Hey, guys! How have you been? I missed you so much and many thanks to those of you who have reached out to me during my time away to make sure I was OK. I appreciate you.
I’ve been wonderful and though I’ve only been gone a few weeks, that time is so much longer in blog days :-).
And I am scheduled for more traveling this weekend.
While I managed to stay away from Facebook, Twitter, this blog and my email until this past Saturday, I broke my Insta-silence when, while walking down the streets of Chicago with my sister, someone recognized me. At first, I was going to just walk away but I noticed the woman was trying to pronounce my name. I finished it for her.
“I have your book!” said the woman.
“I follow you on Facebook.”
And so we chatted it up, took a picture, and she missed her bus. It was a wonderful feeling and very inspiring.
Being away from the blog has produced a surprising increase in views and subscribers since I did pretty much nothing.
30+ Views and Visitors a day
50+ new subscribers
4 New Book Reviews
2 New Goodreads Ratings
16 New Twitter Followers
If you need to take a break from blogging, writing, or whatever, it’s OK. We will still be here when you get back. You may even grow in the process. It’s all about recharging and Keeping Yourself Full which leads me to my next bit of news…
Keep Yourself Full
“To Heal the Hurting, Lift the Fallen, and Restore the Broken.”
About this Book:
KEEP YOURSELF FULL is a short book of spiritual rejuvenation to keep you charged and YOUR reminder that life is about more than just surviving, but making the greatest impact you can while you are here. It is about caring about something greater than yourself. There’s only one problem:
many of us are so depressed that we don’t have enough of ourselves to give to others.
We’ve heard it all before: “Hurt people, hurt people.” When people are limited and insecure and hurting they pass this energy onto others. When you are low yourself, when you’re not full, you unconsciously send out the same kind of energy and you begin to treat others how you feel about yourself.
Imagine if more people felt good about themselves and projected that energy. Imagine if you could vibrate higher.
Empowering others is great but first, you must be empowered. Sharing is wonderful but you cannot serve from an empty vessel. In every instance, you must come first since you cannot give what you don’t already own. Only after you have loved yourself can you love others.
Keeping Yourself Full is about investing in your own well-being first so that you can be of service to others. It is a building process that reveals little by little our purpose as we overcome ourselves.
You will not always be motivated and anyone who says that is not being real. There is a time for everything, even war. The fact remains that you will not always be peaceful and everyday ain’t beautiful.
What we have to learn to be is disciplined so that we can think logically instead of emotionally and so that we can train our mind not to take everything so personally.
Everything people do and say is not a reflection of you. When we rid ourselves of these kinds of burdens, we break free.
You can be happy today, but without a shift in perspective, this happiness will not last.
You must change the way that you think to change the way that you feel.
Healthy self-care nourishes the quality of our life and is necessary for stopping the cycle of depression, abuse, and suicide.
You cannot serve from an empty vessel. You must keep yourself full.
Today I’d like to extend a warm welcome to Marie Lavender. Welcome to The PBS Blog! Let’s get started.
What is your name and where are you from?
My name is Marie Lavender, and I am from the Midwestern U.S. I was raised in a small town in Indiana.
Lavender. Nice name! Marie, what would your perfect writing / reading room look like?
Oh! I would have a true bibliophile theme, perhaps the furniture that mimics a shelf of books? Plus, I would choose peacefully, yet inspirational quotes to display on the walls. Anything that might spark my creativity.
Ooh. That sounds nice. I would so love a chair made of books. Yesss. What is the most annoying habit that you have?
Sometimes when I’m nervous, my right leg bounces up and down. This drove my parent’s crazy when I was a kid!
Lol. What do you hate most about writing advice and what do you love?
I think those who generally offer advice mean well. And I love that people are so willing to help! However, there are some types of ‘advice’ we should take with a grain of salt. For example, a school of thought exists, one that impresses upon us writers that we shouldn’t talk about our current writing project, or we’ll lose interest in it. I’m not sure that’s altogether true. I’ve never had any trouble in that regard; in fact, discussing it with someone, at least an individual you trust, is a way to find a great sounding board for potential issues that might come up.
Plus, there’s another piece of advice which has always bothered me – “write what you know”. Yes, we should draw from our experiences, but I think we also tend to live vicariously through our characters. We put ourselves in their shoes. What would I do if I was Jake or Brenda? We wear those costumes and take their journeys. So, I don’t think we always need to have experienced their traumas firsthand. Writers house a wealth of empathy inside them. Research can only take us so far; at some point, we must put ourselves in the situation and imagine how it would feel if that happened to us too. I just believe that writing what you already know is somewhat limiting.
Interesting. It reminds me of how the process is different for everyone. What job do you think you’d be really good at?
Actually, when I was a kid, I secretly wanted to own a bookstore. That would be pretty cool! Being around books all the time would be quite a dream.
Speaking of childhood, what was your childhood dream?
I always wanted to be a writer. I remember telling my relatives in an excited voice, “I’m going to be a novelist!” Of course, I don’t think I realized it would be this much work. LOL.
What skill would you like to master?
Hmm…that’s a good one. I’ve always wanted to learn to play the piano. My problem is that I’ve never been able to read sheet music. Even when I took choir classes from elementary school to college, I just couldn’t get my head to wrap around the idea of the music notes. I couldn’t tell you what was a B or a high C. As a soprano, I could always match a pitch pretty well, though. So, I think maybe I’m just not meant to play the piano!
Wow, so many people would like to play the piano. That makes those who already know how pretty special lol. What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?
I’d love to go to Ireland! I have deep Irish roots, so I’d like to see what it’s like to visit.
Cool. Marie, if you had unlimited funds to build a house that you would live in for the rest of your life, what would the finished house be like?
I’ve always wanted a beach house. I don’t think I’d be too picky, as long as it was pretty and I could plant myself on the back porch, listen to the waves of the ocean as a sort of white noise, and write like a maniac.
What’s your favorite drink?
Chai iced tea with coconut milk. I haven’t been able to enjoy that for many years now, because I’m on a no-caffeine kick, but I really loved it.
No caffeine? You poor soul. Lol
What state or country do you never want to go back to?
The one I live in! LOL. For several years, I’ve really wanted to get out of Indiana. It’s just dead here. The economy is crap, and it’s hard to get inspired because there’s nothing going on here. Very little to see. I mean, I’ll come back to visit my family, but I don’t want to live here for the rest of my life.
Into music? What songs have you completely memorized?
Mostly the ones by my favorite artists – such as Paramore or OneRepublic. Other songs I have memorized were tunes that impacted me in some way, were emotionally compelling. One that I can think of off the top of my head is “Wrapped In Your Arms” by Firefight. My music tastes are pretty eclectic, but that one still makes me cry a little.
What’s your favorite food?
Chicken Oscar. I love the blend of crab meat, chicken, asparagus and hollandaise sauce. I’ve never cooked it for myself, but I had it at two different restaurants, both of which are now closed. So, I hope I can find another that makes it at some point.
Lol. Alright. Let’s get back to writing. Does blogging help you to write?
Blogging is a completely different animal, so to speak. If I’m writing an article, I am using a different part of my brain and all my creativity is shut off. I do try to make the blog post attractive with pictures. However, once I’m finished with that project, I can focus on a story.
What genre do you write in, why?
I’m a multi-genre author. I am all over the place. I have published in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, fantasy, science fiction, mystery/thriller, dramatic fiction, literary fiction and poetry. But some of my works in progress encompass the categories of time travel, dystopian, horror, comedy and erotic romance. Why do I write in all of those fields? I just let the muse lead me where it wants; I’m hardly in control! Though I lean toward romance, sometimes I surprise myself with something entirely new. In 2015, I even wrote and published a children’s fantasy.
Who is your favorite writer?
At the moment? It’s a cross between J.R. Ward and Chloe Neill.
When did you publish your first book? What was that like?
Technically, my first book was released in 2010. That was a collection of literary fiction and poetry. It was really exciting, actually! It was fun to think of myself as a published author. Soon, I plan to re-release the book, combined with two other previously released books, as a full collection. It will be titled Madame Lavender’s Collection of Ramblings: Tales, Snippets & Poetry.
Very cool. If you could live in a movie, which would it be and why?
I love the movie Kate & Leopold. I’m a sucker for a good time travel romance, so it was right up my alley. So timey-wimey and romantic! I love the blend of modern and Victorian era in that film.
In your own words, what is love?
Love is the deep gift of yourself – it is beyond pettiness or these trivialities we often bother ourselves with. Love is the source of everything, and we are bereft without it. Even if we don’t experience love in our lives at first, when we do, it’s extraordinary because we wondered how we existed without such a treasure. Plus, when someone really loves you, you can tell. It is unconditional, not just convenient. Real love doesn’t expect anything in return; it just is, and when you can give your heart back to someone, it’s that much more beautiful.
Indeed. Marie, who is your best friend?
It might be cheesy, but my best friend is my fiancé. He means everything to me.
That’s not cheesy at all! My hubby is my bestie, hands down. Would you like to have children?
Yes, I would love to have kids someday. I will be turning 37 this year, so I’m definitely not getting any younger! LOL. And even if it turns out that I can’t have any children of my own, we could always adopt. I think sharing a child with the love of my life, having someone we could love and raise, would be awesome. Plus, since we both have cats, it would complete our little family.
Nice. What takes up too much of your time?
Uggh…marketing! I really need to focus more on writing stories.
What do you think of the world we live in?
I think if we don’t stop hating – and I mean in every direction, even at home – we’re going to be in a lot more trouble soon.
What’s your favorite TV Show or Movie?
I have so many! The one I’m currently watching is Chesapeake Shores. Favorite movie? I think I still have a soft spot for The Princess Bride. Even though it’s silly, there is something incredibly romantic about it.
Have to agree with you there. Princess Bride is pretty good. What TV channel doesn’t exist but really should?
A channel featuring films based on books! I love books!
Wow, that would be awesome. Like, an entire channel totally dedicated to movies and TV shows based on books. Yaass. Marie, why is writing important to you?
Writing is a kind of freedom that I’ve never experienced in other parts of my life. I can take on different personalities, drive down roads I haven’t seen before. I fall in love with my characters and go on their journeys with them. When I’m in the midst of writing a scene or chapter, it feels like home.
If you had one superpower that could change the world, what would it be? Why?
I’m a fan of peace. I’d want to be a version of an empath – reading people’s emotions but sending them back to the person and those around them. This would be done in a manner to show what someone else is going through. I think a lot of us feel we’re misunderstood. Our pain is often silent. If we knew more about what the next person was feeling, maybe we wouldn’t be so quick to judge or hate.
Indeed. In your own words, what is truth?
Truth is the human condition. Truth entails a realization that we may not have known before. Sometimes the truth is good, sometimes bad. But in the end, it’s a necessary evil, I think. I’d rather have the truth than a lie. The fiction that I write is full of hard truth in many ways.
What a pleasure to have you, Marie! We enjoyed having you. Thanks for spending this time with us today.
Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats. She has been writing for a little over twenty-five years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands. Since 2010, Marie has published 22 books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, fantasy, science fiction, mystery/thriller, dramatic fiction, literary fiction and poetry. She has also contributed to several multi-author anthologies. Her current series are The Heiresses in Love Series, The Magick Series, The Blood at First Sight Series and The Code of Endhivar Series.
Additional Information from Marie:
Bestselling multi-genre author of UPON YOUR RETURN and 21 other books. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART placed in the TOP 10 Books of 2017 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. TOP 20 Authors of 2017 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. Mystery Blogger Award for 2017. A to Z Blog Challenge Survivor in 2016. March 2016 Empress of the Universe title – winner of the “Broken Heart” themed contest and the “I Love You” themed contest on Poetry Universe. SECOND CHANCE HEART and A LITTLE MAGICK placed in the TOP 10 on the 2015 P&E Readers’ Poll. Nominated in the TRR Readers’ Choice Awards for Winter 2015. Poetry winner of the 2015 PnPAuthors Contest. The Versatile Blogger Award for 2015. Honorable Mention in the 2014 BTS Red Carpet Book Awards. Finalist and Runner-up in the 2014 MARSocial’s Author of the Year Competition. Honorable mention in the January 2014 Reader’s Choice Award. Liebster Blogger Award for 2013 and 2014. Top 10 Authors on AuthorsDB.com. Winner of the Great One Liners Contest on the Directory of Published Authors.
“This isn’t a revolution of Black against White. This is a revolution of right against wrong and right has always won.”
“They act like America was good and got bad. America ain’t never been good!”
“If they took all the drugs, nicotine, alcohol and caffeine off the market for six days, they’d have to bring out the tanks to control you.”
“Momma, a welfare cheater. A criminal who couldn’t stand to see her kids go hungry, or grow up in slumbs and end up mugging people in dar corners. I guess the system didn’t want her to get off relief, the way it kept sending social workers around to be sure Momma wasn’t trying to make things better.”
“I waited at the counter of a white restaurant for eleven years. When they finally integrated, they didn’t have what I wanted.”
“Poor is a state of mind you never grow out of, but being broke is just a temporary condition.”
“The most difficult thing to get people to do is to accept the obvious.”
“Education means to bring out wisdom. Indoctrination means to push in knowledge.”
“My belief is, you know, certain things have to be explained that’s never been explained.”
“A Dutch ship carrying 20 Africans arrived in Jamestown, Virginia, on Aug. 20, 1619, a voyage that would mark the beginning of slavery in the American colonies. The number of slaves continued to grow between the 17th and 18th centuries, as slave labor was used to help fuel the growing tobacco and cotton industries in the southern states. At the end of the Civil War in 1865, some 4 million slaves were set free. However, racial inequalities and violence toward newly freed slaves would persist in the country throughout the 1860s and 1870s.”
“The arrival of the “20 and odd” African captives aboard a Dutch “man of war” ship on this day (August 20) in the year 1619 historically marks the early planting of the seeds of the American slave trade.” (Benjamin Banneker also challenged Slavery In Letter On This Day In 1791)
“Today in 1619, it was reported by English tobacco farmer John Rolfe, husband of famed Indian princess Pocahontas, that “20 and odd” African slaves arrived at the Jamestown Settlement in British colonial North America aboard a Dutch man-of-war ship. The ship had originated in the Portuguese colonies of present-day Angola, which had been established in the 1500s. Angola was a heavy exporter of slaves to Brazil and the Spanish colonies.”
“Newly established English colonies in North America create a demand for laborers in the New World. At first, captured Africans are brought to the colonies as indentured servants. Once their term (3-7 years) is completed, indentured servants are allowed to live free, own land, and have indentured servants of their own. However, this system does not last long; indentured servitude gives way to lifetime slavery for Africans as the British colonies grow and the need for a permanent, inexpensive labor force increases”
“The Black Atlantic explores the truly global experiences that created the African American people. Beginning a full century before the first documented “20-and-odd” slaves arrived at Jamestown, Virginia, the episode portrays the earliest Africans, both slave and free, who arrived on the North American shores. Soon afterwards, the Trans-Atlantic slave trade would become a vast empire connecting three continents. Through stories of individuals caught in its web, like a 10-year-old girl named Priscilla who was transported from Sierra Leone to South Carolina in the mid-18th century, we trace the emergence of plantation slavery in the American South. The late 18th century saw a global explosion of freedom movements, and The Black Atlantic examines what that Era of Revolutions—American, French and Haitian—would mean for African Americans, and for slavery in America.”
“In terms of African involvement, it is true also that Africans enslaved others before the coming and demands of the European. But three other facts must be added to this statement to give a holistic picture.. African enslavement was in no way like European enslavement. It was servitude which usually occurred “through conquest, capture in war or punishment for a crime” (Davidson, 1968:181). It could also resemble serfdom as in Medieval Europe where peasants were tied to the land and a lord for protection. They often lived as members of the family, married their masters daughters and rose to political and economic prominence and did not face the brutality and dehumanization which defined European chattel slavery.”
Source, Introduction to Black Studies, Ch. 4: The Holocaust of Enslavement
I want to do something special for the authors who are featured on this blog.
Yecheilyah’s Book Review Awards – a virtual event in which 5-star rated authors on The PBS Blog are honored with promotion, culminating in a Book Review Award gifted to the author whose book stood out to me the most.
To up the stakes, I would like to give this author an actual award. Not a virtual certificate, not a blog award, and not a badge but something tangible he or she can sit on his or her desk and be proud of! (Of course, I’m not a rich woman so I’ll be looking for something reasonable, but nice.)
This means I will have to decide on the best place (I do have one in mind) and get a logo made!!
Of course, since I read the books and reviewed them I would be the only judge of this contest and there would only be one winner whose book beat the others in all areas:
Book Cover Art
Plot Movement / Strength
The book in which I have given a five-star review that has beat the others in these areas will be the winning book of the year and will receive the prize from me.
Naturally, to participate I would have had read your book and given it five-stars before the excitement begins.
Which is, err, I don’t know yet. I am thinking December? Make it an end of the year thing. What do YOU think?? Should we do this?!
Again, this would mean that if you’ve been reviewed by me and I gave you five-stars, you are automatically drafted into the competition! And by December, I should have reviewed a lot more of you.
Of course, I’ll need help with this! If you want to help me to organize something special for your fellow authors of excellence, please send me an email so we can discuss details. (Ohh. I like the sound of that, “Authors of Excellence”. Has a nice ring to it. Hmm.)