Introduce Yourself – Introducing Guest Author Tehilayah Ysrayl

Today I’d like to extend a warm welcome to Tehilayah Ysrayl. Welcome to The PBS Blog! Let’s get started.

 

What is your name and where are you from?

My name is Tehilayah Yahqar Ysrayl. I am from Fort Wayne, Indiana.

For those who don’t know, tell us what your name means.

My name means a song of praise to Yah.

Wonderful. What would your perfect writing/reading room look like?

Oh…I have never been asked this before. Hmm. I would have to say it would be white with splashes of earth tones, you know browns, tans, and greens. I would have an oversized reading chair with a tan blanket laid across. Next to the chair would be a table that displays the current book I am reading and an always ready wine glass. Across the room would be this glass desk with an executive chair and a new computer would be waiting for me and next to it a monogrammed notebook with my name in gold, (I love notebooks). My coffee cup to keep me energized. The sunlight would beam through the room because of the sky windows and land on my beautiful bookcases. There would be a beautiful rug in the middle of the floor, maybe white to cover the cognac colored hardwood floors. In the winter I would be able to light my fireplace so that I can stay cozy while I read and write. Yesss, and there would be a sign on the door that says “leave me alone I am writing/reading”. I would have a tranquil waterfall in the corner to give it that relaxed feel. Yess, lol… I kind of went there huh?

You did but we love it. That room sounds nice! What’s your favorite food?

Mexican food, I love it. Can’t get enough. I love nachos and guacamole.

Do you have a favorite color?

It changes, right now it’s purple and burgundy. Those colors have always been royal to me.

So Tehilayah, married? Children?

I am and my hubby is awesome. We have been together for almost 16 years and married for going on 6 or 7 years. Oh, wait, I better get that right. lol. Well, we have an anniversary coming up in October. We actually celebrate 2 anniversaries. The day we met and the day we got married. I think that is why I get it all messed up, lol. Truth is I knew he was my husband 2 weeks after we met. When he finds you, you just know, hee hee hee. I do have 4 children. three boys and one girl, she’s the baby.  They are the ages of 19, 17, 14 and 9.

Beautiful. What is your favorite movie or TV show?

Movie is The Matrix hands down. That has always been my favorite. I have the whole trilogy but nothing is like the first one. My favorite TV show is Underground. I really hope they bring that back soon.

Tehilayah_Ysrayl_3d - No Idle Word
No Idle Word, a collection of poetry and prose. Coming Fall, 2018

I loved Underground myself. Let’s talk about writing a bit. I hear you are working on a book. Tell us about this project and what inspired you to write it.

I am. No Idle Word is my first collection of poetry.

Congratulations!

Thank you! This project is my baby. It’s the start to a new beginning and venture. It was last year when I took to the stage and I realized that I had a voice. It was then that hubby said, “you should release a book.” I thought he was gassing me up! I was nervous and anxious but I am here, trying new things and stepping out my comfort zone. I decided to leave it all on the page.

I love “No Idle Word.” Why this title? What does it mean, “No Idle Word?”

I meditated on a title for a while. I had so many written down and scratched out. No Idle Word was my last thought. I chose this because words are living. They have the power to build up and break down. They are always moving. It’s just a matter of how you choose to use your voice.

You heard it here first people!

Now. If you had one superpower that could change the world, what would it be?

Well, my son is my go-to guru on everything superpower. But if I had to choose without his consultation it would be love. Love conquers all things. If I could touch someone one to make them feel loved and give love we could change the world one touch at a time. Make it contagious. “Don’t touch her she got that love bug.”

Love it. In your own words, what is truth?

Truth is taking off the mask and walking in the you that people don’t see. It’s the bearing of all unapologetically. Truth has never been gentle. I would say it’s the one experience that is always authentic. There’s a phrase “truth, you can’t handle the truth,” something like that. It’s true. We can’t handle the truth. Truth handles us, it refines, tears down and builds. Truth has always been the start of construction and growth within yourself.

Why is writing important to you?

Writing is the way that I can release all the ideas and thoughts that I have flowing all day and night. If I didn’t have a pen and notebook on my person I would probably be frazzled and confused all day. It’s a way that I can get whatever is on my heart and mind out so that I don’t let whatever feelings I have had throughout the day overtake me. Writing is my place of freedom.

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


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Copyright©Tehilayah Ysrayl

Bio.

Tehilayah is a poet, wife, and mother and has presented her poetry at various venues and impromptu poetry gatherings in her city. She enjoys singing, sewing, reading, wine, whiskey and, most importantly, words. Some of her favorite poets include but are not limited to, Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, Amiri Baraka, Countee Cullen, Sonia Sanchez, Steven Willis, and Rudy Francisco.

Tehilayah is also a voracious reader and fell in love with Urban Fiction because of Donald Goines. From there she branched off to discover other authors like Sista Soulja and the love stories that Eric Jerome Dickey brought, Carl Weber and many more. Currently, Tehilayah is enthralled in the Ashley and Jaquavis novel series. Tehilayah reads not only for the entertainment but also for the techniques in writing.

Tehilayah is working on her first book, a collection of poetry she is calling, No Idle Word. No Idle Word is about encouraging the faint at heart, providing awareness to the ignorant, and healing to the broken.

Be Sure to Support Tehilayah online!

 

IG: @tehilayah/

Twitter: @tehilayah

Blog: https://nolineleftbehind.wordpress.com/


Are you an author looking for more exposure? Schedule an author interview. (Now with 15 NEW questions!) Click HERE.

For a list of the interviews conducted so far click HERE.

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Poet Spotlight – 2-Day Special: Grand Prize Winner | Jahkazia Richardson Part 2

Today concludes our spotlight of the runner-ups and grand prize winner of our 2nd Annual Poetry Contest 2018. Choosing winners from such talented writers was not easy so we hope that you have enjoyed our spotlight series on these beautiful sistas. Brothers! No worries, there are poems written by men that will be part of the magazine, no doubt.

Speaking of which, don’t forget to look out for the coming Magazine which will not only feature the ladies you’ve seen this past week but also our poets who didn’t place but whose poems also struck a chord with us. As badly as we want to profile them, we can’t give away all the goodies! But trust, these poems will blow your mind as well.

Introducing Jahkazia Part Two

 

Okay Jae. Go ahead and reintroduce yourself for those who didn’t meet you yesterday. What is your name and where are you from?

Hi! My name is Jahkazia Richardson, and I am from Bull City (Durham, NC).

What is the most annoying habit that you have?

Ugh, I feel like I collect everything! I have a problem with throwing away things with sentimental value. I have more clothes and things in my apartment that I care to mention for that very reason.

It’s hard to throw stuff away for real. Any siblings?

I have one little brother who is 20.

Awwue.

We know you can write but what was your childhood dream?

When I was 10 years old, I wanted to open a restaurant called “Big Momma’s Kitchen.” I believe I wrote out a business plan, menu, and everything. I still want that restaurant actually – just under a different name. Coming soon! Send me some juju, please!

Lol. Okay. Speaking of food, what’s your favorite? (I like “Big Momma’s Kitchen” by the way!)

I am an EXTREME foodie, so everything is my favorite. If I had to choose just one thing, I would say Jamaican Jerk Chicken – extra sauce.

Yaass. Love jerk. That’s favorite food, color?

This is so easy! Yellow. It’s the same color as my favorite flower – the sunflower. Oh, and it looks good on my melanated skin so that is a plus.

If you could shadow your favorite artist, who would it be?

Jill. Scott. Jilly from Philly. She has inspired me so much from her transparency, style, and confidence. There were not many artists that looked like me growing up, so looking up to her as a 5 years old felt like a dream.

I can so get a Jill Scott vibe from you! Speaking of music, what kind of music are you into?

My music taste is definitely a melting pot! Most of music playlist consists of mostly R&B, Neo-soul, and hip-hop. I think that’s why I’m always in my feelings. *haha*

Lol. Single? Married? Do we see children in your future?

I’m in a relationship right now. Yes, I cannot wait to be married one day but no, I am nowhere ready for a little one right now. Sometimes I have a little baby fever. Then, there are times when I see a child and want to run, so it’s a tossup.

Lol. Jae, we like to be informational on this blog so tell us, what do you wish you knew more about?

I wish I knew more about music. I have such a deep appreciation for the craft, but I sincerely wish I could turn back the hands of time and learn how to play and read music.

Do you have a favorite TV show?

I love “Chopped” which is the show where you get a few random items and have to make a marvelous meal.

I can dig it. I like Top Chef myself. Religious?

I have tried all my life to me a religious person, but I haven’t found a good fit yet. I am very much a spiritual being. I have healing crystals and sage everywhere.

Be careful with that. I’ve heard some bad things about those healing crystals and sage. Let’s switch things up a little bit. After all, we are here because of your writing. Why is writing important to you?

I grew up extremely, extremely shy and insecure. Writing was my only outlet in order to deal with my mental health issues. Writing was how I processed my worry, pain, and suffering in a way that turned chaos into beauty. In eighth grade, I became an entirely different person when I started reciting in slams, and it built my broken confidence. Being able to have the opportunity to express myself in that way changed my life forever.

Your poem is about knowing your self-worth so tell us, what is it that you love about yourself?

Even with my past self-confidence issues I have always appreciated and loved my loyalty to other people. No matter how folks treated me, I have always been there for them and loved them through it all. I guess it is a double-edged sword, but I love loving others.

That’s what’s up. Jahkazia, thanks so much for spending this time with us!


Be Sure to Follow Jahkazia Online!

IG: @chamelaninaire 

Facebook: Jahkazia Richardson

To read Part One of this feature, CLICK HERE.


Missed our other poet spotlights? Please be sure to show our winners some love:

Click Here for Kiyana Blount

Click Here for Nia Elise

Click Here for Nailah Shami

Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Author Urvashi Trikha

Today I’d like to extend a warm welcome to Urvashi Trikha. Welcome to The PBS Blog! Let’s get started.

 

What is your name and where are you from?

My name is Urvashi Kumar Trikha. I was born and brought up in New Delhi, India and moved to Dubai, UAE in my late twenties. I have grown to enjoy the sand of the Arabian desert as much as I adore the rain of the Indian monsoons.

Yess. What would your perfect writing / reading room look like?

Quiet and uncluttered. A room filled with the smell of books, greenery and sunlight. A corner where I can cuddle up on a couch and read for hours and an old wood desk to work on. A shelf full of books – some like old heirlooms which I want to re-read over years and years to come and some like new shiny jewels that I can’t wait to discover.

Girl. I wanna be in yo reading room, shooo. Lol. What job do you think you’d be really good at?

An event planner! I love being a hostess. Every occasion, big or small becomes an excuse for me to organize an event which brings together friends and family. I am as enthusiastic helping a plan and execute an event for a loved one.

OK. Sounds like we are going to be good friends. I can use a planner! What skill would you like to master?

I would love to be able to stick to an idea.

LOL

Seriously, my mind seems to have so many thoughts all at once that it becomes hard to zero in on one particular thought to base a written piece on. Each thought seems to be more fascinating or more heartwarming than the other which makes it hard to choose a topic. Reading between the lines, within my thoughts is an art that I would love to master.

Got you. Urvashi, does blogging help you to write?

Blogging helps me immensely. My blog, simplyathought.com helps me become a tiny part of the lives of people across places and time zones from Iceland to New Zealand and the United States to United Kingdom. A click of a button enables me to share inspiring stories and motivational quotes with readers globally. The warm encouragement and the constructive feedback I receive from my wonderful reader family helps me better myself as a writer.

What do you think of the world we live in?

Our world is evolving rapidly with technology playing a vital role in our life. At times the changes brought by technology come to us so quickly in succession that it becomes difficult even for its inventor i.e. the human race to cope with those changes.

That’s what’s up. In your own words, define racism.

“Sexism and Racism, even when sugar coated leave a bitter taste.”

This quote of mine sums up how I feel about these two very troubling aspects of our society. Countries have grown from strength to strength over time and yet the dark shadow of discrimination based on race and gender looms dark.

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

The most difficult thing about being a writer is being able to navigate through your own ideas while you are writing. You could begin penning down words inspired from one thought and find your work move into a direction away from what your original concept was. This can be both challenging and surprisingly rewarding at the same time.

The most exciting thing about writing is the need to constantly challenge yourself and to push your own self-created boundaries. A writer may, many a times not even be aware of what all he/she is capable of writing. Discovering depth, inclination and genre in terms of writing is an extremely exciting process.

Nice. Why is writing important to you?

When I share a part of myself and the world (as I see it) with people from all walks of life in all parts of the world, my endeavor is to send each one of them love, hope and perhaps make them smile. Writing is my attempt to become a part of their life by adding value and joy. I have described the importance of writing to me through my quote.

“Words, when written with the intent to entertain and motivate, have

the ability to enrich both the reader and the writer.”

Urvashi Kumar Trikha

If you had one superpower that could change the world, what would it be?

I would like to use my superpower to sprinkle the magic of Faith and Belief. I want to ensure that every single person continues to believe in him/her self each day. I see so many beautiful, young lives destroy themselves as they lose faith in themselves and it saddens me deeply. Having faith in ourselves gives us the immense strength we all need in the journey of life. “Believe in yourself-Always.”

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


Copyright © Urvashi Trikha

 

Bio.

Urvashi is an Indian expat who currently lives in Dubai, UAE with her husband and son. She writes entertaining fiction, heartwarming short stories, inspiring articles and motivational quotes for her readers across the world through her internationally popular blog simplyathought.com. Calling herself a Banker by Chance – Writer by Choice, Urvashi has a master’s Degree in Business Administration. She is an avid reader, keen traveler and enthusiastic cook. Urvashi draws inspiration from cultures across the world and works to support community causes close to her heart, particularly those supporting Women’s Education and Welfare.

Urvashi is the Founder of Simply A Thought – The Writers and Artists Collective. It is an initiative founded by her, for the resident community to help promote the love of reading and writing. There is also an added emphasis on encouraging women to share their own unique creative talents with others. “The joy of writing and reading, the satisfaction of transforming clay into sculpture, a white canvas into a rainbow, whatever your creativity may be – celebrate it, encourage it, applaud it.” (Urvashi)

Be Sure to follow Urvashi online!

Facebook: @UrvashiKumarTrikha, TheWritersandArtistsCollective

Twitter: @UrvashiKumarTrikha

Instagram: simplyathought

Web. http://www.simplyathought.com


Are you an author? Looking for more exposure? Learn more about my Introduce Yourself Feature HERE.

Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Author Jo Elizabeth Pinto

Today I’d like to extend a warm welcome to Jo Elizabeth. Welcome to The PBS Blog! Let’s get started.

 

What is your name and where are you from?

My name is Jo Elizabeth Pinto. I grew up in Brighton, Colorado, just north of Denver, and in the last forty years, I’ve seen it change from a humble farming community to a thriving suburb. The jury’s still out on whether progress has been made. I lived away for a short time, but I’ve come back to raise my little girl among family, friends, and familiar places.

Are you employed outside of writing?

I wish writing could put a roof over my head and keep new shoes on my daughter–an expensive proposition in itself between how fast she grows and how quickly she wears out sneakers–but like most authors, I work to support my writing habit. For the last thirteen years, I’ve been a freelance braille proofreader. I mostly work on textbooks, kindergarten through college, but I get to do a novel now and then. That’s a treat!

I am sure you will most certainly get to write full-time one day. I’m rooting for you! What was your childhood dream?

I remember the evening I first knew I would be a writer. I don’t recall exactly how old I was or the season of the year, but it wasn’t long after I started school. My dad and I were curled up on the high-backed couch in our living room, and he had just finished reading a library book aloud to me. The book was about Osceola, the Seminole Indian chief who fought to keep his people in Florida during the early 19th century.

“It’s all gone,” I said sadly when he finished the book. “It was such a good story, too.”

I can still feel the ache in my throat, some forty years later. I was truly sorry the book had ended. I thought I’d lost the story forever. As a blind child, I hadn’t yet truly grasped the idea that books were permanent, that they could be read over and over.

“It’s not gone,” my dad said. “We could start at the beginning and read it again. Not tonight, though.”

Once ignited, that passion for capturing words, for touching people with stories, has been unwavering in me. I’ve never once doubted it as my calling.

Pinto with guide on autumn street
Pinto with guide on Autumn Street

Awwue. In your own words, what is love?

Love is an action, not just a feeling; a verb, not just a noun. That’s a central theme in my novel and a core belief in my life. Talk is cheap. We can say we love each other all day long, but in the end, the world will be better or worse based on how we proved or didn’t prove our love with tangible actions.

What’s your favorite drink?

Gotta have my strong black coffee in the mornings. That’s non-negotiable.

A fellow coffee head people! What state or country do you never want to go back to?

Never say never, although since the TSA cracked down, there are several U.S. airports I’d be happy if I never had to visit again. I received my latest guide dog from a training school in Boring, Oregon, and while the Northwest was beautiful to visit, I don’t think I could linger there. I love my Colorado sunshine. I said in my thank-you speech when I took possession of the dog that it was no wonder Starbucks was dreamed up in Seattle; they all have to walk around with half blood and half coffee in their veins just to keep moving without solar power.

Does blogging help you to write? If so, how?

I don’t have a blog, but I guest post for others frequently and write for my own Facebook page. Blogging helps me by keeping my creative juices flowing. I don’t have the time or the energy to write another novel at this point–between raising a ten-year-old, managing a household, and operating a business, sometimes I barely have the time or the energy to brush my hair–but I love to write. So I push myself to come up with a few paragraphs at a time, a few times a week, to feed my audience and my soul. Also, blogging forces me to keep my writing tight and sparse.

What’s your favorite food?

Comfort food to me is pinto beans and green chili wrapped in a homemade tortilla. I can smell it now–chili roasting in the fall, tortillas cooking on the griddle–I’m drooling on my keyboard.

Now you know I gotta mess with you Jo. Your last name is Pinto and your favorite food is Pinto beans. Ha!

What kind of music do you like?

I listen to a lot of country music, especially the older stuff. The songs tell moving human stories.

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

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The Bright Side of Darkness is available now on Amazon.

I had shopped my first novel, The Bright Side of Darkness, around to agents and editors for years. Many were interested, but the book couldn’t be pigeonholed into one of their tight and fast genres. Was it Young Adult? Inspirational? Contemporary? When my mother died suddenly in 2014, the reality hit home for me that none of us know how long we’ll walk on this planet, and we better make the most of every day because it could be our last. I didn’t have any more time to wait around. I self-published my novel on Amazon in paperback and Kindle, then made an audiobook out of it as well, since having books available in alternative formats for non-print readers is important to me. Writing the novel was the fun part. Publishing was just a matter of following directions. Marketing–I’m an introvert, so it’s been a challenge. But it’s also been one of the most amazing growing experiences of my life.

What is the most thought-provoking book you’ve ever read?

The book that most captivated me when I read it, from a thought-provoking perspective, and that has stayed with me through the years, is “The Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck. I grew up in a home where social justice mattered, and reading about the journey the hard-pressed Joad family made across the country, fleeing the Dust Bowl to find a better life in California, reminded me of the stories my dad and his siblings and parents would tell me about growing up in northern New Mexico, or even in my little Colorado town before civil rights had smoothed out some of the worst inequalities between brown and white people.

Are you political Jo?

I spent my younger years in political oblivion. As I’ve reached middle age, I’ve become concerned about issues of injustice that won’t let me stay quiet. I use my persuasive skills as a writer to contact my elected officials and to call people to action regularly. And I’ve always voted since I turned eighteen. Countless brave people have given their limbs and lives so I can have a voice at the ballot box.

Religious?

I’m a Christian. Wait–before you freak out, I’m not one of those nut jobs you see on TV trying to convince you that he needs a $54 million Falcon jet and you ought to foot the bill. I live by two simple rules–love your God and love your neighbor as yourself. That’s it. Jesus laid down those rules and we human beings added the rest and really gummed up the works.

Why is writing important to you?

I write because I love words because writing is part of my soul because I’ll explode if I don’t write. But I also write because I believe I have a gift–no, a duty–to make people think. Whether it’s a fiction book, an advocacy blog piece, a lighthearted Facebook post, a political call to action, or a simple speech, I write to get the attention of my readers. Sometimes I need them to act; other times I simply urge them to reflect and look at the world from different angles, but I always want them to think. That’s really the most difficult and the most exciting thing about being a writer–because when people don’t think and you’ve tried with every ounce of your effort to reach them, it’s gut-wrenching. But when it works, it’s beautiful!

I love your reason for writing. In the words of Carter G. Woodson, “when you control a man’s thinking you do not have to worry about his actions.” So it’s very important for us to be able to think for ourselves.

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


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Jo Elizabeth Pinto

Bio.

J.E. Pinto is a magnet for underdogs! Early in her married life, her home became a hangout for troubled neighborhood kids. This experience lit the flame for her first novel, The Bright Side of Darkness.

Pinto’s Spanish-American roots grow deep in the Rocky Mountains, dating back six generations. J. E. Pinto lives with her family in Colorado where she works as a writer and also proofreads textbooks and audio books. One of her favorite pastimes is taking a nature walk with her service dog.

The Bright Side of Darkness won a first place Indie Book Award for “First Novel over Eighty Thousand Words,” as well as First Place for “Inspirational Fiction.” The novel also won several awards from the Colorado Independent Publishers Association: First Place for “Inspirational Fiction,” Second Place for “Audio Book,” and First Place for “Literary and Contemporary Fiction.

Follow Jo on Facebook!
https://www.facebook.com/authorjepinto/

Amazon Author Central

http://www.amazon.com/author/jepinto

 

Are you an author? Looking for more exposure? Learn more about my Introduce Yourself Feature HERE.

Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Author V.M. Sang

 

Today I’d like to extend a warm welcome to V.M. Sang. Welcome to The PBS Blog! Let’s get started.

 

What is your name, and where are you from?

My name is Vivienne Sang. I was born and brought up in the north west of England in a town called Northwich, not far from Manchester. At present, I live in the south-east of England not far from the town of Eastbourne.

What job do you think you’d be really good at?

I don’t know if I’d be really good at it, but I would like to have been a vet.

Nice. How many siblings do you have?

My father died when I was very young and my mother re-married. She had a girl with my step-father, my half-sister, but my step-father had already got 7 girls and 3 boys with his first wife, so I have 10 step-siblings as well.

What skill would you like to master?

I do some painting when I have time. I would really like to become a good painter.

What state or country do you never want to go back to?

Belgium. They insist on signing their town in the language of the area, in spite of the rest of the world calling them something else. Liege, for example, is called Luik, I think. Now I don’t have a problem with this, per se, but many countries that have different names for towns sign them with both. We got lost trying to find Liege.

Also, we nearly ran out of fuel once because there were no fuel stations on the main road and we had to go off into a village and by chance found one. Also, Brussels is a nightmare to get around.

Unfortunately it’s on the way to many places in Europe I do want to go back to!

Yea. I can see how that can be confusing with the language. I love history. Who is your favorite historical figure?

Leonardo da Vinci. He’s not only a great artist but also scientist and technologist, too. I went to his home in Amboise in France where they had built scale models of his inventions using only the tools and materials he would have had. Brilliant.

The Wolf Pack is available now on Amazon

Let’s talk about writing. What genre do you write in?

I write mainly fantasy, but have recently published a historical novel based in Roman Britain, and have another almost done. I think historical fiction is much harder to write, So much research is needed that you can get away with when inventing your own world. Having said that, I do try to make my world as scientifically realistic as possible, so that does involve some research.

 That’s true. Historical Fiction does require lots of research. Are you married Vivienne? Children?

Yes, I’ve been married for a very long time. 53 years! I have two, a boy and a girl.

Awwue. Congrats! 53 years, wow. Relationship goals!

What are your thoughts on race? Define racism.

There is only one race. The Human Race. People who judge others on the basis of ‘race’ are ignorant. People should be judged by their words and actions only, not on how they look. This applies to disability, too. and everything that makes us different. We should embrace our differences. 

Racism is deciding you don’t like a person or group of people you know nothing about on the basis of some physical thing, such as the color of their skin, the slant of their eyes or some other superficial, irrelevant thing.

Thank you V.M. Sang for spending this time with us. We enjoyed you!


V.M. Sang

About.

Vivienne Sang was born in Northwich, Cheshire in the United Kingdom. She was educated at Northwich Girls’ Grammar School and at Elizabeth Gaskell Teacher Training College in Manchester. She taught Science, Maths and English in Salford and Heywood, Lancashire until she had her first child.

After staying at home to bring up her two children, a girl, and a boy, Vivienne returned to teaching when her son started school. At this time, the family lived near Southampton but moved to Redhill in Surrey where she taught in Croydon.

When she took early retirement in 2001 Vivienne moved with her husband to East Sussex.

As well as writing and reading, Vivienne enjoys many crafts and also paints. She enjoys cooking and walking on the Downs as well as cycling.

Vivienne enjoys traveling and has visited many countries in Europe and has made two visits to the USA.

Be Sure to Follow V.M. Sang Online:

Are you an author? Looking for more exposure? Learn more about my Introduce Yourself Feature HERE. Also, there will be some changes to this feature coming this fall. Get the updates HERE

Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Author Balroop Singh

 

TODAY I’D LIKE TO EXTEND A WARM WELCOME TO BALROOP SINGH. WELCOME TO THE PBS BLOG! LET’S GET STARTED.

 

What is your name and where are you from?

My name is Balroop Singh. ‘Bal’ means strength and ‘roop’ means beauty. My maiden name was Balroop Bal, which changed after marriage, as the tradition goes, to change the surname. I chose Singh, which is a common middle name in the Northern region of India. ‘Singh’ was adopted by tenth Sikh guru who baptized his followers as “real Sikhs”. Derived from the Sanskrit word for lion, it was adopted as a title by warriors in India and mandated by Guru Gobind Singh for all Sikhs. It was later adopted by several castes and communities.

I am from India, and have spent the best part of my life there, exploring the incredible magnificence of the Himalayas in the north, the grandeur of Thar desert in the west, dotted with historical towns, untouched beauty and splendor of the tea gardens in the east and the spectacular backwaters of Kerala in the south…all four directions offer myriad experiences, enriching beyond imagination and too hard to describe in words. Oh! I didn’t mention the poetry in marble – the Taj Mahal! Each time you visit, it evokes a different emotion and the moment you come back, the yearning to visit again sets in! I live in California now.

Poetry by Balroop Singh. Available Now on Amazon

Awesome. Balroop, religious?

I won’t call myself an atheist but I don’t believe in visiting religious places regularly. I visit once in a while when I hear the call within. To me, faith is a very personal emotion, not to be worn on my sleeve. Probably because religion was never forced on me and since I had the freedom to choose it or leave it, I never made an attempt to understand it. But I was always curious to know how could it evoke such strong feelings in some people! I have gathered that it depends on how much it is instilled into a person at an impressionable age.

I respect those who pray regularly but my faith has been shattered a number of times. Each time, I have tried to rebuild it but I always had my unanswered questions, my moments of wrath and protest against blind faith; I always would wonder why God is so unreasonable. How could he be right in giving so much suffering to some and so much love and happiness to others, absolutely no rights to some and all the privileges to others? The unending self-confabulation continues.

Married?

I have been happily married for 40 years. It was an arranged marriage though I had no inkling what I was stepping into just at the age of 23! When there is an unwritten societal decree that you have to marry when you are asked to, just because it is convenient for the people around you, when the society values your muteness at such decisions, when you are expected to concur with what your near and dear ones decide for you, when you don’t want to displease them…do you have any choice? I happened to marry a kind and understanding gentleman though there was no permission to reject the groom chosen by my family.

That leads perfectly into my next question. In your own words, what is love?

There are many definitions of love. In fact it changes with the person as love is more of a perception. I have written a lot of poems about love and plan to publish a book about them one day.

There was a time when love was a petrifying emotion for me. Love was just a passing thought, a mirage that could only be seen in the movies. It was not real. It was never around. I could never touch or feel it. The society in which I lived didn’t give any importance to expressing it openly. Falling in love was equivalent to falling in a well. Romantic love was offensive. Sex was a repugnant word! I don’t belong to middle ages though!

 

Love is that exquisite emotion

Which remains deeply dormant

Till that irresistible urge beckons

And it becomes a force to reckon…

True love keeps smiling in our eyes

Like a fountain that never dries

It instills hope, respect, patience

The journey of love is so elating.

© Balroop Singh.

 

Love was caring for others but only those who were valuable to the society. Love was sacrifice…giving all your time and effort for the welfare of others. Love was thinking what was expected to think. Love was listening to and complying with all the diktats of the family and society. Self-love was taboo. It was being selfish. Till I realized love is much more than all this, which had been drilled into my mind. Till I decided to break free and get access to free thoughts. Till I realized love is an invisible force that can transcend all the barriers.

Love is a natural instinct that grows if it is nurtured. It evolves itself but withers if it is not watered with affection, care, respect, and kindness. Romantic love morphs into a loving and eternal relationship if we understand what is love; why passion is such a sweet word. Love is a much wider term… encompassing friendship, family, and bonding.

Emerging from Shadows is available now on Amazon.

 

Why is writing important to you?

Writing is one of the most amazing gifts that we receive with life. It calms down my emotions. It is therapeutic, it makes me happier, it inspires! The elation of recording our feelings is so fulfilling, so heartwarming that we can create our own world of fantasy, in which all the characters are mere puppets in our hands. We can unlock all the doors, as the keys are in our possession… isn’t it a wonderful feeling?

Writing gives clarity to those ideas, which are confusing or blurred. It leads us to self-discovery. Writing has given me wings. I can fly anytime, anywhere. I often perch on the branches of my favorite trees and can communicate with everyone without any reticence. All those who sit far away, in the comfort of their homes can hear me as I let my voice merge into the clouds that float around, merrily.

I like that, “writing has given me wings…” What genre do you write in?

Poetry is my first love, as it flows spontaneously and effortlessly from my pen. I don’t remember when I started liking poetry. Probably I was born with it or was fascinated by the lyrics of Mother Nature. Poetry is a painting that gets its hues from words. Just one metaphor can evoke emotions that could not be described in a thousand words. I like this genre due to its succinct style. It soars on the wings of words. Poetry touches your deepest cords effortlessly. It develops perceptions. It liberates us from the mundane. It gives us wings. Due to its ambiguous nature, it can be interpreted in more than one way, depending on how the reader discerns the thoughts.

I also write creative non-fiction and have published three books in this genre.

Sublime Shadows of Life is available now on Amazon.

Speaking of publishing, when did you publish your first book?

When I published ‘Sublime Shadows Of Life,’ my first poetry book in 2013, I didn’t have a blog. I didn’t know that an author ought to plan. Writing to me was a natural gift, an innate ability to share what lies within our heart.

The allure of Indie world was so dazzling that I just waded into it like an enthusiastic adolescent, soaring on the wings of hope, unaware of the pitfalls. I didn’t know I would flounder and flail and almost get drowned! It has been a long journey of striving to learn and I am not the one who would give up so easily. Now I have a lot of support from bloggers and authors who have been kind enough to help me with my second poetry book ‘Emerging From Shadows.’

What would your perfect writing / reading room look like?

I just need a comfortable couch, cushions behind my back, laptop, peace of mind and peaceful surroundings. I like to read in bed before dozing off every night.

I know that’s right. What is the most annoying habit that you have?

I am outrageously outspoken, which has landed me in hot soups many times.

Outrageously lol. What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?

Water skiing though I don’t know swimming. What is the harm of dreaming? Thank you for hosting me. I am honored to be your guest.

Be sure to pick up your copy of Balroop’s new collection of poetry!

 

Book Blurb: Certain desires and thoughts remain within our heart, we can’t express them, we wait for the right time, which never comes till they make inroads out of our most guarded fortresses to spill on to the pages of our choice. This collection is an echo of that love, which remained obscure, those yearnings that were suppressed, the regrets that we refuse to acknowledge. Many poems seem personal because they are written in first person but they have been inspired from the people around me – friends and acquaintances who shared their stories with me.

Some secrets have to remain buried because they are ours
We do share them but only with the stars
The tears that guarded them were as precious as flowers
Soothing like balm on festering scars.

While there are no boxes for grief and joy, some persons in our life are more closely associated with these emotions. Their separation shatters us, their memories echo, we grieve but life does not stagnate for anyone…it is more like a river that flows despite the boulders. When imagination and inspiration try to offer solace, poetry that you are about to read springs forth.

Book Information:

Title: Timeless echoes

Author: Balroop Singh

Genre: Poetry

Available at: 

US UK DE FR ES IT NL JP BR CA MX AU IN


 

THANK YOU, BALROOP, FOR SPENDING TIME WITH US TODAY, WE ENJOYED YOU!

 


 

Balroop Singh

 

Bio.

Balroop Singh, a former teacher and an educationalist always had a passion for writing.  She is a poet, a creative non-fiction writer, a relaxed blogger and a doting grandma. She writes about people, emotions and relationships. Her poetry highlights the fact that happiness is not a destination but a chasm to bury agony, anguish, grief, distress and move on! No sea of solitude is so deep that it can drown us. Sometimes aspirations are trampled upon, the boulders of exploitation and discrimination may block your path but those who tread on undeterred are always successful.

When turbulences hit, when shadows of life darken, when they come like unseen robbers, with muffled exterior, when they threaten to shatter your dreams, it is better to break free rather than get sucked by the vortex of emotions.

A self-published author, she is the poet of Sublime Shadows of Life and  Emerging From Shadows, both widely acclaimed poetry books. She has also written When Success Eludes, Emotional Truths Of Relationships Read FREE with Kindle Unlimited and Allow Yourself to be a Better Person.

Balroop Singh has always lived through her heart. She is a great nature lover; she loves to watch birds flying home. The sunsets allure her with their varied hues that they lend to the sky. She can spend endless hours listening to the rustling leaves and the sound of waterfalls. The moonlight streaming through her garden, the flowers, the meadows, the butterflies cast a spell on her. She lives in San Ramon, California.

You can visit her blog at: http://balroop2013.wordpress.com

Connecting links:

https://twitter.com/BalroopShado

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Emotional-Shadows/151387075057971

https://plus.google.com/u/0/+BalroopSinghsrao/posts

https://www.pinterest.com/balroops/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7340810.Balroop_Singh

https://www.amazon.com/Balroop-Singh/e/B00N5QLW8U

 


ARE YOU AN AUTHOR? LOOKING FOR MORE EXPOSURE? LEARN MORE ABOUT MY INTRODUCE YOURSELF FEATURE HERE.

Introduce Yourself – Introducing Guest Author Lynda McKinney Lambert

 

Today, I’d like to extend a warm welcome to Lynda McKinney Lambert. Welcome to the PBS Blog! Let’s get started.

 

What is your name and where are you from?

I am an Indie Author and visual artist, Lynda McKinney Lambert. I live and work in The Village of Wurtemburg, located in western Pennsylvania.

What would your perfect writing / reading room look like?

First, after my sight loss, I wanted to share my experiences with others. Since it took me 2 years to be able to use a computer again, I thought that creating a blog would be a good achievement for me and I would use the blog as my way of connecting with other people. I wanted to share my experiences in sight loss and give encouragement and help to others. That is why I called the blog, Walking by Inner Vision. This, of course, led me to write the book almost 7 years later. I had no way of knowing when I started this blog in 2009 that I was beginning to write a book that would be published in 2017.

Miss Opal in my office, checking out the travel brochures. Photo by Lynda Lambert, 2018.

Visitors awwue. Sounds like you already have the perfect writing room! But tell Miss Opal I know she don’t like being around us humans but I’m gonna need her to smile or something. Sheesh lol. 

Lynda, are you employed outside of writing?

I am a retired professor of fine arts and humanities. I retired over 10 years ago after I suddenly lost most of my sight from Ischemic Optic Neuropathy. This new challenge opened the door for me to work full-time in my writing with the aid of adaptive technologies for the blind.

So sorry to hear you lost your sight, but what a blessing that came from it! Inspiring. What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?

My entire career has been an amazing adventure. At the age of forty-two, after raising our 5 children, I returned to the university to pursue a degree in fine art. Shortly after I started this program, I knew I wanted to “go all the way” with my academic education. I worked on the BFA degree in painting, for 4 years at Slippery Rock University of PA. Following that accomplishment, I earned an MA in English at the same university. I needed a terminal degree because my intention was to become a professor. This aspiration took me to West Virginia University where I earned the MFA degree in Painting. This combination of degrees was just what I needed to attain my dream career. I earned my 3 degrees over a period of 9 years which were the most intense years imaginable.

At Geneva College, I taught across disciplines in English, Fine Art, and Humanities. I created and taught a summer program in Austria. Each July, I took students on a month-long adventure in Europe in a course I called, “Drawing and Writing in Salzburg.” In this course, I could teach both art and writing, my two passions in my own life. It was the ideal job for me.  Teaching this course led to the publication of my first book, Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage. (Kota Press, 2003).

Lynda’s FIRST PLACE AWARD. “The Dragon’s Healing Breastplate” mixed media fiber art InSights 2107, Louisville, KY. October 2017. Lynda creates talismans and wall pieces using gemstones, beads, and fiber.

 

Wow. I bet it was intense indeed. It’s intense just reading about it lol. Your accomplishments are awesome. Does blogging help you to write?

I created 2 blogs.

First, after my sight loss, I wanted to share my experiences with others. Since it took me 2 years to be able to use a computer again, I thought that creating a blog would be a good achievement for me and I would use the blog as my way of connecting with other people. I wanted to share my experiences in sight loss and give encouragement and help to others. That is why I called the blog, Walking by Inner Vision. This, of course, led me to write the book almost 7 years later. I had no way of knowing when I started this blog in 2009 that I was beginning to write a book that would be published in 2017.

Second, in 2014 I created a second blog that covers a variety of topics.  I started SCAN in 2014 and it is a celebration of people, events, and places. Writing my blogs is one way I can share my own discoveries and give back to others.

What’s your favorite food?

I am a lacto-ovo vegetarian since I was in my late 20s.

What is a lacto-ovo vegetarian if you don’t mind me asking?

Lacto-Ovo means a vegetarian that eats milk and eggs. Not a Vegan who eats nothing from an animal.

Ahh. I see.

My personal favorite foods are Austrian desserts.

Ice Coffee, in Austria, is so delicious.  It comes in a large parfait-type of glass. Icy cold strong coffee is poured over scoops of delicious vanilla ice cream.  On top of this mixture is a heaping dollop of real fresh whipped cream.  I limited myself to only 1 a week when I was in the country because I didn’t want to come home with excess weight on my body. This way, it was always a special treat.  I also like the Austrian noodle dishes, with brown butter, and the fresh vegetables served on a dinner plate.

That. Sounds. Amazing!! I can’t even focus right now. Let’s get back to writing for a second. Who are your favorite writers?

Immediately two women come to mind: Annie Dillard and Louise Erdrich.

I have read, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek at least a half-dozen times. I am in awe of this magnificent writing. Another book by Dillard that I used in one of my English classes is, For the Time Being. It is a small book but one of the most beautiful pieces of literature I ever read. Erdrich’s book, The Painted Drum, is a masterpiece of story-telling.

For poetry: I discovered Robert Bly’s poetry in undergraduate school. I’ve lectured on his work in my humanities courses and in contemporary American Poetry courses and I did a conference presentation at The Robert Bly Colloquium at Kent State University in Ashtabula, Ohio. This paper appeared in the book, edited by Terry White. I enjoyed doing conference presentations on the work of writers and artists.

My latest book is Walking by Inner Vision: Stories & Poems, was published by DLD Books. My book is a collection of creative non-fiction essays, memoir, and poems. Available now on Amazon. CLICK HERE.

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

During my travels each summer for a month in Europe, I kept a journal. After a few years, I began to collect some of the poems and stories into a cohesive body of work that later became my first book.

Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage was published in January 2003 by Kota Press.

This full-length book consists of journal entries, poems, and creative non-fiction essays.

The book’s cover is a detail from a mixed-media painting I created in my studio in Austria.  Many writings in this book have been featured in a variety of literary magazines and anthologies. I also love the work of Yusef Komunyakaa; William Carlos Williams; John Donne; Louise Glück; and Irene McKinney. I also love Appalachian poetry and literature.

Lynda, married?

My husband is Bob Lambert. We met when I was fifteen years old.

When I was seventeen and he was twenty, we eloped to Indiana and got married. It was April 14, 1961.  We had 3 daughters, Salome’ Heather, Heidi Melinda, and Ilsa Hoelz.  After the 3 girls were born we adopted 2 more children. Robert Andrew came to us from Vung Tau, Vietnam in 1972 and Victoria Rebecca came to us in 1974 from Korea.

Bob and I celebrated our 57th anniversary this year. I am going to be seventy-five years old on August 27th, and Bob was seventy-seven last January. We live in the same village where my ancestors settled in the late 1700s after they came to America from Germany. Bob and I have always taken in displaced animals and currently, we have 2 indoor cats; 5 feral cats that we care for outside; and 2 rescued dogs.

Happy early birthday and anniversary! What a blessing. What small things makes your life easier? What makes it difficult?

Photo by Bob Lambert. Lynda walking in the Rain Forest, Puerto Rico, 2013. Lynda was part of a team of professors who taught a course on Puerto Rico Art & Culture at Geneva College. Here she navigates the steep downhill pathway to a waterfall with her mobility cane. Sight loss has not stopped Lynda from being active and engaged in the world. Her writings reflect the enthusiasm she has for different cultures and travels.

Of course, losing my vision made my life difficult. After almost eleven years, I will struggle with little things at times. The hardest thing is that I cannot drive any longer. While I do have some limitations, as always, I find ways to be creative and to continue to be the most important things I’ve always done. I still make art and I write. Last year, I wrote a poem to myself.  “To the Curator of Small Things.” Gives readers a little peek into my home and my heart.  You can listen to a recording of this poem by visiting Wordgathering Literary Magazine. Just click on this link and you will hear Melissa Coddon reading my poem.

As a writer and artist with profound sight loss, I am thankful for the latest adaptive technologies for the blind. This equipment enables me to create my poems and artworks. It also helps me do a variety of activities throughout each day. I am fortunate to have these expensive pieces of equipment provided by my state Bureau of Blindness Services.

The Acrobat is mainly for doing my award-winning mixed-media fiber art and bead working which is displayed in art exhibitions. The DaVinci Pro is used for everything I do on the computer. This sophisticated technology allows me to switch back and forth between a computer and a scanner mode – all on one screen. For everyday reading such as mail, writing checks, and looking at books or letters, I use the Merlin CCTV. Of course, I have a variety of other small, portable devices that help me, too.

Very nice. No limits over here ya’ll! Lynda, you are well prepared to keep writing despite your loss of sight. Why is writing important to you?

Writing and making art is at the core of my life. They give me a means of sharing my worldview and celebrating life. I focus on what is positive and joyous in my life and in the world as I know it. My writing and art show my interest in the world and my travel experience provides a depth of understanding of current events, cultures, and understanding. I strive to share what is beautiful in our lives and in the lives of others.

Beautiful. I feel like you’ve already answered this question but, what do you love about yourself?

What I like most about myself is my ability to turn negative experiences around and see what lessons I learned by the challenge.  I have TENACITY and I keep on going towards goals and dreams.

I’ve learned that there is nothing I can experience that will separate me from my Creator. I believe that the secret to understanding who we truly are is found in Genesis 1. We are handmade, carefully and lovingly created by God. We bear his likeness. His image on earth.  We are to be image bearers of God. That is my mission and my purpose in life.

Good understanding! What genre do you write in, why?

My focus is on poetry and creative non-fiction essays.  There is more material for me to find in my own experiences and life than in anything I could make up. I seldom read fiction. I like poetry best for its brevity. I like writing that is modern.  It gets to the core and does it immediately.  I dislike poetry that rhymes, and poetry that really should be an essay or short story told in a different medium.  Meter is not interesting to me. I live in the twenty-first century so why would I write like I am outdated manner? The poetry I like best combines elements from nature, intuition, imagination, and personal life experiences.

(EC: *cough* Outdated manner. Lol.)

One writer who was doing a book review of Walking by Inner Vision: Stories & Poems said to me:

“When I got to the end of the book, I was so sad.”

I asked why my book made her feel so sad. I felt confused for I did not think anyone would be left feeling sad after reading my stories & poems.

She replied, “I did not want this book to end. I felt sad when I came to the end of it.”

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

 


Photo of Lynda McKinney Lambert. By bob Lambert.

Bio.

Lynda McKinney Lambert is the author of Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage, a full-length collection of poems, essays, and journal entries.  Published in 2003 by Kota Press.

Lynda’s second full-length book is, Walking by Inner Vision: Stories & Poems, published in 2017 by DLD Books.

Lynda Lambert was professor of fine arts and humanities at Geneva College, Beaver Falls, PA.  She retired  in 2008, due to sudden sight loss caused by Ischemic Optic Neuropathy. This challenge really opened the door for her to write full-time from her western PA home. During the past year, Lynda’s poetry and non-fiction essays have appeared in over 140 publications, world-wide. Her work was nominated for the Skirt Best of the Net Award for 2016-17 by Spirit Fire Review. She was a winning poet and her poem is published in 2017-18 in Mingled Voices 2, by Proverse Hong Kong.

Lynda writes for Vision Aware Blog, which is a part of the American Foundation for the Blind website.She write articles on how to regain your life after sight loss, and gives tips and help to people who write in to AFB asking for help.

She is an award-winning visual artist and creates her art work using technologies for the blind. Lynda has just completed her next full-length book of poetry, Star Signs: New and Selected Poems.

Social Links:

www.lyndalambert.com

www.llambert363.blot

https://www.facebook.com/lyndamckinneylambert

https://www.facebook.com/SCAN-782814908467623/

https://www.facebook.com/walkingbyinnervision/


Are you an author? Looking for more exposure? Learn more about my Introduce Yourself Feature HERE!