years, Jason, is my best friend in the world. I sat here pondering this question and I realized, "JUST ASK JASON!!", so I did. He sat pensive for a moment and his first adjective made me grin from ear to ear--beautiful. I absolutely adore how our relationship has grown and changed with the years. After birthing two children (80lb pregnancies each) one of which ended with an impromptu c-section and an eleven pound (10lb 14oz, i give myself the other 2 oz) baby, he still truly sees me as being as beautiful as the day we met. I giggled at his response and said, "no, really". This is what he came up with. A good friend would describe me as loyal, kind-hearted, thoughtful, and dependable.


Q: What are your long-range and short-range goals and objectives? How do you plan to accomplish your goals?


A: My long-range goals as a Christian Children's Book Author are to create a series of picture books that help parents incorporate scriptures, and bible stories, into the every-day explanations they give their children. I am a stay-at-home mom to two beautiful girls. My oldest is four, and very inquisitive. I find myself daily responding to her insightful, innocent questions with the best intentions, but sometimes I fall short and talking to her in a way that she finds engaging. This book series is my attempt to do both.


My short-term goals are to successfully complete the five books that I have already written. I write when I feel led, and through the years I have created five wholesome children's stories in anticipation of sharing them with my children and family.


Q: How do you determine or evaluate success?


A: I find it so very ironic that this question appears here. I just days ago wrote my very first one-page article for Poetic Monthly Magazine with this very title. It will appear in the October issue. Feel free to see more of my work in future months at poeticmonthly.com


Here I sit enjoying a calm evening with the hubby, after a long and crazy day. The television is blaring a home improvement show, and we sit anxiously hoping for the phone to ring with an offer on our home of seven years. The girls are settled into bed after a day at pre-school, and two long and torturous hours driving around the area waiting for our home to be viewed. Finally my mind slowly relaxes, forgetting about the worries of the day. This is where I find myself, contemplating success.


There have been many benchmarks in my life that I believed I would experience success once I met them—today I realize that success is something you define for yourself, not something that can be achieved by checking the traditional ‘life-steps’ off a list given to you by this world.


Granted, some things on my checklist are far from average, but it is a checklist nonetheless. I am a childhood sexual abuse survivor, check. I am a nationally ranked HS mascot, check (had to throw this in there just for its sheer randomness). I am a HS graduate within the top 10% of my class, check. I am a college graduate, check. I am a violent crime survivor, check. I am a wife, check. I am a homeowner, check. I am a teacher, check. I am a mom, check. I am a stay-at-home mom, check, check, check, check, and check (that one counts more!). And now I am a published children’s book author and illustrator, check. These are all things that I am proud of, and at a time in my life I would have thought that these things defined me and/or my ‘success’.


I felt a tug on my heartstrings today as I listened to my first radio interview (with poetic monthly blog radio mind you), plus found my book listed at both Barnes and Nobel, and Books-a-Million—success for me is allowing all of the bad and nasty things I have ever experienced to be turned beautiful. I realize now that I have a mission, not just a checklist. I have a mission to reach others with my message of hope, faith, peace and love. I have a mission to teach my children, and hopefully others via my books, that there are things so vastly more important than just income, or status, or degrees. I define my success by my faith. This world is fleeting, but if I can reach one heart and one soul with my message of healing, and lead them to find their home—what better thing could I ever do?


So this is my commission to you, aspiring or current authors—just start. Start looking over your checklist, and your life. Decide for yourself what your definition of success is and go for it. Find your story and share it. You never know, it just might lead someone home.


Q: What inspires you?


A: My life experiences, and a very strong Christian role model in my childhood inspire me to write. I credit my earliest foundations in Christianity to a wonderful woman named Lousie Ritche. Aunt Lou, as everyone knew her, was a caring, Godly woman who devoted her life to service, and passed away in 2009 from Alzheimer disease . 
“Why Did This Happen to Me, Aunt Lou?” is my first published work. It aims to help children who have experienced hardships or trauma in their lives to understand that God is by their side.


I am a childhood sexual abuse survivor. I experienced eleven years of intermittent abuse at the hand of a distant family member. I am also an adult attempted kidnapping turned carjacking survivor. You can see my account of that terrible day at http://auntloubooks.weebly.com/the-day-i-was-nearly-kidnapped-and-carjacked.html. I truly felt led to make "Why Did This Happen to Me, Aunt Lou?" my first and most-important work.


Q: What is your opinion of the world today?


A: This is such a very loaded question and I have very mixed feelings on this topic. As a Christian I see hope, peace and love present in our world today in so very many ways. There are wonderful people living among us today, just as there are the truly hurting and lost. While there is great good taking place and many people still willing to help a fellow neighbor, there is also great evil, self-centeredness, destruction and perversion. I do not, however, believe that any of this sets our world of 'today' apart from our world of 'yesterday'. I just think we hear more about the negative than ever before.


I guess my most accurate and direct answer would be that I see great unmet potential in the world today just as at anytime in our history.


Q: What is your contribution to society?



A: My books. My honesty. My heart. ...I desire to be as transparent and honest about my life as possible. I believe that this action alone will facilitate healing and change. If I can reach one child with the message of salvation and healing then I feel that I will have accomplished my life goal.




Find Dave and Lillian Brummet, excerpts from their books, information about their radio program, newsletter, blogs, and more at: www.brummet.ca * Support the Brummets by telling your friends, or purchasing a book - each book sold raises funds for charity as well!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Author Blog Interview Exchange #4 Lillian Brummett



Boobie Babble Author Interview #4

Dave and Lillian Brummet have been writing professionally since 1999 - to date, they have written 3 published books. The main focus of their books, blogs, newsletter and radio program is to inspire hope in individuals, helping them realize the value of their efforts and encouraging them to become more positive, proactive in life.
The Brummet's Conscious Blog:
The Brummet's Conscious Blog - where you will find the eco-tip of the day, quote of the day and many resources for green living. You will also see inspiring positive environmental news and updates on the Conscious Discussions and Authors Read radio shows. You'll also find an insider's view into the world of writing, and links to everything the Brummet's have to offer: http://consciousdiscussions.blogspot.com


Conscious Discussions Radio:
Conscious Discussions Radio is an hour long talk show that celebrates individuals around the world who are working to make the world a better place. Conscious Discussions is not about pointing fingers - it is about celebrating individuals who are stepping up and doing proactive things. www.brummet.ca/conscious.html

Trash Talk - An Inspirational Guide to Saving Time and Money through Better Waste and Resource Management discusses the 4-R’s of waste management and the proper order for them. This being Refuse, Reduce, Reuse Then Recycle… before we even consider sending the item to the trash bin. Trash Talk focuses on the third R, Reuse – which also saves people a lot of money (through reduced shopping, reduced utility bills...) and provides a way to make a real and measurable contribution towards a healthier planet. The book enables readers to feel more positive in life and leave a lasting legacy. Trash Talk is currently available in both paperback format & will soon be updated and released in the upcoming Trash Talk - Its Easy Being Green e-book series. Details at: www.brummet.ca/trashtalk.html

Towards Understanding, revised edition is a collection of 125 non-fiction poems written in chronological order. It is a true story of a young pre-teen female growing up on her own, struggling to survive, breaking the chains of inner demons and finally growing towards understanding of her value & purpose in life – but not quite reaching it. Thus the title… Towards Understanding. The reason behind the book was to show other victims of abuse, violence and neglect that they can live a wholesome life without baggage from the past. Second to that Lillian wanted to provide a roadmap that showed the healing process that victims go through, letting others know they are not alone. People who are involved with victims can learn what that person is going through or will go through and therefore they might be able to provide a better support system. The original version of this book (with 120 poems) is still available in paperback through most online and retail bookstores. The new revised edition offers 5 new poems, creating an ending the author is more comfortable with, and updated author information. Details at: www.brummet.ca/towards.html


Purple Snowflake Marketing - How To Make Your Book Stand Out In A Crowd, is a reference guide for self-marketing authors who want to be noticed in a snowstorm of writers. With 19 chapters and 25 appendices, this book is a means for authors to design an effective marketing plan and utilize frugal promotional tools with the click of their mouse. Whether it is utilized by order of chapters or randomly at the reader's discretion the book is a marketing plan in itself. Accelerate your marketing efforts far beyond your peers with the more than 900 resources available with the click of your mouse! Purple Snowflake Marketing provides reassurance to authors along with ample advice for avoiding pit-falls and setting a pace for marketing endeavors. Details at: www.brummet.ca/purple.html

Q: What is your idea of happiness?

A: Happiness to me is still a bit of a conundrum – Although I have been finding much more personal fulfillment since I became a writer, despite the incredibly long hours and the stresses it involves. Working for someone else was not fulfilling in any way – it was draining my reserves in fact. Writing has allowed me to educate, inspire, and motivate others to live a more conscious, proactive and green lifestyle. Knowing that readers actually use that knowledge in their lives is very encouraging to me. On a personal level - I find peace in working the soil; I’m big on gardening and love being a part of the life cycle there. Watching the amazing process that a seed goes through, and all the mirco-organisms, life in the soil, pollinators and beneficial life… When seeking some form of refuge from the stresses in this live I always turn to animals and wilderness.

Q: Are you doing what you really want to do in life?

A: Oh, absolutely. I wouldn’t change a thing… of course we are always evolving, growing – but I wouldn’t change the general direction of my life’s path. I really feel like I am making a difference – as a writer, radio show host, blog manager – with the topics I cover and highlighting the incredible work that others are doing. As a gardener, I participate in seed saving programs and share both seeds and produce with the needy, friends, organizations and neighbors. As a writer I’ve given back in many ways from book reviews to literacy organization donations.

Q: In your career as a writer - what do you consider to be your greatest strengths and weaknesses?

A: My greatest strengths would be determination and self-discipline. I am not afraid of hard work, and I am dedicated to the work we do – I really believe in it and having been a business manager/owner I know the work it takes to make a business like this work. My weaknesses involve impatience with delays from having to learn new technology to waiting for a book release – this is very hard for me. Normally I can be very methodical, practical… but I can also be impatient and moody at times due to frustrations. Luckily Dave (her co-writing husband) is a patient man, who doesn’t mind going behind the scenes to repair a computer problem… while I pace in the background.

Q: What are some of your favorite websites for writers?

A: There are so many! (She laughs) – Let’s see… RoseAndThornEzine.com, WritersJournal.com, WritersUnlimited.com, BeWrite.net, Once Written.com, AbsoluteWrite.com, Writer2writer.com, WritersAndBeyond.com, WritersGazette.com …I could go on and on with this one… Oh I mustn’t forget WritersInTheSky.com

Q: What are some of the tools you use for marketing?

A: I use every tool I can find, methodically utilizing each opportunity as it arises – or I’ll make a note of the opportunity for a future date. I feel it is important to experiment with different tools, since you never know when you will stumble upon an untapped audience. Currently my marketing seems to evolve around interviews, articles and social networking. I have a couple of blogs, a book tour page, an e-newsletter that goes out twice a month, a great website that is currently going through upgrades, a radio show… and these all take time to manage. If your readers have time, I would like to invite them to do an Internet Search on my name and they’ll see that more than 15,000 links come up – and often as many as 30,000 (depending on the search engine used; I tend to use Bing, DogPile or Google).

Q: Are you satisfied with your experiences as a published author? (things you’ve noticed that could be improved, what you’ve enjoyed, what you’ll do better next time…)

A: Being an author, as opposed to other writing genres, is much more of a challenge in that there is more marketing and record keeping involved. A book is sold over and over in one’s marketing campaign until the book no longer exists in the publishing industry - which can be 10 years or more. While an article is queried out to a magazine, who decides to publish it – and that is pretty much it. Sure you need to keep records as to when the article was published, when and how much you were paid and when you can use the article again. (Most have a 3 month waiting period before you can rewrite or reprint a published article). Authors need anywhere between 1 and 8 years to produce a book – an article can be written in a single day.
As to being satisfied – well, there is no doubt this is a challenge. Too many people want free books, and there are so many challenges from marketing costs, time management, public appearances… all this time put into the books only to sell a few hundred copies a year. It can be daunting and challenging, but it is worth it – none-the-less.
You can see my author interview with Lillian at http://consciousdiscussions.blogspot.com/