Monday, July 29, 2013

2013 Summer Author Blitz - Author Melissa Studdard + Giveaway...

Today, I'm participating in the 2013 Summer Author Blitz! I'm interviewing the fabulous Melissa Studdard, and she's giving away a couple of gems. Be sure to scroll down to the bottom to enter the giveaway!

Also, there are several other giveaways going on. Visit Books & Broomsticks for more information.
Introducing Melissa Studdard

Melissa Stud­dard is the author of the best­selling novel Six Weeks to Yehi­dah, and its companion journal, My Yehidah (both on All Things That Matter Press). Since its August 2011 release, Six Weeks to Yehidah has been the recipient of many accolades, including the Forward National Literature Award, the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award, the International Book Award, and January Magazine's best children's books of 2011. It was also named a finalist for the National Indie Excellence Awards and the Readers Favorite Awards. Melissa is also the author of The Tiferet Talk Interviews and the forthcoming poetry collection, “I Ate the Cosmos for Breakfast.” Along with Scott Lutz, Melissa is co-author of For the Love of All (Trestle Press), which is the fifth story in the Mark Miller’s One series and debuted in the number one spot for Hot New Releases in Literary Criticism and Theory in the Amazon Kindle store. As well, her poetry, fiction, essays, reviews, and arti­cles have appeared in numer­ous magazines, jour­nals, and antholo­gies.                                                     
Melissa cur­rently serves as a Reviewer-at-Large for The National Poetry Review, an editorial advisor for The Criterion, and an edi­tor for Tiferet Journal, where she hosts the journal's radio interview program, Tiferet Talk. Melissa received her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and is a professor for the Lone Star College System and a teaching artist for The Rooster Moans Poetry Cooperative. She loves anything related to writing and reading, whether it's sitting alone with a book and a cup of hot tea, or attending a large poetry reading or literary festival. She also loves travelling, meditating, going for walks, bicycling, practicing yoga, and spending time with family. She currently resides in Texas with her wonderful daughter and their four sweet but mischievous cats. To learn more, please visit
1) What are you working on now?

I’m currently trying to pull a poetry collection called I Ate the Cosmos for Breakfast from my literary hat. A friend of mine, Ron Starbuck, recently started a press (Saint Julian Press) that publishes spiritual writings. He knew my poetry was a perfect fit for Saint Julian, so he asked me for a manuscript. It’s a frightening and exciting process to re-examine poems I’ve written over many, many years—to try to see how they fit together and how they should be arranged. So many stages of my life and my ideas and feelings and beliefs are represented. It’s almost like reading through old diaries. It’s really making me think about who I am and have been as a person and a writer and who I want to continue to become.

 Here’s a poem from the collection. It was originally published in Open Road Review.


I’m not talking about the underside of a kitten’s

belly, or the layers of dress on a modest woman’s


corpse. I don’t mean that beneath the skin there’s

a world of vein, meat and bone. No, I’m talking about

mantle and core – the viscous, shifting substrata

beneath the camel’s hoof, beneath the sand,

beneath the crust beneath the sand. I think there are

birds in there, flying around inside the earth’s body,

birds flying over oceans, streams and lakes, children

laughing beside rivers, mothers calling them home

to supper by beating wooden spoons on the sides

of aluminum pots. It doesn’t matter that we can’t see

them, or even that my theory has been disproven.

I go where the laughter is, pure and simple, and I say

this ball of clay is really an onion, a snake coiled

around a bouncing ball, a swirl of petals exploding

from bud. It’s simple, really: love is the pack on a

hitchhiker’s back, everything he owns, everywhere

he goes, the only article that can’t be left behind.

And we’ve all got our thumbs out, pointed towards

that other realm, the one beneath the skin, beneath

the bone and marrow and veiny streams of blood, where gods

await us like lovers, like dense smoke, like cracked
and forgotten mirrors, reflecting the singular route home

2) What process in writing is hardest for you?

 Without question, not writing. When I’m between projects or ideas, I’m in agony. It’s like being in a long distance relationship and not knowing when you’ll get to see your lover again.

 3) What process in writing is the most enjoyable for you?

I like that part when I’m just starting to realize that what I’m working on is viable.  At that point I’m still charged with beginner’s energy, but I can see the finish line through the fog.
4) Are you pantser or a plotter?      

I’m so intuitive and spontaneous I don’t even wear pants.  Most everything that happens on my page is a delightful, mysterious, wondrous surprise to me. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

5) What inspired you to write Six Weeks to Yehidah?

 After reading volumes and volumes of non-fiction books about spirituality and benefitting from them immensely, I wanted to share wisdom traditions with younger people—to share some things I wish I’d been introduced to at an earlier age. However, I also knew that kids wouldn’t want to sit down and read the same kinds of books I was reading as an adult, so I decided to do it in a fun, entertaining way, through narrative, vivid description, and humor.

 6) When is your favorite time to write?

I’m obsessed with writing the way teenage girls are obsessed with make-up and teenage boys are obsessed with teenage girls. I always want to write.
7) What is your favorite snack while writing?

 I don’t like to eat while writing. It’s distracting. When I feel like taking a break, I usually dance. Dancing energizes my fingertips and feeds my imagination more than food ever could. And my cats love it because they like to play fetch, and they know when I turn up the music and step away from the computer they can bring their toys to me to throw. It’s a big writing break party.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Cedar Hill Nature Preserve & Creativity...

I switch up exercises quit a bit :) The beginning of July, I went back to a favorite exercise--Power Walking!

I enjoy power walking and previously wrote a blog about it, which can be found here.

But I've taken it up notch. Through the week, I still power walk on a bike trail that weaves through several neighborhoods near my house. But on the weekends, I meet up with a wonderful group of ladies and hike through the Cedar Hill Nature Preserve. 

It's a very wild place and there are signs everywhere reminding you that you are in nature and may see everything that goes along with it. ie snakes....Ack!!!

The funny thing is I've not yet seen a snake while out at the nature preserve, BUT I did see one while walking through the neighborhood trail. I'm usually up and out on the bike trail around 6:15am, and I see pretty much the same group of folks walking or jogging.

This particular morning, one of my morning jogging buddies came towards me in the opposite direction & stopped. When he noticed me he waved for me to stop, I did and asked what was going on. He pointed ahead of me about 15'. There was a snake, about 3 foot long?!?!? OMG!!! It was slithering across the path, minding his own little business.  Needless to say I ran the rest of the way LOL!

Now, back to the nature preserve. What an experience! First, it's a GREAT workout. These trails go up and down some crazy hills. My lower body screamed during some of the climbs.

But, it's also very serene. A great place to go to clear your mind.
Which brings me to my next point.

My creativity has been off the charts! I think it from the power walking, which relieves stress and really gets the oxygen flowing through your body.

Also, being out at the nature preserve, it's just very calming. I've met some great women out there, had great conversation, and some good laughs!

My writing is going very well, no complaints! I've had lots of blocked moments with this book and now I'm finally on the final chapters. Yay!

My goal is to have it completed by the end of July.