Although it seems silly, for us it is exciting. Most of you are familiar with our book, The Perfect 7. But what we haven’t told you is that we’ve republished it. Not in hopes of increasing sales. (although that would be nice. lol ) But because it’s been tweaked. We said tweaked…..TWEAKED not twerked!!! We’ve introduced our book cover artist to all of you before, Nick DeMarsico. Yes he’s gorgeous ladies and a consummate Artists through and through. And the new back cover is his creation. The infamous tattoo that the boys get on Isle Exodus. Thanks Nick!! Along with Nick’s contribution to P-7 we also have a new graphic art designer who handles our websites as well as the formatting for our books. And yes, he’s also brilliant. Erik Aadnesen. Thanks Erik!! We also came up with a name for our baby figuring it wouldn’t be right to let it go on in this world without one. Yes, we pulled a Ben Stiller. (Flirting With Disaster) And of course by a name we mean a name for the series. Envelope please….. Bastard Chronicles You like? We thought so; and we’re pretty proud parents. Now most of you know we’ve been blogging ghosts as of late working on book number two in the Bastard Chronicles series. Well, we’ve finally finished and have it with the Beta Readers awaiting the feedback. We’ll save anything else related to that for another blog post, book cover reveal and so on. But as for Two Voices…One Thought, we have some pretty cool posts and blog guests coming up. Yes we’ll be regulars again and we’ve missed you all soooo much!!! Here’s just a few names to look forward to: Ivy, Beth Teliho, Amy Masur, J. Cornell Michel, Annie Wilson, Nichole B. and many more. And here’s just a sample to tantalize you! For now, we look forward to leaving our place to come & haunt your blogs. _________________________________________________________________________________________________ Congrats to Nick on making the front cover of his schools newly published Art Book!! _______________________________________________________________________________________________ Bastard Chronicles: The Perfect 7 http://www.amazon.com/Perfect-Heaven-choice-Bastard-Chronicles/dp/1511484675/
A phantom wind
A shadow cast from a tree
The beach at sunset
A single daisy in a field
A foggy graveyard
An empty bench in the middle of an abandoned park at midnight
They all sound mundane to most, but to an artist, they are deliciously inviting. The world is changing, evolving around us. We have no choice but to grow with it or perish. No sunset is ever the same, no expression on a child is ever duplicated in another. Perhaps it’s life who has the last laugh, desperate to challenge our artistry for her mere amusement.
Mother Nature gives us these inspirations knowing we’ll return the gift uniquely changed once touched by our imaginations.
As we began to take a closer look at certain arts we were able to see the seeds that bloomed into the grand flowers.
1924: The grim reaper decides it’s time to take an overdue vacation from his job as death-collector. Where else would you book your trip, but with the man who owns the world and just so happens to be his next victim! Why not kill two birds with one stone?!
To read this silly, little idea would cause one to shudder. But imagine if you will, the original idea coming from a brilliant Italian Playwright named Alberto Casella.
And, voila! You have a 1929 Supernatural/Comedy fit for Broadway called:
“La Morte in Vacanza.”
Then, add Walter Ferris a former English teacher from Yale to the equation in order to adapt the Italian work into English and we have, “Death Takes a Holiday” a 1934 film by Universal Studios.
Are we done? Not by a long shot. Another artist looked at the same idea with a different set of eyes. Fast forward to the year 1998 and bump Ferris with four Screenwriters: Kevin Wade, Ron Osborn, Bo Goldman and Jeff Reno then add Director, Martin Brest and while you’re at it, throw in Brad Pitt. (Why? Cuz he’s Brad-freaking-Pitt!!)
And Sir Anthony Hopkins….
And look out, you have “Meet Joe Black.” A Dark-Fantasy/Romance. Seven different artists, one idea. Amazing to watch the flower bloom.
Or how about an idea in 1968 which spawned a short story that was put in a drawer and forgotten until 1973 when American Author Anne Rice, decided to expand on that idea. She turned it into a novel at the encouragement of one of her husband’s students. It took her five weeks to complete the 338-page novel, doing research on vampires during the day and writing at night. When she was done, she’d created a masterpiece. Vampires…certainly not the introduction to the fictional dark species but most definitely a unique perspective. Matter of fact, contrary to popular belief, Bram Stoker can’t even take credit for originality. The Vampires roots are older than “Dracula.”
and yes….Francis Ford Coppola’s as well; (Although thanks for Gary Oldman)
WHAT STOKER SAW: AN INTRODUCTION TO THE HISTORY OF THE LITERARY VAMPIRE
- M. Carlson: When Bram Stoker’s Dracula first came out in 1897, it was an immediate success, a horror writer’s “stroke of genius.” But Stoker’s novel was not a work based on Stoker’s imagination alone. Two elements contributed to the success of his novel: a great deal of historical and ethnographic research, and an extensive, already existing body of vampire fiction.
Please feel free to check out the website we left to learn about the origin of literary Vampires.
Now, let’s look at Vampires through Anne’s eyes again; the spark that started the fire.
A San Francisco journalist, Daniel Molloy, (who is referred to in the novel as boy) sits down to do an interview with a 200 year old vampire, Louis de Pointe du Lac. He begins the story of his life as a human in a town just south of New Orleans where he owned a plantation. As the interview progresses, he explains to Molloy, his journey into vampirism and darkness. Enter his creator, Lestat de Lioncourt. *Inion swoons*
So, a San Francisco journalist that interviews a vampire… Sound nutty to you? Can we picture Diane Sawyer interviewing Dracula?
Fast forward to the year 1994 and the film adaptation on the big screen thanks to the collaboration of several artists: Author Anne Rice, Screenwriter/Director Neil Jordan and the phenomenal cast of Artists: Antonio Banderas, Tom Cruise, Kirsten Dunst and yes….once again Brad Pitt. Okay, this feels like the right time for a Montage…A Brad Pitt Montage. So here goes.
For your enjoyment; And ours!!
You’re welcome ladies!! Where were we……ahh yes, ARTISTS! Costume Designer, Composer of the musical score and many, many more sharing their artistry towards the idea to create a unique work of art.
We have often heard that there is no more room for originality. But each and every day, we are amazed at fresh, innovative ideas from fellow artists. Whether it’s original or merely their version of an idea as seen uniquely through their eyes. And, maybe that’s what it all boils down too, different perspectives.
After all, we artists should see in life, what others miss.
We are the third eye of the Universe.
And with this gift, we have a responsibility; to all those who take part in our dreams by showing them what we see….inside of us. That is why writing is vulnerable, because you pour out your soul for all to see. But oh what a feeling when they come into your world and embrace your vision. Synchronicity at it’s finest.
Welcome back to the second part of: Meet Artist James G. Fischetti. We’ll open the interview with some of his work, then get right to the questions. ;)
(INM) When we visited your website, we we’re amazed at the many kinds of art your currently into. You seem to venture outside the mainstream & have many different avenues.
a.) tell us a little about each.
b.) which is your favorite to do.
(JGF) Although my preference is painting, the mediums I may use can be endless. I have sometimes referred to myself as having caveman technique, which gets summoned using a lot of raw emotion and relying very little on technique that, although could make my job easier, tends to force me to be more conscious throughout the experience which is not necessarily what I’m looking for.
(JGF) I have very little formal training and preferred to study on my own. Working with the development of non/techniques I have found new ways of communicating my ideas; many times these progressions are based on my experimentation with new materials. Any and all materials are fair game. Outside of painting I have dedicated a big part of my life to music.
(JGF) This is something that I utilize all of the methods I employ as a painter. Being a visual artist taught me to be an intuitive musician. In some ways, the act of improvising as a musician has an added incentive in that the energy released, has the capability to bounce back to me from the other musicians that happen to be involved. I don’t see these mediums as being entirely different. In music I am searching for sonic elements and dynamics that parallel the dynamics of color and texture that I utilize in painting. I believe the potential that music can have has barely been touched upon in our lifetime. Once we can break away from our conventions that we so tightly grip to, we will see that there are other languages available to us that can transform our experience and elevate the species. I hope I live long enough to see that.
(INM) Computers seem to be a tool used in your art. Tell us a bit about that.
(JGF) I use the computer when I’m away from the studio. The machine is essential today for anyone working with photography. I have some real joy working with it because it’s so much easier than working in the darkroom with chemicals. On the other hand some of the joy is taken out. I was doing things organically with photographic emulsion and chemistry almost 20 years ago that rivaled much of what I see today that is considered groundbreaking. I worked in the darkroom for more than 30 years. I really put the time in on manipulating photographs the traditional way which gave me a huge head start when moving into the digital world. Although I enjoy playing around with digital photography, I have a hard time taking it seriously and have very little interest in showing it in a gallery situation. I still prefer the organic quality of the painting materials. I found a middle ground by collaging photography into the paintings.
(INM) My father was a painter and said that it was a way for him to release bottled energy and an overcreative imagination. What & how does art serve you?
(JGF) Your father said it all, really. It is about energy.
(JGF) Not just the energy that we store up inside of us but the energy of the universe that can be tapped into if you take the time to find its sweet spots.
(JGF) I’m one who believes that you are born an artist or you are not. I believe people can use it as a craft to make technical things and some beautiful decorations but usually those people can just as easily let it go to pursue other interests. I think art school is a place only useful for its connections and networking. Art school should be pursued by those who want a career in commercial art or advertising, or to teach kids. To make a contribution to this life of some significance one needs to live it first. It takes a long time to have the maturity of having something to say. Today young people are so eager for quick notoriety, it’s that instant gratification thing. But it shows in the work and I think we have that problem more than ever these days. Some galleries grab some of these artists right out of school and their work often shows that. I think it’s a big mistake but here we are.
(INM) Your paintings are passionate & invoke debate. Least it did in our home. Is your work intended to pass along a message? To bring light to a particular subject or is it simply a reflection of what your imagination created that day?
(JGF) I am attempting to orchestrate and convey what I want to see, what I need to see, what’s not being achieved by many others. I have the utmost respect for those who have paved the way for us and somehow feel the need to make a contribution that can honor that. I am trying to tap into the unconscious. I am trying above all to achieve the impossible. This is the only adequate goal I can hope to strive for. To consciously try to achieve what I know cannot be achieved, but along the way uncover some clues. This is what is exciting for me. All the rest I feel is the ego looking for acknowledgement.
(INM) The worlds changing every second. How do you see art changing in the future? Where do you see it taking us in this digital age of technology?
(JGF) Early on I had a strong connection with cultures other than my own and I really jumped into that with all my energy. Today I realize I need my work to transcend culture to speak of what is humanity. The work that satisfies me the most today implies some global, cultural feeling without outright saying it. In other words, without using actual symbols or motifs used in non-western cultures but giving the feeling of these influences in a subconscious way. This I see as a development toward the future of art. The artist speaking as pure nature by tapping into the larger consciousness.
(INM) Tell us some names of artists, such as yourself, who we should be looking out for. Modern day art warriors who are influencing the world as we know it & taking art to new places.
(JGF) Of course that is very difficult when there is so much out there to experience. I have had the great fortune to forge a long term alliance with my favorite painter that’s working today, Ouattara Watts. Close to 20 years ago I met him by chance on the subway the day after seeing his work which completely changed my perception regarding what painting was capable of. This grew into a long and fruitful friendship that continues to be a source of inspiration to this day. He has schooled me to the many mysteries of the elusive art world and warned me early on the many of its shrouded trappings. I am extremely fortunate to have this deep friendship because it’s important for anyone trying to jump into the void to have at least one person to talk to about it each time they make it back. Even with this, the artists’ lot is certainly a solitary one.
(JGF) I think anyone who attempts to delve into the world of the artist is doing themselves and everyone who looks at what they are doing a disservice by not finding out as much as they can about those who came before us. Most people evolving in contemporary western society often has way too many distractions and influences to bypass knowing this history. I see it all as a giant art history puzzle that’s intertwined with our political history, if there are missing pieces it will be hard to have a firm grasp at what’s going on and how to take the next step.
(INM) Its feeling as though the Art community is tightly woven and closed off to outsiders. There is a shared view that art has become entirely too pretentious. Although the artists themselves seem to be the exact opposite, very humble & all about how it makes each individual feel. What do you think about this and do you see a lot of this where you live and in the artistic community?
(JGF) Yes, of course! I live in New York and you can’t walk very far without encountering people like that. It shouldn’t matter if someone is talking about art or they are talking about grapefruits. There is no excuse for this kind of rude behavior. This is the world we live in. We will always encounter people who don’t realize that they are part of you and you are part of them, so they make a knee-jerk reaction that is more of a statement regarding how they wish to be perceived by who they think is important, than any kind of genuine response to what someone may be trying to say. We all thought that at a certain point until we mature to realize that we don’t know. Unfortunately the art world seems to have its share of people who can never connect with you because they have no idea how to listen. Once they stop talking, they will watch your mouth move until it stops so they can continue on where they left off. These are often people who will only listen long enough to find out what you can do for them. On the other hand there are always genuine people out there who share in the joys life has to offer and are a pleasure to be with and exchange ideas regarding the senseless joy of being alive.
(INM) Is there a platform for artists to follow? Are you encouraged to build a platform online or is it wholly different than the literary world.
(JGF) The way it appears to me is that there is no platform. There is no standard. There is no way to get a gallery to sign you unless they get to know you as a person and can identify that you are someone worth investing in. There are politics at work in every field where there is money to be made. Everyone that has the ability to make a decision regarding putting someone’s career into motion has obligations to take care of the people who are in their inner circles. People who they have worked with in some capacity or who was introduced to them by someone they know and respect. Everyone has to not only put the work in but also wait for their turn.
(INM) It’s been a blast looking into the Artistic world of James Fischetti. Tell us what we can expect from you in the future.
(JGF) I can’t tell you what to expect from me in the future because I don’t know what to expect from myself. I can just hope to maintain my health that’s needed to continue forging ahead and honing my work to be ready when it’s my turn.
Thank you James, for stopping by & chatting with us on Two Voices….One Thought. For those that would like leave James a comment & he’ll answer any questions. Thanks!! ;)
Please be sure to visit James’ website & take some time to look at his collection of stunning art.
We are so excited about our next interview, with fellow Artist James G. Fischetti. James lives far from our Smoky Mountains but it wasn’t by chance or the internet that we met him. My husband, Inion’s father (Vinny) is childhood friends with James. As you all know, Vinny is a drummer and played music with James and says. “He’s one helluva bassist.”
I first heard about James when I was dating Vinny and we began sharing our childhood stories. He was among the list of what my Husby calls “Real friends.” When asked about him, Vin said: “He’s a true Artist in every sense of the word.”
When Inion and I began looking at his work, we we’re amazed by his talent.
We can’t tell you what an honor it is to have James on Two Voices….One Thought. This is a lengthy interview so we’ve put it into two parts so that you can digest everything and experience the Art by James G. Fischetti.
James is a New Yorker and still lives there today; cause let’s face it, if you want to be an Artist, what better place than New York? The melting pot and Art Mecca of the world, New York offers Artists the fusion of imagination, while embracing diverse cultures harmoniously; and this animated environment can be seen in James’ work. Here are the first few questions we asked.
- How old we’re you when you first picked up a paintbrush? When you first looked at a canvas and wanted to fill it with the images from your mind?
(JGF) I had an early start. I was very young when my mother had the rare foresight to expose me to art with specific attention paid to painting. She was a painter herself at the time so I saw some technique up close very early. She also exposed me to the old masters as well as some moderns by providing me with an enormous book collection that had pretty much everything I needed at the time. Although I was too young to comprehend what I was looking at in these books, I was fascinated. For some reason I had an immediate attraction toward images of sex and death. Rubens nudes and scenes of hell were what caught my attention the most. Although I was only 5 or 6 years old this had an effect on my direction. I didn’t become obsessed by it or anything but I learned to realize early on that it was something not to be ashamed or afraid of. So in a way I had bypassed a long phase of fear and embarrassment that turns out to be a big waste of time for many people. At the same time anything that was even remotely surreal would interest me. I would scour over every page looking for even the tiniest of images of something unfamiliar. These artists were my allies and I knew even then that I was one of them.
The work of Peter Paul Rubens ~
2. Who were some of your earlier influences?
(JGF) Because of my fortune at having this fantastic collection of books to peruse I was constantly changing my viewpoint from one style to the next. I was equally enthralled by Carravaggio:
as I was to Max Ernst:
(JGF) About the same time, still early grade school, I was interested in reading Edgar Allen Poe and other classics as well as being preoccupied with Norse mythology. I yearned to be a viking while my classmates wanted to be firemen and policemen.
(I was so moved by the Norse myths at that time that it was no big stretch for my later fascination with African traditional culture.)
(JGF) Soon after I discovered comic books. I was lucky because at that time, ‘60’s – ‘70’s, Marvel comics were very sophisticated with a dialogue that was largely responsible for fostering an extended vocabulary. More importantly those comics were drawn with realism in regards to human anatomy. This is where I learned to draw the human figure at such an early age. Unfortunately, by the 1980’s the comics made a swift decline toward dumbed-down juvenile dialogue and overly stylized drawing, where one would have no chance to learn anything other than how to copy a style created by someone else. A real shame for the kids growing up afterward. (Inion is loving this!! Comic book nerd that she is!)
The work of Jack Kirby:
God by Jack Kirby:
Picture: Jack Kirby
(JGF) As a teenager I stumbled upon some painters that I would hold in the highest regard later in life, but at that moment I arrogantly scoffed at them for their lack of technical ability in reproducing scenes and objects from the physical world. I just did not possess the necessary vocabulary that was needed to comprehend these sophisticated painters. I often now refer to something we need to develop over time that I call Visual Literacy. We need to gain visual experience in order to grasp certain things that resonate beyond the surface with a coded language. We’re not all ready to understand everything we see and hear at the moment we see and hear it until we’ve understood the vocabulary that was used by the minds that created it. It’s just the way it is and there seem to be no shortcuts. Today that idea is dwindling away because we’re living in a time where “everybody knows everything about everything”, as if we’re born with this information.
2. Tell us the initial process to start one of your pieces.
(JGF) The initial process for my work is often as simple as getting into the studio and having the energy to stand on my own two feet. My work is essentially about moving energy. I always put an emphasis on going beyond where I had been before. Chance plays a huge part in what I’m trying to achieve because I have a loving trust in nature. I am aware of the spontaneous act, so I’m always looking for natural occurrences that coincide with what my nervous system is attempting to convey at that moment. I often work on a canvas in an inverted position to create a quality of line that would be unlikely to achieve any other way. The quality of one’s line speaks volumes about one’s nature.
When I see human beings experiencing joy or when religious initiates lapse into trance states, I’m reminded of something I believe my subconscious is trying to reveal to me. I see a coded language in nature that compels me at intervals that become shorter and shorter over time. This creates a constant creative energy source. I consider myself to be extremely fortunate to have this type of experience to guide my life. The endless voyage.
3. What is the time frame it takes to create one of your masterpieces? And please tell us the shortest time frame to the longest.
(JGF) Thank you for your kind words but I wouldn’t consider anything that I’ve done up to this point as a masterpiece. I have been working consistently for close to 35 years without stopping for any significant amount of time and I am just now approaching a level of workmanship that I would consider to be competent.
I feel this way because I’m serious about what I’m doing and I’m trying to make a significant contribution towards the insights of my fellow man. I’m searching for a way to express something that transcends the visual and can reach a part of us that may contribute to how we experience reality.
The amount of time it takes to complete a work can vary from 10 minutes to 10 years. I have worked and overworked paintings to the point where I eventually destroyed the canvas by over saturating it with medium and other times I’ve quickly harnessed the proper energy and completed some works in minutes.
Very often I can spend several hours only looking at a painting in various stages of completion, meditating on the endless variations and possibilities that can be achieved. ________________________________________________________________________________(inm) Art has branched out into so many avenues that it’s hard to keep up with the sea of creations. Things that normally wouldn’t even be considered art are now viewed as just that….art!
We we’re at a show a few years back and heard teenage artist David Anderson say; “Grafiti is to art what comic books are to the literary world.” 4. Is that just one young artists view? Or do you believe that grafiti has a place in the art world?
Yes, I agree with that statement because I see both of these mediums, graffiti and comic books to have validity as their own entities. I don’t see graffiti as being a viable form to be shown in galleries or as a part of the history of art at this point. Perhaps after 100 years it will be looked at for its sociological significance the way some ancient Roman graffiti is studied today. They have tried many times to “legitimize” graffiti by putting it in a gallery situation and it just doesn’t ever seem to work out. In one way, it is what it is, and once you try to take it out of it’s environment it becomes something else. None of the graffiti artists that were shown in galleries in the ‘80’s ever had careers that amounted to anything significant. Nor has that experience enabled them to grow to something beyond where they started. Where are they today? I know some people may take offense to this statement but it’s better to be honest, isn’t it? It’s just about something else. Today I see many other forms that I think should be questioned in terms of being presented in a gallery situation. It’s only currently that painting that has served another purpose such as illustrating a story for a science fiction magazine or drawing that works better in a comic book format are finding their place on the walls of a gallery. These illustrative forms along with graphic design and fashion drawing are becoming more and more recognized in the gallery situation. I find this may be a mistake when these forms aren’t being transformed to reach us in a way that can reach us universally. I think it’s being done partly out of desperation because it’s become increasingly harder to orchestrate a painting with originality today. It’s a hard thing to make something that can break through and stand the test of time, especially with painting. Young artists today are focusing more on fashionable elements, things like video games and skateboards and tattoos, etc, not to say subject matter should really matter when in the hands of a good artist but this is where their inspiration comes from, from things that won’t mean a thing in days to come when the new fashionable elements are there. Look, I’m not a purist by any means. I’m not against progress but it should be just that, progress by means of moving forward, by taking from the past and present and offering something not only transforming but something that can lead us to something stronger. We are increasingly moving into an age of solitary thinking, where people are caught in a net of their own particular interests, shielding them from new ideas that could otherwise have a trans-formative effect on how they can have meaningful interactions. This can lead to a lopsided viewpoint that puts limits on progress.
We hope you enjoyed the first part interview with James G. Fischetti. We’ll be posting the other in two weeks. See you there!! (I’m sure James would luv to hear from our blogging buds, so please “Feel free to vent”)
For those of you who have never had the privilege of meeting this beautiful red-haired lady, Inion N. Mathair would like to introduce you to, Jess Witkins. We met Jess, through another phenomenal red-head, Marcia Richards Blog. http://marciaarichards.com/blog-2 Super Awesome Blog (We’ll bring Marcia on another post!! ;) xo )
Jess Witkins is such an incredible young woman who blogs about Life, Love, Writing, Family, Books, Travel, Chocolate and WOMEN!! Yes, WOMEN…Strong, Supportive, Artistic, Brilliant, WOMEN!! Which is why we absolutely luv this lady!! She’s always dropping rays of her bright sunshine across the blogosphere and is a major supporter of Writers & Books. She’s utterly adorable and absolutely Fun!!
she recently tied the knot. (swoons) That post is a beautiful, romantic one that we highly recommend you check out. MY BIG FAT SECRET GREEK WEDDING ~ http://jesswitkins.wordpress.com/2014/08/04/my-big-fat-secret-greek-wedding/
Jess married in Santorini, Greece. Uhh, yeah…cuz if you’re gonna get married, why not make the backdrop Greece!!
Recently we visited Jess’ blog & found a post we particularly loved. We wanted to Press that baby, but Jess’ blog isn’t WordPress so instead, we decided to do a post ourselves then give Jess’ Blog address and the video.
JESS’ BLOG POST: I’m Enough ~ http://jesswitkins.wordpress.com/2014/07/31/im-enough-learning-lessons-from-a-mirror-that-talks-back/
Does the mirror reflect your worth?
This is the question that a group of women from Austen, TX came together to answer. But first, they started a band.
Their group is called The Mrs.
Unable to connect with the songs they were hearing on the radio, well past the years of the teenage heartbreak and club beats, they sought to create music inspired by their own lives as passionate – and busy – wives, mothers, and girlfriends.
The all-female rock band is comprised of drummer Andra Liemandt, lead vocalists/guitarists Mandy Prater and Jennifer Zavaleta, vocals/keyboardist Larissa Ness, and bassist Jenny Mason.
They wrote a song called ‘I’m Enough.’ And from that song, they gave birth to a movement.
For the rest of this post, hop on over to Jess’ Blog & enjoy!!!
JESS’ BLOG POST: I’m Enough ~ http://jesswitkins.wordpress.com/2014/07/31/im-enough-learning-lessons-from-a-mirror-that-talks-back/
We got a little heavy with the last post, so we wanted to do something more near and dear to our hearts. And anyone that knows us well, knows Inion N. Mathair LOVES spotlighting other Artists. Throw in these 9 lovely ladies as the subject:
So for those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of meeting these women, it gives us great pleasure to introduce you to a group of phenomenal writers and extraordinary ladies known as: THE SISTERWIVES
Now the name alone, is quite unique and spawns all kinds of crazy images you play with from crazy Soap Opera Series…..
To Southern relationships gone wrong…
But when put with these Dynamic Literary Diva’s well it’s just down right potent, utterly brilliant & all kinds of sexy!!! <3
A powerful Sisterhood that’s agenda is supporting each other and spreading that support to anyone else who might need it. All through the power of writing.
We can’t say it as beautifully as one of the Sisterwives did. (Lizzi ~ CONSIDERINGS) http://summat2thinkon.wordpress.com/
“We allow people to see some of our very darkest moments because we know that to be able to find solace and the depiction of a darkness of your own, in someone else’s writing, is a very powerful thing indeed.”
“We reached out, tightened the bonds between us and prepared to collectively resonate so hard that we will be heard across the Blogosphere.”
“We will strive to let our readers know that whatever their challenge, they are not alone;”
Oh yeah…she’s that freaking awesome!! A deep thinker sensitive to life and others she gives oceans of her heart in every word she forms in that beautiful little head of hers!! And its all sincere and selfless making Lizzi Rogers a jewel among the blogosphere!!! Her blog: “CONSIDERINGS” takes the reader on a journey touched by sunshine and all kinds of positive energy to anyone who needs a dose; and with Lizzi~Girl, all are welcome!! ;) What makes Lizzi crazy loved by all who know her is her eternal philosophy that your cup is never half-empty but always half-full!!
Her constant support of those around her leaves her halo always bright & her wings never tired!!
And her positivity has spread through the blogosphere like a wild-brushfire!!!
However, she is but one of the 9 women who are living parts of this body of feminine-power called THE SISTERWIVES. So, let us introduce you to the others.
The next Sisterwife is no stranger to Inion N. Mathair and if you’re friends with us, then you absolutely know the Blonde-Texan with a warm heart and hysterical sense of humor. Beth Teliho “Bethie” as we like to call her, is without a doubt the essence of Female strength, touched by pure Southern charm. She is an animated creature larger than life, yet wholly accessible to all, in that she’s the “girl-next-door.” That perfect girl-friend that will teach you how to throw a right hook to knock out that bastard that double-crossed you.
And on Friday night give up her date-night to join you, (spoon in hand) to polish off a gallon of Ben & Jerry’s.
Now, for those that don’t know, I (Inion) have a bit of a “Girl-crush” on Beth…it’s true!! Sorry Bethie but I have to get it out there!!! (The stalking charges and restraining order are mere tokens) lmfao. But then everyone has a freaking crush on her once they’ve met her!! She’s that fan-fu**ing-tastic!! Her blog: “Writer B Is Me” leaves you laughing your ass off while you relate to every single word that comes out of that firecracker’s mouth!! With Blog-post-titles such as:
1.) WTF’S, Beards, BJ’s, and Anniversaries. Related, But Not.
2.) Did she just…grab my ASS?!
3.) I’m A Whore
4.) Nudie Resorts And The Ass Dance
The woman personifies what a truly perfect sense of humor should be!! Thus the “Girl-crush” And with eight of her Sisterwives present, I’m saying that knowing I’ll probably get my ass kicked!! ;)
Yet in the same sense, she has a precious warmth and soft side that captures your heart and mind, leaving you perplexed and intrigued with her vulnerability.
So, don’t wait!! After you check out THE SISTERWIVES swing by her blog: Writer B Is Me and Ingest the Words. Like little blue pills, they will affect you.
Next Sisterwife we would like you to check out is one of Mathair’s favorite Poet’s. Deanna Herrmann is an Artistic Chameleon with too many gifts to list. Course Mathair considers her an indulgence and says her poetry is as addictive as Salted Caramel and just as sinfully delicious. Her blog: “My Muted Voice” is a favorite haunt of ours as we devour any and everything she writes. A gem within the blogosphere she spends most all of her time supporting other Artists and hosting more than one blog within the community. You’ll definitely want to check out this American Writer living a charmed life in Germany while finding her, Muted Voice. And oh what a voice she has. A deliciously dark Diva, she is a must read.
Now for the fourth Sisterwife but the first in Mathair’s book, we introduce you to a lady who’s blog-name is not representative of who she truly is. WHAT?! Was that an insult? We hate those loaded compliments that seem to be praises but are really a dis.
But with Sandy Ramsey, it’s always a compliment.
Her blog: “Mother of Imperfection” is a candid look at motherhood from a lady who’s mastered that role. Shown from her humble point of view, she is without a doubt one of the finest mothers on this planet and her words are filled with wisdom and utter love and devotion. Whereas some use Yoga, meditation, gyms or the Bible, Mathair likes to read Sandy’s posts to even her world while finding sound reason to her problems from Sandy’s experiences. Me, I just love to absorb her glorious “light that only gets in through the cracks.” And then there’s Mathair’s obsession with Sandy’s resemblance to Meryl Streep!! Wait…that’s a whole other post! ;) xoxo
Our next Sisterwife is another Blonde-Bombshell from the Lonestar State but this star, shines brighter than any!!
Mandi has a brilliantly, strong mind with enough feminine attitude to keep you laughing and shouting for days!! Like a good Pentecostal meeting in a church below the Mason Dixon line, you’ll find yourself raising your hand, amen’ing~(is that a word? We’re going with it!) dancing, singing and speaking in tongues as you devour each and every story while laughing your ass off!! Mandi’s greatest gift is sharing her life while tapping into yours!! Can’t tell you how much we luv this lady you’ll just have to read her words for yourself. Besides, anyone who can strap a Blog-name: Cellulite Looks Better Tan and totally make that shit not only work but scripture…. SOLD!!!!!! ;) One of our favorite all-time posts: The Penis Monologues is just one of the many brilliant ones this writer shares within our blogging community. So take a ride on the Reading Railroad, pass Go, collect your $200.00…..
Then head on over to: http://cellulitelooksbettertan.wordpress.com/
& be sure to tell Mandi, that her friends, Inion N. Mathair sent you!! ;) xoxo
Now, although we could research and write words that others have said…WE DON’T! Of the nine (9) women who make up “The Sisterwives” Inion N. Mathair is only close to five (5). Our loss for sure, because anyone who links themselves with these ladies above, has to be extraordinary. But we haven’t had the pleasure to spend time with them or read their work YET!! (Well…all except Laurie who we’ve been delving into off & on for the past few months between writing. Shhh!!!!! LUV HER~ So we’ll leave their names below and tell you that once we’re done with our book, we will be following their blogs and reading as much as we can, while finding out who these phenomenal ladies are and then….another post re-introducing them; and we absolutely can’t wait!!
A BUICK IN THE LAND OF LEXUS ~ Fresh Hell Trumps Stale Heaven
Turning Tears & Laughter Into Words.
Resilient Audacity ~ The Art of Bold Comebacks
The Tip Of My Tongue ~ Where The Wild Words Are
And there you have them, all 9 of the Sisterwives. For now, we will tell you that these 9 women have tapped into literary cosmic harmony that is felt by all who share with them.
The Sisterwives Blog-site: http://sisterwivesspeak.com/
Blog-rock-stars, famous for the impact they have made on so many lives through writing.
They will leave their Footprints on the world…
their Blog-print’s on our hearts;
Their words haunting our minds forever…
And their beautiful lights dancing above our dark world!
Okay, so it felt like a Bon Jovi moment…..sue us!!! Enjoy ;) xoxo
Russia has found its way back into the forefront of the news, but not in a positive light. It would seem that Russian President Vladimir Putin has dropped all pretenses and is letting his fureeek-flag-fly!!
He is now in the process of regaining territory. But this wanna-be-explorer doesn’t acquire unconquered lands the traditional way….Hell No!! Instead, he is taking what rightfully belongs to someone else. A valid independent country, in order to control land that once belonged to “Ole’ Mother Russia.”
Yep, not only has the Great Bear woken up from his long, nap; that bitch is on the hunt and hungry as Hell!!
Of course, it’s not like Putin has come out of the closet, shocking all of us by his actions. He’s been stepping out for quite some time, then running back in under the pretense of being Democratically Correct.
Most of the world, noticed the subtle signs in the beginning which have now become grossly obvious. It is one of these acts that we will address today. Not just to slam the Russian Leader for no reason at all, but to give some support to Sister Artists: Pussy Riot
Now if you don’t know the name, it’s certainly strange enough to send you running to GOOGLE to find out what it means. But most everyone’s heard of these 3 extraordinary women…..haven’t you?
This Punk Rock Band consisting of three brave women, were imprisoned because of their Art and political beliefs.
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, nicknamed “Nadya” was born on, November 7, 1989 and is a Russian conceptual artist and political activist. She is a member of the anti-Putinist punk rock group: Pussy Riot, and has a history of political activism with the controversial street-art group Voina.
On August 17, 2012, she was convicted of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” after a performance in Moscow Cathedral of Christ the Saviour and sentenced to two years’ imprisonment. On December 23, 2013, she was released early with another Pussy Riot member.
Maria Alyokhina, (Masha) is the second band-member of Pussy Riot. At the time of her arrest, she was a fourth-year student at the Institute of Journalism and Creative Writing in Moscow, where she participated in the literature courses of Dmitry Vedenyapin and Alexey Kubrik. Masha is a published poet and has been involved in environmental activism with Greenpeace Russia, opposing development projects in the Khimki Forest, and was a volunteer at the Children’s Psychiatric Hospital in Moscow. She is a vegan and reportedly collapsed from hunger during the trial, as no vegan meals were provided in detention.
Masha: “For me, this trial only has the status of a “so-called” trial. And I am not afraid of you. I am not afraid of lies and fiction, of the thinly disguised fraud in the sentence of this so-called court. Because you can only take away my so-called freedom. And that is the exact kind that exists now in Russia; “so-called-freedom”. But nobody can take away my inner freedom.”
Following her release, Masha and fellow Pussy Riot member Nadya announced their intention to campaign for prisoner’s rights in Russia.
On March 6, 2014, she and Nadya were assaulted and injured at a fast food outlet by local youths in Nizhny Novgorod.
Yekaterina Stanislavovna Samutsevich, (Katya) is the third member of the band arrested. She was released on suspended sentence by a Moscow appeals judge on October 10, 2012 following an argument from her lawyer that she had been stopped by cathedral guards before she could get her guitar out of its case.
So there you are, the three members of the Punk Rock Band Pussy Riot; although the two, Nadya and Masha seemed to have suffered the most physical attacks.
On the 19th of February footage surfaced showing Nadya and Masha being attacked with horsewhips by Cossacks who were patrolling Sochi during the Winter Olympics.
So, what is it about this group that seems to garner physical assaults, verbal attacks and draws constant scrutiny from an irritated Russian government?
To the rest of the world, they are passionate Artists who believe in the right to free speech, the abolition of Censorship of art and dreamers who believe that the Russia from their dreams, can truly exist.
Punk Prayer, a song that incites the Sacred Mother Mary to toss the Russian leader out on his ass!
When Nadia’s husband was asked why, he stated passionately. “The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour is a symbol of government corruption to many Russians.
The church has started to act as if it is the propaganda wing of the government. Before the election, Patriarch Kirill said that it was ‘un-Christian’ to demonstrate. And then he said that Putin had been placed at the head of the government ‘by God’”
More than 100 famous Russian actors and cultural figures urged Putin to release the three while they we’re imprisoned – and more than 40,000 ordinary Russians signed the petition. Thousands of Orthodox Christians and Catholics called on Patriarch Kirill, pleading with him to change his position and support the release of Pussy Riot. But their support doesn’t stop at Russians. News of their arrests spread like brush-fire across the internet and opened the world’s eyes to how Russia was treating these ladies as well as the very act of punishment for “Freedom of speech;” Something that should be unthinkable in a country who has come such a very long way from the Cold-War. Right?
Amnesty has described Nadia, Masha and Katya as prisoners of conscience. While famous faces from all over lend support both financially as well as open statements of support.
Madonna travelled to Moscow for a concert but didn’t stop there. She turned her concert into a show of political support for the punk protestors. Madonna even stripped during the concert, taking off her shirt to reveal the words “Pussy Riot” written on her back.
“I am against censorship and throughout my whole career I’ve always promoted freedom of expression, freedom of speech. So obviously, I think that what happened to them is unfair,” Madonna told Reuters. “I think art should be political. Historically speaking, art always reflects what’s going on socially. So for me, it’s hard to separate the idea of being an artist and being political.”
How did Russia respond? The Russian Prime Minister, Dmitry Rogozin hit the media with a statement : “Madonna is a whore!”
Sir Paul McCartney, Beatles member, has actually met Putin. He had tea at the Kremlin in 2003. McCartney might not be invited back though, after his public support of a group that seeks “to rid Russia of Vladimir Putin.
“McCartney wrote a letter in support of Pussy Riot: “Many people in the civilized world are allowed to voice their opinions and as long as they do not hurt anyone in doing so I believe this is the best way forward for all societies. I hope you can stay strong and believe that I and many others like me who believe in free speech will do everything in our power to support you and the idea of artistic freedom.”
Many stars joined forces to show support for their Russian Sister Artists. Names such as Bono of U-2, Bruce Springsteen, Lenny Kravitz, Adele, Jim Carey, Claire Danes, Ellen Degeneres and the list goes on and on.
Michael “Flea” Balzary, the band’s bassist, wrote to Pussy Riot: “Nadya, Katya and Masha, we love you and we support you. We are here to help you. I think about you all the time. I applaud your courage, I pray for your release, I will try to inform as many people as possible about what is going [on] with you.”
Peter Gabriel, the former member of the 1970s British rock band Genesis, expressed his support of Pussy Riot in a letter: “Nadya, Katya, Masha. You have the right to make your own prayers — from the heart. I hope you will be released very, very soon. We are all watching.”
Sting has joined Amnesty International in a statement condemning Russia’s treatment of the punk-rockers:
“It’s appalling that the musicians from Pussy Riot could face prison sentences of up to seven years in jail. Dissent is a legitimate and essential right in any democracy and modern politicians must accept this fact with tolerance. A sense of proportion — and a sense of humour — is a sign of strength, not a sign of weakness. Surely the Russian authorities will completely drop these spurious charges and allow the women, these artists, to get back to their lives and to their children.”
Here’s a look at Sting performing in Moscow this summer:
Danny DeVito wrote to Putin, too, but used Twitter to do it: “Mr Putin… Pussy Riot…set ’em free…” Short and sweet, DeVito got the message across in well under the 140 characters.
So there you have it…the truth behind Pussy Riot!! No worries the girls are out of jail and the incident is long over. But one has to wonder, what will Putin do next?
Well, it’s that time, when Mathair goes on her Girl-crush rant about the great, Meryl Streep. Lord knows I’ve had to endure decades, of this inappropriate fixation of the Academy Award Winning Actress.
Mathair was 19 when she first fell in love with Meryl after watching the movie, “Heartburn”. From there she was gone, following Meryl on her long and lustrous career and gobbling up everything the woman ever did!
So, here are some: Meryl Fun Facts:
Meryl was born: Mary Louise Streep – Summit, New Jersey, on June 22, 1949. She received her B.A., in Drama, from Vassar College in 1971 but also enrolled as a visiting student at Dartmouth College. She subsequently earned an M.F.A. from the Yale School of Drama. Title: Doctor of Fine Arts (honorary) at Indiana University Bloomington, Dartmouth College, Princeton University, Harvard University, and Yale University.
Spouse: Don Gummer (1978) Children: Henry Wolfe Gummer, Mamie Gummer, Grace Gummer, Louisa Gummer
With 18 Academy Award nominations, winning three, Streep has received more Academy Award nominations than any other actor (male or female) in history.
Not only does Meryl select ideal roles, she also pairs herself with leading men that shine alongside her and a supporting cast that is nothing short of spectacular.
Read the choices, pick your favorite and be sure to tell us why in the comments. And have fun!!
A.) THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA – Meryl plays Miranda Priestly, a powerful fashion magazine editor. Supporting actor Stanley Tucci, is by far one of our favorite actors to star with Meryl. Delivering the absolute best line of the movie: “Gird your loins!” Meryl is a brilliant, but shrewd business woman and she wears it well!!
B.) BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY – Meryl plays Italian Housewife Francesca Johnson a lonely woman in Iowa who has an affair with National Geographic Photographer Robert Kincaid, (Clint Eastwood). This 1995 romantic drama earned Streep an Academy Award for best actress and proved passion can find you any time in your life.
C.) AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY – Meryl plays, Violet Weston the matriarch to a severely dysfunctional family in Pawhuska, Oklahoma. Meryl’s love interest is her deceased poet/husband (played by Sam Shepherd) although I would say her daughter, Barbara (played by Julia Roberts) would be a better fit to the opposite role. Two great performances by two powerhouse ladies.
D.) IT’S COMPLICATED – Meryl plays, Jane Adler, a successful bakery owner and single mother of three who starts a secret affair with her ex-husband, played by Alec Baldwin, ten years after their divorce – only to find herself drawn to another man: her architect Adam (portrayed by Steve Martin.) This middle-aged love triangle is a comedic delight!! ;)
E.) JULIE AND JULIA – Meryl plays renown Chef, Julia Childs. Again Stanley Tucci takes the opposite role of love interest to Meryl. Luv these two together!! The film contrasts the life of Child’s in the early years of her culinary career with the life of young New Yorker Julie Powell, who aspires to cook all 524 recipes from Child’s cookbook in 365 days, while blogging about them.
F.) DOUBT – Meryl plays Sister Aloysius Beauvier. It’s 1964, at St. Nicholas in the Bronx. A charismatic priest, Father Flynn, (played by the late-great, Phillip Seymour Hoffman) is trying to upend the school’s strict customs, fiercely guarded by Sister Aloysius Beauvier, the iron-gloved Principal. But when Sister James, (Amy Adams) a hopeful innocent, shares with Sister Aloysius her suspicion that Father Flynn is paying too much personal attention to Donald; Sister Aloysius sets off on a personal crusade to unearth the truth and to expunge Flynn from the school. This movie is one of our favorites and the film’s four main actors were heavily praised all 4 nominated for Oscars for their roles in this.
G.) MAMA MIA – Meryl plays Donna. Sophie, Donna’s daughter (played by Amanda Seyfried) discovers her mother’s old diary & finds a description of intimate dates with 3 men (Sam Carmichael-Pierce Brosnan, Bill Austin-Stellan Skarsgard & Harry Bright-Colin Firth.) Sophie believes one of these men is her father & three months prior to the wedding, sends each an invitation, signing it, as her mother, without letting her mother know. In this musical honoring Abba, Meryl finds 3 gorgeous Hollywood Kings, to play her love interest and manages these heart-throbs quite nicely.
H.) MUSIC OF THE HEART – Meryl plays, Roberta Guaspari an East Harlem School Teacher. Inspired by the true story, the film opens with violinist Roberta having been deserted by her US Navy husband and feeling devastated. Encouraged by her mother, she attempts to rebuild her life and friend & love interest (played by Aidan Quinn) recommends her to the head teacher of a school in the tough New York area of East Harlem.
I.) BEFORE & AFTER – Meryl plays, Dr. Carolyn Ryan. In a small western Massachusetts town, Dr. Carolyn Ryan & her sculptor husband Ben (Liam Neeson) seem to live an idyllic life with their two children. But soon, the parents deal with the horrendous effects when their son is accused of murdering his girlfriend.
J.) DEATH BECOMES HER – Meryl plays, Madeline Ashton. Following her performance, the narcissistic, manipulative actress Madeline Ashton invites her long-time rival Helen Sharp (Goldie Hawn), an aspiring writer, backstage, along with her fiancé, plastic surgeon Dr. Ernest Menville (played by Bruce Willis). Ernest is visibly smitten with Madeline, which worries Helen, who has lost other men to Madeline in the past. Dr. Menville, breaks off his engagement with Helen and weds Madeline unleashing a love-triangle right out of hell. And Hell hath no fury like these two beauties scorned!! This dark comedy is one of our all-time favorites.
K.) DEFENDING YOUR LIFE – Meryl plays Julia. Daniel (played by Albert Brooks) dies and arrives in the afterlife only to find that he must stand trial and justify his lifelong fears in order to advance to the next life; or be sent back to earth to do it again. Daniel meets and falls in love with Julia (Meryl Streep), a woman who lived a seemingly perfect life of courage and generosity, especially compared to his. Written & Directed by Albert Brooks this charming romance proves there’s love after life!
L.) SHE DEVIL – Meryl plays, Mary Fisher. Ruth Patchett, (Roseanne Barr) a dumpy, overweight housewife exacts devilish revenge on her philandering husband (played by Ed Begley Jr.) after he leaves her and their children for glamorous, best-selling romance novelist Mary Fisher.
M.) HEARTBURN – Meryl plays, Rachel Samstat. A New York food writer, Rachel Samstat, meets Washington, D.C. political columnist Mark Forman (played by Jack Nicholson) at a mutual friend’s wedding. After a whirlwind courtship, they marry, despite Rachel’s reservations. With their seemingly perfect life and the birth of their daughter Rachel’s world comes crashing down around her after she discovers her husband is having an affair.
N.) LOVE AFFAIR – Meryl plays, Molly Gilmore. Two married strangers meet randomly, riding the train into New York City and become friends, then fall in love. Soon they begin meeting for coffee or lunch as the relationship grows, becoming far more serious eventually forcing both Molly & Frank Raftis (played by Robert DeNiro) to face their spouse and other life.
So there they are, some tasty films starring Meryl Streep. Tell us which one is your favorite!!
So sorry this is late but it’s definitely worth the wait!! We recently interviewed the brilliant, JC McKenzie about her book SHIFT HAPPENS. First off, thanks to the lovely JC for coming by Two Voices….One Thought and sharing time with this crazy mama/daughter duo. We we’re so excited to talk with her about her phenomenal book she’s recently published.
Now, as promised, we have a book give-away for the visitors who took part in the interview by leaving their comments and chatting JC up. We made sure to do this the proper way by choosing randomly one commenter to receive their signed copy of JC’s book: Shift Happens.
So….drum roll please Inion!
And the winner is….
So Curt, we’ll be letting JC know to send you your signed copy of Shift Happens. And thanks to all of you for taking the time to meet and greet our dear friend, JC McKenzie.
A while back when we happened to be knocking around this great, big, blogosphere, we accidentally bumped into another mother/daughter writing duo and got to know them a little better as well as their work. These extraordinary ladies have successful on-line platforms and between the two, many published works. They have been a part of the Artistic community for quite some time now. Funny enough, Inion met J.C. first friending her and began asking questions about her book she was working on, around the same time I ran into, J.C.’s mother & well known Author, Jo-Ann Carson. And yes….it was completely random.
Today, we would like to focus on the daughter, newly published Author J.C. McKenzie. Her book: SHIFT HAPPENS just released: March 27th, 2014.
Andrea McNeilly’s job as a government agent is not asking questions, but then a routine assignment turns into a botched assassination of a Master Vampire’s human servant. Answers become a priority. Her search to discover the truth is riddled with obstacles, the largest being an oversized Werewolf who resembles a Norse god. Andy can’t afford the distraction he offers, because if she fails, she faces eternal enslavement.
Wick’s job is to monitor Andy, but he prefers more intimate activities, none of them G-Rated. His choices, however, are often not his own. His ability to help Andy is limited by his bond to the Master Vampire.
Facing many trials and challenges along her path to redemption, Andy learns the value of her freedom might be set too high.
Along with launching a phenomenal Paranormal book that’s bound to slay the literary world J.C. also writes Urban Fantasy. A Genre Mathair & I just so happen to love!!
Born and raised on the Haida Gwaii, off the West Coast of Canada, J.C. McKenzie grew up in a pristine wilderness that inspired her to dream. She is a member of the RWA and the FF&P chapter of the RWA. Her blog: http://jcmckenzie.blogspot.ca/ is a favorite haunt of ours & if you haven’t checked it out you should most definitely pop over for a visit!
J.C. we can’t tell you how happy we are to have you here on, Two Voices…One Thought.
(J.C.) No, no, no. Thank you! You have wonderful friends and great blog-fans. It’s a huge opportunity and pleasure for me to meet and interact with them instead of just reading their comments.
(I.N.M.) So, SHIFT HAPPENS tell us a little bit about this book without giving away any spoilers.
(J.C.) Well, the world is set in Vancouver, Canada, but in an alternate version where all supernatural beings (like, everything) have been exposed and are “out of the supe closet.” Andy McNeilly is my main character, and she works for the Supernatural Regulatory Division that’s responsible for meting out justice for supe-on-supe and supe-on-norm crimes. The story begins with an assignment that goes wrong and quickly unravels from there. She gets into a lot of trouble, and has to scramble to figure out why the hit went bad and who is ultimately responsible. There’s mystery, romance and a lot of bad-ass snark.
(I.N.M.) Wow! That sounds amazing. Can’t wait to jump into your book!! So tell our blogging friends how long it took you to write SHIFT HAPPENS.
(J.C.) I started writing Shift Happens in the fall of 2011. I was pregnant, hormonal and looking for something to focus on other than every-little-thing my husband did that annoyed me (poor guy). When our (beautiful and brilliant) son joined our family in Feb 2012, I took a few months off from writing to survive. After life began to normalize, I hammered out the final chapters and finished Shift Happens by mid-summer 2012. So by the calendar, it took almost a year, but realistically, it was probably closer to 6 months.
(I.N.M.) A true labor of love. And what about the publishing process J.C.? Did you go with Self Pub or Traditional and why did you choose that avenue?
(J.C.) Well, I submitted to the few big publishing houses that allow unsolicited, un-agented work and received form rejection letters (boo) from each one. I started submitting to small publishers and had a lot of interest. In the end, I decided to go with The Wild Rose Press, because they offer very competitive royalty rates and I just love them. No joke. They’re super nice and supportive. My editor actually rejected Shift Happens when I first submitted the manuscript to her, but she told me specifically what I needed to fix and asked me to resubmit. It all worked out in the end, and I believe, for the better.
I am personally hesitant to self-publish, just because I’m so new to the publishing experience. There’s a lot of up-front costs with self-publishing that I wasn’t willing to make. 1) I couldn’t afford it (teacher-by-day, here); and 2) there’s a possibility of making huge, costly mistakes. I tip my hat to indie-authors because they are a lot braver than I am!
(I.N.M.) So tell us J.C. rumor has it this is the first in a series. Will there be book #2 and how many others will follow to finish the saga?
(J.C.) It is a series! I follow Andy as she grows as a character. Each book has its own plot arch, so I’ve intended them to stand alone, but there’s also an overall story about Andy and her own development.
Book two has been submitted to my editor and at the time of writing this, am still waiting to hear back from her. Book three is finished and sitting. I like to wait a bit before I go back and tear it all to shreds. There’s inevitably going to be a ripple effect in book 3 from changes I’ll have to make in book 2. I’ve started to write the fourth book and am just in the first quarter, setting up my wicked plans. It’s a 6 books series (maybe 5 if I condense), and I know the major plot elements of the remaining stories.
(I.N.M.) Something to look forward too! Now, I’m sure you hear this a lot but we’d still like to know. Werewolves….what’s the fascination; and what about them appeals to your writer’s imagination?
(J.C.) LOL! Yes, there’s a fascination. Personally, I believe it stems back to our ancestral time when humans were more tied to nature. Now, with our “concrete jungles” and technology, there’s a lot of disconnect from our natural environment, for a lot of people. I’m not talking about a brisk walk around the park or a weekend away at the cabin. We used to sleep under the stars surrounded by all kinds of flora and fauna; we hunted and gathered; and so on. I think there’s a part of the human psyche still craving that connection. I believe the love for the (idea of) a human in modern times shifting into a wild animal is an ultimate representation of our desire to transform back into our more base natures.
Alternatively, some people have a lot of repressed anger and the idea of turning into an eighty pound, bad-ass werewolf, or having one fall in love with you, is a great form of escapism from our urban jungles.
That and alpha-male werewolves are sexy as hell.
(I.N.M.) Well now, we’d have to agree with you on that!! lol ;) So tell us J.C., the main character, (Andrea “Andy” McNeilly) is this based on anyone you know or have traits of anyone close to you or merely a creation your brilliant mind?
(J.C.) She’s a creation of my brilliant mind! She’s not based on anyone I know, but based on my idea of a kick-ass heroine. I’m too aware of many authors modelling their main characters to look like them. Ever read a main character description and then flip to the back of the book to discover they look just like the author? I do it all the time! So when I wrote Andy, I tried to make her not look like me at all. I made her taller and slimmer, with jet black hair, gray eyes and a mixed ethnicity. I even gave her bangs. Yet, the first thing my mom said when she saw the cover picture was, “she looks like you!” LOL!
(I.N.M.) Aha! Inside information. We love it. And speaking as another mother-daughter team, mom’s always right. (Mom rolls her eyes. Lol)
The Cover is truly intriguing instantly grabbing Mine & Mathair’s attention with a dark pull to the other potential readers who pick it up. How did you come up with the idea and who did your cover art?
(J.C.) First of all, thank you. When I received a copy of the proposed cover for my book I squealed like a little girl. To put it mildly, I’m very happy with it.
The wonderful and talented Debbie Taylor of DCA graphics did my cover. I absolutely love this woman and think I tagged her in about 10 or so FB posts to tell her that. For some reason she hasn’t blocked me yet.
How covers work with The Wild Rose Press is that I fill out a form to indicate what I envision/want/suggest, which they hand over to the artist. The artists wave their magic wand, create a masterpiece and send it back to TWRP. The decision to go with the cover ultimately rests with TWRP.
Knowing this, I filled out the cover art suggestion form as thoroughly as possible. I really like dark covers, with a mysterious edge. Debbie captured the essence of what I wanted brilliantly. I hope she will do my second cover when the time comes.
(I.N.M.) Love it when Artists join minds & create magic!! The title…Yep, we have to ask. It’s absolutely brilliant and a fun way to play on words more especially a phrase that is familiar to any and every one! How did this come about?
(J.C.) Thank you! I think it will be a hard title for me to surpass with the subsequent books in the series. As I said earlier, I started writing this book in the Fall of 2011. It was lunchtime at work (I’m a teacher) and I was thinking about my writing. I’d signed up for one of those lets-sit-around-a-table-and-attack-each-other’s-writing sessions for a different manuscript and was just so disenchanted with the whole writing process at the time, I almost quit. I sat at my desk, berating myself, and thought, “You can’t even think of a title for your current book.” Then I leaned back in my dilapidated chair and stared at the side of my large cabinet where I stored all my binders. On the side was an old, worn Earthquake Awareness sticker, which read, “Shift Happens.” A firecracker went off in my head. Ding Ding! That was it!
(I.N.M.) I just love those “magical-moments” that happen during our Artistic creations. And the title can be a bit of a thorn for many writers J.C. (us included). The book trailer…this is a part of the publishing process that many choose to pass up whether it’s because of money, time or preference. How about you J.C.? Do you have a videographer that works with you and is a part of your team or was this something new that you went with? And how much input did you have with the video and would you recommend this part of the process to other Authors? We’ll give you a little time to answer that barrage of questions! Lol ;)
(J.C.) I wasn’t willing to pay for a book trailer (teacher, remember?), so I set off to see if I could do it for free, and I did! I used free, royalty-free music and pictures. The only catch was I needed to give them credit in the credit section. Done! I have no problem giving praise where praise is due!
I really like to tackle new things, so I got up-close and personal with Windows Movie Maker, hacked my cover picture into different sizes and shots and slapped it all together. Yes, a bit more difficult than that. I lost some hair. I may have cursed. I feel the program I used was limited and couldn’t do exactly what I wanted, but I am happy with the end result. I’ve had a lot of compliments on my book trailer, and I hope they’re not empty ones!
Will this book trailer result in a sales increase? I have no idea, but I do recommend authors at least attempt the process. It really helped me nail down the essence of my book, which has helped with other promotion.
(I.N.M.) Nice…So, we’ve been talking about your book SHIFT HAPPENS, but let’s turn the spotlight on the Author for a brief moment. Tell us why you wanted to be a writer and a little bit about your journey to get you here to the launch of your book.
(J.C.) My mom is my inspiration, and as long as I can remember, she’s been writing. Whether it was articles for the local newspaper, an article for a professional magazine, poetry, a novella, a short story, a blog post or a novel, she’s been scribbling, and then typing away. I’ve always enjoyed creating stories, mostly in my head, but it wasn’t until I placed first in a flash fiction contest that I started to take it seriously. I had already finished my first manuscript, and decided to sign up for the will-not-be-mentioned-again-writing session. Luckily, that experience didn’t sap my love for writing away completely and when I placed second in an RWA contest (the Dixie Kane) for Shift Happens, I decided to really give this manuscript a go.
(I.N.M.) So, what’s next for J.C. McKenzie? Do you have any other projects you’re working on, events or guest spots we should be marking on our calendars?
(J.C.) I just completed the first draft of a paranormal romance short story, the Shucker’s Booktique. This is not a series and is not intended as one. Just straight romance with a paranormal twist! I really enjoyed writing it and I hope to get it picked up by a publisher. My next projects, in no particular order are:
1) Edit book 3 of the Carus Series
2) Edit the short story—The Shucker’s Booktique
3) Finish writing book 4
4) Write final books of the Carus Series.
I also have a few blog appearances and am planning a book signing for August in Vancouver. My events and appearances are listed on my website (http://www.jcmckenzie.ca/appearances.html).
(I.N.M.) Can’t wait J.C.!! We have one more question to bug you with before letting you go. As a mother/daughter writing team, it’s a rare treat for us to find another. What’s it like for you, being a published Author and competing with your mother who is successful and a respected published author within the writing community?
(J.C.) It’s not difficult at all, because it’s a non-issue. My mom and I don’t compete. We’re very supportive of each other and exchange chapters once a week to critique. It helps that my mom writes Romantic Suspense, which can be a very different genre to Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance. We were never in the same category when we entered contests and even if we had been, I would’ve been thrilled to have my mom place above me. Her successes are mine, too, and I know she feels the same way.
(I.N.M.) Nicely said J.C.! I think the four of us are going to start a trend and family affair!!
We can’t thank you enough for stopping by and spending some time with us and our friends on, Two Voices….One Thought. And I’m sure we’re going to be seeing a lot more of you in the Blogosphere as well as your intriguing book, SHIFT HAPPENS .
As for our blogging buddies & visitors, we will leave links below where you can pick up your copy of J.C. McKenzie’s book: SHIFT HAPPENS. We already bought our copies and will be reading this deliciously dark story as soon as we sign off. J.C. has also agreed to give away a free copy of Shift Happens to one lucky commenter. So feel free to vent!! ;)
*Available Now* / Shift Happens: A Carus Novel/The Wild Rose Press
All Romance Ebooks:
Barnes & Noble:
Wild Rose Press: