November 30, 2008 | Leave a Comment
Dr. Kent: Welcome back to Sound Authors. My next guest is the author of a book called Murder, Madness and Love. Her name is Yolanda Renee. Welcome to the show.
Yolanda Renee: Thank you, it’s good to be here.
Dr. Kent: I understand you also have a talk radio show.
Yolanda Renee: Yes, blog talk radio, Thursday nights, 9:00 starting in August.
Dr. Kent: Tell me a little about your book.
Yolanda Renee: Well it’s a murder suspense novel and its set in Anchorage, Alaska and Seattle, Washington and it involves a detective who is part Indian and part Irish; Tlingit Indian to be exact. And he falls in love with one of his people he’s supposed to be protecting, which is probably a no-no in the business. But he thinks she’s also guilty so that causes some tension.
Dr. Kent: How did you get into writing?
Yolanda Renee: I’ve been writing since I was a kid. I think I wrote my first play when I was in sixth grade and even got to produce it for Christmas so its something that I’ve always done but never really pursued until I decided to get serious about it a couple of years ago.
Dr. Kent: You live in Alaska.
Yolanda Renee: I lived in Alaska, yes. I actually worked on the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline.
Dr. Kent: My goodness. Tell me a little about that. I know very little about the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline. I do know that people can walk along it because it’s such a beautiful thing. What was that like?
Yolanda Renee: Well it was one of the most interesting times of my life. I went to Alaska on vacation in 1975 and I had a weeks’ vacation. I called two days after arriving and told my boss I would not be back at my job I was staying in Alaska. I had fallen in love with it that quickly. I found a new job and I did stay there. After a year of living in Fairbanks I went to work on the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline. It was formerly not open to women to work up there and things started changing because of women’s lib and equal rights and that sort of things.
I got a job and I was actually one of the first women up on the line as an employee. I worked for Bachtel, the inspection group, and I got to go out on the line to see the work being done and the inspection part of it. I produced the reports and filed things away and my title was Assistant Field Engineer. It was an eye opening experience.
Dr. Kent: How does that bring you to being a novelist now?
Yolanda Renee: Well I’ve always written stories of things I have done and places I have been and I’ve traveled across the United States several times. And I would write letters back to family and just tell them my experiences. My first hiking experience in the Alaskan mountains; it was a four day hiking trip in the wilderness and I would get responses back to my letters that it was just like being there. I had described everything so well and that’s how I like to write, very descriptive and it’s the way I like to read too. I like to be put into the place by the words on the page. It’s just something that I’ve always done and I decided I wanted to write a novel and mysteries are something I’ve always loved.
Dr. Kent: Obviously you enjoy other authors. You host a radio show like I do, which features authors as well. I’ve got to say I love speaking with different authors. What’s your inspiration?
Yolanda Renee: I’m finding that its very educational to speak with other authors and one of the reasons I started doing this is trying to find the marketing niche for myself I realized how hard it was to get an interview on a radio show if you’d written fiction. I mean if you write non-fiction you can almost get an interview anywhere with anyone, but fiction; people don’t seem to want to take the time to know why you wrote that particular book or what inspired you and so on and so forth. The non-fiction authors have a better niche because they can be the expert in their field. When you write fiction, it’s very difficult to be an expert in murder if you know what I mean.
Dr. Kent: It’s true and do you have, have you thought of writing a non-fiction tale of being the first women to work on the Pipeline?
Yolanda Renee: Yes in fact that is one of my goals, to write a non-fiction book about my experience up there because like I said they were very eye opening. I was in my early 20s and I learned quite a bit. I grew up so to speak by moving there and living there by myself and it was just an experience that I would like to share. I just have not had the courage to sit down and write in first person yet.
Dr. Kent: And you have on your website you talk about two upcoming novels that I guess people enjoy writing in trilogies. I had an author earlier in the show that wrote a trilogy and you have two more in your novel trilogy coming out soon, right? Or in the next couple years?
Yolanda Renee: I’m hoping to get Murder, Madness and Memories out by the end of the year and Murder, Madness and Obsession by next year yes. I’ve already got them both written, I’m just in the editing format right now.
Dr. Kent: Are you going to stick with three or are you going to keep going like Agatha Christie?
Yolanda Renee: Well, you know that’s the funny thing about it is I already have the idea for the fourth novel growing in my head. I mean I’m trying to ignore it while I get these other two out there but its pushing itself forward. So there may be a fourth and a fifth, I haven’t decided yet.
Dr. Kent: It’s too much fun, right?
Yolanda Renee: It is. When your characters speak to you and continue to speak to you, you kind of have to go with that. But it’s also dependent on the fans and what they want so you kind of pay attention to that too.
Dr. Kent: Tell me a little more about the book itself? We spoke very little about it. The book is called Murder, Madness and Love, and it started out well you tell me about it.
Yolanda Renee: Well it’s about a young woman who loses her husband in a tragic car crash and it’s a very unusual car wreck in that she bought him a Porsche on his birthday and they think the brakes failed. Which is kind of an unusual thing to happen in a brand new car but they can’t prove that there was foul play. She is under suspicion of course for murdering her husband for his money because he was very rich. During that time she goes into hiding and then when she comes out she decides to take over the chairmanship of her husbands company.
She moves back to Anchorage and becomes haunted and stalked by a killer who murders look-alikes on the 14th of the month, starting in November. He sends her evidence of his crimes and of course then the detective gets involved and he thinks he’s going to solve both cases, which would be catch her for killing her husband and of course catch the person who’s stalking her. I tried to weave a tale where it left you in doubt as to who could be guilty. Whether she was involved in some way or whether it was her friends who were the ones stalking her? I tried to weave a tale that left you asking questions and I think I’ve done that.
Dr. Kent: It sounds like it and of course it’s important that you’re writing about Alaska. I think its funny, for me it’s the great beyond that I haven’t visited. I lived in Washington State and I’ve been all around the country and I think many people really stigmatize Alaska as this wild expansive wonderful place and remote and all of that. So there’s a real mystique attached to that and there’s very few books set in Alaska.
Yolanda Renee: That’s one of the reasons I chose it. That’s another reason I chose Indian as the background for the main detective in the story. The Tlingit Indians, Tlingit means human being and I wanted it to be set into more of the Tlingit background in my other books that I’m coming out with. I think Alaska is an exciting place. I look forward to going back there and visiting. I probably will not settle down there because it’s just a little bit too cold and too dark sometimes, but not the whole state.
You can find a variety of weather patterns and a variety of light and darkness because Alaska is such a huge place. You can find just about anything that you can find in the lower 48 in Alaska but its an exciting setting and I think when I went up there to work on the line, I had a lot of people who believed it was more of an iceberg than an actual place.
Dr. Kent: This is an Alaska question – this time of year apparently it’s fairly warm and pleasant, right?
Yolanda Renee: Oh it’s beautiful. Right now it’s beautiful up there. In anchorage it’s probably in the 60s and 70s. In Fairbanks it can be in the 70s and 80s and of course you have to acclimate to that. It probably would feel like 20 degrees different if you’re coming from the south. If you’re coming from the northern part of the United States then it would probably be pretty normal for you. But the darkness starts closing in around September, that’s when winter starts closing in and you have more of a winter up there than you do down here. You don’t have the four seasons like you do and so things do kind of close in on you a little bit but during the summertime, the light and the brightness of the midnight sun is just aesthetic and energizing, it’s wonderful.
Dr. Kent: Thinking about it, it’s a great setting for a mystery novel too because of the fact that we always hear oh, people go a little wild in the wintertime and it must seem a little more normal. I’ve heard there’s a few more domestic disturbances and things like that because of the high pressure of the wintertime up there.
Yolanda Renee: Right because you feel closed in and they call it cabin fever and there are ways to deal with that and you have to be prepared for that as far as getting yourself out and doing things. Because it does close in on you, the darkness, the ice fog. I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced that, it’s almost a crystallized fog surrounding you. its like little lights all over the place and it does close in on some of the places up there, especially Fairbanks gets hit with it pretty good. Anchorage not so much because they have a breeze off of the inlet there, the ocean. But in Fairbanks its kind of a valley setting so they can get closed in by the fog a pretty good bit. And that will drive you a little bonkers at times. I know the weather up there is usually 50 below during winter and that’s quite a temperature change.
Dr. Kent: I grew up in rural Minnesota and it got that cold sometimes and when it did, we bundled up pretty well but it’s cold.
Yolanda Renee: But it’s an exciting place and its got wildlife galore and experiences I don’t think you’ll get anywhere else in the world. I was lucky to have been able to do that when I was in my early 20s. It was a very lucky time in my life.
Dr. Kent: It’s been a wonderful chance to speak with you about Murder, Madness and Love. Yolanda Renee has a website online, www.yolandarenee.com. Thank you so much for chatting with me.
Yolanda Renee: Thank you for having me.
Dr. Kent: Her books are available all over the web and you can visit her on her website. There’s a nice ordering page there to buy some books. My next guest on the show is musician. You’re going to want to listen to this song coming up and then we’ll chat with him. His name is Andrew Calhoun so we’re going to listen to a song called Jaybird and Sparrow. Come on back.
November 29, 2008 | Leave a Comment
It was a huge honor to speak with Amiri Baraka on the show. More about him from Wikipedia:
Baraka’s writings have generated controversy over the years, particularly his use of often-violent imagery directed towards (at various times) women, gay people, white people, and Jews. Critics of his work have alternately described such usage as ranging from being vernacular expressions of Black oppression to outright examples of racism, sexism, homophobia, and anti-Semitism that they perceive in his work. The following is a typical example cited, from a 1965 essay:
Most American white men are trained to be fags. For this reason it is no wonder their faces are weak and blank. … The average ofay [white person] thinks of the black man as potentially raping every white lady in sight. Which is true, in the sense that the black man should want to rob the white man of everything he has. But for most whites the guilt of the robbery is the guilt of rape. That is, they know in their deepest hearts that they should be robbed, and the white woman understands that only in the rape sequence is she likely to get cleanly, viciously popped.
Amiri Baraka was New Jersey’s Poet Laureate at the time of the September 11, 2001 attacks. He wrote a poem titled “Somebody Blew Up America” about the event. The poem was controversial and highly critical of racism in America, and includes angry depictions of public figures such as Trent Lott, Clarence Thomas, and Condoleezza Rice. The poem also contains lines claiming Israel‘s involvement in the World Trade Center attacks:
Who knew the World Trade Center was gonna get bombed
Who told 4000 Israeli workers at the Twin Towers
To stay home that day
Why did Sharon stay away? [...] Who know why Five Israelis was filming the explosion
And cracking they sides at the notion
Baraka has said that he believed Israelis (and President George W. Bush) were involved in the Sept. 11 attacks, citing what he described as information that had been reported in the American and Israeli press and on Jordanian television. He denies that the poem is anti-Semitic, and points to its accusation, which is directed against Israelis, rather than Jews as a people. The Anti-Defamation League was amongst the critics who denounced the poem as anti-Semitic., though Baraka and his defenders to defined his position as Anti-Zionism.
After this poem’s publication, Governor Jim McGreevey tried to remove Baraka from the post, only to discover that there was no legal way to do so. In 2003, after legislation was passed allowing him to do so, McGreevey abolished the NJ Poet Laureate title. In response to legal action filed by Baraka, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled that state officials were immune from such suits, and in November 2007 the Supreme Court of the United States refused to hear an appeal of the case.
- Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note, poems, 1961
- Blues People: Negro Music in White America, 1963
- Dutchman and The Slave, drama, 1964
- The System of Dante’s Hell, novel, 1965
- Home: Social Essays, 1965
- Tales, 1967
- Black Magic, poems, 1969
- Four Black Revolutionary Plays, 1969
- It’s Nation Time, poems, 1970
- Raise Race Rays Raize: Essays Since 1965, 1971
- Hard Facts, poems, 1975
- The Motion of History and Other Plays, 1978
- Poetry for the Advanced, 1979
- reggae or not!, 1981
- Daggers and Javelins: Essays 1974-1979, 1984
- The Autobiography of LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka, 1984
- The Music: Reflections on Jazz and Blues, 1987
- Transbluesency: The Selected Poems of Amiri Baraka/LeRoi Jones, 1995
- Wise, Why’s Y’s, essays, 1995
- Funk Lore: New Poems, 1996.
- Somebody Blew Up America, 2001
- Tales of the Out & the Gone, 2006
November 29, 2008 | Leave a Comment
Dr. Kent: Welcome back to Sound Authors. My next guest on the show is Stephanie Chandler. She’s got a book that’s all about being an author and building an online platform. It’s called The Authors Guide to Building an Online Platform: Leveraging the Internet to Sell More Books. Welcome to the show.
Stephanie Chandler: Thank you so much.
Dr. Kent: Tell me about what your mission is. Of course you’ve got a website devoted to writers and things like that. Give me a sound bite about what you do.
Stephanie Chandler: Well I wrote the book on how to build an online platform because that’s exactly the process that I used when I ventured into publishing back in 2003. I had wanted to write a business start up guide and I was getting doors closed in my face left and right. A wonderful agent called me and said he loved my work, that I needed to be reaching tens of thousands of people. And I said isn’t that kind of putting the cart before the horse? Once I publish a book I’ll be invited to speak and he said, well its kind of your problem to solve. You got to figure out how to build your platform.
I didn’t want to travel extensively and I thought what’s the quickest way I can do that and I launched a website targeted towards my audience, which was entrepreneurs. That was businessinfoguide.com and I started working on building traffic and driving people to the site. I was publishing a monthly newsletter. The first one incidentally went out to eight people and after several years I have thousands of subscribers. I self published my first book The Business Start up Checklist and Planning Guide and it started selling a full two months before it was in print. I thought, okay I get it; this is why they want you to have a platform – so that you have an audience for your book.
Dr. Kent: What’s the big secret? How do you create? Of course you certainly have connections already and to a certain extent because you had founded several websites, is that correct?
Stephanie Chandler: Well I did that because I wanted to build a platform. So what I did was I thought about who’s my target audience for my book? And I wanted to write business and marketing books. So the first site businessinfoguide.com in an effort to bring in an audience. So what happened after I self published the first book, I had built a high traffic website.
So when I wanted to publish my second book, I sent out a whopping two proposals to two different publishers and I had a contract in 30 days with John Wiley and Sons for my second book, which was From Entrepreneur to Intrapreneur. And I would argue that they took me because I came to the table with a platform and it was a beautiful thing.
Dr. Kent: I’ve heard a lot of people tell that the easiest way to get published these days is to prove that your book is already selling self published and then publishers will pick you up.
Stephanie Chandler: Definitely and there’s so many opportunities with the internet and for authors to excel. You’re doing this with your radio show, blogs are just so hot. They are a wonderful opportunity to build an audience and so what happens is you want to go get published with a major publisher and you can say, hey I have tens of thousands of people visiting my blog every month or receiving my newsletter or listening to my radio show and that is probably the quickest way to get publishing success.
Dr. Kent: Tell me a little about the book itself; The Authors Guide to Building an Online Platform. How many secrets do you actually reveal?
Stephanie Chandler: I reveal it all, I have nothing to hide. I’m all about sharing what I know and in addition to that I interviewed several successful authors who have used the internet as well to build their platform and that was really helpful. There’s some really great people in there like Dan Kennedy who’s really well known in the business world and great stories in there about how they used the internet to really build a platform to sell more books and really build a career around your book. There’s other ways you can do that like selling e-books and information products and those types of things.
Dr. Kent: It’s a complicated thing I guess for most authors is they might not be as savvy as you seem to be with businessinfoguide.com for example. It looks pretty complicated for your average author.
Stephanie Chandler: It looks complicated but I built that site on a $20 template I got on the internet. I taught myself how to use Microsoft FrontPage and I built that site from the ground up just with useful content. My goal is to share as much information as I can and really am a big believer of giving away free information. That’s how you build an audience, that’s how you build a fan base. So I share everything I know as much as I can and that’s what brings people back and inspires them to sign up for my newsletter and my programs that I offer.
Dr. Kent: Were you in business before all of this started?
Stephanie Chandler: No I was in the Silicon Valley for 11 years. I got an ulcer and decided to leave that behind and I moved to Sacramento and I wanted to write novels quite frankly. I opened a bookstore in Sacramento and in that process I really fell in love with small business marketing and wanted to help other people do what I did, realize there was life after corporate America. So I put a staff in my store and instead of writing novels I started writing for business magazines. I started writing my own book and like I said building content for business info guide. So I really just learned through trial and error, studying how other people do it. I’m an avid reader and my goal is always to share with other people what I’ve learned.
Dr. Kent: When’s your first novel going to be coming out?
Stephanie Chandler: You know what? I’m not even touching novels and it was an accidental discovery of a passion I didn’t know I had and really educating small business owners is wonderfully rewarding and I think I’d be a very frustrated novelist. I’m grateful I figured it out.
Dr. Kent: Do you get on the road with John Wiley & Sons or with Quill Driver Press? Did they put you out there?
Stephanie Chandler: I have to say they really don’t, most publishers aren’t going to a lot of the marketing. They certainly have booked me some radio gigs and things like that. I definitely take the initiative myself to market my book and I’m speaking at writer’s conferences and things like that. But I think that’s true no matter what your situation; whether you’re self published or you have a major publisher backing you. It’s really up to you to be successful and if you want a long term career as an author, you have to take the initiative to promote yourself. And that’s what I also talk about in the book, ways to do that. Through the internet from the comfort of your home or office.
Dr. Kent: There’s something like 300,000 to 400,000 books a year in this country. There are many aspects to publishing but how do people make themselves stand out? Is it going into another market or finding their target market or making sure their cover is nice? What’s the first step for an author?
Stephanie Chandler: I think its finding your market and I think it’s with a website. Any author who doesn’t have a website is really missing an opportunity and like I said the blogs are really wonderful right now. If you’ve got something to say, get on there and have fun with your blog. We’re writers; we should have no problem coming up with content. A blog doesn’t need to be a big deal. You write one to three paragraphs several times a week and you can schedule those out so you can sit down on Sunday night and write your three posts for Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of that week and you’re done. And you really start to build an audience, but to me the number one key is to build your web presence. That’s the quickest way.
Having owned a bookstore, which I eventually sold, I met authors every day who were out pounding the pavement looking to do book signing events. That’s all great but the average author sells eight copies of a book at a book signing event. So you’ve got to do a lot of book signing events to really make that pay off. If you get on the internet, you can do things like virtual book tours, you can do internet radio shows; you start getting seen and heard everywhere and you’re going to have no problem selling your books and getting the attention of the publishers.
Dr. Kent: So what is your next big project?
Stephanie Chandler: I am working on my fourth book which is all about small business growth and my goal in my new book is to write the books I want to read. So for several years I’ve been looking for a book on how to take my business to the next level and it doesn’t exist, the books that I want to read. So that’s what I’m working on and I’m really excited about it. I’ve been working with my agent, I have an agent now and hopefully we’ll see that in 2009. We’re working with several publishers to see who’s going to invest with it.
Dr. Kent: It’s been a real honor speaking with you Stephanie Chandler, the author of The Authors Guide to Building an Online Platform: Leveraging the Internet to Sell More Books and clearly she’s done a great job herself of leveraging the internet.
Stephanie Chandler: Thank you it’s an honor to be here today.
Dr. Kent: Thanks, it’s been fun being with you. My next guest on the show is Yolanda Renee, author of Murder, Madness and Love. Come on back for that, it will be fun to talk with her.
November 28, 2008 | Leave a Comment
Dr. Kent: Welcome to Sound Authors. Today is August 1st, it’s finally August. Larry Buttram, author of The Third Generation; Stephanie Chandler, author of The Authors Guide to Building an Online Platform: Leveraging the Internet to Sell More Books. My third guest is Yolanda Renee, author of Murder, Madness and Love and my last guest as always is a musician. His name is Andrew Calhoun, contemporary folk singer. My first guest is Larry Buttram, the author of The Third Generation. Welcome to the show.
Larry Buttram: Well thank you Dr. Kent, I appreciate you letting me be on.
Dr. Kent: Tell me a little bit about The Third Generation.
Larry Buttram: It’s the third in my I call it the false witness trilogy, I’ve got two other novels – False Witness and Honor Thy Sister and The Third Generation is the last in the trilogy. The books track the lives of a white family and a black family in Tennessee and you see how their lives are thrown together over a shooting incident so you track each generation and how their lives are intertwined.
The Third Generation is kind of ironic because it’s the third story in the trilogy but it builds with the younger girl in the family and she’s a freshman at the University of Tennessee and she uncovers something by accident that puts her life in jeopardy. Something actually happened decades before that puts her life in jeopardy. So you follow her life and see what happens with that.
Dr. Kent: This is the third book in a trilogy. What inspired you to do a trilogy?
Larry Buttram: Well I grew up in east Tennessee, not far from where the stories are set. I grew up in the 50s and 60s and I’ve been writing my whole life since I was 12 years old. When I retired from AT&T I just had the vision of a young boy walking down a dusty country road back in the early 60s and I thought what would happen if he was alone and two strangers picked him up and he was white and the strangers were black. They gave him a ride and then a deputy sheriff stops them and starts harassing the two guys and one of the strangers kills the deputy and they get away and never get caught.
So I sort of envisioned this scene, I don’t know it just came to me and then the rest of the book sort of built on that. For 25 years you see what happens to the families over that shooting incident and how it impacts them.
Dr. Kent: What’s your process of writing? I always like to ask fiction authors what’s your process of sitting down and creating characters. Do they play around in your life? Do you wake up in the morning and you know what your character is doing that day? How do you do that?
Larry Buttram: You know, that’s an interesting character. My characters, I mean the book is fiction but there is factual information behind the scenes. Information and what’s going on in the background is factual. But the characters, I spend a lot of time developing them and I don’t know if this will make sense, but they sort of take on a life of their own. I live with them. Actually when I was writing False Witness, the first one, there would actually be times when I would forget that Ethan; Ethan Ward is the main character and I would forget that he wasn’t real.
One time I even thought, well I’ll ask Ethan what he thinks about that and I stopped and said, “Wait, he’s not a real person you know!” But so yeah, I’d go to bed at night thinking about them and in the morning I think about this. You sort of get, at least for me, I get obsessed when I’m writing a book and the people are just real and once you develop them, I think they take on a life of their own. You know there are things they would do and things they won’t do and the story sort of takes on a life of it own. Does that make sense at all?
Dr. Kent: Let’s say how does the book compare to your own life? Do you find that things that have happened to you come out in your books?
Larry Buttram: It certainly might. My mother passed away last year, she was 95 years old and up until the very end her mind was probably better than mine but when she read the book she said oh, I’m sorry I know that little boy in the book was you and I’m sorry about all the things you went through.” I said, “Mom, the boy in the book wasn’t me.”
There’s things that I saw and I realize there’s things I put in the book of things I’ve seen in my life I guess it was a better version of me but I really didn’t think too much about it until she said, “Well I know this happened and that happened and so on.” So I guess there are some of my own feelings and emotions put into the book but at the same time I tried to be objective. The main hero in the book Ethan was probably a lot better person than I was, especially with all the things that he went through.
Dr. Kent: Tell me a little about False Witness and Honor Thy Sister because of course this is the third in a series. Folks I assume have to start with the beginning? How does that work.
Larry Buttram: Well you don’t have to. When you do a trilogy and one of the things I struggled with and I talked with a lot of other writers. You don’t know if people are going to pick up the first, the second or the third. Obviously I think if you’re just beginning False Witness I still sell a lot more of that one than the other one, but each book although they’re a trilogy, they give you some background information about what happened before but not so much that you would ruin it.
I have had people pick up Honor Thy Sister and not the first. We didn’t mention it but Honor Thy Sister is a story of two women that are sisters and one of the women was sort of evil and the other was a school teacher and prim and proper. When the sister moved back home bad things started to happen in the family and she wanted to know if her sister was behind it or was an innocent victim but that’s the second story. But yeah, to answer your question I don’t think you necessarily have to read them in order but I think for most people its better to start with the first.
Dr. Kent: Now you’re from Virginia. Did you grow up in Virginia also?
Larry Buttram: No I grew up in east Tennessee. I moved here in the late 60s. I used to work for the FBI and I delivered mail to J. Edgar Hoover and a lot of people don’t even know who he was anymore, but yeah I’ve been here but I grew up in a small, very rural area in east Tennessee in the country in a different time. We didn’t have paved roads back where I lived and no running water, no electricity until I was older. So it was a lot different back then unlike the way my kids and grandkids live today.
Dr. Kent: What do your kids and grandkids think of your new career as a writer?
Larry Buttram: Well my grandson Brady is eight years old and he sends me emails. He said, “I want to know if you’re famous. You must be famous since you’re on the radio.” I said, “Well I’m not very famous.” But he decided that he’s writing a book now and he’s finished three chapters of Aunt Bear and Chipmunk on the Loose. Hopefully someday he’ll be a better writer than me probably.
Dr. Kent: Very cool. So when it comes to supporting your book, do you do some readings, things like that?
Larry Buttram: Yeah I had a writers group and one of the people in there said to be a great writer you have to read 10,000 books first. Well I don’t agree with that, I think that’s a ridiculous statement to be honest with you but I do understand the philosophy. I mean, who’s going to read 10,000 books in their life? But I read a lot of different writers, the old classics.
I’ve been reading since I was ten or 11 years old and love to read and love to write. I think it helps you when you read other peoples work and see how they do things. I’m reading a book now by Randy Singer, I just finished another Virginia writer and I think he’s as good as John Grisham, just a fantastic writer. But yeah I think you have to do that if you’re a writer to keep up with the things that are going on and pick up things from other writers.
Dr. Kent: Here’s a question. You talked about John Grisham. He’s certainly not from Tennessee. I always like in southern writers, you’ve got your Faulkner and folks like that. Do you feel that you have a different style being a southerner? What’s your take on that?
Larry Buttram: That’s a tough question. Obviously I think no matter who you are I think your writing will reflect your background somewhat. If you’re from the old days from Russia or Christian, I mean there’s so much research you can do and I do a lot of research for my books until I finish them but I can point out some things that I was familiar with in growing up. I think that does affect your writing style and how you look at things. I do believe that.
Dr. Kent: Tell me a little about this book. Again from False Witness and Honor Thy Sister, through The Third Generation. How does the story develop and is this the last book in the series?
Larry Buttram: I think I’ve taken this series as far as I can. I got a note from a lady from Tennessee who said she just finished it and didn’t know how she could go on knowing there wasn’t going to be anymore stories about the Edward family. I thought about doing a fourth one but to be honest with you I couldn’t come up with another story. It ended; it covered 25 years of their lives and I see, oh what are some of the movies out? Lucky Twelve or Lucky Eight or something and I think you take success and you just try to take it too far. Most people don’t know when to quit. This is really as far as I can take these stories.
So what I’m doing now is something totally different and I sort of stumbled onto it. I’m doing a fictional history book that is set in the pre-civil war era. It’s about a guy that freed more slaves than anyone in history and I think he’s truly one of the greatest unknown Americans. He was filthy rich and freed 500 slaves. His family turned against him and the courts; he had death threats and everything but he did it because he knew it was evil. So I’m working on that now. It’s fictional, but its half fact and it’s a lot of research.
Dr. Kent: That sounds like fun. And you also have a book called The Greatest Gift, which are short stories?
Larry Buttram: Actually that was the first book I wrote years ago and I put it away and never did anything with it. I just had a book of short stories and it deals with people in all different difficult life situations, like loss of a loved one or marital problems, financial problems. And it looks at what the bible says how you’re supposed to handle these things. I done it 30 years ago and when I had some success with my other books and my wife said I should release this one and I actually have had more publicity from that one believe it or not. I’ve been on TV a number of times across the country discussing my book of short stories. So people seem to like them, I’ve gotten pretty good feedback so far.
Dr. Kent: It’s been a real pleasure chatting about Larry Buttram about his book The Third Generation and the other books in his series. Thank you so much for being on the show.
Larry Buttram: I appreciate it. People can get them at any major book store or go to my website which is larrybuttram.com.
Dr. Kent: Will do; larrybuttram.com and there’s some great information on there as well. The First Generation, it’s a book the first two are False Witness and Honor Thy Sister and then of course the Greatest Gift and we’ll look for your next book.
Larry Buttram: I sure appreciate you having me on here.
Dr. Kent: I’m going to come back in one minute with my next guest Stephanie Chandler, author of The Authors Guide to Building an Online Platform. Come on back for that.
November 27, 2008 | Leave a Comment
Dr. Kent: Welcome back to the show. Today is July 4th, it’s an Independence Day show and my next guest has a great thing called The Spark. It’s a good thing for today; we’re all thinking of sparks, explosions, and fun noises. Tonight we’ll see the fireworks. Welcome to the show Arupa Tesolin.
Arupa Tesolin: Hello, how are you?
Dr. Kent: Very good. Now your book is called Spark: Raise Your Mind to the Power of Infinity and Create Anything. Tell us about that.
Arupa Tesolin: Spark is kind of a different book in the sense that it’s a book about personal innovation, which means how we actually create things and the role we play in creating anything. That’s why the title is raise your mind to the power of infinity, because that is the backdrop of the creative process. The spark is actually what happens when you start to create anything and you set about a chain of events in the world around you to start bringing you what you imagined you want to create.
I was very interested in looking at that side of the creative process because we know a lot about what goes on outside that creative process, but that first spark, which is the most creative thing we know less about. By being more conscious about it we can actually leverage different kinds of results.
Dr. Kent: What do you do on a daily basis? I know you coach and consult, what does the spark have to do with your daily practices?
Arupa Tesolin: I operate an innovation training company so we’re doing training for organizations on innovation and intuition skills and a lot of the skill sets that deal with the creative side of human beings as they gather together in a business enterprise. So we conduct spark training programs and another set of programs called TING Training, which is after my intuition book and surprisingly if you listen to intuition you do business better called TING. So that’s what I do. I’m more of a consultant trainer speaker than anything else. The coaching comes in through the consulting process.
Dr. Kent: Your website and the book itself are so bright. The spark is whether a sunflower on the website or the bright orange of your book. Is it a positive thing for people? How does this change a company’s life? A person’s life?
Arupa Tesolin: Well we have to realize that there is an immense power that we have literally at our fingertips with engaging the creative process. It affects everything that comes after and that’s what’s so exciting about it. I was interested in how the creative process works since I was very young. I used to have a creative laboratory hidden in the bricks in the wall outside my room and in that creative space living laboratory I could create different things. And I realized I didn’t have to just create one thing or another, I literally had an imagination laboratory and that’s what the book spark is advocating.
We have to take hold of the power, whether we’re ourselves individuals, whether we’re going after business or having our own careers and literally we look at other people that have different lifestyles and maybe some inventors or creative people who seem to be quite adept at creating things and we long for that sort of thing. So by taking a look at what’s actually happening inside the creative process, we can start to take on parts of it for ourselves and do better with it. That’s got a big payoff in organizations who are interested in doing more innovations because that adds to their bottom line.
For people, it’s a thrill to be able live the life you conceive of because most people cant see after tomorrow. Their tomorrow looks exactly like the day before and the day after but once they realize, hey this is actually being creative because of my thoughts today, then something clicks in and I think we’re mature enough as a society now to really start looking at what’s happening inside the creative process. There were great people that preceded us in the guise of different masters, different gurus, and different spiritual leaders who always said, we have all this power and we’re starting to look at it. And through other people and books like this starting to look at what this means for us and how to use it.
Dr. Kent: What exactly is this spark? Let’s say a family celebrating the 4th of July; dads got the day off work; he works in a business somewhere; what’s the spark for him?
Arupa Tesolin: What the spark for him is “what do I really want to be doing and how do I create that?” It can happen right at this moment when you’re listening to this program you can actually decide that this is what you want and to take the spark process. As soon as you make the commitment to something, everything starts off as an image, a vision, and as soon as you make a commitment to it, the heart enters in and says yeah, that’s what I want, I’m committed to this. But you have to in the spark stage, that first step actually determines all the outcomes. It determines the complete construction and destruction of what you’re doing.
It’s important to hold a fully finished image. In other words to envision that you’re already there. That you’re already doing what you want to do or having what you want to have. It’s already there; it’s just like you go to the tap for a glass of water. You turn on the water and you know that waters going to be in that glass. That same level of certainly when you’re creating an image in knowing that in that point in time which we call the spark, that you literally set a change into motion in the universe, beyond form, to start forming around that image, that thing.
Dr. Kent: Tell me a little, the spark of course we know so well. We always talk about every fire starts with a spark. There’s so much attached to that in culture and obviously that’s the core of the theory. Talk about the beginning.
Arupa Tesolin: That spark, that’s the ignition point. When you start your car, without the spark the car doesn’t go anywhere. All of the adventures you have after your car don’t happen unless that ignition goes off. In a similar way metaphorically that spark is that beginning point. That beginning point and what I’m advocating with the book is that we start doing it consciously. That we’re conscious when that spark happens and we put ourselves in a space where we can create in the greatest way with awareness and intelligence at that time.
Then that phase actually ends pretty quickly and you kind of have to let go of things. Most people they’re either telling themselves either the reason they cant have a certain thing or they’re re-imaging the day before yesterday so it comes into their life tomorrow. And spark is all about teaching people to look at what’s really real. If we know that everything our eyes see, everything we perceive through our senses is actually attached. That spark state where you only see an image in your imagination, that’s a living presence and understanding that requires a real reorientation to the way we think and the way we expect results to happen.
Dr. Kent: What are the five senses? You write about the five senses; what role do they play?
Arupa Tesolin: Hearing, seeing; what the important thing is what you see is already dead. You’re seeing the skin on the outside of people’s faces; that’s dead skin, its coming off. The real growth is happening inside. Same thing if you look at an organism’s tree. The real growth is happening inside, it’s literally invisible and that’s the same thing metaphorically as with our spark point.
Its invisible, you can’t see it yet. It’s going to come out later and it’s learning to work with that. And then there are different stages that happen after the spark and you learn to sort of be patient while you cant see anything but if you continue to expect that its going to happen, it makes it a lot easier over time. It’s more about conscious creating.
Dr. Kent: Let’s talk a little bit, I only have about 30 seconds left, but on Fourth of July my favorite things were sparklers. Can you make a metaphor about sparklers with your book?
Arupa Tesolin: Mine too, I remember. Sparklers, little ideas from sparks. Basically to set a goal is to limit infinity. That’s a good sparkler. And I hope if nothing else you remember that. To set a goal is to limit infinity. In other words you can have anything you want, as soon as you limit infinity to that thing that you want.
Dr. Kent: That’s a lot like when I read Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. It says, “It’s easy to fly. You just fall and miss the ground.”
Arupa Tesolin: Yeah, that’s a good analogy.
Dr. Kent: It’s just a different way of thinking about it.
Arupa Tesolin: Exactly.
Dr. Kent: It’s been an honor speaking with Arupa Tesolin. Her book is called Spark and her website is intuita.com, and if you go \spark, you’ll find out about the book. Thank you so much for being on the show.
Arupa Tesolin: Thank you for your invitation. Have a great independence day.
Dr. Kent: You too. My next guest on the show is actually a good friend of mine. Its an honor to every once in awhile to be able to indulge in that opportunity so come on back, we’re going to listen to just a little bit of a song that he recorded. It’s called Tina, and it’s from his album called Ilijic. He’s a Serbian pianist and here’s a little bit, actually a full track from that album called Tina.