It’s been the talk of the Indie Author community for some time and today it has been confirmed. Createspace has officially merged with KDP as many had expected. CreateSpace has officially announced that CreateSpace (CSP) and Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) will become one service. Click on the link below to Nicholas C. Rossis’s blog to learn more about actions you may or may not need to take with this new change.
Excellent advice on publishing from publishing powerhouse Jane Friedman. She talks about Traditional as well as Independent and Hybrid publishing. I especially enjoyed her advice on memoirs and audiobooks as well as her thoughts on paying for reviews.
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.
I am releasing a short novel (also known as a novella) this fall. It is a special project I hope to eventually offer for free to you, my loyal readers! Right now it is only 99cents on Amazon and will not go up. Proceeds from the eBook will help to fund my next poetry contest.
Today, I am asking if you could mark the book as ‘to read’ on Goodreads so that others can learn about this new, exciting read. When you mark a book as to read it shows up on your timeline as a book added and works similar to Facebook whereas your Goodreads friends will be able to see the book you added. Every time you add a book, comment on a review to a book, review a book, or update your progress on a book it shows up at the top of your page and others can see it! It’s a FREE way that you can support your Indie Author friends, like me, without spending money. Thanks so much!
Dear Indie Author / Self-Publisher, that thing you are doing, that step you’re taking, that move you made….
…is not a waste of time and don’t let anyone tell you that it is. Time is never wasted. Everything is a learning experience IF you choose to see it that way. People like to tell you not to do something because it hadn’t worked out for them or because they can’t see any good in it. If you sow negativity about every mistake then you will reap negativity and nothing will ever work. But, if you sow positivity by turning those mistakes into lessons then you will reap positivity by acquiring a new skill. You will be blessed with an understanding you didn’t have before and the courage to take risks that are no longer bound by the limitations of others. As an Indie Author you will be bombarded with advice so you have to be very conscious of what works for YOU and what doesn’t. Sometimes the only way to know this for certain is to do the work. Knowledge is only power when it is applied. At some point you must make the difficult decision to stop researching and have faith in the work. Just do the work.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
THANK YOU, BALROOP, FOR SPENDING TIME WITH US TODAY, WE ENJOYED YOU!
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.
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.
The next author celebrating recent reviews for her latest release is Terry Tyler for UK2 (Project Renova Book 3)
About UK2 (Project Ronova Book 3)
‘Two decades of social media had prepared them well for UK2.’
The pace steps up in this final instalment of the Project Renova trilogy, as the survivors’ way of life comes under threat.
Two years after the viral outbreak, representatives from UK Central arrive at Lindisfarne to tell the islanders about the shiny new city being created down south. UK2 governor Verlander’s plan is simple: all independent communities are to be dissolved, their inhabitants to reside in approved colonies. Alas, those who relocate soon suspect that the promises of a bright tomorrow are nothing but smoke and mirrors, as great opportunities turn into broken dreams, and dangerous journeys provide the only hope of freedom.
Meanwhile, far away in the southern hemisphere, a new terror is…