Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Author Sharon E. Cathcart

 

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


What is your name and where are you from?

I’m Sharon E. Cathcart. I was born in Portland, Ore., but now make my home in the Silicon Valley, Calif. In between, I’ve lived in Lawrence Township, Indiana, and literally all around the San Francisco Bay.

Are you employed outside of writing?

I’m the global grant coordinator for a major medical device firm.

Wow. That’s neat! What was your childhood dream?

I wanted to be a veterinarian. I love animals, and that was the best way I could think of to help them. However, I have dyscalculia (which is like dyslexia, but with numbers) and so my math marks were not high enough to qualify. I still help animals, though, by volunteering with our local humane society and caring for a colony of feral cats.  I also donate all of my royalties from “Hugs and Hisses” to Humane Society Silicon Valley.

Hugs and Hisses is available now on Amazon.com

I love that. Speaking of writing, when did you publish your first book? What was that like?

In 1995. I was still working for the DoD and was tasked with writing the history of Sixth U.S. Army, which was decommissioned that year. The resulting work, “Born of War … Dedicated to Peace,” was given as a souvenir during the closure ceremony.  It was kind of amazing, to be honest. I’d said for years that I wanted to write a book and suddenly I was holding one in my hand.  However, when that job went away, I stopped thinking of myself as a writer for a very long time. I didn’t publish anything again until 2009 (that’s when my first novel, “In The Eye of The Beholder,” was released).

I’m glad you got back on the wagon. What skill would you like to master?

I would like to be able to draw (I can manage stick figures, and a passable horse head, but that’s about it). I would also like to be a better swimmer. I get claustrophobic when my face is in the water, so I’m really lousy.

I get it. What state or country do you never want to go back to?

Indiana. I lived there whilst attending the Defense Information School (I used to work for the Department of Defense as a public affairs specialist), and I tell people the same thing whenever they ask: “There were three things I loved about Indiana: the Connor Prairie Living History Center, the Indianapolis Zoo, and seeing Indiana go away under the airplane.” The main thing that sticks with me about living there was the day I looked something up in the phone book (remember those?)

Lol. I do.

…and found the KKK openly listed. I don’t remember what I was trying to find, but I sure remember that. It colored my feelings about the entire state – and not in a good way.

Doesn’t surprise me. Since you brought it up let’s go there. What are your views on racism? 

Racism is a systemic thing, to me. It is about policies and laws that punch downward against people who are not in the majority. Any damn fool can be prejudiced/bigoted, but it takes political power to create racism.

By the way, I firmly believe that any white person who doesn’t recognize that the US is a white supremacist system is deluding themselves with willful ignorance. We all need to speak up against injustices like racism. If “social justice warrior” is an epithet, it’s one I’ll wear with honor. I spend a little time tackling racism in “Bayou Fire,” where my hero is an abolitionist in Jacksonian-era New Orleans – an unpopular position at the time, to say the least. I firmly believe we need to be speaking out today, and that’s why I created that personality trait for him.

Nice. I’d like to read this book. You said it takes political power to create racism. How so?

One has to be in a position to create systems designed to keep others down … and that means political power. We see numerous voter suppression laws being enacted, and attempts to roll back hard-won civil rights … because those holding the power are afraid of losing their hegemony.  Holding the power to back up bigoted beliefs with action is what creates racism.

What songs have you completely memorized?

Just about everything by The Beatles and David Bowie. I’m not kidding.

So I guess I don’t have to ask what kind of music you like…

I have found something to like in every single genre except Chinese opera (which, even according to fans, is an acquired taste). My love show tunes, classical, bluegrass, just about everything you can imagine. My favorite artists are David Bowie, Ramin Karimloo, and The Beatles.

What’s your favorite color?

My long-time favorite is purple. However, I’m also fond of teal, which is the color of most of my author branding.

Are you married Sharon?

My husband, Jeff, and I have been together for 18 years and married for 16. It’s a second marriage for both of us.

Congrats! What’s your favorite TV Show? Movie?

My favorite film of all time is “Tom Jones,” starring Albert Finney. It’s the story of an 18th Century English rake, and is absolutely hilarious. You need to watch it just for the scene where he and one of the female characters are eating dinner; no one says a word, but the tension is fantastic!

What TV channel exists but really shouldn’t?

Please don’t get me started on TLC. I remember when it was “The Learning Channel.” Now it seems like it’s “The Lowest Common Denominator.” I’m not a fan of so-called reality TV, with the exception of cooking competitions.

I love cooking competition shows! I have to ask. Top Chef or Hell’s Kitchen?

Hell’s Kitchen. I kind of adore Gordon Ramsey. He puts on an enormous display of temper, for sure, but you can tell he really cares about food.

Ha! I am in the middle. I love Top Chef but I just got into Hell’s Kitchen and I can tell Ramsey is fair in his decisions.

Speaking of Ramsey’s temper, what do you think of the bullying in our schools? How can we do better?

I was one of those kids who was bullied, pretty much from 6th grade on until high school graduation.  Teachers need to take it seriously rather than blowing it off as “they’re just jealous” or “they’re teasing you because they like you.” Kids are not stupid; they know the difference between a buddy teasing you and someone being actively cruel. Parents need to teach their children to be kind rather just laughing off their aggression as “kids will be kids.” The teaching has to begin at home, and classrooms need to reinforce it.

We agree there. What advice would you give your younger self?

It is going to get better. Find the drama kids sooner. Don’t hold people at arm’s length because you’re afraid; everyone is struggling and you will discover that most people are genuinely kind.

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


Copyright©2018. Sharon E. Cathcart. photo used with permission.

Bio.

Sharon E. Cathcart is an award-winning author of fiction featuring atypical characters.

A former journalist and newspaper editor, Sharon has been writing for as long as she can remember and always has at least one work in progress.

Sharon lives in the Silicon Valley, California, with her husband and an assortment of rescue pets.

Be sure to follow Sharon on Social Media!

Blog: http://sharonecathcart.wordpress.com

Twitter: @SharonCathcart
Facebok:  http://www.facebook.com/sharon.e.cathcart

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 Frank Prem

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


What is your name and where are you from?

I’m Frank Prem, and I live in a pretty little town called Beechworth, that’s nestled not far from the Victorian Alps in Australia. It isn’t famous for the Alps, though. Beechworth has a gold mining history that dates back to the 1850s, an association with an infamous band of bushrangers (outlaws) (The Ned Kelly Gang).

That’s the old fame, and it’s a well preserved and highly successful tourist town off the back of that, but in this day and age it may just be as well known for its bakery (The Beechworth Bakery), which seems to draw folk to it from everywhere and is almost too full some days for me to have my before-work cuppa at six in the morning. Not really, but it gets very crowded in there most days.

By the way, I grew up in Beechworth back in the 1960s and 70s, and that childhood is the subject of a memoir I’m in the process of releasing as first indie publication. That’s very exciting.

I bet! Releasing your first book is very exciting. Congratulations to you. Are you employed outside of writing?

I have had a lifelong association with psychiatry and psychiatric services over here in Victoria. When I was a young child, my parents were both employed to work in the local mental asylum (as they were known then). My first associations were through riding my bike up the Mental Asylum hill to visit either of my parents while they were working. My mum was part of the nursing staff while dad worked in the Kitchens. Subsequently, I became a student psychiatric nurse at the institution and went to work in a wide variety of jobs and roles in the system of Psychiatric care, including helping – in a very modest way – to close them all down in the 1990s.

These days I still work as a psychiatric nurse in a small rehabilitation facility in the town. The squaring of the circle, completed. The manuscript for a memoir of my time in psychiatry is complete and waiting its turn in the queue. I hope to produce it in book and electronic form within about a year, but there are other projects already in the pipeline that need to be completed first.

Wow, that is neat. Since we keep going back to writing let’s talk about that. Does blogging help you to write?

I find I write my best, or at least with the most pleasure from the work, when I am writing for a reader. I do not write for myself.

Since starting my poetry blog, I have found inspiration with every view recorded, with every ‘like’ for a poem, and absolutely with every comment and conversation that a reader has initiated. Similarly, with reading to an audience I delight in engaging with listeners, especially when something I have written and/or read has acted as a catalyst for a person to start telling me of their similar but unique experience.

I believe that all poetry, and especially mine, needs to be a means of communication, and needs to be accessible. I want people to understand what the poem is about, to be able to consider it, respond to it, discuss it with a neighbor. As my readership at the poetry blog has grown, I have felt myself to be freed up to write more and better, curious about how the new poem will be received, while hurrying on to write the next.

How did you come to the decision to write for your readers? Are there any instances where you write for yourself?

I think there is a point around when a writer realizes that the need to write has become a fundamental part of him- or her- self, that this issue has to be confronted. Who am I writing for?

In my own case, I tend to write and move on. I don’t enjoy revisiting old work and I resist doing anything beyond superficial editing. I would rather discard a poem and start over afresh with the next thought than rewrite what I have, in my mind, already completed.

For my own purposes, I concluded that when I have thought the thought, I don’t need it anymore. It is written for another person to contemplate, if they wish to. My problem, is that every thought can become a contemplation. Every contemplation become a poem.

I have a big backlog!

I love what you said about not needing it anymore and how it is now for someone else. That’s powerful. Frank, what do you wish you knew more about?

I’ve become quite fascinated with the universe in recent times – pictures that the good folk at NASA have made available through their library archive are simply amazing and become a feature of and inspiration for my writing in recent times.

What’s your favorite drink?

I confess to being a bit of a coffee fiend. Nothing uncommon in that, except that I buy my beans green, then roast them myself in a popcorn whirligig that I had to import special from the US.

Wow that’s nice! I, too, am a coffee fiend. Shout out to all the coffee lovers out there.

The making of coffee for my wife and myself assumes the role of ritual in our household. A certain number of spoons of beans into a hand grinder, then the ground powder into a stove-top espresso maker. Milk into a pot to bring to boil on the stove, with both of them timed to coincide in their readiness to be blended and poured. The hissing and boiling carry-on of the espresso maker as it approaches its climax is a delight to me, every morning.

Ha! Ya’ll are all over it. What is the most thought provoking book you’ve ever read?

The most inspirational books that I’ve read in recent times have been the translated works of a French philosopher named Gaston Bachelard – who died back around the 1960’s. He was a scientist as well as a philosopher and he spent a lot of time thinking about poetry and poetics and reverie – tying them up, breaking them down, showing how others had addressed these things.

I found that, for a long time, I couldn’t read beyond a paragraph without needing to pen my own interpretation, my own story of what he was illuminating for me. I’ve ended up with a set of around 800 poems that I intend to bring to book when I clear the queue in front of them, just a little.

That’s what’s up. Keep the creative juices going. Loving your cover by the way. So, what’s the most difficult thing about being a writer? The most exciting thing?

The hardest thing about being a writer is turning the work into a book. I feel that I am on a fast-track learning curve that will take from being a writer to being an author, but at the same time requires me to become a publisher, and a publicist and an interviewee, and press release source, with all of it looking professional and as though it is as straightforward as taking the next breath of air.

The next book, of course, should be easier, because I am learning hard. The book that I am just about to start writing will be the easiest of all because all my new work will be in a book style and format even while it is in draft form. It will be surrounded, in advance, by the front matter and the back matter and copyright statement and the dedication page and …

It is hard because there is so much to learn. But this is work I badly want to master, and so I shall.

In the meantime, since I began thinking about these questions, my first book – Small Town Kid – has listed on Amazon in e-book form (with the paperback hurrying along behind it, I hope). It can be found at the listing below, and I feel unbelievably proud of this work.

I’m so happy for you. Tell us, why writing is important to you.

Writing my poems is the oxygen in my lungs. Ink is the blood in my veins and arteries.

I can’t imagine myself without my poetry, searching for the next thought that will bear scrutiny by the poet.

What genre do you write in, why?

I am primarily a free verse poet, but I have come to think that I don’t really have a particularly poetic genre or style. I feel my work is something of a hybrid between poetry and short story writing.

I have always been attracted to poetry as my best means of creative expression.

Over my journey through life I often have encountered strange and seemingly inexplicable events and phenomena – particularly in psychiatry. I often would use my writing as a way to unravel and better understand what I had done and what I had seen during the day gone by.

I needed a way to get difficult things out of my head, so that I could be at peace with myself, but not to have them lost to me (or to a potential reader, of course).

I use very little punctuation in my writing, and I use very short lines, as I attempt to incorporate the cadences of reading aloud with the pauses and accents and emphasis that go with that, and the additional natural pauses that come with taking a breath.

I hope that a person unfamiliar with my work could pick up a poem and read it aloud with a natural flow and feel, just by using the line breaks and stanza breaks as a guide to the pace of their reading.

Nice. Are you a spiritual person?

I think I’m a very spiritual person. Not at all religious, but respectful and in awe of nature and the life around me. Of the sky and the moon and the night. I dance to the tune of rain on my roof and the rumbling of a storm that I can feel deep in my chest.

You sound just like a poet too lol.

So, yes, Yecheilyah, I think I’m a very spiritual person, and I am grateful for it.

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


DYANNE PHOTOGRAPHY

 

Bio.

Frank Prem has been a storytelling poet for forty years. When not writing or reading his poetry to an audience, he fills his time by working as a psychiatric nurse.

He has been published in magazines, zines and anthologies, in Australia and in several other countries, and has both performed and recorded his work as ‘spoken word’.

He lives with his wife, musician and artist Leanne Murphy, in the beautiful township of Beechworth in northeast Victoria (Australia).

Be Sure to Visit Frank Online!

Frank’s Author Page: https://frankprem.com/

Frank’s Poetry Blog: https://frankprem.wordpress.com/

Frank’s Seventeen Syllable Poetry Blog: https://seventeensyllablepoetry.wordpress.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Frank.Prem.Poet.Author

Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Author Wanda Luthman

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


What is your name and where are you from?

Wanda Luthman. I grew up in St. Louis, MO but was born in NC, spent a few years in Florida, and two beautiful years in Hawaii, and now I’m back in Florida.

Hawaii. Okkaay. Are you employed outside of writing?

I’m a High School Guidance Counselor. I have 350 students that I track for graduation and help them with emotional issues as well as career advice throughout their high school years. I love my job, my school, my co-workers, and most especially the children/young adults.

I love it. Any siblings?

I have two siblings—a brother and a sister. I’m the baby of the three of us.

In your own words, what is love?

Love is magic. Whenever you think of love, you know something magical is there. Whether it’s between husband and wife or parent and child, you feel something extra there that is indescribable. And when you see a tragedy and then you see the helpers, you know there is love and those people are working miracles in the lives of others. That’s what love is. It’s powerful and changes lives.

I love what you said about tragedies and seeing helpers and knowing there’s love there! Wanda, what’s your favorite color?

My favorite color is blue or purple. I love them both equally! And they’re related on the color wheel.

Who is your favorite writer?

My favorite writer is Dr. Seuss.

What kind of music do you like?

I love country music because it tells a story but I love all kinds of music from classical (I used to play the piano) to Gospel to Rock ‘n Roll.

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

I published my first book in October 2014. I used a service that cost a lot of money to publish but it was worth it to see my dream become a reality!!

I can definitely understand the feeling of seeing your dream come true for sure. Don’t pay a lot of money to get your book published again though! It shouldn’t cost you anything to publish your book. If it does, run. Are you married Wanda? How long?

Yes, I have been married for 23 wonderful years.

Wonderful! Do you have children?

Yes, I have 5 children. 1 that is my own biological child and 4 that are step-children.

Awesome. Are you a spiritual person?

I am a deeply spiritual person. I grew up in a Christian home and was a very concrete thinker so I tried to do everything perfectly. I quickly realized I couldn’t be perfect. I gave that up and had a few tumultuous years of experimenting. But, then, I came back around and married someone I thought was also a Christian. It turns out, he wasn’t a very nice person. I went against my beliefs and filed for a divorce and felt incredibly liberated. I then went on a spiritual journey and read all kinds of spiritual books from all different kinds of religions and attended several different types of churches. I then realized I still believed in my Christian faith but I wasn’t going to follow rules just to follow rules. I was going to be true to myself. As I became more real, I encountered God on a whole new level. I learned to meditate and I do what I do because it’s who I am not because I “should.” This is what being spiritual is to me, it’s about a relationship with a living God that lives in, through, and around me. Religion to me is more about a set of rules and trying to live up to those rules. No one can be perfect. That’s why we need Jesus and forgiveness. We need to forgive ourselves as much as we need to forgive others. And love is the key to everything.

I agree that love is the key to everything.

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


Copyright©2018. Wanda Luthman. Used with permission.

Bio.

Wanda Luthman has her Masters of Arts in both Mental Health Counseling and Guidance Counseling from Rollins College located in beautiful Winter Park, Florida. She has worked as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Adjunct Professor, and Hospice Counselor for teens. She’s currently a Guidance Counselor at a local High School. She is an award-winning, best-selling, international author who has self-published 5 children’s books (The Lilac Princess, A Turtle’s Magical Adventure, Gloria and the Unicorn, Little Birdie, and Franky the Finicky Flamingo). She is a former National Pen Women of Cape Canaveral. She belongs to the Florida’s Writers Association; Space Coast Authors; and Brevard Authors Forum. She presently resides in Brevard County Florida with her husband of 23 years and 2 dogs. Her daughter is away at college, like Little Birdie, she has left the nest.

Be Sure to Follow Wanda Online!

Website/blog: https://wandaluthman.wordpress.com

Facebook fan page: https://www.facebook.com/wluthman/

https://www.facebook.com/wanda.luthman

Twitter: https://twitter.com/wandalu64

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCskx2N_lGOY9ZHwkb46BHaA

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wandalu64

Google+: https://plus.google.com/+WandaLuthman

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/wandaluthman

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/wluthman/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/wandaluthman/


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

Authors, Are You Forgetting to Introduce Yourself??

If you are new to this blog, you may not know that I host weekly author interviews but you may have forgotten because it’s been months since we met a new author. I do know there are some people a bit confused on the process so I am reiterating the steps below. Usually, I publish author interviews on Monday’s but since it’s been awhile if you can get your information to me this week, I’ll post it this week. First, a recap of what this series is about.

About Introduce Yourself

In my ten years of publishing, I have come to understand that relationships sell books. By learning more about YOU the author as well as your writing style in general, your readers will be interested in other things about you, such as your writing and eventually, your books. It cannot be ignored that we are most likely to buy books from people we know. It’s why we support celebrities whose names we are already familiar with.

Introduce Yourself is a promotional opportunity for new authors I started back in 2016, hosted on The PBS Blog. It is an interview conducted by Yecheilyah (that’s me) with questions specifically tailored to helping us to get to know you better. Inspired by a song introduced in a children’s bible study class I helped coordinate, the song is meant to “break the ice.” With this feature, I hope to introduce new authors to my audience for an opportunity to learn more about them and their work. They say team work makes the dream work and I hope to do my part in making the dreams of authors come true.

The Process:

Participation is easy.

  • Choose at least 10 questions from the list below and email me your answers at yecheilyah(at)yecheilyahysrayl(dot)com) with your social media handles, photos, book covers, a brief bio, and a link to your website or blog. Please attach everything you would like me to promote along with the links. Also, please be as thorough in your answers as you canand be yourself.
  • Once I receive your email, I will respond in 3-5  1-2 business days. If I have any follow-up questions for you, I will ask you before setting a date for your feature.
  • The interviews that do the best are those in which you help me to promote you by reposting it to your social media pages and blog. To date, we’ve promoted 28 authors on this blog! Join them!

The questions are below. They are not in any particular order. Start with question 30 or question one. Your choice. Just make it an interesting mix!

  1. What is your name and where are you from?
  2. What would your perfect writing / reading room look like?
  3. What is the most annoying habit that you have?
  4. Are you employed outside of writing? Is so, tell us about your job.
  5. What do you hate most about writing advice? What do you love?
  6. What job do you think you’d be really good at?
  7. How many siblings do you have?
  8. What was your childhood dream?
  9. What skill would you like to master?
  10. What skill do you think you’ve mastered?
  11. In your own words, what is humility?
  12. In your own words, what is love?
  13. What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?
  14. 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?
  15. What’s your favorite drink?
  16. What state or country do you never want to go back to?
  17. What songs have you completely memorized?
  18. Does blogging help you to write? If not, why so? If so, how so?
  19. What’s your favorite food?
  20. What’s your favorite color?
  21. Who is your favorite writer?
  22. If you could shadow your favorite artist, who would it be?
  23. What kind of music do you like?
  24. When did you publish your first book? What was that like?
  25. If you could live in a movie, which would it be? Why?
  26. Who is your best friend?
  27. Are you married? How long?
  28. Are you single? Would you like to be married?
  29. Do you have children?
  30. Would you like to have children? Why?
  31. What takes up too much of your time?
  32. What do you wish you knew more about?
  33. What small things makes your life easier? What makes it difficult?
  34. Who’s your favorite Historical figure?
  35. What do you think of the world we live in?
  36. What are your thoughts on Race?
  37. In your own words (not Google’s) define racism.
  38. What’s your favorite TV Show? Movie?
  39. What TV channel doesn’t exist but really should?
  40. What TV channel exists but really shouldn’t?
  41. Are you religious? Explain.
  42. Are you political? Explain.
  43. What is the most thought provoking book you’ve ever read?
  44. What’s the most difficult thing about being a writer? The most exciting thing?
  45. Why is writing important to you?
  46. What do you love about yourself?
  47. What don’t you like about yourself?
  48. If you had one superpower that could change the world, what would it be? Why?
  49. What genre do you write in, why?
  50. In your own words, what is truth?
  51. Outside of writing, what are some of your passions?
  52. What’s the funniest movie you’ve ever seen?
  53. Are you a spiritual person? (please explain how this is different from being a religious person)
  54. What do you think of police brutality in the black community? How can we do better?
  55. What do you think of the bullying in our schools? How can we do better?
  56. What do you think of the current political climate? What needs to change?
  57. If you could choose a city, state, or country to represent you, which would it be? Why?
  58. If you could, would you visit the past?
  59. If you could, would you visit the future?
  60. What advice would you give your younger self?
  61. Life is not always pretty. We all experience hardship every now and again. What is your best advice for reducing stress?
  62. What is the worst advice you’ve ever been given?
  63. What is the best advice you’ve ever been given? What made it special?
  64. What was your favorite subject in school? Your least favorite?
  65. What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?

UPDATE: AUTHORS, PLEASE NOTE: This segment is not new on the blog but has been going on for two years now. Be sure to check the Introduce Yourself page (HERE) to make sure you have not already been interviewed. If you have already been interviewed but you have new books out / updates, email me so I can update your page. yecheilyah(at)yecheilyahysrayl(dot)com

I am at your service!

Introduce Yourself – Introducing Guest Author Tehilayah Ysrayl

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

 

What is your name and where are you from?

My name is Tehilayah Yahqar Ysrayl. I am from Fort Wayne, Indiana.

For those who don’t know, tell us what your name means.

My name means a song of praise to Yah.

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

Oh…I have never been asked this before. Hmm. I would have to say it would be white with splashes of earth tones, you know browns, tans, and greens. I would have an oversized reading chair with a tan blanket laid across. Next to the chair would be a table that displays the current book I am reading and an always ready wine glass. Across the room would be this glass desk with an executive chair and a new computer would be waiting for me and next to it a monogrammed notebook with my name in gold, (I love notebooks). My coffee cup to keep me energized. The sunlight would beam through the room because of the sky windows and land on my beautiful bookcases. There would be a beautiful rug in the middle of the floor, maybe white to cover the cognac colored hardwood floors. In the winter I would be able to light my fireplace so that I can stay cozy while I read and write. Yesss, and there would be a sign on the door that says “leave me alone I am writing/reading”. I would have a tranquil waterfall in the corner to give it that relaxed feel. Yess, lol… I kind of went there huh?

You did but we love it. That room sounds nice! What’s your favorite food?

Mexican food, I love it. Can’t get enough. I love nachos and guacamole.

Do you have a favorite color?

It changes, right now it’s purple and burgundy. Those colors have always been royal to me.

So Tehilayah, married? Children?

I am and my hubby is awesome. We have been together for almost 16 years and married for going on 6 or 7 years. Oh, wait, I better get that right. lol. Well, we have an anniversary coming up in October. We actually celebrate 2 anniversaries. The day we met and the day we got married. I think that is why I get it all messed up, lol. Truth is I knew he was my husband 2 weeks after we met. When he finds you, you just know, hee hee hee. I do have 4 children. three boys and one girl, she’s the baby.  They are the ages of 19, 17, 14 and 9.

Beautiful. What is your favorite movie or TV show?

Movie is The Matrix hands down. That has always been my favorite. I have the whole trilogy but nothing is like the first one. My favorite TV show is Underground. I really hope they bring that back soon.

Tehilayah_Ysrayl_3d - No Idle Word
No Idle Word, a collection of poetry and prose. Coming Fall, 2018

I loved Underground myself. Let’s talk about writing a bit. I hear you are working on a book. Tell us about this project and what inspired you to write it.

I am. No Idle Word is my first collection of poetry.

Congratulations!

Thank you! This project is my baby. It’s the start to a new beginning and venture. It was last year when I took to the stage and I realized that I had a voice. It was then that hubby said, “you should release a book.” I thought he was gassing me up! I was nervous and anxious but I am here, trying new things and stepping out my comfort zone. I decided to leave it all on the page.

I love “No Idle Word.” Why this title? What does it mean, “No Idle Word?”

I meditated on a title for a while. I had so many written down and scratched out. No Idle Word was my last thought. I chose this because words are living. They have the power to build up and break down. They are always moving. It’s just a matter of how you choose to use your voice.

You heard it here first people!

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

Well, my son is my go-to guru on everything superpower. But if I had to choose without his consultation it would be love. Love conquers all things. If I could touch someone one to make them feel loved and give love we could change the world one touch at a time. Make it contagious. “Don’t touch her she got that love bug.”

Love it. In your own words, what is truth?

Truth is taking off the mask and walking in the you that people don’t see. It’s the bearing of all unapologetically. Truth has never been gentle. I would say it’s the one experience that is always authentic. There’s a phrase “truth, you can’t handle the truth,” something like that. It’s true. We can’t handle the truth. Truth handles us, it refines, tears down and builds. Truth has always been the start of construction and growth within yourself.

Why is writing important to you?

Writing is the way that I can release all the ideas and thoughts that I have flowing all day and night. If I didn’t have a pen and notebook on my person I would probably be frazzled and confused all day. It’s a way that I can get whatever is on my heart and mind out so that I don’t let whatever feelings I have had throughout the day overtake me. Writing is my place of freedom.

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


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Copyright©Tehilayah Ysrayl

Bio.

Tehilayah is a poet, wife, and mother and has presented her poetry at various venues and impromptu poetry gatherings in her city. She enjoys singing, sewing, reading, wine, whiskey and, most importantly, words. Some of her favorite poets include but are not limited to, Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, Amiri Baraka, Countee Cullen, Sonia Sanchez, Steven Willis, and Rudy Francisco.

Tehilayah is also a voracious reader and fell in love with Urban Fiction because of Donald Goines. From there she branched off to discover other authors like Sista Soulja and the love stories that Eric Jerome Dickey brought, Carl Weber and many more. Currently, Tehilayah is enthralled in the Ashley and Jaquavis novel series. Tehilayah reads not only for the entertainment but also for the techniques in writing.

Tehilayah is working on her first book, a collection of poetry she is calling, No Idle Word. No Idle Word is about encouraging the faint at heart, providing awareness to the ignorant, and healing to the broken.

Be Sure to Support Tehilayah online!

 

IG: @tehilayah/

Twitter: @tehilayah

Blog: https://nolineleftbehind.wordpress.com/


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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?

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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.

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!