Yecheilyah (e-SEE-li-yah, affectionately nicknamed 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 years old and joined the UMOJA Poetry Society in High School where she learned to perfect her craft. In 2010, at 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 book reviews. The PBS Blog has been named among Reedsy’s Best Book Review blogs of 2017 and 2018 and has helped many authors in their writing journey. I am Soul is her fourth collection of poetry.
Yecheilyah (e-SEE-li-yah, affectionately nicknamed 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 years old and joined the UMOJA Poetry Society in High School where she learned to perfect her craft.
In 2010, at 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 book reviews.
The PBS Blog has been named among Reedsy’s Best Book Review blogs of 2017 and 2018 and has helped many authors in their writing journey. I am Soul is her fourth collection of poetry.
Today I’d like to extend a warm welcome to Jo Elizabeth. Welcome to The PBS Blog! Let’s get started.
What is your name and where are you from?
My name is Jo Elizabeth Pinto. I grew up in Brighton, Colorado, just north of Denver, and in the last forty years, I’ve seen it change from a humble farming community to a thriving suburb. The jury’s still out on whether progress has been made. I lived away for a short time, but I’ve come back to raise my little girl among family, friends, and familiar places.
Are you employed outside of writing?
I wish writing could put a roof over my head and keep new shoes on my daughter–an expensive proposition in itself between how fast she grows and how quickly she wears out sneakers–but like most authors, I work to support my writing habit. For the last thirteen years, I’ve been a freelance braille proofreader. I mostly work on textbooks, kindergarten through college, but I get to do a novel now and then. That’s a treat!
I am sure you will most certainly get to write full-time one day. I’m rooting for you! What was your childhood dream?
I remember the evening I first knew I would be a writer. I don’t recall exactly how old I was or the season of the year, but it wasn’t long after I started school. My dad and I were curled up on the high-backed couch in our living room, and he had just finished reading a library book aloud to me. The book was about Osceola, the Seminole Indian chief who fought to keep his people in Florida during the early 19th century.
“It’s all gone,” I said sadly when he finished the book. “It was such a good story, too.”
I can still feel the ache in my throat, some forty years later. I was truly sorry the book had ended. I thought I’d lost the story forever. As a blind child, I hadn’t yet truly grasped the idea that books were permanent, that they could be read over and over.
“It’s not gone,” my dad said. “We could start at the beginning and read it again. Not tonight, though.”
Once ignited, that passion for capturing words, for touching people with stories, has been unwavering in me. I’ve never once doubted it as my calling.
Awwue. In your own words, what is love?
Love is an action, not just a feeling; a verb, not just a noun. That’s a central theme in my novel and a core belief in my life. Talk is cheap. We can say we love each other all day long, but in the end, the world will be better or worse based on how we proved or didn’t prove our love with tangible actions.
What’s your favorite drink?
Gotta have my strong black coffee in the mornings. That’s non-negotiable.
A fellow coffee head people! What state or country do you never want to go back to?
Never say never, although since the TSA cracked down, there are several U.S. airports I’d be happy if I never had to visit again. I received my latest guide dog from a training school in Boring, Oregon, and while the Northwest was beautiful to visit, I don’t think I could linger there. I love my Colorado sunshine. I said in my thank-you speech when I took possession of the dog that it was no wonder Starbucks was dreamed up in Seattle; they all have to walk around with half blood and half coffee in their veins just to keep moving without solar power.
Does blogging help you to write? If so, how?
I don’t have a blog, but I guest post for others frequently and write for my own Facebook page. Blogging helps me by keeping my creative juices flowing. I don’t have the time or the energy to write another novel at this point–between raising a ten-year-old, managing a household, and operating a business, sometimes I barely have the time or the energy to brush my hair–but I love to write. So I push myself to come up with a few paragraphs at a time, a few times a week, to feed my audience and my soul. Also, blogging forces me to keep my writing tight and sparse.
What’s your favorite food?
Comfort food to me is pinto beans and green chili wrapped in a homemade tortilla. I can smell it now–chili roasting in the fall, tortillas cooking on the griddle–I’m drooling on my keyboard.
Now you know I gotta mess with you Jo. Your last name is Pinto and your favorite food is Pinto beans. Ha!
What kind of music do you like?
I listen to a lot of country music, especially the older stuff. The songs tell moving human stories.
When did you publish your first book? What was that like?
I had shopped my first novel, The Bright Side of Darkness, around to agents and editors for years. Many were interested, but the book couldn’t be pigeonholed into one of their tight and fast genres. Was it Young Adult? Inspirational? Contemporary? When my mother died suddenly in 2014, the reality hit home for me that none of us know how long we’ll walk on this planet, and we better make the most of every day because it could be our last. I didn’t have any more time to wait around. I self-published my novel on Amazon in paperback and Kindle, then made an audiobook out of it as well, since having books available in alternative formats for non-print readers is important to me. Writing the novel was the fun part. Publishing was just a matter of following directions. Marketing–I’m an introvert, so it’s been a challenge. But it’s also been one of the most amazing growing experiences of my life.
What is the most thought-provoking book you’ve ever read?
The book that most captivated me when I read it, from a thought-provoking perspective, and that has stayed with me through the years, is “The Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck. I grew up in a home where social justice mattered, and reading about the journey the hard-pressed Joad family made across the country, fleeing the Dust Bowl to find a better life in California, reminded me of the stories my dad and his siblings and parents would tell me about growing up in northern New Mexico, or even in my little Colorado town before civil rights had smoothed out some of the worst inequalities between brown and white people.
Are you political Jo?
I spent my younger years in political oblivion. As I’ve reached middle age, I’ve become concerned about issues of injustice that won’t let me stay quiet. I use my persuasive skills as a writer to contact my elected officials and to call people to action regularly. And I’ve always voted since I turned eighteen. Countless brave people have given their limbs and lives so I can have a voice at the ballot box.
I’m a Christian. Wait–before you freak out, I’m not one of those nut jobs you see on TV trying to convince you that he needs a $54 million Falcon jet and you ought to foot the bill. I live by two simple rules–love your God and love your neighbor as yourself. That’s it. Jesus laid down those rules and we human beings added the rest and really gummed up the works.
Why is writing important to you?
I write because I love words because writing is part of my soul because I’ll explode if I don’t write. But I also write because I believe I have a gift–no, a duty–to make people think. Whether it’s a fiction book, an advocacy blog piece, a lighthearted Facebook post, a political call to action, or a simple speech, I write to get the attention of my readers. Sometimes I need them to act; other times I simply urge them to reflect and look at the world from different angles, but I always want them to think. That’s really the most difficult and the most exciting thing about being a writer–because when people don’t think and you’ve tried with every ounce of your effort to reach them, it’s gut-wrenching. But when it works, it’s beautiful!
I love your reason for writing. In the words of Carter G. Woodson, “when you control a man’s thinking you do not have to worry about his actions.” So it’s very important for us to be able to think for ourselves.
Thank you Jo for spending this time with us. We enjoyed you!
J.E. Pinto is a magnet for underdogs! Early in her married life, her home became a hangout for troubled neighborhood kids. This experience lit the flame for her first novel, The Bright Side of Darkness.
Pinto’s Spanish-American roots grow deep in the Rocky Mountains, dating back six generations. J. E. Pinto lives with her family in Colorado where she works as a writer and also proofreads textbooks and audio books. One of her favorite pastimes is taking a nature walk with her service dog.
The Bright Side of Darkness won a first place Indie Book Award for “First Novel over Eighty Thousand Words,” as well as First Place for “Inspirational Fiction.” The novel also won several awards from the Colorado Independent Publishers Association: First Place for “Inspirational Fiction,” Second Place for “Audio Book,” and First Place for “Literary and Contemporary Fiction.
The inaugural Atlanta African American Book Festival is FREE and OPEN to the PUBLIC and will take place on Saturday, July 14, 2018, at Georgia State University. Over 70 authors will convene in Atlanta to present their work to the Atlanta community. Author categories include fiction, non-fiction, romance, YA fiction, middle-grade fiction, and children’s picture books. Journalists, editors, publishers, literary critics, and scholars from various fields will be present. Panel discussions and workshops will engage festival attendees in topics concerning literary industry tips, civil disobedience, activism, emotional and spiritual well-being, restorative justice, and health and wealth. Children’s activities include a story corner and festival dance floor.
I will be one of many authors in attendance and I would be honored to have your support at my table. Since I did not have a launch signing or gathering for Revolution, I’d like to use this as an opportunity for a post-launch celebration. You will have the chance to purchase signed paperback copies of my two most recent books (and not just mine but other authors too), take pictures, take part in workshops, and meet industry professionals. Again, attendance at the festival is FREE so you’ll just need to make it here (food is not allowed inside the venue but there will be food trucks on the outside). This is not just an entertainment event but we also seek to implement community programming that promotes black literary arts and family sustainability within our community. To check out my AAA blog feature, click here.
Today I’d like to extend a warm welcome to Sean Mungin. Welcome to The PBS Blog! Let’s get started.
What is your name and where are you from?
My name is Sean Mungin and I live in Los Angeles, California.
I always wanted to visit Cali. What would your perfect writing / reading room look like?
My perfect writing/reading room would have bookshelves (filled with books, of course) covering every wall (except for the window and sitting area) from the ceiling to the floor. It would have soft music and sounds of water running in the background. It would have a comfortable sitting area next to the window.
I love that sound of water, I imagine that would be peaceful. What job do you think you’d be really good at?
I think I would probably be a pretty good counselor. I have always been the person that others would come to talk through their problems. I think the most memorable moment was when I was in high school; a married co-worker of mine came to me and began sharing issues she was having within her marriage. I do not remember what I actually said to her, but I do remember that she returned to me and thanking me because whatever I said to her worked.
That’s what’s up. Speaking of being good at things, what was your childhood dream?
My childhood dream was to be a musician. I have always had an ear for music. I once asked my mother for music lessons, but we were not in a position financially for me to ever begin them.
Cool. Do you play any instruments?
I play around with the keyboard and was teaching myself to play guitar until I broke a finger on my right hand.
Aww. Boo. Speaking of childhood, any siblings?
I have five siblings. Two older brothers, an older sister, and two younger sisters.
What’s your favorite drink?
My favorite drink is coffee. I love to try different blends from around the world. The smell is intoxicating. The taste is awesome. Dark, bold roasts…of course.
A coffee drinker, yaass. What state or country do you never want to go back to?
I never wanted to come back to California, but it is amazing how my life has come full circle and I am right back here in the Greater Los Angeles area again 20 years later.
Lol. Let’s switch it up a bit. Does blogging help you to write?
Blogging has helped me write in a major way. I have always loved to write. It helps me to process my thoughts and life experiences. However, because becoming a successful blogger and growing a larger reading audience requires consistency, it also requires that I pay close attention to the content and the reading patterns of my audience. As we try to interpret the data from our sites, we have to tailor everything towards the things that work and make the necessary adjustments on the things that have not worked.
True. Sean, what’s your favorite food?
I am not certain that I have a favorite food. I like to try different dishes at least once.
C’mon Sean. I know you have a favorite food! If all the food in the world no longer existed and you had to eat one meal every day, what would it be?
If I were in that situation, I would have to choose an egg and cheese sandwich. I can eat breakfast any time of the day.
Nice. I love eggs. Well, except for…anyway. Let’s move on. What’s your favorite color?
I have four favorite colors: white, black, blue, and olive green. I am not certain if white and black qualifies though, but I like them anyway.
Ha! Your one of those “black and white aren’t colors” kinda guy huh? Lol. Who is your favorite writer?
I think it would be blasphemous for me to say that I do not have a favorite writer, but it is true. I like to read across different genres and I believe that my writing has been influenced by each in their own respective ways.
Nice. You said you wanted to be a musician, what kind of music do you like?
I like to listen to Christian, classical and soft instrumental music.
Let’s go back to writing, when did you publish your first book? What was that like?
I published my first book back in 2003, I think. It felt like a great accomplishment. But, as I have matured in my thinking about life, I think I would do a complete overhaul of the work to include my current perspective on things. Back then, I was really just venturing out for the first time in this capacity, so I am certain that there were a lot of errors in need of major editorial assistance.
I feel you. I felt the same way about my first work. Although my baby, I have since pulled it from shelves for that reason. What do you wish you knew more about?
I wish I knew more about public policy. I, for some reason, am in love with policy.
Interesting. What do you think of the world we live in?
I think, at some point, we all have lost our way. Everything has become focused on global competition instead of what is in the best interest of the global community.
What are your thoughts on Race?
Contrary to the beliefs of many, I believe race is still an issue. It has an undeniable presence within our society. I believe that it has become more overt within the past 14 – 15 months. Maybe that was needed to force others to acknowledge its existence. We cannot address something if others are unwilling to meet us at the table to discuss how to best remedy this problem.
What is the most thought provoking book you’ve ever read?
Yasss! What’s your favorite scripture or book?
I love the entire Bible. If I had to choose my favorite books, they would be everything written by Paul. My favorite verse is John 15:5. That verse keeps me grounded.
Powerful verse. What’s the most difficult thing about being a writer? The most exciting thing?
The most difficult thing about being a writer is overcoming writer’s block. One day, things may flow more fluidly than on others. At this point, you are at the mercy of the process. In a world where there is so many negative events taking place, it is sometimes difficult to be inspired.
The most exciting thing is the finished product. The sense of accomplishment is a big deal to any writer, I would imagine.
Thank you Sean for spending this time with us. We enjoyed you!
Sean Mungin is a public figure who has embodied the spirit of individual and corporate success. Sean graduated from Lee University in 2005 with a Bachelors in Theology. He also earned a Masters in Psychology from the University of Phoenix in 2010. He also completed the Masters in Religious Education program from the Mason Kelly Washington Religious Training in Long Island, NY.
Sean’s current positions as an administrator and minister align him with his previous positions as an individual genuinely concerned about the holistic well-being (spiritual, mental, physical, and socio-economical) of all people. His most recent accomplishment was becoming a Certified Writer/Editor for the International Association of Professional Writers and Editors. Sean is currently working on focusing on developing and implementing several entrepreneurial projects. His goal is to create multiple opportunities for a higher quality of living for all within his area of influence.
Sean’s is known for his favorite motto, “Love God…love people…love yourself”
Are you an author? Looking for more exposure? Learn more about my Introduce Yourself FeatureHERE.
Today I’d like to extend a warm welcome to Felicia Denise. Welcome to The PBS Blog! Let’s get started.
What is your name and where are you from?
Felicia Denise is my real name, and I’m a southern girl by birth—Ole Miss—but grew up in Michigan, got married and started a family in California, moved back to Michigan and now I live in Arizona.
Watch out traveler. Always wanted to visit Cali. Now, you know I have to ask. Since Friday came out, how many times have someone said to you “Bye Felicia?”
LOL! Actually, I’ve probably said it to other people more than it’s been said to me! I also have half a dozen t-shirts, a coffee mug, a keychain and a cap that say, “Bye Felicia!” Both my sons have it as my ringtone. LOL!
How many siblings do you have?
I am one of nine—six girls and three boys. We lost our youngest brother twenty-five years ago to AIDS-related pneumonia at the age of twenty-nine. I don’t believe the eight remaining of us have all been in the same place at the same time since his funeral. There’s always one missing.
Awwue. I am so sorry to hear that. How long have you been married Felicia?
We’ll celebrate our 34th wedding anniversary in mid-September!
Whoop! Yass. Do you have children?
Yes, three. Our oldest son lives a couple of hours away and works for a major medical corporation; the younger son is a member of the National Guard and works in security, and our daughter is an Army wife who works on base. Notice there was no mention of grandchildren… but I have four grand-dogs!
In the Best Interest of the Child (September 30, 2016)
Not grand-dogs loll. I understand that you write, are you employed outside of writing?
No. I had to leave the workforce almost twenty years ago because of chronic illnesses—osteoarthritis and Fibromyalgia.
What was your childhood dream?
To sing with Up with People! LOL! They were a group of young men and women who toured the country regularly…singing in schools, on college campuses, at sporting events, etc. And I loved to sing when I was a kid! My parents’ friends would pay me a quarter to sing at BBQs and picnics LOL! And I sang it all—Aretha Franklin, Freda Payne, Barbra Streisand, Mahalia Jackson—just give me room!
When I was thirteen, a large mass grew over my thyroid and larynx. Fortunately, it was benign. It took a year of surgeries and rehab, but I did go back to singing. Only instead of standing with the girls and singing soprano, I had to stand with the boys and sing bass!
Cool! You gonna have to sing for us one day. So sorry about that mass, glad you everything went well.
You named some artists and I know you be jamming out with us on Throwback Thursdays! So, please tell us more about the kind of music you like.
I love music… end of story! My playlists are so eclectic—60s folk and Motown, 70s funk and disco, 80s Soul, R&B, and boy bands, 90s power females… all mixed in with Classical and Country! The only music that annoys me is gangsta rap and grunge.
Yea, the music today irks my nerves. I don’t even know what to call it but it’s not music. What skill would you like to master?
Playing the piano! Always wanted to learn and even owned a piano at one time. My children were young and involved in every group and club imaginable and there just was never enough time for lessons and practice.
I’d love to learn to play the piano too. Let’s talk about writing, what’s the most difficult thing about being a writer?
Finding your audience.
The most exciting thing?
The emails from readers when they make a real connection with characters and plot. There’s truth even in fiction.
Indeed it is. What is the most thought-provoking book you’ve ever read?
The Bible. Some believe it’s just a book of rules on things you can’t do, but think about it. Nearly every existing trope or genre can be found in the Bible. There’s a lot going on the pages of the Good Book, which is why it takes at least a year to read and comprehend it properly.
Probably the best answer to that question I’ve had here yet. You KNOW I agree. I think people will be surprised at how much information is in the bible. Giants? Bible. Demons? Bible. Righteous and fallen angels?Bible. Black History? Bible. It’s all there.
Religious, no. Spiritual, yes. My maternal grandfather was a Methodist pastor and I was raised in church, but I am not a fan of church doctrine. To me, it’s the underlying problem of ANY religion. Man interjecting his rules and wills where they don’t belong and for non-religious reasons.
I knew we connected for a reason. I gotta share some information with you! Who is your favorite writer?
Two-way tie between Toni Morrison and Jonathon Kellerman. They couldn’t be more different in genre and style, but before I finish the first chapter of any of their books, I’ve crossed into another world.
Family Matters (In the Best Interest of the Child #2) (August 2017)
The subjectivity! Everyone wants you to buy their book or enroll in their class because they have the sure-fire method for becoming a bestselling author and selling truckloads of books. But that just isn’t true. What works for you may not work for me. And it isn’t because I did anything ‘wrong’. An author must put in the time—hit a few and miss a few—to find what works for them… and it doesn’t happen overnight.
Say THAT. What do you love about writing advice?
I love the common-sense advice. It removes all the mystery and double-talk and explains in two or three paragraphs the information you need to know.
Indeed. Now, I met you through the blog so let me ask you, does blogging help you to write?
Actually, for me, it’s the opposite. Writing helps me blog.
I like it. What TV channel doesn’t exist but really should?
JRR Tolkien Network! “All Hobbits, All the time!” I’d never change the station!
What? Lol. Felicia girl you got me rolling.
What TV channel exists but really shouldn’t?
TRUtv…ugh! It was nice when it was CourtTV, now it’s just desperate reality shows and people saying, “Hold my beer and watch this!”
I grew up in the 60s and came of age in the 70s and would give anything to have those days back. They were not perfect times, by any means, but the movement for change was a positive one and shared among the masses. Today, pick any ten people and you could get ten different agendas. Diversity was once our strength, now it’s the focus for oppression. It saddens me to look into the eyes of children and the elderly when they realize how little their lives matter with the changes taking place.
Hmm. Right. In your own words, what is love?
To understand and accept someone into your heart, regardless of their shortcomings or differences, without expecting anything in return.
We enjoyed you lady! Thanks for spending this time with us today. Now, bye Felicia :-).
Writing has been a hobby of Felicia’s since grade school, but other than serving as editor and writing for her high school newspaper, she never publicly shared anything until the early 2000s when she began writing fan fiction. At the urging of a good friend, Felicia took on the challenge of NaNoWriMo in 2015, writing what would become her first published book, In the Best Interest of the Child. It was released in the fall of 2016.
Currently working on several projects, Felicia plans to release book 2 of In the Best Interest of the Child – Family Matters, in summer 2017.