Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Author Sophia Tsegaye

Today, I’d like to welcome Sophia Tsegaye to the blog. Welcome! Let’s get started.


What is your name and where are you from?

My name is Sophia Tsegaye; I am an Ethiopian American living in Cincinnati, Ohio. I was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Ethiopia in the house. What was it like transitioning from Ethiopia to America? Any major adjustments?

I arrived in America as a newlywed, and my husband and I had to adjust to the cultural difference at first, with the help of my sister.  And soon our neighbors and co-workers led us through our new lifestyle. One of the adjustments was being away from my parents and extended family members.
The other adjustment was the difference between American and  Ethiopian calendar. Ethiopia uses Julian Calendar and is 7 and a half or 8 years behind the American Calendar.  Ethiopia has 13 months (12 months of 30 days each, and one month of 5 or 6 days).
Now as a family, we celebrate both cultures. My children have learned to embrace the diversity in the family. In short, we have two New Years, two Christmases, two Easters and the like.

Wow, I didn’t know that about the calendar difference. This is why I yearn so much to travel outside the country!

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

I published my first book “She Is My Mommy!” in March 2019 through CreateSpace. Holding my book for the first time was rewarding. Carrying a task to completion was my first goal, and I felt fulfilled. It has kindled the desire and the strength to go forward with my second book. And now I am working on my third one.

Congratulations! Amazing feeling right? Are you married Sophia? Got a boo somewhere?

I am married to a wonderful and supportive husband for the last fifteen years.

Awesome. Children?

Yes. I have three awesome boys, ages 14, 12 and 3.

Beautiful. What do you wish you knew more about?

Growing up, one of my many challenges was speaking up. Both in Middle and High school, I was known for being timid and introvert. It continued well into my graduate class. For example, I would know the answer to a question, or want to voice my opinion, but could not make myself to say something. It was like being present and absent at the same time.

Later on, I realize that the only thing that was holding from communicating was the fear of making mistakes.

Now, I know that making mistakes is all right, you learn from them and move forward.

I can relate for sure. What small things makes you life easier? What makes it difficult?

Living a simple life, being grateful and exercising kindness make my life easier. I try to see the positive in people. I believe that it is wise to listen to your conscious before you speak.  We often forget that a calmer tone conveys a message more effectively. I think that we all have the choice to decide whether to make our life easy or difficult. It is a choice we need to make every day. If you always feel you are a victim and everybody is onto you, then you will remain a victim of your own conscious.

If you do not control your temper, you will be treated as the perpetrator even if you are on the right.

If you are not kind, then you will miss the heart-warming reward that you get from it.

I love that Sophia. Wise words. Let’s get back to writing a bit. What’s the most difficult thing about being a writer? The most exciting thing?

The most difficult thing as a writer is writer’s block.

The most exciting thing is when you are in that creative zone, and you have no control over your writing.

Why is writing important to you?

When I write, I let myself go to places I have not visited for a long time. I navigate through my thought and dig deep into the desire to correct the wrong, to encourage the weak, to give a voice to the timid, and the like.

I want to show the reader that she or he is not alone in any circumstance. Happiness, fear, triumph, sadness, friendliness, and depression are a part of life. Therefore, what we need to do is find a way to fix the problem. In my books, I encourage children to learn to ask for help.

Outside of writing, what are some of your passions?

I love making pieces of jewelry and cooking.

You’re a children’s author. What do you think of the bullying in our schools?

Unfortunately, bullying is a real and dangerous issue. I try to focus on this issue in my books and demonstrate the effects it can bring.

My boys have experienced bullying, and I have also heard of various incidents in the school. I have seen firsthand how bullying can break the spirit of a fun loving and active child.

As a parent, we should teach our kids empathy at an early age. If we see our child push another child, we should be able to explain that it is wrong.

We have to encourage our kids to communicate with us, or the school personnel if they feel unsafe or overwhelmed. Schools have councilors, and they should use these resources.

And I urge parents to listen to their kids. If a kid voices concern then parents should intervene immediately.

If you could, would you visit the past?

Yes, I would visit the past if I could. Would I give some advice to my young self and try to change the past? I do not think so, because those experiences made me the person I am today.

Precisely. What advice would you give your younger self?

I would advise my younger self to trust her instinct and be comfortable in her own skin.  And of course, tell her to take it easy, enjoy life, and laugh more.

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


Copyright©Sophia Tsegaye. photo used with permission.

Bio.

Sophia E Tsegaye, is a stay-at-home mom, with three boys who keep her busy. She’s a children’s book writer, living in Cincinnati, Ohio.

From the Author:

I enjoy listening to what happens in school.  Every day, my boys will come home with new stories, but unfortunately, not all are pleasant.  I use their stories as a learning experience, and I guess this is how my books were born.

Many little kids are fascinated by school buses and animals. Hence I chose to have a school bus and animals as the characters.

There are different approaches to explain to kids about being unique, being different and being accommodating, so I try to bring these issues through my books.

The first book “She Is My Mommy!” is about transracial adoption, and the second book “Your Jokes Are Not Funny!” is about bullying.

Kids can be simple and yet complex. They ask us complex questions and are satisfied with the simplest explanation.

I believe in teaching kids empathy at a tender age.

You can reach me by email at tsesophia@yahoo.com

Be Sure to Follow Sophia Online!

Web: https://tsesophia.wixsite.com/tsegaye-1

Twitter: @SophiaTsegaye

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SophiaETsegaye/?modal=admin_todo_tour


Are you an author? Looking for more exposure? Learn more about my Introduce Yourself Feature HERE. Stay tuned for our next featured author.

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Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Author David Davis

Today, I’d like to extend a warm welcome to David Davis. Let’s get started!


What is your name and where are you from?

My name is David R. Davis (My dad didn’t think I would learn to spell, so he basically made it easier for me to remember). I live in beautiful Tucson, Arizona. I do love the desert and do not miss the snowy Minnesota winters.

Ha! That’s funny about your dad. What job do you think you’d be really good at?

I loved my career as a social worker and therapist. I never made a lot of money, but I trust I added value to life. I know I added to mine and I hope that I added it to some others. I take a quote from Teilhard de Chardin – “Each of us must do one small thing in a great way. Each must weave one stitch in the magnificent tapestry of life.” I believe I added my one stitch.

Awesome. In your own words, what is humility?

Humility is the older Hispanic man that nods gratefully when he’s told he has grown beautiful flowers. Humility is the coyote on the desert trail that stops to look at me and then confidently trots away. Humility is the Vietnam vet standing on the corner asking that I might give him a dollar.

Okaayy David. I like that. Who are your favorite authors?

My favorite author(s) Without doubt, are Cormac McCarthy and John Steinbeck. McCarthy has written very brutal books in a beautiful way. The Road creates almost perfect imagery. One can read his words and shiver with the desolation created. His sparse dialogue is magical. John Steinbeck wrote incredible characters. Even his lesser known books like Sweet Thursday bring to life a wonderful cast of ordinary people. I try to write and love character driven stories. Steinbeck is the gold standard for this type of writing.

What kind of music do you like?

I was raised on rock and was a rock drummer when I was fifteen. Now I listen almost exclusively to Jazz and Blues. Coltrane’s Dear Lord and Miles Davis’ So What, take me to new places no matter how many times I hear them. Hound Dog Taylor once said “When I die, they’ll say I couldn’t play shit, but I sure made it sound good.”  Truer words were never spoken. No matter how good or how bad I feel, The Dog’s music makes me feel better. That’s the magic of Blues.

Available now on Amazon

Let’s talk about writing a bit. When did you publish your first book? What was that like?

I published Running In, Walking Out in 2017. I draw upon what one reviewer said to answer how it made me feel. They said , “The character Sara made me want her to be my friend.” As I said previously, I love character driven stories. If one of my characters made a reader want her as a real life friend, maybe I accomplished a bit of my ultimate goal.

Excellent. What do you wish you knew more about?

Things I’m learning right now. I volunteer at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum. I play with stingrays and snakes. I love it and I’m fascinated about all things desert (Animals, Plants & Desert Ecology). Also I must learn more about climate change. If we do nothing more than we’re doing, there will be no more of anything. It is my responsibility to do what I can, “To weave my one stitch.”

Stingrays and snakes! David no! Lol. What do you think of the world we live in?

It’s difficult to be an optimist and yet I must be. My dad was a marine in WWII, I was a combat medic in Vietnam. No one alive today has ever seen one day of life where there is no war raging somewhere on our planet. I will not quietly accept the hatred and division I see in our country today. There is nothing to be gained and everything to be lost if we take the position that “If you’re different, I don’t trust you.” We need every human.

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

I list two. A book some would say is a children’s book. I say it teaches every lesson we need to know in life. The Little Prince By Antoine De Saint-Exupery. Also On Happiness by Teilhard De Chardin. It says we all need to find something in life greater than ourselves. I have to agree.

In your own words, what is truth?

A difficult question for sure. Truth is what is, not what we want it to be. I once read that belief is what we want something to be, faith is trust that what is, is what should be. I would add, I read an interview with a professor of ethics once and he said something like this, “We don’t need to teach ethics, we need to practice ethics.” I borrow that to say we know what truth is, we just need to practice it.

What city or country would you choose to represent you?

Edinburgh, Scotland for sure. The country of Scotland has been one of great historic turmoil, yet I’ve never seen a people with a more friendly and accepting nature. Everyone I met in the beautiful city was friendly, funny and helpful. How could anyone want to be more than that?

Are you a spiritual person David?

When I need to think, to relax, to create, I hike the Sonoran Desert. I trust that when I do, I will get what I need. When I see a Harris’ hawk flying, a tiny pincushion cactus blooming in bone dry rock or a 200 year old saguaro cactus standing majestically, I know there is something working that’s greater than me. I have no name for it, but I know it’s there.

You have a way with words David! Readers, are you getting this? What advice would you give your younger self?

Always be kinder than is necessary. Money and possessions don’t make you happier, no matter what the seller tells you. Only you can make yourself happier, it’s already something you have.

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


Copyright ©David Davis 2019. Photo used with permission.

Bio.

Davis was born in Texas and raised as a military brat. He served as a medic with the 101st. Airborne Division in Vietnam. After graduate school, David worked as a social worker and therapist for thirty-five years. He’s never had any regrets regarding his career choice. He now lives in wonderful Tucson, AZ, having moved from cold St. Paul, MN.

David spends his days writing, volunteering at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum where he gets to play with snakes, turtles, and stingrays. He weekly hikes the desert where he finds beauty, peace, and inspiration. He also belongs to the Oro Valley Writers Forum, a wonderful group of writers. He has indie published two novels, Running In, Walking Out and The Unusual Man.

Be sure to follow David Davis online!

Blog: https://desert-writer.bog


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

#Authors Please Read: Important Introduce Yourself Author Interview Notice

Introduce Yourself continues next week with the introduction of more awesome authors. I have pushed it back a week for some important reminders and updates. You will also find these updates and reminders on the Introduce Yourself page.

#1: When emailing me about the introduce yourself interview, please put Introduce Yourself Author Interview in the subject line.

#2: Please be clear about why you are emailing me. Do not just send me questions. Address me by name, include your author bio, social media handles and your blog so I can follow you. Let me know you have at least attempted to read the instructions and be professional. Learn more about what to include in your email HERE and learn more about me by reading the About page of this blog HERE. You can also check out my author website HERE.

#3: Please attach your questions in a Word document and attach images separately. Do not include images in the word document. Attach them separately.

#4: When answering the questions, please post the question first and then your answer. Example: What is your name and where are you from? My name is _________. I ask you to do it this way so I don‘t have to go back and figure out which question you are answering. This is a free service but if I have to do extra work, I will start to charge a fee.

#5. Please do not send ambiguous emails where I have to figure out what you want. If you are emailing me about the introduction interview series, please say so plainly. Whatever service you are inquiring about, say so plainly.

#6: Again, please read the instructions published to the Introduce Yourself Author Interview page HERE.

Failure to follow these instructions mean I will ignore your email. All I ask is that you approach this opportunity with respect and professionalism. Nothing less.


Are you a new author looking for more exposure? Learn more HERE.

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 Abbie Taylor

I would like to extend a warm welcome to Abbie Taylor.


What is your name and where are you from?

My legal name is Abigail L. Taylor, but my author name is Abbie Johnson Taylor. I’m currently in Sheridan, Wyoming, where I’ve lived for over thirty years. I was born in New York City on June 1st, 1961. After moving to Boulder, Colorado, then Tucson, Arizona, my family finally settled here in 1973 so my father could run the family’s coin-operated machine business after my grandfather died. I went away to school in the 1980’s but came back and have lived here ever since.

Cool. What is the most annoying habit that you have?

I talk to myself. When my late husband Bill was alive, it drove him nuts at first. Then after he suffered two strokes that left his left side paralyzed, he said he liked it because he always knew where I was and what I was doing. Because he was totally blind and then became partially paralyzed, this was a comfort to him.

Aww. I’m so sorry to hear about your husband. May he rest well. Are you employed outside of writing? Tell us about your job.

I’m not employed anymore. Before I married Bill, I was a registered music therapist, working with senior citizens in nursing homes and other facilities. I have a visual impairment, so I also facilitated a support group for others with blindness or low vision, taught braille, and served on the advisory board to a state trust fund that purchased adaptive equipment and services. In 2005 when I married Bill, he persuaded me to quit my day job and write full time.

Sounds like he was your writing foundation. Excellent. Music Therapists sounds like a  powerful job. Can you tell us a little bit about it? What does a Music Therapists do?

It’s a therapeutic tool that can be used with a variety of populations including children and adults with physical and mental disabilities and seniors suffering from dementia. My focus was with the geriatric population.  In nursing homes and other facilities, I conducted sing-along, name that tune, and other group activities to mainly help residents re-connect with their younger years. I also worked one on one with residents who were bed-ridden or chose not to attend group activities.

Wow. that is an awesome service you perform. Speaking of music, what songs have you completely memorized?

There are a lot. Even though I’m no longer working in nursing homes and other facilities, I still take my guitar to these places and play and sing for the residents at least once a month. They enjoy it, and it gets me out of the house and away from my writing for a while.

Any siblings Abbie?

I have a younger brother who lives in Jupiter, Florida. He has a P.H.D. in physics, and after years of lab work, he now teaches at a private high school. He’s married with five kids, all either in high school or college.

Neat. What’s your favorite drink?

It’s Dr. Pepper. I wrote a poem about it which was published in my collection, How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver.

My husband loves Dr. Pepper. What state or country do you never want to go back to?

That would be Arizona. My family lived there for eight years before moving here. The summers were extremely hot and didn’t cool down much at night. Often, our air conditioning quit working. Also, I had some unpleasant experiences at the state school for the deaf & blind.

What was your childhood dream?

When I was about twelve years old, after I discovered that I could sing and play the piano, I wanted to be a singer like Debbie Boon or Olivia Newton-John. I entered a local talent competition several times and finally won second place when I was a sophomore in high school. After graduating, I was convinced that I needed a more stable career. After several years of college, I discovered music therapy.

Does blogging help you to write?

I don’t know if blogging helps me write, but it does promote my work. I now post at least three days a week, and some of my content is related to what I’ve written. I include links to where my books can be purchased on every post.

Smart. What’s your favorite food?

I love pasta of all kinds with a variety of toppings. Now that I’m widowed, I don’t do much cooking but enjoy ready-made frozen meals from Schwan.

Yea, Pasta is my weakness. What’s your favorite color?

I’ve been told that blue looks good on me. Having some vision, I agree, but I also look great in red, yellow, pink, and brown. I really don’t have a favorite color.

Got it. Let’s talk some more about writing. Who is your favorite writer?

I like Danielle Steel because she tells compelling stories with happy endings. However, there are times when she does way too much telling and not enough showing, and that drives me up the wall.

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

My first book, We Shall Overcome, a romance novel, was published in 2007. At the time, I was married, and Bill was depressed because his therapists had given up on him. My book being released and Bill’s favorite baseball team, The Colorado Rockies making it to the play-offs, kept us both going. When my author copies came in the mail, he wanted to look at one of them. Although he couldn’t see it, as he held it in his hands, I could imagine the shit-eating grin that spread across his face, as he said, “My wife, the published author.”

Do you have children?

No, Bill was my first husband, and we were married late in life. I was in my forties, and he was in his sixties. We realized that having children would be a risky business, and after he suffered his first stroke, I was glad we’d made that decision. Caring for him was hard enough without the added burden of a child or two. My latest book, My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds, tells our story.

What do you think of the current U.S. political climate? What needs to change?

Right now, we have a president who is going against what we stand for as a country. Ever since Donald Trump took office two years ago, he has done everything he can to limit immigration, claiming immigrants are criminals and not realizing, or perhaps caring, that he, along with the rest of us, are descended from immigrants and that if not for immigrants, this country wouldn’t exist. He’ll stop at nothing to get what he now wants, a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico. I can only hope that our newly elected Democratic House of Representatives will prevail and that Trump will be voted out of office in 2020.

What genre do you write in, why?

I write fiction, poetry, and memoir. I like the flexibility of more than one type of writing.

Outside of writing, what are some of your passions?

I enjoy reading and listening to podcasts. I play the piano and guitar and sing, and I’m involved in a women’s choral group. I also participate in water exercise classes at the YMCA.

Thanks so much Abbie for spending this time with us. We enjoyed you!


Copyright©Abbie Taylor 2019. Used with permission.

Bio.

Abbie Johnson Taylor is the author of a romance novel, We Shall Overcome, two poetry collections: How to build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver, and That’s Life: New and Selected Poems, and a memoir, My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds. She’s working on another novel. Her work has appeared in The Weekly Avocet and Magnets and Ladders.

Be sure to follow Abbie online!

Website: http://www.abbiejohnsontaylor.com

Blog: https://abbiescorner.wordpress.com

Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/ybmouz5y


Are you an author? Looking for more exposure? Learn more about my Introduce Yourself Feature HERE. Stay tuned for our next featured author.

Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Author Ann Harrison-Barnes

Welcome back to Introduce Yourself! Check out the new badge! Yasss! Let’s get started with our first interview of the year. I would like to extend a warm welcome to Ann Harrison-Barnes.


What is your name and where are you from?

My name is Ann Harrison-Barnes and I am from Rochelle, GA.

Okay. You in my neck of the woods. Georgia stand up. What do you hate most about writing advice? What do you love?

The one thing I hate most about writing advice, is the fact that there is too much of it. What one writer says can contradict what someone else says on the same subject. For example, two or three people have different advice about adverbs. What I love about writing advice is the fact that I choose which advice to follow me, and I take it and let it inspire me. For example, K. M. Weiland stated in a previous episode of her podcast entitled Helping Writers Become Authors that the reason your villain does the bad things he’s known for in your story, has to do with another character he loves with all his heart (pardon the paraphrase).

I feel you on there being too much advice out there and most of it is not even good advice. Ann, what was your childhood dream?

As a child I always dreamed of being a recording artist. I loved country music and I love to sing. However, when I was five or six, I had no idea that music would be the inspiration I needed to become a writer. I could tell you a story of how music has influenced my writing over the past few years, but we’d be here all day for that one. LOL

Since we’re already talking about music, what kind of music do you like?

I like mostly instrumental music such as classical, movie scores, new age piano etc. for writing. However, I have one particular country artist that I like to listen to for healing and sometimes for writing inspiration.

Does blogging help you to write?

Blogging helps me to write in several ways. It helps me to learn more about my fictional characters through character interviews. It also helps me to get my heartfelt thoughts out into the world, but I keep my blog positive and put my negative thoughts in my journal. It also enhances my professional writing style, so that if I land a freelance writing gig, I can be proud to show off specific posts as writing samples.

I love that. You said you keep your blog positive and put the negative stuff in your journal. Your a wise one. Let’s talk about your writing journey. When did you publish your first book? What was that like?

To be honest, I published my first book back in July of 2016. I was excited, because after getting help with formatting and the book cover designed for me, I was able to publish it on my own. This book has since been updated and is now available on Amazon.  Each book that I publish is exciting. I’ve heard many people say that it’s almost like having a baby, without the physical pain that a mother goes through. I must say, I believe it, because you have to nurture your creative baby and get it ready for publication. Then comes the waiting time until it’s been launched or borne (as it were), for all the world to see.

Nice. Married Ann?

I’ve been married twice. The first time for seven and a half years. I divorced my first husband, because he verbally and emotionally abused me. I’m currently married but separated from my husband, for the same reason. We’ve been legally married for a year and a half.

Oh. I am so sorry to hear that. Abuse is a real problem in our world. If you had any advice for someone enduring any form of abuse having experienced it yourself, what would you tell them?

My advice for someone who is in an abusive relationship is to find a way out as soon as you can. The longer you stay in that relationship, the worse it will be for you in the long run. I can’t speak to child abuse, but no one deserves to be belittled, humiliated or beaten. Don’t let the abuser’s charms fool you, he or she is only using them to pull you back into his or her web. I found healing from other sources, but if you feel that you need the services of a therapist, don’t hesitate to get the help you need, because everybody’s healing process is different.

Thanks so much. I am sure someone who needs to hear that is listening. Any babies Ann?

I do have a beautiful daughter, who I love dearly, although she can be sassy at times. She loves to brag about being taller than me.

LOL. I love it. What’s the most difficult thing about being a writer? The most exciting thing?

The most difficult thing about being a writer can sometimes be the revision process. However, I am loving this process in my current novel. The most exciting thing is the fact that I can allow myself to let the creative juices flow and find whatever source of inspiration that fuels my creative fire. Although I am totally blind, I refuse to let my disability stop me from doing what I’ve been called to do, which is share the message of God’s love through something as simple, yet as deep, as a story.

I can tell by your answers you’re a great writer! What genre do you write in and why?

I don’t put my novels into one specific genre. I write in the Christian fiction genre, along with mystery and thriller, and I sometimes add a little romance. I know that online distributors and bookstores have to know where to place eBooks or paperbacks on the physical or virtual shelves, but I like to add a little of this and a little of that, to make the story interesting and compelling.

Thanks so much Ann for spending this time with us. We enjoyed you!


Copyright©Ann Harrison-Barnes 2019. Used with permission.

Bio.

Ann Harrison is the author of four books: A Journey of Faith, A Stepping Stones Mystery, Stories Outside the Box, Maggie’s Gravy Train Adventure, an Electric Eclectic Book, and Inner Vision, an Electric Eclectic Book. She has also been published in several anthologies. Aside from her work as a Christian fiction author, Ann is a professional writer, and she also crochets bookmarks and book covers to promote her books. To learn more about Ann and her work, visit her website at http://www.annwritesinspiration.com

Be sure to follow Ann online!

Website: www.annwritesinspiration.com

Social media: https://twitter.com/annwrites75

Amazon Author Central: https://www.amazon.com/Ann-Harrison/e/B01H68QH5U

Are you an author? Looking for more exposure? Learn more about my Introduce Yourself Feature HERE. Stay tuned for our next featured author.

Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Author A.H. Washington

Today, I’d like to extend a warm welcome to A.H. Washington. Let’s get started!


What is your name and where are you from?

As stated above, my name is Aundriel Washington, and I am from New Orleans, Louisiana. Very nice to meet you

Aundriel. What would your perfect writing/reading room look like?

My perfect writing or reading room would be all white, silver, and glass. The walls would be white with silver crown molding. I would have a glass desk with a white fluffy chair.. White and silver roses would fill a glass vase. My decor would be silver framed images of white dragons surrounding the wall. The floor would be white granite with fluffy round rugs.

What is the most annoying habit that you have?

The most annoying habit that I have is that I bite my nails.

Are you employed outside of writing?

Currently, I am working as an eighth grade English Language Arts Special Education Teacher. I was an elementary school teacher for four years. Middle school is very different.

Oh, excellent. Another teacher in the house ya’ll! What do you think you’ll be really good at?

I think I would be really good at counseling others. I love to talk to people and I love to help them see that they are better than they believe they are. I have had my battle with major depression and I know how important counselors and therapists are.

That’s awesome. If you had one piece of advice you would like to give to someone who is sad right now or struggling, what would you tell them?

Normally, when I am sad, I try to look at one of the most joyous times in my life. I would tell that person struggling to look to a time when they were very happy. Think of who was involved and how that person or event made you feel. Go to that time and hold on to it as tight as you can in order to bring a smile to your face. If it is only for a moment, it will remind you that you can be happy or have joy despite your trails.

Excellent. Aundriel, any siblings?

I have one sibling.

What was your childhood dream?

As a child, I dreamed of becoming a model, singer, and actress.

Ooh. Nice. What skill would you like to master?

I wish that I could learn to draw. My middle daughter draws. I continue to remind her if you don’t use it, you lose it.

What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?

The most amazing adventure that I could go on would be to take a trip to Santorini, Greece and Rome, Italy. I want to bath in the white sand in Greece and I want to visit the Colosseum.

What’s your favorite food?

My favorite food is seafood. I love craw-fish and shrimp!

Nooo. Don’t do it lol. Favorite colors?

My favorite colors are aquamarine and white.

Palera Dawn is available now on Amazon.com

 

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

My favorite author is Colleen Houck, the author of the Tiger’s Curse Series.

If you could shadow your favorite artist, who would it be?

If I could shadow Danai Gurira and Tom Welling. I loved Smallville, the CW series. I had been trying to meet Tom Welling for years since the show has been off the air. Well, I finally got a chance to meet him this past September at Dragon Con.

I bet that was exciting! If you could, would you visit the future?

If I could, I would visit the future. I would love to see what else we come up with.

Neat. What about the past?

If I could visit my past, I would go back to the day my mother died. The doctor would not think that I am too young to visit my mother in ICU.

Aww. I’m so sorry to hear that.

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


Copyright©A.H. Washington 2018. Image used with permission.

Bio.

A.H. WASHINGTON is the author of the debut novel, Palera Dawn. As an elementary and middle school educator, A.H. has spent the past decade writing fiction stories independently and with her students. She spends her summers with her husband and children. A. H. is a fan of Dragon Con and other fantasy, science fiction conventions. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

Be Sure to Follow A.H. Online!

Web. www.paleradawn.com

Facebook: Aundriel Washington (group name Palera Dawn).

Instagram: palera_dawn


Wow this is the last interview of the year! What a year! To review all the authors we’ve introduced to you on this blog you can visit the page HERE. If you would like to add your name to this awesome list, CLICK HERE.