Coffee with Author Kass Hillard

Today, I’m chatting with Kass Hillard about her debut book, Games Psychics Play: Enhancing Your Intuition and Psychic Gifts published by Franklin Rose Publishing.

Kass Hillard has created the ultimate book and manual to help you develop your unique gifts of the Spirit and so much more. She’s funny, serious, kind, and strict. All the traits you would want your mentor to be and that’s what Kass has done with this book for you.

I’m drinking my Sumatra blend with a dollop of peppermint mocha. Kass has her classic black cup of coffee and a hint of Kahlua. This should be fun. So, Kass, share a bit of your background before we delve more into your book.

KASS: I’m a retired reflexologist and owned a holistic healing center for many years. I’ve been interested in the spiritual and metaphysical worlds for as long as I can remember.

After retirement, I was ready for a new challenge in my life and thought that since I was no longer in practice, perhaps I could write about my experiences as a reflexologist and healer. I wanted to write the book I wish I’d had when I was starting my reflexology career.

CHRISTINA: Tell us more about your new book.

KASS: Games Psychics Play: A Guidebook to Enhance Your Intuitive and Psychic Gifts is full of exercises and activities you can do to connect with your intuition and psychic abilities and strengthen them. I also tell some of the pitfalls to watch out for. I’ve included stories about my personal experiences as well.

CHRISTINA: What inspired you to write this book?

KASS: I’ve always enjoyed writing and had begun writing two books, one about reflexology and the other on challenging yourself spiritually, but I was struggling to finish them. I needed some guidance by others who were actual authors. I signed up for a writers’ workshop.

You’ve heard musicians often say they were doing something mundane like washing dishes or raking leaves and suddenly, the lyrics or melody to a song hit them and they had to stop what they were doing immediately and write it all down? That kind of happened to me.

After attending the workshop, I was on my way home, when out of the blue, I “heard” that I was to write a book called Games Psychics Play and what information it was to include. I pulled over in a gas station parking lot and wrote down everything, got home and began writing the book.

CHRISTINA: What kind of research did you do?

KASS: I’ve been a student of metaphysics for over four decades. I used my own experiences as a healer and a psychic as well as the experiences of other psychics I know.

CHRISTINA: What is the most surprising thing you discovered while writing your book?

KASS: The most surprising thing is how writing consumed my life! I thought about the chapters and how to express what I needed to convey constantly. At least it felt that way. I had to always have paper and pen near me because I never knew when “just the right wording” to an idea would come to me. I found I didn’t sleep much while I was writing the book!

CHRISTINA: How long did you take to write the book?

KASS: I had the basics of the entire book written in six months. And then the editing process began! It took about two years total from start to publication.

CHRISTINA: Describe your writing space.

KASS: I don’t have one set writing space. Sometimes I need to be outside in nature to write, sometimes I need to be on the couch with a warm blanket, and other times I need to be in my favorite room of the house – the library. It has floor to ceiling bookshelves on 2 ½ walls and they are almost completely full! I have two shelves dedicated to the books written by my friends, which inspires me. I was thrilled when my own books could join their ranks.

CHRISTINA: What is the most difficult part of writing for you?

KASS: The most difficult part of writing for me is staying focused and believing that I have something worth saying. I found I went through days (and at times weeks) where I THOUGHT about writing but put nothing down on paper other than a note or two so I wouldn’t forget an idea. The critic within myself was brutal.

CHRISTINA: What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

KASS: I like to handwrite everything and only use a fine tipped pen. I always start out a new story or book with a new paper notebook.

CHRISTINA: Does writing energize or exhaust you?

KASS: It energizes me to the point of exhaustion, and I love it!

CHRISTINA: What advice would you give to new writers – someone just starting out?

KASS: Start writing. There are thousands of people who say they’ll write a book one day but never do. Their thoughts and ideas never see life. Don’t be one of them. Listen to the advice of other authors. The feelings and experiences, all the ups and downs, may be new to you, but they, too, have had them. Surround yourself with those who will be honest but not cruel when you ask for an opinion. Most importantly, trust yourself and your ability. You have something to say, and we want to hear it!

CHRISTINA: Thanks for hanging out with me. To learn more about Kass and her book, Games Psychics Play: A Guidebook to Enhance Your Intuitive and Psychic Gifts, visit her website HOUSE OF THE SPIRIT. You can also find her book on AMAZON and GOODREADS.


Walking in Their Shoes: Andrea

Walking in Their Shoes - Andrea

As a writer, I’m constantly asking my fictional characters about their motives, backstories, hopes, dreams, and fears. Over the years, I’ve become more empathetic to the choices we make in our own lives. In the segment, Walking in Their Shoes, I’ll talk with real people in an effort to learn about their personal journeys. I’m sure I’ll find inspiration through their stories.

Today, I visit with Andrea. As a twenty-four-year-old artist, she works with many mediums. Not only is Andrea my daughter, she designed the cover art for my romance novel, The Garden Collection.

Christina: Hi sweetie, I mean, Andrea. Thanks for joining me today. When were you first interested in art?

Andrea: While I was in middle school, my grandma got me interested. She painted ceramic figurines, and I’d help her. Later, she gave me a bunch of acrylic paints and canvases, so I could paint at home.

Christina: Who has been the biggest influence on your love of art?

Andrea: During class, my middle school art teacher, Ms. Patterson, was sketching a landscape of a creek under a bridge. She asked me to help with the shading of the bridge’s bricks. It changed how I viewed art … to appreciate the details.

Christina: What types of artwork have you worked with? Which is your favorite?

Andrea: I’ve worked with acrylic, watercolor, and pencil on paper, canvas, shoes, wooden blocks, and logs. I’ve painted a motorcycle helmet and designed tattoos. I enjoy all types. However, on lazy days, I prefer pencil and paper … less cleanup.

Christina: What kinds of things bring you the most pleasure now?

Andrea: I love naps. In art though, I’ve found pencil drawings easiest and more laid back. My earlier work was primarily landscapes. Now, I like doing portraits.

Christina: Do you feel differently about yourself now from how you felt when you were younger? How?

Andrea: When I was younger, I didn’t like details so my work was impressionistic. Now, I work on finer detailed work with less shading … more positive space; less negative. I think I’ve progressed. My art’s more realistic.

Christina: What’s the best compliment you ever received?

Andrea: In high school at a local art show, a couple wanted to buy my Fred Astaire painting. (I love dancing.) Instead of a paint brush, I had used Q-tips with oil-based paint on a plastic canvas. It was the first time someone loved my art outside my family.

Christina: I have your artwork on our walls; and I cherish every piece. Do you prefer to keep art as a hobby or would you like to pursue it full-time?

Andrea: I like to design my own creations so there’s less pressure as a hobby.

Christina: What are you working on now?

Andrea: I’m going in a quirky direction with an apocalyptic series of settings from around town. I’ve also had offers to design tattoos which are fun.

Christina: As a proud mom, I suggest checking out Andrea’s artwork. She definitely has the artistic talent in the family. (Let’s just say she got it from my side of the family.)

Art with Andrea on Facebook


Walking in Their Shoes: Patricia

Will, Maggie, PatrickAs a writer, I’m constantly asking my fictional characters about their motives, backstories, hopes, dreams, and fears. Over the years, I’ve become more empathetic to the choices we make in our own lives.

In the segment, Walking in Their Shoes, I’ll talk with real people in an effort to learn about their personal journeys. I’m sure I’ll find inspiration through their stories.

This week, I talk with Patricia. This working mom of Will (23), Maggie (11), and Patrick (6) is going back to college for a degree in accounting. She, her husband, and their youngest children live on the family farm. She’s one of the most selfless people I know.

Christina: So how do you balance it all?

Patricia: Well, I don’t think about it. I run on autopilot some days and do what I gotta do. My phone calendar is linked with my husband’s, so that helps. I schedule meals, homework, and school with as much detail as possible. Then, we review the schedule weekly adjusting for those issues that come up out of the blue.

Christina: Your youngest son, Patrick, was born with heart and liver problems. You found out soon after that he has Down Syndrome. How has your family adjusted to his needs?

Patricia: At the time, we didn’t know what Down Syndrome meant until we went to genetic counseling. Getting help early for him with physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy was vital. He’s a regular kid with cognitive issues. He doesn’t talk much, but he understands, so communication is important. We’ve learned sign language that he’s become adept at. He also has an iPad with assisted speech technology that talks for him. Our church and school system are supportive as well, and we attend seminars through the Down Syndrome Association of West Michigan.

Christina: What’s the toughest aspect within your family?

Patricia: I’d say balancing a special needs child with the others. Patrick takes up more of our time and attention. We don’t want Will and Maggie to feel left out.

Christina: How have you changed since Patrick was born?

Patricia: I have more patience now. For as much as I plan, I also have to go with the flow. Messes and dirty clothes don’t bother me. They’re a part of life. I embrace those moments of jumping in the mud puddles with the kids. It’s more fun than trying to prevent it.

Christina: What’s a guilty pleasure you do just for you?

Patricia: I just started going to the gym, I enjoy hanging out with my friends, and I drink a glass of wine in the evening.

Christina: What would you like people to know about raising a special needs child?

Patricia: Although I have family support, I’ve gotten a wide range of response from other people. For example, at a child’s party, the kids may ask why Patrick doesn’t talk. After my brief explanation, they nod then continue to play with him. I wish more adults would stop asking, “What’s wrong with him?” Nothing! Nothing is wrong with him! I’d rather they say something more on the line of “I notice he acts differently …” or “I notice he doesn’t talk …” I appreciate when someone is inquisitive and wants to learn.

Christina: Thanks, Patricia, for joining me today. To learn more about Down Syndrome, check out these sources:

Down Syndrome Association of West Michigan

National Down Syndrome Society