Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Author Abbie Taylor

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


What is your name and where are you from?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Any siblings Abbie?

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

Neat. What’s your favorite drink?

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

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

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

What was your childhood dream?

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

Does blogging help you to write?

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

Smart. What’s your favorite food?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do you have children?

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

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

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

What genre do you write in, why?

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

Outside of writing, what are some of your passions?

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

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


Copyright©Abbie Taylor 2019. Used with permission.

Bio.

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

Be sure to follow Abbie online!

Website: http://www.abbiejohnsontaylor.com

Blog: https://abbiescorner.wordpress.com

Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/ybmouz5y


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

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Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Author Ann Harrison-Barnes

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


What is your name and where are you from?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Does blogging help you to write?

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

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

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

Nice. Married Ann?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Bio.

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

Be sure to follow Ann online!

Website: www.annwritesinspiration.com

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

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

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

Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Author A.H. Washington

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


What is your name and where are you from?

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

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

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

What is the most annoying habit that you have?

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

Are you employed outside of writing?

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

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

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

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

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

Excellent. Aundriel, any siblings?

I have one sibling.

What was your childhood dream?

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

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

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

What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?

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

What’s your favorite food?

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

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

My favorite colors are aquamarine and white.

Palera Dawn is available now on Amazon.com

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Neat. What about the past?

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

Aww. I’m so sorry to hear that.

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


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

Bio.

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

Be Sure to Follow A.H. Online!

Web. www.paleradawn.com

Facebook: Aundriel Washington (group name Palera Dawn).

Instagram: palera_dawn


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

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


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

Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Author V.M. Sang

 

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

 

What is your name, and where are you from?

My name is Vivienne Sang. I was born and brought up in the north west of England in a town called Northwich, not far from Manchester. At present, I live in the south-east of England not far from the town of Eastbourne.

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

I don’t know if I’d be really good at it, but I would like to have been a vet.

Nice. How many siblings do you have?

My father died when I was very young and my mother re-married. She had a girl with my step-father, my half-sister, but my step-father had already got 7 girls and 3 boys with his first wife, so I have 10 step-siblings as well.

What skill would you like to master?

I do some painting when I have time. I would really like to become a good painter.

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

Belgium. They insist on signing their town in the language of the area, in spite of the rest of the world calling them something else. Liege, for example, is called Luik, I think. Now I don’t have a problem with this, per se, but many countries that have different names for towns sign them with both. We got lost trying to find Liege.

Also, we nearly ran out of fuel once because there were no fuel stations on the main road and we had to go off into a village and by chance found one. Also, Brussels is a nightmare to get around.

Unfortunately it’s on the way to many places in Europe I do want to go back to!

Yea. I can see how that can be confusing with the language. I love history. Who is your favorite historical figure?

Leonardo da Vinci. He’s not only a great artist but also scientist and technologist, too. I went to his home in Amboise in France where they had built scale models of his inventions using only the tools and materials he would have had. Brilliant.

The Wolf Pack is available now on Amazon

Let’s talk about writing. What genre do you write in?

I write mainly fantasy, but have recently published a historical novel based in Roman Britain, and have another almost done. I think historical fiction is much harder to write, So much research is needed that you can get away with when inventing your own world. Having said that, I do try to make my world as scientifically realistic as possible, so that does involve some research.

 That’s true. Historical Fiction does require lots of research. Are you married Vivienne? Children?

Yes, I’ve been married for a very long time. 53 years! I have two, a boy and a girl.

Awwue. Congrats! 53 years, wow. Relationship goals!

What are your thoughts on race? Define racism.

There is only one race. The Human Race. People who judge others on the basis of ‘race’ are ignorant. People should be judged by their words and actions only, not on how they look. This applies to disability, too. and everything that makes us different. We should embrace our differences. 

Racism is deciding you don’t like a person or group of people you know nothing about on the basis of some physical thing, such as the color of their skin, the slant of their eyes or some other superficial, irrelevant thing.

Thank you V.M. Sang for spending this time with us. We enjoyed you!


V.M. Sang

About.

Vivienne Sang was born in Northwich, Cheshire in the United Kingdom. She was educated at Northwich Girls’ Grammar School and at Elizabeth Gaskell Teacher Training College in Manchester. She taught Science, Maths and English in Salford and Heywood, Lancashire until she had her first child.

After staying at home to bring up her two children, a girl, and a boy, Vivienne returned to teaching when her son started school. At this time, the family lived near Southampton but moved to Redhill in Surrey where she taught in Croydon.

When she took early retirement in 2001 Vivienne moved with her husband to East Sussex.

As well as writing and reading, Vivienne enjoys many crafts and also paints. She enjoys cooking and walking on the Downs as well as cycling.

Vivienne enjoys traveling and has visited many countries in Europe and has made two visits to the USA.

Be Sure to Follow V.M. Sang Online:

Are you an author? Looking for more exposure? Learn more about my Introduce Yourself Feature HERE. Also, there will be some changes to this feature coming this fall. Get the updates 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/


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Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Author Alycee Lane

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

What is your name and where are you from?

My name is Alycee Lane and I’m from Buffalo, New York.

Nice, I’ve been to New York once. What is the most annoying habit that you have?

I laugh loudly at my own jokes, including the ones I tell in my own head.

Lol. What was your childhood dream?

My childhood dream was to be a doctor who would cure cancer. That dream ended when, at the age of six, I was spanked vigorously for having poured my secret cure into my mother’s milk at the dinner table.

Oh wow. You rebel you. What skill would you like to master?

I really would like to master playing the saxophone, but I’d actually have to learn how to play the saxophone.

Lol. I love it. What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?

I think it would be amazing to venture off to Antarctica. On the other hand, I left Buffalo, New York for a reason (spoiler: it wasn’t because of buffalo wings).

Speaking of wings, what’s your favorite food?

Anything with pork, which is why being a vegetarian, is pretty damn hard.

Oh Alycee. That was not the right answer. Anything but pork! Don’t do it lol. What kind of music do you like?

I can’t get enough of jazz and blues.

What do you wish you knew more about?

Black holes. The idea of them really blows my mind.

In your own words, define racism.

Voting for Donald Trump.

LOL. What TV channel exists but really shouldn’t?

FOX NEWS. FOX NEWS. FOX NEWS. FOX NEWS. FOX NEWS. FOX NEWS.

Are you religious Alycee?

Yes. I attend Bedside Baptist every Sunday (this is one of those moments when I am laughing at my own joke).

Alycee’s NEW book, The Wretched of Mother Earth: The Handbook for Living, Dying, and Nonviolent Revolution in the Midst of Climate Change Catastrophe is available now on Amazon

Rofl. You are a trip. Let’s talk about my favorite subject. How long have you been writing? Tell us a little bit about the journey thus far.

I have been writing earnestly since 2012, though I had written some academic papers before then. A few months before my dad died in 2010, he asked me, “when are you going to write?” He knew it was my life aspiration. What he didn’t know at the time, however, was that, in my mind, I had decided to let that dream go. I was done. When I reflect on that moment, I’m inclined to believe that, on some spiritual level, he did know that I had given up. Those who are facing death often see and know things quite clearly. And if they’re your parents…well, then they see through you as well. I remember shrugging, in that way children do when they’ve been caught. The question bothered me enough that, two years later, when my mother’s health began to fail, I was writing like crazy.

In some ways, then, my writing has been a journey through grief, as well as a return to who I really am – the person whom my father clearly knew and saw. For that reason, the journey has also been a powerful one.

That’s powerful. What’s the most difficult thing about being a writer?

The most difficult thing about being a writer is keeping a muzzle on the little critic who sits on my shoulder and pretends to be my muse. The most exciting thing is creating that perfect sentence, the one that sounds right.

“Once I was willing to step out of the closet and be completely vulnerable – to expose myself knowing that I could very well become (even more) an object of hate and of violence from people who looked like me and from those who didn’t– once I allowed myself to be that raw, I became absolutely and devastatingly powerful.”

-Alycee Lane, The transformation of vulnerability into power and action

Why is writing important to you?

I don’t know. It is. I think I would talk too much if I didn’t write. Or –or, I would finally learn how to play the sax.

I understand that you specialized in African American literature and culture of the civil rights and black power movements. You also explore political issues through the prism of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s philosophy of nonviolence. I love the Panthers as well as Dr. King. What attracted you to this kind of work? Can you tell us a little bit about your inspirations?

Okay, so not the easiest questions for someone who’s spent the whole day with a five-year-old.

Lol. Answer the question Alycee!

I come from a very political family, so I naturally gravitated toward studying the literature and culture of the CR/BP movements (plus, I am old enough to remember the Free Angela Davis movement, and I used to shout “Black Power” out of my school bus window while being bused across town. To this day, I remember the “White Power” sign that hung from one of the houses I passed every day to get to my integrated school).

So, my main inspirations were my parents, as well as my brothers and sister. Then there were my professors at Howard University, mainly Patricia Jones Jackson and Claudia Tate, from whom I took Howard’s first Black Women Writers class. I went to Howard intending to matriculate for law school and ended up leaving there with a Ph.D. on my mind. Good teachers can do that to you. Also among my influencers: Valerie Smith, Richard Yarborough, and Kim Crenshaw.

Oh, yeah: Toni Morrison, Barbara Smith, Alice Walker, Gloria Anzaldua, Cheri Moraga, Audre Lorde, Sweet Honey in the Rock, John Coltrane, Sarah Vaughn, Nina Simone. Countless women I have loved and who have loved me.

With regards to my blog writing: an “ex” did me two favors. The first was gifting me a collection of King’s work. The second was keeping a copy of Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh’s Peace is Every Step in her bookcase. Reading both radically changed this deconstructionist’s heady, cynical life. Having said that, I like to think that I arrived at this place of a commitment to nonviolence and engaged Buddhist practice through the influence of the Panthers, Fanon, Malcolm X, and others.

Now, my five-year-old is my main inspiration. Every day she teaches me how much work I have to do. There’s nothing more humbling than having someone who has been on earth for merely 1800+ days tell you that you don’t know anything about nothin’. Just plain dumb.

1963
Nonviolence Now!: Living the 1963 Birmingham Campaign’s Promise of Peace is available now on Amazon.

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

My superpower would be this: I would make men cry simply by showing them the hand. Why this power? Because I suspect that much of the world’s violence can be attributed to the fact that too many men are unable to cry, to live from the heart, to be vulnerable, to be tender.

What genre do you write in, why?

I primarily write nonfiction, though I suspect this is a cop-out. I don’t know – I’m kind of with Arandati Roy on this: these are not the times for fiction.

I disagree, there is always a time for Fiction!

Alycee, thank you for spending this time with us! We enjoyed you.


Copyright © Alycee Lane

Bio.

Alycee Lane is an Oakland, California-based writer and blogger.

A graduate of Howard University, Alycee studied English literature and later obtained her Doctorate of Philosophy from UCLA, where she specialized in African American literature and culture of the civil rights and black power movements. From 1995 to 2003, she served as an Assistant Professor of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara, after which she obtained her Juris Doctor from UC Berkeley (Boalt Hall).

Alycee is author of the award-winning book, Nonviolence Now! Living the 1963 Birmingham Campaign’s Promise of Peace (Lantern Books, 2015) as well as the blog Coming in From the Cold, where she explores political issues through the prism of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s philosophy of nonviolence. Her newest work, The Wretched of Mother Earth: The Handbook for Living, Dying, and Nonviolent Revolution in the Midst of Climate Change Catastrophe, was just published on April 4, 2018.

Alycee has also written a number of scholarly and other articles on subjects ranging from the Black Panther Party to mitigation evidence in death penalty cases to climate change. In 1993, she was awarded the Audre Lorde Quill Award from the Black Gay and Lesbian Leadership Forum for the essays and interviews that she produced for BLK, a news magazine dedicated to the African American gay and lesbian community, as well as for her work as editor of Black Lace, the first ever African American lesbian erotic magazine.

Be Sure to Follow this Author Online:

Twitter: @AlyceeLane

Blog: http://blk2buddah.wordpress.com

Amazon page: amazon.com/author/alyceelane


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