How to Bloom Where You Are Planted?

Copyright © 2014 Joan Y. Edwards and Her Licensors

Copyright © 2014 Joan Y. Edwards and Her Licensors

“How to Bloom Where You Are Planted” by Joan Y. Edwards

Are you lacking the necessary ingredients to bloom where you are planted? Or do you have them and just don’t realize it.

I hope these ideas will inspire you to find joy, peace, health, and wealth wherever we are.

One person who is given credit for saying Bloom Where You Are Planted is St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622). He said: “Truly charity has no limit; for the love of God has been poured into our hearts by His Spirit dwelling in each one of us, calling us to a life of devotion and inviting us to bloom in the garden where He has planted and directing us to radiate the beauty and spread the fragrance of His Providence.”

Mary Engelbreit created a picture that helped this saying become popular. You can see it here at the following link:

How do you bloom where you are planted mean?

  1. Even if you don’t like where you are and your present circumstances, you make the best of it.
  2. Even if you don’t understand why God has allowed something to happen to you, you make the best of it, and look for ways to be a good example to others.
  3. Even if you don’t like being sick, you make the best of it and visualize yourself well and take action to make it happen.
  4. Even if you blame yourself and everybody and his brother, it won’t change what happened or alter what your present situation is, therefore be thankful for the good that exists within you and around you. In other words, when someone hands you a “lemon” of a bad situation, make “lemonade.” Transform it into something great.
  5. When you look in the mirror, you realize that you are human and love and accept yourself in spite of and because of the situation and circumstances you are in right now.

The more you resist being somewhere or having something you don’t like, the longer you’ll have it. What you resist, persists. There is peace in accepting things as they are. Only in accepting them are you able to get on with your life and take action to change it to something better.

Here are quotes from the Bible that relate to Bloom Where You Are Planted:

  1. Ecclesiastes 3:4-14 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,  a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent, and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
  2. 1 Corinthians 7:17 Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them.
  3. John 15:5 I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit.
  4. Song of Songs 2:15 Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.

Joel Osteen said in a You-Tube video to believe that God has anointed you to make it through anything and everything he hands to you. God anoints you with the blessings you need to survive and bloom wherever you are. If you feel a slight lack of faith, ask God to renew your anointing. “God, give me a fresh anointing on my thoughts. Give me new strength of body and mind and new ideas to empower me.”

Say to yourself every day: “I am blessed. I am equipped. I am able. I am well. I am healthy.” Whatever it is you want to be, declare it as if it is that now. You are anointed with everything you need to bloom where you are planted.

I pray that God fill you with peace and understanding. Please leave a comment. Please let me know what you do when you get discouraged where you are. What helps you bloom where you are planted?

Celebrate you
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards

Copyright © 2014 Joan Y. Edwards and Her Licensors


  1. 1 Corinthians 7:17
  2. Joel Osteen. “You Are Anointed:”
  3. John 15:5
  4. Mary Engelbreit. “Bloom Where You Are Planted:”
  5. St. Francis de Sales Quote “Bloom Where You Are Planted:”
  6. Song of Songs 2:15
  7. Tom Langford. “Bloom Where You’re Planted:”


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I Am Presenting 3 Workshops at the SCWW Conference in Myrtle Beach, October 24-26, 2014

SCWW Conference, HILTON MYRTLE BEACH RESORT 10000 Beach Club Drive, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina 29572 Copyright © Hilton Hotels

SCWW Conference, HILTON MYRTLE BEACH RESORT              10000 Beach Club Drive, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina 29572
Copyright © Hilton Hotels

“I Am Presenting 3 Workshops at the SCWW Conference in Myrtle Beach, October 24-26, 2014″

Thank you to Dr. Bob Rich for recommending me as a presenter of a blog workshop to Linda Cookingham, Chair and Coordinator of the South Carolina Writers Workshop Conference in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, October 24-26, 2014. I am very excited. Thank you, Linda Cookingham for inviting me to be a presenter. This fulfills my dream of being a paid, requested presenter for a writer’s conference! Thank you, God, for this opportunity.

Workshops are called Classes. The classes and Slush Fest are free with the Complete Conference Package and the Basic Conference Package.  If you don’t purchase a package, each class is $40.00 on Saturday.

I am teaching three classes: two on Saturday and one on Sunday:

Class: “Get Your Blog Going and Make It Stand Out,” Session 5 10:30-11:45 am

Class: “33 Ways to Correct, Trim, and Enhance Your Manuscript” (class) workshop (Bring 20 pages of your manuscript) Session 7 3:00-4:15 pm

Class: “How to Add Pizazz to your Blog” with Q & A Class during Session 8 9:30-10:45 am

Here is other information about the conference: You don’t have to be a member to attend.

SCWW Conference Information: (Scroll down to see all of it)

Register with Credit Card or Debit Card

Register with Check

They have Intensive Workshops on Friday.

They have Slush Fest in different genres where you can submit a page of a manuscript (without your name on it) for impromptu comments by an editor/agent.

You can pay for a breakout session class individually for $40.00 each.

You can pay for a personal manuscript critique.

You can pay to have a query session with an editor or agent.

Other links from the Conference page:

Please share with your writing friends. I hope you will be able to come. I’d love to meet you.

Celebrate you.
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards

Copyright © 2014 Joan Y. Edwards


195 Subscribers  – Thank you. (Five more to new gift for subscribing.)

Subscribe to Joan’s Never Give Up blog by email from the left-hand column and receive a free Never Give Up logo image. You’ll receive her new blog posts filled with inspiration and information in your inbox as soon as she uploads them.



7 Questions to Make Sure Your Plot Has Believable Consequences

7 Questions to Make Sure Your Plot Has Believable Consequences Copyright © 2014 Joan Y. Edwards

7 Questions to Make Sure Your Plot Has Believable Consequences
Copyright © 2014 Joan Y. Edwards

“7 Questions to Make Sure Your Plot Has Believable Consequences” by Joan Y. Edwards

A great plot in your fiction novel must have believable consequences in the world you create there. Otherwise, your story falls off the deep end.

Sometimes, if you’re like me, you create unbelievable consequences and happenings for your characters. You need a gauge that lights up and goes “BEEP BEEP BEEP” when you put a character in a far-fetched situation or consequence.  If you don’t have one of these gauges and can’t find one in your local bookstore, how do you keep the events in the flow of your story natural, believable, and true to character? Perhaps a look at what is the difference between natural consequences, logical consequences, and unrelated man-made consequences that are neither natural or logical will help you:

  1. Does what happens to your character as a natural consequence for his chosen actions?
  2. Is what happens to your character as a result of his action a logical consequence set up by another person…the consequences for breaking a law of an antagonist, bully, family, parent, teacher, organization, church, county, city, country, or society? (who makes up their own rules and consequences)
  3. Is the consequence or result of his action neither natural or logical but a man-made punishment unrelated to crime decreed by a bully, family, parent, teacher, organization, church, county, city, country, or society (who makes up their own rules and consequences)?

In an article “Natural and Logical Consequences” on Kansas website it states that D.B. Pryor and T.R. Tollerud say that that natural consequences are outcomes that are not planned or controlled but happen as a result of behavior.  (Pryor, D.B. & Tollerud, T.R. (1999). Applications of Adlerian Principles in School Settings. Professional School Counseling, 24, 299-304.)

Jerry Webster in his article, “Consequences, Not Punishment,” says that a natural consequences can be dangerous, for instance, when you play with fire you are going to get burned.

Logical consequences teach a lesson because they relate to the behavior. If a three-year old rides his bike in the street, the parents take the bike away for three days. If you do not do your work and a boss fires you, it’s a logical consequence.

Dr. Laura Markham says that punishment is imposing something painful (physically or emotionally) on a child in the hopes that he will behave as we’d like in the future to avoid more punishment. If our child hits and we respond by spanking, sending him to his room, or rescinding his screen privileges, that’s a parent-imposed consequence, otherwise known as a punishment. It may or may not be a logical consequence.

According to Robert K. Merton, purposeful action can have unintended, unanticipated, unforeseen consequences both positive and negative:

  • A positive, unexpected benefit which is sometimes called luck, serendipity, or windfall.
  • A negative, unexpected detriment that occurs in addition to the desired effect of the policy.
  • A perverse or ironic effect that is the opposite or contrary to what the character intended and/or expected. For instance, instead of making it better, it makes the problem worse. Or instead of making it worse and stopping someone, it makes their path easier.

When you use unintended, unanticipated, and/or unforeseen positive and negative consequences for a character’s actions, it adds pizzazz to your manuscripts. It embeds unexpected twists and turns of the plot in your stories that heighten the interest of readers.

What is literary irony? and say there are three types of irony:

  1. Situational Irony- when the reverse of the expected happens or when the person you least expect to do something, does it – such as: It is ironic that Cinderella gets the prince.
  2. Dramatic irony happens when the person watching the movie or the reader of a story is aware of a situation, but a character does not realize it.  In Romeo and Juliet the reader knows that Juliet isn’t really dead, but Romeo doesn’t know it. Dramatic irony can be a source of tragedy, comedy, or tension.
  3. Verbal Irony (Language Irony) happens when a person says one thing but means another…the opposite of the truth. For instance, after his wife went on a griping kick, the husband says, “My but you’re in a good mood.”

I hope that studying these different views of natural, logical, consequences and punishment which may be logical or decreed as an aim for control you may be able to put your consequences into a category or figure out a better consequence for the action your particular character takes and what happens to him as a result. Add a dose of irony to put a little layer of oomph in your story.

7 Questions to Make Sure Your Plot Has Believable Consequences:

  1. What would happen to me if I took this action?
  2. Would the consequences be different if I did this somewhere else – in a different environment?
  3. Are there unwritten, unspoken, unknown rules and consequences? Are they natural, logical, or neither?
  4. Does your story show natural consequences for your character’s actions?
  5. Does your story show logical consequences for your character’s actions? Decided by: Self, Bully, Parent, Teacher, School, Church, State, Country, Society
  6. Punishment, neither natural or logical? Decided by: Self, Bully, Parent, Teacher, School, Church, State, Country, Society?
  7. What result or consequence do you or others expect for the character’s action? Does this happen or does something different and unexpected happen as a result of a character’s actions? Is it situational irony, dramatic irony, or verbal irony?


  1. Jerry Webster. Special Education. “Consequences, Not Punishment:”
  2. Sara Bean, M.Ed. “Five Areas to Let Your Child Face Natural Consequences:”
  3. University of “Natural and Logical Consequences.”
  4. Least “Literary Terms: Irony of Situation, Dramatic Irony, Irony of Language:”
  5. The “3 Kinds of Irony:”
  6. Robert K. Merton. American Sociological Review:“The Unanticipated Consequences of Purposive Social Action:”
  8. Wikipedia.
  9. Laura Markham, Phd. “What’s Wrong with Consequences to Teach Children Lessons?”

I hope you enjoyed reading my blog. Good luck with the publication of your books! Please leave a comment. Thank you.

Celebrate you.
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards

Copyright © 2014 Joan Y. Edwards


194 Subscribers  – Thank you.

Subscribe to Joan’s Never Give Up blog by email from the left-hand column and receive a free Never Give Up logo image. You’ll receive her new blog posts filled with inspiration and information in your inbox as soon as she uploads them.


A Selling Pitch Is Short with a Strong Emotional Tug

Copyright © 2014 Joan Y. Edwards

Copyright © 2014 Joan Y. Edwards

“A Selling Pitch Is Short with a Strong Emotional Tug” by Joan Y. Edwards

How do you decide to go to a movie? A few people don’t have to know the story line, they go to see the movies of their favorite director, like Spielberg or Martin Scorsese. Some people go to see any movie in their favorite genre: comedy, horror, mystery, romance, etc. Most people check to see what the story is about before they make their final decision.

How do you decide to read a book? What hooks you? What fills you with so much curiosity that you “have to read it.” It’s the pitch. Your story’s pitch has an important job. Its job is to tug at the reader’s heartstrings and cause him to feel empathy, sympathy, compassion, respect, favor, understanding, and/or support for the main character’s predicament along with an unstoppable curiosity to find out if that character solves his problem and how he does it.

To get your book published, you have to get the attention of the editor or agent reading your manuscript. The best way to do that is to write a selling pitch that is short and has an emotional impact.

If you can’t think of what to write in your pitch, think back to the reasons why you wrote the story in the first place. Which emotion pulled you to write this story? This same emotion is probably the one that will compel others to read it. Use that emotion to write your pitch.

How much time do you have to grab a reader’s attention? Probably only 30 seconds…25 words or less…one or two sentences at the most. People read longer book summaries, however, the first 25-35 words must tell the story well and hook them or they will stop reading. A sentence of Charles Dickens length, more than 100 words is too long. Write your pitch on a 3″×5″ card. If you can’t get it all written on the front side of the card, it’s too long.

Whatever your write in your short pitch has to intrigue, fascinate, arouse the curiosity, compel, and appeal strongly to captivate the reader’s interest. In your pitch include what makes your story different from similar stories in the same genre. Show the distinctive twist (unusual character, setting, or situation) that makes your story stand out from the others.

Once you have the reader hooked, he’ll want to read more. When you hook an agent or publisher, he’ll ask for your full manuscript because he’s anxious to find out how the character changed to solve his problem. He’ll want to find out how the story plays out.

The best-selling pitches show and tell:

  1. genre
  2. main character with flaws (Doesn’t always do the right thing, the wise thing, the good thing. He exudes humanity with weakness, frailty, fear that frightens him to the core and stops him in his tracks)
  3. what main character want or need in this particular situation
  4. conflict/antagonist/problem (Why main character can’t get what he wants or needs
  5. has emotional hook (Why do I care?)(How would I feel if I were in main character’s shoes?) (Can I relate? How is he like me? How is he different from me?)
  6. shows change in character
  7. universal theme (universal want, need, or common emotion)

In Save the Cat, Blake Snyder, screenwriter and teacher, says in a sentence or two, a pitch should:

  • tell genre and audience (not included in word count)
  • situation should have irony in it
  • paint a compelling mental picture
  • have a catchy title

In TV Guides pitches/loglines that describe movies at the theaters are not usually long. They have to catch the reader’s attention in 30 seconds. They don’t have much room to put it. It’s got to get to the point quickly or the reader will skip over it and go to another movie instead.

An agent or editor may ask for a 300 word summary or an even longer synopsis, however, your query letter’s pitch and the pitch you tell people when they ask you “What do you write?” has to be short, catchy, and to the point with the main emotional impact of the book or movie. The first sentence anyone hears about your story must be a great stand alone pitch for the story so that it grabs the reader and holds him by his emotional heartstrings.  If it’s for a movie, he’ll watch it. If it’s a book, he’ll read it. Why? Because your pitch instilled a “need to see it” inside him.

Here are examples of a loglines from a TV Guide and ones from the internet.

American Beauty (1999 Comedy Drama) A man in his mid-life crisis and at odds with his wife begins working out to impress his teenage daughter’s friend.

The logline for American Beauty on IMDb (Internet Movie Database) stated: Lester Burnham, a depressed suburban father in a mid-life crisis, decides to turn his hectic life around after becoming infatuated with his daughter’s attractive friend.

Anywhere But Here (1999 Comedy-Drama) A flighty mother uproots her daughter and heads West

A mother and daughter search for success in Beverly Hills.

Rotten Tomatoes Pitch Summary Anywhere But Here

Coming of age comedy-drama. A Wisconsin mother who longs for a more exciting and glamorous life in Beverly Hills, California. So she leaves her husband and packs her reluctant daughter into a gold Mercedes Benz, heading for L.A. When a family tragedy provokes a crisis between mother and daughter, the irresponsible Adele is forced to become a traditional mom for once. ~ Karl Williams, Rovi (I summarized this)

Apocalypse Now

During the U.S.-Viet Nam War, Captain Willard is sent on a dangerous mission into Cambodia to assassinate a renegade colonel who has set himself up as a god among a local tribe.

Fried Apocalypse Now Movie Info
In the Vietnam War,  Capt. Willard , already on the edge, is assigned to find and deal with AWOL Col. Kurtz, rumored to have set himself up in the Cambodian jungle as a local, lethal godhead. Along the way Willard encounters such odd experiences that by the time Willard sees the heads mounted on stakes near Kurtz’s compound, he knows Kurtz has gone over the deep end, but now Willard almost agrees with Kurtz’s insane dictum to “Drop the Bomb. Exterminate them all.” -Lucia Bozzola, Rovi shortened by me.

Can you improve these pitches?

Choose three movies or books similar to yours. Copy the pitch from the cover,,, or

Write each one on a 3″x5″ card. Then change it to make it refer and fit for your story on another 3″x5″ card.

In case you want to read more, here are other pitch articles written by me:

  1. Write a Pitch for Your Manuscript – Week Two
  2. How to Deliver a Short Gutsy Pitch to Entice Editors, Agents, and Readers
  3. Which of These Best-Selling Romance Pitches Is the Best? Why?
  4. How to Entice an Editor/Agent with a Pitch (Logline)
  5. Pitch Exercise #1 – Would you accept or reject these pitches?
  6. How to Write an Effective Selling Pitch for a Romance Novel
  7. Pitch Exercise #2 Romance – Would You Accept or Reject These Pitches?
  8. Will Your Query Letter Sell Your Manuscript?

Other Resources to help you get a grip on your pitch.

Blake Snyder. Save the Cat.
Cliff Daigle. How to Pitch Your Novel
Crossbooks. Market a Book Like a Business
Joel Friedlander. Why Your Book Pitch Matters
Orlando Wood. How Emotional Tugs Rational Pushes
Thomas Phelps. Developing Your Elevator Pitch

Thank you for reading my blog. I’d love to hear from you. Write what you believe is a great selling pitch with an emotional tug in a comment.

Celebrate you.
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards

Copyright © 2014 Joan Y. Edwards


192 Subscribers  – Thank you.

Subscribe to Joan’s Never Give Up blog by email from the left-hand column and receive a free Never Give Up logo image. You’ll receive her new blog posts filled with inspiration and information in your inbox as soon as she uploads them.




Trust Creates Limitless Possibilities; Distrust Rips You Apart

Image Copyright © 2014 Joan Y. Edwards

Image Copyright © 2014 Joan Y. Edwards

“Trust Creates Limitless Possibilities; Distrust Rips You Apart” by Joan Y. Edwards

Google says that trust is a firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something. In your writing, you may be able to use the trust/distrust tendencies of human nature to add a little intrigue and interest in a character or situation in your story. Trust creates limitless possibilities with relationships with yourself, significant others (family, friends, and co-workers). It gives you confidence and helps you remain calm. On the other hand, distrust rips you apart emotionally. Your confidence disappears. Your hope for the future is tainted by worry and unrest.

Are you paranoid about trusting others? What causes you to distrust others?

If your caregivers were not dependable when you were a baby or a young child, you may have more problems trusting people than a child whose parents were dependable and trustworthy. I think sometimes you don’t trust yourself and therefore you don’t trust others in the same area. If you can’t trust yourself to do what you say you are going to do, you may not trust anyone else to do what they say they are going to do. If you lie all the time, you might have a hard time believing that others are telling the truth.

You can answer these first six questions about yourself to see if there are things you might want to work on improving your trust in yourself and others. Or ask these questions about one of the characters you are using in a story. I reworded Martha Beck’s questions from her Huffington Post article to make it personal.

If your answer is “Yes” to the following questions, then you probably trust yourself

1. Do you show up on time?

2 Do you do things when you say you’re going to do them?

3. When you describe an event, it is correct? Does it match the information others give about it?

If your answer is “YES” to the following questions, you probably don’t trust yourself in this area.

4. Do you lie to people or assume that others will help you deceive another person?

5. Do you ever withhold information to make things go more smoothly or to avoid conflict and confrontation?

6. Do you ever lie, cheat, be unkind or do other things that you would condemn another person for doing the same thing?


Image Copyright © 2014 Joan Y. Edwards

Image Copyright © 2014 Joan Y. Edwards

A new experience that causes you to distrust a significant person in your life can rip you apart emotionally. It causes pain. The closer the person is to you and the more you trusted them before this event, the bigger the rip is to your heart.

Brandon Smith shared signs that you can’t trust your co-workers in an article on his blog: I reworded them here. You can assign these traits to the antagonist or villain in your story and create tension galore for your main character. It could rip him apart.

Signs of Distrust in a Co-Worker

  • Is dishonest and never truthful.
  • Does not always do what he says he will do
  • Usually doesn’t carry out the responsibilities of his job.
  • Makes it harder for you to succeed by keeping vital information from you
  • Gets irritable when you or others get in his workspace.
  • Sees you as a threat to his job.
  • Acts jealous of you and your job in the company
  • Wants your job or wants to replace you with one of his favorite employees.
  • Deliberately destroys, damages, or obstructs your success

Signs of Distrust in the Workplace

  • Everyone secures their desks and offices with locks or security systems.
  • If you leave food in the break room area, it is never there when you go back for it.
  • Fellow employees gossip constantly about you and other employees.
  • Criticism is widespread at work. No one receives praise for doing a good work or showing outstanding effort.
  • An employee who is having a hard time with his job never receive help or extra training to complete a project.
  • Workers set out to beat other employees in any manner possible, even if it is unethical, illegal, or cruel.
  • Your boss gives special favors to employees he likes.
  • You do not know your job responsibilities as they keep changing according to the whim of your boss.
  • Your boss is never pleased with any part of your performance even when you complete all the work as outlined in your contract successfully and even do extra things beyond the call of duty that help your workplace.
  • (I added this one) Your boss takes credit for your ideas.

Is your relationship with your partner defined by honesty and dependability—or suspicion and betrayal? To help you decide, use the quiz at the University of California, Berkeley Greater Good Berkeley:


  1. Brandon Smith. “Signs You Can’t Trust Your Co-Workers:”
  2. Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders. “Paranoia:”
  3. Greater Good Berkeley.Edu. University of California, Berkeley.  “Relationship Trust Quiz.”
  4. Kendra Cherry. “Trust Versus Mistrust:”
  5. Martha Beck. Huffington Post. “Simple Test Reveals If Someone Is Trustworthy:”

Thank you for reading my blog. I hope I have helped you discover many reasons to trust yourself and many ways to show the villains in your stories can’t be trusted. How do you decide whether to trust someone? Please tell me in a comment.

Celebrate you.
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards

Copyright © 2014 Joan Y. Edwards


189 Subscribers  – Thank you.

Subscribe to Joan’s Never Give Up blog by email from the left-hand column and receive a free Never Give Up logo image. You’ll receive her new blog posts filled with inspiration and information in your inbox as soon as she uploads them.




The Winner of a Free Personalized Meditation from Janis Silverman is…

Copyright © 2014 Joan Y. Edwards

Copyright © 2014 Joan Y. Edwards

“The Winner of a Free Personalized Meditation from Janis Silverman is…”

Thank you to all who read “Guided Imagery for Children and Adults – Interview with Janis Silverman.” A special thank you to Janis for offering a free personalized meditation and to the six people who left a comment on the blog post.

1.    Linda Martin Andersen

2.    Dr. Bob Rich

3.    Linda Phillips

4.    Ann Eisenstein

5.    June Phyllis Baker

6.    Sandra Warren selected number 5 as the winner. Therefore, June Phyllis Baker, congratulations. You won a free personalized meditation from Janis Silverman. Please send your email address to so I can forward it to Janis.

Celebrate you.
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards

Copyright © 2014 Joan Y. Edwards

Guided Imagery for Children and Adults – Interview with Janis Silverman

Janis L. Silverman

Janis L. Silverman

“Guided Imagery for Children and Adults – Interview with Janis Silverman” by Joan Y. Edwards

Thanks for inviting me to share with writers and book lovers!

You’re very welcome. It’s a pleasure to have you here.

Readers: Look below the interview for details of a free giveaway and links to all of Janis’ wonderful books.

1. When did you decide to become an author?

I began writing when I thought I had something important to say .I had a private tutoring practice where I was teaching a lot of reading and study skills. I had developed some successful techniques for students to learn how to study various content subjects. So, I published my first book, Read to Study in 1987.

2. Did you ever consider giving up?

I have not ever thrown in the towel on an important writing idea. There are times when rejection letters can be discouraging; however, I kept going each time. When you believe in the value of your writing, you have to keep believing and keep going.

3. Who or what has been the most help and inspiration to keep you going as a writer?

I am a very determined person.

4. You’ve written many wonderful non-fiction books. Is this your favorite genre? Why?

I love to read and write many types of books. I’ve written children’s fiction, but my nonfiction writing is what was published. My last books are guided imagery meditations, poems, and prayers. Each meditation is written like a very short story. My imagery stories are imaginative like fiction can be.

5. What is guided imagery?

Guided imagery is a story or scenario the reader must imagine. While reading or listening to the imagery story, the listener visualizes himself in the story. Each meditation introduces the reader to an idea worth contemplating, such as love, friendship, hope, etc. The following is excerpted from my children’s book of guided imagery, Imagine That! (YouthLight, Inc., 2011)

Guided imagery is a method that incorporates listening, visualizing and imagining. As children listen to a guided imagery reading, they begin to draw mental images, use sensory input, think about the concept presented, and learn to relax. When given the opportunity to interact with the imagery, children process the ideas and images. The imagery is further enhanced through discussion and follow-up activities. Children may revisit and use these images as needed.

Children enjoy using imagery because it is fun, like a game. It appeals to their natural ability to imagine and to their sense of fun” (Berkovitz, 2004).
Guided imagery can take many forms. Guided imagery may be introduced as a short reading, a longer story, or a simple directive. A child may be directed to visualize his favorite place or to picture a happy day. In longer stories a child will slowly meet a new situation and be invited to enter the story.

Regardless of the style of imagery presented, each child processes imagery in a different way. He uses all of his senses and his imagination. He/she gains individual insights from the experience.

Imagery can be accompanied by music. The Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music (Bonny, 1978) is used by music teachers and trained therapists who use classical music following a story. Children process the visualizations while they relax with the music. Music teacher and therapist, Linda Powell describes participation in the Bonny Method as “dreaming while awake”(Powell, 2007). Children write or discuss their ideas following the music.

Guided imagery is not hypnosis. Professionals are not telling children what to believe or what to think. They merely use stories to help children imagine success and to improve their relationships with themselves and others.(Imagine That! Copyright YouthLight, Inc., 2011)

This speaks about children’s use of imagery. Adults also benefit from the process.

6. What are the good benefits of using guided imagery?

There are many benefits to guided imagery meditation. The following is taken from the introduction to Imagine That! Imagery Stories to Help Young People Learn to Improve Their Behavioral Self-Control (YouthLight Inc., 2011) Although this discusses use of guided imagery stories in schools by teachers and counselors, the method is greatly affective when parents introduce this to their children. If you are interested in the research references, they are at the end of the book, Imagine That!

What are the benefits of guided imagery?
Teachers and school counselors can use guided imagery to aid children to feel safe and relaxed. Guided imagery helps children with tension, general anxiety, test anxiety, grief and trauma, to gain insight and to visualize success (Cheung, 2006). Professor Cheung also uses guided imagery with children struggling with ADHD.

Guided imagery in schools supports children with issues of safety, bullying, social skills, health, paying attention, anger, and performance anxiety (Powell, 2007). Other benefits of guided imagery Ms. Powell (2010) claims include building self-esteem, finding creative solutions to problems and the confidence to explore new possibilities. ”…When children are given the chance to explore themselves and their world through imagery, incredible transformations can take place.” (Berkovitz, 2004)

Images can also be helpful to the creative writing process. Ebersol (2007). Art classes created their story characters before they wrote and benefitted from the visualization process.

There are several techniques school professionals may use to relax ADD/ADHD students (Rief, 2006). According to Ms. Rief, imagery is helpful in developing focus, relaxation, dealing with stress and anxiety, developing social skills and creative expression.

Classroom teachers and reading specialists use visualization to improve reading comprehension on a daily basis. There are many benefits of using guided imagery in a variety of school settings.

How is guided imagery used in the schools?
Most often counselors and school psychologists use guided imagery in a small group counseling setting. However, classroom teachers and special education teachers may use guided imagery to create a safe and relaxed atmosphere and to better control behavior issues in the classroom.
Guided imagery “increases students’ self-awareness and integrates their inner senses with learning (Johnson, 1984). According to Sandra Rief (2006), visualization skills have been determined to be a valuable tool used to empower students to overcome difficulties in their lives, to develop memory, and to improve learning. (Copyright YouthLight Inc., 2011)

Adults find many benefits using imagery. These include stress reduction and health advantages.

7. When did you learn about guided imagery?

I have used guided imagery meditation for decades to help with pain levels of rheumatoid arthritis and stress.

8. How has guided imagery helped you?

Imagery meditation relaxes my mind and body. It reduces my tension and pain levels and better equips me to think, focus, and problem solve. Meditation helps me stay positive and focused.

9. What are three of your favorite guided imagery passages?

I am including one for children from Imagine That! The title is “The Wave is Like Breath.” Read or listen to this meditation very, very slowly.

The Wave is Like Breath

As you close your eyes, imagine that you are at a beautiful beach.
You sit in the sand watching the sun rise.
The sun’s golden color shines on gentle waters.
You quietly watch the water move back and forth on shore.
Breathe slowly in and out as you watch the waves do the same thing.
You feel your body relaxing to the slapping rhythm of the waves.
You continue to picture the waves and breathe slowly.
Listen to the ocean water move in and out of shore.
You feel totally connected with the earth, water and sky.
This is the start of a wonderful day. (Pause and relax in this place awhile.)

Slowly stretch and open your eyes.
Keep these memories with you as you slowly open your eyes.
Make it a fabulous day.
When you need to relax, recall these images of the beach.

This imagery story is also from Imagine That! (YouthLight, Inc., 2011)

Think about this.
Possible is the opposite of impossible.
Imagine a world where dreams can happen.
The word “can’t” is not spoken or even thought.
Close your eyes, and imagine what is possible in
your life.
Picture yourself doing something you have been
afraid to do.
Maybe it’s playing a new sport or rock climbing.
Perhaps it’s being brave enough to talk to
someone at school.
Maybe it’s going in for extra math help after school.
You could ask a classmate for help.
Imagine that you can do anything.
Think of something you want to do.
Just know that you can follow your dreams.
Picture your dreams in living color. (Pause; sit quietly awhile.)

Slowly open your eyes.
Remember that anything is possible.
Yes, it is possible.

This meditation “A Sea Shell” is from Book One. Relax: Staying Grounded After Diagnosis. This is one of four books of meditations I wrote three years ago during treatment for breast cancer. The four eBooks contain Guided Imagery Meditations for Women with Breast Cancer are titled: Relax, Reflect, Restore, and Recover.

A Sea Shell

Run your fingers over a polished, smooth shell.
It is so soothing.
The repetitive stroking of your fingers.
The sensation.
A sea shell is a certainty in a time of uncertainty.
This lovely object affirms the beauty of
nature and life itself.
When you relax or meditate,
try holding a smooth object.
It could be a small polished stone.
Or a glossy piece of jewelry.
A swatch of a favorite velvety fabric.
How can a tiny object be comforting?
Gently close your eyes and breathe deeply.
Imagine that you are in a favorite spot.
You are curled up and comfortable.
You have a special object in your hands.
Breathe slowly and rhythmically.
Stroke this favorite object between your thumb and forefinger.
You find your fingers in rhythm with your breathing.
The pattern of breathing and fingers is captivating,
relaxing and all consuming.
You find your mind leaving stress and problems behind.
You are lulled into deep relaxation.
Sit like this in a quiet place.
Continue breathing and stroking the silky object.
Continue this pattern for at least ten minutes.

When you are totally relaxed.
Gently stretch and awaken.
Open your eyes.
Use a comforting object when you meditate.
Awaken your senses.
A simple shell can be so healing.

10. Where do you get your ideas for writing the guided imagery for your books?

Everything I have written has come from my experiences, either professionally or personally. The meditations in Imagine That! Are meant to help children think through and solve problems, develop better self-esteem, and learn how to calm themselves.

I use nature and other topics familiar to children as springboards to develop imagery stories. Children can more readily picture themselves in these scenarios. I also believe these imagery stories and activities help children understand themselves and learn to control their behavior.

The meditations in Relax, Reflect, Restore, and Recover were daily messages in my heart with concerns and feelings that I sorted out in my writing. This allowed me to turn any negative thoughts into positive ones, visualize, breathe and meditate on more optimistic ones.

As I moved into wellness, I began writing guided imagery meditations for wellness. I also am developing interactive very short imagery stories for toddlers and young children. The idea for the latter came from time with my five-year old grandson.

11. How do you weave research into your manuscripts?

I have searched and cited research studies on the benefits of guided imagery. This is found in the books’ introductions.

I developed Help Me  Say Goodbye, a children’s grief therapy book after researching about grief and what books were available for children.

Forums, Fairs and Futures: A Journey in Time through Markets of the World required the greatest amount of research. I researched places, history and the monetary/economic systems of several early cities.

12. What are you writing now?

I am working on two manuscripts of guided imagery. The first is for adults. I am enjoying writing these wellness meditations. The second is for very young children. I may be blazing new territory, as these imagery stories are short and interactive. Children do not have to close their eyes or sit still. They interact with the imagery in an active way. Young children relate better when they are moving and thinking at the same time.

13. How do you know when your manuscript is ready for submission?

That is a challenging question. Is it ever perfect? I do edit and listen to my words many, many times. I try to get others to try the meditations and comment on them. After much ado, I begin a proposal and send it out to publishers.

14. What three things should a good query letter contain?

A query letter should engage the publisher. The working title should be clear, the purpose and audience stated. A note about how the book is better and differs from others on the same subject is a valuable addition to a query letter.

15. How did you find publishers for your books?

Ah, that is the hard part! The publishing business changes constantly. It seems to be contracting, not expanding. There is still a place for independent publishers. That is where my educational and counseling books have been published.

Getting the right match is a challenge. The Literary Marketplace and The Writer’s Market are good references, as well as publishing information in writing magazines. The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators’ magazine, “The Bulletin,” has a publishing page or two in each edition.

I also get information about publishers through networking and attending writing conferences. Since I do not have an agent, I cannot solicit some of the larger publishing houses. If a writer wants to knock on those doors, she needs an agent.

16. Did you cry while writing any of your books?

I don’t remember crying, but it was an emotional time for me when I began writing Help Me Say Goodbye: Activities to help Kids Cope When a Special Person Dies. My mother had just died after a long bout with cancer.

When I wrote the guided imagery meditations for Relax, Reflect, Restore and Recover: Guided Imagery Meditations for Women with Breast Cancer, I was going through a rough time with breast cancer treatment. I had a lot of emotions which changed on a daily basis. The writing and use of these imagery stories was calming and soothing to me.

17. How did you do in English as a kid?

I did well in English and loved the literature. I am still a voracious reader.

18. What’s your favorite book of all time? Why?

My favorite children’s book is Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain. I love the naughtiness, spirit and adventure of Tom’s escapades. The book also has a historical impact, since it shows how separate and unaccepted black Americans were in the 1860’s. There are many interesting concepts, such as Huck Finn’s father’s alcoholism, Tom not living with his parents, and the lifestyle along the Mississippi River at that time. There are many lessons Tom learned and shared in this remarkable book. The writing and dialogue are also superb.

19. What’s your favorite book of all that you’ve written?

Each book is a part of who I am. All of my writing came from my life experience. It is difficult to choose. I am attached to the new books I am currently writing.

If I have to choose, the four audio and digital books of meditations I wrote three years ago when I was in treatment for breast cancer have to be closest to me personally. Each meditation went from my heart, my mind and my soul to the computer. I hope other women walking this path will find the meditations in Relax, Reflect, Restore, and Recover calming, centering, and comforting.

20. Which book on the craft of writing has helped you the most and why?
Olga Litowsky’s It Is a Bunny Eat Bunny World: A Writer’s Guide to Surviving and Thriving in Today’s Competitive Children’s Book Market, Walker Publishing, 2001, is an excellent guide to navigating the world of children’s book writing and markets.

21. What is your favorite blog? Why?

Joan, I love your blog. It is so encouraging and upbeat. You always have such a variety of ideas and writers for us, the readers, to take in. Thank you.

Thank you, I’m honored that I give you encouragement.

22. What other blog do you go to for inspiration and encouragement?

I do use the SCBWI blog and Katie Davis’ blog. Because of my limited vision, I write and research when I can, but may not surf writing blogs as much as I would like.

23. What’s a funny question or unusual statement you’ve heard or read related to your books?

I may be too serious, and my writing is about serious topics. I did use a lot of humor in a novel, Smoky Secret Agent Cat. This book has not yet been published. I also have an idea for a funny picture book. Maybe then I’ll have funny comments.

I love your story, Smoky, Secret Agent Cat. I hope it gets published soon.

24. What does your writing mean to you?

I’ve been writing for more than twenty-five years. I love creating, taking an idea, watching it grow. Writing is not only a wonderful expression of who I am. It is also a way for me to contribute, to give back, and to leave my footprints.

Janis L. Silverman is a retired elementary, middle school, junior college and specialist teacher of gifted and talented children. She holds a B.S. Degree in Elementary and Kindergarten Education from the Pennsylvania State University and an M.A. Degree in Special Education: Teaching the Gifted and Talented Child from Northeastern Illinois University.

Janis’ website

Visit Janis Silverman’s Amazon author page at: and
her Facebook author page at

Janis Silverman’s Books

Janis is the author of five educational books:

Read to Study, Royal Fireworks Press
Creative Word Processing, Royal Fireworks Press

Forums, Fairs, Futures Copyright © 1992 Janis Silverman

Forums, Fairs, Futures Copyright © 1992 Janis Silverman

Forums, Fairs, and Futures: A Journey in Time through Markets of the World, Leadership Publishers

Fairy Tales on Trial Copyright © 1999 Janis Silverman

Fairy Tales on Trial Copyright © 1999 Janis Silverman

Fairy Tales on Trial, Pieces of Learning

"Advanced" Fairy Tales on Trial Copyright © 2000 Janis Silverman

“Advanced” Fairy Tales on Trial Copyright © 2000 Janis Silverman

“Advanced” Fairy Tales on Trial, Pieces of Learning

Janis authored two children’s books in the counseling field.

Help Me Say Goodbye Copyright © 1999 Janis Silverman

Help Me Say Goodbye Copyright © 1999 Janis Silverman

Help Me Say Goodbye: Activities for Helping Kids Cope When a Special Person Dies, Roman and Littlefield, a children’s individual grief therapy book.

 Imagine That Copyright © 2011 Janis Silverman

Imagine That Copyright © 2011  Janis Silverman

Imagine That! Imagery Stories and Activities to Help Young People Learn to Improve Their Behavioral Self-Control, YouthLight Publishers (2011) Phone (800)209-9774

Janis, a breast cancer survivor, has written a Kindle eBook of meditations for women with breast cancer.

Relax, Reflect, Restore, and Recover Copyright © 2012 Janis Silverman

Relax, Reflect, Restore, and Recover Copyright © 2012 Janis Silverman

Relax, Reflect, Restore and Recover: Guided Imagery Meditations for Women with Breast Cancer, Amazon Kindle, 2012.

It is available now (2013) in four separate eBooks and four audio books (Audible Books)

Copyright © 2012 Janis Silverman

Relax Copyright © 2012 Janis Silverman

 Relax-Staying Grounded after Diagnosis

Reflect Copyright © 2012 Janis Silverman

Reflect Copyright © 2012 Janis Silverman

Reflect-Cultivating Meditations

Restore Copyright © 2012 Janis Silverman

Restore Copyright © 2012 Janis Silverman

Restore-Exhaustion Effects Meditations

Recover Copyright © 2012 Janis Silverman

Recover Copyright © 2012 Janis Silverman

Recover: Healing Renewal Meditations

Janis, thanks again for allowing me to interview you on my blog. I know that my readers will derive much pleasure from learning about you and your great books. I appreciate you very much.

Janis is giving a free personalized meditation to one lucky person who leaves a comment on this blog post before midnight Tuesday, June 10, 2014.  I will announce the winner chosen by on Wednesday, June 11, 2014.

Celebrate you.
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards

Copyright © 2014 Joan Y. Edwards


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