Sunday 29 May 2016

Inspire Tag: Live Your Now

Inspire. Create. Write.TM

Today I have the immense honor of introducing you to a powerfully spirited and motivated individual. Who's enigmatic presence I've come to respect. Thank You to Kathe for introducing us!

Live Your Now, run by Richie, an almost reluctant "coach" who embarked upon the journey to bring mindfulness to others, because basically it needed doing. Facing his own "am I good enough to do this?" fears, he now encourages others to live mindfully and presently, after spending the majority of his own life hiding the grip of anxiety and locked in his own thoughts, now with the attitude of "Heck, if I can do this, anyone can!" A universal calling, rather than something he would have predicted, he's now submitted entirely to this path in service to bringing peace to people and our world... hopefully... or giving it a good go anyway!

The First Exclusive Interview with Live Your Now


1. What is the best advice you were ever given?
  • People only ever act from their highest level of present consciousness awareness. Meaning, that generally no matter what people do, it's the highest action they're generally capable of with their present understanding at that time. Doesn't mean you have to agree with the actions, but it can bring some peace and understanding to difficult circumstances. 

2. Who inspires you and why?
  • Eckhart Tolle - Because he challenges, deeply, what my own belief systems had developed into. What he teaches requires a level of acceptance that is extremely difficult to apply in day to day living, without collapsing entirely "into presence". But it truly IS the way into happiness and peace, but it does require, especially initially, a level of discipline and faith in an idea that can be entirely counter-intuitive when fighting against the egoic mind.

3. Everyone has bad days, how do you deal with a bad day?
  • Firstly? Badly. Coffee, cigarette probably, being lost in my own thoughts, until I realise it - then it's down to serious work. There's no shortcuts to this, to push it away, pretend it's not there, just stores it all up for later - not healthy. I do something that, for me personally, was totally the opposite to what I'd become accustomed to doing - being annoyed, anxious, angry, resentful &frustrated - I now bless the situation, and sit within it. Comfortable it is not, at first, but then this is why not many people practice this (as is abundantly obvious by the anger hate and rage present in our world). I can also assure you, if 15 years ago, you'd told me I'd be doing this - I'd have probably had a good chuckle, wished you well, and gone back to my normal habits. 
4. Where do you go/what do you do when you need motivation?
  • YouTube! I will type in something randomly, follow inspiration, just delve in & listen to new speakers, there's always something to learn and try - and so many generous people out there, offering their teaching or guidance. There are many paths available in my opinion, according to what we may need at that specific time. You Tube is an absolute gold mine, even just to listen to people's experiences who are generous, or even at times, brave enough to share so wonderfully. 
5. Failure is a big part of life, what has been your biggest failure to date?
  • I am not sure they're failures anymore. I am moving away from feeling things are failures, and more that they're life lessons that are reflected back to us until we learn something we need to. Or preparing us for something later on. Or indeed as has been my experience, moving you away from something even more catastrophic as was the case in one huge business venture I was involved in! At the time, it seemed utterly, utterly soul destroying to have failed to secure a massive investment (10's of thousands) in a cutting edge publishing company I was working to develop. It was a nailed on investment, literally just crossing t's, dotting i's as they say, however I made an absolute total cock-up of the business plan! I mean epically. I just could not get the information I required to get it together, I can't divulge further details other than to say... something kept me safe from that! It didn't FEEL right, and I assure you, it wasn't. (Didn't come to light until about a year or two later). 
  • Overall, however, I have been super close numerous times to creating something massive and they seemed to have all fallen at the last minute, usually due to decisions other people have taken. That became another life lesson. The energy I put into a project, is mine, I needed to stop relying on other people because essentially I lacked CONFIDENCE to do it by myself, but also I always enjoyed collaborating. I have also had the honour to engage and pick the minds of some of the most successful people on the planet, it was time to take some of that advice on for myself. 
  • Live Your Now is me, only me, and only ever will be me. 
6. What is your biggest achievement?
  • Hmmm, I am a hard taskmaster on myself, whilst I have many experiences, and many "almosts" I tend to view each process as a step, I have had a few articles published, some interesting music promotion, been on/hosted radio, these are things I'm quite personally pleased with, but my visions are huge - go big or go home - so I find it hard to class "achievement" - now I see it as a journey, a flow. Though I do take moments to appreciate more, the things I have experienced, little goals, such as with Live Your Now. I think the greatest thing we can all achieve, is to appreciate the little things in life. 
  • Ultimately, happiness is the greatest achievement anyone can succeed in - and true happiness, I think, is so rare nowadays. 
7. Have you conquered any fears?
  • Seem to face one every day - but who doesn't? This is my first interview in this guise. This made me nervous. I had actual full-blown panic attacks live on BBC radio. That was..interesting! I do laugh about it though, even at the time I was, which may seem peculiar, but I adored radio, and not even that level of nervousness was going to stop me! I still recall my very sensitive friends, whom knew I got "stage fright", falling about the place laughing at me - in empathy, I'm quite sure - and the poor host not having a clue what to do! I have diabolical vertigo, like a couple of steps up a ladder bad, and yet I go on extremely high rollercoasters! Public speaking absolutely terrified me, but I have still got up and done presentations in front of some interesting audiences. Of course, I know now this was all due to anxiety, before I was not aware so had no coping mechanisms. So I do feel, when I "teach" people this sort of thing, I can say with confidence, I haven't come from a natural place of Zen! 
8. Music helps lift our mood, What is your go-to song when you need a pick me up?
  • Orbital - The Girl with Sun in her Head. It's a chill out track, written entirely with power from Greenpeace's mobile solar power generating "Cyrus" back in the 90's - (Solar energy I just find absolutely beautiful). It's incredibly soothing electronica. An absolute masterpiece. But generally, as a musician, I'll listen to quite a lot of different music. If I want an adrenaline rush it'd be Energy 52 - Cafe Del Mar

9. Complete the sentence, Happiness is…
  • Already inside. 
10. What do you do to clear your mind?
  • Brainwave Entrainment, Mindfulness meditations, Pranic Breathing, depends on what's bugging me. 
11. Life can be stressful, what are your top 3 things to unwind?
  • Heart breath/meditations. 
  • Rollercoasters (I am a total rollercoaster fanatic) 
  • Music 
12. Have you watched any inspiring movies? Do you have any favorites? 
  • The Secret 
  • What the Bleep (Down the rabbit hole) 
  • The two Bill and Ted movies! "Be excellent to each other!" - stands the test of time that! 
13. What is your favorite inspirational quote?
  • I don't really have one, quotes mean different things at different times, they have value at differing times in our lives... however, some wisdom, of which there's plenty, from the incredible Tesla - without whom, we'd not likely be engaged in this interview process: 

"...a new world must be born, a world that would justify the sacrifices offered by humanity. This new world must be a world in which there shall be no exploitation of the weak by the strong, of the good by the evil; where there will be no humiliation of the poor by the violence of the rich; where the products of intellect, science and art will serve society for the betterment and beautification of life, and not the individuals for achieving wealth. This new world shall not be a world of the downtrodden and humiliated, but of free men and free nations, equal in dignity and respect for man."

14. Do you listen to motivational speakers?
  • Always. Pretty much every day. Everyone has something to teach us. Even if it's what NOT to do ;) 
15. How do you cope with unpleasant people?
  • As my answer a few questions back. People can only act from their present levels of consciousness, I try to "tune in" and bring love to situations that are fractious. Of course, I am human, and I am not a Zen Monk, so this often takes remembering/effort, especially in the often fraught pace of Western civilisation - it's not easy. 
  • Simple! But not easy. 
16. What is your best piece of advice? 
  • Accept what is, right now, as if you had yourself chosen it. It's possible you did. Not many people (I include myself in that) respond too well to that at first, as it's utterly illogical to the thinking mind. It's not even about it being true, it's about it bringing you relief from suffering. 
  • Your alternative is to continue suffering. Sounds harsh, but it's true. (As far as I see it from my current level of conscious awareness ;) 
17. Complete the sentence “When life gives you lemons…”
  • Make a lemon tea! 
  • Squeeze a lemon in a cup, add some warm water, the smell invigorates our senses, and it's very good for you apparently! It's utterly delicious and so simple... unless you have a cut on your finger of course, then practice mindfulness as you do it ;) 
18. What is the most inspiring book you have ever read?
  • Being truthful, I can't remember. I scan many books, tend not to finish them, and there's so much wisdom in many books that I often use them as reference. More like a dictionary. I really enjoyed "Urban Shaman" by Surge Kahili King however, and "Cosmic Ordering Guide" by Stephen Richards are ones from early on my discovery journey that stay with me. They perhaps have a sentimental place. 
19. Do you have a place to pray or meditate?
  • Everywhere, at all times...when I remember. Including out shopping, doesn't matter. I am dedicating myself toward living in constant (non-denominational/religious) prayer/meditation states (not altered meditation states, for that, bed or chair obviously) 
20. What is your motto in life?

Keep seeking wisdom & improving.

Quick Fire: 

Inspirational Movie or Talk with a friend 

Creating Art or Listening to music 

Making food or Eating Food 

Being alone or Being in a crowd: 

Speaking to a crowd ;) 

Writing or Singing: 

Writing. Have you heard me sing?! 

Sea Vacation or Safari Vacation: 

Safari! The ocean is beautiful of course, and something we should take better care of, but Safari (except the creepy crawlies!) 

If you would like to join in on The Blog Tag, click on the link or the image below


~Be Kind to One Another~ Ellen Degeneres

Thursday 26 May 2016

Join FanArt Friday

Inspire. Create. Write. TM

Weeks ago, there was a writing prompt on The Blog Tag called, What Is Art to You? 

To me Art is omnipotently omniscient, in that it is all around us, every day, in every which way. 
To breathe is Art
To see is Art 
Yet in the same breath, to Not see, is also Art. 

The mind & soul are unbelievably amazing tools of creativity and we all have it within us to create Art. 

In one aspect I use my Art to transfer my love of something unto a physical manifestation. In other words, I use this aspect to Fan-Boy by sketching/drawing my favorite parts, places and/or characters. 

This post will hopefully by updated weekly, every Friday with my latest Fan Art entries. 

By Descending Order from Newest to Oldest:

Black Panther Movie
EPIC sketch of my Favorite Black Panther character atm.
Mega Thank you to 

Gaming Love

New*** Out of this World Sub-Zero FanArt!!😍😍 by Nicole Naicker
"I am in awe of her talent and dedication to completing this piece. Her shading & gradient work is so intricate it borders on unbelievable. Especially with the flawless use of charcoal. 
I have no doubt she will become as successful as the artist known as JYXDI."

Facebook Page: Nicole Naicker- Graphic & Web Designer/Henna Artist
Website: NN- Graphic & Web Designer
Instagram: @nickynaicker3


 In honor of my supreme fandom of Pokemon
Here is my sketch of the Original Starters
Squirtle, Bulbasaur & my personal favorite Charmander
Read the companion post #PokemonGO - 5 Lessons You Taught Me

Winner of the Giveaway Announced! 
Benita Govender!*** !

Joined a Pokemon GO South Africa Group and found an amazing talent there. 
Crystal Adinaere Auvryund is an adorable cosplayer & digital artist. 
My personal favorite, Epic fanart of Charmander in human form

Mysterious Bulbasaur in human form

Follow Her:

YAY! Shells Bells over at The Deal Is
sketched this awesome Sonic the HedgeHog

My sketch for the upcoming movie Assassin'S Creed
Starring Michael Fassbender
Click Here to Retweet
The movie is based on an awesome video game but original characters will be introduced.
So jazzed about this movie, first Warcraft now this.
Keep heading in this direction Filmmakers, keep doing it.

 Fanboying so much over this!
Unbelievable Assassin's Artwork by Musiriam
How amazing is this?!
Altair Ibn La'Ahad
Shao Jun
Click Here to Retweet.
She's such an unparalleled artist wow! I'm in love with all her works. Can't wait to add more each week.
Check out the rest of her awesome Assassin'S Creed Gallery

Follow her Artist Journey:

Movie Love

 Fantastical creation by Giselle Wampler
Mad Hatter Hat - Album Holder
This creation Rocks!
Read post here
"Do not act as if you were going to live ten thousand years. Death hangs over you. While you live, while it is in your power, be good." Marcus Aurelius
Comic Book Love

 In Honor of my Post Top 10 Best Superheroes of All Time
The Wolverine & X-23
Click Here to Retweet
Finally got to do a comic book type cover sketch! Was so pleased with the finished result.
I've always dreamed about X-23 coz she's hot, badass & amazing.

The Brilliant Artist & Producer RemixThaDon just submitted these:
Elecktra & Venom.
Love the shading and Kanji symbols.

Awesome Black Panther FanArt By Finn Chow
SO EXCITED to have people join in.

In Honor of my Post Top 10 Best Superheroes of All Time
My Sketch of The Man, The Myth, The Legend: Batman!!!

I'm Jazzed over this one. Using the 6B pencil was definitely the right call. My shading improved. 

"Batman is the closest to a realistic superhero for humanity, in fact, it is his very humanity that they cling to. Who doesn't want to see a badass human take on bad guys & win?"

Novelicious Love

 In Honor of one of my all time FAVORITE book series,
The Black Dagger BrotherHood #BDB by J.R Ward
My sketch of Zsadist & Bella with lil' Nalla
Click Here to Retweet
As I'm sure B will comment below, We've been Fans The BDB series for a long long time.
Yes it's about Vampires, but the author puts such a unique spin on things.
Zsadist's backstory is one of the most trying, saddest storylines I've ever had the privilege of reading.
He's a badass character and to sketch him with his family has been a Dream.
Check out Anyae's amazing BDB gallery

In Honor of the AMAZING book, Waiting For You by Melissa Kate 
My sketch of the main character Adam Parker.

Click Here to Retweet
This one wasn't about detail for me, more about the emotion. After finishing the book, I just had to sketch my version of Adam's Past.
His time with as a Navy SEAL, the covert missions, the scenery, the PTSD that followed.
I hope I have done that justice.

In Honor of the AMAZING book, Waiting For You by Melissa Kate 
My sketch of the main characters, Audrey Kelly & Adam Parker

Twitter Stats: 113 Retweets, 46 Likes, 13396 Impressions
You can find out more about the book & its incredibly talented author, via my post: 
                                         Author Interview on Catching that Golden Snitch

In Honor of the AMAZING book, Beyond the Red by Ava Jae.
My Map Sketch as depicted in the first few pages of the book.

Twitter Stats: 95 Retweets, 69 Likes, 21122 Impressions
I deeply resonated with the male protagonist named Eros, his journey moved me in ways that even I could not have anticipated.

Anime Love

New*** Lightning Mcqueen FanArt I did for my cousin
Disney Cars Movie

Beautiful Pocahontas sketch by Hakoo Hadalah Haq 
SO EXCITED to have people join in.

In honor of the Anime/Manga series Bleach
My character sketch of Kenpachi Zaraki

{Will add the twitter stats here once the tweet is up}
Kenpachi is a badass of note! That smile he has there, rarely falters even in battle. This guy is insanely powerful but I love most is his undeniable spirit in battle, laughing ever more when he is wounded. 
I admin for a Bleach Facebook fan group in SA and we're required to choose an admin Alias. Guess what I chose, haha. Hence the sketch, was my first post as admin on the group :-)

In honor of the Anime/Manga series "Fairy Tail"
My character sketch of Mystogan

{Will add the twitter stats here once the tweet is up}
Just like his name, this guy was one Big mystery for a majority of the first few seasons. I loved the character concept & his behavioral traits. 
I admin for a Bleach Facebook fan group in SA and we're required to choose an admin Alias. Guess what I chose, haha. Hence the sketch, was my first post as admin on the group :-) 

In honor of the Anime/Manga series Naruto/Naruto Shippuden
My character sketch of Sakura Haruno

{Will add the twitter stats here once the tweet is up}
I sketched this for my best bro's birthday. His favorite female ninja is Sakura. 

In honor of the Anime/Manga series DragonBall Z
My character sketch of Goku

{Will add the twitter stats here once the tweet is up}
Haha yes, what would Anime Fan Art be without a DrabonBall Z sketch. My favorite character of the show was Vegeta. He was truly a Legend! Still combing through my archives to try and find my sketch of him. 
I also sketched this one for my best bro's birthday. His favorite DBZ character is Goku. 

Still combing through the archives to find more of my Fan Art. Will update when I find them. 
Hope you enjoyed, what I could find so far and have done lately. 
Do you paint, sketch, draw & 3D paint? Do you do Fan Art?
Submit your Art to Enaidu710{@}Gmail{dot}com

#FanArtFriday or Just #FanArt

Happy Sharing Y'all
Can't wait to see.

© Enricoh Alfonzo ~ Alfonzo Words
  • I’d love to keep connected with you! 
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~Be Kind to One Another~ Ellen Degeneres

The Bi-Polar Bear in the Room

Inspire. Create. Write.TM

"You are allowed to be both a masterpiece and a work in progress, simultaneously."

Photo Cred: AlfonzoWords

Watch Overcomer - Animated Short 

wow!! so deep & moving!πŸ’”

Video title: Overcomer - Animated Short 
Filmed by: Hannah Grace / The Land Below
Ownership of the video goes to Hannah Grace

Gilded shadows pool on the floorboards, swirling in the ambient moonlight filtering through from the window. A man sits quietly to the left, watching the patterns forming in fascination. Amazing things really can be found in the quietest of moments, he thinks.

The man sits at his desk, a page out and a pen in hand, he tries for the life of him to form the words he knows need to be said. That familiar nagging tension stands locked within his shoulders, creeping down his spine. As if subtly trying to avoid his attention. Time was inching towards its inevitable climax and he had but one chance to get this right.

The man squares his shoulders in determined dominance, poised over the paper, with a firm grip on the pen. The tremors were thankfully, at a calming pace today. He takes a deep pull of oxygen to re-energize his brain and begins his writing.

Dear Seth

As I write this, you are asleep in the very next room curled up with your favorite teddy, all exhausted and seven kinds of adorable.

You have been born unto a very different time indeed. Humanity now has tolerance & acceptance for things that in my day, were of the ultimate blasphemy. Technology has almost entirely invaded every aspect of our lives and more and more people are becoming "self-taught". With the information all out there on the Internet webs at the touch of your fingertips. People no longer have the excuse of ignorance, when the information is now as easily accessible as just tapping away at their mobile phones.

Yet I feel, as your father, I owe you what needs to be owed. An account, an explanation and a plea. For even in such a world, preparations must be made.

Firstly, understand that your story may not be mine and I sincerely pray to all the gods that, I haven't believed in, that you aren't one of the afflicted in the way that I am. The experts as experts go tell me that you might just be like your old man after all. So it is with a heavy heart that I must convey this to you, in hope that you make a better go of it than I ever have.

Secondly, I would like to tell you just how proud of you I am. Supremely so. Of all that you are and all that I know you will continue be. You are truly the apple of mine eye and I thank all heavens of grace that you come from me.

So without ado, let's get to it.

There will come times when the day is a great, bright myriad of colors full of wonder and sun-touched moments. You will find that in these moments, you are a god in your own right. Able to create the best of experiences with the best of people in the best of exuberant emotional intentions. Such will be your power, such will be your gift. People will look unto thee with renewed motivation and awe. They will flock, oh they will flock.

But alas this is not the happiness that I would give up my soul for you to keep. For their will come times, just as frequent, maybe more so. When the world will swallow you whole, throw you against a mountain of hurt and then spit you back out. Bear with me because this is what I want you to know. You are perfectly normal in this, more so than most. Because what you feel is true and real. Don't let anyone ever tell you different. There were moments in my youth when I was told things like

"Man up."

"Do you just like the attention?"

"I thought you were stronger than this."

You see son, unfortunately, it is easier oh so much easier for people to judge externally than internally. To dish out advice when it is that very same advice their own lives are sorely lacking. It is in these moments that your true self will be defined.

At times, I remained flabbergasted. How could I be so jubilant and flawlessly happy in one moment? Then, like the snap of a whip; feel like all hope had been taken from the world.
The agony of it is almost unbearable, blurring the line between what is sane and what isn't. The anguish and guilt I felt were indescribable. Back then we didn't dare name it, back then we didn't dare justify it. None of it was known for being what was defined as a man. But now, now I tell you this in the wisdom that I urge you to listen to. There are no 1, 2, 3 easy fix steps here son. No magic pill or elegant soliloquy to face this monumental giant of despair for you. The only way through.. is through!

Every day will be a fight, the fight of your life. Every day will feel like an emotional roller coaster with no safety bar holding you down. Stand fast, my son, grip and hold on with maddening anger. For in this life, life itself is the greatest gift.
In the immortal words of John Green, "Pain demands to be felt."

You must, above all else, everything else. FEEL! Feel it all, let it all in. Embrace the darkness with open arms and let her consume you. Find comfort in the abyss, don't wait for that light to shine through or that hand to reach out to pull you through. If you're drowning, learn to swim. If you're falling, build your wings on the way down. Do not be like your old man, bottling it all up until the obvious and eventual explosion.

They will try, oh they will try so very much to "cure" you, change you and otherwise refuse to understand you. Never give this much thought, you are exactly as you were always meant to be. Live in the Helping of others but don't not live For them.
Showing them that there's more than rooted routines and predetermined roles.
It's only the crazy ones who ever change the world.

I am not long for this world now boetie, my journey must continue elsewhere but wherever I am, I want you to know that nothing will ever change. I am your father and you are my son. Such is our relationship that it will even transcend death. I will live on within you, through you and of you.

You have been such a man of the house these last few months, especially when the tremors started. The waking in the dead of night to help me through it all. Taking care of me and your mother without any thought for yourself. I know everyone has been focusing on how your mother is handling all of this. I know that not everyone sees all that you do and all that you are. Because they can't, no one can be with you 24/7. It's much easier, in the hustle and bustle of life, to overlook things. But I do son, I do. I see it all. And that matters above all for I will always be your biggest fan, your biggest supporter. In this life and the next.

Go forth, unto the world, be brave, be you and if you so desire it, help them wake up.

I love you boetie, with everything that I am, I love you.

Sincerely, your father
Emmerson Wailey

A single tear glides down the man’s cheek and falls silently, landing over the word “love”. The ink, not dried yet, smudges the word with deafening significance.

DeviantArt Cred: The BiPolar Bear
By paulhull69

Authors Note

One of the most important posts I've ever written, what was said here has deep, deep emotional ties to me. 

This was written in complete support to #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek & the #EndTheStigma campaign. The Blog Tag has been truly inspirational this week, helping their bloggers open up and share their amazing journeys in relation to this topic. I have absolute gratitude for them in this. #SharingIsCaring

Show Heart: Click through to the links above to help raise Awareness & End the Stigma surrounding Mental Health. 

Show Courage: If you have a story to tell, reach out. Whether anonymously or not. Or link us up to your journey posts. All are Welcome :-)

"I survived because the fire inside me burned brighter than the fire around me."

Try It: Create a Collage like this of Your Emotions
~Be Kind to One Another~ Ellen Degeneres

Sunday 22 May 2016

Author Interview on Catching that Golden Snitch

You sort of start thinking anything's possible if you've got enough nerve~ JK Rowling
Release Date: 24.05.2016
Today I have the supreme honor of introducing you to an amazing author from my homeland of South Africa.
Melissa Kate
Melissa & Baxter
Imagine my surprise when I discovered that this author from Durban, the home of my forefathers, had been published, internationally.

Eureka! Shannaro! There is Hope, I thought with excessive enthusiasm. She's done it, she's caught the Golden Snitch!

Upon reading some of her work, the intense talent and voice were clearly evident. Her prose style is both elegant and feisty in its unique flow. I am really and truly humbled to be hosting her while she's on her blog tour before the release of the book.

So without further ado, let's get to know this remarkable author and her Journey

Quick Fire

Favorite Book: 
Tangled up in You by Rachel Gibson

Favorite Author: 
Lauren Layne

Favorite Book Boyfriend:
Mark Bressler from Rachel Gibson’s Nothing but Trouble – moody and broody and simply sexy

Favorite Bad Boy Character:
Ty Garrison from Jill Shalvis’s Lucky in Love – there’s just something about a tortured hero

Reading Hard Cover novels or Reading digital novels (i.e on the iPad): 
Nothing beats a paperback but I only read ebooks these days, purely because of the volume that I get through.

Handwriting or Typing: 
Typing! Do people still hand write manuscripts?

If you had to MAKE UP/INVENT one word, what would it be? And what would that word mean? 
Puthiasimine – someone who is being an absolute moron. There can be no greater insult than this (I’m sure my husband will love this)

Let’s get personal:

How long have you been writing for?
  • I have been writing stories and plays from around ten years old. At age fourteen I tried my hand at my very first longer length story and the writing has not stopped since then.
What inspires you most to write?
  • What does not? I love the moment of falling in love. I love the witty banter, the push and pull between my two protagonists and creating that moment of their coming together… is all the more sigh-worthy. I also write to give an outlet to the voices in my head.
The Big Debate of Traditional Vs. Self-Publishing. What made you choose one against the other?
  • I’m an old soul so for me it wasn’t a biggie. Definitely Traditional print. I have always wanted to be a published author through a publishing house with my name in print. It’s harder to get in the door with traditional publishing but there is so much more support with a team of people who know what they are doing when you have a publishing house backing you. And trust me, I needed all the support I could get.
Tell me about your support structure. Who’s on board with you being an author, who doubted you?
  • I kept my writing very private. Even now, all this exposure makes me feel very… exposed. My husband is my greatest support, despite never reading any of my books. He’s always pushing me to get on with it when he can clearly see that I am procrastinating (that happens a lot). He has often threatened to change the WIFI password and let me tell you, that threat works!
  • My bestie, Tharreshnee is also a great support. She reads my stories as I am writing and encourages me along the way. She’s an extremely positive person and can be a real drill sergeant when you’re dipping your toes in the negativity or self-doubt pools.
  • My Dad has always been my GREATEST supporter in life. He passed on three years ago but I know that if he were here today, he would shout my achievements out to ANYONE who would listen.
  • There hasn’t been any real negativity so far… give it time, though. The reviews will be coming in soon. Eeep!
  • Even then, I will take the negativity in my stride – it comes with the territory. Not everyone will enjoy the book. Someone will love it, some will hate it and some will be pretty indifferent. I didn’t set out on this journey to be famous or rich – my goal was to be a published author and that dream has come to fruition. No amount of doubt or negativity can take that away.
So the novel took you about 4 months to write. Walk me through your process of submissions in your search for an agent/publisher.
  • I Googled… A LOT! I researched how to write a query letter and in my opinion, I still didn’t get this right. I made a list of ALL the publishing houses I could find and made a note of their submission requirements. Then I emailed them one by one, customizing my application to their needs. I kept a record of each publisher, their contact details and when I emailed my application to them. And then came the rejection letters. The first few I took in my stride and then they just started to deflate me. I almost gave up when I saw the special call from Fiery Seas Publishing and was so surprised to get an email with a contract inviting me to join their team. It’s been easier now since I have a foot in the door because my publisher is amazing and is always wanting more stories from me.
  • It’s tough to get published in SA because they are usually looking for authentic South African stories. I love sunny South Africa but I also don’t want to be shoved in a mold to write stories just to be published locally. We each have an individual voice and that should be heard.
Rejection letters play a frequent role in any writer’s life during the submission process. How did it feel getting them? What kept you motivated throughout it all?
  • It’s terrible. In the beginning, you take it in your stride. But then they keep coming and it’s really tough to stay positive, particularly when you sacrifice months of your time to get your story out, another few months polishing it and in a single paragraph, your dreams are dashed. My bestie was always a source of great encouragement and would often, at times, remind me that JK Rowling was rejected A LOT before someone gave her an opportunity. Thinking about that kept me on track. Success in any field is not just handed to you – you have to work for it.
Felicidades Γ©picas! You’ve been published internationally. Talk to me about that day, receiving the email. How did it feel? And What have you done to celebrate since?
  • I woke up at 5am one morning and went over my social media messages and then opened the email from Fiery Seas Publishing, expecting another concise rejection letter. I nearly fell off the bed when I read that they wanted to offer me a contract which was attached. I read and reread the email, not quite sure it wasn’t a joke. I shook my husband awake and shoved the phone in his face to see. Of course in his sleepy state, he simply said “That’s wonderful babe!” and went right back to sleep. So I lay awake in the dark of the morning and wondered at what had just happened. For many months I kept my news private – only a select few knew. I still didn’t believe it and I didn’t want to jinx it. But then the cover was revealed and I knew there was no going back.
Walk me through the process from that email to getting the final book signed off for release.
  • It took many months from the time I got the original email till anything started happening. They sent me a questionnaire about what I expected from my cover, dedication, acknowledgments and so on. So Misty, my publisher could understand the vision I had.
  • First Line Edits started - This was simply correcting grammar, spelling and the like.
  • Second Line Edits - Were a bit more in depth, changing sentences so they make more sense and be easier to read. Getting into deep POV was a learning curve but I seem to be getting better at it.
  • Copy Edits – This was Tough. This is really pulling your story together and making sure it makes sense. The suggestions to change sentences made me sit and scratch my head because I didn’t know how else to make it read. I trudged on and learned so much along the way. 
  • To Print - After surviving the copy edits, the book went to print.

Tips & Tricks:

Do you have any great writing resources that you can share with us?
  • Google has been a great help! I also follow my favorite authors on their social platforms so I can learn from them. This worked best for me because my genre was the same.
Melissa Follows:

What would you say to other aspiring writers out there, especially the ones in our homeland of South Africa?
  • Keep working on your manuscripts. Be open to taking direction and advice from those in the field. Learn to take rejection (it will happen a lot). Success is for those who work towards it, keep going, your success is waiting on the horizon.
If there was just one nugget of wisdom you could share, what would that be?
  • Write because it fulfills your soul. It should never be a job to you, it should be your lifestyle, a piece of who you are. I am a writer…
Bonus Tip: Melissa’s written a great post on her Top 10 Writing Tips for the Up and Comer

Best. Answers. Ever. 
Melissa! I thoroughly enjoyed your spirit in this interview and admire your motivated attitude. It has most assuredly been a Highlight for my blog. I have already pre-ordered your book & cannot wait to devour its pages. 

Waiting For You
Releases, 24th May 2016

Audrey Kelly finds her way back home to Crystal Valley with her bruised pride and a shattered dangerous past mocking her rear view mirror. What she didn’t expect was to be face-to-face with Adam Parker, resident bad boy, sexy Navy SEAL and one of the reasons that Audrey ran all those years ago.

Audrey was the last person Adam had ever expected to see back in Crystal Valley. Over a decade ago, they shared a sizzling night together before he received the worst news of his life and he hasn’t seen her since…until she’d moved back unexpectedly. She was no longer the sweet innocent girl he once remembered, but Adam has his own problems without having to deal with Audrey’s ice princess recital, no matter how tempting the auburn haired seductress may be.

Sparks begin to ignite between them but can they accept Audrey’s past when it threatens to engage them in a dangerous twist? Can they save each other from themselves and stop running once and for all?

Character Inspiration
        Watch the tantalizing Book Trailer Here

***Breaking News***
The #WaitingForYou HYPE is Real!!
Reached +70,000 Impressions & +300 Retweets, Daily!

It's "Waiting For You" to Order Now.

EPIC fan pic posted by AmazeBlog aka Cassarica Nadas
Enjoying her copy of Waiting For You over a relaxing Bubble Bath
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Get Connected with Debut Author, Melissa Kate

~Be Kind to one Another~ Ellen Degeneres