Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Author Jo Ann Maxwell

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

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

What would your perfect writing/reading room look like?

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

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

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

In your own words, what is humility? 

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

What would be the most amazing adventure to go on? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is your favorite historical figure? 

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

I take it you’re religious?

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Author Jessica Bakkers

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 Jessica Bakkers. Welcome to The PBS Blog! Let’s get started.

What is your name and where are you from?

Jessica Bakkers but my friends call me Jess. I’m from Down Under else-wise known as Australia. Victoria specifically.

You like the cold huh?

No but I’m well insulated *double chins shake with laughter*

Loll. What is the most annoying habit you have?

Either road rage or grammar nit-picking. Or snoring my husband might say.

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

Er, writer *smiles*

Yea, I guess that was pretty obvious lol. Jess, what was your childhood dream?

Er, writer… *bigger smile*

Lolll. In your own words, what is love?

Love is feeling thirsty so going to the fridge and getting 2 cans of Pepsi because I know he’ll be thirsty too. Love is sending a text message to him that simply uses the poop emoji and he answers with, “bad day at work, spaghetti for tea”. Love is him letting me warm my ice-cold feet on his back when we get into bed at night.

Oohhh. Nice! What’s your favorite drink?

Pepsi Max for the win!

What songs have you completely memorized?

Most of the entire works of Alan Jackson, George Strait, Diamond Rio and Little Big Town. Everything Pink Floyd. Most Leonard Cohen and Nice Cave. The entire Rocky Horror Picture Show album and Carry on Wayward Son.

OK, OK. What’s your favorite food?

Savory: spaghetti. Sweet: everything.

I love spaghetti. Actually, I love pasta in general. *Weakness*. I think we’re going to be friends. Who is your favorite writer?

Whoa. Why not ask me which is my favorite child!

Lol. Answer the question Jess! Spit it out. Inquiring minds wanna know ; )

I’m very partial to the King that’s Stephen), and I adore Steven Brust – he as such great dark humor in his novels. Maybe it’s a Stephen think…

If you could live in a movie, which would it be and why?

I’d go Rocky Horror again because fishnets! And singing!

Who is your best friend?

My husband.

Awwue. How long have you been married?

16 years in November.

Happy early anniversary! Children?

Yes. By children I’m assuming we’re talking dogs, right? Two. Holly and Shilo.

No, Jess. We are not talking about dogs but I’ll let you slide. What takes up too much of your time?

My day job.

What is it that you do?

I am the writer formerly known as social worker. April 21st, I gave that away to focus on freelance writing because, as I mentioned, day job was taking up too much of my writing time. This is the one time I’ll be serious; nothing should come between a writer and her writing…except chocolate.

I heard that! And chocolate definitely gets a pass. Jess, what do you wish you knew more about?

What happens next, after death.

Interesting. What small things make your life easier? What makes it more difficult?

Easier: chocolate, texting, supernatural, fitted sheets, automatic windshield wipers.

More difficult: bad drivers, phone calls, my day job, headaches, rap music.

Rap music loll. The music today is out there. WAY out there. What are your thoughts on race?

Even if we (humanity) were all ‘skinned’ some skeletons would still ostracize others based on the shape of their bones or size of their skulls. Humans will always find a way to make difference a bone of contention (pun fully intended).

True. What’s your favorite TV show / movie?

SupernaturalSupernaturalSupernaturalSupernaturalSupernaturalSupernaturalSupernaturalSupernaturalSupernaturalSupernaturalSupernaturalSupernaturalSupernaturalSupernaturalSupernaturalSupernaturalSupernaturalSupernatural

*Slap*

That’s it. Snap out of it. Supernatural is pretty good though. Speaking of supernatural, religious?

I believe in science and evidence.

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

Difficult: explaining to someone that I’m a writer and watching the skepticism and judgment come to their eyes.

Exciting: explaining to someone that I’m a writer and watching the wonder come to their eyes.

What do you love about yourself?

My eyes. Pretty and the only bit of me not fat.

Jessica Bakkers you stop it right now! Lol. I can guess what you don’t like about yourself then huh?

Yeah pretty much every other physical attribute.

What genre do you write in and why?

I write in all sorts but I LOVE gritty, dark fantasy fiction. I can write a really good antihero as my protagonist in this genre and as these guys (anti-heroes) are my very favorite characters to write, I get to play with them every book!

bitmoji-20170402033318

Jess, it was a pleasure. Thank you for spending this time with us!


Bio

I am a creative and freelance writer, I have been writing for over 25 years. I am a published ghostwriter (nah sorry, can’t say which books!) and am preparing my own novel, Guns of Perdition, for publication soon.

My style is generally dark fantasy with a smattering of romance, and usually filled with brooding anti-heroes.

My major love affair is with the written word; specifically creative writing. I allow myself to indulge and rendezvous with this secret lover whenever time allows… and then we make beautiful poetry together!

Jessica is in the early stages of her first book, “Guns of Perdition”, a fantasy western.

You can follow Jess online at:

Social media handles

Twitter: @jessicabakkers

WordPress: jessicabakkers.com

Tumblr: heroicjdog

Linked In: http://linkedin.com/in/jessica-bakkers-b4aaa786

Wattpad: @jessicabakkers

Facebook page: The Written Word @jbakkersTheWrittenWord


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

(Psst. This is a scheduled post and I am not at home. Please forgive any delays in responding to commentary.)

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.

4 Ways I Balance My Blogging and Writing Life

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“Where do you find the time?”

Is a question I get a lot so I thought I’d answer it in the form of a blog post so that more than a few individuals can benefit.

I also thought it would be interesting to see if I can write this with a two-year-old around.

With a few exceptions, you can expect a blog post from me almost every day. Is it an obligation? Nope. No one is making me blog and I don’t feel obligated to do so. I actually just enjoy blogging and although we have a long way to go, I like what this blog has become so far. I like the groove I’ve settled into here and the community I’ve built thus far. But, I am also an author and I do have a life outside this medium. I have a career, a husband, and other things to dedicate my attention to.

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Me: “I’m almost finished baby.”

“Huh?”

Me: “I’m almost finished.”

“Huh?”

Me: “Nevermind.”

So, when do I find the time to blog? How do I maintain a consistently updated blog, publish books and not neglect my family?

80 / 20 Rule

I don’t know if it’s because I am getting older or if I’ve learned to love myself more (combination of both?) but I don’t overwork myself anymore. I’m still disciplined but I no longer feel obligated to overdo it like I used to years ago. It’s not necessary. A few hours a day is really all it takes (I am working on removing actually and really from my vocabulary…though I actually like using these crutch words. Work with me here people). Instead, I am always thinking about the 80 / 20 rule and strive to incorporate it into my everyday life.

From Wikipedia:

“The principle was suggested by management thinker Joseph M. Juran. It was named after the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who observed that 80% of income in Italy was received by 20% of the Italian population. The assumption is that most of the results in any situation are determined by a small number of causes.”

This means that with just 20% effort, one can achieve 80% results or 80% of outcomes can be attributed to 20% of the causes. (…and my phone rings. Ignore that and keep writing. Ignoring stuff, that’s another point but we’ll get to that another time).

One way I balance blogging and writing are to dedicate at least 20% of my time toward blogging or 20% toward writing and then get on with my life.

Example: 8:00a – 10:00a = 25% of time Blogging

I found this really neat chart HERE. It calculates how much time you spend toward an 8-hour work day. Based on this chart, two hours of work in an 8-hour workday is already 25% of my day. Pretty neat.

My time can now be spent writing, washing dishes, or doing laundry. (1-2hrs is about the time it takes me to polish a decent sized blog post, that’s only about 25-30% of my day.)

“TT…”

“Yes?”

“I wanna take a bath.”

“OK.”

Scheduling Blog Posts

One of the most valuable time savers of mine is scheduling blog posts to go out. I write my blog posts early and if I can’t finish it in a couple hours I leave it alone and go do something else. In the evenings I come back, use Grammarly to edit them (because I’m not rich enough to hire someone to edit my every blog post) and then schedule the post to publish midnight my time (12:00 or later Central Standard Time). This means I may be asleep when it publishes which does two things:

“TT…?”

(1) Helps those outside the U.S. to catch the post early their time.

“TT…?

(2) Keeps my blog active throughout the day as people are tuning in under different time zones.

“Yes, love?”

“Where mommy?”

The only thing I am doing when I wake up and throughout the day is responding to the commentary, reading and re-blogging articles I like, liking and commenting on other people’s blogs and sharing them online. I may also publish other random thought posts but those don’t take as much time as say a post like this one.

Special Blog Segments

Another way that I balance my blogging and writing time is by introducing special segments. A Special Blog Segment is somethi…

“BJ Nooo!”

1o6wox

A blog segment is something I made up to mean blog posts that have a specific theme and is published weekly. I have several:

Monday – Author Interviews

Wednesday – No Whining Wednesday / Writer’s Wednesday

Thursday – Throwback Thursday Jams

Friday – Black History Fun Fact Friday / Movie Night Friday

Though I missed you all last week, I use these themes to keep this blog consistent with valuable content.

Re-spin Old Blog Posts

I’m a little obsessed with this because of how much value I get from it. I have to remind myself not to overdo it. Re-spinning blog posts is an amazing way to update the blog in as little time possible. Every now and again I re-publish (re-spin) old blog articles or poems that have proven valuable over the years. This gives new followers an opportunity to read the content, share it and offer their feedback too. But most time worthy, it gives me the chance to update my blog by not having to write anything new. This only takes a few minutes of my time.

  1. Use WP app to access my WP dashboard
  2. Go to posts > all posts > scroll through old posts (to pick a specific category go to All Categories > choose category)
  3. Choose a post I like, preferably a high value one (or one I think should be high value but didn’t get much attention)
  4. Find one and click edit
  5. Schedule it for a future date

For those who have already seen the post, they may not get new email notifications (it will show in the reader again but I will double check if you will get it again in your emails) for those who are new to my blog, they will definitely get a notification of the post as if it was brand new. It will be like I just wrote it and attract new views. (I’d recommend waiting at least a year before re-spinning posts so you have enough content so readers are not like “wait, didn’t she / he just post that tho?”)

By focusing a small amount of effort toward one task at a time, scheduling blog posts, re-blogging, creating special themed posts, downloading apps that make things easier and re-spinning old posts, you can cut down on your blog time too and use it to write your next book.

Note: How to Blog with a two-year-old: Lock the office door, put non-working electronics in front of him so he thinks he’s typing too, and keep looking back every 3 seconds. Draft your post, save it, give him a bath and put him to bed. Come back later, edit the post, schedule it to go out. 

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Introduce Yourself – Introducing Guest Author Patty Fletcher

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 Patty Fletcher. Welcome to The PBS Blog! Let’s get started.

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

My name is Patty L. Fletcher, and I am from a town in Northeast Tennessee in the United States called Kingsport.

Nice to meet you Patty! What would your perfect reading/writing room look like?

It’s funny you should ask. I am currently redoing the home I live in. Even though it is a rental, I feel very much as if it were my forever home, and thanks to a special grant I have recently received due to being Multiply disabled, the owner and property manager have given me a free hand. My perfect reading/writing room is going to have soft comfortable furniture for lounging, so that when I have free time or I’m working on a book review for another author, I’ll have a relaxing place to sit and read. I am also going to put in a desk for writing which will have plenty of room for my computer, Bluetooth keyboard, and other writing implements. Of course, I’ll have a big dog bed because I have a big beautiful beast of a Labrador from The Seeing Eye and he will need a place to hang out while Mommy works. There are two wonderful windows in the room, and I’m going to put in new shades so that when the sun is shining and temperatures allow, they can be open wide to let in the light, and breezes that seem to always blow through. I’ll have a big rag rug on the floor and even a bean-bag chair. I’m excited to be designing this room, and cannot wait until my dog and I can hang out in there all the time.

Wow! I think it’s so cool that you get to design your perfect room now. Congratulations on the grant too! You’re winning Patty. What is the most annoying habit that you have?

I believe the most annoying habit I have is that I obsess about things. If I get something stuck in my head like a problem that has not been resolved, I cannot let it go until it is resolved in some way. This can affect my writing because if I have a passage of a book, or blog post that I’m working on and it doesn’t feel right to me I’ll work, and work on it until it does. Thus, leaving other tasks undone.

In your own words what is love?

Love is being able to give all of yourself to another, yet still retaining your individuality. It is knowing all there is to know about another and still being able to be with them no matter what. It is being able to dislike something they do, say, or are, and still being able to find room in your heart for them, and it should always be unconditional.

That’s beautiful Patty. I LOVE it. Favorite line: “Love is being able to give all of yourself to another, yet still retaining your individuality. You mentioned blogging, does blogging help you to write?

Yes, Blogging Helps me to write. When I discovered blogging I realized I had a way to connect with those who had read my first published book, Campbell’s Rambles: How a Seeing Eye Dog Retrieved My Life, in a whole new way. Recently I was interviewed for a podcast, and they asked me about my blogging. I told them I called it “Reality Blogging” because I didn’t necessarily plan my writing. I just wrote what happened as it happened.” I write what I see and do. I write what I feel. I write what others do to me, for me, and with me, and how that works or doesn’t work in my life. I use it to publish excerpts of things I’m working on. Someone asked me why I do that, and I said, “Because I can get feedback from the ones who are going to buy my books, and find out what they like, or dislike about it. It is my way of sharing who and what I am. It has helped me to grow in all ways as a person, thus it has helped me grow as an author as well.

Indeed. So, Patty, what’s your favorite food?

Well, that’s hard. I suppose there are many reasons that I was matched with a Labrador for a guide, because just like a Lab I’ll just about eat anything that won’t eat me. I suppose if I had to name a food I really love it would be fried shrimp. I could eat my weight’s worth of the stuff. Just give me a big mountain of Fried shrimp and a large cup of dipping sauce, along with a large jug of Micro-Brew and watch me go!

Nooo. Not Shrimp! Lol. Who is your favorite writer?

My favorite writer of all time is Stephen King. Not only do I love to be scared silly, but I find his books, such as, The Dark Tower Series, 11/22/63, The Bill Hodges Trilogy, The Talisman, Black House, and Joy land, have helped me learn things about myself in ways that nothing I have ever read before has done. I love how he writes notes to his, “Constant Reader” and although his books aren’t Nonfiction, they touch on reality in a unique way.

I loved King’s On Writing. If you could shadow your favorite artist who would it be?

This answer is the same as above. ‘Laughing’ 😊 Stephen King. It is my Dream to meet him. Sit and talk with him, and have him read my book.

Lol Hee hee. OK. Now, as you may know The PBS Blog loves music. What kind of music do you like?

I love Classic Rock! From the 50’s 70’s and 80’s as well as heavy metal. I was a teenager in the 80’s and got really into the Big Hair Bands.

OK, I see you. Heavy Metal. Lil wild there huh Patty? Lol. When did you publish your first book? What was that like?

I Self-Published my first book in 2014. It was a thrill like nothing I’ve ever experienced, and probably will never experience again. It had always been a dream of mine to do so, and when I was finally able to accomplish it I was never so happy or proud. Oh! Yeah! I was terrified, because I wrote about my life, and the people in it, but I had to. The story was just too good to keep to myself.

Nice. I love it that I’m meeting all these memoir writers! Ya’ll are gonna have to give me a lesson or two. Patty, I sense you have a good heart. Who is your best friend?

My very best friend in the whole wide world is King Campbell Lee Fletcher Super Seeing Eye Dog A.K.A Bubba. He goes everywhere with me, doesn’t care that I’m thin or fat. It doesn’t bother him that I am blind, and he is ever happy. He can lift me out of the muck of depression like no other. He keeps all my secrets, and listens no matter what I have to say, and he answers all my questions and never cares how many I ask. He is always there for me, and you remember how I said love should always be unconditional? Well, he’s got that down pat! There won’t ever be a friend like him in my world again after he’s gone. Even though I’m sure I’ll have more guides, he’s absolutely the best friend ever ever ever in my life.

Patty, I understand that you’re blind. Can you share with us some insight into how that impacts your writing? What is it like being a blind writer? What makes it special?

I guess I don’t think of it much. The most challenging thing I think for me as a Blind Writer are the different methods of Technology, and how compatible they’re going to be with my Operating System, and Screen Reader, or Iphone Voice-Over.

What makes it Special? Well, the telling a story in such a way so that the Sighted Reader gets a glimpse into the World of a Blind Person. I have been Complimented many times in Topic Specific Social Media Groups that unless a Specific Topic came up, most did not know, or if they did, had forgotten that I was Blind. This means I’m functioning as “Anyone else would.”

I simply love to write. I want everyone to feel as I feel, Hear as I hear, and experience with all my senses, and how they work.

A Reader came to me one day and taking my hand said, “I read your book! I loved it! I cried, laughed, got angry, and scared, all in the same moment.” I laughed, squeezing her hand and said, “Of course! A Bipolar wrote it” Turns out for her, my Blindness wasn’t the Amazing part, and if that is so, I really did my job! 😊

Ms. Fletcher paints a vivid picture of her experience in training for a guide dog under difficult personal circumstances. A must read for those contemplating the move from a cane to a guide dog, as well as those interested in the physical and mental obstacles faced by the blind. – Amazon Customer Review

That’s amazing. I hope you’re listening writers! Patty is blind and still writes books. You, my writer friends, have no excuse. 🙂 ….Patty, what do you think of the world we live in?

Right now, the world we live in, in my opinion needs a big kick in the ass. There is too much hate. Too much negativity, and entirely too much judgmental behavior going on. We need more love. More peace, and more acceptance, but as a whole, I know there are still lots of great people places, and things left and I want to find each and every one of them. Draw all them out, and help make the rest of the world a better, and brighter place to live.

Lol! I know that’s right *pumps fist* What is the most thought provoking book you ever read?

The most thought provoking book I’ve ever read has thus far been Wolves of the Calla Book Five of The Dark Tower Series. It helped me to define allot of fears I have wrestled with for many years in my life, and I was able to begin to address them, and overcome them after having read it.

Why is writing important to you?

Writing is important to me because it allows me to express my whole self. If I’m writing SF (Which I’m finally getting the nerve to do) I can allow myself to come out in my characters in ways I haven’t yet been able to do. If I’m writing about something that hurts me I can express it fully because if I’m writing about it, rather than speaking directly to another I can say all I have to say without being interrupted, scolded or made to feel small. It allows another to read my thoughts, digest them and then react. Some call this being non-confrontational. I don’t know? Maybe it is, but for me it is the best thing on earth.

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Patty, it was truly a pleasure. Thank you for spending time with us!


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Patty L. Fletcher lives in Kingsport, TN, where she is a nonprofit consultant, the creator of The Neighborhood News, and writes full time.

Her autobiographical book is Campbell’s Rambles: How a Seeing Eye Dog Retrieved My Life (C 2014). There, she tells how she obtained her first guide dog from The Seeing Eye® in Morristown, NJ: what motivated her, the extensive training she had, and the good friends she made.

For more details about her and her book, including where to purchase the book in e-book or print format go to: www.dvorkin.com/pattyfletcher/

To see her blog and newly updated website go to http://campbellsworld.wordpress.com/


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

Good Writers

Maybe the book didn’t come out the way you envisioned it would or maybe you’ve got a one-star review. Maybe your editor marked all up and down your manuscript or someone critiqued the confidence right out of you. Maybe you failed, miserably. And maybe you want to crawl underneath the covers and will yourself away. If only you could shrink so that even your body disappears. Maybe, just maybe you are becoming a good writer.

Good writers get negative feedback at some point, period. Good writers get it wrong A LOT. Good writers fail, miserably. Good writers have confidence that appears low because good writers are humble. Good writers are scared to death of publishing the next book because good writers are real. They mess up. They get mixed reviews and feedback.

The difference between their failures and those who quit is that good writers have failed so many times that they are equipped to handle disappointment. And therefore, have the resilience and maturity to get back up and try again.

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The next time you receive feedback that makes you want to cringe you gotta remember that you are in good company. Every good writer was a failure first and every master was first a student.

Don’t misunderstand me, everyday ain’t beautiful. I don’t want my optimism on this blog to be too sweet for you. Cheerfulness ain’t a pill you can take that will make it all go away. I don’t want you to think that the struggle isn’t real, but if you never mess up, if you have never doubted, if you have never failed, never been knocked down, and if you give up too easily then maybe you can never really become a good writer.

Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Author Brenda Scruggs

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 Brenda Scruggs. Welcome to The PBS Blog! Let’s get started.

What is your name and where are you from? 

Hello, my name is Brenda Scruggs and I live in the Volunteer State -Tennessee.

Cool. My in-laws are in Memphis. Are you married? How long?

I will be married 24 years this April.

Hey! Gone head witcha bad self then. Happy anniversary! Who is your best friend?

I couldn’t ask for a better friend than my husband. His support and encouragement is more than I than I could ever imagine.

Awwue. Yaass. I love it. 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?

It would be a Mediterranean Style house. I love the openness of the floor plans. And, the house frames are different than a traditional house.

Nice. Are you employed outside of writing? Tell us about your job.

By day, I work as a Merchandiser for Foster Grant and American Greetings, by night, I am a finger typing writer, as my husband would call me.

In your own words, what is love?

Love is more than words, its action. My definition of Love would be Selflessness – putting others above yourself.

Protector by Brenda Scruggs is Coming Soon. Image Used with permission.

I LOVE that definition! Selflessness. Yes. What genre do you write in, why?

At the moment, I’ve written Christian Fiction Romance/Suspense. One that is currently in print, “The Chocolatier,” a story that downloaded in my head one day when someone asked me if I wanted a piece of chocolate, my response was, “I’m not fond of Chocolate.”  Which is true, growing up, I remember, I always chose any other desert before I picked chocolate. (Crazy, I know). Another “Protector,” is to be released soon. But, my work in progress, is Historical Romance. I believe with Romance/suspense gives the reader a little edge wondering how the twists will turn out. The reason I began writing historical fiction is when I started doing research on the area that I’m from. I immediately thought of 1876, and the way the country could’ve appeared. Tennessee has a rich history in horse racing which peeked my interest.

Not fond of chocolate?! Whhaat.

Speaking of works, when did you publish your first book? What was that like?

The feeling an author gets when they first open the box of their printed book is almost indescribable. For me, it was a mixture of jumping up and down then wanted to hug it as if it had been a lost puppy returning home.

I think you’ve just described every writer reading this post! Jumping up and down and hugging the book is definitely a must. What do you hate most about writing advice? What do you love?

Honestly, I don’t hate any writing advice. I can’t grow in my writing if I can’t receive any advice. Proverbs 9:9 “Give instruction to a wise man and he will be still wiser. Teach a righteous man and he will increase his learning.”

Uh oh, she dropping scripts yall! I love it. Prov. 9:9 is one of my favorites.

Does blogging help you to write?

I do believe blogging helps me write. I have two blogs an author blog and Many Hats of a Lady blog. On one, I post and reblog about writing and the other, I have more freedom of posting different subjects. So, I’m continually, thinking and writing something along with my manuscript.

Awesome. Thank you, Brenda, for spending time with us today!

Branda is leaving us with a little treat! Here’s a blurb from The Chocolaiter. Enjoy:

From The Chocolatier

Would her heart learn to trust again?
Would she be able to love again?
 
Charlene Callaway finds herself far from home after finding her fiancé with another woman on their wedding day. She moves to San Francisco when her friend convinced her to start a new beginning. But, when she goes to work at a Chocolate Company, she wasn’t ready for her new boss. She wouldn’t let her heart get broken again.
 
Charles Riveria an heir to huge Chocolate Company was content as Director of Marketing. Charles’ passion is to represent Riviera Chocolate making it the best empire in the industry until he literally bumps into Charlene Callaway. When a stalker abducts Charlene, Charles finds himself doing everything in his power to find to her even if it took his cousin, the leader of a black opt team to find her.


Bio. Brenda studied journalism in high school which stirred her imagination into putting words on paper. Years later, she read an author’s interview that awakened the creativity that laid inactive. She gathered her thoughts and laid her pen to paper and hasn’t stopped.

Brenda loves to create stories in either Contemporary or Historical settings that take the reader on travels of conflict and suspense with a flavor of romance. Her characters are strong and determined while facing oppositions that could alter their way of life.

She is married and lives in Tennessee. She takes pleasure in watching television with her husband, eating Mexican food and scribbling her thoughts on paper.

Facebook – Brenda Scruggs-Author
brendascruggs.wordpress.com  Author blog
brendascruggssite.wordpress.com  Many Hats of a Lady Blog


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