Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Author Sheila Williams

Today, I’d like to extend a warm welcome to Sheila Williams. Sheila, welcome to the PBS blog!


What is your name and where are you from?

My name is Sheila Williams. I am English, born in Yorkshire in the North of England (known as God’s own county to those who were born there!) Until five years ago my feet were firmly planted in English soil. Then, I had one of those ‘where did that idea come from’ moments and moved across the channel to the south-west of France – a region known as Occitanie (previously the Languedoc). I now live in a small village near the Pyrenees mountains with my dog Zouzou, otherwise known as the Ayatollah for his insistence on regularity – regular walkies, regular mealtimes, regular cuddles and regular snoozes on the sofa.

Awwue lol. I bet he’s adorable. Any siblings?

I am the youngest of three. My brother Mike is the oldest. He’s a very practical person, always building something. He has an apartment in my house here in France and stays for about six months every year which is very handy since the house is a bit of a wreck and always needs something doing. He’s a keen guitarist and banjo player and not a bad singer either. We’ve always been close despite our very different temperaments and political views. It makes for animated discussions on the terrace with a bottle of the local wine during summer.

My other sibling is my sister Pat. She too is an author and lives in New Zealand. As kids we were pretty close although she could be extremely prickly at times. She moved to Canada when she left college and then on to New Zealand. I have seen very little of her since then. Sadly, there was something of a schism, a family break-up after our father died which led to considerable ill-feeling between her and my mother and percolated through to Mike and myself. The rift is something I have never been able to repair and she remains stubbornly out of touch.

I am sorry to hear that. Hopefully you guys can reconcile! I think it’s cool your brother has an apartment in your house! What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?

I would love to go on safari in Africa. I am passionate about this beautiful world that we live in and the creatures that populate it. Before it is too late and we ruin it altogether I want to see some of the species that are being driven towards extinction in their natural habitat. I am not a fan of zoos although some do good work in helping to preserve species. I can imagine a dawn safari, just as the sun is rising, still a chill in the air and seeing the different animals at the watering hole. I imagine the sounds and smells that would fill the air. One day I’ll do it. It’s top of my bucket list.

That sounds nice. What’s your favorite drink?

A cold glass of Blanquette de Limoux which was the earliest form of champagne. It goes down smoothly, with a little fizzy bite as an aftertaste. Just the thing after a swim on a hot sunny day.

You made that sound soo refreshing yess. Lol. avorite color?

Oh I’m definitely a blue person. I love all shades from the darkest velvety blue to the sharp blue of the morning sky. There is at least one shade of blue in every room in the house and my wardrobe likewise. It’s a colour that can soothe, sing, import elegance as well as casual comfort. What’s not to like?

Let’s talk about writing a bit. Who is your favorite writer?

Ah this is a tough one. There are so many. There are the three Kate’s – Kate Mosse, Kate Morton and Kate Atkinson – all very different in style and genre. For classics I love Jane Austen; for history Bernard Cornwell and for Sci-fi Robert Heinlein. Daphne du Maurier slips in there somewhere too.

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

My first book was non-fiction ‘Close to the Edge – Tales from the Holderness Coast’. It is an eclectic history of part of the coast where I lived in England. My friend – a photographer and I walked up and down the length of the coast researching people and places. It was huge fun. I published it with Amazon and not being very techie-minded got into a bit of a muddle but it all got sorted out. Then, when the paperback arrived I went round all the caravan sites and got them to hold copies of it to sell to the visitors; I donated copies to all the local libraries and got the tourist information offices to sell it for me. It was extremely hard work and my first introduction to marketing a book. It’s not a best-seller but the sales continue to trickle in even four years later.

That’s awesome. Aside from Non-Fiction, what genre do you write in?

I’ve probably made it a bit difficult for myself! I write a mix of history with a dash of fantasy or spooky stuff. I published a book of short stories ‘The Siren and Other Strange Tales’ which has a lot of spooky stuff in it and my first novel ‘The Weave’  is a contemporary fantasy story with history woven in. My wip is definitely history, set in the 7th century with a splash of fantasy. I like the little bit of something extra that fantasy gives me as a writer. It gives me an opportunity to tease the reader a bit…to make them wonder whether there is something psychological going on in a character or whether it is something supernatural/fantastic really happening. It is something I’m exploring much more in my wip.

Okay History, Sci-Fi and Horror book readers! You heard it here first. Here’s a writer for you.

What takes up too much of your time?

French bureaucracy! The French love their paperwork and as an expat there are wads of it to be completed. They also have strict demarcation lines between who does what which sometimes means that the carefully gathered information slips between departmental gaps. It’s getting better though as more and more is brought on-line. The Brexit situation has created even more since most expats I know in France are applying for a ‘carte de sejour’ which will allow them to stay in France. The documentation required is extensive and much of it is already in the maws of bureaucracy but it still has to be provided anew.

What do you love about yourself?

I suppose it’s my ability to be myself without embarrassment, without worrying about what others’ might think any more. It’s something that has crept up with age and I guess experience too. I like to do daft things now and again like make up silly songs and sing them in the shower or dance with the dog in the village square. I don’t worry about making a fool of myself. Alongside that I have developed assertiveness which I sadly lacked when I was younger and I like the fact that I can say saying clearly(albeit diplomatically I hope) what I think!

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


Bio.

Sheila Williams, author, slipped into this world on Guy Fawkes night, under cover of fireworks and bonfires. Outraged to find other nurslings in the nest, she attempted to return to her own world but found the portal closed. Adopting a ‘make the best of it’ attitude she endured a period of indoctrination to equip her for her place in society. Freeing herself as soon as possible from such torture, she embarked on a series of adventures – or to use the vernacular – careers; hospital manager, business consultant, life coach, sheep farmer. She attempted to integrate into society by means of marriage  before setting out alone to discover another world, known as France, where she now resides.

In her quest to understand this world she pursues knowledge of its history; not of kings and queens but of its ordinary people and how they lived and worked. To this end, she haunts events such as boot fairs, vide-greniers and sales rooms where many ancient artifacts can be uncovered.

Her outlets from this unfathomable world include nature, animals (especially funny videos of), books and writing stories. This latter occupation enables her to create her own worlds, populate them and dispose of the residents as she thinks fit. She finds holding the fate of these poor souls in her hands immensely satisfying.

Be Sure to Follow Sheila Online!

e-mail: sheila@writeonthebeach.co.uk

blog: www.writeonthebeach.wordpress.com

website: www.sheilawilliams.net

Twitter: twitter.com@sheilawwilliams

Amazon Author Page: https://amzn.to/2WQA38R


Are you an author? Looking for more exposure? Learn more about my Introduce Yourself Feature HERE. (Only 2 slots left for March! Schedule today.)

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Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Author Camille Frazer

Today, I’d like to welcome Camille Frazer. Welcome to The PBS Blog! Let’s get started.


What is your name and where are you from?

My name is Camille Frazer. I was born in Jamaica.

Jamaica in the house. Are you employed outside of writing?

Yes. I am a Child Advocate Attorney. I advocate for the best interest of children who have been removed from their parents due to abuse, abandonment or neglect. I support a team of attorneys in Florida.

I love that. What was your childhood dream?

To be an attorney.

Dream fulfilled. What job do you think you’d be really good at?

I think I would be good at Logistics Management. I feel I do quite a bit of it already in my job as I cover a vast region (Central and South) in Florida.

What skill would you like to master?

I would love to master marketing. It is  important to reaching people, establishing relationships and building a base for your audience.

Agreed. What skill do you think you’ve mastered?

Delivering a closing argument in court. I love pulling out the facts that support my position and crafting a strong and moving argument.

Awesome. What’s your favorite food?

Ackee and Saltfish. It is the national dish of Jamaica.

What kind of music do you like?

Every kind except metal.

Lol. Who is your favorite writer?

Agatha Christie.

Speaking of writing, let’s get into that. When did you publish your first book? What was that like?

I published my first book in December 2017. It was an exciting process as it was a dream of mine for so long. The book was self-published in collaboration with Createspace. I was attracted to the support and efficiency of the process and the sort of a la carte approach. Meaning, the ability to choose the services I wanted, such as copy editing and marketing and foregoing services related to creation of a book cover. The team kept in regular contact via messages on my dashboard and by phone, if necessary. It was such a wonderful feeling receiving the finished work in my hand.

What would your perfect writing/ reading room look like?

My perfect writing/reading room would be a room with bay windows overlooking water, with built in bookshelves, a daybed for reading and a writing desk.

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

The most difficult thing I have found is the discipline to write every day, no matter the distractions. I got distracted in 2018, so my goal is to write every day in 2019. So far, I am on track. I carve out time to write, so it is built into my day.

The most exciting is crafting a story or poem from an idea, and creating new pieces of it that you can share and hopefully someone finds it beautiful or helpful.

Why is writing important to you?

Its important because I love it and I see it as an ability to help others lose themselves in a story or poem. It’s also a way to express my thoughts and emotions.

You seem to have a passion for being an attorney and writing so I have to ask. If you had to pick one to do the rest of your life, which would it be?

If I had to chose, I would chose writing. I have practiced law for many years and have focused more on it than my writing. I welcome the opportunity to focus on my writing and the experience the joy that it brings.

Good to hear. You are so talented. What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?

It would be traveling abroad for at least a year, volunteering, mingling with the locals and collecting stories and inspiration for a novel and other collections of poems.

I am so feeling that. I love to travel. What small things makes your life easier?

Audible makes my reading goals easier. My goal in 2018 was to read 24 books for the year. My 2019 goal is 36. I travel quite a bit, so Audible helps me meet my goals.

What makes it difficult? Traffic.

What TV channel doesn’t exist but really should?

I think there are so many channels already, but if there isn’t already one, there should be a channel that prepares children to live successfully after they leave home. It should cover budgeting, balancing a check book, provide information on credit card spending and debt, savings, insurance, and creating healthy relationships.

That is so needed. What TV channel exists but really shouldn’t?

Channels with infomercials. They can get you into trouble if you are not careful.

In your own words, what is humility?

Humility is a letting go of one’s ego and demonstrating a sincere interest in another person.

In your own words, what is love?

Love is an appreciation of self, letting go of ego, aiming to be your best self so that you can be the best for another person and also, sometimes putting the needs of another before your own.

What is the most thought provoking book you’ve ever read?

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson who founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a law firm dedicated to defending the poor and condemned, and individuals on death row. Its a call for us to consider mercy for these individuals as chronicled in the stories, they faced mental and familial challenges that contributed to their involvement in the criminal justice system.

What do you think of police brutality in the black community?

There is no denying the police have a difficult job, and there are good policemen and women who serve their communities honorably. However, given the statistics it should be hard to deny the disparity in treatment. For example, “black Americans are more than twice likely to be unarmed when killed during police encounters than whites” (2015 Guardian report), and “black people accounted for 31% of police killing victims in 2012 even though they made up just 13% of the population,” (Vox report by German Lopez).

I am concerned about the examples of brutality that have been documented and have led to the death or serious injury of civilians, particularly in the black community.

It’s unfortunate that good officers are blighted by the bad actors who tarnish their reputation. However, we can’t ignore the brutality suffered by black Americans.

I think better training and screening of officers would help to address the problem.

Outside of writing, what are some of your passions?

I love to play tennis. I enjoy exercising outside and tennis is a great sport for running around and burning calories while having fun.

If you could, would you visit the past?

Yes. I would love to have lived in Egypt during the time of their inventions such as the papyrus writing paper, their contributions to medicine, and the building of the pyramids.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Be more consistent with your writing and network more.

Life is not always pretty. We all experience hardship every now and again. What is your best advice for reducing stress?

Deep breathing and meditation. They help clear and relax the mind.

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


Copyright©CamilleFrazer. Photo used with permission.

Bio

Camille Frazer currently serves as Regional Legal Counsel for the State of Florida Guardian ad Litem Program. Ms. Frazer has been with the Guardian ad Litem Program for twelve years. Prior to her current position, Ms. Frazer was the Supervising Attorney in the 19th Judicial Circuit.

In 2005, she began her tenure with the Guardian ad Litem Program as a Best Interest Attorney in the 11th Judicial Circuit. While there, she also represented the Guardian ad Litem Program in the capacity of Litigation Attorney. After a one year hiatus practicing in the field of Insurance Defense, Ms. Frazer re-joined the Guardian ad Litem Program in October 2009, continuing her advocacy for the best interest of children.

Ms. Frazer earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the University of the West Indies, Jamaica. She obtained her law degree from New England Law, where she served as a Senior Editor for the New England Journal of International and Comparative Law.

Ms. Frazer serves as a mentor with the Florida Take Stock in Children Program, which prepares high school students for college and provides scholarships to assist with their educational needs. She is also a member of the Family Support Committee with Habitat for Humanity.

The Unveiling is her first collection of poems. The poems cover the many nuances of a relationship between people, between an individual and a community. Ms. Frazer believes that every moment has meaning, and each should be utilized to achieve its full potential.

Be sure to follow Camille online!

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

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

Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Author Balroop Singh

 

TODAY I’D LIKE TO EXTEND A WARM WELCOME TO BALROOP SINGH. WELCOME TO THE PBS BLOG! LET’S GET STARTED.

 

What is your name and where are you from?

My name is Balroop Singh. ‘Bal’ means strength and ‘roop’ means beauty. My maiden name was Balroop Bal, which changed after marriage, as the tradition goes, to change the surname. I chose Singh, which is a common middle name in the Northern region of India. ‘Singh’ was adopted by tenth Sikh guru who baptized his followers as “real Sikhs”. Derived from the Sanskrit word for lion, it was adopted as a title by warriors in India and mandated by Guru Gobind Singh for all Sikhs. It was later adopted by several castes and communities.

I am from India, and have spent the best part of my life there, exploring the incredible magnificence of the Himalayas in the north, the grandeur of Thar desert in the west, dotted with historical towns, untouched beauty and splendor of the tea gardens in the east and the spectacular backwaters of Kerala in the south…all four directions offer myriad experiences, enriching beyond imagination and too hard to describe in words. Oh! I didn’t mention the poetry in marble – the Taj Mahal! Each time you visit, it evokes a different emotion and the moment you come back, the yearning to visit again sets in! I live in California now.

Poetry by Balroop Singh. Available Now on Amazon

Awesome. Balroop, religious?

I won’t call myself an atheist but I don’t believe in visiting religious places regularly. I visit once in a while when I hear the call within. To me, faith is a very personal emotion, not to be worn on my sleeve. Probably because religion was never forced on me and since I had the freedom to choose it or leave it, I never made an attempt to understand it. But I was always curious to know how could it evoke such strong feelings in some people! I have gathered that it depends on how much it is instilled into a person at an impressionable age.

I respect those who pray regularly but my faith has been shattered a number of times. Each time, I have tried to rebuild it but I always had my unanswered questions, my moments of wrath and protest against blind faith; I always would wonder why God is so unreasonable. How could he be right in giving so much suffering to some and so much love and happiness to others, absolutely no rights to some and all the privileges to others? The unending self-confabulation continues.

Married?

I have been happily married for 40 years. It was an arranged marriage though I had no inkling what I was stepping into just at the age of 23! When there is an unwritten societal decree that you have to marry when you are asked to, just because it is convenient for the people around you, when the society values your muteness at such decisions, when you are expected to concur with what your near and dear ones decide for you, when you don’t want to displease them…do you have any choice? I happened to marry a kind and understanding gentleman though there was no permission to reject the groom chosen by my family.

That leads perfectly into my next question. In your own words, what is love?

There are many definitions of love. In fact it changes with the person as love is more of a perception. I have written a lot of poems about love and plan to publish a book about them one day.

There was a time when love was a petrifying emotion for me. Love was just a passing thought, a mirage that could only be seen in the movies. It was not real. It was never around. I could never touch or feel it. The society in which I lived didn’t give any importance to expressing it openly. Falling in love was equivalent to falling in a well. Romantic love was offensive. Sex was a repugnant word! I don’t belong to middle ages though!

 

Love is that exquisite emotion

Which remains deeply dormant

Till that irresistible urge beckons

And it becomes a force to reckon…

True love keeps smiling in our eyes

Like a fountain that never dries

It instills hope, respect, patience

The journey of love is so elating.

© Balroop Singh.

 

Love was caring for others but only those who were valuable to the society. Love was sacrifice…giving all your time and effort for the welfare of others. Love was thinking what was expected to think. Love was listening to and complying with all the diktats of the family and society. Self-love was taboo. It was being selfish. Till I realized love is much more than all this, which had been drilled into my mind. Till I decided to break free and get access to free thoughts. Till I realized love is an invisible force that can transcend all the barriers.

Love is a natural instinct that grows if it is nurtured. It evolves itself but withers if it is not watered with affection, care, respect, and kindness. Romantic love morphs into a loving and eternal relationship if we understand what is love; why passion is such a sweet word. Love is a much wider term… encompassing friendship, family, and bonding.

Emerging from Shadows is available now on Amazon.

 

Why is writing important to you?

Writing is one of the most amazing gifts that we receive with life. It calms down my emotions. It is therapeutic, it makes me happier, it inspires! The elation of recording our feelings is so fulfilling, so heartwarming that we can create our own world of fantasy, in which all the characters are mere puppets in our hands. We can unlock all the doors, as the keys are in our possession… isn’t it a wonderful feeling?

Writing gives clarity to those ideas, which are confusing or blurred. It leads us to self-discovery. Writing has given me wings. I can fly anytime, anywhere. I often perch on the branches of my favorite trees and can communicate with everyone without any reticence. All those who sit far away, in the comfort of their homes can hear me as I let my voice merge into the clouds that float around, merrily.

I like that, “writing has given me wings…” What genre do you write in?

Poetry is my first love, as it flows spontaneously and effortlessly from my pen. I don’t remember when I started liking poetry. Probably I was born with it or was fascinated by the lyrics of Mother Nature. Poetry is a painting that gets its hues from words. Just one metaphor can evoke emotions that could not be described in a thousand words. I like this genre due to its succinct style. It soars on the wings of words. Poetry touches your deepest cords effortlessly. It develops perceptions. It liberates us from the mundane. It gives us wings. Due to its ambiguous nature, it can be interpreted in more than one way, depending on how the reader discerns the thoughts.

I also write creative non-fiction and have published three books in this genre.

Sublime Shadows of Life is available now on Amazon.

Speaking of publishing, when did you publish your first book?

When I published ‘Sublime Shadows Of Life,’ my first poetry book in 2013, I didn’t have a blog. I didn’t know that an author ought to plan. Writing to me was a natural gift, an innate ability to share what lies within our heart.

The allure of Indie world was so dazzling that I just waded into it like an enthusiastic adolescent, soaring on the wings of hope, unaware of the pitfalls. I didn’t know I would flounder and flail and almost get drowned! It has been a long journey of striving to learn and I am not the one who would give up so easily. Now I have a lot of support from bloggers and authors who have been kind enough to help me with my second poetry book ‘Emerging From Shadows.’

What would your perfect writing / reading room look like?

I just need a comfortable couch, cushions behind my back, laptop, peace of mind and peaceful surroundings. I like to read in bed before dozing off every night.

I know that’s right. What is the most annoying habit that you have?

I am outrageously outspoken, which has landed me in hot soups many times.

Outrageously lol. What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?

Water skiing though I don’t know swimming. What is the harm of dreaming? Thank you for hosting me. I am honored to be your guest.

Be sure to pick up your copy of Balroop’s new collection of poetry!

 

Book Blurb: Certain desires and thoughts remain within our heart, we can’t express them, we wait for the right time, which never comes till they make inroads out of our most guarded fortresses to spill on to the pages of our choice. This collection is an echo of that love, which remained obscure, those yearnings that were suppressed, the regrets that we refuse to acknowledge. Many poems seem personal because they are written in first person but they have been inspired from the people around me – friends and acquaintances who shared their stories with me.

Some secrets have to remain buried because they are ours
We do share them but only with the stars
The tears that guarded them were as precious as flowers
Soothing like balm on festering scars.

While there are no boxes for grief and joy, some persons in our life are more closely associated with these emotions. Their separation shatters us, their memories echo, we grieve but life does not stagnate for anyone…it is more like a river that flows despite the boulders. When imagination and inspiration try to offer solace, poetry that you are about to read springs forth.

Book Information:

Title: Timeless echoes

Author: Balroop Singh

Genre: Poetry

Available at: 

US UK DE FR ES IT NL JP BR CA MX AU IN


 

THANK YOU, BALROOP, FOR SPENDING TIME WITH US TODAY, WE ENJOYED YOU!

 


 

Balroop Singh

 

Bio.

Balroop Singh, a former teacher and an educationalist always had a passion for writing.  She is a poet, a creative non-fiction writer, a relaxed blogger and a doting grandma. She writes about people, emotions and relationships. Her poetry highlights the fact that happiness is not a destination but a chasm to bury agony, anguish, grief, distress and move on! No sea of solitude is so deep that it can drown us. Sometimes aspirations are trampled upon, the boulders of exploitation and discrimination may block your path but those who tread on undeterred are always successful.

When turbulences hit, when shadows of life darken, when they come like unseen robbers, with muffled exterior, when they threaten to shatter your dreams, it is better to break free rather than get sucked by the vortex of emotions.

A self-published author, she is the poet of Sublime Shadows of Life and  Emerging From Shadows, both widely acclaimed poetry books. She has also written When Success Eludes, Emotional Truths Of Relationships Read FREE with Kindle Unlimited and Allow Yourself to be a Better Person.

Balroop Singh has always lived through her heart. She is a great nature lover; she loves to watch birds flying home. The sunsets allure her with their varied hues that they lend to the sky. She can spend endless hours listening to the rustling leaves and the sound of waterfalls. The moonlight streaming through her garden, the flowers, the meadows, the butterflies cast a spell on her. She lives in San Ramon, California.

You can visit her blog at: http://balroop2013.wordpress.com

Connecting links:

https://twitter.com/BalroopShado

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Emotional-Shadows/151387075057971

https://plus.google.com/u/0/+BalroopSinghsrao/posts

https://www.pinterest.com/balroops/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7340810.Balroop_Singh

https://www.amazon.com/Balroop-Singh/e/B00N5QLW8U

 


ARE YOU AN AUTHOR? LOOKING FOR MORE EXPOSURE? LEARN MORE ABOUT MY INTRODUCE YOURSELF FEATURE HERE.

Meet Guest Author Yecheilyah Ysrayl – Author, Poet, Blogger…

Check out my Guest Post with The Story Reading Ape. And I thought it was scheduled for tomorrow night! Lol. Time zones…

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Primarily, I’d like to thank The Story Reading Ape for this opportunity. I’ve never known an Ape who could read before so this is exciting.

Yecheilyah YsrayMy name is Yecheilyah, pronounced e-see-lee-yah but everyone calls me EC for short. I grew up on Chicago’s south side in the Robert Taylor Projects and everywhere else in-between. As a family who struggled and moved around a lot I’ve seen everything from crack addicts, drug dealers, and homeless shelters all before age ten.

I’ve always been in love with writing and I was reading before Kindle made it cool. I decided to make up stories of my own at 12 years old which is also when I got into poetry. I fell in love with poetry! But so as not to make writing jealous, I split my time between writing short stories and poetry.

I suppose what nurtured my love for writing is keeping…

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