Monday, November 26, 2012

Food For Thought - Legends and Folklore

Image courtesy of Suat Eman 

Many foods have been associated with religion, healing, love, sex, mortality, status and beauty. Beliefs about food vary from culture to culture. If you look through any ancient literature, you will see illuminating accounts of various foods and their magical powers on the human mind, soul and body. Therefore, it is no surprise how many of these myths and folklore play an important role in our own food choices.
Some of these claims date back to as far as 2000 B.C. With the holidays approaching, we thought sharing some of these traditions might make for some great discussions at your next social gathering.

African Proverb - “Come into my home; sit at my table; then you will know me.” In most cultures, the sharing of a meal is an important social event, and on the continent of Africa, you will hear an individual say the following about a person: “He is my friend. We have eaten together.”

Avocado - Ancient Aztec, Mayan and Inca cultures believed avocados nourished the body externally and internally.

Mayan folklore tells how the famous Indian, Seriokai, was able to trace his unfaithful wife to the end of the world. The lovers adored avocados and ate them wherever they went. Seriokai followed the young trees, which sprang from the discarded seeds.

In Mexico, the avocado has been considered an aphrodisiac. An old Aztec legend describes how young and beautiful maidens were kept in their rooms for protection during the height of the avocado season.

Yam - Among the Ashanti of Ghana, yams play an important role in the ceremonies that accompany birth, marriage and death.

Onion - “Throwing onions after a bride on her wedding day will assure her of tearless years of marriage.”

Apple and Tomato - The apple was associated with lust, and the tomato was considered an aphrodisiac.

Basil - Millions of devout Hindus started their day by praying around the household plant. In the evening, they would leave a butter lamp burning by the herb and would concentrate on love and devotion surrounding basil.

Gourmet News, Summer 1986
Gourmet News, Spring 1986

Monday, November 19, 2012

Meet Emma Michaels, Author of Owlet

Every author has one novel that he or she think of, as “the book of my heart” at some point in his or her life and Owlet is mine. As a lifelong asthmatic, I grew up always feeling disconnected from the characters I loved so dearly in the YA novels I read. It bothered me that all of the characters I felt close to were so much more capable than I will ever be. They say that when there is a novel you desperately want to read but can't find it must be one you need to write - so I did. The goal of this novel is to reach out to and help as many people as my words can.

Owlet is now here, the novel I needed when I was growing up and hopefully can help someone else who might have felt the same way or is feeling that way now. A YA Urban Fantasy, the book is about a girl who learns that sometimes having something working against you, can make you a stronger, better person, and while it hurts to become that way, it can also give you a fighting chance.

Synopsis: Somewhere between falling and flying...there is a girl.

Iris has a secret. She lost her memory eight years ago and never told a living soul. After an asthma attack, one night she finds out that her dreams of a strange house on a snowy island may be a memory resurfacing, but the more she learns about the past, the more she realizes the life she has been living is a lie. As the façade her father has built starts to crumble around her, she will have to decide which means more to her: the truth or her life.

Thank you for introducing Owlet to our readers. Let us discuss the passage you have taken when it comes to your writings.

What are some of the most valuable lessons you have learned from writing? My career in writing has taught me a great deal about who I am, what I can achieve, and how important my writing is to me. When I first started writing, I wasn’t sure I could make it. When my fiancé suggested I write my first book and submit it, I thought he was crazy. Now I’ve had my fourth book published through Tribute Books and copies of my novels are being sold around the world (darn it, he was right again – don’t tell him I said that though!). I’ve heard my novels have also helped people, for which I feel both humbled and happy. I would not change anything about the experience and I welcome the lessons I continue to learn as I move forward.

Who or what inspired you to become an author. I have had a number of people who have inspired me to write. Tamora Pierce, a fellow author, is someone who helped me during a time when I was very ill. Her books gave me something to focus on and helped me to recover. There is also my grandmother who has served not only to inspire me, but to encourage me to continue reaching and to never settle. My fiancé helped me take that final step in becoming a published author and who has always been by my side through every step I have taken.

Have you ever received a negative comment or review about your book, and if so, how did you handle it? Yes, unfortunately I have. The individual wrote a bad review to get to the top of Google’s search engine rankings using my name for this purpose. It was a sad experience for me, not because of the bad review (although that did hurt), but because of what I saw happen afterwards. I have noticed that when individuals online like or dislike something, they will divide into those groups and strongly oppose each other. I have watched this happen to fellow authors, movies and political candidates. But I feel that both groups don’t realize the fallout of their actions or words. Recently, a well-known blog was once again targeted by someone who apparently wasn’t even familiar with the blog, yet the individual decided to nonetheless spread falsehoods about the blog. The result was in a number of individuals being hurt greatly and the blog itself being closed down due to the hate mail they were receiving; hate mail that wasn’t even justified because it wasn’t even the truth. Fortunately, with my own experience, it was only the one bad review and it was not done with malicious intent, only personal gain in mind. But other situations have ended differently. I decided the best approach was to not defend myself or my first book, but to thank the person for the time spent on the review and I discouraged any kind of taking of sides.

Why? Because I don’t believe, authors should take sides. Yes, our books are very important to us. We spend a great deal of time working on it and many of us feel that our books are our babies. But we write for our readers and for our careers. Our readers don’t want controversy or to read hate – they want to come to the worlds we bring to life for them.

From where do you get your story ideas? The whole world serves as an inspiration to me. I can be walking through a store and suddenly feel inspired, or listening to a song and imagining a journey through an unknown landscape. I can be paying bills and imagining marauders fighting for the rights we have today. When all else fails, I turn to my writing area and enjoy a piece of dark chocolate. 

As a writer, what has been your biggest challenge, trials or tribulations that you have overcome? Getting my work out there has been my greatest challenge. When I was writing, my biggest challenge was in writing a good novel, but when I was accepted by my first publisher and then my second and third, I began to realize that writing and being published was only the first half of the battle. Marketing and reaching out to my readers has been my greatest challenge, one shared by many authors, and I do my best to learn, adapt and move forward. Every time someone brings me one of my books and asks me to sign them, I feel that the journey thus far has been worth it. I would not trade a single moment or challenge!

What advice would you give someone who is thinking about writing a book? Don’t give up. I know that sounds easy to say, but in many ways it is like exercising. First, you start out and it is a long journey to get to where you want, but I promise you that the journey and reaching your final destination is soooooo worth it!!!

How can our readers get in touch with you? Readers can get in touch with me through my website and I love hearing from everyone! Thank you so much for reading my books and I promise to keep writing!

Author’s Links:

Monday, November 12, 2012

Homemade Gift Idea for Couples that Travel

For a lot of couples, finding that perfect gift is one of the hardest parts about holidays, anniversaries, and birthdays. You want to get them something that they will not only love and use, but something that signifies the connection between the two of you. That is why many people think about unique homemade creations to make the gift special.

One great idea I recently came across was created in mind of the first anniversary custom of exchanging paper gifts. The idea is simple and easy to do. Simply print out a map, of your country or the world it is your choice, and decorate the different parts with colorful or brightly designed paper (like animal print). Glue the personalized map to a poster board or canvas and use buttons or other small objects to mark the places that you have been together as a couple.

After the map is complete, accent the design with words or a phrase that means something to you. In the example, they said, “Let’s go on an adventure”, but you could also say something like “Oh the places we will go”, or “Every day is an adventure with you”.

This simple project does not require any special tools or talents, but it is a great gift for couples that love to travel. If you have a holiday, anniversary, or birthday coming up soon, and you have no idea what to give your partner, try to think outside of the box and come up with something they will really appreciate and enjoy.

Author Bio:

Jack Meyer is a freelance writer and regular contributor at He has a passion for various subjects like education, career and technology, Parenting etc.  If you have any questions email Jack at

Monday, November 05, 2012

Introducing Stephanie Acon, First Time Author of Escape From A Nightmare

Stephanie Acon, Author
Stephanie Acon has been writing edgy fiction tales and poetry since the age of ten years old. However, it wasn't until the age of 21, when she found Hip-Hop, (or Hip-Hop found her) that subsequently she became known to the underground Hip-Hop world as NinaRaw. For ten years consistent, she rocked with force, and played a vital part on the side of Systematic Muzick Inc. ('The OESC' and 'The Murc Unit'). In the mist of performing, writing, rhyming, recording, selling and shopping mixtapes...amongst the community, somewhere, NinaRaw became hailed and dubbed as the "queen". And not by way of cliché props, but strictly because those saying the title "queen" meant it when they said it, and said it when they felt it necessary.

Escape FROM A NIGHTMARE is her first urban fiction novel. Her inspirations have been drawn from the many experiences she has endured, observed, and inhabited in the streets of St. Louis.

Ms. Acon, thank for making One World Singles Magazine Blog one your stops on your Virtual Book Tour. We are always delighted to talk with people who have taken that big step in becoming an author and having them share their journey from coming up with a story idea to completing that first novel.

What are some of the most valuable lessons you have learned from writing? To be humble and value not just each sell and opinion from my readers, but most importantly to value the responsibility of planting seeds because as a reader reads the writer is held accountable for every seed planted in the reader(s) mind. That’s big!

What type of characters do you enjoy creating? Real life inspired urban characters representing my generation.

Which authors have influenced you the most? I really haven’t adopted a specific influence so to say. I’m influenced by every author whose book has kept me turning the pages. But I am most-motivated by those who write as realistic as possible…and those who leave a message or a point to it all by the end of their storyline.

Please tell our readers something about yourself. I use to be an underground hiphop artist who was so nice that I could compete with the best male rappers out there. But I have come to learn that just because you can do something does not mean it is your calling. Sometimes your calling is so strong that it spills over into other areas, which is why you seem to be so amazing at it – but still it is not your calling. So with that being said, I have since left behind the dark world of hiphop and the lifestyle surrounding it to take up that which God has gifted me to be since the age of eleven…and that is a WRITER…not a rapper.

Who or what inspired you to become an author. To be honest…no one. As a child, I stood in the mirror and asked God for a talent and he gave me the gift of writing that same hour. He gave me what he wanted to have for a reason and has continually inspired me to press into becoming a great steward of the talent.

Have you ever had writer’s block, and if so, how did you overcome it. Every writer experiences a bit of writer’s block but a friend of mine taught me the key to avoiding it. He taught me to just write and write and write. Don’t stop to read, edit, think…just keep going…keep flowing and then go back and master the draft into the story.

Have you ever received a negative comment or review about your book, and if so, how did you handle it? Yes. I had a woman write a review on me that was negative only because she didn’t like me including God into my storylines. This reviewer was really into pointless drug-dealing inspired tales and apparently, when she crossed my book she felt a certain way. She posted her remarks but other reviewers challenged her so I really didn’t have to. I write based on real life scenarios that I’m familiar with. Most readers do not live the exaggerated lifestyles many urban books mimic. I write according to real life and thoughts that many can relate to. I write so that my readers can see themselves in the story, but there will always be opposing forces who simply don’t want to do that. They’d whether go somewhere else overly nuts…but it’s all good.

What approach do you use when developing your characters? I use situations and develop characters to represent those situations.

From where do you get your story ideas? My generation whom I have dubbed the lost generation. Nuff said.

Are your stories based on true current or past events? Everything is based on the truth…only crafted into fiction.

As a writer, what has been your biggest challenge, trials or tribulations that you have overcome? Never giving up. My beginning was not easy. It was and is solely based and bred by faith. My faith is the only reason my dream exists. And faith is the realest and hardest fight one will ever experience.

Are you planning to write any more books in the near future? Absolutely.

What advice would you give someone who is thinking about writing a book? Have a reason why you’re doing it…and please, understand the level of responsibility that you will be taking on by getting inside of the souls of each reader. You will be held accountable for every seed you implant in those minds so just remember that.

How can our readers get in touch with you? My website is currently under construction but will be up very soon. In the meantime, readers can reach me on Facebook tagged Stephanie Nina Acon – and – Twitter@1queen1nina.

What type of comments or feedback have you received about your book(s)? Many and they are varied. However, it’s shocking to me but the most common one comes in the form of …”Oh my God, this is my life!”

When it comes to writing, how do you manage your time? I don’t. When it comes to writing, I’ll solo myself out in the middle of anywhere and anything and go hard no matter the time or place or events going on around me. I do this until I’m ready to stop for awhile.

What advice would you give an author who receives a negative review on his or her book? Keep your eyes on the prize and the positive. Everyone won’t like or relate to everything and that’s fine. Focus on the ones who do. Get your energy from those people and let the negativity fade into the background. It’s all a part of the game.

Please feel free to add a question that a reader has asked you in the past, and how did you answer that question? Many, many have asked me if this book is based on my life because it seems too real to be fiction. My response is always the same - I tell them yeah…it is…and it’s also based on yours.

Thank you for allowing us to dialogue with you. Do you have any words of wisdom for future authors? If this is not your calling, then why are you doing it? If this is your calling, then don’t ever stop until your purpose is fulfilled.

Escape From A Nightmare Synopsis:

Have you ever experienced a premonition that you just couldn't shake? A foreboding dream or sign that you deeply wanted to ignore but...your spirit just wouldn't release it? Well meet Gabriana Hilson... 

Gabriana is a dreamer in more than one way. She has daydreams of living the good life on her terms, and without compromise. But then, there are the “other” dreams. The very strange and disturbing omens that come while sleeping. They whisper the conflict of everything, and arrange messages that Gabriana doesn't want to hear...or see. Especially the ones about her boyfriend. She wants them to just go away. But they won't. The visions only multiply, and are rapidly distorting her reality, threatening and interrupting the life that she wants so badly to exist. That's a problem.

To Gabriana, Scholar is the king of kings. She is willing to sacrifice it all for him, including family, friends, God, and her sanity. She believes that Scholar is a beautiful dream come-true...but is he really? After signing a record deal as a rapper, Scholar brings Gabriana along for the roller coaster ride of her life. He knows how much she loves him so when the drama begins; he uses his manipulative tactics to hold her in place. He is the ruler of their world, and everything is running the way he has always planned until things go horribly wrong. Suddenly, a well-planned dream quickly turns into the nightmare of all nightmares. Both Scholar and Gabriana learn the hard way to expect the unexpected - for he comes out of the blue. Or does he? He is extremely calculating...and his name is Khali Simone. After meeting him... Gabriana has no idea of the door she opens. Will she discover the truth behind her peculiar premonitions, and make a meditative escape?...Or will Gabriana continue to run until she falls?