Introduce Yourself – Introducing Guest Writer Dolapo Akitoye

Welcome back to Introduce Yourself, a new and exciting blog segment of The PBS Blog dedicated to introducing to you new and established authors and their books.

Today I’d like to extend a warm welcome to Dolapo Akitoye, our first screenwriter. Welcome to The PBS Blog! Let’s get started.

What is your name and where are you from?

My name is Dolapo Akitoye. A lot of people call me Dolly. I have no worries with anyone trying to call me either. I will answer to both. I am from Nigeria. Born and raised. Specifically, I am from Lagos which makes me Yoruba. Don’t ask me to speak the language though. Lol. I’m not that good at it but I can understand it…mostly. 😃

Yoruba huh? We’re gonna have to chat some more for sure. How many siblings do you have?

I have 3 siblings. Two sisters – an older half-sister and a younger sister-  and a younger brother. I grew up being the first born in my household and only learned about my older sister about seven years ago. So, I still have a big-sister mentality. It’s just in me. I love my siblings. They are all so amazing and so smart. My older sister is a tailor and designer who makes the most amazing clothes. My younger sister studies Mathematics and Computer science and my younger brother is studying Law. They are all very wonderful.

Awwue. You sound like a big sister too. What’s your favorite drink?

If you like Pina Coladas and getting caught in the rain. Lol. I love Pina Coladas. I just think that the combination of pineapple and coconut is like heaven in your mouth. I drink Pina Coladas and I know that everything will be okay.

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Dolapo Akitoye

Who is your favorite writer?

I was only going to go with one but that’s not me being honest. This one is a tie for me. There are two writers that just makes me so happy. First is the talented and beautiful Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. When I was in secondary school, her book, Purple Hibiscus was one of the books we had to read for Literature. Typically, even though I love reading, I find it difficult when an authority tells me to read a book. It makes me nervous and under pressure and I never know if I will really enjoy it. This book though was phenomenal and there is something so elegant about the way she writes. There is a subtlety that is so beautiful and I love it. The thing I love the most is that her style of writing almost reminds me of Raymond Carver in that, sometimes you read and you know that something has happened; something has changed; you have changed but you can’t quite figure it out. You have to go back and read it again and understand what is between the lines. She is a wonderful storyteller.

The second person is Dan Brown. I find Dan Brown’s writing really wonderful. His writing opens me up to new thoughts and ideas. I might not always agree with everything but his writing is so good that I don’t even care about that. I have read all his books except one. I have it. I just haven’t had time to read it. His writing makes me feel elevated like I’m in some kind of club that only a few people know about and I really enjoy it.

Nice. I enjoyed Chimamanda’s Ted talk, though I haven’t read any of her books yet. Speaking of writing can you tell us a little bit about this script you’re writing and how you got into screenwriting?

My movie script is about a Nigerian woman who is going through postpartum depression and the way it changes the lives of her and those around her. The reason why I am writing this story is because in my country, Nigeria (which I love), people do not take depression seriously. People do not understand it and so a lot of times, it is ignored. Now, here we have a woman who does the most natural thing in the world – give birth- and she is going through this depression that she finds hard to understand because she does not feel like she has a right to feel that way and she is oblivious to it. Anyway, that is the basis of it.

I have always wanted to write a book but I never really gathered the confidence to do so and I always felt like I wanted to write something original but no ideas ever came to me. Recently, I started having all these stories in my head and I felt I had to write it. Even if, it never gets anywhere, I feel it in my heart to write it and the more I write it, the more confident I feel as a woman and as a writer.

Dolapo Akitoye

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

Bruno Mars for sure. No doubt about that. Bruno Mars is so spectacular. His music, the way he moves, the happiness you feel when you hear him, it is out of this world. He works really hard and he has been doing that since he was impersonating Elvis Presley at the age of four. He has such a creative mind and his songs are poetry. If I could shadow him, I feel like I will learn so much in terms of work ethic and writing and letting the words and the music take you.

So, is Dolly taken?

I am single and I will definitely like to be married. I am one of those people who enjoy companionship. I believe that there is someone for everyone and I will enjoy being with someone for the rest of my life. Life can be hard sometimes and it will be nice to have someone go through it with you and I can’t wait for that someone to find me.

Awuee. Would you like to have children?

I would like to have children. I have always known since I was little that I wanted kids. I believe it is one of life’s beautiful miracles and I want to experience that. I have a lot of love to give and I will love to give that to my children.

A miracle indeed. What’s your favorite movie?

My favorite movie is Forrest Gump. I cry every time I watch that movie. It’s just a story of hope. It gives me the feeling that I can do anything. Even thinking about it right now is making me cry. Lol. I just really love that movie and I try to watch it at least once a year.

You know what’s funny? We had an author here last week who also happens to love Forrest Gump. Are you religious Dolly?

I am trying to be more religious. Growing up, we went to church and Bible club and I was even the Christian Worship perfect in my secondary school and so I always saw myself as religious…until about three years ago when I went through this really bad depression period and I just questioned God a lot. I didn’t understand why I was on earth and going through pain. However, God has just shown me so much compassion and love and when I had an accident last year, I won’t say that I had epiphany but I definitely felt God’s love for me in that moment. So, it’s still baby steps and I am trying to pray and read my Bible every day and get to know God in a way that I haven’t known him before. God is Love and I see that every day of my life.

What do you love about yourself?

I think I’m weird. Lol. But I love it. My mind is such a world of its own. The things I think about, read about, listen to, watch and even the little things that makes me happy in most cases, makes me seem weird to a lot of people but it is what makes me happy. Who wants to be normal anyway?

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


Dolapo Akitoye

Bio.

My name is Dolapo Akitoye. I am mostly referred to as Dolly. I am 21 years old and I am a blogger and an aspiring screenwriter. I have a Bachelors degree in Journalism and English Literature and a Masters in Business Administration (MBA). I have been blogging for over four years and it has been an outlet for me. To be honest, I feel as though it has saved my life so many times. I am currently working on my first movie script and I plan to work on much more in the future.

Be Sure to Follow Dolapo Online:

SOCIAL MEDIA HANDLES

Are you a new or established author? Looking for more exposure? Learn more about my Introduce Yourself Feature HERE.

Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Aspiring Author Meredith Gibrahar

Welcome to Introduce Yourself, a new and exciting blog segment of The PBS Blog dedicated to introducing to you new and established authors and their books.

Today I’d like to extend a warm welcome to Meredith Gibrahar. She’s our first Aspiring Author! Welcome to The PBS Blog! Let’s get started.

What would your favorite writing / reading room look like:

My perfect writing/reading room would be a clean table with just a computer and a comfortable reading chair.

What is the most annoying habit that you have?

The most annoying habit I have is to say, “I’m sorry!” I am on disability for a mental illness.

What do you hate about writing advice? What do you love?

What I hate about writing advice is that it’s not specific enough. What I love about writing advice is learning more and more each day.

I feel you. Can you give us an example of what would be specific writing advice for you?

How do you develop a character in fiction?  How do you set up a scene in your book?

What do you think you’ve mastered?

I think I’ve mastered the skill of painting with pastel and watercolor paints.

Ooh. Nice. Do you have any siblings Meredith?

I have two brothers.

Cool. What was your childhood dream?

My childhood dream was to be a secretary so that I could use a typewriter.

My dad had a typewriter! We broke it of course lol. In your own words, what is Humility?

Humility is to be honest about your achievements.

I love it. In your own words, what is Love?

Love is something to be shared between two people.

What is the most amazing adventure you’d like to go on?

The most amazing adventure would be to go on a safari to take photographs.

Thank you Meredith for spending this time with us!


Bio.

I am a new Canadian author. Just starting out and trying to get some interest in two new books. I have experienced much in life and think that I have a rich past and a rich imagination that will create two thrilling and suspenseful books.

More about Meredith:

Meredith was born in 1958 in Ontario Canada. She wrote a play in public school and have written one scientific article and a thesis. She writes poetry and fiction and is working on a non fiction book called The Dominant. She is a single parent.

Follow Meredith below:

https://meredithgibraltar.wordpress.com/

Facebook: Meredith Gibraltar@meredithgibraltar

Twitter: @mgibraltar101

Email: meredithgibraltar@outlook.com

Are you a new (or not so new) author? Looking for more exposure? Learn more about my Introduce Yourself Feature HERE.

Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Author Dan Alatorre

Welcome to Introduce Yourself, a new and exciting blog segment of The PBS Blog dedicated to introducing to you new and established (not so new) authors and their books.

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

What is your name and where are you from?

I’m Dan Alatorre and I live in Tampa.

What would your perfect writing / reading room look like?

Ooh, that’s touchy. I actually have THE perfect writing room. When we remodeled our house, we converted the dining room into a kind of reading room, then I took it over as my office. It was beautiful mahogany bookshelves and two Queen Anne mahogany chairs, a barrister bookcase, and a writing desk. Dark green walls and three big windows trimmed in white with thick green curtains, walls adorned with framed artwork of a British fox hunt, pond boats and wood duck decoys, rows and rows of books… It’s most writers’ ideal writing room. My editor kinda hates me for having it. We do video calls and she sees it and weeps.

Lol. What is the most annoying habit that you have?

Bragging about my awesome writing room. That, and accidentally-on-purpose telling my cold weather friends how awesome it is here (Tampa) every time we talk.

The Navigators is available HERE on Amazon

Dan, are you employed outside of writing?

I’m an author, that’s my gig. I have also a Young Author’s Club where I give guidance to grade school kids who want to be writers, and I host a private coaching/critique group for adults who are learning to be novelists. That’s a lot of fun. So many people want to write a book but don’t know where to start, or need input to take their work from good to great, you know? I help them. It’s very fulfilling work.

That sounds great! Speaking of critiques, what do you hate most about writing advice? What do you love?

I don’t listen to much writing advice. The people giving it are not necessarily correct – myself included! My favorite piece of advice is – the one I LOVE – is: “Great writing isn’t safe.” My second: “If I could give you one thing it would be enough confidence to believe in yourself the way I do.” So many people are afraid to be bold in their writing, to go there, to put themselves out there for the world to see, naked and exposed and vulnerable. They play it safe, so they never feel the applause and gratitude when somebody says THAT was a great story or THAT was the most romantic scene ever. Safe sucks. Be brave. It’s worth it. And writers have to be brave because we risk that every time, risking the pain and humiliation of rejection and being laughed at, and yet we go right back out there and do it again.

What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?

Lion safari in Africa. Like in those big Jeeps. I have friends who’ve done it, and I’ve seen it on TV – I just can’t figure out why the lions don’t walk over and eat the people in the Jeeps. That makes no sense to me. The lion sees you outside the Jeep, you are dinner. You take two steps and sit down IN the Jeep, it’s like he can’t see you. I wanna do that, to be up close and personal with nature that way. But in the Jeep, and not getting eaten. With my luck, that would be the day the lions figure it out. A big lion would be like saying to his lion buddy, “Hey, Bill, you know those things in the Jeeps are the same things we eat when they are out walking around?” And we’d all get eaten.

In your own words, what is humility?

Doing it. Not bragging and boasting about how awesome you are, just getting it done and not boasting. Then, help others do it – and they boast about you, and you honestly believe they are exaggerating.

Probably the best definition I’ve heard so far. What skill would you like to master?

Levitation. Wouldn’t it be cool to fly like Superman? I’d freaking do it naked just to have people saying they saw a naked guy flying over their house. People would be getting locked up in loony bins everywhere.

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

Writing, I hope. I’m a pretty good motivational speaker, though. I went to president’s circle with two different Fortune 500 companies and a lot of people I hired became successful because I believed in them like no one else did. One example was a young lady we hired from a local high school when we were trying to create an in-house telemarketing department. She wasn’t too good at phone sales, but she was a good worker with a lot of potential – to me. To a lot of other people, she was just a high school kid. One day I was working on some report and I said to her, “Here have a look at this. One day you’ll be a branch manager and you’ll have to do these reports.” Her jaw dropped. I was no big shot, but nobody had ever told her she had that kind of potential before. It changed her world. She became a dedicated, hardworking employee. I think she grew three inches that day. Another time, I was in Home Depot and I hear a guy calling me from across the store. He runs up – it’s another former telemarketer I hired for that program. He wanted his friend to meet me because he said I gave him his start. He was a successful business person, buying and remodeling houses. He worked for me for three months, and ten years later he was still bragging about me to his friends. I’m not sure I’ve ever told either of those stories in print before, so I’m not tooting my own horn, I’m just saying that inspiring folks is really cool and we should all do more of it.

I agree. We can never lift people up too much (Lol @ she grew 3 inches). What’s your favorite drink?

Peach mango green tea. I live on the stuff. It tastes awesome, and there’s no caffeine. I get up at 4:30 and start writing without java juice. That’s another reason my writer friends hate me – no caffeine required. My editor texts me in the morning and she’s like Whuuuuuttt? I’m bouncing off the walls. She says she wants to slip me a cappuccino just to see what happens.

Yea, you’ll be flying for real then. What state or country do you never want to go back to?

I could do without Alabama. It’s like indoor smoking is required there. Yuck. Aruba sucked. A desert on an island. Hot. Damn hot. Pretty water, but way too damned hot. I live in Florida and I thought it was too hot, so most of you will just burst into flames.

Let’s get a little personal (readers make the “ooh” noise). How many siblings do you have?

Four brothers and two sisters. I am number six out of seven, children of a small-town doctor. It was like being a celebrity, being out to dinner with my dad. Everybody would come over and say hi, and Dad would talk to them all. He knew everybody, and they all loved him. If I could be half the man my dad is, I will be a great man.

Ahh, that’s where you get it from! What was your childhood dream?

I had a classic childhood filled with daydreams of being a writer and a cartoonist. I settled on writer.

What kind of music do you like?

Not much. I’m a former drummer in a rock band, so music has to have an interesting beat, and not a lot of tunes do that these days. Melodically, I love all music. A good tune puts you in the mind of its creator like no other art form. We all hear it the same, but we all hear it differently. There are songs I’ve heard 500 times that can make my cry each time I hear them. Oh Holy Night is one. Ave Maria is another. When You Wish Upon A Star is another. If I try to sing them, I can’t get through without choking up. The reasons why are different in each case, but suffice it to say each is hugely sentimental. I’ll break down if I try to sing Oh Holy Night. Seriously.

*EC writes down the secret to making Dan cry. Stores it away for later.*

Poggibonsi, An Italian Misadventure is available HERE on amazon.

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

August 2013. I pushed “publish” and sat back waiting for Oprah to call. I even rehearsed my answers to the questions I thought she’d ask. I’M STILL WAITING, MS. WINFERY!

You too?! (Dear Oprah, you heard it here first.) Dan, who is your best friend?

My daughter’s Spanish art teacher. She posted on Facebook that she was going to buy all my books. Automatic best friend status.

Is Dan married? How long?

Yep. 25 years this fall.

Congratulations! Does blogging help you to write? How so?

Yes, and anyone who says otherwise is lying. Probably. Yes, it takes time away from writing, but blogging IS writing. And it’s a fun way to connect with others with a same interest, also known as friends. Blogging rocks. I have friends all over the world because I blog. I’ll be seeing the brilliant Lucy Brazier (PorterGirl) in a few months – in London, going to haunted pubs – because I blog. We live ONCE, people!

Ahh man. I’m jealous. I wanna go to London! Who is your favorite writer?

Mark Twain. When people are still quoting you a hundred years after your death, you’ve done something right.

I know that’s right. What’s the most difficult thing about being a writer? The most exciting thing?

The most exciting thing is creating words on a page that make people laugh, or make them cry, or open their minds or make them totally conceive of a world you created, and they go, hand in hand, your willing accomplice, into it with you. Playing them like a piano, knowing: get ready, get ready, here it comes, BOOM – they get to the sad part and they have tears streaming down their face, and then you insert a line and they are laughing through the tears. That is awesome. It’s a super power only writers possess. The worst thing? When it doesn’t work.

Loll. I love it. Speaking of Super-powers, if you had one superpower that could change the world, what would it be?

That flying naked stuff would change the world, I think.

 It definitely would. What genre do you write in, why?

I am writing in each genre in succession until I find one I’m good at. Cook books is next, I think, then scrap-booking.

Neat. Why is writing important to you?

Money.

Lol. Honesty is the best policy. Let’s keep it going. What TV channel doesn’t exist but really should?

The Dan Channel. But I’m working on it.

What TV channel exists but really shouldn’t?

I totally don’t get MSNBC. Everybody’s so angry all the time over there.

What are your thoughts on Race?

We messed up race relations in this country recently, and we have to get over being angry about everything. That anger stuff hasn’t worked in the middle east for 3000 years, and it’s not gonna work here. My mom’s family is from Germany, my dad’s is from Mexico and earlier in the line from Spain; I have a black brother in law and a black guy married my niece, the daughter of my brother who married an Italian girl. Love, people. It’s not that hard. And America does it better than anybody else, but we aren’t perfect and occasionally back slide. But the people who promulgate racial disharmony, for whatever reason, I sleep well knowing they lose eventually. It’s a dying industry as we all intermarry, less and less a factor every generation, despite the 24/7 news stations telling me otherwise. We’ll get there. We’re pretty smart and awfully compassionate.

Speaking Love, Dan, in your own words, what is love?

That crazy semi-queasy feeling you get when you can’t stand being away from somebody, your heart racing when you are about to see them, the euphoria you get when you DO see them, and the hating to say goodbye… Deep, slow, soft kisses you wish would never end and you want to go on forever. Heartache over being apart and joy over being together. Something like that.

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

Future Shock, by Alvin Toffler. He was cutting edge and basically completely wrong about everything. Like most people who know everything.

In your own words, what is truth?

Pure honesty and emotion, put on the page bare and raw and open and hurtable, identifiable in the smallest detail to anyone who sees it, and lasting beyond your ability to stand it.

Dan, this was fun. Thanks for making us laugh and spending this time with us!


Dan Alatorre. Used with permission.

Bio.

Dan Alatorre is the author of numerous best sellers, host of the YouTube video show Writers Off Task With Friends, blogger… and father to a hilarious and precocious daughter, “Savvy” of the bestselling book series Savvy Stories. His novels, short stories, illustrated children’s books and cookbooks have been translated into 12 different languages and are enjoyed around the world.

Dan and his family live in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. (If it’s Friday, he’s making pizza, including making the dough and sauce from scratch. Who does that?)

Blog – www.DanAlatorre.com

Universal link for Poggibonsi http://geni.us/PoggibonsiUS

Universal link for the Navigators http://geni.us/navigators

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8 Things to Keep in Mind about Your Introduce Yourself Interview

  1. There are 50 questions to choose from. MIX THEM UP and remember that they do not have to be in order. (..because I’m gonna like, mix them up anyway)
  1. When asked what skill you WOULD LIKE to master, be creative. For instance, I would love to learn to play the piano. Stuff like that. (I really would like to learn to play the piano)
  1. Do put some thought into your answers. Give us something interesting and write in complete, detailed sentences. Remember that you’re a storyteller so showcase your personality. I had the opportunity of being interviewed by Best Selling author Dan Alatorre recently. If you are unfamiliar with how text interviews are structured, you can check it out HERE for an example of the format.
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Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Author Jo Ann Maxwell

Welcome to Introduce Yourself, a new and exciting blog segment of The PBS Blog dedicated to introducing to you new and established authors and their books.

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

What would your perfect writing/reading room look like?

It would have lots of windows and be situated in a forest area.  Somewhere in the mountains would be perfect. And a beautiful lake or river outside as well.  It would stay at a perfect 68° no matter the weather. The walls would be a pale robin’s egg blue. I would have a sound system that would play my favorite Christian music. I would have a sturdy couch with an ottoman when I want to put up my feet. It would have a small refrigerator with bottled spring water, and fruits and nuts.  It would also have an attached bathroom.  There would definitely be no TV or phone!

No TV or phone, I hear ya. What skill would you like to master? 

I would like to learn how to fly a plane. Just a small plane. I don’t need to go fast. Just want to get up close to the clouds and look at the earth from that perspective. It would be a little like God looking down from heaven and seeing us.  Our perspective is so narrow and immediate focused. He sees the big picture.

In your own words, what is humility? 

Humility is choosing someone else over yourself. Humility is being willing to be wrong. Humility is making sure those around you are successful. Humility is the opposite of self-righteousness. Humility is not being submissive and allowing abuse to continue. Humility is grounded in love for yourself. When we love ourselves, we can love others! And as we love others, humility is a byproduct of that love. There is no competition, needing to be right, nor a desire to control others.

What would be the most amazing adventure to go on? 

I would like to travel around Italy and sample the wines and cheeses throughout the country.

Fearless, is available now at WestBow Press, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble.

That sounds lovely. Jo, tell us about when published your first book? What was it like?

My book was published in the fall of 2016. It is called Fearless. It chronicles my journey through grief and depression to rely on my faith to gain victory in spite of living with a chronic disease; multiple sclerosis.

Can you talk a little bit about what Multiple Sclerosis is for those who may not know?

After my diagnosis, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS) was my first and continues to be my go-to source for information. According to NMSS, Multiple Sclerosis (MS) involves an immune-mediated process in which an abnormal response of the body’s immune system is directed against the central nervous system (CNS), which is made up of the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. The exact antigen—or target that the immune cells are sensitized to attack—remains unknown, which is why MS is considered by many experts to be “immune-mediated” rather than “autoimmune.”

  • Within the CNS, the immune system attacks myelin—the fatty substance that surrounds and insulates the nerve fibers—as well as the nerve fibers themselves.
  • The damaged myelin forms scar tissue (sclerosis), which gives the disease its name.
  • When any part of the myelin sheath or nerve fiber is damaged or destroyed, nerve impulses traveling to and from the brain and spinal cord are distorted or interrupted, producing a wide variety of symptoms.
  • The disease is thought to be triggered in a genetically susceptible individual by a combination of one or more environmental factors.
  • People with MS typically experience one of four disease courses, which can be mild, moderate or severe

What small things makes your life easier? What makes it difficult? 

I have been living with a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis for a little over four years. What makes it easier for me is to have several rest periods throughout the day.   I swim three days a week and do my physical and occupational therapy. This doesn’t necessarily make my life easier, but it doesn’t make it more difficult. I need to exercise and be strong in all the ways I can while I still can.  Stress and busyness make it difficult for me. Before I was diagnosed, I was a teacher for 17 years and then a nonprofit manager for 19 years.  So I’m used to a very high activity job that requires multitasking. Now looking at all the emails that come in to my two email accounts I get overwhelmed. I have to take a while to digest the information, regroup, and then tackle it.  I was used to be able to go to three or four stores in the morning and still have lots of energy left over. Now I  can only do two or three errands, especially if one is a drive-through. I think it is the fatigue that is the most annoying symptom that I have. The fatigue has caused me to radically change my lifestyle.

What is your favorite historical figure? 

That would have to be Jesus, hands down. He has influenced my life in ways that I can only repay him by walking as closely to his word as I can.  It is the amazing love of the father who sacrificed his son so we could have the Holy Spirit living inside of us.  Almost too amazing to even think about.

I take it you’re religious?

No I am not religious. Religion is a set of rules you have to live by. I have a relationship with Jesus my Savior. I love spending time with him, and he wants to spend time with me. Just like any relationship, it takes effort on my part to make it rich and meaningful. 

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

It has to be Magnificent Obsession by Anne Graham Lotz.  She goes through the life of Abraham and paints beautiful pictures of how we too can be sold out to God and his plans and guidance for our lives.

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

It would be a research scientist with the power to find the cure for all of the currently incurable diseases in the world. That would include cancer, multiple sclerosis, AIDS, dementia, polio, Parkinson’s, Lupus, influenza, diabetes, asthma, and mental illness.  And I would also coordinate the research projects so that all scientists can work together rather than separate in their own little silos.

Thank you Jo for spending this time with us! Because of you we know more about Multiple Sclerosis!


Jo Ann Maxwell, used with permission.
Bio
I was suddenly diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at the age of 60. Many of the symptoms I had throughout my life suddenly became clear. My faith, independence, and fearlessness were threatened. In my book I talk about my struggles to find hope again.  I had a successful career as a teacher and a senior-level nonprofit executive. Since retiring I have been assisting my aging parents in North Carolina. I try to stay active as a volunteer at the Billy Graham training center in Asheville North Carolina, read, play mah-jongg,  do puzzles, and exercise as much as I can. Right now my walking is very limited, but I get in the pool and swim three days a week, and I can work on a recumbent cross trainer.  As a physical educator, I know the great advantages of exercise. It’s also important to stay as strong as I can and not let the MS get the better of me!  My book chronicles how my faith was stretched and strengthened and how I find victory in spite of living with a chronic disease. 

Are you a new (or not so new) author? Looking for more exposure? Learn more about my Introduce Yourself Feature HERE.

Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Author Jessica Bakkers

Welcome to Introduce Yourself, a new and exciting blog segment of The PBS Blog dedicated to introducing to you new and established authors and their books.

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

What is your name and where are you from?

Jessica Bakkers but my friends call me Jess. I’m from Down Under else-wise known as Australia. Victoria specifically.

You like the cold huh?

No but I’m well insulated *double chins shake with laughter*

Loll. What is the most annoying habit you have?

Either road rage or grammar nit-picking. Or snoring my husband might say.

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

Er, writer *smiles*

Yea, I guess that was pretty obvious lol. Jess, what was your childhood dream?

Er, writer… *bigger smile*

Lolll. In your own words, what is love?

Love is feeling thirsty so going to the fridge and getting 2 cans of Pepsi because I know he’ll be thirsty too. Love is sending a text message to him that simply uses the poop emoji and he answers with, “bad day at work, spaghetti for tea”. Love is him letting me warm my ice-cold feet on his back when we get into bed at night.

Oohhh. Nice! What’s your favorite drink?

Pepsi Max for the win!

What songs have you completely memorized?

Most of the entire works of Alan Jackson, George Strait, Diamond Rio and Little Big Town. Everything Pink Floyd. Most Leonard Cohen and Nice Cave. The entire Rocky Horror Picture Show album and Carry on Wayward Son.

OK, OK. What’s your favorite food?

Savory: spaghetti. Sweet: everything.

I love spaghetti. Actually, I love pasta in general. *Weakness*. I think we’re going to be friends. Who is your favorite writer?

Whoa. Why not ask me which is my favorite child!

Lol. Answer the question Jess! Spit it out. Inquiring minds wanna know ; )

I’m very partial to the King that’s Stephen), and I adore Steven Brust – he as such great dark humor in his novels. Maybe it’s a Stephen think…

If you could live in a movie, which would it be and why?

I’d go Rocky Horror again because fishnets! And singing!

Who is your best friend?

My husband.

Awwue. How long have you been married?

16 years in November.

Happy early anniversary! Children?

Yes. By children I’m assuming we’re talking dogs, right? Two. Holly and Shilo.

No, Jess. We are not talking about dogs but I’ll let you slide. What takes up too much of your time?

My day job.

What is it that you do?

I am the writer formerly known as social worker. April 21st, I gave that away to focus on freelance writing because, as I mentioned, day job was taking up too much of my writing time. This is the one time I’ll be serious; nothing should come between a writer and her writing…except chocolate.

I heard that! And chocolate definitely gets a pass. Jess, what do you wish you knew more about?

What happens next, after death.

Interesting. What small things make your life easier? What makes it more difficult?

Easier: chocolate, texting, supernatural, fitted sheets, automatic windshield wipers.

More difficult: bad drivers, phone calls, my day job, headaches, rap music.

Rap music loll. The music today is out there. WAY out there. What are your thoughts on race?

Even if we (humanity) were all ‘skinned’ some skeletons would still ostracize others based on the shape of their bones or size of their skulls. Humans will always find a way to make difference a bone of contention (pun fully intended).

True. What’s your favorite TV show / movie?

SupernaturalSupernaturalSupernaturalSupernaturalSupernaturalSupernaturalSupernaturalSupernaturalSupernaturalSupernaturalSupernaturalSupernaturalSupernaturalSupernaturalSupernaturalSupernaturalSupernaturalSupernatural

*Slap*

That’s it. Snap out of it. Supernatural is pretty good though. Speaking of supernatural, religious?

I believe in science and evidence.

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

Difficult: explaining to someone that I’m a writer and watching the skepticism and judgment come to their eyes.

Exciting: explaining to someone that I’m a writer and watching the wonder come to their eyes.

What do you love about yourself?

My eyes. Pretty and the only bit of me not fat.

Jessica Bakkers you stop it right now! Lol. I can guess what you don’t like about yourself then huh?

Yeah pretty much every other physical attribute.

What genre do you write in and why?

I write in all sorts but I LOVE gritty, dark fantasy fiction. I can write a really good antihero as my protagonist in this genre and as these guys (anti-heroes) are my very favorite characters to write, I get to play with them every book!

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Jess, it was a pleasure. Thank you for spending this time with us!


Bio

I am a creative and freelance writer, I have been writing for over 25 years. I am a published ghostwriter (nah sorry, can’t say which books!) and am preparing my own novel, Guns of Perdition, for publication soon.

My style is generally dark fantasy with a smattering of romance, and usually filled with brooding anti-heroes.

My major love affair is with the written word; specifically creative writing. I allow myself to indulge and rendezvous with this secret lover whenever time allows… and then we make beautiful poetry together!

Jessica is in the early stages of her first book, “Guns of Perdition”, a fantasy western.

You can follow Jess online at:

Social media handles

Twitter: @jessicabakkers

WordPress: jessicabakkers.com

Tumblr: heroicjdog

Linked In: http://linkedin.com/in/jessica-bakkers-b4aaa786

Wattpad: @jessicabakkers

Facebook page: The Written Word @jbakkersTheWrittenWord


Are you a new (or established) author? Looking for more exposure? Learn more about my Introduce Yourself Feature HERE.

(Psst. This is a scheduled post and I am not at home. Please forgive any delays in responding to commentary.)

Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Author Stevie Turner

Welcome to Introduce Yourself, a new and exciting blog segment of The PBS Blog dedicated to introducing to you new and established authors and their books.

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

Go ahead and Introduce yourself. Tell us your name and where you’re from.

I’m Stevie Turner, born and bred in London, but now live in the East Anglia region of England.

How many siblings do you have?

None, unfortunately.  I am an only child.

What songs have you completely memorized?

I’m very musical, and find it easy to memorize the lyrics to songs.  Therefore, there must be hundreds that I can sing from start to finish, but probably only if they were a hit before 1990!

Lol. What’s your favorite color?

Yellow.

Yellow is beautiful. What was your childhood dream?

To become a doctor, but as I’m virtually number illiterate, that was never going to happen.

A House Without Windows is Available Now on Amazon

As you know, we be in here jamming it out on Throwback Thursday so I have to ask, what kind of music do you like?

Rock, reggae and blues, probably in that order.  Also like some classical, but not opera or jazz.

Not Jazz!? What is wrong with you Stevie! Lol. Let’s get a little serious, what do you think of this world we live in?

Technology has advanced so much since I was a child in the 1960’s.  It has now given us people addicted to social media who are looking down at their phones all day. What with online bullying of schoolchildren these days who are afraid to play out in the street, global warming, and terrible ‘music’ that just sounds like people shouting, I’m glad I was born in the late 1950’s, that’s all I can say.

Man, you are so right. I love hearing stories from that time. It is also why I loved your memoir. Can you tell us about some of the major differences you see between let’s say 1960 and 2017 that you haven’t already mentioned?

There were no mobile phones and microwave ovens in 1960, and not all homes even had washing machines or a landline phone (I was 18 before my parents got a landline phone and a washing machine).  Our TV in 1960 had 3 channels, and the last program finished at 10pm, when the National Anthem played.  However, children like myself didn’t watch a lot of TV.  I played outside for hours in the streets with friends, roamed around my local area unsupervised, walked to school on my own, and stayed at home by myself from the age of 9 during school holidays while my parents worked, making my own decisions, right or wrong.  Children were free.  My granddaughters are guarded 24/7, and if the 11-year-old even goes across the road to call for a friend, her mother is constantly ringing her phone to make sure she is okay.  My granddaughter complains to me that she is given no freedom.  I feel so lucky that I was a child in the 1960’s!

Wow. I asked my in-laws this same question and my mom-in-law gave the same answer. She said that when she was little it was safer for her to go out and play. My dad-in-law said people treated each other better. I love hearing stories about the 50s and 60s. I will sit and ask you questions all day lol. What TV channel exists but really shouldn’t?

MTV.

In your own words, what is truth?

Truth is how we are meant to live, to live true to ourselves.  If we are living a lie it will make us unhappy.  Truth is being able to sleep with a clear conscience.  Truth is the way forward.

Repent at Leisure is Available Now on Amazon

“Truth is the way forward.” I like that. What do you hate most about writing advice?  What do you love?

I hate reading blogs about writing where the blogger has stated advice that is common sense and doesn’t really need to be stated, obviously because he / she cannot think of anything else to write about.  Stop it! However, I love it when I actually read some great advice and learn something from it.

But common sense is anything but common, right? What if what is common sense to you is confusing and unclear to someone else?

Yes, you have a good point Yecheilyah. What is common sense to me might not be to somebody else.  As with all the other answers, I have given my own opinion.  However, there are some blogs which I read and I think to myself…does this really need to be said?

True, true. You’re right. Speaking of blogging, does it help you to write?

No, it distracts me from writing. Time has to be taken ‘building up a platform’ and that includes publishing a blog every day to gain a wider audience. It has to be done, but I’d rather be writing a novel.

Interesting. What skill would you like to master?

To play the piano.  I could only master up to Grade 4.

I would LOVE to play the piano. What would your favorite writing / reading room look like?

A view out to open fields, air conditioning, and total silence.  Hey, it seems I already have that in my front room!

What takes up too much of your time?

Marketing and promoting my books.  A necessary evil I’m afraid.

I feel you. 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 look like?

At least 6 bedrooms for the children and grandchildren to stay in when they like, three or four bathrooms, a swimming pool, a gym, and a huge room for parties.  My house would be in the arse end of nowhere in the countryside, all on its own.  I’d have my own writing room as well!

What’s your favorite drink?

Water, closely followed by green tea.

Yea, I have to admit, green tea is the bomb.

Stevie, we learned a lot! Thank you for spending time with us!


Stevie Turner retired early from her post as a medical secretary in a busy NHS hospital to concentrate on writing suspense, women’s fiction, and humorous novels. She won a New Apple Book Award in 2014 and a Readers’ Favorite Gold Award in 2015 for her book ‘A House Without Windows’, and one of her short stories, ‘Checking Out’, was published in the Creative Writing Institute’s 2016 anthology ‘Explain!’ Her psychological thriller ‘Repent at Leisure’ won third prize in the 2016 Drunken Druid Book Award contest, and her thriller screenplay ‘For the Sake of a Child’ won a silver award in the Spring 2017 Depth of Field International Film Festival, and it will now be read, along with the other winners, by a major independent film production company in Los Angeles.

Stevie lives in the East of England with her husband Sam, and she signed a contract with Creativia Publishers in 2016. She has also branched out into the world of audio books. ‘The Daughter-in-law Syndrome’, ‘A House Without Windows’, ‘No Sex Please, I’m Menopausal!’, ‘The Noise Effect’, Lily: A Short Story, ‘A Rather Unusual Romance’, and ‘Waiting in the Wings’ are all available as audio books. Some of her books have also been translated into German, Spanish and Italian.

Stevie can be contacted at the following email address: stevie@stevie-turner-author.co.uk

Website http://www.stevie-turner-author.co.uk

Amazon page http://bookShow.me/B00AV7YOTU

Blog    https://steviet3.wordpress.com/


Are you a new (or established) author? Looking for more exposure? Learn more about my Introduce Yourself Feature HERE.