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.

 

The Path of the Heart – Words of Alchemy

The Path of the Heart

The path back home
seems littered with
suffering and struggle.

What is this insane
ability to cause
one’s self such suffering?

Suffering by way of the
thoughts that dart
here and there,
at times penetrating
the soul as if they
were a cold, jagged knife.

When one golden day
the tides of change
bring the knowing
that the path
is also littered
with Love.

A Love shining remarkably
bright and clear,
suffering seems almost
not to have happened.

The path of Love
The path of suffering
The path of struggles

The path of Joy
The path of Harmony
The path of irritation
The path of guilt
The path of Peace.

All the same path
The path that we each travel.
Made to seem different
by way of the degree
of suffering we endure.

Made to seem different
until that glorious day
that we learn
to love ourselves and
to love one another through
everything that happens.

For the things that
happen will still be;
yet, the perception
of each will shift
the more the one
loves one’s self through
the things.

The path of Love.
The path we all
shall arrive upon
one sweet day.

Oh, glory be.
We shall see. -©Camilla Downs

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.

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.

When Life Comes Together – Words of Alchemy

When Life Comes Together

And she began the walk
The walk of only she,
breathing in, knowing she was breathing in
breathing out, knowing she was breathing out

She listened to the sounds of
the stillness
the bird songs
the beeping construction equipment
the roar of an airplane overhead
the creak and pop of the plastic fence
the screech of the vulture as he took flight
the long distance cough of another echoing across the wetland the jingle of her
earrings in the breeze
the whir of the traffic in the distance

She felt the soft breeze
brush her cheeks
lifting her hair ever so gently.

She focused
her eyes on the vibrant pink flower
and found her thoughts to be ….

I am the flower swaying in the breeze
The flower is me

She focused her eyes on the crisp green
blades of grass hosting plump round droplets
of water

I am the blade of grass hosting the water droplets
the blade of grass is me

I am the water droplet resting on the blade of grass
the water droplet is me

She focused her eyes on the majestic vulture

I am the vulture resting on a rock
The vulture is me

She focused her eyes on and lay her hands upon
the crooked and tall tree.

I am the tree standing crooked and tall
the tree is me

And she is,
and they are,
fulfilling life.

And she ended the walk
The walk of the One.
breathing in, knowing she was breathing in
breathing out, knowing she was breathing out. ©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.

Enter to Win a Book a Day for 30 Days – Authors Unite

Would you like the chance to win a book a day for 30 days? Here it is!

My latest book, Words of Alchemy, will be given away on May 2, 2020. If you’d like to enter to win, visit this link … https://authorsmstevens.com/30days/words-of-alchemy/

To see the full list of books, with descriptions, and to enter to win, go here … https://authorsmstevens.com/30days/

30 Days of Free Books — A COVID-19 Book Giveaway Contest: Authors unite to offer literary escape to housebound readers.

Twenty-three authors, many of them award winners and best sellers, have banded together to offer “30 Days of Free Books” — a month of giveaways to provide some free books to housebound readers during the coronavirus pandemic.

Whether you prefer fiction or non-fiction, poetry or prose, children’s books or Young Adult or Adult, memoir or historical fiction or mystery, print or ebook format, you’ll find something you like on this list.

COVID-19 Note: Many writers are offering the winners of their books a choice of print book or ebook. We encourage winners of print books to check the latest expert guidance on how long the virus lives on cardboard and paper before opening their package.

HOW TO ENTER: Click on the name of a book (here … https://authorsmstevens.com/30days/) for more details including a book description, book format (paperback or ebook) and the contest entry form. Enter for as many books as you like. On the date noted, a winner will be chosen to receive that day’s book. Winners will be notified by email. Open to U.S. residents only.

(In the spirit of COVID-19 solidarity, we are not asking you to follow us on social media, sign up for a newsletter or share the contest details with friends in order to enter this contest.)

Happy reading, and stay safe.

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.

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.

The Attraction of Poetry – An Interview on Shaz’s Book Blog

What attracted me to writing poetry and where do I get inspiration … One of the topics covered in this lovely interview on Sharon’s beautiful blog.

“Today it’s my pleasure to welcome author Camilla Downs to the blog to talk about her book of poetry Words of Alchemy.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how your writing journey started?

Hi Sharon! Thank you for having me on your lovely blog. I grew up in Jackson, Mississippi and Houma, Louisiana, moving to the Seattle, Washington area when I was 19-years-old. The next move in 2006 took me and my two kids to Reno, in Northern Nevada, where we currently live. We absolutely love living here. I enjoy going for walks, writing, reading, and taking photographs of nature.

I’ve been single parenting Thomas and Lillian since they were one year old and five years old. They are now 14 and 18. I have homeschooled them for the past 4 years, with Lillian graduating June 2019. Thomas and Lillian each have a published book, with my 2nd book being published December 2019.

I loved writing when in elementary school, but I don’t remember being incredibly encouraged by the teachers and adults around me, perhaps even discouraged with the red marks and comments on my writings. So, I did not pursue it, except for writing in a personal diary. I had several traumatic occurrences as a child, and I must have intuitively known that writing in a diary would help in some way.

When I divorced in 2007, something told me that I needed to learn about this popular online writing tool called blogging. This began my journey of learning all I could about blogging, blogging platforms, and social media tools. At this time another shift happened, in that I felt an intuitive nudge to begin sharing my life experiences publicly via blogging and social media. I began to write and share life narratives, with a shift to free-verse poetry beginning in 2012.

What attracted you to writing poetry and where do you get your inspiration?

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. So began the practice of taking nature photographs and posting on social media. One day I sat to look through the photos, choosing one to share, and as I began to type the accompanying message, a poem landed on the page! It was incredibly magical.

What do you think are the ingredients needed for a good poem?

I don’t feel I’m the least bit qualified to answer this one, as my poetry is free-verse, not fitting a textbook definition of poetry. Before gathering the six years of poetry I had written, I spent a few days researching the “definition” of poetry and what makes a poem a poem. There seemed to be much argument, with firm beliefs about what is and what isn’t poetry.

I will say that the main ingredient for writing poetry, for writing of any style, is to simply write. Let go of judgment about what comes out when you write, and just write. Write, write, write. The second ingredient is tenacity. The third ingredient, write.

Has your idea of what poetry is changed since you first started writing?

This is going to sound pretty crazy …. In the past, I have not read much poetry. I know. It doesn’t make sense that I would write poetry for six years, and not be reading it. However, that has changed. My eyes have been opened to the beautiful world of poetry and I have been choosing to read it more often.

What advice would you give to someone who would like to try writing poems?

I’m not sure I’m one to hand out advice on writing poetry, since my experience was quite different. Except to say, if you want to write a specific style of poetry, to read as many books of poetry in that style as you can get your hands on. Read them until they soak through to your very core, until you’re sweating, bleeding, crying, laughing poetry of that style. HA! Whether you want to write free-verse or a specific style, write daily.

What is the first poem that you read that made you think; I would like to write something like that one day?

I cannot recall reading a specific poem that caused me to think this. However, the more I immersed in nature during my walks, the more nature poetry moved me.

And finally, what can we expect from you next?

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.

There will be more books at some point. 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 Sharon for having me and thank you for putting so much thought into these questions. I have enjoyed answering them! … Follow the link to read the full interview …

https://shazsbookblog.blogspot.com/2020/03/author-interview-camilla-downs.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.