Thursday, April 12, 2012

This Blog is on the Move

This blog is moving to a nice shiny new location and I think you will like it.  I will no longer be posting here. However, there is a new blog called which will provide this and much more information. Thank you so much to the 8,000 plus viewers who dropped by to see my posts here. Please continue to follow at the new site. I look forward to seeing you there!!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


I did an interview on The Authors Show yesterday that should be aired in a few weeks. The show is the number 1 ranked show out of 882 million competitors when anyone googles "author radio" so I am pleased to be a part of it. My interview with 100 Huntley Street (Canadian TV show broadcast nationally) will also be aired in the coming weeks.

Stay tuned for dates!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Writers for a Cause

I am very pleased to be a part of Writers for a Cause. By crafting and marketing books spanning a variety of genres, the website has a number of professional authors who "improve quality of life through financially supporting a myriad of non-profit, non-political organizations serving communities."

We direct the money we raise to Plan Canada International for various projects. The most recent is to help youth and young women establish small businesses in Tanzania. A portion of the proceeds of book sales is used for that purpose.

Check out the philanthropic authors at the website.

Writers for a Cause

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Kilimanjaro and Beyond Wins!

The final results are in and Kilimanjaro and Beyond won first place in the Spiritual/Inspirational category in the Reader Views Reviewers Choice Awards. Yay!!!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

New Interview

I really enjoyed doing this interview with Donna Brown for her blog, Book Bags and Cat Naps. Thanks Donna!

Interview for Book Bags and Cat Naps

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Kilimanjaro and Beyond Up For an Award

I am very pleased to announce that Kilimanjaro and Beyond is a finalist for an award from Reader Views in the spiritual and inspiration category. Results will be anounced sometime in March.

Stay tuned!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Update on the Economic Security Project

We are starting to plan some fantastic events for 2012 to raise more money for the micro finance project in Tanzania that will help young uneducated people, most of whom are women, start small businesses. I am happy to report that we raised $9,510 in 2011 so after the federal government contributes their share, that is $38,040 raised directly and indirectly through our projects.  Thank you to everyone who contributed!!

I just received a report from Tanzania through Plan Canada that speaks to the kind of work that was done in Year 1. A total of 94 Village Savings and Loan Associations were established in three different communities in Tanzania. This was slightly below target for the reasons mentioned below, but still an amazing accomplishment. Having seen the associations in action, it means that there are many more entrepreneurs in Africa starting self sustaining businesses so they can feed their families and send their children to school.  It is one more important step in lifting them from the cycle of poverty they have found themselves in.

The Africans face tremendous challenges that we don't even think about and I thought it would be interesting to reprint the exact quote from the report.

"In some communities, participation was slow at the beginning of the program as communities were busy working in their fields. The farming season was a constraint as farmers migrate to farms for harvest making it difficult to get groups/people on time to Village Savings and Loan (VSL) meetings during week days. In the dry season, participation rates were much more positive. A period of heavy rains also made some of the program areas inaccessible for Plan and Partner staff. The rainy season caused road blocks and delays in activities. This situation persisted in Ifakara and Mwanza from March to May 2011. For example, areas in Ifakara were flooded, making it difficult for VSL groups to meet regularly as well as field visits. Due these factors, project implementation was delayed in both Quarter 1 and 2 of Year 1."

In spite of the challenges, work is progressing and we are continuing our efforts to do our bit.  Stay tuned for updates on upcoming events and, of course, I would be happy to make presentations on the work we are doing.  A portion of the proceeds from our book, "Kilimanjaro and Beyond" also goes to the project.

One final point I would like to mention again is that we have partnered with the Atma Foundation in Oregon.  As mentioned in a previous post, they have already sent school supplies to the classroom we collectively helped to fund and they will continue to do so. I am grateful to Alysha Atma and her dedicated team for the work they are doing. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Interview With Madison Johns - Crime and Horror Writer

This is a bit of a departure from the normal musings on my blog but I am very proud to present the following interview with Madison Johns.  As a fan of good mystery novels and admirer of those who write them, it is a pleasure to be able to interview an author of that genre.  Here are Madison's responses to my questions.

1. Tell us something about yourself.
  I'm 48 and I drive a 2002 Sunfire that you might notice has smoke billowing from the hood. I'm a bit nutty, but in a good way. I'm the one with the freaked out hair you'd see at Walmart. I love to make people laugh, especially people that are sick. I work as a certified nursing care assistant, it's a hard job, but full of rewards. I love taking care of others, and have found a way to make people smile even when they are very ill.

2.  When did you start writing?

  When I was a child, I had all these stories inside my head. You know the ones where everybody thinks they're great. Everything from being an Indian to a main character in some sappy romance novel. Four years ago, I decided to start typing them out, and as a result, I finished short stories, two novels. I'm currently working on polishing them for publication.

3.  You are a crime writer.  How do you do your research?

 I have also written two horror short stories, but yes, I'm geared toward mysteries. I find it very interesting how crimes are solved. I research online for the most part. It takes time and patience to find good websites. For my yet unreleased thriller, The Bone Extractor, I researched extensively. Everything from how to lift fingerprints to details on how autopsies are done. For Armed and Outrageous, I researched the Michigan State Police website. I researched what you need to do to obtain a concealed gun permit, and how to get a private investigator's license.

4.  You describe your main character in your book, “Armed and Outrageous” as follows, “Agnes Barton is not your typical senior. She drives a red, hot Mustang, shops at Victoria's Secret, and has a knack for sticking her nose where it does not belong.”  Tell us how you came up with Agnes.  

 Laughs, I thought it sounded like a name a senior would have. Her partner in crime, Eleanor, is the name of a former resident. When I worked for a nursing home, I took care of three Eleanors, all of them bat shit crazy. Many of the names I used in Armed are based on real people, but I created Agnes out of my imagination. I know many senior citizens that don't fit the mold of what people think a senior should be. 

5.  Since Agnes is a senior, you must have some thoughts on ageing. Tell us about them.

 I think we should have fun until our bodies break down or minds go bad enough that we drive our kids crazy. I believe in longevity. Doing that means we need to take care of ourselves. Growing older isn't that bad of a thing.  

6.  What other books do you have available?
 Coffin Tales Season Of Death, it includes two short stories Jack-o'-lantern and Hell Crow. Both stories are horror, but not the grossed out kind.

7.  Any advice for new authors?
 Try to be original as you can be, which is practically impossible these days. Be yourself and write what gets you excited. Make lasting friendships with other writers, read their blogs. Grow a very thick skin because you're going to need it. Growing as a writer means honing your craft. Listen to feedback with an open ear. It's hard to take sometimes, but it will help you improve. Hiring an editor is a great idea. Surround yourself with positive people.

8.  What is the most difficult part of the writing and publishing process for you and how do you overcome it?
 Trying to find time to write without interruptions and of course editing. I'm not a grammar whiz that's for sure. Hiring an editor is a huge investment, something I will be doing soon. Formatting for Amazon is not a treat. I hired a formatter, but learned how to do it myself now. It's been a learning experience.

9.  What is your measure of success in your writing?
  That people are interested enough in me that they'll buy my books. I've gathered interest in my upcoming senior sleuth, which is huge to me. I'm excited about this book and hopeful looking toward the future. I spent time getting to know people on Facebook on a personal level. I think it's important to be a "real" person. How many people can say that an author takes the time to interact with you. Best selling authors can't do that, but I can and will continue to do so.

10.  Where can the readers find your books?

 Coffin Tales Season of Death is available on Amazon.

Thank you very much for taking the time to respond to the questions, Madison!

Madison's website is Madison Johns

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Supplies for Our Schools

Thanks to the Atma Foundation, a box of supplies will be on its way to the two schools we have been involved with in Tanzania.  According to Executive Director, Alysha Atma, this will be the first of many. The box will include:

20 Workbooks
3 boxes of crayons
2 paints - Watercolors
20 Sidewalk chalk
1 Desk Pencil Sharpener
9 Rulers
25 Pink Erasers
10 Dozen Pencils

Is that awesome or what!!??

I am very proud to be associated with the Atma Foundation and the work that they do.  Drop in to check them out at the link.

Atma Foundation



Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Interview on Kris Wampler's page

I enjoyed being interviewed by Kris Wampler, author of the book, Love Train.. Check out the interview and his book.

Monday, January 23, 2012

New Interview

There is a new interview on Inspiration Forum.

Interview with Barry Finlay

New Interview

I did an interview about my Kilimanjaro experiences with Writer Madison Johns on her blog.  There were some very interesting questions!  You can check it out at the link.

Kilimanjaro and Beyond

Leadership Series

I thought it would be fun to write a series of short essays on leadership since I have spent most of my life leading in some capacity or another.  I think I have had the opportunity to learn what to do and, maybe more importantly, what not to do.

I thought it would be three or four short essays but when I started to think about topics, I came up with about 15 without too much effort. I have decided to start a new blog for my essas called, "LeadershipWould Be Easy...If It Weren't for People."

I hope you will check it out, leave your comments, start discussions, add topics or whatever you would like to do.  In the meantime, I will continue to post Kilimanjaro and Tanzania-related things here.

You can find the new blog at the link:

Leadership Would Be Easy...If It Weren't for People


Thursday, January 12, 2012

First Major TV Appearance

Monday brought a new experience for me. I have been on community television a few times.  Locally, it involves sitting in a small "green room" with other guests until the hosts come blasting in prior to the show. The hosts of our community show bring an amazing energy level into the room as they swoop in. The atmosphere quickly goes from quiet conversation to a raucous review of the day's topic with each of the guests. Then you sit and wait for your turn. The show is live so what is said is well, said.  The hosts are professional and VERY upbeat.  It is a professional and enjoyable experience.  The interview itself lasts about five minutes.

Monday was a little different. It was a taping on the national show 100 Huntley Street in Toronto. The Crossroads Centre where the taping takes place is massive, the green room is nicely appointed and there is a quiet calm about the whole experience. The host, Moira, is a lovely and very professional lady.  For the first time I had to wear makeup and I must say I look pretty good with eyebrows!  I sat quietly before the interview, we said a little group prayer before taping started and Moira took me through the interview with leading questions. I have to say I was disappointed when it was coming to an end. Fifteen minutes went by very quickly!

I always spend the next day thinking about things I wish I had said or things I wish I had said better.  Maybe you stop doing that with experience. I don't know. I always cringe a bit when I watch myself.  I think that is probably natural too.  In any event, the 100 Huntley Show will be aired sometime in the next few weeks and after I have seen it and if I like it, I will post the link.  LOL 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year from Nashville!

This year, the new year was brought in by watching our son and his band in Nashville, Tennessee! Great music! Great city! I love the vibe here. There is something about the city that gets the creative juices flowing as I am sure any musician will attest to.  I am finding myself rejuvenated with plans for new events to continue to help the children of Africa and with a desire to promote Kilimanjaro and Beyond and maybe work on a new book. Hopefully, all of that won't disappear when we had back to ice and snow in a few days!

I hope that 2012 brings everyone what they would like it to. I personally would like to see a reduction in poverty around the world. Everyone should have access to food and clean water and other basics of life and we will continue to do our bit to help out the young women in Tanzania start businesses so they can provide the basics for their familes.

We hope we can continue to count on your support for 2012. In the meantime, Happy New Year to you and yours!  Let's hope 2012 is the best year yet for all of us!