Tag Archives: Guest Author

#Author Interview: D.G. Kaye

d-g-kaye

Debby Gies is a Canadian nonfiction/memoir author who writes under the pen name of D.G. Kaye. She was born, raised, and resides in Toronto, Canada. Kaye writes about her life experiences, matters of the heart, and women’s issues.

Welcome, Debby!

Hi Tina. I’m excited to be here guest appearing on your wonderful blog and mingling with some of your readers. Thank you so much for having me here today.

Debby, it’s my great pleasure to have you here. We’re looking forward to learning more about you, your writing process, and your outstanding and informative books.

Tell us a little about yourself.  I’m a nonfiction/memoir writer and blogger. All of my books are written from my point of view, taken from experiences I’ve encountered. While my memoirs, P.S. I Forgive You and Conflicted Hearts are of serious subject matter, I do like to inject some humor in some of my other writings.

What is the title and genre of your latest book, and can you tell us book-debby-p-s-i-forgive-youa little about it?  My newest book, P.S. I Forgive You, is my story about finding forgiveness for my narcissistic mother before she died, and for myself for remaining with my decision not to go back to her after banishing her from my life several years prior to her death. This is Book II to my first book, Conflicted Hearts; but because of the subject matter, it could easily be read as a standalone.

What genres do you enjoy reading?  I love reading biographies/memoirs, self-help books, books on writing, and stories about people who have overcome adversity.

Where do you like to write and why?  I love to write at home in the quiet. I’m easily distracted, so no TV or music while I’m writing. I wish I was one of those writers who could pack up my things and go write in a public cafe, but I know I’d get lost in observing my surroundings; so I find I can discipline myself better at home.

book-debby-words-we-carryWhat time of day do you like to write and why?  I love to write first thing in the morning after my coffee. I’m a multi-tasker, and once I get on the computer, I can get lost for hours between my emails, social media, blog, etc. So I have to do my writing first thing in the morning, or it’s not going to happen; although some of my best ideas come lurking in the wee hours of the night. In those instances, I have a handy journal I keep by my bedside to jot down ideas that will be elaborated on in the morning. If I don’t jot them down, I can consider them forgotten the next day.

When did you first start writing?  I was writing as far back as I can remember when I learned to write. I had an active imagination and was highly in-tuned with my growing up in an environment of dysfunction. I started writing poems and making up Hallmark–like cards for loved ones and friends. Valentine’s Day was my favorite holiday for making cards. As I grew into my teens, I began journaling about my observations of my family life, and I continued to journal through life. I wanted to write books for years but hadn’t developed enough self-confidence to do so.

Tell us a little about your newest book.  P.S. I Forgive You is a sequel book-debby-conflicted-heartsto Conflicted Hearts, a memoir about my narcissistic mother, the psychological hold she had on me by instilling guilt and fear when her demands weren’t complied with, and the heartache she bestowed on her loved ones. This sequel is a stand-alone in its own right. It’s a new journey about discovering and overcoming the narcissists inflictions and ultimately learning forgiveness, both for myself and my mother. The story is a completion of a life cycle, the cutting of the cord with all its frayed ends.

.Ebooks or paper? Do you have a preference?  I love both! They each serve their own purpose for me. I love ebooks for their portability. I read on my kindle at night in bed for pleasure reading. But all of my books pertaining to the craft of writing are in paperback. I need a physical book for my writing needs as I need to be able to make it personally mine by highlighting passages, folding important pages, and whatever else I can do to leave reminders or important things I want to go back to for reference.

book-debby-meno-whatIf you have a blog, what subjects do you write about?  I sure do run a blog. My blog is comprised of articles that I find informative about writing or self-publishing, random things I find interesting or unjust, and I have a new Sunday book review series where I choose a book I’ve read and enjoyed to share with my readers.

What was the first book that touched you deeply?  The Thornbirds written by Colleen McCullough. It’s a beautiful story about broken people living in a small town in Australia, encompassing undying and forbidden love.

What advice would you give a new writer?  Try to write every day. book-debby-have-bagsI’m not one who is disciplined by word counts. I just sit and write, whether it’s for a book I’m writing, ideas for a new book, a blog post, or just choosing a word prompt to keep the juices flowing. I may only crank out a paragraph or a page, or perhaps get lucky with a thousand words or more, but it’s daily exercise for the brain and good fuel to keep the writing keen. If we write something every day, it’s surprising how in a few months time we can have a rough draft written for a new book. Also, I recommend writing in the genre your comfortable in. Not all of our writing will appeal to everyone, so it’s best to write what you’re comfortable with, and eventually you will find your tribe.

Thank you so much Tina for inviting me here today to your blog to share a bit of myself and my newest book, P.S. I Forgive You: A Broken Legacy.

You’re very welcome, Debby. I’m delighted to share you and your work with my readers. Congratulations on the recent publication of your newest book! I wish you continued success as a published author, and I hope your books are read by many across the globe.

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P.S. I Forgive You is now available on Amazon.

Blurb:  I hurt for her. She wasn’t much of a mother, but she was still my mother.

Confronted with resurfacing feelings of guilt, D.G. Kaye is tormented by her decision to remain estranged from her dying emotionally abusive mother after resolving to banish her years ago, an event she has shared in her book Conflicted Hearts. In P.S. I Forgive You, Kaye takes us on a compelling heartfelt journey as she seeks to understand the roots of her mother’s narcissism, let go of past hurts, and find forgiveness for both her mother and herself.

After struggling for decades to break free, Kaye has severed the unhealthy ties that bound her to her dominating mother—but now Kaye battles new confliction, as the guilt she harbors over her decision only increases as the end of her mother’s life draws near. Kaye once again struggles with her conscience and her feelings of being obligated to return to a painful past she thought she left behind.

Excerpt: The End Is Near

My mother had been dying for years, and through those years she refused to surrender her bitterness and remained in denial of her flaws. The many times I heard she was dying reminded me of the boy who cried wolf. I almost believed she was invincible, and even though I never wanted her to suffer, she did.

I thought it was just a horrible and sad way to die—holding hatred for those she had chased out of her life, living in bitter seclusion, knowing her days were numbered. Her once vibrant life had diminished into a mere existence of watching TV and complaining. She’d also given all her caregivers a difficult time, bitching at them all and letting them know how useless they were to her because of what her life had become. Nobody was exempt.

I asked my brother Robby why God didn’t just take her out of her misery and pain during one of the many times she was on the brink of death. Why would he not spare her from suffering? He replied, “God has his own plans.” I couldn’t help but wonder if he was letting her suffer because she had hurt so many people in her lifetime, but in my next thought I couldn’t believe God would play those cruel games, tit for tat.

About the Author:  D.G. Kaye writes to inspire others. Her writing encompasses stories taken from events she encountered in her own life, and the lessons taken from them. Her sunny outlook on life developed from learning to overcome challenges in her life and finding the upside from those situations. Her refusal to accept the word No or the phrase I can’t keep her on the path to positivity. Kaye loves to look for the humor in whatever life can dish out, and when she isn’t writing intimate memoirs, she’ll bring her natural sense of humor into her other works. She writes with a rawness and honesty, leaving readers with something to take from her stories.

Learn more about D.G. Kaye:   Website       Twitter       Facebook   Google+       LinkedIn       Amazon

Thanks so much for stopping by

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Greg Marcus

greg-marcusGreg Marcus, Ph.D. is a practitioner, facilitator, and innovator of American Mussar, a 21st century spiritual practice for an authentic and meaningful life. He has a Ph.D. from MIT,  has worked for ten years as a marketer in the biotech industry, and is the author of The Spiritual Practice of Good Actions: Finding Balance Through the Soul Traits of Mussar.

Welcome, Greg!

Tell us a little about yourself.  I am a regular guy whose life was changed by a spiritual experience 9 years ago. It didn’t seem like it at the time, but it put me on a path to where I’ve evolved from a marketing professional with a Ph.D. to a full-time writer, speaker, and spiritual seeker. What do I seek? A path to be the best person I can be. When I’m not doing those things, I am a stay-at-home dad. I have two teen daughters and two 7-year-old cats who are brothers.

What is the genre of your latest book, and who published it?  It is a book of Jewish spirituality, and the publisher is Llewellyn. Kabbalah, the more widely known branch of Jewish spirituality, is spiritual mystical. Mussar is spiritual practical.

Tell us a little about your book.  Mussar is a 1,000-year-old Jewish book-2-greg-marcusspiritual practice that teaches us how to find those things inside that cause us to get stuck, and it offers a practical step-by-step path towards balance and healing.

We all have what it takes to be a mensch, a person of outstanding character. What we lack is a guidebook, a set of instructions on how to conduct ourselves in everyday life. Mussar teaches us how to balance our soul traits, things like Patience, Humility, Trust, and Truth. Too much of a soul trait is just as bad as not enough. Too little Patience leads to anger and frustration; too much leads to staying in a bad job or relationship.

What inspired you to write it?  The Spiritual Practice of Good Actions grew out of a class that I created and taught for 3 years. Mussar is an amazing practice. It has changed who I am for the better, and I watched as dozens of others became better people.

greg-marcus-soul-trait-patienceIn the book, I share a story of how one person went from being a curse-at-everyone driver to being “the most polite driver in California.” How? When practicing patience, she decided to deliberately let every car marge in front of her. That decision transformed her entire experience of driving. The frustration and impatience were gone. I want to help others have a similar experience.

Would you tell us a little about Mussar?  Mussar is a practice that gives concrete instructions and guidelines to help you live a meaningful and ethical life.

The fact of the matter is that we all have issues, whatever our religion or level of spirituality. Mussar teaches how to find those things inside that cause us to get in the same situation over and over again. And it provides guidance for how we can begin to make small changes in our lives to help bring healing to the Soul through greater balance. Rabbi Elya Lopian (1876-1970) defined Mussar as “making the heart feel what the mind understands.” I love this definition, because so often we know what we should be doing, but we just can’t seem to make ourselves do it.

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When did you first start writing?  I’ve done some work-related writing over the years; I’ve created business plans, marketing plans, strategy documents, and an occasional case study. I started writing my first book in my early 40’s.

What authors have most influenced you? How and why?  Alan Morinis, one of my Mussar teachers, wrote the book Everyday Holiness that served as the foundation of my Mussar practice. Alan personally is an inspiration to me. He, like me, is an ordinary guy who entered on a spiritual journey after a rough time in the business world. Malcolm Gladwell, who writes about complex and counter-intuitive truths with a sense of wonder, has also been a great influence on me. I try to emulate his ability to present information in an accessible way. Also, I love the way Brene Brown shares her personal story in an authentic way that people can relate to.

What was the first book that touched you deeply?  Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, which I read the summer before my senior year in high school, influenced my evolving sense of identity and sensibilities.  I related to the protagonist’s struggle to be seen; the way the storytelling unfolded just blew me away.

What genres do you like to read?  I almost exclusively read science fiction for fun. I also read a lot of books about Mussar, spirituality, and Jewish wisdom.

How do these books affect your writing?  To me, science fiction is a liberating genre. Science and spirituality both concern a search for answers. When I’m reading Sci-Fi, I never ask, “Is that possible?”  We make assumptions about the universe that the author has created. When I wrote the Spiritual Practice of Good Actions, I offered readers four assumptions that summarize the backstory of thousands of years of Jewish wisdom. You may or may not agree with it, but if you assume it is true, the practice holds together. The books on wisdom and Jewish spirituality inform my own Mussar practice, which I in turn offer to my readers in a modern context.

Where do you like to write? Why?  My book exists in part thanks to every barista within 10 miles of San Carlos, CA. I do most of my writing at Philz Coffee. I love the energy, being around people, and the coffee is great!

What time of day do you like to write? Why?  I write in the morning. I drop off my daughter at high school, drive over to Philz, and write for 30-40 minutes. Sometimes I write later in the day, but a good focused half hour is much better than 2 hours of stop-and-go writing.

In what genres do you write?  I am a practitioner, facilitator, and innovator of American Mussar. I write non-fiction to help people on a journey of personal transformation. My first book was on work-life balance, and my second is on spiritual balance. Writing fiction is on my bucket list. Someday.

E-books or paper ~ do you have a preference?  I prefer to read paper books, but I read many e-books too, especially when I travel. I own hundreds of books and love seeing them around my house. My wife owns even more.

How and where have you marketed your work?  As someone who spent ten years as a professional marketer, I find book marketing much harder. I do a lot of Facebook marketing. I write blog posts and then boost them to my readers, and sometimes I target certain audiences who I think will like what I have to say.

I have a free quiz on my website that people love – you can get your greg-marcus-soul-trait-profile-quizown personal Soul Trait Profile and see your current balance across 13 soul traits. Most importantly, you get a cool graphic when it is over. Pictures communicate something on an emotional level that we don’t get from words.

 

Do you have other publishing credits?  Yes. In 2013, I self-published Busting Your Corporate Idol: Self Help for the Chronically Overworked. I’ve done a number of guest posts and articles for website publications. One of my more recent works is “Join the Mensch Movement” on Tikkun.org. I wrote about the Democratic sit-in at the House of Representatives, which was led by John Lewis. Lewis is a mensch because his work is about other people, not himself. And he practices so that when the difficult choice arises, he is spiritually ready to do the right thing.

What is your current writing project?  I don’t have a current project. I am starting to teach a class on Mussar parenting, and I  suspect that class will evolve into a book as well. The class is Mussar with a focus on particular soul traits relevant to parenting. There are many books and approaches on how to parent children. The challenge for us is, “How to we parent ourselves? How do we hold it together, to be less stressed and more patient?” I’m teaching this class because there are skills that I need to develop. As I facilitate, I learn. We all learn from each other.

If you have a blog, what subjects do write about?  In my blog, I write about my spiritual journey and the lessons I learn about the real world. Mussar involves everyday life, and when I observe that I am challenged in Humility, Truth, or whatever soul trait I am working on, I write about it. Sometimes it is very unexpected, like when I realized that my book was published on the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek. I am a lifelong Trek fan, and I even wrote about Star Trek in the book.

There is one episode in which Kirk is split into a good Kirk and an evil Kirk. The good Kirk is nice, but he can’t make decisions. The evil Kirk is confident and decisive but frequently harmful, because he is driven exclusively by his base and selfish desires. This reflects the conflict that goes on inside each of us. But we can’t get rid of our “evil” side because it is a source of strength. We need to guide it and channel it.

Where can your books be purchased?  You can find my books on Amazon and in bookstores like Barnes and Noble. You can learn much more about The Spiritual Practice of Good Actions on my website, AmericanMussar.com, but the site will send you to Amazon to buy it.

What advice would you give a new writer?  Find a community of other writers. Non-writers may not get why you do what you do, but other writers will. And they can be a great source of feedback and encouragement.

What do you wish to say to your readers?  We all have the capacity to be a Mensch, a person of outstanding character. We just need to learn to get out of our own way and journey towards personal transformation. Real, lasting change happens by a series of small steps. I heartily invite you to visit my website or to delve into my book to learn about Mussar.

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A heartfelt “Thank You” to Greg for being a guest on my blog. Learn more about Greg here:  Website   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Twitter  Facebook  LinkedIn