Betsy Balega – Being Mystic in Touch with God

What is your most recent book? Tell us a bit about it.

My first book, Being Mystic: In Touch With God, debuts June 24, 2011. It’s the story of how I began to receive accurate visions, of the future, beginning at age 4, which continue to this day. Chapters include true stories of premonitions, mother’s intuition, dreams that come true, and how my guardian angel has helped me throughout my life. There are simple exercises to help the reader become more attuned to the supernatural world which surrounds us. One chapter tells how to solve earthly problems with a helping hand from heaven. The main theme of Being Mystic is hope. We are never alone. No problem is unsolvable.

Tell us something about yourself.

I was born and raised in Shamokin, Pa., in the heart of anthracite coal mining country. I have lived in Philadelphia, and Coconut Grove, Fla. I decided to immigrate to the Great White North, Canada, in the 1980’s. I studied at the famed Second City and learned I preferred writing comedy to being on the stage. I began to write for the Toronto Voice in the 1990’s. My relationship column was replaced by a writer who was a psychotherapist.

The publisher/editor-in-chief, thought my columns were written with ‘too much emotion.’ I didn’t feel badly because Oprah’s boss in Baltimore criticized her reporting habits for the same type of delivery.

What inspired you to write this book?

Over the years, I shared many true stories with my clients. I was told repeatedly, “You should write a book. I love your stories.” My reply was consistently the same. “Thank you. Some day I will write a book.” “Some day” arrived in 2009.

How did you choose the title?

People can sometimes misinterpret the word psychic. It can have a negative aura around it (no pun intended). I wanted to show the spiritual side of my life’s calling. Many years ago a teacher said to me, “You were not put on this earth to make your name well known, but His.” That sentence has remained with me for over 25 years. I never forgot it. I never will.

What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published? How did you overcome them?

That might be my second book! The biggest roadblock to getting Being Mystic in Touch with God published was the obvious. I was too Christian for New Age publishers and too New Age for Christian publishers. I have kept all my rejection emails that are a reminder to stay humble. I had interest from a US publisher but she could not decide what type of contract she wanted to give me. She was quite the procrastinator. I decided we were not a good fit, thanked her for her interest and moved on. It’s important for a writer to know when to move on. I walked away from my manuscript for 6 months. I found my publisher online after doing a lot of research. It’s been a great connection.

How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?

I knew in 3rd grade that I wanted to be a writer. I loved to read short stories by James Thurber, O Henry, Dorothy Parker. I loved the idea that you could write from anywhere in the world and as long as you got your work in to your editor by deadline all would be good. There were no limitations. The ability to use your imagination and make a living at it and be paid for doing something that I loved enticed me. My first writing assignment was at my high school in Shamokin, Lourdes Regional. I longed to be the comedy columnist reporting on all the funny goings on around Lourdes. When I finally got to be a reporter I was given assignments alright. The first was to cover the war in Biafra. I didn’t think I was suited for such serious writing but I wrote it. Never did get to write the comedy column but have made up for it since.

Do you have any writing rituals?

I always assumed I would. Uh oh, never assume. I cannot write on a computer. I must write longhand. Doesn’t that make me the Wilma Flintsone of the 21st century. Words flow for me when I have paper on the table and a pen in my hand. Guess I suffer from computer block.

How do you come up with the names for your characters?

I am working on a short story now and outlining my first novel. I choose names I like for a first name and the last name I want to be a name my readers can easily remember. If the character is from a certain background, ie, Scottish heritage, they may become a Crawford or MacIntosh.

Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book? What?

Yes I did. Non-writers think writers do nothing but write in coffee shops, receive a 6 figure advance and never have to worry about their financial situation again. In reality once your book is completed the work of promoting your book kicks in. In fact, promoting your book should begin as soon as you start to write it. Many writers assume, there’s that word again, that their publisher will take care of all the necessary PR work, get them booked on Oprah, pay for their author’s tour, and anxiously await publishing their next book. Time for a reality check. Marketing your book is a partnership between
you and your publisher. You must do your part. Be ready to put in long hours online, making lots of phone calls to bookstores, arranging signings, and spending your own money to make sales of your book climb.

If you were doing it all over again, what would you do differently?

I would walk away from my manuscript and come back to it in about 2 weeks time, more often. When I did that a few times, I saw everything that had to go. It gave me a different perspective on the flow of my book. I picked up a chapter once and thought, “Who wrote this? Not me.” What was I thinking?” And, like Neil Simon, I did a rewrite.

What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Why?

I have always loved to read autobiographies. I love to know what makes people tick. How did they get to where they are? How did they become successful. Back in the 1970’s I read the autobiography of Billy Rose (once married to Fannie Brice). It was educational. In the late 70’s, feeling like nothing was happening for me in Shamokin, and it wasn’t, I thought, “I may as well jump off the Cameron Bridge.” On my next visit to the Shamokin Library, I checked out and began to read Milton Berle’s autobiography. The very first sentence told of his bombing in Vaudeville in a small town in Pa. Milton believed his life was over. Gee, what a coincidence. He took a walk to jump off the Cameron Bridge in Shamokin, Pa. If that wasn’t a sign from above, for me not to give up, nothing was. Lately I have begun to read the plays of Shakespeare. I read a few, years ago, but now I am dedicated to reading each of The Bard’s plays. It’s my Literary Bucket List.

Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?

My next book will be about angels. Almost everyone seems to be in love with angels and can’t get enough of them. They, like Chanel’s little black dress, never go out of style.

What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?

My sage advice is never give up. Be persistent. If you cannot find a publisher remember neither could Jack Canfield or J.K. Rowling. You are in good company.

Who is the perfect reader for your book?

My readers yearn to know more about the supernatural world, the mystical world that surrounds us. They want to know that if they have a dream that comes true, they are not ‘crazy.’ They want to know how to harness and direct their own psychic ability. They may have psychic experiences a few times a year and want to know how to tap into their natural 6th Sense. Being Mystic will help them to succeed in developing their natural psi abilities.

Where can readers learn more about you and your book?

They can visit my website, and visit my publisher’s website, where orders are now being taken for Being Mystic.