The Twenty-Nine – J.M. Richardson

If you look at J.M. Richardson’s profile picture the first thing you notice is his smile. It screams gentleness with a touch of wittyness and whimsy.  However, there is MORE to him than his picture.  J.M. Richardson is the author of The Twenty-Nine and the up-and-coming book The Apocalypse Mechanism – August 2012.

The Twenty-Nine described by Glenda Bixler:  “A remarkable tale of the potentiality–the reality of our future!”

So humor and whimsy aside, The Twenty Nine is a serious book written by a serious author. Thus, I am very excited to introduce you Mr. Richardson today as Muse In The Valley‘s Author of the Week:

The Interview

What 5 words describe you best?

Educator, writer, husband, father, (boy, this fifth one kills ya) intellectual

Tell us your latest news?

I have two events/signings coming up this summer: one at the Barnes and Noble in Sundance Square in Fort Worth, TX on July 21 at 1 PM, and one on August 18 at the Franklinton, LA library. I will be signing copies of The Twenty-Nine, but also promoting my upcoming August release, The Apocalypse Mechanism.

When and why did you begin writing?

Oh, I think I wrote my first poem in about first grade, and I also remember trying to write a “novel” at the age of about 12. It was a little western bound in brown construction paper that I had frayed along the edges to make it look old…and…western… I’ve wrote poetry and short stories competitively in high school. I tried to start a couple of novels in college, but I did not start serious writing until about six years ago when I began writing The Apocalypse Mechanism. I came to love writing more than I ever knew I could. It’s therapy for me. Helps me release inner frustrations and demons.

What inspired you to write your first book?

The Twenty-Nine is my first published book, but not the first I wrote. It’s inspired by political turmoil that is very much in the news every day. It’s also inspired by Rick Perry, the governor of Texas–a former candidate for President of the United States, who once mentioned that Texas should secede. But the first book I wrote, The Apocalypse Mechanism, is inspired by my love of ancient theology and the connections of those old Middle Eastern religions. It’s also inspired by my fascination with the sophistication of ancient technology.

Do you have a specific writing style?

Kind of. It’s always sort of morphing. I love description, almost to the painfully slow stuff that Steinbeck wrote. But not everyone likes that. Some abhor it. My novels have some deep, slow moments, and I use a lot of description there. But other parts are more fast-paced adventure, and so I cut back on the description and let it flow along. So I use a hybrid of literary fictional word-painting and the pace of an action novel.

Who inspired your main character, Derek, describe him a little?

Derek, to me, is the same kid as millions of other young men that come from broken homes, impoverished, but hard-working families, and an ever-increasingly difficult American economy to live in.  He grows up in rust-belt Cleveland, where his mother was laid off, his father was a dead-beat, and he was just doing what he could to take care of he and his mother.  His mother’s sick, and they have no health insurance, so he ditches the mechanic job for a military career, hoping to make a better living.  he has no idea he’s about to fight in the second American civil war.  Overall, though, he’s a good kid.  He’s a born leader; has a good head on his shoulders.  He’s a little damaged, and we all are, as he comes from a rough family life.  Just striving to find his place in the world.

Give us a blurb about your book The Twenty-Nine, why the title?

Counter-productive partisan politics in Washington have begun to cross the line, and some leaders take drastic measures.  Twenty-nine states out of the fifty secede as they did in 1860, and form a new country called The Republic of America.  Soon, the Republic and the US begin down a path into civil war–American killing American in burning US cities.  

What books have most influenced your life?

I don’t know that I could say that a specific book has ever really influenced my life. I could name several books I like. I love Fahrenheit 451 and Anne Rice‘s Queen of the Damned. I’m a fan of Steinbeck and Stephen King, but I can’t say that there was a book that made me say, “Hey…wow…I’m a changed man.”

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Anne Rice, and it’s not a vampire thing.  I was way into vampires before this recent mainstream Twilight, True Blood, and Vampire Diaries era.  I love Anne Rice’s writing and her style.  I love the complexity of her stories, and how, though it’s supernatural, it all seem to make so much sense.  It’s all so plausible.  I love her darkness.  And it doesn’t hurt that she’s from New Orleans, which is the area I grew up in.

What are your current projects?

Well, The Twenty-Nine got published before The Apocalypse Mechanism, so I had to put the sequel to that, a book I call The Barataria Key, aside to write the sequel to The Twenty-Nine. I’m currently at about 75,000 words with that book, which is called A Line in the Sand, for now at least.

What do you do when you are NOT writing?

Well, I’m a teacher, and I still need the day job for now, so aside from summer and holidays, I’m doing that. I have a wife and two young daughters, so I spend a lot of family time. I play guitar, I like to watch football and baseball. I’m a lover of good beers and enjoy deep intellectual, political, and social discussions. Oh, and I like long walks on the beach…and puppies…

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

Nope, it was pretty air-tight. The Apocalypse Mechanism is going through edits right now, and I’m pretty sure, since it was my first and written quite some time back, that I will be changing a good bit about that one. I don’t know that I could name any specifics at the moment, but they’ll come to me once I get into editing mode.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

Maybe not from writing the book, but I definitely learned a lot from the process of finding a publisher. This industry is cold and cut-throat. It’s so difficult to get the attention of ANYONE that will take you seriously. I think it’s cool that the e-book revolution has inspired so many new, fresh publishers to pop up and challenge the big New York and London publishers. At the same time, the ease of just anyone being able to upload a manuscript to Amazon and Barnes and Noble has flooded the market, and publishers have had to become more selective than ever. This industry is crazy.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Writing is art. So when you hear anyone say that a book was “poorly written” or that some one doesn’t know how to write, don’t listen. That’s like a Monet fan telling Pablo Picasso that his portraits of people were terrible and that it looked like a Kindergartener did them. There is not definition of good art, and there is no definition of good writing. These people sit on their high horses like sentinels, standing watch for “different” styles of writing, ready to defend the language like some holy relic. When it comes down to it, every reader likes a certain type of writing, and rather than say they didn’t care for a book, they pass judgment on it as being a badly written book. So take constructive criticism for what it is, and learn from it, but when it comes to just plain criticism, let it roll off of you.

If you had to give yourself a “theme song” what would it be and why?

The Walyon Jennings song from the Dukes of Hazzard. I grew up in the deep south–southeast Louisiana–and despite the fact that I really don’t listen to a lot of country music or have a pickup truck with a gun rack, there is a part of me that is a fun-loving, light-hearted country boy just floating through this life.

Name three items which need to be with you at all times?

My cell phone, my keys, and my wallet–pretty simple.

What would we find in your junk drawer right now?

Beer coozies, batteries, random buttons and screws, and a million drawings my five-year-old have done because I haven’t had a moment when she wasn’t looking to get rid of some of her masterpieces to make room for the twenty she will draw tomorrow.

Hulk, Spider Man or Iron Man?  Why?

Iron Man. Not only is he virtually indestructible and cool-looking, but he’s also, underneath…what’s the line from The Avengers…a genius, billionaire, philanthropist, playboy.

If aliens landed in front of you and, in exchange for anything you desire, offered you any position on their planet, what would you want?

To be the most popular best-selling author in the galaxy.

If someone wrote about in the newspaper, on the front page, what would the headline say?

Man’s head explodes due to too much thinking!

Where to we go to buy The Twenty-Nine?

Amazon  Barnes and Noble and just about any website that sells books.


J.M. Richardson is a native of southeast Louisiana where he studied education and social sciences, earning his degree from Louisiana State University.  He has been writing for leisure nearly all of his  life, wrote competitively in high school, and had intensive writing coursework in college.   He now resides in the Fort Worth, TX, area with his wife and two daughters where he teaches geography, history, and sociology. ( source:  Winter Goose Publishing )




Find Joshua on:

Facebook  *  Twitter

I want to thank J.M. Richardson for this delightful interview.  Please come back to Muse In The Valley in August when The Apocalypse Mechanism comes out.  It will be my pleasure.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed here please contact me at:

Yann Martel – Author

“I must say a word about fear. It is life’s only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unnerving ease. It begins in your mind, always … so you must fight hard to express it. You must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it. Because if you don’t, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you.”  ~ Yann MartelLife of Pi

Today’s Author of the Week is a bit different. Since I did not have an interview which I conducted, I decided to go with the author of the latest book I read and fell in love with:  Yann Martel, author of Life of Pi.

Life of Pi tells the story of a 16-year-old boy’s survival, after being cast on a lifeboat when the cargo ship his family was on sank into the Pacific.  Written like no other book I have read before, Yann Martel’s style and story telling allowed me to truly expand my love for reading, because reading his book was like taking a walk in a totally different part of the world.  I am now enlightened and inspired.

About Yann Martel

Yann Martel is a Canadian author best known for the Man Booker Prize– winning novel Life of Pi.

Martel was born on June 25th 1963 in Salamanca, Spain, the son of Nicole Perron and Emile Martel. His parents were French-Canadian. His father was posted as a diplomat for the Canadian government at the time of his birth. He was raised in Costa Rica, France, Mexico, and Canada. As an adolescent he attended high school at Trinity College School, a boarding school in Port HopeOntario.

As an adult, Martel has spent time in Iran, Turkey and India. After studying philosophy at Trent University, in Peterborough, Ontario, and doing various odd jobs -tree planting, dishwashing, working as a security guard,  Martel spent 13 months in India visiting masjids, churches, temples and zoos, and spent two years reading religious texts and castaway stories. His first published fictional work, Seven Stories, appeared in 1993.

In addition to Life of Pi, Martel is the prize-winning author ofThe Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios, a collection of short stories, and of Self, a novel, both published internationally. Yann has been living from his writing since the age of 27. He divides his time between yoga, writing and volunteering in a palliative care unit. Yann Martel lives in Montreal with his wife and children.


A few questions from here and there

When asked on an online chat interview how long it took to write the Life of Pi, Yann answers: 

“I did research for six months in India, practical research, then I read on zoos, animal psychology, religions and castaway stories for about a year and a half back in Canada.Then I wrote the thing out. Took me about 1 1/2 years to get to a draft. So 4 years in all. But I loved every minute.”

A question I often ask to the Authors I interview:  Do you have a particular writing routine?

“I have no particular routine. When I’m actually writing, as opposed to researching, I sort of write all day, in a quite inefficient way, mind you, but all day. Which doesn’t mean that I write much. A good day will mean half a page. But I’m in no rush, so I don’t mind my slow pace.” 

When asked:  “When did you decide to become a writer, how did you take that first step?”

“I’d say writing chose me rather than the other way around. It was really the last thing on my list, the only thing that worked for me, that gave me a sense of meaning. I started writing in 2nd year university, when I hadn’t a clue where I was going in life. I wrote a dreadful play, truly something  God awful, but I loved creating, I loved creating a stage and peopling it and giving things to say and do.”

In an interview with BookBrowse, Yann was asked this question, which I think rocks (the Q & the A)

Why the three religions in your book?

“The three religions because I wanted to discuss faith, not organized religion, so wanted to relativize organized religion by having Pi practice three. I would have like PI to be a Jew, too, to practice Judaism, but there are two religions that are explicitly incompatible: Christianity and Judaism. Where one begins, the other ends, according to Christians, and where one endures, the other strays, according to Jews.”

Yann continues to say that he IS a religious person.. in his words:

“.. in a very broad way, and riven with doubts, which is what keeps faith alive, I believe.  I go to mass every Sunday, but love going to mosques too. Muslims pray in a beautiful way.”

People connect with the book in such a personal way because…

 “..(1)  it’s a great yarn, and (2), it goes deep, talks about spirituality in a real, serious, concrete way, untainted by cynicism.

Last but not least, Yann gives his tips to aspiring authors:

“Get it down on the page. Work hard. And then let go. Ask yourself why you want to write. You have to be clear about that.”

If you have not yet read Life of Pi, I highly recommend it.  The book made me think, it made me shudder, it made me cheer Pi Patel on!  I wanted him to survive, to come back, to tell his story, and in the end… he surely did!





If you are an author, and you wish to be interviewed, please send me your press info, bio and website at

My son is actively looking for sponsors to get him to camp this summer.  Summer camp is something William looks forward to every year and it is so good for his self-esteem.  This year I am on sick leave (due to my depression diagnosis), and being a single parent family, you can imagine I cannot put up the whole amount.  Anything you can give would be greatly appreciated.  I’ll even throw in a Dream Interpretation whenever you have a dream!!    Here is a link :

Camp Sponsorships

The Divine Pumpkin – Interview with Hemmie Martin

Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn’t wait to get to work in the morning:  I wanted to know what I was going to say.  ~Sharon O’Brien

Over the past couple of months, I have met many new authors, and I find doing these interviews very inspiring and informative.  So much energy and passion goes into writing, and I have learned, when I read these interviews, that it takes great determination from the day the process starts, the editing, and finally the book release.  Most author’s with new books rely on self-promotion as a tool to get their book out there.

Please welcome Hemmie Martin to Muse In The Valley with open arms. She just released her book The Divine Pumpkin published by Winter Goose Publishing  on May 16th.  Hemmie writes Contemporary Woman’s fiction, and is currently writing her second novel.

Using your initials H & M, describe yourself in 6 words.

Happy, human, habit-forming, musical, mis-trusting & mildly amusing.

In what part of our world do you live?


What do you do when not writing?

I love reading, cooking, listening to music and having coffee with friends.

Where does your creativity come from? 

I believe it comes from being an only child. I would make up games and stories to amuse myself and my dolls.

Can you tell us about any challenges getting you book published? 

Rejections are part of the process and most days I took them in my stride. Writing the synopsis and query letter also presented challenges in their own right. Working with an Editor was liberating, but the process of editing itself was challenging towards the end. I also experienced lack of confidence in myself and my work at times – and I still do!

Would you change anything about your experience?

I wouldn’t change a thing as everything I experienced helped to forge my identity as a writer – even the rejections! I would say that even my periodic lack of confidence ensures that I never become big-headed or over-confident about my abilities.

Can you tell us about your upcoming book? 

‘The Divine Pumpkin’ is about Forensic Nurse Paloma Parker who seems to have her life in order. She is a successful career woman who is intelligent and confident in her abilities, but she just can’t seem to have a meaningful romantic relationship. Her newest patient, an incarcerated juvenile named Ella, has a connection to her that is fully realized when Paloma’s family secret is revealed.  As Ella yearns for inner peace and Paloma searches for love, these two women may just hold the key to each other’s very different kinds of freedom.

Can you share a little of your current work with us, a snippet?

I am currently working on another novel, ‘Over You’, which follows a group of mis-matched people who all have some kind psychological trauma or pain to overcome. It tells of the support they can offer one another, but also the games people play to meet their own needs.

What inspired you to write ‘The Divine Pumpkin’?

I worked as a Forensic Nurse on a Youth Offending Team, which was a fascinating career. I came across many interesting and yet sad cases involving young people. I sometimes experienced internal conflict over how I felt about the offenders, as even though they’d committed offences, they were still young adolescents. ‘The Divine Pumpkin’ explores this area, although the work is fiction and does not relate to one particular offender.

What are your future projects? 

I already have a second novel with Winter Goose Publishing, called ‘Attic of the Mind’, which is due for publication in Feb 2013.

Do you have a “writing ritual”? 

I prefer to write once all my chores are completed, as I find working surrounded by mess doesn’t allow the words to flow. I drink plenty of coffee in the mornings, then earl grey tea in the afternoons. I like something to chew on as I type, preferable jelly beans. I find that my mind can be more alert mid afternoon, but as my daughter’s return from school and college, it’s not the most family friendly time to write. If there is too much noise around me I listen to music on my iPod. Currently I’m loving the Seahorses.

If we were to snoop in your ‘junk drawer’ what would we find? 

You’d find a box with the teeth my daughters ‘gave’ the tooth fairy. Lipsticks, all various shades of brown, skin care samples and empty bottles of perfume. I have a torch there in case of a power cut, and nail files as I like to keep my nails short. I don’t like the clicking sound long nails make on a keyboard.

Do you have anything you wish to share with aspiring authors? Any advice? 

I attend writing conferences and subscribed to two writing magazines which I read religiously. I enter writing competitions and pay for a critique of my work so I could see where I need to improve. I am also an avid reader. A writer needs to be a reader; to drink in the words of others to stimulate the mind – not to plagiarise!

How can we purchase your book? 

I am published by Winter Goose Publishing, and my book can be found on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. It is available in paperback and ebook.

Hemmie Martin spent most of her professional life as a Community Nurse for people with learning disabilities, a Family Planning Nurse, and a Forensic Nurse working with young offenders. She spent six years living in the south of France, and currently lives in Essex with her husband, two teenage daughters, one house rabbit, and two guinea pigs.

Threads of Life – Interview with Jessica Kristie

“The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.”  ~Anaïs Nin

These past few weeks of author interviews have been so inspiring.  I have had the pleasure to meet new friends, new writers who all have a distinct muse of their own.

This week, I have to pleasure to introduce you to Jessica Kristie, author of Threads of Life, and many other books you can discover as you follow the links to her website at the end of this conversation.  You can find her amazon profile here.

Her latest e-book, Weekly Inspirations for Writers & Creators contains:

“Fifty-two topics followed by affirmations and writing prompts, tips and inspiring activities to engage and build confidence. Each week you will have an idea to focus on and a small task to complete that help you in your journey to overcome, and keep creating.”

The interview

If you had to write a short poem to describe yourself, what would you write? 

A great question. All my poems encapsulate pieces of me. We are all filled with so much emotion and strength. Although my poetry is often first person, it is not always a complete reflection of me. It is a reflection of my surroundings and those I have in my life. I would hate to write a poem specifically and completely about me. My guess is, it would contain the words: driven, supportive, caring, and would say I had a lot of love to give.

How did poetry find you, or how did you find poetry? 

Poetry chose me at the young age of ten. I was introduced to it in school and through books like Seuss and Silverstein. There was an instant joy, and through that grew my own desire and voice to write.

What do you love to do when you are not writing? 

I love to be outside and enjoying friends and family. I also love to sing and at one point did theater. I have a creative spirit and look forward to trying new forms of expression.

Where does your creativity come from? 

Originally, I misconstrued my creativity to be a confined space or fleeting muse. I later learned that inspiration can be brought to life and even called upon when needed through my own personal needs. I have discovered inspiration in the strangest things from the tone of someone’s voice to a common kitchen utensil. It is how you choose to look at the things around you. Inspiration is everywhere and you have to decide what that looks like to you.

What book struck you as a child and why? 

I actually read The Hobbit quite young and that book really stood out to me with its visuals and deep characters. That was not the type of book I would normally cling to, but I loved it and read it several times during my junior high and high school years.

What is the last book you absolutely couldn’t put down? 

I do a lot of reading for my current line of work and have got an early read of Prismatic by Sarah Elle Emm. Her book actually comes out this week and is a YA Fantasy. I have not read many YA books and was not sure what to expect. This is the first book in the series and I tell you, I can’t wait till the next one. I am so excited about this series and hope everyone checks it out.

Name a woman who inspired you to be who you are today? 

Maya Angelou is a proud and powerful woman who has been successful in inspiring others, including me, to be strong and keep our creative spirit alive. I have a great love and respect for all she does, not only as a poet but as a woman and human being.

Can you tell us about your book Threads of Life?   

This was an emotional journey for me. I was inspired to write this book after some people in my life confessed to some abusive relationships. My poetry is often a bit dark and I felt so moved by stories of not just physically but emotionally abusive and toxic relationships that so many people I know have found themselves in. The search for love and acceptance is a long road. Dealing with our past and fighting for a better future doesn’t happen overnight, and each of our processes is different.

Threads of Life goes through a series of these types of difficult relationships and the feelings that go along with them. There is a darkness expressed, but also a search for hope and self-acceptance.

I read the poem Onward, The whole poem struck me!  I love the line 

“I feel drained within this sinkhole of madness. But if looking into the tattered reflection that screams back at me won’t halt me in my ridiculous tracks, nothing will”  

The whole piece is very deep and dark, yet I feel a sense of hope.  Can you talk a little about  this poem? 

Onward was the beginning piece because it was that almost rock-bottom feeling. It deals with the issues of being alone, confused, and stuck on the wrong path, knowingly, but still moving forward. We have all been there. That feeling of being trapped is maddening and it is so easy to look past the escape routes when encased in fear and self-doubt.

What are you working on now?   

I am excitedly working on my first novel. I hope to have the first draft done soon and it all completed by the end of this year, with a mid-year 2013 release.

Now for some fun questions! 

Would you say you are a chocolate or vanilla girl? 

Milk-Chocolate all the way. But vanilla is often very refreshing and I wouldn’t turn down someone offering. [Symbol]

What is the weirdest thing you carry in your purse? 

Checking . . . I found an old Easter candy egg and some sweet tarts. Lovely. I would say that is an un-intentional carrying, but carrying none the less.

What is your “theme song” the one you live your life by?

Oh my, I have yet to deem any tune my theme song. Music does play a heavy roll in my life and a tremendous source of inspiration. Let me work on that one and get back to you [Symbol]

Do you love to write free hand, with a pen or pencil, or on a computer?  What are your writing rituals? 

I use all options and do spend a lot of time with a pad of paper and a pen. I LOVE pencils and when I can keep one around and sharpened, I prefer to use that over a pen. I also write on my computer but do seem to write free hand first for my poetry then transfer over later. Writing outside is my favorite but it happens less than I would like.

Do you have anything you wish to share with aspiring writers? 

This business can be hard, thankless and unforgiving but when you write for you and no one else, you can maintain your joy through the difficult moments. Find your voice, read, support others and be strong. There is a place for you that is perfect in this industry. Find your niche and stay inspired.

How can we buy your books?

Weekly Inspirations for Writers & Creators is available only in eBook, but the others are available in print and eBook at all major retailers including Amazon and Barnes & Noble.   Threads of Life is also available on

Jessica Kristie is the author of several poetry books, and the co-creator for the ArtPlatform book Inspiration Speaks Volume 1 which is now available in print and eBook through all major retailers, and benefits She is also the founder of the Woodland, CA, poetry series, Inspiring Words—Poetry in Woodland.

Dreaming in Darkness is Jessica’s first volume of poetry; the winner of the 2011 Sharp Writ Award and nominated for a 2011 Pushcart Prize. Jessica’s second book, Threads of Life, is available through Winter Goose Publishing along with her eBook offering to writers, Weekly Inspirations for Writers & Creators.

Jessica has been published in several online and print magazines such as Zouch, Muse, A Writer’s Point of View and TwitArt Magazine.  You can find all of Jessica’s appearances under her Press Page at

Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Jessica Kristie discovered her passion for writing as a child. Her inspiration comes in many forms, often inspired by just a word or quickly fleeting emotion. Through years of writing she has been able to capitalize on her experiences, whether they are painful or joyous. She hopes to draw you close to her world through shared emotion while inspiring you to forgive, remember, and heal.

Follow Jessica:

Twitter: @jesskristie


I want to thank Jessica for taking the time to answer my questions for Muse In The Valley.  I wish her success in everything she takes on.. and keep on writing my friend.  Please come back anytime!



The Miracle Workers Handbook – Interview with Sherrie Dillard

Seven Levels of Power and Manifestation of the Virgin Mary

Last week, Sherrie Dillard wrote a guest post for Muse In The Valley, Nightly Encounters of the Divine Kind, in this post she discusses how Divine encounters often inspire and awaken us to new perspectives and possibilities that are like a passage in which transformation can take place. She states:

“One of the ways that we are spiritually guided, receive direction and help is through our dreams. Angels, Mary, and other spiritual beings and teachers come to us while we sleep. When the curtain of consciousness slips away at night, we are more able to allow and receive visits from the spiritual realm.”

Today, our interview is about her new book :  The Miracle Workers Handbook – Seven Levels of Powers and Manifestation of the Virgin Mary .  Find out what inspired Sherrie to write this book, some of her challenges, and favorite things.  Also, note that you do not have to be religious or spiritual to receive Mary’s message (as Sherrie notes).

How would you describe yourself in one sentence? 

Hmm …I’m a piece of light, a piece of dark and everything in-between.

You are a woman of many talents and gifts. How did writing become part of your experience? 

From a young age, I wanted to be an artist. In my early twenties I made my living as a fiber artist, weaving and painting silk. A car accident ended my short career. I love creating.  But, I never thought of myself as a writer. One day about eight years or so ago I was standing in my backyard and I had one of those intuitive, electrifying and get your attention moments. I felt a woman in spirit standing in front of me and more or less instructing me to write. I said to her okay “but what am I supposed to write about”? Soon after I received the idea that was to become my first book, Discover Your Psychic Type, I have been writing ever since.

You have written several books, including Discover Your Psychic Type: Developing and Using Your Natural Intuition, and Love and Intuition: A Psychic’s Guide to Creating Lasting Love what inspired you to write The Miracle Workers Handbook: Seven Levels of Power and Manifestation of the Virgin Mary

I feel like the book is a spiritual download of Mary’s energy. Many people who have read it have told me the same thing. As wo-wo as it sounds, I felt “ lead” to write it. I knew that my publisher would not accept the book.  I was going out on a limb writing about Mary. I can now say that I have been rejected by the Christians and by the Pagans. I had to find another publisher.

My books on intuition and psychic development have been selling well. In the world of marketing and book sales it was not a great idea to verge off this sure path. In this book I talk about developing divine intuition, synchronicity and communicating with angels and with Mary.  For some it is difficult to understand Mary as a nondenominational spiritual being, who we can personally connect with and be guided by in this way.

Can you describe your connection to the Virgin Mary?

Since childhood I have had a strong personal connection to Mary. Not in the religious way. I am not Catholic and did not grow up knowing Mary as a religious icon. Mary has come to me in times of pain and confusion, comforting, healing and guiding me.  She has been a guiding force in my work as a psychic and medium.

Is there a message in your book you want your readers to grasp? 

You do not have to be religious, spiritual, enlightened, good or wise to receive Mary’s grace and experience miracles.  When you invoke her presence, she is present. Within the events of Mary’s life there is a secret and powerful code that you can tap into. Her path is a blueprint for living within grace, synchronicity, intuitive awareness and the miraculous. It is fun and wonderful.

 What are the “7 levels of power”?

The seven levels of Mary’s life are, her virginity, the encounter with Archangel Gabriel, the miraculous conception, her pregnancy, the journey to Bethlehem, the birth of Jesus and her assumption.

The corresponding power associated with each level is: 
  1. Mary’s virginity: Symbolic of the pure essence within each one of us- our spirit, untouched, unaffected by the material external world.
  2. Encounter with Archangel Gabriel:  Our innate ability to intuitively connect with the angelic realm and with Mary through our divine intuition.
  3. Miraculous Conception : Our ability to receive divine ahha moments and invoke grace
  4. Pregnancy: Holding on to our inner truth, even when we do not yet see the outer evidence of grace at work in our lives.
  5. The journey to Bethlehem: Being guided by signs and synchronicities, becoming aware of divine direction.
  6. The Birth: Experiencing, noticing and acknowledging the miraculous as it makes its way into our day to day concerns.
  7. Assumption:  Activating the power of our spirit in the world, the emergence of our spiritual gifts- the ability to heal, experience visions, refine intuition and psychic awareness, become a channel of the divine

What books have influenced you the most? 

So many, I like the writings of the Saints, Rumi, Emerson, Joel Goldsmith, Caroline Myss and The Autobiography of a Yogi by Yogananda is an all-time favorite.

What are you currently reading, or what was the last book you have read?

I usually read a few books at a time. I have been reading the Hunger Games trilogy and the poems of Hafiz (What a combination)

What projects are you working on now? 

I am writing some articles about Mary and thinking about maybe hosting a radio show. Undecided, but I am also leaning toward writing about the how intuition can change our lives and help us to heal.

What do you find challenging about writing? 

I love the writing. It is the marketing of books that is a challenge for me. Publishers expect authors to do a lot of promotion on their own. I do not feel as if I am very good at this.

You are a psychic/medium, does this affect your writing in any way?

Absolutely, most of what I write I receive intuitively- I still have to work with the information but most of my ideas come through me, grab me and don’t want to let me go till I write them out.

Now for some fun questions:

If I were to walk into your office or writing space, what would I find? 

Lots of window, quiet, my computer and a chair.

Name the song which describes you the most? 

Tough one….maybe the Cosmic Game by Thievery Corporation

If you could be an animal, what would you be? 

A bird or dolphin- I love the water and the skies

Name 5 of your favorite things: 

Walking in the woods

Being close to water or swimming

My family

My dogs

Giving readings

Let us know how we can purchase your new book: 

Most Bookstores and online at: and Barnes & Noble 

Thank you so much Sherrie for sharing you insights with us at Muse In The Valley.  I wish you all the best on your journey with your books, and future projects.  It is such an honor and blessing for me to have you here.


Sherrie Dillard is an author, psychic-medium, counselor and teacher. Psychic since childhood, she has been a professional psychic for over twenty years and has clients in Europe, Latin America, South America, Australia, Canada, the Middle East as well as the United States. Featured on television, radio and print for her work a psychic detective and medium, Sherrie has used her psychic abilities to uncover information in murder and missing person investigations for police departments in California, North Carolina and Florida, most notably working with the Raleigh NC police detectives, in solving the Stephanie Bennett cold case murder. She has taught intuition development classes at Duke University and her passion for the fusion of intuition, spirituality and conscious self growth have made her a popular speaker and teacher at retreats and conferences both nationally and internationally. Sherrie holds a B.S. In Psychology and M.Div. In New Thought pastoral counseling. Originally from New England she now lives in Durham N.C. She is an avid, swimmer and can be found wandering along the rivers and mountains of the area with her two dogs.

Sucker Punched – Tom E. Carsley

Introducing author Tom E. Carsley.  I met Mr. Carsley through social media. I started reading his blog, and the rawness of his thoughts had me very interested in the man behind the writing.  He recently published Sucker Punched through Amazon, and the cover itself speaks a thousand words.

NEW!! His Latest creations are AVAILABLE

Paraphrasing his Blog Spot bio, Tom was a child of the 70’s born in Los Angeles.  He was a child of the U.S. Army, so his stay in L.A. was brief, as he traveled around the United States with his family.  He followed his childhood dream and became a U.S. Soldier himself for just over a decade. He now lives in Georgia with his family: – his wife of 11 years and his children by his side, he now creates stories that will shake you to the core.

This quote from Mr. Carsley’s facebook page caught my eye recently:

Ya know, I wanna be like the bad boy writers of the past, Hemingway, Twain, Thompson, Poe, I wanna be like them…not these Starbucks metro-sexual self proclaimed intellectual writers in cardigans and smart loafers…..I want to return to the drunk adventurist wild game hunter that seduced women, drank whiskey, smoked cigars then sometimes wrote.
~Tom E. Carsley

Describe yourself in 5 words:

A face made for radio.

How did you discover your love for writing?

As a kid I always made up stories. As a teen I wrote some short war stories but gave it all up when adulthood settled in and had to work for a living. After writing a few articles for a local paper in Florida and essays for college years later the desire to write came back on strong. At least older I have a life of experience to look back on. Spent the last couple of years writing to build ability and what I hope is a stand-out from the crowd voice.

What do you do when you are not writing?

Taken up some minor gardening the last couple years as well as raising a few chickens in the backyard. Right now Little League has started up and my son Tommy is a pitcher and my little girl, Analucia, is starting her first year so that is keeping the family busy. I do a lot of daydreaming as well.

Who inspires you?

Fighters. People with true grit and desire. People of action because they motivate me to action as well. Otherwise I procrastinate way too much if left to my own devices. Idle hands do the devils work, ya know.

What book struck you as a child/teen and why?

H.G Wells, The Time Machine. Don’t know why really but it has always stayed with me from way back in about 4th grade. In my teens I was all about Stephen Kings books with one of his stories written under the name Bachman staying with me, The Long Walk, very disturbing. Also in mid-teens until now the works of Robert E. Howard has been of great influence.

What is the last book you read?

Not even going to count from all the writing guides I’ve read the last 2 years. Last book I read was Princess of Mars because of the film, John Carter of Mars being released.

Can you tell us a little about your book Sucker Punched?

Sucker Punched is about a possible future of America written in a pulp fiction style that picks up on social issues of today and expands them into what may become of us.

In the book I put much blame on the citizens lack of truth seeking and a desire by far too many people to be given rather than earn, taken to the point that they become willing to kill their neighbors for a soft living. As if life is something owed just for showing up.

Education, family, community, national defense and welfare of the nation as a whole are meaningless in the face of instant gratification.

The political classes help create and manipulate an ignorant self-centered electorate for their own wants of absolute power.

From there genocidal civil war in order to install a dictatorship is a short step away as the story follows a father and daughter, thy only survivors of their family into hiding and survival in a country turned against itself.

Where did the inspiration for the book cover come from?

I started asking myself questions about things I see happening in this country, for instance, how the Democrat Party has become the beneficiaries of 93% of the black demographic vote even though the Democrats are the enslavers and ant-civil rights party. Why am I allowed to vote for any political party I want but a black person had better vote Democrat or else they get punished by their peers. Why is that?

How the heroes of the Democratic Party of today are people like Margaret Sanger, the eugenics following creator of Planned Parenthood.  Bill Ayers, Cloward-Piven, anti-military people, anti-Constitution minded, Socialist and Communists all identify with the Democrat Party. Always the blame America First crowd. Whatever the bad in the world for them the U.S. is somehow responsible. All speak of tearing down the institutions of the nation to build something else.

But what is it they want to build? Lenin, Pol Pot, Mao, Hitler, Che and Kim Jong all tore down their countries and look what they did. 170 million people killed. Bill Ayers’ group The Weather Underground expected they would have to kill 25% of Americans once taking power. Glad they didn’t.

Looking at the destruction of the black family and community under Democrat Party policies. Education, family, community and national identity ties had been wiped away, a wedge and for all practical purposes Self-Segregation has swept the black community. I had to ask way, how, who? What is the end goal?

Then add in the never ending rolling machine of power through government. Enrichment by policy writing for the elite and their buddies. Wipe away the private sector class and replace it with a public sector one, one that is dependant of the proliferation of government to sustain it.

There are many real life aspects packed in Sucker Punched and I hope that the story fleshes them out well for readers.

What are your future projects?

I am working on a war story set during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. A huge novel called Lone Wolf which is finished and going through the revision stages. Also hopefully a couple more How-To books and a start up sc-fi & fantasy eMagazine. All for Amazons Kindle.

5 things you would like to accomplish in the next 5 years.

A successful writing career beginning or established. Family time spent traveling and creating memories.  Oh and getting National Book Tour fit. HA!

Do you have anything you wish to share with aspiring writers?  Any advice?

Practice. Like all things in life no one is just born with ability. Keep doing it and growing. Find what works for you and develop yourself. Nothing I write now resembles what I was writing two years ago or more. And I hope a few years as the edge is honed I can look back to now and say they same thing.

Never read anything that says how so-and-so writes. It won’t matter because every writer will have different ways to make it happen. Find yours.

Learn to edit your own work. Edit it several times. Then get a professional to look it over as well.

How can we purchase your Book?

All my work is available for Amazon Kindle readers exclusively right now. My Amazon profile is: )

Thank you very much Tom for taking the time to get to know you more.  Continue creating, as your writing takes on a life of its own.

Note:  All links to social media are tagged above, except for Twitter, so you can follow Tom on Twitter here .


Whimsical Writing

Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depth of your heart; confess to yourself you would have to die if you were forbidden to write.  ~Rainer Maria Rilke

For the first time today, I am calling myself a writer.  I’ve been writing since I was able to hold a pen.. (and just maybe longer than that, but that is another story for another day) ..the act of writing gives me great joy.. I remember in grade 4 just copying texts after texts loving the feel of the pen or pencil on paper.. shaping my letters just so..  I must admit, I love everything “stationary” from pretty paper, to colorful fine tip markers.. I have a love for paper and pens…

As I got older, my grade 6 teacher gave us a task to start keeping a journal to improve our French writing.  I started the journal that week, and I have never stopped.  The ironic thing about this, is our teacher, never followed up on the project.  Never asked to see what we have written, so my French journal turned into an English one.

I must have over 50 books filled with stuff I have written, besides all the pieces of cardboard and loose-leaf I doodle poems on.  Most of my writing stems from personal experience.  My moods, my life, my journey.  I not written many stories, although my English teacher in University said I was top of his class when it came to essay writing.

I am not a really good “focused” writer, however, I do focus when I write.. Does that make sense?  I do not  pay attention to perfection as much as I pay attention to the feeling, the emotion or the message I wish to convey.  I write like I talk, and talk like I write.  Like this writing experience is one long journey into diaries.

As I write, and read other’s writing, I see the importance of proof-reading and editing, although I do not spend as much time doing so as I should be.  If I wish to be published someday, I must find focus and remember who is reading me.  I remember my teacher in University telling me.  “Who is your audience?  Remember them as you write.  Be considerate  of the audience you are writing for.  It can change the form of how you write.”   Thus, if I am  writing for a group of CEO’s  I wouldn’t be writing the same way as I  would for, lets say, a group of nuns!  .. Yet, I do not write for CEO’s or NUN’s do I?  Maybe, maybe not!

What I know for sure at the moment, is, yes I write for you!!, but most importantly, I write for me.  It gives me this enormous freedom to write.  To tell a story… even though it is non-fiction.  Will I even write fiction one day?  I don’t know.  My son seems to be the one with the greatest ability in the family to write from imagination.  Myself, I usually write what comes from my heart.

Its like I have this need to put it all down on paper (or screen) to tell the world I am here!! Maybe this is just EGO and all this will change one day…

But I do hope, in the meantime, you enjoy my musings.. because I certainly do.

Happy Writing!