Friday, June 26, 2015

Conversation 37: Dana Leipold

Greetings all, and welcome back to Clockwork Conversations, where writers talk about almost everything... except writing!

Today I am pleased to welcome Dana Leipold to the blog. 

Here is a little information about our guest to get us started:


Dana Leipold is an author and member of the Association of Independent Authors. Her debut novel, Burnt Edges, depicts the unwavering resilience of a young woman in the face of family violence and abuse. She has self-published two other books: a collection of limericks in Dr. Seuss-style for adults entitled, Stupid Poetry: The Ultimate Collection of Sublime and Ridiculous Poems, and a non-fiction book entitled, The Power of Writing Well: Write Well. Change the World. Leipold lives with her husband and two children in the San Francisco Bay Area. 


Q1: On your website you mention that you enjoy Yoga. When did you begin doing Yoga, and what does it add to your life?

DL: I started practicing yoga in earnest in 2000 when a friend of mine and I went to this amazing yoga retreat through the White Lotus Yoga Foundation in Santa Barbara, California.


Yoga helps me focus and get into my body when often I’m in my head. I feel like I’m a better writer and a better person whenever I consistently practice yoga.

Q2: What advice would you have for someone who wanted to try Yoga but felt overwhelmed?


DL: Learn more about it. Google it. Read books. Watch videos. Take a beginner’s class…in fact, take a lot because yoga can be practiced in many different ways.

I was like a lot of Westerners who just thought yoga was about flexibility and weird positions when I first started practicing. Yoga is so much more than that! To me, it is a way of living that focuses on wellness and integrating mind, body, and spirit. And it’s NOT a religion or a cult (again, I used to think this.)

Q3: When you're not reading, writing, or doing Yoga, what would we most likely find you doing in your leisure time?


DL: Hiking with my family. Playing with my kids. Doing puzzles (I LOVE PUZZLES!). Eating (I LOVE FOOD!).

Q4: What non-writing related goal do you hope to achieve in the next five years?


DL: I’m starting to learn more about Zen, from the Zen Habits blog. I can see why it’s one of the most popular blog in the world. I think we could all benefit from simplifying our lives.

In five years, I hope to slow down, do less, and enjoy life more. I get caught up in this crazy, fast-paced life that’s always connected and never allows for down time. It’s high time to stop and smell the roses!

Q5: *bonus question for everyone* Do you collect anything? If so, why?


DL: Yes! I absolutely adore Talavera pottery. It is hand-painted Mexican pottery with beautiful details and color. There’s just something lively and passionate about it that I really gravitate toward. I have many pieces in my home and want to collect more!  

Thank you so much, Dana, for being my guest today! I especially appreciated your words about it being "high time to stop and smell the roses!" because I couldn't agree more! Thank you for sharing your outlook and interests with us!

You can learn more about Dana Leipold by visiting her at:

See you all next time!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Conversation 36: Eleanor Parker

Greetings! Thank you for joining us today at Clockwork Conversations. I am thrilled to welcome back to the blog author, artist, and world traveler, Eleanor Parker!

Welcome, Eleanor! Please remind our readers about who you are and what you do.

EP: I’m a Puerto Rican-born novelist and painter, raised in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Europe. I have a passion for travel and adventure, and my careers as a painter, counselor, alternative health practitioner, and a Spanish language social worker and refugee case worker, inspire my writing. I love introducing readers to Caribbean and Latin American characters and stories. When I’m not writing, I enjoy facilitating The Artist’s Way creativity groups. I share my passion for telling stories at my writing blog, The Writing Life and I share my publishing journey at my website/author blog,

A Decent Woman is my debut historical novel. It has garnered rave reviews from readers in the United States, Canada, and the UK, and I’m thrilled to say the book was selected as the July 2015 Book of the Month by the national organization, Las Comadres & Friends. My two adult children live in Northern Virginia and the Netherlands, and I currently live in West Virginia.

Q1: The bio on your website indicates that you have spent a great deal of time living outside of the USA. What was your favorite country to live in, and why did you love it?

EP: Yes, that’s right. My father was in the military and I married an Army officer. Traveling has always been a huge part of my life and continued for years until my then-husband retired during our tour in Brussels, Belgium. We remained and raised our children in Belgium and France for thirteen years. France is my favorite country in the world and will always have a special place in my heart. I lived outside of Paris with my parents as a child and returned many times during my life. Finally we bought a vacation home in the south of France, which sold after our divorce.

There are a million reasons why I love France! A few are, cheese, wine, champagne, quaint French villages, a fascinating history, the beautiful language, and a slower pace of life that resonates with my heart. I hope to return to live in France one day, and I still love to travel.

Q2: You’re a visual artist (painter) as well as a painter with words… tell us a little about your art. What motivates you most when it comes to painting?

EP: I was a painter-five years, primarily in watercolor and pastel, before coming to writing. During that time, I exhibited my pieces and held key positions in two art guilds in the US and in Brussels. I love painting portraits and still life, which are quite difficult in watercolor as it’s an unforgiving medium, but I love the challenge. Now that I write full time, I paint when my muse tells me I need a break, or when I am writing a tough portion of a story and need a new perspective. Painting is my reward, you could say. Writing, my new passion, offers me a new creative outlet, and I’ve discovered that writing does a great job of telling the stories in my heart and soul. My artist’s eye and spirit allow me create colorful, rich settings and atmosphere within my stories that I hope will be conveyed on the page and will be pleasing to the reader’s imagination.

My motivations to paint are many: beauty in nature, simplicity and complexity in form, and the play of light and dark. A beautiful setting, a vignette in a home, an interesting person, a selection of music that touches me, anything really, will inspire me to paint.

Q3: Do you have a favorite painting of all you’ve done? What thing or place would you like to paint in the future?

EP: My favorite painting is a watercolor portrait of a young man who modeled for me on my front porch in the late 90’s. It was my first serious portrait and he was a pleasure to work with, not to mention easy on the eyes! The painting was exhibited at the Torpedo Factory and the Athenaeum in Old Town Alexandria, and in Brussels with Art Perspectives International. I never sold the painting for sentimental reasons, and it hangs in my home.

At the moment, I am working on a collage/watercolor series that reminds me of Aladdin’s Tale with rich colors, texture, and beautiful writings. I’ve completed four pieces, and I hope to exhibit the series next year with four additional pieces.

Q4: What was the greatest lesson about life you have learned by living in so many diverse and amazing places?

EP: I have a tattoo on my left shoulder that reads in French, “regrette rien,” regret nothing. I live by that ‘rule’. The greatest lesson about life I’ve learned is that we as human beings, no matter where we are from, where we grew up, or even if we lived in a different era—are ultimately the same. We share similar fears, passions, joys, and nightmares in life.

Q5: Since you’ve answered the standard bonus question before here is one just for you: with all your travels, what have you found to be the one truly indispensable thing that you must pack in your carry-on bag for every trip you take?

EP: Great question, Bru! After packing the obvious passport and a copy of the passport for good measure, I always pack a journal and several pens to record my thoughts, the sights and impressions of the places I’m visiting and enjoying. I don’t trust my memory, and will journal at the drop of a hat, so I don’t forget!

Thanks so much for your super interview questions, and the opportunity to interview with you, Bru!


Thank you so much for being my guest once again, I learned so much more about you and it was all fascinating!

You can learn more about Eleanor Parker by visiting

See you all next time, as we begin to wind up our amazing June Interview Extravaganza. Thank you for visiting with us!