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Judith Orloff Visits

I first heard of Judith Orloff when I came across her book, Emotional Freedom. I have since read just about everything she has written and was extremely excited when I was offered the chance to host her on this tour. Ms. Orloff is releasing Second Sight -- this is the 2nd edition of Second Sight! Here is what it says on the back cover:

"As a child, her vivid dreams and intuitions were whispered about behind closed doors. As a medical student, she denied the "shameful secret" by immersing herself in the absolutes of science. Then as a psychiatrist, Dr. Judith Orloff recieved proof of the value of her gift when an intuition foretold a patient's suicide attempt. In this remarkable self-portrait, she takes you on the journey of a lifetime, one that brought her from ignorance to understanding, from loneliness to peace, from despair to hope...


“There is no elite to which the gift belongs--the seeds have been planted in all of us....each one of us is multifaceted, radiant, teeming with possibilities.”

As she tells you her own story, Dr. Judith Orloff will teach you how to recognize intuitive experiences in everyday life, awaken your own intuition with special mind-empowering exercises, and use meditation, prayer, and dream interpretation to broaden your possibilities. And like Dr. Orloff you'll soon be on a quest to reexamine your life, your beliefs, your future...and your own wonderous potential. "

Over the next few days, I will be sharing a great deal with you on Judith Orloff and Second Sight (and maybe even one of my favorite articles from her). If being able to host this inspiring woman weren't enough, she has a very special offer for those who purchase her book on March 1. Get your copy of Second Sight ON MARCH 1st and receive over eighty gifts from amazing teachers such as Dr. Joan Borysenko, Rev. Michael Beckwith, and Deepak Chopra, and Shirley MacLaine..well, go here


and check out the incredible list! You'll recognize most of this list--these are some of the greatest spiritual minds of our present time!

Tomorrow, I'll be sharing an excerpt from Second Sight, as well as my review. For today, I want to leave you with Judith Orloff's bio and a video. If you want to discover more before tomorrow, check out Judith's site at:


Transforming the face of psychiatry, Judith Orloff, MD is an assistant clinical professor of Psychiatry at UCLA and author of the New York Times and international bestseller Emotional Freedom upon which a public television special is based. She synthesizes the pearls of traditional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition, energy, and spirituality to achieve physical and emotional healing. She passionately asserts that we have the power to transform negative emotions and achieve inner peace. She offers practical strategies to overcome frustration, stress, and worry and teaches people how to quiet overactive minds that won’t shut off.

Dr. Orloff, who comes from a family of 25 physicians, advocates "a democracy of healing," wherein every aspect of ourselves is granted a vote in the search for total health. She has been celebrated for her unique approach to mental well-being by proving that the links between physical, emotional, and spiritual health can’t be ignored.

Dr. Orloff is accomplishing for psychiatry what physicians like Dean Ornish and Mehmet Oz have done for mainstream medicine." Dr. Orloff has spoken at medical schools, hospitals, universities, the American Psychiatric Association, Fortune Magazine’s Most Powerful Women Summit, and alternative and traditional health forums—venues where she presents tools to doctors, patients, and everyday people. She graduated USC School of Medicine, completed a four year psychiatric residency program at UCLA, and currently mentors UCLA medical students and psychiatry-residents-in-training. She is on Natural Health Magazine's Advisory Board and Body and Soul Magazine had called Dr. Orloff "one of our nation's top doctors."

As a board-certified psychiatrist, Dr. Orloff blends her traditional medical skills with intuition to enhance patient care. A new edition of her book "Second Sight" (Three Rivers Press, 2010) chronicles her challenges and triumphs embracing her own intuition and integrating it into medicine. Emotional Freedom (Harmony Books, March, 2009) helps readers liberate themselves from negative emotions and develop hope, compassion, and courage. It is a roadmap for those who are stressed, discouraged, or overwhelmed--and for those who are in a good emotional place but want to feel better. As Dr. Orloff shows, each day presents opportunities for us to be heroes in our own lives: to turn away from negativity, react constructively, and seize command of any situation. Her other bestsellers include Positive Energy, Guide to Intuitive Healing, and Second Sight, a trilogy of books exploring new breakthroughs in intuition, energy, and how to combat an epidemic of exhaustion overtaking our world. Positive Energy is a national and Los Angeles Times bestseller which has been translated into 24 languages.

And now a frew words from Ms. Orloff:

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Passion, Plan, Profit -- A Review

Creative-type individuals are often the ones most interested in going into business for themselves. They enjoy the freedom that comes from making their own hours, following their own methods and being able to make money from what they love doing. There is one major problem, however, that most of these individuals face--they are ruled by their right brain. This is a problem for most because starting and succeeding in your own business requires getting "practical", organized and planning. These are mainly left-brain activities and do not come easily to those of us who find creativity is our stronger suit. Help has arrived!

Author and business coach, Christy Strauch, understands the dilemma faced by those who have never sat and written a business plan. She understands how the traits many take for granted are not so easy to cultivate for many. In Passion, Plan, Profit: Twelve Simple Steps to Convert Your Passion into a Solid Business, Ms. Strauch takes you by the hand and guides you step-by-step through the process of deciding why you want to go into business for yourself through the final step of having your first year planned. She then adds an added section on quarterly evaluations. The list of resources she includes is excellent. An added plus for me was that she does this without once talking down to the reader like many coaches do. You get the impression that Christy Strauch knows you can learn what she has to teach.

This book is not your ordinary "do this, this and this and you will succeed" book. It is chock-full of worksheets, each working off the one before and each one simple when taken by itself. The process of planning a business is explained not only by method, by also with explanations as to why each step is needed and the importance of including the information gained from the worksheets. I found myself excited right from the start, going from "I couldn't possibly understand this." to "Wow, even I can do this!" by the end of the first chapter. This is no easy task for someone trying to get left-brained concepts through to me.

The book is set up with plenty of margin space for making notes, adding comments or questions, etc...This is a book meant to be read with pen and highlighter. By the time you have finished going through the book step-by-step, the cover will be well-worn, the pages full of notes and page after page of worksheets will be completed. You will also be confident you have prepared yourself as completely as possible for your new adventure into self-employment.

This is a book I will recommend for years to come. It isn't meant for just someone starting a brick and mortar business, but can also be used by writers, artists, photographers and any other freelancer who want to guarantee success on their own. It rates a solid seven colors on my Rainbow Scale of Excellence.

If you'd like to see more of this book for yourself, click on the cover photo at the top of this post and it will take you there! I would love to have those who try this method stop by and tell us how you fared. I'll let everyone know my outcome!

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Talking With Christy Strauch

As promised, I now present a wonderful interview business coach and author, Christy Strauch!

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

Hmmm…I’d say loving, intelligent, and unconventional.

2. How do you think others would describe you?

It depends on who you ask. I think my friends would describe me in the same way I did above, adding more words like sensitive, passionate, a good listener, a clear-eyed strategist.
They might also take the word “sensitive” and put the prefix “overly” in front of it, along with remarking that I’m such a good listener that I hide what’s going on with myself, and I am so passionate about some things that I get too upset about them when they aren’t working out the way I think they should.

I think they would say that I am aware of the human tendency to take a good character trait and expand on it to the point that it becomes a weakness, and that I try to keep them all in balance as best I can as a human, human being.

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

I’m most passionate about helping people. My writing is dedicated to helping a specific group of people: those who adore their work and want to create a prosperous business around that work, but who may be struggling with the business side of business.

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

Sadly, no pets. I’d love to have a cat but am deathly allergic to them. I have four stuffed animals: Mitzi the bear, Simone the mouse, Lotte the elephant, and Raquel the dragon. Is it against the law for a grown woman to have stuffed animals with names? I hope not.
5. What is your most precious memory?

I have two God-children; Kai and Xoe. I remember holding Kai when he was just a week old, and falling in love with him on the spot (he’s 8 now). I also cherish the memory of the first time I held Xoe. When I picked her up for the first time, she grabbed the collar of my shirt and wouldn’t let go.

I have many other precious memories of these children (dyeing Easter eggs, going out for hot fudge sundaes on birthdays and many other things), and hope to create lots more.

6. What is your most embarrassing memory?

Ah, which one to choose? I can’t tell you the worst ones, so I’ll pick one from my early business career. I was being interviewed for a summer job at ARCO (Atlantic Richfield Company, now part of British Petroleum). The two men interviewing me had staff jobs; they supported the people who worked directly with customers (the people who had “line” jobs). I spent 15 minutes blabbing about how I thought staff jobs were lame and how I didn’t want one of those; I wanted a line job.

After my lecture on the virtues of line jobs vs. staff, one of the men said, in an annoyed voice, “we have staff jobs.” I’d just spent 15 minutes insulting their work. Not surprisingly, the interview ended soon after and I wasn’t hired.

I can still remember the irritation on the faces of the interviewers, and how mortified I felt. That taught me a number of lessons, not the least of which was to keep my mouth shut until I knew more about the people I was talking to.

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

I would be teaching. I am teaching now, actually. Part of the beauty of having finally published my business plan book is that I can now use it as a teaching tool.

I’ve found that for most people to really use the book, they need some kind of support. I’ve posted a lot of documents on my website (one of which contains the directions about how to start a business plan workgroup on your own), and I also lead groups of people who want more support in writing their plans. In addition to being a writer, I am also a teacher; writing books is a way to teach people when I can’t reach them directly.

8. In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.

Christy Strauch’s overriding passion in life was helping other people; she did that in her work, with her writing, and in her personal life. She took seriously Shakespeare’s adage “to thine own self be true,” believing that each of us was put on the planet to do and be something that had never been before. She helped people express their true selves, their true nature, and in doing that, was able to fulfill her own purpose. She will be greatly missed by the many people whose lives she touched.

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

That realization has come over me slowly. I started to recognize that I was a real writer when I read about the writing processes of other people whom I consider to be “real” writers, and saw that mine were similar. I noticed how much I enjoy the days I’ve scheduled blocks of time to write. I guess the most obvious indicator that I’m a real writer is that I have published a book, have a second in the works, and a clear vision of what my third book will cover!

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

I am in the middle of revising my next book, which will either be called You Hate to Market and What to do About It, or The I Hate to Market Book.

While coaching my precious, right-brained (and sometimes introverted) clients, I noticed they hated to do their marketing because they chose activities they didn’t like. They didn’t understand the range of marketing activities available to them, and they didn’t know how to pick marketing they would like.

With the advent of all the ways you can market using the Internet, I thought there must be a way to solve this problem. I decided to write a book to show people how to choose the marketing activities that fit their personalities, as well as the personalities of their clients.

I’m very excited about this book. I think it will guide small business owners to pick marketing that they actually like. And the marketing people enjoy is the marketing that gets done, and is the marketing that works.

11. What are your future goals for your writing?

I have a third book rolling around in my head about how to build community around your business. I’m going to go find some business owners who want to do this, help them do it, and write about the experience.

I also want to improve my writing. I’ve taken a number of writing classes, but I’m ready for another one.

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

Because I teach and coach, I have to juggle those two activities along with my writing. It’s easy to procrastinate the sitting down and writing, so I do my best to treat my writing as sacred. I give it regular time, at least a two-hour and preferably a four-hour block at least three times a week.

When I’m revising work like I’m doing now, I can pick that up and get something done in an hour, if that’s all the time I have. But when I’m writing the first draft of a book, I need to give it space; i.e. three or preferably more hours in a contiguous block.

Writing is like exercise. If I only get out and walk or go to the gym once every other week, it never gets easier. Exercising and writing are most enjoyable when I make time for them almost every day.

I also have to give my unconscious mind time to work. My books explain (sometimes complex) concepts to my readers; many times when I start the first draft, I can’t figure out how to explain clearly what I want to say. So I go for a walk, read something that pertains to the work I’m doing, call someone, or work on something else for a few minutes. My unconscious almost always works out the problem on its own while I’m letting it alone to think.

I also try to treat my writing gently. It’s a paradox: I have to be ruthless in setting aside time to write, and I have to be kind to myself as I’m doing it.

13. Why do you write?

It’s hard not to respond with a cliché, here, but the cliché is right: I write because I have to. Not writing would feel almost like not eating or not breathing. It is just a thing I do because it’s part of me to do it.

14. What writer most inspires you? Why?

There are so many great writers; it’s hard to choose just one. I am inspired by good writing wherever I find it; in newspapers and magazines, blogs, and books. I learned the sacred formula for finishing your book (Ass + Chair, attributed to the film director Oliver Stone), at the Desert Rose chapter meetings of Romance Writers of America. Whatever else you can say about romance writers, they put their butts in their chair and write.

I love reading Anne Lamott, whose unconventional outlook on the world makes me laugh and think, and Malcolm Gladwell, who synthesizes disparate data into startling, thoughtful conclusions. I also follow The Fluent Self and Penelope Trunk’s Brazen Careerist blogs. As a writer, one of the ways I get better is to read, so I read an assortment of prose (and even some poetry) as frequently as I can.

15. How do you define your writing?

I hope my writing teaches people about business; makes business success accessible to those who don’t think they have a “business” brain. My other goal is to make readers laugh while they’re learning.

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

Her books helped fuel the transformation in the world economy by showing hundreds of thousands of small business owners how they can prosper doing what they love.

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

My website is
www.claritytobusiness.com ; blog is www.claritytobusiness.com/blog . You can also follow me on Twitter: @christystrauch .

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

Readers can email me at cms@claritytobusiness.com , or call 602-561-8499.

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

My first book is: Passion, Plan, Profit: 12 Simple Steps to Convert Your Passion into a Solid Business. It’s available on Amazon. My second book should be available in late fall this year.

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

My goal for all my books is to give readers the tools they need to run their businesses and earn a prosperous living. New readers will find information, practical exercises and advice, presented in a light-hearted way. I strive to make learning about business interesting and fun.

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

It’s tough to create a prosperous business. It takes a lot of perseverance. But the alternative—not doing the work you love, can take a much greater toll on you.

There are no special skills to owning and running a successful business that can’t be learned. Business owners are made, not born. That’s why I wrote this first book. You can learn a lot of what you need to run your business by reading it.

I’m not kidding about the perseverance part, though. Having a business will make you face your demons about money, if you have any. It will force you to confront the truth about what you do well and what you need help with. It will make you separate your self-esteem from your bank account (or be alternately miserable or elated depending on your bank balance, which gets very tiring). To handle all these things you will need perseverance.

But your perseverance will be greatly rewarded. You will experience the joy of creating a business and doing the work you love; the work you were put on the planet to do. You will meet, and help, the people who need you and your business; whose lives would be diminished without you. You will know the joy of depositing checks from these people who are happily paying you to do this work you’d do for free.

There are no guarantees in business. You could fail, too. The economy or some other change in the market could kill your business. But the same thing could happen to your job if you work for someone else. If you take the risk to create your own business, and God Forbid, you fail; at least you will have gained the experience of trying.

And the cool thing about business is that many times it most-greatly rewards the people who’ve tried, failed, learned, and gotten up to try again

Thank you for stopping by today, Christy! Being an extremely right-brained introvert, I'm certainly looking forward to your next book! Folks, join us tomorrow when I share my thoughts on Passion, Plan, Profit!

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Writing is a Small Business by Christy Strauch

Yesterday, I introduced you to Christy Strauch, business coach and author of Passion, Plan, Profit: 12 Simple Steps to Convert Your Passion into a Solid Business. I'll be talking with Christy later this week and giving you my review of this book. Today, however, I asked Christy Staunch to be a guest author here and tell us, since many of you are authors, how writing is a small business. Enjoy!

Can Writing Be a Small Business?

While you are writing your breakthrough novel or screenplay, there are other ways to earn money writing.

To do this, you have to ask yourself a crucial question. Can you write what other people want you to write? If you can, here are some ways to turn writing into a small business, while you’re finishing your other work.

As a writer, you have already noticed that a lot of business writing (ad copy, press releases, and even technical manuals) could use more of a writer’s touch. Business writing can be stilted, passive and boring, but it isn’t always, nor does it have to be. You can fix it! Ad agencies and companies themselves hire freelance copywriters to help them; you can help companies or their marketing consultants write their blog posts, press releases, web site copy, technical manuals, employee handbooks...the list is endless. You can go into business yourself as a copywriter, or work through an agency. For some real-live experience about how to earn money in the copywriting world, start with http://copywritersroundtable.com/

The next way you can turn your writing into a small business is to break down your ideas into information products to sell on your website. This may be tougher if you write fiction, but not impossible. Do all your writing friends call and ask you for writing advice? Do you have a sure-fire way to overcome writers’ block? Do you have a reliable method to flesh out your fictional characters’ characters? Are you a highly-skilled user of your word processing program? Or, if you’re writing non-fiction (especially a how-to book), can you distill some of your strongest points into a smaller product that people could buy from your website?

There is a lot of advice on the Internet about how to create information products (see http://www.ittybiz.com/ for a start). If you have ideas for products, the Internet will provide loads of information on how to get started. Watch out for get-rich-quick schemes, though. Anybody who says you can be a millionaire the first year is lying.

Finally, if you’re a prolific writer, willing to write something at least daily, and have an identifiable audience (for instance, you’re a mom writing about your autistic kid or a college student writing about how you’re getting by on no money, or an extreme-sports person writing about your adventures), you can start a blog and post advertising using Google’s Ad Sense program. This takes significant work (you have to build up a large audience so you have enough people to click on the ads next to your blog, in order to generate meaningful revenue). Go to www.google.com/adsense for more information.

If you decide you want to turn your writing into a small business, and you’ve also decided you can write for other people, the final step before you start, is to figure out who you want to write for. Seek out companies whose products and services you support, and figure out how you can help them. If you decide you want to create information products, who will they be for, and what does that audience need from you? Same for a blog.

Just like in any other business, the first work in your writing business is to understand your prospective perfect customer, his needs, and how you can help. Coincidentally, I wrote a book about how to write a business plan for small businesses, called Passion, Plan, Profit; 12 Simple Steps to Convert Your Passion into a Solid Business. You’ll greatly improve your chances of success if you use it to plan first.

You can see more on Christy's book here

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Christy Strauch on painless business planning


I would like to introduce you to business coach and author, Christy Strauch. In 1989, Christy Strauch, took a job as a sales representative for a small IT company with $50,000 a year in sales. Christy had an MBA in finance and marketing from UCLA and a dream of making a difference in business. Fifteen years and 3 mergers later, Strauch was a partner, took the company public, and sold it.

In 2005, with over 9 years experience working for nationally known companies such as IBM, Carnation International and Capitol Records, Christy decided that it was time to follow a lifetime calling to help small business owners learn to prosper doing the work they love. Considered an expert in small business, Christy has been interviewed by The Los Angeles Times and The Scottsdale Daily Progress, among others.

Throughout her career, Christy has received numerous honors. She won several regional managers awards during her tenure with IBM, has been honored by the Arizona Small Business Association, received the advanced Toastmasters Silver designation and earned her Certified Professional Co-Active Coaching (CPCC) certificate from the Coach Training Institute, as well as her Associate Certified Coach (ACC) certificate from the International Coach Federation.

In 2005, Christy formed Clarity To Business, a coaching and consulting practice. To date has worked with over 300 small business owners, from artists to real estate agents, helping them to both do what they are passionate about – and to make a profit.

Christy is the author of Passion, Plan, Profit: 12 Simple Steps to Convert Your Passion into a Solid Business. This user-friendly book shows people who are passionate about their work how to succeed in the business side of business. She is currently at work on You Hate to Market, and What To Do About It, which will be available Fall 2010.

Passion, Plan, Profit: 12 Simple Steps to Convert Your Passion into a Solid Business

In this hands-on workbook, Christy Strauch gives creative people and small business owners the tools they need to help them understand the purpose their business or skill serves in the world; serve their best clients even better; and get clear on "Number," the language their business speaks to them. Passion Plan Profit takes a light-hearted and semi-painless approach to helping readers create a useable, fun plan to run a successful business. No one is "too creative" to make money doing the work they love.

Please come back tomorrow when Christy will be telling us how writing is actually a small business--yes, even us creative types need to get serious from time to time :-) In the meantime, check out her book here

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The REAL Iggy the Iguana!


For the past couple of days, we have been visiting with Melissa M. Williams. While her book, Iggy the Iguana, is fiction, there was a real iguana in Melissa's life. She shares the story with her readers at the end of the book! To the left is a picture of this precious guy.

I found Iggy the Iguana a wondreous piece of work, reminding me of Charlotte's Web. Like the latter, I can imagine reading this book many times over the years and it promises to be the favorite of many children, both boys and girls. Ms. Williams writes in a fresh style that has you hearing her words as you read, forgetting that the characters are animals and not real-life girls and boys. They face the same fears and triumphs that can be found in any elementary class room.

Not only will reading this book, and the rest in the series, allow kids to feel Melissa Williams understands them, reading it will take adults back to those early years--and just maybe help them understand their young children a little more. Melissa has a gift that enables her to reach out and touch children with her words. She hugs them from a distance through her story and lets them know someone understands and cares. I would enthusiastically endorse this author for Mentor of the Year for anyone who truly wants to connect with young readers in their writing!

Iggy the Iguana includes an entire line of products. These are some of the Iggy the Iguana products that are available.

Iggy the Iguana in Hardback and Paperback and Audio CD
Summer League (Iggy's Sequel) in HB and PB
Iggy the Iguana Stuffed Animal
Snap Shell the Turtle Stuffed Animal
Additional Items: Iggy Baseball Collectors cards, Clothes for Iggy, Bookmarks, T-shirts

For full details on all Iggy the Iguana products - http://iggytheiguana.com/iggy_store.htm

Videos about Iggy -







Win the Iggy the Iguana Give Away!

Including the Newly Released Items in Iggy Collection, Snap Shell the Turtle (Plush Doll), Iggy Collector's Baseball Cards, and The Read3Zero T-Shirt ... supporting the fight against illiteracy 30 minutes at a time. Be our most active visitor during the tour for a chance to win this Iggy Collection -- the tour schedule is posted at

http://virtualblogtour.blogspot.com/2010/01/iggy-iguana-and-melissa-m-williams-tour.html to make it easy for you to visit and comment.

To learn more about Iggy and Melissa Williams – visit www.iggytheiguana.com .

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Two Interviews with author Melissa M. Williams

I am so excited today! I have the pleasure of sharing with you my interview with Melissa M. Williams, author of Iggy the Iguana, the premier book in a series of children's books. Melissa is one of those rare authors that is equally comfortabl speaking with group of kids as she is writing. The second interview I will be sharing is one done by a very articulate young man--and I definitely think he has a future in the entertainment field. You will certainly enjoy his talk with Ms. Williams!

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

Visionary, Honest, Energetic

2. How do you think others would describe you?

Caring, generous, and hopefully funny!

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

I’ve studied psychology for many years, so the human mind, spiritual enlightenment, human behavior, those things will always interest me. I love the mind body connection, so yoga and physical activity also goes hand in hand with my passion for life. I feel like I am on a constant mission to find balance.

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

No, I travel so often, its impossible to have a pet. I wish I had another iguana though! They’re my favorite!

5. What is your most precious memory?

I have so many memories, it’s hard to pin point. I will always remember the speech and toast my dad gave to me at my graduation party … and the note he left on my bed the day I left the house for college.

6. What is your most embarrassing memory?

I was known for running out of gas for many years of my life. That was always embarrassing.

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

I would be finishing my supervision hours as a professional counselor.

8. In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.

Hmmm. I had to do this in graduate school. I wish I could find what I wrote. :O)

Melissa M. Williams dedicated her life to reaching out to others and inspiring them to follow their dreams. Her professional education included a Bachelors Degree in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Professional Counseling. Melissa’s life revolved around world of literacy and spoke on behalf of creative learning for children. She belonged to the National Honor Society for Psychology and graduated from her Master’s Program with honors. Melissa belonged to many organizations over her life-time for professional counseling and literature. As a children’s author, publisher, and founder to her literacy foundation, her goal was to give children opportunities to use their creative gifts, as Melissa believe that was her God-given purpose in life.

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

One day I got an email from a Kids’ Publisher letting me know that two of their 6th grade authors dedicated their first book to me. When you inspire others doing what you do, it feels so real. It was such an honor.

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

I am currently writing the third book in the Iggy the Iguana chapter book series, Turtle Town! There is a lot of research that goes into this book. I am planning another trip to write on location at Cardiff Beach, California. I’m still learning how to surf for the sake of my characters. I like to know what my characters go through. I am also researching the turtle society, and hopefully will be attending many of their meetings in California. There is a lot to say about all the different sea turtles. I am creating different clicks in the story, based on the type of turtle. All of my stories focus on acceptance and diversity, so first I must create a conflict that needs to be overcome.

I am also writing as a children’s columnist at the WestSide Story News in Houston, Texas. The column is for parents, but I use examples from my books and counseling background to give them inspiration and creative ideas to aid with their own children’s self-esteem and creativity.

I also teach creative writing to children who are aspiring authors!

11. What are your future goals for your writing?

I would like to do more of it! I own a publishing company and literacy foundation, so I spend a lot of time running the business and booking all of my speaking engagements over the year. Marketing, even if you have a publicist and manager, is still a full time job for an author. Eventually, I would like to write books for an older audience of inspiring stories or messages. But right now, my focus is on children’s literature. I would like Iggy to become a well-known character or have a cartoon made after him and his friends. I’m just waiting to sell the license! :O)

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

Ha! Let’s see if I can remember … the past five months have been nonstop traveling, school visits, and teaching. But, a typical writing day for me involves a very quiet atmosphere. I have to get away from my phone, the internet, and sometimes even my home. No noise, unless I’m in a coffee shop. For some reason the atmosphere of a coffee shop will bring on creativity and I can still concentrate. I get lost in my mind, and I can’t see what’s around me. I write notes about my story months before I ever start writing, this way I know the story and it never leaves me. I talk about it out loud to others, so I can see it in my head. When the time is right, I just sit down and go. I usually will work on it every day until it is finished.

13. Why do you write?

I have to. I have been writing since I was a little girl. Stories, journals … my entire life is pretty much recorded on paper … the thoughts and emotions that accompanied me in different seasons of my life are all recorded. With out writing, I would be cheating myself out of who I am as a person.

14. What writer most inspires you? Why?

I love the Christian writer Margaret Feinberg. She is so real and dynamic. I have seen her speak many times. For me, writing and inspiring and speaking all go together. I have to see and meet a writer and see them speak in order for them to touch my soul on a different level. Once I see them, if their message resonates with me, they become a mentor, and I will buy every book they produce from then on. I guess this is why it is such a big deal to me that I spend most of the year speaking to my children readers … I want them to remember my books because they remember me.

15. How do you define your writing?

Currently, I write in a way that is relatable to my young audience. I include humor and wit in my stories, while remaining real in a way that creates compassion and empathy for the characters.

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

Melissa’s writing touched people on a level that encouraged self-acceptance and brought light back into the reader’s life.

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

Yes. This is going to be long:

http://bit.ly/Mjc3v (Children’s Column on Westside Story News)

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


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

Iggy the Iguana
Summer League

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

To laugh! I also want them to appreciate that I am keeping a positive foundation in my writing, instead of silly goofy humor.

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

It is so easy to get focused on the external of life and of ourselves in the world today, and it not only affects us as adults, but it is trickling down into the youth. Parents and adults serve as the example and role model for children, so it has always been important for me to offer a way of encouragement to our youth. Encourage them to follow their dreams, to be themselves, and to stand up for what they believe in. It’s like the quote, “If you don’t believe in something, you will fall for anything.” Children should be encouraged to build their morals and values, so by being a speaker and a leader, I want to offer this type of energy to children. Just remember, the worst thing you can ever tell a child is “They Can’t.” When you tell a child they can’t do something, no matter how impossible it may seem in reality’s sake, you have crushed their creative and proactive spirit. Always serve as an encouraging force, and accept if you have done wrong by being honest with young ones. I didn’t realize it as a kid, but my parents consciously knew what they were doing when they encouraged me to be the best I can be.

Win the Iggy the Iguana Give Away! Including the Newly Released Items in Iggy Collection, Snap Shell the Turtle (Plush Doll), Iggy Collector's Baseball Cards, and The Read3Zero T-Shirt ... supporting the fight against illiteracy 30 minutes at a time. Be our most active visitor during the tour for a chance to win this Iggy Collection -- the tour schedule is posted at http://virtualblogtour.blogspot.com/2010/01/iggy-iguana-and-melissa-m-williams-tour.html
to make it easy for you to visit and comment.

To learn more about Iggy and Melissa Williams – visit www.iggytheiguana.com

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Iggy the Iguana --On Tour


I thoroughly enjoy the many varied guests stopping by Books and Authors. Every so often, however, a special guest takes center stage and I find myself especially thrilled. The next few days sees just such a guest here, Iggy the Iguana and his spectacular author, Melissa M. Williams. I'll be sharing videos and an interview with Melissa, as well as my review of this intro book in a series. Before it's over, I'm sure you will agree with my enthusiasm for this special duo!

Iggy the Iguana is the first book in the Iggy Chapter Book Series for ages 7 to 11. The story focuses on the major themes of acceptance, friendship, and diversity while Iggy starts a brand new school. The transition from a private "all-lizard" school to a public "all-animal" school is eye opening, as Iggy soon accepts that just because other animals are different doesn't mean they can't be your friends. By the end of Iggy's 4th grade year, he realizes that changing schools was the best move he could have ever made!

Melissa M. Williams is an advocate for literacy and creativity in children. Her children’s chapter books were inspired by real life experiences with childhood pets she owned while growing up in Houston, Texas. While finishing her Master’s degree in Professional Counseling, Melissa started substitute teaching for elementary schools in order to understand the daily life of her young audience. The students helped her create relatable and realistic stories while including lessons, values and acceptance within the story-line. In addition to writing, Melissa spends most of the school year speaking to students about her own journey as an author and the process of creative writing, while encouraging each student to think outside the box, follow their inner passion, and write their own stories.

Win the Iggy the Iguana Give Away! Including the Newly Released Items in Iggy Collection, Snap Shell the Turtle (Plush Doll), Iggy Collector's Baseball Cards, and The Read3Zero T-Shirt ... supporting the fight against illiteracy 30 minutes at a time. Be our most active visitor during the tour for a chance to win this Iggy Collection -- the tour schedule is posted at http://virtualblogtour.blogspot.com/2010/01/iggy-iguana-and-melissa-m-williams-tour.html
to make it easy for you to visit and comment.

To learn more about Iggy and Melissa Williams – visit www.iggytheiguana.com

Add to Technorati Favorites