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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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!

Fall Cleaning

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Some people say every year they do a spring cleaning of their homes. I say each season has its own natural cleaning time. Winter brings the cold and ice to kill all the germs, spring brings the rain and breeze for planting something new, summers heat helps everything to grow, and fall is the season of harvesting all that has grown to keep us going throughout the cold season when it all begins again. I’m doing fall cleaning right now. Yes. Fall cleaning. I’m putting away the summer clothing and moving the fall and winter gear to the top. Donating clothes my son has outgrown to charity is a part of each season’s cleaning. He’s growing like a weed. Also, clearing worn out comfy clothes from my closet is quite a necessity.

Donating or recycling old books we’ve read and reread is a task I’d put off for some time because I’m so in love with reading actual books. “I know, I’m a part of a lost breed of human beings.” This is what you’re thinking, isn’t it? Most people download books and read them on a variety of apps and devices. Me, I’m just old-fashioned. Well, I’ve parted with a good portion of my stash of books. And my son has outgrown many titles I purchased during his primary years. Going to the library religiously was our saving grace when searching for books on his level to fill in the monthly book logs. How many of you remember doing that?

There are several books I will keep, though. These are books I purchased while working but have never had enough time to read. Since I retired I’ve completed Maya Angelou’s Mom & Me & Mom, and James Baldwin’s If Beale Street Could Talk. I’m now reading Joseph Prince’s Unmerited Favor. Shonda Rhimes,and John Grisham’s books are next on my reading list.

What are you reading now? Let me know in the comments section. Happy seasons cleaning everyone.

Summer Fun

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I haven’t written in a while, because I was making sure my child had a summer of fun. Days quickly turned into weeks as we attended basketball camp, went to the movie theater, and played at the park. We sampled fine cuisines at restaurants and communicated more with family and friends. In between all those fun activities, my son started drawing again, and it amazed me at how his innate gift is getting even better with time. I did a little podcasting and created four android apps in my spare time. It’s been a wonderfully productive summer. I hope yours was fun too.

On the flip side, they assigned my son summer reading and has to read two books, one fiction and one nonfiction, so I’ve been monitoring his reading habits. He finished the fiction book already. Now he’s working his way through the nonfiction book. His assignment includes listing definitions of challenging words and using them in sentences. He also has to analyze each book’s style, genre, etc. So we are still trying to infuse more fun into the last month of his summer vacation. I’m sure we’ll succeed at doing just that.

I also completed my second children’s book. I’m now awaiting my copyright certificate before publishing it. This will complete my goal for 2019. My goal was to publish two books this year. So right now I feel like I’m batting a thousand.

An update on podcasting, I’ve started a series on how to plan for retirement as you begin your very first job. This series was born out of a conversation with my nephew. So far, I’ve covered 401k. The next topic will be the IRA. You can listen to my podcast on Stitcher at the link below:

https://www.stitcher.co/podcast/anchor-podcasts/tees-talk-time

My apps are available in the Google Play Store at the links below:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=apinventor.ai_teresa_tq_27.WalkYourOwnerPedometer

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=appinventor.ai_teresa_tq_27.DoggyDo

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=appinventor.ai_teresa_tq_27.teresawsmithauthorapp

Any feedback on any of my work is always welcome. Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Summer Reading Kickoff 2019

Taylor and I at the Summer Reading Kickoff 2019

The summer Reading Kickoff 2019 was an awesome experience. I met so many interesting people at the Saratoga Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library. The children and their parents from the community made me feel right at home. In addition, the staff was welcoming and helpful to boot. They had so many wonderful activities for the children to engage in at this event.

Saniyah and I posed together for pictures.

Reading my book to the children at my childhood library was a dream come true. I feel like I’ve come full circle in my life now in more ways than one. Just seeing the smiles on the children’s faces makes me very happy. They colored coloring pages of my book’s main character and engaged in conversation with me about my book. It was an unforgettable day!

These two beautiful sisters had their faces painted and also visited me with their mom.
We had lots of fun at my very first author event.
Thanks to Mr. Herbert for allowing me to participate in this event!

Mr. Herbert gave me this incredible opportunity to share my work in the community where I grew up. I am forever thankful to him for his kindness. I would also like to thank Ms. Pace who organized the event along with Mr. Herbert and Ms. Monica Williams who is the manager of the Saratoga Branch of the Public Library. They are all serving this community very well. Keep up the good work!

The Review

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Early in the morning, on April 18, 2019, I received a text message from a company I submitted my book to for a free review. It announced my book review was ready. They astonished me since the site noted that they received thousands of manuscripts daily. They further noted that it sometimes takes over five months for a manuscript review. So I was content to wait awhile for mine. I quickly retrieved the link from my email and held my breath wondering what kind of review I would find. I hoped the review would be positive since I put my all into this second edition of the book. 

After logging in, the first thing I saw was a five-star rating. Then I read the review slowly and carefully taking in every word and storing each jewel in my memory vault. It was so awesome to know that the reviewer was talking about me as an established author. A huge smile creeped across my face and I jumped up and down, saying, “I did it!”  It stoked me and it wired me for the rest of the day. That is why I’m up this late or early writing this post. I didn’t want the day to be over.

I emailed and texted everyone I knew letting them know about my book review. I am so glad someone appreciates my book and all the hard work I put into it. I’m a little emotional just thinking about it.

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Podcasts or Apple iBook Store Options?

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Today I was thinking about how I could further build my brand and expand my distribution beyond Amazon. Amazon is an amazing powerhouse at selling books worldwide, but I’d like to see my book on different platforms. Apple is a whole different world! Most people I know own Apple products, so they would like to have books on their iBook shelves. However, if I go for it, I may not use the same kindle cover according to representatives at Amazon. So in retrospect, I’m leaving that idea behind for now. I also wanted to do an audible book, but changing covers may cause my book buyers confusion. What do you think? Leave a comment if you have any advice for me on this topic.

On the other hand, doing a podcast about my experiences after retirement can also help me gain more exposure as an author. Podcasting is like radio broadcasting in the good old days. I can see myself sitting in jeans and and a t-shirt once a month broadcasting my thoughts on a wide range of topics to the world. And just think I can do all this for free!

Today, I set up my icon and intro music. Now I have to find a nice quiet place and time to record. Wish me luck!

Paperback

Here is the cover of my paperback book.

Three of the five paperback books I ordered arrived yesterday evening, and I’m quite impressed. The cover was way more impactful than the first edition. The story was deeper and more insightful than the first. All the tinkering and tweaking I’ve done really paid off. This time my dream of writing and publishing a book was more real than surreal. I can envision this product being sold in a bookstore, sitting on a shelf in a library, and then selected by a child eagerly waiting to read my book. Yes, I said it my book.

I thought of all the books I read as a child and all the books I read as an adult. I could see in my mind the many libraries I’d been to throughout my life and imagine what others would think when picking up my book from a shelf to read. Wow! What an amazing feeling! It’s a feeling of pride in one’s work I’m experiencing this time around. I wish I could share this feeling with the world!

Now it’s your turn to live your dream and develop your passions. Go for it!

Here is the cover of my Kindle ebook.

Leave comments below about how you think I can advertise my book for free outside of placing it on Amazon for sale.

Promotion and Advertising

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Now that I have finished making revisions on my children’s book; I want to promote and advertise it. So I have to decide how much to spend on promotions. Promoting the book for free is also an option. Right now I will start tiny and just give out some bookmarks I designed. Since the book is for younger children, I know younger children will use bookmarks. Later, I can expand my promotion by creating an ad about the book. On the bookmark, I’ll include a link to my Author Central site. The author’s site has links to Amazon, where my book is on sale.

I am also working on my second children’s book. So I will place polls on my blog to get feedback about the children’s books in demand. I took a while last night to figure out just how to add a poll to my blog. I edited my last post just so I could try to include a poll on the page. However, I took much longer than I thought it would. So I will place the same poll under this blog post again today. Answer the questions as I will monitor your answers for feedback. I’ll use the feedback data when starting my third children’s book this summer. Thanks again to those who like and follow my blog.

Published!

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I did it! I finally published the revised second edition of my children’s book. My Author Central page is up and running, too. If you’d like to look at it, click on the link below. Wish me luck!

Click this image of my book cover to see my Author Central page.

At of this moment I don’t have my copy in my hands. I’ll have it soon, though. I’ve learned so much more about writing and publishing a book this time around. I know my next book will be easier to publish because of the knowledge I’ve gained. Remember my goal was to publish at least two books in 2019, so I’m well on my way to achieving my goal.