What would your perfect writing / reading room look like?
It’d be overlooking the Eiffel Tower and would have an inspirational quote on the wall, a chic, white leather couch, and a Frappuccino maker!
What do you hate most about writing advice? What do you love?
I hate when people give me ideas for stories because they’re usually pretty offbeat and aren’t suited to my style. I appreciate it, though, when others encourage me not to quit and when my mentors offer suggestions about plot twists.
In your own words, what is love?
I expressed that in my newest novel, Forgetting My Way Back to You. It’s living through and reflecting on the bad moments but wanting to be together, regardless. There are always problems, and relationships end because of them. It’s easy to give up on a fleeting feeling, but that isn’t the case with real love.
Does blogging help you to write?
It does keep my creative processes flowing and keeps me in shape, I suppose, but it takes away a lot of time from my usual writing. I guess it’s a love/hate relationship.
Blogging does take a lot of time. I get it. What kind of music do you like?
I enjoy almost everything from oldies to pop to (some) country.
In your own words, what is humility?
Humility is accepting that you’re flawed. You can still be proud of your abilities, but you have to recognize that others can and will be better. I think it’s also realizing that your ways and opinions aren’t law.
I dig it. Would you like to have children?
Yes, because they’re fun, genuine, and change your outlook on life.
Awwue. Right? Why is writing important to you?
Writing gives me freedom. Having Cerebral Palsy, there aren’t many things I can do on my own, but writing is one exception. Every idea and keystroke is mine alone—unless I’m on a deadline and need help typing. Plus, I’m free to create plot lines without being barred by reality.
That cover is so fun looking! What genre do you write in, why?
Though I’ve written love stories, I mainly write mysteries. I enjoy sculpting different twists and turns to make readers keep guessing. That said, almost all my mysteries have a romantic element to them because I “love love!” ♥
Outside of writing, what are some of your passions?
I’m a big baseball fan, and I also love shoes.
Thank you Karina for spending this time with us. We enjoyed you!
Karina Bartow grew up and still lives in Northern Ohio. Though born with Cerebral Palsy, she’s never allowed her disability to define her. Rather, she’s used her experiences to breathe life into characters who have physical limitations, but like her, are determined not to let them stand in the way of the life they want. Her debut novel, Husband in Hiding came out in 2015 and was well-received by readers. Her second, Forgetting My Way Back to You, was released in October 2018 by Vinspire Publishing and has been praised by reviewers. She may only be able to type with one hand, but she writes with her whole heart!
Today, I’d like to welcome Khaya Ronkainen. Welcome to The PBS Blog! Let’s get started.
What is your name and where are you from?
My name is Khaya Ronkainen. I was born and bred in South Africa, and I now call Finland my second home.
South Africa in the houusee. What was your childhood dream?
To become a teacher. I have huge respect for teachers. I talk this, and also the reasons why I never took up the occupation after all, in the “About” page of my site.
Nice. We’ll be sure to link that below. In your own words, what is humility?
Humility is not a low opinion of one’s self but an awareness that there’s always room for improvement, even if one is confident in their abilities and skills/talents.
Absolutely agree. Who’s your favorite Historical figure?
Nelson Mandela, because he gave me a voice. Most people are aware of apartheid system and its laws that prohibited many things in South Africa. For those who do not know what apartheid is, I suggest a read that sheds some light on the nature of racial injustices at the time, Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton, a South African author. I read somewhere that if one wants to understand a country, they must read its authors. So I hope you’re inspired to pick up the book if you’ve never read it.
Awesome. What is the most thought provoking book you’ve ever read?
Animal Farm by George Orwell. It’s the first influential book I read that showed me the power of a written word, and opened up a whole new world. I have to thank my English teacher, Mrs. Roos, during my high school years. She knew how to activate young minds and keep them engaged through literature.
Loved Orwell’s 1984. What’s the most difficult thing about being a writer?
It’s often difficult for me to describe what I do to people who don’t write or create in any other form. Because what I do, writing, largely depends on an exaggerated inspiration or the elusive muse that holds me hostage, but with no promise of real money.
The most exciting thing?
Dreaming stories into being, that is, the gift of imagination.
You said, there’s no promise of real money in writing. With Indie Publishing being as successful as it is these days, do you think that’s changing? In what way can we improve how writers are paid?
Certainly, there’s no denying the success and benefits of indie publishing; total creative control, higher royalties, supportive indie communities, and so on. More importantly, indie books are doing well as traditionally published books, when it comes to e-publishing, in some genres.
When I talk about no promise of real money, I’m not speaking for all writers but my own writing, which is mostly poetry. Let’s face it, poetry is a difficult genre to sell. My observation is that people love poetry or at least, the idea of poetry, but are not so eager to buy poetry books.
We also know that no one goes into poetry for money. Poets still have to hustle and take regular jobs in order to earn a living. So, perhaps, I’ll rephrase your question, “In what way can we improve how writers are paid?” with “How can we support poets, as readers, and stop undervaluing their work by expecting to get it for free?
As you can see, I’m passionate about this topic. But I’ll stop here.
No, keep going! I love the passion and you are absolutely right. While no one should “poet” for money, no one should do anything else for money! You shouldn’t embrace any path for money specifically and yet we must eat. Looking at it this way, why is poetry or writing…why is Art in general, not expected to be profitable? Something to think about.
I suppose I don’t have to ask what genre you write in…
Poetry, because I like its brevity and the immediacy it creates. Fiction (semi-autobiographical works) because I like to blur the line between fact and fiction. I’m also a horror genre “visiting writer.” As a matter of fact, I’ve recently published my second poetry chapbook, a small collection of dark poetry.
Outside of writing, what are some of your passions?
Nature is my playground and a playmate, my husband. Seriously, I do all sorts of outdoor activities, and I draw huge inspiration from nature.
I can see that about you! Beautiful. What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?
Taking a sabbatical in order to go backpacking through Asia.
Thank you Khaya for spending this time with us. We enjoyed you!
Khaya Ronkainen is an independent author, writer, poet, public speaker and many other things. She currently lives in Finland with her husband.
Her work often examines duality of an immigrant life, cultural identity, relations among immigrants, and nature. She is the author of two poetry chapbooks, Seasons Defined and From the Depths of Darkness, both available at Amazon Kindle.
She is currently at work on her debut novel about growing up in South Africa during apartheid era. Learn more about the writer and her work or connect via her blog at www.khayaronkainen.fi.
We interrupt your regularly scheduled Author Interview programming for this special announcement.
National Poetry Month, a celebration of poetry which takes place each April, was introduced in 1996 and is organized by the Academy of American Poets as a way to increase awareness and appreciation of poetry in the U.S. For our April Author Interviews, I’d like to feature as many author poets as possible. If you have not been interviewed on the blog, head on over to the Introduce Yourself Author Interview page (linked below) and find out how you can get involved! Stay tuned for next weeks final author introduction for March.
*All authors are still welcomed to participate in the interviews. These interviews occur every week on Monday’s. You don’t have to be a poet. I would just like to feature poets for the month of April in honor of National Poetry Month.
Today, I’d like to welcome Trish Hubschman. Welcome to The PBS Blog! Let’s get started.
What is your name and where are you from?
I’m Trish Hubschman. I live on Long Island, NY.
What was your childhood dream?
Since sixth grade, 40 plus years ago, I wanted to be a published author.
Awesome. What skill would you like to master?
I’m not very good at navigating websites and blogs. That seems important in this business. I have to learn how to get around them better.
No worries. If you have the means, you can pay someone to do that for you ;-). Trish, what’s your favorite food?
Same as everyone else’s – – pizza and cheeseburgers.
Ha! Pizza is my husband’s fav. Let’s talk about writing a bit. When did you publish your first book? What was that like?
The first Tracy Gayle mystery novel, The Fire, was published in 2015.
What was that like? Must have been exciting!
I published with America Star Books. They were free. I didn’t have any involvement in it. This book Stiff Competition means more to me. I was part of the whole process.
I’ve been married 27 years this coming March.
Congratulations! What’s your favorite TV Show? Movie?
I don’t watch TV in this century. In the 70s I did. My favorite show was Little House on the Prairie. I grew up with Laura Ingalls.
And what are some advantages, in your opinion, of eliminating television? What can we learn?
TV in the past was better, the shows, for one. The visual and sound quality were better in the past too. I’m hearing and visually impaired. It’s worse now than it was, but today’s TV turns me off, so I don’t bother trying.
Got it. Trish, why is writing important to you?
It’s a big part of me that makes me feel whole. As a hearing impaired person, writing is the best way for me to communicate and express myself.
Beautiful. What genre do you write in, why?
For novels, romantic suspense. I love, love. The mystery part makes it more fun. In short stories, I write all genres.
Trish, thank you for spending this time with us. We enjoyed you!
Trish Hubschman has published three books with America Star Books: a short story collection of time travel and romance stories called Through Time and the first two books in the Tracy Gayle/Danny Tide series: The Fire and Unlucky Break. Trish attended college at Long Island University’s Southampton campus, earning a BA degree in English with an emphasis in writing. She lives on Long Island with her husband and two dogs.
About the Book.
America’s favorite rock band, Tidalwave, is playing the Miss America pageant. Band leader Danny Tide is emceeing the event. All is going according to schedule. The judges have picked the 10 semi–finalists. Suddenly, everything comes to a halt. Miss New Jersey is missing. Nobody knows what happened to her or where she is. Danny calls his longtime PI friend, Tracy Gayle, and asks her to come down to Atlantic City to help figure things out. In need of her best friend for personal support and eager to get to another case, Tracy agrees. There’s an all–out search of the hotels on the boardwalk. They find Miss New Jersey, but it’s not good. Her kidnapping leads to another assault and murder. The big star and the lady PI work together on this one, so that the Miss America pageant can continue as usual.
This post focuses on the importance of using an editor and enlisting beta readers if you are an independent author.
Let’s start by comparing/contrasting independent and traditional publishing. In traditional publishing, an author receives an advance (if he or she is lucky). This advance is usually a fairly small amount. The author may then receive royalties for books sold after a certain number. The royalties can vary from pennies per book to dollars if you are a bestselling author. In exchange for allowing the traditional publisher to publish your work, you receive editing, formatting, publicity, and marketing services. The quality and effectiveness of these services can vary depending on how much the publishing company believes it can make from your book. In the end, very few published authors make a living wage from traditionally published books.
Independent authors know that their world is a different one. All of the services mentioned…
Today, I’d like to welcome Sophia Tsegaye to the blog. Welcome! Let’s get started.
What is your name and where are you from?
My name is Sophia Tsegaye; I am an Ethiopian American living in Cincinnati, Ohio. I was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Ethiopia in the house. What was it like transitioning from Ethiopia to America? Any major adjustments?
I arrived in America as a newlywed, and my husband and I had to adjust to the cultural difference at first, with the help of my sister. And soon our neighbors and co-workers led us through our new lifestyle. One of the adjustments was being away from my parents and extended family members.
The other adjustment was the difference between American and Ethiopian calendar. Ethiopia uses Julian Calendar and is 7 and a half or 8 years behind the American Calendar. Ethiopia has 13 months (12 months of 30 days each, and one month of 5 or 6 days).
Now as a family, we celebrate both cultures. My children have learned to embrace the diversity in the family. In short, we have two New Years, two Christmases, two Easters and the like.
Wow, I didn’t know that about the calendar difference. This is why I yearn so much to travel outside the country!
When did you publish your first book? What was that like?
I published my first book “She Is My Mommy!” in March 2019 through CreateSpace. Holding my book for the first time was rewarding. Carrying a task to completion was my first goal, and I felt fulfilled. It has kindled the desire and the strength to go forward with my second book. And now I am working on my third one.
Congratulations! Amazing feeling right? Are you married Sophia? Got a boo somewhere?
I am married to a wonderful and supportive husband for the last fifteen years.
Yes. I have three awesome boys, ages 14, 12 and 3.
Beautiful. What do you wish you knew more about?
Growing up, one of my many challenges was speaking up. Both in Middle and High school, I was known for being timid and introvert. It continued well into my graduate class. For example, I would know the answer to a question, or want to voice my opinion, but could not make myself to say something. It was like being present and absent at the same time.
Later on, I realize that the only thing that was holding from communicating was the fear of making mistakes.
Now, I know that making mistakes is all right, you learn from them and move forward.
I can relate for sure. What small things makes you life easier? What makes it difficult?
Living a simple life, being grateful and exercising kindness make my life easier. I try to see the positive in people. I believe that it is wise to listen to your conscious before you speak. We often forget that a calmer tone conveys a message more effectively. I think that we all have the choice to decide whether to make our life easy or difficult. It is a choice we need to make every day. If you always feel you are a victim and everybody is onto you, then you will remain a victim of your own conscious.
If you do not control your temper, you will be treated as the perpetrator even if you are on the right.
If you are not kind, then you will miss the heart-warming reward that you get from it.
I love that Sophia. Wise words. Let’s get back to writing a bit. What’s the most difficult thing about being a writer? The most exciting thing?
The most difficult thing as a writer is writer’s block.
The most exciting thing is when you are in that creative zone, and you have no control over your writing.
Why is writing important to you?
When I write, I let myself go to places I have not visited for a long time. I navigate through my thought and dig deep into the desire to correct the wrong, to encourage the weak, to give a voice to the timid, and the like.
I want to show the reader that she or he is not alone in any circumstance. Happiness, fear, triumph, sadness, friendliness, and depression are a part of life. Therefore, what we need to do is find a way to fix the problem. In my books, I encourage children to learn to ask for help.
Outside of writing, what are some of your passions?
I love making pieces of jewelry and cooking.
You’re a children’s author. What do you think of the bullying in our schools?
Unfortunately, bullying is a real and dangerous issue. I try to focus on this issue in my books and demonstrate the effects it can bring.
My boys have experienced bullying, and I have also heard of various incidents in the school. I have seen firsthand how bullying can break the spirit of a fun loving and active child.
As a parent, we should teach our kids empathy at an early age. If we see our child push another child, we should be able to explain that it is wrong.
We have to encourage our kids to communicate with us, or the school personnel if they feel unsafe or overwhelmed. Schools have councilors, and they should use these resources.
And I urge parents to listen to their kids. If a kid voices concern then parents should intervene immediately.
If you could, would you visit the past?
Yes, I would visit the past if I could. Would I give some advice to my young self and try to change the past? I do not think so, because those experiences made me the person I am today.
Precisely. What advice would you give your younger self?
I would advise my younger self to trust her instinct and be comfortable in her own skin. And of course, tell her to take it easy, enjoy life, and laugh more.
Thank you Sophia for spending this time with us! We enjoyed you.
Sophia E Tsegaye, is a stay-at-home mom, with three boys who keep her busy. She’s a children’s book writer, living in Cincinnati, Ohio.
From the Author:
I enjoy listening to what happens in school. Every day, my boys will come home with new stories, but unfortunately, not all are pleasant. I use their stories as a learning experience, and I guess this is how my books were born.
Many little kids are fascinated by school buses and animals. Hence I chose to have a school bus and animals as the characters.
There are different approaches to explain to kids about being unique, being different and being accommodating, so I try to bring these issues through my books.
The first book “She Is My Mommy!” is about transracial adoption, and the second book “Your Jokes Are Not Funny!” is about bullying.
Kids can be simple and yet complex. They ask us complex questions and are satisfied with the simplest explanation.
I believe in teaching kids empathy at a tender age.
Just a quick note to invite you to join me at Georgia State University for the second Atlanta African American Book Festival this summer. Last year was amazing and I connected with a lot of new authors. I’ve come to truly enjoy live events. It gives me a chance to discuss this blog with authors face to face, take photos I can look back on for years and network with professionals face to face. So, if you are in the area around this time, I’d love to meet you. The event takes place on Saturday, July 20th, from 10:00-5a at GSU and is free and open to the public. For instant updates on things like this, be sure you are following me on Instagram.