Published April 23, 2012
Talent abounds at our Trilogy communities, with artists, athletes, authors and actors living on just about every street in every Trilogy neighborhood. In the past we've highlighted some of our skilled artists, actors, and athletes, and now it's time to turn the spotlight onto our talented Trilogy authors.
The following authors have chosen one of their books (as a few of these members have written more than one book) to share with their fellow Trilogy members. They’ve given us an “About the Book” glimpse at what we can expect from their work – and told us where we can buy their book, if it’s available for purchase. They’ve also answered a few questions that will give us some insight into their experience with writing and publishing.
Six of our talented Trilogy writers are highlighted below, and an additional six were featured in Authors Among Us – Part 1.
On the Water
By Trilogy Member Steve Schmidt
About the Book: On The Water is a photo-diary that chronicles the author’s floating adventures in Europe, North America and across the Pacific Ocean to as far away as India. It portrays how one can experience the world’s most beautiful places and exciting activities, either traveling independently or with the help of loosely-structured tour operators. In On The Water, Steve Schmidt swims with the jellyfish of Palau, pilots a narrow boat on an English canal, kayaks with blue whales in the Sea of Cortez, and plummets down an Olympic bobsleigh run. Greatly enhancing the book’s many photographs are reflective essays that capture one’s imagination, allowing the reader to vicariously experience each exploit. Steve’s companion, his wife Katie, who sometimes went a bit beyond her comfort level, was a joyful partner for many of these trips. For her companionship and the opportunity to enjoy these joie d’eau together, Steve is truly grateful. This book is available for purchase at http://www.viovio.com/shop/104636.
What inspired you to create this book? I have an adage; a picture is worth a thousand words and then it falls off a cliff. On The Water is written not only as a photo-diary of kayaking and other adventures, but also to capture as much as possible my feelings and thoughts beyond what a photograph can portray. For example, I want to convey to readers some of the excitement I felt while paddling across the Sea of Cortez with the spray and wind whipping my face, or from having a large manta ray rock the kayak as it erupts from its shallow water hiding place. The book’s genesis arose from watching nursing-home-ridden, elderly men while visiting my dementia-stricken mother. It was depressing to me that these men, who surely had been energetic, adventurous males in their youths, retained very little of life’s vigor. They could not express who they had once been, nor did they project any vitality. On The Water was created so that, if such a fate befalls me, I will have an aid to reflect on the joys of past years. Also, the tome can be used to enlighten others about the person I had once been.
Can you tell us a bit more about yourself, Steve? I am a retired physicist and past editor of American Physical Society proceedings, as well as a long time outdoor enthusiast. In On The Water, my writing interest has shifted from reporting on the studies of molecules, mathematics, and photons to chronicling floating adventures ranging from sea kayaking to river and canal passages. In retirement my pleasures also have evolved from baseball, hockey, snow and water skiing, hunting and fishing, to biking, kayaking and traveling. I enjoy experiencing an active lifestyle with my family in the Pacific Northwest.
Life is an Attitude: How to Grow Forever Better
By Trilogy Member Dottie Billington
About the Book: After an exciting career as a real estate investment consultant, I returned to graduate school at age 50 to study the emerging field of Adult Development. During my career, I had always been fascinated by differences among the adults with whom I had worked. Most were nice people and very bright, yet some were vital, open and successful in investing, while others were closed to new ideas and were unable or afraid to make good decisions; they seemed stuck. I was curious about why there were such strong differences among these people, which spurred my interest in studying Adult Development. Until just recently, scientists had assumed that we develop mentally and in character only until about age 21, then remain the same until middle age when we begin the long slide into old age. We now know that we are meant to continue learning and growing as long as we live.
Adult Development was a new and extremely exciting field for me. For my doctoral dissertation, I studied a question that had not yet been examined: why some adults continue cognitive growth and development as long as they live while others seem to stop growing, to get stuck along the way. Without growth, we slide backward. Research for my dissertation took seven exciting years, and the results are still often quoted in academic writings. I did a lot of speaking and training in corporations and writing for academic publications, but I soon realized that I needed to get this information to the public. Switching from academic writing to writing for the general public is a challenge, but since I knew that the style of dry, academic writing wouldn’t appeal to many of the people that I hoped to reach, I accepted this challenge and after a few years was able to complete my book, Life is an Attitude: How to Grow Forever Better. It was published in 2000 and took off immediately, earning a national award and selling publishing rights in 17 countries. I’m happy to say that it is still going strong! My book is available for purchase at Amazon.com, both as a paperback and an e-book.
What inspired you to write this book? I was inspired by the many people who asked me to share with them what I had discovered in my research. People are genuinely curious to know how they can continue growing. Most adults fervently hope to remain dynamic, interested and interesting adults.
What do you hope that your readers will learn from your book? I hope readers will learn that they are OK and can be happy. I’ve heard many people say that they keep the book on their nightstand and read a little each day for inspiration, or to help relieve stress, or as a sort of meditation.
What was the road to publication like for you? The road to publication was exciting, as I worked with great, talented people along the way. I had a lot of input into the process, as I knew exactly what sort of product I wanted. But, of course I needed the expertise of professional book publishers.
What is one piece of advice that you would give to another aspiring author? Don't take shortcuts. Get the best possible editors and listen to their advice. Write and re-write over and over. Read each page or chapter out loud, as good writing should have a rhythm and flow - it should sound right. And cut, cut, cut. One of the worst mistakes writers make is using too many words to express one idea.
What has been your most gratifying moment as an author? My most gratifying moments as an author have been when I hear people say that my book has changed their life, or that they frequently refer to it. And I love all the emails I receive from all over the world -17 countries - from readers who tell me how much the book has meant to them. It has been pirated in two countries, Vietnam and Nigeria, which I learned from readers' emails and online. That’s just fine with me if it has helped people in those countries.
Saturdays at Ten
By Trilogy Member Patricia Kohn and the Elkins Park Writers
About the Book: Many years ago I enrolled in an adult-education writing workshop largely out of curiosity. At the first class the instructor referred to our “manuscripts” and how we should prepare them each week for review. The very word manuscripts scared me and I concluded that the other students were serious, accomplished writers who would be scornful of my amateurish attempts. In fact, there was a range of talent and ambition among the group, and at the close of the last session some of us decided to continue meeting.
While people joined and dropped out for the first couple of years, eventually four of us became the core group, and we dubbed ourselves The Elkins Park Writers (a reference to the town we lived in). After 15 years of monthly meetings, we decided to publish a compilation of our stories, poetry and memoirs through Xlibris, an online publication house and bookstore. The timing turned out to be fortuitous. Two members developed health problems shortly after publication and the group disbanded.
I will be donating a copy of Saturdays at Ten to the Delta Club library (at Trilogy Rio Vista). The book can also be purchased at barnesandnoble.com or xlibris.com.
How would you describe the writing styles of the authors who contributed to Saturdays at Ten? Each author’s style is distinctive. Grace Toll, who is also a talented painter, wrote lush stories about big characters. Marion Fox wrote the poetry as well as a story about friendship that is revealed through one side of phone conversations over ten years. Roz Mayer took everyday events to a depth that revealed her sometimes uneasy relationships with others as well as with herself.
My contributions include both fiction and nonfiction. I am most proud of the story, I Don’t Feed the Birds, which recounts a young angry widow’s efforts to transcend her grief. Adventures on the Appalachian Trail describes a hiking trip I took with my sister, but it’s really about coming to terms with middle age, managing aging divorced parents, and celebrating sisterhood. Confessions of a Nine Year Old concerns my guilt about missing mass, the scary act of confessing to the priest, and the surprising outcome.
The Unfair Advantage: Sell with NLP!
By Trilogy Member Dr. Duane Lakin
About the Book: The Unfair Advantage: Sell with NLP! is a collection of techniques for selling oneself and better understanding the customer. It is based on the discoveries of NLP - neurolinguistic programming. The techniques combine psychology and neurology to help people see how to be more effective influencing others. Basically, it teaches how to “engineer” any message to make it more effective with any audience, whether it is written or spoken.
The Unfair Advantage: Sell with NLP! is available through Amazon.com. It will soon be available as an e-book. It is published in English, Spanish, Romanian, and Polish.
What inspired you to write a book on this topic? I was conducting workshops for small groups of CEOs In the US and Canada (sponsored by an organization now called Vistage). They asked for books on the topic that they could read after my presentation. The feedback I received was that the books available at the time were unsatisfactory and not practical enough to be helpful. So, I wrote this one to be used as a “leave-behind” for my live workshops. It never occurred to me that people would actually buy it! Thank you, Amazon.com!
What do you hope your readers will learn from your book? My book was intended to be a substitute or follow-up support for my live workshop. I originally referred to it as a ”workshop in a book”. It probably took me nearly 5 years from the time I first started putting words on paper to the day I announced it was finished. (Note to writers: If you want it perfect, you’ll never finish it.)
Was the road to publication long or short? This is very funny. I would write as I traveled and took vacations. I never actually sat down to write it from start to finish. I would work on one chapter at a time but not necessarily in any order. When I finally decided on a deadline to finish it and publish it, I discovered that I had already finished it…with pieces being on three different computers.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to others who have always dreamed about writing a book? Just write. Write enough to find your voice. People need to be able to hear you or someone in the words you write. But always think about your audience and your purpose. For most people, it is also wise to ask either an editor or patient friends to read it. It is especially important to have the discipline to cut and edit and cut some more. I would often read my chapters out loud to see how they sounded. It was very important to me that the book was practical and not academic or touchy-feely. I always pictured my audience very clearly: sales professionals and executives who wanted to improve their impact on others without a lot of why’s or self-examination.
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