Time to Go Within: Spiritual Journeying
Patricia Blumhagen produces a book that many Indie authors can only hope to strive to create. From cover to cover, the style, flow, elegance and professionalism of this captivating collection of voluminous verse and inundating imagery is enough to make the reader aspire to acknowledge the depths of their very own soul. Written in a way which tells the story of rebirth, journey, acceptance of self and a cycle we all live through, this compilation reveals a closure and completeness as told using lyrics and photos meant to drive home this inspirational message.
Only Quality Indie: Where do you live?
Patricia Blumhagen: Ashley Falls, MA
OQI: Patricia, thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. To begin, I suppose I should ask if you consider yourself to be an "indie" author.
PB: Yes, Stephen. I have always heard the music from a different drummer. I guess some might say I am different. "Why not get a publisher?" Others might say, "It cannot work." Or that it is difficult. I say I want to climb the mountain and then look back. I have always strived to understand the way things work, and find creative ways for solving life's unfolding motions. It takes courage to travel alone, but being true to me is my greatest freedom. Indie authorship fits me perfectly.
OQI: What books do you like to read?
PB: My favorite books are science, spirituality, the body,mind,spirit connection, health issues, spiritual transformation, inspirational, psychological/transformational poetry.
OQI: Who are some of your favorite authors?
PB: I have read many books, and there is a bibliography of
the authors and their books in, "Winter's Mystery-Time To Go Within: Spiritual Journeying" that have influenced my life.
Here are a few authors:
• Carl jung
• Bruce Lipton
• Mary Oliver
• Monika Wikman
• Jean Houston
• Robert Bly
• Joseph Campbell
• Walt Whitman
OQI: When did you first know you wanted to be an author?
PB: As a child, I always dreamed of becoming a author. Later in life I learned to have a relationship with my inner writer.This allowed me to believe that it could be possible to become an author.The quest for purpose and meaning became the key for opening the door to my own knowing and writing with direction. Much later in life I began to play with the words to touch the unmanned feelings. The words set me free. Free at last, I confronted the lies of the false persona and reclaimed my Divine self.
OQI: What other genres you would consider writing about?
PB: I enjoy sharing information and inspiriting others. I would consider how-to books on health, food, healing and spirituality.
OQI: I am impressed by the high degree of professionalism displayed by your book, Winter’s Mystery. I noticed that you mention an “editorial consultant” in your credits. How much of the finished look and design do you do yourself? Do you do the layout and publishing as well?
PB: Yes, Wanda Styka did the editing of the book. When it came to the poems, she was very careful not to touch the meaning I intended. She would just enhance it with correcting the grammar, spelling or punctuation. She was very respectful of my poetry. Poems, photography and page layout were all done by this author with assistance. I designed my cover from a photograph I took and superimposed the words onto the image. I found someone to place the image into the cover. I had created the door from spiritual work. The printing of the book was done by a POD [Print On Demand].
OQI: I see that Reinventing Health Publishing is your publisher. Is this an imprint of a larger publishing house, or is it a brand you created?
PB: No. I am the publisher and Reinventing Health is my business name. Again, I wanted the control of my book and in order to accomplish this, I needed to buy the ISBN number and place it onto my book. Now I am the publisher. In order to buy an ISBN, one needs to state that they are a publisher and give a name of their publishing company. I did not want someone else to become the publisher of my book. That is how Reinventing Health Publishing came to be.
OQI: Do you have any other books available? Is any of your work available in electronic form?
PB: Yes, I have another book titled "Words: The Art Of Recalling Awareness." This is an interview with my mentor discussing graphic charts showing how language works in a society. I am writing another book that address the problems with our food, water, air and water. I hope to complete it this year. No, none of my work is available in electronic form at this time. In the pipeline there will be CDs, audios and e-Books of my poetry and other topics on health and nutrition and how they are interconnected with the body, mind and spirit.
OQI: Can you tell us more about what your intent is regarding the message(s) behind the work included in Winter’s Mystery?
PB: My intent was to become an author and hold my book in hand.
As I went through the process of writing and creating the book, something beyond me kept pushing me forward. It was exciting, and I began to realize that I was doing things I could not have imagined. More, the book was writing itself; I was just the vessel for the words to find a place for meaning and purpose. I struggled to believe in myself and trust the process. Slowly, the poems fell into place as did the photos. I wanted the reader to understand that their journey within is vital for wholeness. I wanted the reader to believe in themselves and trust their process. More, to know that they did nothing bad to create the situation, it was the spiritual journey that was calling to them. Their soul wanted to grow.
OQI: Did you take all of the beautiful photos included in the book?
PB: Yes, I did. I would look to find the right image to photograph in nature to enhance the poem. After some months I have about 100 photos, and from them I picked 84. I wanted to offer the reader the deeper essence of Winter’s Mystery, more to reveal the true meaning of winter’s bareness and darkness. My friend would tell me about a special tree or streams, and other scenes from nature. There was so much to learn about light, dpi and formatting in Photo Shop. I had a difficult time understanding why some of my photos were not acceptable. Only after understanding the nature of pixel and getting a higher pixel camera was I able to get photos that were clear and in the right pixel. I discovered many talents hidden within from this process.
OQI: Are any of the poems your “favorite”?
PB: Yes, there are a few that continue to address new insights,
• Will The Tree Come To Life?
• The Depths of Winter
• Hades' World
• Open The Door
• The Treasure
• Ancient Grandmother
• The Wheel Turns
• I Let Go
• Winter's Epilogue
OQI: In some of the information I have seen online, you mention that you consider yourself to be a well-being mentor of sorts. Could you elaborate?
PB: I have always been involved with healing body, mind and spirit. Well-being is the optimum level that I hope for those who work with me. Health, for me, is far more than fixing or cutting out or drugs. It is a harmonious intervention that addresses the body/mind/spirit connection as an unit. All the parts affect each other. My goal is to address the body, mind and spirit’s imbalances, and to assist the client to understand what is out of balance and how best to address the imbalance.
OQI: What advice do you have for self-publishing authors?
PB: I guess the best advise is be prepared to work hard to accomplish your goal. Believe in yourself and listen to your own inner knowing. Research and learn all you can to be clear what you are getting into. Replace fear with confidence. Keep focus on your dream. Remember, you have a message to share and do whatever it takes to share your message .
OQI: Are there any other words or thoughts you have regarding how to be successful as a poet and mentor?
PB: Follow your heart and allow it to guide you. Be proud of you! Whatever you dream of, know it is possible. Strive everyday to accomplish one thing.
Thank you, Patricia Blumhagen, for taking the time to answer these questions. I hope that anyone reading this will be able to benefit from your thoughts and ideas. Keep up the good work, and thanks for being an inspiration.
If you would like to see more work from Patricia Blumhagen, or if you would like to be a fan or contact her, please use the following links:
EMAIL Patricia here:
Adam Greenwood has given me a new admiration for fan fiction. Although not a genre in which I am usually interested, I was truly captivated by this story about Sherwood Forest, and the believable content and characters associated with this setting. When it became clear exactly who the players were in the story, and how they related to the original Robin Hood, I must say I was fascinated. Greenwood has a specific knack for putting the reader into the story, and the tale becomes vivid and real. I would like to thank him for his time, and I hope you enjoy learning about Adam as much as I have.
Only Quality Indie: Where do you live?
Adam Greenwood: Nottingham, UK - Traditional focus of the Robin Hood legends and less than an hour's drive from Sherwood Forest.
OQI: Please list your favorite authors (in no particular order):
OQI: When did you first know you wanted to be an author?
OQI: What other genres you would consider writing about?
OQI: Do you consider yourself to be an "indie" author.
AG: Sounds better than “enthusiastic amateur” doesn't it? Seriously though, when I first started writing I shared the mistaken belief with many others that there is such a thing as a “proper author”. Certainly there are those who make their living from their writing and I would love one day to be among them, but I have discovered through contact with many other wonderful writers, illustrators and creative folk that anyone with the passion and skill to tell a story and get it down on paper (metaphorically speaking) can consider themselves an author. So in answer to your question, yes. I am an Indie author.
OQI: Do you mind describing the reason you chose this topic? Have you always been a Robin Hood fan? How did you decide to choose this particular story to tell?
AG: As long as I can remember I've been a fan of the 'Sword and Sorcery' genre, especially the point at which history and mythology start to blur. Stories about Robin Hood and King Arthur fascinated me from when I was very young. Visits to Sherwood Forest as a part of family holidays during my childhood made the stories all the more real for me and meant that Robin Hood has always been special to me. I was interested to see that you described my story as “fan fiction” as, in a way, all Robin Hood stories are fan fiction. There are various theories about where the legends originated, whether with an actual individual or folklore or a mixture of both. The earliest recorded ballads are clearly preserving a much older oral tradition but the story most people are familiar with seems to originate in the Elizabethan era with Anthony Munday's plays. Over the centuries, many different authors, story-tellers and film-makers have presented their own interpretation of the legend and adding their own elements which have, over time, become a part of the “canon”. I wanted to make my own contribution to this rich and varied tradition. My first attempt, “Robin of the Wood: Legend” is far more fantasy-based, described by one reader as “a cross between Lord of the Rings and The Secret Garden”, but for the Legacy Saga I wanted to go with a more realistic tone, presenting the story as it could plausibly have played out in real life. I started with the idea that I was talking about the real people that “Legend” had been inspired by, but the more I wrote, the more these characters took on a life of their own and forged their own story. The idea of the “true” story behind the fairy-tale that is “Legend” will be revisited in the prequel to the Legacy Saga - “Robin of the Wood: Beginnings”.
OQI: Do you have a publisher or promoter, or do you handle that yourself?
AG: For my first release, I worked with a small publisher who has since gone out of business. It was what I needed at the time as I really had no idea where to start when it came to the actual production of a book and the processes involved. Once I had an actual product available to promote, however, it gave me the opportunity to meet several other authors and Indie publishers who showed me how, with a reasonable amount of effort and a lot of patience, it was possible to do for myself everything that the publisher had been doing. When I decided to become a self-publisher, I decided that I needed a brand which was not specific to any particular story or genre so that I could use it for any work I put out. I therefore created my own “imprint,” Saint Claire Press. It also adds a degree of professionalism and legitimacy to my published work. When it comes to promotion, I have some close friends and family members that I work with to try and raise the profile of my work but no, I don't have a promoter as such. One thing I have found through handling the whole process from initial idea to finished product myself is how important it is to have other people to edit, critically read and proof-read your work for you at various stages, as this is virtually impossible to do yourself.
OQI: Where did you publish your first eBook? Do you have a favorite outlet, such as Amazon or Smashwords?
AG: I published my first eBook on Amazon Kindle around four years ago but more as an experiment really. The formatting left quite a lot to be desired and I was never really happy with it. I also published PDF eBooks on Lulu.com at the same time I released my paperbacks. These looked, to me at least, nicer but had a much more limited market and did not sell well. Recently, I made the decision to transfer all my eBook activity to Amazon Kindle to take advantage of the KDP Select platform. I made several attempts at uploading the first book (“Robin of the Wood: Legend”) until I was completely happy with the formatting. Having done it once, it was then much easier to correctly format and upload the others. I mentioned earlier about patience and that's really what it comes down to – the patience to keep going back and adding or removing an extra blank line and suchlike. I've yet to try Smashwords – maybe that's something for the future.
OQI: Do you sell more eBooks or hard copies?
OQI: Do you mind letting us know how successful your first book was in the beginning? Did it take off immediately, or did you have to work hard to get it recognized?
AG: I was quite lucky at the beginning in that I moved to Nottingham around the time my first book was released so it had a reasonable amount of success. A Robin Hood-themed tourist attraction which has since closed was very supportive, stocking it in their gift shop and allowing me to to do signing events. I was also lucky enough to attend various events that first year at which it sold quite well. After the initial burst of interest, however, everything went quiet for a couple of years until I released the new, expanded edition of “Legend”. Since then, sales and interest have been steady and each time I release a new book, sales of my back-catalogue pick up for a short time too as people “discover” me.
OQI: What sort of promotional activities do you do? What seems to work the best? What has been a waste of time?
AG: Event-based sales seem to be the most productive for me, either events I have arranged specifically to promote my books or events that in some way relate to the subjects I write about. People seem to enjoy meeting me, hearing about the story then taking a book away to read and enjoy. The fact that such events give me an excuse to dress up as Robin Hood is a nice bonus for me too. Of all the avenues I've tried, having small book stores stock my books seems to be the least productive. There have been some independent retailers who have been willing to give me shelf space, for which I am very grateful, but the sales through these channels have been minimal. I also used to have a promotional website in the hope that people would be doing a general web search for Robin Hood and come across my work that way but, again, the sales through this channel were minimal. Amazon now offers an “Author Page” similar to Lulu's “Author Spotlight." Couple these with Facebook small business/artist pages and there really is little need for a small-scale author such as myself to maintain a personal website.
OQI: Bouncing around, being new, trying to find the most efficient way to sell books can be discouraging. What good advice do you have that may help those of us struggling with this?
OQI: If there is one piece of advice you would impart to any aspiring author, what would it be?
AG: If you feel you have a story to tell then tell it! There are so many ways now to get your work out there and available to the reading public. But make sure that you are always writing what you want to write. If you try to write what you think people want to read it will come across as forced and derivative. Your story is your story – tell it the way you want it to be told!
OQI: Are there any other words or thoughts you have regarding how to be successful online as an author?
AG: It's a very crowded market place so it can be very hard to make yourself and your work stand out. I believe you can only do this by making your work uniquely your own rather than trying to emulate whatever happens to be the best seller at the time. Of course it is important to be aware of trends and it is well worth designing your covers to fit with the generally accepted style associated with your genre, but don't set out to market your book as “The New Twilight” or “The New Harry Potter” - market your book as something new and exciting in its own right and make your style your own!
Thank you, Adam Greenwood, for taking the time to answer these questions. Keep up the good work, and thanks for being an inspiration.
I hope that anyone reading this will be able to benefit from these thoughts and ideas. If you would like to see more work from Adam Greenwood, or if you would like to become a fan or contact him, please use the following links:
Amazon U.K. - Purchase your copy now!