Sunday Bruch with Jo of Jaffareadstoo

I was recently invited for Sunday brunch over at Jaffarreadstoo. I absolutely adore the theme of this interview. I’m all about doing things different, and this is a such unique way of interviewing someone!

What favourite food are you bringing to Sunday brunch?

I’m bringing a cold pasta salad with Kalamata olives, marinated artichoke hearts, a few sweet and spicy peppers, capers, shredded vegan cheese, finely chopped rainbow carrots, small sweet peas, tossed with a tangy Rosé vinaigrette.

Would you like a pot of English Breakfast tea, a strong Americano, or a glass of Bucks Fizz?

I’m going to color outside the lines with my answer. HA! It would depend on my mood. I love a good, strong, cup of English Breakfast tea. Yet, I also immensely enjoy a cup of rich, creamy, Nitro coffee. Yet, again, if I still imbibed, I would go with a delightful, frothy, mug of Theakston Old Peculier.

Which of your literary heroes are joining us today?

Here I go coloring outside the lines again … John Muir is who I’m bringing as I’m inspired by his love and advocacy of Nature and how he expressed this in written form.

What’s the title of the book nearest to you?

Women Who Run With the Wolves – Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype

What’s the oldest book on your book shelf?

I can’t just list one as I love old books!

Here are the four oldest on my shelf.

1883 – Treasures of Use and Beauty: An Epitome of the Choicest Gems of Wisdom, History, Reference and Recreation

1884 – One Thousand and One Gems of English and American Poetry

1876 – Emerson’s Essays

1894 – Representative Men by Emerson

Which book do you really want to read but haven’t had time for …yet!

‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F***k: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life’ by Mark Manson …. I’d mainly like to read this as the title and subject intrigue me. At 50 years of age, I’ve already reached the point of not giving a f***k. Ha! Although, there’s that wee voice within that, at times, brings forth guilt and shame by whispering to me that I look like a fool and a jack***.

Do you have a guilty reading pleasure, and if so will you tell us about it?

No. I don’t think I feel guilt about anything I read. Then again, I’m quite picky about what I read, so maybe that’s why.

If the house was on fire which book would you rescue?

I would get my kids and myself out first, and then if there’s time, I’d rescue one of a kind family photo books.

Do you have a favourite place to settle down to read/write?

On my couch, with a blanket covering me if it’s cold, with a cup of black coffee or strong English tea, and my laptop perched on my lap. I simply cannot write by hand, as my fingers and hands start aching after about 5 minutes.

Give us four essential items that a writer absolutely needs?

Tenacity to write
Courage to write
Tenacity to keep writing
Courage to keep writing

What can you tell us about your latest novel, or your current work in progress?

My latest book is non-fiction, a free-verse poetry memoir. If you had asked me years ago if I wrote poetry or if I would ever publish a poetry book, I most likely would have wildly laughed and answered, “No”. I have learned to never say never. Six years ago, poetry just started flowing. I “listened” and I wrote. Here we are with a published book with six years of poetry! Titled, ‘Words of Alchemy’, and published December 2019 … Follow the link to visit the brunch setting over at Jaffareadstoo ….

https://jaffareadstoo.blogspot.com/2020/04/sunday-brunch-with-jaffareadstoo.html

Blessings,
Camilla
See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

“Words of Alchemy” has arrived, December 2019! A free-verse poetry memoir covering the last 6 years of my life. The poetry of nature, the poetry of healing, the poetry of appreciation, the poetry of love, in one beautiful book.

Amazing news! My 18 year old daughter, Lillian Darnell’s debut book, “Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories” was published January 2018. Learn more and order here

Wonderfully exciting news! My 14 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is published. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.

 

Uplifting and Warming to the Core – Words of Alchemy

Thank you to The Book Reviewing Mum for this wonderful and thorough review of Words of Alchemy

“I was nervous about reading poetry to start with, I’ve enjoyed it in the past, but basic, easy to understand and follow poetry, so I am always anxious accepting poetry in case I cannot understand and interpret it to a point where I can write an acceptable review that I’m happy with!

I needn’t have worried! This book is filled with inspiring, heartfelt, warm, consoling, touching and thought provoking poetry which will warm you to the core!

I honestly think this book of poetry would be an amazing self help book with a different angle! As you read through my review you’ll see the many different sections of the book and how the poems are so uplifting and educational on how to appreciate everything we have and what surrounds us!

The Alchemy of Nature: the poems in this section talk about overcoming, and accepting that their may be dark times in your life and that is ok and part of life itself. That sometimes you may become consumed by the dark but that there is light at the end of the tunnel you just have to keep swimming and breathing and pushing through to accept it and to get there! Through self love, nature, appreciating the small things in life! That change is always going to happen you cannot stop it but that change isn’t always bad and to welcome change!

My favourite poem in this section was ‘Brother One day you shall me released’ its about her brother who battled with addictions and showing her brother that there was no judgement just love and support and reassurance that he would battle his addictions and make it through the other side!

Alchemy of Love: is a set of beautiful poems about the different types of love we have for family, friends, nature but also in loss and also loving yourself! It’s about letting love in, letting love consume you, not just the good points in love but also the bad!

My favourite poem in this section is called Friendship! I can really relate to this poem and really touched me!

The Alchemy of Parenting was by far my favourite in the book, as now being a mum of 2 I really felt every word and understood it and could relate! One of the first poems in this book is called ‘The Number 18’ which is a poem about finding out about her daughters chromosome abnormality and how heart breaking it was at the time but how they’ve overcome the news and live a positive and full life together where they’ve celebrated the good and the bad, the easy and the rough!

‘My Dearest Thomas’ is a Poem that Camilla wrote for her son and I found this poem really emotive as it was like reading something that explains every single feeling I have for my children!

I loved these set of poems as they really touched on the unconditional love, the true, unbreakable love, you have for your child through the easy and the hard times. Even through the times when as a family you can be unkind to each other! Love overpowers all!

The Alchemy of Mindful living: I love how in this section you can really grasp and understand Camillas connection to nature and all living things through her poetry! She is at one with nature and has accepted herself, and her life, the good and the bad. She’s found a way to accept everything which shows, through her words, that she lives a full and beautiful life and sees the good in everything!

I really enjoyed the Poem ‘The Lure of Words’ and if you are like me and love books (and you probably are I’d you are reading this) then you will enjoy this poem and be able to connect and relate! Camilla takes about the joy in a book, the feel, the smell, the sight, the escapism you get all from a book! A truely lovely poem!

The Alchemy of Gratitude: this is my other favourite part of the book! These set of poems talk about being grateful for all things great and small! for love, families, life itself, for Kindness for opportunity for every little bit that makes up nature!

I really connected with one these poems I found it so thought provoking! It’s about being grateful for something as simple as water, and Camilla talks about how the earth, the planet and everything that inhabits this planets needs water! We need water to live and water needs us! We need water in so many ways to survive yet it’s something that in these parts of the world go so unappreciated!

It made me really think about life and how sometime I can be a glass half empty kind of person! And actually if I took the time to appreciate the small things in life such as water that pay a huge part in my life and my mental health that actually if we could really grasp that, maybe we would be on the right track to life of true happiness!

The final section of this book is called The Alchemy of Fun, and although I didn’t connect with this as much it’s still full of beautiful poems, the one that caught my eye was a poem created by Camilla and her 2 children! It’s fun and it’s lovely to see a family come together to be creative!” …. Follow the link to see the full review …

REVIEW : Words of Alchemy by Camilla Downs @camilladowns

Blessings,
Camilla
See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

“Words of Alchemy”, published December 2019, is a free-verse poetry memoir covering the last 6 years of my life. The poetry of nature, the poetry of healing, the poetry of appreciation, the poetry of love, in one beautiful book.

Amazing news! My 18 year old daughter, Lillian Darnell’s debut book, “Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories” was published January 2018. Learn more and order here

Wonderfully exciting news! My 14 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is published. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.

Headed Home – Words of Alchemy

Headed Home

And she walked.
And she walked.
She walked until
Arriving at
The home of
Peace and Joy.
Discovering once there,
She had been
Here all along. ©Camilla Downs

Blessings,
Camilla
See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

“Words of Alchemy” has arrived, December 2019! A free-verse poetry memoir covering the last 6 years of my life. The poetry of nature, the poetry of healing, the poetry of appreciation, the poetry of love, in one beautiful book.

Amazing news! My 18 year old daughter, Lillian Darnell’s debut book, “Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories” was published January 2018. Learn more and order here

Wonderfully exciting news! My 14 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is published. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.

Why Writing is Important to Me – An Interview with Clare Rhoden

Why is writing important to me and what five words best describe my writing style? That and more in this great interview with fellow author, Clare Rhoden. I’m grateful to Clare for putting together such thoughtful questions.

…… Welcome, Camilla, and thanks for speaking with me on Last Word of the Week. Why is writing important to you?

Writing has been a sanity saving bridge, in processing life experiences, in being a single parent, in being a parent to a special needs child, in making decisions. Writing has been my way of sharing what I’m experiencing, getting it out of my head, being comforted, assured, cheered on, and, at times, receiving direction.

It’s definitely a two-way street. What’s the best response you’ve ever had to your writing?

The best response is a compilation of the responses in which others share how my writings have inspired or helped them in some way. There’s nothing better than receiving a message or review that lets me know that my writing was useful to someone.

What five words would best describe your style?

Wild, unfiltered, from the heart.

Delightful! Do you write for yourself or for a particular audience?

To date, I have always written for myself. Writing is how I process and experience life. The feedback received when sharing what I write is what encouraged me to pursue publishing the content.

What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done?

Making the decision fourteen years ago to leave my marriage, becoming a single parent to two children; 1 year old and 5 years old at the time. I had no idea how I would manage, how I would survive. They are 14 years old and 18 years old now. It is through sheer grit, determination, letting go of the fear of asking for help, and not feeling shame for accepting and receiving help, that we’ve made it successfully to this point.

What a huge moment that must have been. What’s your favourite genre to read?

I have made shifts throughout my reading years. As a child and teenager I was all about fiction and horror. As an adult I shifted to mysteries, reading every book Agatha Christie had written, ending with her autobiography. Then I shifted to only business books, autobiographies and biographies of successful people. Reading then shifted to non-fiction books in the self-help, mind, body, spirituality type books. With the latest shift being opening back up to the fiction genre, along with memoirs and books about writing.

That’s pretty comprehensive, indeed. Where do you get inspiration or ideas from?

My latest book, Words of Alchemy, was largely inspired by Nature, and the many walks I took during the time it was written.

Is it easy for readers to find your book/s?

Yes, I believe so. My books can be found on my website or on Amazon.

If you could write a note to someone about to read your book, what would you say?

This is such an interesting thought and question. When readers buy a book directly from me, I actually do include a personalized note when signing the book, in addition to a creative message hidden within the book. I have incredible fun doing this!

I would say, “May the perfect words within this book, touch your heart, at the perfect moment. Love, Camilla”

That’s lovely. Do you write in more than one genre?

My first book is a memoir of my journey to acceptance of myself, and acceptance of becoming a single parent to two children, one with special needs, one a genius (who is most likely on the spectrum).

The second book, for which I am simply a contributor, is my daughter’s book. I collected her writings, organized them, wrote the introduction, edited, proofed, and published the book. Her book was intentionally not professionally edited so as to share her unique view with the reading world. A photo I took of her was used for the cover of the book. It is in the fiction genre as it is a collection of her short stories and poetry from 5 years old to 15 years old.

The third book, I am also simply a contributor, as it is a photography book of photos my then 8 year old son took. I organized the book, wrote the introduction, and he and I chose quotes to pair with the sections of the book.

My latest book to publish is a poetry memoir of the last 6 years of my life.

What an amazing collection! Truly inspirational, Camilla.

Thank you once again, Clare, for having me be a part of your wonderful blog! All the best to you.

See the full interview by following this link ..

Camilla Downs, soul writer, on giving and receiving

Blessings,
Camilla
See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

“Words of Alchemy” has arrived, December 2019! A free-verse poetry memoir covering the last 6 years of my life. The poetry of nature, the poetry of healing, the poetry of appreciation, the poetry of love, in one beautiful book.

Amazing news! My 18 year old daughter, Lillian Darnell’s debut book, “Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories” was published January 2018. Learn more and order here

Wonderfully exciting news! My 14 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is published. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.

What Prompted Me to Explore My Life and Experiences Through Words

What prompted me to explore my life and experiences through words, what am I most proud of, and what’s next for me? Thank you to fellow author, Colin Garrow, for inviting me to his blog and for ask such thoughtful questions …..

Author and poet Camilla explains the background to her writing journey and how it changed her life…

Thinking back to when you started writing, what was it that prompted you to explore your life and experiences through words?

I wrote as a young girl in the form of a diary, writing daily about current events in my life, and my feelings. I had some traumatic experiences and perhaps I sensed this would help in a way. I discontinued that practice in my high school years, through to my adult years, picking it up again when I divorced in 2007.

When I began writing again, it was in the form of daily journaling, which led to writing life narratives on my blog. I needed an outlet for processing life events, for getting thoughts out of my head, for reassurance, for encouragement, and for feedback. I find writing to be deeply therapeutic, which was incredibly helpful during unexpected life events and the deep healing that occurred from 2007 through to current.

Expanded versions of many of the blog posts written through 2012 were included in my first book published in 2012, D iz for Different – One Woman’s Journey to Acceptance. It was the year 2015, when free-verse poetry began to flow during the morning journal writing. I had never written poetry before, minus a few in school, and a few Haiku written to give as gifts.

I think I know the answer to this one, but do you write to please your readers or to please yourself?

I began writing for myself, so it follows that the books I’ve published contained writings that were for my own benefit. I have openly shared most of my writings since about 2008 and the feedback received is what encouraged me to pursue publishing.

Although I have stepped back and am taking time off from writing, up until the end of 2019, my writings have been from my heart, an intuitive knowing that I could not possibly stop from flowing. I would sit to write and the words would simply flow, at times flowing so fast I could hardly “catch” all of them before they disappeared. I am still sporadically journaling in the mornings, yet, I’ve allowed myself to step back to focus on family issues, market my latest book, and to spend time on rejuvenating myself. Over the past 6 years, I have gone through deep healing by connecting with buried emotions and events from my past. It was completely worth it, yet deeply exhausting.

Tell us about your first book, ‘D iz for Different: One Woman’s Journey to Acceptance’ and how it came about.

This was my first book to publish and I learned much from the entire process. My personality is such that if I feel strongly that I am supposed to do something, I do it, not letting any obstacle deter me. I had no idea what I was doing, figuring out each step as I went along.

How the book came to be is quite a wild story! I knew I was to write a book, yet, was stumped on how to organize it and what direction to take the book.

Around July 1, 2011, I had a strong feeling to purge packed boxes in my garage. I tried to ignore the urge, telling myself I was too busy working on other matters. I could not get the thought to vacate my mind, so I gave in to it, thinking that if I went through a few boxes, I could get back to other tasks.

In the first few boxes I unpacked, I came across a book that I had completely forgotten about and had never read. That book is titled, ‘E is for Entrepreneur’ by Barbara Hranivolich. I opened the book and inscribed on the first page was a message to me from Barb. The message …. “This never would have happened without you.”

I had completely forgotten that in 2007 I connected with Barb online and asked her if she would like to be a contributor on a blog I had at the time for women entrepreneurs. She began an alphabet series to tie in with being an entrepreneur. I read the book that night and discovered that Barb mentioned me in the C is for Collaboration chapter of the book also. She wrote, “There’s the woman I’ve never met in person, but who asked me to write these essays for her blog. What a gift!” Lastly, Barb included my name on her Gratitude List in the book. What a powerful gift for me to receive!

After finishing the book I had an intuitive knowing, the solution to how I was to organize my book. It was to be fashioned similar to Barb’s, with each letter of the alphabet being a chapter of the book. I began to write the book the next morning. I started to get up earlier than I had been and wrote a section every morning. I wrote the book in 3 months, with it publishing in February 2012.

The book is a memoir about how I came to acceptance of myself, acceptance of being a parent to a special needs child, and acceptance of becoming a single mom to both kids when the youngest was 1 year old. Each chapter is a letter of the alphabet, ‘A is for Acceptance’, ‘G is for Gift’, ‘K is for Knowing’; with a ’Tip for the Journey’ at the conclusion of each chapter.

The cover art is from a young man who has autism. His artwork was born from an imaginary world he created in which to escape from the unkindness of others. He’s doing quite well with his creations, speaking at many events having to do with autism.

In terms of your writing, how is your latest book, ‘Words of Alchemy’, different?

Absolute huge difference! The two aspects that are the same is that both books are nonfiction and a memoir. They part ways at this point. Both are not your typical book as I tend to lean towards doing things differently. Words of Alchemy is a free-verse poetry memoir.

When I divorced in 2007, not knowing how I would manage, I became more committed to a loosely held walking practice. Walking, being in nature, became a mediation of sorts, guiding me in processing life events. I found these walks and nature to be deeply calming and healing.

During these walks, I increasingly became moved to photograph nature. Listening to the intuitive nudges of when to stop walking, which direction to look, whether to kneel on the ground, and at which angle to take a photo became a colorful ingredient to the practice of walking.

What happened next surprised and delighted me in ways I find difficult to describe. Following a walk, I would scroll through the nature photographs, choosing one to post on social media. As I began to type a comment to accompany the photo, poetic words spilled from my heart and mind, through my fingers, landing on the screen. This began to happen more and more with the poems becoming more and more meaningful. Eventually the poems began to flow simply from events I was in the midst of experiencing. During morning journal writing, I would write about what was happening in my life. Magically, a poem would flow forth.

It was 2018 when I began to feel that it was time for my next book. I thought I would be writing another memoir. Yet, the pull to gather and publish the poems written between 2012 and 2019 was powerfully insistent. I listened, went with it, and Words of Alchemy was published in December 2019. The cover photo is a photo I took on one of my 2018 walks.

Tell us about your daughter Lillian’s book, ‘Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories’.

Lillian is unique in that she is missing the short arm of her 18th chromosome, technically called a chromosome deletion, more specifically 18p-, or 18p deletion. This happens once in every 56,000 births. The main way this manifests for her is that she has speech articulation difficulties due to the physiology of her mouth. Lillian also has depth perception difficulties, an unstable proprioceptive system, anxiety, unrealistic fears, gross and fine motor skill challenges, and tremendous difficulty with handling strong emotions.

I sensed when she was about 4 or 5 years old that she needed an outlet to “get out” all of the words and things she wanted to say, but could not due to others inability to understand her. She’s always been a voracious reader, sleeping with books in her crib rather than stuffed animals. (She has a fear of ALL animals, including stuffed toy animals.) My dad bought her first computer, a tiny pink Asus laptop, for her when she was 5 or 6 years old. We began writing stories together at about 5 years old.

I describe Lillian’s book as a fictional anthology of her life and experiences. It is a collection of short stories, poems, songs, with one section about emotional connection using animals as examples. The collection spans from the time she was about 5 years old through to 16 years old when I began to organize everything for the book’s publication. Lillian is 18 years old now and proud that she has a published book!

Tell us about your son Thomas’s book, ‘Biggest Little Photographer’.

When Thomas was 8 years old, a friend sent a news article to me about a professional photographer who was taking nature photographs of a minifigure camera man taking a photo. The photographer had taken one photo a day for 365 days. I showed it to Thomas, to which he enthusiastically asked if he could do the same. I told him absolutely! He already had a minifigure and purchased a LEGO camera to go along with it. I explained to Thomas that if he stuck with it the full year, we would make it into a published book that he could sell.

We created an instagram account so that he could post the daily photo and he excitedly began the project. About 3 months into it, he shared with me how difficult it was to keep going and he really wanted to stop. I gave him that option, sharing with him to really think about what it would feel like if he stopped the project and what it would feel like if he kept going and finished. After a few days of thought, he decided to stick with it.

Thomas’s book is a collection of half of the photographs he took during the 365 photo a day project, along with quotes that Thomas selected, that I then paired with a matching section of the book. The minifigure camera man went absolutely everywhere with us for a full year. For about the first 2 weeks, I gave Thomas hints about what to photograph and tips for how to photograph. After that, he took over and snapped the photos through his own inspiration.

Given that you are a single mother, how do you schedule time for writing?

I am an early riser, using that time for journal writing, and for tasks that need my undivided and focused attention. I also homeschool Thomas and Lillian, giving us more freedom with our schedules, allowing me more time to write, network, and market our books. Lillian graduated this past June 2019. In addition, I do not work a traditional job. Although I have a college degree and was a paralegal for 10 years before Lillian was born, I stuck with the decision that was made before having kids, of not having a traditional job.

What are you most proud of?

I am deeply proud of having raised Thomas and Lillian, on my own terms, in the way I felt it was best to raise them (and still am). Thomas was 1 year old and Lillian 5 years old when I became a single parent. They are 14 years old and 18 years old now. I have solely raised them, making all decisions, with no weekends or holidays off with the other parent. I am deeply pleased that in 2009, I listened to my intuition that I needed to do something to bring our little family together as a team. That’s when Team TLC was born. T for Thomas, L for Lillian, C for Camilla. The term lodged in our hearts, helping us to work together as a team, and stuck with our friends and family. We still receive mail addressed to Team TLC and are still using the term for ourselves.

I am equally proud of the healing I have done for myself over the past 6 years. Walking into and allowing myself to feel traumatic events from childhood, so that I could free myself. It has been intense, overwhelming, and exhausting. Yet, absolutely worth it.

What can we expect from Camilla Downs in the future?

2020 is the year of rejuvenation for me. The past 13 years have been intense. I will continue to market all of our books, nurture myself, and will focus on family issues, taking time to do some of the things we’ve all wanted to experience and have not been able to experience, due to financial constraints.

I need to take this year to press the reset button, for my physical health and for the emotional health of Thomas and Lillian. We’ve drifted from the Team in our Team TLC; which I know will happen as they get older. Yet, I’ve let vital areas slip by the wayside over the past 4 or 5 years, especially this last year.

One major struggle is about to end for us. Once that gift is showered upon us, the rebuilding of Team TLC begins. Of course it will look and feel different than when Thomas and Lillian were younger, and that’s the beauty of it, tempered with the longing of the way it used to be.

And, yes, there will be more books. I get the feeling the next book will be authored by all three of us. We shall see. I never really know until I become focused on the book’s creation.

Thank you, Colin for having me and thank you for putting so much thought into these questions. I have immensely enjoyed answering them!

Follow the link to read the entire interview …

Author Interview – Camilla Downs

Blessings,
Camilla
See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

“Words of Alchemy” has arrived, December 2019! A free-verse poetry memoir covering the last 6 years of my life. The poetry of nature, the poetry of healing, the poetry of appreciation, the poetry of love, in one beautiful book.

Amazing news! My 18 year old daughter, Lillian Darnell’s debut book, “Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories” was published January 2018. Learn more and order here

Wonderfully exciting news! My 14 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is published. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.

The Light of Freedom – Words of Alchemy

💛💛💛

The Light of Freedom

Time to step into the flames of the fire.
Time to connect with that which you fear from your past.
The past no longer exists and cannot cause you harm.
However, when it is avoided and sidestepped; it does indeed
cause you harm.

Avoidance and sidestepping keep you a prisoner of the past.
Held captive to a perceived smallness.
As the flame grows, be still and know that you are not alone.
Be still and know it cannot hurt you. It cannot consume you.

Bring your light to the flames of the fire.
It shall be engulfed and transformed into the light of freedom.
The freedom to claim your power.
The freedom to know who you are.
The freedom to shine your light with others.
Be still. And Know. -©️Camilla Downs

💛💛💛

Emerge – Words of Alchemy

💚💚💚

Emerge

And out of the darkness
We shall emerge.
A darkness that
Has been necessary.

A vital and pivotal point
Of confronting the
Shadows within.

For to have more
Than brief glimpses
Of the light,
This acceptance, forgiveness,
And dissolution of shadows
Must be met.

As what awaits is
The eternity of light and love,
Ever there, ever lovingly
And patiently waiting
To welcome us home. -©️Camilla Downs

💚💚💚

Blessings,
Camilla
See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

“Words of Alchemy” has arrived, December 2019! A free-verse poetry memoir covering the last 6 years of my life. The poetry of nature, the poetry of healing, the poetry of appreciation, the poetry of love, in one beautiful book.

Amazing news! My 18 year old daughter, Lillian Darnell’s debut book, “Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories” was published January 2018. Learn more and order here

Wonderfully exciting news! My 14 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is published. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.

What Do I Miss About Being a Kid – Interview on Meeting the Authors

I was recently interviewed on Meeting the Authors.

Learn what I miss about being a kid, which cartoon I’d love to be trapped in, and what happens when a giraffe in a bowler hat knocks on my door …..

Today we travel to Reno, Nevada, USA to chat with Camilla Downs about how a Swedish actress, going for walks, chromosome deletions, tiny house living, a construction company, being a paralegal, nature photography, and tenacity come together to form the ingredients for the alchemy of Camilla’s life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Hey! I’m Camilla Downs (pronounced like Pamela, but with a “C”). I was named after Camilla Sparv, a Swedish actress in the 1960’s and 70’s. I’ve been told that I’m the great great grand-daughter of a full blooded Chickasaw Indian and Irish immigrants (haven’t researched this yet, it’s on my to do list for this year).

I have lived in Reno, Nevada, USA for the past 14 years, moving here from the Seattle, Washington area in 2006. I spent my first 18 years in Jackson, Mississippi and Houma, Louisiana.

I love walking. I am out for walks anywhere from three to six days a week. Nature is partly the inspiration for my writings and poetry. The other part is a desire to process my life experiences; to give them an outlet through writing.

Writing in this way allows me to feel and release experiences and to receive comfort and answers. I also write narratives of my life experiences and how I’ve processed the experiences; sharing these on my blog and in my books.

I have been single parenting fourteen year old Thomas and eighteen year old Lillian since Thomas was 1 year old. Lillian has a chromosome deletion simply called 18p-. This means she is missing the short arm of chromosome #18.

My kids and I call ourselves Team TLC to correspond with the first letters of each of our names. During 2015-2019 we were tiny home dwellers, living in a 1 bedroom, 1 bath, 810 square foot apartment. That was one heck of an adventure!

In addition, we are an unschooling family. Thomas and Lillian focus on what interests each of them and learn about that topic. I act as a facilitator and provide assistance when asked or needed. Lillian is a proud graduate of 2019.

I am inspired by this place I chose as home in 2006. When he was seven years old Thomas summed it up with one beautifully inspired comment ….

“It’s like we are at an art show and nature keeps changing the art for us.”

In which genre do you write?

So far, my genre writing of choice has been memoir, with this latest book being a free-verse poetry memoir. However, I feel a fiction, maybe a creative nonfiction, bubbling and brewing along with more books to follow.

How many published books do you have?

I have 4 published books. Two are authored by me and the other two are with my children.

Words of Alchemy – Published December 2019
Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories by Lillian Darnell with Camilla Downs – Published January 2018
Biggest Little Photographer by Thomas Darnell with Camilla Downs – Published October 2016
D iz for Different – One Woman’s Journey to Acceptance – Published February 2012

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading four books. I read different books during different times of the day, also depending on my mood.

Anywhere That Is Wild – John Muir’s First Walk to Yosemite, Edited by Peter & Donna Thomas
What We Talk About When We Talk About Books by Leah Price
The World of Serendipity by Marcus Bach
Beyond the Known – How Exploration Created the Modern World and Will Take Us to the Stars by Andrew Rader

List 7 interesting facts about yourself.

We haven’t had a television since 2008, and do not miss it.
I have not used a microwave, for heating or cooking food, since about that same time, and have not missed it. However, I do use the timer and I store food inside it to keep it warm.
I’m headed into my second year of being a vegan and fourth year as a vegetarian.
I am certified in Reiki.
I was a paralegal for 10 years before I had children.
I swear a lot, I mean loads.
I’ve been a grocery checker, a bookkeeper, a receptionist, a paralegal, CEO of a construction company, social media consultant, substitute teacher, route delivery driver, pet and elderly person sitter, and an author.

Where did the idea for your most recent book come from?

I didn’t set out to write poetry, an accidental poet, perhaps? I began an incredibly deep and profound healing journey after my divorce. A major part of the healing was going for walks, lots and lots of walks, allowing nature to help me in healing. When in nature, poetic words would simply bubble to the surface of my thoughts. That was the original inspiration. Following this, I began to receive intuitive nudges to take photographs while on these walks.

After a walk, I would scroll through the nature photographs, choosing one to post on social media. As I began to type a comment to accompany the photo, poetic words spilled from my heart and mind, through my fingers, landing on the screen. This began to happen more often with the poems becoming more in depth. Eventually the poems began to flow simply from events I was in the midst of experiencing.

I thought my next book was going to be a memoir or creative nonfiction, detailing the years from 2012-2019. It turned out to be something like that, just not what I was originally thinking. Every time I sat to work on the next book, my thoughts would turn to the poems I had written over the previous six years. I finally listened to that knowing and began organizing the poems; which led to Words of Alchemy being published on December 2019.

Is there something special you do with your book before sending it to a reader?

I personalize each book with a hand written message, at times including a special message within the book. It’s always a little different. Sometimes it’s a handwritten message on a small card, others it’s a micro short poem or message created from the words of a book destined for the trash.

In addition to that, I offer readings from the book via telephone. I’m happy to do this one on one or on speakerphone to a book club (or in person if you are in the Reno/Tahoe/Sparks surrounding area). This is done at no charge and I’m happy to have discussions after the reading. If interested, go here to reserve a slot … https://camilladowns.youcanbook.me/

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

I go for walks, take nature photographs, read, meditate, do the grocery shopping (Ha!), cook for the three of us, have a solo dance party, update The Team TLC website, post on my personal website, post author interviews on this website, and keep track of and complete paperwork having to do with my special needs daughter, Lillian.

What is the most enjoyable thing you’ve found through writing?

The absolute most enjoyable aspect of writing is the feedback from those who are touched, inspired, and moved by the words that flow through my fingertips.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve done to help create a scene?

This has to do with the nature photographs I take … I have been known, and seen by onlookers, to lay flat on the freezing cold ground (or burning hot ground) to get at the perfect angle for a photo. I’ve contorted my body in all manner of ways, stood in precarious places … just so I could get the perfect photo. All of this fueled by my intuition. Many times I’m in the midst of a walk, and get the urge to stop, look up, look down, look sideways and know I’m supposed to take a photo. These photos are what inspired the early poetry.

Do you journal write or keep a personal diary? Has this helped with your published writings? If so, how?

Yes, I do. When I was a young girl I kept a diary, and still have those early diaries. When I reached Jr High and High School, and throughout my early adult years, I discontinued this practice, picking it up again when I separated and then divorced in 2006.

Writing holds my heart and guides me to confront the unlovely and harsh thoughts that litter my mind at times. Yet, also to fully experience the joyful and peaceful moments. Writing gave me solutions and direction for decisions I was faced with making. Many of the poems in Words of Alchemy came forth in journal writing. I feel writing is therapeutic and I suggest everyone write, even if they have no desire to be an author.

What do you miss about being a kid?

I experienced a pretty rough child hood in my home life, and always felt like an outcast in school, so … I certainly don’t miss that. However, I do miss both of my grandmothers, Estelle Mann and Elnor Downs. Their essence is within me and I call upon it, and them, often.

If you were trapped in a cartoon world from your childhood, which one would you choose and why?

Definitely the old school Scooby Doo, having adventures in the Mystery Machine! I would choose to be a new member of the gang, a cool cat! I’d be able to fit into all the places the rest of the gang can’t fit and I’d have a smashing sense of humor!

What were the last three movies you watched?

The Aeronauts – Based on the true events in 1862 of badass balloon pilot Amelia Wren teaming up with meteorologist James Glaisher to advance knowledge of the weather, while flying higher than anyone in history.

The Farewell – Beautifully warm true story of cultural differences when a family member is diagnosed with a fatal illness.

Blinded by the Light – A heartwarming true story set to the music and lyrics of Bruce Springsteen’s songs.

A giraffe knocks on your door and is wearing a bowler hat. What does he say and why is he there?

Excuse me, madam. I’m sure you may not remember me. We were childhood friends in middle school. It’s been a lengthy journey finding you and making my way here. I wonder if you would like to have lunch with me. I have never forgotten you and would like the two of us to catch up with one another.

Which of your personality traits has been most useful and why?

Tenacity
Laser focused attention to detail
Tenacity

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on getting the word out about Words of Alchemy, having my hands quite full with paperwork now that my special needs daughter has turned 18. If any book bloggers, or authors who blog about other authors and their books, are reading this, would you be interested in hosting me on your blog? Follow the link to read the full interview ….

Meet the Author: Words of Alchemy by Camilla Downs

Blessings,
Camilla
See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

“Words of Alchemy” has arrived, December 2019! A free-verse poetry memoir covering the last 6 years of my life. The poetry of nature, the poetry of healing, the poetry of appreciation, the poetry of love, in one beautiful book.

Amazing news! My 18 year old daughter, Lillian Darnell’s debut book, “Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories” was published January 2018. Learn more and order here

Wonderfully exciting news! My 14 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is published. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.

Words of Alchemy – Proof Book Received

This seems so long ago already …

Video from December 13, 2019, when I received the proof book for Words of Alchemy! I opened the package and saw it for the first time with all of YOU! Never mind how tired I look, or that I nearly cried when I saw it. YAY!!! It’s here!!! It’s here!! Deeply grateful!

Thank you Thomas for taking photos of me with the proof book. Plus, a blooper photo showing my favorite shoes … bare feet! HA! I still haven’t had time to schedule a launch of the book. Perhaps that will happen in March 2020!

If you would like to receive a personalized, signed copy of the book, please visit here …. https://camilladowns.com/books/words-of-alchemy/ … Free shipping and a 10% discount from what you pay on Amazon.

Blessings,
Camilla
See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

“Words of Alchemy” has arrived, December 2019! A free-verse poetry memoir covering the last 6 years of my life. The poetry of nature, the poetry of healing, the poetry of appreciation, the poetry of love, in one beautiful book.

Amazing news! My 18 year old daughter, Lillian Darnell’s debut book, “Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories” was published January 2018. Learn more and order here

Wonderfully exciting news! My 14 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is published. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.

Words of Alchemy is Published – Placing the First Order

It’s been an exciting and busy week. I received the proof book for Words of Alchemy’ on Friday, the 13th! It took a few days to read the book and have a slight change made to the content on the spine of the book. Yesterday morning, I pressed the “publish” button!

Although I will wait until January to officially launch, I am placing the first order in the next day or two. If you would like to have me include a book or two for you in this order, please pre order now. Here’s how to do that and more information about the book.

The poetry of nature, the poetry of healing, the poetry of appreciation, the poetry of love … in one beautiful book.

Pre-order a personalized signed book for $14.40 (10% off and includes tax and free shipping).

To order **Follow This Link (click here)** and enter the total of $14.40 (or more if you’d like to throw in a tip). Want more than one book? Add $14.40 for each book. FOR U.S. ORDERS ONLY. (International orders welcome with shipping costs added. Send an email to Camilla Downs @ gmail . com if you would like a personalized signed book(s) shipped internationally.)

Arriving on Amazon December 2019 (discount and personalized signed book not available from Amazon).

**Don’t use Paypal? I have a Venmo account also and can take payment by credit card, if you’d rather not use Paypal or Venmo. Leave a comment below if you’d like to pay with credit card and I’ll contact you with details.

Book Blurb:

In Words of Alchemy, Camilla Downs invites you to walk with her to share her love of Nature and Life through a heartfelt free-verse poetry memoir.

During her daily strolls she is mindfully present as she delves into life in the raw and experiences her heart’s observations.

Camilla embraces what happens when she opens her heart and invites the written words to flow. The Alchemy of Love and Healing is what happens.

Praise for Words of Alchemy

Words of Alchemy, a heartfelt new collection by Camilla Downs, lives up to its namesake in numerous ways. Downs spans the broad range of nature, healing, love, and parenting, while making sure we have a little fun along the way. And the bridge she creates from the mindfulness of how we see the world at large to the poetry of everyday life is certainly worth a stroll or two across its borders.” – Thomas Lloyd Qualls, Award-winning author of Painted Oxen

“This poetry collection offers contemplative words, soothing thoughts and peace to the reader.” – Sue Bentley, Bestselling author of Second Skin

“Camilla Downs shares truth, vulnerability and wisdom in her Words of Alchemy collection, inviting readers to be inspired, contemplate and dive into her world of self-awareness and growth.” – G. Brian Benson – Award-winning author, actor and spoken word artist

“These poems take you on a calm and loving walk through the verses of the author’s thoughts. Alchemy is a perfect word for the title as Camilla Downs understands nature; connecting with its magical, medicinal qualities and beauty which she conveys throughout her poetry.” – Ailsa Craig, Author of The Sand Between My Toes

Words of Alchemy is a chronicle of hope. These poems are an encouragement, especially when we are feeling at our lowest, to keep seeking the light that is our way forward, and focus on the real. This collection is a walk through the positive nature of life. Camilla Downs is to be commended.” – Frank Prem, Author of free-verse memoir Small Town Kid

I know. Lots of photos of me and the proof book! HA! I use the photos in many different places so like to have a variety of photos from which to choose. Plus … You only get the proof book for each book ONE time!

Deep thanks and gratitude to all who have supported me along the way. Oceans of love to you all!

Blessings,
Camilla
See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

“Words of Alchemy” has arrived, December 2019! A free-verse poetry memoir covering the last 6 years of my life. The poetry of nature, the poetry of healing, the poetry of appreciation, the poetry of love, in one beautiful book.

Amazing news! My 18 year old daughter, Lillian Darnell’s debut book, “Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories” was published January 2018. Learn more and order here

Wonderfully exciting news! My 14 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is published. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.