Author Feature – Next Therapist Please by Laurie Finkelstein

Janie goes through therapists like leased cars. Every few years, she trades in for a new one. Blessed with anxiety, depression, and OCD, Janie has encountered a menagerie of therapists. She has experienced the funky, the scholarly, and the incompetent. In a chance meeting, Janie and ex-hypnotherapist Dr. Rob begin a friendship that could be everlasting. With a paintbrush in one hand and a cocktail in another, Janie navigates through her complicated life. From her cottage on Balboa Island to the Doc’s home in Palm Springs, can Janie manage her quirks and hang-ups with the help of the Doc? Find out in this funny, heartwarming, and at times heart wrenching, read. Grab a cocktail, make a toast to Janie, and enter her world.

Buy it today on AMAZON   or   SMASHWORDS

What inspired you to write Next Therapist Please?
Next Therapist Please started as separate stories I wrote pertaining to my personal journey with living with mental illness as well as raising a special needs child. They were meant as a means to move beyond the accumulated emotions I experienced. When I finished, I had all these interesting and often rather amusing tales to read. With my love of romantic comedies, I decided, “Hey, lets take these stories and interweave them with fictional characters and a storyline in true chick lit fashion.”

What do you think the average reader without challenges will walk away with after reading?
First, I want readers to have a fun read. Second, I want readers to experience a life they may not understand or ever think about. Raising a child with special needs is daunting, confusing, and during the time my son was growing up, services were limited and inadequate. I want people to understand that mental illnesses do not define a person. Nor, just go away. These are lifelong disorders. And, I want people who are quietly suffering to know they are not alone and there is help for them

How do you think reading a romantic comedy will help people understand some aspects of mental illness?
My first purpose is to humanize mental illness and my second goal is to break down the stigma mental illness carries. 42.5 million Americans suffer some sort of mental illness. That is roughly 1 in 5 people. It is time to bring the discussion of these disorders to the forefront of our dialogues of health care management. Humor and happy endings make most circumstances acceptable.

Who has influenced your writing?
First, the love of reading began with picture books and as I learned to read, books like My Father’s Dragon, Island of the Blue Dolphins, and A Wrinkle in Time fed my imagination. Today I love to read traditional and Indie authors mainly in the rom com vain. Sophie Kinsella tops my list of traditionally published creative, funny, fabulous writers. I also love to read Plum Sykes, Cathryn Michon, and Geralyn Corcillo. My favorite Indie authors are Eileen Thornton, Lizzie Chantree, and J. R. Barrett. I have a weakness for all of Augustin Burroughs books.

Do you have any more books you are working on?
Yes I do! My next book is called Dying to Play Mah Jong. It is a romantic comedy but with the added element of supernatural occurrences and a mystery to solve. That’s all I’ll say for now. It is fully written and I am on the second round of edits. I also have a non-fiction book to finish. I am doing the illustrations for that one and you will find it in the humor section of books. The title is a secret for now.

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Laurie Beth Finkelstein lives far enough north from Los Angeles to enjoy a slightly slower pace, but not far enough away to escape the traffic. Laurie shares her life with a husband, two grown sons, and two cats, thankfully not all living in the same house.

Laurie splits her time between painting and writing. Her debut novel, ‘Next Therapist Please’ took years to write and while fictional, mirrors many aspects of her life. Living with depression, anxiety, and OCD, has challenged her as well as provide occasional comic relief in her life. Laurie hopes to help smash the stigma of mental illness one laugh at a time.

“This book is both funny and poignant.” Amazon Review.

Here are some fun facts about Laurie:
~ She does not like pie.
~ She secretly watches SpongeBob Square Pants.
~She worked as Warner Brother’s characters at Six Flags Magic Mountain. For one month. Those costumes were heavy.
~She can’t whistle.
~She straddled the shoulders of a performer on a unicycle whipping around the stage as he juggled. In a dress hiked up beyond her comfort level and screaming during the whole “performance”.

Next Therapist Please received a 5 star review from Reader’s Favorite from Jack Magnus

“Laurie Finkelstein’s romantic comedy, Next Therapist Please, has its light and breezy moments, as romantic comedies invariably do, but there’s a lot more to this well-written and enjoyable novel. Janie’s social anxiety leads her to encounters with six different therapists, and the author deftly guides the reader through the varying types of therapy a person with anxiety may encounter.”

Connect with Laurie at lauriebethart.com

 

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Author Feature – Brian Hagan

Welcome to this week’s feature with fellow Pittsburgh author Brian Hagan! Brian has been kind enough to sit down and offer his answers to a few fun questions.

When have you felt your biggest adrenaline rush?

I think my biggest rush comes when I’m sword fighting. Either in a choreographed performance, or competitive fencing with rapiers, daggers, and the like. In both, unexpected things happen and it’s those moments when training and reflexes kick in that give me a huge adrenaline rush and leave me grinning afterwards.

What’s the craziest thing you have ever done and would you do it again?

Appropriately enough, the craziest thing I’ve ever done was volunteer for my first choreographed sword fight… an hour before the curtain went up on opening night.

It was a production of Macbeth being put on by my college. My girlfriend at the time (now my wife) and I had volunteered to help with the sound & lights, so we showed up early to run through the program before audience members arrived. As we walked in, the director looked at me and says my name in that real friendly way when you need somebody to do you a favor. Apparently, the prior day one of the actors jumped off the stage and broke her ankle. She was able to still go on & do her lines, but she couldn’t move well enough to do her part of the big battle at the end. They needed somebody to fill in for her, as the whole thing was intricately choreographed and they couldn’t just remove her part.

So, over the next two hours I received a crash course in stage combat and was taught the choreography that the regular actor had spent four months practicing. Did I mention that they couldn’t change anything? That also meant that if I screwed up, the whole battle could get thrown into disarray and people could get seriously hurt.

Thankfully everything went smoothly and the curse of the Scottish Play didn’t feel any need to manifest further.

I would do it again in a heartbeat, but preferably without anyone breaking their ankle.

If your job gave you a surprise three day paid break to rest and recuperate, what would you do with those days?

Spend time watching good movies, reading, and snuggling with my cats. These are ingredients chosen to create the perfect inspiration. But Professor Utonium accidentally added an extra ingredient to the concoction: Everyday Life. Thus, a to-do list of shopping, cleaning, and spending time with my awesome family, was born!

In the past people were buried with the items they would need in the afterlife. What would you want buried with you so you could use it in the afterlife?

My sword, because my friends will be incredibly disappointed if I showed up without it (also, a piece of string tied on the end makes the best toy for playing with cats, and they would be disappointed too). My instruments, because I love playing music and as heavenly as the angels’ songs surely are, I’ll be sad if I can’t play along. Finally, I want to be buried with a library, because then I can be sure my afterlife will be heaven.

What advice would you offer an aspiring writer?

Write. Write well, write poorly, and with all manners of spelling and grammar. Write what you love to write, write what you don’t love to write, and learn from both. Most importantly, meet people, because they are what stories are made of.

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Brian’s background is varied and curious, starting with an interest in science and language, before moving into animation and game design. Most recently he’s been working with gemstones, and experimenting with bonsai and carnivorous plants. But of all his many hobbies and vocations, he loves telling stories above all else. His first novel, The Horrible Plan of Horace Pickle, was completed for NaNoWriMo in 2008. Brian currently lives in a notoriously haunted house in Pittsburgh with his wife, daughter, and a menagerie of cats and rabbits.

Connect with Brian on his websites: www.windsmithcity.com and  www.horacepickle.com or be social on Facebook and Twitter.

Friday Feature – Persuasion by J.L. Campbell

Greetings!

Welcome to my very first Friday Author Feature. I’m excited to showcase talented authors each week and even more excited to introduce my first very special guest, J.L. Campbell, the author of the new novel Persuasion.

Hi, J.L. We’d all love to get to know a little more about you so let’s start with a brief interview.

What hobby would you get into if time and money were not an issue?

I’m not sure travelling can be described as a hobby, but if I had lots of time and even more money, I’d travel through the Caribbean, South America, and Europe.

What are some small things that make your day better?

A cup of coffee to start the day, a delicious piece of fruit, laughter, and a chance to interact with friends on social media are things that make each day that much better.

Do you listen to music while you write? If so, who is your go to band or artist when you can’t decide on something to listen to?

Music serves as a distraction when I’m writing,  but what’s weird is that I keep the television on to provide background noise. In terms of inspiration, I do have specific recordings in mind for each book I write, I just don’t play them while I’m writing.

Where did you get the idea for your latest book, Persuasion?

Persuasion came about as a natural progression from the stories that went before it. The main characters in that novel were simply telling me it was time for them to step onto the stage and into the light.

If you could offer one piece of advice to an aspiring writer, what would it be?

Having a basic grasp of English and going on to learn the craft of writing is integral. Every profession calls for some kind of apprenticeship. Knowing and being able to use the tools that go into crafting a book is extremely important.

Great advice! So, let’s learn a little about Persuasion

 School. Music. Blogging. These are Yolanda Charles’ priorities. She likes life simple and is content to hang around her step-sisters. That’s until she admits she’s attracted to Gary Cheung-See, a web developer who exemplifies the strong, silent, and surly type.

Each time a bug hits her website and social media accounts, Gary helps with solving her issues. Despite his good looks and brilliance, Yolanda is undecided about her feelings for him and suspects he might be the culprit trying to ruin her life and reputation—no matter what her heart says.

Gary is from a dysfunctional family and refuses Yolanda’s help with bridging the gap between himself and his father. When a life-threatening illness hits the person he cares about most, he is forced to reassess his stance on forgiveness, while Yolanda has to decide whether Gary is friend or foe and if she can trust him with her heart.

You can purchase a copy of the book by clicking HERE.

J.L. Campbell is an award-winning, Jamaican author who writes romantic suspense, women’s fiction, new and young adult novels. She has written sixteen books, seven novellas and two short story collections.

Her novels include the Island Adventure Romance series, which currently has five exciting, stand-alone stories and features feisty women and determined men. Campbell’s mission is to write stories that entertain and educate readers. She is a certified editor, who also writes non-fiction.

Find J.L. Campbell on the web at www.joylcampbell.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jlcampbellwrites/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jl.campbell/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JL_Campbell
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/thewriterssuite

Thanks so much for joining us today, J.L.!

Want to be featured as a guest on my blog? Fill out the contact form HERE.

Thanks for reading and see you next week!