Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Ms Rasheed writes children's books. From A NEW HOME FOR HER CUBS, the tale of a lioness searching for a peaceful and safe home to raise her family, to the deceptively impressive BROKEN VOICES, she artistically conveys a message of hope and love for children of all ages and, yes, abilities and disabilities.
BROKEN VOICES is a celebration of differences and acceptance. Written for children and young adults, this story deserves to be read by every one of us, regardless of age. It is a story of courage and how the only chains binding us are in our minds, and once we slip those chains, we become victorious.
Though we may believe she is a relative newcomer to novels, Ms Rasheed has been writing what we read for longer than one would expect. She has been a ghostwriter and editor, as well as author of a number of articles for Authorme, Demand Studios and Quality Gal.
Ms Rasheed's voice is powerful, yet with a gentleness that snuggles you next to your child in bed, sharing her marvelous tales and creating lifelong memories and smiles.
Q) What were the first books that captured your imagination and gave you the thought you might like to write?
A) As a child, some of the first books that I loved were the old time favorites like Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, The Cat in the Hat, Tom Sawyer and Chicken Little come to mind. I loved stories that made you giggle and those with a happy ending. At thirteen, it seemed to me that reading and writing went together like peanut butter and jelly; you couldn’t have one without the other. Though I always loved reading, it wasn’t until I wrote a short story for extra credit for English class that got me interested in writing. When I saw that big fat A plus on my work, I was hooked. The teacher liked my story and thought I did an excellent job. So, it wasn’t necessarily the books that inspired me to write, it was the first A I received in creating and writing a story. It was like that one particular teacher was telling me that I had talent and she was impressed. Perhaps now that I think about it, she was grading me on my creativity and story idea, because I hadn’t even begun to learn the proper essentials of story writing. That did not come until much later. But, that first A is what lit the fire in me to write. It gave me confidence in myself at the age of thirteen.
Q) Here comes the obvious question. Why children's books? And, given your skill at creating and telling such masterful stories, have you considered other genres?
A) I didn’t always write children stories. That did not occur until after I took a course in writing for children and teens from the Institute of Children’s Literature. Before that, my short stories that I wrote for fun or as a hobby consisted of light romantic situations that were geared toward young adults in relationships. That particular writing venue came from me reading lots of Harlequin Romance books. In my stories that never took off, because they have been long forgotten about, my characters were African American. I love writing short stories for children, because for me they are easier to create and less time consuming. However, I could consider writing in other genres if a particular idea took me by storm the way writing for children has. That has not happened in this stage of my life, not like it did when I was a teen. With the children genre, I feel that I have found my nitch and I am quite comfortable in it. Before, writing was a hobby, but today it is my life.
Usually, when someone is filled with such passion and compassion, someone instrumental in their life planted the seed. For you, who was that person?
A) I really can’t name a particular person who I can say was instrumental in planting that seed of compassion, except for my mother who was a very compassionate and caring person. However, I can remember as teen seeing commercials on TV about the poor and destitute children in other countries. Seeing kids with torn clothes and not enough food to eat, and seeing insects flying around their faces broke my heart. Even then I knew it should not be that way. I was wishing that I could adopt all of them, bringing them home to live with me. However, I was a humanitarian at heart, because little ole me couldn’t do anything in reality to make a difference. The only thing I could do was write about it, but that contribution didn’t occur until much later in my life, when I jotted down my point of view, informing the world that children are still suffering, children too destitute to even have dreams of a better tomorrow. On my website blog, I have other articles on this topic.
Q) You just attended your first book signing in Washington, D.C. How did it feel meeting some of the folks who buy and read your work?
A) Although I am an author with six published books; my latest book “Broken Voices,” which is published by New Line Press, really opened doors for me as an author. I have never attended a book signing, or been interviewed before with the rest of my books. I was in 7th Heaven when invitations started coming in. Actually, I felt like a star at the Academy Awards. It was an awesome feeling standing there shows casing and talking about all of my books at the library event. It took me two weeks to prepare, getting all of my supplies in order so that I could set up my table. It was very exciting. At last, I was making my debut as an author and the library event was my red carpet. At the end of the event, I walked away feeling accomplished, motivated and inventive. I was a bona fide author. To all of those who write, I say hold on to your dreams and don’t let go of them.
Q) The concept of books is evolving. Most of the time, when discussing the advent of Ebooks, the talk overlooks the feel of your child or grandchild on your lap sharing a book together. What is your take on the future of printed books?
A) Even in this modern world of technology, and staying up with the changing times and trends, I must admit that I am a bit old fashion or old school as one would say. There is nothing like having a child sit on your lap listening to a story being read while they turn the pages, or reading a story such as, “The Monster at the End of the Book” to a classroom full of preschoolers, and watching their faces as they anticipate the teacher turning the page. Regardless of our changing times, I believe old fashion paper bound books will never be obsolete. I don’t see anything wrong with e-books; it gives authors and readers options. For myself, I am pleased that all of my books can be bought as either an e-book or a print copy, because it gives potential buyers choices. However, I don’t think that libraries or book stores will ever do away with paper bound books. There would be too many empty shelving units and a lot of Kindle files to upload or download. Where and how would they store all these titles? How would customers browse before they buy? How would you go about checking out an e-book at the library, would you still need a library card? Even in the 21st century, there are some things that just shouldn’t be changed.
Q) What advice or encouragement can you offer those who have a story to tell, but have yet to put pen to paper?
A) My advice to those who have something to say, but has yet to write it all down, I say “get to writing!” A lot of people fear writing because of all of its mechanics. But, the most important factor of writing is getting started. You don’t have to worry about making it perfect the first time. What is important is the fact that you must write your thoughts and ideas down, even though they may be jumbled up and confusing. This is your first draft. It may take 3 and 4 drafts before you have everything down the way you want it to be. You should not be under any pressure because you aren’t working under a deadline. If there are errors, don’t be concern, for you can always go back and correct them later once you have a draft in place. Just remember, all writers, new and old are always tweaking that manuscript before it is sent to a publisher. But, the main thing is to get started on the writing process. A writer turned author has a lot to look forward to, even if the road to success is a difficult one. But, believe me when I say the journey is well worth all your efforts when you go from being a writer to becoming an author. It all begins with that first draft. You have to write it. You have to begin the writing process.
And Mr. Ratcliffe is hardly alone in this 'groundbreaking' information.
While Mr. Ratcliffe expected theoretical and philosophical stoning, what he found was an ally in none other than legendary British astronomer Sir Patrick Moore. Together they coauthored "The Static Universe" which deals a devastating blow to the notion of universal expansion.
What drew my layman's attention to Mr. Ratcliffe was this simple and beautiful summation: "We don’t need vast banks of supercomputers linked to radio telescopes in an array reading 100 billion deep sky signals a second in order to find intelligence greater than our own.
Just look carefully at the blossom of an orchid; the antennae of a moth; the structure of a crystal; the surface of the Sun; the movement of a cat; and the rings of Saturn."
Q) To ask what filled you with the passion to study beyond man's theoretical teachings would, no doubt, be a book in and of itself. So, allow me to ask, why go out on a philosophical limb and publish your findings? It took a lot of courage.
A) No, it was unavoidable. I was a pressure cooker and publication was a relief valve. Courage? Not much. I am financially independent, so my personal comfort is not threatened by the pedagogues who rule the practice of physics, and especially of cosmology. I have colleagues who have been barred from observatories, had publication refused, had research funding withdrawn, lost jobs, even been chased from their country of birth, all because they insisted on publicly announcing what they had seen in the heavens, and which did not fit the preferred model. They have so much courage it makes my eyes water. They almost literally put their lives on the line. They are the Galileos of our time.
Q) You wrote this: "I want to put the physical back into physics. We will certainly explain far less of the perceived Universe if we do as I suggest, but we will explain it in a fundamentally better way." That statement can be perceived as reaching right into every science classroom in our educational systems. What do you believe is necessary to return education to teaching fact over theory? Theory, after all, is far more entertaining.
Q) An opponent of the "Big Bang", can you briefly explain why you believe this theory is held onto so strongly?
A) Professor Don Scott told me once, "The problems with cosmology and astrophysics in the modern era are not scientific so much as sociological." Big Bang Theory is a faith-based system. People believe it because they want to believe it, not because they have been convinced by the supporting data. When Einstein was ready to write down what was to become his General Theory of Relativity (GRT), he found that the mathematics required by such a concept were quite beyond him. He consequently engaged the services of his friend, mathematics professor Marcel Grossman, to construct the mathematical formalism. Grossman felt for reasons we can only speculate about that the best way to achieve this was to use a new and little understood arcane mathematical language called Differential Geometry. It is estimated that when GRT was published in 1915, only about a dozen specialist meta-mathematicians in the whole world could decipher the maths. Yet before long, Einstein was the focus of intense international adulation by millions of people. Since only a minute fraction of those fans could understand the theory, there had to be another reason for the adulation. It was not the workings or the plausibility of the theory that impressed people so much that they created from it an enduring dogma. It was a psycho-social imperative that has characterised all widely defended dogma, including Big Bang Theory of course, which is the offspring of GRT. Once the new dogma has become entrenched within the educational system, it is done and dusted. Universities (mostly inadvertantly) become in effect propaganda machines, and produce scientist who quite frankly cannot practice or teach physics any other way. If, as in the case of GRT and later with Big Bang Theory and Black Hole theory, the protagonists have seductive charisma (which Einstein, Gamow, and Hawking, respectively, had in abundance) then the theory, though not the least bit understood, becomes the darling of the media. GRT and Big Bang Theory are sacrosanct, and it's most certainly not because they make any sense. In fact, they have become the measure by which we sanctify nonsense.
Q) You adhere to the classical approach to space science. Everything you do is based upon observation, not esoteric theory. I suspect someone in your life helped to provide such a 'feet on the ground' attitude. Who was it?
A) Initially, my father. He was a nuts-and-bolts physicist. His motto in life was "No hocus-pocus." There is a beauty intrinsic to Newtonian Mechanics that emulates the beauty of nature in the world around us, and even more compelling is the fact that it works so well. The whole of Newton's monumental "Principia" can be understood and put into practice with just high school mathematics. My father explained nature to me in Newtonian terms, and it stuck.
Q) May we look forward to another book from you in the near future?
A) Yes, I have started a third book, entitled "Stephen Hawking Smoked My Socks!" Watch this space.
Her book, "Illustrated Guide to Healthy Happy Eating - For All Blood Types," though currently out of print (Limited copies of the second edition are still available from her for less than 1/4 of that price including postage) sells used on Amazon.com for a whopping $195.00. How's that for a testament to supply and demand? More importantly, that fact should serve to draw notice this lady knows what she's talking about.
Sue's enthusiasm for blood type eating has resulted in a wealth of practical information. She shares this freely with everyone by means of magazines, newspapers, radio broadcasts and workshops. Sue also shows us how to find our own cures in the kitchen for common ailments like coughs and colds, hormonal upsets, digestive disorders, arthritis or aches and pains.
But Sue doesn't stop there. Residing in Cape Town, South Africa, with her husband Jim, Sue treks to remote African villages (and many other parts of the world) where she educates people on nature's foods available around them, and how to grow food sources such as Artemesia, a plant research has shown combats malaria.
Sue can be contacted through her web site http://www.naturefresh.co.za/
Q) The obvious question should be asked first, I suppose. When did you become interested in improving your and others health, and what was the impetus which drove that interest to a passion you have devoted your life to?
Sue) When your baby son nearly dies from a series of respiratory collapses and antibiotics make it worse, you wake up. Homeopathy saved the day, with a few white pills that matched the symptoms. Anton is now a towering slab of muscle in his 30's. He eats for blood type A and so does his father. When they don't, they complain of fatigue and have learnt that they are different from O type Mom and daughter Vivienne. (Thank you Peter D'Adamo for that!)
The black Zulu people called me "Sangoma" as a child. They saw something in me that they recognized as an innate healer. We made porcelain clowns for a living for many years and I loved working with minerals and formulating. After my husband Jim became ill from a bacterial infection and the stress of feeding the family from hand to mouth took its toll, he started to get paralysis attacks and painful joints. A relative who followed the Adelle Davis protocol insisted he needed calcium. He recovered with a concoction of calcium lactate and cider vinegar. Yuk! 14 years ago there were no good calcium supplements on the market, so after that our pharmaceutically pure calcium and magnesium powders used for porcelain were put to good use. In no time I had formulated an ideal supplement and a few years later it showed up in a survey as being the best formulation at the lowest price per dose. I bought and read all the books I could find on homeopathy, reflexology, iridology and nutrition. I became a pain in the ass "authority" on how to fix body parts! It paid off, with a healthy family and now we all walk our talk. I have been accused of being too enthusiastic, too passionate by those who cannot keep up with me.
Sue) Good luck to them! That is nothing compared to doctors who are paid to "practice" on people and then I am asked to sort out the mess. I have devoted my life to research and have a good working knowledge of medical matters. I test out theories, trial formulations, claims and cures constantly even at my own expense to get to grips with how a human being ticks. To me it's not about making money from sick people and causing them to get sicker. It's not about claiming your line of products to be the cure-all. Sooner or later the vendors of "snake oil" trip over their own shoelaces. People feel so bad because they eat so bad. I tried to change that, so at whatever price my book is sold, it provides a few keys to good health. Every page is illustrated with full colour photographs I took myself. I did the graphics, typesetting and the layout. It's a piece of me. Priceless at any price.
Q) In today's world seemingly filled with the philosophy of 'get what you can,' you don't. On your web site you freely share articles on how to improve our lives. The topics range from a deworming recipe to how food can make us feel sexy. Why do you offer so much of your research for free?
Sue) I take no anxious thought for my life: what I should eat or what I wear. We are provided for - however, where ever. I take more anxious thought about gluten, trans-fatty acids and too much sugar! Being a community worker, I have never received direct payment. My life is about love and service. Too good to be true? That is the policy statement for our company called Nature Fresh that we registered in 1997: love and service. The cheapie Chinese porcelain dolls destroyed our livliehood and by then I was already making fluoride free toothpaste and campaigning against killer chemicals in our water supply. When Christ healed the sick did he first ask for credit card details? Do you receive a bill in the post after your prayers have been answered?
Q) Another curious question. What's it like working with small African villages, knowing when you leave, you leave the residents with the ability to increase their chances for survival.
Sue) You don't. Most people are stubborn, lazy, unappreciative and more interested in free hospital medicines. They spend their pennies on white bread and bottles of Coke because they try to copy us. Every 30 seconds somebody dies of Malaria somewhere in the world. But many die every second in ignorance of their Godliness. They kill each other too, just because of a difference of opinion. Can medicinal plants change that? Bill Gates set the stage by trying to provide artemenisin, a synthetic version of the plant extract to help the situation. The mosquitoes became resistant to it. But not to the plant itself. We also use olive leaves. Both these herbs deal with microbes and parasites. I put together a remedy and included them with other anti-microbials. Over the years I have given black people the parasite remedy if they don't feel well. When they come back and demand more, I get curious. I was told that they had been HIV positive, but are now HIV negative. Yes, there is a big parasite problem!
Q) Will we soon see another book by Sue Visser?
Sue) Sure, help yourself, its on my website for free. I did a 16 page book called: "Yummy Yummy" for children. Mom can show her kiddies about fruit and vegetables with the furry characters that really love their broccoli and spinach. You can download the PDF's or read it on the computer screen. I would really appreciate some feedback. The idea of another book never leaves my mind. The camera is always clicking. Exciting cuisine that suits all blood types and is gluten free, helps to fight cancer and boost the immune system rolls out constantly. Articles and recipe pages as well as helpful protocols for just about any ailment are available as zip folders on the website. When it comes to publishing another book and financing it or schlepping around for printing deal? It was a hard time staying out of jail the first time, so probably not in this lifetime.
Friday, September 3, 2010
Humorist and romance author, businesswoman, entrepreneur, publisher, graphic designer, and blessed with eyes so blue you swear you can see a Caribbean morning in them, I suspect only scratches the surface.
Her work has garnered her the Outstanding Author Award, inclusion in an Author’s Hall of Fame, Blogger’s Choice Award nominee, listed as a Foremost Domestic Humorist in North America, and MOTHERHOOD IS NOT FOR WIMPS, a book she co-wrote with her sister Beverly Rose Hopper, has spawned a motherhood support group of the same name.
Ms Burr holds the distinction of being a best-selling author on both Amazon.com and Mobipocket.com as well as the Best of Silicon Valley Books. She has made repeated appearances on TV and radio, and her writing has been excerpted in national and international magazines and newspapers. Apparently success can be measured by how often others want to ‘borrow’ what you have written.
But what I think stands out about Ms Burr is her ability to relate to not just a woman’s frustrations and turn them into a smile, but to know, understand, and celebrate the inner desires of today’s working woman and homemaker. Her books connect individually with each reader, leaving them satisfied and accepting it is okay to be whoever you are and joyously live life. http://www.catherineburr.com/
Q) What books or stories captivated you as a child and first put the thought in your mind you would like to write? What kind of stories did you initially pen?
A) I initially penned parenting humor because as a mom I think it’s important to see the humor in raising children. Moms like to talk about our kids and love to relay stories of our kids from diapers to weddings. As my own children grew, I found myself writing about relationships, marriage, and the suspense of life. I was able to seek out other genres and explore areas beyond motherhood. Growing up, I loved series books, anything that had the same characters from one story to the next. I liked (still do) when you fall in love with characters and you can follow them through from one journey to the next.
Q) Finding conveyable humor within the daily lives of mothers isn’t always easy. Many have tried and failed. A small few have succeeded. You have risen to the top. Where does your ability to smile at the curves in life come from? Obviously, someone very special to you implanted at least a part of that in you and your sister. Who was it?
A) I was blessed with a mother-in-law who gave me some advice I always remembered. She taught me to see the humor in raising children. Believe me, when you are head over heels with laundry, bills, soccer cleats, dinner, it’s not always easy to do that, but humor helps the day go by a little easier when raising kids.
Q) Ironically, being a successful author about families requires your being absent from your own family. How do you cope during those separations?
A) I think authors travel less and less with the new generation of cyber tours, blog tours, and with the lessening of brick and mortar book shops, authors are staying closer to home so the times separated from one’s family is not what it used to be for some writers. I think for authors like anyone that has to encounter traveling and maintaining family life, it’s good to have a support system (and to use an internet phone like Skype!)
A) I created the Catherine Harris character, a female version of James Bond, because I had an idea in my head for this female sleuth to be chasing spies and finding romance along the way. Harris was a romance writer who got involved with spies and generally I was able to explore romantic suspense areas that I previously had not written about. I stayed true to my female characters, spy chaser or not, to be romantic and always with a sense of humor. Strong female characters with a sense of humor is a style that is indicative to my writing.
Q) The publishing world of today is vastly different then the one of even twenty years ago. What advice can offer those who believe they have a story to tell?
A) The publishing world today is so different than 20 years ago, and the options for publishing even in the last couple years has changed dramatically, but the constant is still the love of reading and the love of books, whether digital or print. Aspiring writers should look at all of their options, find great editorial support, network with fellow writers and authors, and go full steam ahead with their goal to be published. While on the road to publication, people will get discouraged but it is the people who do not give up who will succeed.
Dr. Deeb writes tales of the American Civil War. What stands out about his works is his attention to the smallest detail, the minutia. His research in preparing to write a story is impeccably on point and, in my opinion, his novels could easily serve as textbooks for other authors wanting to write about events of that era in our nation’s history.
Yet, research alone does not make for a stirring and moving story. The characters and plot must draw the reader in and sweep them along through the turbulence and emotions surrounding the circumstances the main character finds him or herself in.
Dr. Deeb has the ability to do just that - to captivate the reader in the period, the character, as well as the events, and the consistent reviews his work receives only serve to verify it.
His attention to detail and skillful portrayal of life have been recognized in that he now also writes book reviews for The Civil War News and New York Journal of Books.
You can find Dr. Deeb, his novels, and a few of his paintings at http://www.civilwarnovels.com/.
Q) What were the books or stories that captured your imagination as a child and put the thought in your mind you would like to write?
A) As a pre teen, I used to take the bus in downtown Grand Rapids after school and peruse the 'history book' stacks at the Grand Rapids Public Library while I was waiting for the YMCA to open for swimming. I can't recall any specific title or author. More recently, however, I have enjoyed the works of John Jakes, Bernard Cornwall, and Harold Coyle among others. I would say that Jakes has had the greatest influence on my writing style.
A) I needed a character; a young 'boy' typical of the time to place in the 6th MI Cavalry. This teenager had to be from a farm and of good character, who made a youthful mistake in his typical MI farm village. The Dutch came to western MI in large numbers just prior to the Civil War. My maternal grandfather was Jacob Drieborg. His father is the patriarch of the Drieborg family in my novels. The challenges faced by this young man were faced by tens of thousands of other young men 'boys' at this time. The challenges faced back home were typical of small town America as well. So, my stories are of both soldiers facing what they had to face and the folks back home dealing with their daily challenges, too.
Q) Amongst your numerous successes there is one that has to be at the top of the list - your wife Sally, five children, and ten grandchildren. You don’t sit. You avail yourself to any group or organization as a guest speaker in addition to book signing tours. How do you ensure your loving family remains number one in your life?
A) The nice thing about writing is that you can do it at home. I rise at 6 AM, work out, have a small breakfast and go to my computer. My wife has her work station alongside mine. We have developed a routine that we find acceptable.
Before I retired a few years ago, my days were spent running my accounting practice. After 20 years teaching US History et al, and earning my degrees, I went into business. Now I am a writer.
Q) As an artist, you tend to paint the serene and tranquil world around you. In your novels, the world is anything but serene and tranquil. Is one counterbalancing the other? Does one give you the inspiration to do the other?
A) My painting is a super challenge. I am frightened to death of putting paint on a canvas. I force myself to do it. My writing is so much more fun, it is 'natural' to me somehow.
Q) You have been a teacher, served on the Michigan State Board of Education, owned and operated an accounting and investment advisory practice, and only now have turned to writing. What advice or encouragement can you offer those who believe they have a story to tell, but have yet to put pen to paper?
A) Enjoy the experience. I must admit that the first time I hit the send key and sent off my first manuscript to strangers, I was petrified. But, I did not perish. Most people in the 'business' understand and are reasonably 'gentle'. Take a chance - take a dive. Years ago, when an accounting/tax client would find an error or complain, I would thank them for bringing it to my attention. I do that now when a 'friend' reader points out a typo or something thought to be better said another way.