I am pleased to have Paula Renaye, author of The Hardline Self Help Handbook: What Are You Willing to Do to Get What You Really Want? as a guest poster on Acting Balanced as part of her book tour:
A Lyrical and Mysterious Journey to Self Help
In some ways, I've always been a writer—as a child I loved to write stories and poems. But even with journalism scholarships and writing for the newspaper in college, I never saw myself as a writer! I was—I just couldn't see it, or maybe wouldn't see it. The details of that are in the book, but the short version is that after I walked away from a promising career, it took a long time to get back to it.
In fact, it took my dad dying suddenly to unearth my need for writing. The turmoil of the situation unleashed a lot of things that had been bottled up for many years. I needed to write, I just didn't know it yet. But when I started hearing songs in my head—complete with lyrics and melodies—I figured I better start writing them down. When I did, I realized I was having fun again!
After a while, I had a pretty good collection. A couple of local groups even played a few in public venues with some press, and I was thrilled to have my work "out there" again. But since I was neither a singer nor a musician—and I had three kids and a complicated life—I wasn't going to be visiting Nashville anytime soon. And, I didn't want to. But my creativity had been released from captivity and I was going to do something!
So, I found a local writers group and joined in. A couple of people were writing poetry and short stories, but most were writing novels. Well, I figured since I'd read a zillion books, I could certainly write one. How hard could it be?
Okay, it was a foolish question, but the truth is, sometimes not knowing what you don't know is a blessing. I sat down and whipped out a 400-page western historical mystery novel. I felt alive again and I was hooked! Here's the opening line to that book: Still holding the warm gun, Maddie lifted her skirt and ran for the buggy.
Now, seriously, it's a pretty good hook! That book actually won several contests right out of the gate, but never made it to print, although if I hadn't had an attitude problem about it being slotted as a romance, it would have been—I had an offer. But, we won't be labor that choice!
My first published novel was Hot Enough to Kill, a humorous mystery that was featured in Redbook and other magazines and newspapers. Funny story about that—it was one of four books on the page and all three of the others were best-sellers and were made into movies. Clearly, I was not ready for prime time at that point!
My second mystery, Dead Man Falls, won the 2001 WILLA Literary Award for Best Original Paperback. The third, Turkey Ranch Road Rage, was released last year, and I'm working on Killer Moves in all my spare time.
So, you ask, how did it happen that I went from writing funny mysteries to self help books? Well, if you'd read my fictional tales you wouldn't need to ask that question!
Actually, after the first book came out and the second book was set to be published, life really started happening—and not in a good way. A series of deaths in the immediate—but physically distant— family occurred in a really short time frame and pushed an already shaky marriage to the brink. It also forced me to face the fact that a lot of things weren't working in my life besides my relationship, including my whole idea of self and who I was as an individual. So, like a lot of people, I started searching for ways to ease my own pain.
Over the course of about ten years, I started some version of this book at least six different ways, but it just never came together. I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to give people in pain, as I had been, a way out of it—a way to see things differently so they could walk over that bridge to the other side and find joy.
So, here I am, with the guide that I desperately needed myself years ago—a simple and direct roadmap for people who are stuck but are also afraid to be un-stuck. And wth times as they are today, it's what a lot of us need—and are ready for. That's really what The Hardline Self Help Handbook is about. It's a do-it-yourself short course that helps people figure out what they really want in their lives, why they don't already have it—and how they can.
My journey isn't over, of course; we are all always learning. And when I hit a bump or feel overwhelmed by all there is to do, the subtitle of my own book starts playing in my head: What Are You Willing to Do to Get What You Really Want?
It's a great question, isn't it? But the answer isn't simple, I assure you. There are a lot more of those kinds of questions in The Hardline Self Help Handbook, and they can stop you in your tracks—in a really good way!
There is a down side to writing a book like this—you can never again pretend to be confused or that you don't know what to do. And if your friends have read your book, they are more than happy to quote your own words back to you as happy reminders.
And really, isn't that what it's all about—helping each other?
So, if you feel stuck, do what you need to do to get moving forward in your life and start living your joy!
Paula Renaye is a professional life coach, motivational and empowerment speaker, regression hypnosis practitioner and award-winning author in both fiction and nonfiction. She has been a consultant for 18 years, holds a degree in Financial Planning and is a member of the International Association of Coaches. Her passion is helping people face reality and take personal responsibility for their choices in order to reclaim their own power and live the life they really want. For special book tour bonus materials and a link to purchase the print book at a discount, visit www.hardlineselfhelp.com. The book is also available at http://www.amazon.com and on Kindle.
Where to buy
The Hardline Self Help Handbook by Paula Renaye is available through most online retailers and bookstores by order in trade paperback and ebook formats.
ISBN 0-9674786-5-0 (trade paperback) $19.95
For special book tour bonus materials and a link to purchase the print book at a discount, visit www.hardlineselfhelp.com.
A printable Companion Workbook is available in printable PDF format from the publisher. See website for details.