What is your most recent book? Tell us a bit about it.
My new book is titled Saddling Dragons, Love Fear and Other Adventures in Mysticism. It emerged from a series of workshops which are based on one of my poems from an earlier book. The basic concept is built around befriending and riding fears rather than hiding from them. The book is sort of a how to on alternative spirituality combined with my personal history that provided the unique vantage on life. I am a transgendered shamanic practitioner. This is the first time I have written about that experience and how it affects my life and spirituality.
Tell us something about yourself.
I am from southern Illinois and currently live in Southern California. Apart from writing, I lead programs as a drummer, poet, business consultant and spiritual teacher. Until my employer exited the business I was Corporate Director of Communications for a magazine and book wholesale company.
How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?
I have written for most of my life. A lot of it was for counterculture publications or as part of my professional responsibilities. After an intense breakup I started to share some poetry that welled up. I was surprised when people began asking for more. That led to two poetry collection published in 2007 and 2009. The poetry, much of it in the vein of classic mystic poets, led to doing workshops. This book is an extension of the workshops.
Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book? What?
I have over twenty years experience as part of traditional book publishing and distribution. Embracing new media and overcoming the stigma about DIY/POD publishing was not easy. For me the breakthrough came when I traced the history of music distribution from vinyl records to MP3 downloads. Publishing is simply falling in step with that trend.
What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Why?
Doug Boyd, Richard Back, Paulo Coelho, Lynn Andrews, and Idries Shah have all written books that strongly influence my life. Also, modern presentations of ancient mystic poetry are important to me. Daniel Ladinsky and Coleman Barks occupy a wide section on my bookcase.
What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
Write, write and then add a few more words. Don’t confuse writing and editing. Mistakes can be corrected later. The first draft doesn’t matter, except that you get the ideas into written form. Then surround yourself with talented and honest people that will provide perspective. Though, I recommend not letting them see it until at least the third draft.
Who is the perfect reader for your book?
My average reader is a female over the age of forty. She has some interest in spirituality and personal empowerment.
I actually have a warning in the book about who should not read it. The book describes various shamanic techniques for shifting into altered consciousness and challenges the reader to release their belief systems. Persons struggling to hang onto reality will not benefit from the techniques. Individuals being medicated or under supervision for psychosis should avoid it.
Where can readers learn more about you and your book?
The ebook version is available at SmashWords.com and is being distributed to online retailers like Apple and Barnes and Noble. The print version is available at Lulu.com. The facebook page for the book is http://www.facebook.com/Saddling.Dragons