Interview With Renowned Author, Public Speaker, and Grief Mentor Ronda Del Boccio

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Ronda Del Boccio is a renowned author, public speaker, and mentor, living in rural Missouri. She has kindly taken some time out to answer some of our questions regarding her various projects, her views on the important role of funeral homes, and getting over grief. You can learn more about Ronda, and her work by following her on Twitter @TheStoryLady. You can also get photos and more, from her Press Page: http://WriteOnPurpose.com/press.

Q1. Can you please start by introducing yourself to our readers? How would you summarize your writing in a few words?

This reminds me of being on a job interview where the employer says, “Tell me something about yourself.” I am mostly blind yet see more clearly than most people. I’m observant enough to notice things like where you dropped your keys. People go out of their way to come tell me absolutely anything. My family joke that I have a flashing sign on my forehead reading, “Come talk to me.” And I absolutely love wordplay. Perfect assets for a writer!

I would describe my writing as quirky, visionary and sticky. Quirky because who knows what will come out of my fingers next. Visionary because even my humorous fiction tales have something to uplift and cause deeper thought while entertaining. Sticky because I’m told, “That story really stuck with me.”

Q2. What was it that originally got you interested in writing? Do you remember your first story?

I used to tell stories with my stuffed animals as a tot, with no prompting or urging from my parents. I guess I was destined to write. While I don’t specifically recall my first written story, I recall writing stories about animals as soon as I learned to make letters. As a matter of fact, I sometimes got in trouble in class for writing bits of a story. How could I help it that inspiration struck in the middle of math class?

Q3. You cover a variety of themes and topics, often including the paranormal. What was it that drew you to that subject specifically?

Woo-woo warning: My response may seem “way out there” to some readers, but it is my truth. Some of us that had “imaginary friends” and talked about seeing or sensing spirits, ghosts or dead people actually DID. I am in that category. I had paranormal experiences (still do), and began being aware of things and beings that most people are not from the cradle onward.

That said, I do sometimes write paranormal tales about things I have not experienced, but even in those, there are kernels of reality. Of my reality, at least.

I most enjoy bringing other-worldly elements into modern world reality, because I like to leave room for the possibility of cool powers and interesting non-humans existing in daily life, right along with morning coffee, mosquitos and paying the bills.

My writing is eclectic. A Tasty Morsel includes a depressed ban-shee, a ghoul nurse, and other characters at a hospital for the undead. My novel in progress is about a reluctant demon hunter. And every once in a while I shock my friends and write something with no paranormal elements, like The Assassin and the Prince, which is a humorous fantasy about race relations and coming of age.

Q4. You have also touched on some serious emotions including grief. Is this something that interests you?

I don’t know if I can honestly say grief interests me. Good conversation, exciting novels and word games interest me. Grief happens. It’s part of life. People grieve. Animals grieve. So it makes for wonderful literary fodder.

As an author, engaging people’s emotions is important. Grief can be a huge motivator of a person or character’s actions. Grief can incite someone to vengeance, help someone change their ways, cause introspection and more.

The protagonist Kassidy in my novel-in-progress is a young widow grieving the death of her soldier husband in battle. She struggles with whether it’s time for her to start thinking about dating. When she reunites with high school friend Russell, his kiss both pleasures her and makes her cry. Such is grief. It permeates life like a tea bag infuses its contents into water, seeping into all areas of life without censorship or hesitation, coloring all of life and changing its flavor. If you wish to read this excerpt, I just published it on my site at this link: http://writeonpurpose.com/7247/writing-skills/novel-writing/grief-is-like-a-tea-bag-book-excerpt-from-they-all-died-smiling-kassidy-and-russell-first-kiss

Q5. What is your view on closure? Do you think cremation can play an important role in that?

Dealing with remains can be part of closure for many people. Personally, I prefer cremation to embalming and burial in a gigantic box, but I say do whichever suits your preference. The loved one isn’t in the remains, but in your heart and memories.

Is there ever really closure after a beloved dies?

Grief will go on past the cremation or burial. Love never ends. In my own life, I’m on my third dog guide now; I’ve taken the passing of my first 2 harder than any human. Each time, it takes a few years for me not to be brought to tears when something reminds me of them. Here’s a true story relevant to grief about my decision that it was time for a new guide dog: http://writeonpurpose.com/6943/leader-dog-chronicles/time-for-a-new-guide-dog-leader-dog-chroicles

Since we’re talking cremation, I’ll tell you that I’ve had my first two guide dogs cremated. The spirit isn’t in the ashes, but for me it feels important to keep them both with me..

As I write this, I’m coming up on the second anniversary of Molly’s death. Even though I have her beautiful successor Jemma at my feet, I keenly feel the loss of Molly. Something will remind me of her or of things we did together, and memories come back to life. Tears flow. My heart clenches and aches all over again. I feel such gratitude for all we shared. She and Thunder are both forever a part of me. That’s why there is never really closure when it comes to passing of a loved one.

Q6. Finally, do you have any upcoming projects you would like to mention?

Thank you for asking. I’m always working on something. I have a novel in progress that I’m calling (working title) They All Died Smiling. That’s where you’ll meet Kassidy. I’m also writing a nonfiction book about the journey of getting my new Leader Dog, Jemma. I’ll go into what it’s like to go through the month of training in Michigan and our first few weeks as a new team.

Jemma has a Facebook Page where she speaks in her own voice. That’s at http://Facebook.com/LeaderDogJemma. My author page is http://Facebook.com/RondaDelBoccio.

You can find my books on Amazon at http://WriteOnPurpose.com/amazon.

I’m on a bunch of networks. Here are the main ones:

Twitter http://twitter.com/thestorylady

LinkedIn http://LinkedIn.com/in/thestorylady

Pinterest http://pinterest.com/writingprocess

YouTube https://www.youtube.com/user/RockinRondaD

Google+ http://google.com/+RondaDelBoccio

Instagram http://Instagram.com/thestorylady

Tumblr http://thestorylady.tumblr.com

You can see excerpts of my current and upcoming works on my website http://WriteOnPurpose.com. Look in the Leader Dog Chronicles category for my journey with Jemma. The Fiction category has stories and excerpts from me and other authors too. I also write book reviews for those who love to read, and author resources for any of you writers out there.

Thank you so much for the interview.

Follow your B.L.I.S.S.

Ronda Del Boccio

Organizing A Cremation For The First Time?

Organizing a cremation for a loved one can be a difficult process for many. In many cases, it can turn out to be one of the most taxing things you can do, particularly if the death if the loved one was not expected. Fortunately, there are ways to go round this. The first thing you need to do is realize that planning such an event will be tiresome. The fact that you will be sending off a loved one means that emotions will run high on many occasions during the planning period. To avoid any problems, there are a few issues you should consider when planning one. These include:

The help from other family members and friends

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If you are organizing a cremation for a loved one, chances are that you will have to also deal with a lot of emotional baggage. The fact that you may have lost a loved one combined with the fact that you may have lots to do may all add up to make it difficult for you to plan well. To avoid this, you should consider delegating some of the other tasks involved in the planning. Rather than taking everything on yourself, you should ask other people to handle items such as transport to and from the cremation site. This allows you to focus on only a few things at a time, which will in turn reduce the error rate during the process.

Consider getting extra service from the cremation firm

When you consult a firm that does cremation in Cheshire, CT, you will find that they may offer more than just basic cremation services. Other services they might provide include organizing the service for you. Some of the benefits of taking advantage of such services is that it might make work much easier for you. Well, the fact that you might not have to organize every single thing about the cremation on your own means that you can then free up time to focus on other things. When you use package deals from the firms, they are also more likely to be cheaper as well.

Consider consulting people who have organized them before

If you have never organized a cremation before, the technical details of doing so might sound tricky at first. To avoid running into major problems, you should consider consulting other people who have had to do the same in the recent past. They can walk you through some of the technical issues you need to sort out, as well as give you advice on how to avoid common pitfalls of planning. The good thing about doing this these days is that you don’t need to know such individuals in person. You can get most of the data you need online; there are numerous blogs that offer this sort of information.

Organizing a cremation service for the first time in your life will be intimidating, but not impossible. With the above tips, you will be able to get it done with relative ease. In addition, working with a committed cremation service provider will also make it easy for you to handle the process better.

Planning For Cremation: How To Reduce Resistance From Family And Friends

The benefits of cremation rather than a traditional burial are numerous. For one, it is better for the environment, since very few natural resources are actually needed for a cremation. The need for little space to get it done is also a plus. With rising land costs, it will become more expensive in the future to rent space in a cemetery for burial.

Most people are aware of these benefits, but then run into a few problems when they want to be cremated when they die. One of the biggest obstacles you are likely to face is resistance from family and friends. If you are keen on being cremated after you pass on, you might need to address this issue well in advance so that you can be sure that it will get done. Some of the ways of doing this include:

Expose them to useful literature

One of the best ways to overcome such obstacles is by simply having your loved ones informed on the details of cremation. You can do this by getting them some literature that describes what to expect, the details of the process and some of the benefits of cremation. The literature should be detailed enough to convince them of the benefits you are interested in. Fortunately, it’s very easy to get such literature today. You can even go online to find a few articles or blogs on the same.

Talk to them

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Another common reason why family and friends might oppose cremation is because they don’t understand your logic. Simply telling them that you want to be cremated might not be enough. If you sense that they are resisting this decision, you may need to take some time to try and explain to them why you want to be cremated. Taking the time to do this often yields results, since they are then more likely to see things from your point of view.

Make it known in advance

When most people want to be cremated, they usually put it in their will. This usually works, but there are a few instances where it might cause minor complications. For instance, if your family members were prepared for a regular burial and then find out that you wanted to be cremated at the last minute, it can be a bit disconcerting. To avoid this, you may need to let them know of your intentions in advance. This way, there will be no surprises during this time. Remember that most people will be emotionally vulnerable during such a time, so making decisions that might seem out of the ordinary might not go down well with many.

Plan with them

When you want to plan for cremation services in Hamden, CT, you should try to include your loved ones in the process. Making decisions such as which facility to use should be done in conjunction with close family members and friends so that they are well prepared to walk through the process with you.

In summary, cremation has many benefits, though it might initially be disconcerting to people who are not used to it as a family or cultural tradition. If you are interested in getting it done, consider taking the steps above to ensure that your close friends and family will be onboard.