Colleen’s Coffee Klatch: Erik Tyler, @BestAdviceSoFar

Hello everyone! Welcome to Colleen’s Coffee Klatch. Where I grew up, the Kaffee klatsch was all the rage. Folks (mostly women) would get together, share a cup of coffee, and catch up on their lives.

Before I go on, please know the Coffee Klatch posts have moved to my author blog HERE but I’m posting on as well until I get my followers built up on Thanks for reading twice.

Thanks so much for stopping by to share a cup of coffee and a chat. Whenever I can, I like to reconnect with my favorite authors to catch up and see what’s new in their writing world.

This week I’m thrilled to introduce a new friend & author, Erik Tyler. I met him through his comments on another Coffee Klatch post. How cool is that?

Erik is an author, speaker, blogger, mentor, storyteller, facilitator, workshop leader, people lover, creative force, listener, conversationalist, unique-question-asker, chance-taker, noticer, and lover of life.

He lives in Massachusetts, in a town big enough to have a University yet small enough to have farms where you can get ice cream made with milk from the resident cows.

Amazon Author Page

Thanks for having me over, Colleen. The brilliant fall foliage season is underway here in New England. It’s this perfect little window of time, really. The days still hold warmth, and the evenings are cool without being cold. So the windows are always open, which I love. There’s this particular scent: dry leaves, distant fireplaces and… oh, that’s the coffee. Perfect addition!

Hi Eric. Here’s a cup to get you started. I want to talk about your book, “ALTERNATE REALITY: The Better Life You Could Be Living.” I was intrigued by the title.

Alternate Reality is my third book. Oddly enough, that wasn’t the plan. I was halfway into writing another book, which was slated to be my third. Then the pandemic hit, though I think that was just the proverbial last straw for many people.

I was suddenly inundated with calls, texts and emails—people from across a lifetime of mentoring who were stressed. Struggling. Worried. Lonely. Fearful. Panicked.


It was that last word that struck me and caused me to put a hold on the book I had been writing and to start a new project.

You see, for all the bad news going around, it was crystal clear to me that the lion’s share of the problem where hope was concerned wasn’t circumstances. It was perspective.

Enter Alternate Reality.

It’s about shifting our perspective—which is entirely within the realm of our own choice—instead of pouring all of our emotional resources into Sisyphean attempts to control our circumstances.

My books have always centered on two big themes: choice and kindness. But in writing Alternate Reality, I came to some new clarity about who I am as a writer and what sets me apart.

Again and again, readers express feeling like they’ve had a conversation with a friend instead of just having read another self-help book. I’m a mentor at heart, and conversations are at the core of effective mentoring. So I’ve recently started saying that my books put the personal in “personal development.”

I’m also a storyteller. Every concept in my writing springs from a story. People literally laugh, cry, cringe, hold their breath. Stories are powerful. They reduce complex concepts to simple images. So readers wind up thinking of “the flying piano” or “the drool kiss” or “the lip bug”—and they instantly remember the big central truth behind each story and how to put it into action when they need it most.

Lastly, I always include questions for self-reflection or group discussion after each chapter. This makes things extra personal. Readers start with my stories, but the questions help them focus on their own life story and how they will choose to write the next chapters of it.

Gosh, can you tell I’m a writer? Once you get me talking about this stuff, it’s hard to stop! Time for a sip of this coffee before it gets cold.

Well, Colleen, I hope your own reading of Alternate Reality came at just the right time, for where life has you right now. That’s always my hope for readers. And again, I can’t thank you enough for having me over today.

You’re so welcome, Erik. Thanks for stopping by to meet some new friends. I enjoyed your book, “ALTERNATE REALITY: The Better Life You Could Be Living.”

From the author of The Best Advice So Far and TRIED & (Still) TRUEAlternate Reality reads like fiction while diving into the real-life stuff that everyone ought to know—but few people ever talk about. This is not just another self-help or motivational book. It’s more like a private conversation with a trusted friend. It’s personal development designed to be… well, personal.

Regardless of what may be going on around you, there’s an alternate reality at your fingertips which you can choose to live in: one filled with hope, joy, purpose and real human connection.

You don’t need to “find happiness.” It isn’t hiding from you. It’s not a thing of the past. Happiness is very much a thing of the present—your present. You just need to retrain yourself to notice it.

Alternate Reality is a collection of personal stories, essays, practical advice, self-reflection exercises and hands-on experiments designed to reset your focus, allowing you to see clearly once again what is right with your life, the world and the people in it.

My Recommendation:

Alternate Reality is a book for anyone who is ready to change their current perspective on life. If you don’t like the way your life is going, maybe it’s time to recreate the best version of yourself. Why not? There is so much to be gained by a shift in how you perceive the world.

I wasn’t sure what I would find in a book titled “Alternate Reality.” I cringed, thinking about the idea of “alternative facts” which seemed to be all the rage over social media the last few years. Thankfully, I was in for a surprise. The writing is easy to read and by the end of the book, you’ll find a new friend in Erik Tyler.

Tyler offers straight, down-to-earth suggestions through a collection of his own stories, essays, and observations devised to make you think about how you can change your perspective to get more out of life. At the end of each chapter, he adds questions for discussion and self-reflection.

“I’m simply saying that I think we would all benefit from continually reminding ourselves that there are countless real and valid perspectives in the world other than our own.”

Tyler, Erik. ALTERNATE REALITY: The Better Life You Could Be Living (p. 17). Kindle Edition.

Tyler encourages us to reevaluate our self-focused perspective to that of an others-focused ethos. His philosophy is simple. We need “to treat people as people and not as obstacles, roles, props or background noise.” What a refreshing idea!

That’s just the beginning… there’s much more learned wisdom shared through this author’s experiences to help you reflect on where your life is at this moment in time. I especially liked the questions at the end of each chapter. They really make you think.

From Alternate Reality, I learned a few things about myself I hadn’t realized before. For example, I need to cultivate those times of quiet into my life. When I walk away from the computer and put away my phone, I find the greatest peace within myself. It’s all about choices and taking care of yourself. Now, I schedule this time on my calendar, because I find it so important.

Are you ready to let go of those negative emotions and make some new choices? Alternate Reality will help you on your own journey to becoming your best version of you.

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

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Would you like to stop by for coffee and a chat? Email me at and pitch me your news. I can’t wait to hear what’s new in your world! 💜 🦄 🧹

41 thoughts on “Colleen’s Coffee Klatch: Erik Tyler, @BestAdviceSoFar”

  1. Thanks very much for introducing us to Erik and his book Colleen. I agree about a need to review and change our perspectives especially as we get older. So many that we have developed over our lives are hard wired. I do think that whilst the Internet can reinforce our attitude to others it can also open our eyes to new ideas and concepts but we have to be open to do so… ♥

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi, Sally. I agree wholeheartedly with your thoughts here. I always go into writing with full knowledge of how hard it is for people to even consider that a long-held perspective might need consideration, let alone to change it—all the more so as people get older and have held those perspectives longer.

      I never go into things (in writing or live) with the idea that I’ll ever argue or debate someone into changing their mind about a single thing. I have the ability to “win” a debate logically; but I’ve never actually seen anyone change their mind even when backed into a corner. (In fact, I’ve found this only causes them to avoid you and then double down on the original belief, seeking any means of confirmation bias available.)

      Instead, I ask questions—questions people have rarely if ever been asked—in a spirit of empathy. And I have seen much real change come about in this way.

      Even my own Nana—a staunch Baptist of a lifetime—changed her perspective about big (and, to her, scary) things well into her 90s. So I know we each have the potential.

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment and insight.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks again, Colleen, for sharing of yourself with me and so many others. You embody that principle of treating people as real people; and this post is yet more proof that you never know what can happen when people choose to see one another and connect over what we have in common, rather than seeing one another as… well, “obstacles, roles, props or background noise.”

    I got a nice little sting of good tears to know that you not only enjoyed the book as “a good read,” but that you came away knowing yourself better and making some small but powerful new choices. That is always my hope for readers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re so welcome, Erik. I enjoyed meeting you. Your book was full of no nonsense advice that everyone should think about and implement in their own life journey. We have Diana Peach to thank for the introductions. LOL!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Diana is another person who lives out the choice to be kind in small (but ultimately big) ways. One of my favorite people, really, though we’ve not yet met in person. In fact, we appear in the Acknowledgments of one another’s books along the way for various reasons. And it all started through blog interactions just like this one.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Such fun to see Erik having a big cup of coffee on your blog, Colleen. He’s a wonderful writer, and I just love his stories and how they challenge us to stop, notice, and broaden our perspectives. It’s a practice that becomes more and more important as stress seems to be on the rise worldwide. How great that you’re taking time to slow down and breathe (something I need to do too, that’s for sure). Congrats, Erik, on the wonderful review from Colleen. She knows how to write them and spread the word. I’ll add my endorsement to hers and highly recommend your books. Have a wonderful day, my friend. Hugs.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. As always, Diana, thank you for bringing your own “aromatic blend” of joy and thoughtfulness. I’m telling you… one of these days, the coffee klatch will be in person.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. This was a fun interview. I enjoyed getting to know about Erik and his writing. It sounds like we’re both conversational writers. Funny, I have his book, The Best of LIfe So Far, coming up soon on my reader. Congrats to Erik on his new book, which I have added to my TBR. ❤

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Debby. I still remember reading (and reviewing) your book P.S. I Forgive You: A Broken Legacy just before the pandemic hit. I can’t help but think of the many ways that both The Best Advice So Far and Alternate Reality overlap with the themes of P.S. I Forgive You…. I hope each feels very personal to you.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Thanks, Debby-Sis! I like this no-nonsense style of writing. Erik makes it easy for everyone to understand the mechanisms of choice. He refers back to the first book often. You might want to read that one first. 💜

      Liked by 3 people

  5. Sounds like a great book. Moments of quietness in the heart, and working towards lifting the cohort instead of lifting yourself alone are two great themes to read and write about.

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      1. That is true for many, Colleen. Yet (as often happens in times of crisis), I also saw many people being creative and tenacious in creating new ways of interacting: collective YouTube recordings about hope, encouraging signs in windows and on lawns for first responders, visits on lawns and through car windows and from balconies. Friends of mine who had never owned an iPad got themselves one, to be able to share portable moments with one another.

        I write a lot about choice. In fact, the central theme of all of my books and of my blog is “You always have a choice.” That doesn’t mean we get all of the choices we wish we had. We don’t choose everything that happens in our lives (like a pandemic with its thousand scary unknowns). But we do each get the choice of how we will respond, how we will react, at each turn. Because of that, the same circumstances can elicit quite an array of “alternate” responses.

        I wrote Alternate Reality to help encourage people worn down by the last several years of heaviness. But I’m equally wanting to help people build the personal and emotional toolbox that will allow them to be more prepared for whatever comes next, toward mitigating the hard things—and not missing out on the potentially great ones. I really to believe that perspective is the greater part of reality for each of us.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It seems to me that many people look at kindness or being mindful of the collective good as “the right thing” but also as work or as something that is going to somehow diminish us in the process, however “right” it may be. But there is a vast difference between lifting the cohort, as you put it, and selflessness (which many hear as “losing self”). This couldn’t be further from the truth. We benefit as well as anyone else (sometimes more) by way of feeling alive, awake, purposeful, connected, hopeful, happier—that is the “Alternate Reality” I’m offering in this book.

      I have a curiosity question for you. Of all things, you chose an olive branch for your avatar. I know it stands generally for “peace.” But what is it’s particular significance to you, that you wanted it to represent you right now in life?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I originally started another blog about some difficult experiences I’ve had. The olive branch was a symbol of reaching out– connection, creativity, health, ancient wisdom kind of. Almost healing, but mostly connection.

        My high school’s totem was a dove holding an olive branch with the word pax (peace).

        I love that you get the concept of Lifting the cohort, and I want to challenge you about your description of ‘work’… I love work, whether it be paid work, housework, relationship work, etc. I love the feelings of satisfaction it gives me, and strength, and physical comfort, and all sorts of things. Work doesnt have to diminish us. It’s how we reach excellence.

        Lifting yourself lifts the cohort, too. Everyone gets help.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve been a fan of Erik — as a human being and as a writer — for a long time now. I’ve followed his blog and I’ve read all three of his books. Since reading Alternate Reality over this past summer, I have not had a single dinner conversation where I didn’t quote some section of it, particularly Erik’s advice to treat people as people, not as props, background noise, or obstacles. I cannot more highly recommend Alternate Reality. Thanks for helping spread the good word, Colleen! (And I am following your new author site now.)

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I’ve been a fan of Erik — as a human being and as a writer — for a long time now. I’ve followed his blog and I’ve read all 3 of his books. Since reading Alternate Reality over this past summer, I have not had a single dinner conversation where I didn’t quote some section of it, particularly Erik’s advice to treat people as people, not as props, background noise, or obstacles. I cannot more highly recommend Alternate Reality. Thanks for helping spread the good word, Colleen!

    Liked by 2 people

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