Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Author Sharon E. Cathcart

 

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


What is your name and where are you from?

I’m Sharon E. Cathcart. I was born in Portland, Ore., but now make my home in the Silicon Valley, Calif. In between, I’ve lived in Lawrence Township, Indiana, and literally all around the San Francisco Bay.

Are you employed outside of writing?

I’m the global grant coordinator for a major medical device firm.

Wow. That’s neat! What was your childhood dream?

I wanted to be a veterinarian. I love animals, and that was the best way I could think of to help them. However, I have dyscalculia (which is like dyslexia, but with numbers) and so my math marks were not high enough to qualify. I still help animals, though, by volunteering with our local humane society and caring for a colony of feral cats.  I also donate all of my royalties from “Hugs and Hisses” to Humane Society Silicon Valley.

Hugs and Hisses is available now on Amazon.com

I love that. Speaking of writing, when did you publish your first book? What was that like?

In 1995. I was still working for the DoD and was tasked with writing the history of Sixth U.S. Army, which was decommissioned that year. The resulting work, “Born of War … Dedicated to Peace,” was given as a souvenir during the closure ceremony.  It was kind of amazing, to be honest. I’d said for years that I wanted to write a book and suddenly I was holding one in my hand.  However, when that job went away, I stopped thinking of myself as a writer for a very long time. I didn’t publish anything again until 2009 (that’s when my first novel, “In The Eye of The Beholder,” was released).

I’m glad you got back on the wagon. What skill would you like to master?

I would like to be able to draw (I can manage stick figures, and a passable horse head, but that’s about it). I would also like to be a better swimmer. I get claustrophobic when my face is in the water, so I’m really lousy.

I get it. What state or country do you never want to go back to?

Indiana. I lived there whilst attending the Defense Information School (I used to work for the Department of Defense as a public affairs specialist), and I tell people the same thing whenever they ask: “There were three things I loved about Indiana: the Connor Prairie Living History Center, the Indianapolis Zoo, and seeing Indiana go away under the airplane.” The main thing that sticks with me about living there was the day I looked something up in the phone book (remember those?)

Lol. I do.

…and found the KKK openly listed. I don’t remember what I was trying to find, but I sure remember that. It colored my feelings about the entire state – and not in a good way.

Doesn’t surprise me. Since you brought it up let’s go there. What are your views on racism? 

Racism is a systemic thing, to me. It is about policies and laws that punch downward against people who are not in the majority. Any damn fool can be prejudiced/bigoted, but it takes political power to create racism.

By the way, I firmly believe that any white person who doesn’t recognize that the US is a white supremacist system is deluding themselves with willful ignorance. We all need to speak up against injustices like racism. If “social justice warrior” is an epithet, it’s one I’ll wear with honor. I spend a little time tackling racism in “Bayou Fire,” where my hero is an abolitionist in Jacksonian-era New Orleans – an unpopular position at the time, to say the least. I firmly believe we need to be speaking out today, and that’s why I created that personality trait for him.

Nice. I’d like to read this book. You said it takes political power to create racism. How so?

One has to be in a position to create systems designed to keep others down … and that means political power. We see numerous voter suppression laws being enacted, and attempts to roll back hard-won civil rights … because those holding the power are afraid of losing their hegemony.  Holding the power to back up bigoted beliefs with action is what creates racism.

What songs have you completely memorized?

Just about everything by The Beatles and David Bowie. I’m not kidding.

So I guess I don’t have to ask what kind of music you like…

I have found something to like in every single genre except Chinese opera (which, even according to fans, is an acquired taste). My love show tunes, classical, bluegrass, just about everything you can imagine. My favorite artists are David Bowie, Ramin Karimloo, and The Beatles.

What’s your favorite color?

My long-time favorite is purple. However, I’m also fond of teal, which is the color of most of my author branding.

Are you married Sharon?

My husband, Jeff, and I have been together for 18 years and married for 16. It’s a second marriage for both of us.

Congrats! What’s your favorite TV Show? Movie?

My favorite film of all time is “Tom Jones,” starring Albert Finney. It’s the story of an 18th Century English rake, and is absolutely hilarious. You need to watch it just for the scene where he and one of the female characters are eating dinner; no one says a word, but the tension is fantastic!

What TV channel exists but really shouldn’t?

Please don’t get me started on TLC. I remember when it was “The Learning Channel.” Now it seems like it’s “The Lowest Common Denominator.” I’m not a fan of so-called reality TV, with the exception of cooking competitions.

I love cooking competition shows! I have to ask. Top Chef or Hell’s Kitchen?

Hell’s Kitchen. I kind of adore Gordon Ramsey. He puts on an enormous display of temper, for sure, but you can tell he really cares about food.

Ha! I am in the middle. I love Top Chef but I just got into Hell’s Kitchen and I can tell Ramsey is fair in his decisions.

Speaking of Ramsey’s temper, what do you think of the bullying in our schools? How can we do better?

I was one of those kids who was bullied, pretty much from 6th grade on until high school graduation.  Teachers need to take it seriously rather than blowing it off as “they’re just jealous” or “they’re teasing you because they like you.” Kids are not stupid; they know the difference between a buddy teasing you and someone being actively cruel. Parents need to teach their children to be kind rather just laughing off their aggression as “kids will be kids.” The teaching has to begin at home, and classrooms need to reinforce it.

We agree there. What advice would you give your younger self?

It is going to get better. Find the drama kids sooner. Don’t hold people at arm’s length because you’re afraid; everyone is struggling and you will discover that most people are genuinely kind.

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


Copyright©2018. Sharon E. Cathcart. photo used with permission.

Bio.

Sharon E. Cathcart is an award-winning author of fiction featuring atypical characters.

A former journalist and newspaper editor, Sharon has been writing for as long as she can remember and always has at least one work in progress.

Sharon lives in the Silicon Valley, California, with her husband and an assortment of rescue pets.

Be sure to follow Sharon on Social Media!

Blog: http://sharonecathcart.wordpress.com

Twitter: @SharonCathcart
Facebok:  http://www.facebook.com/sharon.e.cathcart

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

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Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Author Larry Garner

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


What is your name and where are you from?

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

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

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

Sounds comfy! Are you employed outside of writing?

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

Nice. What was your childhood dream?

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

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

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

Who is your favorite writer? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I love that. Why is writing important to you?

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

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

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

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

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

Outside of writing, what are some of your passions?

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

What advice would you give your younger self?

Climb down, don’t jump!

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


Larry Garner. Copyright©2018. Used with permission.

Bio.

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

Keep up with Larry at the links below!

Author Website: http://larryanimalgarner.com/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Larry_Garner69


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Poet Spotlight: Nia Elise |Yecheilyah’s 2nd Annual Poetry Contest 2018

This week we are spotlighting the winners of the 2nd Annual Poetry Contest! Today, you’ll get to meet the poets and read their poems. Let’s dive right in with our 3rd Place winner.

INTRODUCING NIA ELISE

Nia Elise is a 41-year-old single mom of two beautiful girls. She currently resides in Covington, Ga after relocating from her hometown of Silver Spring, MD. She is currently a 4th-grade teacher and has spent 19 years working in education. Her love of poetry began in elementary school when she received a signed copy of “Honey, I love” by Eloise Greenfield. She began writing her own poetry in middle school. After her divorce, she took to the stage and began doing spoken word. She is currently working on her first book of poetry and vignettes titled “Lessons on Love.” Be on the lookout for her book, and read more of her poetry by following @PoeticallyPurposed and on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

Welcome Nia! So nice to meet you beautiful. Can you tell us a little bit about what inspired your poem, Self-Love?

Nia: Upon deciding that I would enter the poetry contest, I opened an episode of Red Table Talk where Jada Pinkett Smith discussed her views on self-love. I began thinking about what that meant to me, and more importantly my struggles with learning to love myself, and how I want my daughters to view themselves differently than I did growing up. That was my inspiration to write “Self-Love” for this contest.

I love it. It’s a powerful poem. “The unattainable plight of a woman” was a beautiful way to open and sum up the piece. A few lines caught our attention:

“to break down the expectation into bits she can eat.
And she swallows
her pride, tears, fears, and the expectations of her peers
And spits them back out at her baby girls feet.”

Tell us about those lines.

Nia: Society has placed these expectations on women of what we should look like; Our size, the clothing we wear, how we wear our hair, the way we walk and talk, how we should or should not cater to a man, or how we should mother our children. It’s a lot to take in, or rather to “Swallow”. Every time you open a social media page, there is a meme about what you should or should not be doing to meet these expectations. Through my journey of learning to love myself, I have had to set them aside and understand that I can take in what I think is best for me, and just throw the rest away. I want my daughters to understand this same thing. They do not need to meet the expectations of the world, but only the expectations they have set for themselves.

Well said.

Now let’s get into this poem!

 

Self Love Copyright© Nia Elise

3rd Place

The unattainable plight of a woman
The mask she carries is not her own
Under it
Lies
Expectation
Made into self-deprecation
Caused by
Society, men, magazines and molds.
In her youth she may have had the physicality
but not the mentality
to sustain what they thought she should be.
After birth
she struggles with the physicality
but now owns a mentality
to break down the expectation into bits she can eat.
And she swallows
her pride, tears, fears, and the expectations of her peers
And spits them back out at her baby girls feet.
She tells her
these folks’ expectations are not for you to meet
They are for you to beat
They will gnaw at your mind
Pull on your spirit
And you need to push it aside baby girl,
Don’t hear it
Be the best version of you
That is more than just the view
That is the drive to be alive and to continue to push through
That is the understanding that
God’s got you
That is the realization that
you are beautiful no matter what
That your beauty is more than your face and your strut
That what matters
is in your heart and mind
That it’s more important to be gentle and kind
Especially since we are all going through
The seemingly unattainable plight of learning to love YOU.

 

Be Sure to Follow Nia Online!

IG: @poeticallypurposed

@embodyingpurpose


Stand by for our 2nd Runner-Up.

Nailah Shami is up tomorrow!

Winners and Runner-ups! | Yecheilyah’s 2nd Annual Poetry Contest 2018

 

First, congratulations to ALL of the poets who entered this year’s contest and to those who sent us the required information in case of a win! You certainly did not come to play! My judges and I have read and reread and read again! Some of your poems had us reading out loud and going over each line. Thank you so much for pouring out your heart and soul.

We have read EVERY single entry MORE than once!

We had not one, not two, but three sets of eyeballs on this thing!

The poems were so good that we are STILL choosing a few of the poems that didn’t place to feature in our debut online magazine!

How it Works

Tomorrow, August 23, 2018, we will profile our 4th place winner, Friday, our 3rd place, Saturday our 2nd place and then finally, Sunday AND Monday we will be featuring our Grand Prize Winner and learning more about the poet and the winning poem.

Below are the names of the winners and the names of their poems. Remember, over the next few days, we will be profiling each of them separately so make sure you are staying glued. You’ll learn more about them and read their poems.


Our Runner-Ups will Receive:

 

CONGRATS ARE IN FOR


4th Place (3rd Runner-Up)

Kiyana Blount for Clouded Container

YASS!

3rd Place (2nd Runner-Up)

Nia Elise for Self-Love

YASS!

2nd Place (1st Runner-Up)

Nailah Shami for Loving Myself Full

YASS!

******************

Our Grand-Prize Winner will Receive:

  • $50 Amazon Giftcard nested inside a specialty gift box, no fees, no expiration date, and redeemable towards millions of items storewide at Amazon.com

  • Signed paperback copy of I am Soul poetry book by Yecheilyah Ysrayl

  • 1 Writing Custom Designed Journal and matching pen to encourage your writing journey!

  • Publication in our online Magazine

  • Publication and Promotion on this blog and SM, email list, and across social media

  • Special Individual Blog Promotion + Interview

 

AND NOW….

DRUMM ROLL

ANOTHER DRUMM ROLL

OKAY OKAY! 🙂

*

*1st Place, Grand Prize Winner*

Jahkazia Richardson for

What If I Knew My Worth

YASSS!

CONGRATULATIONS ALL OF YOU!!

BUT WE ARE NOT DONE…


WE STILL HAVE A FEW POEMS THAT WILL MAKE IT INTO OUR MAGAZINE!

POEMS OUR JUDGES ALSO FOUND AMAZING:

 

S.R. Graham, Love in its Simplest Form

Olayemi Ifeoluwa, On Self-Love

Zerahyah, Reflection

Khaya Ronkainen, Running Brook

 

You will get to read their poems soon. Stay glued for details on the mag debut.

A Word from Yecheilyah…

I just want to say that I am so proud of these poets. It’s something refreshing and authentic about reading someone’s words and seeing the beauty of the person without having seen their faces or knowing much about their life. When we decided on the winners we didn’t know what these writers looked like or what their lives were like, just their words on the page. When their photos and bios came in it was heartwarming for me personally. We did not intend to choose all women for our finalists. We were so focused on the poems (they had us studying child!) that we didn’t stop to think about race or gender or any of that. Personally, I think that’s what I enjoyed the most about this contest. It was all about the heart and what spoke to the judges the most and I cannot wait until you get to read their poems! Here’s to many more contests to come. Let’s do it bigger next year! Yess.

I can’t leave without extending a special thank you to all of the women who made this contest possible:

Lisa W. Tetting
Dr. K.E. Garland
Tinzley Bradford
Tehilayah Ysrayl

Thanks beautifuls! Guys, please be sure to support their work. They are all so powerful in their own right. Click on their names to visit their sites.

Best,

-Yecheilyah

Host, 2nd Annual Poetry Contest

Runner-Ups, our sponsors will be in contact with you shortly on your gifts!

The rest of you, be sure to return to learn more about our winners.

 

Thursday, 8/23 – Kiyana Blount
Friday, 8/24 – Nia Elise
Saturday, 8/25 – Nailah Shami
Sunday + Monday, 8/26-27 – Jahkazia Richardson

On Soft Hearts

Do not ask me not to care. I will care anyway. I will wonder why the flower doesn’t bloom. Why its petals are dry. Why is there a flower falling to pieces for lack of moisture? I will wonder about the soil and the colors in the sky. I will mourn with those who are sad, rub empathy on the wounds of those who are bruised. I will care about people who probably won’t think twice about me. I will take this heart of flesh and show them that I am hurt too and I too have been trampled upon. Here, see the holes and scars on my skin. But we don’t have to let our hearts grow cold or build walls that are too high for people to climb. When everyone’s a savage, do not be afraid to be soft. There’s got to be someone in this chaotic world who can show proof that there can still be love, after war.

I am Soul Virtual Blog Tour Day 1

It’s Day One of The I am Soul Blog Tour! Come on over to Vearna’s Blog to check out the first poem on the stop. Thanks Vearna. *Comments disabled here. Please meet me on the other side.*

Vearna Gloster

Bio

Yecheilyah (e-See-li-yah, affectionately called EC) is an Author, Blogger, and Poet and lives in Marietta, GA with her wonderful husband.  She has been writing poetry since she was twelve (12) years old and joined the UMOJA 23 years old Yecheilyah published her first collection of poetry and in 2014 founded Literary Korner Publishing and the PBS Blog where she enjoys helping other authors through her blog interviews and reviews.  The PBS Blog has been name among Reedsy’s best book review of 2017 and 2018 and has helped many authors in their writing journey.  I Am Soul is her fourth collection of Poetry.

HER SKIN

She has heard for too long now

that her pores breathe the colour of slave ships,

Thah chains has been in her smiles,

That her skin shines like a beacon on shame

Sprinkled across Mississippi cotton fields.

Sometimes her beauty sticks out

Like the moon…

View original post 218 more words

FINAL COUNTDOWN: Yecheilyah’s 2nd Annual Poetry Contest Ends Soon! Enter TODAY

It’s the final countdown people!

You have until midnight tomorrow (Tuesday, 7/31) to enter your poem into my 2nd Annual Poetry Contest.

The contest is heating up and we have some very talented poets out there!

…and some awesome prizes! We are giving away money, publishing, promotion, books and more! DO NOT miss out on this. There is NO entry fee to enter.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE ENTRANCE GUIDELINES BY CLICKING HERE.

Submit a poem on self-love / self-care in some way, subscribe to the email list (you need to subscribe so you get updates on the contest) and then email your poem to: yecheilyah(at)yecheilyahysrayl(dot)com

Go Go Go!!