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.

Editing Mock-Ups in Photoshop (In 12 Steps)

I didn’t plan on sharing this but as I was editing some mock-ups I thought it would be nice to share what I am doing.

I am not a professional photographer, and I don’t always have a chance to take professional images. Therefore, I love using free mock-up templates to create professional images of my books. I am learning Photoshop also because if I can master it, I can also start to create my own book covers! (OK, that’s a far way off but a sista can dream).

But, while I am finagling (am I the only one who thinks finagle is a funny word?) around with this, I decided to put together a quick tutorial on what I am doing for those of you who use Photoshop. It’s super easy and if you have Photoshop, you should be able to get started right away.

Note: I’m not a professional “Photoshopper” and have instead found my own way of editing mock-ups because this way is easier for me but there are lots of other ways to do this.

Step One

Get Photoshop. You can get Photoshop CC for as low as $10/month. For me it’s worth the money because I use mock-ups often. However, there is a free trial you can use for seven days if my memory serves correctly. http://www.adobe.com/ (There are also plenty of free ways to create 3D images. I use Photoshop because the quality of the images is top notch.)

Step Two

Once you have Photoshop, find a free mock-up that you like. Be sure the license allows you to use it. Most of them do as long as you don’t try to sell the mock-up as your own. You can find some great ones at http://covervault.com/

Step Three

Download a mock-up you like. I’m going to use this one.

Step Four

Click on the zip file and double click on the Photoshop file to open it.

OK so you can pretty much change anything on here to make it your own. Eliminate the background, upload your own images, change colors, etc. But…

I’m just gonna show you how to change the book covers.

Step Five

Go to the side panel here. Let’s start with the front book cover. Click on the arrow next to Front Book, scroll down to front cover and double click on the space where the front book cover is…right where my arrow is.

It will bring up the mock cover here..

Step Six

File > Open > Find the cover (or image) you’d like to use on your computer and click on it….and

Screenshot (601)Screenshot (602)It will open in Photoshop. When it does, unlock it at the bottom. If you don’t unlock it, you cannot edit it.

Step Seven

Click on your cover and drag it to the mock layer.

Step Eight

This one has lots of special effects I don’t need. If ever you don’t want something in the image you can either delete the layer or hide it. Click on the eye next to the layers to hide them. I want to hide the mock-up text and other things…

If you did it correctly it should leave only your cover and look like this (below)…if you look at the layers next to where my marker is you will see that the eye is closed. This means I am hiding these layers so they don’t show.

Step Nine

As you can see, when you move your cover to the layer (see step seven) it will be too big. On your MAC click command T to highlight it to resize. On PC click ctrl T. Now just resize it to fit the space.

Step Ten

Save your resized cover. File > Save as (save it under a name you will recognize. You will need to remember where you saved it.)

Screenshot (621)Screenshot (627)

Step Eleven

Go back to the panel and right click in the space next to the front cover.

Step Twelve

If you did it correctly, it should bring up the box below…where you see replace contents, click on that.

When the box opens, find your saved image from Step Ten and replace the mock image with your own.

And that’s it!

For the back cover follow the exact same steps:

  • Click on the arrow next to back cover.
  • Double click on back cover
  • File > Open > Choose the image for your back cover
  • If it’s locked, unlock it
  • Click and drag your cover to the mock layer (you can’t move it if it’s locked)
  • Hide any layers you don’t need/want
  • Resize image > Command T (MAC) or Ctrl T (PC)
  • File > Save as to your PC
  • Back to the panel, right click in the space next to the back cover > Replace contents
  • Find saved image > place

The last thing you will do when you have both the front and back cover done is to File > Save as > PNG

You’re done.

Renaissance: The Nora White Story Book One. July 15, 2017. yecheilyahysrayl.com

5 Things I Learned About Marketing my First Book

Good info for new and experienced writers on marketing our books.

Nicholas C. Rossis

HomeWorking Club | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's booksThis is a guest post from Ben Taylor, a British freelance writer who spent several years living in Portugal and wrote a book about the experience. He now lives back in the UK, where he founded Home Working Club, a site dedicated to helping people explore freelance opportunities – in writing and various other fields.

5 Things I Learned About Marketing my First Book

Moving To Portugal | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books Read on Amazon

I never intended to write a book.

It came about by accident, after I started a blog about moving to Portugal from the UK. While I won’t pretend that I didn’t hope people would read and enjoy the blog, I never had particularly big plans for it. I figured that, if nothing else, it was a good way to keep a journal of the experience.

However, after I’d been going for a year or so, the site got rather popular. It…

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If We Were Having Coffee Right Now

This is a stock photo because Coffee never looks this perfect in real life.

Good Morning! Or afternoon or evening. OK, whatever. Hi!

I’m having coffee so I thought we were long overdue for a chat. It’s been awhile since I just talked to you guys. I mean outside of blog segments, interviews, fun facts, blah blah blah. Soooo, how you? (as the country folk say).

So, go get your coffee or tea …

(…even though it really wouldn’t be a coffee date. Bringing tea to a coffee date is a little weird but we won’t judge you…pull up a chair) and let’s talk about life.

I’m doing well and if we were having coffee right now I would tell you there’s a lot going on, because of which I am not sure how often I’ll be posting probably for the next few weeks as we get closer to  launch day (wow, it’s that time again!), well, outside of author interviews that is. Those are scheduled and will continue to post every Monday. I’ll also still be guest blogging so you’ll see me around.

Currently, I am getting ready for Chicago in two weeks. I have a lecture to attend and while there I intend on getting some word of mouth going about my soon-to-be release. I grew up in the Chi so there’s ample opportunity to pass out some cards. Speaking of which, book one in The Nora White Story will go up for preorder…..soon. Thought I was gonna tell ya huh? Nope. Not yet.

If we were having coffee right now I’ll tell you that I am also preparing for The Tampa Indie Author Book Convention in July and that I am not sure if Hubby can tag along or not (boo). His schedule is kinda hectic. If not I will need a personal assistant to accompany me. The last time I did something live I totally forgot to take lots of pictures. That is NOT happening this time.

(Can’t sign books and take pictures at the same time. Oh, wait, maybe you can?? I better patent this idea before someone else figures it out and it’s on the next commercial for 39.95).

Anyway, things are kinda crazy so I’m hoping that I can still make it myself while I’m talking hee hee. Keep hope alive.

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If we were having coffee right now I would say that I am totally thinking about attending the U.S. Blogapalooza in Chicago on Aug. 26. I want to go because a. It’s not expensive to attend and b. I grew up in Chicago so it’s nothing for me to take another trip out there and c. I want to get as much travel in as I can this year. Time to step on out the shell you guys. Kinda. I’ll kinda still be in my shell when you see me…

I’m also supposed to get some kids this summer so I’ll have to see how this will work. If I time it just right I can drop them off on my way to the Blogapalooza.

(The best thing about being a TT is that you can hype them up on fun and then drop them off to mommy and daddy when you get tired of them. #Winning)

I got some nephews who are supposed to come down to irritate entertain me. In fact, I got a baby who will be here tomorrow. Well, OK, that’s not fair. BJ’s not a baby anymore. Technically he is ready to be potty trained. Yay for wearing the big boy draws!

Let’s see here what else? I am on the finishing end of book two in The Nora White Story but since Book One isn’t out yet I won’t speak much about it although I am loving it if I must say so myself. I don’t wanna make book one jealous or anything but I’m just so into the second half of the story. I may even consider, once both books are out, an ultimate special edition where the books are combined. Yaass.

If we were having coffee right now I would say that I am almost ready to reopen for new book review submissions.

BUT I am keeping it very limited this time around and only accepting a handful.

Anyway, be looking out for that announcement.

If we were having coffee right now I would say that my coffee is almost gone and I’ve already spent 20% of my time on this blog so it’s time to go.

See you around.

Yecheilyah’s Book Reviews – The Sleeping Serpent by Luna Saint Claire

Title: The Sleeping Serpent: A Woman’s Struggle to Break an Obsessive Bond with her Yoga Master

Author: Luna Saint Claire

Print Length: 428 pages

Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1928816762

Publisher: Compelled Books (October 19, 2015)

Publication Date: October 19, 2015

Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC

Language: English

ASIN: B016LUUB1K

The Sleeping Serpent follows Hollywood costume designer Luna and several other women and their obsessions with their manipulative yoga instructor Nicolas or Nico. Appropriately titled, this book is deceptive on many levels. First, I picked it up as a psychological read but it can easily fall into erotica just the same so that was a bit of a surprise. (As I don’t usually review Erotica but since its not technically in the Erotica category we’ll let it slide).

Nico uses Chakra and Kundalini magic to put women under a spell that makes them cling to him in more ways than one. Falling victim to his elegant speech, smooth words, sex, and laced tea, the women become drawn to him without realizing it. Not only do they allow him to abuse them physically and emotionally, but they also invest in him financially and comes under the captivity of doing whatever he wants them to do and despite how he berates them, the women cannot get enough.

Nico is not just a yoga instructor. Nico is a warlock, a sleeping serpent preying on the vulnerability of successful women in an attempt to turn them into his mother. I think the most powerful portrayal of Nico’s spell is over Luna herself. While she is not as clingy as the other women and on occasion tells him how it is, I feel that the mental hold Nico has on her is stronger than the physical hold he has on the other women. Though married, Luna will drop everything to be with him.

The book is written well and maintains good pacing, although after a while I did start to think the story was just repeating itself as Nico captivated woman after woman and sexes them crazy.

I would recommend this book to lovers of Erotica, Romance, and Psychological Thrillers. (I’m starting to really like these psycho reads! Wait, does that make me a psycho??)

Ratings:

Plot Movement / Strength: 4/5

Entertainment Factor: 4/5

Characterization: 5/5

Authenticity / Believable: 4/5

Thought Provoking: 5/5

Overall Rating: 4 / 5

The Sleeping Serpent: A Woman’s Struggle to Break an Obsessive Bond with her Yoga Master by Luna Saint Claire is Available now on Amazon. Go Get it!

Introduce Yourself – Introducing Guest Author Hope Destiny

Its that time of the week again!  Welcome to another edition of 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 Hope Destiny. Welcome to The PBS Blog! Let’s get started.

What is your name and where are you from?

My name is Latisha. I write under Tisha as well as the pseudonym Hope Destiny. I live in Orlando, Florida.

The Sunshine state! I love it. Your pseudonym is beautiful. What made you decide on this name in particular?

I was airing out my dirty laundry to the world about what I did when I was younger that I shouldn’t have been doing as well as the violations I endured and my feelings about my parents, and I just didn’t want any family members to know it was me or read it so as I was writing it the name just came to me, and I questioned it at first and tried to change it, but God already had planted that seed so it was no way around it or giving it up.

Photo: Latisha “Hope Destiny”. Used with permission.

Hmmm. OK. Tell me, what would your perfect writing / reading room look like?

Quiet. No sound.

I feel you. I enjoy silence myself. I understand you are employed outside of writing? Tell us about your job.

I am a Controller at a telecommunications company.

Cool. What’s your favorite color?

Baby blue.

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

Eminem.

OK OK, I see you. Cleaning out my closet was my jam back in the day, Lol. Seems like a lifetime ago. Speaking of music, what kind of music do you like?

Slow throwback R&B.

Yaass! Me too. You’ll love PBS Throwback Thursdays. When did you publish your first book? What was that like?

May 2014. It was exhilarating.

You Don’t Know My Story: I Don’t Look Like What I Been Through was published in May 2014. (You Still Don’t Know My Story, and Let Me Finish Telling You My Story was published after that and each about 6 months apart). Part One chronicles my life from a child to the age of 18 years old with the subsequent books from the age of 18 and up. It was heartbreaking to write. I cried a lot. It was hard to recall memories that I had locked up in the attic of my memory to forget them and to move on then I realized how that only caused the anger that shrouded my heart which in turn lead to failed relationships and failed marriages. I had a wall up. I didn’t love anyone. Not even my own children so it was sad. I gave them things in place of love sort of like I was given growing up. It was an endless vicious cycle that needed to be broken and I wanted…no needed to break it.

AVAILABLE NOW ON AMAZON.

Sounds like a gripping read. I like that cover too.  I’m gonna have to check you out as soon as I find the time to read all these books! Hope, how long have you been married?

Almost one year.

Awwue! Go ahead Newlywed. Alright now fellas, you heard it here first, Hope is married. Lol. Children?

Yes. One girl and two boys.

Total preciousness. What takes up too much of your time?

Life obstacles.

Can you explain that?

There is always something that keeps you from doing things that you want to do. I would love to write every day all day but I can’t. I have a job. No. I have a career. While my imagination runs wild with stories and ideas all day, I crunch numbers as it does. I am the main breadwinner in my entire family. So many responsibilities. My parents. My children. Nieces and nephews and etc always needing things and I have to be the one to give it. Granted…everyone (my siblings mainly) had the same opportunities that I had but no one wanted the responsibility of doing what it took to get it. I am the responsible one. Everyone depend on me so I can’t live in my fantasy writer world that calls me. I have to live in the now so what really takes up a lot of my time? The need and want to put others before my own needs and wants. Other people problems take up a lot of my time.

Yea, I can imagine that’s a huge responsibility and some serious stress. Praying for your strength. Speaking of life, what do you think of the world we live in?

Its hectic.

Hope has a lot of reads for you to explore! Visit her Author Amazon Page HERE

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

The time to write. Finishing it.

As noted above….time is what I have so little of with a demanding career and family as I have so that is just it…so much to do…so little time….that is my mantra.

Once I do finish a novel, it is euphoric. I have completed a task (a most difficult one) that I had set out to do. It is always exciting to complete a difficult task with very little time.

Indeed. And speaking of finishing, why is writing important to you?

It gets me out of my head.

GET THIS BOOK NOW ON AMAZON

What does that mean?

I am always thinking about stories all day, everyday and scenes and such or an idea pops in my head and I always wrote poetry as a child to deal with a lot of anger and hurt of growing up with parents that were there but not there so writing became an outlet as it has now.

Thru all the hurt and pain I endured from a child and on, I learned that writing takes me places and gives me that release I yearn for. A release from pain and misery and I can make it continue or end.. in a story. In a story, it is a life I really control. The characters life is in my hands and they don’t have to be miserable like I was. It is wonderful.

Thank you for spending this time with us. I am sure you’ve given many new authors some Hope today!


Latisha “Hope Destiny”. Used with permission.

Blog website https://penpointpub.wordpress.com/

Instagram handle authorhopedestiny

Twitter handle athrhopedestiny

Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/AuthorHopeDestiny

Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/authorhopedestinywrites/

 
To stay up to date on new releases and giveaways from Hope, text PENPOINT to 22828 and stay tuned for my next awesome author.

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

Renaissance: The Nora White Story by Yecheilyah Ysrayl

I am off today as usual and I’m actually not at home but I wanted to share the first official review for Nora. A special thank you to Rachel for taking the time to read and review my book. Her honest feedback is just what I need to make improvements before the big day.

Rachel Poli

Book Review | Renaissance: The Nora White Story by Yecheilyah YsraylTitle: Renaissance: The Nora White Story
Author: Yecheilyah Ysrayl
Published: 
July 15, 2017
Genre: Historical Fiction
How I got the book: I received a free eARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

Summary:

When seventeen-year-old NoraWhite successfully graduates High School in 1922 Mississippi and is College bound, everyone is overjoyed and excited. Everyone except Nora. She dreams of Harlem, Cotton Clubs, Fancy Dresses, and Langston Hughes. For years, she’s sat under Mr. Oak, the big oak tree on the plush green grass of her families five acres, and daydreamed of The Black Mecca.

The ambitious, young Nora is fascinated by the prospect of being a famous writer in The Harlem Renaissance and decides she doesn’t want to go to College. Despite her parent’s staunch protest, Nora finds herself in Jacobsville, New York, a small town forty-five minutes outside of Harlem.

Shocked by their daughter’s…

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