Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Author Jo Ann Maxwell

Welcome to Introduce Yourself, a new and exciting blog segment of The PBS Blog dedicated to introducing to you new and established authors and their books.

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

What would your perfect writing/reading room look like?

It would have lots of windows and be situated in a forest area.  Somewhere in the mountains would be perfect. And a beautiful lake or river outside as well.  It would stay at a perfect 68° no matter the weather. The walls would be a pale robin’s egg blue. I would have a sound system that would play my favorite Christian music. I would have a sturdy couch with an ottoman when I want to put up my feet. It would have a small refrigerator with bottled spring water, and fruits and nuts.  It would also have an attached bathroom.  There would definitely be no TV or phone!

No TV or phone, I hear ya. What skill would you like to master? 

I would like to learn how to fly a plane. Just a small plane. I don’t need to go fast. Just want to get up close to the clouds and look at the earth from that perspective. It would be a little like God looking down from heaven and seeing us.  Our perspective is so narrow and immediate focused. He sees the big picture.

In your own words, what is humility? 

Humility is choosing someone else over yourself. Humility is being willing to be wrong. Humility is making sure those around you are successful. Humility is the opposite of self-righteousness. Humility is not being submissive and allowing abuse to continue. Humility is grounded in love for yourself. When we love ourselves, we can love others! And as we love others, humility is a byproduct of that love. There is no competition, needing to be right, nor a desire to control others.

What would be the most amazing adventure to go on? 

I would like to travel around Italy and sample the wines and cheeses throughout the country.

Fearless, is available now at WestBow Press, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble.

That sounds lovely. Jo, tell us about when published your first book? What was it like?

My book was published in the fall of 2016. It is called Fearless. It chronicles my journey through grief and depression to rely on my faith to gain victory in spite of living with a chronic disease; multiple sclerosis.

Can you talk a little bit about what Multiple Sclerosis is for those who may not know?

After my diagnosis, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS) was my first and continues to be my go-to source for information. According to NMSS, Multiple Sclerosis (MS) involves an immune-mediated process in which an abnormal response of the body’s immune system is directed against the central nervous system (CNS), which is made up of the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. The exact antigen—or target that the immune cells are sensitized to attack—remains unknown, which is why MS is considered by many experts to be “immune-mediated” rather than “autoimmune.”

  • Within the CNS, the immune system attacks myelin—the fatty substance that surrounds and insulates the nerve fibers—as well as the nerve fibers themselves.
  • The damaged myelin forms scar tissue (sclerosis), which gives the disease its name.
  • When any part of the myelin sheath or nerve fiber is damaged or destroyed, nerve impulses traveling to and from the brain and spinal cord are distorted or interrupted, producing a wide variety of symptoms.
  • The disease is thought to be triggered in a genetically susceptible individual by a combination of one or more environmental factors.
  • People with MS typically experience one of four disease courses, which can be mild, moderate or severe

What small things makes your life easier? What makes it difficult? 

I have been living with a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis for a little over four years. What makes it easier for me is to have several rest periods throughout the day.   I swim three days a week and do my physical and occupational therapy. This doesn’t necessarily make my life easier, but it doesn’t make it more difficult. I need to exercise and be strong in all the ways I can while I still can.  Stress and busyness make it difficult for me. Before I was diagnosed, I was a teacher for 17 years and then a nonprofit manager for 19 years.  So I’m used to a very high activity job that requires multitasking. Now looking at all the emails that come in to my two email accounts I get overwhelmed. I have to take a while to digest the information, regroup, and then tackle it.  I was used to be able to go to three or four stores in the morning and still have lots of energy left over. Now I  can only do two or three errands, especially if one is a drive-through. I think it is the fatigue that is the most annoying symptom that I have. The fatigue has caused me to radically change my lifestyle.

What is your favorite historical figure? 

That would have to be Jesus, hands down. He has influenced my life in ways that I can only repay him by walking as closely to his word as I can.  It is the amazing love of the father who sacrificed his son so we could have the Holy Spirit living inside of us.  Almost too amazing to even think about.

I take it you’re religious?

No I am not religious. Religion is a set of rules you have to live by. I have a relationship with Jesus my Savior. I love spending time with him, and he wants to spend time with me. Just like any relationship, it takes effort on my part to make it rich and meaningful. 

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

It has to be Magnificent Obsession by Anne Graham Lotz.  She goes through the life of Abraham and paints beautiful pictures of how we too can be sold out to God and his plans and guidance for our lives.

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

It would be a research scientist with the power to find the cure for all of the currently incurable diseases in the world. That would include cancer, multiple sclerosis, AIDS, dementia, polio, Parkinson’s, Lupus, influenza, diabetes, asthma, and mental illness.  And I would also coordinate the research projects so that all scientists can work together rather than separate in their own little silos.

Thank you Jo for spending this time with us! Because of you we know more about Multiple Sclerosis!


Jo Ann Maxwell, used with permission.
Bio
I was suddenly diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at the age of 60. Many of the symptoms I had throughout my life suddenly became clear. My faith, independence, and fearlessness were threatened. In my book I talk about my struggles to find hope again.  I had a successful career as a teacher and a senior-level nonprofit executive. Since retiring I have been assisting my aging parents in North Carolina. I try to stay active as a volunteer at the Billy Graham training center in Asheville North Carolina, read, play mah-jongg,  do puzzles, and exercise as much as I can. Right now my walking is very limited, but I get in the pool and swim three days a week, and I can work on a recumbent cross trainer.  As a physical educator, I know the great advantages of exercise. It’s also important to stay as strong as I can and not let the MS get the better of me!  My book chronicles how my faith was stretched and strengthened and how I find victory in spite of living with a chronic disease. 

Are you a new (or not so new) author? Looking for more exposure? Learn more about my Introduce Yourself Feature HERE.

Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Author Stevie Turner

Welcome to Introduce Yourself, a new and exciting blog segment of The PBS Blog dedicated to introducing to you new and established authors and their books.

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

Go ahead and Introduce yourself. Tell us your name and where you’re from.

I’m Stevie Turner, born and bred in London, but now live in the East Anglia region of England.

How many siblings do you have?

None, unfortunately.  I am an only child.

What songs have you completely memorized?

I’m very musical, and find it easy to memorize the lyrics to songs.  Therefore, there must be hundreds that I can sing from start to finish, but probably only if they were a hit before 1990!

Lol. What’s your favorite color?

Yellow.

Yellow is beautiful. What was your childhood dream?

To become a doctor, but as I’m virtually number illiterate, that was never going to happen.

A House Without Windows is Available Now on Amazon

As you know, we be in here jamming it out on Throwback Thursday so I have to ask, what kind of music do you like?

Rock, reggae and blues, probably in that order.  Also like some classical, but not opera or jazz.

Not Jazz!? What is wrong with you Stevie! Lol. Let’s get a little serious, what do you think of this world we live in?

Technology has advanced so much since I was a child in the 1960’s.  It has now given us people addicted to social media who are looking down at their phones all day. What with online bullying of schoolchildren these days who are afraid to play out in the street, global warming, and terrible ‘music’ that just sounds like people shouting, I’m glad I was born in the late 1950’s, that’s all I can say.

Man, you are so right. I love hearing stories from that time. It is also why I loved your memoir. Can you tell us about some of the major differences you see between let’s say 1960 and 2017 that you haven’t already mentioned?

There were no mobile phones and microwave ovens in 1960, and not all homes even had washing machines or a landline phone (I was 18 before my parents got a landline phone and a washing machine).  Our TV in 1960 had 3 channels, and the last program finished at 10pm, when the National Anthem played.  However, children like myself didn’t watch a lot of TV.  I played outside for hours in the streets with friends, roamed around my local area unsupervised, walked to school on my own, and stayed at home by myself from the age of 9 during school holidays while my parents worked, making my own decisions, right or wrong.  Children were free.  My granddaughters are guarded 24/7, and if the 11-year-old even goes across the road to call for a friend, her mother is constantly ringing her phone to make sure she is okay.  My granddaughter complains to me that she is given no freedom.  I feel so lucky that I was a child in the 1960’s!

Wow. I asked my in-laws this same question and my mom-in-law gave the same answer. She said that when she was little it was safer for her to go out and play. My dad-in-law said people treated each other better. I love hearing stories about the 50s and 60s. I will sit and ask you questions all day lol. What TV channel exists but really shouldn’t?

MTV.

In your own words, what is truth?

Truth is how we are meant to live, to live true to ourselves.  If we are living a lie it will make us unhappy.  Truth is being able to sleep with a clear conscience.  Truth is the way forward.

Repent at Leisure is Available Now on Amazon

“Truth is the way forward.” I like that. What do you hate most about writing advice?  What do you love?

I hate reading blogs about writing where the blogger has stated advice that is common sense and doesn’t really need to be stated, obviously because he / she cannot think of anything else to write about.  Stop it! However, I love it when I actually read some great advice and learn something from it.

But common sense is anything but common, right? What if what is common sense to you is confusing and unclear to someone else?

Yes, you have a good point Yecheilyah. What is common sense to me might not be to somebody else.  As with all the other answers, I have given my own opinion.  However, there are some blogs which I read and I think to myself…does this really need to be said?

True, true. You’re right. Speaking of blogging, does it help you to write?

No, it distracts me from writing. Time has to be taken ‘building up a platform’ and that includes publishing a blog every day to gain a wider audience. It has to be done, but I’d rather be writing a novel.

Interesting. What skill would you like to master?

To play the piano.  I could only master up to Grade 4.

I would LOVE to play the piano. What would your favorite writing / reading room look like?

A view out to open fields, air conditioning, and total silence.  Hey, it seems I already have that in my front room!

What takes up too much of your time?

Marketing and promoting my books.  A necessary evil I’m afraid.

I feel you. 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 look like?

At least 6 bedrooms for the children and grandchildren to stay in when they like, three or four bathrooms, a swimming pool, a gym, and a huge room for parties.  My house would be in the arse end of nowhere in the countryside, all on its own.  I’d have my own writing room as well!

What’s your favorite drink?

Water, closely followed by green tea.

Yea, I have to admit, green tea is the bomb.

Stevie, we learned a lot! Thank you for spending time with us!


Stevie Turner retired early from her post as a medical secretary in a busy NHS hospital to concentrate on writing suspense, women’s fiction, and humorous novels. She won a New Apple Book Award in 2014 and a Readers’ Favorite Gold Award in 2015 for her book ‘A House Without Windows’, and one of her short stories, ‘Checking Out’, was published in the Creative Writing Institute’s 2016 anthology ‘Explain!’ Her psychological thriller ‘Repent at Leisure’ won third prize in the 2016 Drunken Druid Book Award contest, and her thriller screenplay ‘For the Sake of a Child’ won a silver award in the Spring 2017 Depth of Field International Film Festival, and it will now be read, along with the other winners, by a major independent film production company in Los Angeles.

Stevie lives in the East of England with her husband Sam, and she signed a contract with Creativia Publishers in 2016. She has also branched out into the world of audio books. ‘The Daughter-in-law Syndrome’, ‘A House Without Windows’, ‘No Sex Please, I’m Menopausal!’, ‘The Noise Effect’, Lily: A Short Story, ‘A Rather Unusual Romance’, and ‘Waiting in the Wings’ are all available as audio books. Some of her books have also been translated into German, Spanish and Italian.

Stevie can be contacted at the following email address: stevie@stevie-turner-author.co.uk

Website http://www.stevie-turner-author.co.uk

Amazon page http://bookShow.me/B00AV7YOTU

Blog    https://steviet3.wordpress.com/


Are you a new (or established) author? Looking for more exposure? Learn more about my Introduce Yourself Feature HERE.

Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Author Colin Guest

Welcome back to Introduce Yourself, a new and exciting blog segment of The PBS Blog dedicated to introducing to you new and established authors and their books.

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

What is your name and where are you from? 

Colin Guest, from England.

What would your perfect writing / reading room look like?

I like writing while sitting on the sofa, which I find less stressful than at my computer desk.

I feel you. I love the big comfy couch in my reading room. What is the most annoying habit that you have?

Being sarcastic.

Lol. Are you employed outside of writing?

No.

Get This Book on Amazon Now. Click Here.

What job do you think you’d be really good at?

Working at a Wild Animal Rescue/Rehabilitation Center.

Aww. I love animals. I really really want a dog. Do you have a dog? Any animals?

Until moving to Istanbul when I married age 72, I have had several dogs, and three parrots. As dogs are not allowed in apartments here in Istanbul, I had to leave my dog Oscar with a friend back in Kemer, nr Antalya, where I used to live. I see him each time I go down there, and pay his vet bills.  I have adopted a Tiger named Jasper from Care For the Wild/ Born Free for the past ten years, with my wife and I having a cat here in Istanbul.

A Tiger? Wow! What skill would you like to master?

Writing.

There are so many aspects, right? What skill do you think you’ve mastered?

Quality control of inter fit-outs to high-class projects.

Cool. In your own words, what is love?

Love is something you feel when you meet that someone special in your life.

Awwue. I’m definitely feeling the love up in here! 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?

Eco-friendly.

I know that’s right. Gonna get a little personal here, what’s your favorite drink?

Vodka Tonic.

Alright now! I’m scared of you.  Now, blogging, does it help you to write?

I like to think so.

What’s your favorite color?

Blue.

Who is your favorite writer? 

Le Child.

What kind of music do you like?

Many, but I like Jazz.

Ohh me too! Give me a glass of wine with some Jazz in the background and I am good. Now, inquiring minds wanna know, when did you publish your first book? What was that like?

  1. It was a great experience.

GET THIS BOOK ON AMAZON. CLICK HERE

Who is your best friend?

My wife.

Awwuee! Tissue! How long have you been married?

4 years on 29th March.

Happy anniversary! Do you have children?

Yes.

What takes up too much of your time?

Writing and spending time with my wife.

Lol! Wait, how you gonna butter her all up like that then come back with this. I hope you not sleeping on the couch tonight Mr. Spending time with your wife, sheesh.

What do you wish you knew more about?

Writing and good books.

What small things makes your life easier? What makes it difficult?

Being able to phone and have meals delivered to the house. The over-crowded roads.

I feel you. Home delivered meals sounds nice. Colin, are you a political man?

Not really, but I am more of a Conservative.

What’s the most difficult thing about being a writer? The most exciting thing?

Getting publicity for what I write. Satisfaction on completing, having it edited and publishing my books.

Why is writing important to you?

By writing, it gives me satisfaction that others might learn something by reading my books.

I love it. What do you love about yourself?

My understanding of what’s what.

What don’t you like about yourself?

I get angry about the lack of thought by others.

Lol. Whew, Colin you’re something else. What genre do you write in?

Fiction & Non-fiction.

In your own words, what is truth?

Truth is what too many people and politicians don’t know the meaning of. You cannot trust a liar.

I know that’s right.

Thank you, Colin, for spending time with us today, we enjoyed you!


Colin Guest, a retired Englishman, is married and living in Istanbul Turkey. Colin has written three books: An Expat’s Experiences of Living in Turkey, Follow in the Tigerman’s Footsteps, sub-titled the Adventurous Life of an Expat, a memoir and Terror Holiday. He is presently working on a short fiction book and a romantic novel.

Colin also enjoys writing poetry, with several of his poems doing well in contests. As a result of one poem read out at a festival, he was so taken by the reader that he is now working on preparing an audio version of his memoir.

When Colin has the time, he enjoys reading books by Le child, Tom Clancy, Clive Cussler and Eric Ludlum.

You can find out more about Colin at https://colinguestauthor.com and htps://tigerman74.wordpress.com

You can also find Colin at the links below! Go show him some love.

Twitter: @TigermanGuest

https://www.facebook.com/tigerman55

https://www.pininterest.com/colinguest9

https://www.google.com/+ColinGuest

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9857414

https://www.linkedin.com/in/colin-john-guest

https://www.tigerman74.wordpress.com

https://www.colinguestauthor.com

https://wwwcolinguest992@gmail.com


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

Blogging 101- Introduce Yourself

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No, I’m probably not going to take this course. It’s not something I want to do at this time, but I will be taking part in some of its prompts from time to time. Truth is I’m still a new blogger but I’m not new to blogging. I’m new to blogging at this rate, in this form and with this much interaction which has been extremely cool (yaass). I’ve been at this address since August, but I have done some blogging before going back two years so I’m not that green. When I saw the “Introduce Yourself” prompt though I considered diving in. Not necessarily because of the course itself, but because I think it’s a great way to re-establish my goals for this blog and to strengthen my relationship with my readers, especially those of you just coming aboard.

I know Pearls Before Swine is an awkward enough title, so let me briefly explain what it means and how it relates to this blog and me as an individual. For a more in depth explanation however please visit my about page here:

https://thepbsblog.wordpress.com/about/

as well as this previous post about the meaning of my subtitle:
https://thepbsblog.wordpress.com/2014/11/24/truth-is-stranger-than-fiction-what-it-means/.

Writer's Guild
Available now on Amazon.com

Pearls Before Swine is first the title of a book series I began a year ago. The story surrounds the discovery of forbidden magical diamonds and their connection to the alleged rape of Ja’mella Jones, a famous hair stylist on the West side of Chicago. This project was the initial inspiration for this blog.

The Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth

Mother and Son Reading Bible Together

Pearls Before Swine is also a phrase taken out of Matthew Chapter 7 verse 6 of the bible which obviously indicates that I am a bible believer. I am not a Christian, but I believe in the bible from Genesis to Revelation and it is the foundation to which my life is built. While I do not consider myself religious in nature it hasn’t stopped people from referring to me as such which is annoying, but I don’t sweat it. I know a lot of people are not used to disassociating the bible from religion, to understand that it is not a religious book, but that it is a history book, an instruction manual for all of mankind. In short, I am a spiritual centered individual and you will often see me reference this spirituality in my writing. Don’t expect me to preach to you though, I believe more in the actual putting to practice of the bible than the quoting of scripture. I believe the physical is important because we live on the physical, but I also believe the spiritual is important because it is higher than the physical.

Symbolically Speaking

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I chose Pearls Before Swine as the title to this blog because I love to write symbolically, objectively, and metaphorically; being able to compare objects or use them as symbols to stand-in for a much more complex, and generally more abstract idea. Experimenting with the creativity that embodies this form of writing is most exciting. I notice that one of the most interesting ways that people learn is by way of symbols because it appeals to the subconscious, and I enjoy incorporating this into my writing. It is the reason for both the title and subtitle of this blog. Pearls Before Swine and Truth is Stranger than Fiction encompasses my style of writing, my inspiration, my poetry, my mission, and my foundation.

Why Blog?

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I still keep notebooks and the notepad on my phone stays full. While I don’t share all of my thoughts with the world I’m always writing. Though I don’t publish a post, I’m still writing in some way. Over time I’ve kept my poetry and short stories within the private confines of my mind. It was a personal, regional thing that belonged to just me. As time progressed however I would go on to publish my first book of poetry and begin attending Open Mic Nights. Public speaking took those things that were once personal and brought them to the mainstream. As such it has helped me to come to terms with my own voice and how it is needed in the world. It helped me to see that not only did I need to share these words but the power of words when they are combined with voice, tone, and emotion. As someone once said, “a poet knows they will never trade the written word for the spoken word”. Who said it? I don’t know, read it somewhere.

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While some poems are written to be read on paper, some are also written to be spoken. I’ll be the first to tell you that feedback is as essential to the art as putting it into practice. Blogging is kind of like an internship, a way to work at what you love and receive the same kind of attention and open dialogue as you would if you wrote for a magazine. Believe it or not blogging is not a small deal; it does actually help to put experience under your belt. It is the reason some have elevated to celebrity status simply through the impact their blogs had on others. I’m not trying to do the celebrity thing, but the point is that it helps. It is networking and community management. So I do appreciate the feedback whether it’s in the form of encouragement or constructive criticism. Introducing my writing to the world stage by way of books and Spoken Word has helped nurture my writing and  speaking in ways I could not have done alone. From this perspective, I blog because I think blogging can help nurture writers the same as debates can help develop the skills of an aspiring attorney.

My mission then for the existence of this blog is to spread truth by way of the spoken and written word, to provoke thought among the limited ways we tend to think and feel, and to inspire others the same as others have inspired me.