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A Talk With Jacqueline Wales

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In my last post, I promised everyone an interview with Jacqueline Wales, author of The Fearless Factor. Enjoy!

1. What three words do you think describe you as a human being?


Determined, Courageous and Authentic.


2. How do you think others would describe you?


Determined, Courageous and Authentic


3. Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of your work.


My family. I spend so much of my time building my business that what time is left is usually spent cooking for the family, or hanging out with them.

4. Do you have any pets? If so, introduce us to them.


I have a dog and her name is Roxanne. She is a Coton de Tulear. A rare breed in North America, but well known in France where she came from. She is small, white and fluffy. When she lies on the floor she looks like a rug.


5. What is your most precious memory?


I have lots of them, and it’s usually about my children who are now grown. Watching them perform in school plays, or dancing. Seeing how they take charge of their lives. Seeing how they adapted to living in foreign cultures and how they made the most of the experience. (We lived in France and Holland)


6. What is your most embarrassing memory?


I have a habit sometimes of opening my mouth and saying something before my brain has had time to register what I’m saying. My long term memory on specifics is not particularly good as I tend to move along and not dwell on things.

7. If you weren’t doing this work, what would you be doing with your life?


I would probably be writing books, traveling the world, looking for ways to contribute to the greater good of all.


8. In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.

Having overcome the challenges of her earlier life, Jacqueline went on to become a beacon of light to those who needed guidance, and dedicated herself to helping others live their best life now.


9. Can you describe the time you realized you were doing the work you were meant to do?


I was 54 years old when I realized that I had a much larger role in the world than I had ever envisioned. Having spent a lifetime overcoming fear, self-doubt and anxiety, I knew I could teach others how to do it too. Over the years, I had received several inclinations of this as I did the powerful work that allowed me to move beyond the limitations of my background and conditioning, and many had said I had to tell the story to help others.


10. What is going on with your work at this time?


The Fearless Factor has just been launched and I’m excited about the future for it. This has been a major milestone in my life because I’ve gone from talking about what fear does to you, to writing about it. It’s my second published book, and although I didn’t realize it at the time, my first one When The Crow Sings, which is a semi-autobiographical book, set the stage for what fear does to a woman. The book looks at the effects of children born outside of marriage on three generations of women in my family, and how it spills over from generation to generation until one woman had the courage to break the chains. I was that women when I gave my first child up for adoption after having her for three months.

So the Fearless Factor is the culmination of many years of feeling the fear and doing it anyway, as Susan Jeffers would say. By the way, she endorsed The Fearless Factor as did many other powerful self-help authors.


11. What are your future goals for your work?


I see The Fearless Factor as the new ‘Chicken Soup’ for the 21st century. I want to take people from fear to fearless because as I say, being fearless is not the absence of fear, but the choices and decisions we take when we confront our fears.” I have an entire series of Fearless books planned and will be rolling them over the next three years. 2010 is THE YEAR OF BEING FEARLESS!

12. Can you describe a typical work day for you?


I usually get up at 4.30am-5am and catch up with emails for a while. Then I look at the tasks for the day. Phone calls, articles to write, blog posts, social media, coaching, meetings, materials to develop. I usually work about 12-14 hours a day at this point.


13. Why do you do this sort of work?


I am passionate about helping others sort out the stuff that keeps them in bondage to circumstances they really do have a choice over. All of us have the ability to choose the life they want, but knowing how to do that is tricky and I enjoy helping people figure it out.


14. What other person who does this sort of work inspires you the most? Why?


I am humbled by the works of people like Marianne Williamson, Caroline Myss, Wayne Dyer and others, and grateful for their guidance.. Their dedication to healing, to making a difference in the world mirrors mine. If we can help change the lives of one person, then we can change the world. It’s a domino effect. They changed my life and I’m paying it forward.


15. How do you define your work?


People powered, heart centered, no BS.

16. In one sentence—what do you want people to say about you in fifty years?


She did her best and it was good enough.


17. Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Website? Blog?

http://www.thefearlessfactor.com

18. Is there a place where people can reach you?


(212) 740 7085


19. Can you list all your titles so people can look for them?


When The Crow Sings
The Fearless Factor


20. For new people —what can they expect when they read your work?


Some powerful insights into what gets in the way, how we can move beyond the stuff that holds us back, and inspiration to keep on doing what must be done.


21. Take as much space as necessary to speak to our readers—what would you like them to know about you and your work?

I am first and foremost a seeker of life, and although the journey has taken me into challenging territory, throughout I’ve learned enormous amounts about the human condition.

I’ve spent my lifetime learning how to overcome the past, and move forward, and I pride myself on giving my children a much better chance at leading a positive, healthy life than the one I grew up with.

Whatever I have accomplished is only a small part of what I intend to achieve in my lifetime, and I look forward to sharing my knowledge, my wisdom and my love of life with people for many years to come.

This is the just the beginning. The Fearless Factor is the first in a series of books that I have planned for the next three years. We all need to live life fearlessly and on our own terms. To that end, I feel like I’m succeeding.


About Jacqueline Wales

Jacqueline Wales is known the world over as The Black Belt Millionaire. Her unique programs have helped women around the globe develop strong personal success, confident communication and clear visions of their goals. She is the author of five books including The Fearless Factor available at http://www.thefearlessfactorbook.com

For information on how to get YOUR copy of The Fearless Factor visit http://www.thefearlessfactorbook.com/signup.html


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Exploring the Fearless Factor

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What is the main reason you don't do or have the things you want? For most humans, that reason is fear--fear of failure, fear of success, fear of looking like a fool -- you get the picture. Today and Wednesday, my guest is Jacqueline Wales, author of The Fearless Factor.


What can you learn from a former alcoholic, mother of four, author, singer and global nomad who earned a black belt in karate at age 49, has performed in front of thousands of people, and developed a system to help people go beyond the fears, doubts and anxieties that hold their lives in limitation instead of abundance? - Plenty!


A lifelong adventurer, Wales began her motivational career on the tenement steps of her building at age 9 giving advice to the neighborhood children. After a few detours she began singing at age 40, writing at age 41 and at 43 she took up martial arts. At 49 she had earned a red belt in Tai Kwon Do and a black belt in Shotokan karate. Who says life begins at 40! She also sang in front of thousands of people as a lay-cantor for synagogues in Paris and Amsterdam, and recorded an album of original material. At 54, Jacqueline decided she wanted to go into business and began her first motivational company Fearless Fifties which later reinvented to The Fearless Factor.

Jacqueline has been a global nomad for over forty years and has lived on three continents and six cities including London, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Paris, Amsterdam, New York and Bali. By applying the skills she learned in over thirty years of making change in her own life, Wales has gone on to achieve remarkable success after a lifetime of overcoming the odds. She presently lives in New York. Jacqueline Wales is known the world over as The Fearless Lady.


Her unique programs have helped women around the globe develop strong personal success, confident communication and clear visions of their goals. Jacqueline has successfully made the leap from author and caretaker to being an extraordinary force in the women’s self-help movement and succeeds with a winning personality and a commitment to help others achieve their goals. No theorist, she is a practical, hands-on, been there – done that lady who shares her knowledge and expertise with everyone she presents to.

What would it mean to you if you:

*Had a stronger more loving relationship?

*Could communicate more powerfully with the people in your life?

*Made more money?

*Built a successful career?Could be more productive and satisfied at work?

Fear is one of the most powerful motivating forces in the human experience. Why then do we run from it, hide from it, pretend it’s not there? Because we believe it’s real. Fear is mostly imagination based, and if you change your thinking, you can change your life from being run by fear, to embracing the challenges that fear ignites within you. The Fearless Factor shows you how you can gain control of your life and start creating your best life now.

I invite everyone to stop by on Wednesday to enjoy an interview with Jacqueline. Bring friends--this is a subject not one person can avoid.

Jacqueline Wales is known the world over as The Black Belt Millionaire. Her unique programs have helped women around the globe develop strong personal success, confident communication and clear visions of their goals. She is the author of five books including The Fearless Factor available at

http://www.thefearlessfactorbook.com


For information on how to get YOUR copy of The Fearless Factor visit

http://www.thefearlessfactorbook.com/signup.html

For more information about Jacqueline and The Fearless Factor, visit

http://www.youtube.com/fearlessfactor15

http://virtualblogtour.blogspot.com/2009/08/fearless-factor-by-jacqueline-wales.html
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Widow's Walk by Kenneth Weene -- A Review

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Life -- that is the word I would use if I had to sum up Widow's Walk in merely one word. Kenneth Weene knows people - their thoughts, passions, and emotions - better than any author I have encountered recently. Mary's story could very well be any woman's story; her family, any family. Like life, this book is not all happy endings and resolved conflicts, but neither is it all tragedy and pain.

Kenneth deals with matters of faith, disability and subjects as deep as rape, AIDS and death. He does so with finesse and an understanding that surpasses mere telling; it felt as though I was inside each character's head, living the story in all it's glory. As Mary prayed, I knelt beside her. As Sean fought to gain an independence that had been torn from him years before, I cried and cheered, feeling every moment of the struggle. As Kathleen mourned the loss of a child that could never be hers, I felt the anger and longing.

I wish I had the words to fully describe Widow's Walk. Unfortunately, this is a book that stands alone and needs to be experienced to fully comprehend all it has to offer. I have never been at a loss of words for describing a book before, but how do you explain life, love, faith, loss and complete devastation? You do not read Widow's Walk--you experience it!

I can't rate this book on my Rainbow Scale of Reading Excellence--it surpasses the Perfect Rainbow of seven. All I say is plan on buying not only your own copy, but a couple more as gifts to share. What better gift than something that shows a person you understand?

Kenneth, thank you for Widow's Walk. You have truly gifted the world with your words.

***

Don't forget that Kenneth is offering a couple of giveaways to people who visit his stops along the tour route and leave comments.

*The first giveaway is Kenneth Weene's poetry book which will go to a few different commenters.
*The second giveaway is a copy of his book Widow's Walk to one lucky commenter

Winners will be drawn at random from all those who leave comments along the tour.


If you haven't already read Widow's Walk, be sure to pick your copy up at Kenneth Weene’s

Author Website - http://widows-walk.webs.com/.
You can also connect with him on
Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/kenneth.weene
Twitter - https://twitter.com/Ken_Weene.

For more information about Kenneth Weene and his virtual tour, check the schedule at http://virtualblogtour.blogspot.com/2009/08/widows-walk-blog-tour.html

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A Glimpse Inside Widow's Walk by Kenneth Weene

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What is Widow's Walk about?

Widow’s Walk is a story of faith and its effects on already flawed characters. Set in Boston in the 1980s, it is the story of Mary Flanagan and her children, Sean and Kathleen. Mary’s husband, Sean, Sr., died at the wheel of his M.T.A. bus. Her son, Sean, Jr. is a quadriplegic, injured on his way to a brothel in Vietnam; Kathleen, divorced and unable to have children, works and lives at a hospice that primarily serves AIDS patients; there she lives a mechanistically faithful life, but one devoid of belief. This unhappy family structure is erected on the bedrock stoicism of Mary’s Irish Catholicism. It is that faith which is tested, changed, and strangely reaffirmed over the course of the tale.

Two events upend Mary’s world. The first is her friend, Lois’s, move to Florida. The second is Sean’s decision to seek rehabilitation in a center in Minnesota – a decision initiated by Jem, a home health aide whose own life reflects a faith of care and service.

Mary finds herself looking for new meaning and direction in her life. In the process she meets two unexpected people, Arnie Berger, a college professor, an agnostic or perhaps deistic Jew, and love interest, and Pat Michaels, a minister, whose view of a joyous faith is much at odds with Mary’s rigid theology. She also moves into a housing share and becomes friends with Amelia Callaghan, the misanthropic house owner.

Sean’s life, too, is dramatically changed because he falls in love with and marries one of the aides at the rehab center. He returns to Boston married, employed and expecting their first child.

Given the remarkable changes in her mother’s and brother’s lives and influenced by Max, one of her dying patients and a man whose story and faith are powerful and unique, Kathleen also seeks love. She meets Danny, a young man tied to his overprotective mother and unable to deal with his own feelings of inadequacy.

Sadly, Kathleen and Danny’s relationship ends in disaster, rape, and abuse. Danny flees. In her own way, Kathleen does too; she becomes catatonic and dependent.

Mary unable to come to terms with her sense of guilt and responsibility towards her daughter – is powerless to keep those feelings from coming between her and Arnie.
In the end, Mary can not live with her unhappiness and dies of “the pain of her soul,” a diagnosis provided by the caregiver, Jem, who had originally encouraged Sean to make his momentous move. Mary’s death creates a strange psychological space in which Kathleen takes on her mother’s place in the world.


***


Below, I have included an excerpt from Widow's Walk. After reading, you may wish to go to one of the following and check out other stops Kenneth has made or will make this month. There's a lot of great stuff out there folks!


September 2 - Writers in the Sky http://yvonneperry.blogspot.com/2009/09/widows-walk-by-kenneth-weene.html – Interview

September 4 – Ascroft, eh? http://dianneascroft.wordpress.com/2009/09/04/widows-walk-by-kenneth-weene/ - Guest Post and Excerpt

September 7 – New Book Review http://thenewbookreview.blogspot.com/2009/09/religious-fiction-from-kenneth-weene.html - Review

September 9 – Astrology for Everyday-One Writer's Passion http://gooddaysnodays.blogspot.com/2009/09/blog-review-widows-walk.html - Review

September 11 – Katie Hines – Walking on Water - http://katiehines.blogspot.com/2009/09/meet-christian-author-kenneth-weene.html - Interview

September 14 - Xanga blog http://cce613.xanga.com/711963936/book-promo-widows-walk-by-ken-weene/ – Excerpt

September 16 – Marilyn's Musings http://marilynmeredith.blogspot.com/2009/09/widows-walk-by-ken-weene.html- Review

September 18 – The Nurse Mommy -
http://www.thenursemommy.com/2009/09/guest-posting-about-faith-from-author.html - Guest PostSeptember 21 – The Book Connection http://thebookconnectionccm.blogspot.com/2009/09/arnie-berger-from-widows-walk-by-ken.html - Guest Post

September 28 – Stories that Read You http://stevenbradley.blogspot.com/

September 29 – Across the Pond Blog Talk Radio http://www.blogtalkradio.com/Across-the-

Pond - 6:30 pm - Interview – The call in number is (347) 237-5398

Take the time to leave comments along the way and you'll be entered in a drawing with a chance to win two different prizes.

The first giveaway is Kenneth Weene's poetry book which will go to a few different commenters.
The second giveaway is a copy of his book Widow's Walk to one lucky commenter

Finally, you can visit Kenneth's website at: http://widows-walk.webs.com/

Now, onto the excerpt:

Mary leaves Ireland

Saint Margaret’s is quiet this morning. It is cold. Mary holds her coat tight. Still, she feels comfort or at least the expectation of comfort to come. Mary has never understood why she is so often the only parishioner waiting for the confessional. She often wonders how so many can take The Host on Sunday without first cleansing their souls. She doesn’t believe for a moment that she is the only sinner in the parish ­– certainly not when it is so terribly easy to sin. A slip of the tongue, a wrong thought: these are sins too easily committed.

She waits patiently. She sits carefully erect in the pew closest to the confessional. She waits for Father Frank to enter his side. Then kneeling to cross herself as she traverses the aisle of the church, Mary slides into the penitential seat. “Ferther, forgive me for I have sinned.”

Father Frank, wanting to make the elderly woman content, prescribes two Our Fathers and Four Hail Marys. He knows that Mary will triple each of those requirements and perhaps add a few of her own. In her hard faith she knows that Father Frank is too tenderhearted, especially when the older women of the congregation, like herself, are involved. It would never do to take one’s penance too lightly. Purgatory looms too close at hand.

For Mary Flanagan growing up in Dublin, the realities of Purgatory and Hell were far more real than that of Heaven. Heaven is reserved for saints! On that point Mary is completely sure. It is not a question of her avoiding Purgatory. No, it is a question of how many eternities she must spend there before she might see the face of God. In her heart she only hopes that she might see Him before He has called the angels down to end this earthly creation. In her devotion she believes that glimpse would be enough, just as her faith in its possibility is enough to carry her through the trials of life.

As a little girl Mary had been preoccupied with the hereafter. While other youngsters talked of this boy or that, Mary would sit by herself, her startlingly beautiful blue eyes half closed behind the thick lenses of her glasses, and say the Rosary, counting the beads with a feeling that none of the nuns who had taught her could ever match.

It had been assumed that Mary would enter the convent herself. Her friends were always teasing her and calling her Sister. But Mary had surprised them all.

It was not a lack of vocation that had lead to her boarding the boat for New York. She had wanted to be a nun – oh yes, she had heard the call. But a letter of supplication had come to her parents from her uncle in Boston. Written in stiff square letter and offering no concern for their or her wellbeing, he had made his request.

He had need of help with his business. Without extra hands, which Mary could offer, he would soon be out on the street. It was a candy and soda shop offering sweets and a place to sit and read the papers. His wife’s arthritis had gradually worsened. She could no longer wait on the customers or clean the counter and tables. Since they had no children, it was natural enough for him to ask his brother to send Mary, the oldest and most responsible of the girl children, to help.

Mary had gone, unhappily but willingly – not changing her love for God or her desire for the convent but accepting – ah yes, accepting – her lot in life as a sure sign of God’s eternal will. If it was to America that God would lead her, then it was to America she would go – only stopping at Saint Timothy’s long enough to light a candle and pray for Him to hold her in His hand on the long journey across the perilous seas.

Besides her faith, Mary had not taken much with her from Ireland. In truth, there was little else to take. The Rileys were not a wealthy family. Jack, her father, was one of its least successful members. Her uncle had sent the passage money – steerage of course – and a train ticket from New York to Boston. He had included but a few dollars for spending, far less than she would need. Her belongings fit into a small suitcase, found at a thrift and secured with rope. With all her worldly possessions so tied together and her faith firmly in her heart, young Mary Riley had set sail.







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Talking With Kenneth Weene

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Yesterday, I introduced everyone to Kenneth Weene, author of Widow's Walk. Today, I am honored to share with you an interview with Mr. Weene :-)


What three words do you think describe you as a human being?

caring, intelligent, and poetic


How do you think others would describe you?

loving, politically concerned, smart, decent, honest, articulate, sociable, creative.

Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing.

Friends – I love being with them or when so limited just communicating with them.

Theatre, I can never get enough. I also love to go listen to classical music. But of the two, theatre is the greater passion.

Politics including both action and theory. I guess social science in general. I love to discuss the political and economic issues of our times both with friends and with those who disagree with me.

When I was younger I was very passionate about being in nature, camping and especially whitewater rafting.

I loved my work as a psychologist – possibly too much - and cared deeply about my clients.

I am very involved at a personal level in faith, trying to wrestle with God to understand the world, His plan, and my existence.

Then there is my wife, whom I love beyond anything, and our son, who is not really our son but who has that same relationship with us and who – along with his family – are very important to me.

Do you have any pets? If so, introduce us to them.

Roz and I had a number of dogs and horses over the years. At a certain point we felt it was time to stop. However we still have their photographs around us. I would like to say something about the most regnant of the dogs.

Uncle, a black poodle-terrier found at the pound, was the dominant dog. She was a reincarnated queen if ever one existed. Her greatest weakness was alcohol; that little animal loved to drink. We use to go to this one place in Vermont, an inn, that was very animal friendly. They’d serve her in the lounge. She drank Harvey’s Bristol Cream Sherry. Moreover, it had to be out of a proper glass, no bowls for her. Uncle would get out of the room, go down and have a drink, and they’d put it on my bill.

Jennifer was my Airedale. She was a good soul. Jenny loved to swim. She also collected rocks. She’d pick them up, mostly at the stable, and then leave them in the car,

The third dog that was really important in my life was Streaker. A Cardigan Welch Corgi, Streaker was an AKC champion and a sweetie. She loved us and lying next to one of us in a sunbeam. There was an aura of love that surrounded her.

There are times I wish I had a dog now. We make believe that there is one, Missing. If only we could find her, wherever she may be.

What is your most precious memory?

I met David when he was nine. He was having problems at school and at home. His folks brought him for help. That would have been easy, but instead we bonded as father and son, something almost beyond comprehension. I still think back on the moment when it was clear how that was magical and inevitable. I had taken him bowling, and we were on the way back. He started to cry and told me that I couldn’t take his father’s place; all the while it was so clear that I had. I had known him about two months and had done very little except make it clear that I cared. It was a moment of shear human beauty. Over the years many of the young people I have helped have told me that what made me stand out was that I did truly care. I did; I still do.

What is your most embarrassing memory?

I had a very unpleasant childhood. My father could be emotionally abusive – raging at my brother or me for no reason. The one worst time was in front of about fifteen people whose respect I really craved.

We were at our family’s business, a summer camp; and they worked for him – except one man, Max, who was my father’s friend, whom I really respected and who sent his kids to the camp. My father became frustrated because he didn’t have the necessary tool, a hammer. He was bending far more nails than he was successfully hammering into this wooden frame he and the carpenter were making. It was to be the floor of a large tent.

My father singled me out for abuse – horrible abuse the words of which cannot reasonably be written down. It is sufficient to say that they included comments about my relationships with my mother/his wife - comments that went beyond vulgar, about the composition of my body, and about my obvious intent to steal from him and anyone else.

The abuse didn’t end there. He sent me off to one and then another corner of the property to retrieve a hammer. There was not one to be had because he had them all at the other camp six miles away. Eventually, when I failed to find the non-existent, he sent me after a fire-axe which did exist and which was incredibly unsafe.

Still trying to be rational, I told him that the axe handle was not well attached to the head and that it was unsafe. With more profanity, he insisted that I do what I was told. So, I retrieved.

He took one look at that axe and started screaming at my stupidity at bringing it to him when it was so dangerous. I snapped. I was going to bury it in his head when Max, yelled. I whirled and buried it in a tree.

The pain of that moment, the helplessness, the total loss of control: they have haunted my life. For years I couldn’t look Max in the eye.

If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing with your life?

I’d get involved in more political causes.

In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.

Kenneth Weene was a writer. His two published books were the novel, “Widow’s Walk,” and an anthology, “Songs For My Father.” In addition to his published work, Weene left behind many other pieces on which he worked with passion.

Ken was also a psychologist, a pastoral counselor, and a political activist. He cared deeply about others and about the world in which he lived. He was always willing to attend a political event, to knock on doors, or to simply talk with others about the state of the world. He wanted to make it better. Ken had many friends, and he was known as someone who would do anything for others. His love for his wife and their son and his son’s family was a center point of his life.



Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a “real” writer?

It was in high school, tenth grade. I had written an essay about a night on the beach in Florida. It was really good – even the teacher, who didn’t like me, had to admit that it was exceptional. But, he added, this one word is wrong. I had described the moon as white-gold; he wanted me to use silver. In that flash of recognition that I had to choose the words I became “the” writer. Even though it was years before I actually took up that mantle, I think that day marked the moment of recognition.

What is going on with your writing these days?

I just had contract offer on a second novel. I am still working on getting it just right. It is, in my opinion, a very important piece. When I’ve read excerpts from it, people have been really blown away.

Currently, I’m also working on a play. It is about a man and his psychoanalyst. I think it may be worth the effort.

Then there’s another novel that is pretty much written but which I have yet to shop around.


What are your future goals for your writing?

I want to finish the play I mentioned before. And lately, I have started thinking about a non-fiction book – not surprisingly one on politics and economics.

Of course my greatest goal is to produce and have published material that will excite readers and performers, material that will be “worth it” for the audience.


Can you describe a typical writing day for you?

I do most of my writing in the early morning, before my wife gets up. I try to put in an hour or two at the computer. Then a few days a week I will also go off to write, to a bookstore or coffee shop. There I sit with a notebook, a latte and a pencil. Of course, there are always those moments that come unexpectedly when I have to grab a pen and jot something down. Most typically that’s some poetry, but lately it is also ideas for that play.

Why do you write?

Do I have a choice? I write for the same reason I breathe – it is necessary for life.

What writer most inspires you? Why?

Dostoyevsky because of his wonderful exploration of the darkness of being human, Kafka because of his wrestling with the absurdity of life, and Pirandello because he so recognized the character as an independent being. Cormac McCarthy because of the ultimacy of his plots; they are reduced to that which is most basic.


How do you define your writing?

My writing is a process. It is the wrestling of my soul with God over the meaning of existence. I create worlds in which characters can become who they are so that I can better understand them and therefore the human condition and myself. Therefore, the stories move from my expectations to something that I cannot possibly know ahead of time. When I am surprised, not always happily, I know that I have given them the greatest gift, the independence and free will necessary to be alive.

In one sentence—what do you want people to say about your writing in fifty years?

Weene explored the human condition by creating characters who needed to live and to become.

Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Website? Blog?

I have a blog for the novel.
Http://WIDOWS-WALK.WEBS.COM

Also, I’ve been doing a lot of interviews like this one. Since every interview involves different questions, I guess that a web search might turn up some interesting stuff as well as some of my poetry, etc.

Is there a place where readers can reach you?

I’m on Facebook. I have an email that folks can use.
KWeene1941@gmail.com

Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?

“Widow’s Walk” and “Songs For My Father” are the two that have been published so far. They should also be watching for “Memoirs From the Asylum,” which should be out in the next year.

For new readers—what can they expect when they read your book(s)?

Character driven stories with lots of dialog. Questions about the meaning of live and our relation with God. Just little things like that.


Take as much space as necessary to speak to our readers—what would you like them to know about you and your writing?

Writing is only complete when there is a reader. You are very important to my writing. I imagine you sitting in a comfortable chair, some drink on the table beside you, your feet up, my book in hand. Do you smile? Do you frown? Are there tears? Perhaps most importantly, do you take a moment to put the words away and to think – to think about their cadence, their meaning, and their impact on the characters? If I have evoked reaction in you as reader, then I have lived up to my responsibility as author.



Thank you, Kenneth, for your openness and sharing.







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Kenneth Weene Visits

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The next few days I have a real treat for you! Author Kenneth Weene will be joining us to talk about his book, Widow's Walk. Today, I'll give you a brief look at the book and author--and tomorrow, I invite you back (and bring friends!) for an interview with Mr. Weene.






Mary Flanagan, caught between her sense of religion and obligation on one hand and her very human desire for love and life on the other, is in emotional limbo. When she meets Arnie Berger, who becomes her lover and philosophic guide, Mary’s world seems to be transformed.

Changes also come for Mary’s children, who have been trapped in their own dilemmas. Sean, a quadriplegic, is looking for a fulfilled life. Mary’s daughter, Kathleen must cope with infertility and anger in her search for happiness. The lives of all three Flanagans are turned upside down by happiness and tragedy.


A New Englander by upbringing and inclination, Ken Weene’s career – primarily in New York – included teaching, pastoral care, and psychology. Throughout his career Ken has also been devoted to writing. His poetry has appeared in a number of publications – both print and web. He authored a number of professional publications. His short stories and essays have also been published. One of his short plays was recently workshopped. An anthology of Ken’s work, Songs For My Father, was published 2002. His novel, Widow’s Walk, has been published in 2009.

Ken and his wife, Roz, now live in greater Phoenix where he spends much of his time writing.
He started writing, primarily poetry, in the 1980s. Regarding Widow's Walk, Weene says,


"Stepping away from full-time work was the best decision I ever made. Writing this story has given me tremendous personal satisfaction, and it has shown me an avenue for expression I will always treasure."

For more information on Mr. Weene and his work, please visit:

http://virtualblogtour.blogspot.com/2009/07/widows-walk-by-kenneth-weene-virtual.html

Kenneth Weene’s Author Website - http://widows-walk.webs.com/

You can follow Kenneth on:

Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/kenneth.weene

Twitter - https://twitter.com/Ken_Weene










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The Sari Shop Widow - A Review

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Opening a novel by Shobhan Bantwal has me anticipating a feast for the senses--and The Sari Shop Widow did not disappoint me. Ms. Bantwal has once again brought to life the Indian experience, this time in the United State's "Little India". With the marrying of Indian and American cultures, readers get the full impact of the unique atmosphere that makes India a cultural mecca.

Anjali, the book's heroine is full of passion. Her story takes the reader through the pain and confusion of a woman torn between her heart and tradition. You will feel her indecision and find yourself holding your breath as you wait for her final decision. Before you finish The Sari Shop Widow, you will feel as though you stood beside a friend this whole time. Shobhan has the incredible talent of bring her characters to life. You will come to know each and every one as intimately as you know your best friend.

For fans of Shobhan Bantwal, this book will be a welcome addition to your collection. For those who have yet to discover this wonderful author, you are in for a treat unlike any you have encountered in a book. The Sari Shop Widow earns seven colors!




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The Sari Shop Widow - An Excerpt

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Recently I shared with you an interview with Shobhan Banwal, author of The Sari Shop Widow. Today, Ms. Banwal has agreed to share an excerpt from her latest book. Tomorrow, I will share my review of The Sari Shop Widow. Sit back and enjoy this tidbit.


The Sari Shop Widow

By Shobhan Bantwal


Chapter 1

For the second time in ten years her life was beginning to come apart. Anjali Kapadia stood still for a minute, trying to absorb the news. Could it possibly be a mistake? But it wasn’t; she’d heard it clearly. Despite her best efforts to curb it, the initial shock wave refused to ebb. The seemingly harmless bit of information was all it had taken to shatter the image of a satisfying lifestyle and career.

Her mind in overdrive, she started to pace the length of the tasteful and elegant boutique. Her boutique—her baby—her artistic and inventive skills put to optimum use in creating a fairytale store worthy of movie stars, models, and beauty queens.

Technically the business belonged to her and her parents as equal partners, but it was Anjali’s creativity and vision that had turned it into a classy and successful enterprise—at least until recently. It stood apart like a maharani, a queen amongst the ordinary, plain-vanilla sari and clothing shops of New Jersey’s “Little India.”

The area known as Little India, located in Edison, was crammed with sari shops, jewelry stores, restaurants, grocery markets and souvenir shops. It was a small slice of India buried in central New Jersey, a quaint neighborhood that smelled of pungent curry, fried onions, ripe mangoes, incense, and masala chai. Strong tea laced with spices and oodles of thick, creamy milk.
Even the store’s name was Anjali’s brainstorm. Overrun with ho-hum and even dumpy names and ugly storefronts, Little India was badly in need of some class. So she’d called her store Silk & Sapphires. It had a nice ring to it, and according to Hindu astrology, a sapphire supposedly dispelled the destructive influence of the fiery planet Shanee. Saturn. The store’s window displayed the most elegant mannequins and rare jewelry to give it a boutique flavor rather than just a sari-cum-bauble shop.

The interior was done in soft cream and shimmering blue to fit the name. Tear-drop crystal chandeliers hung from a vaulted ceiling. Strategically placed recessed lights highlighted the displays, mirrored walls created the illusion of space and light, and dense cream carpeting covered the sales floor and fitting rooms. No harsh music with screeching falsetto voices was allowed to tarnish the store’s atmosphere either. Only soft instrumental pieces by both Indian and other masters were piped in through the sound system.

Shopping at Silk & Sapphires was meant to be a unique and indulgent experience.
The boutique also carried jewelry—one-of-a-kind creations of precious and semi precious gems fit for an empress or a blushing bride. It was all custom-made in India by her uncles, Anjali’s mom’s brothers, two of whom were in the jewelry business in the state of Gujarat in northwestern India.

Nearly every piece of clothing the store sold was designed by Anjali, each outfit envisioned, then meticulously planned, cut, sewn, and embellished to her demanding specifications. She took pride in finding the right fabrics, trimmings, and tailors to make her designs evolve from an idea swirling in her brain to divine ensembles. Granted, her clothes and accessories were far more expensive than some, but they were worth the money. Every design was exclusive. Many of them were award winners in fashion shows and competitions.

She glanced at them and exhaled a long sigh. The colorful silks, the clingy chiffons, and the gossamer tissue-crepes were draped in an exquisite array on their pretty satin hangers—row upon row of lush, costly clothes. The pearls, the rainbow of beads, and the jewel-tone sequins lovingly sewn into the borders, sleeves, necklines, and bodices of the sleek garments sparkled and winked at her as she strode up and down the aisles, again and again.

What had gone wrong? How? When?

Could she be kissing her dress design business and her beloved store goodbye? If so, how soon? Catching her reflection in the mirrored wall behind the row of clothes, she realized her eyes were filled with resentment and frustration. Darn it! She rarely let bitterness prevail over her, and she wouldn’t do so now. She was a woman who liked to laugh, although there hadn’t been much to laugh about in the last decade—not since she’d cremated Vikram.

How could her parents have concealed such a significant problem from her for so long? And how could they even dream up something so preposterous to address the problem? How could they jeopardize her career as well as theirs with one phone call?

She wouldn’t stand for it. She couldn’t.

***
For a preview of the book, visit - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9uRlbkxxes

Order Your Copy at Amazon -

http://www.amazon.com/Sari-Shop-Widow-Shobhan-Bantwal/dp/0758232020

For more information on Shobhan Bantwal’s new and other books and to enter a drawing to win a number of prizes, please go to her website’s “Contests” page and sign up between Sept 1 and Sept 30, 2009 at www.shobhanbantwal.com

Full September Virtual Tour Details -
http://virtualblogtour.blogspot.com/2009/07/sari-shop-widow-by-shobhan-bantwal.html


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A Talk With Shobhan Bantwal

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Today, I have the pleasure of sharing with you an interview with Shobhan Bantwal. I'm sure Ms. Bantwal would love to get a comment~~~


Shobhan Bantwal – Author of THE SARI SHOP WIDOW

1. What three words do you think describe you as a human being?

Restless
Loyal
Impatient

2. How do you think others would describe you?

I think most people would describe me as extroverted and outspoken—a woman of too many words and strong opinions. But I always feel people give me more credit than I deserve for smartness and efficiency. Deep down, I feel very inadequate and afraid I’ll never live up to their expectations.

3. Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing.

My family is my passion—mainly my husband, daughter, and granddaughter.

4. Do you have any pets? If so, introduce us to them.

I’m not a pet lover, so I have no pets.

5. What is your most precious memory?

My most precious memory is of holding my grandchild for the first time. It was two only years ago, but already it feels like such a long time ago, because she seems mature beyond her age and behaves like a big girl at times.


6. What is your most embarrassing memory?

Recently, when I answered my office phone, the caller identified herself as Michelle. I know about three different Michelles, two of them being friendly acquaintances. The voice sounded familiar, so assuming it was a friend calling, I answered with a casual, “Hey, what’s going on with you these days?” When the caller spoke again I realized (way too late) that it was one of the bigwigs in our organization. This woman hardly ever calls me, so it was unexpected. I somehow managed to get through the call. Apparently she couldn’t locate my boss, so she was calling the next person in the chain of command, me, for an urgent report. Needless to say, I worked furiously on the report and sent it to her.

7. If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing with your life?

Actually, writing is only a hobby for me, which has somehow turned into a second career. My full-time job is with the government, so I’m a bureaucrat all day, five days a week. I put on my writer’s hat on weekends and weekday evenings. Most often, I struggle to make the time to write, because my day job can be quite demanding.

8. In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.

Shobhan Bantwal was a hopeless romantic and a dreamer. With no experience of any kind, or any visible talent, she took up writing at the age of 50. A half century of living had apparently failed to teach her that merely dreaming of something does not necessarily guarantee success. The amazing thing was that Shobhan dreamt of becoming a published writer and did manage to succeed (to some extent). She was a bit crazy but she died a happy woman.

The Writer:

9. Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a “real” writer?

When I started to write short stories I wasn’t very confident that my tales with Indian characters and cultural elements would be of interest to anyone. But my first short story competition entry, sponsored by Writer’s Digest, won Honorable Mention. That same year, another story won Honorable Mention in a contest run by New York Stories magazine. That was the moment when I realized that I had some potential, and that I could perhaps write a full-length novel.


10. What is going on with your writing these days?

I just finished submitting my fourth novel to my editor at Kensington. The story is set partly in the U.S. and partly in India. That is the last book in my present contract with the publisher.

11. What are your future goals for your writing?

Since I have a fairly demanding day job, I prefer to think in terms of one book at a time. Anything beyond that is much too ambitious, given the constraints on my time and energy. I hope there will be more books in the future. My karma will decide that, I suppose.

12. Can you describe a typical writing day for you?

On weekday evenings, I generally get about an hour of writing done after dinner. On weekends, I get slightly more time, but housework and the daily demands of running a household and socializing with friends cut into my weekends as well. But I try to pack as much writing as I can into my weekends.

13. Why do you write?

I have a lot of ideas and stories swirling in my brain. I have to vent those, and if I can express my opinions on certain social issues that bother me (remember I’m opinionated), then weaving them into fiction and making a story out of a real social-political issue is a great way to say what I want. Also, Indian culture is very rich and colorful, with plenty of fodder for fiction, and I try to draw from it as much as I can. Educate, Inform, and Entertain is my motto in writing.

14. What writer most inspires you? Why?

Although she is not my absolute favorite, Nora Roberts inspires me greatly, mainly for her prolific writing. She literally churns out books by the dozen each year, and good quality ones, a feat no other author seems to be able to emulate. And every book turns into a bestseller. She is truly amazing, and an inspiration to many writers, including me.


15. How do you define your writing?

I call it “Bollywood in a Book,” mainstream women’s fiction with all the elements of Bollywood (Bombay Hollywood).

16. In one sentence—what do you want people to say about your writing in fifty years?

Great entertainment with a delightful dose of spice, romance, and drama.


The Details:

17. Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Website? Blog?

I’m not a blogger by nature but I have an extensive website,
www.shobhanbantwal.com
It has information on my books, my other writing, links to my non-fiction articles, my bio and award-winning short stories, Indian recipes, photographs from India, book reviews, contests, and contact page.

18. Is there a place where readers can reach you?

Yes. Readers can reach me through the email address on my website’s contact page –
shobhan@shobhanbantwal.com

19. Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?

THE SARI SHOP WIDOW – September 1, 2009
THE FORBIDDEN DAUGHTER – September 1, 2008
THE DOWRY BRIDE –September 1, 2007

All three are available at all nationwide and Canadian bookstores and online booksellers.

20. For new readers—what can they expect when they read your book(s)?

They can expect to read very entertaining mainstream fiction filled with drama, intrigue, and romance, and at the same time learn a lot about Indian culture and some hot-button social issues in contemporary India. I get a lot of email from readers who thank me for opening their eyes to certain topics that they had no knowledge of. They always tell me they found the idea of using a real life social issue combined with fiction a great way to bring it to people’s attention. This latest book, THE SARI SHOP WIDOW, deals with the Indian immigrant experience in the U.S. and the fashion industry.

In conclusion:

21. Take as much space as necessary to speak to our readers—what would you like them to know about you and your writing?

I love receiving feedback from my readers. Hence I have created a contact address on my website where they can reach me (indicated in question 18).

My writing, as I mentioned, is to educate, entertain and inform, so I hope they pick up my books to have all three. Not many American and Canadian readers are aware of the real India, which lies somewhere between the glitz and glamour of Bollywood (Bombay Hollywood) and the poverty and bleakness portrayed in documentaries and serious literary novels about India. In my books, readers can get a middle-of-the-road glimpse of Indian life.

Thank you for your wonderful answers, Shobhan! Ilook forward to you stopping by in the future.


For a preview of the book, visit - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9uRlbkxxes

Order Your Copy at Amazon -


http://www.amazon.com/Sari-Shop-Widow-Shobhan-Bantwal/dp/0758232020

For more information on Shobhan Bantwal’s new and other books and to enter a drawing to win a number of prizes, please go to her website’s “Contests” page and sign up between Sept 1 and Sept 30, 2009 at www.shobhanbantwal.com

Full September Virtual Tour Details -

http://virtualblogtour.blogspot.com/2009/07/sari-shop-widow-by-shobhan-bantwal.html


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Shobhan Banwal Returns With Her Latest Work

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I have had the opportunity to host author Shobhan Banwal here before. When I heard she had a new book out, I thought I'd ask her back to share with everyone.



Pungent curry, sweet fried onions, incense, colorful beads, and lush fabrics – THE SARI SHOP WIDOW is a novel set on the streets of Edison, New Jersey’s Little India, where a young businesswoman rediscovers the magic of love and family. When Anjali Kapadia’s posh sari boutique in New Jersey is on the verge of financial ruin, her wealthy uncle from India comes to her rescue.

But the wily, dictatorial uncle arrives with some unpleasant surprises—a young Indo-British partner named Rishi Shah for one—and a startling secret that disturbs Anjali.Falling in love with the mysterious Shah only adds to Anjali’s burgeoning list of complications. Torn between her loyalty to her family and her business on the one hand and her growing attraction for a man who could never fit into her life on the other, Anjali turns to her family and cultural roots to make a life-altering decision.

Doesn't that sound fascinating? Here is another taste to whet your appetite:





Tomorrow, I will be sharing an interview I had with Shobhan. Ms. Banwal is an interesting woman. Shobhan Bantwal calls her writing “Bollywood in a Book,” romantic, colorful, action-packed tales, rich with elements of her own Indian culture — stories that entertain and educate.

She is an award-winning women’s fiction author of three published novels and has contributed to an anthology of short stories. Shobhan writes for a variety of publications including The Writer magazine, India Abroad, Little India, U.S. 1, Desi Journal, India Currents, Overseas Indian, and New Woman India. Her short stories have won honors/awards in contests sponsored by Writer's Digest, New York Stories and New Woman magazines. You won't want to miss this interview!

For a preview of the book, visit - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9uRlbkxxes

Order Your Copy at Amazon -

http://www.amazon.com/Sari-Shop-Widow-Shobhan-Bantwal/dp/0758232020

For more information on Shobhan Bantwal’s new and other books and to enter a drawing to win a number of prizes, please go to her website’s “Contests” page and sign up between Sept 1 and Sept 30, 2009 at www.shobhanbantwal.com

Full September Virtual Tour Details -
http://virtualblogtour.blogspot.com/2009/07/sari-shop-widow-by-shobhan-bantwal.html

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