Happy Graduation
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Happy Graduation

Happy Graduation

Happy Graduation
My brilliant and beautiful step-daughter graduated from Johns Hopkins University last week. She’s continuing on to the molecular biology and immunology program at the Bloomberg School, and from there to medical school. We’re very proud of her.
But even the joy of her accomplishments is eclipsed by something: her loveliness of spirit. Julia has worked with diligence and commitment to achieve her rite of passage. She’s shown a gift for deferred gratification, long-term goal-making, and personal sacrifice. More than that, she’s kind-hearted and grateful, loving and sweet-natured. It was exquisite happiness to share her moment with her.
Fun with my friends
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Fun with my friends

My friend Michelle Czernin makes great parties. She made one in New York City for a splendid young man, Europe’s hottest rising opera star, Daniel Serafin. I invited another friend, Debra Jaliman, author of the wildly popular SKIN RULES. Here we are….

photo credit: MC O’Conner/Savvy Shooter Media

Radio Program: A Book and a Chat hosted by Barry Eva
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Radio Program: A Book and a Chat hosted by Barry Eva

Book PR can be fun. The best part of it is talking to intriguing people with whom I wouldn’t otherwise have had an opportunity to speak. Christine Giri of Time Tamer, Marcia Cook of A Good Story, Susan Wingate and Joshua Graham of Dialogue Between the Lines, Maryanne Comaroto of Maryanne Live, Faith Ranoli of Heart and Home Healing, Kelli McCracken of ParaYourNormal, my friend Rory Pinto of New Perspectives–all these good folks host lively radio programs that enhance and enrich the lives of their listeners.

Last night was another treat: I had the opportunity to be on Barry Eva’s sparkling radio program, A Book and a Chat. It was good fun. I hope you enjoy the show.

Listen to internet radio with A Book and a Chat on Blog Talk Radio
Radio Program
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Recommeded Resources Below:

This was another fun guest post, because Lillian and Dave asked such thoughtful questions. Check out Brummet’s Conscious Discussions.
If any readers have questions for me, send them and I’ll post answers on this blog. Thank you!

World of Writing

— World of Writing —
That’s right! It’s time for another fascinating interview with other writers, offering their insights on the industry. Loyal listeners of our radio sho may remember we had Tracy Slatton on as a featured guest back in May 2008 – check out the full interview via: Midlife & the Italian Renaissance

She has some more interesting thoughts on the industry that she’d like to share with us today, but first let me tell you a little about her. Traci L. Slatton is a graduate of Yale and Columbia, and she also attended the Barbara Brennan School of Healing. She lives in Manhattan with her husband, sculptor Sabin Howard – and she’s here to speak about both her life as an author and her thoughts on the world of e-publishing. * Find Traci @: www.tracilslatton.com

Q: Where are you from?
People ask where I am from, and I say, “Around.” My dad was in the Navy, so we moved frequently. I was born outside Chicago and grew up in Groton, CT; Norfolk, VA; Millington, TN; and Olathe, KS. I’ve been in New York city since 1985 and I consider myself a New Yorker.
Because I grew up in a peripatetic military life, my books reflect my love for travel, for different ways of being in the world. There is curiosity and adventure to life. Fallen is set in France, right after the world has ended. But this is France after a devastating apocalypse. The Botticelli Affair takes place partly in New York city, but the main character, luscious art forger Laila Cambridge, travels to Paris, Amsterdam, and Rome—three of my favorite cities.
Q: When did you consider yourself a writer?
I knew when I was 6 years old, after reading my first “big book,” that I wanted to write novels. It has been the longing that has led me through my life. In some way, everything I have done has been about that goal, that longing. I was the first person in my family to go to college, and I was accepted into Yale after my junior year of high school. That was, for me, about becoming a writer. I was determined to do whatever it took to get there.
Q: Do you use more than one voice in your writing? (first/second…)
My three novels are largely written in the first person. Part of my process is about feeling myself, and imagining myself, deeply into the main character. The character comes alive when I use ‘I.’
Laila, my bubbly art forger in The Botticelli Affair, was fun to write because she’s zany and frisky, while also wrestling with her dark temptations. Emma, the main character in Fallen, struggles with her own heart. Emma is on a mystical odyssey, and her choices are fateful. She is trying to find joy and meaning while keeping a group of children alive.
Q: What is your profession and educational background?
I received a bachelor’s from Yale in English and an MFA in creative writing from Columbia. I also attended the four year Barbara Brennan School of Healing. I spent many years as a hands-on healer. Now I am a professional writer. I’ve also been raising three and a half children—‘half’ being my beautiful step-daughter.
Q: What is your mission?
My mission is to write novels that entertain, uplift, and awaken the reader. I intend to write stories that will buoy people through troubled times, as well as delight them while they are reading.
For these reasons, I write novels where the stakes are high. In Fallen, there has been an apocalypse. So the question is, what is left, when everything is gone? In this story, I propose that it is love.
Q: What do you consider to be your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
I think I create three-dimensional characters, that’s a strength. But I am borderline wordy. It’s imperative for me to have a good editor!
Q: About e-Publishing and Self publishing
It’s a brave new world of publishing. Because of e-publishing, we are in the midst of the greatest revolution in publishing since the invention of the Guttenberg Press, which, by the way, put a whole class of people out of work within a generation: scribes. And initially, there was quite a lot of resistance to printed books; members of the elite classes believed that no educated man would buy coarse printed books. We’ve all seen how that turned out!
The traditional publishers are dinosaurs, fossilizing in front of our eyes. They take too long to read manuscripts, they take too long to get manuscripts into printed form, they respond too slowly to the market, they are afraid to take risks, they are terrified of innovation and run from it, they run themselves on old-school business ‘rules’ that are outmoded and largely false for books, they run via group-think and committee-mind so they lack creativity and vision, their PR departments are incompetent, they want to be gatekeepers instead of gate-openers serving the reading public, and they have no sense of nurturing mid-list authors and developing a career over time. Basically, traditional publishing houses are searching vainly for an algorithm that will guarantee that every book they publish will be a bestseller. To that end, they beat the deceased equine until it is a gelatinous mass.
This is a time when independent-minded, innovative, pathologically persistent authors can do very, very well—because they can get their books out to the reading, buying public quickly. However: beware of literary agencies that offer to publish your novel for you, for a price. In my mind this is a serious conflict of interest for a literary agency and a shocking dereliction of ethical responsibility. If an agent likes your book but can’t sell it, take your book and e-publish it yourself.
HOWEVER, and this is crucial: it is imperative that every e-publishing author do a few things: 1. Hire a professional manuscript editor and do at least 2 revisions, and 2. Hire a professional copy-editor and have the manuscript copy-edited before sending it to the e-publisher. These are not optional. They are mandatory. Sloppy books are not taken seriously and will not sell. My third recommendation is to hire a PR firm. Readers can’t buy your books if they don’t know about them!
Find Dave and Lillian Brummet, excerpts from their books, information about their radio program, newsletter, blog, and more at: www.brummet.ca * Support the Brummets by telling your friends, or visiting the Brummet’s Store – every sale raises funds for charity as well!
IMMORTAL in Brazil
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IMMORTAL in Brazil

IMMORTAL in Brazil

The good folks at Bertrand Brasil sent me the cover to their forthcoming edition of IMMORTAL. “It was based on a painting of Leonardo da Vinci called ‘The Savior.’ We wait for your appreciation,” wrote the Brazilian editor.
I do appreciate! This cover is gorgeous, and I am grateful. IMMORTAL has been blessed with beautiful covers all over the world, starting with the US cover. My appreciation overflows!
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Brene Brown: The power of vulnerability | Video on TED.com

Brene Brown: The power of vulnerability | Video on TED.com

Over the last several years, I have been given a wonderful opportunity: I’ve been repeatedly attacked by someone in my life, through litigation, character assassination, poison emails, contemptuous letters, and screaming episodes that occur both in public and on the phone.
It has been unpleasant. Often sad. Certain therapists, who are infected with the false notion that “It takes two to tango,” eg, two parties necessarily participate equally in high conflict situations, refuse to see that it is happening. This is one of the problems with current psychotherapy. Fortunately, a few therapists are starting to see beyond those kinds of cheap, untrue platitudes.
So I know for a fact that, in a conflict, if one person wants to fight, the other person’s best efforts at conciliation may fail. Because despite years of my returning kindness for blame and excoriation, the persons involved in this situation are not amenable to any kind of peace. Some people are committed to their own malice, hate, and vengefulness.
The opportunity here, despite the profound discomfort, is to reaffirm my self-worth internally. It’s for me to see myself as worthy of love and connection in the face of someone desperately wanting me to feel unworthy. To do this, I have had to come to some awakenings. One is that other people’s feelings and actions have absolutely nothing to do with me. They do what they do because that’s who they are. Someone who acts with constant nastiness and negativity has that internally with which to act. It’s no reflection of me.
Another awakening is something beautifully articulated in the video above: “Blame is a way to discharge pain and discomfort.” I never articulated it to myself this way, but I had a sense of it. I came to this understanding, which correlates with the first one, by way of realizing that if even five percent of what these people say about me were true, I would be Adolph Hitler or Genghis Khan. I simply am not.
But they really, really want me to feel bad.
And that is about them, not about me.
So it has been a gift. And it is a gift that has led me deeper into my heart. Because it makes me feel vulnerable, to be so constantly attacked. And in that vulnerability, I have come to recommit to my own courage, to offer myself compassion, and to tell my story with my whole heart. I affirm my imperfections. I love with all that I am despite the lack of guarantees–though, to be sure, this is for me a daily practice, not a fixed endpoint. Another practice I cultivate is one of gratitude.
So I recommend the TED.com video posted above: it’s a shortcut to the learning that I came to via unpleasantness. And it’s great fun! May all who read this blog know their own self-worth, and find in their hearts both their frailty and their lovableness.