Thursday, September 25, 2014

Follow Fest Interview and Sharing

When I first became a blogger it was difficult to know if I had readers and visitors coming to my blog. I’d post and be met by the sounds of crickets. Then, I branched out into the world of the blogosphere, a world I didn't know really existed. From my ventures, I met a lot of interesting bloggers. I've started following and commenting on numerous blogs, for you see, prior to my outings, I too was out among the crickets. Lurking about but seldom saying anything.

A fellow blogger I've met through my journeys around the blogosphere is Melissa Maygrove. She had the brilliant idea to have a Follow Fest, where we share about who we are, what we do and most importantly, how you can connect with us further.

It is my intention through joining Follow Fest, that I’ll connect with many more readers and people interested enough in what I do to want to learn more by following. So, here goes my entry for the fest.

Stephanie Rose Bird

Fiction or nonfiction? 
I wrote both; nonfiction for about 15 years and fiction for just a couple.

What genres do you write?

Fiction: Literary Young Adult (YA) Fantasy/Paranormal.
Nonfiction: Alternative Spirituality, Magick/Paganism, Healing and Mind Body Spirit.

Are you published?

Yes. I've had five nonfiction books published. I have a new one under contract, which is a novel.

Do you do anything in addition to writing?

Lots! I paint and do mixed media art. Am a mother and wife and chief garden tender, sometime cook and chauffeur. I do freelance writing published in magazines and online in the genres indicated above. My work has been published in anthologies and encyclopedias. I've done content editing for many years. I mentor and coach writers and give critiques as a Publishing Consultant. You can learn more about the services I offer on Elance. I also teach fine art and offer retreat experiences, as well as healing workshops.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m currently on a journey of transformation. I've been losing weight since January. In the process finding out new things about lots of areas of my life. I practice magick; not just write about it. I’m an herbalist, dedicated to the magickal aspects of healing plants. I have not as of yet discounted the possibility that faeries or dragons exist.

What are you reading right now?

Tao te Ching by Lao Tzu, and "A New Earth: Awakening to your Life's Purpose, Eckhart Tolle," nonfiction. 
"Guilty Pleasures" by Laurell K. Hamilton, "The Wolves of Midwinter" by Anne Rice and "The Book of Life" by Deborah Harkness, fiction.

Which authors influenced you the most?
Stephen King, hands down. I am also very fond of Edgar Allan Poe and William Shakespeare, Carlos Castaneda, Anne Rice, Deborah Harkness, Alice Walker, and a vast array of American poets.

Where can people connect with you?


Author pages:

Author Website

Do you have a Newsletter?

I come out with a product newsletter for my Almost Edible Natural Products a few times a year. Contact me through my author website and I’ll add you to the mailing list.

Is there anything else you’d like us to know?

I've had so much back and forth, on again off, with my newest work of nonfiction, “Mama Earth’s Spiritual Guide to Weigh Loss.” 2 book deals that fell through for various reasons blogged about here. Tons of rejection from literary agents. I could go on. Stay tuned to see how this develops. It all seems to be taking a turn for the better. I’ll post here soon, with some good news!

In terms of my novels, I've been through the ringer with the one that is to be published next year. I get very hot on it and then cold. It’s a YA Literary Fantasy novel that began as a memoir. The memoir aspect has been virtually buried but every now and then it pops up its head and I shelve the book for a few more months or years, until I can make it go away.

For fans of Sticks, Stones, Roots and Bones, it looks like the publication of a new type of Hoodoo book is in the works...stay tuned!

A special thanks to Melissa, host of Follow Fest, all my readers, visitors, newly joining members and long time supporters.

Monday, September 22, 2014

An Underrated Treasure

I've joined yet another blog hop. "Underrated Treasures Blogfest" is hosted by Alex Cavanaugh, who also put together the much talked about A to Z April Blogger's Challenge. Thank you Alex, for reminding us that our posts are due today. Sometimes I get oblivious and caught up in my own world.

When I first heard of this blog hop I got very excited because on the designated day, bloggers post about an underrated or obscure book, movie, band or a TV Show. What I like about this challenge is that it made me think. I went through my mental inventory of books, movies, bands and TV programs to decide which one to blog about and why. What did this particular type of expression mean to me and what could it offer others. This was a fun exercise in itself because I was reminded of the many hidden treasures I enjoy that could be shared. I will do so, each month, as the hop continues. You can see what other people are sharing by scrolling down Alex Cavanaugh's Blog to the Blogroll.

So there is an author that profoundly changed my life. He brought about a shift in my way of thinking, being and seeing the world. His work is transformative, mystical, metaphysical and shockingly terrifying. His was my first peek into the world of shamanism. There is debate about whether his work is fiction or nonfiction. I am not one of those people.

My book is "The Fire from Within" by Carlos Castaneda. He was born in 1925 in Peru. During the height of his career as an author, he was very well known--beloved by some and loathed, as well as questioned by others.

I came about his work with fresh eyes, as a young art student, years ago. His work was still circling around and talked about in the 70's. This was the early beginnings of the New Age. With time, people move onto other authors and books, quite naturally. I want to call attention to Castaneda, not just this book but his 14 others. Reading them, from the start, just might change your life.

His work centers around the Yaqui Sorcerer way of life. The Yaqui Sorcerers are able to see the wholes that exist inside of us, and manipulate them for good or evil, depending on their orientation. They are warriors of the highest order in the spiritual realm. They are able to bend and twist reality at will, even going so far as to alter their appearance by decades and transforming themselves into birds, animals and natural formations. Castaneda's books explore how he came into that mysterious world, which few outsiders encounter, and few still, understand.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Tasting Memories

While it may sound unbelievable, when and where I grew up speakeasies were still in existence. I grew up in Southern New Jersey, what we call South Jersey, of Jersey Shore fame. As far as when, that rests with me. There were many fascinating things about visiting speakeasies with my parents, one of which is that my mother was learning to make her own alcoholic drinks. We went regularly to one which featured the white lightning of the owner and another featuring homemade wines.

My mother was a very idiosyncratic woman. She liked drinking the white lightning perhaps a bit too much. On the other hand, at the other speakeasy we’d visit, she quickly became captivated with the idea of making her own wine. From there, she went about going to antique shops, in the ‘olde’ town of Swedesboro, to find just the right crocks, as the vessel in which she’d make her wines.
To my untrained nose, her wine-making was a foul affair. What else could it be in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey, so distant from what we know as wine country? Still, I saw care and love in her crafting of her simple country wines. She favored the local fruits, and though young, I still remember them, particularly her strawberry wine. Her wine-making stage lasted through my teenage years into college. She didn't mind giving me a taste every now and then for my opinion. What she didn't realize is I was tasting wine elsewhere, at parties out with my friends.

My palette wasn't educated, to say the least but perhaps this was the early beginnings of my wine tasting. Some may look down on fruity country wines such as those made with strawberries. Even at a young age, I could see there was a wide range in tastes in these wines. As I recall, my mother’s wine was at first sweet but then it took on a greater complexity.

I abhorred the sickeningly sweet, one note, cloying wines my friends would pick up. Her wine captured the smells that filled my senses on long car rides to town. Somehow she had picked out just the right strawberries from roadside farmer’s stands that while sweet, retained deeper notes that stabilized them. Most likely they were ultimately grounded by the earth in which they grew.

Her wine had something you don’t hear about a lot—it had heart, sprinkled with the depth and aromas created by the humus-tinged earth from which it was made. That fertile soil is what gives New Jersey its identity as the Garden State, yielding Jersey tomatoes and gorgeous eggplants. However educated I become in fine wines, my mind often wanders back to that homemade strawberry one created with love in simpler times by a person I love, long gone but not forgotten.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Guest Post by Author Chrys Fey

This is a first for Stephanie's Studio. Please welcome Chrys Fey, who is our guest blogger for today. I met up with Chrys in April during the A to Z Challenge. With that challenge, bloggers posted every day of April on a topic built around the alphabet letter of the day. I'm not sure how I came across Chrys' blog. Perhaps it was through our mutual groups on She Writes. Immediately upon discovering her blog Write with Fey I was struck by the depth and breadth of her posts. Very generously, practically everyday, she posts helpful hints for writers. Her posts are informative, entertaining and engaging. You can tell she's beloved in the blogosphere because numerous people comment on her posts on a daily basis. If you're into writing, I highly recommend you visit her blog.

What Chrys and I have in common is not only our passion for blogging. We are also both authors. She has been prolifically publishing suspenseful novels. One of the groups she created on She Writes which I am a member of is Paranormal and Supernatural Writers. She daringly goes into the paranormal and supernatural in her thrillers. I love those genres, thus I wanted to feature and support her work here today, to coordinate with the release of her new book "30 Seconds." Without holding the floor any longer, here's the guest post by Chrys.

Hi, everyone! This is Chrys Fey. My newest release, 30 Seconds, is now available! A big thank you to Stephanie for having me on her blog today.

At the heart of all of my stories is romance. From Hurricane Crimes, which is full of suspense, to my supernatural-thrillers, there is always an underlying plot devoted to the wonders of love. I just can’t write a story without the romance element. It’s as important in my suspense and thrillers as action scenes.

I believe this comes from my love I started reading Danielle Steel at a young age, and after I read my first Nora Roberts’ book she became my invisible mentor. The love in their stories inspired me and impacted my writing forever. I’ve never had the type of love they write about, or even the type of love I write about, and that’s why I do it. We all long to feel love, but we may not get it or experience the type of romance we hope for. The act of writing romance into all of my stories lets me live it in some small way. And I hope the same can be said for those who read my stories.


When Officer Blake Herro agreed to go undercover in the Mob, he thought he understood the risks. But he's made mistakes and now an innocent woman has become their target. He's determined to protect her at all costs.

The Mob's death threat turns Dr. Dani Hart's life upside down, but there is one danger she doesn’t anticipate. As she's dodging bullets, she's falling in love with Blake. With danger all around them, will she and Blake survive and have a happy ending, or will the Mob make good on their threat?

Buy Links: 

30 Seconds is her second eBook with The Wild Rose Press. Her debut, Hurricane Crimes, is also available on Amazon.

Discover her writing tips on her blog, and connect with her on Facebook. She loves to get to know her readers!

Join Chrys Fey Online: 
Chrys Fey Facebook
 Write With Fey Blog

Chrys Fey is a lover of rock music just like Dani Hart in 30 Seconds. Whenever she's writing at her desk, headphones are always emitting the sounds of her musical muses -especially that of her favorite band, 30 Seconds to Mars, the inspiration behind the title.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Welcoming Change

It's been an interesting end to the summer. I've found work, as I shared previously, and it's meaningful to boot. The type of freelance writing jobs coming my way enhance rather than distract from the direction of my path. Even while working, I find myself deepening my spirituality and credit a lot of this to the Law of Attraction.

Before I even knew what the Law of Attraction was, I began to notice people popping in and out of my life in a way that suggested all of it served a purpose. In my line of work, which involved working with lots of different students, I connected in meaningful ways that were mutually beneficial because of this coming together. Lacking the words to describe this phenomena, I could only say we crossed each others paths for a reason. Years later, I read a book that changed life as I knew it called "The Secret."

Now that I understand the Law of Attraction and embrace its precepts more good is flowing in and negativity is swiftly departing. This in turn sparks an inner joy and feeling of satisfaction, as well as hope. Mere words can't describe the happiness this cleansing and purging flow creates.

Over the past few weeks I reread, probably for the 4th time, the seminal and inspirational book, "The Four Agreements" by don Miguel Ruiz. Swept up in its empowering Toltec wisdom, I began making more decisions this past weekend about how to restructure my life. Now, I'm deciding whether to do a structured year of deep reflection through meditation teacher training or to become a certified hatha yoga instructor. Next, I need to decide whether to do the training self-paced, as an at home study course or in person...decisions, decisions.

Meditation (see post Quieting Down the Monkey Mind) and yoga (see Tibetan Singing Bowls post) have been in my life since high school. Only recently have I heard the two call to me for deeper engagement and further commitment. All and all, the last quarter of the year into the next should prove to be interesting, full and enlightening.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Notes on Writing

Where have I been?

What have I been doing the past two weeks?

Making decisions, sorting things out, and as my last post suggests, moving forward.

While sometimes I imagine I've gone down the ubiquitous rabbit hole, what I've been doing is necessary. To grow is to change and changing takes place on a convoluted path in its own time.

As a writer and member of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, I gained some much needed courage. It may sound counterproductive but I quit a year long writing class that wasn't serving my needs. I'd been tortured about quitting it since the beginning. You have to apply for the class. Twice I was rejected but last year I was finally admitted. It's a small class that promises a lot. In the end I could see it was never going to deliver. Our teacher was disengaged all month and seemingly only thought about the class a few days before we were to meet (our meetings were once a month). The week I quit she asked us to read our entire novel (mine is 248 pages long) overnight, then print out the first 50 pages. We were also to read a chapter from our textbook that night before class. The 14 page long reading we were to critique was also posted within that same 24 hour period.

Can anyone say unrealistic?

I saw some of the other problems that slowly mushroomed the first day. It took 6 months to decide to call it quits. I wavered for a while afterwards about my decision. Now I'm certain I did the best thing. Instead of wasting my time in the wrong class I'm moving on. I'm sure there are other workshops out there that will be more useful. I'll let you know what I find.

Meanwhile, I've been sharpening my skills as a professional writer. Once upon a time I made my living as a development editor and content writer, then some things happened that shook my confidence. I stepped away from it for about 6 years. Guess what though? I've returned to that world. It came as quite a surprise but my skills are in high demand. In just a few short days after putting out my shingle I already have jobs!

What I'm saying this month to my fellow Insecure Writer's Support Group, is there's always hope.

 Change takes courage but it's good.

Don't become mired in doubt about what you have to offer the world.

Be adventurous and take chances.

You never know what you'll get in return.