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You will learn about the Artists of Today and take a journey into their lives. Discover their passion to create and master the Art that matters so much to them while taking a glimpse into SP's world through her mighty pen.

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COVER FEATURES..........................................Home Page

POETRY....................................................................PAGE 2

MUSIC REVIEWS......................................................PAGE 3

WRITER'S CORNER..................................................................PAGE 4

STYLE/FASHION......................................................PAGE 5

CUISINE..................................................................PAGE 6

PHOTOGRAPHY......................................................PAGE 7

STUDIO GALLERY...................................................PAGE 8

PROMOTIONS........................................................PAGE 9

MEMBERSHIP

Julie 'JV' Stanley: Author, Poet, & Editor Paving Her Own Way With Literary Verbose

Welcome Kool World into the New Year 2014! We're returning back to RPRAI's Artists On The Come Up Series with the Latest Edition on respected Author & Poet (with a myriad of more to discover!) JV Stanley. For anyone who is reading our Artist Feature for the first time, having an actual writer is imperative to focus a spotlight on since 'writing' is a vehicle for many of us to express our full thoughts. Artistry allows us to have a voice through creative expression and just like art, it can be perceived 'one-sided' depending on how it is viewed. Therefore our purpose is to break the mold and enrich minds. In our meaningful and candid girl talk together we unearth the makings of the day-to-day life of your every-day writer: As a wife and mother in the balancing act of meeting needs & obligations of her family while finding time for herself, the challenges of staying committed to this "unconventional job" and never giving up on herself, describing how her work speaks to her through her voice AND as it speaks back to us, adding on the simple joys of life like her children, canning/jamming, 'walking across waterfalls' and  lastly the challenge that every writer and artist faces: Rejection and set-backs while finding the faith and inner-strength to never give up. Stanley revels in the thought that her time is coming and she has no intention of giving up now when she has come so far especially with motivation ringing in her ears of her biggest supporter & influencer, her father - "Do what you love, the money will come later". The BEST advice to receive from someone you love in a field that doesn't hurt to have as much backing and support as possible. Spend a moment of your time and become immersed in the poeticism and introspectively captivating philosophical story-telling of Ms. Stanley. You'll feel as though you've known her all your life as our next 'ARTIST ON THE RISE'.




Hi Julie, it's pleasure engaging with you!
The first time we really talked was a few weeks ago and from what I know so far about you and reading your work you are a respected poet and author. 
I had the opportunity to read your poem 
"The Mortician of Inevitable Immortality" and 
it really caught my eye. I knew I had to meet you after reading it because the content was good and worthwhile to read!

We must start where it all began to get the ball rolling of course! ;)
Where and when were you born?

I was born and raised in Lower Michigan on the twenty-sixth day of October in the year of our Lord, nineteen hundred and eighty at old-o-clock.  (laughs) I realize I’m not that old, but sometimes I feel old.  
Ah the nasty 30's! You're only 4 years older than me, and I refuse to feel "old" lol. If I'm keeping it young and sexy then you must as well JV ;)

Where do you currently reside?

During my senior year in high school, I immigrated to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where I  morphed from city girl to country girl.  I ended up graduating up here and fell in love with the area.  My mom and stepfather moved and I decided to stick around.  I used to work as a dealer at the casino in Baraga and I remember a number of times before I’d go to work, I’d walk on waterfalls.  Yes, you heard me correctly. 
Adventurer! I was like huh?!? Did she really say "waterfalls". The bible mentions Jesus Christ turning water to wine and walking on water, so I guess you're the modern-day version The Waterfall Walker, wow. Perhaps you can add to this unique skill you possess with explaining how you're actually walking across waterfalls. If there's a bridge involved then you aint that great lol. 
My favorite pastime is walking on waterfalls.  Immediately following said adventure, I’d mosey on into work with my pant legs soaked to the knees and no one was the wiser. 

How many people can do that before work?   The Upper Peninsula is gorgeous, albeit, brutally frigid during the winter months.  It’s a bit of a common joke up here that we only have two seasons: winter and construction. 
Without a doubt, who can literally say before work they walk on waterfalls lol. An adrenaline rush to say the least! Before work I'm usually running behind with time not being my best friend. 

I live about forty-five minutes to an hour west of Marquette.  Michiganders have a tendency of calculating distance by how long it takes to get to one’s destination.  The Upper Peninsula is its own little world-tranquil, serene, almost like living in a completely different country.  Those born in the U.P. call themselves ‘Yoopers’ and have delicately nicknamed those residing under the bridge…yes, you guessed it.  Trolls.  I’ve lived up here since 1999, so at this point I consider myself more of a ‘Trooper’ than a ‘Transplant’.
You may already be waiting for me to make a "wise-crack" on this -Yooper & Troll (even though they can't be avoided for laughs). Wish I knew names for the area where I live but all I can think of is "bubble-town" and entitled littletons lol.

Tell us about your childhood growing up. 
Was it average, hard, special, unusual, or different?
If there’s anything that sets you a part from others share it too! Were you playing with Barbie and having tea parties or were you the tomboy who enjoyed just rough and tumble stuff?

I came from a broken, dysfunctional home.  I think that is what initiated my love of writing.  I kept a journal since 1989 and found that my prose was therapeutic.  It allowed me to reflect upon my life and gather insight into what I was feeling and why.  It later developed into poetry.  A few of my friends in middle school started writing poetry and I found that I appreciated the unique art form.  It was then when I began writing my own.  In 8th grade, I had my first poem published which subsequently won an award.  From there, I continued writing poetry and prose. 
Now here's something I can definitely relate to! Writing did the same for me in my life but instead of finding my inner voice through poetry, fine art became my subconcious outlet for what I was feeling. I can still hear my teacher of four years in high school tell me to relax and not be so heavy-handed. lol.  

During the summers of my youth, I would go fishing, hiking, and participate in a myriad of other outdoor activities.  My stepfather fostered my love for the outdoors, including walking on waterfalls!  When I wasn’t off on an adventure of some sort, I would be in my room reading and writing to music.  

Beneficial mix to have the creative mind flow of being outdoors and to come back inside to release it out. Reading was big for me too! Did you have any genres or Artists in mind (at that age) that inspired your music writing style?

I didn’t have a strong relationship with my biological father until I was in my early twenties, despite the fact that I saw him once a week during his visitation during my youth.  This was entirely due to the very strained and hostile way my mother portrayed him.  It was later when I realized that I was a victim of parental alienation, which attenuated my connection to him while I was growing up.  When I finally realized that my mother had manipulated me against my father, I was able to connect with my father in a way that I never dreamed possible.  He fostered within me a reflective, more philosophically reserved way of approaching my problems and provided an attentive ear.  I attribute my outlook on life as well as my ethics and personal philosophies to my father.  His guidance and understanding through my adult years have proved immeasurable.  I cannot go a few days without talking to him.

As for my mother, we have been estranged for the past three years and I would like to continue to maintain that distance.
The physical and psychological damage that I had endured in my youth has affected the way I perceive relationships. However, instead of succumbing to the troublesome nature of abuse, I find it an invaluable facet in how I perceive life and the relationships I have with other individuals. Instead of allowing it to define me, I use it as a source of strength by which I can overcome and empathize with others. Instead of allowing it to weaken me, I’ve used it as a way to strengthen my resolve (as well as inspire me). 
omg how awful... 
Again I can relate on this-more so on an emotional level. Your response to it is nonetheless similar as well :) You're a brilliant mind JV and it may have much to do with how you've managed to turn circumstances around for the better.

Our past does not make us who we are; abusing others is a conscious choice that we make due to either ignorance or laziness to learn the difference between right and wrong.  There are far too many people who abuse others and blame it on the fact that they too, were abused.  Instead of seeking out the help, therapy, or venues that various programs have to offer to assist in our own personal growth and development after enduring abuse, we resort to what we already know or assume.  This is why the cycle of abuse continues-people lack the capacity to fix themselves despite that they recognize the warped ethics that they grew up with. 
I couldn't agree more...
Wow it's amazing how much we have in common with views. With your wisdom/understanding you could also go into psychiatry/sociology. If many of us could channel into this form of thinking we would probably live healthier lives.
I model my parenting style to that of my father, who, while I was growing up, allowed me to live life to the fullest. From taking me to the circus every year, monster truck rallies, and even catering to my love of the arts by taking me to the Detroit Institute of Arts on regular occasions; he broadened my horizons in ways that have affected how I parent my own children. I cannot begin to explain how wonderful my father is and has been and I can only hope to live up to him.  Between my father’s influence as well as my grandmother Zell’s influence, I am who I am today because of their love and because my father never gave up on me, regardless of the hostility and abuse that had hindered our relationship in my youth. 

Taking a trip down memory lane, as a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?

Choir was one of the most influential classes I had in high school.  I was in choir from freshman through senior year.  At first, I wanted to be a singer and had the option to attend Central Michigan University through the recommendation from the university professor who attended one of my solo performances. As my writing developed, I started receiving recognition, and found a home within the literary community. 
Again we share something in common! Are you my soul sister or what?!? ha. I was too fearful, unlike you who had the courage and recognition of your ability with pursuance from your mentor. It must be great to know where you can take your skill-sets in case one slows down or you want to do something different.

As a writer and poet myself, I find it easy to write and convey my thoughts from making it a habit since 11/12 years old. When did it all began and how did this become your career focus and claim to fame?

As a result of my disjointed childhood, I began conveying my thoughts within a journal. It was 1989 and I believe I was either in third or fourth grade. I wasn’t the popular girl in school (GEEK), so I usually buried myself in make-believe and daydreaming. Once I hit high school, my journals depicted elements of imagery, symbolism as I tried to hide what I was really feeling or relate it in some way in metaphor. Most of my earlier works are so esoteric that many individuals complemented me on the form, structure, and beauty of the images, but didn’t quite understand the intent. Back then I was grateful because I hid a lot of my emotion within it.  To have someone decipher its meaning would probably result in my embarrassment or leave me feeling uncomfortably vulnerable. 
Growing up makes it hard, in my opinion, as a writer because you're trying to make sense of what you're feeling and how to put words to what you see happening around you. I think it's with growth and maturity when we can accept our lives for what they really are and not be ashamed of our experiences -we can't feel uncomfortable and embarrassed. It makes us who we are and others appreciate the honesty because perhaps they went through similar and never had a way of expressing it. It's liberating for everyone. 

I wrote my first short story in my high school creative writing class. I enjoyed the ability to paint that cinematic picture within the mind so much that I not only took the class again, but also begged a few of my classmates to do their homework for them.  Aside from the journal entries we would write during class, I began writing similar pieces in my own journal. I would turn on Enya, Loreena McKennett, Deep Forest, among other assorted artists and write to my heart’s content. I’d write mostly prose during that time and later I would whittle it down into poetry I’d later share with my friends. A few I submitted for publication and won a fair number of awards.  
You were indulging the creative beast! There is a freedom with creative writing -no limitations or restrictions. But on the other hand there's something great about limitations because it forces a writer to dive deeper for creative outlet and possibly help them discover a side of themselves they never knew or paid attention to before. 
Which contests or competitions were you submitting your entries for us out here who want to do the same?

Miracle Ezine is currently developing its second annual poetry competition; I plan on entering that one. 
I’ve also submitted a short story of mine to Dream Quest One in their winter 2013-2014 competition.  Submissions are currently closed on that one but it’s advisable to check back periodically.  http://www.dreamquestone.com/rules/enter-now/

The Boston Review is also hosting a poetry competition that I plan to enter.
http://www.bostonreview.net/contests


Probably one of the greatest resources regarding the craft of writing is visiting Writer’s Digest.  They often host competitions as well and can direct authors to various ones being held. 


Another excellent resource is The Writer’s Market.  That book has a whole chapter dedicated to various writing contests.  It is advised that one should procure the most recent copy as the specific details for submissions are often updated.  The competition includes ones for books, poetry, essays, as well as many others.  Some offer publication and others offer a monetary prize.  The Writer’s Market is like the Holy Grail of publishing resources. 


I realize its off-topic but I have to suggest a few excellent books on writing and publishing that have helped me out tremendously throughout the years.  I started studying the art of writing at a young age and a few of the books that influenced me the most are:




The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White


On Writing Well by William Zinsser


How To Get Happily Published by Judith Applebaum


Write Is a Verb: Sit Down, Start Writing, No Excuses by Bill O'Hanlon


Crossroads: Creative Writing in Four Genres by Diane Thiel


Literature Without Borders: International Literature in English For Student Writers by George R. Bozzini and Cynthia A. Leenerts


Also, I’ve been reading the Norton Anthologies since high school. I’d find older editions at used book stores and found that I really enjoyed the stories within them. These anthologies also included mini biographies and discussion questions pertaining to the story that encourage thought and analysis. In order to be a successful writer one must read. A lot. Reading for pleasure is a fantastic escape .  However, when one stops and analyzes the writing that is when the story really comes alive. There are many other books I’ve read but these ones are my favorites!

In college, I enjoyed the same rewards of writing short stories. In 2006 after the birth of my first child, I decided it was about time to write my first novel. I wrote it between diaper changes, feedings, appointments, and the mundane domestic responsibilities I had to accomplish.  By the end of 2007, I finally completed the first draft.  During the interim, I studied all areas of the publishing industry and any book related to editing and writing.  Two of my favorite books on writing are ‘Bird by Bird’ by Anne Lamott and ‘On Writing’ by William Zinsser.  These texts offer a wealth of information and I believe are invaluable resources. I tried to send out the manuscript to agents and publishers to no avail.  I received rejection upon rejection and eventually gave up. 
I took a sabbatical from writing until my divorce. Sometimes at the end, you must go back to the beginning. My beginning is where I found solace. I felt more at home writing than I had in years during that tenuous and stressful time. I didn’t stop there, though. I went on to write a poem that has inspired an entire novel (I’m currently working on it, ‘Irony, Karma, And Fate Walk Into A Bar…”). I later learned about Kindle Direct Publishing and decided to dust off that old manuscript of mine and get it published myself. With the help of an author friend who advised me to modify the book in some areas to improve it, I went on to edit the book until it was ready for publication. I just had it published November 20th and it is currently available on Amazon. 
So happy for the turn-around. I'm a sucker for happy endings :) 

What genre or genres do you express yourself the most in? Why did you decide to go in this direction for your writing.?
I’ve always had an affinity for the macabre, Stephen King being my favorite author since I was a kid.  I also gravitate toward personal and universal philosophies within my writing.  I’ve learned quite a lot throughout the years and find myself reflecting upon life and the philosophies of others.

Where do you pull your inspiration from?

I daydream, a lot. I used to sit for hours when I was younger and daydream to music. I would sit and reflect upon things I should have said, things I should have done. I reflect upon the actions of others and contemplate the relative meaning behind them. I have a great advantage in my writing as I’m extremely empathic and particularly receptive to the emotions of the individuals who surround me. I think this particular quality of mine has had a strong influence in my writing. I tend to feel what other people feel. Some individuals are more projective with their emotions than others. 
Like a more human approach. You connect with others on a profoundly more compassionate level, from being interpersonal with just having time to know yourself. There has to be a bigger role you are made for in this life with these qualities you have Julie :)

Some of my ideas hit like epiphanies, almost as though a cartoon light bulb suddenly flashes above my head.  Once I have that spark of inspiration, I either jot it down in my idea journal or I begin writing in a frenzy. 
Me too! And if you're like me you've used anything you could get your hands on like kitchen napkins, wrappers, plates, store receipts, and anything else that can be written on.

Is your subject matter primarily for adults or do you also write for young adults and children?

I’ve tried my hand at writing a fairy tale once.  I’ve currently sent to another author friend for assistance in its completion.  I primarily write for adults but perhaps someday I will gravitate toward young adult fiction.  I will go wherever the winds of muse will carry me, I suppose.

There is a grave tone from reading, that I notice, about your style and energy. Does this tell readers about your personality or is it how you prefer to express yourself?

Through the course of my study in poetry, I’ve noticed similar attributes in other authors.  When one thinks of poetry what often comes to mind are the more romantic pieces, like Shakespearian sonnets.  There are a plethora of different emotions that are expressed in poetical form.  Some of my work focuses on the fatalistic nature of my thinking due to unfortunate or enlightening events that I feel compelled to write about.  More often times than not, the gravity of emotions are often serendipitous.  
It is my belief that there is more to an individual than aesthetics, and by aesthetics I am not just referencing appearance.  There is the individual that you see, the aspects that people choose to allow people to see, and then there is the depth within them.  I imagine it as a cavern with multiple passages that lead to different areas of an individual but end within the heart.  Upon first glance, I could be described as goofy and fun-loving, relaxed and laid-back.  To those who know me well would describe me as deep, passionate, and intelligent. Depending upon the situation, I could be classified first as one or the other. 

Does your family compose of writers, just like yourself, literary observers?

My older brother, Jerrid would read a lot.  He was the first to introduce me to adult chapter books.  The first series I ever read was the Xanth series by Piers Anthony that he handed down to me. I would sit curled up on the couch with my cat and do nothing but read in front of the window in my parent’s living room. From there, I was introduced to the Anne Rice novels and it snowballed from there. I was the black sheep of the family, honestly.  Where my brothers went on to ‘real’ jobs, I was the one daydreaming and writing stories and poetry. I have a cousin who is also in the arts, Joe Wakefield, but his aim is Hollywood where mine is Random House or Simon and Schuster.  
ANNE RICE


How did they feel about this being your job-focus, were they all for it or wanted a different path for you?

My mother wanted me to be a singer. My brothers admired my creative ability but thought I would be better suited with a degree and a ‘real’ job. My father just supported me and wanted me to do something that made me happy. “Do what you love, the money will come later.” is what he always told me. Doing what you love isn’t always simple and it’s far too easy to give up and move on.  Life has so many opportunities within it and like other writers who struggle to follow their dream, they too understand that it takes work and dedication to succeed.  Some do not find their success until later on in life, but I am a patient woman.  I will not stop if I am unsuccessful with one novel. I plan to write many, many more in the years to come. 
Wow, that is BIG! What your dad told you speaks mega-watt volumes. I believe what parents tell their children can either make or break their dreams -spoken and unspoken. Even your mom sees the bigger picture of the possibilities in music :) A 'real' job for you is following your heart & it takes real courage.
How challenging is it to be recognized and taken seriously for the type of job that you have?

Some individuals I’ve spoken with admire my dedication.  I recently participated in a pistol tournament where I won third in the female division at the Sagola Township Sportsman’s Club.  I chanced to meet a number of really interesting individuals from all walks of life. One woman approached me and asked what I did for a living. I told her that I was an author. “I’ve never met a published author before.” she said and shook my hand. I felt very flattered. She continued asking me about my work and I was very enthusiastic with my responses and she was eager to listen.
I’ve also had individuals who don’t take me seriously at all. I’ve heard the ‘You don’t have a real job’ and ‘Why don’t you go out and get a real paycheck?’ It’s disheartening, obviously, but even more so when I’m looked down on in certain circles. I have found that these individuals are under the misconception that wealth equates success. I am content in that my children are proud of me and share in the excitement that their mom is a published author following her dream. Their opinion far outweighs the opinion of those who belittle me for what I do. 
It can also be challenging when it's a choice between having electricity or water running as well. When it gets down to the realness of basic necessity, money is either coming in to provide for yourself (and family) or it's not. When it's not then the whole 'get a job' nag is for the better good because at least it's understood as 'pay per hour' for a steady income. But if it's just to dictate how a person should live their life, it's not warranted. 

You're also the developer and marketing director of MIRACLE EZINE, a literary magazine that helps to support creative writers and multicultural literature, which excited me a bit since I also refer to my work as an ezine in the making :) What inspired you to be involved with it?

The credit all goes to a wonderfully talented woman, Guntaj Arora. Almost a year ago, I was perusing different literary magazines I intended to submit my work to and I chanced upon this fledgling magazine. I submitted my poem, ‘Footprints’, which was accepted for publication and included in their third issue. When I saw that the ‘zine was looking for a Development and Marketing Director, I jumped at the opportunity. I’ve always had an appreciation of multicultural literature and this magazine perfectly displays the work in a magnificent format. I’ve always felt that multicultural literature is an essential element of understanding. There are far too many bias and fallacies derived from assumption and stereotyping. One of the greatest and rewarding ways to achieve understanding of the differences in cultures, is to read multicultural literature. 

My job consists of sharing the magazine with the world and spreading the word of its publication. I am in charge of contacting bookstores, universities, and libraries requesting that they carry the magazine. I also assist in procuring other writers and encouraging them to submit their work. I do so by various channels, either by direct contact, development of leads, and disbursing contact information to various universities and writing groups. 
I also write the book review column for the magazine and submit my poetry for publication periodically.  The credit for this wonderful periodical does not go solely to me, but to the entire team of individuals who have made this magazine one of the greatest I could ever hope to work for. Guntaj has been a blessing and it has been an honor to work for her this past year.

Tell us what the pros and cons are with being the director of MIRACLE. By the way congrats on completing the first year of publication and having your first print edition!

Thank you so much! Having the magazine in print has been one of the major goals we have attained. I actually just received my copy of it and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. It is simply amazing and such an accomplishment. It’s been a struggle as with any creative endeavor, but I am so thankful for the drive and ambition that Guntaj has for this magazine. With the talented team of individuals she had selected to work on the magazine, we have seen steady growth and support. It is my sincere hope to see the magazine lining bookstands in the future.



Ok so I must share this with you Julie…I have an affinity for pens especially ball-point color pens. I love free-flowing ink, calligraphy pens, just writing in ink. How about you? Do you have that same giddiness with writing utensils?

My calligraphy skills are horrible, to be honest but I do admire the art.  My grandfather, Paul Zell was an artist and I inherited his calligraphy pens but haven’t been brave enough to practice with them. I admire him greatly though he passed away before I got the chance to get to know him. 

I unfortunately do not own a good pen set that I write with.  Perhaps for Christmas, if Santa is feeling generous, I’ll get a set. I personally like pens with ink that flows smoothly and glides across the paper.  I’ve had pens that I’ve had to dig into the paper until the words are practically embedded within the back cover. 

There’s another I must share with you lol, there’s something about writing and the way words are written on paper. Can’t get enough, it’s just the way letters look and read on paper that is interesting to me. Do you share the same or something similar? 
( It’s ok if not! Lol ).

I miss traditional correspondence a great deal.  Corresponding through snail mail is so much more personal than email. I miss the days when I received a hand-written letter. The way an individual writes, their penmanship, handwriting tells a lot about them. I’ve kept all the letters my brother Jason wrote to me while he was in the Navy. Even cards and letters I received from my grandparents. An email can be copied and pasted, it can be backed up and saved forever, sure, but the way someone writes, their handwriting is irreplaceable. I kept a letter that my now fiancé wrote to me 12 years ago while he was in boot camp. He was amazed that I had kept it all this time but I didn’t have the heart to let it go. 
I must admit the same. Computers have taken over everything to the point where a basic form of  communication such as letter writing has disappeared. I've saved written documents in my memory boxes. Looking back on the years when they were written tells a story in itself because it was before we got carried away with the easy access of texting and emails. Someone's handwriting does give a personal meaning because we all have unique ways of doing it. You feel as though the person is right there with you or you're connecting with them personally -almost spiritually. 
Handwritten correspondence is a lost art form. Correspondence has evolved into a cursory message that takes seconds to send and receive. Although the convenience is irrefutable, I think a lot of the soul is lost because of it.  Individuals have resorted to texting as opposed to conversing, basking in the convenience as opposed to depth. 

Funny thing, I was perusing Kickstarter trying to find ideas for presents for my kids and to help support fellow artists. A number of the gifts for donations for some of the projects included a hand-written letter of thanks. It actually made me a bit sad. A thank you note is quite a treasured gift, but these days some would overlook it as though the individual is being cheap. My father raised me with manners and encouraged me to write thank-you notes and show appreciation. Sadly though, there are a lot of people who overlook these lost traditions and neglect to show that appreciation. Either that or they believe the convenience of a Facebook post or email is sufficient enough.
Jonathan Swift
An author friend of mine, S. A. Mantell sent me a hand-written letter not too long ago.  I was both amazed and surprised by her thoughtfulness.  She is a beautifully rare soul, that one.
Value in the little things really matter in the end. What the world or society deems as "important" varies from person to person drastically. I don't know if we see where we're going honestly...
It just feels like humanity is drifting a part and before we know androids and robots will be speaking and acting for us. That's scary...with animals we know to go extinct we may eventually be following that trend as one of those animals. Or to go deep with this thought, become a lesser species, and another animal evolves and develops traits that we possess, resulting in domination over us. Anything is possible. 
During Halloween last year I recall us talking about your first novel being published and released on the exact day. That idea fascinated me but did it work out for you?
If so, how well do you think it turned out?

I can't help but laugh a little. As hard as I tried, I couldn't get the edits finished in time for that particular date. At the time I was working on editing a manuscript for one of my clients. As far as I was concerned, her manuscript took precedence over mine. After I sent the manuscript back to her with the final edits, I took the opportunity (and the week-long break from classes and bouts of sickness) to edit my novel and make it fit for publication. I finally managed to get it up and out on November 20th, nearly a month after my expected deadline. I'm rather proud of how it turned out after I made the necessary changes. 

You mentioned your next collection of poetry will have a philosophical meaning...
Are there any philosophers you admire and read their work? What do you like about these particular philosophers?

Although I do admire the works of familiar philosophers, such as Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates; Henry David Thoreau is one I admire the most. He focused more on natural observation and incorporated personal experience into his work. Tolstoy is also an influence, but his work is far beyond depressing. There are many 
Henry David Thoreau
others who are considered ‘writers’ as opposed to ‘philosophers’. Voltaire’s Candide, is based on his political philosophy and I found peculiar. It is considered a satire, or comedy but I found that the underlying message and presentation dark but bore universal truths within it. Jonathan Swift’s work is also a great influence. 

Most authors on some level display an amount of philosophy within their work. Whether it is universally depicted within the characters, plot, semantics, symbolism, or metaphor; the philosophies of the author shine through at least to some degree. I gravitate toward works that were at one point, controversial. I admire the strength and courage some classic authors and poets had for peeling away the skin of truth and baring the bold raw actuality of a topic, despite the collective reader’s opposition. It is amazing how at one point these philosophers and authors were at one point, ridiculed for what they wrote. As the years progressed and more individuals were educated, their work went on to be admired because they were brave enough to recognize and acknowledge truth, instead hiding behind ignorance. 
Yes, their work teaches us how to believe in our own paths in life and to follow them no matter what. It may not be recognized at first but eventually others will see the greatness. It's not all the time that great people are seen but in step with their achievements they become iconic.

Just by us talking about your poetry led into another interesting fact, you're also an Artist with an interest in graphic art & painting. That too I have under my belt as well so we're coming from the same place. What type of painting and G.A. have you set your focus on?

I found a love of oil painting years ago. As I said before, my grandfather was an artist. When my father was moving, he collected all of my grandfather’s paints and supplies and passed them on to me. I have his easel, his drafting table, along with oil paints and brushes he used back in the late 60’s to early 70’s. I prefer to paint scenery pictures because I haven’t quite mastered portraits quite yet. I’m currently working on a mixed media piece. I’m incorporating one of my poems with steampunk embellishments. Hopefully I’ll have time this winter to complete it. I haven’t decided whether or not I will put it up for sale.

As for graphic art, again, I prefer natural scenes. Decades Review just recently accepted one of my pieces for publication in their January issue. 

I'm a major foodie and noticed you have a love for canning and preserving. Name some of the things you love to preserve and/or a master at doing?
I learned how to can jelly when I was a kid. Admittedly, this is one of the fondest memories I have of my mom. During berry season on the weekends, from the early morning until well past dark, we would pick berries until our hands turned purple. We
Thimbleberries
would then go home with our bounty, rinse the berries and either refrigerate them until the morning, or freeze them until we had enough for a batch. After I bought my first home, I continued the tradition and mastered the fine art of making Thimbleberry jam. This particular jam at stores around here cost about $15.00 for a half pint jar. 

This past year I finally invested in a pressure cooker because I wanted to start preserving meats and soups. Sometimes through the hustle and bustle of life, I don’t have the time to cook a nice homemade dinner. Instead, I thought I would make them ahead of time, can it, and cut out time spent in the kitchen on a busy day. I started looking up recipes on Pinterest and found a number of recipes I have fallen in love with. Spicy hot watermelon pickles are probably my favorite so far. I could eat those on anything. I’ve also made my daughter’s favorite, tomato soup. I’ve also tried my hand at making corned beef hash. This little Irish girl loves her corned beef hash but I’m not a fan of the price of each can at the store. It turned out a lot better than store bought, that’s for sure. 

For Thanksgiving, I bought a 23-pound turkey.  Since the flavor of the turkey gets a little gross if frozen for a while, I decided that I’d can the leftovers for future use.  It preserves the flavor more and tenderizes the meat so if I end up botching the turkey, at least the leftovers will be tender lol. 

What are some meals or deserts you love to make?

My fiancé is a fan of my home made brownies. I’m also known for my epic no-bake cookies and sour cream blueberry muffins. 

When I was growing up, my brothers had fought over the title of who made the best apple pie. For the longest time my brother Jerrid was the reigning victor. That is, until I brought my walnut streusel apple pie to Thanksgiving dinner a few years back. I created my own apple pie spice, which gives it a unique flavor and thus I won the title. I don’t think either of my brothers bothered waiting until after dinner to delve into it either. They walked around with fork in hand and ate it straight from the tin and almost drew blood over the last piece. 
Boasting rights for you Ms. Baker!

We’re living in superwoman times literally with all the roles women juggle in their lives while still maintaining a sense of self. You have your hands full as a mommy and wife. Where do you find time to make it possible to do the work you love and how are you able to manage the demands of keeping up with it?

I’ve been asked this a lot. “How do you do what you do? Where do you find the time?” Most of the time, sadly, I forego sleep in order to get a lot done. It’s kicked me right square in the behind on more than one occasion. My kids are gone every weekend to visit their dad, so while they are gone, I delve into my responsibilities as much as I can. My fiancé will sit next to me while I’m working and we’ll cuddle while I work. When I appear frazzled or overly stressed, he’ll force me to take a break to play Skyrim and unwind. Most of the time I get so engrossed in my responsibilities that I often forget to take time for myself.  

My fiancé has been endlessly supportive of everything I do.

Even though writing is your passion and may consume much of your thought space what activities do you like to dive into when you’re not writing?

My fiancé got me into pistol competitions. The first one I participated in I won third in the women’s division.  I would have won first had I used a .22, but I opted to use his 1911 instead. 

Aside from that, I also play video games. I’m an RPG geek (role playing game). Skyrim has had my attention for the past year, but I only play it when my fiancé suggests that I play. Again, I need to be reminded to take a breather. I also like going on adventures with my kids, hiking, baking, art. I also try to volunteer at their school as often as I can. For Christmas I bought myself a program so I can start creating spoken word poetry tracks. I figured that could be something fun to do as well while I’m all snowed in.  

Most of my time spent not writing, I’m editing manuscripts for clients. I started Writerz Block editing services around the same time I accepted the position of Marketing Director at Miracle E-zine. I found that I love editing as much as I love writing. I also love to teach, so as a different approach to standard editing firms, I offer classes tailored to the specific individual and their needs. When I edit a manuscript, I also note what I changed and why, allowing the author to either accept the changes or modify as they see fit. As a writer myself, I know the difficulties of the editing process.
That's very helpful and beneficial to give back to your peers & give knowledge to others. I'm sure you find complete fulfillment in giving back using your skills!

What work did you do before now? Did it lend itself as an opportunity to advance you to do what you’re doing now?

I worked as a freelance writer and editor at a few sites. I used to write articles for www.mycollegepal.com and then progressed to ESL editing for a content writing firm in Pakistan. Before that, I worked as a waitress. I loved that job too as I have an inherent desire to feed people.  
ha! ha! right. Love that.

If you simply had to make a living with an alternative profession what other skills do you possess that could make it a simple transition? If you know what other jobs you would be good at share please!

I was an amazing waitress and I used to deal blackjack at a local casino. I would continue working with ESL writers or tutor as I have in the past. Until I earn my BA, there are unfortunately not many jobs in this area that I would be qualified for. I have been contemplating the potential of working at a university after I receive my degree and go on to earn my Masters. When I first started college, I was aiming toward a degree in elementary
education. After I transferred to Northern Michigan University, I changed my major to Art & Design and English. When I got pregnant in 2006, I had to quit college due to the fact that the classes I was taking at the time were studio classes and I would be around chemicals that could have potentially harmed my daughter. I started attending again in 2011 at the University of Phoenix online, this time for English and Communications. I will be earning my degree in June 2014 and shortly after I’ll be working toward my Masters.
Do you see yourself finishing your Art & Design courses at the same university?
When and if I ever do go back yes I'll probably go back to Northern Michigan University to get it. I've learned not to jump from college to college as it is a waste of money and time considering how many credits don't transfer. It's a nightmare. 
Technically I should have TWO Bachelor degrees considering how many credits I've accumulated in total between the 3 universities I've attended. When I transferred, some of the credits did not, so it was like starting from scratch, and all that hard work that I put into those classes were lost. Since I began my Art & Design degree at NWU, I plan to go back to NWU to finish it. Hopefully by then my credits will still be valid enough to allow me that little head start. Otherwise I may venture off to something different. Only time will tell. 
From experience being a writer can at times be lonely with one’s own thoughts but it’s captivating because the mind is very active and it’s about expressing through an introspective form, maybe even outward. Can you explain what it’s like for you?

Sometimes I miss waitressing, conversing with the customers, and making them laugh. I loved making people smile. It’s not too bad with my fiancé around, he’s even started his own yarns and we take a break at times to talk about our work, what we’re doing, where we’re going with it, and our plans to finish. There are times though, when it gets really lonely. The kids would either be at school or at their dad’s, my fiancé would be either at work or drill for his weekend with the National Guard and I’d be alone. Admittedly, Facebook is pretty much my only social life, so although it may appear that I’m online constantly; I usually just have it running in the background.  I’ll pop on for a minute or two while I either write papers for class, edit a manuscript for a client, write, or market for the magazine. 

I’m always thinking about something; even while I’m driving I’ll be contemplating a new idea or something someone said.  Sometimes I dwell upon topics that occasionally hinder or enlighten me. Mostly though, it’s an inner reflection and the best way I can express difficult emotions or circumstances. 
I know all about it lol. Somehow my best ideas and creative flow floats into my mind when I'm washing dishes. Anytime we allow our minds to wander is when the greatest ideas come to us! Balancing them with reality helps with keeping them from becoming a burden.
How do you keep yourself motivated when ideas are not coming so clearly, regularly, and you experience writer’s block?

I just keep on writing. Even if what I’m writing seems nonsensical or disjointed trains of thought. The important part is just writing and continuing to write. If I feel stumped with one story line, I will begin another. I have poems that are half-finished, simple phrases that come to mind that I plan on developing later that I still haven’t gotten around to because of that loss of ‘inspiration’. Then there are times when I just sit back and enjoy the works of others; I read. Sometimes the news inspires a write. I have one poem that I wrote that was inspired by an article I read a while back on Huffpost. It was about this mother who ran across a dieting journal her six-year-old daughter wrote. The mother was concerned that her daughter was exhibiting signs of a potential eating disorder. Then I remembered when I used to do that. I used to catalogue everything that ever passed my lips. I wrote a very lengthy poem about my struggles with my body and image, my battle with anorexia when I was in my early twenties, along with the massive changes my body underwent once I got pregnant. 
It is very brave to share your personal struggles and express it through your art form- writing. Anyone who reads our time togther will know they are not alone with whatever they are suffering with.
Huffpost is one of my favorites for news/education and it definitely gives individuals thought-worthy  content to share their thoughts on.
Inspiration can be found anywhere and has the potential to be write-worthy. Just because a piece of writing isn’t meant for publication or you have no intent of having it published, doesn’t necessarily mean it shouldn’t be written. A love of the art of writing is far more important than monetary gains. You can tell when a writer is writing for the sole purpose of making money as opposed to the writer who does it because they love it. Much like any other 9-5 job, you can tell the difference between a worker who is there solely for a paycheck and the worker who does it and is glad to be there. 

What has been the biggest compliment or critique you’ve received from followers and/or critics?
Truthfully? When I gave the raw manuscript of Faces In Still Waters to author David W. Moore III to review and tell me what he thought, I was more nervous than I had ever been in my life.  The rejection letters I had received in the past had nothing upon
the anxiety I felt as he read it and I waited for his input. I have always been confident in my skills as a poet, but when it comes to novels, I was terrified. Did I suck? Should I be doing this? Is it stupid? So many questions and negativity ran through my head until I got his call that he was finished. “It has good bones” he said, and then proceed to tell me where I could improve the novel. 

“Do I suck?” I asked, hesitantly. 

“No, you don’t suck.” he responded.  This coming from the author of “The Shroud” and two other captivating books of poetry. I would have to say that was the biggest complement I had ever received. 

Honestly, if it wasn’t for him, my book would probably still remain buried within a folder on my desktop collecting dust bunny pets.  
Just like the saying goes, You never know until you try ;) right.

Has it been fairly easy to develop a following or do you still consider it still growing?

I have a lot of people following my poetry but I will admit that my following is still growing when it comes to my fictional pieces. Reviews are an integral part of marketing and a lot of indie authors rely on them to procure more readers. If a book has no reviews, the reader doesn’t have a way to gauge whether or not a book is worthy enough to purchase. 

I really cannot wait to receive my first review. Some authors take serious offense to a less-than-perfect review. I know that not everyone is going to love my book because every reader is different in their likes and dislikes. Books are like an all-you-can-eat buffet. There are some dishes you will always love, some you are willing to try, and then there are some that taste like roadkill. But to others the roadkill could be perceived as a delicacy that is savored; it’s entirely dependent upon the individual’s tastes. If I end up with a negative review, I should expect the reviewer to explain why so that I can improve future novels. Every experience, even negative experiences, should be taken as an opportunity to learn and grow. 
Totally agree! I'm wondering though will you be able to personally handle reviewers/critiques that are left without a reason? 


This is why I love my education in communications so much.  If someone were to leave a critique without reason, whether negative or positive, I’ll just take it at face value.  A lot of the sites that include book reviews such as Amazon have rating system that a lot of people misinterpret.  If I were to receive a one star review, my feelings would be hurt, sure.  Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, though.  I’m well aware that not everyone is going to enjoy reading my book for one reason or another.  What’s ironic is that I just recently posted an article about reviews and critiques on my blog.  There are a lot of authors out there who get offended with a four-star review.  This particular article can be found at the following link: http://jvstanleywb.tumblr.com/post/73293795975/five-stars-of-death-the-misconception-of-book-reviews 

In what ways do you engage with your audience and encourage more to be involved?

Sometimes I offer giveaways. I plan on doing so here shortly with an autographed copy of Faces In Still Waters. I’ve also asked questions about writing ups and downs and shared other authors that I believe in. 

Do you have a lucky habit that you do before or during writing that means you’re on a “winning streak” or a firestorm of brainstorms, or helps you to stay on track?

Not really, honestly besides staying up all hours of the night until my vision blurs. I’ll set public goals for myself via Facebook status updates. This allows people to know that I’m off in my own little world of creativity and shouldn’t be bothered.  Ironically, though, that’s when I get more messages and notifications. 

First impressions mean everything but they can also be wrong at times. Have you experienced any situations where you were not given the benefit of the doubt or there was a misconception about who you are?
How did you correct the misunderstanding or turn it around ( if you felt the need to )?

Obviously I would try to apologize for any miscommunication on my part. I have had situations where I’ve had personality clashes and often times when that happens, I tend to apologize and bow out politely. If it’s a friend, we talk it over. With individuals I’m unfamiliar with, I approach the situation directly and this is where my long-winded tendencies take hold as I explain the situation. I’ve had to diffuse arguments and hostility due to misunderstandings between classmates on a number of occasions. Usually, when considering the other individual and their feelings, I can often times resolve the matter. 


What is a day in the life of J.V. STANLEY. 
(Finish the rest any way you want)… 
“From the moment I wake up in the morning until the time I go to sleep I ….”

I wake up, get my kids their breakfast and get them ready for school.  My daughter is in 2nd grade while my son is in the Headstart program, so he leaves a few hours after my daughter does. As soon as they’re gone, I begin my day by making some coffee, if I hadn’t already. I then start working on whatever project that is of utmost importance, either my own writing or editing a manuscript for a client and marketing for the ‘zine. I’ll take breaks periodically to clean or socialize on Facebook, retrieve my children from the bus, and then make dinner. I’ll spend a few hours with them before bed time and then start writing or working some more. At around eleven at night, I’ll start homework and work on that until 2 a.m. Sometimes by then, I will collapse into a heap or I’ll force myself to keep working. On the weekends, I work from the time I wake up until the time I go to sleep. If I have an appointment or have scheduled volunteer work for my kids’ school, I will work around that time. The commute to town is horrendous though. I live out in the middle of nowhere; about a good forty-five minute drive from the nearest civilization, pending weather conditions, of course. 

Despite how busy I am, I always block out time for my family.  Every moment I spend with them is precious to me. 

Are there any countries you would like to visit or have visited?

I’ve been to Toronto, Canada once for my senior class trip.  When I was married to my ex, we spent our honeymoon in London, England. I would love nothing more than to go back, but I would opt not to go during the Christmas holiday next time. Very nearly everything was closed but I still enjoyed my time spent there.  
Oh yea overseas they don't play when it comes to their holidays! They understand the meaning of "break-time" even during the year.
I’ve always wanted to visit Scotland and Ireland.  I was even contemplating whether or not my fiancé and I should get married in one of those countries. 

What’s your favorite color(s)?

Purple and red. 

What is one of your most favorite movies?

I have a number of those. The Saint, Shawshank Redemption, Troy, Star Wars trilogy (as in 4, 5, and 6 as opposed to the Jar-Jar Binks monstrosity), Lord of the Rings trilogy, Serenity…there are countless others. 

Do you have any unusual talents that you can share with readers?

I could talk your ear off. Seriously, it will get up and walk away.  Does sarcasm count as a talent?
I think it's hilarious that you constitute "unusual" humorously with basic communication overdone lol. Sarcasm is definitely your niche from our conversation. Why not? I mean come on, if it's used creatively how can it not be a "talent".
In all seriousness I can operate an assault rifle and the care and feeding thereof. I also do voices, as in cartoonish voices. I’ve creeped my friends out with my impression of Cartman (from South Park) and Gollum. My impression of a chicken is especially convincing. I had a boss that had me do my chicken impression whenever I saw her and she’d laugh and have me do it for her friends. I wasn’t sure if I should have been flattered or embarrassed. 
I was singing Frank Sinatra's duet with Celine Dion..."All The Way "

I also sing.  In Wal-Mart.  At the top of my lungs.  I’m patiently waiting for the day when I end up on ‘The People of Wal-Mart’ website. Christmas is my favorite time of year because that’s when I really belt ‘em out. 
Wow, I'm speechless... lol

What keeps you driven and how do you define “success”?

I don’t measure success by the dollars lining my pocket, by the friends I have, the popularity or notoriety I have attained, or even the awards I’ve won. I measure success by the level of happiness I have. I measure the success of my life by the success of my children and their happiness. I also measure small successes like mini victories such as my ability to help others to achieve their goals overcoming an emotional problem. 

What motto or saying guides you through your hardest or toughest times?

“A ship is safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for.”
― William G.T. Shedd

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
― Plato

I also find myself quoting Dale Carnegie quite a bit as well. 



Has writing changed anything about you?

It has allowed me insight into my own life. Sometimes as I write, I recognize aspects about me that wouldn’t have come to the forefront of my mind had I not sat down and written about it. It allows me to determine what emotion I am feeling, or what an underlying problem that needs resolving. It has also helped me understand a little better the motivations of others. I’ve found that I pay closer attention to the people around me and am more attuned to their feelings and mannerisms. This inevitably leads me toward an understanding of their intentions. 



Personally what do you take away from doing what you love to do that is significant to you Ms. Stanley?

I would have to say I take away a greater understanding of myself as well as the people around me. Situations, conversations; sometimes we need to stop and really listen instead of just maintaining our sense of hearing.  

With the power you have what do you aspire to change for the better ( about anything in life )?

I wanted people to read my writing and gain insight, perhaps into themselves or others. I want people to stop and really think about how my writing relates to them in life. I suppose I’ve studied enough literature to recognize and relate to some of the works by authors, while the average reader delves into a piece of work not just to learn, but to be entertained. I desire to share my knowledge, insight, and understanding within my work. If my writing influences or inspires just one person, I would be content in that. 

If you can meet anyone in the world who is presently alive who would it be and why?

Authors: I would love to meet my author friends in person, notably Victoria Selene Skye Deme.  She and I would have a blast.  
Victoria Selene Skye Deme

As for mainstream authors, I’d love to meet Anne Lamott, Barry Eisler, and Stephen King.  
L to R: Christopher Eccleston, Billie Piper, & Barry Eisler

If I could meet an actor, it would be Kate Winslet, Gary Oldman, and the cast of Firefly, including Joss Whedon so I can beg them to make a sequel to Serenity. I’m a Whovian, so I’d also love to meet David Tennant, Matt Smith, and Christopher Eccleston (he was an amazing Doctor).  Billie Piper, too; I just love Rose!




Lastly how can readers keep up with the Latest & Greatest?

I can be found on my Facebook pages as well as my websites

The Writing of J. V. Stanley Official Website: http://jvstanley.weebly.com/

Writerz Block editing service: 
http://writerzblock007.wix.com/writerzblock
















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