Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Author Jo Elizabeth Pinto

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.

Pinto with guide on autumn street
Pinto with guide on Autumn Street

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?

BSODCoverArt
The Bright Side of Darkness is available now on Amazon.

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.

Religious?

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.

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


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Jo Elizabeth Pinto

Bio.

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.

Follow Jo on Facebook!
https://www.facebook.com/authorjepinto/

Amazon Author Central

http://www.amazon.com/author/jepinto

 

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

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Introduce Yourself – Introducing Guest Author Lynda McKinney Lambert

 

Today, I’d like to extend a warm welcome to Lynda McKinney Lambert. Welcome to the PBS Blog! Let’s get started.

 

What is your name and where are you from?

I am an Indie Author and visual artist, Lynda McKinney Lambert. I live and work in The Village of Wurtemburg, located in western Pennsylvania.

What would your perfect writing / reading room look like?

First, after my sight loss, I wanted to share my experiences with others. Since it took me 2 years to be able to use a computer again, I thought that creating a blog would be a good achievement for me and I would use the blog as my way of connecting with other people. I wanted to share my experiences in sight loss and give encouragement and help to others. That is why I called the blog, Walking by Inner Vision. This, of course, led me to write the book almost 7 years later. I had no way of knowing when I started this blog in 2009 that I was beginning to write a book that would be published in 2017.

Miss Opal in my office, checking out the travel brochures. Photo by Lynda Lambert, 2018.

Visitors awwue. Sounds like you already have the perfect writing room! But tell Miss Opal I know she don’t like being around us humans but I’m gonna need her to smile or something. Sheesh lol. 

Lynda, are you employed outside of writing?

I am a retired professor of fine arts and humanities. I retired over 10 years ago after I suddenly lost most of my sight from Ischemic Optic Neuropathy. This new challenge opened the door for me to work full-time in my writing with the aid of adaptive technologies for the blind.

So sorry to hear you lost your sight, but what a blessing that came from it! Inspiring. What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?

My entire career has been an amazing adventure. At the age of forty-two, after raising our 5 children, I returned to the university to pursue a degree in fine art. Shortly after I started this program, I knew I wanted to “go all the way” with my academic education. I worked on the BFA degree in painting, for 4 years at Slippery Rock University of PA. Following that accomplishment, I earned an MA in English at the same university. I needed a terminal degree because my intention was to become a professor. This aspiration took me to West Virginia University where I earned the MFA degree in Painting. This combination of degrees was just what I needed to attain my dream career. I earned my 3 degrees over a period of 9 years which were the most intense years imaginable.

At Geneva College, I taught across disciplines in English, Fine Art, and Humanities. I created and taught a summer program in Austria. Each July, I took students on a month-long adventure in Europe in a course I called, “Drawing and Writing in Salzburg.” In this course, I could teach both art and writing, my two passions in my own life. It was the ideal job for me.  Teaching this course led to the publication of my first book, Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage. (Kota Press, 2003).

Lynda’s FIRST PLACE AWARD. “The Dragon’s Healing Breastplate” mixed media fiber art InSights 2107, Louisville, KY. October 2017. Lynda creates talismans and wall pieces using gemstones, beads, and fiber.

 

Wow. I bet it was intense indeed. It’s intense just reading about it lol. Your accomplishments are awesome. Does blogging help you to write?

I created 2 blogs.

First, after my sight loss, I wanted to share my experiences with others. Since it took me 2 years to be able to use a computer again, I thought that creating a blog would be a good achievement for me and I would use the blog as my way of connecting with other people. I wanted to share my experiences in sight loss and give encouragement and help to others. That is why I called the blog, Walking by Inner Vision. This, of course, led me to write the book almost 7 years later. I had no way of knowing when I started this blog in 2009 that I was beginning to write a book that would be published in 2017.

Second, in 2014 I created a second blog that covers a variety of topics.  I started SCAN in 2014 and it is a celebration of people, events, and places. Writing my blogs is one way I can share my own discoveries and give back to others.

What’s your favorite food?

I am a lacto-ovo vegetarian since I was in my late 20s.

What is a lacto-ovo vegetarian if you don’t mind me asking?

Lacto-Ovo means a vegetarian that eats milk and eggs. Not a Vegan who eats nothing from an animal.

Ahh. I see.

My personal favorite foods are Austrian desserts.

Ice Coffee, in Austria, is so delicious.  It comes in a large parfait-type of glass. Icy cold strong coffee is poured over scoops of delicious vanilla ice cream.  On top of this mixture is a heaping dollop of real fresh whipped cream.  I limited myself to only 1 a week when I was in the country because I didn’t want to come home with excess weight on my body. This way, it was always a special treat.  I also like the Austrian noodle dishes, with brown butter, and the fresh vegetables served on a dinner plate.

That. Sounds. Amazing!! I can’t even focus right now. Let’s get back to writing for a second. Who are your favorite writers?

Immediately two women come to mind: Annie Dillard and Louise Erdrich.

I have read, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek at least a half-dozen times. I am in awe of this magnificent writing. Another book by Dillard that I used in one of my English classes is, For the Time Being. It is a small book but one of the most beautiful pieces of literature I ever read. Erdrich’s book, The Painted Drum, is a masterpiece of story-telling.

For poetry: I discovered Robert Bly’s poetry in undergraduate school. I’ve lectured on his work in my humanities courses and in contemporary American Poetry courses and I did a conference presentation at The Robert Bly Colloquium at Kent State University in Ashtabula, Ohio. This paper appeared in the book, edited by Terry White. I enjoyed doing conference presentations on the work of writers and artists.

My latest book is Walking by Inner Vision: Stories & Poems, was published by DLD Books. My book is a collection of creative non-fiction essays, memoir, and poems. Available now on Amazon. CLICK HERE.

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

During my travels each summer for a month in Europe, I kept a journal. After a few years, I began to collect some of the poems and stories into a cohesive body of work that later became my first book.

Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage was published in January 2003 by Kota Press.

This full-length book consists of journal entries, poems, and creative non-fiction essays.

The book’s cover is a detail from a mixed-media painting I created in my studio in Austria.  Many writings in this book have been featured in a variety of literary magazines and anthologies. I also love the work of Yusef Komunyakaa; William Carlos Williams; John Donne; Louise Glück; and Irene McKinney. I also love Appalachian poetry and literature.

Lynda, married?

My husband is Bob Lambert. We met when I was fifteen years old.

When I was seventeen and he was twenty, we eloped to Indiana and got married. It was April 14, 1961.  We had 3 daughters, Salome’ Heather, Heidi Melinda, and Ilsa Hoelz.  After the 3 girls were born we adopted 2 more children. Robert Andrew came to us from Vung Tau, Vietnam in 1972 and Victoria Rebecca came to us in 1974 from Korea.

Bob and I celebrated our 57th anniversary this year. I am going to be seventy-five years old on August 27th, and Bob was seventy-seven last January. We live in the same village where my ancestors settled in the late 1700s after they came to America from Germany. Bob and I have always taken in displaced animals and currently, we have 2 indoor cats; 5 feral cats that we care for outside; and 2 rescued dogs.

Happy early birthday and anniversary! What a blessing. What small things makes your life easier? What makes it difficult?

Photo by Bob Lambert. Lynda walking in the Rain Forest, Puerto Rico, 2013. Lynda was part of a team of professors who taught a course on Puerto Rico Art & Culture at Geneva College. Here she navigates the steep downhill pathway to a waterfall with her mobility cane. Sight loss has not stopped Lynda from being active and engaged in the world. Her writings reflect the enthusiasm she has for different cultures and travels.

Of course, losing my vision made my life difficult. After almost eleven years, I will struggle with little things at times. The hardest thing is that I cannot drive any longer. While I do have some limitations, as always, I find ways to be creative and to continue to be the most important things I’ve always done. I still make art and I write. Last year, I wrote a poem to myself.  “To the Curator of Small Things.” Gives readers a little peek into my home and my heart.  You can listen to a recording of this poem by visiting Wordgathering Literary Magazine. Just click on this link and you will hear Melissa Coddon reading my poem.

As a writer and artist with profound sight loss, I am thankful for the latest adaptive technologies for the blind. This equipment enables me to create my poems and artworks. It also helps me do a variety of activities throughout each day. I am fortunate to have these expensive pieces of equipment provided by my state Bureau of Blindness Services.

The Acrobat is mainly for doing my award-winning mixed-media fiber art and bead working which is displayed in art exhibitions. The DaVinci Pro is used for everything I do on the computer. This sophisticated technology allows me to switch back and forth between a computer and a scanner mode – all on one screen. For everyday reading such as mail, writing checks, and looking at books or letters, I use the Merlin CCTV. Of course, I have a variety of other small, portable devices that help me, too.

Very nice. No limits over here ya’ll! Lynda, you are well prepared to keep writing despite your loss of sight. Why is writing important to you?

Writing and making art is at the core of my life. They give me a means of sharing my worldview and celebrating life. I focus on what is positive and joyous in my life and in the world as I know it. My writing and art show my interest in the world and my travel experience provides a depth of understanding of current events, cultures, and understanding. I strive to share what is beautiful in our lives and in the lives of others.

Beautiful. I feel like you’ve already answered this question but, what do you love about yourself?

What I like most about myself is my ability to turn negative experiences around and see what lessons I learned by the challenge.  I have TENACITY and I keep on going towards goals and dreams.

I’ve learned that there is nothing I can experience that will separate me from my Creator. I believe that the secret to understanding who we truly are is found in Genesis 1. We are handmade, carefully and lovingly created by God. We bear his likeness. His image on earth.  We are to be image bearers of God. That is my mission and my purpose in life.

Good understanding! What genre do you write in, why?

My focus is on poetry and creative non-fiction essays.  There is more material for me to find in my own experiences and life than in anything I could make up. I seldom read fiction. I like poetry best for its brevity. I like writing that is modern.  It gets to the core and does it immediately.  I dislike poetry that rhymes, and poetry that really should be an essay or short story told in a different medium.  Meter is not interesting to me. I live in the twenty-first century so why would I write like I am outdated manner? The poetry I like best combines elements from nature, intuition, imagination, and personal life experiences.

(EC: *cough* Outdated manner. Lol.)

One writer who was doing a book review of Walking by Inner Vision: Stories & Poems said to me:

“When I got to the end of the book, I was so sad.”

I asked why my book made her feel so sad. I felt confused for I did not think anyone would be left feeling sad after reading my stories & poems.

She replied, “I did not want this book to end. I felt sad when I came to the end of it.”

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

 


Photo of Lynda McKinney Lambert. By bob Lambert.

Bio.

Lynda McKinney Lambert is the author of Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage, a full-length collection of poems, essays, and journal entries.  Published in 2003 by Kota Press.

Lynda’s second full-length book is, Walking by Inner Vision: Stories & Poems, published in 2017 by DLD Books.

Lynda Lambert was professor of fine arts and humanities at Geneva College, Beaver Falls, PA.  She retired  in 2008, due to sudden sight loss caused by Ischemic Optic Neuropathy. This challenge really opened the door for her to write full-time from her western PA home. During the past year, Lynda’s poetry and non-fiction essays have appeared in over 140 publications, world-wide. Her work was nominated for the Skirt Best of the Net Award for 2016-17 by Spirit Fire Review. She was a winning poet and her poem is published in 2017-18 in Mingled Voices 2, by Proverse Hong Kong.

Lynda writes for Vision Aware Blog, which is a part of the American Foundation for the Blind website.She write articles on how to regain your life after sight loss, and gives tips and help to people who write in to AFB asking for help.

She is an award-winning visual artist and creates her art work using technologies for the blind. Lynda has just completed her next full-length book of poetry, Star Signs: New and Selected Poems.

Social Links:

www.lyndalambert.com

www.llambert363.blot

https://www.facebook.com/lyndamckinneylambert

https://www.facebook.com/SCAN-782814908467623/

https://www.facebook.com/walkingbyinnervision/


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

Introduce Yourself Author Interview Links Updated

 

ATTN. Authors of Introduce Yourself. The links to your guest interviews have been updated. If you have any updates of your own let me know. Updates such as:

  • New book – I can add them to your post. (If you have tons of books out I cannot feature every one. I can however post a universal buy link if you have one.)
  • New cover – If you have since changed the cover for a book promoted in the post.
  • New platform – Links to new places your book may now be available.
  • Any new updates you would like to share about your books.

Please let me know by commenting on this post or emailing me. This is for all of the authors interviewed on this blog via Introduce Yourself. You can check out your post in the Introduce Yourself Author Interview page HERE.

Also don’t forget to do your part and reblog and share the post across social media every now and again. Help me to help you.

If you would like to be interviewed on this blog, visit the original post here. All you have to do is choose questions from the list at the bottom of the post (choose at least 10) and email me your answers along with your author photo, book covers, buy links and social media links.

Stay tuned for next weeks featured author.

Introduce Yourself – Introducing Guest Author Phyllis Babrove

Today I’d like to extend a warm welcome to Phyllis Babrove. Welcome to The PBS Blog! Let’s get started.

What is your name and where are you from?

My name is Phyllis Babrove. Originally from Wisconsin, I have lived in Florida for forty-seven years.

Wow. 47yrs. It’s like you’re originally from Florida lol. Are you employed outside of writing?

I went to college at the age of forty, and six years later earned a master’s degree in social work. In 2015 I retired as a full-time school social worker. Currently, I work part-time providing supervision to social workers that are becoming licensed and as a substitute social worker in schools when someone goes on maternity leave.

Nice! You are doing excellent work. Phyllis, what’s your favorite color?

My favorite color is pink.

When Shadows Linger is available now on Amazon.

Do you have a favorite writer?

I have several favorite writers so it is difficult to say. Of course, I don’t mind mentioning a few: Jodi Picoult, Nora Roberts, Lisa Gardner, Lisa Scottoline, and John Grisham. Those are just a few.

So Phyllis, married? Children?

I have been married for forty-six years. I have four adult children and six grandchildren.

Yass. What do you think of the world we live in?

I think that our world is desperately in need of repair in many areas. It makes me sad to think that we are going backward in many ways. But I am encouraged by the strength being shown in this young generation. They are the most forceful group that I have seen since the 1960s. I have a great deal of faith that they will make some positive changes.

What are your thoughts on race?

What are my thoughts on race? That there shouldn’t be any thoughts about people based on race, religion, or social economic status. We are all the same and should treat each other as such.

In your own words, what is racism?

Racism is passing judgment on a person based on his or her race, and not on whom the person really is. I grew up with a lot of anti-semitism, so I understand what it’s like to be discriminated against because of “what” I am and not based on “who” I am.

Are you religious Phyllis?

Am I religious? That depends on the definition of what religious is. I believe in God. I try to be caring, compassionate, honest, trustworthy and treat everyone with respect. So, in my mind, I am religious.

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

“Small Great Things,” by Jodi Picoult, is a wonderful book.

Let’s talk about writing. What’s the most difficult thing about being a writer? The most exciting thing?

The most difficult thing about writing for me is promoting my work. The most exciting is when I see the finished product and I feel a great sense of pride and accomplishment.

My Name is Rebecca: A Novelette is available now on Amazon.

Why is writing important to you?

I love to write. When I write, I can express my thoughts, dreams, and feelings. I am also able to put myself in places where I’d like to be. For example, my novel is set in Vermont because I fell in love with the state and I wish I could live there.

What would your perfect writing / reading room look like?

When I envision a room that I would love to be able to write and read in, it is a room with bookshelves filled with all of my favorite books. It would have a lot of windows with views of the mountains (yes, I’d be in Vermont!), a fireplace, a light brown leather love seat (the really soft leather), and a desk. At the desk would be a big soft leather chair that rocks. The carpeting would be thick brown with specks of gold. Pictures of my family would be on the walls and different mementos that belonged to my parents.

That sounds like a great room. Very comfortable. If you had one superpower that could change the world, what would it be?

If I had one superpower I think it would be to take the word “judgment” out of our vocabulary. I don’t feel that any human being has the right to judge another for any reason.

Are you into Politics at all?

I became interested in politics in 2008. For the first time, I helped a candidate campaign by going door to door. While I liked some past presidents, I don’t think we have ever had or will ever have, anyone as wonderful as our previous president was.

Who is your best friend?

My husband is my best friend.

Awwue. Yeess. Phyllis, what is truth?

Truth to me is when I can be honest with myself and with God. Truth is the foundation of trust, so if a person isn’t honest how can they be trusted? Without trust, what are we left with?

Phyllis, thank you for spending this time with us!


From the Author:

I was born in Wisconsin and I moved to Florida as a newlywed in 1971. When my children were old enough, and with a ton of support from my husband, I decided to earn a college degree. I call going to school at the age of forty my first midlife crisis. Six years later I had earned a master’s degree in social work and had a fulfilling career. Three years ago I (semi) retired and took on my second midlife crisis and entered the wonderful world of writing. I have self-published two novelettes, one novel and have had two short stories published in Edify Fiction, an online magazine. I am also a regular contributor to “Extra Innings,” an online newsletter for the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

My husband and I like to travel to New England and visit small towns. We live in Sunrise, Florida with our ten-year-old Yorkie, Lars.

Be sure to follow Phyllis on her website below!
https://mirikalblog.com/


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

Introduce Yourself Returns

I am just about settled in which means that I will be getting back into the swing of things with reviews and promotions real soon. I still have a few things to do before I am back full time so I am still somewhat MIA this week, but I’d still like to get some interviews scheduled in time for November if possible.

If you are not familiar with my Introduce Yourself feature, here is a short breakdown. For more information, please do check out the first post HERE:

Introduce Yourself is a free promotional opportunity for new and established authors via an author interview on this blog. Unlike the same questions over and over again, authors have the opportunity to choose from 50 questions (SEE ORIGINAL POST) they would like to answer in the interview from writing and books to relationships, religion, and politics. But that’s not all.

To further set this feature apart, I do not just copy and paste your answers so be sure your answers are juicy and interesting! Once you have sent me your Q&A, I go over them to see if there is anything I want to add by way of commentary and you are given the chance to respond. We email back and forth until the interview sounds more authentic and real life (as if we are two friends sitting down for coffee) because that is at the core of what Introduce Yourself is all about. We want to get to know the real you. While your books and links will be promoted freely on this site, I ask that you use this opportunity to do less selling and more connecting with potential readers. This is what social media is all about.

If you are an author (Indie / Trad / Hybrid) and you’re looking for more exposure, CLICK THROUGH TO THE ORIGINAL POST HERE, choose your questions and email them to me at yecheilyah@yecheilyahysrayl.com. I will look over them, email you back so we can chit chat and then schedule your feature. All interviews are scheduled to go live the Monday of every week @ 12:00am Eastern Standard Time.

 

Introduce Yourself – Introducing Guest Author Marie Lavender

 

Today I’d like to extend a warm welcome to Marie Lavender. Welcome to The PBS Blog! Let’s get started.

What is your name and where are you from?  

My name is Marie Lavender, and I am from the Midwestern U.S. I was raised in a small town in Indiana.

Lavender. Nice name! Marie, what would your perfect writing / reading room look like?

Oh! I would have a true bibliophile theme, perhaps the furniture that mimics a shelf of books? Plus, I would choose peacefully, yet inspirational quotes to display on the walls. Anything that might spark my creativity.

Ooh. That sounds nice. I would so love a chair made of books. Yesss. What is the most annoying habit that you have?

Sometimes when I’m nervous, my right leg bounces up and down. This drove my parent’s crazy when I was a kid!

Official Website: http://marielavender.com/

 

Lol. What do you hate most about writing advice and what do you love?

I think those who generally offer advice mean well. And I love that people are so willing to help! However, there are some types of ‘advice’ we should take with a grain of salt. For example, a school of thought exists, one that impresses upon us writers that we shouldn’t talk about our current writing project, or we’ll lose interest in it. I’m not sure that’s altogether true. I’ve never had any trouble in that regard; in fact, discussing it with someone, at least an individual you trust, is a way to find a great sounding board for potential issues that might come up.

Plus, there’s another piece of advice which has always bothered me – “write what you know”. Yes, we should draw from our experiences, but I think we also tend to live vicariously through our characters. We put ourselves in their shoes. What would I do if I was Jake or Brenda? We wear those costumes and take their journeys. So, I don’t think we always need to have experienced their traumas firsthand. Writers house a wealth of empathy inside them. Research can only take us so far; at some point, we must put ourselves in the situation and imagine how it would feel if that happened to us too. I just believe that writing what you already know is somewhat limiting.

Interesting. It reminds me of how the process is different for everyone. What job do you think you’d be really good at?

Actually, when I was a kid, I secretly wanted to own a bookstore. That would be pretty cool! Being around books all the time would be quite a dream.

Speaking of childhood, what was your childhood dream?

I always wanted to be a writer. I remember telling my relatives in an excited voice, “I’m going to be a novelist!” Of course, I don’t think I realized it would be this much work. LOL.

What skill would you like to master?

Hmm…that’s a good one. I’ve always wanted to learn to play the piano. My problem is that I’ve never been able to read sheet music. Even when I took choir classes from elementary school to college, I just couldn’t get my head to wrap around the idea of the music notes. I couldn’t tell you what was a B or a high C. As a soprano, I could always match a pitch pretty well, though. So, I think maybe I’m just not meant to play the piano!

Wow, so many people would like to play the piano. That makes those who already know how pretty special lol. What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?

I’d love to go to Ireland! I have deep Irish roots, so I’d like to see what it’s like to visit.

Cool. Marie, 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?

I’ve always wanted a beach house. I don’t think I’d be too picky, as long as it was pretty and I could plant myself on the back porch, listen to the waves of the ocean as a sort of white noise, and write like a maniac.

What’s your favorite drink?

Chai iced tea with coconut milk. I haven’t been able to enjoy that for many years now, because I’m on a no-caffeine kick, but I really loved it.

No caffeine? You poor soul. Lol

What state or country do you never want to go back to?

The one I live in! LOL. For several years, I’ve really wanted to get out of Indiana. It’s just dead here. The economy is crap, and it’s hard to get inspired because there’s nothing going on here. Very little to see. I mean, I’ll come back to visit my family, but I don’t want to live here for the rest of my life.

Into music? What songs have you completely memorized?

Mostly the ones by my favorite artists – such as Paramore or OneRepublic. Other songs I have memorized were tunes that impacted me in some way, were emotionally compelling. One that I can think of off the top of my head is “Wrapped In Your Arms” by Firefight. My music tastes are pretty eclectic, but that one still makes me cry a little.

 What’s your favorite food?

Chicken Oscar. I love the blend of crab meat, chicken, asparagus and hollandaise sauce. I’ve never cooked it for myself, but I had it at two different restaurants, both of which are now closed. So, I hope I can find another that makes it at some point.

Eww at crab meat lol. Favorite color?

Hot pink!

Directions of the Heart is available now on Amazon

 

Lol. Alright. Let’s get back to writing. Does blogging help you to write?

Blogging is a completely different animal, so to speak. If I’m writing an article, I am using a different part of my brain and all my creativity is shut off. I do try to make the blog post attractive with pictures. However, once I’m finished with that project, I can focus on a story.

What genre do you write in, why?

I’m a multi-genre author. I am all over the place. I have published in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, fantasy, science fiction, mystery/thriller, dramatic fiction, literary fiction and poetry. But some of my works in progress encompass the categories of time travel, dystopian, horror, comedy and erotic romance. Why do I write in all of those fields? I just let the muse lead me where it wants; I’m hardly in control! Though I lean toward romance, sometimes I surprise myself with something entirely new. In 2015, I even wrote and published a children’s fantasy.

Who is your favorite writer?

At the moment? It’s a cross between J.R. Ward and Chloe Neill.

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

Technically, my first book was released in 2010. That was a collection of literary fiction and poetry. It was really exciting, actually! It was fun to think of myself as a published author. Soon, I plan to re-release the book, combined with two other previously released books, as a full collection. It will be titled Madame Lavender’s Collection of Ramblings: Tales, Snippets & Poetry.

Very cool. If you could live in a movie, which would it be and why?

I love the movie Kate & Leopold. I’m a sucker for a good time travel romance, so it was right up my alley. So timey-wimey and romantic! I love the blend of modern and Victorian era in that film.

In your own words, what is love?

Love is the deep gift of yourself – it is beyond pettiness or these trivialities we often bother ourselves with. Love is the source of everything, and we are bereft without it. Even if we don’t experience love in our lives at first, when we do, it’s extraordinary because we wondered how we existed without such a treasure. Plus, when someone really loves you, you can tell. It is unconditional, not just convenient. Real love doesn’t expect anything in return; it just is, and when you can give your heart back to someone, it’s that much more beautiful.

Indeed. Marie, who is your best friend?

It might be cheesy, but my best friend is my fiancé. He means everything to me.

That’s not cheesy at all! My hubby is my bestie, hands down. Would you like to have children?

Yes, I would love to have kids someday. I will be turning 37 this year, so I’m definitely not getting any younger! LOL. And even if it turns out that I can’t have any children of my own, we could always adopt. I think sharing a child with the love of my life, having someone we could love and raise, would be awesome. Plus, since we both have cats, it would complete our little family.

Nice. What takes up too much of your time?

Uggh…marketing! I really need to focus more on writing stories.

What do you think of the world we live in?

I think if we don’t stop hating – and I mean in every direction, even at home – we’re going to be in a lot more trouble soon.

What’s your favorite TV Show or Movie?

I have so many! The one I’m currently watching is Chesapeake Shores. Favorite movie? I think I still have a soft spot for The Princess Bride. Even though it’s silly, there is something incredibly romantic about it.

Have to agree with you there. Princess Bride is pretty good. What TV channel doesn’t exist but really should?

A channel featuring films based on books! I love books!

Wow, that would be awesome. Like, an entire channel totally dedicated to movies and TV shows based on books. Yaass. Marie, why is writing important to you?

Writing is a kind of freedom that I’ve never experienced in other parts of my life. I can take on different personalities, drive down roads I haven’t seen before. I fall in love with my characters and go on their journeys with them. When I’m in the midst of writing a scene or chapter, it feels like home.

If you had one superpower that could change the world, what would it be? Why?

I’m a fan of peace. I’d want to be a version of an empath – reading people’s emotions but sending them back to the person and those around them. This would be done in a manner to show what someone else is going through. I think a lot of us feel we’re misunderstood. Our pain is often silent. If we knew more about what the next person was feeling, maybe we wouldn’t be so quick to judge or hate.

Indeed. In your own words, what is truth?

Truth is the human condition. Truth entails a realization that we may not have known before. Sometimes the truth is good, sometimes bad. But in the end, it’s a necessary evil, I think. I’d rather have the truth than a lie. The fiction that I write is full of hard truth in many ways.

What a pleasure to have you, Marie! We enjoyed having you. Thanks for spending this time with us today.


Author Banner. Marie Lavender.

Bio.

Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats. She has been writing for a little over twenty-five years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands. Since 2010, Marie has published 22 books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, fantasy, science fiction, mystery/thriller, dramatic fiction, literary fiction and poetry. She has also contributed to several multi-author anthologies. Her current series are The Heiresses in Love Series, The Magick Series, The Blood at First Sight Series and The Code of Endhivar Series.

Additional Information from Marie:

Bestselling multi-genre author of UPON YOUR RETURN and 21 other books. DIRECTIONS OF THE HEART placed in the TOP 10 Books of 2017 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. TOP 20 Authors of 2017 on Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews blog. Mystery Blogger Award for 2017. A to Z Blog Challenge Survivor in 2016. March 2016 Empress of the Universe title – winner of the “Broken Heart” themed contest and the “I Love You” themed contest on Poetry Universe. SECOND CHANCE HEART and A LITTLE MAGICK placed in the TOP 10 on the 2015 P&E Readers’ Poll. Nominated in the TRR Readers’ Choice Awards for Winter 2015. Poetry winner of the 2015 PnPAuthors Contest. The Versatile Blogger Award for 2015. Honorable Mention in the 2014 BTS Red Carpet Book Awards. Finalist and Runner-up in the 2014 MARSocial’s Author of the Year Competition. Honorable mention in the January 2014 Reader’s Choice Award. Liebster Blogger Award for 2013 and 2014. Top 10 Authors on AuthorsDB.com. Winner of the Great One Liners Contest on the Directory of Published Authors.

Be Sure to Follow Marie Online!

Links:

​http://marielavender.com/
http://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/
http://marielavenderbooks.blogspot.com/
http://marielavender.blogspot.com/
https://www.facebook.com/marie.lavender.58
https://www.facebook.com/MarieAnnLavender
https://twitter.com/marielavender1
https://plus.google.com/u/0/+MarieLavender/posts

​​http://www.linkedin.com/pub/marie-lavender/27/187/10a
Amazon author page: Author.to/MarieLavender
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6938764.Marie_Lavender

http://marielavender1.allauthor.com/
http://authorsdb.com/authors-directory/1578-marie-lavender
http://www.pw.org/content/marie_lavender
http://manicreaders.com/marielavender/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJu8HjRVYCFOqcIoX6ZxdqQ/videos

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Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Author Felicia Denise

 

Today I’d like to extend a warm welcome to Felicia Denise. Welcome to The PBS Blog! Let’s get started.

What is your name and where are you from?

Felicia Denise is my real name, and I’m a southern girl by birth—Ole Miss—but grew up in Michigan, got married and started a family in California, moved back to Michigan and now I live in Arizona.

Watch out traveler. Always wanted to visit Cali. Now, you know I have to ask. Since Friday came out, how many times have someone said to you “Bye Felicia?”

LOL! Actually, I’ve probably said it to other people more than it’s been said to me! I also have half a dozen t-shirts, a coffee mug, a keychain and a cap that say, “Bye Felicia!” Both my sons have it as my ringtone. LOL!

Lollll.

How many siblings do you have?

I am one of nine—six girls and three boys. We lost our youngest brother twenty-five years ago to AIDS-related pneumonia at the age of twenty-nine. I don’t believe the eight remaining of us have all been in the same place at the same time since his funeral. There’s always one missing.

Awwue. I am so sorry to hear that. How long have you been married Felicia?  

We’ll celebrate our 34th wedding anniversary in mid-September!

Whoop! Yass. Do you have children?

Yes, three. Our oldest son lives a couple of hours away and works for a major medical corporation; the younger son is a member of the National Guard and works in security, and our daughter is an Army wife who works on base. Notice there was no mention of grandchildren… but I have four grand-dogs!

In the Best Interest of the Child (September 30, 2016)

Amazon US http://bit.ly/BestInt

Amazon UK http://bit.ly/BestIntUK

Amazon CA http://bit.ly/BestIntCA

Amazon AU http://bit.ly/BestIntAU

Goodreads  http://bit.ly/BestIntGR

 

Not grand-dogs loll. I understand that you write, are you employed outside of writing?

No. I had to leave the workforce almost twenty years ago because of chronic illnesses—osteoarthritis and Fibromyalgia.

What was your childhood dream?

To sing with Up with People! LOL! They were a group of young men and women who toured the country regularly…singing in schools, on college campuses, at sporting events, etc. And I loved to sing when I was a kid! My parents’ friends would pay me a quarter to sing at BBQs and picnics LOL! And I sang it all—Aretha Franklin, Freda Payne, Barbra Streisand, Mahalia Jackson—just give me room!

When I was thirteen, a large mass grew over my thyroid and larynx. Fortunately, it was benign. It took a year of surgeries and rehab, but I did go back to singing. Only instead of standing with the girls and singing soprano, I had to stand with the boys and sing bass!

Cool! You gonna have to sing for us one day. So sorry about that mass, glad you everything went well.

You named some artists and I know you be jamming out with us on Throwback Thursdays! So, please tell us more about the kind of music you like.

I love music… end of story! My playlists are so eclectic—60s folk and Motown, 70s funk and disco, 80s Soul, R&B, and boy bands, 90s power females… all mixed in with Classical and Country! The only music that annoys me is gangsta rap and grunge.

Yea, the music today irks my nerves. I don’t even know what to call it but it’s not music. What skill would you like to master?

Playing the piano! Always wanted to learn and even owned a piano at one time. My children were young and involved in every group and club imaginable and there just was never enough time for lessons and practice.

I’d love to learn to play the piano too. Let’s talk about writing, what’s the most difficult thing about being a writer?

Finding your audience.

The most exciting thing?

The emails from readers when they make a real connection with characters and plot. There’s truth even in fiction.

Indeed it is. What is the most thought-provoking book you’ve ever read?

The Bible. Some believe it’s just a book of rules on things you can’t do, but think about it. Nearly every existing trope or genre can be found in the Bible. There’s a lot going on the pages of the Good Book, which is why it takes at least a year to read and comprehend it properly.

Probably the best answer to that question I’ve had here yet. You KNOW I agree. I think people will be surprised at how much information is in the bible. Giants? Bible. Demons? Bible. Righteous and fallen angels?Bible. Black History? Bible. It’s all there.

Felicia, religious?

Religious, no. Spiritual, yes. My maternal grandfather was a Methodist pastor and I was raised in church, but I am not a fan of church doctrine. To me, it’s the underlying problem of ANY religion. Man interjecting his rules and wills where they don’t belong and for non-religious reasons.

I knew we connected for a reason. I gotta share some information with you! Who is your favorite writer?

Two-way tie between Toni Morrison and Jonathon Kellerman. They couldn’t be more different in genre and style, but before I finish the first chapter of any of their books, I’ve crossed into another world.

Family Matters (In the Best Interest of the Child #2) (August 2017)

Goodreads http://bit.ly/FamilyMattersGR

 

Nice. What do you hate most about writing advice?

The subjectivity! Everyone wants you to buy their book or enroll in their class because they have the sure-fire method for becoming a bestselling author and selling truckloads of books. But that just isn’t true. What works for you may not work for me. And it isn’t because I did anything ‘wrong’. An author must put in the time—hit a few and miss a few—to find what works for them… and it doesn’t happen overnight.

Say THAT. What do you love about writing advice?

I love the common-sense advice. It removes all the mystery and double-talk and explains in two or three paragraphs the information you need to know.

Indeed. Now, I met you through the blog so let me ask you, does blogging help you to write?

Actually, for me, it’s the opposite. Writing helps me blog.

I like it. What TV channel doesn’t exist but really should?

JRR Tolkien Network! “All Hobbits, All the time!” I’d never change the station!

What? Lol. Felicia girl you got me rolling.

What TV channel exists but really shouldn’t?

TRUtv…ugh! It was nice when it was CourtTV, now it’s just desperate reality shows and people saying, “Hold my beer and watch this!”

Free, a Novella (May 30, 2017)

Amazon US  http://bit.ly/LindenLane

Amazon UK  http://bit.ly/LindenLaneUK

Amazon CA  http://bit.ly/LindenLaneCA

Amazon AU  http://bit.ly/LindenLaneAU

Goodreads   http://bit.ly/FreeANovella

 

What do you think of the world we live in?

I grew up in the 60s and came of age in the 70s and would give anything to have those days back. They were not perfect times, by any means, but the movement for change was a positive one and shared among the masses. Today, pick any ten people and you could get ten different agendas. Diversity was once our strength, now it’s the focus for oppression. It saddens me to look into the eyes of children and the elderly when they realize how little their lives matter with the changes taking place.

Hmm. Right. In your own words, what is love?

To understand and accept someone into your heart, regardless of their shortcomings or differences, without expecting anything in return.

We enjoyed you lady! Thanks for spending this time with us today. Now, bye Felicia :-).


Author Photo. Felicia Denise

Bio

Writing has been a hobby of Felicia’s since grade school, but other than serving as editor and writing for her high school newspaper, she never publicly shared anything until the early 2000s when she began writing fan fiction. At the urging of a good friend, Felicia took on the challenge of NaNoWriMo in 2015, writing what would become her first published book, In the Best Interest of the Child. It was released in the fall of 2016.

Currently working on several projects, Felicia plans to release book 2 of In the Best Interest of the Child – Family Matters, in summer 2017.

Be Sure to Follow Felicia online!

Links

Author Websitehttps://feliciadenise.com

Blog (Nesie’s Place)https://nesiesplace.wordpress.com

Amazon Author Pagehttps://www.amazon.com/Felicia-Denise/e/B01M03R54B/

Facebook Author Pagehttps://www.facebook.com/authorfeliciadenise

Bookbub Author Page https://www.bookbub.com/authors/felicia-denise

Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/FeliciaDenise

Twitterhttps://www.twitter.com/MsFelicia

Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/fle_d/

Pinteresthttps://www.pinterest.com/fdreevers/

Google+https://plus.google.com/u/0/110467680823101573705

Monthly Newsletterhttp://eepurl.com/cklOKL


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