Today’s Featured Author – J.P. Willson

Please welcome author J.P. Wilson to my blog. His book, Through the Mind’s Eye: A Journey of Self-discovery, came out last year.


Tell us a bit about yourself.  

I will never get used to this question, simply put I just never know how to answer. What “bit” does one pick?

Where were you born and where do you call home?

I was born in Burlington, Ontario and I now reside in Vancouver, British Columbia, yet my home is Victoria B. C. for all intents and purposes.

What or who inspired you to start writing?

I have always enjoyed writing from a young age, at eight or nine years I was writing stupid little stories simply for fun.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I still do not consider myself a writer per se. I can write yes, but do I write well? I cannot answer that question only the readers can. I do call myself an author, there is a very fine line for me.

How much of yourself, your personality or your experiences, is in your books?

Easy question, all of me, all, of it as the book is about me, the next book slated for release is all about me. There is a third book in the works that is about another topic yet the premise is how it relates to me. I like me. No seriously, I am a memoir writer first and foremost, the other is creative non-fiction.

Have you started your next project? If so, can you share a little bit about your next book?

I think I answered part of this question already. The first book being about my initial recovery from alcohol addiction- the second is about living with sobriety and all the ups and downs that go along with that premise.

Do you write full-time? If so, what is your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?

Unfortunately I do not write full-time, maybe one day. I am a certified Red Seal Chef by trade which keeps me fairly busy yet I always make the time to write. Odd as this may sound the writing is an ongoing part of the never ending recovery process, one that is invaluable to me.

What is the best thing about being a writer? The worst?

Best- I think I would have to say the solitude. Worst- I think I would have to the solitude!

Do you outline your books or just start writing?

Typically I will just start writing although there is one book I am working on that has required a fair amount of research-then I just start writing from what I have learned doing this research. Hence the “creative” in the creative non-fiction.

Please tell us about your current release.

Through the Mind’s Eye: A Journey of Self-Discovery is a compilation of my initial recovery process from alcohol addiction, the treatment program and the follow up needed to stay sober.

What inspired you to write this book?

Initially the therapeutic value of daily journalling was all it was, the thought of this being anything else came after many discussions with others, the help I was able to give to them through my own experiences was the final inspiration. I wanted to be able to help others with their own journeys. I had taken counselling courses to this end yet I felt very strongly that the written word was my way of offering that help.

What kind of research did you do for this book?

Having taken the deepest possible look into myself, my soul, my inner-core was all the research needed. This is an incredible task to accomplish with any certainty no what whom you are.

Can you tell us a little about the black moment in your book?

You will have to read the book for that answer, there are many.

What was the most difficult thing/scene to write in this story?

I would have to say chapter nine, in this chapter I get into some serious issues concerning depression, the loss of family etc. For me this was a very hard thing to re-live over and over throughout the editing process. There was a short time after the final edit where I seriously doubted whether I should publish or not. I was about to put myself “out there” for all to see. So vulnerable to the world, was I strong enough within myself to face this was the question.

Did the story turn out the way you planned from the beginning? If not, what change happened that you didn’t expect?

The story has turned so much better than first anticipated, the positivity from the feedback has been absolutely overwhelming for me in so many ways.

Is there a specific place in the house (or out of the house) that you like to write?

Strictly at my desk, perched over the computer, with my coffee.

Do you have a specific snack that you have with you when you write?

Coffee, just coffee.

What book are you reading right now?

Not Dead Yet by Phil Collins and Memoirs of a Pahktun Immigrant by Teresa Schapansky  – memoirs of course…

If you could meet two authors, who would you pick and why?

Stephen King without a doubt, to me he just seems so real, so down to earth. His life has been on public display for so long I feel as if I know him already, I just think we would “hit it off.” To be honest I cannot think of a second right now, another author has just recently compared my writing to that of James Joyce so let’s go with him…. no?

Tell us a random fact about you that we never would have guessed.

As a hobby I was once on an underwater hockey team. Yes that does say “underwater hockey.”

Book Blurb

51cfyohljalDepression, self-loathing, unemployment, and destroyed relationships: the effects of drug and alcohol addiction run so much deeper than the morning-after hangover. However, awareness alone will not save the struggling addict, as J.P. Willson reveals in his fearless examination of substance dependency; recovery means doing the mental and emotional work to look inside oneself and discover a way to live as a sober, fulfilled individual in an often challenging world.

Through the Mind’s Eye: A Journey of Self-Discovery is a thought-provoking and honest examination of the emotional, psychological, and physical ways someone must enact their own healing. As a former alcoholic, Willson courageously shares his own story of addiction, as well the ups and downs he experienced along the road to recovery. Packed with astonishing insights about our culture’s relationship to alcohol, as well as the lies we tell ourselves in order to keep using, this book will change the way you view addiction. Willson has no qualms about telling the reader how difficult recovery is—and how there is no quick cure-all—but his compassionate, candid reflections help foster the knowledge and will to change.

About the Author

joseph-wilsonJ.P. Willson is a writer and chef living on the western coast of Canada. Growing up as the shy, quiet child in a large middle-class family, he has always been an observer, a thinker, and a wonderer. He has worked as a Red Seal chef for twenty-five years, and is highly skilled in his trade. However, despite his accomplishments, his life has not been easy. J.P. struggled with alcoholism for nearly thirty years, which resulted in homelessness, unemployment, loneliness, and spiraling depression. Having done the soul-searching and continuing work required for recovery, J.P. decided to share his experience and knowledge to help others along their own journeys. Through the Mind’s Eye: A Journey of Self-Discovery is his first publication. J.P. is deeply grateful for the love and support of his family, counselors, and friends.

You can purchase Through the Mind’s Eye on Amazon.


How many drafts does it take to complete a novel?

You have finally finished your first draft of your story. Now comes the real work. The cutting, the editing, the rewriting, the expanding to make your first work closer into a publishable novel.

So how many drafts does that take?

There is no correct answer. It takes as many as it takes. I tend not to break down each going through of my novel as a “draft.” As I write the first draft, I am already going back and reworking it (see my post on editing and writing at the same time). And the second draft may take just as long as the first because it is multiple reads and re-working of the first draft. (But never a full re-write of the story as some authors say they do on their second draft.)

If pressed, I would say I do three drafts. Here is a general outline of my drafts.

First Draft

The first draft is obviously when you just get your story out. It may be rough or wordy, but you got the basic plot and characters down. Now how well this draft goes depends on many things. If you developed your world and characters or outlined your story, this draft will probably go better than if you just “winged” it.

Some authors consider the first draft a “junk” or “vomit” draft. This is for the people who just type without any planning or editing as they write. They write to get something on the page. I don’t write this way so my first draft never falls in this category. (See above about editing and writing at the same time.)

Second Draft

The second draft is going to involve some re-writing as well as cutting. You expand sections to add description and make your characters come alive. You delete scenes that don’t advance your story – even if they are well-written and your favorite. You make sure the timeline works.  Sometimes you may rework an area once or twice. Maybe you will rewrite it many more times.  (Ernest Hemingway admitted to rewriting the final words A Farewell to Arms, his wartime masterpiece, 39 times before he was satisfied.)

Optionally, you may have more drafts of rewriting depending on how much work your story needs. So this could possibly be drafts two through four…or five or even more.

When done with this draft, you may be ready to send your story to a beta reader. But they will undoubtedly have their opinions which you may feel the need to heed. That will mean more editing and adjusting of your story.

Note: One key to improving your editing is to take a break from the book between drafts. You will return with “fresh” eyes and catch more things that need to be changed.

Third Draft

The third draft is more about polishing. It is perfecting word choices, deleting words, tightening scenes even more and of course proofreading. This can be laborious as I can always find thing that I want to tweak and fix. But your goal is to finish the book, not keep piddling around with the same manuscript.

And finally you end with one final (or we hope final) read-through where you will deem it ready for publishing.

Now this is just a sample of how my work typically goes. Depending on the author, it can take many more drafts based on how much work needs to be done and what you consider a “draft.” Just as there is no “right” way to write a novel, each of us will have a different number of “drafts.” All that matters is that you take the time to polish and perfect your work BEFORE you publish it.

The problem of telling little white lies in front of your child

I’m busy that day.

I already donated to your organization.

The meal was delicious.

Thank you. I love it.

Many of us tell these little white lies without a thought believing these “harmless” fibs spare feelings. We say these things to make our lives easier and to avoid conflict.

_hurt-feelings-clipart-hurt-feelings-clipart_1152-648We tell them to avoid hurting someone’s feelings (I love this gift.) as well as excuse our own behavior (Sorry, I’m late. Traffic was terrible.) And many adults don’t even consider these little white lies to be lies at all. But they are. And how are young kids to understand the difference?

How do they differentiate a “fib” to grandma about liking a present and a lie to their parents about breaking a dish? In both instances they do not want to hurt someone’s feeling or have someone mad at them.

And research suggests that when kids hear adults lying, they are more likely to do it themselves. A study from the University of California found that 5 to 7 year olds who were told a lie by an adult were more likely to cheat and then lie about it afterward.

Research also shows that kids lie more as they get older. When you have a toddler, they are very honest (sometimes embarrassingly so). Preschools often lie to avoid getting in trouble. (I didn’t do it.) By the time they are 5, 72% of kids would tell a white lie. It is up to 80% for 8 year olds and up to 84% for 11 year olds.

We tell kids we want them to be honest but then they see us lying or we encourage them to lie to spare someone’s feelings, and they get confused on which one we want. They learn that honesty creates conflict while lying is an easy way to avoid that conflict.

So can you teach your kids to be kind and honest? I think you can. Much as we look at the drawing our kids bring us and not tell them it is horrible but point out something we like, we can teach our kids to do the same. So instead of saying they don’t like the sweater Grandma bought them, they can point out something positive (It is a pretty color, or it is so soft.)

The truth is this is not easy either and can still lead to conflict. Instead of the white lie, “Traffic was terrible,” you would have to admit you left late or misgauged your timing. And if you tell your friend that you don’t want to meet on Friday night (instead of telling them your busy) and suggest another date, you still risk the chance of hurting their feelings. But the truthfulness of your statement won’t be lost on your child. Instead of teaching them to lie, you will be teaching them to be honest. And that is after all what we want, isn’t it?

Today’s Featured Author – Natasa Pantovic Nuit

Alchemy of Love author Nataša Pantović Nuit is on my blog today discussing her books Mindful Being towards Mindful Living and Conscious Parenting. 


Tell us a bit about yourself.

nuit-alchemy-of-love-300x300My name is Nataša Pantović Nuit. I am an author, trainer, yogi and spiritual researcher. I live in Malta. I am the author of 7 Mindfulness Books called Alchemy of Love Mindfulness Training:

– Conscious Parenting Course

– Mindful Being towards Mindful Living Course

– Mindful Eating with Delicious Raw Vegan Recipes

– A Guide to Mindful Eating

– Art of 4 Elements; Discover Alchemy through Poetry

– A-Ma Alchemy of Love,

– Chanting Mantras with Best Chords

Where were you born and where do you call home? 

My soul is the one of a nomad and during my life-time I visited more than 50+ countries, set foot on all the continents, and lived in five: Serbia, Malta, UK, New Zealand, Holland. My friends are from all around the globe. My home is in Amsterdam, London, Belgrade, Sliema, Rome, Sydney, Lisbon wherever I find my heart beating the same rhythm.

What or who inspired you to start writing?

After helping Father George build a school in a remote area of Ethiopia, I entered the most amazing world of parenting adopting two angels from Ethiopia as a single mum. My kids are actively teaching me how to be a more loving, mindful and conscious parent. Ema and Andrej love and train basketball, play music, act within a Music Theater Group and were Chess Champions of Malta.

How much of yourself, your personality or your experiences, is in your books?

My life story book has many pages within the world of Marketing and Management Consultancy and work as Trainer building courses in Communication, Leadership, Team-Building. Some of the most intriguing pages also talk about 25 years of Yoga and Meditation, and my spiritual exploration journey through Theosophy, Zen, Tantra, Antroposophy, Yoga and my yogic vegetarian life-style where I danced barefoot in the rain, meditated for hours in search of God and read 1,000s of spiritual & psychology books. I learned from many Leaders, Gurus and Sages of our past and present.

Have you started your next project? If so, can you share a little about your next book? 

My latest project is Conscious Parenting: Mindful Living Course for Parents. Conscious Parenting is the Alchemy of Love Mindfulness Training Course designed for parents.

We use Transformation Tools and Spiritual Exercises to help parents get in touch with Soul, with Love, and with Patience when dealing with kids.

Please tell us about your current release.

mindful-being-course-title-page-_frontcoverMindful Being towards Mindful Living is a 12 module self-development course with 100s of Spiritual Transformation Tools that combine meditation, mindfulness exercises, soul’s diary, spiritual diary, relationship contracts, creativity exercises, left vs. right brain development tools, mindful eating exercises, and many other daily self-development transformation tools to help the reader live the highest potential. The Mindful Being Course help one look into the conscious and sub-conscious addictions, understand core beliefs, examine habits, enter the magic world of strengthening the willpower, and emotional patterns transforming various energies into inspiration, mindfulness, awareness, love.

How did you come up with the title?

alchemy-of-love-mindfulness-training-books-by-nuitAlways fascinated with energies of: Love, Divine, Power of Mind, Creativity, Tao, Living one’s Highest Potential, I explore topics of inner-development, esoteric or occult teachings, and New Consciousness. The main theme of my Mindfulness Training Books is our alchemy transformation, the alchemy of soul, our everlasting quest to find the gold within, discovering the stone that transforms metals into gold. My book series is called: Alchemy of Love Mindfulness Training.


You can find more about Nataša and Alchemy of Love Mindfulness Training on her website. Mindful Beings towards Mindful Living is available for purchase on Amazon. Conscious Parenting is also available on Amazon.

The importance of the setting in each scene

You have spent time considering the setting of your novel. It could be London, a small beach-side community in Florida, on a distant planet or in the Wild West. You have thought long and hard about this choice.

But now as you get ready to write the scenes that comprise your story, you also need to spend some time considering where these scenes will take place within your setting.

If you have decided to write a story set in a high school, every scene won’t take place in the hall. Just as your crime novel won’t have every scene at the police station. You need to consider where the scenes will take place and develop these places. Just as you develop or know your overall setting, you need to know these sub-settings. You need to know their location as well as a description.

If you are writing about a college, hospital or police station, you need to realize that they all have certain rituals and protocols – almost as if they are a world all their own. Research and a visit to such places can make these places come to life.

But it isn’t enough to pick out these places and know their description. Authors also need to choose the right setting for the story event. Many authors don’t spend a lot of time considering where best to have some of their scenes or go with an obvious choice. But a change of location can change the whole scene. And that change could have the power to make or break a story.

Your character can be driving in the car, eating in a restaurant or relaxing at home. And each of these settings can bring different situations and stressors for your character. The traffic is stop-and-go, their dinner gets burned or the neighbor is having a loud party.

But what if you decided to go with a different setting?

As an author, you need to think about the individual scenes in your novel, and decide the purpose of the setting. Is it to hint at the back story? Set the mood? Foreshadow? Provide tension?

Let’s say it is the beginning of the novel, and you want to establish some characteristics of the protagonist. There are many good personal settings that can reveal truths about your character – their house, their office, their car.

But if you want to add tension to the scene consider locations that might cause stress – the site of a traumatic past event, a location where they might run into their enemy, a place that triggers insecurities.

Also when deciding on locations for scenes, they need to not only fit your story, but they need to fit your character. Maybe your character needs to reflect on some news. Would a walk in the park, a ride on the bus or sitting in a noisy bar suit their personality more?

Many times, authors settle on the first idea that comes to mind. And while this may be a perfectly good, acceptable idea, if they brainstormed and did some “what if” type thinking, they might settle on something that will make their setting amazing.