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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

Thought for the Day: Sometimes you need to take a leap of faith & try something new. Perhaps you will discover The Next Big Thing!



     Today my blog is very different. It is longer than my usual posts, but it is also part of something bigger than usual. Last week, Rev. Dr. Sharon Jacobson invited me to be part of a blog hop called The Next Big Thing. I've never done a blog hop before, but I decided to try it & see how it works. The purpose is to help readers discover the next great book or author; i.e., the one they will be compelled to read or the author who's work they simply can't put down. I had never heard of Sharon Jacobson's work before, but her inspirational bent connecting her experiences with food to spirituality sounds intriguing. I am looking forward to reading something outside of the norm for me. Her current book The Zenful Kitchen, is stories about food, family, friends & life changing moments related to sharing food. It is not a cook book, but there will be some recipes along with stories about how food & good company has changed her life. Check out Sharon's latest book & blog. What is exciting about this blog hop is the opportunity to learn about authors from various genres & styles. Her work might be the Next Big Thing, or perhaps mine is. Who knows?
       Since the Wake Up and Dream Challenge is non-fiction, thinking about my work, based on questions that were designed for fictional writers was a creative exercise for me. It put my work into a totally different perspective. So, this week, I am going to answer 10 questions & tell you about how The Wake Up and Dream Challenge grew & developed into the book it is today. It also gave me some great inspiration for photos, I hope you like them as well! Of course, as always, feel free to comment & ask me questions to keep the dialogue going.

 

1) What is the working title of your book? 



     The working title for my next book is: Jack of All Trades, Master of Many. I am too busy letting people know about my 1st book to work on it yet, but the ideas are brewing! My next book will illustrate how people are accomplishing multiple dreams. Hopefully, my readers will share their stories of how my current book helped them become Jacks of All Trades and Masters of Many.

     The Wake Up and Dream Challenge is the title of my book. The working title while I wrote the book, however, was Wake Up and Dream. It was not until I thought I had finished the book that the title changed (and  then it took a year of additional work to complete the book). When I applied my own techniques, I realized that I wanted the book to do more than teach people how to accomplish their dreams. I wanted it to help non-profit organizations help others reach their dreams as well. I set out to find creative organizations that make a difference in the lives countless people. Since the book is self-published, I share 1/2 of the profits with these amazing charities. The inspirational stories of how they make dreams happen are included in the book.

2) Where did the idea come from for the book? 
     The idea started when I learned a goal setting technique that I began to use with my clients. Over the year I changed the technique & observed the way it helped my clients overcome all kinds of obstacles & transform their lives. I felt compelled to share their stories & the techniques that helped them with a larger audience. The techniques are simple, yet profound & powerful. It gives people a way to turn their wildest dreams into manageable action plans.

3) What genre does your book fall under? 

     It is a combination of Psychology, Self Help & Inspirational genres.

4) Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? 

     I only chose 3 of the former clients portrayed in the book. All of the clients stories are based on the lives of real people, but their appearance & other identifying details have been changed to protect their confidentiality, so using actors is not a bad idea. Here's a  a short description of each of the "characters" & why I chose a specific actor to portray them. 
     I could see Kathy Bates playing Jody. Here's a description of Jody on the day I first met her:
             "It was a stormy day when Jody first came into my office; her curly
        black hair was damp and frizzy, showing all the signs of the dreary
        landscape outside. Jody was an over-weight, fifty-year-old, whose
        wrinkled face made her look at least ten years older than she was....
        Beginning her story, Jody apologized for her tears and wiped
        her eyes, revealing the dark circles she had tried to mask with an
        overabundance of make-up. There was a proud, intelligent woman
        struggling to maintain her dignity inside this cheerless figure; a woman
        who never thought she would need to see a psychologist.
        As she looked around nervously, Jody stared at the door and
        seemed ready to bolt for freedom. Pausing, Jody tilted her head towards
        the floor as if she wanted her foot to stop tapping so that she could
        compose herself. In almost a whisper, she said, “I’m not crazy but I’m
        at my wits’ end. Sometimes I think about putting my head in a gas oven
        and simply ending the pain."
     I chose Kathy Bates for her ability to capture the shame, hopelessness & despair Jody felt when she first came to see me. The book tells how she regained her will to live & discovered how to thrive despite chronic pain. I believe Kathy Bates could portray both the depression & the joy, strength, & gratitude the new Jody exuded after she learned how to wake up and dream when she was "pinching herself" to be sure she was not dreamng.

     I'd choose Julia Roberts to play the part of Linda's transformation from someone who was trapped in her own self doubt to
a woman who discovered her creativity & power as a thought leader &  teacher. I had helped Linda's daughter in therapy, but did not know Linda well before she called for an appointment for herself. Here's a brief description of Linda's first session:
           Linda was a striking forty-three year-old redhead, who dressed
        in a simple ‘classic’ style. Her tailored suits were a bit conservative,
        although she always added a splash of color with a scarf or an
        interesting piece of jewelry. When she arrived, this bright and well
        educated woman sat stiffly on the edge of the couch in my office, as if
        she was afraid to get too comfortable. On the phone, she’d provided no
        clue as to the purpose of her sudden visit, so I waited patiently for her
        to tell me what was wrong.
            Slowly, Linda began to open up, but avoided all eye contact as
        she spoke. It was obvious that she was working especially hard to stay
        composed. She would slow down her words and take deep breaths,
        acting as if she were trying desperately to hide any signs of fear,
        anxiety or sadness as she spoke about her life. Linda had always felt
        awkward in social situations; this was how her ‘confession-type’ speech
        began. Her husband was a business and finance expert and, because of
        his occupation, he traveled for speaking engagements around the world.
        Even though Linda sometimes accompanied him, she tried desperately
        to avoid going with him whenever she could. In essence, she never
        knew what to say to her husband’s business associates. She felt as out
        of place and awkward as her daughter had in high school.   

      This was Linda before she learned how to stop living in other people's dreams.  Today, Linda is a lawyer teaching law & traveling with her husband whenever she can. I think Julia Roberts could show the changes in this combination of Pretty Woman & Erin Brockovitch-like transformations.
      For George, I had to pick two actors, I'd need a combination of a young Joe Namath or any of the strong ex-football players turned actor & Denzel Washington would work. Since I don't know Joe Namath's career very well, I needed to add Denzel Washington for his ability to show strong emotions which he did so well in his latest film "Flight."  Here's a bit more about George's character:
             George was a strikingly handsome man who
        worked out daily, and owned the muscles to prove it. His friends fondly
        referred to him as the “jolly blond giant.” Unlike most twenty-one year
        old men, George had known what he wanted to do with his life for as
        long as he could remember.
             His father had been an EMT and George wanted to follow in his
        footsteps. George had wanted to go directly into the profession, but his
        father had insisted that he go to college in order to get a well-rounded
        education. Impatient to get started in the field he loved, George became
        a volunteer EMT, worked part-time on weekends and had been looking
        forward to graduating in a few months to start working full-time as an EMT.
            A month before he came in to see me, everything in George’s
        life changed. A call came in for a three-car accident on Interstate 95
        South. He had responded to similar calls in the past, but this time was
        far different for George. An SUV filled with college students crashed
        into a truck, flipped over into oncoming traffic, and was then hit by a
        van. The only survivor in the SUV was the driver who was bruised,
        dazed and drunk.
            George couldn’t get the images of the crash out of his head. He
        had always loved his job as an EMT, but now he suddenly dreaded
        going to work.

     The contradictory combination of George's striking physical strength with the paralyzing fears, phobias & depression would be the challenge for any actor. Denzel Washington could also bring to the screen George's new found passion & purpose which ensued after working on his DPS (Dream Positioning Syatem). 
      I'm not sure who I would pick to play me in a movie. My first thought was Meryl Streep, however, I have not liked her portrayals of therapists in the past. Perhaps Susan Sarandon or Sally Field. Personally, I find most actors & actresses do not do too well as therapists.

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
     This book will teach you how to 'dream it forward' & navigate your way to your dreams at any age regardless of financial, health or personal challenges.
 
6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

    The book was 1st self-published on Lulu. A new edition, supported by my new website, WakeUpAnddreamChallenge.com, was launched  yesterday! Here's a link to the hot off the press press release. Kiwi Publishing is my new publisher, however, I am keeping my publishing rights so that I can still share the profits with the "dream nonprofits" featured in my book. By switching publishers, I was able to significantly lower the price of the book for my readers without lowering the profits shared with the non-profit organizations.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
     The first draft took only a few months to write; however, it lay dormant for a few years before I decided to rewrite & publish it. The revisions & addition of the nonprofit profiles which I added took about a year and a half to two years to complete.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? 

     It is part Chicken Soup for the Soul and Happy For No Reason.

9) Who or What inspired you to write this book?

    Witnessing my clients as they achieved amazing transformations & accomplishments inspired me to write this book. Before I assigned any of my techniques to my clients, I used them myself. I knew that they worked because I saw how they helped me expand my horizons, but I was not stuck before I began using these tools. When I saw how it helped people who had been in dire straights reach their dreams, I knew I needed to share them with a wider audience. I know that it is not a good marketing strategy, however, this book is really appropriate for people from all ages, educational & socioeconomic levels. My college interns find it can help them change their lives. People in mid-life crisis see it as a way to redesign their lives. Retirees see it as a way to find new beginnings.

10) What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? 

 
      Don't let the word challenge stop you from choosing this book to help you reach your dreams. Just by buying the book, you are already joining my challenge to make a difference in the world & helping others reach for their dreams. Although the stories of my clients are inspirational, the techniques are down to earth, easy to understand & accomplish. When you take the time to work on your Dream Positioning System (DPS) you will be amazed at what you may discover about yourself & your aspirations. The techniques will free you & allow you to consider ways to do things you may have never imagined doing before reading the book.
      Thank you again, Sharon! Can’t wait to read your newest book, The Zenful Kitchen.
Be prepared to explore new interesting authors!
Watch next week for these five new authors joining the Blog Hop:  Ashley Fontainne, a new best selling fantasy novelist, if you like dragons & fairies, you will want to explore her books; Smadar Belkind Gerson, a genealogist who also happens to be my daughter, published my grandmother's journal & continues to uncover hidden treasures of family history; Troy Lewis, tells the true story of how a stranger saved the his life & started a chain reaction which has saved the lives of others; Donnetta Quinones, a doctoral student in Psychology whose book is in the planning stages as she completes her degree & helps students reach their potential; & Bruce Judish, who writes historical fiction & critiques Christian fiction. You won’t want to miss reading about these wonderful authors upcoming projects. They will be joining the Blog Hop next Wednesday, December 5th, so be sure to check them out then. 
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