Studio Guests

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the
charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.

Marcel Proust

Featuring the voices of thinkers, artists, writers, and poets is appropriate for a sunny, creative space for kindred spirits.
Each guest has brought something special to this space, offering unique insights and talents.
It was my absolute pleasure to provide an opportunity for them to share their thoughts and ideas here.
A warm thank you to each one of you!

Browse 48 guest posts in SunnyRoomStudio

I am proof that it is possible for someone who has never written anything longer
(or more creative) than a college thesis to learn how to write a well-crafted story.

In 1976, LINDA became one of the first women on a Forest Service fire crew in the
Santa Rita Mountains south of Tucson. Summers of Fire, her first book, releases May 1st, 2018.
In addition to writing, Linda is a landscape architect, certified arborist, and watercolor artist.

This made me wish I could change the world, help it to become a more understanding and compassionate place.
After half a century of writing, I believe I can, word after word.

CAROLYN is the author of the memoir Every Least Sparrow,
a book about raising her daughter Jennifer, who has Rubinstein-Taybi Syndrome.

I see my work as a writer to be that of giving voice to the beauty that can be found in the ordinary,
and that of telling the truth as I see it unfolding in my own life.

HEIDI is an author and gardener living in Minnesota. She also hosts retreats.

  • The Gold Standard (a brief interview with William Least Heat-Moon)

    Big commercial publishers, especially today, are transfixed by the greed  to find a potential blockbuster
    (and that usually translates to schlock). Too often their goal is for fast, mega sales,
    even though history shows the longevity of a book to be the true gold standard.


 Heat-Moon, acclaimed author of Blue Highways and numerous other books, holds a Ph.D. in English.

Let your voice resonate from the first page of your book, until the last. Honor and own your voice.

Susan Weidener photo

Susan is an author and the founder of the Women’s Writing Circle.

When I look back on my own memoir writer’s journey, I think of it as a spiritual journey that started out with a
quest to find the heart of my story when all I had was a deep desire to tell it.


Kathy is a memoirist and a kindred spirit.

All that said, writing saved my life. Being fearless with what may come out on to the page in any
given moment was an important ingredient to getting to the meat of the matter.
The mighty pen pulled me through.


Sukey is an author, a mother, and a kindred spirit.

Writing down what I think somehow untangles the confusion, gives form to the chaotic,
sets free the voice that is forever narrating the life around me, as though it all
wants to be set in a story and made immortal.


Karen’s memoir, My Father’s Gardens (Homebound Publications 2013), is nominated
for the 2014 Pushcart Prize. She teaches at Sacramento State University.

Shepherd would have to earn a boatload of money to compensate me for seven years of labor writing and rewriting it!
But that’s not why I did it. Neither writing nor farming usually makes much sense as an “investment,”
as a place to put your time and money, yet each is necessary to others in its way.
We must feed our bodies and our souls; each activity exerts a mythic pull.
Each can be a sacred calling.


Author Richard Gilbert teaches writing at Otterbein University in Ohio.

And so the landscape of my childhood, its beauty and loneliness, is inextricably linked to my art,
whether it’s writing or photography or something else.  It’s the reason I am an artist.
And it’s not just because of the beauty ~ it’s also the deep ambivalence it created in me.  

Portrait 1 Tamara LinseTamara is a Wyoming author with a newly released collection of short stories.

We write in order to hold on to perishable moments.
We write not because we have things figured out,
but because we want desperately to know more.

KK1Katrina is the author of three books; she lives in New Hampshire.

Some ten years later, I entered the writing life hook, line and sinker.
No one should do this without reading Lewis Hyde’s book The Gift and his extended explanation
of art as a gift exchange. This book changed my life, gave me breath and hope.

mlt1Mary is the author of three books; she teaches writing and lives in Washington D.C.
She was also my first studio guest in 2010.  If you browse through this list, you’ll find her here again.

One of my favorite childhood memories is sitting next to my great grandmother (in her fabulous wooden rocking chair)
as she talked about living in a sod hut in the Oklahoma territory.She told stories from the 1880s, talking about grass growing inside, animals burrowing into their walls, the cold, the warmth being underground and blizzards that forced them inside for days.

NSSNancy is a Media Educator, Video Editor & Producer.

Writing a memoir requires willingness to undertake a spiritual journey.
In my case it took me back to the farm of my childhood.

z-my-fave-close-up-creek-188x300Shirley is the author of a new memoir called Blush: A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World

I appeared on The Today Show when my book was published, and told the world how calm I was.
I received moving emails from readers who’d suffered silently for years, as I had, and found
comfort in my journey. I continued to deepen my meditation practice as I struggled
to care for my mother, now in her 12th year of Alzheimer’s Disease.

berriesPriscilla is the bestselling author of Learning to Breathe and co-author of The Faith Club.

A New Earth struck me as a masterpiece, and I’ve read it repeatedly since Mom’s illness and death.
Tolle writes of the pain-body each human carries … he also answers the question of what, in you, is irked by the
malodorous egos of others: your ego.  He defines the ego simply, as that in human nature which “wants and fears.”

Richard Gilbert

 Richard is an author, blogs about writing @ Narrative, and teaches
writing at Otterbein University in Ohio.

Haiku are very contemplative; they can seem ephemeral, but in fact capture an elusive
‘A-ha!’ moment of insight

Juliet is a writer, a poet, an environmentalist living in the U.K.

With simple yoga practices, you can alter brain waves from frantic to calm,
induce a creative frame of mind and open up the imagination and the body to make the
stepping stones into writing less jarring and more natural.

Jacqueline is the author of 4 books; most recently, Picture This.

I grew up in Southern California, but Dickinson and the surrounding towns and landscape
got under my skin. Maybe it’s my genetic coding.

Lynne is the author of Dakota Blues, her first novel.

In keeping with my twisted sensibility and on target taste treats, I decided to pick
some mint and conjure up a tropical inspired cocktail.

Warren is an editor, author, inspired mixologist, photojournalist
living in New Jersey.

Once a person forgives, a tremendous personal transformation occurs. I refer to this process as inner alchemy;
a wonderful jumping off point for spiritual awareness and understanding that we’re an extension of source energy.

Laurie is a holistic health practitioner, author and blogger.

Writing became my method of healing. It allowed me to put my pain on the page.

Madeline Sharples is an author and poet living in California.

I think the secret to great writing is being able to strike a balance between being attentive to detail,
yet writing lean. In addition, it’s important to have characters who are deep
and psychologically nuanced — the hero can’t be perfect and the villain shouldn’t be all bad.

John DeDakis is the author of three mysteries.

Now, as I write, I think of my younger self as a character with the nick name ‘Rosy Cheeks.’
I am interested in peeling back the layers of her formation to what she sensed but did not know.

Shirley Showalter, memoirist, writes from Brooklyn.

Whatever your usual mode of creative expression, memoir writing is an
incredible way to trace the hidden power lines in your work.

Kate Lord Brown is an author and blogger.

Perhaps understanding there are no definitive answers is what keeps us hopeful. If we let go of negative emotions
and focus on what is positive in our lives it creates a wonderful dynamic to live by. You no longer fall
into despair because you are actively looking for the affirmative.

Barbara is an artist, author, and blogger living in Philadelphia.

But a true story, a true piece of writing in any form, is not created from a desire to be good
but a desire to understand. Remembering that will keep us going.

9033_167876829399_680819399_3612952_2755642_nJen is an author and creative writing instructor in San Antonio.

“So, in the end, maybe the artist’s tinted glasses, just like the salmon and coral skies that cast new light into the desert, add excitement and momentum, add a bit of beauty in the moment … even if, the next day, the colors aren’t so bright.”

Melissa is a writer, blogger, photographer living in Arizona.

“Good advice, but it loses sight of the fact that reviews are opinions: they are subjective. Opinions – unlike facts – cannot claim to be ‘right’, we can only agree or disagree with them. To do this, we need to know something of the reviewer’s motivation.”

Trish is an author and photographer
living in New Zealand.

“I was so relieved to find authors such as Anne Lamott, who talked about their relationship with success, and how problematic they found it. Lamott is especially encouraging, as she is uncompromisingly candid about her human frailties.”

Fiona is a novelist, creativity coach & blogger
living in Malvern, Worcestershire (UK).

“That which makes our hearts beat, enables us to see, to touch, to think, to love – that’s no small, fleeting thing.  And neither are we.”

Jennifer is an artist and author living in Seattle.

“My mother has been gone for almost 20 years, and she was lost to me for almost a decade more during her decline into dementia. But I still occasionally hear her voice.  And her words – many of them so simple – have become ever more important as time passes.”

Laura is an award winning playwright and
author living in Massachusetts.

“Some lucky people can actually see the light that surrounds us, while others can feel it, and still others completely disbelieve.”

Melissa is the founder of The Women’s Nest & an
award-winning author living in Maryland.

“Through their guidance, I began opening up to the Universal Mind, a common thread that seemed to link all religions and great philosophers. I left behind formal “religion” and stepped onto my spiritual path, becoming a seeker.”

Cynthia is a gifted author living in San Antonio.

“That there are no right answers is what frightens every writer, no matter how experienced, and yet also why every writer, no matter how experienced, chooses to write.”

Bill is the Executive Editor of Author Magazine in Seattle.

“My life, although filled with physical challenges, has become a re-composition full of unique harmony. God faithfully and creatively led me from the voice of a singer to that of an author.”

Holly is an author living in upstate New York.

“Fear and a lack of connection with others are the basis for creative blocks and procrastinations.  Developing and sustaining relationships with mirrors, heroes, and twins actually gives us the psychological nourishment—which we take in and make our own—to risk taking the dive.”

Anne is an author and clinical psychologist in Cincinnati.

“As a society we strive to give our children a balanced nutritional diet but, at times, we lose sight of the need for a balanced childhood.  We need to feed the souls and imaginations of our children, too.”

Sarah is an artist and blogger living near Indianapolis.

“Writing is a calling. I believe those who are drawn to it have something important to share with the world. It took a long time for me to recognize my own story as something worthy.”

Susan is an author living in Arizona.

“Children seem to get Reiki in a way that skeptical adults often don’t.  Young kids haven’t yet learned not to believe in all those things we cannot see or prove.”

Kathy is an author, psychologist, life coach, and
Reiki master living in Colorado.

“Oh, the threats to storytelling have been myriad.  The only thing is, storytelling never disappeared.  Every step of the way, every new medium needed stories.  People wrote and told them.  The hunger for stories never abated.”

Cathryn is a professional storyteller, consultant, and
blogger from British Columbia.

“I’m a very visual person and see the scenes in my books completely set up in my mind.  Imagination in both art and writing is an essential quality.”

Monti is an award-winning author & artist from Virginia.

“Lock me in a cave with a candle and I’ll decorate the place.  A creative block for me is when I have too many ideas to choose what to do next.  Having too many other tasks to accomplish can be considered a ‘block,’ as well.  I’m always thinking ahead to my next painting, even when I’m asleep.”

Paul is an artist and author living in Columbia, Missouri.

“Perhaps for as long as humans can remember, every day the earth turns and the sun comes up.  Why then does it attract me so? To see the first light is to witness a miracle.  No two mornings are exactly the same.  Each day has its own precious beginning.”

Terrill is an artist, photographer, writer living in British Columbia.

“I get excited when I can write a story in which the differences (age, ethnicity, class) between people fade and they recognize their universal connection, their humanity.  I have a great fondness for poetic justice, so I’m hoping a character will arrive one day that cries out for a story about that.”

C. Lee is a YA author living in California.

“We all grow up taking names for granted; our own names and the names of places around us. But they are rarely arbitrary. Rarely is a name in a novel just a label. They carry the soul of the story’s world, like a soundtrack does in a movie. Again, thank you for hosting me and making me so welcome on your blog.”

Roz is an author, a writing consultant, living in London.

“There is no substitute for the broadening of our horizons which time naturally brings. Life itself is a metamorphosis and all people and all things are in a constant state of becoming.”

“It is my belief that art is the lucid tongue of the creative spirit, and artists in all cultures should be valued as high ambassadors of our civilization.”

Keithlinwoodstover2010guestKeith is a writer living in Maine.

“My memoir tells the story of love lost and found, but what I want explore in this guest essay is where the writing comes from and why it had lain in wait.”

Mary is an author living in Washington D.C.

• • • • • •

Again, my gratitude to all of you for sharing your
creative talents here in SunnyRoomStudio.

I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.
–Michelangelo Buonarroti
sculptor, painter, architect, and poet (1475-1564)