“Learning is a lifelong event, and you gotta always, constantly be learning.”~Coach Mark Speaks
Belief Coach Mark Speaks
Coach Mark was born in Jamaica and came to the United States while young. He might not have been an avid book reader in his childhood, but even at a young age he had an entrepreneurial mindset. By his own admission, he worked on a number of business endeavors in college, and before graduating, he and a roommate set up a nightclub, which might have had a lot of potential but became a serious financial drain for them. The nightclub stint, however, gave him experience in design, which he turned into a viable multi-million dollar business
Coach Mark admits that his success wouldn’t have happened had he not looked around and seen people who might not have had products as good as his but who were apparently doing better, and then told himself that, if they could do it, so could he. Since then, he had studied success and successful people, and credits being an avid learner for ten years as being part of his success, noting that he has well over a thousand paper, audio, and ebooks in his library. He notes that age and background aren’t barriers to achieving success, citing such examples as Grandma Moses, who achieved success in her seventies, and Whatsapp founder Jan Koum, who was an immigrant who was financially strapped when he and his family arrived in the United States.
Once he got enough passive income to live on, Coach Mark then focused on helping others become successful. His goal is to enable people to believe in themselves, focusing on particular aspects of people’s lives that they want to achieve success in. Repeat After Me is the result of a years-long desire to write a book, but it wasn’t until he thought of writing about success that he actually did so. Coach Mark wrote and designed Repeat After Me to be deliberately easy to read, not intimidating, and easy for people to digest, particularly since he noted that a lot of people don’t pick up book after leaving high school or college.
Coach Mark included other reference books in the chapters on purpose, rather than place these all in the back of the book, as he noted that most people don’t read the material in those parts of the book, to make it easy for people to refer to those references. He sees positive affirmations as being very important to a person achieving his goals, as these reprogram a person’s mind to lean towards success. Coach Mark noted that people, due to the environment and the people around them, engage in negative affirmations, which are detrimental to their succeeding, as they are flooded with negative affirmations throughout their lives, usually because people impose their own negative beliefs on others. He believes that the only way to get answers, and thus results, is by asking questions, hence the importance of questioning oneself.
Coach Mark would love for his book to be read all over the world to help people develop themselves, as an entry-level book to success, and he wants to touch lives all over the world. He loves to learn, remarking that it is a measure of how successful his life is that he finds it difficult to name something he doesn’t like to do, and would like to travel to Africa and South America.
“When I get started on my book, I don’t wanna stop.” ~Lynn Jackson
Lynn used to run a rescue farm for horses and other animals, including a manatee and an elephant. She’d lived on that farm for the past seventeen years and along with her husband and son, have contributed much to the welfare of abused animals. At the time of her interview with AuthorStory, she and her family were moving to a new home.
Lynn admits she hates to read, particularly since she says she doesn’t want to be influenced by other authors, although she admits to being influenced by the black-and-white, classic horror movies she saw as a child which never quite scared her. Lynn loves artwork apart from writing and she admits that, if she could write twenty-four hours a day, she would do just that.
She started out by writing children’s poetry and has moved on to other genres from there. Her goal in life is to write a hundred stories and she has so far written about a dozen with ten more stories in the pipeline as of this writing.
Lynn remarks that living on a farm and dealing and interacting with the animals there can bring up a wide variety of emotions that she can put into her book, and that some of the names for the animals in her stories are actual names of animals on the farm. Of all the characters she had written out, Lynn found that Jason of A Midnight Howl, really appealed to her, so much so that her hands were shaking when she was writing out a particularly intense scene. She admits to having “fallen in love” with her creation due to his being a character who was funny and plucky and one who also had to fight for what he got.
Lynn created The House Dorstanton series of books in which Child of Darkness and Lost in Darkness are the first books of a big story where vampires and all sorts of fey creatures, such as elvens and trolls, live side-by-side with mortal human beings like knights and wizards. She also doesn’t focus wholly on the main characters but also on other events, in other areas, and lands, particularly since she wants to keep things interesting and unpredictable for the reader.
The House Dorstanton series actually started around the mid 1990s, but it took a long time for her to get the series done because she would write other books while she was also working on the vampire stories, saying that there were times that a book “tapped her on the shoulder” and demanded that she write it.
The research that Lynn did for the series was based on the need for her to bring the world in the books to life, such as weapons and the way of life in the kind of era where the story would take place or is inspired by. She keeps notes on the world of The House Dorstanton Series because of the many characters and places involved.
She admits that she had experienced paranormal activity throughout her life and she once lived on a farm that has the reputation of being one of the most haunted in America, although these experiences have yet to reflect in one of her books. If and when she writes a book on ghosts, these supernatural experiences would definitely find a place in the story and characters. She doesn’t have any particular person in mind when she writes her books, but she does keep their age level (adult, young adult, or children) in mind.
One of Lynn’s future stories is about Pit bull fighting, with which she hopes can make people realize the evils of Pit bull fighting. She would like to go one of these days to Las Vegas for the excitement, as well as to Africa to see the animals there, especially the elephants.
"Filipinos are a lot more than pansit, lumpia, and Manny Paquiao."~Marivi Soliven
Marivi was formerly an instructor of English at the University of the Philippines, and she moved to the United States in her thirties after she got married and as such her sense of identity as a Filipino was already fully-formed. She remarked that she had to change her way of thinking when she got to the United States, since her first job as a caregiver and personal assistant to a disabled professor was disparate from her previous work as an educator and her later jobs as an interpreter and an advocate of anti-domestic violence.
Marivi was aware that becoming an immigrant is a long process, and she also mentioned that the sense of dislocation, of being removed from one’s roots, was part of her experience as an immigrant, and is most likely the same kind of experience that other immigrants go through.
Marivi wrote the book because she simply wanted to tell the story of Filipino immigrants in the United States, rather than to appeal to any particular audience, but she notes that it would most likely appeal to those who have moved to an unfamiliar country from the place they grew up in. She chose a mango for the title because that fruit is synonymous with the Philippines. She noted that she wanted to give an alternative view of immigrants, in general, other than the commonly-held image of foreigner who is seeking a better life as they can’t survive on what they would earn in their home country. She notes that some Filipinos, herself included, who emigrated didn’t know how to operate a washing machine (like maybe what's in most walk-in DIY wash services) when they first arrived in the United States, because in the Philippines, such chores are handled by the household help, or at least in middle- and upper-class families.
Some of her experiences went into the book and the places mentioned are likewise drawn from her own life. Her main character, Beverly, is “at least 95%” based on real life. For the character of Amparo, Marivi drew on her memories of her own mother and her aunt. In writing the book, she needed to do some research on police procedures and Google Maps, and asked friends in Manila to take pictures of places mentioned in the book.
Marivi admits that she had read the works of a lot of authors, such as Hemingway and Karen Christence Dinesen (aka Isak Dinesen) and some of them definitely influenced her writing style, particularly Jhumpa Lahiri when it came to how to present Tagalog conversations in her book, and as she has occasionally watched Filipino soap operas, she remarked that the overall frame of her story is based on similar contexts.
Marivi notes that food is a metaphor for love, and that she deliberately wanted to highlight the Filipinos’ love for food in the book, particularly since a longing for food is central to Filipino immigrants, and for her, smelling Filipino dishes bring back memories of her past. She also compared Thanksgiving with Christmas and pointed out how during one Thanksgiving with a Filipino family, the turkey was a centerpiece that nobody really bothered with, as they were focusing on Filipino dishes like lechon.
Marivi would advise immigrants to be patient, as it takes time to understand how they would fit into the society they are entering. For those who are native to the countries where Filipinos emigrate to, she would like to point out that Filipinos are a lot more than the stereotypical association with pansit, lumpia and Manny Pacquiao, although she does admit that this kind of global “branding” is also due to Filipinos tending to easily blend into the mainstream societies they emigrate to and leave their mark on the local culture.
Marivi likes cooking and yoga and would like to be able to travel to different places and countries in the future, such as Angkor Wat, some parts of India, as well as Batanes and Sagada in The Philippines. Marivi remarked that she enjoys speaking to readers and invites them to contact her through her website or through her e-mail address, marivisoliven17 at gmail dotcom for a Skype book club visit. She’s pleased with her involvement with ACCESS Inc., an organization involved with giving legal aid for survivors of domestic violence, of whom Anne Bautista is a legal director who has been doing this kind of work for over ten years.
Marivi has another book featuring Filipinos who migrated to the United States in the 1930s. The website for her book, The Mango Bride, is marivisoliven.com.
“Be open to what you live for on this Earth.”~Kiyoshi Shimada
Kiyoshi Shimada has been a staff member for Happy Science for twelve years and had been involved with Happy Science for ten years prior to that, and over the course of time, he has been called in to help people who have been afflicted by evil spirits. According to him, Happy Science is a religious organization that believes in the Origin of Life, which is also known as God the Father or the Eternal Buddha, and that all religions can be united to avoid all the conflict and dissent among these. Likewise, according to him, Master Okawa has spiritual abilities and spiritual wisdom, the lessons of which he is passing on to people.
Kiyoshi related that Buddha himself encountered evil spirits during his meditations, which he overcame through enlightenment and by spreading enlightenment with others. The Buddhist methodology focuses on self-reflection, as, since like attracts like, someone with negative energy vibrations will attract negative beings (such as evil spirits) and negativity, while someone with positive energy vibrations will attract positive beings and positivity. Kiyoshi noted six factors which attracts evil spirits, which are:
Greed - desire for something one doesn’t deserve
Anger - particularly uncontrolled anger
Ignorance - of what is good and what is bad
Pride/conceit - “I am always right”
Doubt - doesn’t believe in anyone else
Wrong view - belief in something wrong that causes disharmony
Evil spirits, according to Kiyoshi, are beings that once lived on Earth, has had more negative impact on the world than positive impact, and have passed away, which means that it’s not just criminals who become evil spirits. Evil spirits draw their energy from negative energy, which can come from such emotions as fear, hate and sadness, and as this comes from people they would work to influence the living away from positive energies. He noted that evil spirits could also be passed on through those who are already affected by these, and that one’s ancestors who were subject to their influences in the past could seek help from living kin to get to the higher spiritual realms. He also noted that evil spirits located in particular places, such as cemeteries or where someone committed suicide, might also possess a person. He also remarks that, according to Buddhist belief, people are reincarnated time and time again until they learn the lessons they need to learn before moving on, and that self-reflection is important to learning these lessons.
Kiyoshi notes that people who engage in negative emotions are more likely to be possessed or affected by evil spirits. The symptoms of a possessed person are:
Having a negative/pessimistic /angry world view
Feeling like one is not in control of oneself (e.g. looking into the mirror and realizing that “that’s not me”)
Feeling unnecessarily cold/chilly, with occasional goosebumps
Having a heavy feeling on one’s shoulders
Time inversion, wherein one is active at night and sleeps by day
Hearing voices whispering in one’s ear (this is an indicator of a serious possession)
Wanting to commit suicide or to kill someone else (a red flag)
Kiyoshi remarks that the best way to avoid evil spirits is to achieve a correct way of thinking to create positive energy in the first place. The corrective actions that need to be done to exorcise an evil spirit, however, are:
Recognizing that an evil spirit is in action
Empower one’s life with positivity, serving the Truth, understanding one’s attachments and distinguishing between good and bad
Self-reflection, to bring one’s energy to positive levels, rather than to stay in negative levels
Smile and exercise one’s body to maintain one’s body fitness
Focus on work
Kiyoshi notes that Happy Science offers prayers or sutras for people to recite to expel evil spirits. He believes that teaching others to be positive and knowing the Truth will make people happier, and doing so is his favorite thing to do, and he dislikes making people unhappy. He is also looking forward to achieving enlightenment in the future.