Last push..Breaking Into The Light is only down by a few votes! Please stop by, even if you voted already. You can vote each week and it’s super appreciated 😊😊😊
Thank You for your generous support. It means the world to me 🙂
20 years ago I was the manager of a retail music store called The Wall. While working there, I met a young man who so influenced my life that I actually had a series of posts early on in my BnV career that were inspired by him (The Burning Questions). He had a particularly intriguing habit of coming into work each day with a specific question. He would pose this question and we would spend the remainder of the day discussing amongst ourselves our thoughts and opinions on the selected topic. Who is the best band of all time? What is the best song ever written? Do ghosts exist? Is there a God? And always, WHY? They were some of the best conversations I’ve ever had. They must have been, because I still remember.
Fast forward 20 years. Lives change, tragedies and challenges happen, and Inspiration Leads. This same young man is now a father and husband, pastor of his own church, a relatively new blogger and the author of his first book. (I say first, because Im certain there will be many). I shared a post by him just last week called “Youth Sports — Love With A Capital L” and now I’d like to introduce you to him. So grab a beverage, curl up with a blanket and enjoy …..
My name is Chad and this is my profile.
These sorts of things always seem vain and self-important, but I can’t figure out why. We wear name tags, introduce ourselves, smile and invite each other to our parties. This is all a very natural overflow of our human need to connect, to see ourselves as part of a bigger story. When I can find a real-life bookstore, I look at the titles, cover art, and excerpts for the same reason: to find somewhere I can belong, someone I can relate to, a hand to hold.
I guess this impulse is why I/we do anything.
I write often and from a pretty specific point of view. That we are loved and accepted by Our Creator – this perspective is the life-line that runs through every word, even if it is never stated. Because you can tell, right? You can tell if someone thinks you are worthy and beautiful. Religion has so often come down on the wrong side of this, showing people we are garbage, we are primarily sinners possessing no real intrinsic value. It’s why I ran from God, Jesus, and spirituality for most of my life. Once I woke up to the fact that this couldn’t have been further from the truth, woke up to the fact that I was loved, here, now, today, what else could I do but spend the rest of my life as a modern-day street preacher? Instead of sandwich boards pointing to a fiery hell, my tools are my heart to open and my arms to wrap around a cold and lonely world who has believed a lie for way too long.
I started the Bridge Faith Community where I teach on Sunday mornings, write on 2 blogs; bridgefaithcommunity.com and lovewithacapitall.com, and now I wrote a book; Chronicles, Nehemiah and Other Books Nobody Reads, that you can get at lulu.com or at my house.
The Bridge blog is very spiritual, mixing my life with Scripture in an attempt to clearly display that God is not somewhere else, that He is here, if only we have eyes to see.
Love With A Capital L is a bit more fun, mixing my life with, well, your life and the art I see/hear/experience and the things that make today explosive and ordinary and painful and overwhelming and totally worthwhile.
These things are the way I express myself, but to be honest, my favorite work of art is my life. I have been given gifts I could never have imagined and been blessed far beyond my wildest dreams. I have 2 of the sweetest boys you have ever met, Samuel and Elisha, and a wife who is truly an Angel. So, I might make it to a million or I might die tomorrow, but I will be thankful for every moment.
Now that it’s finished, maybe it is vain and self-important, but it was pretty fun, too.
Love & Peace.
Here is a chapter of the book:
XXIII. Everyone Needs A Hand To Hold On To
Let’s take this one day at a time, I’ll hold your hand if you hold mine.
Rumors of My Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated, Rise Against
If picture’s worth a thousand words then your touch is worth them all.
Dance, Dance Christa Paffgen, Anberlin
For the closing prayer, everyone at the Bridge stands and holds another’s hand in each of their own. Now, for some, this introduces an element of dread into an otherwise safe environment. I’ve seen some hurry from their seats into the lobby or their car when they begin to sense the message winding down. For others, this is the perfect end to their morning.
At the Bridge, we give an awful lot of thought to the environment we create. From the color to the art on the walls to the music and placement of the tables and food, the narthex (a super-fancy term for lobby that I just love) is designed for welcoming comfort. The people are engaging and kind, the food is terrific, entering is easy and non-threatening.
However, once the service starts, there is a different aim altogether. The Scriptures invite us into a transformation, a spiritual re-birth, and transformations are never comfortable. Has there ever been a woman, reflecting on childbirth, that would say it was anything other than stressful, arduous, and exhausting? It’s called labor.
Of course, the primary announcement of the Gospel, the Good News, is one of grace, forgiveness, rescue, and life. No matter who you were, what you’ve done, where you’ve been, you can come home. Not only can you come home, but the Creator of the Universe, and the Creator of you, has been waiting for you with the table set. He has never stopped loving you. You do not have to get it together, stop doing whatever, start doing whatever, or climb any kind of ladder of achievement. He loves you and accepts you, exactly as you are, here, now, today.
That IS Good News.
My wife fell in love and married me. That was really good news, too. She accepted me as I was, scars and all. I had many habits and vices, none of which I’ll detail here and none of which were honoring to a woman as lovely as Angel. She loved me anyway in spite of my flaws, the way I was.
There is really only one response to that kind of overwhelming love; to live into those shoes, into that identity. (Obviously, the love of my wife is a laughably poor comparison to the love of Jesus Christ, but sometimes laughably poor comparisons are all we have. The Taylor Swift song ‘Begin Again’ makes me cry because it points me in the direction of my God.) If someone sees you, loves you, speaks a fresh word about you, and you believe it, that can change everything about you, everything about the way you live. All of the things that you settled for before that moment suddenly aren’t good enough. You are a child of the Living God, made in His image, and there is an honor and dignity to that. Some things are beneath you now. You are made to fly, not to crawl in the muck at the bottom of any gross barrel you see.
But leaving old lives behind is hard. Shedding that skin is painful, full of starts and restarts.
Welcome to Church, right?
Welcome to the road.
Welcome to a full capital-L Life.
Ideally, you come inside and you hear you are the beautiful artwork of God, loved beyond reason. And you weep.
Then you realize that you have erected all sorts of walls, carried such heavy baggage, worn thick iron chains around your neck, locked yourself in a prison you have built. You have believed so many lies that this is all you are worth.
And again you weep.
But it’s LOVE that exposes those lies. It’s LOVE that gives you the tools to break those chains, destroy those walls, and demolish that prison. Tearing down the cage you’ve constructed forever is hard, terrifying work, not for the weak.
Or for the unconnected.
We live in a culture that glorifies the individual, the loner, the hero who pulls herself up by the bootstraps. Our culture has minimized actual personal contact until we have days where we don’t see or talk to another human being in person. I have hundreds of friends on social media, some I’ve never actually met. I prefer to text. If my phone rings, I assume it is an emergency. I drive myself if I must leave the house.
But why would I leave the house?
I can order any products I see advertised to live a fulfilled life. I can order my groceries online and someone leaves a box outside my door. I don’t even have to get dressed. I have new neighbors who I haven’t met.
This is life? This is living?
Is it living to measure my worth based on how many ‘likes’ my latest post garners?
In a word, no. So we hold each others hands as an act of rebellion, opposing the culture that tells us we should worship at the altar of ourselves and our superior abilities. We hold each others’ hands as proclamation that we are, indeed, alive – especially if we have forgotten. Though the road can be long and difficult, it is nothing we have to travel alone.
Do you know what damage it does to a soul that is never touched by another human being? One of the most revolutionary barriers Jesus broke was to touch those who shouldn’t have been and never were touched. In fact, they were called ‘untouchables’ and they were cast out from the rest, regarded as less than human for some reason or another (blood, skin, sin, etc.). Jesus spoke with them, ate with them, and shockingly touched them. As if they were friends or children and not just a disease, history, or reputation. Of course, the healing was physical, superficial, but the true healing took place where the Pharisees could not see, in their hearts.
And that is absolutely worth a bit of uncomfortability.
Thank you so much Chad for sharing your time, talent and self with BnV. Im pleased and honoured to share the news about all you are doing and pray only the best blessings…or the most inspiring …ever touch your life.
A thought provoking and compelling dystopian world that will change the way you view justice…
A man fights for life—and redemption—in D. M. Cain’s riveting new novel, The Phoenix Project.
Britain has descended into chaos as violence and terrorist attacks seethe across this once-peaceful country. Outraged by the steady stream of lawlessness, citizens demand a harsher penal system, and the Phoenix Project is born.
In prisons across the country, inmates fight to the death in a weekly bloodbath while the nation cheers them on.
Raven Kennedy, a prisoner who has never forgiven himself for his unspeakable crime, struggles against his own guilt and self-loathing. But even as the real war wages on within himself, Raven is forced to battle some of the prison’s most ruthless killing machines. Can he survive long enough to unravel the anger and regret that shackle him—and one day find the forgiveness he seeks?
After reading the book’s cover description, I was already intrigued to learn more, not only about the history of this futuristic society where brutality has become the norm, much as it had been in Roman times, but also by the main character, Raven. It did not take long to connect with his tortured soul as he was beautifully and lovingly developed; his pain and the trials he faces to survive, outwardly and inwardly, are poignant and marvelously developed in a story that delves far beyond the gladiator theme I originally envisioned.
Aptly named, The Phoenix Project tells a stirring, vivid tale of a self-destructive soul who eventually discovers Hope and Renewal through the inspirations and insights provided by those he meets on his journey. Entertaining, yet thoroughly provocative, Raven’s story captured my imagination and, very quickly, my heart. I unreservedly gave this book 5-Stars.
D.M. Cain is a dystopian and fantasy author working for US publisher Booktrope. She has released two full length novels: The Phoenix Project – a psychological thriller set in a dystopian future, and A Chronicle of Chaos – the first in a dark fantasy series. She is currently working on the next novel in the series, ‘The Shield of Soren’, and a novella to accompany it. You can read more about her via her Amazon Author Page here: http://www.amazon.com/D.M.-Cain/e/B00LTTX3PA/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1
And you can grab your copy of The Phoenix Project Here: https://www.amazon.com/Phoenix-Project-D-M-Cain-ebook/dp/B0195A6AYK
I hope you enjoyed this review, the first of more to come 🙂 After all, we cannot grow if we do not make the attempt, right?
I recently read and reviewed two fantastic books by Author Mary Anne Yarde, and I was fortunate enough to entice her to stop by for a natter!
Mary Anne Yarde is the Award Winning author of the International Best Selling Series — The Du Lac Chronicles. Set a generation after the fall of King Arthur, The Du Lac Chronicles takes you on a journey through Dark Age Briton and Brittany, where you will meet new friends and terrifying foes. Based on legends and historical fact, The Du Lac Chronicles is a series not to be missed.
Born in Bath, England, Mary Anne Yarde grew up in the southwest of England, surrounded and influenced by centuries of history and mythology. Glastonbury–the fabled Isle of Avalon–was a mere fifteen-minute drive from her home, and tales of King Arthur and his knights were part of her childhood.
Hello Mary Anne, So glad you could visit with BooknVolume today. Please Introduce us to your Blog. What is it all about? What sorts of posts do you lean towards?
My blog is called Myths, Legends, Books and Coffee Pots.
Oh. My. Days! I so love my blog. My posts are focused on the mythological and historical wonders of this world. I like this mix because sometimes the two overlap, particularly in my chosen field of — I am not going to call it expertise, because I hate the word expert — let’s call it knowledge, yeah, that works. My chosen Field Of Knowledge is Arthurian folklore and history, so there is a fair amount of that on my blog. I also love to have authors in the same genre as the blog, come on and share their stories and their inspirations about their books. My to-read list has gone through the roof thanks to my blog!
What Inspires and stirs your creativity?
That is a difficult question to answer. I don’t know. I don’t look at a view, or a picture, or hear some music and suddenly feel inspired and quickly dash for my computer. This is going to sound a little daft, but I think writing, in general, inspires me. The more I write, the more I want to write. It is like a drug for me. I really hope they never find a cure!
I often hope the same thing! Well, in that case, what do you find difficult to write about?
What do I find difficult? Umm… There are some things I wouldn’t write about, full stop. Just the same as there are some things I don’t want to read about or watch on the television. I am not going to write blog posts that I don’t feel comfortable sharing with my readers. So to answer your question, I don’t find writing blog posts particularly challenging because I am writing about, and sharing the things, that I enjoy.
What Message, if any, do you hope to Share through your blog/posts?
I hope my posts are fun and informative and I want my readers to enjoy them, and if they come away having learnt something — bonus!
That’s always a pleasant surprise, I know 🙂 How has your blog helped you as a writer/Indie Author? What things have you learned along the way that you never anticipated?
I think blogs are a great way for authors to connect with readers and it has given me a tremendous amount of confidence in putting myself out there, so to speak. All authors should have one!
Although I’ve already reviewed both of them previously, can you tell us about your book(s):
My books are part of a series called The Du Lac Chronicles. They are set a generation after the fall of King Arthur and they tell the story of what happened next, through the eyes of Lancelot du Lac’s sons.
Read Review on BnV of Book One
Read Review on BnV of Book Two
What Inspired you to write your book?
I grew up very near Glastonbury, The Ancient Isle of Avalon, and stories of King Arthur were as much a part of my childhood as say, Santa Claus was.
I have always loved the stories of Arthur and his Knights, but I also felt a little deflated with how the story ended. If you are not familiar with the end of the tale, I will explain it very quickly…
Arthur is betrayed by his nephew — Mordred — and their two armies meet at the Battle of Camlann. Mordred is killed, and Arthur is gravely wounded. Arthur is taken to Avalon, and that is the last we hear of him. His Knights, if they were not already dead, end their days as hermits. The end.
Yeah, you heard me. The famous Knights of The Round Table became hermits. Seriously? Is that the best the great poets could come up with? I don’t know about you, but I think that ending kinda sucks! I was never happy with it. I wanted to write about what came after Arthur’s death. In particular, I wanted to focus on the next generation of Knights who find themselves in an ever-changing Saxon world.
Im so glad you did, because it’s a wonderfully fresh perspective!
From what Point of View do you prefer to write? Is there a reason?
I write in the third person because I like to juggle multiple Points of View. I like to get under the skin of my characters and see what makes them tick. They are all very different, which keeps me engaged with my writing.
What genre do you prefer to write or are you truly eclectic?
I currently write in the Historical Fantasy genre. The thought of writing in a different genre sends a nervous sensation down my back. Maybe I will become a little courageous further into my career and experiment with a different genre. But for now, I am stuck with Historical Fantasy, which is fine by me!
Do you painstakingly plot out your story; are you a discovery writer or a bit of both? Why?
I spent ages writing a plan once, and then I completely dismissed it when I started to write. So since then, I don’t bother planning. I know where I want my story to end — it is just a case of getting my characters there!
I know precisely what you mean. They often throw a few curves at you before you get where you want to go! Do you have a favourite or least favourite character? And Why?
Yes, I have both! My favourite character has always been Merton du Lac. He is such a complicated little soul. He is a bit like an onion — lots of layers, and he is always making me cry.
I have two characters that I loath. Merton’s brother, Budic, and his childhood friend, Josephine. They are both very unlikeable people, but they fascinate me no end. I really like writing about them.
Share an insight or secret about your book(s).
Sshh! One of the du Lac brothers might not make it to the end of the series.
GASP!! Oh dear! Ok…no spoilers here, I’ll try to keep moving….um…What do you feel is your best advice to share with other aspiring authors?
Stop doubting yourself. Seriously. Don’t do that. Just write your book.
OH I love that!!! Would you like to share an excerpt from the book or a poem or two to give readers an idea what you offer?
Oh, yes please! This is from my latest release — The Du Lac Devil (Book 2 of The Du Lac Chronicles).
Book Excerpt ~ The Du Lac Devil (Book 2 of The Du Lac Chronicles)
“What are you doing here?” Lady Amandine asked mere moments later. She glanced anxiously up and down the hallway. Thankfully, it was empty, for everyone else had already made their way down to the Hall to break their fast.
Merton was leaning against the opposite wall. In truth, he did not know why he was here, he had promised himself that he would keep his distance, but his feet had led him to her chamber nonetheless.
“I came to ravish you. Why else? Can I come in? Unless you want me to ravish you in the hallway of course,” he said, trying to shock.
“You are not coming in,” Amandine whispered, fearful that someone would hear them in the empty corridor.
“The hallway it is then.” He took a step forward as if he was going to make a grab for her. She immediately took a step back into her room and closed the door just enough so she could peek around and still see him.
Merton laughed. The sound was joyous to Amandine’s ears. She wasn’t used to being teased. Merton made a welcomed change to the tedium that was her life. Not to mention he was also very pleasing to the eye, compared to her ancient husband that was.
“Are you going to let me in, or are you going to cling to the door all morning?” Merton asked, raising one eyebrow as he did so.
He was looking at her in that indulgent way of his. No one, apart from maybe Garren, had looked at her the way Merton did now. It was very persuasive.
“What if my husband returns?”
“While I was ravishing you?” Merton looked shocked. “Well,” he breathed out slowly and crept closer to the door. He raised his hand and rested it on the doorframe. “He would be in for a sight, although I have been told that my body is rather fine to behold,” he smiled charmingly at her.
“You are not funny,” Amandine said. She tried to glance down the hallway again, but he was blocking her view.
“There is no one there, and your husband has drunk himself into unconsciousness. I saw him this morning, fast asleep with his head resting on his plate. I do not think he will be coming back here anytime soon.”
“Oh no, not again,” she sighed and leant her head against the edge of the door. “I should have gone and looked for him last night, I suppose.” But instead, she had been glad for his absence, especially when she woke herself up in the dead of night, calling Merton’s name out loud. She felt her face heat as she recalled her dream. “Thank you for telling me, I had better go and rescue him.”
Her voice sounded thoroughly fed-up, but also resigned and Merton found himself hating her husband for humiliating her so.
“He seemed quite content with his lot. I don’t think he needs rescuing. Are you ever going to let me in or are we going to spend the day conversing in the hall?”
“I can’t let you in,” Amandine said in horror. “What would people say?”
“What people?” He made much of looking down the corridor. When he looked back at her, she had narrowed her eyes and was frowning at him. He smiled as she opened the door wider.
“This isn’t a good idea,” she whispered as she led him further into the chamber she shared with her husband.
Merton shut the door with a resounding bang and turned the key, for he did not want them to be disturbed.
“Now, where would you like to be ravished?” He took a moment to look around the room as if contemplating the best place. “Nice bed.”
****** OH want to read more!!!!
OK so now on to the harder bit….talking about yourself! If you had to describe yourself to someone who has never met you, what might you say?
Mary Anne Yarde skips to a drumbeat that no one else can hear! And if it looks like she isn’t listening, it is because her mind is somewhere in the Dark Ages, but I believe chocolate is really good at bringing her attention back to the present!
If you could meet one person from the past, who might it be and why?
This is always a tough question because there have been so many people that I would like to sit down and have a chat with over a sticky bun and a coffee. But hey, wouldn’t it be kind of cool if I could go back in time and find out if King Arthur really did exist? And if he did, I wonder if he would teach me how to use a sword?
When you are NOT writing, what is your favourite pastime?
Reading, Zumba — which, for the record, I am very bad at! And playing the piano — which I am quite good at. Lastly, anything equestrian, as long as the horse’s front legs don’t leave the ground. As a child I was fearless, but with age, I have become a bit of a coward, isn’t that tragic?! I leave the more adventurous stuff to my teen!
Describe Your Dream Getaway Destination. Have you ever been there? What makes this place Irresistible to you?
Scotland. I adore the place. I wouldn’t mind living there, but my husband isn’t so keen. Spoilsport! We came back recently from another trip there, and I am already planning the next one, however my daughter is determined that we holiday in Cornwall this year — she has just discovered Poldark!
I’d love to go there as well, just another place on the list of MANY in Great Britain! So delighted you stopped in Mary Anne to share so much with us 🙂 Now, where can readers find you and your books?
Links For Purchase
Links for Mary Anne
I hope you enjoyed learning about Mary Anne today and might take a moment to visit her blog, website or check out her books. Trust me, if you enjoy historical fiction, tales about King Arthur or knights you will love her series!
Thanks ever so much Mary Anne 🙂 May the Inspiration and Intoxication of words never fade!
The Eternals £0.99/$0.99 kindle promotion finishes today. Don’t leave it too late because book 2 Hunter Hunted is out now. The Eternals Thank you for reading, and for all the support from those of you who’ve already started the series. Hearing of your enjoyment has been music to my ears. Richard Richard M. Ankers author of […]
It seems it was not all that long ago I was posting Dark Fey out in pieces as part of my Friday Fantasy posts, testing the waters, as it were and gaining valuable feedback about the story, the characters and the realm of Jyndari. Now, a mere three years later, Dark Fey is a published series with plentiful 4 and 5 star reviews, as well as industry awards to its merit.
I could tell you all about how wonderful the story is, but I am admittedly biased, so here are a few other opinions from readers, reviewers and other authors.
“For fantasy and fey fans, The Reviled has absolutely everything you could want in an epic fantasy adventure….Jyndari is an exotic world with deep detailing and a delicate balance between dark and light. The emotional spectrum of Ayla’s journey is rich and harrowing, taking us into the deepest corners of her incredible mind as she senses the dark fey lurking at every turn. The mystery of what he wants from her is well spun out to an exciting and satisfying conclusion. Overall, I’d highly recommend The Reviled to fans of young adult fantasy and fey stories.” 5 stars! Reviewed By K.C. Finn for Readers’ Favorite
“This was not my normal genre (fantasy) to read but, WOW! It took me two chapters to get into it, but once I did, I was fixated on the story line and the characters….. I can only liken it to a fantasy version of a play by Shakespeare!” – 4 Stars Author Anthony Mays
“Cynthia Morgan’s beautifully descriptive prose and strong characterization instantly transported me to the mystical realm of Jyndari, a place of spiritual beauty, magic and light. ….. The author’s ability to engage the reader in the characters’ emotional and physical traumas enchanted and captivated me. I love these Feys and their Realms of Light and Darkness and I cannot wait to travel back there in Book 2.” – 5 Stars – Author Leo Kane
“The strongest part of this book is the beautiful lyrical language, detailed imagery, and descriptions of a fantasy world with a rich history and fleshed out cultural tradition. … for readers who love to immerse themselves in a story and characters, it will fit the bill….This story pits good against evil, but more than that, it’s a tale of hope, fidelity and forgiveness, love and redemption.” 4 Stars Author D. Wallace Peach
“Once again Cynthia Morgan’s prose takes on an almost poetic flow as the world of Jyndari spills out before her audience, and this time the stakes feel even higher than before. With time to really develop the three central characters during this second novel, I felt even more invested in the emotional ties they share and the duty to The Light which they feel. Whilst the torturous treatment of the Childfey is an upsetting subject, it is handled gracefully without the need for graphic reference, and it brings a new gravitas and danger to the plot that further enhances the sense of tension and adventure. Standing in Shadows is a superb continuation in the Dark Fey series.” – 5 stars! Reviewed By K.C. Finn for Readers’ Favorite
“Dark Fey: Standing in the Shadows” is a moral tale that encompasses romance, action, and drama. The author offers highly imaginative, richly detailed settings in both Uunglarda, the dark world inhabited by the Reviled (a grotesque, loveless race), and Jyndari, the world of the Fey of Light (beings of light and love).” – 4 Stars – Author Robin Gregory
“Several times while reading I had to pause just to admire the work gone into creating the way the fey spoke and the language they used….The series is going from strength to strength and I would definitely recommend this one to fey lovers.
8 out of 10” – Brienne Dubh Escapology Reviews
Though it is not my intention to blow my own horn, I do hope the thoughts of fellow readers may be of interest to you, especially if you are contemplating reading for yourself. Thank You for blessing me with your indulgence!
NOW AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK AND KINDLE FORMATS. Life is a collection of colours when all you’ve known is night. Sir Walter Merryweather Eternals exist beneath the Arctic ice, a secretive albino breed. A domain of ruby half-light and absolute night, patrolled by orcas intent on killing all within, Hvit is a city to avoid. Jean, […]
I’ve read the first book, The Eternals, and it was fantastic. Cannot wait to dive into Book Two. Vampires, Sci-Fi with a touch of Steampunk, Action, and a hint of romance, You really Cant Go Wrong!
I am so Excited! I simply had to share the news. My publisher (Creativia Publications) just made my Dark Fey Official Landing pages available on their newly revised website. Now, instead of just a flat cover photo, there is Cool background artwork, actual book photos (nifty I know, right!), and expanded, Behind The Scenes descriptions for each book.
If you feel inclined, stop by and have a look around. Feedback is appreciated 😉 and Sharing (via the webpage social media links) is more appreciated than I can say.
Thank you for sharing my excitement!
Happy Friday Fey Day!
OH and by the way, did I happen to mention that I will no longer be doing FridayFantasy? Nope, I’ve decided there’s no better day to share the wealth of information I have about Dark Fey, Fey in general, fairytales, etc. So if nothing else, Welcome to the brand new Friday Theme on Booknvolume 🙂
Ashley Barnes stopped to talk with me about her blog, her writing and A Spirit Led Life.org as well as her blog A Spirit Led Life here on WordPress where she supports and inspires women to heal body, mind, and spirit, develop a connection to their inner guidance, and lead a more Spirit Led Life.
Ashley is an Author, Poet, Energist, Coach, and Practical Mystic. Her programs include: Healing from Transition, Simple Self Healing, The Angel Inside (based on her book The Angel Inside: Inspiration to Connect to your Inner Guidance), The Mind, Body, and Spirit Cleanse, and more! She is a certified Integrative Nutrition Coach and Usui and Kundalini Reiki Master.
Please Introduce us to your Blog. What is it all about? What sorts of posts do you lean towards?
My blog started in 2012 as a “secret public journal” to house my poetry. I was participating in a virtual program called “Writing for the Health of It” with Jan Lundy. During the class, I pulled out my old poetry journal and realized it had been over 15 years since I had written anything. I hadn’t even noticed the huge creative gap in my life. I started writing again as a result of that class, and now I write 1-3 poems a week.
When I first started writing again, it was an outlet for the healing process I was going through at the time, as well as an opportunity to practice and play with creativity and inspiration again after so many years. As my personal and professional focus has shifted to spirituality, my poetry has shifted with me. Today, my poems are nearly always infused with spiritual messages, inspired by asking the question, “What does the world need to hear today?” Sometimes I have particular people in mind when I write. Sometimes it’s a world event that inspires me. Yet the end result is nearly always a universal message for anyone who needs to hear it (including myself).
What Inspires and stirs your creativity?
Nature is my greatest muse, especially the ocean. Being in nature connects me to the intimate and unseen energy of this world and opens all of my senses in a way that I can’t accomplish in the rush and noise of my everyday life.
How has your blog helped you as a writer/Indie Author? What things have you learned along the way that you never anticipated?
My blog has increased my confidence tremendously as a writer, and unknowingly served as my practice arena to work up to publishing my book. I’m not formally trained in creative writing or poetry. This used to weigh heavily on me. I continuously felt I needed more credentials to be considered a “real” writer. Even when I was strongly feeling called to publish a book, I still couldn’t shake the feeling that I wasn’t talented or educated enough to put myself out there in that way. However, comments and emails from readers letting me know that my words touched them, and the continual practice of opening myself to write, finally helped me to realize that there is more going on with the blog than simply a hobby or an online journal. Of course, there’s always room for improvement with any craft. Yet my epiphany was that writing is less about how polished or trained I am and more about how authentic and open to inspiration I am. I believe readers pick up on this and are moved by the energy of vulnerability in the words, which then inspires and empowers me to keep going.
One of my earliest writing influences:
The book, Women, Writing, and Soul-Making: Creativity and the Sacred Feminine by Peggy Tabor Millin, was mentioned in the “Writing for the Health of It” program and upon starting it, I couldn’t put it down. I connected instantly with the author and her depiction of spiritual growth through writing, as this had been the same process I’d experienced since I’d been writing again. In an interview, Millin remarked, “It does not matter what we write about or whether we are conscious of our process; writing heals and changes lives. “ And when the life of the writer is changed through the process of writing, the life of those she touches is changed a well.
Tell us about your book(s):
We all have personal angels as spiritual guides and they want to interact with us in a meaningful way. Through original poetry, inspired writings, and opportunities to reflect, The Angel Inside: Inspiration to Connect with Your Inner Guidance is a guide accessible to seekers of all faith traditions who wish to understand and embrace the many advantages of connecting with our angels.
What Inspired you to write your book?
The book was divinely guided. Demanded, to be more accurate. I had no desire to write a book and I struggled for over a year, feeling inadequate to write anything of value. I’m a poet; yet as much as I like poetry, I knew this book needed to be more, and I didn’t know how to produce that. So I kept writing poetry and avoiding the call until finally the message was clear and direct, “You are enough, you are enough, you are enough. Your life doesn’t need to be exceptional to inspire someone else. We will help you.”
From what Point of View do you prefer to write? Is there a reason?
I write primarily in second person for two reasons: 1) Writing “I” poems feels exceptionally vulnerable at times; and 2) My writing is most often a message or inspiration from Spirit, and therefore direct to “you”
When finishing the book, I kept the poems in second person as most were written, but changed all the prose sections to first person (“we”) to incorporate a more inclusive feel.
How would you describe your “Voice” or Style of writing?
I primarily write poetry that is inspired by Spirit. Some might call it “channeled.” I feel more like it’s a blend of my own unique voice and style with words placed on my heart.
Share an insight or secret about your book(s).
The entire book was written by hand. I write with pencil in a notebook and then type what I’ve written. For me, there hand writing is a visceral experience (though it’s often complete scribble) which allows the inspiration to flow more easily than typing.
The book was also written in a discontinuous flow. After struggling for over a year about what to write, I finally gave it up to Spirit and said, “I’m open, just give me the words.” I replaced my morning poetry writing with a focus on the book. Each morning I would sit down and ask, “What do you want me to write?” As words started to form, I would write for 10-15 minutes and then wrap up. I followed this routine 3-4 days a week for several months, until I felt finished, or at least at a place of evaluation. Then I typed up everything I had written so far and printed out each section to look for themes.
Even as themes became obvious, I still had multiple disparate chunks of written material with no obvious way to tie them into a flow. And they were short. Then, just as the words came to me each morning, I had the notion to pair the themed chunks with existing poems from my blog. Of course, there was a poem that perfectly fit each theme.
From there, I decided to leave each chunk as a “devotional-style” section that could easily be consumed in one reading, rather than try to force transitions from one section to the next. I added reflection questions at the end of each section, and the manuscript was born!
What do you feel is your best advice to share with other aspiring authors?
Don’t get tripped up worrying that you don’t have the knowledge or education to be a writer, or that you don’t have an extraordinary life story to share. Those misguided ideas held me back for so long. Spirit can and does work with whoever answers the call to take up a pen (or pencil) and follow their inner guidance.
Would you like to share an excerpt from the book or a poem or two to give readers an idea what you offer?
From the Introduction:
We invite you to look deeper inside,
where silence overrides the noise,
where a gentle whisper overrides the silence.
That is your soul.
Go deeper. Leave this world behind.
Find us. We are here and we love you.
Who invites us to go deeper within? Who is it that whispers to our soul? They are our angels, our guides, our heavenly assistants. Our angels are messengers, helpers, tasked with guiding us through our human lives. They are loving and want only the highest good for all beings. They are a gift from the Creator, the Source of all existence, to enhance our faith, give us hope, ease our suffering, and remind us that we are not lost or alone, even in our darkest moments. They are the voice of the Divine, translated through love to us.
The angels asked for this book in order to make us aware of the many advantages of accepting their existence and opening ourselves to their constant love and guidance. The stakes are high for our own sense of peace and abundance, the manifestation of what we need and want, and for realizing our path in this life. The stakes are high for the world as well. Connection has a higher purpose for all beings, not only us as individuals. As we begin to accept and understand our spiritual nature, we come to understand our connection to the Creator as well as to all beings. This is our angels’ goal. This is our purpose.
The angel inside
Wishes to tell you a secret:
That yours is a life worth living
A dream worth having
That your very existence
Brightens the earth
In a way no other can
That the light inside your soul
Is not meant to be hidden
It is your gift to the world
This life that you live now
Is your impact on humankind
A model for generations to come
Death will not absolve you
But rather, lift you into the night
A shining beacon for all who wish to follow
Live this life well
Find your peace within
Do minimal harm
Right your wrongs whenever possible
Shine your beacon for those who struggle
Those who wrong you
Those who are difficult to understand
And most importantly
Shine for yourself
Illuminate your own path
Don’t wait for someone to do it for you
All that you will ever need
Is within you
If you had to describe yourself to someone who has never met you, what might you say?
I am… passionate & sensitive, reserved & introspective, empathic, deliberate, a quiet observer of human nature, often fearful, impatient, loving, kind, heart-centered, open-minded, spiritual, awakening to my gifts as a writer, a beautiful being of light!
If you could meet one person from the past, who might it be and why?
Perhaps this is cliché, but I would choose my mother. She died when I was 27 (I’m 41 now) and never met my children, my current husband, my brother-in-law, or my nieces. I know she’s with me now, but I’d love to meet her in person again, and especially to share her with my family.
When you are NOT writing, what is your favourite pastime?
I’m a continual learner. There is not enough time in the day for all the development classes and books that interest me! In addition, I play a lot of Uno and Clue these days with my 12-year-old daughter. I practice being mom to a nearly 14-year-old daughter (read: lots of patience). And I like to relax with my husband and watch our current favorite fun movie, “Guardians of the Galaxy”.
Describe Your Dream Getaway Destination. Have you ever been there? What makes this place Irresistible to you?
For almost 10 years, our summer vacation spot has been Siesta Key, Florida. It’s a small barrier island off the cost of Sarasota in the Gulf of Mexico. The water is clear, green, and warm, contrasted against the beach, which is comprised of incredibly soft and healing crystal quartz sand. In the mornings, I mediate and write by the ocean, then spend the rest of the day sunbathing, sightseeing, relaxing, and enjoying live music in The Village. It was the first place my husband and I vacationed together, we were married there on the beach, and now we take our kids as well. In 2017, we’ll return to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary!
Do you have a Mantra?
“Be the change you want to see in the world.” (Ghandi) I try to keep this front of mind when I feel confused about where to go or what to do next.
What “Charity” or “Cause” do you feel passionately about & Why?
I’ve always been drawn to animals and specifically causes that support their rights and welfare. For several years in my early adult life, I worked for animal shelters and volunteered with animal rescue groups, both locally and regionally. I genuinely believe our animal friends have pure souls which have a specific purpose to guide and support us in our journey through life. Currently, in our house we have six pets: two cats (Alice B. Toe-Claws and Colonel Steve Austin, who has only three legs), two dogs (Maddie and Max), a hamster (Jimmy Neutron), and a bearded dragon (Peaches, aka Spike). The most pets we’ve ever had at one time, counting all the critters in cages, was 12!
Ashley Barnes is a spiritual author, energist, and coach. She combines over a decade of leadership development expertise with Integrative Nutrition Coaching, Usui and Kundalini Reiki, and her down-to-earth style to support and inspire women to heal body, mind, and spirit, develop a connection to their inner guidance, and lead a more Spirit Led Life. Her first book, The Angel Inside: Inspiration to Connect with Your Inner Guidance, is now available on Amazon. You can contact her and learn more about her work at www.aspiritledlife.org.
I would like to Thank Ashley for stopping by and sharing her wealth of Insight with me as well as the readers and followers of Booknvolume. A Perfect Sunday meditation and Lime Light.
Many Blessings Ashley…and all my Friends
Today I should like to Introduce you to Nicky Peacock: Hello Nicky…lets begin with you telling us a little bit about Yourself
I guess I’ve always been a storyteller, not in a ‘liar liar pants on fire’ kind of way, although I do work in advertising! When I was little, kids would crowd around me in the playground and I’d tell them tales of blood soaked horror filled with vampires, werewolves, ghosts and more. Continue reading
Today’s Lime Light is with someone (I Hope) you already know very well, Erika Kind from http://www.erikakind.com, a blog where Kindness and Inspiration, Spirituality and Harmony Unite. Erika was born in Vienna but grew up in another part of Austria and in the Principality of Liechtenstein (within the Swiss Alps) where she still lives. In 1998 she moved with her little family to the States and spent there a bit more than a year. She is a part-time working mom and running a Practice for Aromatherapy and Self-Development and next to being a singer and author. Oh, and she has had a tortoise for 32 years….now if that doesn’t intrigue you to keep reading, Im not sure what will!
Erika: First of all, I thank you for inviting me to this interview, Morgan. I appreciate it very much because there is a lot of work behind. It is so kind of you to provide so many of us a platform to spread a bit more about us and about what we are doing. (Thank You Erika. Its a Blessing and a Joy to Share these Inspiring stories with everyone) But let’s get to your questions:
Please Introduce us to your Blog? I started my blog because it was set up by my publisher in order to promote my book. I had no idea what blogging was about before and I even distanced myself from social media as far as possible. I had never thought that it became one of my greatest blessings!
What is it all about? With one word: Inspiration! Whatever I write shall strike a chord within the reader. It shall make them hear a bit more of their own melody. Tragedies, destinies, challenges, daily life, disappointments, traumas make us forget about our own song. My blog shall make people hum it again automatically and over time even work on the composition consciously and joyfully to make it a musical.
What sorts of posts do you lean towards? I have a clear schedule in order for my readers to know each day what to expect and to expect something every day.
Each Monday I write a longer post about something we encounter in our daily lives. I want to give another and/or a different view on those experiences. There is always a positive and encouraging message I share with those posts.
Tuesday is the day when I post a love poem. I wanted to dedicate one day deliberately to romance. I call it Romantic Tuesday. It wasn’t my intention to make it a challenge but meanwhile many friends joined in naturally and it is such a joy to share romantic feelings all over the place together.
From Monday to Friday I post one of my own quotes. Those quotes come to my mind through writing, through what I perceive during the day, or through the conversations with my community. On Wednesday I always post a guest quote of a fellow blogger.
Also from Monday to Friday I post a song. Just what I feel like, what I just heard, or what fits a certain situation.
I also love to post spontaneously in between when I have some time. Then I share information about other bloggers, what goes through my heart and mind or I talk about happenings in my life or surrounding.
What Inspires and stirs your creativity? How can you make yourself see your light better? When you explain others their light. (Ha, that would make a lovely quote again…lol.) I want to make others feel their power and that inspires me immensely to activate my own power. Only when I feel what I write about I fill my posts with soul. So writing about the beauty of life inspires me to see the beauty in life. Encouraging others means that I must feel motivated in first place. I have come where I am today because I wanted to help others to overcome their limits. That forced me to overcome my own fears and limits and also led to my breakthrough 8 years ago.
What inspires me to the topics I write about is most of all what happens in my life, the interaction with my friends here on WordPress, and also what I read in other people’s posts. We are inspiring each other all the time through sharing a part of ourselves in our posts.
Erika was Generous enough to share one of her Inspirations with us, in the form of a Poem:
On this day I promise you
To never leave your side
To be your inspiration
To be your healing light
Where you may go you can be sure
That I will always follow
We share it all – the smile, the bliss
The challenge and the sorrow
I will be loving you each day
As if it was day one
I want to show you how much I
Am proud that I’m your own
In me you’ll find the back you need
When things around get rough
I will take care of your old scars
Will heal them with my love
With me beside you be aware
That you will smile a lot
I want to show you how you’re loved
In you I see THE gift from God
Together we will do great things
That only love makes happen
United power and light we’ll spread
The Aponi and her Sachem
On this day I promise you
To never leave your side
Not even when I close my eyes
For this last but longest night
Its so obvious through these beautiful words those things you find easy to write about. Conversely, what do you find difficult to write about? Writing about myself… haha! Thank God, I promote a message and not my person! But back to your question, Morgan. What can be really difficult is when it comes to other people’s personal tough life situations. Nobody can judge how another one feels about a situation. I hope that I have the sensitivity to touch the core but still not hurt someone. Whatever we are in right now is not where we are supposed to remain and for sure one day it will all look more colorful again. But when you are in the midst of a turmoil it is always hard and that has to be taken serious. I think being taken serious regarding a problem or regarding the way someone is dealing with it already helps to build up a new strength.
What Message, if any, do you hope to Share through your blog/posts? See the miracle in you. ( I LOVE THAT!) Feel the power you are. You have come here to expand yourself and make yourself visible through what you give of yourself. It is meant to be that you are here. You are unique and what you have to share is unique. Don’t be afraid to give share the gift of you. If you don’t do it, nobody does. You matter!
How has your blog helped you as a writer/Indie Author? What things have you learned along the way that you never anticipated? Regarding my activity as an author: My inspiration (here we are again) grew immensely through what I read and again wrote. This year I published a quote book with a selection of 101 quotes like I post them 5 days a week. It would not have happened without my blog. Also the network to promote my book(s) has become very supportive.
Regarding blogging: I had never expected to find real friends that way. I believe that we meet everybody for a reason and that we are meant to meet certain people in our lives. Modern technology helps to get in touch with those people a lot easier these times… no matter where they are right now. I am thankful that I already met many of my blogger friends. I can confirm that each one of them is the way they also appeared on their blogs or in our conversations. I made friends for life here. At this point I want to thank you all for granting me your friendship! To me the blogging world is an example of how the real world should be. We are interested in all others do. The differences are not separating but actually the connecting link.
This is why I invited Erika to talk with us today, because she’s amazing…isn’t she? Ok…now…Tell us about your book(s): From 2010 until today I published 5 books.
Wie das Leben schreibt… – a poem book with English and German poems (only available over me)
I’m Free– the German version
Enjoy Life! – a collection of English poems
I’m Free – the English version
101 KIND Quotes – Quotes about life and beyond
What Inspired you to write your books? It was the insight that fear (and all the limitations it brings) is only a conviction we are used to but not a truth. I realized that it was not my fears which limited me but I myself who reduced me to my fears. In that particular moment I saw myself in my past and my future. I saw what I forbid myself due to my beliefs, what was on the other side which was still waiting for me, and I saw myself standing between both. I understood clearly that it was my decision to take that step and not a permission I needed to get from anyone. I simply realized that nothing and no one could keep me from being who I wanted to be – unless I let them. This insight changed my life instantly. I wanted to share this feeling of power and liberation in order to make others see that feeling free and happy is not a gift but an attitude which brings you to all the places you have already seen in your visions. There is always a way. You only need to believe in it and take steps towards it – no matter what it is! The result was my book I’m Free – Awareness of Who You Are by Discovering Who You Are Not!
From what Point of View do you prefer to write? Is there a reason? When I read my first book of Wayne Dyer I experienced something very interesting. I only needed to open the book and I felt embraced and connected to a well of love. This opened me up even more for all the wonderful insights I read in that book. It made me feel good… good about myself. It encouraged me so much that I felt ready to start living what I felt as a deep truth.
It is my intention to ignite the reader’s inner flame in order to make them feel the power and loving force. It makes them change their lives because they changed their feeling about themselves.
Do you painstakingly plot out your story; are you a discovery writer or a bit of both? Why? I am someone who needs to be organized and who wants to have a good overview. First I think about what message I want to give the reader. Then I break it down into headlines (chapters) and bring them into an order. That is my starting point. During writing on the chapters I get deeper into the subject and automatically add more chapters when they come to my mind. That way I don’t need to write the whole book from start to end but can pick the chapter title I feel most inspired to write about just then.
Share an insight or secret about your book(s). The insight is the secret!
I write about what I discovered and I provide lots of examples from my life but also from others I witnessed for a better and deeper understanding. A phenomenon is that while I am writing on the chapters, life is sending me exactly the situations which match the chapters – not always very nice experiences. But that way I can add another profound example. It seems as if life wants to make sure that I really know what I write about… lol!
What do you feel is your best advice to share with other aspiring authors? Don’t block your flow with writing what you believe the audience wants to read. Write what you want to share and let it flow the way you feel it. Then your words are filled with your heart’s energy. That is what makes your book YOUR book and what spreads the magic about your writing.
And now to the part we already know you would rather humbly bow out on, but we’re all fascinated, honestly…so do please tell us a little about YOU:
If you had to describe yourself to someone who has never met you, what might you say? Be aware: I laugh often and loud… 😂 See, here we are…. Talking about myself is so difficult!
If you could meet one person from the past, who might it be and why? My grandfather! He was my first best friend and my person of trust. He was the first person who gave me the feeling that I am precious for who I am and not for what I am doing. My grandfather knew so much about history but I was not interested at all to listen to in my teenager years. I would love to hear it all today and to have discussions about life with him.
When you are NOT writing, what is your favourite pastime? Writing is my favorite pastime activity. (I know exactly what you mean!) Due to my busy life I have not a lot of time for much. But there is also my music. I am a singer for almost all my life. I got professionally trained and made it one of my professions. I received awards, sang in musicals and many other special events. Meanwhile I am producing my own songs which can be listened to on my blog. What I love so much is being in my garden. Just absorbing the atmosphere, watching the bees and the butterflies, looking at each flower, bush or tree in awe, and listening to the sounds of nature. That fills my heart with so much love and charges my batteries.
Describe Your Dream Getaway Destination. Have you ever been there? What makes this place Irresistible to you? For 7 ½ years it is California. I have my favorite places I visit each time. I love the climate, the beaches, and shorelines. I love gazing at the ocean for hours and losing myself in its wideness. Almost every time I can see dolphins passing by or even whales. Southern California is my power station.
Do you have a Mantra? “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Mahatma Gandhi (He knew a thing or two, didn’t he?) You can see this quote in the header of my blog. It has become my life’s mantra. For a long time, I lived the misunderstanding that others need to change in order for me to feel better. When I realized that it is me who has to change in order to experience a change – that was the turning point in my life.
What “Charity” or “Cause” do you feel passionately about & Why? From 1997 until 2007 I worked voluntary for a children relief work in Switzerland. I organized music events in order to collect money for street children. The children are those who suffer the most from what the adults are doing to this world. They don’t understand why they are at that place. They need to know that they matter.
I feel passionately about anything that helps people to live a happier life. That way I think I founded my own charity in what I do with my books and on social media.
My wish is that everybody understands and treasures the wonderful being they are. It is my passion to spread awareness about that fact. No one is less deserving than others. We are all beautiful and precious the way we are and we all are important. There are no accidents in this perfectly organized universe. That we are here is for a reason. Everybody fills an empty place here. That is what the world needs to understand. It needs everybody because only together we are completing this whole concept. Only together we are one. The moment when this insight fills each person down here it is the beginning of a new world.
This is what I dedicate most of my time. I spent a lot of money to get my book translated and spread the message as far as possible. That is the reason I spend each free minute to be on my blog. I love this world. Sad things happen but it is not too late. We can turn the rudder around. The only thing it needs is that the individual starts in its own little world. Imagine if everybody is just tolerant, compassionate, and appreciative; when everybody just is what they want to see in this world – then the world is.
There’s no way I could have closed this interview better, so I will simply say Thank You Erika, Ever So! YOU are the Inspiration 🙂
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