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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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!

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.

A Chill is in the Air

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Autumn brings both beauty and brisk weather. All the golden hues of leaves are about to burst out into view where I live. I took a nice brisk walk today in the area where my child goes to school. The decision to park across from the school and wait until he would be dismissed on this half day was made after he realized he’d left his phone at home and the privileged parking lot his school has provided for parents, like me, to park in was filled with cars from a movie crew this morning. So, I parked the car, and decided to walk around and explore the area around his new school. Up until this point, I’d only ventured out to the Dunkin Donuts franchise about three blocks away. Today, I was going to take a much longer walk. Google Maps provided me with directions to my destination. It was only 0.6 miles away. I could get there, shop, and be back at the car by the time my child was dismissed from school. So, off I went into the great unknown.

The first few minutes of walking were a breeze, however, after going a little further I noticed I was walking uphill. Now, I had not done this kind of walking for quite some time. So this was beginning to be a daunting task. “Should I turn back?”I asked myself. “Of course not!” I answered reluctantly. So, I persevered and reached my destination. While browsing around the store for bargains, I pondered in the back of my mind, “How am I going to make it back?”

Well, one thing I could do to make my trek back to the car easier would be to make fewer purchases. Or I could purchase only lightweight things making it easier for me to carry things on my walk back. Either way, the walk back would be somewhat easier because I’d be going downhill this time. Everyone knows downhill is easier than uphill, right? Well, that would remain to be seen.

As I left the store with two bags in each hand, I thought about how great I’d feel about having walked a little more than a mile today at the end of my journey. Heck, in my twenties I’d walk two miles a day just going to and from work on foot. Back then I didn’t have a license nor a car and I hated to ride on public transportation. So, I’d walk to work everyday: winter, spring, summer, and fall. I digress. The wind kissed my face softly and more intensely at times as I walked at a moderate speed downhill passing few people on this blustery day. Discovering businesses in this neighborhood I never knew existed, and imagining the bags were like dumbbells, I’d lift them up and down while waiting for a chance to cross the street at each corner. “What a workout?” I thought as I approached the car.

After putting my bags in the trunk, I eagerly sat inside my car thinking, “What an achievement!” I must do this again someday soon.

How are you spending your autumn days? I hope you’re getting out and about. It’s nice to feel the wind on your face once in a while. Remember retirement means doing things you didn’t have time to do while you were working. Here’s to hoping your autumn days are happy ones! As always you can reach out and share your thoughts about my podcast on any of my social media platforms. Talk to you later. Peace!

This is the script I wrote today for my podcast. I’m posting it hear for anyone who reads my blog and wonders what my podcast may be like.

Seasons

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My last post was about the fall or autumn season. As I sit in a parking lot surrounded by trees, mostly green and some with leaves just beginning to fade into a mustard type of yellow, I think of how we all as people have our seasons. When we are children, we’re all shiny and new. As teenagers, we blossom quickly. As adults, we are not as green as we once were; we are more knowledgeable and more guarded. As we proceed into the fall and winter of our lives, our hair like the leaves on these trees fade. Only black, blonde, brunette, or red hair fades into gray. And sometimes as humans we fight to prevent the new season from coming, instead of embracing the beauty of it all.

Like the leaves on the trees surrounding me, I know it will all begin again in the spring. My niece is about to welcome a brand new bouncing baby girl into the world soon. This baby will be the newest leaf on our family tree. Yet all seasons are beautiful and necessary. Enjoy your season, no matter which one you’re in right now.

I originally wrote this post on October 10, 2019.

I’m Back!

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I am glad to be back after a brief hiatus. Preparation for the school year took a little time since my child was attending a new school. Shopping for school supplies and new uniforms was necessary. Therefore, had to place my interests on hold again. My child comes first!

Anyway, I’m still awaiting the copyright for my second children’s book so I can finally publish it. In addition, I will release my simple game app associated with the book at the same time. So far, I have released three apps and one children’s book this year. That’s not so bad for someone who has retired for nearly two years.

Now I’ll get back to podcasting about preparing for retirement when you begin your career. This coming week, I’ll be discussing IRAs. If you want to chime in to the podcast, you can message me on Anchor. You can find my podcast on most platforms now. Here’s the link to my podcast on Stitcher: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/anchor-podcasts/tees-talk-time You can rate me there or give me a clap.

I hope you have been following your dreams while I was away. Remember, “life is what you make it.” So make your dreams come true.

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!