Suicide Awareness Poem: An Interview with Angel Hernandez

The Shellycoat
The Shellycoat

Angel Hernandez is the author of The Shellycoat, a poem he wrote discussing suicide. After losing someone he decided to bring more awareness to this issue through various outlets.

What poem really resonates with you?
Edgar Allen Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart as it serves as a reminder of the power of our mind. It made me more mindful about my subconscious even though the poem is talking about a guilty conscience. I personally interpreted it as Poe dishing out a general reminder and just happened to use that as a particular example.

How about books, is there a particular title that you really enjoy?
When I finished school I didn’t read much aside from books related to business and self-development, however, one title in particular that I won’t forget is The Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger. I read it when I was younger and recently reread it as an adult and it continues to intrigue me. While Holden is not a character to emulate, his observations and frustrations about his environment are things I can relate to.

What writing are you most proud of?
Aside from some articles, I haven’t really published much but out of all of the things I have written, this poem is something I am really proud of as I had to be very honest with myself and it caused me to give a lot of thought to where I was in life at that particular moment.

What inspired you to write this piece?
I normally don’t write but occasionally get inspired to do so. In the case of this poem I wrote, I was inspired by a tragic loss.

Do you find it hard to share your work?
I was a bit hesitant to share this particular piece as it was very personal in nature and my commentary also made me a bit vulnerable. However, in the end, it’s something that has to be shared as I hope my message can help out others.

Are your friends and family supportive of your work?
Yes, I have received positive support from both which was helpful.

How did you write this piece and under what conditions?
I wrote it primarily on the computer but did brainstorm a bit on paper, particularly the commentary section. The initial drafts were written at home but I rewrote one of the later drafts while traveling.

What do you hope people will take away from your poem?
I hope readers will gain some positive reassurance from it to help them with whatever issues they are up against.

Is there someone that you wish you could share your piece with but no longer can due to circumstances?

My cousin, who I dedicated the poem to, I am sure he would be proud of me.

You can read and even listen to the poem online over at https://shellycoat.com/poem

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An Interview with Author Khanh Ha

Khanh Ha

Khanh Ha is the author of Flesh (Black Heron Press) and The Demon Who Peddled Longing (Underground Voices). He is a seven-time Pushcart nominee, a Best Indie Lit New England nominee, a twice finalist of THE WILLIAM FAULKNER-WISDOM CREATIVE WRITING AWARD, the recipient of Sand Hills Prize for Best Fiction, and Greensboro Review’s ROBERT WATSON LITERARY PRIZE IN FICTION. The Demon Who Peddled Longing was honored by Shelf Unbound as a Notable Indie Book. Ha graduated from Ohio University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.

Describe yourself in five words:

Meticulous. Stubborn. Determined. Moody. Faithful.

How do you work through self-doubts and fear?

Sometimes there’s fear but never self-doubts as a writer. It takes time, patience and a whole lot of self-depreciation, but never self-doubt. There’s fear for physical disasters, but never irrational fear. I can’t help remembering the words from Jiddu Krishnamurti: “If you are totally free of fear, then Heaven is with you.”

What makes you happiest?

The harmony that comes from my family. You long to go home where you have love. Having both, you’re blessed. And love is the oil that erases friction. I believe that was said by Friedrich Nietzsche.

Why do you write?

There was this dinky book-for-rent store in Hue, Vietnam, that my older brother and I used to haunt. I was nine. We would pool our money we got from Grandma and rent all the books we could read, most of them Chinese classics. My favorites then were The Tale of the Three Kingdoms and Journey to the West. One day we ran out of books to rent.

Bookish addiction! I started making up stories in a chapbook. Did I want to become a writer someday? No. But something was sowed in my fertile mind during that time. It must have started with The Count of Monte Cristo. Fifty some volumes of it in Vietnamese translation, pocket-sized, were sent to us in serial each week from my mother who was then living in Saigon. I would devour each volume and grow hungry for more. Outlandish worlds. They would ebb and flow in my mind, leaving the fecund silt on its bottom, and one day in my teenage years I wanted to become a writer.

What writing are you most proud of?

All of the books I have published: “Flesh,” “The Demon Who Peddled Longing,” “Mrs. Rossi’s Dream.”

Location and life experiences can really influence writing. Tell us where you grew up and where you now live?

I grew up in Hue, Vietnam, where my childhood was imbued with the cultural intellect of a city known for its moss-stained citadel, the imperial tombs nestled in the pine forest, temples and pagodas tucked away at the foot of gentle hills by a quiet stream. Its damp, foggy climate had left moisture damage on the ancient buildings, on old houses with moss-covered yin-yang roof tiles. As a child, I lived in its mysterious atmosphere, half real, half magic. I used to walk home under the shade of the Indian almond trees, the poon trees. At the base of these old trees I would pass a shrine. If I went with my grandmother, she would push my head down. “Don’t stare at it,” grandmother said. “That’s disrespect to the genies.” Like many other children, I had an indelible belief in animism. An unseen presence dwelling in an odd-looking rock by the roadside where people placed a bowl of rice grains and a stick of incense long gone cold. Those anthropomorphic images sown in a child’s mind later became inspirations for my writing. Then I moved to the United States for my college education, and this has become my second homeland ever since. I learn to blend my eastern culture with the western culture. My journalism background taught me to write lean prose; but I’m a novelist, not a journalist. A journalist targets an audience; a novelist builds a make-believe world. It may be a paper moon sailing over a cardboard sea; but if it’s believable, readers will come.

What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing?

Hardest is getting your work published. And I dread having to whore myself for that. Writing isn’t a lucrative business, unless writing ransom notes—someone said that. Then you’ll come to appreciate what Hemingway once said: “Most live writers do not exist. Their fame is created by critics who always need a genius of the season, someone they understand completely and feel safe in praising, but when these fabricated geniuses are dead they will not exist.” That’s the major frustration for a published writer. But that frustration is negated by the sense of self-fulfillment when you hold a copy of your book in your hands. Your book is the link that connects you with the world.

Is there anyone you’d like to acknowledge and thank for their support?

My deepest gratitude goes to my co-pubishersMartin and Judith Shepard and my wife whose love and devotion has sustained me over the years.

Tell us about your new book? Why did you write it?

My next novel is set in Dien Bien Phu where the French army surrendered in 1954. It’s a love story. Think of Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez, because the novel spans three decades from 1954, beginning in the valley of Dien Bien Phu, that small valley in the fog and rain of the northwestern forest, a place and time that captivates me all my life, where love blossoms and dies and blossoms again after the lovers have lost each other, aged with the years. There were things left out from “Mrs. Rossi’s Dream,” which later morphed into this new novel. “Father once said in his diary that a man’s karma could be passed on to his children,” said a 16-year-old mute girl whose inheritance from her estranged father is his lifetime artwork. Thus begins the historical tale by the young girl. Amid the horrific stories on the rice road, the cannon road, and in the trenches is a love story between her father—an artist-reporter at frontline—and a singer-performer who traveled with an entertainment ensemble to the frontline. Their poignant story ended when they became separated after the victory of Dien Bien Phu and her father was then sent to South Vietnam to fight the American Vietnam war. From his diary, his sketchbook, his lifetime artwork, and the work he contributed to the Must Win newspaper at frontline, Hai Yen recreates a love story so innocent and vulnerable within an epic Stalingrad of the East through her own sensitive narrative.

When you are not writing, how do you like to relax? 

I read a lot between the long breaks from writing novels. We’d vacation, as a family, sometimes to the seaside, sometimes out of the country.

What do you hope people will take away from your writing? How will your words make them feel?

I never intend to send readers any message in any novel I write. I don’t believe in it. But I like novels that give me food for thought. I like novels that offer a redemptive value. I hope Mrs. Rossi’s Dream does. A good book will haunt you. I read The Sound and the Fury by Faulkner and found myself envying him. I believe that writers have influence on one another. Influence, not inspiration. Maybe someday what I wrote might bear some influence on some aspiring writers. If you are a reader, what you read at the early age―if you always trust your childhood memory―will become the undertone of what you want to read as an adult. 

What’s the most memorable thing asked/said by a reader about your work?
It came from a critic who reviewed Flesh, my debut novel. She said: “The book opens with two epigraphs, one from Charles Farrère: ‘Yes, I am no longer a man, no longer a man at all.  But I have not yet become anything else.’ The second from Mr. Arthur Rimbaud, which in light of the outcome of Mr. Khanh’s exquisite book is the perfect introduction, and one to which you will return when you have finished the last page of the book: ‘When the world is reduced to a single dark wood for our four eyes’ astonishment—a beach for two faithful children, a musical house for one pure sympathy—I shall find you.’

“It is my honor to have been able to review this book by Mr. Khanh Ha, the first book of his that I hope is one of many to come. I cannot encourage you enough to read it, and savor all the morsels, and gather every scent that rise up from every page.”

What is your work schedule like when you are writing?

A routine helps settle my mind before I write. My routine of a typical day is to eat a light breakfast and be at my desk between 7:30 – 8 a.m. I drink black coffee throughout the morning while I’m at work―no snacks. I listen to classical or relaxation music while I write. It helps soothe my mind unless I do need an absolute moment of quiet to capture my thoughts. In that case, I write in the quiet. I read during my writing breaks. Have lunch, read a newspaper, then be back at work until 4 p.m.  That’s the capsule of a day in a life of a writer. And it starts over again the next day. If a novel takes a year or longer to write, the routine of each day is duplicated over again like clockwork.

What challenges do you come across when writing/creating your story?
Family crisis. You feel wrecked—as a husband, a father. The writer in you is annihilated because of that. But what annoys you the most while you’re writing a novel comes from interruption and sickness. In that order.

Do you have anything specific you’d like to tell the readers?

If you’re an aspired writer, consider how your day-to-day life influences your writing. In fact, it’s reciprocal. Live right and you write better. Write well and you live better.

Follow author Khanh Ha via the following social media:

Website: http://www.authorkhanhha.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/authorkhanhha
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authorkhanhha
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/khanhha

Blog: http://authorkhanhha.blogspot.com/

An Interview with Megan Hussey

A book by Megan Hussey

A USA Today bestselling author, Megan Hussey is a feminist erotica writer and editor with single-title e-books, anthology stories, an erotic story audio CD, and paperback novels in print. Previously, she edited the book My Testimony and Legacy and coedited The Ladies Sampler magazine. From mermen to vampires, Megan’s stories feature sexy, kind-natured heros and strong, real woman heroines. Her creative inspirations range from Playgirl magazine to chocolate, PlaygirlTV stars/actors like Marcus London, Evan Stone and Jean Val Jean to the Florida sunshine. She spends the bulk of her time writing naughty stories but also writes humor and journalistic pieces. She is also a women’s sex activist who has written for woman-positive sex companies like Playgirl, Good Vibrations, Trejix Toys and Little Black Box Gifts. Megan won an Honorable Mention for Love Romances and More Cafe’s 2007 Vampire Book of the Year award, for her book “Under Cover of Night: The First Book of Nuit” from Dark Eden Press. Under Cover of Night was also up for the Best Short Story (All Other Genres) Published in 2007 category in the Preditors & Editors Poll. She was also a nominee for the Erotic Romance Reviews for Women Golden Shoe Award. And her Melange Books release The One that Got Away received a Recommended Read rating from the Erotica Writers and Readers Association.   This Indiana native graduated from Ball State University, where she graduated cum laude and earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and English.  She lives in Florida.  Join her new Yahoo! group, Siren’s Call, by writing to sirens_call-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

  1. Where are you from? I’m a native of Indiana and currently live in Florida.
  2. Why do you write? Writing comes as easily to me as breathing—easier during allergy season! I call myself a compulsive overwriter. I have about 20 titles available on Amazon through various publishers; my newest release is a rerelease of my romance anthology Mermance, a collection of stories that pairs up gorgeous, sensitive mermen with strong, real woman heroines. The collection has a beautiful new cover and a new story, The Siren’s Touch.
  3. What do you write about? I’m a romance writer (specializing in paranormal, contemporary, historical, erotic and sweet—if it centers around two or occasionally more folks who really dig each other, I’ll write it), though I am also a columnist at the feminist website Legendary Women.Org and an arts and entertainment journalist. I’m celebrating 15 years in the romance writing business and recently earned the status of USA Today bestselling author. Hooray!!!
  4. Do you have a specific writing style? I always write about strong, realistic women and really hot men, in a descriptive style. No adjective will be spared!
  5. What are obstacles that come in the way of writing? Everyday life can be most annoying.
  6. Whats the most memorable thing asked/said by a reader about your work? One reader said that my book Victorian Sensation was among her personal favorites, that she reread on a regular basis. I was so touched by this, as I myself have books that are like old friends to me.
  7. How long have you been writing? I do believe I came out of the womb with pen in hand. Seriously, I’ve been making up stories and writing them down since I was about 6 or 7, often sending myself on epic adventures with The Cat in the Hat. Lucky for me, they never saw the light of day and Dr. Seuss never sued.
  8. What is your work schedule like when you are writing? Happily insane.
  9. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk? I never stop.
  10. Do you have suggestions on how to become a better writer? I would suggest that you read the work of authors you enjoy, and also that you write as often as possible—for work, for fun, to entertain yourself and others. Have fun writing it, and—chances are—others will enjoy reading it.
  11. What challenges do you come across when writing/creating your story? Sometimes while writing a story, I get an idea for another one; like my muse is jumping up and down and shouting, “Yo Meg, over here! Look at me!” But I really need to stay on track and finish the story I’ve started.
  12. What do you think makes a good story? I like a story that reads like a movie—exciting and fast-paced, that has you reading until the last page.
  13. What does your family think of your writing? I’d like to take this opportunity to honor my biggest fan. My mom Frances endlessly supported and encouraged me, loving me so completely and without condition. I’ve dedicated every one of my sweet romances to her, and she read them all cover to cover. My mom passed away last November—and although I do enjoy writing romantic love stories, the bond I shared with her is the greatest love I’ll ever know. 
  14. Do you see writing as a career? I write full time and I love it!
  15. Do you have anything specific you’d like to tell the readers? I hope that my work brings you happiness and cheer, and makes you dream.

My website: http://goldenmuse.tripod.com

An Interview with Kathryn Sunantha

Bliss Pure Foods: Living in Full Colours is Sunantha’s upcoming book in May

Born in Singapore and currently temporary based in Nepal, Kathryn was a graduate of Lasalle SIA College of the Arts. A certified business image consultant, art educator and healthy eating life coach, Kathryn has built a strong foundation in the arts and public speaking under the tutelage of internationally acclaimed transformation speaker, Mr Robert Pante. She holds a BA in Metaphysical Sciences as well as a Diploma in Art Education. She champions the practice of ahimsa (non-violence) through conscious eating and lifestyle choices. She also travels frequently to empower people towards health and bliss. When she presents, people listen! Her style of delivery is candid and yet caring. She naturally possess the magical ability to connect people with their own self love, wisdom and respect. She does not transform people. She inspires them to transform themselves! She is also the author of “Wealth From Within: Unlocking Your Innate Wisdom” and “Playing to Lose: Actually You Will Only Win & Learn”. Kathryn travels often to train and provide workshops on arts, healthy vegan cooking and medicinal raw food making. She also teaches online via YouTube & Udemy at BLISSPUREFOODS Channel. During her free time, she enjoys taking time alone in Nature and meditation retreat.

Live interview with author Kathryn is available on our YouTube channel.

Describe yourself in five words
Candid. Playful. Creative. Curious. Open to possibilities.

What fact about yourself would really surprise people?
I look and feel very young but my actual age surprise people. I am approaching 40.

How do you work through self-doubts and fear?
When I have self doubts and fear, I like to go into my own silent space to study my own thoughts. Then I would speak to a few reliable and emotionally supportive friends to work through limiting thoughts like a sounding board.

What scares you the most?
Death. Especially sudden departures of very close and loved ones. I experienced two very sudden deaths who are very close to me in my life within 6 months and it made me felt very sad and behind the grief was fear…. The fear of losing/ abandonment.

What makes you happiest?
WHEN I SEE PEOPLE BEING RESPONSIBLE FOR THEMSELVES, EATING HEALTHIY, BEING VIBRANT, HAPPY AND ALIVE, IT MAKES ME HAPPY! Healthy and beautiful foods made from the heart also delights me.

Why do you write?
Most of the time, its for self expression and an outlet for creativity.

Have you always enjoyed writing?
Only when I am inspired. When I feel deeply for a subject, then I write with enjoyment.

What motivates you to write?
To bring value, beauty, wisdom and possibilities in other people’s lives motivates me to write.

What writing are you most proud of?
I wrote a book named WEALTH FROM WITHIN: UNLOCKIING YOUR INNATE WISDOM when I was 21 to pay off my own education fees. This book is available in national libraries in singapore. Next was PLAYING TO LOSE: ACTUALLY YOU WILL ONLY WIN AND LEARN where I wrote about my dark experiences as a school teacher. Lastly, is my new upcoming book BLISS PURE FOODS: LIVING IN FULL COLORS where I shared all my vegan, raw vegan and vegetarian recipes with many beautiful colorful photos and instructions that are easy for people to experiment and play in their own kitchen. These recipes are foods made in my cafe in Nepal.

What are you most proud of in your personal life?
I am proud to be able to live the life that I love and living it powerfully. I am a person who loves to explore unknown territories and enjoy traveling and learning.

What books did you love growing up?
I love astronomy and it was one of my childhood dreams to study the stars and planets. But now, I love any books that can open my heart with wonder, joy and inspirations.

What do you hope your obituary will say about you?
FULLY USED UP.

Location and life experiences can really influence writing, tell us where you grew up and where you now live?
I was born in Singapore and have lived in many parts of the world. USA, CANADA, INDIA, MALAYSIA, NEPAL, AUSTRALIA, CHINA, JAPAN and currently I am looking relocating myself so that my work can be further empowered to benefit more people in eating healthy and cooking nutritious foods at home.

How did you develop your writing?
I treat writing like painting and would not say that I am a professional writer. But I do write from my heart when I write.

What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing?
I feel it is writing and marketing. Getting published is not difficult since there are many possibilities around self publishing now. Writing takes a lot of time and effort. Marketing is another world of skills that helps you get your work out there. So both are hard. Hardest, I feel is marketing because one has to know how to sell themselves daringly.

What else do you do, other than write?
I experiment food recipes in kitchen a lot! I also love to hang out in natural quiet spots. I love visiting nice vegan cafes and restaurants too during my day offs.

What other jobs have you had in your life?
I was a fashion designer then became a business image consultant and life coach trained by Mr Robert Pante. I worked as an image consultant and trainer for 7 years and then thought of becoming a school teacher to fulfill my other childhood dream. Taught for a short while in government schools and decided to quit because I wasn’t feeling my own inner fulfillment. Then I went back to being my own boss. Now I run a cafe, travel and teach classes like eco living, healthy vegan cooking, medicinal raw food making, inspirational talks, coaching etc.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
Anywhere that has fresh clean air, good people, nature and an abundance of raw living water, a land for planting biodynamics crops and a nice kitchen and dining area to cook and host friends.

How do you write – lap top, pen, paper, in bed, at a desk?
Laptop most of the time.

How much sleep do you need to be your best?
8 hours of sleep is what I usually get.

Is there anyone you’d like to acknowledge and thank for their support?
My dad. Without him, there is no me today.
Getse Rinpooche, my dharma teacher, who gave me all I need to live life courageously and meaningfully.
Robert Pante, my life coach, mentor and best friend who have seen me grow up since 17. I taught me arts, design, English language and the power of presentation.

Tell us about your new book? Why did you write it?
My new book BLISS PURE FOODS: LIVING IN FULL COLORS is a full colored vegan , raw vegan and vegetarian recipes book that contains all natural ingredients and fully plant based. These recipes are created from my years of traveling ands experiencing life. It is a fusion of west and the east incorporated with superfood and superherbs. What I mean by this is foods that are high in energy and vibrations and with just a small dosage, you get great nutritional benefits out of eating them. In the book, most recipes are made from scratch like enzymes oil, probiotics filled fermented foods, raw foods that have an asian touch to it plus clear instructional photos. I wrote this book with the intention to support and empower busy people to do more home cooking that canals be creative and fun activities to engage in during free time. The recipes are generally simple and easy to make. So this book will be very useful for mummies who wants to bond with their kids in the kitchen. Food has the ability to heal people and to bring people together. This is what I wish my book will do and bring to those who bought it.

We had so much fun learning about Kathryn and we believe you will benefit from her work on Amazon as well. Find her work on Amazon and be sure to catch up with her live interview on our YouTube channel!

Bliss Pure Foods: Living in Full Colours. Get it on Amazon today!

An Interview with LaToya Thomas

It is a great pleasure to interview, LaToya Thomas, a children’s book author. LaToya’s new book ‘You Are Beautiful, Beautiful You Are’ will be published on Amazon on 23rd February 2019. We hope that you would enjoy LaToya’s interview as much as we did.

Describe yourself in five words
Responsible, loyal, fun, busy and determined
What fact about yourself would really surprise people?
I am not afraid to fail. At least then I will have at least tried.
How do you work through self-doubts and fear?
I research… a lot. I weigh the pros and cons. Being an optimist by nature certainly helps.
What scares you the most?
Snakes
What makes you happiest?
Completing projects on my to do list, peace of mind and vacations
Why do you write?
I write when I have a message to share or when I randomly get inspired. I work with children and children are funny. I always find myself thinking, “That would make a great story!”
Have you always enjoyed writing?
Yes, I have always enjoyed writing. I used to write plays when I was a child. I also kept a journal since as far back as I can remember.
What motivates you to write?
The children I work with motivate me to write. My daughter was the driving force behind my book You Are Beautiful, Beautiful You Are. Then, there were countless conversations between myself and other adults that confirmed that writing the book was necessary.
What writing are you most proud of?
I am proud of the way people have been so receptive of You Are Beautiful, Beautiful You Are. When I wrote the story, I never told anyone until after it was written, illustrated and ready for print. Then, I blasted it to the world. I could not believe the response I received. There were people who told me they cried. One person actually cried while reading the book in front of me. We cried together. It was awesome!
What are you most proud of in your personal life?
In my personal life, I am proud to be accomplishing my goals one by one. It has not been easy, but every time I set my mind to something and I focus, I reach my goal. That is worth being proud! Now, I am working on celebrating these accomplishments. I have not always been good at that. I rarely stop to smell the roses and I believe it is important to do that.
What books did you love growing up?
Growing up, I loved Amelia Bedelia. I thought those books were hilarious. I also loved Dr. Seuss books and the way they were written. My mom would order children’s magazines for me and I remember loving to do the activities inside.
What do you hope your obituary will say about you?
Yikes! Uhhh. I hope to live forever. Haha, but if I must go I hope people will remember the many ways in which I tried to help people, my giving spirit and my optimism.
Location and life experiences can really influence writing, tell us where you grew up and where you now live?
I grew up in the city of Philadelphia PA, west philly to be exact. I currently live approx. 30 mins west of where I grew up, in King of Prussia PA. Its more suburban here.
How did you develop your writing?
I was always given writing materials as a child. I had tons of notebooks, so that is where it all started. In college, I took some courses that required writing research papers. I enjoyed it. I love research and when you are well versed on a subject writing about it is easy.
What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing?
Marketing by far is the hardest. However, the reality is none of it is hard. It’s all easy. It’s just tedious, costly and/or time consuming… or all of the above!
What marketing works for you?
I have found that social media sites can be very helpful. Also, there is nothing like word of mouth. Luckily, that is one concept from the past that we still have. People love to share what the love… and of course, what they don’t.
Do you find it hard to share your work?
I don’t find it hard to share my work. I do get weird feelings though, sort of like butterflies. I always want everything to be perfect, so I find myself giving disclaimers and explanations that are totally unnecessary.
Is your family supportive? Do your friends support you?
I have received nothing but great vibes from everyone. I am so grateful for the support I have received.
What else do you do, other than write?
I work with children. I have worked with children for the past 19 years. I have experience with children who have special needs. It has been very rewarding to be a part of their lives.
If you could study any subject at university what would you pick?
I have studied early childhood education and behavioral science. I would probably continue to study psychology. I love psychology. Much of behavioral science is also psychology, but it also has human services and a sociological component.
If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
Miami Florida, Atlanta Georgia and where I currently live. Preferably a home in each state.
Tell us about your family?
I have two children, ages 12 and 8. They are amazing.
How do you write – lap top, pen, paper, in bed, at a desk?
All of the above and even on my phone if I am not near my computer or don’t have a pen and paper.
How much sleep do you need to be your best?
I need between 6 and a half and 8 hours of sleep. I wish I could only get a couple hours of sleep and still be at my best, but that was not in the cards for me..
Is there anyone you’d like to acknowledge and thank for their support?
I would like to thank my mom for always being there for me. She really did an amazing job and I am still realizing the sacrifices she made as a mother, especially since I am now at that stage in life myself.
Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing look like to you?
A successful writing career to me would be creating books that connect with people. I would like people to read one of my books and want to read more of my books. Books can have an emotional connection with readers. That is my goal, to be able to connect with readers. Of course, I would like to sell massive amounts of books, become a bestselling author and make a living from writing my books. That would be the ultimate goal.
It is vital to get exposure and target the right readers for your writing, tell us about your marketing campaign?
Because You Are Beautiful, Beautiful You Are is written for children and is in picture book form, my readers are mostly parents, caregivers and young children. I am interested in marketing to schools, childcare centers, libraries, conferences and most certainly book stores. I will be offering author visits. I will also have a social media presence and I am counting on word of mouth as well.
Tell us about your new book? Why did you write it?
I wrote You Are Beautiful, Beautiful You Are because I realized that there is a lack of self-love in our society. I wanted to be encouraging to other adults, ones who would read my book to their children. My hope is to instill self-love, confidence, encouragement and acceptance of self and others in young children.
If you could have a dinner party and invite anyone dead or alive, who would you ask?
The first person to come to mind is my Grandpa Jim. I remember being a child and we would play board games as a family. No one could ever beat Grandpa Jim in checkers, but one day I did it! I beat him. It was the best feeling. I would invite Grandpa Jim over and we would play checkers until we were tired of playing, which would take a long time. (This question brought me to tears.)
When you are not writing, how do you like to relax?
When I am not writing, I love to swim, shop, dine at new fancy restaurants and travel the world. There are so many places I would love to see!
What do you hope people will take away from your writing? How will your words make them feel?
I hope people will get reminders of their self-worth and the importance of self-care, self-love and conficdence. I hope these people will then share the message of accepting themselves and also accepting others as they are. Then, and only then, will the world be a better place.

You Are Beautiful, Beautiful You Are

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An Interview with Donnovan Campbell

Author Donnovan Campbell
  1. Describe yourself in five words
    I’d say funny, thoughtful, blessed, loved, and supported.
  2. What fact about yourself would really surprise people?
    I love baking tres leches cakes. This accountant and author bakes great brownies and cookies, but my best dessert to bake is tres leches cake.
  3. How do you work through self-doubts and fear?
    I first identify them when they occur. Then I normally see if what I am afraid of is actually true. As a Christian,
    I know to trust God and that whatever I cannot do on my own, I can surely do with him. Then I go for it. I admit I don’t always do this. I have many times succumbed to self-doubt and fear, but I am learning to apply this method.
  4. What scares you the most?
    Besides the Tennessee Titans winning a Superbowl before the Jacksonville Jaguars (I am a Jaguars fan after all), I would say that what scares me the most is leaving a burden to my family and friends. I work hard for those who have poured into me, and seeing that I have
    seen a lot of people in my life leave burdens that their friends and family can barely bear scares me the most.
  5. What makes you happiest?
    What makes me happiest is helping friends and family succeed. I am not going to pretend that I am a saint and that it’s always fun to see someone surpass me. I am very competitive. Nevertheless, I have been on a journey on discovering who I am and who I want to be. I found out within the last two years that I love creativity. I want to create books, movies, businesses, and more. I also found out that I love helping others and that it was a huge mission for me.
  6. Why do you write?
    I write because I love to write. I love creating new things. I also had learned a lot, especially within the last two years, that I wanted to give to others. I saw a real need in my community for what I had to say, and I hope it helps my community and the world like it helped me.
  7. Have you always enjoyed writing?
    I would not say that I always enjoyed writing, but I always loved making new things. I remember as a kid I would draw characters and make up stories in my head about them. I was not the best at drawing, but my stories were amazing. I also used to go in my family’s recycling bin and make all kind of things like ninja bo staffs, coolers, robots that did not move, miniature hockey table, and more. It wasn’t until middle school that I got into writing poetry and entering them into poetry contests for extra credit (Thank you teachers out there). From those writings, I learned to enjoy the making and expression of writing.
  8. What motivates you to write?
    Passion, the challenge, and a feeling of accomplishment. I have a passion to write if you cannot tell yet, and instead of sitting on my writings like I had for several years, I decided to take on the challenge of self-publishing my books. They are in the genre of fiction, which is highly saturated with competition, which motivates me more to succeed. Finally, I am accomplishing part of my purpose. That motivates me to continue writing.
  9. What writing are you most proud of?
    I am most proud of the book I am writing now, Unlocking the Future’s Past Book 2. It requires discipline to write 750 words each day, and every time I accomplish the writing it makes me feel great that I accomplished a task that is going towards a goal I have not accomplished yet: writing a 100,000 word book (less revisions and edits).
  10. What are you most proud of in your personal life?
    I am proud of being a part of a great family. I know I am blessed to have the support and friendship I would say with my parents and brother. Not everyone has that so I am proud to be allowed to have this blessing
  11. What books did you love growing up?
    I loved the Hardy Boys series and Nancy Drew series, as well as Agatha Christie books growing up. I know they are not within the genre I write, but I always loved the language and intrigue.
  12. What do you hope your obituary will say about you?
    I hope it says I made a difference. That is my ultimate mission. If it also says, “I am Batman,” that would be cool too.
  13. Location and life experiences can really influence writing, tell us where you grew up and where you now live?
    I grew up in the Hampton, VA as well as the Newport News, VA areas and now still live in Newport News (although I am moving soon). It is like what they say, “Once you live in Virginia, you want to stay in Virginia” or something like that.
  14. How did you develop your writing?
    I learn best by doing so I develop my writing by writing, listening and reading books so I can apply what I learn, and by having a great editor show where I need much improvement. I am still working on developing more writing skills.
  15. What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing?
    Although I heard that getting published is the hardest, since I took the route of self-publishing, I would say the hardest part is marketing. I am still new at it, but once you have developed the habit of writing, you must market your book, whether you go through a publisher or through self-publishing.
  16. What marketing works for you?
    So far Instagram and Facebook works best for me. I am trying different techniques and following a marketing plan I and a person who works in marketing helped developed.
  17. Do you find it hard to share your work?
    I do sometimes find it hard to share, but I have found that writing is something you must appreciate for yourself first and realize that many people have not accomplished it. If there is someone out there within the billions of people on this planet who could enjoy or use your work, even if it is just yourself, then it is worth sharing.
  18. Is your family supportive? Do your friends support you?
    My family and friends have been very supportive. They have given me feedback on my work, purchased my books, and help spread the word of their release. They are a great blessing.
  19. What else do you do, other than write?
    I am an accountant and financial professional. I help businesses structure and run their accounting and finance systems, and I help families and individuals learn financial literacy. I help them save with a purpose, prepare a legacy for their family, and help people get out of debt.
  20. What other jobs have you had in your life?
    I have had only one other job, student worker. It was a fun job where I got to drive golf carts, set up at events, and talk to people at the front desk.
  21. If you could study any subject at university what would you pick?
    I would study Cost accounting. I have learned that no man knows everything. There is always more to learn in just about any skill a person has learned. Knowing that I have a lot more to learn in accounting, I would try to take classes that would improve my strengths.
  22. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
    I do not know exactly, but I would love to live in a place that is warm. I am not a big fan of the cold.
  23. Tell us about your family?
    I come from a blessed multi-cultural family. My dad’s side is from New York and St. Louis, Missouri. My mom’s side of the family comes from Canada and Jamaica. I get my love of warm weather from my mom, but as you can probably guess I did not get my dislike of the cold from either of my parents. I also have a younger brother currently in college studying to become an engineer.
  24. How do you write – lap top, pen, paper, in bed, at a desk?
    I write by laptop. I made an outline with pencil and paper, but I write stories by laptop while sitting on my couch, recliner, or desk chair.
  25. How much sleep do you need to be your best?
    Enough sleep
  26. Is there anyone you’d like to acknowledge and thank for their support?
    I would like to thank my brother and my parents for supporting me as well as my friend Michael who encouraged me to continue writing.
  27. Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing look like to you?
    A successful career in writing to me is one where I am continually writing and loving it while also having many readers reading my book. I would also like to make a profit as that is why I charge for my books, but overall, if I am loving what I do and earning money to keep it going, then everything else will work out.
  28. It is vital to get exposure and target the right readers for your writing, tell us about your marketing campaign?
    So far, since I learn by doing, I have been doing trial and error. I received advice of which avenues to pursue from a person experienced in marketing books. Since I am marketing three books at once, I promote each differently. For String Cheese: To the Cheese with the String, it is for children 12 years old and younger, so I promote on blogs, Facebook, and Instagram towards parents. For Unlocking the Future’s Past Book One, it is a Science Fiction books for teens, so I promote on blogs and Instagram towards teenagers looking for an inexpensive good read. The Chronicles of Mother Earth Book One: The Elven Uprising is a Fantasy book, which I promote in a similar way as my previous book. I also go to different functions and am part of a Creative Arts group where we help each other succeed and share our works. Finally, I promote through word of mouth. It is still effective.
  29. Tell us about your new book? Why did you write it?
    I have three books that were just released. The first book, String Cheese: To the Cheese with the String, I began as a teenager in 2011. My mom was working during the summer in a private school library. I was brought along. It was very small, but it had two computers in it. I watched Youtube, made up PowerPoints for characters I drew, but one day, I decided to start writing. After that, I had to continue completing it. Throughout the rest of high school and college, I would write a few things and then stop for a while. Nonetheless, in 2018, I decided it was time to finish it and have it published. After researching what to do, I saw that for new authors, it was recommended to release at least two to three books, and that was why I wrote my latest two books. I am glad I did because the more I wrote, the better I became, and the more of my likes, dislikes, views, and personality I could share.
  30. If you could have a dinner party and invite anyone dead or alive, who would you ask?
    I would ask King David, my parents and brother, my grandparents from both sides of my family, my great grandfather, Denzel Washington, Will Smith, and King Solomon. I think I can learn from them, and they would get along barring language barriers. In that case, I would also ask for a translator.
  31. When you are not writing, how do you like to relax?
    I read books and sports articles, watch anime and older shows like WKRP in Cincinatti and Johnny Carson, and I sleep (my favorite way to relax).
  32. What do you hope people will take away from your writing? How will your words make them feel?
    I hope people will feel the urge to not let their circumstances hold them down, not let themselves be defeated, but instead be empowered to use their experiences to grow themselves and help others.

Do you have links that you’d like to share for others to read?
My website and blog, The Porcelain Cup, is at DonnCampbell.wixsite.com/author.

An Interview with Author Tracy Kauffman

Author Tracy Kauffman

Tracy Kauffman is a young adult and kids book author from Alabama. Some Works include: Southern Adventures, My Boyfriend the Squire, Richard the Lionheart, and Southern Attraction, Captain Honey Bear, etc… Tracy is in the process of writing part 2 to Southern Attraction; hopefully it will come out by Spring of next year. Stay Tuned

Describe yourself in five words. Shy, artsy, type A, loyal, compassionate

What fact about yourself would really surprise people? I’m a nurse too.

 How do you work through self-doubts and fear?  pray
What scares you the most? 
snakes

 What makes you happiest? spending time with family

 Why do you write? love anything creative, and writing is a type of free expression

 Have you always enjoyed writing?  yes
What motivates you to write? 
helping someone through my writing

 What writing are you most proud of?my kids books
What are you most proud of in your personal life? 
my family

 What books did you love growing up? loved reading Boxcar children and Alice in Wonderland

 What do you hope your obituary will say about you? That I cared about helping others

 Location and life experiences can really influence writing, tell us where you grew up and where you now live? grew up in Hartselle, Ala

 How did you develop your writing? Practice

What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing? marketing

 What marketing works for you? social media

 Do you find it hard to share your work? no

 Is your family supportive? Do your friends support you? not really

 What else do you do, other than write? nurse

 What other jobs have you had in your life? sales, secretary, teller

 If you could study any subject at university what would you pick? further my nursing degree,

 If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? here in US

 Tell us about your family? I am married and have 1 boy, 1 girl

 How do you write – lap top, pen, paper, in bed, at a desk? desktop

 How much sleep do you need to be your best? 8 hours

Is there anyone you’d like to acknowledge and thank for their support? husband

Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing look like to you? people like my books

 It is vital to get exposure and target the right readers for your writing, tell us about your marketing campaign? mainly social media

 Tell us about your new book? Why did you write it?  Captain Honey Bear.  Just came to me

 If you could have a dinner party and invite anyone dead or alive, who would you ask? Jesus

 When you are not writing, how do you like to relax? watch tv

What do you hope people will take away from your writing? How will your words make them feel? To love others and help others in some way.

Find Tracy’s book on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2CqhdMj

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TracyKauffmanFictionAuthor/