Featured Author: Michael Bassett

Which writers inspire you? My literary influences are a crazy broth of very disparate authors. The poets I most admire are Albert Goldbarth, Angela Ball, Roger Weingarten, John Lane Michael Chitwood,  Susn Ludvigson,  Rainer Maria Rilke, Beckian Fritz Golberg, and Charles Harper Webb. I guess the poet whose work I go back to most that most affects and inform my own writing is Charles Simic. I love the primal dreamlike quality of his imagery and his blusy embracing of life amidst atrocity.

I have also been inspired by the nature writing of Loren Eiseley. I am continually amazed by the high-powered  intensity scope and nuance of his perception and his ability to layer inages without muddying meaning or losing the rhythmic beauty of his language.  Millan Kundera, Italo Calivino and Robert Pirsig are also important to me in showing what is possible in artfully and even playfully dealing with big ideas.

What have you written?

I have published three chapbooks and one full length collection of poetry

Many years ago I was part of a group called The Writers’ Common.  The group was comprised of a medical doctor, a layer, an engineer, a social psychologist, a professional journalist and several educators. We took turns publishing opinion column in The LaGrange Daily News. We also met and discussed social issues and topics for future columns.

I also write reviews of plays, art shows, and poetry for publications like The Bluffton Sun, The Island Packet, and CH2.

I occasionally write Academic Papers on poetry and popular culture.

Where can we buy or see them?

My latest book, Hatchery of Tongues is available at Amazon and directly from Negative Capability Press.

What are you working on at the minute?

A chapbook of poems and essays titled “SURREALITY TV.”– The books deals with my personal and sociological observations about television and the television-based mythology that informed s much of my growing up.

Why do you write?

I write to clarify my own thinking and feelings. I write to surprise and delight myself and audiences. When I write reviews, I am trying to share both insights and enthusiasm about poetry, painting or the theater. Most of my poetry comes from playing archeologist of my past, excavating my various childhoods. Albert Goldbarth has a lovely line that says, “Our childhoods never disappear completely, and their whinings, fears and wonders only hibernate, a bonsai of us, in us, the way the first ring of the redwood is still at its center, inside the enormity.”

Michael Bassett is a pot, philosopher, booklover, visual artist, and educator. He holds an MFA from Vermont College and a Ph.D. from the University of Southern Mississippi. He went to high school on the Island where he has returned to teach. He is the author of for poetry collections: Karma Puppets (2003), Waiting for Love to Make My Phone Explode (2007), A Train Dreams of When t Was a Killer Whale (2009), and Hatchery of Tongues (2014). His poems have appeared in hundreds of journals and dozens of anthologies. He is the winner of the 2005 Fugue poetry contest judged by Tony Hoagland and of the Joan Johnson award.

mbassett

Advertisements

Featured Author – Lee Wyndham

Why do you write?

I write because I breathe. Just as teaching was, I write because it is a calling. I write to make a difference.

What genre are your books? Christian Non-fiction

What draws you to this genre?

As a former school teacher and businesswoman, I want to pass on the wisdom I’ve accumulated through the years. Writing excites me, and I feel obligated to share what I have learned. If we can’t learn from each other’s mistakes, we’re all going to hell in a hand basket! Through my books I now have a platform from which to speak to church and civic groups. Some of the places I have spoken are: the Golden Kiwanis Club, the American Legion, the Greenwood County Library, The Burton Center, the Chamber of Commerce Women’s Forum, study clubs, and church groups in Greenwood, McCormick, Greenville, Columbia, and Edisto Island. At most programs after I speak, my husband and I entertain with a short musical program.

What have you written and where can we buy them?

I self-published two meditation books: “Meditations of My Heart” in 2007 and “He Keeps Me Singing” in 2009. Then in 2012 Ambassador International published My Oh My: A Journey of Faith through Marriage, Parenting, and Miracles for me. You can buy My Oh My from Amazon.com or from McCaslans’ Bookstore in uptown Greenwood. I have a limited number of “He Keeps Me Singing” for sale personally. These books make a great gift for young adults through senior

citizens.

The bi-line for “My Oh My” is “A Journey of Faith through Marriage, Parenting, and Miracles.” It is not a complete autobiography because there is very little in it about my childhood. That may come later.

Basically my book includes many of my life experiences, most of which are humorous and dramatic. I share several miracles that have happened to me and I share my secrets to being happily married for 50 years and raising four “normal” daughters. Many people have told me they keep my books by their bedside and re-read passages regularly. That tickles me to no end!

God is good and throughout my book my stories are intertwined with the underlying message of my faith. Shooting straight from my heart I describe my spiritual beliefs and disbeliefs.

 

Featured Author – Amy Alley part 2

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured? Ha ha! I am a solo parent (as in only parent in the picture) who works a full-time day job, so my days are pretty structured with the typical routines that come with working and having a child in primary school. In addition, I maintain a garden, have many hobbies, am currently taking two online college courses, and I run 3 times a week! Despite how this sounds, however, I am not at all rushed or busy and life isn’t hectic. I am anything but ‘too busy’ because I have found a balance and also I do not pressure myself to write a certain amount a day, etc. Some days, I don’t write at all (other than in my head!) Because it is not my sole means of support, I can be flexible with how much time I need to spend on it. (I also have a number of people I correspond to with handwritten notes and letters, which take a bit of time but is so worth it!)

I find I write best when I write in the mornings; however, many days I have to be at work by 6:50 which makes that a bit tricky. I am not one to plan or outline my work, I am a ‘flow’ writer who just sits down when the mood strikes and writes. However, for articles, I may toy around with ideas several evenings, and then polish it all up on a morning when I don’t have to be in so early. Weekends I often rise before dawn to work on a project before my son wakes.

I have more ideas to write about than I’ll ever be able to commit to paper, but I’m okay with that. What I do take time to actually put into words is generally my most authentic message. I’ve been working lately on how to say more with less (though that may not be evident in this interview!) and it’s become a good practice for me. I don’t want to feel I’m saying the same message many times in different posts, articles, etc.

For your own reading, do you prefer e-books or traditional paper/hard back books? Paperback. I use a computer at work but do not like to use it so much at home. Though I appreciate the technology that makes so much possible, the last thing I generally want to do at home is turn on the computer after having to interact with it all day at work. J There are a few blogs I follow and make time to catch up with at least weekly, but to read on a computer would not please me at all!

What book/s are you reading at present? Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi. This book is inspiring me to start a group to study literature here in my town, because I’m moved so much by the experiences she describes. I’ve already listed the classics I think I need to read, based on how they are described in Nafisi’s words! And I definitely would love to discuss them with others. I have always believed reading makes on a better writer, and I’ve always loved books. Real books; I need to hold them in my hand. Old book are even better!

What is your favorite positive saying? Live simply while living as though money is no object. Also, I love and live by ‘lead by example’.

 

Follow Amy’s blog at www.panpanstudios.blogspot.com and you’ll get all the news, posts, and updates! And hopefully a bit of inspiration!

Weekly Musings: http://panpanstudios.blogspot.com/

The Boldness Initiative Blog: http://boldnessinitiative.blogspot.com/

The Absence of Anyone Else http://www.rockpublishing.com/AbsenceOfAnyoneElse.htm

The Absence of Anyone Else, Kindle ebook http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007TIINUU 

Amy Alley

Featured Author – Amy Alley part 1

What were you like at school? I was very introverted. Though I was hyper in elementary grades and often in trouble for ‘moving’ too much, I still primarily kept to myself, mostly reading at recess or studying nature. I’ve been told that as an adult we can find the most joy by coming back to what stimulated us as a child – and I find some of my greatest daily joys in nature and in the pages of books. Reading a book while eating lunch outside and pausing to watch a flock of geese fly overhead…this happened today, and it was a priceless moment.

I would say that now I am much like I was back in those childhood years. Coming full circle at 41, I’ve found myself authentic self again.

Why do you write? I would say I write to express myself and to share my experiences with others. I am always moved when someone comments on a blog post or messages me to say that they have read one of my magazine articles. I have explored many areas of creative self-expression and I always come back to writing as my favorite ‘medium’. For me, it seems to be the most genuine way to reach other people, inspire them, move them enough that they take a moment out of their day to let me know their thoughts on something I’ve written. Whenever I gain a new blog follower, I feel a small victory inside! It means someone was moved enough by my words that they don’t want to miss future posts. I feel that many of the practices I’ve adopted over the past few years have improved the quality of my life in so many ways, and in sharing those practices via my writing, I can help others to make positive changes in their own lives. Lead by example is a motto I think of every time I write a post.

What are your ambitions for your writing career?  I feel so blessed to have a rewarding full-time job that provides not only our livelihood, but also plenty of time for my freelance career as well. My ambitions really at this time center on my blog! I’m really keen to have it reach others and reach many people and inspire others to appreciate simple living, well-being, nature, the handmade, and quality time with loved ones and family through my writing.

Writing for The Mother Magazine, I get to target an audience of parents who value holistic lifestyles and similar parenting beliefs to my own, and this has been such a wonderful experience. There are many books inside of me, as there are in all of us, and life has given me the chance to meet an know such a cast of characters I’d hardly need to fabricate any, but at the moment, my ambition would be that my blog readership continues to grow and maybe I have more opportunities with domestic and international magazine publications (though the current assignment load is at a level I can easily handle!)

So, what have you written?  The Absence of Anyone Else is my only full-length novel.

The synopsis: Grace Pruitt, struggling artist and single mother, paints into the wee hours of the night, hoping to numb the pain she’s felt since fleeing her beloved Asheville, North Carolina, home three years before. Now back in Calvary, South Carolina, the fading textile town where she was raised, she aches for the exciting life she once led in the heart of the Great Smokies and wonders what, if anything, her future holds. When the terminally-ill estranged father of her son reaches out from the past, she finds herself in the midst of an emotional turmoil that is further complicated by the ever-growing stir of feelings towards her lifelong friend Daniel, a dashingly handsome graphic artist who seems unable to express his true feelings for Grace, despite having confessed to love her years before. Just when her plate of drama seems full, Grace gets a glimpse into the life she has only dreamed of when Cristofer Stanley, uccessful artist and gallery owner, expresses an interest in representing her art. Fueled by a steady stream of coffee, sage advice (and just a few secrets) from her eclectic Grandmother Nan, and the passionate desire to do what is right for both herself and her son, Grace finally finds the courage to let go of the life she thought she wanted and embrace the life ~ and love ~ she was meant to have.

It was published in 2009 and available on Amazon via paperback and e-Kindle. I have had ongoing problems of communication with my publisher so I do not promote the paperback version at this time. (I recommend checking out publishers as extensively as possible before committing to them!!)

Follow Amy’s blog at www.panpanstudios.blogspot.com and you’ll get all the news, posts, and updates! And hopefully a bit of inspiration!

Weekly Musings: http://panpanstudios.blogspot.com/

The Boldness Initiative Blog: http://boldnessinitiative.blogspot.com/

The Absence of Anyone Else http://www.rockpublishing.com/AbsenceOfAnyoneElse.htm

The Absence of Anyone Else, Kindle ebook http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007TIINUU 

Amy Alley

Featured Author: Cassie Premo Steele part 2

Who, What, When, Where, and Why with Cassie Premo Steele

Displaying EJW_author photo.jpg

Where do your ideas come from?

The relationship between our inner worlds and the world of nature. I write either outside, as I did as a child, or in my studio, which has a wonderful bay window that faces south so nature accompanies me — a dogwood tree, a Bradford pear, a crepe Myrtle, and hummingbirds, chickadees, and a very lazy squirrel who sleeps on a branch most of the day.

When I write, I take all of this in – and I connect it to my inner world, my spirit, my intuition, by belly sense of wisdom and what we need. This co-creative method is what led me to write earthjoywriting: creating harmony through journaling and nature, which will be released by Ashland Creek Press on Earth Day, April 22, 2015. I am very excited about this book and the healing potential it has for us humans and for the Earth.

Why do you write?

I write for balance and wholeness and harmony. In myself. In the world. In nature. In the connection between all of us. I write so my writing can serve the world with inspiration and vision and a belief in what is possible. I write so I can coach and teach in ways that lead people from chaos to calm. I write so I can walk my talk, one step at a time, mindfully and gratefully aware of what a miracle all of this is – the world is, existence is, we are. We are miracles, words are miracles, and a good writer knows this and reaches into the deep into belly of miracles to prepare food for the community.

BIO: Cassie Premo Steele, Ph.D. is the award-winning author of twelve books and audio albums. A wise and encouraging writing coach, she works with people one-on-one in person and via phone, web and Skype to teach them easy ways of co-creating the writing life they want.

She also teaches classes and leads groups for military families through http://www.couragebeyond.org Her poetry has been nominated three times for the Pushcart Prize, and her next book, earthjoywriting, will be released in 2015 from Ashland Creek Press.

Displaying EJW_cover.jpg

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Website:      http://www.cassiepremosteele.com

Birthing the Mother Writer Column at Literary Mama:  http://www.literarymama.com/columns/birthingthemotherwriter/

Blog Posts at Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cassie-premo-steele/

Amazon Author Page:     http://www.amazon.com/Cassie-Premo-Steele/e/B001HP93N2

Facebook:    https://www.facebook.com/CassiePremoSteele

Twitter:        https://twitter.com/PremoSteele

Featured Author: Cassie Premo Steele part 1

Who, What, When, Where, and Why with Cassie Premo Steele

EJW_author photo

Who were you when you were younger and what advice would you give to this younger self?

I was a strange little kid. I spent a lot of time in bed reading – or if the weather was nice, in trees or by a little pond, writing. I wrote in journals that I numbered for future biographers so they would know if one were missing. This seems weird now, but I had a very clear sense that I was born to be a writer. My childhood was chaotic and books literally saved my life. Madeleine L’Engle, Judy Blume, Jane Little—I carried their novels with me through the day like talismans.

The advice I would give is this: be yourself. Do not worry when people call you strange or crazy or selfish. You have been given an incredible gift, and you will grow to use this gift to serve the world. Be patient. All your dreams are coming true.

What is the easiest thing about writing?

I had an “aha” moment about ten years ago. I used to write in very difficult ways – I had been trained as an academic, so I understand and love languages and world literature, philosophy, theology, feminist theory. And I could write like that. And I worked very hard at my writing.

But one day, I wrote a poem – just a simple, little poem, I thought – and people really responded. I was shocked. It had come so easily to me! How could it be this easy?

And that’s when I learned that the easiest thing you do as a writer is what you should do. It is the gift you’ve been given, and that’s what the world needs you to write. What do you enjoy writing? What’s so simple you could do it with your eyes closed? What comes naturally to you? Do that. That’s what I’ve been doing ever since.

When did you decide to become a writer?

I decide this every day. As I said, I was born with the sense that I was a writer. But then, many years later, I had to re-make this decision over and over again: when I decided not to go on the job market nationally so I could stay near my stepdaughter and also write; when I decided to use my savings to take some time off from teaching to write my novel, Shamrock and Lotus; when I decided to stop teaching as an adjunct so I could open my writing coaching business and also write; when I decide each morning to balance work and family and writing. It is a decision that must be made again and again and again.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

BIO: Cassie Premo Steele, Ph.D. is the award-winning author of twelve books and audio albums. A wise and encouraging writing coach, she works with people one-on-one in person and via phone, web and Skype to teach them easy ways of co-creating the writing life they want.

She also teaches classes and leads groups for military families through http://www.couragebeyond.org Her poetry has been nominated three times for the Pushcart Prize, and her next book, earthjoywriting, will be released in 2015 from Ashland Creek Press.

 

Website:      http://www.cassiepremosteele.com

Birthing the Mother Writer Column at Literary Mama:  http://www.literarymama.com/columns/birthingthemotherwriter/

Blog Posts at Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cassie-premo-steele/

Amazon Author Page:     http://www.amazon.com/Cassie-Premo-Steele/e/B001HP93N2

Facebook:    https://www.facebook.com/CassiePremoSteele

Twitter:        https://twitter.com/PremoSteele