I’ve been supporting the Webuyblack movement for a while now. I’ve purchased products from the many black-owned businesses on the site, attended the inaugural convention last year and met some talented all-black business owners. I bought toothbrushes, coffee, hair care products and even potato chips all from black-owned businesses. Recently, I watched the first episode of Killer Mike’s Netflix special and was proud to see Webuyblack represented. Mike’s idea intrigued me: See if you can survive 3 days solely on the strength of food, transportation and products from black-owned businesses. This was interesting and brought the idea of selling on the site back to my memory.
I first met a WeBuyBlack representative in March, 2018 at the Greenbriar Mall in Atlanta. At the time I had decided I would definitely open a store on the site. Over time, though, I was not sure if I should. I was not sure if it was worth it from an author point of view. I didn’t see many authors at the convention and I didn’t see many of the authors whose books are on the site being promoted by the Webuyblack team. I am not selling Laundry Detergent, Soap, or clothing. It took me almost a year to decide if it was worth it. To make a long story short, I have decided to try it out. I see this as eventually being monumental and I’d like to be part of its history.
What is WeBuyBlack?
We Buy Black is a global marketplace for Black owned businesses. All the products on the site are designed and produced by black business owners, but not only that, WeBuyBlack is a movement to see social and economic justice globally. Can we recreate our own version of Black Wallstreet? Can we pool our resources together and support one another? My books are on Amazon, B&N online, Kobo and iTunes but why not WeBuyBlack? As a writer of Black History, this is right up my alley. Surely, I can support a movement centered on black empowerment.
First, you should know that as my circle of readers, I am not asking you to buy anything.
Many of you already have the two books I have decided to upload for now. If you reviewed these books on Amazon, I am asking if you can review them on Webuyblack. This will help me to get the attention of other readers and to decide if I want to make this a permanent move or not.
If you LOVED Renaissance and you LOVED I am Soul, let’s show other readers why these books are worth the time investment. I’ve decided to start with just these two. Only if they do well will I add more. What do you think? Can we do this? Yes, we can!
*I was gifted a copy of this book but it was so good that I decided to purchase it in support of the author*
I am excited to be doing reviews again and boy do I have a tasty one for you today! I love poetry, have written four collections myself and hosted two poetry contests so far on this blog. For these reasons, it was probably surprising that I opted not to review poetry when I first started. One of the reasons was because I found it difficult to judge. Poetry is very personal and intimate and I don‘t think there’s any such thing as bad poetry. But, since my last contest (where we read over and critiqued tons of poems) I decided to review poetry books on this blog and since coming in contact with Knighten, I am glad I changed my mind!
/NAKEED/: a bare soul is a collection of love poems from an amazing poet, Shequila Knighten and her journey of discovering her authentic self. Upon the first read, you may mistakenly think these are poems mostly about a woman’s relationship with a man but as you continue, you’ll find it is much more than that. There is romance but on a deeper level these are poems about a woman’s love for herself, a journey of healing through heartbreak, depression, and facing insecurities. These poems are beautifully written and what I liked most is that the pieces are raw but not vulgar which is not easy to do. There‘s a sexiness to them but Shequila’s lyrics are elegant, strong and inspiring.
“He had a voice smooth as a saxophone…”
“they say time heals all wounds…I think my watch died…”
“insecurity established a deep-rooted self-hate growing in my womb…”
Whew. See what I mean fam? I am hoping Shequila will consider entering my next poetry contest! We will see. In the meantime, be sure to pick up your copy of /NAKEED/ which is just 99cents on Amazon!
Shequila is a writer of poetry and inspirational blogger. She became a writer after growing up with the constant fear of people not understanding her speaking what’s on her mind, so writing became her outlet. Starting with poetry, she released her first book of poems, /’NAKEED/. She now lives by the motto, ”if you can’t speak it, write it; your point will still be heard.” Shequila currently resides in Southwest Florida with her three children.
Welcome back to Introduce Yourself! Check out the new badge! Yasss! Let’s get started with our first interview of the year. I would like to extend a warm welcome to Ann Harrison-Barnes.
What is your name and where are you from?
My name is Ann Harrison-Barnes and I am from Rochelle, GA.
Okay. You in my neck of the woods. Georgia stand up. What do you hate most about writing advice? What do you love?
The one thing I hate most about writing advice, is the fact that there is too much of it. What one writer says can contradict what someone else says on the same subject. For example, two or three people have different advice about adverbs. What I love about writing advice is the fact that I choose which advice to follow me, and I take it and let it inspire me. For example, K. M. Weiland stated in a previous episode of her podcast entitled Helping Writers Become Authors that the reason your villain does the bad things he’s known for in your story, has to do with another character he loves with all his heart (pardon the paraphrase).
I feel you on there being too much advice out there and most of it is not even good advice. Ann, what was your childhood dream?
As a child I always dreamed of being a recording artist. I loved country music and I love to sing. However, when I was five or six, I had no idea that music would be the inspiration I needed to become a writer. I could tell you a story of how music has influenced my writing over the past few years, but we’d be here all day for that one. LOL
Since we’re already talking about music, what kind of music do you like?
I like mostly instrumental music such as classical, movie scores, new age piano etc. for writing. However, I have one particular country artist that I like to listen to for healing and sometimes for writing inspiration.
Does blogging help you to write?
Blogging helps me to write in several ways. It helps me to learn more about my fictional characters through character interviews. It also helps me to get my heartfelt thoughts out into the world, but I keep my blog positive and put my negative thoughts in my journal. It also enhances my professional writing style, so that if I land a freelance writing gig, I can be proud to show off specific posts as writing samples.
I love that. You said you keep your blog positive and put the negative stuff in your journal. Your a wise one. Let’s talk about your writing journey. When did you publish your first book? What was that like?
To be honest, I published my first book back in July of 2016. I was excited, because after getting help with formatting and the book cover designed for me, I was able to publish it on my own. This book has since been updated and is now available on Amazon. Each book that I publish is exciting. I’ve heard many people say that it’s almost like having a baby, without the physical pain that a mother goes through. I must say, I believe it, because you have to nurture your creative baby and get it ready for publication. Then comes the waiting time until it’s been launched or borne (as it were), for all the world to see.
Nice. Married Ann?
I’ve been married twice. The first time for seven and a half years. I divorced my first husband, because he verbally and emotionally abused me. I’m currently married but separated from my husband, for the same reason. We’ve been legally married for a year and a half.
Oh. I am so sorry to hear that. Abuse is a real problem in our world. If you had any advice for someone enduring any form of abuse having experienced it yourself, what would you tell them?
My advice for someone who is in an abusive relationship is to find a way out as soon as you can. The longer you stay in that relationship, the worse it will be for you in the long run. I can’t speak to child abuse, but no one deserves to be belittled, humiliated or beaten. Don’t let the abuser’s charms fool you, he or she is only using them to pull you back into his or her web. I found healing from other sources, but if you feel that you need the services of a therapist, don’t hesitate to get the help you need, because everybody’s healing process is different.
Thanks so much. I am sure someone who needs to hear that is listening. Any babies Ann?
I do have a beautiful daughter, who I love dearly, although she can be sassy at times. She loves to brag about being taller than me.
LOL. I love it. What’s the most difficult thing about being a writer? The most exciting thing?
The most difficult thing about being a writer can sometimes be the revision process. However, I am loving this process in my current novel. The most exciting thing is the fact that I can allow myself to let the creative juices flow and find whatever source of inspiration that fuels my creative fire. Although I am totally blind, I refuse to let my disability stop me from doing what I’ve been called to do, which is share the message of God’s love through something as simple, yet as deep, as a story.
I can tell by your answers you’re a great writer! What genre do you write in and why?
I don’t put my novels into one specific genre. I write in the Christian fiction genre, along with mystery and thriller, and I sometimes add a little romance. I know that online distributors and bookstores have to know where to place eBooks or paperbacks on the physical or virtual shelves, but I like to add a little of this and a little of that, to make the story interesting and compelling.
Thanks so much Ann for spending this time with us. We enjoyed you!
Ann Harrison is the author of four books: A Journey of Faith, A Stepping Stones Mystery, Stories Outside the Box, Maggie’s Gravy Train Adventure, an Electric Eclectic Book, and Inner Vision, an Electric Eclectic Book. She has also been published in several anthologies. Aside from her work as a Christian fiction author, Ann is a professional writer, and she also crochets bookmarks and book covers to promote her books. To learn more about Ann and her work, visit her website at http://www.annwritesinspiration.com
Today, I’d like to extend a warm welcome to Frank Prem. Let’s get started!
What is your name and where are you from?
I’m Frank Prem, and I live in a pretty little town called Beechworth, that’s nestled not far from the Victorian Alps in Australia. It isn’t famous for the Alps, though. Beechworth has a gold mining history that dates back to the 1850s, an association with an infamous band of bushrangers (outlaws) (The Ned Kelly Gang).
That’s the old fame, and it’s a well preserved and highly successful tourist town off the back of that, but in this day and age it may just be as well known for its bakery (The Beechworth Bakery), which seems to draw folk to it from everywhere and is almost too full some days for me to have my before-work cuppa at six in the morning. Not really, but it gets very crowded in there most days.
By the way, I grew up in Beechworth back in the 1960s and 70s, and that childhood is the subject of a memoir I’m in the process of releasing as first indie publication. That’s very exciting.
I bet! Releasing your first book is very exciting. Congratulations to you. Are you employed outside of writing?
I have had a lifelong association with psychiatry and psychiatric services over here in Victoria. When I was a young child, my parents were both employed to work in the local mental asylum (as they were known then). My first associations were through riding my bike up the Mental Asylum hill to visit either of my parents while they were working. My mum was part of the nursing staff while dad worked in the Kitchens. Subsequently, I became a student psychiatric nurse at the institution and went to work in a wide variety of jobs and roles in the system of Psychiatric care, including helping – in a very modest way – to close them all down in the 1990s.
These days I still work as a psychiatric nurse in a small rehabilitation facility in the town. The squaring of the circle, completed. The manuscript for a memoir of my time in psychiatry is complete and waiting its turn in the queue. I hope to produce it in book and electronic form within about a year, but there are other projects already in the pipeline that need to be completed first.
Wow, that is neat. Since we keep going back to writing let’s talk about that. Does blogging help you to write?
I find I write my best, or at least with the most pleasure from the work, when I am writing for a reader. I do not write for myself.
Since starting my poetry blog, I have found inspiration with every view recorded, with every ‘like’ for a poem, and absolutely with every comment and conversation that a reader has initiated. Similarly, with reading to an audience I delight in engaging with listeners, especially when something I have written and/or read has acted as a catalyst for a person to start telling me of their similar but unique experience.
I believe that all poetry, and especially mine, needs to be a means of communication, and needs to be accessible. I want people to understand what the poem is about, to be able to consider it, respond to it, discuss it with a neighbor. As my readership at the poetry blog has grown, I have felt myself to be freed up to write more and better, curious about how the new poem will be received, while hurrying on to write the next.
How did you come to the decision to write for your readers? Are there any instances where you write for yourself?
I think there is a point around when a writer realizes that the need to write has become a fundamental part of him- or her- self, that this issue has to be confronted. Who am I writing for?
In my own case, I tend to write and move on. I don’t enjoy revisiting old work and I resist doing anything beyond superficial editing. I would rather discard a poem and start over afresh with the next thought than rewrite what I have, in my mind, already completed.
For my own purposes, I concluded that when I have thought the thought, I don’t need it anymore. It is written for another person to contemplate, if they wish to. My problem, is that every thought can become a contemplation. Every contemplation become a poem.
I have a big backlog!
I love what you said about not needing it anymore and how it is now for someone else. That’s powerful. Frank, what do you wish you knew more about?
I’ve become quite fascinated with the universe in recent times – pictures that the good folk at NASA have made available through their library archive are simply amazing and become a feature of and inspiration for my writing in recent times.
What’s your favorite drink?
I confess to being a bit of a coffee fiend. Nothing uncommon in that, except that I buy my beans green, then roast them myself in a popcorn whirligig that I had to import special from the US.
Wow that’s nice! I, too, am a coffee fiend. Shout out to all the coffee lovers out there.
The making of coffee for my wife and myself assumes the role of ritual in our household. A certain number of spoons of beans into a hand grinder, then the ground powder into a stove-top espresso maker. Milk into a pot to bring to boil on the stove, with both of them timed to coincide in their readiness to be blended and poured. The hissing and boiling carry-on of the espresso maker as it approaches its climax is a delight to me, every morning.
Ha! Ya’ll are all over it. What is the most thought provoking book you’ve ever read?
The most inspirational books that I’ve read in recent times have been the translated works of a French philosopher named Gaston Bachelard – who died back around the 1960’s. He was a scientist as well as a philosopher and he spent a lot of time thinking about poetry and poetics and reverie – tying them up, breaking them down, showing how others had addressed these things.
I found that, for a long time, I couldn’t read beyond a paragraph without needing to pen my own interpretation, my own story of what he was illuminating for me. I’ve ended up with a set of around 800 poems that I intend to bring to book when I clear the queue in front of them, just a little.
That’s what’s up. Keep the creative juices going. Loving your cover by the way. So, what’s the most difficult thing about being a writer? The most exciting thing?
The hardest thing about being a writer is turning the work into a book. I feel that I am on a fast-track learning curve that will take from being a writer to being an author, but at the same time requires me to become a publisher, and a publicist and an interviewee, and press release source, with all of it looking professional and as though it is as straightforward as taking the next breath of air.
The next book, of course, should be easier, because I am learning hard. The book that I am just about to start writing will be the easiest of all because all my new work will be in a book style and format even while it is in draft form. It will be surrounded, in advance, by the front matter and the back matter and copyright statement and the dedication page and …
It is hard because there is so much to learn. But this is work I badly want to master, and so I shall.
In the meantime, since I began thinking about these questions, my first book – Small Town Kid – has listed on Amazon in e-book form (with the paperback hurrying along behind it, I hope). It can be found at the listing below, and I feel unbelievably proud of this work.
I’m so happy for you. Tell us, why writing is important to you.
Writing my poems is the oxygen in my lungs. Ink is the blood in my veins and arteries.
I can’t imagine myself without my poetry, searching for the next thought that will bear scrutiny by the poet.
What genre do you write in, why?
I am primarily a free verse poet, but I have come to think that I don’t really have a particularly poetic genre or style. I feel my work is something of a hybrid between poetry and short story writing.
I have always been attracted to poetry as my best means of creative expression.
Over my journey through life I often have encountered strange and seemingly inexplicable events and phenomena – particularly in psychiatry. I often would use my writing as a way to unravel and better understand what I had done and what I had seen during the day gone by.
I needed a way to get difficult things out of my head, so that I could be at peace with myself, but not to have them lost to me (or to a potential reader, of course).
I use very little punctuation in my writing, and I use very short lines, as I attempt to incorporate the cadences of reading aloud with the pauses and accents and emphasis that go with that, and the additional natural pauses that come with taking a breath.
I hope that a person unfamiliar with my work could pick up a poem and read it aloud with a natural flow and feel, just by using the line breaks and stanza breaks as a guide to the pace of their reading.
Nice. Are you a spiritual person?
I think I’m a very spiritual person. Not at all religious, but respectful and in awe of nature and the life around me. Of the sky and the moon and the night. I dance to the tune of rain on my roof and the rumbling of a storm that I can feel deep in my chest.
You sound just like a poet too lol.
So, yes, Yecheilyah, I think I’m a very spiritual person, and I am grateful for it.
Thank you Frank for spending this time with us. We enjoyed you!
Frank Prem has been a storytelling poet for forty years. When not writing or reading his poetry to an audience, he fills his time by working as a psychiatric nurse.
He has been published in magazines, zines and anthologies, in Australia and in several other countries, and has both performed and recorded his work as ‘spoken word’.
He lives with his wife, musician and artist Leanne Murphy, in the beautiful township of Beechworth in northeast Victoria (Australia).
Today, I’d like to extend a warm welcome to Wanda Luthman. Let’s get started!
What is your name and where are you from?
Wanda Luthman. I grew up in St. Louis, MO but was born in NC, spent a few years in Florida, and two beautiful years in Hawaii, and now I’m back in Florida.
Hawaii. Okkaay. Are you employed outside of writing?
I’m a High School Guidance Counselor. I have 350 students that I track for graduation and help them with emotional issues as well as career advice throughout their high school years. I love my job, my school, my co-workers, and most especially the children/young adults.
I love it. Any siblings?
I have two siblings—a brother and a sister. I’m the baby of the three of us.
In your own words, what is love?
Love is magic. Whenever you think of love, you know something magical is there. Whether it’s between husband and wife or parent and child, you feel something extra there that is indescribable. And when you see a tragedy and then you see the helpers, you know there is love and those people are working miracles in the lives of others. That’s what love is. It’s powerful and changes lives.
I love what you said about tragedies and seeing helpers and knowing there’s love there! Wanda, what’s your favorite color?
My favorite color is blue or purple. I love them both equally! And they’re related on the color wheel.
Who is your favorite writer?
My favorite writer is Dr. Seuss.
What kind of music do you like?
I love country music because it tells a story but I love all kinds of music from classical (I used to play the piano) to Gospel to Rock ‘n Roll.
Let’s talk about writing some more. When did you publish your first book? What was that like?
I published my first book in October 2014. I used a service that cost a lot of money to publish but it was worth it to see my dream become a reality!!
I can definitely understand the feeling of seeing your dream come true for sure. Don’t pay a lot of money to get your book published again though! It shouldn’t cost you anything to publish your book. If it does, run. Are you married Wanda? How long?
Yes, I have been married for 23 wonderful years.
Wonderful! Do you have children?
Yes, I have 5 children. 1 that is my own biological child and 4 that are step-children.
Awesome. Are you a spiritual person?
I am a deeply spiritual person. I grew up in a Christian home and was a very concrete thinker so I tried to do everything perfectly. I quickly realized I couldn’t be perfect. I gave that up and had a few tumultuous years of experimenting. But, then, I came back around and married someone I thought was also a Christian. It turns out, he wasn’t a very nice person. I went against my beliefs and filed for a divorce and felt incredibly liberated. I then went on a spiritual journey and read all kinds of spiritual books from all different kinds of religions and attended several different types of churches. I then realized I still believed in my Christian faith but I wasn’t going to follow rules just to follow rules. I was going to be true to myself. As I became more real, I encountered God on a whole new level. I learned to meditate and I do what I do because it’s who I am not because I “should.” This is what being spiritual is to me, it’s about a relationship with a living God that lives in, through, and around me. Religion to me is more about a set of rules and trying to live up to those rules. No one can be perfect. That’s why we need Jesus and forgiveness. We need to forgive ourselves as much as we need to forgive others. And love is the key to everything.
I agree that love is the key to everything.
Thank you Wanda for spending this time with us. We enjoyed you!
Wanda Luthman has her Masters of Arts in both Mental Health Counseling and Guidance Counseling from Rollins College located in beautiful Winter Park, Florida. She has worked as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Adjunct Professor, and Hospice Counselor for teens. She’s currently a Guidance Counselor at a local High School. She is an award-winning, best-selling, international author who has self-published 5 children’s books (The Lilac Princess, A Turtle’s Magical Adventure, Gloria and the Unicorn, Little Birdie, and Franky the Finicky Flamingo). She is a former National Pen Women of Cape Canaveral. She belongs to the Florida’s Writers Association; Space Coast Authors; and Brevard Authors Forum. She presently resides in Brevard County Florida with her husband of 23 years and 2 dogs. Her daughter is away at college, like Little Birdie, she has left the nest.
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 “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, DEAD“ was 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.
Today I am featuring the latest release by Yecheilyah Ysrayl – A novella – Even Salt Looks Like Sugar.
About the book
Wanda wants nothing more than to escape the oppressive upbringing of life with her abusive foster mother. Miss Cassaundra manipulates the system by bringing lost children into her home turned whorehouse and collecting the money. Wanda knows what it’s like to be abandoned and has no doubt Abby is Cassaundra’s next case. When an opportunity arises, that could save them both, Wanda must find a way to get the paperwork that will secure their freedom. But Cassaundra’s got eyes everywhere and no one can be trusted when even salt looks like sugar.