Author Interviews

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This week marks the beginning of a series of interviews I’ll be doing with self-published authors on my podcast. If you’re interested in what the journey into self-publishing is like, feel free to tune in to Tee’s Talk Time on Spotify this Saturday. My podcast is visual on Spotify and audio only on all other major platforms such as Apple, Amazon, Audible, etc. This is a new dimension for me to be going in front of the camera, instead of behind it. So wish me luck.

The first author I’ll be interviewing is Mr. Stephen Murray. He hails from Nevada and he writes books in multiple genres. I highly recommend his book, Discovering the Christmas Spirit, after reading it last month myself. His development of the characters and subplots in this book is amazing. Check out his website, authorstephenmurray.com, when you have time.

In weeks to come, I’ll be interviewing a children’s book author, a mystery writer, and a self-help author. If you’re an avid reader or are interested in becoming an author, you’ll get some valuable tips and information from these episodes. I hope you give a listen, and leave a comment, or a rating. In addition, you can talk to me directly on the Wisdom app now. The Wisdom app is available in the App store.

Although I’m booking guests through a fairly new service called PodMatch right now, you can contact me through this blog’s comment section if you are an author who would like to be interviewed. So, take good care til next time and stay safe.

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New Beginnings

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On March 26th, I published my first video podcast on Anchor/Spotify! This was a huge step for me since I am not an extrovert. However, I was given this opportunity to become among the first group of podcasters to have access to Video Podcasts on Spotify and I could not pass on this chance. For now, the video podcasts can only be viewed on Spotify. They will be formatted as audio on all other platforms. So, stop by and give a listen, answer the questions, and vote in my poll if you have the time. The title of my podcast is…Tee’s Talk Time.

Now the hard work begins. I’ll need to “up my game.” I’ll have to improve my lighting, audio, virtual screen or backdrop, and line up guests for interviews. And then there’s the editing of videos to be done after I record each show. Or maybe I’ll get my son to do that. I guess it’ll be fun to see the progress from show to show. So, everyone be patient with me until I get a hang of it.  Try to laugh with me instead of laughing at me. And if I look tired on that first show, just know I did several takes before ending up with the final edited video.

No problem, right? I’ll just take what I’ve learned from creating my YouTube channel and apply some of it to this new venture. The only difference is that on my YouTube channel, I don’t show my face, nor do I use my real voice on screen. This endeavor is way more subjective, so I’ll need to have thicker skin. Anyhow, I’m not one to walk away from a challenge or an opportunity. I was taught to never say can’t and only say I’ll try. So, are you rooting for me? I hope you’ll listen in sometime soon. Talk to you later.

Sunshine

By Teresa Smith

The sun to guide us by day. The moon to watch over us by night as we sleep. God loved us so much he gave us a night light. Any of you have children who were once afraid of the dark? Remember getting those night lights with the cartoon character they loved most on it? I remember I bought my son that cooler one as advertised on TV. It was shaped like a dog and it reflected stars on the ceiling. He would not go to sleep until I turned it on each night. I never wanted him to feel afraid, so I comforted him with the light just as God comforts us.

Just the other day, as I was sitting in the parking lot waiting for my son to be dismissed from school, I saw the sun in the sky surrounded by clouds and thought it was an analogy of what we are going through at this time on earth as human beings. We are surrounded by the cloud of Covid-19, but the sun is shining through the clouds showing us there is hope on the horizon.

We are not alone. Our light is shining on the pathway to our new beginning. So hold on, keep the faith, and keep fighting and we’ll see the dawning of a new day.

My New Novella

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Writing entails deep thought, mind travels, and lots of patience. You see, I’ve been on a mental journey for the last several months while deciding whether or not I should delve into a different genre as a self published author. My other choice was to give up writing books altogether and just concentrate on building my app developer skills. When I suddenly ran into a roadblock while trying to publish my most current game app on Google Play Store, I was approached by a company interested in me publishing my next book. I felt this was sign I should dust off my writing journal and complete a book I’d previously started. By the way, I published a podcast episode about my app developing delimma on my other new blog entitled, “Tee’s Talk Time” also on WordPress. There you can click the links and listen to my podcast on Spotify. My podcast can also be found on Anchor Podcasts, Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts and many other platforms. I digress.

Previously, I had only authored and published three childrens books. The titles of these books are: Corrie Cocker Spaniel, Blue, and Why Do Heroes Wear Masks? In case you’re interested, all of my books can be found on Amazon.com. I felt writing childrens books was my forte because I’m a retired elementary school teacher, who loved reading to my students and to my son when he was much younger. Writing for children just came naturally to me.

However, I’d aways wrote in other genres as a college student. Back then, I penned poems, plays, and short stories. And I was a hopeless romantic throuhout my adult life. I’d even started a romance novel back then. I wrote in a red leather bound journal trimmed in gold and black that I still keep to this day. I’d always planned to finish the romance novel and publish my poetry someday. Someday never came though. With this new opportunity, I knew I should complete the novel and establish myself as a romance novel writer. Only now, I would have to have a new pen name and a new author site for my new audience.

I decided to go for it! I completed the manuscript, copyrighted it, and self published the book. Afterwards, I created a new site with my second pen name. Now, I’m the proud author of books in two genres. The title of my new book is, Neighbor Needed: Only the Exceptional Need Apply, sold on Amazon.com. Check it out if you’re interested.

In addition to my new opportunity to complete my novel, I was approached by a publishing company interested in promoting my new book. I’m still on the fence about making that decision. I’m doing my research before signing any contracts. For right now, I’m just seeing if my new book will find an audience on its own. Wish me luck!

The Absence of Your Presence

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When gathering in groups routinely, various roles emerge. The leader leads, the followers follow, and the rebels rebel. Sometimes each of these exchange roles as time goes by, however, when one leaves the group the absence of the members’ presence is felt. Why, you may ask me. It is because the dynamic of the group has to change again. A valuable piece of the puzzle is missing leaving a void that must be filled by someone or something. The silence of the missing group member speaks volumes. It is as if they were never noticed before the moment they left.

This new development can be considered a negative or a positive depending upon who you are within a group. Some may breathe a sigh of relief that the person is gone, while others may in some ways mourn the loss to the group. Still others will seem indifferent pretending not to even notice the change. But they notice all right. They notice that something is dfferent.

I am letting you know today that the absence of your presence whether in a group or on this Earth is felt by those you leave behind, walk away from, abandon, or even those you dance away from like a sweet aroma passing by your nostrils as you go about your day. We matter! That is one thing that cannot be denied. So, make your presence known even in your absence.

For the Birds

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Beautiful birds at my backyard window peering into my world asking where’s the large bird feeder that once graced this hallowed windowsill? My reply references the baby squirrel who came by last year and refused to see that the feeder was not his private booth at his favorite restaurant. The squirrel served up some major squirrel attitude when I tapped on my window asking him to leave several times. Finally, he turned his head, threw up his paw, and knocked the tray over spilling all its contents to the ground below where he could complete his dining experience more freely. I’ll bet he was laughing loudly at me as he continued eating in spite of my presence at the window.

Yesterday, upon returning from the laundry room in the basement, I saw a blue jay peering into my dining room window. It was so beautifully amazing to witness nature in this way, up close and personal. As I approached the window the blue jay flew up into a large tree in my neighbor’s yard. This is when I spotted a second blue jay on my back fence. So I decided I would go out to fill the small feeder hung on the fence a few feet from my window.

I arrived in the backyard about 9:00am with my mom only to be greeted by a squirrel scampering towards our yard from a neighbor’s backyard. Mom and I stopped our feet and shout at the squirrel and it quickly turned and ran off in another direction. I thought the squirrel wanted the birdseed we were bringing out to the feeder, but I was wrong. As mom swept the cemented area near the house, she discovered the squirrel had left some of his little acorns unattended. He was only returning for his stash.

Once the squirrel was gone, I trimmed the grass, pruned flower bushes, raked and bagged grass and weeds. Then I filled the small bird feeder to the rim. I could hear the birds tweeting the entire time. They were probably sending messages to one another about the birdseed. As mom and I sipped our bottled water, we breathed in some much needed fresh air. “There’s nothing like nature,” mom said as we returned into our humble abode.

A New Book for a New Normal

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Since the beginning of the recent pandemic in the United States, I sort of went into my shell like a turtle or a snail for protection from predators. Having a child, an elderly mom, and a disabled brother all living together made me extremely cautious. After navigating the bits of data coming from the media and the professionals in the medical world, I zoomed in on what our family could do to get through this crisis. So, I made healthy habits a priority in our household. Our way of life was about to change drastically.

For starters, my child would begin remote learning. Therefore, there were no longer any early morning commutes. The school scheduled classes and they would not tolerate lack of attendance. Luckily, my child attends private school and each student already had in their possession an Apple iPad issued by their school, which is part of their curriculum. Teachers sent home the textbooks and all their supplies with them on their last day of class before they shut down. My child transitioned easily. We followed the new schedule and adjusted our lives for a version of home schooling that became our new normal.

Once my son settled into his new school schedule, I was free to do other things. I completed projects I started before the pandemic hit our country. I finished painting our dinning room, organized my pantry, pulled out some books I’d been planning to read while I was still teaching, and then I wrote a new picture book for children. I spent a sizeable amount of my time creating and drawing my characters. The story came to me easily because of my experiences as a parent and a teacher. I wanted to help parents, teachers, and children during the pandemic.

Here’s my new picture book:

Click the link to check out my book.

I hope this book helps you to talk to your children about the new normal. Take care an stay safe.

Thanks for the Award, PoojaG!

Thank you, PoojaG, for nominating me for this award! What an awesome way to spread a little sunshine in the blogging world during these deeply deppressing and disheartening times. It’s also a good way for our readers and peers to learn more about or quirky sides. This quiz humanizes us more to our readers. I think… To find out more about PoojaG’s blog, lifesfinewhine, click here.

Here are the rules:

  1. Accept the nomination and thank the person who nominated you, leaving a link to their blog.
  2. Answer the 10 questions
  3. Nominate your chosen bloggers and send them a link to let them know you have nominated them.
  4. Ask your nominees to take part by answering the same questions.

Questions

What is your favorite color?

I have several favorite colors depending on the situation, but I’ll try to stick to the format of this quiz. I don’t want to lose my nomination. So, I’m really drawn to radiant colors. One of my favorite colors is orange. I feel a burst of energy when I see the color orange in a painting or an article of clothing.

Who would you say you admire most? 

I admire my mother most because she has shown courage and an amazing amount of love throughout her life along with the strength to raise her children while loving and supporting her husband. She doesn’t flinch in the face of adversity. Even in her wonder years, she still amazes me.

If you could describe yourself as a color, what would it be and why?

Again, I would describe myself as orange because it’s bright and energetic. I exude a particular energy at all times and I like to have fun.

Where is your favorite place on Earth, and what makes it so special? 

My favorite place on Earth is home! I don’t only mean in America. My home is my favorite place, because all the people who know and love me are there.

What is your favorite food and why?

My favorite food is my mother’s fried chicken because it’s crispy and delicious. I have to say I love her collard greens too. I apologize to all the vegans out there who don’t eat meat.

What is your favorite book of all-time?

This is a tough question to answer. I love so many books. I will say my favorite book is The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X and Alex Haley.

Why do you enjoy writing and blogging?

I enjoy blogging because it gives me a voice. I get to share what I think with the world through my blog. I also share some of my experiences by writing and I find it to be cathartic.

What type of music do you enjoy? 

Wow! Again, I enjoy so many types of music that I must narrow my answer down for this answer. I love Gospel, R&B, Rap, Pop, Blues, and even some classical music.

What are your favorite hobbies (besides writing) and why do you like them?

My favorite hobbies aside from writing are developing apps, podcasting, and creating art. I can sew, draw, paint, and sing.

What is your favorite song and singer/band? 

My favorite song and singer are My Cherie Amour and, the Genius, Mr. Stevie Wonder.

My Nominees

If you want to participate in the Real Neat Blog Award circle, consider yourself nominated and use the same questions I did. I thought it was fun to think about something other than the current state of things around the globe for a little while. Take care everyone!

Being Invisible

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We are bombarded with images every second of our lives. The media throws ads at us nonstop. We’re on our devices constantly looking at screens filled with images, information, and misinformation. We devour these images and fill our minds with endless pictures that we sort into categories, like beautiful, ugly, scary, etc. Practically everything that we see dominates our thoughts during the day and enters our dreams at night. But is what we are seeing always real? Are images and what is on the outside most important, or is the invisible more real than the visible?

Just think of all the things we cannot see with the naked eye, that are more powerful than the things we see. The wind is powerful at times, right? The air that we breathe cannot be seen, but we need it to survive. This virus we’re all fighting right now cannot be seen with the naked eye, yet it is very real. The effects of the virus can be seen at times and at other times, and in varying cases the effects are invisible. Most images are made up of pixels. These pixels fool the eye into seeing the entire image. Sometimes what is seen is not even real.

I tend to think of being invisible as a sort of superpower. Just think, a few months ago nobody even noticed all of the essential workers and no one saw this virus enter America. All those people working behind the scenes are a powerful force that keeps America moving forward on a daily basis. That person who feeds the hungry in private, makes an anonymous donation, lifts your spirit when you’re down, calls to make sure you made it home safely, prays for you to get better without telling others, and loves you unconditionally while no one else knows is an invisible hero. And for those of you who believe in God or a higher power as I do, you know that God is the ultimate invisible hero with endless invisible superpowers.

So the next time someone treats you as if you are invisible, remember your superpower and continue to use it to defeat the enemy.

An Author’s Journey

When I reexamine my life’s journey, I realize that my path to becoming an author and illustrator began in my childhood. I’ve always been a very imaginative person. In fact, on the elementary school level I was given a book by my school as a creative writing award. The title of that book was The Planet of Junior Brown by Virginia Hamilton. The funny thing about that is I never read the book as I grew up, but I remember constantly reading the inscription to me placed inside the front cover. I also always remembered the cover of the book as well. The words were so powerful to me. I had been given the book because I was a good writer. That thought resonated with me.

Earlier this year, I borrowed the book from the public library online. What a story! It moved me to tears at times. Everyone should read that book. The message is as powerful today as it was when it was written. No spoiler alert here, but the concept of homelessness is a major part of the plot. I digress.

In my preteen years, I was reminded that I was a pretty good artist too. I attended a gifted school on the intermediate level, and I decided to take a specialized school test to get into a high school where artistic ability was a must. I remember drawing a beautiful bird. As you probably guessed, I got into the high school of my choice.

I would go on to become a teacher and use both skills constantly throughout my career. Today, I’m announcing the release of my first children’s picture book, Blue, where I get to showcase myself as both author and illustrator of my book. I hope you will give my book as a gift during this holiday season. I hope it lifts your spirit, makes you think, and turns you into a bird watcher. Happy holidays from my heart to yours!

Corrie Cocker Spaniel, my first children’s book is also available on Amazon and at Barnes and Nobles.

Click the book cover for more information.