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Interview with Rebecca Lombardo   3 comments

Today’s interview is with author Rebecca Lombardo. Welcome to the blog, Bekka. Tell us something about yourself. (Where are you from, what do you do to pay the bills, significant relationships, as little or as much as you want).

Lombardo Author PicI am from Michigan, I’ve lived here my whole life.  I’m very happily married to an amazing man.  This August it will be 15 years.  I come from a large family.  We don’t have kids, but we do have 5 cats that we rescued. We adore them.


At what point did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve had an idea that I wanted to be a writer since third grade.  I can recall writing a story, with my own illustrations, all in crayon.  It was about a little American Indian girl named White Cloud that lost her feather.  It just felt right to me, so that was my ultimate goal for most of my life.


Tell us about your writing process.

I don’t actually have a set writing process that I utilize every time I write.  It tends to vary.  Being bipolar, I have to take what I can get.  There are times when I experience months of writer’s block and occasionally months of wanting to write every day. The wheels are constantly turning inside my head.  If I get an idea, and I can come up with at least 2 sentences to back up the concept, I will try to develop it.  However, it doesn’t always work.


Lombardo Author Event.jpgWhat is your favorite genre … to read … to write?

My favorite genre to write is obviously memoir.  I like being able to write from personal experience.  I also enjoy reading memoirs and biographies.  I enjoy true crime, some historical books, and I have a few select chick-lit authors that I enjoy reading.


What are you passionate about?

I’m passionate about mental health and the stigma that surrounds mental illness.  I’m passionate about animal cruelty, and photography.  I’m also extremely focused on raising awareness on the benefits of non GMO food.


What is something you cannot live without?

I couldn’t live without my husband and my cats for sure, but I love movies and TV so much, I don’t know what I would do without the ability to escape for a little while.


When you are not writing, what do you do?

When I’m not writing, I am usually most often promoting my book. As I stated, I do love photography and recently got a new camera as a gift, so I will get out and do that whenever I can. I spend a lot of time with my husband, we’re joined at the hip.  Frankly, I spend quite a bit of time managing my mental illness symptoms and trying to raise awareness.


Lombardo Not Your JourneyHave you written any books that made a transformative effect on you? If so, in what way?

I’ve only written the one book so far, and if anyone were to ask me about it, I would tell them this: it’s a real, raw, and heartbreaking account of a very dark time in my life, and I how I made it back. I don’t hold anything back about what I’ve been through.  It’s important that people understand what mental illness is truly like.


If someone who hasn’t read any of your novels asked you to describe your writing, what would you say?

Life filled with love, despite their condition.


Do you have a special place where you write?

When I’m writing, it’s almost 100% of the time on my laptop at my desk in our bedroom. Red is my favorite color, and our bedroom is red, my laptop is red…it all gives me a somewhat comforting feeling.


What point of view do you prefer to write, and why?

I prefer to write from my own point of view at this point.  I don’t know if that will change in the future.  I don’t do a lot of research or focus a lot on creating specific storylines, because I find that just allowing it to flow organically gives it a realistic quality that people enjoy.


I’m going to drop you in a remote Alaska cabin for a month. It’s summer so you don’t have worry about freezing to death. I’ll supply the food and the mosquito spray. What do you do while you’re there and what do you bring with you? If you’re bringing books, what are they?

If I’m stuck in a remote cabin in Alaska for a month, I think I would spend a lot of time just trying to be in the present, and not dwelling on the issues from the past. I would definitely try to center myself and stop worrying all the time.  I would for sure want my camera, I think that would be amazing. As far as books, I would probably take Memoirs of a Geisha and/or The Joy Luck Club. Leah Remini’s memoir, Troublemaker is fascinating, and I could read that a million times. I would probably also take some books by Jane Green and Jennifer Weiner, they’re two of my favorites. Most of all, I would relax and enjoy some stress-free time away from social media and the world.


Was it your intention to write a story with a message or a moral?

It was my intention that my memoir deliver a message. I just wanted people that are dealing with the same type of issues that I am to know that they are not alone.  My book is a cautionary tale of what didn’t work in my life with mental illness.  I also wanted to make sure that the loved ones of the people dealing with these issues could get a grasp on just what their family member is going through.


What do you want readers to think or feel after reading one of your books?

I would want someone that read my book to know that they’re not alone … that things can get better if they put some work into the process. I want them to learn from my story what NOT to do, and most importantly I would like them to learn that it is possible to lead a happy and productive.


How do readers find you?

Interview with Lucinda E. Clarke   1 comment

LClarke Author PhotoToday’s interview is with Lucinda E. Clarke, a friend from the Booktrap, and quite the adventuress. Tell us something about yourself, Lucinda. 

Starting with basics, I was conceived and born in Dublin, Ireland (I don’t remember the conception part too well), then taken to England. By the time I got married I had spent years and years in the classroom, then trained to spend the rest of my life in the classroom, so I was not ready for the big, bad world.

That is so true for all of us.School is definitely not real life.

After first wedding, I tried crofting in Scotland (disaster we couldn’t get a spade through the permafrost) – bred small animals for pet shops (disaster, they all died) –  bred dogs (disaster, one took off and killed chickens).

So we took off for Kenya (disaster, husband walked off the job and we were almost stranded). On to Libya (disaster, this time we were thrown out of the country altogether), then Botswana (disaster, husband got fired, and I ran the worst riding school in the world). Then South Africa (finally success!!!) After slogging for a while in the classroom (this time I was fired) I began to write for radio and TV. Eventually I had my own video production company.

LClarke EggshellsWhat was the first story you wrote and how old were you?

You want me to remember that far back? I think it was when I was about 6 and it was written on little scraps of paper and I was so proud of it until my mother sneered at it. I do remember being an avid reader of Enid Blyton and thinking this doesn’t look too difficult, I could do this! (I was a precocious brat).

What are you passionate about?

My writing. Injustices against women. Cutting down trees. Population control.

What can you not live without?

In no particular order – my laptop, my iPad and my iPhone, a good internet connection and I better add my husband in there as well. Peace and quiet to write, beauty around me, that is vital too.

LClarke TLPYou lived in South Africa, have met Nelson Mandela, (scary) had a huge career in broadcast journalism (thank you). Tell us about that.

I am passionate about Africa and her people, but I just wish they would go the mentorship route and stop worrying about skin colour. In my books Truth, Lies and Propaganda and More Truth, Lies and Propaganda I tried to point out that mindsets and tribalism and nepotism are a factor, not race. I want to cry when I see how things are developing now in South Africa, everyone is adversely affected, all races and all people, except for the elite few who are exploiting those who are weaker.

Tell us about Walking Over Eggshells.

Originally I wrote this as a long, long letter to my children, and it stayed in manuscript form for several years. Then after the bombardment from the media about sexual abuse and how terrible it was, I began to get angry. Sure, that is horrific, but emotional abuse is more insidious. It does not stop at maturity, it does not stop if you move away, it goes on relentlessly, even after death. It’s difficult to pinpoint, almost impossible to explain and a nightmare to prove. It robs you of your self worth, your self confidence and your relationships with everyone you meet.

Then one day I decided to publish, in the hope that it might help even a few people who had had the same experiences. The emails I’ve received have been amazing and I have no regrets about sharing my story with the world (well a few people anyway!)LClarke More TLP

But it’s not a doom and gloom book, there is lots of humour there, and I think, an easy read.

Tell us about Amie.

Amie is my first real attempt at a full length novel. Most of my documentaries I turned into short, funny stories as they were aimed at educating and I feel this is best done through humour.

It was much harder than the autobiographies as I had to ‘make stuff up’ and I had to remember who was where and how they would behave in character. I’ve written stage plays, so I had a grounding in that format, but a 108,000-word book was much, much trickier. I just sit down at the lap top and write. I only have a basic storyline in my head and the characters take over and then I have to go back and mop up afterwards in case they made mistakes or contradicted themselves. It’s nothing to do with me, I blame them every time, I’m just on the scene to write down what they tell me.

LClarke AmieOh, I so represent that!

I have just finished the second Amie book – Amie and the African Child – which I hope to publish in August if not sooner.

I have a love / hate relationship with Amie, but she has become more feisty and so I like her a little better now.

I love feisty female characters. Tell us about Truth, Lies and Propaganda 1 and 2. Having been a journalist, I find that most of my former colleagues don’t see themselves as propagandists, but I know they are. So talk about that some.

These two books follow my writing career from the beginning to when I left South Africa. I had dreamed of writing for a living ever since I could remember, but was told to ‘get a proper job’ (hence the teaching).

It’s almost impossible not to play the propaganda game. Every newspaper has an agenda or supports one political party or another, or the views of the proprietor. If you are paid to write, then you write what the client wants, and I had my share of the clients from hell! You soon learn to take criticism (the customer / client is always right even when they are wrong), hone your tact and diplomacy and I guess lifting the lid on the few blatant examples in the books, I was getting my revenge!

Sure, you can starve in a garret and hold fast to your principles, but if you want the luxuries in life, such as food, a roof and clothes to wear, then you toe the line. I worked with some amazing people and many of the stories I reported and filmed were true to life, but of course it is the ones which tell lies, which tell the funny stories.

I feel very privileged to have been welcomed into rural huts, township shacks, Chief’s councils, had my fortune told by a witch doctor, visited AIDS patients, there are just too many incidents to mention here. I believe I saw Africa as few others have. I’d ask my crew to take care of me as I was probably the only white person for miles in any direction. I have to read my books to remember it all.

Every incident in both books really happened without exaggeration.

What are your literary plans for the future?

This is going to sound so pompous, but you asked? OK, so I’m not going to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, they don’t go for the kind of books I write. One of my heroines is Dorothy Parker and I would be in my seventh heaven (or the other place) if any of my phrases or sayings were to be printed in a book of quotations, that would be great!

Of course I’d love to be on all the bestseller lists, and write the screen play from one of my books. On a more practical level, I’m hoping they will put up a shelf for me in the local old folks home, so I can gaze at my books when I can no longer get out of bed. I’m almost up to 5 now and I plan to write a whole lot more.

Anything else you would like to say.

Since I have been a lecturer in script-writing, I can’t help be honest, so if anyone asks me for a review, or comments they will always get the truth. I still have grave doubts about my own writing, I’ve always been the same and never believed all the awards even when I walked up to collect them. The only advice I can give any new writers is to sit down and write, do it and then get ready to change it again and again until it is right. It’s worth it.

I am happy to be self published, and I’ve been approached by a publisher and refused. It’s much harder on your own, but more rewarding. I’ve been published by two of the Big 5 way back in the 80’s and so far (I could be bribed) I’m happy to continue being self employed.

There are two amazing moments in life – when you hold your baby in your arms and when you hold your first book in your hands.

Links, websites, cover art, author pic, etc.

Walking over Eggshells

Amie an African Adventure

Truth, Lies and Propaganda

More Truth, Lies and Propaganda

Blog link

Web page


twitter name   @LucindaEClarke


Facebook             My page


 Walking over Eggshells page

Amie page   Amy page

Further links for Walking over Eggshells

Barnes & Noble

Apple itunes




iTunes store

amazon author page Lucinda…/B00FDW…/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_3…

We Should Be Dancing   5 comments

What sort of music was I listening to in high school?

You want to know that right?

Welcome to the Blog Hop. If you want to join, here’s the link. Before we get started, have you checked out Traci Wooden-Carlisle’s blog. I’m think she was listening to some really hot music in high school. And, while you’re at it, check out her books, because … you know, we author types like that sort of attention.

I grew up in the 1970s, which was a great decade for music. The drug fueled 60s were fading and music wasn’t just screaming electric guitars anymore. Musicianship and lyrics were back. I also grew up in a town with limited radio stations. We had five — two didn’t count. The religious station played old-timey gospel music (don’t get me wrong, I love Christian music, but ugh) and the university station was trying to convince us to love classical and liberal talk radio. The other three stations played a wide variety of music in keeping with the idea that they were the only game in town and there was a lot of music out there. I actually wish we would return to an era when when radio stations were not silos to certain genres of music.

Yeah, there was disco, which despite its shortcomings, was a great sound to dance to, but there were also some great rock bands that were born in the 1970s.

Disco gave us Blondie’s “Heart of Glass” — which was anything but a disco song, ABBA gave us “Dancing Queen” and anything coming out of Saturday Night Fever would get your feet moving.

If you were into country there were lots to choose from This was the heyday of Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, Conway Twitty, Glenn Campbell, and Johnny Cash. Kenny Rogers was in his country phase and Dolly Pardon’s “Jolene” staged a wonderful crossover.

Because I became a Christian in this era, I have to say there were a few good Christian bands out there that should get a nod. We had to listen to bootleg tapes because our local religious radio thought they were devil worshippers, but a girl has got to do what a girl has got to do. Larry Norman may not have been a great musician, but he had the gall to record “Upon This Rock” (technically 1969) and push the issue of making Christian music relevant to the generation surrounding it. His “I Wish We’d All Been Ready” played a big hand in my letting go and letting God. Randy Stonehill, Mylon LeFebre, Sweet Comfort Band and Petra reached out to a generation of Christian teens who had had about all we could take of the whiney blue-grassy “gospel” of the day, but also wanted an occasional break from the themes of secular lyrics. (NOTE: My daughter is a professional bluegrass musician today; I do not hate her music and believe that the reason “gospel” music in the 1970s was so bad was that Christian musicians were being oppressed by Pharisees of their day).

Obviously, I didn’t limit my listening spectrum per some man-made “spiritual” rule, although I still like lyrics that uplift.

Not to forget drugs entirely, Pink Floyd reminded us of the lifestyle of the average rockster with “Comfortably Numb” from their tour de force album The Wall, which in the 80s became a MTV-inspired movie. I can never shake that image of the guy floating in the pool with the blood flowing from his wrists.

I actually liked PF, but I personally preferred my bands a little less suicidal.

The Beatles released their last album with “The Long and Winding Road” and “Let it Be” to kick off a decade and then Paul McCartney starting working on making us forget the Beatles with Wings and “Band on the Run” while Elton John was pumping out soft rock gems like “Tiny Dancer” and “Rocket Man.” There were the Carpenters, Diana Ross, Gloria Gaynor, Neil Diamond, the Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin (Me and Bobby McGee) and James Taylor (Fire and Rain, Shower the People), Santana, Atlanta Rhythm Section– all great entertainers.

Don McLean (American Pie, Vincent), Kansas (Dust in the Wind, Carry On Wayward Son), Terry Jacks (Seasons in the Sun), Harry Chapin (Cats Cradle), Simon & Garfunkle (Cecilia, El Condor Pasa, Sound of Silence), Dan Fogelberg (Leader of the Band, Run for the Roses) and John Denver made us appreciate lyrics and Jim Croce and Ray Stevens injected humor into music. Gordon Lightfoot was incredible (Sundown, Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald)..

Stevie Wonder gave us “Superstition” and Lou Reed recorded “Walk on the Wild Side”. Gladys Knight and the Pips recorded “Midnight Train to Georgia” (I’d rather live in his world than live without him in mine). Rod Stewart proved that a raspy voice and a mandolin could indeed make beautiful music with “Maggie”. Bob Dylan was back with the album Blood on the Tracks and “Tangled Up in Blue”.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street band came out with “Born to Run”, “Thunder Road” and “Lost in the Flood” and Springsteen found time to write the visceral love song “Because the Night” for Patti Smith. Those few of us who knew he existed back then knew he was headed for greatness.

Fleetwood Mac had “Go Your Own Way”, “You Make Loving Fun” and “Sara”, but they’d actually be more of an 80s group whose 70s songs would become popular later.

The Eagles are often thought of as an 80s band because they got their big play on radio stations then, but in reality they made most of their albums in the 1970s and they probably go down as my favorite band of the era because of songs like “Take It Ease”, “Peaceful Easy Feeling”, “Tequila Sunrise”, and “Life in the Fast Lane”. The Eagles spawned a couple of  really phenomenal solo careers, plus Timothy B. Schmidt is in the background of almost every good album produced in the 1980s. Nothing made me happier than when they ended their 14-year vacation with the album When Hell Freezes Over and songs like “Get Over It and “Love Will Keep Us Alive.” I know, not 1970s songs, but worth the mention.

Last but not least, although she technically was unknown while I was in high school, Pat Benatar released her first hit single “Heartbreaker” the summer I graduated.

I gotta say that any era of music you can dance to has got my vote and the 70s — well …, there’s a reason rappers take pieces of 70s B-side songs and cover them as rap songs. It was a phenomenal era for music and one I don’t expect to see again anytime in my lifetime.
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Posted September 15, 2015 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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