Please help me extend a warm welcome to Terry Lister.
Welcome to the PBS Blog!
What is your name and where are you from?
My formal title is The Honorable Terry Lister, FCA, MBA, JP. While l had to work very hard to be given these titles, today l am retired. And in retirement, l have more or less retired my titles. I live in a much more relaxed manner than that under which l was burdened when l was working.
Nice. And where are you from?
I am from the beautiful island of Bermuda. We, Bermudians, believe that everyone has heard of us and thus knows where our island is but l know that both of these beliefs are false. We are an extremely small island located in the Atlantic some 700 miles from North Carolina. I have lived in Bermuda all my life except for ten years when l studied and worked in Ontario, Canada. The title The Honorable is due to my serving as a member of the Bermuda legislature for 21 years including ten years as a Minister of Government. I retired in 2014 and immediately took on my most enjoyable task of my life, that of being a slow solo traveler.
What was your childhood dream?
What I do today was always a dream for me but before I could get to it life stood in the middle. I had to get educated and I had to have a job, preferably one that paid lots of money. Growing up black in Bermuda meant that any black male who did not seek a career in the trades would have three choices: doctor, lawyer or teacher. Not wanting to do any of these, I was stumped until one day when asked for the 100th time I responded by saying I wanted to be an accountant. The questioner was floored, never had a little black boy said he wanted to be an accountant. Seeing the reaction this answer produced, I said it every time from about 12 on. It didn’t matter that I had no idea what an accountant did, I just knew it had to be special by the reaction of my questioners.
By the time I needed to make an informed response and I found out what an accountant did, I was so on it and that is what I became. By the age of 27 I was a partner in the Bermuda firm of Deloitte, becoming the first black person to be a partner in a then Big 8 Bermuda audit firm. So I made my dream come true and I never regretted this. The FCA behind my name is a special recognition in my profession given to a small number of the members due to distinguished service to the profession and the community.
Wow. What an amazing and inspiring story.
What would be the most amazing adventure to go on or that you’ve been on?
Given that I am a full time traveler, I have been on many amazing adventures. However, if required to name one I would say it would be trekking Mountain Gorillas in Uganda.
Your stories get better and better! Go on, tell us more.
As we were starting to leave the Gorillas and head out, one quickly came down a tree and landed very close to me. The guides tried to act calm but I could see some degree of fear. However, I acted as calmly as I could and waited for the gorilla to wander off. Got some great shots! While I do enjoy writing, travel is my first passion and many of the experiences I have had were simply mind blowing.
Wow. I bet. So, what state or country do you never want to go back to?
To date l have been to 95 countries…
Just about every country has something about it that makes me wish I could go back. However, the one place I will not go back to is Tunisia. This northern African country was recently in the news about their behavior towards black Africans. I was there for 12 days in 2019. I was not treated with any warmth most of the time, often I had to fuss with taxi drivers to get them to take me where I wanted to go and, worst yet, I had an incident with the police who detained me for several hours for the crime of walking along a country road going to see a point of interest. There was a nasty undercurrent as I moved through various parts of the country and for that reason I would not return.
I’m so sorry you had to go through that craziness. Thanks for the heads up!
Let’s get into your publishing journey. When did you publish your first book?
I published my first book, Immersed in West Africa, in August 2019 just two months before my bad experience in Tunisia. My wife had organized a launch party which went really well and the book should have been off to a great start. However, we had selected a launch date and refused to move from it. The result was the publisher rushed the book and it was not a good product. Some of the attendees who bought books that night have chosen to not buy any books since which l find to be such a disappointment. When l realized the extent of the problem we sat down and fixed the flaws and put out another copy which has sold well. Beyond that this book has won 12 awards. Today, l am very proud of my first book, Immersed in West Africa.
And proud you should be. It is a wonderful and informative read. I’m glad you didn’t give up and re-released it.
What takes up too much of your time?
The most time consuming part of my writing is the marketing of the books. I am not a known author so l have to work every day to keep my books in front of people. It is both very time consuming and very challenging. Naturally, my genre is Travel and l write about my travels. So l cannot say, “enough of this, I am going to be a sci-fi writer.” Therefore I use up many hours doing things to get my books in front of potential readers.
Who is your favorite historical figure?
When l started high school way back in the dark ages, as my children would say, my class was taught Latin. Little did we learn but some of us took to the stories especially the Punic Wars and General Hannibal. He became and remains my favorite historical figure. When l went to Tunisia I went to see the remains of his city, Carthage. Consistent with the removal or destruction of many other creations of Black Africans prior to colonization, there was little to see while throughout Tunisia there are many Roman sites from the same and slightly later time period.
So, is the Honorable Terry Lister a political man?
Am I political? Does a horse drink water!
Yes, l served 21 years in the legislature of my country from 39 to 60. These were the peak years of my work life so it is impossible to not be political. However, I see my role today as observer and scribe. I spend very little time in political discussions or arguments as I was expected to do for the previous 21 years. My experience does make me well prepared to observe and to ask questions as l travel along.
Thank you, Terry Lister, for spending this time with us.We enjoyed you!
Traveler and author Terry Lister enjoys both. Prior to this, he worked as a realtor, a minister in the Bermudan government, and a partner in the accounting firm Deloitte. However, he had always desired to travel, so in 2014, at the age of 60, he decided to retire and started traveling alone.
Lister had visited 48 nations when he retired, but since then, he has visited 50, staying in each for a week to six weeks. It’s been a journey! His first book, Immersed in West Africa, chronicled eight weeks of action-packed travel across five different West African nations. He has now traveled to 18 more countries in Africa and authored four more books.
While he is off the road, Mr. Lister enjoys unwinding with a good book, which must be historical or biographical. Although Terry would like to read more books in different genres, there are enough excellent novels in his field to keep him reading. He always has a few travel books in progress in anticipation of his upcoming trip.
Before leaving, Terry says he undertakes much research to identify activities that visitors are not always aware of. There is little time to be bored for this wanderer. He enjoys playing football and cricket in his spare time-cricket and football being his games. So little time to be bored!
I logged into my WordPress dashboard this morning, and my last 5-6 posts were gone, including paid book reviews.
Can you hear my heart breaking?
Thankfully, after about thirty minutes, they showed up!
Too bad I had already deleted the tweets to what I thought were now dead links. Way to go, Yecheilyah.
A glitch, maybe, but the scare was real!
Chile, I almost cried.
Then I put my big girl panties on and understood today’s message.
ALWAYS back up your content!
Make sure your photographs, graphics, videos, and articles are stored in a folder on your computer or on a USB drive. Before composing your posts in WordPress, it’s simpler to write them in a Word document (or whichever program you prefer) and save them to your computer.
Never depend on ONE social platform to reach your audience
I have never been a fan of putting all my eggs in one basket, and this experience reemphasized the importance. I am all for monogamy, but cheating on your other social media profiles with a backup plan is okay, lol.
It is not a smart idea to rely only on one platform, whether we’re talking about Instagram bugs or if US companies and content creators will no longer be able to use TiKTok. (Are you following the case with them? Back those videos up!)
Keep your options open and stay as informed of all the developments as you can. Even if we disagree with AI, for instance, it would be a bad idea to ignore how it is affecting the book publishing industry and how authors and publishers create and distribute their works.
Social media is a powerful vehicle for publishing short-form content that people can digest quickly and easily. We are all lazy to an extent with short attention spans.
Which is why I love blogging as a way of publishing long-form content.
It gives writers a chance to fully express the completeness of their thoughts. And, if you are long-winded like me, I enjoy being able to thoroughly add context to my thoughts with examples to nurture further understanding.
Blogging also helps me to keep writing in those spaces when I am not actively writing a book. (I wrote more about that here) This is important because it means I can continue to sharpen my writing skills (through actually writing) and engage with others even when I haven’t published anything new.
But there’s an exciting twist!
Blogging has, so far, helped me to publish two books, with another on the way. That’s because, unlike static websites, blogs are updated regularly, allowing people to leave immediate feedback and share. Authors can see how their content performs in real-time, producing invaluable information they can apply later.
One of the most powerful ways blogging helps me is my ability to repurpose the content I publish here into larger works. Thus, even when I don’t think I am laying the foundation for new works, I am!
Today is a special edition of Introduce Yourself. Please help me to welcome Ashton Smith to The PBS Blog!
Ashton is an amazing young woman from Fort Worth, Texas, with a powerful story. She’s a world-medal award-winning swimmer, author, and corporate speaker. She is legally blind in one eye and has difficulty seeing out of the other, but she has not let this stop her from pursuing her athletic endeavors. Smith does not only swim but has been involved in bocce, track and field, basketball, and flag football. She has won gold medals and traveled the world.
However, Ashton’s journey has not been without trial.
According to the rules of the Special Olympics, they ban their athletes from making income. This left Ashton struggling to find a way to support herself even as she was competing. While headed to the World Games in Dubai, Smith struggled financially and fell into homelessness.
“I think it becomes unfair and harsh when members are prevented from earning a livelihood off of their own efforts. I think it’s unfair that a team member should have to be reduced to begging for money on the side of the road, which I had to do while being an athlete in the organization. I was required to raise money for the organization, yet when I started a GoFundMe, I was told to take it down. I was asked to stop asking the public for money.”
Without a home, Smith bounced around from place to place and depended on friends for help. When her grandmother died, she lost her only form of support.
“It was very hard, very difficult, and very tough because you didn’t know where your next meal would come from or certain things you wouldn’t know.”
Today, Ashton is committed to sharing her story to raise awareness about the unfair treatment she received as a disabled person.
“I find it odd that television networks aired my story about being homeless and nearly destitute, yet I couldn’t benefit from the content. They used it to make money, yet I was never given a dime. I’ve never gotten paid by ESPN or the organization but they used my story to make millions.”
Ashton’s grandmother and sister helped her financially. However, both have passed on, making getting around as a visually impaired person even more challenging.
Smith’s fight continues as she seeks to spread the word about her newfound purpose of being a voice for the voiceless. She achieves this through public speaking and her motivational memoir, which delves deep into her story and journey.
“I have decided to speak up and be an advocate for the disadvantaged.”
Please help me extend a warm welcome to Monique Johnson.
Welcome to the PBS Blog!
What is your name and where are you from?
I am Monique R Johnson, Los Angeles, CA born and raised, but moved to Fort Worth, Texas in 2019.
Nice. Cali to Texas is a big transition. What inspired the move?
I considered Texas several years prior. A couple of people I grew up with made the move over 15 years ago. It was when I started dating a guy I worked with who, later took a job in Texas, that I reconsidered.
What would your perfect writing / reading room look like?
My perfect writing and reading room would look like a university library.
Nicee! I’m loving it already.
I’d have a writing desk with the perfect desk lamp for late-night writing. I’d have a bookcase with books from various genres: motivation, Christian spiritual, financial, self-help, poetry, and a few children’s books for my grands. I would have a leather recliner and a tall, full bird of paradise plant in the corner near the window.
What is the most annoying habit that you have?
Correcting grammar. It gets on everyone’s nerves.
So YOU the grammar police!
If you could do anything else, what job do you think you’d be really good at?
Lawyer. I love to make my point.
Lol. Any siblings Monique?
Three biological brothers, one step-brother, and three step-sisters.
If you had unlimited funds to build a house that you would live in for the rest of your life, what would the finished house be like?
Mansion, with an east and west wing, two kitchens, game room, media room, living room, enclosed patio, herb and vegetable garden on one side of the back yard, a dog run in the other, and an in-ground swimming pool in the center. The house would have a balcony with an amazing view. The bathroom would have a walk-in shower, with a waterfall feature and a sitting area.
Let’s get into writing a bit. What genre do you write in and why?
Mixed Genre of non-fiction with a dramatic approach and a sprinkle of poetry to end each chapter. I love writing this way because it makes it more engaging and easier to explain how people can get unstuck.
Why is writing important to you?
I write for my family and generations to come so that they will know how I made it through the toughest times in my life. I want readers of my work, be it my poetry, my magazine articles, or my novel, to know that an everyday person like themselves can get through whatever they are dealing with if they decide to believe that they can.
When did you publish your first book?
My first Anthology was published December 2021. My first memoir was published June 30, 2022. It was exciting and challenging for me. I learned that publishing is not the hard part, it’s the promotion and marketing that’s hard for me.
I get it. So what takes up too much of your time?
Figuring out systems for my business and now my book journey.
In your book, you talked a lot about how your faith got you through a lot of the pain. Do you consider yourself a religious person?
I am not religious in that I do not believe in all of the rules and traditions that mark religions. I do follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. I believe Christ was a spiritual teacher and healer, but the world was not ready to receive such a reality. Religion nailed him to the cross.
If you had one superpower that could change the world, what would it be?
To make everyone love each other with a Godly love.
What does a Godly love look like?
A Godly love looks like a man and woman who puts God first, demonstrates unconditional love, sacrifices for one another, and goes to God in prayer over situations the couple cannot handle in their own strength.
What are your thoughts on race?
We should embrace our differences, and not be opinionated on who is the better of the races. The conflict is in the ignorance of one or the other and the fear.
What do you think of police brutality in the black community?
I am mixed on it. I am a mother of black sons and they express to me that they know how to do the psychological game with the police so, thank God, they’ve not been a victim of it. They have been stopped, even arrested, but never mishandled. How can we do better? I think all of our people who have been victimized, profiled, or targeted by law enforcement should learn to use psychology, or better yet wisdom instead of responding with emotions. That is not helping during intense situations.
How would one use the study of the mind to avoid police brutality? Can you give some examples of how getting overly emotional could worsen already intense situations?
For example, if an officer is approaching a black man on a routine traffic stop, or suspicious activity, the black man should not react in a defensive, or in any way that can be taken as uncooperative, or threatening. Instead, he should be compliant, ask what the stop is for, ask if he is being put under arrest, and get the officers names. A calm, unemotional state of mind will put the officer a little more at ease, thus de-escalating the situation.
You KNOW I got more questions, chile. But, let’s move on.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Life is not always pretty. We all experience hardship every now and again.
What is your best advice for reducing stress?
Get enough word in you to have something to meditate on when you are getting overwhelmed. Walk, bike ride, or spend time doing dedicated workouts. Eat healthy.
In your own words, what is humility?
Maintaining a grateful attitude, not thinking you deserve all the accolades, but are willing to share the spotlight. Gracious in your acceptance of gifts, complements, and is not easily offended.
What is love?
God. It is receiving others right where they are without judgement. Accepting the good and the bad. Tolerance. Caring about your fellow human. Forgiving.
Thank you, Monique, for spending this time with us.We enjoyed you!
Monique Johnson is a native Californian who relocated to Texas in pursuit of new opportunities just before the world-wide pandemic and social unrest. She is the former founder and president of a nonprofit after school program she created to help keep teens off of the streets. She brought awareness to the Prison Industrial Complex and how it’s growth was planned based on statistics pulled from the minority population. These stats have been improperly used to build more prisons, thus keeping this population incarcerated. She mentored youth to keep them from making bad choices that could land them in the unforgiving criminal justice system.
Johnson motivates single mothers, women in general, as well as young men to push through the hard parts of life. She is an experienced trainer, speaker, project manager, and has a gift of leadership as displayed in her professional career and community. Her books and her upcoming workshops are geared toward her goal to help women and men in their business, personal and spiritual development.
With back-to-back events, it’s been a busy few weeks. Here are some networking lessons I learned so far:
Wear Your Brand
One of the first things I noticed at the AOD (Accountability on Demand) Live business conference was that many people wore their logo, slogan, or tagline on their shirts and clothing. At Poet Fest, one poet even had her name written down her pants leg.
It was a great marketing technique that I had missed. Here I am with a Calvin Klein shorts set on, and everyone else is wearing their own name brands. I went home vowing to get some t-shirts done.
But then, I realized this is not about t-shirts or wearing your name on your clothes.
I probably won’t do that.
Whether you wear your logo figuratively or literally, this is about intentionally showing up for yourself.
My shorts set was still cute, though.
Email / Text Marketing Is Prime Real Estate
More than selling books and gaining more social media followers, I have increased my email list substantially over a month.
But why is this important?
Keeping in touch via email and/or text marketing helps you to stay connected to readers you might have otherwise never seen again.
During your book signings, speaking events, and other things, keep either a notebook and pen on your table or a tablet.
Write Email List Sign-Up somewhere and put name and email so they know where to write it.
If using a tablet, have the spreadsheet already open where people can type their information.
People will walk by and just write their name and email, sometimes even before talking to you or buying a book. How is this a good thing?
It gives you the chance to build a relationship with them later. And then, they might just consider supporting your work.
This is also why I encourage Indie Authors to sell books from their author website, to stay connected with readers: because you have no idea who bought your book from Amazon unless they tell you or leave a review you can see.
Social Media is Still King
In 2022, people do not ask for your business card. They ask for your IG handle.
The first draft of this said, “Business Cards Are Still Useful,” and that’s still a lesson I learned as it made it easier for me to give out my contact information and served as a great conversation starter.
And, while I wouldn’t say business cards are dead, they are used differently in the age of social media.
If you are old school, you can take all your social handles and put them on a card. And although people will probably stash these bad boys away in their office drawer like I did when I got home, not before they follow your Instagram, Facebook group, and Twitter.
Social media is not only King but essential considering the current pestilence situation we got going on with Covid and Monkey Pox.
I don’t take pictures wearing my mask because I think it’s weird, but I always have it and my mini hand sanitizer. Please believe it.
The bottom line is, people are online all day, every day more than usual.
This means not being online and using social media is tragic for anyone looking to grow a business in 2022.
How to Actually Network
First, I am introverted. Walking up to strangers and talking to them isn’t my thing. However, I learned that is only a small part of real networking. The other part is to discern how (or if) we can best serve each other.
How can what you do and what I do become a bridge? How can we build on what we build?
That’s what networking is, making connections and building relationships.
Practical example: You are a writer, and there’s someone in your social circle who edits. It would be a good idea to connect with that person.
But it doesn’t have to be someone who does something similar to what you do, either.
Let’s say you have been trying to lose weight, work out and eat better. There is a nutritionist specializing in fitness in your midst. It would be best if you connected with that person and tried to see how to combine your personal goal of being fit with your business goals.
How can ya’ll turn this collaboration into something more?
Communication is the cornerstone of all good relationships, so keep in touch with people.
Engage with their social media, follow their blogs, check out their services, ask them questions, subscribe to their email list, and so on.