The Writer’s Lens – Interview 12: David Ramos, The Long Road To Authorship

David Ramos has been writing for years. He’s published nearly two dozen books (thus far) and for his efforts, has built a small community of readers around him. He even has a new book on the way, Magnetic Faith, due out in March of 2019.

But, David didn’t just “fall into” publication. He sat down and made it happen. He learned what worked; he learned what didn’t work. And let’s be honest, he’s still learning as he goes.

David Ramos

And that’s the theme of my next interview with David Ramos on The Writer’s Lens – staying persistent and being disciplined about your goals. David and I discuss what it’s like to face rejection and how we, as writers, grow and develop as we continue to put ourselves out there. It’s a valuable life lesson and one that can’t be ignored if one is to cultivate a life’s work of writing and publishing.

For more on David, you can check out the links below:

Website – Ramos, Author

Facebook – Link

YouTube – Link

And P.S., don’t forget that David has a new book coming out this year called Magnetic Faith. It will be available through Amazon for purchase.

The Writer’s Lens – Interview 10: Willie Scott, aka FOLD

When it comes to using the term, “creative”, I’m still a newbie. I happen to think I’m creative (I’m a writer, after all) so tying creative and writer together isn’t a problem. When it comes to other creative types, I – like many others – tend to recognize someone for a single gift: making a craft, making music, writing, etc. These all make up the “creative” part of our persona. But is that all we are made for? Just one facet of creativity? For sometimes we encounter someone who is not only creative in one area, but in several different venues too.

Cue the guest of my next interview: Willie Scott, aka FOLD. (click here for the interview)

Producer Matlock (left) and Willie, “IAMFOLD” (right)

Willie is a return guest on The Writer’s Lens and in addition to being one-half of Better Than Blended and co-founder of TKI Publishing, Willie is also a recording artist. He truly puts the idea of putting one’s creative interests to work while simultaneously debunking the notion that we have to be so singularly focused on one aspect of our creativity, thus starving our other creative outlets. So in this interview, I explore with Willie all the dynamics that come with being an entrepreneur, a creative writer, a father, and a husband.

This was a fun interview for Willie and me and I think you’ll find it equally enjoyable.

For more on Willie and his music, you can check out these links below:

Better Than Blended – WebsiteFacebookInstagram

TKI Publishing – WebsiteFacebook

Matlock and FOLD – Facebook

YouTube
Matlock and FOLD – “Favor
Matlock and FOLD – “ICIT – In Christ I Trust
Matlock and FOLD – “Turn up

Guest Appearance – “Jesus Smart: The Podcast” with Brian Del Turco

In case you missed it, I was fortunate to be a return guest on Jesus Smart: The Podcast this past week. It’s my second time conversing with fellow content creator Brian Del Turco, the voice of Jesus Smart, and this time around we discussed goal-setting for the new year and how that plays a role in establishing our personal narratives.

To check out the full episode, you can check out the following links:

 

And here are the links to our prior conversation (broken into two parts) from my first appearance:

 

The “Pens of Steel” Group Discussion Special: Making A Digital Footprint

What is a digital footprint?

In part 3 of this “Pens of Steel” group discussion, we wrap up our conversation about digital voices and what each of us is doing in our pursuits to hone our unique digital footprints.

As this is part three, be sure to check out our earlier discussions (if you haven’t already) by clicking the links below.

Part 1: What Is A Digital Voice?

Part 2: Competing In The Sea Of Digital Voices

Brian Del Turco, owner/operator of LifeVoiceQuest

Website: http://www.lifevoicequest.com/

Podcast: http://www.jesussmart.com/

Willie Scott, co-founder of Better Than Blended and T.K.I. Publishing

Website: https://betterthanblended.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/betterthanblended/?hl=en

Brent Mclaughlin, writer

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brent.mclaughlin

 

The Writer’s Lens – A “Best Of” Interview Compilation

To bring in the new year here’s something a little different from The Writer’s Lens. This episode deals entirely with soundbites from each of my various interviews. And though there are plenty of other good nuggets from the full interviews, these clips were pieced together around a common theme: what’s it like to be a creative who is looking to hone his or her voice and garner an audience.

Perhaps this is something you are looking to hone in 2019? And beyond. These voices – and other guests I plan to have on this program – will be speaking into these areas so stay tuned in 2019 for more! And stay up to date by subscribing to The Writer’s Lens.

Links to the full interviews: 

YouTube Channel (audio and video)

Podcast Channel (audio only)

 

Guests on The Writer’s Lens 

– Willie and Rachel Scott, Co-founders of Better Than Blended and TKI Publishing

– Darrick Dean, Fantasy author; Among The Shadows

– Daniel Luketic, Entrepreneur

– Dr. Robert Snyder, Author of various children’s books, war veteran, and speaker

– Brent Mclaughlin, Writer

– Immanuel Mullen, Co-founder at TheStoryIs

– Colleen Ward, Owner at Colleen Ward Studio

– Brian Del Turco, Jesus Smart: The PodcastSubstanceTV, and owner at LifeVoiceQuest

– Kay Smith, Content creator and art teacher

 

 

The Writer’s Lens – E45: The Affirmation of Finished Work

What does it do for us when we finish what we start? If you’re the type of person that struggles with unfinished projects, then maybe you are in need of a morale boost. Or a gentle reminder of what you feel strongly about. Something to kick-start the juices and make it to the finish line.

Or perhaps on an even deeper level, maybe your unique message just isn’t clear yet.

Episode 45: The Affirmation of Finished Work

In my case, finishing a book is what I aim to do. Not an easy task; not something one does in a weekend. For writing a book can feel like running a marathon. But here’s something to remember: we aren’t alone in our pursuits.

In this episode, I talk in depth about the things we can learn about ourselves as we work through our passion projects. And how there’s a unique voice each of us can cultivate by bringing that message to completion.

Website: www.jclfaltot.com

Facebook: J.C.L. Faltot

Instagram: The Writer’s Lens

Support for “The Writer’s Lens”

If you’ve been wondering how to support my new podcast, The Writer’s Lens, then there’s a few ways to do so:

Listen

This may seem like a no-brainer, but the growth of any program relies on its viewership. More listens generate more opportunities for other potential listeners to find out about The Writer’s Lens. And don’t worry, there are no quizzes or exams waiting at the end of any episode…maybe.

Share and / or Subscribe

Sharing is caring. Well, unless you’re five and your parents make you do it. Either way, sharing the podcast can make others aware of what The Writer’s Lens can offer. Especially for those actively seeking the kind of content we are working on and could be of benefit to them. Have a creative friend? Someone who loves storytelling? Someone who wants to hear from entrepreneurs and creatively-minded folks? It’s encouraging to know there’s a community out there that can help you. And on that note, I’ll add that as therapeutic or fun as this can be for me personally, I’d love to see growth in other people’s lives too. The gain we get is the gain we give.

Comment / E-Mail

This may be the most frightening aspect of social media: asking for comments. We all know how treacherous the Internet highways can be so why ask for feedback? Well, because engagement creates opportunity for growth. There are always good topics I’d like to do, but may not be aware people are looking for them to be discussed. Seeing how my audience is responding helps me key into what’s working. Or what isn’t. So again, if you like what we are doing – let us know. Don’t like we are doing? Let us know that too. Gently.

Support Though Monetary Donation

There are always costs associated with doing something. Be it the time we spend or the materials we require. So, if you aren’t always able to share, subscribe or the like, you can always provide a monetary donation to help The Writer’s Lens keep moving forward, but even more so, enable this podcast to get better than what it was yesterday. Not to mention (but I will), there are some cool rewards available for those who give above and beyond.

You can check out those rewards by going here. And again, you can find The Writer’s Lens on Podbean, iTunes, and even YouTube.

Thanks in advance and talk with you all again soon!

– J.C.L.

 

Of Heroes and Ordinary Men

As of late, I’ve been reading a book called Ordinary Men. It’s a recount of German police battalion 101; a documentation of the men who served as part of Nazi Germany’s Order Police during the Second World War. The policemen, as cataloged by author Christopher Browning, are given an assignment on the morning of July 13, 1942 that would change their lives forever. And subsequently, the lives of every Jewish man, woman, and child living in the ghetto of Jozefow. Though only police officers, the battalion is handed down orders to “liquidate” the entire ghetto and thus, murder every single Jewish person – amounting somewhere in the thousands – that resided within. As you might suspect, the orders are carried out in full. But, not without consequence. In the days and years that follow, the members of Battalion 101 experience extreme regret, bitterness, and entanglement of their very souls. It’s a chilling read and a grim reminder of how quickly things can devolve into madness.

What’s more, the book chronicles how so many of these average police officers were given a choice: to carry out their orders or to simply “walk out.” The majority of them did not choose the latter. And though some did outright, a vast majority of officers participated. The details of which I will leave for those who wish to read the book themselves.

As a writer of fiction, I am in the business of creating stories. Stories that not only tickle the imagination, but project images and ideals of I would constitute as heroic. For without heroism, few protagonists are memorable.

And yet, when it comes to real life, the heroes we find in story are remarkably absent. Bullies surround a kid at school and no one intervenes. An employee knowingly removes money from the company bank account and those in the know turn a blind eye. If confronted with these situations ourselves, we’d all like to believe we’d rise to the occasion. That we’d mirror the heroes of our favorite fantasy or fiction and become the star of our circumstances. However, as I’m reading through Ordinary Men, it’s easy to see that we aren’t always as virtuous as we tend to think, nor are we as brave as we’d choose to believe. External forces – coupled by our own internal ones – drive us to self-preserve, to retain self-interest, and forego the sacrifice that might be necessary to simply do what is good and just.

But, what is good and just? Writers have been tackling what is right and what is wrong since the beginning of time. And the more specific and morally gripping the scenario, the cloudier our answer tends to become. Yet by continually engaging in stories that challenge our thinking on these matters, we continue to cultivate the best parts of ourselves: the traits most associated with what is admirable and what is desirable. And that’s worth writing about.

For more on that topic, check out my latest podcast We All Wish We Could Be The Hero.

Good. Evil. What’s The Difference To A Writer?

Good versus evil. It’s a common tale; one that’s recreated and retold over and over again: Luke vs. Vader. Aragorn vs. Sauron. Harry Potter vs. Voldemort, to name a few. As a youth, I was exposed – like so many others – to this age-old battle. Bedtime stories portrayed what it meant to be “good” and by contrast, what it meant to be “bad.”

Often, readers differentiate good from evil because the authors make it known to them. The most common form is the monomyth, as coined by writers like Joseph Campbell. It’s the idea that a hero – the protagonist – embarks on a journey, sparked by a call to action, to upend some injustice that has been done to him or others. The climax of the journey is a showdown between protagonist and antagonist; with the antagonist representing the opposite objective of the protagonist. And in most cases, it’s the villain whom the hero must upend.

Yet, not every battle between good and evil is so black and white. Popular stories like Game of Thrones present characters who one moment may seem virtuous but a few scenes later reveal their selfish intentions. Heroes and villains are thus, harder to pinpoint.

To go even further, Showtime’s television drama, Dexter, follows a serial killer who – ironically enough – only kills “bad guys.” Though murder would usually be considered wrong or evil, in this narrative, the prospect of killing villains is portrayed as good. Or at the very least, is meant to challenge the viewer as to what he or she would do if given the same situations as Dexter.

For more on this subject, be sure to check out my latest podcast episode. And be sure to subscribe to my channel, The Writer’s Lens!

“…often their last book and their first book are different. They’ve changed.” – Darrick Dean, author of Among the Shadows

My freshman year of high school was a landmark in my life. I started the year with dyed blond hair. I ended it with brown. I started with no experience playing varsity sports. I ended it as our baseball team’s starting shortstop. I started with no braces and ended it with a consultation that would lead to braces (again).  Lastly, I started with no girlfriend…and wait, I ended without one too.

Okay, so it wasn’t a complete landmark experience. But, there was plenty happening that year.

My friends, and especially my family, noticed the changes I was going through the most. Especially when it came to my outward appearance. I shot up about five inches. It was a much-needed growth spurt. For the majority of guys in my eighth-grade class had apparently been taking horse pills during the summer break. So I needed to grow. And thanks to father time, I’d been given the chance to do so.

But, I’d also changed on the inside. I’d gotten more confident. I made decisions faster. I prioritized things. I even broke some rules that year. I stayed out later with friends. I took risks. And though it was uncomfortable at times, I was beginning to navigate who I was as a young adult.

Yet, I did my best to stay grounded. I liked doing things outside the norm. But, I didn’t want to lose who I was as a person. Yes, I wanted to become more independent; more

Writing is often seen as an outward expression of inner workings. The things that make us tick, boiling to the surface and out. How we feel about our world and what we think it ought to look like according to us. Ernest Hemmingway once said about writing, “All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” And there you have it – minus the blood.

When I interviewed Darrick Dean, a fellow author, he and I were discussing how writers cand change over time. How even the most seasoned scribes like Stephen King can sometimes change their habits. How writers can alter their styles and even deviate from their core content (see my first book vs. my last).

And though this can be true of the writing world, I don’t tend to stress about it. Style can change; much like a teenager in high school. The only thing I do want to concentrate on is my message; the themes I am engaging. The feelings I am leaving with my readers. This is something I want to have some consistency in. For I believe any great writer knows his words will outlast his lifetime. That he will be regarded (and remembered) by the messages he left behind.

In my case, I can look back and see how I’ve changed; some ways more drastically than others. Yet, I must be aware that this is all part of the process. Finding a voice. Owning it. And being cognizant of how to utilize it. Every writer ought to be aware of this; every good writer, that is.

Because even if you aren’t recognizing every little change in you, your readers most certainly are.