“CBT Worksheets for Teenage Social Anxiety” by Dr. James Manning and Dr. Nicola Ridgeway

CBTWorksheetsforTeenageAnxietyCBT WORKSHEETS FOR TEENAGE SOCIAL ANXIETY

Dr. James Manning & Dr. Nicola Ridgeway
CreateSpace (2016)
ISBN 9781534951129
Reviewed by Arianna Violante for Reader Views (08/16)

Unfortunately, “CBT Worksheets for Teenage Social Anxiety,” by Dr. James Manning & Dr. Nicola Ridgeway fell into my hands after I had finished the required fieldwork for my Master’s degree at a high school in Austin, Texas. During my work there, I was able to help many at-risk teenagers deal with many issues, social anxiety being one of those issues, in some cases. I was very happy to find that the authors gave a definition of social anxiety in simple language right at the beginning of the book. The formatting is also welcoming and reader-friendly, and I loved how the authors took the time to create a main character to hold the reader’s hand and walk them through the book. The authors’ way of demystifying social anxiety by establishing an open discussion, in the beginning, makes the reader comfortable and open to continuing reading. The book also includes a lot of graphics and comprehensive exercises, making this learning experience interactive and specific for each reader.

Dr. James Manning and Dr. Nicola Ridgeway have published not only a well-written informational book but also an awesome tool for teens to explore in a safe and interactive way that will help them with social anxiety. I found the CBT worksheets to be easy to use and have no doubt that they will benefit the reader. I think they could also be useful to clinical social work students and hope the authors take steps to contact social work schools across the US.

“CBT Worksheets for Teenage Social Anxiety,” by Dr. James Manning & Dr. Nicola Ridgeway is an awesome tool for high school counselors to help teenagers deal with social anxiety. It could also be a tool for clinical social work students to learn about the topic and techniques practiced with teens going through social anxiety. This book is a five-star read and I will definitely recommend it to my peers.

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Interview with Emily Christensen, Ph.D., Author of “Keeping Kyrie”

INTERVIEW WITH EMILY CHRISTENSEN, PH.D.


Keeping Kyrie

Emily Christensen, Ph.D.
HWC Press, LLC (2016)
ISBN 9780997758801
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (08/16)

Article first published as Interview: Emily Christensen, Ph.D., Author of ‘Keeping Kyrie’ on Blogcritics.

Dr. Emily Christensen works as a counselor, helping couples and families to heal emotional wounds, overcome addictions, and live after the manner of happiness. Her private practice began in 2004, with a focus on forensic trauma, Deaf issues, and rural childhood services. She has earned a B.S. in Human Development, an M.S. in Professional Counseling, an M.Div. in Pastoral Counseling, and a Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy, and is doing post-doc work in Hebrew and Jewish Studies.

After joining the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 2009, Emily served a thirty-month mission with the international research team of FamilySearch Worldwide Support, followed by a two-year extension doing special projects for the Family History Department. She began serving as an LDS chaplain in 2014.

Emily has been journaling since she was in the second grade and blogging for twelve years. She is deaf, receiving bilateral cochlear implants in 2010, and maintains her love for sign language. She chooses books over television, and organics over processed. She thinks nothing is as close to flying as ballroom dancing. She also enjoys playing outside, running, kayaking, and cycling. She is in love with words and writes every day no matter what. Dr. Christensen is happily married to her husband who writes musical theater, and she and her husband have adopted six children from foster care.

 

Emily Christensen.jpg

Sheri:  Welcome, Emily and thank you for joining us today!  Why don’t you start by telling our readers a bit about yourself?

Emily: I have been writing since I got my first journal in second grade, and have been actively blogging for twelve years. I am Deaf with cochlear implants, and my heart language is still signing.  I love to read, but also enjoy ballroom dancing, kayaking, and playing with my children at the river back near our home in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  I am very happily married to my husband Nathan, who writes musical theater, song lyrics, and plays.

Sheri:  What is Keeping Kyrie about?

Emily: It’s about love, and how much that can hurt, but also what miracles we experience every day as a family. I tell the story of our journey into foster care and adoption, through the process of my own journey from losing my mother to becoming a mother.  The frame of the story hangs on the drama of our youngest daughter, who was born with almost no airway.

Sheri:  What inspired you to write this book?

Emily: There was just so much that happened to us, so much that we endured as a family, it seemed like a story that needed telling. So much happened to us in such a short amount of time, my mind and heart were full of what needed expressing, and writing was a way I could let that out and process it all.  We also really had concerns about some of the care the baby received and needed a platform through which we could advocate for change and improve the lives of foster babies who are medically fragile.  We also hoped that it would be somewhat educational for new foster parents as well as new parents of medically fragile babies with issues like Kyrie.  We also wanted to share with social workers and medical professionals what it’s like to foster and the kinds of things we face every day as a family so that they could see and learn from our perspective.

Sheri:  It must be difficult to foster children and then let them go. How do you handle the attachment/detachment process?

Emily: Sometimes it’s easier than others! We write about this in depth in the book, but if when you legitimately sign up for fostering and do it well, then it is very hard to let the children go.  What helped us was staying focused on our role as being part of the support system for families, and our testimony that families are part of the plan of happiness.  It’s almost too hard to let those little ones go if you are only focused on yourself, but fostering isn’t about you – it’s about the children and their families. We really had to stay focused on that.

Sheri:  You and your husband have fostered many children and adopted six. What prompted your decision to foster, and how did you decide to adopt the six children that are now a permanent part of your family?

Emily: I had been a therapist on several different inpatient units where children were ready to be discharged but had no place to go because foster homes were not available. Clinically there was no reason for them to continue staying in the hospital, but practically there was nowhere for them to go.  Nathan had taught children in New York City, and many of them were foster parents.  We were just aware of the need and felt we couldn’t really advocate for those children without trying to be part of the solution by helping.  Fostering was something we discussed before we were married, and we filled out the paperwork while we were on our honeymoon.  The six adoptions happened as fostering unfolded; it was never a part of the plan, and when we signed up to foster we had no idea that we would be unable to have our own biological children.  Our story of infertility, miscarriages, and the adoption process for each of the six children – those stories are all in the book.

Sheri:  It seems that the personal struggles you have endured have only made you stronger. Where do you get your strength and determination to not only carry on but thrive, while enriching all the special little lives around you?

Emily: Our faith is obviously a big part of that. When life is too hard or everything is so overwhelming, it helps to know there is purpose in what we are doing and to feel that we are not alone in trying every day to just keep going.  Our community, both the town where we lived and our faith community itself, was such a big part of our support system.  Their prayers and their participation in our fundraising events, including this book, so that we could get the best care for all the children and provide for ourselves as a family – that made all the difference.  It’s one thing to be willing to help these children, and even to do the work to prepare spiritually and mentally, but it was our faith and our community that made actually doing it even possible.

Sheri:  What can you tell us about Kyrie’s condition?

Emily: Kyrie was diagnosed with Pierre Robin Sequence (PRS), meaning she was born with a very small airway, smaller than a coffee straw, as well as a cleft palate and a recessed jaw and almost no tongue tissue. Her condition was complicated due to polysubstance drug exposure in utero.  She has had multiple surgeries that have saved her life, but her airway will continue to be a battle as she grows.

Sheri:  And how is Kyrie doing today?

Emily: Today was a good day. Some days are scary.  Her presentation is really inconsistent, so we have to watch her closely.  She is still on oxygen sometimes, though not all the time like during her first year, and we still are supplementing with a feeding tube through her nose as needed.  We still have her on a high-calorie diet because she is so tiny, and we still have to thicken her liquids, but she is fighting hard.  Many babies born with PRS do better if they can get through the first year, but we are just now getting to that point at seventeen months, maybe because of the additional battles from the drug exposure.  But she is crazy smart, and such a little miracle.  She is so happy with such good attachment, which has been a blessing after some of the attachment struggles some of the other children have had.

Sheri:  What is the public’s awareness level around PRS, and what is being done to help raise awareness?

Emily: I think the general public is more aware of cleft palates as a thing that happens more than they are aware of PRS specifically, and I don’t think they know at all how hard it is to care for a medically fragile child who is a foster. There are some good organizations for all of the issues we face in the book: infertility, miscarriage, cancer, fostering, adoption from foster care, parenting deaf children, autism, cerebral palsy, fetal alcohol syndrome, reactive attachment disorder, PRS, cleft palates, chaplaincy, advocacy, grief, secondary medical trauma… there is just so much that we went through in the last five years.  We support those organizations that are bringing awareness, and try to share the work they are doing when we talk about those issues on our Keeping Kyrie Facebook page.  We also started a nonprofit to help support medical needs of foster children to get them supplies and items that Medicaid doesn’t cover.   Now because of the book, we are getting a lot of opportunities to speak about these different issues and help raise awareness.

We are also focusing a lot on advocating for patient-informed care rather than just patient-centered care.  There’s a difference, and that difference saves lives.  For example, Kyrie also has medical cerebral palsy now, with little pink braces on her feet, because of ongoing oxygen issues and not being trached when she was first born or during those early months.  That’s intensely frustrating, and part of what has thrown us into advocating for better patient-informed care, because that should not have happened.  If someone were diabetic or had a heart problem, they would not deny treatment because the patient had a good day – no other illness is treated for its good days, the way PRS kids get denied access to breathing air because of a good day or a better sleep study when structurally what is happening is so positional and variable that it’s not a good measurement of what is going on from day to day.

Sheri:  Your family seems to be having quite a bit of fun promoting the book!  How did the idea for the video you created come about?

Emily: That’s funny! My husband writes musical theater – he wrote Broadcast about the history of the radio, as well as an adaptation of The Giver – and he loves working with actors and composers and all things theater.  When he does a project, it is an experience, not just an event.  He’s amazing.  But one way he shares this with the children is by making these videos – you can see them on our YouTube channel @housewifeclass – where he takes well-known songs the children love and rewrites new lyrics for our family.  They love to sing with him, and it’s a way they can bond together and learn about that part of his life.  They love dressing up and going to his shows and events, but the videos are a way they can share in his creative process at home.  It’s been a delightful way to bond with them and to just play together as a family.

Sheri:  What has been the most rewarding part about publishing the story of your family?

Emily: Sharing our story, and the hard work of writing it, was worth it the moment we got a note from a mother whose baby’s PRS had not been diagnosed and getting proper treatment saved his life. We have also gotten letters and a huge response from the foster community, both foster parents and social workers, about how much it has helped them – as well as some biological parents, who are grateful that we advocate for maintaining those connections when it is safe and possible.  We love the people we have met through these shared experiences, and it feels like change the world for the better, even if it is in some tiny way our own little corner.

Sheri:  What was your biggest challenge in writing “Keeping Kyrie”?

Emily: Besides having to stop to change diapers and feed tiny little mouths who are always hungry? Or staying up until after midnight to write while the children are asleep, and then getting up before dawn to write before they wake?  Or maybe living it in real life when it was all actually happening?!

Really, the time it takes to write, and to write well was the hardest piece.  Writing is such an intense process, and the material I was covering was very emotional.  I had to really focus on the mental aspects of the structure of the book to get through it.  We designed the book to work like a chiasm in Hebrew poetry: the dramatic climax comes in the very middle of the book, and each chapter before and after both parallels and re-emphasizes each other.  This created a feminine narrative structure, which I wanted, where every piece of our story circles around over and over again, creating the effect of really experiencing the emotional roller coaster we endured while still keeping it very readable as a book.

Sheri:  What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received, about writing, or about life in general?

Emily: Write every day, no matter what.

Sheri:  What advice can you give to people aspiring to write memoirs?

Emily: Writing every day is critical, not just for the discipline but for the practice of capturing intensely live moments. Going back to capture it later will be too difficult, and will taste dusty to the reader.  We wrote and edited Keeping Kyrie in only five very-very-very intense weeks, but that was after five years of daily writing as the events were happening in real time.  We had material to use and ready for us to select for polishing.  If we had waited, doing it from scratch would have used up the time we spent polishing.  I am really proud of the book as a piece of literature, but we would not have gotten it so presentable if all the drafts hadn’t already been written as before we sat down to pull the book together as an entity.  Instead of having to come up with words, we were able to take our words already written and use them as paint to create this piece of art.  It is beautiful, and I am really pleased.

Sheri:  What do you like to do in your free time, that is – if you have any free time?

Emily: I make time for myself; it’s a necessary part of the creative process as much as just being healthy in general. I wake up early before Nathan or the children are awake, and am able to spend that time in study and writing.  Before cancer, I loved to read at night, but my body doesn’t let me do that anymore.  I work hard during the day to finish tasks so that family time can really be family time and we aren’t distracted from that.  For now, our children are still young enough that they go to bed early and Nathan and I have our evenings together which helps a lot, but after having fostered teenagers, we know that won’t always be so easy.  While we work hard, and long hours, and do a lot of speaking as well, we really fight to protect our personal time for ourselves and our family.  It’s really a big priority for us.

Sheri:  Do you have a website or blog (or both) where readers can learn more about you and your family and your book “Keeping Kyrie”?

Emily: I write a blog at HousewifeClass.com and our store lists the book at HousewifeClassStore.com – it’s available in hardback at the major online stores for books – it will come out in paperback in those stores next year, but you can get it in paperback at our store already.

Keeping Kyrie has a Facebook page, and we are @housewifeclass on Instagram and Twitter

Sheri:  Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers today?

Emily:   If you buy the book, you should also buy Kleenexes! We are just really grateful for the outpouring of support from so many, thank you.

Sheri:  Emily, thank you so much for being with us today.  It has certainly been a pleasure getting to know you and your family!

Emily:   Thank you.

Read review of Keeping Kyrie
Visit authors website

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“The COMPLETE Model for Positive Behavior Management” by Dina Al-Hidiq Zebib

TheCompleteModelForPositiveBehaviorManagementTHE COMPLETE MODEL FOR POSITIVE BEHAVIOR MANAGEMENT

Dina Al-Hidiq Zebib
CreateSpace (2016)
ISBN 9781535464024
Reviewed by Christine Watson for Reader Views (8/16)

Article first published as Book Review: ‘The Complete Model for Positive Behavior Management’ by Dina Al-Hidiq Zebib on Blogcritics.

“The COMPLETE Model for Positive Behavior Management” by Dina Al-Hidiq Zebib offers simple, yet powerful advice on how to manage behavior in a positive way. This book is jam-packed with ideas, examples, and tips that can immediately be taken directly to the classroom or home.

Ms. Al-Hidiq Zebib has provided not only educators and parents with a how-to manual for raising and teaching children through positive behavior management, but her ideas and techniques are useful to all people. As a former educator, this book would have been extremely helpful to me in classroom management. I think back on my time in the classroom, and wish I had this book available to me as a resource. I also believe that all human beings can benefit from the ideas shared in this book. Just the tips on active listening alone could help countless relationships that struggle with communication. The tool on values is useful for anyone wanting to really get focused on what is important to him or her. Young people often struggle with knowing what their values are, but many adults have the same problem. The use of a matrix at home and at school can be valuable to everyone in tracking daily routines as well as progress over time.

The author spends some time on praise, and how to provide authentic and specific praise so children (and adults) know why they are being praised. This significantly adds to the feeling of accomplishment for the one being praised. Ms. Al-Hidiq Zebib also stresses the importance of tactful correction. The Non-Progressive Consequence System is a compact tool that can serve as a powerful reminder of what can be done when corrections need to be made.

There are so many examples of great ideas and tips in this book, I cannot possibly cover them all in this review. I highly recommend “The COMPLETE Model for Positive Behavior Management” by Dina Al-Hidiq Zebib for not only teachers and parents, but for all people in general, as well. I know that I will be able to use many of the ideas and tips in this book in my relationships at home and at work. I will definitely be sharing this book with former teaching colleagues as well as many others. This book is truly a gem!

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“A Journey with Panic” by Dr. James Manning & Dr. Nicola Ridgeway

AJourneyWithPanicA JOURNEY WITH PANIC

Dr. James Manning & Dr. Nicola Ridgeway
CreateSpace (2016)
ISBN 9781535570855
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer for Reader Views (08/16)

Article first published as Book Review: ‘A Journey with Panic’ by Dr. James Manning & Dr. Nicola Ridgeway on Blogcritics.

A Journey with Panic” by Dr. James Manning and Dr. Nicola Ridgeway is a fact-filled informative read for those who suffer from panic attacks. The authors have included numerous handouts, summaries, and good descriptions of what a panic attack is and what some of the more common symptoms are.

As with the other workbooks that Dr. Manning has written, he briefly describes his own journey with mental health issues, which include panic attacks. Sharing his own personal experiences promotes a tendency from readers to trust what he says and accept a majority of the information provided in the workbook.

The book describes a panic attack as a whole body response to perceived threat or danger. I found the following statement by the author to be of particular interest: “One of the most confusing issues with panic attacks is that they occur mostly when there is no real physical danger.” There is a great diagram at the beginning of the workbook that shows what happens to the body when we panic (Figure 1). Individuals may experience all or just a few of the symptoms shown. Panic attacks often occur with high stress and anxiety levels.

Other chapters by topic in this workbook include Worry and panic, Behavioural avoidance and safety behaviors, and Rules, Beliefs and other therapies for panic attacks. Each chapter is loaded with diagrams, a section for the reader to document their own thoughts, and a summary of key points. Additionally, there is a glossary and a sheet listing common medications at the end of the book.

Readers will find this workbook easy to read and understand, as well as find some great information on how panic attacks come about and how one might respond to them the first time. They key to using this workbook is to take one’s time in reading and absorbing the information. In addition, it might be helpful to see a qualified therapist to help with any in-depth questions or concerns.

Dr. Manning and Dr. Ridgeway have several Cognitive Behavioral workbooks that cover topics such as Depression, Anxiety Attacks, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. “A Journey with Panic” is quite interesting to read as the authors provided quite a bit of information, but it was not so overwhelming one felt as if they couldn’t finish utilizing it.

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“Titan” by Michael Van Cleve

TitanTITAN

Michael Van Cleve
Michael Van Cleve (2014)
ASIN B00PDHRP3U
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (08/16)

Article first published as Book Review: ‘Titan’ by Michael Van Cleve on Blogcritics.

“Titan” by Michael Van Cleve is a chilling story about life, such as it may be, after a nuclear holocaust. Paris and Troy Hawking seek refuge for their family in the last city on Earth. But, is this city everything the couple had hoped for their family and their future?

The author has a very distinct and unique writing style. I was a bit put-off by it at first but became more accustomed to the style as the story progressed. My inner English teacher wanted to correct the sentence structure and what appeared to be the unnecessary capitalization of certain words, but I pushed past my initial reaction and was rewarded for the discipline. I soon found the short, almost curt sentences to dominate the narrative in such a way that draws the reader directly into the author’s world.

The prologue sets an eerie tone for the story, with a numbered list of transgressions against America. Written in the form of a poem, the list builds to a climax before the ultimate fall of the great giant that was once America, taking the world down with her.

The cast of characters in “Titan” are bizarre, and the roles of the family members are anything but traditional. Paris and Troy show their love for one another in a peculiar fashion, and the relationships they each have with the children are very off the wall. At times, the story is horrific and I felt great darkness envelope me while reading. At other times, the dry humor would have me laughing out loud, especially at Solomon, a seemingly low-level form of artificial intelligence. There is a lot of room for individual interpretation in the story that is sure to trigger additional reflection on the possible outcomes of humanity.

I recommend “Titan” by Michael Van Cleve to devoted, hardcore sci-fi fans and those readers who like to contemplate the “what-ifs” after finishing a weighty story. At a little less than 150 pages, this short novel will also readily appeal to readers who want a quick read without sacrificing depth.

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“The Frog in the Skyscraper” by Faiz Kermani

TheFrogInTheSkyscraperTHE FROG IN THE SKYSCRAPER

Faiz Kermani
Matador (2016)
ISBN 9781785890628
Reviewed by Paola Belloso (age 8) for Reader Views (08/16)

In “The Frog in The Skyscraper,” by Faiz Kermani, we meet Frijibold, a frog who was not quite happy with the life he had at the pond. He was always trying to reach his dream of living in the skyscraper. One day he left the pond and started his journey. He met Sean Shark who worked in the office building. Sean saw in Frijibold a good helper in marketing his luxury apartments. Frijibold was not a common frog, and sooner rather than later, he was living on the highest floor of the skyscraper, enjoying the view and being around humans.

Frijibold’s life was very busy, and he never had a chance to be bored. He loved his new home and adventurous life. Until one day, things started to change. During the holidays, Frijibold started to feel lonely and he missed his family.

I love Frijibold, and all that he did to live in the skyscraper. It is a good and funny story that all kids will enjoy. And, what it taught me is that… no matter what, family and friends are very important.

P.S. I loved the menu of the ponds café.

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Interview with James M. O’Brien, Ph.D., Author of “Hang Your Wraps in the Cloak Room!”

INTERVIEW WITH JAMES M. O’BRIEN, PH.D.


Hang Your Wraps in the Cloak Room!

James M. O’Brien, Ph.D.
iUniverse (2016)
ISBN 9781491795651
Reviewed by Susan Violante for Reader Views (07/16)

Article first published as Interview: James M. O’Brien, Ph.D., Author of ‘Hang Your Wraps in the Cloak Room!’ on Blogcritics.

James O’Brien graduated Notre Dame, served as a parish priest, high school teacher, editor, and Director for Media in the Rockford, IL Diocese. Earning a Ph.D. from Northwestern in Communication Studies, he taught at the University of Miami and The College of New Rochelle, retiring as Professor Emeritus. Dr. O’Brien offers film courses through the University of Wisconsin PLATO program and has committed two previous memoirs.

JimBlowing at Liliana's.jpg

Sheri:  Welcome James, and thank you for joining us today! Why don’t you start by telling our readers a bit about yourself?

James: When I retired, I got into a Reminiscence Writing class, people seemed to like my stuff, and I began to write stories from my exotic seminary years, which eventually turned into Making a Priest in the Fifties, my first of three memoirs. I love to write, but I hate to edit. Sometimes my wife helps with that. I love to play the clarinet, but I hate to practice. Maybe there’s a pattern there.

Sheri:  What is Hang Your Wraps in the Cloak Room! about?

James: Simply, my grade school and high school years, during and after World War II, and how that strict and structured world got inside me, without my knowing it was happening. I’m not a very structured guy and maybe, without knowing it, I was looking for some life rules. The war haunted my early years and, by the time we began to feel a bit of freedom and hope, the Cold War, with the ‘Communist menace’ of McCarthyism, and the Korean War with the threat of being drafted continued to hang over our lives. But it seemed normal, I guess.

Sheri:  What inspired you to write this book?

James: As the high school section should reveal, our tiny class of fifty students was bonded to an unusual degree, by a series of experiences: social structure, racial discrimination, sexual strictures. We held class reunions every year for our first ten years – the college kids and the working kids – and we still meet for lunches and reunion overnights a couple of times a year. Classmates travel for thousands of miles for these parties. Something happened to us, without anyone planning it. I hope, among other things, my memoir celebrates that.

Sheri:  I understand you have written two previous memoirs. Do they each cover specific periods of your life? What sets Hang Your Wraps in the Cloak Room! apart from your other memoirs?

James: Making a Priest in the ‘Fifties: or How Your Elderly Pastor Got That Way recounts my four years at St. Mary’s Theological Seminary in Baltimore, MD. As the subtitle might indicate, the tone is light although the concerns are serious. All but one other of my 135 classmates had spent seminary time, two to six years. I was clueless about the operation and dynamics of the institution, but the faculty made allowances for that and gave me enough leeway to….well, get through. Confessions of a ‘Sixties Priest: But Probably Not What You’re Thinking examines my eight years of priestly ministry in the rural Rockford, Illinois Diocese. It was an exciting time in the American church and, as a passionate believer in all the ‘new stuff,’ I plunged into every involvement I could find. When the Church made an ideological turn to the right at the end of the ‘Sixties, I had nowhere to go but out. John XXIII opened the window to the world and I crawled out.

Sheri:  Can you give us a glimpse into one of your favorite memories from Catholic School that’s in the book?

James: A key moment came in seventh grade when the nuns named me Master of Ceremonies for the class breakfast. Small and shy, I spoke into a big RCA microphone to the parents and students, and this big voice came out. I got laughs. I loved it.

Sheri:  What is the most rewarding part about writing a memoir?

James: A couple of things. First of all, when I hear from readers and they tell me that they recognize the situations and experiences, it means that I have caught something real, maybe important to someone. Also, I’ve learned a lot about myself, who I am, why I followed the path that I did. But I’m still learning.

Sheri:  What was your biggest challenge writing Hang Your Wraps in the Cloak Room!

James: After about two years of writing and some 50,000 words, I ‘hit the wall.’ I didn’t know where I was going with the book. After another two years, and a note from a college classmate praising a previous memoir, I said, “Hey, I can do this.” And I guess I did.

Sheri:  What can you tell us about your self-publishing experience?

James: A colleague here in Madison said, “If you want to find a publisher, you’ll need an agent, and that may take you a couple of years. Then, if you get a contract and sign it, it’s no longer your book.” This seemed clear and practical. So I went the self-publishing way. There are problems with it, but all in all, the publisher and the writer are on the same side.

Sheri:  What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received, about writing, or life in general?

James: Absolutely standard stuff: write what you know; try to get at the truth; find your voice.

Sheri:  What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

James: If there is a time in your life that is special and vivid to you, try to write it down. And try to find a group of writers to read to. Reading your stuff aloud quickly reveals the live stuff from the dead material. It’s not always easy.

Sheri:  Aside from writing, what are your other interests? What do you like to do in your free time, assuming you have any free time?

James: I play clarinet in a jazz band; been with them for sixteen years now. We’re going to quit when we get it right. Hasn’t happened yet. Coordinate a couple of film courses for UW Extension PLATO program. Work in the garden; shovel snow, standard stuff.

Sheri:  What’s next? Do you have another project in the works? If so, what can you tell us about it?

James: I’m dithering between University of Miami years (‘69-74,) or Notre Dame years (‘52-56.)

I’m real good at dithering.

Sheri:  Do you have a website or blog (or both) where readers can learn more about you and Hang Your Wraps in the Cloak Room?

James: My blog or website – not sure which: www.hangwrapsincloakroom.com

Sheri:  Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers today?

James: Check out the book at Amazon; you can read enough to get the flavor without spending a dime. (Remember dimes?)

Sheri:  James, thank you so much for joining us! I really enjoyed getting to know more about you and your work, and I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors!

James: I enjoyed the questions, Sheri, and had to grapple with a few of them. Oh, and people call me “Jim,” unless I’ve done something bad.

Read review of Hang Your Wraps in the Cloak Room!
Visit authors website

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