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Motivational Monday – A Midsummer…. Note.

Dear Readers,

First, a warm thanks for all your support and positivity exuded to me here and in general. Deeply indebted. I usually refrain from talking politics on my blog but in the current climate, there’s some things in regards to bullying and harassment that I’d like to address candidly.

I know all of us can relate to the turbulent times our world is going through. How sad that issues from long ago regarding racism and the like are still alive and unfortunately well today. Instead of posting numerous, bloviating posts about my disdain for our current Presidential administration, I figured one note would be as effective. Embarrassment sums it up for me. I never thought in a million years that people unqualified to represent the USA would ever have a chance to do so. Wealthy men are currently trying to take away equal rights and empathize with the plights of the poor and working class people. Revolting.

But, to every wrongdoing there is a right one. Think back in history. Dire events like this creates pioneers, protesters, and advocates to “right the wrongs” of injustice. Dignity, grit, ethics, grace, knowledge, and humanity are just some of the words to associate with leaders. I hope my country will have this again—a fair and strong democracy. Currently we have a bloated miscreant smeared all over the “real news” who thrives on avarice, misogyny, and callousness—thanks to unlawfully buying his election from you know who. No worries people. Groups like the ACLU and Change.org (with our help of course) will aid in Trump’s comeuppance. Mark my words. The biggest gripe I have are the lies and bullying that has been in his backdrop from the get-go. It doesn’t just end in politics. It’s everywhere really. Whether you’re in school, at work, traveling, etc. Bullies thinking they can get away with this crass behavior. They’re wrong. No one has the right to harass or defame anyone and if they do, punishment is in order.

My blog is and always will be open to all, no matter what religion, race, or sexual preference. Diversity and kindness have always been (some of) my favorite words. This is a time for us to keep striving farther than ever. Endurance and respect are key. Hard work pays off. It starts with care. Caring about your life, loved ones, people with illness, children, environment, people with disabilities, neighborhood, people you pass by on the street, etc. Banding together, protecting each other goes on for infinite miles. No one, no matter what rank they hold, can ever take away your integrity, reputation, and conviction.

I leave you with words of wisdom from a couple of great men:

Our goal is to create a beloved community and
this will require a qualitative change in our souls
as well as a quantitative change in our lives.” 
~ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.” ~ Harvey Fierstein

Ciao for now,
Lisa

 
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Posted by on July 24, 2017 in Unedited Quill Spills

 

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Happy Holidays

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Happy holidays to my lovely fans everywhere, especially my followers here. I’m beyond grateful for your support. I look forward to reading you, showcase my latest work, and more author interviews in the new year. I have lot’s to cheer about 🙂 And hope you do too! I’ll be ringing in 2016 from a warm sandy beach with family & friends.

If you want to do something generous for a child, bake a festive treat and tweet pic to #BakeItForward @FoodNetwork.

See you next year (don’t be late!)
LM

 
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Posted by on December 24, 2015 in Unedited Quill Spills

 

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Monday Motivation & Tunes…

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Currently playing on Little Mountain FM

“Cool For The Summer” Demi Lovato
“She’s Not There” The Zombies
“All Over The World” ELO
“Steam” Peter Gabriel
“Misled” Kool & The Gang
“Fall At Your Feet” St. Raymond
“Paralyzer” Finger Eleven
“You Really Got Me” Van Halen (cover blows the s**t out of the original)
“Fools Gold” Stone Roses
“Rather Be” Clean Bandit Featuring Jess Glynne

It’s good to be back here 🙂 Author interviews and more in the coming days!
XO, LM

 
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Posted by on October 5, 2015 in Unedited Quill Spills

 

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Author Interview With Linda Westphal

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1. When did you start putting pen to paper?

Not long ago I was digging through a box of mementos from my childhood and found a short story I had written in fourth grade. I had forgotten about the story until I found it. The original draft must have had some emotional residue, because as I focused on the somewhat artistic cover page and the handwritten words, a flood of emotional memories came back to me of how much care and attention I had put into the story and the pride I felt when I handed it to my teacher.

2. What’s your literary poison – prose, poetry, etc.?

I love fiction, and can read almost any genre, as long as the writer’s writing voice agrees with me (clear, simple).

3. Who is your favorite fictional hero?

Charlotte A. Cavatica, in E. B. White’s famous tale CHARLOTTE’S WEB, is pretty amazing. She’s smart and a good friend.

4. Which famous writer can you most identify with?

Not long ago I discovered author M. J. Rose. As I learned more about her, I was surprised how much we have in common: we both have a background in advertising; she writes about topics that interest me (perfume, Paris, reincarnation); her writing style is easy and lyrical; she likes to write description. Recently, I read that developing characters is difficult for her – I have the same trouble when I write fiction.

5. What are your current projects? (*Include books, novellas, short stories, poems, blogs, awards or anything of interest.)

I’m always working on something, and recently started thinking about my next story. I’m the type of person who jots down ideas as they happen – this is the beginning of the writing process for me. Some of the ideas I write down resonate with me more than others, but I consider all of them when it’s time to sit down and write a very rough flow of the story.

6. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book or writing piece?

No. A lot of work went into writing THE MEDIUM and THE HERMIT BOOKSTORE, and I would not have released them on Jan. 1, 2015 if I thought anything needed to be changed. My writing goal is: Write feel-good stories and encourage readers to use books as a way to relax and indulge in the meditative experience of reading. When I was ready to published both books, I had reached my goal.

7. Do you have any advice for other writers?

Here are a few tips that have worked for me – Read every day. Read and study well-written text (fiction, nonfiction). Develop your writing voice (it’s more important than you think). Don’t let the “writing rules” bog you down when you’re writing the first draft; they don’t matter when you’re writing the story, only when you’re editing the story. And if you’re like me and have too many ideas, narrow your list down to your top five, then your top three, and weave the top three into your story.

8. What were your grades like in English class? (A, B, anything less than this is shameful 😉

English class was easy for me, which I loved, because everyone I knew was good at something (math, debate, sports). My thing was English.

9. How much research do you do for your writing?

Yikes! Here’s where I get into trouble, because it’s hard for me to stop researching topics that interest me. I have to force myself to stop researching and jump into the story.

10. Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?

I write on my Apple MacBook Pro laptop. I don’t write story paragraphs or scenes longhand, because I can type faster than I can write. My ideas for the story, however, are captured on paper in longhand and as voice memos on my iPhone.

11. What is the best advice you’ve been given?

You’re a writer. Keep at it. Don’t worry about what other people think.

12. What book do you think everyone should read?

The book’s title is TRAVELS, written by the late Michael Crichton. It’s a collection of memories from his travel adventures early in his life – both outer travel to places such as Bangkok, Kilimanjaro, Malaysia, and Jamaica (when people rarely traveled to these places) and inner travel (his personal spiritual exploration). His experiences are not only fascinating, but you’ll learn a little about yourself when you read this book. He was such a great writer. He starts the book with this sentence: “It is not easy to cut through a human head with a hacksaw.” (referring to his days as a medical student).

13. Two-part question: Do you play a musical instrument? And what instrument would you like to learn to play?

A few years ago I purchased a hand-carved Native American flute that was made specifically for me. The sound is very soothing and I love to play it. I’ve always wanted to learn to play the piano. Like the flute, I think piano music is soothing.

14. What process did (or are you going) you go through to get your book published?

Whew! This is a big question. Here’s the Reader’s Digest version . . . I published both books, THE MEDIUM and THE HERMIT BOOKSTORE, at the same time (Jan. 1, 2015). It made sense to do all the work once instead of twice (both drafts were ready at the same time). I worked with a wonderfully talented editor (Patricia Peters) who line edited both stories. From there I did a final polish of the drafts, created the book covers, and published them as ebooks on Amazon. A few weeks later I made them available at Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, Books-a-Million, IndieBound, and bookstores around the world (via IngramSpark). Readers are now able to choose their favorite bookstore and format (paperback or ebook).

15. Who would you like to change places with… i.e. live someone else’s life for a week?

Wouldn’t it be fun to be Theresa Caputo, the Long Island Medium, for one week? I’ve always wanted to hear and see what a psychic experiences.

16. If you weren’t a writer, what would be your ideal profession?

Anything? In my teen years I wanted to be a choreographer, like what Paula Abdul used to do.

17. Two-part question: Bill Murray or Chevy Chase? And John Cleese or Michael Palin?

Chevy Chase, because he was very funny in the movie Christmas Vacation. I had to Google John Cleese and Michael Palin (John who? Michael who?) . . . sorry, neither.

18. What’s your most rewarding literary accomplishment to date (one that just blew your mind!)

Well, I’m a new fiction writer (published Jan. 1, 2015), so I’m still waiting for my moment. However, I’ve been a published nonfiction writer since 1990 and am proud to say that during those writing years I had many rewarding accomplishments. I look forward to the same success as a fiction writer.

19. What quote do you live by?

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” — Thomas A. Edison

20. What would be your ideal writer profession ambition? (famous pulitzer prize winning author, successful self-published author as a day job, etc.)

I used to think I wanted Nicholas Sparks’s writing career. Now I wouldn’t mind being a hugely popular self-published author whose stories are made into films.

21. Would you like to ask me a question?

Yes! What do you enjoy most about living in NYC?

Great question. What’s not to love about it? Each surrounding area has an authentic vibe. The convenience alone is astounding… plus the people here are exceptional with straightforwardness being one of their best traits. My only qualm is the harsh winters.

Thanks again to Linda for interviewing with me! Linda’s hard work and talent are to be relished. You can find more info about Linda Westphal here:

Website – http://lindawestphal.com/
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5281039.Linda_Westphal
Twitter – https://twitter.com/Author_Westphal
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/author.westphal
Google+ – https://plus.google.com/u/0/+LindaWestphalAuthor/posts

 
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Posted by on June 10, 2015 in Unedited Quill Spills

 

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Interview With Writer Mona Dash

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1. When did you start putting pen to paper?
Long back, as a child! I don’t remember the exact age, but maybe I was around nine or ten. I remember writing a poem about the rain, which was published in a newspaper in India (The Telegraph). It was typical, sentimental stuff …poetry about daily objects one was about a table fan and how hard it had to work, for example! But I also went through stages when I didn’t write at all, when in university doing my MBA and later when I started working. I went through years of writing on and off.

2. What’s your literary poison – prose, poetry, etc.?
Definitely Prose, both for reading and writing. Fiction- about people, relationships, cultures. I am not much of the thriller or adventure kinds. I have a book of poetry which was published several years back. But I find I have to feel truly inspired to write poetry, whereas fiction is more natural.

3. Who is your favorite fictional hero?
Quite a few! In general, I am a sucker for any Babe the pig, Hiccup, Dusty (Planes) Turbo, Emmett kind of Disney character, the one who is trying to do something very impossible which they completely not suited for! And which of course they finally achieve.

4. Which famous writer can you most identify with?
Due to the background, I tend to identify with writing from writers like Jhumpa Lahiri, Monica Ali, Arundhati Roy, Aravind Adiga, – basically writing from or about the Indian subcontinent and the juxtaposition of various cultures while trying to remain yourself.

5. What are your current projects? (*Include books, novellas, short stories, poems, blogs, awards or anything of interest.)
It’s a busy time ahead! This week, for example, I am in the middle of completing a short story. Come September, the last term of my M. A (Creative Writing) will start. I am also looking forward to two readings in November. One is my university anthology launch where I have a poem and short story published and the second is a poetry reading in the Nehru Centre. We are launching a couple of anthologies in which our poems have appeared, and I am reading in the company of five other poets. I am also planning to get back into a novel, which I had started some years back and left halfway while I was busy with other writing.

6. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book or writing piece?
I don’t think I would change the writing content as such – though I find I can always find things to improve/edit and so on – but I would change the process I approached the novel and writing in general. I would like to treat the ‘after writing’ in a more systematic way i.e approaching agents, sending for publications and so on.

7. Do you have any advice for other writers?
Obvious as it may seem, I would say ‘write!’ Write as well as you possibly can, and write as much as you possibly can. Everyone wants recognition quickly, especially when we hear of all the first book millionaire stories and the process of rejections can be soul destroying. What I like to remind myself is that writing is like a river and not a race.

8. What were your grades like in English class? (A, B, anything less than this is shameful 😉
Happy to say I clear this question with a straight A! I had good marks (I studied in India where they measure in percentage) equivalent to the A* – but didn’t study English as a discipline. I went on to study Telecommunications engineering and then a MBA.

9. How much research do you do for your writing?
It depends on what I am writing. My first novel was very character and situation driven so I didn’t need much research. In the second, I have gone back in history a little, so I had to read and research the 1940s. Sometimes if I am writing about a new place, i.e a place I may not have lived in and just visited, I read more about it.

10. Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?
Absolutely laptop driven now. I used to longhand and still find hand written stuff in old notebooks. Unfortunately, my handwriting is close to illegible now!

11. What is the best advice you’ve been given?
I haven’t been given too much advice on writing! – (though I’ve always had a lot of encouragement from my family like my mother, uncles and aunts.) In terms of advice, I really like something I had read in Stephen’s King’s On Writing.
‘’Don’t wait for the muse. As I’ve said, he’s a hardheaded guy who’s not susceptible to a lot of creative fluttering. This isn’t the Ouija board or the spirit-world we’re talking about here, but just another job like laying pipe or driving long-haul trucks. Your job is to make sure the muse knows where you’re going to be every day from nine ’til noon. Or seven ’til three. If he does know, I assure you that sooner or later he’ll start showing up.”

12. What book do you think everyone should read?
Probably The sound and the fury by Faulkner. I am fascinated by the different points of view and how a single story can be presented in so many ways. Another personal favourite remains The God of small things by Arundhati Roy, not only due to the poetic language, but also as it was a significant milestone in increasing the popularity of Indian writers writing in English.

13. Two-part question: Do you play a musical instrument? And what instrument would you like to learn to play?
Unfortunately I was never musically inclined, though my mother tried in vain to set up harmonium lessons for me! If I had to learn, I would say the guitar.

14. What process did (or are you going) you go through to get your book published?
My book is now with my agent Redink Literary agency and they have started submitting it to publishers. They are also reading my next book and a couple of other proposals I have in mind.

15. Who would you like to change places with… i.e. live someone else’s life for a week?
Someone very famous to see how it feels to be in the public eye , and to know what they really think about. Maybe Kate Middleton. It would be interesting to know what it feels like becoming royalty!

16. If you weren’t a writer, what would be your ideal profession?
My dream is to be a writer by profession! I work now in Telecom Solution sales. Doesn’t everyone want to make a living from writing?!

17. Two-part question: Bill Murray or Chevy Chase? And Michael Palin or John Cleese?
Bill Murray and John Cleese! I am a real fan of the Fawlty towers!

18. What’s your most rewarding literary accomplishment to date (one that just blew your mind!)
Haven’t got to the it yet, but I hope its round the corner somewhere. I am looking forward though to some forthcoming publications in journals and also the Nehru centre reading. Signing with the agent was one of the happy moments.

19. What quote do you live by?
Long back I had read, ‘If you want something you will get it, but you may have to work for it however.’ That has stuck with me. I also like to say ‘Where there is a wish, there is a way.’

20. What would be your ideal writer profession ambition (or have you achieved it already) ? (famous Pulitzer prize winning author, successful self-published author as a day job, etc.)
I will take the Pulitzer prize winning author choice, thank you!
It’s always hard to know at what point you feel you have achieved your writing ambition. I guess for me, the short term is to find publishers for my current novels and the long term is to write brilliantly. Writing which is true, beautiful, and what people like to read.

21. Would you like to ask me a question?
Sure! Do you think the search for an agent and the traditional publishing route is too old fashioned and a waste of time?

I believe in the traditional concept and wish it was more accessible in present times. Since the internet age, all creative outlets (with the exception of advertising) have suffered horribly in the marketing region, and without that, it’s nearly impossible to have a publishing house invest in writers… especially new ones on the scene. If I had the choice of a fair contract from a publisher, I would choose that route. All the publishers that sent me offers left me with no rights to my work and very little marketing efforts. Self-publishing appealed most to me, despite wearing all the hats to get your book out there.  It’s a catch-22 situation decision that writers have to contemplate in choosing the best option for them.

Thanks again to Mona for spending time talking about her literary process, please check out her work here: http://www.monadash.net

And in August, Mona’s poems have been published in:
http://poetry-24.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/the-rape-of-childhood.html?m=1
http://www.thelakepoetry.co.uk/poetry/mona-dash/

And join her for upcoming readings in November:
London Metropolitan University : 6.30 p.m. 13th November
The Nehru Centre, London : 6.00 p.m., 21st November

Anyone interested in being featured here in an interview, please email me at Lmontanino@gmail.com

 
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Posted by on August 18, 2014 in Unedited Quill Spills

 

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Quote of the Day and Friday’s Featured Book

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This is a must-have staple in any writer/bard’s library, The Hero’s Journey by Joseph Campbell

“Just as anyone who listens to the muse will hear, you can write out of your own intention or out of inspiration. There is such a thing. It comes up and talks. And those who have heard deeply the rhythms and hymns of the gods, can recite those hymns in such a way that the gods will be attracted.”
― Joseph Campbell, The Hero’s Journey

Enjoy an adventurous weekend!
Little Mountain

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2013 in Unedited Quill Spills

 

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