Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
Greetings Fellow Word Smiths and Travelers,
I have never been interviewed before. I am completely invested into this moment and this interview. I am looking at it as the destination that has taken me a lifetime to reach, an achievement accomplished, a reason to believe, and as I pause in whole wonder and awe struck contemplation and gratitude, I must say thank you for this opportunity.
I feel I am obligated to give back what was so freely taken. I owe this world some explanation and perhaps my balled up treasure map, guided by the compass of my heart, and each word written neatly in the blood of my pen, maybe it can help guide somebody else through the Minotaur’s Labyrinth, as good books really never end.
It is 6:00 pm and I am on the second floor of an apartment at the beach and it is the 4th of July (Happy Birthday America!!) and raining, but I think they are still planning on launching off the fireworks. I am listening to “Out of the Box” Archives run by Paul Shugrue, and we are taking it easy before we cook up some shrimp.
My view on life is, life is a joke and when you die you get the punchline, because there is something very funny going on around here. I can’t really put my finger on it, but something definitely very funny is happening.
I usually am either running from something or running to something, but when I pause and root in the ground and feel the music vibrate through my bones and I remember to dance, suddenly life makes sense and I dance in gratitude, I dance in victory, I dance in passion, I dance in love. I was taught the word guidance, is “God, You and I, Dance.”
I love to read books, I get a lifetime of wisdom in one sitting, and I love all of those savory nuggets of golden thought to savor and think about, the golden nuggets of thought gathered by people who chip at them with pickaxes to uncover from the mines in their heart. I enjoy talking to people and finding their treasure, and all the gifts that come along with this. I know without a doubt it is the rainbow that is the true treasure, not the pot of gold at the end.
I used to dress my scarecrow very scary looking when my garden and crops were just withered weeds in clumps of parking lot asphalt and desert sand, but having spent much time tending my garden into an oasis of sorts, now I want my scarecrow to welcome people and let them enjoy my crops. Anything I invest my love and time into will grow. Knowing we only have a certain amount of time gives me this super sense of urgency to do good works now.
Each moment, the present, is a gift and I am surrounded by countless unopened moments and I strive to enjoy each one. I have conjured in my mind a perfect sanctuary, a sandy pebble river bank with a large tree and its shady canopy above me and a beautiful flowing river, my mind, full of fish that are my thoughts. I sometimes like to just sit there and watch the fish swim past me, not particularly engaging any of them, just aware of their presence, but eventually I must feed, I cannot hold on to the gap for too long, and my mind must think. I grab hold of a fish, a thought, and I bite into it, and that thought becomes my reality.
Sometimes these fish come from a nuclear reactor plant a ways back and there have been times in my life when I couldn’t weed out the mutated fish/thought, my filter was gone, and I acted on each one. Needless to say this has led to some embarrassing and my own life endangering moments, as well as some very humorous ones, and some things I deeply regret that scar my soul and eat at me.
I say this as an introduction to a label I have, one that has taken me a lifetime to wear proudly, I am diagnosed with schizophrenia.
A lot of my writing is based on real delusions, I have come to really appreciate the small differences that make us complete, I call schizophrenia, “DreamWalking”. I explain it is like when you are asleep and have completely bought into your dream, even if it is super strange or irrational, and it is not until you wake up that you realize it was just a dream. That’s how I get when un-medicated.
I am medicated now and things are good, but having had this unique perspective I think most do not understand, has given me some food for thought and a great source of creative strength and inspiration.
I have written eight books but two need work and one is just beginning of a trilogy. If you go to Smashwords or Barnes and Noble’s website and type in “Colonel Mustard” they will appear and you can download them for free.
This is my vision below, I wrote it for a group I belonged to that has disbanded but it is true to my heart. I wrote it from my own beliefs. It is carved into me.
My purpose is accomplished when I draw from a source of love and not a source of fear. I share a common and hearty attitude of gratitude, and draw on love, to weather the rough seas when we find ourselves in times of turmoil.
For it is when the waves of life grow so large and look so overwhelming and threatening and challenging, that we are meant to ride them, not run and become crushed under them. It is the waves strength that propels us onto shore. I choose to view our events in our life as either lessons or blessings, I choose to learn positive skills and knowledge from our lessons and to enjoy and be grateful for our blessings.
We who have struggled climbing up the mountaintop carrying our personalized giant boulder, we have developed strong muscles, carrying our own heavy burdens, uphill, alone, but we cannot make it to the top. We need to ask for help, help to carry and lighten our load, if but a little. We know even the smallest relief can be a great gift and a blessing, and each footstep up the mountaintop gained is a victory, by which we continue to need help with. It is in a moment of clarity, relieved temporary of our burden, when a miracle may take place. How beautiful when we realize we no longer need to carry our boulders and we drop them.
Carrying such heavy weight, we have grown strong muscles, and when relieved of it, we help others with their burdens, until they reach the pinnacle point when they realize they no longer need to carry their boulders everywhere they go and let them drop.
Our experiences with these challenges have made us strong, and the further down the hole we have fallen, and then climbed out, the more we can safely guide those, still digging in their own holes, the way out.
It is so healing and unifying when we realize we are not hurtling through the darkness of space all alone, there are others who experience similar trials and life events and who are recovering with us. Recovery, from falling off a horse and breaking every bone in our body, is not just healing back to normal, recovery is getting back on the horse and learning how to ride the horse and avoid from falling off the horse again.
We welcome our individuality that makes us special and our gifts, unique. Happiness is using our gifts we are given to help somebody else and knowing we are all just one piece in the puzzle, and we all have unique gifts to fill in others flaws, and we all have flaws and holes that alone we cannot overcome but the gifts of others can help fill, knowing our experiences shape us into our own unique puzzle piece, that we had to have happen for us to be able to fit perfectly into the puzzle.
We care because once we were lost in the dark cold of mental illness, co-occuring, and/or substance abuse, until someone journeyed into the dark with a candle blazing in their heart full of warmth and love, and lit our heart and rescued us. Now that the candle in our heart is lit, we can safely journey into the dark with no fear, and light other candles in other hearts with the same spark.
We will journey into the deserts, the darkness, we go where we are needed. We are on our own unique journey in recovery, we take many different roads, but we are not alone, our purpose is clear, to raise the flag of hope for all of the hopeless to see, and together march and parade and storm into the gates of all heck and release our lost brothers and sisters from their own self-made prison cells where they suffer needlessly tortured behind doors that are not even locked but seem so overwhelmingly impossible to open alone.
I would like to help promote the creative gifts of the Mentally “ill”, that is a flag I would be honored to carry into the gates of Heaven, or maybe in the least a Queen Burger Joint or maybe even one on the moon.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
Agent For Hope – Book1
Each book draws from my own experiences, Agent For Hope was born from a chess game I lost when I tried to let my opponent get all eight pawns across the other side and become Queens. I look at the pawns as dreams that, if they make it to the other side, can become reality.
Not that you need to know this, but if I was to pick a chess piece that I think would most clearly represents me, I would say I’m a Knight. It has perhaps the strangest, funniest jump to it, a little different, a little harder to understand, good to create a fork between pieces and if used wisely, it is a game changer. The Knight, not always elegant, defends. Is a thorn beautiful then too, for defending the rose?
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I am so paranoid of losing my work on the computer (having some computers crash with no backups), so I print my work out on paper. I also am afraid of leaving a rough draft out and then dying, and having people read it, and judge all of my writing by the badly written rough draft and get the wrong impression of what my book is all about.
I would like to defend my character who perhaps gets addicted to butterfly hearts, or whatever. So I get very motivated to finish rough drafts the best I can and constantly throw them away as soon as I print out a revision or hide them if life cuts in and I cannot finish them for a week or so.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I get something from every book I read, but the most magical, the biggest influence, is when I was a young child. I remember it so clearly. I went to my Mother and told her I wanted to read a big “real” book. She told me to go into her room and I went to her night stand and slowly opened the bottom drawer and there in this subdued light was J. R. R. Tolkien’s "The Hobbit" and "the Lord of the Rings Trilogy". I cannot tell you how much these books influenced me, how beautiful the experience and how eternally grateful I am to J. R. R. Tolkien. He opened a whole new world for me and I have been forever hooked.
What are you working on now?
I am working on the 2nd Book in the "Agent For Hope Trilogy". – Knights, Agents, Varying planet species and pawns of Light and Dark collide, traveling in space in search of Yoke, the Blood of God, while the Universe and differing planes of existence and reality continue to unwind in the cafeteria of a mental hospital.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I really have done little marketing. I have not tried to promote my books. My rationalization is because they are free and I do not have a big budget, and I am a lot better at writing then promoting. However I am now trying to promote them. I am just starting an aggressive campaign on MyBookPlace.net and BookReaderMagazine as well as my own just created yodaspickle.com. We will see how it turns out.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Well having received my royalty check about five months ago for the total amount of $1.01, I am not a very successful paid author, but that’s OK because all my books are free. I do not know if you want my advice. I do keep my check, uncashed, on my mirror next to a sticker that reads “Boy am I glad to see you.” This helps.
I made my books free, not because I think they are worthless or cheap, rather I consider them priceless. I want the focus to be on the book and try not to get swayed by money in any one direction. Of course life and society kind of demand money, but for right now everything is good.
My first advice is let your baby out of the closet, don’t be afraid to show your work to people, and keep your confidence high, even if the critics give you lots of negative reviews, don’t let that steal your serenity or still your pen, believe in yourself and your abilities. For me to be turned on, I have to connect my plug into a higher source of power, and I also have a switch on my back that I cannot reach. I need a person who believes in me and flips my switch on, and then once on, look out – Anything is possible! Also, as we all know, keep writing, keep on keeping on writing, every day if you can, even if it’s one line, and on the back burner of your mind have some sort of plot cooking, I especially love connecting B to C then back to A then over to E, you know the craft, the art, I find it very therapeutic and thought engaging.
Also feed yourself new sources of inspiration for your imagination, food for thought.
When I first begin a project I like to get really large sheets of paper with no lines and start writing anywhere on them, and you know, one word leads to another, and before you know it you have something, may have to sift through it, but you have something and that’s a start.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
I really enjoy one line quotes.
I love the one from Yoda, “You must train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.”
Another quote inspired from my Dad and Best Friend, both having passed, is “It’s not what you do, it’s how you do it, Do it with Love and if possible, Style.”
And “Be Kind.”
Imagine you are changing a flat tire in the rain, and you have only 5 minutes left on the planet, imagine what a beautiful experience, holding the tire, smelling the air, feeling the rain, imagine how beautiful it would be.
I don’t have to mow the grass, I get to.
Some quotes I like but don’t know their source,
“The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.”
“Time doesn’t exist, Clocks exist.”
“If it wasn’t for time, everything would happen at once.”
“God Loved the birds so much He gave them trees to play in, Man loved birds so much he made them cages.”
What are you reading now?
My heart is always in Science Fiction and Fantasy, and I am going through withdrawal, however currently I am reading a book my Friend gave me called "Bird by Bird Some instructions on Writing and Life" by Anne Lamott. It is a very good book and is giving me good motivation and drive and some good nuggets of gold thoughts to savor and think about, and I recommend it to everybody.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I would love to turn my yodaspickle.com site (it’s kind of a big dill) into a showcase/marketplace for all works of art by the Mentally “ill” / DreamWalkers. We want your mental ill art, and I say that with the best of love.
I also want to finish the Agent for Hope Trilogy I am working on.
I used to wish to one day walk into a book store and see one of my books on the shelf. I think this is all ego, but it would of been pretty cool. I want to go back and revise a few of my books written in various stages of my life.
What is your favorite book of all time?
J. R. R. Tolkien’s, "The Hobbit" & "Lord of the Rings Trilogy".