Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Author Wanda Luthman

Today, I’d like to extend a warm welcome to Wanda Luthman. Let’s get started!


What is your name and where are you from?

Wanda Luthman. I grew up in St. Louis, MO but was born in NC, spent a few years in Florida, and two beautiful years in Hawaii, and now I’m back in Florida.

Hawaii. Okkaay. Are you employed outside of writing?

I’m a High School Guidance Counselor. I have 350 students that I track for graduation and help them with emotional issues as well as career advice throughout their high school years. I love my job, my school, my co-workers, and most especially the children/young adults.

I love it. Any siblings?

I have two siblings—a brother and a sister. I’m the baby of the three of us.

In your own words, what is love?

Love is magic. Whenever you think of love, you know something magical is there. Whether it’s between husband and wife or parent and child, you feel something extra there that is indescribable. And when you see a tragedy and then you see the helpers, you know there is love and those people are working miracles in the lives of others. That’s what love is. It’s powerful and changes lives.

I love what you said about tragedies and seeing helpers and knowing there’s love there! Wanda, what’s your favorite color?

My favorite color is blue or purple. I love them both equally! And they’re related on the color wheel.

Who is your favorite writer?

My favorite writer is Dr. Seuss.

What kind of music do you like?

I love country music because it tells a story but I love all kinds of music from classical (I used to play the piano) to Gospel to Rock ‘n Roll.

Let’s talk about writing some more. When did you publish your first book? What was that like?

I published my first book in October 2014. I used a service that cost a lot of money to publish but it was worth it to see my dream become a reality!!

I can definitely understand the feeling of seeing your dream come true for sure. Don’t pay a lot of money to get your book published again though! It shouldn’t cost you anything to publish your book. If it does, run. Are you married Wanda? How long?

Yes, I have been married for 23 wonderful years.

Wonderful! Do you have children?

Yes, I have 5 children. 1 that is my own biological child and 4 that are step-children.

Awesome. Are you a spiritual person?

I am a deeply spiritual person. I grew up in a Christian home and was a very concrete thinker so I tried to do everything perfectly. I quickly realized I couldn’t be perfect. I gave that up and had a few tumultuous years of experimenting. But, then, I came back around and married someone I thought was also a Christian. It turns out, he wasn’t a very nice person. I went against my beliefs and filed for a divorce and felt incredibly liberated. I then went on a spiritual journey and read all kinds of spiritual books from all different kinds of religions and attended several different types of churches. I then realized I still believed in my Christian faith but I wasn’t going to follow rules just to follow rules. I was going to be true to myself. As I became more real, I encountered God on a whole new level. I learned to meditate and I do what I do because it’s who I am not because I “should.” This is what being spiritual is to me, it’s about a relationship with a living God that lives in, through, and around me. Religion to me is more about a set of rules and trying to live up to those rules. No one can be perfect. That’s why we need Jesus and forgiveness. We need to forgive ourselves as much as we need to forgive others. And love is the key to everything.

I agree that love is the key to everything.

Thank you Wanda for spending this time with us. We enjoyed you!


Copyright©2018. Wanda Luthman. Used with permission.

Bio.

Wanda Luthman has her Masters of Arts in both Mental Health Counseling and Guidance Counseling from Rollins College located in beautiful Winter Park, Florida. She has worked as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Adjunct Professor, and Hospice Counselor for teens. She’s currently a Guidance Counselor at a local High School. She is an award-winning, best-selling, international author who has self-published 5 children’s books (The Lilac Princess, A Turtle’s Magical Adventure, Gloria and the Unicorn, Little Birdie, and Franky the Finicky Flamingo). She is a former National Pen Women of Cape Canaveral. She belongs to the Florida’s Writers Association; Space Coast Authors; and Brevard Authors Forum. She presently resides in Brevard County Florida with her husband of 23 years and 2 dogs. Her daughter is away at college, like Little Birdie, she has left the nest.

Be Sure to Follow Wanda Online!

Website/blog: https://wandaluthman.wordpress.com

Facebook fan page: https://www.facebook.com/wluthman/

https://www.facebook.com/wanda.luthman

Twitter: https://twitter.com/wandalu64

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCskx2N_lGOY9ZHwkb46BHaA

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wandalu64

Google+: https://plus.google.com/+WandaLuthman

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/wandaluthman

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/wluthman/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/wandaluthman/


Are you an author? Looking for more exposure? Learn more about my Introduce Yourself Feature HERE. Stay tuned for our next featured author.

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Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Author Larry Garner

Today, I’d like to extend a warm welcome to Larry Garner. Let’s get started!


What is your name and where are you from?

My name is Larry Garner, and I’m currently living in a small town called Hooper in the south-central Rockies in Colorado.

Cool beans. Larry, tell us, what would your perfect writing / reading room look like?

I like a warm, cozy room with barn-wood panels on the walls, hardwood flooring, and southwestern area rugs. A nice old roll-top wooden desk and a word processor hooked up to WiFi would make it complete.

Sounds comfy! Are you employed outside of writing?

I am retire, but still keep busy with various endeavors to make some extra money for my old car addiction. I paint signs, do some welding, have even built a food truck and a taco wagon.

Nice. What was your childhood dream?

I’ve been crazy about cars and speed since I can remember. I always wanted to be a race-car driver. I’m lucky enough to have been able to fulfill that dream.

Okay. When did you publish your first book? What was that like?

I published my first novel, D-E-D, Dead, in late 2012. It was a crazy adventure. I had been told for years that I should write a book about all my stories I tell, but decided to go full-on fiction, and that allowed me the freedom to just let it flow. I’ve had no formal training, don’t use an outline, just let the characters tell me what’s happening. I didn’t even plan to publish, thinking I’d pass the manuscript around to friends and family for fun. My wife said it needed published so that was a whole different set of things to study and learn. I’m glad she persisted until I got it published and shared with a broader fan base.

Who is your favorite writer? 

I read three or four novels a week. I have many favorite authors, but my all-time favorite is Robert McCammon. His body of work is eclectic and always leaves me happy I read it.

Three or four novels a week? You better gone and read then! Lol. Are you married Larry? Children?

I am married to a wonderful woman named Marcia. We will celebrate our thirtieth anniversary in January. We have 29-year-old twin sons.

Get outta here Larry. I’m a twin too! And congrats on the 30-year anniversary. That is amazing! Now, Larry, what takes up too much of your time?

It depends on who you ask…but I feel I spend too much time worrying about things I have no control over.

Ooh wee. I think we can all relate to that one. What kind of music are you into?

I’m a rock lover, mostly hard rock. I like the old stuff, but also listen to current artists like Disturbed, Volbeat, Halestorm, and others. I also really enjoy southern rock and especially Blackberry Smoke while I’m writing.

What’s the most difficult thing about being a writer? The most exciting thing?

To me, the most difficult thing about being a writer is making sure I give the reader the best story I can produce, something they will appreciate. The most exciting thing is having readers take the time to contact me and tell me they enjoy my writing.

I love that. Why is writing important to you?

It probably sounds cliched, but I feel it’s important to give back, to provide more material for constant readers like myself. I have enjoyed so many hours of reading since the age of five that I honestly feel a compulsion to make a contribution to the books available for others to pick from.

Well said. What do you love / don’t love about yourself?

Probably the fact that if I decide to do something, I just do it. I don’t listen to the nay-sayers and critics. I do things my way, and feel that if I am pleased with the result, that’s what is most important. I have a tendency to feel that my opinion is the only one that matters. I’m working on changing that, but progress is slow.

Ha! You crack me up Larry. What genre do you write in, why? 

One of my novels was a finalist in the Colorado Book Awards in the Crime/Mystery category. The second novel was a finalist in the CBA’s as a Thriller. I call them action-adventure or action thrillers. I write as I do because it is the style of writing I most often like to read. Lots of action, unforgettable characters, and very little fluff.

Outside of writing, what are some of your passions?

Family first. Friends a close second, followed by community. Then there are the cars, the motorcycles, racing, driving fast, and generally anything that turns money into noise.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Climb down, don’t jump!

Lol. Okay. Thanks so much for joining us Larry!


Larry Garner. Copyright©2018. Used with permission.

Bio.

Larry “Animal” Garner is a lifelong gearhead, an avid reader, and author. A U.S. Navy veteran, Garner has worked as a welder/fabricator, auto body repairman, custom painter, farm mechanic and farm equipment designer/builder, and sign painter among many other jobs over the years since his fourteenth birthday. He has designed and built custom cars, motorcycle, race vehicles, and farm equipment. Garner has founded three different charitable organizations involved with raising money to help families of sick or dying children and other community projects. A talented fund-raiser and promoter, he is well known throughout the areas he’s lived. Garner’s first novel, “D-E-D, DEADwas a finalist in the 2013 Colorado Book Awards in the Crime/Mystery genre. His second novel, “DED Reckoning-Vengeance takes a road trip was published in October 2016 as the second book in the “Hammer” series of action novels. It was named as a finalist in the Colorado Book Awards in March 2017. The third novel in the “Hammer” series will be published in early 2019. Larry is a Colorado native and still lives there with his wife Marcia in a mountain valley in the south-central part of the state.

Keep up with Larry at the links below!

Author Website: http://larryanimalgarner.com/

Amazon Author Central:  https://www.amazon.com/Larry-Animal-Garner/e/B00956BATU

Facebook: Personal page – Larry Garner   https://www.facebook.com/larry.garner.165

Author page – Author Larry “Animal” Garner   https://www.facebook.com/larryanimalgarner/

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/LarryAnimalGarner

Barnes & Noble:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/Larry+%22Animal%22+Garner?_requestid=13592519

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6029437.Larry_Animal_Garner

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/authorlarryanimalgarner/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Larry_Garner69


Are you a new author? Get featured on Introduce Yourself! CLICK HERE to find out how and stay tuned for our next author!

Black History Fun Fact Friday – Benjamin Montgomery and a Word of Caution about Black History Memes

 

Welcome back to another Black History Fun Fact Friday.

Today, we are talking about how important it is for us not to let the dreams of our ancestors die. We are talking about picking up the mantel, reversing generational curses, and rededicating ourselves to our forefathers and fore-mother’s legacy. We are also talking about being careful with internet research and sharing disinformation, and we are doing it by looking at the life of one man, Benjamin Montgomery and his son Isaiah.

Benjamin Montgomery was born a slave in London Country VA in 1819 and was sold to a Mississippi planter named Joseph Davis. Davis was the older brother of Jefferson Davis who later served as President of the Confederate States of America. Montgomery was taught to read and write by Davis children and was tasked with running Joseph’s general store on Davis Bend plantation. Montgomery did so well that he was promoted to overseeing Joseph’s entire purchasing and shipping operations. Benjamin learned land surveying, techniques for flood control and the drafting of architectural plans. Montgomery was also a mechanic and an inventor but as an enslaved man, his inventions were denied patents. And even though Jefferson Davis made it a law to allow slaves to file patents, Montgomery’s inventions were still denied. But Montgomery’s inventions was not his only passions. Benjamin also had dreams of owning his own land.

After the end of the Civil War, Joseph Davis sold his plantation to Montgomery and his son Isaiah. Benjamin and Isaiah set out to fulfill Benjamin’s dream by using the land to establish a community of freed slaves but natural disasters ruined their crops and they were unable to pay off the loan to Davis. As a result, the land went back to Joseph and Montgomery died the following year.

Even though this is sad, it gets better. Isaiah (Montgomery’s son), did not let his father’s dream die. He purchased 840 acres of land along with a number of former slaves and founded the town Mound Bayou in Mississippi in 1887. You remember Mound Bayou right? It‘s the first all-black town of Mississippi I talked about it here back in 2016. Isaiah was named the town first mayor.

Be Careful with Black History Memes:

Before I leave you, I must share a word of caution. Since it’s “cool” to be “woke” now, I’ve been seeing a lot of disinformation about black history circulating on memes on social media. Sadly, a lot of these memes are not historically accurate. Hurricanes do not come from the spirits of “enslaved black women.” That’s not true, and that’s not where Hurricanes come from. There is one about Charles S.L. Baker that says that he invented heat. This is also not true. Charles S.L. Baker improved on the Friction Heater and was one of many who received a patent for it. He did not invent heat. Heat had already existed for thousands of years before S.L. was born. Additionally, the meme says the man next to him is his assistant. This is also not true. Some sources say this man is Charles’ brother but no one really knows who the other man is.

There is another meme out about this story that says Montgomery bought the land he was enslaved on. This is false. Montgomery did not buy the land as you have just read. The land was given to him on a loan and then it was taken back. The victory in this story is his son’s determination to pick up where his father left off and to establish a community for freed blacks. That is what this story is about. Isaiah paid attention to his father’s vision, and he dedicated himself to his father’s memory.

Our history is far too rich and deep to have to make stuff up. Please make sure you are fact-checking before spreading information and Wikipedia is not a credible source for research. Only use it when the information presented can be verified by another, credible, source.


The Road to Freedom is being revised and I am looking for readers to give me feedback on it before having it re-edited. Below is what the book is about, and a link to the book on Amazon. I have reduced the price to 99cents for those of you who would like to help me out! (I just changed it so if it’s not showing up yet as 99cents, please check back later.) Simply read the short book and get back to me with feedback and if you are willing, I’d also appreciate an honest review. Thanks so much!

About

Deeply concerned about the state of Black America, a fight with his brother compels a young Joseph to leave his mother’s house and join his friends for a trip to Atlanta for SNCC’s (Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee) second conference. Excited to live life on their own, Jo and his friends have left school and the lives they were living for a chance to become part of the movement. With no money and essentially no plan the seven friends, three black and four white, set out for the road when they are stopped by a racist cop who makes them exit the car. The teens are unaware that a mob of Klansmen also await them at the New Orleans bus terminal. Find out in the 3rd installment of the Stella Trilogy how Joseph and his friends discover the truth about themselves in the Jim Crow south on The Road to Freedom.

 

“Wow this was a Great Read!! The road to Freedom:Joseph’s story, may be set In the time frame of the early 60’s but its content is very relevant to today’s current events. The writer takes you on a journey through the eyes of a young man named Joseph. He and his friends begin down a road with only the hope of wanting to somehow help the fight for equality of “African Americans” and to stop the mistreatment they suffered under segregation and Jim Crow laws. They realize that this task would be harder than they imagined.” – Amazon Customer Review

Authors, Are You Forgetting to Introduce Yourself??

If you are new to this blog, you may not know that I host weekly author interviews but you may have forgotten because it’s been months since we met a new author. I do know there are some people a bit confused on the process so I am reiterating the steps below. Usually, I publish author interviews on Monday’s but since it’s been awhile if you can get your information to me this week, I’ll post it this week. First, a recap of what this series is about.

About Introduce Yourself

In my ten years of publishing, I have come to understand that relationships sell books. By learning more about YOU the author as well as your writing style in general, your readers will be interested in other things about you, such as your writing and eventually, your books. It cannot be ignored that we are most likely to buy books from people we know. It’s why we support celebrities whose names we are already familiar with.

Introduce Yourself is a promotional opportunity for new authors I started back in 2016, hosted on The PBS Blog. It is an interview conducted by Yecheilyah (that’s me) with questions specifically tailored to helping us to get to know you better. Inspired by a song introduced in a children’s bible study class I helped coordinate, the song is meant to “break the ice.” With this feature, I hope to introduce new authors to my audience for an opportunity to learn more about them and their work. They say team work makes the dream work and I hope to do my part in making the dreams of authors come true.

The Process:

Participation is easy.

  • Choose at least 10 questions from the list below and email me your answers at yecheilyah(at)yecheilyahysrayl(dot)com) with your social media handles, photos, book covers, a brief bio, and a link to your website or blog. Please attach everything you would like me to promote along with the links. Also, please be as thorough in your answers as you canand be yourself.
  • Once I receive your email, I will respond in 3-5  1-2 business days. If I have any follow-up questions for you, I will ask you before setting a date for your feature.
  • The interviews that do the best are those in which you help me to promote you by reposting it to your social media pages and blog. To date, we’ve promoted 28 authors on this blog! Join them!

The questions are below. They are not in any particular order. Start with question 30 or question one. Your choice. Just make it an interesting mix!

  1. What is your name and where are you from?
  2. What would your perfect writing / reading room look like?
  3. What is the most annoying habit that you have?
  4. Are you employed outside of writing? Is so, tell us about your job.
  5. What do you hate most about writing advice? What do you love?
  6. What job do you think you’d be really good at?
  7. How many siblings do you have?
  8. What was your childhood dream?
  9. What skill would you like to master?
  10. What skill do you think you’ve mastered?
  11. In your own words, what is humility?
  12. In your own words, what is love?
  13. What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?
  14. If you had unlimited funds to build a house that you would live in for the rest of your life, what would the finished house be like?
  15. What’s your favorite drink?
  16. What state or country do you never want to go back to?
  17. What songs have you completely memorized?
  18. Does blogging help you to write? If not, why so? If so, how so?
  19. What’s your favorite food?
  20. What’s your favorite color?
  21. Who is your favorite writer?
  22. If you could shadow your favorite artist, who would it be?
  23. What kind of music do you like?
  24. When did you publish your first book? What was that like?
  25. If you could live in a movie, which would it be? Why?
  26. Who is your best friend?
  27. Are you married? How long?
  28. Are you single? Would you like to be married?
  29. Do you have children?
  30. Would you like to have children? Why?
  31. What takes up too much of your time?
  32. What do you wish you knew more about?
  33. What small things makes your life easier? What makes it difficult?
  34. Who’s your favorite Historical figure?
  35. What do you think of the world we live in?
  36. What are your thoughts on Race?
  37. In your own words (not Google’s) define racism.
  38. What’s your favorite TV Show? Movie?
  39. What TV channel doesn’t exist but really should?
  40. What TV channel exists but really shouldn’t?
  41. Are you religious? Explain.
  42. Are you political? Explain.
  43. What is the most thought provoking book you’ve ever read?
  44. What’s the most difficult thing about being a writer? The most exciting thing?
  45. Why is writing important to you?
  46. What do you love about yourself?
  47. What don’t you like about yourself?
  48. If you had one superpower that could change the world, what would it be? Why?
  49. What genre do you write in, why?
  50. In your own words, what is truth?
  51. Outside of writing, what are some of your passions?
  52. What’s the funniest movie you’ve ever seen?
  53. Are you a spiritual person? (please explain how this is different from being a religious person)
  54. What do you think of police brutality in the black community? How can we do better?
  55. What do you think of the bullying in our schools? How can we do better?
  56. What do you think of the current political climate? What needs to change?
  57. If you could choose a city, state, or country to represent you, which would it be? Why?
  58. If you could, would you visit the past?
  59. If you could, would you visit the future?
  60. What advice would you give your younger self?
  61. Life is not always pretty. We all experience hardship every now and again. What is your best advice for reducing stress?
  62. What is the worst advice you’ve ever been given?
  63. What is the best advice you’ve ever been given? What made it special?
  64. What was your favorite subject in school? Your least favorite?
  65. What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?

UPDATE: AUTHORS, PLEASE NOTE: This segment is not new on the blog but has been going on for two years now. Be sure to check the Introduce Yourself page (HERE) to make sure you have not already been interviewed. If you have already been interviewed but you have new books out / updates, email me so I can update your page. yecheilyah(at)yecheilyahysrayl(dot)com

I am at your service!

You Are Somebody

Someone gave birth to you. Pushed you out into the world like they knew you were somebody. Wrapped you in all the passion that led them here and anointed your body with a name fit for royalty. Do you know your name? Have you sought its meaning? Do you know your own somebodiness? And even though you made mistakes, consistently proving the universe wrong (like you aren’t worthy of this name), it is still yours. No matter how many times you fell, your somebodiness didn’t leave you. It was there all along, far before you were formed in your mother’s womb. And even when you were so depressed that you ain’t think you were fit to live, you did it. You did it because you are somebody. Your value does not fade just because you are a little scarred, a little blue. You are still somebody. We only work within the confines of how we perceive ourselves. We cannot be successful until we believe that we are truly worth it. We cannot be successful until we believe that no matter how insignificant we feel, we are still somebody.

“Number one in your life’s blueprint, should be a deep belief in your own dignity, your worth and your own somebodiness. Don’t allow anybody to make you feel that your nobody. Always feel that you count. Always feel that you have worth and always feel that your life has ultimate significance.” – MLK

Your Books in Independent Bookstores

When 2018 started, I told myself that I would step outside of my comfort zone by trying to get my books accepted into bookstores, a challenge for an Indie Author with no large following and no large publisher backing her. But I did it and now I am making it a goal to get my books into libraries and in schools. And if it’s Yah’s will, I hope to do some public speaking. Before this year ends, I’ll be sending my email list my personal goal-setting chart and they will get to see exactly how I set my goals and the action steps I implement to achieve them. Today, I am taking the time to reveal some basic things you can do to prepare your books to be accepted at bookstores and how to go about the process and it’s yours free. All you have to do is subscribe to my email list HERE to access the PDF. You will get a welcome email and the document will be in that email. Please be sure to check your spam / junk folders if you do not see the welcome email in your inbox.

Some of the things covered in the document.

  • Know Your Why

Unless you are already famous, people aren’t gonna be checking for your books at bookstores in the same way they do online. In order for people to walk in and not look over your book, they must have some prior knowledge about who you are (more on this below). Be sure you know why you are doing this. Getting in bookstores and libraries is not some fast track to fame or money maker. That’s not what it’s about. Getting into bookstores is only a big deal to Indie writers because many of us aren’t backed by a big publisher so getting onto the shelves of brick and mortar stores gives us a greater opportunity for the possibility of hosting book signings at those stores, meet new people (who we probably would not have met online), and expanding our brand far and wide.

  • Get Your Name Out There

As you’ll see in the document, it’s not very difficult to get into small, local, Independent bookstores on consignment which means that’s not really the challenge. The challenge is selling those books which is difficult to do if people don’t know who you are. I am still trying to get my name out there and I have identified some areas where I could do better. However, you don’t have to be a celebrity or famous to start. You can start with social media and drive traffic through your blog and social media accounts. The most effective thing, though, is to get out and attend local events. Is there a book festival in your hometown? Go. Is there any event that matches what your books are about? Go to those events. Here, you’ll meet people who may be able to help you, work with you, recommend you, and help you to get your message out.

  • Target Stores that Match Your Audience

I approach black-owned bookstores because my books are about black history. There are exceptions where I’ll take a chance on a non-black-owned store (such as Tall Tales Book Shop…I love their store set-up), but for the most part my target is populations where the majority of the readers are Israelites (Blacks) and women. Why? Because my books are about the lives of Blacks in America and the lives of women. It has nothing to do with “race” and everything to do with positioning myself to be at the places where my ideal reader is.

  • Technology is Still King

Don’t overthink it with the bookstores though and forget why the Indie Revolution started in the first place. It’s good to attend events and get out and network with people face to face but don’t forget technology is still king. You don’t want to create a situation where your presence is needed to make you money as perfectly put by Cici aka “The 6 Figure Chick” on IG. That is, you don’t want to only bring in income when you do an event. Keep that online presence going. I am of the opinion that Indies with books in the store should do so as a supplement to the online business, not as the business itself.

A website, email list, social media, and a payment method are among the foundational basis of an online business (and if you’re an author with books on amazon be sure to have an Amazon Author Central Page set-up. You can learn how to do that here). Your website is your home, your email list is your connection, your social media pages (includes blog) is your traffic and interaction, and your payment method/shopping cart (including amazon) is how you get paid. If you meet people in person, it won’t mean anything without a way for them to keep in contact with you. Update your blog and social media pages regularly and continue to be consistent. Remember that your success is not the same as everyone else’s and being authentic doesn’t have to mean doing what everyone else is doing. Be you. Be disciplined. Be consistent.

Read more by downloading the entire PDF Document when you subscribe to my email list HERE.


Pictures from Friday’s signing at Tall Tales Book Shop are now available on my website HERE. Thank you to everyone who came out. If you’re in the ATL area, my next signing is December 22nd from 2-5p EST at the Medubookstore at the Greenbriar Mall.