Teacher, artist, and adventurer.

 

Birthday: March 8, 1991

Height: 5.7

Sign: Pisces

Birthplace: North of France

 

Océane has fought for love, mountains, and security; lost it all, and come back. Her personal life has been as adventurous as the ones she takes down the snowy slopes in Switzerland in her skis, or riding atop buses in Guatemala, or motorcycle-riding behind strangers in a dark night holding her flipflops in her hands.

Océane doesn’t wait for life to throw adventures her way, she goes after them. From the Amazon River in Brazil, caves in Guatemala, the Galapagos Islands, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the Red Sea, and beyond, this native of the north of France, now a teacher of French in Vancouver, British Columbia, appears to have done it all. She’s not happy with just touching the ground, she has conquered the air. Had Julius Caesar seen her statue instead of that of Alexander, we might have a completely different world.

I met Océane a few years back in Los Angeles through a friend. Los Angeles was just one of her stops in her small lifetime of travels. I did not at that time realize what kind of adventurer Océane was. She has visited 54 countries, while I’ve been in only four. The very Pacific that I’ve had to cross on my way to Australia is  a little pond to all the waters she has seen in a sunny day.

Océane appears ready to conquer the world. You could not throw a dart blindfolded at a map and not hit upon a place she has been. She’s the Alexandre le Grand of travels, besides a teacher of French, an amateur artist, and a fierce adventurer. Love is her du jour éternel, and travel her passion.

Océane has made British Columbia her home for four years, or, as she calls it, “her base.” Besides being a teacher, a translator, an artist, a writer of songs and poetry, and a conqueror of the alps, she’s the founder of Have Fun Learning French. I Zoom-sat with Océane a few days before her birthday.

 

Your birthday is coming soon. Germans find it to be bad luck to wish happy birthday before the actual date, what is your stance on that?

In France, we also prefer wishing it a little bit later than before as well.

Is it because it is considered bad luck or is it just polite to wish it on the actual day?

I would say it is more polite, though there might be a bit of superstition, for sure, but not that much. I think it’s more polite.

If we asked your parents what kind of a child you were growing up, what would they say?

I think my mom would say I was probably a quiet kid. What I heard from a lot of adults, but not necessarily from my mom, because she raised me that way, is that I was very polite. In camp, when was I five or six years old, I got a diploma for “most polite kid.” (Laugh).

I have good hopes for my daughter. Mom is teaching her to say “please” all the time, while I believe we don’t need to say “please” all the time.

I think it’s important that they at least learn it, and after, they can do what they want, according to their own beliefs.

ARTIST & TRAVELER

 

“The ocean to me is this strength, this power. You cannot mess around with the ocean; so you need to be extremely respectful.”

Océane De Decker

 

Did you start traveling as a child or did that bug start later?

No, actually, as a kid.

Did you travel with mom and dad or just your mom?

Just my mom. My father was never in the picture. Like, since I was two.

You’ve done some painting. You got into a competition. How did you do?

I was very happy. It was back in 2018. I participated in the Vancouver Art Battle. I wasn’t selected for the final. [However] I was very happy. For me, I won that day, because that was my way doing my artistic coming-out. I was very proud, as well, because my painting got sold in the bidding—after [the competition], you have a bidding.

I sold actually a few [paintings] already. And what I do is, when I sell, 30% of the revenue goes to charity.

 

Un Papillon. Art by Océane De Decker.

 

Do you work with oil or watercolor?

No, I don’t do oil. I do acrylic. I don’t like spending so much time on a canvass. Same when I write. That’s why [I write] poems, songs, [things] that don’t take forever to complete.

What is your favorite thing to paint?

Oh, definitely the ocean!

The ocean?

I do. Ocean is my life. It’s also my name, [as] you know.

You have to share some of those poems with me.

Eventually, I will (Smile).

What is it about the ocean you like so much?

I don’t know. It’s like it’s a part of me. I always say I’ve been in love in my life, but my very first love is the ocean. I have the feeling I’m married to two entities: the ocean, and my freedom. I think both are very intertwined. The ocean to me is, you know, this strength, this power.

So, what is a digital nomad?

I don’t think there is a precise definition, but I say a digital nomad is a person that moves around with his or her computer.

I love that term.

It’s the best term ever (Laugh).

vancouver art battle

“[Though] I wasn’t selected for the final, I was very happy. For me, I won that day. That was my way of doing my artistic coming-out.”

How many places with water have you visited?

Oh my god, with water? That’s going to be impossible. In 2018, I traveled from Alaska to Argentina. Every two or three days, I would be in front of a waterfall, or a new stream. I could tell you the oceans: I dove in [the] North Pacific, South Pacific, Atlantic Ocean from the Caribbean side, the French side; the Caribbean Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, the North Sea—I forgot the name in English, but La Manche? I dove in the Indian Ocean, [and] the Red Sea, as well.

You dove in the Red Sea?

Yes, like when I was fifteen. My first dive was when I was eleven. I started diving regularly [at] 14, after a trip I took with my mom [to] Australia. I [snorkeled] in the Great Barrier Reef.

I’m probably gonna go scuba diving somewhere in June like for four, six weeks. In the Caribbean, probably.

What about the Amazon River?

The Amazon River is fantastic! I’ve been on it quite a bit. I crossed from Belém to Santarém by boat. I was with like a hundred Brazilians. We had hammocks in the boat. I [slept] there for four days. Fantastic experience!

What about the Dead Sea?

I haven’t been there, yet. Hopefully one day. (Smile)

What about the Nile?

I did a cruise with my mom. The same year I dived in the Red Sea, we did a cruise in the Nile.

The Mississippi River?

Not yet.

LOSING IT ALL AND STARTING AGAIN

“I didn’t have the luxury to live in a car. I was lucky I had fantastic friends who helped me along the way, who I’m still really thankful for.”

Now about your marriage to the ocean and to freedom. There’s a lot of guys out there who are after you for more than just your French. How does romance fit it with your sense of freedom and your passion for travel? How do you make it work?

(Laugh) Well, it’s not like I don’t want to make romance exist. I would say that romance is very temporary in my case.

What is an event that changed your life or way of thinking?

There have been quite a few. If I had to pick one, I’d say losing two jobs in a row made me realize it’d be actually safer if I became [an] entrepreneur and diversified my sources of income.

Did you feel desperate, and how did you overcome it?

Oh. I did. I did feel desperate when everything collapsed around me. You know guys, I know exactly what it is to lose it all. I know because it happened to me. It was definitely a hard time.

Océane had also given up her apartment at that time. Luckily, she managed to take a trip to Mexico to see her boyfriend. They broke up while there. Upon her return to Canada, she almost had no money.

Did you live in your car or did you stay with your friends?

Oh, I didn’t have the luxury to live in a car. I was lucky enough I had fantastic friends, who helped me along the way, who I’m still really thankful for.

How did you manage in the end?

I decided I would not come back to the classic type of jobs. I pushed my French business to try to get more clients.

What did you do in the meantime?

I actually cleaned toilets. I’m actually proud of it, cuz I didn’t ask for help. I mean, I asked for help for my friends to host me. I didn’t ask any money to my mom; I didn’t ask any money [from] anybody. I made my own things. I made my own decisions, and I pushed through.

The full month of January, and most of February, I was crying every day. I guess perseverance always pays.

Now I’m actually less scared. What I would advice to people is: diversify your activities. Don’t put your life in the hands of only one person. If you lose your nine-to-five job, you’re most likely going to end up in the street, or at your friends’ couch.

How did you find that gig cleaning toilets?

Craigslist.

THE ADVENTURER

“An objective of mine is actually to start doing sky diving with the skis.”

Océane De Decker

What is the highest slope you’ve ever come down from?

Oh, that’s a good question. So, I’m going to talk in meters, because obviously, French, Europe…I think it was in the alps. The highest I think was 3,300 meters.

Do you time yourself?

Yeah, I time myself. I like performance, so I’m usually curious. When I was sixteen, I stopped at the level before doing competition.

That’s almost semi-professional. So, you’re a pretty good skier.

I wouldn’t say so (to being semi-professional). I am a good skier, that definitely. [But] I don’t do ski figures, and do crazy stuff…I’m not that kind of skier. However, I can take a slope that is very steep. An objective of mine is to start doing sky diving with the skis. It’s kind of paragliding.

Like 007?

Yeah, yeah (Laugh).

Is that a thing?

Exactly. Actually, it’s a sport. People do it. A lot in Switzerland. It’s very common to do in Switzerland. I really want to do that.

Did you ever have an accident?

No, never. Just, I mean, you know, a few falls here and there. But nothing serious.

ROMANCE

“I think it’s very important in a relationship to spend time together, and to do things as partners.”

Océane De Decker

What is your biggest dream in life?

To be happy, and feeling full. Otherwise, diving in Antarctica.

You meet the most incredible person, and you both set up the date of your wedding. Then you see an announcement that says, “Diving in Antarctica! Totally free!” and it happens to fall on the day of your wedding. What do you do?

I move my wedding over there, and I get married on the freaking iceberg (Laugh).

Is this love for travel as an itch? Like some people are addicted to nicotine, are you addicted to travel?

[I can’t say] if it’s just a part of me or an obsession, or an addiction, if it’s healthy or not. I don’t know, because now it’s just part of who I am. I don’t even think! Even sometimes when I just want to stay where I am, I’m just ending up somewhere else.

So, why did you choose Switzerland, Canada, and Brazil to live in?

Well, Canada and Switzerland for my first love. I originally didn’t want to live in Canada, which is the irony. I decided to go there in 2012, 2013 for my studies, [so we] would have this experience in Canada together.

What about Brazil?

Brazil was my own decision. I was dying of cold in Quebec in 2013, and I had to choose a destination where I would study next. I said, “I’m going to take the hottest country on the list.” I took Brazil (Laugh).

 

tastes

What is your favorite book?

Le Petit Prince de St. Exupéry.

What message do you draw most from the book?

It’s the message of creating links. That concept also of taming. When the fox is talking to little prince and he’s like, “You’re a boy among a thousand other boys, and I’m a fox among a thousand of fox[es]. I don’t mean anything to you, and you don’t mean anything to me. But if you tame me, you’ll be unique for me, and I’ll be unique for you.”

And I think it is that message, really, to create that link, to create this very unique relationship that we have with every being in our life, and I think that’s very important. It’s a reading I usually share with my students.

 

“I have the feeling sometimes [that] I’m married to two entities: I’m married to the ocean, and I’m married to my freedom.”

 

What book or author has been your greatest influence?

Cyrano de Bergerac. For the importance of fighting for noble causes. That book also shows real love in a very beautiful and poetic way.

Interesting choice. Outside the romantic play, what would you think if the poet who got your heart let another man take credit for the romantic letters? Would you go on a date with him?

I guess…that’s a very good question. I never actually asked myself that. I love it. Well, definitely, the one who took credit for those letters, I’d be extremely angry [at him], because I would consider that this is stealing intellectual property, and this is something I just cannot stand.

But again, when we analyze the play, and how it happens, Christian was also ready to give up. He was about to be honest, cuz he really truly genuinely loves [Roxanna], so…he wanted to be honest with her, and knew who she would choose. He’s actually the one comforting Cyrano, and saying “No, you’re going to be honest with Roxanna! You’re going to say you wrote the letters!”

“Knowledge is something that we can share. I really love the lightbulb moment in my students’ eyes.”

ADVENTURER AND TEACHER

 

What is your favorite thing about being a teacher?

[Uplifting] people. Guiding them on the path of knowledge.

What made you become a teacher? Did you feel pressured to become one, or was it love at first sight?

It’s funny, my mom being a teacher, I was seeing all the drawbacks of the job at home when I was young. So that was basically the last thing I wanted to do. I think you don’t choose to become a teacher, but teaching chooses you. For me, it’s completely vocational. I think I’ve been teaching most of my life without realizing it. It got more concrete when I decided to create my business Have Fun Learning French. Teaching is what brings harmony and balance in my life. I think I’ll be teaching all my life.

Why is uplifting people your favorite thing about being a teacher?

Knowledge is something that we can share. I really love the lightbulb moment in my students’ eyes. I feel pride when my clients tell me that my work is helpful to them.

 

What are the drawbacks of teaching, how do you minimize them?

I try to minimize my correcting time. I try to do most of it during class time, and not after.

She also goes a little into her teaching methods.

I try to use existing resources. I do different activities that are original, that are out of the books. I like getting out of the box. I do original activities that don’t ask too much prep time. Instead of using boring books—I mean, some books are essential and are very great, and I recommend some, actually—I try to do other exercises. I mean, we have so many resources: YouTube, newspapers, images, etc.

Do you have classes in person, or do you do everything through video?

Before Covid, I used to do face to face. Then I switched to online. But that was already an objective of mine. Now, I really intend to stay online.

Océane indicates that when Covid is in the distance, she might do some workshops where she will see clients face to face.

Do you do group classes online or just one on one?

That depends. I have some [group] classes. Usually, I like working with small groups, because, you know, better interaction. My biggest group is like seven [people].

Do you usually have a black board behind you?

No, I write on the Zoom’s white board.

We could fill volumes of a single interview, but I think we have a good picture of the teacher and the adventurer, the lover and the fighter. But I was curious about what is next in her life’s repertoire.

What adventure is still left to do?

Two big adventures. Diving in Antarctica. That is one big for sure. Another big one would be to cross from Alaska to Portugal by [sea and land].

What is your message for people struggling in their lives?

I would say to push through, and to really define what you want. Don’t think you don’t have the resources. Lots of people, they all see what they cannot do, but they don’t see what they can do. So, start seeing what you can do, and do it. Stick with it and fight. Push through.

I love that message. Thank you Océane.

 

If you’re interested in reaching Océane personally and becoming one of her students, click on the links below.

Have fun learning french

Visit Océane’s website

Go

Oceane’s facebook

Reach Océane on Facebook

Go

 

 

 

the farm girl from ontario


Interview by: Cesar Portillo.

 

You don’t want to mess with Cathy Walker. She’s got the spirit of the wilderness, the wisdom of the trail, the talent of several authors, and two arms practiced in martial arts—and all that with a rod in her back. The images she’s allowed me to use, while fixed in time, only offer the transient trail of a comet-like tail as it passes by, and yet draw a piece of the world she lives in, and the character that it takes to live it.

Within the icy images we see a daughter of the snow, with a mental constitution as hardened as the crystal ice clinging to her horse’s eyelids. If this doesn’t recommend her enough, this Ontario, Canada, native, author of Witch’s Lament, is also a book-cover designer, a rider of horses, and a lover of animals.

She gave me the opportunity to ask her a few questions, and agreed to share with us a little of what creates these pictures, and to fill us in on what that comet tail is missing. Besides the deeper questions, I took the liberty to ask some basic ones as well.

 

INTERVIEW

Hi, Cathy, thank you for agreeing to share a little about you with us. How is life these days?

Not bad considering everything that is going on in the world. I lost my job with this pandemic, but it gave me the initiative to work on building my book cover design business and work at my writing and marketing the books that I currently have published. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do, so I’m happy being home on the farm and working.

Is it true that most Canadians live within a hundred miles of the U.S. border? That must leave most of Canada quite desolate, if true.

Honestly, I had to look this one up because I wasn’t sure, but it does seem to be fact. LOL. Canada does possess a lot of uninhabited land…at least uninhabited by humans, but plenty of wildlife. Personally, I don’t like cities or built up areas, I far prefer nature, trees, wildlife and the natural beauty of nature. Humans tend to destroy everything that is beautiful in nature, so desolate isn’t a word that I would use to describe the uninhabited areas. Untouched, natural, beautiful, would be words that would be much more appropriate.

 

“Animals are my heart. I adore them. I can read their energy and they read mine as well.”

What made you settle in Ontario?

I was born in Ontario and life’s circumstances have never been such that I’ve ever considered moving. Though, I will admit, when I was a teenager, I went through a phase that I desperately wanted to live up in the mountains. You know, like Jeremiah Johnson and Grizzly Adams. I even went so far as to write to the government to get information on Squatter’s Rights on crown land. We didn’t have the internet back then, so it wasn’t something I could research online. To this day, it is one thing in my life that I kind of wish I had done.

Do you have children?

My husband has 3 children who were all grown when he and I got married.

This gets us into intimate territory. What got you and your husband together?

Pure chance. I was at a home show in my town and happened to fill out a ballot for 2 free weeks of karate lessons at the local dojo. I won and it turned out that the dojo owner was my future husband. If I hadn’t filled out the ballot, we may never have met.

What was your job before you became an author?

Mainly worked retail until I met my husband. We owned and operated a martial arts dojo. I also worked part time on a goat farm and in a laundromat/dry cleaners.

So, a writer and martial arts expert?

I suppose some would think that I have a varied life. To me it just seems normal, but, yes, martial arts practitioner, writer, and book cover designer. I have studied Iaido (Japanese sword), karate, tai chi, archery, trained my own horse, and rescue animals (sic). Of all the above, closest to my heart is my animals. I also love writing. Designing covers helps to pay the bills, but it is my books and writing that I want to focus on to make that my one career.

Do you have a religion?

No specific religion, but my beliefs are very nature-based and all encompassing.

Where do you find is the best place for you to write?

I usually sit on the couch in the living room as I have a beautiful view out our front window.

What inspires you?

My animals. Reading books that evoke emotions that make me want to do more, do better.

What is your biggest dream?

Honestly, if I’m going to dream big, I want to win a lottery then put up shelters and fencing and rescue as many animals who need a home as I can.

What three things do you like to do on your free time?

Ride my horse, spend time with my animals, read.

What is a talent that you have that surprises you or surprises other people?

I guess just the fact that I can write books and people love them is still amazing to me.

What is a personal motto you live or strive to live by?

I try not to judge others as I have no idea what is going on in their life.

Do you have a favorite book?

One of my favourites is The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley.

What book or author has been your greatest influence?

Far too many to list them all, but Walter Farley, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Mary Stewart, Bertrice Small, Virginia Henley…oh, so many.

Cathy and one of her dogs

 

cathy and her pony

 

Do you have a favorite color?

Earth colours are my favourites (sic).

Do you have a favorite song?

Any song by Gordon Lightfoot. Maybe by Thom Pace. Viva la Vida by Coldplay. Annie’s Song by John Denver. The Mission by Ennio Morrocone…the list goes on.

What is your favorite food or restaurant?

Cheese lasagna, pizza, hamburgers, spaghetti…all vegetarian, of course.

What is your favorite drink?

I am afraid that I have a weakness for Coca Cola, but I can control it….honestly.

What is your birthday?

December 28, 1959.

Do you listen to music while you write?

Not often.

Does music impact the way you write a story?

No.

How tall are you?

5′ 6″ I grew an inch when I had a steel rod put in my back and my spine straightened a bit.

Tell me a little bit about the rod in your back.

I have a curved spine and after attempts to correct it or keep it from getting worse, the result was putting a steel rod in my back. I was in my teens when the problem started and ended up having the surgery in my early 20’s. I had cautions from some doctors to be careful and not do anything physical, but decided to listen to the one doctor who told me to do what I wanted. If it hurt, stop doing it, if it didn’t, then keep doing it. He told me I needed to keep moving and use the back muscles to keep the strong and supple or I’d end up with problems as I got older. I’m happy that I listened to him because I know others who listened to the doctors who said not to do anything physical, and they are having serious back problems as they get older. On the other hand, I have managed to earn my 3rd degree black belt in karate, train and ride my own horse, do all my own barn chores…pretty much anything that I want to do, I do.

Many people can trace their origins way back. How far back can you trace yours?

Not far. I would love to know more about my ancestors, but just have never had the time to do the research. I know my family came mainly from Scotland with some from England.

About your dojo, did you give up the business to become a writer?

No. I wrote my books while we still owned the dojo and the reason we sold the dojo and property was because martial arts was dying in our area and my husband was ready for retirement anyway, so it was time to get out from under. Having 2 mortgages and paying bills on a property that was no longer paying for itself, was too difficult from a financial point of view. Selling out does take a lot of stress and pressure off and allow me more time for writing.

Which was your first book?

Sword Across Time

How long did it take you to write it?

A couple of years

Must have felt pretty great putting the word “End,” at the last page.

Yes, it was an awesome feeling. Of course, that first manuscript is still sitting on my computer and has never been published, which is a good thing as it really needs editing. Now that I have a lot more experience and understanding of writing, I am going to revisit that manuscript and publish it as it is a story that I really love.

 

A Witch’s Lament

I read the blurb for your book “A Witch’s Lament.” It takes place in Massachusetts. What is a Canadian author doing in Massachusetts? What inspired you to write it?

Well, witches are always a popular theme and I have always been fascinated by the varying viewpoints about the Salem witch trials. In my book, I do allude to the actual historical events and have some excerpts from the trials as part of my story, but the book itself is fictional and does wander into the realm of fantastical with an evil force of darkness. LOL. I loved writing the story and am currently finishing the series by writing the 3rd book now.

Give me an expanded blurb of the book for those who haven’t read it. What about talking a little about your characters?

Salem’s history of darkness and death isn’t over yet, a fact Skye discovers upon purchasing a house in the infamous seaport. Her presence ignites events that began centuries ago during the witch trials and stimulates her formerly benign powers into a force beyond earthly bounds.

The discovery of a skeleton in a secret room in her house leads her to local police officer, Jerome Phips, whose mother disappeared 30 years earlier during a ritual in Skye’s new home. Determined to uncover the truth of his mother’s disappearance, Jerome’s suspicion falls to Skye’s mom, whose presence at the ritual is revealed.

Past and present collide as Skye struggles to fulfill a birth-task to protect an ancient knife…the same one Jerome believes played a role in his mother’s disappearance. And an ancient evil returns to fulfill its own long-awaited task.

Rated 86 times. 69% 5 stars.

There are five elements integral to your story. You add “spirit” to earth, fire, water, and air. Do some witches worship the spirit and see it as an element?

I am not sure if worship is the correct word to use. Respect is how I would describe how witches view the elements, which all work together, and, yes, I believe that spirit is an element. It is the intangible presence of energy that lives in everything. It is palpable to those who are aware enough to believe in and feel its presence.

Skye is a girl who seems to me to live in constant limbo. She strikes me as someone who says yes/no in the same breath. It appears her mind is always in a state of chaos. But yet she is always determined, as if she didn’t allow the chaos to truly control her. Was that deliberate or did the character come alive on her own as you wrote the book? Tell me something about Skye in your own words.

I am what is called a pantser, which means that I write the story as I go. There is very little thought to an outline or plot. It can be difficult to write this way as I often get stuck as to what is going to happen next, but I’ve tried outlining and I just can’t do it. Until my characters start doing things, then I don’t know how they will react, which also means I don’t know what direction the story will take. They grow and evolve as I write them and they tell me how the story will go. So, basically, not much is deliberate, I just go with the flow.

Did any bit of your life make its way into the story?

I think a little bit of me and my beliefs always makes its way into my stories. I don’t see how I could do anything other than that. My view of the world, people, events, etc. is what it is. Of course, I also want to write a varied cast of characters, so I do look at things from other points of view and try to have characters act differently than I would in any given circumstance.

What would you like people to take from the book?

Hmmm, I would say that I want people to enjoy the story. I didn’t write it to preach or try to make people pay attention to lessons within the writing. Having said that, though, I think there should be something of a learning experience within any book for people who want to read between the lines. I think the story shows how history has been very cruel and, hopefully, we can learn from those mistakes and move on. Try to be non-judgmental and accepting of what others believe.

Part 2 is also available. Your new heroine there is Cassandra. Would you mind telling me a little about it?

Cassandra, like Skye, is thrust into a role that she doesn’t want and isn’t prepared for, but it helps her grow and helps define who she is as a person. Circumstances help strengthen her character and give her a surety in herself that was missing before coming to Salem and fighting (and defeating) the dark evil.

I saw some of your book covers. It’s pretty awesome. Tell me a little about what inspired you to create book covers? You obviously are possessed by a creative germ.

Thanks for your kind words, Cesar. As much as I love writing, I do also enjoy designing covers. My cover design career happened quite by chance and was brought on by a period of financial desperation. A friend and cover designer knew I needed money and she offered to help me learn how to use Photoshop and design covers. She got me started and taught me the basics and I’ve grown from there. I am a good cover designer, but not at the level of some of them out there and never will be as I don’t have the time to spend learning everything that some of these amazing designers know. Of course, my prices are about 1/4 of what they charge so it’s all relative.

You are also an animal lover. You have horses and other animals. Can you tell me something about them?

Animals are my heart. I adore them. Going back to the energy we talked about in an earlier question…I can read their energy and they read mine as well. My horse, Ginger, is so tuned in to me, that I swear she reacts to my thoughts before I even ask her to do something or make a move. I have to be careful and control my thoughts and emotions when I’m near her because she responds so quickly to me. All my animals are aware of me and I know them so well, it’s almost as if they speak to me. If more people would just be aware of their animals, they’d be amazed at how much animals actually do feel and think and communicate with us. The more you pay attention to them, the more they open up. If I ever win a lottery, I am going to put up fencing, shelters, and rescue as many animals as I can. For now, I have my 2 dogs, 4 cats, Welsh pony, mini horse, and 3 goats. I used to have 12 goats, but they’ve died over the last few years, mainly from old age.

You are certainly a person who has a lot to give to the world. What advice do you have for those struggling to write their first book or get any project underway?

Yes. Please don’t hesitate to ask questions of other authors who have experience. There are so many groups out there that offer advice. You need to RESEARCH. I’m amazed at how many people don’t know the difference between self-publishing, a vanity press, and a printer. How to submit to an agent or publisher. The fact that even if you get a deal with a trad publisher, you still need to market. That it is possible to make money self-publishing and there AREN’T only a handful of big name authors doing so. A quality book cover truly IS an important thing thing to invest in for many, many reasons. Putting out a book filled with spelling and grammatical errors is not a good thing. If you want to be taken seriously and make money in this industry, you need to approach it like a business and invest time, money, and knowledge to do it right. The competition is fierce as there are something like 3000-5000 books published daily on Amazon. You need to work to make yours stand out. Having said all of that, it is like walking through a minefield because about 75% of the advice given out in some of these groups is just wrong. So, I tell you to research and join groups, but I also caution you to really think through what you are being told. You need to know that the source of the information you are getting is a valid source. A writer who actually knows what they are talking about. Honestly, it’s not an easy thing you are trying to do, but listen to the people who have done it, not the people who are wannabe’s and just do a lot of talking about doing it. Hopefully that makes sense. It took me a long time to get to where I am and I’m still only at the bottom rung of making my writing a valid source of income. Of course, I went for quite a few years of just giving up and doing nothing with my books or writing. I’ve really only revived my career since last July, so I kind of count that as the beginning. I don’t mind answering questions or helping anyone out, so please don’t hesitate to join my Author group and contact me with any questions. I’ll list links below, I think Cesar will allow that.

Thank you so much, Cathy!

 

Check Out caThy’s books!

 

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Cathy’s other links:

Author FB pagehttps://www.facebook.com/cathywalker.author

Author website  – https://writesbooks.wixsite.com/cathywalker

Book Cover  FB grouphttps://www.facebook.com/groups/cathyscovers

Book Cover websitehttps://cathyscovers.wixsite.com/books

 

 

Who is Brett?

Interview by: Cesar Portillo.

 

Brett is a director and independent associate at LegalShield . He took a moment to zoom-sit with us to discuss a bit about himself, why he chose LegalShield as the company where he would establish himself, and what is good about LegalShield.

Brett was born in Massachusetts. His father was a businessman and his mother a stay-home mom. He graduated in mathematics from the University of Vermont and undertook a job as an environmental scientist, a position he left to pursue a career in real estate. Ten years later, he was an associate at LegalShield, and he hasn’t looked back ever since.

Brett got me involved in LegalShield a few months back, and the help I have been able to provide people with legal needs is nothing short of fulfilling. Long time ago, I experienced the helplessness of not having ready legal help at the push of a button, you know, like a rich man would have.

 

…you don’t know when your identity will be stolen. You don’t know when you’re going to get that next speeding ticket. Nobody is guaranteed tomorrow. You gotta get your will done. And everything else. You don’t know when you’re going to get sued.

It started one day when a friendly man in my neighborhood offered to help me with my car problems. We settled on the price for the repair, for which he got an advance. When I returned to see how my vehicle fared in his driveway, he told me that the price for fixing it had increased, and that he had already done the work, so I couldn’t tell him to forget it. He held my car hostage, and wouldn’t return it to me unless I paid him the additional sum.

My trip to lawyers’ offices was not an easy thing. Lawyers asked for a lot of money, simply for the consultation, often more than the new price the repairman was charging me. I asked a cop, who happened to be a friend of mine, if he could do something. He told he could have, but that the car was in an area outside his jurisdiction. I had the papers of the contract with the repairman, and the only advice he could give me was to file a civil lawsuit. Things happened, I had to take a trip, and one thing led to the other, and when I came back, the car was no longer in the guy’s driveway, and there was no way I could get it back.

I felt the gentleman had done this before. Had I had an entire law firm at my side to file a case against the repairman and to represent me at court, my story would have been much different. I would have been protected. And so joining LegalShield for me was a no brainer. I became a protected associate, and being a part of it meant that I could help people with similar or other problems, who are left by the wayside with no help from anyone.

Brett tackles what I believe is the unfair label of MLM pegged to the company. Brett admits that the company does not shy away from the labelin fact, flaunts it in its own unique waybut that, nonetheless, the service is real and true. The law firms are real and always handy and ready to help its members 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

As a writer, I would not put my reputation on the line by providing a “non-service.” I find this an important service—and I have my own story and reasons for joining it, as I expressed above—that, even if we can say a bit of the system should change, has helped millions of people, good people, who otherwise would have no access to true and professional legal help.

If you’re interested in a plan, visit my associate’s website.  You also can find Brett’s links below.

The Interview

Brett, how are you doing?

Doing great, how are you?

Doing good, man. Why are you up so late?

(Laugh) It’s noon here. Where are you, in Australia? (Being a partner, Brett knows about my life in Australia).

Noon, what city are you in?

I’m outside of Denver Colorado.

Denver Colorado. Well, it’s not noon there, is it?

Well, no, it’s 11:40 pm. It’s late.

Ok, so you’re like an hour ahead.

Yeah.

So tell me a little about your education.

I went to college at the University of Vermont and graduated with a bachelor’s in science, and then got into consulting in Boston. I did environmental consulting for a few years before deciding to move out west.

What made you switch from environmental consulting to a career in LegalShield?

Well, there was a lot of time between those two events. But yeah, I was working in corporate America and had just got out of college, and it just kind of hit me like a ton of bricks. My boss was stressed out, I was stressed out. I didn’t want to work hard to be like him.

What was your position in the environmental field?

The title was scientist. We would do environmental set assessments and come back and write reports. I had the opportunity to move out west, and so that’s what I did. When I got out to California, looked for some jobs out there. And, pretty quickly, actually launched a business in real estate, and was able to quit my corporate America job, had some really successful real estate deals [etc.] Unfortunately, then the whole market crashed in 2006…2007. At that point, I had to change the model of what we were doing, and fell into a businessforeclosure prevention: helping homeowners in foreclosure.

So when LegalShield came into my life, this was actually ten years later—you know, fast forward. A friend of mine called me, told me his daughter’s identity had been stolen. She was in kindergarten. I didn’t know that could happen to a child. We had just had a baby, and so I asked the question, which everybody should be asking right now, “how do I protect my family?” You know, against identity theft. And it was a friend of mine, insurance agent, sharp guy (sic); he said “I did all the research on identity theft protection companies, and this is the most comprehensive protection.” And I said, “great, sign me up.” (Laugh).

Just like that?

Yeah, it was pretty simple. I mean, Identity theft, I’d just learned, was putting my family at risk. I mean, you don’t know, nobody knows, when identity theft is gonna hit. It’s not worth it. I just didn’t know. Most people don’t know. First, I got into the identity side of LegalShield, and he told me about the legal plan, the legal product. I was like, “that makes sense, sign me up for that, too.” Then he told me I could share these services and make money. You can get paid, daily, make residual income, and I was like, well, that makes a lot of sense, too. I was like, “you know what? If that makes sense for my family, it’s gotta make sense for others.”

And then, also, I was thinking of all the people in foreclosure that I had helped, or couldn’t help, because they could not afford attorneys. And you know, notorious in the foreclosure industry, and the legal industry, is that attorneys are not affordable, they’re are not accountable, and they’re unreliable. So, you could have a situation, like a foreclosure, and you hire an attorney and they don’t do a good job. They don’t help you. Now, you got two problems: you’re still in foreclosure, or still have that legal problem, and now you just lost thousands of dollars. And you know what? I can help anybody with any legal issue, anywhere. I have a massive attorney network that covers all areas of law. I started sharing the information with people.

 

Multilevel Marketing has to do with team building. It’s the fairest model on the planet. If you’re going to get a job and work for your boss, that’s a pyramid.

 

How did you start building your clientele?

I reached out to some like-minded businesspeople, brought them onboard, and did some online marketing to generate more people that were interested in these services and opportunities. And I took what I thought was just going to be a supplemental income, a part-time thing, into a career opportunity, you know, within 3, 4 weeks.

You have a story where LegalShield truly came through for someone in legal trouble?

Countless stories. Countless stories. I mean, I was on the phone with a lady one time, and she was having a dispute with her neighbor, who was building a fence on her property, and she was like, “I need an attorney now!” Cops were there, and she was hysterical. It was a Sunday. And I was like, “the good news is that we can help you, we can get an attorney on the phone right now. The bad news, it’s going to take fifteen minutes.” So, we signed her up and she was able to get the law firm on the line. So, that was pretty amazing. I don’t know what happened after that, but, again, I did my job.

One of the most impactful stories I’ve ever heard is where a guy, his name was Bo. He got pulled over in a small town in Texas. He actually knew the cop, cop knew him, and the cop said, “Bo, I just need to run your license, routine.” Cop does that, comes back to the car, says, “Bo, we got a problem. You have forty felonies on your record, and seventy misdemeanors.”

Wow!

Right, that’s a bad day for anybody. And the reality is, it could happen to anybody. [Bo] had no idea. He was the victim of identity theft. His identity was sold at a flea market 300 times. So, the guy, Bo, goes, “Hey, can I just call my attorney?” The cop goes, “How are you going to call your attorney? It’s seven, eight o’clock at night.” And [Bo] said, “well, I got LegalShield.” And the cop says, “Well, if you can get your attorney on the phone, we’ll get the sergeant down here.” Well, that’s what [Bo] did, he got the attorney on the phone, who got six other state attorneys on the phone, and they started working on it right away. And [Bo] didn’t go to the (sic) jail, our service expunged his entire criminal record in two weeks, and the sergeant was so impressed, the entire police quad got our service. They saw what this is. We work with everybody, police department, school districts, medical facilities, etc.

That’s an amazing story.

There was another story…I mean, and I’ve used the service 30 plus times, 40 times, uh, not ever thinking I would ever need an attorney. Everybody wants to avoid attorneys. It’s just cuz they’re expensive, not that we don’t benefit. We just don’t think to use them, cuz we think that, that we gotta break laws, and what not, but they’ve saved me twenty-five, thirty-thousand dollars. Never paid anything out of pocket, at a…around forty times that I’ve called the law firm about trivial to dramatic stuff.

Father, Husband, Businessman

 

Now, you’re a father and a husband. Does your career [the things he’s learned along the way] impact the way you raise your child?

Yeah, well, I’ve been working from home for fifteen plus years, so the home life and the work life have kind of blended together. But yeah, I will say that before our sonyou know, our son is three years oldbefore him, the flexibility of working from home…it was amazing. I could travel whenever I wanted, do whatever I wanted. Truly amazing what being self-employed can do. And then, once we had our son, priorities changed. And so, I carve out pretty much the first half of the day to spend with the little guy, and just have fun. We just do whatever. You know, such a blessing to be able to do that.

What is your proudest moment in your professional and personal life?

Becoming a dad was certainly a proud moment. In business, my first year with LegalShield, I was the number one team builder in all of Colorado, which kind of blew me away. Second year, I was the number one team builder in the entire company, in the entire North America. And there’s like thirty, forty-thousand associates. And so I got invited up to breakfast with the CEO when we were on a company-paid trip, all-expenses-paid trip in Disneyworld. So that was a really special time.

So, what do you tell people who call LegalShield an MLM company?

You know, we don’t play the convincing game. All we say is, “take a look.” And when somebody takes a look, they either say yes or no. Everybody that says no, if they’ve been exposed to this company, to the mission of the company, what the products do, they will sign up once they realize it. It’s smart to get it now, because you don’t know when your identity will be stolen. You don’t know when you’re going to get that next speeding ticket. Nobody is guaranteed tomorrow. You gotta get your will done and everything else. You don’t know when you’re going to get sued.

So despite the MLM label, the service is real.

Yes, anybody can do the research. I mean, A+ rated with the Better Business Bureau. Less than 200 complaints at the BBB for a company that’s been around for 49 years, and has almost 5 million people using the service. You can’t beat it. Some of the most amazing endorsements and recommendations.

But Multilevel Marketing has to do with team building. It’s the most fairest (sic) model on the planet. If you’re going to get a job and work for your boss, that’s a pyramid. You are never going to make more than that guy. And he doesn’t want you to take his spot. Right? So in network marketing, you can bring somebody in, they can make more money than you (sic). You bring somebody in, you help them cuz you can both make money together; it’s like a real estate brokerage, an insurance agency, mortgage office. It’s the best model on the planet.

Now, if you don’t like team build (sic) because it involves becoming a leader, and becoming a better person, and growingnot everybody can handle thatyou can yourself market these memberships all day long, do it all yourself. Or, people that come from corporate America, high level corporate America, network marketing it’s like, they can’t even understand it (sic) But what they can do is they can thrive in corporate America, [but] they don’t actually want to work for corporate America. Who wants to work for corporate America? Very few people really do. So, we give people an opportunity to work with businesses, do B2B, not network marketing; work with businesses, protect the business, protect their employees (sic).

We have a slogan: hashtag: MLM perfected. Cuz what other MLM company do you know that can deal directly with business owners, HR Directors, offer their products as a voluntary employee benefit? So, it’s not pills and potions. It’s solving some of the biggest problems in society. And whoever does that makes the most money, and we’re making a ton of money right now.

What is your biggest dream outside the company?

So, I come from an environmental background, you know; I did the environmental consulting. So, I wanna give back. It’s all about giving back, and funding, being able to fund charitable causes, and stuff like that. You need money to do that, you should volunteer time, as well, which is currency. So, there’s that. You know, there is traveling, having homes in different places. Ultimately, this is a business, it’s a legacy business. All the income that you generate here can be passed down to your family for multiple generations. It just flows down.

What is a talent that you have that surprises you and surprises other people?

That’s a good question. One of my mentors would just say that I’m a good student, that I follow the system and do the activity. I started seeing four-figure daily deposits in this business after twenty months. I was like “wow!” You know, every step is great, but that I was a really big one.

Now, you deal in cryptocurrency as well. How is that going?

Yeah, I do some crypto; I do some real estate; I do investment in the market. So, yeah. I do all. Except crypto is very exciting. It’s very interesting. It’s exploding right now. Who knows how long that’s gonna happen? You know, every crypto has a story, a different use. So, yes, I’m just learning.

It was getting late, and to wrap it up, I told Brett of a time when I walked out of a grocery store without paying for my items—my cart was worth about $150, discounts included. I had accidentally not paid for them, and the cashier had not charged me for them, either. We had been involved in a conversation that completely took our attention from the business at hand, which had resulted in both our omissions. I told Brett it was a proud moment for me when I returned to pay for the items, having realized what had just happened; and how that ability to turn around to correct a wrong, that type of integrity, was something I wanted to teach my daughter, so that she would always be trusted and respected, and loved. I expressed, however, that the government was not built with that type of honesty, that it was in many ways tailored in favor of a few. Brett had a recommendation on how to tackle said system.

With LegalShield, you can call your attorney and find out if you have legal rights. Because what you say, the law is legal, not logical. Let’s empower people, so they can use the system how it is intended to be used for everybody.

Thank you very much, Brett. Have a great night.

You, too. Have a great night.

Find out about the services that Brett offers, below.

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