Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Author Sarah Zama

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 Sarah Zama. Welcome to The PBS Blog! Let’s get started.

What is your name and where are you from?

I’m Sarah Zama and I’m an Italian from Verona. Well, actually, I’m from Isola della Scala, which is a small town 20km south of Verona. I feel I should acknowledge it, since Isola is where I was born, I grew up and I still live. But honestly, I feel a much stronger affinity with Verona. And I know I should not brag about it, but let me tell you Verona is a beautiful city, with over two thousand years of history, no wonder it’s a World Heritage site. Aside from being Romeo and Juliet’s city, it’s just charming walking by the river, especially at night, or wondering among her narrow mediaeval streets and the plazas, or visiting the castles or one of my very best favorite places, the Roman Arena.

Fine, fine, I’ll just stop before you start thinking someone is paying me to advertise my city!!

I learned my English in Dublin, which I consider my second home. I lived and worked there for over a year, and even if I left almost fifteen years ago, I still visit as often as I can. I love Dublin nearly as much as Verona.

Sarah, you are definitely bragging. I’d love to visit. What was your childhood dream?

This may sound obvious – I mean, lot of kids have the same dream – but I wanted to be an archaeologist. I read a lot about ancient history and about archaeology and archaeologists’ lives. I loved the idea to go hunting for something that used to be alive and breathing and could still be the same if I could unearth it. Archaeological items aren’t dead. If we know their language, they can tell us so many things we’d never know otherwise.

In the end, it didn’t happen. I suppose my passion resided elsewhere. But I think writing, its pretty close. When it is any good, it also tries to unearth the unknown.

I like that. In your own words, what is humility?

It’s knowing that there will always be someone better than you at something. There will always be someone that will know more than you, in one field or another. You’ll always have the possibility to learn from other people, which is our good fortune, because learning and caring is the essence of life.

Nice. What do you wish you knew more about?

Folktales. I’ve been fascinated with folktales since I was a child, then, as an adult, when I learned what folktales truly are, I became even more fascinated. Thinking that some of the folktales we learned as children go back to Prehistory is mind-blowing. Can you imagine how much we can learn from them?

When I first read Tolkien’s On Fairy Stories, one thing he said stuck with me. He said we often wonder about what went lost over the millennia about those stories, things we will never know. And we should instead care about what did come to us though the millennia, because that’s what important to us.

Sarah, are you employed outside of writing?

I’ve been a bookseller for almost fourteen years, a job that I love. The company I work for not only owns the bookshop, but a publishing house too. I learned so many things in the years I’ve work there.

It’s a small independent company based in the university lot in Verona, run by man and wife. And I know it sounds clichéd, but really it is like a family, which – aside from the actual job – is something I really like.

That explains why you’re so well read. I am enjoying *listening* to you. What job do you think you’d be really good at?

Anything visual. I’ve always been a visual person, I used to draw when I was younger (ink was my favorite medium). Now I just don’t have the time to pursue that passion anymore.

Although who knows? Recently, I’ve been attracted to Photoshop. I’d like to learn to use it in an effective way. Maybe, sometime soon.

Indeed. I am striving to learn Photoshop better myself. What takes up too much of your time?

Commuting. Because I live in Isola della Scala but I work in Verona, I have to travel to Verona and back every day, which takes up some three hours of my day.

But I commute by train, which is good. I like travelling by train. I find public transports to be fascinating; you see all kinds of people. I’ll admit… err… that I like people-sighting and eavesdropping, but don’t tell anyone.

And on the train I can read. I do much of my reading on the train to and from work.

Eavesdropping huh? Are you nosy Sarah? Lol

Nosy? I wouldn’t say so. But I think that noticing things and especially details is a storyteller’s secret weapon. So I think that storytellers are naturally inclined to notice things… and of course, to notice them, you first have to watch and listen. 
I suppose this makes us the Confucian creature with the big eyes and ears and the small mouth. LOL!

Give Into the Feeling is Available Now on Smashwords

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

I published my first book (which is actually a novella, not a novel) last year in March.

I self-published it, which surprised many of my friends because I had always said I wasn’t interested in self-publishing. Trad publishing is still my chief goal for my trilogy (which involves the same characters as Give in to the Feeling, my novella), but I think in the future hybrid writers will be the norm, so knowing both field is very important, I believe.

But this isn’t the reason I finally decided to self-publish.

Two years ago, when I had the first novel of the trilogy ready, I started submitting it to agents. I did two rounds of submissions, and nothing came of it. Agents are always very spare of comments, so I couldn’t really know what exactly was wrong with my samples, but they were of course not good enough. Besides, the first three chapters of the novel had always bothered me. I had in fact rewrote the first chapter at least thirty times, and it was my own fault, because at the very beginning I made a decision that then turned out to be wrong. Unfortunately, although the decision (regarding voice and information giving) was wrong, the inciting incident is right, so I had to rework the first chapter making it as different as possible, keeping it the same.

After the first round of submission turned out so disappointingly, I once again rewrote the first three chapters. It didn’t make much good, though, because, although the agents’ tone changed on the second round, they still turned me down.

So I decided I needed to go a step further and work with an editor, but I knew I couldn’t afford to edit the whole novel. I thought that I could edit a short story, though. If my writing had inherent problems, the editor would catch them in the short story and then I could apply what I learned on the novel.

So I completely rewrote Give in to the Feeling (which was five years old) and gave it to an editor.

It turned out to be a fantastic experience, I learned some very interesting things about my writing and when I had the novella ready I thought: well, why not going all the way through and experiment with publishing and marketing my work as well?

It felt like a waste to have this novella professionally edited and polished and just leave it in a drawer.

So I Self-Published it.

After a year, I’m not sure I have the characteristics to be a successful indie author (I’m a very slow writer, for example, and I don’t write in a definite commercial genre), but this doesn’t mean I’ll leave self-publishing. I do think in the future belongs to the hybrid authors, so I want to pursue this path still, though at my own pace.

But I’m very happy of the experience itself because it was very educational.

Thanks for sharing that experience with us! So, tell us more about the genre you write in and why.

I’ve always been a speculative writer, I think I’ll always be, though the way I express that speculation mind has changed over time.

I’ve been a classic fantasy writer for most of my writing life. I’ve read all the classics of fantasy and I’ve watched fantasy evolve in the early 2000s with great pleasure, though sadly I have to say that lately the genre seems to have taken a step back.

I’ve always been interested in history too (that was my favorite subject at school already) and when I started working in the bookshop I discovered anthropology (such fascinating subject). I think these two subjects in particular moved my interest to more modern settings recently, though – truth be said – I’ve been fascinated with the Deco period since I watched b/w mysteries on TV with my granny as a kid. So it probably doesn’t come as a surprise (it certainly doesn’t surprise me) that I ended up writing fantasy stories in a contemporary setting, particularly the 1920s.

I had been writing my trilogy for a couple of years when I stumbled upon the concept of dieselpunk and I immediately felt an affinity. I got involved with the dieselpunk community and I really feel that is my home, though the kind of dieselpunk I write is so soft and fantasy-oriented that even some dieselpunks don’t consider it such.

But I like to refer to one of the head figures of the community, Larry Amyett Jr. who has a more open concept of the ‘genre’.

Anyway, expect a lot of history and some very significant fantasy element in all of my stories.

Alright now. I love history so I am sure we’ll collaborate on some things in the future. What do you hate most about writing advice? What do you love?

One thing I hate about writing advice is the attitude of some writers towards rules. On the one hand, you’ll have writers that stick to the rules to the point it becomes flat. They won’t accept any creative use of the rules. But writing is creativity. I don’t think it’s wise to try to encage it into stone-written rules. It is also an evolving activity, so rules and conventions that were good yesterday might not be as good today. Many writers who give advice on workshops and forums don’t seem to grasp this and will question you even when you explain why you made an unconventional choice.

On the other hand, I also hate when writers are too slack with rules. I have read time and again writers who say they are not interested in learning the rules of storytelling because if you are a true writer you’re going to break them anyway. Well, personally, I don’t think you have any chance at creatively and meaningfully breaking any rules you don’t know and don’t muster. Rules are there to make storytelling stronger and more coherent, so it’s a writer’s best interest to know them inside out. Only in that case, when you do chose to break one, you’ll do it knowing why you want to break it and what the effect will be. Then it will become meaningful. Otherwise, it’s only a mess.

What I love about writing advice is that, when it is thoughtful, you’ll learn a lot. I’ve been part of an online workshop for seven years­­—The Critique Circle—and I can’t even start to tell you how much I’ve learned from being critiqued as well as from critiquing other people’s work. It’s an extremely educational process.

The first thing I learned is that my work isn’t perfect. No matter how much I work on it, there will always be things other people see and I don’t… until I’m pointed out. Being too protective towards our work makes a great disservice to us, to the story and to our readers.

The second most important thing I learned is asking questions. When we write, everything makes sense to us, both because we instinctively know much more about our story than will ever get on the page and because we know where the story is supposed to go, so we are focused on getting there. But when someone who knows nothing about the story reads it, he/she will have a lot more questions, some of which will be very ‘embarrassing’. Let’s face it, most of the time the answer to the question, ‘Why does this characters do this thing?’ is ‘Because I need him to go from point A to point B’ (that certainly is true in the first draft… at least for me). When you start to have your work critiqued, you’ll learn very fast that readers are a lot more attentive and demanding than you ever thought. They have lots of sensible questions you thought were not worth pursuing, and when you let people critique your work, you’ll learn how to ask yourself those questions before readers do.

And believe me; the story will come off a lot stronger.

I love it. Sarah, what’s the most difficult thing about being a writer? The most exciting thing?

The most difficult thing is to keep believing in yourself and your stories no matter what.

We writers will always have doubts about our writing. We will always be scared that we are not good enough. That’s one big reason why some writers will never let anyone read their stories, let alone critique them. Which is a real shame, because I think storytelling is communication, and there is no meaningful one-way communication. A message (which is what a story is) needs to be given, but also to be received in order to exist. When the message is received, that’s when it comes to life, not when it’s issued.

Problem is, when we let people read our stories, more doubts will arise rather than be quenched. Many people won’t like our story, and often we will never know why. Even when we understand this is natural (and believe me, this is not an instinctive understanding), it will be hard to accept it.

The rejection (I don’t like your story) and the unknown (but I’m not going to tell you why) are very hard to manage, but let me tell you, we’re not going to learn if we won’t practice. We need the help of our readers in order to become better storytellers, but this mean we also need to face rejection and handle it in a positive way.

I won’t hide it, this is hard. We need to muster the ability to tell when a critic is objective and when he isn’t, when it has something to offer and when it doesn’t, which needs a clarity of mind unaffected by feelings. But when we achieve that mastery, we will be on the right way to becoming better writers.

On the other hand, when our story is received enthusiastically… well, I think there are few feelings which are better than this.

Wow. Very informative answer! *Takes notes*. Speaking of writing, does blogging help you to write?

I wouldn’t say it helps me to write, but I will say it helps me to be a writer.

For a great part, blogging is listening, it’s looking for a connection, it’s sharing, and this is a huge help when it comes to learn to accept the reader’s rejection as well as being more critic towards our writing.

Blogging will require to make lots of decisions and you’ll see the result of the decisions you’ve made pretty soon, so that you’ll have the possibility to act on it fast enough to see a result. This is often not possible when writing and publishing a book, and that’s why blogging may help.

When I first started blogging, I did a number of mistakes, both because I didn’t know any better and because I just made the wrong choice. The only solution is to keep learning, not just because there is always something new to learn, but also because blogging – as all things internet – changes very fast. We need to the attentive and flexible.

But sometimes, we just make the wrong choice and we need to be listening in order to realize it. I have a macroscopic example of this.

When I started my blog, I decided that I wouldn’t blog about the 1920s in spite of that being a subject I had researched extensively for my stories. I didn’t feel (I still don’t feel) I’m an expert on the subject. I’ve never done any academic study, I’m just very passionate about it and I like to learn about it. But when one year later I decided to take part in the AtoZ Blogging Challenge, I realized there weren’t many things I could blog about every day, therefore I was kind of forced to write about the 1920s.

It was a success. I was shocked! People actually liked what I was writing and found it interesting and informative. As for me, I understood my mistake and changed gear. 1920s social history is the main focus of my blog now, and blogs about 1920s life are still the most popular with my readers.

So blogging gave me the possibility to make a mistake as well as to see my mistake by trying something different. It has given me the possibility to listen to the readers’ reaction and act upon it. It has also given me the possibility to believe in myself that little bit more, though honestly I should have known better even before. I might not be an expert, but I do know a few things people don’t normally know about the 1920s, and I can definitely give what little I know.

Storytelling is mainly about giving, I believe, and though we cannot give what we don’t have, what we do have, small as it may be… well, why not give it?

There’s a quote from Leonard Peltier’s Autobiography that I love and that I apparently need to remember more often: “We don’t need to be perfect, we need to be useful.”

What a wealth of information you are Sarah! Thanks for spending this time with us today.


Sarah Zama. Used with permission.

Bio.

Sarah Zama was born in Isola della scala (Verona – Italy) where she still lives. She started writing at nine – blame it over her teacher’s effort to turn her students into readers – and in the 1990s she contributed steadily to magazines and independent publishers on both sides of the Atlantic.

After a pause, in early 2010s she went back to writing with a new mindset. The internet allowed her to get in touch with fellow authors around the globe, hone her writing techniques in online workshops and finally find her home in the dieselpunk community.

Since 2010 she’s been working at a trilogy set in Chicago in 1926, historically as accurate as possible but also (as all her stories are) definitely fantasy. She’s currently seeking representation for the first book in the Ghost Trilogy, Ghostly Smell Around.

In 2016, her first book comes out, Give in to the Feeling.

She’s worked for QuiEdit, publisher and bookseller in Verona, for the last ten years.

She also maintain a blog, The Old Shelter, where she regularly blogs about the Roaring Twenties and anything dieselpunk.

CONTACT INFO AND LINKS

Email: oldshelter@yahoo.com
Blog: www.theoldshelter.com
Websitehttp://sarahzama.theoldshelter.com/

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Twitter: www.twitter.com/JazzFeathers
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/jazzfeathers
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jazzfeathers/
Google+: https://plus.google.com/+Theoldshelterdieselpunk
Pinterest: https://it.pinterest.com/jazzfeathers/

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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
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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.