Laura Camara – A Voice of Independent Music


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As you know, I occasionally interview my talented friends and acquaintances.  Recently I attended  Laura Camara’s concert and I was impressed by her voice, her stage presence and her connection with the audience.  My conversation with Laura took place several days after the concert.gk0b1541-edit-1

Laura Camara is an award winning jazz vocalist, winning second place in New York City’s Jazzmobile Vocal Competition. Laura has also performed at top jazz venues and festivals around the world such as The Montreux Jazz Festival, The Boston Pops Jazz Festival, and the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Program at the John F. Kennedy National Center for the Performing Arts. She has recently returned from an extended Asian Tour throughout Thailand, Vietnam, India, and Indonesia. Performing for the US Embassy and State department, The Royal Thai family, and headlining The Ubud Village Jazz Festival in Bali, Indonesia. In addition to live performances Laura has been a featured profiled artist on WGBH Boston’s National Public Radio and famous New York City Web Series Capsulocity.  Laura hails from Columbus, and I was fortunate to catch a performance on her home turf.

Singing was your childhood dream. How does real life compare to it?

halloween93One of them yes. I thought I would be a Broadway star in New York or a street artist in Paris. I was always involved in the arts one way or another. Music was always something that I could just do. There are videos of me at three years old singing Opera to Gloria Estefan on our fireplace. The thrill of performing is still there but as an adult and a professional it is a bit different than I thought. As a kid you think it will be all creating and performing, but the truth is 80% of my work is logistics: emailing, booking, budgeting, marketing strategies– but that justmakes the creative part more rewarding.

What is the part you enjoy most about your work?

Sounds simple but…playing together. There is this moment when you work with a great band where, without any verbal or visual communication, you hear each other. You actually hear who they are! Then you begin speaking to each other through the music. Somehow everyone just clicks! And you end up taking the music and the audience to places you didn’t know you could go.songsofmyfather1

“I think about the story I want to tell first.”

How do you select material when you compose a song?

Well I’d have to say I think about the story I want to tell first. With my compositions, the music is usually composed to emphasize the message of the song. Even if it isn’t my own composition, I listen to the lyrics and, if I feel connected to the story, I find a way to make it my own. I like to pull material from any genre because to me genre is irrelevant when you have a sound that is yours and yours alone.

“Genre is irrelevant when you have a sound that is yours and yours alone.”

So Laura, do you compose and arrange all your material yourself?

Yes for the most part. Occasionally I will collaborate but I do compose my originals and arrangements on my own.

What are you most known for as an artist?

Right now I am perhaps best known for my ability to do what we call scat singing which is a way that jazz vocalist freely improvise alternate melodies without words. I travel internationally giving master classes on the subject. I am also known for my jazz arrangements of pop and rock & roll classics.

What would you like to be known for, Laura?

I would like my music to serve a greater purpose in the world. As artists, we have a unique ability to move and unite people. I feel we have a responsibility to use our art to speak out for the things that matter and spread positivity. If I can help make the world a better place with my art I will be happy.

Laura, is there one performance that stands out in your memory you’d like to share?

There are a few. Janna. Performing at The Kennedy Center in Washington DC was a great one. I did, just last year, get to perform for   the late King of Thailand’s Birthday Celebration with The Royal Family in attendance which was a huge honor. However the performance that I am most proud of is a show that I wrote produced and performed last year at the American Cultural Center in Jakarta, Indonesia. The show is called “Songs Of My Father; Music of The Flower Generation”


Laura Camara performing at the late King of Thailand Birthday Celebration

It is a multimedia show that tells the story of what happened in America in the 1960’s told through video, photo images, live interviews, and most importantly the music.

Is there one place you haven’t performed that is at the top of your bucket list?

Carnegie Hall would be nice….

Then, I’ll count on two seats at your first concert there. OK?  What projects do you have coming up?

I am working on the release of my debut solo album titled “My Ascension,” named for my most popular composition. I am very excited about it. It will be mostly my original compositions with a few arrangements of some popular songs. It is going to be a deeply personal record, showing people exactly who I am and what I am about. I am still booking my original show “Songs Of My Father” I am also working on creating a new multimedia show featuring other singers and women in jazz called “SHE”. I like to stay busy.

What do you see for yourself professionally in the next year or two?

Where do I see myself? Well…Definitely traveling from place to place and making beautiful music. Promoting my album and making socially relevant music, connecting with new people and hopefully spreading some joy and positive messages. On some big international stages for sure.

When should we expect your album out?

I am in the recording phase right now. We plan to have it out by Christmas of 2017.

Is there anything , Laura, you would like to ask from the readers?

I would ask the readers two things: Go support independent art any way you can and go out in the world and spread some love to everyone you meet.laura1

… and how would you describe your musical style?

Well I would describe as modern jazz vocals with a twist. I like to think of it as modern jazz harmonies, with singer songwriter lyrics, and electric grooves from hip hop to samba.

I have an impression  that you play other instruments.  Is this true?

Yes. I play piano, guitar, drums, and violin. I just don’t play all of them in my concerts I use them to help me compose mostly.

Is there somewhere our readers can hear a sample of your singing?

gk0b1742-edit-2Yes. You can go to my website:  or look me up on YouTube as Laura Camara. I will have a new video series coming out that i have been working on of some solo vocal harmonies. They can also follow me on Facebook, and on Twitter as @LCamaraMusic

Throughout your career, Laura, what has meant the most to you?

That’s easy. Absolutely, the ability to travel and to experience something beyond my realm of understanding. I have been fortunate enough to not only travel but spend extended periods of time in many different countries. Places where I play with musicians who don’t even speak the same language as me and somehow we understand each other. We don’t need words to communicate. I have been welcomed into homes and been cared for by people whom I have never met before. What I have realized through all of this is that… in the end it’s just people!

That is all. We are all connected to each other in more ways than we are different. It has made me more compassionate and understanding and given me the ability to love on a level I never expected.

What are some your favorite places you have traveled for your music?

Well I have gone to some interesting places, Janna. Of course I loved Switzerland and France but I loved Vietnam, India, & Bali. I like to perform in unusual places. That way, I get to see more of the world.laura

Laura’s Press Kit Video

Live from jazz for the King of Thailand Concert. My arrangement of “The Rainbow Connection” which will be featured on my debut album:

Rosalind Winton’s Link From The Past

My project to produce a movie from my book Love Is Never Past Tense led me to Stage 32, an online community of 500,000 creatives. When I started to engage with them, an editor invited me to write an article for their blog. I responded enthusiastically (see the article here), which started an email exchange with Rosalind Winton. Rosalind is an editor and lyricist from “across the pond” and we became friends.

After Rosalind read my book, she shared a story from a few branches back along her family tree. When I realized it included a historic event and a song she has written, it was time to invite her to my blog.

Hi Rosalind! Tell us please how your song about the Titanic came about?


Rosalind Winton recording The Bear On Lonely Lake audio story


I’m so glad you asked me that question, as I absolutely love talking about this; you might want to grab a coffee or something for this story. My Paternal Great Grandfather Harry Corn died on the Titanic. He was married to Rebecca, and they had two daughters Stella and Fay who were about six and four years old respectively. They wanted to travel to America to reunite Rebecca with her family; they had been split up after migrating from Russia. Some of the family went to America and some, including Rebecca, had come to London. They sold their successful upholstery business and bought four tickets for Titanic, but near to the time they were due to leave, one of the girls became ill and couldn’t go. So, it was decided Harry would go on ahead and the rest of the family would follow later. Of course, he never arrived.

The story of Titanic has always meant a great deal to me and I had always wanted to write a lyric about it, but over the years, everything I tried to do just wasn’t right. I was never happy with the outcomes.

One day, Mick Cooper whom I was working with on some songs said “I have a challenge for you!” He wanted me to write a lyric about something “that wasn’t human”. He said it could be about anything at all, as long as it wasn’t human.

I love a challenge, and for many weeks I wrestled with his idea. I tried out all sorts of different connotations on a theme.

One day, I was looking at Harry’s picture, and it hit me: Titanic isn’t human! I’d write about that. Weeks and months went by…  I kept trying, hoping one day I’d have a eureka moment. And it came! It came during the final of the Wimbledon tennis championships. Right at the end of the match, the winner was walking around the court, holding up his trophy.  The audience was applauding. The press was taking photos. All of a sudden, in my mind’s eye, I saw the Titanic superimposed on the TV screen, and the chorus for the lyric suddenly appeared in my head, in its entirety. I grabbed a pen and wrote it down. It was perfect and from there I wrote two verses and a bridge. I decided to put a twist on the whole challenge and write the lyric so that the Titanic came across as human. Within half an hour, I had the whole lyric, I showed it to Mick. He loved it and he composed beautiful music to it.  Mick’s friend John Paul McCrohon has provided a stunning vocal. The song has since gone on to win a Merit Award at the Portsmouth Music Festival in 2001. It’s been aired on the radio and played at Titanic Exhibitions. I am so proud of this song!

Rosalind! I am so proud of you too! My congratulations! Can you share the lyric for us?

You can view a video of it here. Here’s the lyric…


Lyrics to A Beautiful Lady – Titanic

Tell us a bit about your lyric writing.

I’ve been writing for over 30 years and enjoyed some lovely achievements. I’ve been lucky enough to see some of my songs performed live on stage, I’ve won awards at music festivals, written lyrics for school plays, solo artists and studio vocalists. I’ve also written for as yet unsigned musicals, which is something I really love doing. My biggest ambition is to write for film. I hope to fulfill that dream one day. Writing my lyrics is something I’ve always been extremely passionate about. I’ve worked in recording studios, overseeing the production of my songs and this is where I get to direct talented musicians and vocalists, people I’ve had so much pleasure working with. It’s the most incredible experience! What I love most, is starting off with a blank page and an idea, and building on that until it finally becomes a fully produced song. There’s really nothing like it. You can see more on the music page to my website.

So, Ros, who has been your main inspiration?

Without a doubt, the genius that is Barry Manilow. When I first discovered him, I was about 17 years old, and I had been writing for a couple of years. I bought Barry’s first album and as I listened to the songs on the album, I realized that was how I wanted to write my lyrics.

I spent hours studying the lyrics of all Barry’s songs. I learned a great deal doing that, especially about structure and timing. Barry also gives his songs big, musical theatre type endings. I realized very early on, that’s how I wanted to write my songs, using the time to ‘say something’, tell a story or portray a feeling and build the song right up if appropriate. I have been a lifelong fan of Barry’s, I learn from him all the time, he’s an incredible performer, writer, arranger. When I write my lyrics, I think of Barry as an imaginary gauge to how I’m doing. I ask myself if I think a lyric I am writing is good enough to show to Barry. If the answer comes back ‘yes’, that is really good, if it comes back ‘no’, I go to re-write mode. Barry has always been encouraging in his messages to his fans and audiences about never giving up, being positive and believing in yourself, which has really helped. I have met Barry a few times. The last time was in New York for a talk he was giving about writing for musical theatre. There was a meet and greet afterwards, and I was able to tell him that I write,  that he has always been my inspiration, and how much I have learned from him over the years.

We met because of your editing work at You also offer freelance editing as One Voice Literary Agency. How do you describe your editing work?onevoice

Publishers have their own editors and proof readers, but my aim is to inspire, advise and help new authors and those who are already in the process of writing, to reach a high standard of professionalism that will encompass everything a publisher or producer will look for on a first read-through.

I have an excellent understanding of what publishers expect to receive from authors. I also help authors write synopses of their work, the all important covering letters and advice on submitting manuscripts to publishers.

What work do you take on, what do you look for when deciding whether or not to take on a project?

It doesn’t really matter what the subject is, or what the genre is, I work on presentation, spelling, grammar, format if it’s a screenplay, continuity, and character and story development. It could be an epic novel or a short article, a psychological thriller, romance or children’s picture book.

What final message do you have for our readers?

Do what you love, find a way, even if it seems impossible and even if it means you won’t reach the top, do it anyway. Don’t let anyone tell you, you can’t, believe in what you do and grab any opportunity that taps you on the shoulder.

OK, Rosalind. It was a pleasure talking with you. Thanks for visiting us and thanks for sharing your interesting story about your great-grandfather Harry and Titanic.

365 Ideas To Go From Good To Great On TWITTER! Interview with John Sparks


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Today’s conversation is with John Sparks, the author of 365 Ideas To Go From Good To Great On TWITTER! and an expert on the use of Social Media as a promotion tool. I learned several things when consulting with him that this article shares with you.

Hello John. Thanks for coming. Let’s start with a question I could put in a tweet: What do you do?

johnsparksHello hello Janna! I wear so many hats sometimes it’s tough knowing where to start. I’m a nationally recognized social media power influencer, best-selling author, keynote speaker, and a social media coach and consultant. I’m CEO of a social media coaching and consulting company called Online ImageWorks. With my company, I work with just about anyone you can think of helping them to build buzz about their brand and reach their business goals by using the power of social media. Finally, I am a teacher and professor. I have taught college level courses as an adjunct professor in advertising, journalism, and online journalism.

Tell us more about your coaching.

I truly have a passion for people. I don’t believe in a cookie cutter; one size fits all approach to my social media coaching. Everyone has different needs and learning styles. I customize the way I do my coaching to specifically meet the needs, learning styles, and challenges of those I work with. Although my specialty is Twitter and I’ve been called the “Twitter Go-To Guy”, I also do coaching and consulting on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and just about any social media channel you can think of. I work with newbies, intermediate users, and advanced users. I not only teach my clients and those I work with how to use social media, but I also teach them strategies on how to be more productive at using social media and get a greater return on the time they are spending online.

Who is your ideal client?

Anyone who has an interest in social media and learning more about it!

Why do you focus on Twitter?

Glad we have more than 140 characters to flush this one out! Whenever I’m speaking with groups, one of the first things I hear over and over again is that people don’t understand Twitter! The funny part is, up until 4 years ago I didn’t either.

I signed up for Facebook in ‘07, LinkedIn in ‘08, and Twitter in ’09, but my main focus for being on social media was for professional networking. I always thought LinkedIn was best for professional networking because this is how LinkedIn brands themselves. So I was all about LinkedIn. Fast forward to 2012, I was going through a career change and was checking out profiles on LinkedIn. I came across the page of someone who’s now a good friend of mine who stated they were a “Forbes Top 50 Social Media Influencer”. Wow, I thought to myself, that would be a nice title to have and if I could make a living at doing it, it would be even better. So I started looking into people who were social media influencers and found where they had hundreds and thousands of followers on Twitter, Sparks had less than 800 and if I wanted to have that title I needed to do something about Twitter. So I started looking deep into the purpose of each of the social media networks and learning what they were about and how to use them effectively.

During this process, what I learned about Twitter was that:

Unlike the traditional ways of connecting with others on Facebook and LinkedIn where you have to send a request to someone and they have to accept it in order to communicate, with Twitter, you can get your message out to people and you don’t necessarily have to be following them and they don’t have to be following you for them to receive that message.

  1. Where Linkedin’s User Agreement specifically states you’re only supposed to send LinkedIn connection requests to people you know…and Facebook was designed for friends connecting with friends through a “Friend Request” …the follower/following relationship on Twitter makes it the better platform for connecting with people you don’t know.
  2. Twitter can be great for SEO because Twitter and Google have a strong relationship.
  3. Studies show that almost ¾ of one’s followers will amplify content for free by Retweeting it, and almost half plan to make multiple purchases from the small and medium sized-businesses they follow on Twitter, making it a terrific platform for both personal brands and businesses.

These are just a couple of the reasons I focus on Twitter!

What do you focus on when creating a brand?

Always focus on the people behind the brand first. Brands are only as strong as the people who represent them and make up the brand.

How do you select people to follow?

It’s a tricky process. I select people to follow with the intention of forming a direct relationship with them, the people they follow, or the people who are following them. That being said, I’m also a strong believer in doing unto others. If I follow someone and they don’t follow me back, then after a certain period of time I will typically unfollow them. After I unfollow them, If I am still interested in that person’s content, I will add them to a Twitter list where I can monitor their feeds and don’t have to follow them. I don’t believe in following others for the sake of adding followers to someone’s follower count. I do it with the purpose of building relationships and relationships are a two-way street.

What was the inspiration for your book 365 Ideas To Go From Good To Great On TWITTER!

I wanted a tool to share with others how I went from less than 800 followers to where I’m at now. I wanted it to be something that was easy to understand and that people could pick up, put down, take with them, and refer back to.

At one level the book is about Twitter, but at another level the book is about so much 365-ideasmore! Many of the principles and tips in the book can be applied and used on the other social media platforms as well. Get the book on Amazon and you’ll see!

 Where can people find out more about you?

 Janna, I’m a true believer in authentic, one-on-one relationships! Anyone interested in finding out more about me can contact me directly at and I will reply back. They can also reach out to me on Twitter @IAmJohnSparks and find me on most of the other social media channels by doing a search for IAmJohnSparks . For those that are interested in reading more about my background they can Google IAmJohnSparks or go to my website at

 Thanks for visiting. It was a pleasure and I’m sure our readers will find your tips valuable.



Love and Care – For Yourself!

Today’s guest is Michele the Trainer!  I had the pleasure of being interviewed by her on her podcast recently. We talked after the recording was over, and I became fascinated by her mission.  I offered her several questions on various topics related to the most important factor that drives the World forward…
MicheleTheTrainer InternetSo, here is Michele!  You are welcome to share your thoughts below her interview. It will be an interesting conversation.

“What does Love and care mean to you? Can you share an example?”

Janna Yeshanova

 Answer by Michele the Trainer:

The existence of love is agreed on by everyone, though we can’t see it or measure it.

Love is when we really care about another being. Lust is when someone is only self-serving.

So what is self? Without getting too airy fairy, we should have some idea of what we think self is.  The ability to wonder that differentiates us from animals.

Who We Are

We can’t love unless we really identify with who we are.

Our uniqueness is our spirit, our soul. But are we feeding that? Are we caring for our soul by engaging in spiritual activities?

Doesn’t love come from our heart and soul? I think so because people sing about that all the time!

Our bodies are a vehicle for our soul. Are we caring for our body?

How can we really help someone else if we are neglecting our own root thoughts and core beliefs about who we are?

The heart of loving and caring for others is the realization that a person’s own health and self-care IS the heart, or foundation of their ability to love and care.

Caring for Ourselves

Self-care is not selfish, it’s our responsibility. Even in the greatest oldest spiritual texts there are some suggestions for self-care.

Loving is caring, and we can’t love and care unless we are taking care of ourselves. Our bodies, the vehicle for our good deeds, requires care.  Self-care is often neglected.

Often the excuse of caring for someone else replaces the act of self-care.

Sometimes a person requires care because they neglected self-care, for example, complications from a disease of lifestyle such as diabetes or cardiac issues. If that person had cared for themselves, then some caregiving could have been avoided.  We can remind the caregiver to care for themselves too, so that the destructive cycle of no self-care changes course.

Caring for Others

With my wellness business, I take care of a lot of people, who take care of a lot of people, to some level or another; CEOs, Doctors, Nurses, Teachers, Parents, Caregivers, etc. In order to do that I have to take care of myself. I often get clients who KNOW they should be taking care of themselves and just need some help getting there (accountability).  Folks who care for others soon realize that their own health is the keystone.

 Folks who care for others soon realize that their own health is the keystone.

 Consider advocating for the earth, the oceans, the rainforests, the trees or animals. Can we be a voice for animals if we are careless with ourselves?  How can we educate others on protecting the earth if we aren’t well? The healthier and more energy we have, the more we can protect those who don’t have a voice, like animals, or oceans and rainforests.

I write a lot about the ocean. Those articles are read by folks who often have never seen the ocean.  If I’m not well enough to do my ocean activities to inspire my writing, I would not be able to share those thoughts, feelings, information and observations.

Lust or Love?

If we have relationships with people who are self-serving, it’s like lust, no matter if it’s personal or business (for example, businesses, including big and small businesses, we choose with that are only focused on money).

When someone actually cares, and isn’t self-serving, we can better hear suggestions to help us that come from love, not self-serving or lust, we can listen and choose to apply. Just like when someone speaks or writes from the heart, we are more likely to pay attention.

We can use a fitness example:

Business serving-

If someone pays a personal trainer that works for a large gym, it’s all about the money, a monthly financial quota that trainer is trying to make. Of course we might meet or know an individual here or there that cares, but it’s not the priority of the core business.

There are so many examples of businesses in all categories where the business comes before the customer’s care. We all need to be reminded of this!

 Serving others-

How can I help YOU?  I started my fitness/wellness business from the heart, because I cared to help others. I avoid those big gym models because keeping my priorities is my priority.  I maintain an authentic focus on helping others.

I listen to my clients and together we find ways that they can accommodate their self-care. They listen too.  They know that working with me is about them, because I do care.

Also consider, if I were sick or weak I wouldn’t be able to help anyone. My own self-care is imperative, as is yours!

Create a cycle of love and care

Self-care allows us to care more for more entities, resulting in more love all around. This creates good energy and a good example for others.

People that feel better are usually happier and that also creates good vibrations.

If we don’t care for ourselves we run the risk of enabling diseases of lifestyle or just feeling crappy which affects our attitude and vibe.

There is no requirement to love and care for a zillion people or animals.

Authentic self-care is enough to show some kindness here and there!

True love and care is immeasurable and can be exponentially beneficial!

Follow Michele the Trainer:

Buy Michele’s Books on…/B0075…/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

International Women in Film Podcast:

Michele the Trainer Show Podcast:

Social Media (either Michele the Trainer or Michele Trainer or MicheleTrainer):

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Twitter   Yelp   Youtube



Interview with Uvi Poznansky


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Today I am talking with Uvi Poznansky , author of The Music of Us and Dancing with Air. She has many interests and several books listed below, but what interested me was our common interest in connecting history into our stories.

Uvi, the history I put in Love Is Never Past Tense comes directly out of my life. How does history fit into your recent work?

I love writing historical fiction because it is one of the most difficult genres of all, demanding a complete immersion in the era and studying every detail–in clothing, gadgets, hairstyle, manners and of course, the timeline of events–in order to make the story not only believable but utterly authentic. And even though I pride myself on writing with a sensual slant, aiming to put you in the skin of the characters, I have never before focused on the genre that would allow me to develop that lyricism to the fullest: namely, Romance.Uvi Poznansky

But lately, the characters I have written in a previous book, My Own Voice, demanded that I take them back a generation, to WWII, to the beginning of their love story. In my new novel, I had such heartwarming fun witnessing Lenny and Natasha overcoming every obstacle I threw in their way, only to find themselves, as they were meant to from the beginning, in each other’s arms.

Please share an excerpt with us.

Gladly! This excerpt was the inspiration for the design of the cover of The Music of Us:

Music of usWith that Natasha handed the microphone back to him and curtsied to the audience. A wavy, red strand of hair slinked from her headband, which was decorated with delicate flowers, and glided over her bare shoulder. Below that, the bodice of her dress glinted as she turned around. And again, for just a second, I thought I felt her eyes fluttering in my direction, meeting my gaze. Everyone around me must have imagined that, too.

Natasha lifted the long, silky skirt of her dress, so its folds fanned out from the seam that hugged her hips. As she sat down they draped, full and flowing, over the piano bench, responding playfully to the light from above with a cherry red shine. A reflection of it lit her chin from below and lined the underside of her slender arms, just a touch. With a slow, deliberate motion she lifted her hand, letting it hover, for what seemed like the span of a thought, over its shadow over the keys.

Her fingers started flitting across the keys, and at once I was taken by the solemn, dramatic sounds she made rise over us. They came pressing against the far reaches of the hall, gathering ominously just below the vaulted ceiling, as if in preparation to blow it away and sweep us into the night.

And what was the inspiration for the cover of your new novel?

I was inspired by this passage in Dancing with Air, told by Lenny:

A month ago she had given me a page of her diary, and to the sound of it rustling in my hand I imagined her imagining me: dancing with air

He will be running his fingers down, all the way down to the small of my back, touching his lips to my ear, breathing his name, breathing mine.
Here I am, dancing with air.
Around and around we go.

With these words Natasha stepped into my mind, lighting up the gloom. I pictured her dancing with her back to me as if, between the two of us, I was the one who was not even there.
The ripples of her hair spread open, glinting in all shades of red. Wave by wave they cascaded down, first between her shoulder blades, then over them. Fingers stretched out, just like a ballerina, she raised her arm up high, swirling, twirling air, turning it into glow. The translucent fabric fastened around her waist flapped over her legs, folds radiating, fluttering, flaring with every sinuous movement, as she formed loops, slow, continuous infinity loops with her hips.

What does LoveIs2Care mean to you?

Some people equate love with desire, which is an urgent need to take. But in my mind, love is truly tested not by taking but by giving, by being ready to sacrifice for the well being of your beloved.

As you may know, almost every chapter in Dancing with Air includes lyrics, inspired by the era, which not only echoes the popular songs of the time but also reflects the mood of the characters. Your question reminded me of the lyrics I wrote for the last chapter:

You must now hold on to me
I must save the memory
Of our past, so we’ll be there
We’ll be there…

I’ll always believe in you
Cling to me, we’ll be strong anew
In days to come, we’ll be there
We’ll be there…

 Author Links:

Facebook author page
Amazon author page
Goodreads author page

Buy links for Still Life with Memories:

Vol I  My Own Voice – ebook print audio
Vol II  The White Piano – ebook print audio
Vol III  The Music of Us  – ebook print audio
Vol IV Dancing with Air  – ebook print
Vol I+II  Apart from Love – ebook print audio

Buy links for The David Chronicles:

Vol I  Rise to Power – ebook print audio
Vol II  A Peek at Bathsheba – ebook print audio
Vol III The Edge of Revolt – ebook print

Do Some Good for Orphans Aug 25-28

L2c BannerI’m sharing the proceeds of my book Love Is Never Past Tense with Orphan World Relief, a charitable organization whose name describes its mission. I have helped them before, as keynote speaker at a fundraising event.

This time, with your help, I’m helping them in my role as author. As part of this, OWR Director of Development Mary Malone and I interviewed each other. File Nov 06, 1 39 15 PM

To start, here’s Mary interviewing me.

MM: At our fundraising event last fall, you talked about your life and why Orphan World Relief is important to you. Can you give us a brief version of that?

JY: There is a Russian saying: “My cabin sits at the edge of town and I don’t want to know what’s going on there”. This means I don’t want to get involved, leave me alone. But our world doesn’t have an edge, our world is round.

There is another Russian saying: “A fed person doesn’t understand a hungry person” — but we do, don’t we? At least we are trying.When I was presenting the Russian version of my book in Crimea, there was a minister talking about a local orphanage that didn’t have food or clothes. When I got home and started looking for orphan support groups I could help, I found you.

MM: So what are we doing this time?

JY: This time, I am sharing the proceeds from August 25 to August 28 of all versions of my Love Is Never Past Tense with the kids who don’t have parents. The book can be found on and here is the link.

MM: I read the book and found it very inspirational, especially because it is a real life story. Tell us a little about it.

It’s an old-fashioned love story with an original twist of modern history and intrigue woven in.

JY: Allow me to quote a reader: “It’s an old-fashioned love story with an original twist of modern history and intrigue woven in.” It is part biography, part history, but mostly a second chance romantic adventure. If Doctor Zhivago gives a sample of life at the start of the Soviet era, Love is Never Past Tense offers a look at its closing days.

MM: Where can we find out more?

JY: Do a web search for Love Is Never Past Tense … and you’ll find all sorts of sites. Here are some.

Amazon:     – ebook

Amazon:                            – hardcover

Amazon:                             – paperback

Web page:



Twitter:  @NeverPastTense



MM: The ebook version of Love Is Never Past Tense became an Amazon Best Seller in its category. Is that what you’re offering?

JY: It was great to see my book sharing the list with War and Peace and Anna Karenina and the ebook version is one of the formats I’m offering. I’m offering the physical books as well because they make good gifts. People buy physical and electronic books for different reasons. All the editions on Amazon are part of the offer.

MM: Do I understand correctly that there are different covers for the book?

JY: Yes, that’s true. For the hard and soft cover books I worked with a designer from Australia. When I got around to publishing the ebook, he had moved to New Zeeland and was working on another project.  I was introduced to another designer here, in the United States.  Because I published sequels as ebooks, I wanted their covers to have a consistent design.  So, now I have different covers on physical and electronic books and I love them both.

MM: So how do people buy the book?

JY: Buy the book between August 25 and August 28 at this Amazon website:

Tell Amazon where to ship the book, gift information, and so on. Amazon will take care of shipping and handling. After you’ve enjoyed the book, consider posting a review or comment.

MM: Thank you Janna.

JY: My pleasure. I guess now it’s my turn?

MM: Absolutely!

JY: Tell us about what OWR does.

MM:OWR seeks to be the organization that connects people who are passionate about helping orphans and kids at-risk of becoming orphans with high quality organizations who do that kind of work locally and around the world. With so many charity scams out there right now, we want to take the fear out of donating time and money to help children who need it most.

JY: Does your job call for visiting the orphanages you support?

MM:OWR strives to send volunteers and staff to one of our international programs we support at least every other year. It serves many purposes, including reminding us of how special the kids are we are helping, why helping kids outside of America is just as important as helping kids locally, and ensure the programs are being run ethically.

JY: Do you have a story about the kids you can share?

MM: When I arrived at the orphanage we support in Bolivia last summer, I was immediately drawn to a little 2 year old girl. She was sweet, beautiful, and playful girl. I

Mary and child

Mary and the Young Girl in her story

came to find out that she had only been there for two weeks. She had just gotten out of the hospital because her parents tried to kill her with rat poison because they could not afford to take care of her. She was happy and thriving in the orphanage, and it reminded me how blessed I am and sparked an even bigger passion for these innocent young children who need so much. While orphanages are not the perfect solution, I’m so glad she had a place to go and not only have housing and food, but also to be covered in love by the staff and volunteers.

JY: How many kids do you help?

MM: We have sent out over 100 care kits to foster children in Franklin County since April, and we help hundreds around the world in Bolivia, Honduras, India, Russia, and Ukraine.

JY: What other projects do you have on the calendar?

MM: We have 2 major events, the Superhero 5k Run and our banquet, Hope Changes Everything. The Superhero Run is a partnership with the Hilliard Davidson Band, and the Hope Changes Everything banquet will be November 4 in Hilliard, Ohio.

JY: What else would you like to share with the audience?

MM: We are a small, grass roots organization. However, with the help of volunteers, and many people donating small, manageable amounts of money and time every month, the Central Ohio residents are able to help hundreds of children in need locally and around the world.

JY: Where can people find out more?

MM: We’d love for you to visit our website at

JY: Thanks so much. I’m looking forward to our event!


Natasha Johnstone interviews Janna Yeshanova

Next week August 25 to  28 I will be doing a special event to benefit Orphans in Russia, Ukraine,  India and Honduras though Orphan World Relief , a  nonprofit Organization to help orphans with their education and health.  As part of this I was interviewed by Natasha Johnstone.  Below is a repost from her blog.

Natasha Johnstone  – Janna Yeshanova

I’m always happy to share books worth reading. It’s even more fun a4e32f-janna3nd more exciting when doing that helps the world we live in. That’s why it feels great to support Janna Yeshanova’s latest project. You’ll see more about this in the next couple weeks, but for now, I talk with Janna about her book, her life, and her generous project on helping orphans around the world, by sharing the proceeds from her Amazon book – Love Is Never Past Tense. Mark your calendars from August 25 to 28, 2016 for this awesome event.

I have read and enjoyed your book Love Is Never Past Tense. Tell us how it came to be?

A lot of the book is my life story and true historical events.  When I started writing, I didn’t imagine a book. I thought I was writing for my future grandchildren. When the note became a manuscript, I shared it with friends and family. They were very excited and encouraged me to publish it as a book.

What was the most surreal experience for you when you started writing?

A couple of years ago, I flew home after my out of state Conflict Resolution workshop. On my lap, I had a proof copy of the book. I was scanning the lines, double checking for possible flaws. The thought ‘who will read it?’ was following me even in the sky. Doubt was sharing my seat, but opportunity to say goodbye to it was in the seat next to me.

The man in that seat wondered what I was reading. I briefly shared the story and he asked to see the book. He started reading as we took off from Philadelphia and didn’t stop until we landed in Chicago.

Alex was a PhD graduate from Yale. As we parted he handed me his business card and asked me to let him know when the book would be published. He said he wanted to buy it. “No, no, no!” I protested!  “I’ll send it to you!”  I was so happy that someone wanted to read it. “A man?!  Reading a love story?!” was in my head.  “Please… No need to buy it!  I’ll send it to you!” I heard my voice say.

Months later, I sent him the promised copy. After reading it, he called me and said that he could picture a great movie based on the book. A movie? I hadn’t imagined! The story for my future grandchildren was gaining traction.

Eight months later the Jewish Federation of Omaha Nebraska invited me to present Love Is Never Past Tense to their community. They flew me to Omaha, offered me a great hotel and placed an article with my picture and my biography and the description of the book on the front page of their newspaper! They bought, as far as I remember, two hundred books at once. I was completely blown away!

Why did you leave the former Soviet Union?

Big decisions are easy when you have no choice. The rest? Well, you’ll just have to read Love Is Never Past Tense…

Tell us about your book in 30 seconds

A hot summer romance leads to a hasty marriage, a quick divorce, and years of struggling to survive the fall of the Soviet Union, until the lovers find each other again from opposite sides of the ocean!

Is there an underlying message to your book?

Message yes – underlying not so much. The main message Love Is Never Past Tense is the title itself. The subtext is that anything is possible and you can’t live a full life when love is missing.

I understand you are working on a movie.

Yes, that’s true. Once the book was published, a copy ended up in the hands of a screenwriter. He fell in love with the story, and we have adapted the book into a screenplay for a feature film. Now I’m looking for a producer or a production partner to make that a reality.

What do your readers have in common?

They want real characters with good, exciting stories. They can identify with an Amazon reader’s comment below: “A good romantic novel should entertain, but the best of them will stir the soul. Love Is Never Past Tense rewards the reader by doing both,” and “From one paragraph to the next, you never know what to expect”.

Why does the book have multiple covers?

For the hard and soft cover books I worked with a designer from Australia. When I got around to publishing the ebook, he had moved to New Zealand and was working on another project.  I was introduced to another designer here, in the United States.  Because I published sequels as ebooks, I wanted their covers to have a consistent design.  So, now I have different covers on physical and electronic books and I love them both.

What do you do when you are not writing?

I’m a life coach and leadership trainer. You can find out more about that at a8767-120 I love reading, knitting and swimming, walking miles… travelling the world…  plus much more. In the personal growth and fun department, I’m taking flying lessons.


What makes you laugh? Is humor helping you?

Everything that is funny.  Love jokes from my friends, jokes from my childhood, movies… some funny moments in my life… Sometimes I find humor in events that you can’t take seriously, and if you can see how funny and insignificant they are you can solve your problems easier or just let them go.

Tell us about #LoveIs2Care and how it relates to your book?

From August 25 to 28, I’m sharing the Amazon proceeds of all versions of  Love Is Never Past Tense with Orphan World Relief,  — a charitable organization whose name describes its mission. I have helped them before, as keynote speaker at a fundraising event. This time, with your help, I’m helping them in my role as author.  Everything I had ever done (as you’ll read in my book) was out of love, and because I cared about my family and fellow human beings. In my business capacity I help adults all over the world.  The #LoveIs2Care campaign is a way for me to help children too. Through my story and those of others, we aspire to bring hope, happiness and light into an otherwise dark and dreary world.


Where can we get more information on the book and buy it to help the orphans?

Do a web search for Love Is Never Past Tense … and you’ll find all sorts of sites! Here are some.

Amazon:     – ebook

Amazon:                            – hardcover

Amazon:                             – paperback

Web page:



Twitter:  @NeverPastTense



Read what others said about Love Never Past Tense!

Here is one comment that came from director and producer JW Myers:

“The characters are engaging and interesting, and it genuinely hooked me, and kept me interested through the entire read.  I really enjoyed it.  It’s an old-fashioned love story with an original twist of modern history and intrigue woven in that felt very original to me”.

Here is a comment from a review:

“…I do not generally care for romance novels. Too often, the genre seems to be filled with too much silliness, sweetness, and sentimentality; or with graphic sex lacking emotional context. This book is completely different. It speaks honestly of real adult emotions in real life.”

The rest you can find on Goodreads and Amazon reviews.  MY REVIEW: Love is Never Past Tense might seem to some as a historical fiction, but it is SOOOO much more than that! Based on true events, you can’t wait to see what happened next to Janna, only to be left wanting more.

The book unfolds as an old man reminiscences about his first love, whilst doing the UNTHINKABLE! You can’t help but be shocked and appalled. Then, after years apart, the two former lovers reunite. A gripping tale follows, revealing human nature’s true colors in times of depravity, mayhem and struggle. But does their love story continue after all that was said and done? You will have to find out!

The book is well written by the Protagonist, in several catalysts, broken up in several parts, and delivered in several POV’s. The four parts of the book flow effortlessly. The mix of history lessons, teamed with romance, action, mystery and drama, just works! This book gets a well deserved 5 stars and I know that soon this book will qualify to for a Guild Review.

Read more about Janna!

Janna Yeshanova, MA., MEd, ACC, founder of Life-Spark, LLC is a dynamic and powerful life coach and trainer. Compared to the Energizer Bunny by one client, Janna leverages her passion and engaging style to help others spark the possibilities of their lives.

Originally from the former Soviet Union, Janna escaped to the United States when persecution became violent during the crumbling of the Soviet state. Arriving in the United States with her mother and daughter in tow, $126 in her pocket and knowing not a soul, Janna’s talent and experiences have helped her become a premier trainer and personal coach.

While in her former country, Janna acquired her Master’s Degree from Moldova State University and received a national award from the Minister of Professional Education in Moscow for outstanding work with her students. Upon arriving in the United States, she added a second Master’s Degree in Applied Behavioral Science/Organizational Training and Development from Wright State University.

For many years Janna taught and trained Conflict Resolution at Antioch University, McGregor School in Yellow Springs OH. When she and her family moved to Columbus, Columbus State Community College invited her to train at the Center for Workforce Development. At the same time, she consulted for various national and international companies including Navistar International, NCR, Honda of America, Mfg., Standard Register,Lexis-Nexis and COSI. Her clients also include various government agencies and non-profit organizations.

Janna’s energetic, sparkling personality has made her a leader and sought after presenter at various professional organizations. She has been active as a Director of Marketing and later as a Director of Volunteers for ASTD Western Ohio Chapter; Dayton Mediation Center benefited from her skills as a certified mediator; she has been presenting at Toastmasters International as District Conference speaker. She also spoke at the Bosnia and Herzegovina International Peace Conference.

In 2009 and 2010, she took a sabbatical to consult in Russia and the Ukraine and wrote and published a novel that includes some of her biographical data. The English version, Love is Never Past Tense, was published in 2011. To learn more about this book and its sequels, visit  Whether coaching or leadership training, Janna helps clients develop critical skills to support happiness and success, personally or professionally.


3 Big Steps for LOVE…


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Love Is Never Past Tense, my old-fashioned second-chance romance story with an original twist of modern history and intrigue woven in, recently became a best seller in its category on Amazon!

3djannaI’m really doing the happy dance because sent it out as a featured book of the day earlier today (August 5).

Finally, Love Is Never Past Tense finished in first place with 223 votes in in

Vote for Love




Here in the United States, the political parties are gearing up for a big election season. There will be huge campaigns run and big decisions made, but that’s still several weeks away. For now, I’m asking you to make a far easier choice. Can you take a minute to vote for LOVE?

Love Is Never Past Tense, a second chance romance based on a true story, is in a competition at and votes are being taken until July 31. Ýour vote won’t change the course of world history, but it will put you in the running for some prizes and help make LOVE more visible. To do that, you will need to register, but if you are willing here are the steps.

  1. Go to and create a readers account.
  2. Go to to find the book’s page.
  3. Just below the title of the book there is a small white box with an up arrow and a number. Tap the arrow to cast your vote.

BooksGoSocialv2You only get one vote and the contest ends July 31. Good luck on the drawing and thank you.

Interview with Christoph Fischer


Christoph regular

My dear friend across the pond and fellow independent author Christoph Fischer has stopped by today for a chat. This was interesting because a lot of his writing, like mine, features people struggling with real historical events in a time of crisis.

Christoph was born in Germany, near the Austrian border, as the son of a Sudeten-German father and a Bavarian mother. Not a full local in the eyes and ears of his peers he developed an ambiguous sense of belonging and home in Bavaria. He moved to Hamburg in pursuit of his studies and to lead a life of literary indulgence. After a few years he moved on to the UK where he now lives in a small town in West Wales.  He and his partner have three Labradoodles to complete their family.


What is your latest success, Christoph?

ludwika-book-concept-668-199x300My latest book “Ludwika” . It has just reached #14 in a poll of best Indie Books and since its release in December has been downloaded over 60,000 times (during a free promotion) with over 200 reviews on Amazon with an average rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars. The success of this book has really taken me by surprise.

Give us your thirty second elevator speech – or is it a “lift” speech?

It is the story of a Polish slave worker in Nazi Germany and is based on a real life. Ludwika was forced to abandon her family in Poland and spend the war years in Germany. It was my idea to tell the story of a different type of victim of the holocaust. We all know about Auschwitz but there are many more stories to be told of how other people were affected by the politics. People who have read your book “Love is Never Past Tense will be familiar with displacement and falling victim to circumstances beyond their control. Like your book, mine is biographical, yet fictional, to make it more palatable.

What topics do you write about? How did you get started and how long have you been doing it?

I write about topics that interest me, be that a moral dilemma, a family crisis, a disease or a specific historical event. It always starts with me doing research on the matter and gradually coming up with an idea for a plot. I started writing back in 2010 and published my first novel in 2012.

You write historical fiction, contemporary fiction and thrillers. Is there a common thread?

Only my personal investment and interest in the topics. Unless I am really ‘into the subject’ I won’t finish the novel. Alzheimers’ Disease, Gambling, Spiritual Healing, the Finnish Civil War – these were all issues that really fascinated me. I know authors with a more specific formula tend to do well but, for better or for worse, I am not cut out for that.

How do you distinguish the historical fiction you write from historical romance, which is a label you don’t use?

To me a historical romance is primarily a love story set in a different time. These books may well feature a lot of historical information but the romance takes centre stage. The better ones of the genre, like yours, not only tell a love story but show how history affected that love. Many of my characters experience love, but their believe systems and fate are changed more by the historical events than their love interests.

Your books are set in the context of real historical events. How do you balance the needs of the story with the history?

That can be a tough and dynamic balancing act. The ideas for my stories are usually born from a ‘what if’ scenario, such as “How would I be affected by this event if I were…?“ etc.  While I write the first draft for each novel I have a timeline of important historic events and since these cannot be changed, sometimes the story must be tweaked. The conflicts between characters and history become clearer during the first draft and that often requires re-thinking of the original plot ideas anyway. I actually enjoy this process because it makes me ‘live’ the story with my characters in a small way.

 Other than West Wales where would you choose to live and why?

Somewhere warm by the ocean, like Spain or Greece, Thailand or the Caribbean. But then again I am an uptight North-European and get on better with people from the cold countries, so I will stay put.

If you could pick a time and place to live where and when would you choose?

The here and now. I only moved to Wales a year ago and absolutely love it. I think that although we face a lot of challenges, we humans never had it this good. I worry about many things that aren’t right but I also believe that good progress is being made; in medicine, science and humanity.

How would you describe your target reader? Do you have different readers in mind for different genres?

My target readers are regular people with an open mind and broader interests than just fast food and TV. People who like to be entertained and don’t mind to learn a little how history or mental health for example can affect someone’s life at the same time. I must confess, though, that I don’t ‘write to please’ but I write as the characters and story dictate it. I think writers need to be authentic to their vision rather than trying to meet formulaic expectations.

My target readers are regular people with an open mind and broader interests than just fast food and TV.

Your latest work, Ludwika, has done well in competitions. What inspired you to write it?

I helped a friend with ancestry research. He needed a native speaker to contact archives in Germany to find out about his mother’s time there during WW2. I became fascinated by Ludwika’s life and wondered why she made some of her decisions. The “how could this has been” led to some additional research and reading. I didn’t want to write about it at first because this time not only were the historical facts a stubborn framework, but also the actual events in Ludwika’s life. In the end I couldn’t get her out of my head, though, and started writing. When the family approved of the story I decided to publish, mostly in the hope that using Ludwika’s real name and story might help my friend to reconnect with his Polish family.

Do you have a favorite story about one of your books?

I received an email by a woman about the house I live in. She wanted to know if I lived there. I was puzzled about this unusual question and reluctant to speak to her at first, wondering what she wanted from me. When I spoke to her a week later she told me that she had come across my name and my novel “Ludwika” while researching her family roots in Poland and that my book had helped her along with her own research. Her further probing into my background then proved that I not only had organised a book fair in her very hometown in Wales but also lived in the house where she grew up. Small world… Her father’s ashes were scattered on my property and she wrote how comforting it was to know the person who now looked after it.

Are there any recent events that look book-worthy to you?

Sadly far too many. What goes on in the Ukraine, the annexation of Crimea, the war in Syria and the refugee crisis….

What projects do you have on the horizon?

My novel “African August” is soon to be released as part of a charity anthology in aid of the Santa Paula Animal Rescue Centre in Calfornia. It is an adventure story about a man spending time in Africa, torn between his desire to do good and to live life to the full. I’m working on two mystery novels at the moment. One is the sequel to “The Healer” and one is a comic mystery set in rural Britain. I’ve got an idea for another historical novel but am not sure when I will find the time to write it.

My novel “African August” is soon to be released as part of a charity anthology in aid of the Santa Paula Animal Rescue Centre in Calfornia.

You were born in Germany but have lived in Wales for some time. Do you have any thoughts on the Brexit vote you’d care to share?

I personally regret the vote deeply. I believe strongly in a United Europe and see myself as a world citizen. I thought we were moving towards a global humanitarian society without borders, exclusion, nationalism and separation. Instead the world is heading towards populism, short-term thinking and division. I feel the vote was made out of anger and often hate and I don’t believe that the voters will get the results they were hoping for. No country is an island any more in our globalized world.

What is your life outside of writing?

I live a quiet and harmonious life in rural Wales with my partner and three dogs, fish, birds and sheep. I have a garden to take care of, I do a lot of exercise and try to be outside as much as I can. I still read a lot, books and magazines, and have a busy social life.

What makes you laugh?

Friends, Angie Tribeca, Brooklyn 9-9, Big Bang Theory, Melissa McCarthy, Amy Shumer…

Thank you so much for visiting my blog.  Hope my GPS will take me to Wales one day!  Meanwhile, where can readers find out more about you and your books? Hope they will enjoy and learn from them like I did!  







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