Clearing Chaos from the Mind

by Joan Ramirez

When I was a returning grad school student quite a few years ago, I spoke to my counselor about my ability to keep up with my classmates. I hadn’t been in a classroom setting for some time. She told me, “Security is in the mind.”

It altered, in a positive way, my ability to focus on content instead of constant worry over grades. I maintained my A average. While novel writing, all genres, isn’t as straightforward as listening to a professor or studying for an exam, focus and structure are involved. In this time of health uncertainty, the best thing each of us can do for our writing careers is FOCUS on our characters as we breathe life and meaning into them and create a world for our readers to step into. One where we engage the readers’ emotions.

Published in April 2020 issue of Long Island Romance Writers’ Shorelines Newsletter

Teachers as Readers

I  happily participated in the January 11, 2021 meeting of New York State Reading Association’s webinar, Teachers as Readers. The theme of Ellis Island is dear to me because my grandfather emigrated from England. As an elementary school teacher and author, I feel strongly that it is important for students to know about this island, which is rich in history.

I also enjoyed listening to other members’ contributions, which will enrich my bookshelf.

Always remember: Build your tomorrow by learning today.

Interview by Madison Michael of JL Regen

Q&A with J.L. Regen, Author of Secret Desires:

What inspires you as an author?
What inspires me to write? The joy of seeing my words come together as a novel that people can read and will transport them to another world.

How do you spend your free time?
I spend my free time taking photographs, although with COVID, my ability to travel has been handicapped since my favorite places are overseas. In fact, my WWII Historical novels will be set in Paris, Istanbul, and other exotic places.

Do you listen to music when you write?
When I write I usually like to have my quiet space so my characters aren’t distracted.

How do you, your friends and your fans encourage you when you need a pick-me-up?
When I need a pick me up, my fans and friends remind me that they want another story to read so I set my fingers to the keyboard.

What are you working on next and when can we expect to see it?
My next book, which I hope to have completed by the end of the year, will be a Middle Grade story that deal with bullying the class reader.

Secret Desires Buy links: 

Excerpt from Secret Desires:

MARGO SIMMONS GRIPPED THE EDGES of the leather chair, waiting for details from the family lawyer about her
Uncle Harry’s death. She hoped it would be shorter and less painful than the reading of her father’s will.

An older gentleman extended his hand. “I’m sorry your mother couldn’t be here.”

Margo looked up from her reflections to acknowledge him. “Thanks, Mr. Steinberg.”

“You’ve grown into a lovely young woman.”

Margo blinked back tears at memories of good times shared with Uncle Harry. “Not so young. I’m twenty-three.”

The portly man squeezed himself into a swivel chair and peered at her over wire-rimmed bifocals. “I’m ancient compared to that number.”

Margo gripped her knees to steady her nerves. “My mother wanted to come with me, but they’re downsizing at her dress shop. She was afraid to leave early. My stepfather is furious because Uncle Harry didn’t leave him any money.”

Mr. Steinberg saddened at the sorrowful expression on the young woman’s face. “It pains me to hear Jerry hasn’t changed his ways. However, since you’re the only one present to hear your uncle’s will, I’ll get to the point. Harry has left you his Riverside Drive condominium apartment and the sum of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars.”

Margo jumped up from the chair and hugged the man. “This is a miracle. I can’t wait to tell my Mom. She’s wanted me to get out on my own. Now I can. Though I wish it hadn’t come with the loss of my uncle. I adored him.”

About the Author:

J.L. Regen’s book was inspired by a real life story of lovers who join hearts against many odds. She lives in the New York metropolitan area, is a published photojournalist, has short suspense stories online, and has taught English as a Second Language to students around the globe. This is her first contemporary romance. She has also published three nonfiction books and is crafting a historical suspense set in World War II and a MG novel. Her book for younger readers, Jamie is Autistic: Learning in a Special Way, has been used widely in elementary school classrooms here and overseas and is now in Spanish and Chinese and live as a YouTube video.

Social Media Links:

Joan interviewed by fellow author Zara West

J. L. Regen tells us about herself and shares her romantic contemporary set in New York City.

Welcome J. L.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m an ESL teacher, entrepreneurial trainer –launched my company, JL Regen Enterprises LLC, along with a handbook, The Write Rules, a photojournalist, and a novelist. 

Is there an event in your life that affected you as a writer?

Surviving 9/11 and cancer made a huge difference in goal setting.

Is writing something that comes easy to you or not?

I do extensive outlines, without which I can’t function. I do a lot of revisions.

What do you do when you are not writing?

When I’m not writing, I’m conducting workshops for my company; working with ESL students from K to undergrad college students, yoga, ballet, horseback riding, and, when a vaccine is available, my passion: travel.

Do you have an unusual hobby?

I don’t know if my hobby is unusual or not, but my favorite type of photography is capturing landscapes, which I do in different dimensions.

See the full interview at:




“I am cute and cuddly, can someone please give me a home!

How to win: Buy a copy of Jamie is Autistic and visit for the details on how Little Teddy can be yours. Move quickly because time is of the essence. CONTEST IS OVER AT CLOSE OF BUSINESS 11/23/2020. GO TO MY WEBSITE AND GET THE DETAILS TO ENTER!

While you are there sign up for her newsletter JLR News and receive a copy of her article on public speaking.

Jamie is Autistic now on YouTube

Please watch and purchase to help spread the word and educate the world about how “Special” Autistic kids are. I would like to thank Reading  Pioneer’s Andrew Goring for this opportunity.  Press the play button below to view the video. 

Jamie on YouTube

UPDATE-The following comment from Jim of Freehold Art Essay on Jamie is Autistic, the video, on YouTube, is much appreciated:
“I found the story optimistic and I was happy that Jamie was able to connect. The adults learned to connect too. It was a subtle twist that made the story.