Monday, January 16, 2017

Urbanity - A Hidden-Gem Boutique

by Guest Author Barbara Yaffe

Urbanity, a hidden-gem boutique tucked into Vancouver’s South Granville neighbourhood, comes as a bit of a surprise. Few would expect such a diminutive store to pack such a large fashion punch.

In fact, the place is a veritable emporium of high style and international flair, showcasing top-quality textiles from independent producers from around the world.

Urbanity’s wares include everything from clothing, and blankets to assorted accessories.

Shop owner Julia Manitius is a textiles specialist who grew up in Montreal. She spent 28 years as a studio potter and a textiles instructor in Denmark before moving to Vancouver, a city that she says, “called her”.

She opened Urbanity 12 years ago, initially in Gastown and then she moved it to South Granville, between Broadway and West 8th. But it looks as though the store could just as well be located in the Marais district of Paris.

Interestingly, Julia’s retail inspiration has less to do with the latest fashion trends than an awareness of and concern for materials, quality and unique design. She cares about the fibers! That makes this store special.

Some of what she sells can be found nowhere else in North America. My Los Angeles cousin shops Urbanity, browsing the store’s website, then phoning or emailing her order and having items shipped to her.


















Over the years, I have purchased several of Oleana’s stunning wool and silk sweaters, from Norway, and a McVerdi raincoat, from Denmark. I bought a wear-everywhere wool coat dress about five years ago that just refuses to wear out. The styles absolutely endure and, despite frequent wear, the garments remain pristine.

I have a pile of shawls and scarves in my closets but because the fabrics at the shop – all natural and easy care -- are so unique, I have not been able to resist buying Julia’s scarves. I never knew what a wrist warmer was until I bought a pair at Urbanity and now, will never be without this uber-cozy piece of winter apparel.


















For spring, Julia has brought in some wonderful linens from McVerdi (http://www.mcverdi.dk/), Japan’s Fog Linen (http://www.foglinenwork.com/) and Sweden’s Nygardsanna (http://www.nygardsanna.se/), that can be worn either penguin-crisp or all wrinkled and crinkly. (See the attached photos.) As a buyer, she has an amazing eye and the rest of us get to benefit from her fine sense of taste and design knowledge.

www.urbanity.ca
www.instagram.com/myUrbanity
www.facebook.com/myUrbanity
www.twitter.com/myUrbanity

= = = = 

Barbara Yaffe is a longtime print and broadcast journalist who has lived, and shopped, from one end of Canada to the other. She has worked for CBC National TV News, The Globe and Mail, Montreal Gazette and Vancouver Sun. Now retired, she is living happily ever after in Vancouver, with her dog Chip and cat Pansy.








Links -

LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/barbara-yaffe-6644494
Twitter - @barbyaffe1

Interview with Julie Salisbury of InspireABook on the 4 Week Publishing ...





Make 2017 the year you realize that long held dream of publishing your first book!



In Part 3 of my interview series with Julie Salisbury we discuss the #InspireABook 4 Week Publishing Interactive Webinar - equivalent to the 3 day live Mastermind Workshop - where authors clarify the purpose of their book, work on the “packaging” to ensure it helps deliver their key message and develop a working title/sub-title, synopsis/back page sales copy, table of contents, working chapter titles, a clear writing plan and plan for publishing their book.



For more information and registration, go to http://inspireabook.com/webinar-program/



This video is part 3 in a 4 part series.

Blanche Macdonald - Jordyn Heck, "Swim" by Jordyn Leah

Runway Images by Peter Jensen Photography
Illustrations by Julian Leclerc

Neon Dreams 2016 show recap - http://bit.ly/2gp70mi


I was honoured to be at the most recent Blanche Macdonald grad show to see the newest group of Fashion Design students offer their amazing grad collections. As always, I left the event inspired.

Design students may not have the experience and technical skills that come from working a long time in the fashion industry, but they bring fresh ideas to the table that offer a small window into where things may head in the future.

Each season I pick a few students to offer a solo article on and I try to offer a wide range of aesthetics and styles. Choosing who to feature all starts with a look at their portfolios. I want these to be strong representations of their work overall as well as offer good illustrations. Strong illustrations offer me an idea of the designers potential as an artist.

Next I watch the runway show closely. As someone who sewed professionally for five years, I don't want to see puckered seams or odd threads hanging. I look for proportions that are flattering and interesting ideas. In the end, fashion is very subjective, so I look for what catches my eye.

Jordyn Heck's collection caught my eye on the runway - the beautiful colour with black detailing combined with the flowing silk separates were well chosen. Those silk over garments took it to the next level for me. Then I checked out her portfolio and was impressed with her illustrations.  Now for the final note - I love to be surprised. When I received her interview answer I learned this was not a lingerie line (looking back now at the images a silly assumption, not sure why I thought that), but a resort swimwear line. Kudos! You surprised me in the best way possible.

= = =

Where were you born, where did you grow up?

I was born in Edmonton, Alberta and grew up there with my mom, dad and younger sister. My parents separated when I was about four years old so most of my childhood was spent between the two of them - growing up in two different homes.

What you like when you were young?

As a child I was always coloring. My mom used to tell me that I not only loved it, but I would color in my princess coloring book and redesign the dresses using my markers to illustrate what I considered at the time beautiful prints and patterns. I took singing lessons, dance and swimming but my favorite activity was gymnastics which I avidly practiced for over 12 years. I felt like I’ve always known I was more artistic than analytical.

What were your interests in High School?

In high school I was more into sports at the time and spent most of it after school training for the next upcoming volleyball game or going to gymnastics. I have always been the type of person to live life to the fullest, and my high school years were no exemption. Creating countless memories at my best and worst as teenagers do, I grew up around an amazing group of positive/supportive people. It wasn’t until about a year after graduation when I became even more interested and knowledgeable in fashion and it just progressed from there. 

Looking back, can you remember any signs that you would end up in fashion?

I think just how much I enjoyed clothing and being able to express myself in my own way helped me choose a career that would let me be free to create like fashion designing. Growing up I always thought I would end up in business school. It actually wasn’t until a little after high school and a year in college I realized I wanted a career in fashion. It’s almost like it snuck up on me! Like its been there the whole time and I didn’t realize it until I was older and experienced different jobs and going to business school that I really knew.

Talk about when and how you decided to study fashion design. Was you family supportive?

I decided to study fashion professionally about 2 years ago. I knew that I had to take my interests and passion and make a career out of it. I’ve always loved the quote, “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” That was my goal. I didn’t want to spend my life “working”, I wanted to love and enjoy my work. I wanted to wake up every day and be excited for the work day ahead. My family has always been so supportive of me no matter what interests I’ve taken. Both my parents and sister have been my rocks and have helped shape me to who I am today.

Why did you choose to study at Blanche Macdonald?

I chose to Study at Blanche Macdonald because of the amazing reputation the school has within Canada. When I was ready to start my education in fashion design, Blanche was the first thing that popped up in my search engine when I typed in “Best Fashion School in Canada”. I reviewed a couple other schools but Blanche just seemed like the perfect fit for me. I really liked that the course was only a year long, I still got to receive a Diploma at the end, along with a full fashion show that showcased my three looks I came up with. I was also told the teachers were absolutely amazing. I made the move to Vancouver a few months before school and started in the fall of 2015. I’m so, so happy I chose Blanche because I learned SO much and the teachers really are incredible. They’re so helpful, knowledgeable and so down to earth and their passion for fashion is so inspiring.


Talk about your time studying Fashion Design. What was hard for you, what was easy for you? Are there any high, low or funny moments you can share?

At first, pattern drafting was a little difficult for me. Having never drafted a pattern or even knowing what a basic front bodice pattern looked like was confusing at first. After I got into the swing of it and getting some help from my teachers, spending my evenings after school for hours upon hours with fellow classmates working on our quarter scales together, I got better and better with each passing week. Now it’s one of my favorite things to do! I also really enjoy designing as it abeles me to express myself and be free to imagine and create what I’m feeling. I had such a good group of classmates and teachers that every day was really enjoyable. I love all the new friends I’ve made too. A funny moment I can recall from the top of my head (there were a lot though) was one night I was sewing until about 3 in the morning and I knew it was time for bed when I sewed an arm sleeve onto a neck hole, haha.

What was the inspiration for your grad collection? Share anything you'd like readers to know?

My inspiration for my grad collection was silhouettes on a beach at sunset. I have always traveled to tropical places since I can remember. My mom and dad took my sister and I at least once a year since I was about 5 or 6 years old. I really fell in love with the ocean, beach and my favorite part were the sunsets! I love the different hues of pinks, oranges, blues and purples that flash across the sky and touch the horizon. I also love the way palm trees, flowers and silhouettes of bodies look when you capture a picture during sunset and whatever you’re shooting is completely black with a beautiful sunset behind. I can’t wait to travel more to different parts of the world to gather more inspirations for future collections.























Describe your collection – title, customer, day-evening-sportswear-separates-casual-high-end glamour-stage costuming-punk?

My collection is titled ‘SWIM’ by Jordyn Leah which is a high quality resort swimwear line intended to serve the passion of the fierce goddess within. Designs with innovative high performance fabric technology sourced from Italy, I created soft, functionally luxurious feminine silhouettes rich in hand stitched lace appliques and silk chiffon in a luxurious palette of blush, nude, rose gold and ebony. Brazilian inspired bottoms, paired with strappy halters and fun cover-up garments creates an ultra-flirty, attention getting aesthetic.

What is the palette? What fabrics did you use?

For my palette I wanted to use the colors of a sunset in my silk chiffon cover ups, so, a mixture of blush, rose gold and orange paired with high quality nude Lycra swimwear fabric and imported black cotton lace appliques.








Do you have a favorite look?

I think my favorite look from my collection was Look 1. I wanted to create something that no one has really seen before, especially in swimwear. I think the black hand stitched lace applique on a nude colored bodice with the halter straps coming into a lace applique choker was really pretty. It paired really nice with the ‘Sunset Skirt’ as well.


What do you think you can bring to the fashion world that is new?
Talking with a lot of different woman of all ages and sizes, I found that function as well as style in swimwear is a constant problem. I want my suits to be able to look really good but be able to have my customers go into the salt water, chlorine pools and stand up against tanning creams and oils without having it fade, loose it elasticity and shape over time. I found a lot of swimwear fades and loses its elasticity so quickly after I’ve paid over $200 for the suit. I really want to change and excel at this!

Where do you go from here – are you going to work for others for awhile, launch your own line, take a break and travel?

In the new year I want to work with a local swimwear designer who is very hands on with their own line. I want to learn and develop new skills all while I’m able to launch my own line in the future. I plan to do some travelling this coming year as well for more research.

Links - 
Instagram: @jordynleahswim
Email: info@jordynleahswim.com

= = = = 

For more information on the fashion design program at Blanche Macdonald, please visit their website at http://www.blanchemacdonald.com/fashion/.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Interview with Julie Salisbury of InspireABook on the 4 Week Publishing Webinar



Make 2017 the year your realize your dream of becoming a published author.

In Part 3 of my interview series with Julie Salisbury we discuss the #InspireABook 4 Week Publishing Interactive Webinar - equivalent to the 3 day live Mastermind Workshop - where authors clarify the purpose of their book, work on the “packaging” to ensure it helps deliver your key message and develop a working title/sub-title, synopsis/back page sales copy, table of contents, working chapter titles, a clear writing plan and plan for publishing your book.

For more information and registration, go to http://inspireabook.com/webinar-program/

Please feel free to follow my You Tube channel to hear future interviews!

Blanche Macdonald - Natalia Pavanelli, A Fusion of African Voodoo, Wicca and Catholicism

Runway Images by Peter Jensen Photography
Illustrations by Natalia Pavanelli

Neon Dreams 2016 show recap - http://bit.ly/2gp70mi


I was honoured to be at the most recent Blanche Macdonald grad show to see the newest group of Fashion Design students offer their amazing grad collections. As always, I left the event inspired.

Design students may not have the experience and technical skills that come from working a long time in the fashion industry, but they bring fresh ideas to the table that offer a small window into where things may head in the future.

Each season I pick a few students to offer a solo article on and I try to offer a wide range of aesthetics and styles. Choosing who to feature all starts with a look at their portfolios. I want these to be strong representations of their work overall as well as offer good illustrations. Strong illustrations offer me an idea of the designers potential as an artist.

Next I watch the runway show closely. As someone who sewed professionally for five years, I don't want to see puckered seams or odd threads hanging. I look for proportions that are flattering and interesting ideas. In the end, fashion is very subjective, so I look for what catches my eye.

Natalia Pavanelli caught my eye in several ways. The illustrations in her portfolio had a wonderful feel to them. I was captivated by her runway looks, especially the two lighter coloured, flowing ones. Then came the coupe de grâce - I discovered she designed her own prints. WOW - a triple threat! I have included several examples of her original prints from her portfolio at the very bottom, so be sure and scroll all the way down.




















= = = =

Where were you born, where did you grow up?

I was born in a small town called Salto, in São Paulo, Brazil. But grew up moving around. I spent a lot of time in Europe growing up, mostly in Germany and Spain.

What you like when you were young?

Dreaming, painting and mermaids. I was a very creative child. Moving to Germany when I was 5, I couldn't go to school or outside to play due to severe winter, so I stayed indoors for a while, creating my own world with colours and lines.

What were your interests in High School?

I've always loved History and Art. High School in Brazil is very hard and technical, there's no room for artistic work, but I kept always drawing and creating on the side of my notebook.

Looking back, can you remember any signs that you would end up in fashion? A personal story would be great here.

My sister and I loved playing with Barbie dolls - we had hundreds. We had a lot of fun creating clothing for them with alternative materials. I also always loved drawing and the garments were always a huge part of it.

When I was very little, my aunt had a Bridal Studio, so I also spent hours gluing pearls and drawing with glitter while she took care of me.

Talk about when and how you decided to study fashion design. Was you family supportive?

At my first graduation, in Rio de Janeiro I was almost a designer, but my focus was on Animation and Game Design. Then I decided to go to Fashion. My sister was the most supportive one at first. It took my parents a little longer, but in the end they supported me as well. They watched me win my first Fashion contest without any experience and right after get hired for a job in France. Finally they gave me my last big push - moving to Vancouver to begin my studies in Fashion Design at Blanche MacDonald. I couldn't ask for better family.






















Why did you choose to study at.Blanche Macdonald?

All I can say is that my admission to Blanche MacDonald was destiny's choice. When I decided to quit my job in Brazil and leave to a new life, I didn't know where to go so applied everywhere. Lina (my director) called me one day inviting me to take the course at Blanche and my intuition just said YES. And it was the right choice.

Talk about your time studying Fashion Design. What was hard for you, what was easy for you? Are there any high, low or funny moments you can share?

Natalie created the original print seen here.
Sewing was definitely my most challenging task. I've always sewn since a childhood, but by hand. The machines overwhelmed me at the beginning. Also having classes in English is like learning everything again!

Blanche was my second Fashion Design graduation, so starting all over from the beginning at the age of 28 - and after working 4 years in the market - wasn't that easy emotionally. But I believe that with every struggle, comes success. I don't regret a minute of it.

What was the inspiration for your grad collection? Share anything you'd like readers to know?

ESPIRITA is a collection inspired by a very unique brazilian religion and the culture surrounding it. It is the fusion of African Voodoo, Wicca and Catholicism. My inspiration comes from the mysteries and uncommon stories I have heard around the world. I used fashion as an artistic way of expressing myself with eerie shapes and imagery. The pieces contrast, yet compliment each other and draw on ancient tales.

Describe your collection.

My collection's name is ESPIRITA, and it's inspired by a Brazilian religion. It's a mix between casual and costuming, and it has a witchy mood to it. I wouldn't say it's goth, but definitely touches that magical darkness.

My costumer is a curious woman, she's passioned about stories and ancient tales, and loves iconic pieces that expresses her passions.

What is the palette? What fabrics did you use?

I explored several mixed textures and silhouettes. My goal was to design ghostly, flowing shapes and deconstruct standard forms. Long waterfall sleeves with contrasting styles. I incorporated my illustrations into the garments, helping to tell the story about my roots and personal beliefs.

I used cottons, velvet, linen and some poly. I tried to add as much detail to each fabric, from prints to beading and dyeing.

My colours are neutral: Black and White, Red and Washed Blue.

Do you have a favourite look?

Natalia created the artwork on the back of the denim jacket.
My 2nd look is definitely my favourite. (all black, with a denim jacket)

What do you think you can bring to the fashion world that is new?

I think I can bring some magic to it. I love stories and mysteries. I feed on it everyday, since I lived in the Black Forest, surrounded by fairy tales and ancient tales. I believe that fashion need it's magic, it's mystery and I'm definitely that person.

Where do you go from here – are you going to work for others for awhile, launch your own line, take a break and travel?

I do work for an amazing company called Syte Industries. It's a new space in Vancouver dedicated to Design and Creation of garments.

Please share a quote on what fashion design means to you if possible?

To me Fashion Design is poetry. A commitment to beauty. It can express the deepest feelings of someone's heart.

Anything else I didn't ask you want mentioned? 

I'm always looking for friends and people to share my story with! 

Links - 

Instagram - @natpavanelli
Facebook - www.facebook.com/natalia.pavanelli

= = = =

For more information on the fashion design program at Blanche Macdonald, please visit their website at http://www.blanchemacdonald.com/fashion/.



Monday, January 9, 2017

"Trust the Mystery" and "Spiraling Self-Awareness" - Two Titles by Nina Shoroplova


Note - these e-book titles will be available for purchase
from Kindle Direct beginning on January 25th
Synopsis - 

Each of us has an essential and unique part in the mystery

Trust the Mystery: Raising Self-Awareness through Questions, Quotes, and Quantum Wisdom couples engaging storytelling with provocative quotes and questions to inspire Nina Shoroplova’s readers into observing and reflecting on their own journey with greater self-awareness. Readers find their unique, essential place within the mystery.

Shoroplova’s simple, personal stories explore emotions, senses, and energies | the chakras | the mind and all its layers | the word and the interpreter | quantum physics, Fibonacci Sequence, and sacred geometry | divination tools | alternative healing modalities | paranormal activities, intuition, and synchronicity.

She challenges her readers to engage with the mystery through time, talent, and treasure | people, processes, and products | writing, righting, and riting | body, mind, and soul | dis-ease, ease, and wholeness.
Trust the mystery to align fully with your true Self.


Synopsis - 

Personal Mission Revealed in 27 Days through Pythagorean Numerology’s Partnership with the 9-Chakra System.

Spiraling Self-Awareness will grow readers' awareness of their uniqueness through twenty-seven days of simple exercises. Journaling their progress will reveal their passion and the mission through which they will express that passion.

Self-awareness is an essential tool to increase our success in the world. Self-awareness is a simple tool to employ—through intention, it can grow every day. Self-awareness allows us to live fuller, more abundant, and more rewarding lives. Spiraling Self-Awareness uses the wisdom that comes to us through the resonance of partnering the nine-chakra system with Pythagorean Numerology. This ebook also includes material about several Major Arcana cards in the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck. Word etymology brings more light to bear on the journey.

Interview -

Are you publishing two books in January?

Yes, on January 25 (or as close as I can make it with all the technologies involved), I am publishing two ebooks through my Wrasma Marketing indie-publishing imprint.

Trust the Mystery: Raising Self-Awareness through Questions, Quotes, and Quantum Wisdom was previously published by Influence Publishing in 2015 as a paperback. At that time, the book was called Trust the Mystery: Questions, Quotes, and Quantum Wisdom. It’s still available that way through my store (TrusttheMystery.ca), through Red Tuque Books (www.redtuquebooks.ca), and through third-party sellers on Amazon.

But I didn’t feel the ebook community had a fair opportunity to read it the first time around. Now that I have a Kindle myself, I really understand the appeal of reading ebooks. So I’ve revised my original manuscript and simplified the formatting for ebooks and will be bringing it out as a second edition through Amazon’s Kindle platform on January 25. It’s somewhere around 94,000 words, so it’ll be in the $9.99 USD price range and on at the reduced price of $2.99 for the first five days.

It’s a great book for reading slowly and for growing into its revelations. Journaling alongside really helps.

The second ebook is Spiraling Self-Awareness: Personal Mission Revealed in 27 Days through Pythagorean Numerology's Partnership with the 9-Chakra System. This is a first edition. I’ll be launching it through Amazon’s Kindle platform on January 25 as well. It’s a much shorter book at around 15,400 words, so I’ll be releasing it for free for the first five days and thereafter, its price will be $2.99. Again, journaling alongside really complements the process.

Why are you publishing them both on the same day? Do they have something in common?

Yes, they do. The purpose of both books is to raise readers’ self-awareness of their part in the mystery; each of us has an essential and unique part in the mystery. That’s why I added “Raising Self-Awareness” to the subtitle of Trust the Mystery.

What’s the appeal of self-awareness?

Self-awareness is an essential tool to increase our success in the world. Self-awareness is a simple tool to employ—through intention, it can grow every day. Self-awareness allows us to live fuller, more abundant, and more rewarding lives.

If they’re both about self-awareness, how similar are the two books?

The purpose of the two books is the same—raising my readers’ self-awareness. But Spiraling Self-Awareness is a sixth of the length of Trust the Mystery, and so it doesn’t go into all the areas that Trust the Mystery does. In fact, Spiraling Self-Awareness concentrates on combining the qualities, properties, and wisdom of the nine-chakra system with Pythagorean Numerology. I also throw in some insights from word etymology (the history and cultural origins of words) and the meaning of a few of the major arcana of the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck.

How do you combine those two methods?

Well, the basis of Pythagorean Numerology is in the esoteric and symbolic meanings of the Arabic numerals 1 to 9. The person that I’ve studied with also assigns meaning to the look of these numbers when they are depicted as numerals. For instance, the number 3 is looking back to the left to its parents, 1 and 2. It is created from two open circles facing to its past (the left). Thus, it depicts creativity—a male mates with a female to create a child.

Every number higher than 9 can be understood in at least two ways—by its actual numbers and by its reduction. So, 33, which is actually a master number with double the power of 3, has the attributes of both 3 and of 6 (3 + 3 = 6).

Over the course of the 27 days, I weigh in on numbers 1 to 27.

The nine-chakra system focuses on the seven major chakras of the body, plus the eighth chakra, which is the Higher Self, and the ninth chakra, which is the Divine Source of All That Is. So while the numerology information goes from 1 to 27 once, the chakra information goes from 1 to 9 three times, that is in three spirals. Hence the word “spiraling” in the title.

The two systems combine on Day 3 in the ebook, as an example, with a discussion of the third chakra (the solar plexus chakra) and the numeral 3. That day is entitled “Listen to Your Body and Nourish Yourself,” because the solar plexus chakra governs the creative transformation of the elements with which we feed ourselves (with more than just food) into our personal power in the world.

What’s your writing process? Did you use the same process for both books?

No, not by a long shot. I took years to write Trust the Mystery, going from MS Word to Scrivener and back to Word and I struggled with the best order for the content for quite a while. Then I sent the manuscript to an editor and a proofreader and to a hybrid publisher, Influence Publishing to help with the ISBN and so on. On the other hand, Spiraling Self-Awareness took me only one week to write (on average about 2,000 words a day), probably because I have been mulling over the knowledge provided by the chakras and numerology for years, decades actually. I wrote it in Scrivener, poured that into calibre (an ebook management software tool), and then took the next couple of weeks to edit it, and to tidy up the html (web development markup language) and the css (the Cascading Style Sheet) until now it looks wonderful. I’m thrilled with it.

The other difference is that Trust the Mystery uses Canadian spelling and conventions, whereas Spiraling Self-Awareness uses American spelling and conventions. This is something that probably only an editor would realize, but as a book editor, I notice this level of detail.

Anything else you'd like to share?

Thank you, Marilyn, for the opportunity to tell you about these two ebooks. It certainly is an exciting adventure and it’s wonderful to have some companions along the way!

Readers can receive a free pdf copy of the first chapter of Trust the Mystery (second edition) by signing up for my Whole Health on Purpose newsletter (sign up is on the front page of ninashoroplova.ca).

This Virtual Book Tour runs from January 9 until January 27, 2017 and I’ll be hopping from one destination to the next. More information is available on my website at Virtual Book Tour Schedule (NinaShoroplova.ca/home/vbt-schedule).

Links - 
Websites - NinaShoroplova.ca  | TrusttheMystery.ca
Twitter - @healthy_Nina
LinkedIn - Nina Shoroplova
Facebook Author Page - www.facebook.com/AuthorNinaShoroplova
Virtual Book Tour - http://ninashoroplova.ca/home/vbt-schedule

Meet the Author -


A truth seeker and a supportive guide, Nina Shoroplova is a book editor, a healing minister with the Anglican Church of Canada, and a co-leader of the Vancouver chapter of the International Association for Near-Death Studies. Her journey in service of others includes working as a holistic nutritionist, a soul realignment practitioner, and a spiritual counsellor. 

Thriving on contrast, she has embraced life on three different continents in the heart of cities and on the land. With one foot in Christianity and the other in esoteric soil, she seeks to understand her essential part in the mystery through self-awareness.

Shoroplova is the author of - 
  • Cattle Ranch: The Story of the Douglas Lake Cattle Company (by Nina Woolliams, Douglas & McIntyre, 1979)
  • Trust the Mystery: Questions, Quotes, and Quantum Wisdom (1st edition, Influence Publishing, 2015)
  • Trust the Mystery: Raising Self Awareness through Questions, Quotes, and Quantum Wisdom (2nd edition, Wrasma Marketing, January 2017)
  • Spiraling Self-Awareness: Personal Mission Revealed in 27 Days through Pythagorean Numerology’s Partnership with the 9-Chakra System (1st edition, Wrasma Marketing, January 2017)

Interview with Julie Salisbury of InspireABook on the 3 Day Mastermind I...



Make 2017 the year you realize your dream of becoming a published author.

Part 2 in my 4-part #interview series with Julie Salisbury of Inspire A Book and Influence Publishing covering everything you need to know about her 3-day Publishing Mastermind Intensive where authors clarify the purpose of their book, work on the “packaging” to ensure it helps deliver your key message and develop a working title/sub-title, synopsis/back page sales copy, table of contents, working chapter titles, a clear writing plan and plan for publishing book that fits their needs and budget.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Interview with Julie Salisbury - Founder of Influence Publishing & Inspi...



Check out this first of a four part interview with Influence Publishing and InspireABook founder Julie Salisbury!

In this video she share a bit about how she founded InspireABook and then gives viewers a brief overview of the 3-day Mastermind Intensive and the 4 week (online version of the Mastermind Workshop) and 16 week (book idea to completed first draft) webinars.

Be sure and check back to view the next 3 episodes and don't forget to follow my Youtube Channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZx-WR1Qzs7MUkXQ1HgipLg

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Blanche Macdonald - Julian Leclerc, Post-Apocalyptic Earth.

Runway Images by Peter Jensen Photography
Illustrations by Julian Leclerc

Neon Dreams 2016 show recap - http://bit.ly/2gp70mi

I was honoured to be at the most recent Blanche Macdonald grad show to see the newest group of Fashion Design students offer their amazing grad collections. As always, I left the event inspired.

Design students may not have the experience and technical skills that come from working a long time in the fashion industry, but they bring fresh ideas to the table that offer a small window into where things may head in the future.

Each season I pick a few students to offer a solo article on and I try to offer a wide range of aesthetics and styles. Choosing who to feature all starts with a look at their portfolios. I want these to be strong representations of their work overall as well as offer good illustrations. Strong illustrations offer me an idea of the designers potential as an artist.

Next I watch the runway show closely. As someone who sewed professionally for five years, I don't want to see puckered seams or odd threads hanging. I look for proportions that are flattering and interesting ideas. In the end, fashion is very subjective, so I look for what catches my eye.

In addition to Julian Leclerc's wonderful illustrations, I was drawn to the detail work on his garments (unique placement of zippers, fabric treatment and fringe). The designer also offered wearable shapes, but elevated them to something new and interesting. For example, just look at the hood in the first image below.  I also enjoyed the dark feeling he captured in this collection. When I received his Q and A answers, it was no surprise to learn about his inspiration. He definitely nailed it.

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Where were you born? Where did you grow up?

I was born in a small town in North Eastern British Columbia called Fort St. John. Fort St. John is home to a little over 20 thousand people. I was born and grew up there, I was there for a little over 24 years until moving down to Vancouver the month before classes began.

What you like when you were young?

In my younger years, I was always creative and imaginative. Starting with the hours and days building creations of Lego. As I got older I progressed into drawing and painting and later turning towards digital art using a tablet and computer. As a you teenager I always liked originality and standing out from the crowd. Being from such a small town standing out wasn’t always well received, but I always stuck with what I liked and stood out all the more.

What were your interests in High School?

In high school my main interests were theater and art. The first year I was in the stage craft class, designing and making the sets for the school play. The following year I took the acting and theater classes. Talking art classes every year since Jr. High.

Looking back, can you remember any signs that you would end up in fashion? A personal story would be great here.

Since the age of 14 I always wanted to have my own snow/ skate board brand, a culture I was immersed in, in my teen years. I wanted to be able to have clothing that I though was cool rather than having to find it through other brands. Although this was always something on the back of my mind, wanting to have a brand of my own somehow the thought of looking into fashion schools as a way to pursue this dream never crossed my mind.



Talk about when and how you decided to study fashion design. Was you family supportive?

About 3 years ago, I decided to take apart some jeans and applique a bunch of denim patches I had cut and distressed from recycled jeans. I then made a few other pairs of similar pants styling them off of rock and metal bands fashion. I had also been wanting to move to Vancouver over the years pervious and had almost moved down a few different times but never pulled the trigger. One day while working on a project I think it kind of just popped in my head to look up fashion schools in Vancouver. After a few days of research, I had decided the Blanche Macdonald looked like the school I wanted to attend.

My family was very supportive and have helped me every point along the way. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without their help with I am so grateful for.

Why did you choose to study at Blanche Macdonald?

I had looked at 3 or 4 different schools looking at the courses they offered, duration of the program and the cost of tuition. In talking with one of the Admission Directors at Blanche Macdonald I was sold. She did a great job at making me feel like I would be right at home, even though I didn’t have an interest in fashion designers and runways at the time. In March, only a few short weeks since I had started talking with the Admissions Directors and filling out my application, and only 5 months before classes started I flew down to take a tour of the school. Upon returning home I had played my deposit and was fully enrolled in the program due to start classes in September.

Talk about your time studying Fashion Design. What was hard for you, what was easy for you? Are there any high, low or funny moments you can share?

I very much enjoyed my time studying at Blanche Macdonald. In all the technical classes I became comfortable right away, especially pattern drafting. In high school I took drafting classes and was thinking of pursuing Architecture as a career so it was fun to do drafting again. Art class was great, Design class on the other hand took a while for me to find my place. Having never really tried to design a garment before learning how everything moved and draped as well as how to create an inspiration board then design garments was a bit over whelming at first. Seeing my design ability evolve and the confidence I gained in my designs over the duration of the course was one of the parts I enjoyed most.

My funniest memory to think back on is the first week of school in drafting class. We were learning to manipulate blocks to create different bodices. As the teacher explained how to move the dart from underarm to the shoulder, I put my hand up and asked the teacher what a dart was which the class had a little laugh over. Looking back now at how abundant darts are in woman and even men’s wear I think it just makes me chuckle at how truly green I was coming into this program and profession.



What was the inspiration for your grad collection? Describe your collection. Share anything you'd like readers to know.

My inspiration was a post-apocalyptic Earth. A land that post destruction was reverted to more primitive tribes of survivors battling for what little still stood. In designing these post-apocalypse road warriors, I used a lot of military references and created very utilitarian garments. I named my collection Road Worn, referring to the road warriors wearing the garments as well as the worn finish of the garments.

My collection is kind of a full mix from sportswear pieces to evening and event pieces. The bulk of my collection was day wear with endless styling and pairing ability’s.

What is the palette? What fabrics did you use

I used 100% cotton in almost all of my pieces. I used black and olive cotton fabrics. I then created my prints by hand using bleach. Creating the prints was one of my favorite parts of making this collection. I wanted to use as much natural fabric as I could and creating the prints gave me the perfect way to have the garments look worn or distressed and also be someone original and stand out.

Do you have a favourite look?

My favorite look that was on the runway at the grad show was my second look, a jacket and pants. The jacket had a 2-way zipper which was styled zipped up to just under bust showing off her stomach and the natural waisted pants. The jacket was originally made with a 1-way zipper and after the show fittings decided change it to the 2-way zipper to allow the pants to be better displayed. Seeing them a model for the first time during its debut on the runway they had turned out greater then I could have imagined.

What do you think you can bring to the fashion world that is new?

I don’t know what new I can bring as there is so much out there and so much that has already been done. What I hope to bring to the fashion industry is a brand of unique and functional garments with endless styling possibility’s. One that hopefully brings people out of there shell helps people to strive to stand out.

Where do you go from here – are you going to work for others for a while, launch your own line, take a break and travel?

Since graduating u have starting working at Search and Rescue Denim and local artisan shop located on Granville island, building stylish aprons for many creative professionals around the globe. I hope to have my own line and will be starting some custom and one of pieces in the coming months.
Please share a quote on what fashion design means to you if possible?

Fashion is a way to visually express our creativity and who we are. The ability of two people to be wearing the same garment but being able to style it to express themselves their own way, this is something I wanted to build into my designs. Garments with multiple ways to be styled build into each garment.

For more information or to contact Julian Leclerc, please email julian.g.leclerc@gmail.com. And be sure and follow him on Instagram at @c3calamityclothing.

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For more information on the fashion design program at Blanche Macdonald, please visit their website at http://www.blanchemacdonald.com/fashion/.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Easy, Delicious Crockpot (Slow Cooker) Stew!

Stock image
Whether you call it a Crock Pot, Crockpot or Slow Cooker, this is one kitchen gadget I couldn't live without.  I may not use it frequently, but when I do it's a life saver. From soups, to stews, to pork Carne Asada, to stuffed peppers and even desserts, the uses are endless.  And it's cooking that requires no checking. You just add the ingredients the way the recipes suggests and walk away.

Sundays are dinner and a movie night with my oldest. Anything to lure a son who lives on his own home to spend time with his parents is a good thing.  As we watch a movie almost every week - we embrace a wide range.  Comedy, SciFi, Animation, Mystery, Art, Film Noir, Award nominated, each week we try to mix it up.

Every once and awhile there is a movie that needs to be seen on the big screen because of stunning visuals - IMAX prefered - or the larger theatre sound system.  Yesterday we wanted to see one that definitely fit this criteria - Dr. Strange.  As we were watching the 4:45 show and the movie is around 2 hours, I needed a supper that was ready when we walked in the door.

It's cold and gray outside, so I decide Beef Stew would be perfect. In looking at 3 or 4 recipes, I came up with the list below.  If you're like me and natural chef with a great palette, then exploring a variety of recipes is a great way to open the door on creating your own without too much risk. All this went in the crockpot at 9 a.m. in the morning. How easy is that?

As this is a meal in a bowl, all I added were some crusty split rolls which I buttered, sprinkled with grated Asiago Cheese and then wrapped tightly before we left. When we walked it I slid them under the broiler and let them toast while I filled my large oval individual stew bowls. My favourite for serving full meal soups and stews are large oval ones I bought in a set from Costco - see below. Voila - dinner in minutes.

Enjoy! And don't  be afraid to play a bit with the recipe to make it your own. The options are endless.

= = = =

Easy, Delicious Crockpot (Slow Cooker) Stew!
This fills a LARGE 7 Quart Crockpot!

Ingredients - 

1                            Medium to large sweet onion, diced
2                            Stalks Celery, cut once lengthwise and then crosswise
                                         into 1/4" slices
2                            Cloves Garlic, Minced
1                            7 oz/200 g package sliced mushrooms
1                            bay leaf
1 tsp                      Paprika
1/2 tsp                   Salt
1/4 tsp                   Coarse Black Pepper
1 tsp                      Worcestershire Sauce (could sub Soy Sauce or Tamari)
2 lbs.                     Inexpensive lean beef roast cut into 1 inch cubes
                                          (or pre-cut stewing beef)
1/4 C                     Flour
4                            Large Carrots cut once lengthwise and the crosswise
                                          into 1/4" slices
1-1/2 lbs.               New potatoes, small ones left whole, larger ones cut
                                          cross-wise
1                            Can (10.5 oz/284 ml) Condensed Beef Broth
1/2 C                     Red Wine (could sub more beef broth if you prefer)

Directions -

Stock image. I prefer the white bowls. These are
my number one go to for full meal soups and stews.
Prepare all vegetables. Toss Beef cubes with flour until well-coated.  In LARGE crockpot layer ingredients as follows - onion, celery, garlic, then mushroom. Sprinkle with bay leaf, paprika, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Then continue to layer in this order - flour tossed beef cubes, carrots and then potatoes.  Mix the condensed beef broth and red wine. Drizzle over the layers in the Crockpot.

Cook on Low for 10 - 12 hours. GENTLY stir until all ingredients are evenly spaced. As everything will be well-cooked, it's important not to be too aggressive here.  Serve with crusty rolls, broiled cheese topped buns or your favourite quick loaf (mine is Brethren Cheese Quick Bread).

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Blanche Macdonald - Ninon Parent, For the Strong Minded, Theatrical Soul

Runway Images by Peter Jensen Photography
Illustrations by Ninon Parent

Neon Dreams 2016 show recap - http://bit.ly/2gp70mi

I was honoured to be at the most recent Blanche Macdonald grad show to see the newest group of Fashion Design students offer their amazing grad collections. As always, I left the event inspired.

Design students may not have the experience and technical skills that come from working a long time in the fashion industry, but they bring fresh ideas to the table that offer a small window into where things may head in the future.

Each season I pick a few students to offer a solo article on and I try to offer a wide range of aesthetics and styles.  Choosing who to feature all starts with a look at their portfolios. I want these to be strong representations of their work overall as well as offer good illustrations. Strong illustrations offer me an idea of the designers potential as an artist.

Next I watch the runway show closely. As someone who sewed professionally for five years, I don't want to see puckered seams or odd threads hanging. I look for proportions that are flattering and interesting ideas. In the end, fashion is very subjective, so I look for what catches my eye.

Ninon Parent is heavily influenced by her work in circus costuming, so she brought some truly unique ideas to the runway. In the evening show, we only saw two of her three looks. Fortunately, photographer Peter Jensen shot both, so I was able to get all the images. Enjoy!

- - - -
First Look

Where were you born, where did you grow up?

I am born in Rouyn-Noranda in Quebec, it is located about 30 min of the Ontario border. and 5 hours up from Ottawa. I grew up in Cloutier in an small village in Abitibi-Temiscamingue with the family of my grandmother. D'Alembert and other small villages on the other side of Rouyn-Noranda, is where I lived from my teen years to adulthood.

What you like when you were young?

At Cloutier, playing out side with all the kids around was my favourite thing to do. In winter we would build fortresses out of snow. Summer was to play alien invasion. When we moved to D'Alembert, I found new interests and things to do like helping my friend to take care of her chores on their little farm - feeding and cleaning the rabbits , goats, sheep and chickens, helping to clean their piece of land of dead wood, and storing the bales of grass for the animal. My other friend had ponies so we did horseback riding together. We would also go walking for hours in the wood, go swimming and go skiing.

















What were your interests in High School?

School was very hard for me academically. In high school I began dancing with PRELV from Lynn Vaillancourt, something I continued to do for the next 8 years. I also played volley ball.  I found I was very good at sport and art which helped me get through school and boosted my confidence.

Looking back, can you remember any signs that you would end up in fashion? A personal story would be great here.

Second Look
  • At 9 years of age I ask my mom how to use the sewing machine to make a pair of pants for my barbie. I designed, cut and sewed them myself. I made the pattern by laying Barbie on a piece of clothing and tracing around the doll..
  • At 12 years, I made a pair of bouffant clown pants for my friend Rene for his clown bit in the year and school show.
  • For about 6 months I made all kind of hands marionettes, sewing the wool hair and painting the face with Artex paint. I begin to make paper pattern to refined them.
  • At 14 years I modified one of my body suits for my costume for my big dance exam. Years later in the 1980's, I saw that same kind of modification in body suit design.

  • At 15 years, our dance teacher told us that we need to come up with our own skirt for the end year show. After telling us for months, three weeks before the performance we still had no skirts. I said I will make a sample. I did a wrap skirt with a very wavy band. She gave my sample to a mom to use as model to make the 12 other skirts.
Talk about when and how you decided to study fashion design. Was you family supportive?

I suffered a knee injury doing a stunt an couldn't work. WorkSafeBC sent me back to school to study accounting. I lasted one month and left, but I had to propose another program I wanted to study. My sister in law Helen put the seed in my head about fashion design. I researched all the schools in town and then gave my list to WorkSafeBC.

Why did you choose to study at Blanche Macdonald?

WorkSafeBC accepted the program because it was a one year program and there was enough money left in my rehabilitation to pay the tuition fee.


Talk about your time studying Fashion Design. What was hard for you, what was easy for you? Are there any high, low or funny moments you can share?

The hardest was the memorization of all the fashion terms, the fashion designer names and all the writing. Those of us who are english as a second language had a much harder time in school. The sewing class was the only class that I could do all the exercises in the amount of time that was specified.

Doing the cartwheel during the fashion show was the most fun I had during the program. All my energy was put in studying. It was great, but not for relaxing. One thing for sure - I can understand English much better now.

Third Look
What was the inspiration for your grad collection? Share anything you'd like readers to know?

Sky Rise and Big Trees

Describe your collection – title, customer, day-evening-sportswear-separates-casual-highend glamour-stage costuming-punk?

These are individually crafted pieces designed for the strong minded, theatrical soul.

What is the palette? What fabrics did you use?

Brown, beige, blue, green are my palette. Stretchy lace for the cat suits. Whole yarn for the dreadlocks of the first look. False fur, wood, vinyl, and slinkies wrapped with wool for the second look. Dupion imitation and banana leaves sheet for the 3 look.

Do you have a favourite look?

I truly don't have a favourite look. I love the wavy movement and the colour of my first look.
All the different element of the second look make it a very joy full piece. The slinkys add so much movement and the hood gives texture. The third look with the high collar over the face and the cut out have an almost regal Egyptian look.

I've been doing fashion design with out realizing it since I
began doing circus with my husband. This picture is me making
a costume for my husband
What do you think you can bring to the fashion world that is new?

I don't know. I thought that every thing as been invented and I managed to put slinkies wrapped with wool in to my design, which haven't been seen before.

Where do you go from here – are you going to work for others for awhile, launch your own line, take a break and travel?


I would love to work for NASA developing clothing that has multiple uses, but before doing anything I need to rest. I'm going to Japan with my friend in February. My intention was to go to work for the movie industry once I had my diploma, but first I need a break.

Links - 

Circus Company Website - www.undergroundcircus.ca
Underground Circus FB - www.facebook.com/pg/tuc.undergroundcircus/
Underground Circus Instagram - @undergroundcircus
Underground Circus Twitter - @TheUGCircus
Personal FB - www.facebook.com/ninon.parent.5

- - - - 

For more information on the fashion design program at Blanche Macdonald, please visit their website at http://www.blanchemacdonald.com/fashion/.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Disruption by Chuck Barrett

Jake and Francesca find themselves in a high-voltage race to stop these cyber terrorists from unleashing destruction against their sworn mortal enemy.

Synopsis -

There are two types of people: those who have been hacked and know it, and those who have been hacked and don’t know it.

Former Naval Intelligence Officer turned secret operative Jake Pendleton finds himself in a pulse-pounding race to stop a cyber-terrorist from releasing a string of the most heinous cyber-crimes the world has ever seen. Crimes that could render the world’s advanced technology useless.

Jake teams with his partner, Francesca Catanzaro, to track down their only lead, a white-hat hacker in Italy known only as The Jew. A man who might hold the key to stop a group of black-hat hackers from causing worldwide chaos—tag named Disruption.

After a search of the hacker’s flat in Rome turns up empty, Jake and Francesca follow the clues—a trail of dead bodies that leads them across Europe. Along the way, Jake discovers a possible link between recent hacks and a Malaysian airliner that mysteriously disappeared.

In the final adrenaline-charged moments before Disruption, Jake and Francesca find themselves in a high-voltage race to stop these cyber terrorists from unleashing destruction against their sworn mortal enemy.

Review - 

Disruption is the eighth book by author Chuck Barrett. It is a mystery/thriller/suspense. The premise is one that has great relevance in today's world - the threat that cyber terrorists could hack into important computer systems and shut the world down. Literally. Globally we have become dependent on computers and the internet to function in almost every area of life.  Can you imagine if not a single computer worked - retail, personal, government, defense, etc.?

Secret operatives Jake Pendleton and Francesca Catanzaro are both strong, intelligent and lethal. As a team, they pose a serious threats to an enemy and the private company they work for backs them with state of the art systems. Their mission is to discover the true nature of a growing terrorist threat and disarm it before implementation. This leads them an international search, racing against an ever looming deadline. The terrorist are ruthless in their pursuit of victory, right down to some very disturbing torture sessions.

Disruption also follows personal threads as we are slowly given insight into the lead characters - Jake and Francesca. They may be lethal operatives, but behind their tough veneer beats the hearts of fallible human beings.  The question arises, will their personal difficulties prove too much of a distraction? Then there is the white hacker who has hidden clues in the programming that, if found in time, could disrupt the terrorists' plan. Can he survive the extreme torture sessions without giving out important codes the terrorist need to activate their cyber attack, at least long enough for those clues to be discovered?

The world's future hangs in the balance.

Buy the Book: Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Audible

Meet the author:

Check out at great behind the scenes interview HERE!

Chuck Barrett is the bestselling author of the Award-Winning Jake Pendleton series—Breach of Power, The Toymaker, and The Savannah Project, as well as his latest award-winning blockbuster, BLOWN, the first book in his new Gregg Kaplan series.

In addition to writing thrillers, Barrett speaks and conducts workshops at book festivals, book clubs, reading groups, writers conferences, and writers groups. Some of his topics include Nuts & Bolts of Self-Publishing based on his book—Publishing Unchained: An Off-Beat Guide To Independent Publishing—as well as, Blueprint for a Successful Book Launch, Getting from ‘Idea’ to ‘Finished Manuscript,’ Mysteries & Thrillers: Fact or Fiction, and Adding the “What if” in Storytelling.

Barrett is a graduate of Auburn University and a retired air traffic controller. He also holds a Commercial Pilot Certificate, Flight Instructor Certificate, and a Dive Master rating. He enjoys fly fishing, hiking, and most things outdoors. He and his wife, Debi currently reside in Colorado.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook



Interview with Chuck Barrett, Author of Disruption

























Please share a bit about your journey to becoming a writer/published author/Not everyone has a mid-life crisis, but I did. At 41, I found myself divorced with three young children, a 50/50 joint custody, and a full time job…a logistical nightmare since my employer, the federal government, really didn't care about my problems, only whether I showed up for work or not. Like most people who find themselves thrust into these situations, I struggled.

One day, while talking to a friend about all the things I felt about my new found life as a single father, I was asked if there was anything I had ever wanted to do but never had the time (or inclination) to do. As a fanatic about thrillers, whether reading or movie going, I replied, "I think I'd like to write a book." My friend had made me see what I couldn’t' see myself.

That was 1998. It took twelve years and several rewrites (5), critique groups, and writing conferences, along with a 6 or 7-year respite from writing, before my first book, The Savannah Project, was published.

With 8 books behind you, where do you find the inspiration for new story lines? For the characters you create?
Some story lines develop without much thought; they just seem to find themselves along the way…or find me. The first book was easy; I already knew what I wanted to write about…it was learning the craft that took so long. The second, not so much. I met a man on vacation in Utah who became the impetus for the next book…and his character has carried through to my latest, DISRUPTION, which came out October 25, 2016. But he is not the protagonist, he's the protagonist's boss. This real life character has found his way into three thrillers of mine so far. Other ideas come from news articles, current events…it's just a matter of paying attention to what's going on around the world…or around my world.
For me, characters seem to come easy. Certainly easier than story lines. Fleshing out a character before writing is important. I didn't have a good handle on how important that concept was until just a few years ago. Once you know what motivates a character, it's much easier to put yourself in their shoes when you write.

Your books are labeled as mystery, suspense, tehno thrillers and political. What kind of research is involved in creating a believable story line in these genres?              
Review - HERE
                                                                                                                                          
Can I get away with just saying extensive? Yeah, I thought not. I have a notebook full of research material for each book. Whether I's settings, technology, historical information, character descriptions, … the list goes on. And I still print it out and keep it handy so I can flip through pages as I need to while writing. Google Earth and Google maps are critical tools for every author. We can't always go to every setting, so we need a way to be accurate about settings without actually visiting sometimes. Street views allows us to view the setting as if we were actually standing in the middle of the street. In a sense, we are. With DISRUPTION, I had to delve deeper into political motivations for cyber-warfare and explore several scenarios with different countries in order to present the most interesting one to the reader. All Plausible. All have happened or could easily happen any day. And all, scary as hell.


Have any experiences from your time as an air traffic controller ever worked their way into one of your story lines?

Funny this question should arise. Having been in the aviation industry since 1978, I felt an obligation with my first book, The Savannah Project, to include an aviation theme. Not only did I include some experiences from my time as an air traffic controller, but as a pilot as well. Since the story basically starts with an airplane crash, I incorporated it from a controller's perspective, since I already had roughly 25 years' experience as a controller. Tidbits from many of my coworkers found their way into the characters in the book. Some flattering, some not so much. 

How do your organize your time when working on a new book? Research? Working on Manuscript? Pre-marketing?
For the most part, when an idea comes to me, I start researching a little at a time until the full premise comes to me. When I have enough to start writing, I typically write non-stop until I'm finished. I don't have a set-in-stone schedule and I don't write every day. When I am in the writing mode, I do have somewhat of a schedule…I answer emails and spend a little time on social media first thing in the morning-then I write the rest of the day with a break for lunch. After the first draft is completed, I put the manuscript away for a minimum of two weeks. After my brain has purged some of the writing mode clutter, I pick it back up and start self-edits. Typically, two times through the entire manuscript, front to back, before I let anyone read it. First crack at it goes to my wife, who always does an outstanding and thorough edit…including fact-checking. (She also makes sure I don't embarrass myself by writing something outlandish. It happens on occasion.) After I've cleaned it up from her edits, I sent it out to my tried and true beta readers.

I give myself quite a long lead time from completed/finished product to release date. That way I have plenty of time from premarketing and advance reviews. It also gives Audible plenty of time to get the audiobook produced by the release day. My usual lead time is between five and six months prior to release date. Seems like a long time, but I get a lot accomplished during that time, including a good jump start on the next book.




As an author - what do you enjoy most about writing process? What feels like a chore?

I am what many call a pantser. I know the beginning, the end, and roughly how I want the story to go before I begin writing. Then I let the story just unfold as I write. This part is fun and exciting. Most times what happens is as much of a surprise to me as it will be to the reader.

The worst part, by far, of the entire process is editing. Worst for me, anyway. I do know some authors who like editing—I think they're sadists.

Any advice for young authors wanting to write books in this genre?
I'm always excited when young writers jump into the thriller genre. My advice is simple -
  • Be creative.
  • Be bold.
  • Don't get discouraged.
  • And don't quit.
You also offer tips on self-publishing through both workshops and your book - Publishing Unchained: An Off-Beat Guide To Independent Publishing. What is your number one tip?For those who want to jump into the self-publishing role, my #1 piece of advice is to separate your author self from your publisher self. The process MUST be looked at from different perspectives, and some of which are contrary to the best interests of the other. For instance, as a publisher, you must be critical about the product you are about to release to the industry. If the author (yourself) has done a good enough job, DON'T PUBLISH THE BOOK! If you do, it will forever look badly against you as a publisher and an author. In every way, the product you put out as a publisher must look, read, and feel just like that NY Times bestseller sitting next to it on a shelf.

Optional - anything new in the works you'd like to share with readers?

As of this writing, my latest, DISRUPTION, and the fourth in the Jake Pendleton series has just been released. Because of the overwhelming positive response to BLOWN, the first Gregg Kaplan series book, I will be dedicating the next two books to this series. My work-in-progress is the second Kaplan story. I have already started this story, but took a short respite to release DISRUPTION. (In reality, the weather has been unusually warm and pleasant in Northern Colorado this Fall, so I've been taking advantage of it by spending a lot of time outdoors.)

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook