Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Battle of the Bands Results and Karen Walker's In The House!

I've got a guest here today with some exciting news, but before I let her take the floor I want to give you the Battle of the Bands results.

The song was The Story. The contenders were Sara Ramirez and Brandi Carlile. What I discovered in this battle is that your comments much resembled the threads on YouTube. Even though the songs are more similar than many covers, the opinions about them are strong. Seriously strong. A few of you called it "close" or had a "tough time trying to figure it out." But most of you had very strong ideas about who sung this one better. The people who liked Sara's cover really liked it and the people who liked the original by Brandi really liked it. Isn't that funny? I think it's funny. Not hahaha funny, but interesting funny.

So, how did you guys vote?

Sara Ramirez: 12
Brandi Carlile: 11

My vote is for Sara Ramirez. Her version gives me chills. I've watched them both many times and listened to both without video for the purpose of this battle. Unlike the folks on YouTube (and even you fine folks), I actually do like both versions. I think they are both pretty darn good. BUT, Sara's version always gives me shivers when she hits the lyric "I climbed across the mountaintops" and throughout that verse. It only makes the chorus that makes stronger. And then she nails the ending. Just fantastic.

All in all, a great battle. Very close. And great comments by you fine folks:)

Now for the good part of this post! I have a guest here to share a bit of her journey to publishing her first novel (a big deal, I assure you). Karen Walker, take it away!

Thank you Robin, for hosting me today.

By Karen Helene Walker

If you’re a glass half empty kind of person like me, if that’s what comes naturally to you rather than seeing the glass half full, you tend to view things from a negative perspective. The problem with this is that it keeps us stuck feeling badly about ourselves and the people and world around us. So I’ve had to train myself to find the silver lining when the bad stuff happens. And the truth is, I’ve either learned something I needed to learn or some powerful insight was revealed, or whatever it was I thought I wanted or needed wasn’t really going to be good for me.

I’m here at Robin’s blog because I’ve written a novel, The Wishing Steps. I actually can’t believe I’m able to write that sentence and have it be the truth. I. WROTE. A. NOVEL. Okay, here’s the negative: Who do you think you are – you think you can write a novel? You’re a nonfiction writer. You can’t write fiction. You get the idea, right. These are the things I heard inside my head through most of the six years I was pulling this story out of the depths of my soul. Now, here’s the positive. I. WROTE. A. NOVEL. I did it. Despite the voices. Despite the doubts. Despite the fears. And here I am telling you about it.

After I completed the book, I decided I wanted to be published traditionally. Nice dream, yes? I knew in my heart of hearts that the likelihood of that happening was slim to none, but I needed to try. I don’t think I was being negative in that regard. Just realistic. Anyway, I heard back from one of the publishing companies that they wanted to read the manuscript. Yippee. I’d never gotten that far before. Days passed and I anxiously waited. Two readers from the company wrote critiques explaining why they thought the manuscript wasn’t okay. I was devastated. It validated all those voices I’d been hearing about my inability to write fiction. But then I shifted into a peaceful, grounded, meditative state and read the critiques again. Both readers had read the book as if it was historical fiction and every criticism was related to why it didn’t work as historical fiction. Ahhhh! The book isn’t historical fiction and I’d neglected to say that. The positive which came from this experience is my writing an Author’s Note that appears at the beginning of the book which addresses the issues these readers had.

Life is difficult. We have moments of joy, perhaps even days or weeks. But then something happens to pull us off our center. I’m learning, one day at a time, to tune into my thoughts and feelings so that I’m not operating on automatic pilot. When I stay tuned in, I can catch those negative thoughts and shift them before they become stuck in me and I become stuck in the muck of negativity.
Now that my book is out in the world, I know there will be people who won’t like it, who will criticize it and perhaps me for having written such a book. All I know is that I was called to write it and I can’t allow other peoples’ opinions to make me feel bad about something that is so deeply meaningful to me.

Here’s the scoop on The Wishing Steps.
Three Women and a Single Story That Unites Them Across the Millennia
“Totally engrossing. A must-read for today’s wise woman!”Rev. Kathleen McKern Verigin, minister/priestess
Brighid, Ashleen and Megan: Bound through time by a curious light, a mysterious voice and a call they dare not ignore. Yet in obeying this strange force, the women must face soul-searing trials that call into question everything they know and believe — about themselves and about the world around them.
“Guaranteed to inspire you to a deeper level of spirituality and a new appreciation for Goddess.”Rev. Clara Z. Alexander

Karen Helene Walker is a widely published essayist and author of the 2009 memoir, Following the Whispers. When she isn’t writing, you will often find Karen performing in nursing homes and retirement communities as part of the Sugartime or Sophisticated Ladies musical groups, traveling with her husband of 20 years, Gary, or relaxing with a good book at their home in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Visit the author’s website at
Author photo

The Wishing Steps is available for purchase in both print and ebook versions at: You can also purchase it as an ebook on Kobo, I Tunes, and at Barnes and Noble.

Thank you, Karen, for stopping by and sharing not only your book but your insights on how to push through those negative thoughts that do nothing but keep us from achieving our dreams!


    Great BATTLE! So, your vote determined the winner? Is that right? (If so, that's my all-time favorite outcome of a 'Battle Of The Bands' contest! The BOTBer gets to decide who wins. Waa-Hooo!)

    ~ D-FensDogG

    We need to... talk.

    1. Sara won by one vote without me.

      You're up late. Or early.

  2. Karen, that's a bummer they misinterpreted the story like that. But maybe it's for the best anyway. (I guess I'm a glass half full person. Actually, the glass would be empty as I would drink the water.)

  3. Karen, I'm one of those people who see the glass as half empty and the water is evaporating. You're an inspiration. Glad you didn't let the publishing company discourage you from publishing your book.

  4. Hi Robin, I just woke up - sorry I'm late to the party. Thank you so much for having me here today.
    Alex, you crack me up - I do think what happened with the publishing company was a good thing. It got me very clear about my book.
    Mason, thanks - it was an eye-opening experience to process what happened with them

  5. Karen, I hear you about learning from our failures. It's hard, but if we can face criticism and grow from it, we're that much better off. Here's to optimists everywhere!

  6. Don't know how someone could not like one version if they liked the other. They were both pretty evenly matched as the outcome of your Battle shows.

    Good advice from Karen. It can be so easy to be drawn down by negatives. Overcoming those feelings and turning them into positives can take a lot of effort for many of us.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

  7. Crystal, yes, it is hard, but oh so necessary.
    Lee, it certainly takes a lot of effort for me

  8. I'm a glass-half-empty person by nature, or glass totally empty is probably more accurate, but I've been working to change that and am getting better. Thanks for sharing your advice, and congrats again on the novel!!
    Nice to meet you, Robin. :)

  9. Thanks, Julie - glad to have a fellow traveler on the road to glass full!

  10. That Silver lining is hard to find sometimes. Good on you for training yourself to see it. And congrats on your first novel! It's a great feeling having it finished, isn't it? :)

  11. Yes, David. it's an awesome feeling of accomplishment. Thanks so much for your kind words.

  12. I love that authors have so many options now when it comes to publishing. And I LOVE positive people! There are way too many negative people in this world.

  13. I love that authors have so many options now when it comes to publishing. And I LOVE positive people! There are way too many negative people in this world.

  14. Congratulations on your first novel. Well done! So very exciting. Wishing you much success an continued positivity! :)

  15. Stephanie, you are so right.
    Elsie, thanks so much

  16. Robin, thanks once again for hosting me today. You're an angel

  17. That's wonderful that you were able to take something that could have been taken in a negative way and make a positive out of it! You're so's so important to stay tuned in and mindful, recognize when we might be heading off-track, and make a choice to stay positive.

  18. This was a great BOTB contest and so close. I like to look at the glass half full but sometimes it takes an effort. I am happy the naysayers didn't stop you from writing and getting the book published-congrats to you!

  19. Karen, I find myself giving into negativity too. It holds me back, brings on depression, and keeps me binge-watching Netflix when I should be putting words down on the page. This negative talk is so incredibly toxic -- and so hard to overcome. Good for you that you were able to cast it aside and meet your goal. Congratulations on the publication of your book!

  20. Wow, that was a close battle! I'm glad Sara Ramirez won. She had so much passion in her singing.
    And Karen, I know all about giving in to negativity. But you didn't! Congrats on that and on your book!!
    Michele at Angels Bark

  21. That was a close battle! I preferred the original, but both versions were excellent.
    Karen: Congratulations on your book. This totally hit a nerve: "You’re a nonfiction writer. You can’t write fiction." It's something I have thought to myself, many times. Thanks for proving it's not true!

  22. This was a good BOTB song choice this time.
    Also enjoyed the visit of Karen. Congrats on getting the book published.

  23. I've been deliberately choosing to turn negatives into positives too.Phillipians 2:14 has been my guiding force of late, to do everything without complaining. While I wasn't complaining out loud a lot, I was grumbling a lot of 'why? why? why's in my heart. It was sucking the happy out of my now. I'm now focusing on the postiives and being grateful to have them. :)

    Congrats to Karen on her new book!

  24. Hi Robin... It's been ages! How are you?

    Hi, Karen! Good for you! You took your book to where it needed to go...into the hands of readers.

    I wish you all the best! Looking forward to reading it when I come up for air.

    Such an exciting new adventure....

  25. Hi Robin,

    Apologies for my um, notable absence. Thank you for your thoughtful comment on my post.

    And hello to you, Karen. Ah yes, turning what can appear to be a negative into a positive. Your book fascinates me, my esteemed friend.

    It's all about perception. I know we have choices and I choose to see the good in what may seem like a bad situation.

    Kind wishes,



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