Black History – The “Real” McCoy

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We have lots of Canadian Blog Readers/Fans, so to Celebrate the annual month long celebration and highlighting of Black History and accomplishments in Canada, we also provide Canadian Black History.

Elijah McCoy (courtesy Library and Archives Canada/nlc-11320)

Elijah McCoy, The “Real” McCoy

Born in Colchester, Ontario, to self-freed parents from Kentucky, Elijah McCoy received his higher education as a mechanical engineer in Scotland. After his training, he chose to live in Detroit, Michigan, where he became concerned about the injuries and deaths caused when workers attempted to lubricate moving machinery. Many of these workers were young Black boys employed in the position because they were small and agile. McCoy developed a self-lubricating device with a drip cup, which revolutionized industry. The device allowed the gradual and constant release of oil, which allowed machines to work continuously without having to be stopped to be lubricated—and without anyone having to risk life and limb to apply oil while machines remained in operation. The device had a range of applications, from locomotives to industry.

McCoy’s first drip cup invention was patented on July 12, 1872. The drip cup device was so effective and so highly regarded that other manufacturers copied it. However, none worked as well as McCoy’s invention. Canadian and American railroaders asked for it by name as the “real McCoy,” giving rise to the expression denoting authenticity. McCoy went on to own his own firm. He filed 57 other patents in Canada and the United States, including a folding ironing board and a lawn sprinkler.

Compliments of http://BlackHistoryCanada.ca

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet and Cheryl Holloway.

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On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                              ~ Cheryl Holloway

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Black History Fact – Mathieu DaCosta Canadian Stamp Issued

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Mathieu DaCosta Black History Stamp Image © 2017 Canadian Postal Service. All rights reserved.

We have lots of Canadian Blog Readers/Fans, so to Celebrate the annual month long celebration and highlighting of Black History and accomplishments in Canada, we provide Canadian Black History.

The new stamp, released to start off 2017 Black History Month, shows an artistic interpretation of Mathieu DaCosta the first known black man to set foot in Canada.

Mathieu DaCosta was an African from the Benin Empire of West Africa hired as a translator for French explorers to the New World.  Although he may have arrived earlier, the first actual record of his presence in Canada was with voyages of  Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Mons, and Samuel de Champlain in the 1600’s.

The first official record shows him under contract to sail with Dugua in 1608 acting as interpreter for three years. It is thought that he could speak Dutch, English, French, Portuguese and a pidgin Basque.

As no image exists of DaCosta, designer Andrew Perro and illustrator Ron Dollekamp worked closely with Canadian historical illustrator and storyboard artist Francis Back to ensure the period clothing and sailing ship reflect DaCosta’s time and socio-economic milieu.

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet and Cheryl Holloway.

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On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                              ~ Cheryl Holloway

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Celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday and Remembering Others

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Celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday 

Every year, I want to celebrate MLK’s birthday by doing something different. So, this year is no different. I thought about his question, “What are you doing for others?”  Of course, I pay it forward to other authors, but I thought, What else can I do?

I thought about his March on Washington and I decided to join the 2017 Women’s March on Washington on January 21. You already know what the march is about and I don’t need to add anything.

I have been an activist for many years, and I presume I will always be one-it’s part of me and my legacy.

Please enjoy your holiday and remember others in history—past and present.

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Celebrity Guest Author Interview – Janis F. Kearney

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Title: Sundays with TJ: 100 Years of Memories on Varner Road

Genre: Fatherhood/African American Studies

Synopsis: Sundays with TJ, is my father’s story. I am the self-appointed vessel and orchestrator who co-mingles his stories and my memories…and memories from 15 siblings., to tell his life story. I chose this role some 50 years ago on Varner Road. He, my father, was the storyteller and I, the rememberer of his words. Even his unspoken meanings.

I sat then, at the foot of my father’s chair as he smoked his Pall Mall cigarettes, set his eyes on days long past and regaled us with his strange and amazing yesterdays. Sometimes, he weaved in others’ tales—Harry’s. his mother Cynthia, and certainly his beloved Papa. There were shadows of the many men and women, too, he met during his years of travels.

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Janis F. Kearney, Author and Former Diarist for President Clinton

CH: Welcome Janis F. Kearney. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to share your writing world and publishing journey with my audience.

CH: Can you sum up your book in 20 words or less?

JFK: Sundays with TJ, chronicles the life journey of my 107-year old father who witnessed and experienced the America’s transformations.

CH: This is your second book about your father’s life. So, what inspired you to write Sundays with TJ?

JFK: When I dreamed of writing as a child, it was a dream centered on telling my father’s story. I fell in love with stories, and most specifically, his stories during those many evenings he set us down and shared memories of his world travels at such a young age, and the many exotic sights he witnessed. When I published my first book, Cotton Field of Dreams: A Memoir—it was changed in the midst of editing to center on my early life experiences, which included my whole family. Sundays with TJ is my third memoir—and, finally, I was able to dedicate this book to my father’s amazing life story. The truth is that readers tell me my father has been a stand-out character in each of my memoirs! This one, however, shares much, much more of his life story.

CH: Since this is your father’s memoir, what time period does the book span? Did you leave out any stories that you wanted to include?

JFK: The time span is from 1872, my grandparent’s story begins around then, to 2009, when my father moved from Varner Road—which has its own story, in the memoir.

CH: Other than to honor your father, why did you decide to write this book?

JFK: I’m a huge lover of history, and African American history. My parents were extraordinary citizens of this world, and contributed a great deal. In spite of their limited education, their poverty, the racial and class obstacle placed before them and their children; and, against all odds, they were able to raise 17 children who became productive citizens. It’s an American story that we should all know, not just about my family, but about the legacy and resilience of the African American race.

CH: Where do you get your inspiration and ideas when you write?

JFK: My memories of my own life mostly, but also from everyday happenings in the world. I have always read a great deal, and when I read newspaper or magazine articles that touch my heart, I’ll take note, oftentimes do further research and come up with book ideas from that.

CH: What is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your memoir writing and the fond memories of your father?

JFK: I’d like to think I offer a different way for readers to see the past. One unique snapshot of what life was like for blacks in Arkansas (and, in most of the south). I fear that we are teaching our children a past based on television and others’ stories. Well, many of us have great historians in our own families who can tell the real truth of our past. Much of that story is about living exciting lives, doing exciting things—my father’s life as a traveler, a vagabond, a train hopper, is a perfect case in point! We have a rich and beautiful history, even with the horror of slavery, Jim Crow, systemic racism…we have overcome, and we must continue to overcome. That is what I hope my father’s story can say to young people.

CH: Obviously growing up in Arkansas and living for 100+ years has a great influence on this book. Was writing it almost like writing a history book?

JFK: I do see it as a history book in most respects. While it is a personalized viewpoint of the past, told through stories, it does offer readers an historical perspective of the American south from an economic, social, religious, cultural, and racial point of view.

CH: Is there anything in particular that you have learned in your many years of writing?

JFK: Oh, yes. I’ve learned a lot about myself, as well as about writing. I write for myself, more than for an audience. The blessing for writers is when the reader enjoys your story as much as you did, writing it. There is a strong connection between the books and stories I enjoy reading, and the books I enjoy writing.   I’ve learned that without passion about my subject, I cannot write—as much as I try, it won’t happen. My writing is like opening up part of me and sharing it with the world, and if something isn’t inside of me, I’m simply not able to let it out and share it.

CH: Are there any books or authors that influence you as an author?

JFK: I should have a pat answer for this. I get the question a lot. I read sooo many different authors, and different genres of books. I have a few that I could read over and over: Earnest Gaines, Edwidge Danticat, Eudora Welty, Zora Neal Hurston, James Baldwin, Alice Walker, Pat Conroy. Lots of others. I also read lots of authors who are not well known. I’m quite eclectic in my reading: I love contemporary novels, historical novels, murder mystery, suspense, biographies and memoir.

CH: What would be your favorite author or book?

JFK: If I had to choose one author, Zora Neal Hurston would be it. I cut my teeth on Their Eyes were Watching God. For some still unknown reason, it touched my soul like no other book has, and I’m so grateful for her raw truth that told so many women’s stories.

CH: How long did it take you to write this book?

JFK: The fact is, I began writing my father’s story over 40 years ago, but as I’ve said there were other books that I ended up writing and publishing before this one. I sat down in 2011, and decided I wanted to get it done. I pulled all the notes, taped interviews, written interviews, and research together and finished it late 2013. So, I guess you could say I completed the book within 2.5 years—but much of the work had been done well before then.

CH: What advice would you give someone who is writing a memoir or a family member’s memoir?

JFK: Start out by getting as much of the personal interviews done from your family member(s), as possible. Start now! With parents, as they get older, the fear is that they begin to lose all those wonderful memories. Tape recorders are perfect if you can get them to be comfortable with them. Research is a must. No matter how much you think you know about your past, there is always some small thing about the time or place you can dredge up through research that will enhance your story, take it to a different level of “story sharing.” The more you can have to pull from when you sit down and write, the better! You won’t use it all, but you’ll be able to make good choices if you have options.

CH: You were President Clinton’s Diarist and you have been a contributor to several books. So, as far as accolades or achievements, what would you say has been your greatest achievement in writing?

JFK: Good question, and one I’ve not been asked before. I think the completion of my first book, Cotton Field of Dreams, is by far, my greatest literary achievement. Not because it is my best book, but because the completion of the book taught me so much about me. Finishing the book included my making the hard decision to start my own publishing company at that time. That was a huge, unexpected step for this new author, but it solidified my faith in myself as a writer, and encouraged me to follow my heart, and sometimes my gut, when it comes to my writing journey.

CH: What kind of feedback are you getting from readers of the book?

JFK: I’ve received many wonderful accolades for the book. They absolutely love my father! By the way, there is a one-hour interview I did with KUAR Radio, 89.1 (our public radio station) about Sundays with TJ. Their “Arts & Letters,” program did an amazing job with the interview! It aired Friday, November 20th.

CH: Can you give my audience your website address?

JFK: Yes. Website: www.writingourworldpress.com                              www.facebook.com/janisfkearney                                                     janisfkearney@twitter@kearney99496735

CH: Can you tell my audience where your book is sold?

JFK: My books can be picked up or ordered from most mainstream booksellers, including Amazon.com. The easiest way to get a personally signed copy is to order it from my website. Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1kIaXp1

CH: Any closing remarks?

JFK: Cheryl, thank you so much for including this interview on your blog page. Thank you for the opportunity!

CH: Thank you Janis F. Kearney, it has been a real pleasure discussing your book and your writing journey with my audience.  

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Note: Photos are compliments of the Internet and Janis F. Kearney.

Readers and followers, please share this post with your friends.

 If you find us deserving, please nominate us for Writer’s Digest “101 Best Sites for Writers.”  Email: writersdig@fwpubs.com with “101 Sites” in the subject line.  Type: “Cheryl Holloway Author Blog http://www.CherylHolloway.net/blog in the body of the email.  It’s that simple!  And “thank you” from all of us!

On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                                                                                                                          ~ Cheryl Holloway

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Guest Author Interview – Maria J. Nieto

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International Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

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Title: Breaking the Silence: A Novel of Spain’s Civil War

Genre: History/Military

Synopsis: On a sweltering summer day, the streets of Old Madrid that once resonated with the laughter of children playing are empty and silent. But inside the apartment buildings there is life as families faithfully wait for updates about an army uprising in Spanish Morocco. Before long, their greatest fears come true. As rebel troops storm Madrid and chaos fills the streets, six-year-old Mari wonders why she cannot go outside to play. Unfortunately, she has no idea she is about to be trapped inside the abyss of what is rapidly becoming a ruthless civil war. Already emotionally wounded by the absence of her mother, Mari attempts to go about her fear-filled days living with her father’s family, which includes a grandfather who lovingly teaches her about the history leading up to the conflict. As she embarks on a coming-of-age journey submerged in the darkness of war, Mari somehow stays alive despite the decisions of an intimidating, ruthless dictator, starvation, and brainwashing by the new Fascist regime. But when circumstances lead her to inadvertently commit the ultimate betrayal, Mari must face the horrifying consequences of her actions. Breaking the Silence shares the compelling tale of a little girl’s experiences as she attempts to survive amid the horror and death surrounding the Spanish Civil War.

Nieto

Author: Maria J. Nieto

CH: Welcome Maria J. Nieto, an International author (she was born in Spain and later came to the United States).  She had difficult early years due to the Civil War in Spain and is here to tell us of her memories.

CH: Can you sum up your book in 20 words or less?

MJN: It is the story of a bloody Civil War in Spain, sons killing their fathers, and fathers killing their sons.

CH: Why did you decide to write this book?

MJN: I grew up in Spain during that time. As I grew older my memories became more vivid. I could almost see my childhood friends blown up by mortar shells their bodies flying into space without heads or arms…or legs. After I retired from work, I needed to talk to someone about this. I went to Spain but no one wanted to talk, no friends or family members. I found out that a ‘pact of silence’ was passed when the monarchy was reestablished in 1975. People were asked not to discuss the war, or the years after the war. There was to be no penalties, no jails for the many criminals who killed and tortured thousands and thousands of people after the war under the Franco dictatorship. The rich and the powerful remained rich and powerful and worked in the government with the new king. A Constitutional Monarchy was established and many liberties became laws, and the people, tired and by now old, accepted the ‘pact of silence’ in exchange for liberties they never had before. Each time I opened the subject with people my age I was told ‘that was a long time ago, let’s not talk about it.’ The newer generations knew little or nothing about the terrible horrors that had occurred in their country. Those approaching middle age were mostly a fascist brainwashed generation. A whole generation of children were ignored or forgotten. I felt the existence of a childhood denied to my dead childhood friends, and also to me who watched them die.

After seven years of retirement, at the age of 84, I began to write a diary of the past days in Spain. In one year, I decided to make it a novel to make it more appealing to readers, and not to offend my family and friends by exposing their silence. The book was published this year, and for some reason, I can again sleep through a whole night and envision my childhood friends smiling when I get up in the morning.

CH: Was it painful to revisit the situation that changed your life?

MJN: It was very sad. I felt a heavy weight in my chest during the day, and was awake most of the nights.

CH: What time period does the book span? Did you leave out any stories that you wanted to include?

MJN: It was 1936 when the war started, it ended in 1939. I lived under Franco’s dictatorship for the next six years arriving to the United States a complete brainwashed fascist in 1945.Yes, there was much more to tell but I needed to finish the book to find some peace within myself. I have started another one, I don’t know if I will finish it. This book has to do with the men and women who fought and died fighting against Franco in the Federation of Spanish Guerrillas after the war.

CH: So many memoir writers work on their book for years and years. Why did you decide to write it now?

MJN: I could not afford the luxury. At 85, it is a hit and miss from one day to another.

CH: What made you decide to write your story and how long did it take you to write it?

MJN: Since I retired from work, I had more undisturbed time around me and past issues began to cloud my mind and spirit. I needed a catharsis, and the book was it. It took a year to write.

CH: Is the memory of the Spanish Civil War engraved in your mind?

MJN: Not so much in my mind, as it is engraved in my heart.

CH: Did the fear-filled days of your childhood affect your adult life?

MJN: Yes… very much. I am afraid of fireworks. I still grind my teeth when airplanes fly above my house. I am heartbroken by man’s perpetual obsession with the killing of each other instead of talking. I am unable to accept or understand the hatred of persons against persons and what it is doing to civilizations.

CH: Was it difficult to keep a clear mind after the brainwashing by the new fascist regime?

MJN: A little for a time, I resolved things by constantly going from one rigid set of beliefs to another until Buddhism finally helped me to accept myself as a pacifist with no political party or religion, not even Buddhism!

CH: Can you briefly tell us about your life achievements after enduring the devastation of the Spanish War?

MJN: I ultimately settled myself for a life helping others to identify their fears, and hopefully find a way to resolve them. After a four year enlistment in the US Navy, I used the GI Bill to go to nursing school followed with a BS in Nursing Education and taught Psychiatric Nursing for the following ten years—working in the day time and going to school at night. Eventually, I managed a graduate degree and a post graduate degree in Counseling Psychology from Temple University in Philadelphia. I moved to New Mexico and first worked with the Navajo Nation, and then with the University of New Mexico in Emergency Psychiatry. It seems as if doing therapy to help others did a great deal of therapy for me, as well.

CH: How does your family and extended family feel about your sharing your experiences with the world?

MJN: I was surprised. My sister, one of the younger generations who lives in Spain and knows just a little English read my book using a dictionary and LIKED IT! So far, all of my American cousins that read the book were grateful for giving them information they did not get from their parents. I am not too sure of what is going on with my Spanish cousins, I have not heard from them. Not a word.

CH: One of the reviewers said that this was “a unique well-written war novel.” What kind of feedback are you getting from readers of the book?

MJN: It is difficult to like or not to like the book. It is not that simple. People are affected and deeply moved. Some have cried as they told me they read the book. Some seem to worry about me and ask if I am alright…I am getting a range of emotional responses, all serious. Some people never knew there had been a Civil War in Spain!

Now they know, and that is the purpose of the book.

CH: Can you give my audience your website address?

MJN: Unfortunately, I do not have a website. I am sorry. I am just too old!

CH: For my audience, where is your book sold?

MJN: Amazon, Google, Barnes and Noble, and iUniverse Book Store. If they Google my book and name, it will come up for them. Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1LE5Fmu

CH: Any closing remarks?

MJN: I am sorry, sometimes I was bit expansive. I hope the readers will forgive me.

CH: Thank you Maria J. Nieto, it has been a real pleasure talking with you and discussing such an interesting book in an important time of history.

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Readers and followers, please share this post with your friends.

 If you find us deserving, please nominate us for Writer’s Digest “101 Best Sites for Writers.”  Email: writersdig@fwpubs.com with “101 Sites” in the subject line.  Type: “Cheryl Holloway Author Blog http://www.CherylHolloway.net/blog in the body of the email.  It’s that simple!  And “thank you” from all of us!

On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                                                                                                                                         ~ Cheryl Holloway

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Throwback Thursday – Cheryl Holloway’s First Writing Award

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Cheryl Holloway’s First Trophy for Writing

Throwback Thursday

I won this trophy for a Crime Prevention Essay that I wrote when I was 15-years old. My essay won First Place in the Indiana State Competition. I was so proud back then, and I am proud to say that I am still writing!

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Note: Photos are compliments of Cheryl Holloway.

Readers and followers, please share this post with your friends.

 If you find us deserving, please nominate us for Writer’s Digest “101 Best Sites for Writers.”  Email: writersdig@fwpubs.com with “101 Sites” in the subject line.  Type: “Cheryl Holloway Author Blog http://www.CherylHolloway.net/blog in the body of the email.  It’s that simple!  And “thank you” from all of us!

On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                                                                                                                                         ~ Cheryl Holloway

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Guest Author Interview – B. J. Webster

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Title: Wonder Fire

Genre: Historical Fiction

Synopsis: 1666, was called “Wonder Year,” despite it being a year of great calamity and disaster in London. The joke was, at least things weren’t worse than they were.

Wonder Fire is a fast paced historical fiction based around the actual events in 1666 before the Great Fire of London, through the dramatic fire and in the days after the blaze had ended and London wondered at their fate. Who really started the Great Fire of London? Nobody knows for certain. Was it an accident or a deliberate act? Wonder Fire assumes the latter is the case and delves into the motives of ambition, illicit affairs, unrequited love and political intrigue, none of which was a stranger to the court of King Charles II.

Feel what it was like to live in 1666 and better understand the intricacies of politics, power and class divide of the time. Be drawn in by the fascinating web of intrigue and how it plays out to create one of the most devastating events in history.

B J Webster

Author: B. J. Webster

CH: Welcome B. J. Webster to my blog. B.J. is an Australian writer who has a keen interest in both fiction and history, so it was a logical progression to produce a work of historical fiction. Wonder Fire is her first published novel. Thank you for joining us and sharing your writing world with my audience.

CH: Can you sum up your book in 20 words or less?

BJW: Historical fiction love story that will entertain the reader, as well as, provide an interesting insight into history.

CH: You provide insight and possibilities as to why London burned in 1666. Did you have to do a lot of special research to write this book? 

BJW: Yes, I researched the period in detail, as well as, the specific location for about six months.  Research included the people, clothing, politics, housing etc…

CH: You do a wonderful job of presenting believable historical characters; and you provide insight into the different classes: Nobles and royalty, as well as, commoners and poverty. Why did you decide to write this book about a piece of history that happened so long ago?

BJW: I lived in London at the time and walked past the site of the fire every day on my way to work for years.  That particular event intrigued me, so it was a natural point to research and write about.

CH: Did you find anything challenging while writing this book?

BJW: Some of the inconsistency of the historical facts can be frustrating, though interesting and that’s where being a storyteller is useful.

CH: Are there any books that influenced you while writing this book?

BJW: Hilary Mantel and C. J Sansom’s work has influenced the way I write historical fiction.

CH: Hilary Mantel is the winner of the Man Booker Award and she reviews books for London and the New York Times. And C. J Sansom is a best-selling author who wrote a mystery about a fire in the sixteenth century. These are excellent writers to influence your writing. How long did it take you to write your book?

BJW: Six months to research, three months to plan and write, three months to review.

CH: The fire was the catalyst for the rebuilding of London and a lot of people are interested in this piece of history. So, what kind of feedback are you getting from readers of Wonder Fire?

BJW: Very positive.  They like the characters and feel as though they have a real sense of what it was like to live in 1666.

CH: This book is available only in eBook format. As an eBook author, do you find marketing your book harder or easier than with a traditional paperback book?

BJW: Much more difficult since this time I don’t have a publishing house employing their vast resources on my behalf.  There are so many possible avenues to reaching possible readers, but every little step will hopefully spread the word a little bit more.

CH: You have published two non-fiction business books. Did you want to test the waters before you published this historical fiction book? 

BJW: No, I wrote the business books as an accountant, as part of my love of writing.  Fiction is a different part of my brain and a more creative release.

CH: How long have you been writing?

BJW: Forever!  Ever since I could write, I have been writing stories to entertain whoever was around to listen and/or read them.  It’s something I have always loved to do and wanted to do, but I never thought it would be a full-time career, until now.

CH: Where are you from? Does your background have any influence on this book?

BJW: I am Australian and no I don’t think my background has much influence, except perhaps that being from the new world, the old world fascinates me.

CH: What’s next on the agenda in your writing career?

BJW: Historical fiction based in the Caribbean, where I currently live.

CH: What would be the best piece of advice you would offer a new historical author?

BJW: Research and plan, then do some more research.  Find an interesting real character and build a semi-fictional world around them, drawing on real facts. The details though must be correct, i.e., names, clothes, food, transport etc.  It adds integrity to the work.

CH: Can you tell us about your publishing journey for this book? Why did you decide to self-publish?

BJW: Because I wanted my book out there, and agents and publishers are accepting fewer and fewer works from unknown authors, especially at a time when ‘celebrities’ are penning their own books.

CH: Do you have a website?

BJW: No. It’s coming soon!

CH: Where is your book sold?

BJW: Amazon.com

CH: Any closing remarks?

BJW: I hope your readers will enjoy the escapism of my book, entertainment while learning something, what more can we ask for at a cost of $1.99?  😉

CH: Thank you B. J. Webster for joining me on my blog, it has been a real pleasure talking with you about a piece of history, your book and your writing journey.  I’m still reading and enjoying the book. We all look forward to following your writing career. 

Don’t Keep this Blog a Secret…Tell Your Friends about it!

Note: Photos are compliments of B. J. Webster and the Internet.

 

Readers and followers, please share this post with your friends.

 If you find us deserving, please nominate us for Writer’s Digest “101 Best Sites for Writers.”  Email: writersdig@fwpubs.com with “101 Sites” in the subject line.  Type: “Cheryl Holloway Author Blog http://www.CherylHolloway.net/blog in the body of the email.  It’s that simple!  And “thank you” from all of us!

On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                                                                                                       ~ Cheryl Holloway

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Questions? Comments? Contact : AuthorCherylHolloway@gmail.com or Cheryl@CherylHolloway.net

 

 

Black History Month 2015

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Black History 2                                                                         Black History

Note: There is so much Black History this month with all of the items in the news—Black Lives Matter—that I decided to only share a couple of posts on Black History.

Last week, I was talking to some writing sisters about Black History Month and we each shared a personal piece of Black History. The stories were just as diverse as the writers. Some had been publicized and others hadn’t. So, I decided to share my story with those of you reading my blog.

Anyway, I was a small child when this happened. I do not remember all of the details. (I called my brother to see if he remembered any details, but he didn’t.) But here is the story as I remember it. My Aunt Mattie owned a custom drapery business and was moving to an apartment building on the north side of Chicago in the 1950’s. There was an apartment on the second floor that she would later rent; her and my Uncle Charles would live on the first floor and her business would be in the basement. They were to move in on a certain date; however, a white physician had not finished moving out yet. No one knew of the change of plans, except the doctor and my uncle and my aunt.

Racists bombed the apartment building, because they did not want blacks moving in the area.

The doctor was hurt and sued the City of Chicago. The doctor won his lawsuit and the building was repaired, which delayed their moving in for several months. However, as a precaution, the City of Chicago would provide police protection for a few years. The police officers chosen to “protect” the property were all white. They used the business bathroom in the basement. And often left messages on the wall, written with feces that said, “Nigger go home,” or “Niggers not wanted.”

These were the first racial messages that I had seen (and smelled), as a child. Our family was always a nervous wreck when visiting our relatives. There was a park across the street, but we were not allowed to go to the park for obvious reasons.

Fact: According to the Encyclopedia of Chicago, The Chicago Police Department, by far the largest police agency in the region, grew from 3,314 employees in 1900 to 10,535 in 1960. There was little change in the pattern of arrests. African Americans were better represented on the force than in other big cities and were slowly promoted, reaching the rank of captain—the first in the United States—in 1940. But black officers could not arrest white citizens, and black sergeants were never assigned to supervise white officers.

Note: The clipart is compliments of the Internet.

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Celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday and Remembering

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Celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday 

I wanted to celebrate MLK’s birthday by doing something different. So, I went to a matinee movie  to see Selma. I want to congratulate the writers who intertwined various parts of history to make a wonderful movie for generations to enjoy the African American legacy.

The movie reminded me of so many historical events that I participated in and organized in several states.  From Gary, Indiana when, as a teenager,  I helped in Mayor Richard Hatcher’s first election.  Then years later in Sacramento, California, I helped to organize the Black History celebrations at the Chapel on McClellan AFB. When I was a reporter for the Precinct Reporter newspaper in San Bernardino, California and I wrote feature articles on Rosa Parks and John Carlos (1968 Olympics Black Power Salute). Then in Albuquerque, New Mexico, I was part of New Mexico’s African-American Legacy: Visible, Vital, and Valuable-a community history project.  At the National Maritime Center in Virginia, I organized some of the very first African -American events for the Coast Guard. These are just a few of the events throughout the years.

I have been an activist for many years, and I presume I will always be one-it’s part of me and my legacy.

Please enjoy your holiday and remember some special part of history.

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Guest Author Interview – Bill Miller

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Seeds of Magnolia_Cover

Title: Seeds of Magnolia

Genre: Historical

Synopsis: The most peaceful years of Austin Miller’s life were before he married. Only he, Sophia and her mother, Elizabeth, were in the house. After his marriage, the house became a hotbed of chaos fueled by overzealous attitudes and unyielding temperaments. His marriage had been strained by adultery, and after it had been patched; they were separated by the war. Sophia’s best friends were three white girls that she grew up with. When seen by someone that did not know them, they would assume that all four were white. The color of their skin would not be enough to tell that one had a trace of black blood in her veins that made her a slave. Appearing to be white did not make a person white, and being black had its’ limitations. Yet, in a small southern town in Tennessee, Sophia ignored the social code regarding interracial relationships. Seeds of Magnolia unveils some of the stories that have been sheltered by the family—stories that have been kept in the closet, swept under the rug, or just gone untold.

Bill Miller

Author: Bill Miller

CH: Welcome, Bill. Thank you for joining me and allowing my readers to get to know you and generations of your family. The first question I have for you is can you please tell us in one sentence, why we should read your book.

BM: It was rare, but for a few people, Seeds of Magnolia describes a brighter side of the darkest chapter in our country’s history which was slavery, and that makes it a worthwhile read.

CH: What attracted you to write your ancestor’s history?

BM: I wanted to write about them because I don’t want them to be forgotten.  The things that I wrote about are things that were told to me by my father and his brothers and sisters, stories that have been handed down from one generation to the next.

I think, I’m the only one that remembers these stories anymore.  Recording them in the format of a book is my way of putting them in a place for safe-keeping.

CH: What is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your historical writing?

BM: When we read about slavery, we know that sooner or later, we’ll get to the page that tells us about the chains and shackles.  But this time, there are no chains and no shackles.

The setting for Seeds of Magnolia is Bolivar, Tennessee, at the mansion referred to as Magnolia Manor.  It was built by Austin Miller, and it’s still there today; still being used.

Magnolia Manor is a place where a slave girl was allowed to grow up and experience a lifestyle more like that of a well to-do white girl.  It was a place where she could sometimes almost forget that she was a slave.

During the Civil War, Generals Grant, Sherman, Logan and McPherson used Magnolia Manor as their headquarters.

When General Grant knocked on the door, it was my great grandmother, a slave named Sophia that let them in.

Also, most books written about slavery are told from the viewpoint of someone on the outside looking in.  Seeds of Magnolia is told from the viewpoint of someone on the inside looking out.  That person on the inside being a slave. 

CH: Did you have to do any special research to write this book?

BM: There were some things that I had to research.  Maybe some of it was just to satisfy my own curiosity.  I always knew that my great-grandfather died at his plantation in Mississippi, but I never knew the cause of death.  I had to do some research to find out.

I knew that he was born in Guilford County, North Carolina, but I had to do some research to find out when he moved to Hardeman County, Tennessee.

So, there were a few things that I had to research, but most of the things that I wrote about were tucked away in my mind.  I just had to get it properly arranged and put into words. 

CH: Who was your favorite family member to write about or describe?

BM: That’s an easy question to answer.  Sophia was my favorite, and its’ probably reflected in my writing.  I felt a lot of compassion whenever my writing took me to her. She had the starring role, and I fell in love with her.

I loved describing the free-spirited lifestyle that Austin Miller allowed her to have.  I knew that he let her live that lifestyle, but when I started writing about it, it drew me closer to him.

While writing, I was always asking questions of myself.  Questions like, why did he allow her to be the way that she was …letting her learn how to read and write? Since she had spent a lifetime in his house, did he not see her as a slave …maybe because her skin was so white? Did the time ever come when he was in love with her?

Although I asked the questions, I knew that there would be no answers …just lots of questions.

CH: Was it painful to revisit some of the family issues or to talk about the situations for the first time in the book?

BM: It was painful describing how Sophia fell in love with a boy while attending church every Sunday at the bush harbor.

A bush harbor is a lattice like framework with tree branches placed on top to block the sun.

They looked forward to seeing each other every Sunday, and then one Sunday she went there to find out that he had been sold and taken away.  He was the first boy that she had ever loved.

I found it very painful when I wrote about Sophia begging Mrs. Miller not to put her on the auction block and sell her.  That was the most painful part of the entire book.

I became very emotional writing about it.  I’ve never told anyone before, but my eyes were filled with tears while I was writing.

CH: Are there any books that influenced you while writing this book?

BM: There were no other influences.  I was driven by the fact that I wanted to preserve what I know about my family’s heritage.  I know that when I die, there won’t be anyone else to tell the stories, and the stories will die with me.  They’ll be gone forever.

CH: What pitfalls have you run into as a new author? 

BM: Marketing is my biggest hurdle. There are a lot of authors, and it’s hard for a rookie to step onto the stage with them and be recognized.  It’s much easier to write a book than it is to sell one.

CH: You are so right about marketing and if an author doesn’t know that, they will soon learn it. So, who is your favorite author? Why?

BM: I don’t have a favorite author, but two of my favorite books are (1) This I Believe and (2) Physics for Future Presidents by Richard Muller.

CH: What book are you currently reading?

I just bought a copy of Dr. Ben Carson’s book, One Nation, but I haven’t read it yet.  When I have time to read, it’s usually college text books.  I like reading about science and history.

CH: On Amazon, you had 7 out of 7 five star reviews, and most of them wanted to see a movie. So, are there any other plans for this book? Any movie deals?

BM: No movie deals yet, but I believe that Seeds of Magnolia would be a great movie; set during the pre-post Civil War era with a completely different twist—one that’s real.

Every day, I hope that someone in the movie industry will hear about it and read it, and say, “yes, let’s do it.”

That’s having high expectations, but I think it’s realistic and not farfetched. The right person just has to read it.

CH: What’s next on the agenda in your writing career?

BM: Seeds of Magnolia is nonfiction. I could follow up with a sequel, but it might get me in trouble, because too many people would be too close to what I write.

But I am writing another book now; it’s fiction.

CH: Do you have a website?

BM: Yes, I have a website. It’s www.billmillerbooks.com

CH: Where is your book sold?

BM: Amazon sells the hardcopy.  It’s also available as an eBook at Amazon Kindle.

CH: Any closing remarks?

BM: I don’t know any of my white relatives anymore.  I would like to meet them and shake their hand, and maybe embrace each other, if they’re so inclined.

I suppose that someday some of them will read Seeds of Magnolia.  When they do, they’ll probably read about some things that they would rather I had left in the closet.  At the same time, I think, they will realize that I remembered to write with dignity.

Austin Miller owned my family as slaves.  In spite of that, I’m proud of my family heritage; I’m proud of who I am, and I’m proud of what I am.

It was wrong for him to own us, but still, I can’t make myself hate him, probably because I don’t want to, because he and Sophia are my great grandparents.

 CH: Thank you, Bill, and thank you for sharing your book, and the generations of the Miller family with my audience.  

 

Don’t Keep this Blog a Secret…Tell Your Friends about it!                                             Readers and followers, please share this post with your friends.

 If you find us deserving, please nominate us for Writer’s Digest “101 Best Sites for Writers.”  Email: writersdig@fwpubs.com with “101 Sites” in the subject line.  Type: “Cheryl Holloway Author Blog http://www.CherylHolloway.net/blog in the body of the email.  It’s that simple!  And “thank you” from all of us!

On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                                                                                                       ~ Cheryl Holloway

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Questions? Comments? Contact : AuthorCherylHolloway@gmail.com or Cheryl@CherylHolloway.net

 

Guest Author Interview – Stela Brinzeanu

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Title: Bessarabian Nights

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Synopsis: The upshot of the dilemma between sacrifice and desire? – It’s not betraying your destiny but creating it! The novel explores issues besetting contemporary Moldova. Its plot rests on modern topics, such as economic migration, the East/West culture-clash, the sexual exploitation of East European women and the role of local religion – which has a penchant for the sensational – in the psychological makeup of these victims. The book is given life and flavor by the tumultuous human stories, which form the pulsating heartbeat of the novel. Perhaps sometimes the devil you know is more dangerous than the one you don’t.

Stela Brinzeanu

Author: Stela Brinzeanu

CH: Welcome, Stela. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to share your writing world and the world of Moldova with my audience.

CH: Please tell us in 20 words or less why we should read your book?

SB: You will discover a new world—The world of Moldova.

CH: What inspired you to write Bessarabian Nights?

SB: The story of a girl from our community, who disappeared for a few years and who upon her return was a changed person. She never said where she had been or what happened to her. The rumors were she had been a sex slave abroad. That was my starting point.

CH: Where are you from? Does your background have any influence on this book?

SB: I was born and raised in Moldova until the age of 18, when I moved to London. The book is about the culture and the people of Moldova, a country, which is known (unfortunately) as a hot hub for trafficking in Eastern Europe.

CH: Since the topic is about a very sensitive and political issue, did you have to do any special research to write this book?

SB: I traveled to Moldova twice in order to speak to victims of human trafficking, as well as liaising with local NGO’s (non-governmental organisation).

CH: Most of the situations are taken from real life, how did you intertwine facts and fiction?

SB: I chose real life events and built a story around them. Once I had picked the subject and have done the research, the plot emerged as I got to writing.

CH: Where did you get inspiration for your characters come from?

SB: It came from all of the years I lived in Moldova—family, friends and people I knew, met or read about in the Moldovan press.

CH: Was it difficult trying to create your characters? And who is your favorite character?

SB: It was not difficult to create the characters, only time-consuming. Like with real life friendships, characters also appreciate nurturing. I don’t have a favorite—they are all my children.

CH: Do you have a support system and if so, who does it consist of?

SB: My partner is the first person to read anything I write. Then, there is my editor, who despite living in a different country, works with me on a regular basis.

CH: What kind of feedback are you getting from readers of the book?

SB: The response I’ve had so far has been mixed. Some readers loved it, others not so much. Like with anything that is subjective, the reactions are always going to vary from one to another.

CH: Do you write full-time or part-time?

SB: I am currently writing full-time.

CH: Is there a “universal message” in your novel that you want the readers to grasp?

SB: No messages. Just storytelling.

CH: Do you have a website?

SB: Yes, www.stelabrinzeanu.com 

CH: Where are your books sold?

SB: Amazon

CH: Any Closing Remarks?

SB: Do you really know who your neighbors are?

CH: Thank you, Stela, and thank you for sharing your book, the world of Moldova and the issue of human trafficking with my audience.  

 

Don’t Keep this Blog a Secret…Tell Your Friends about it!                                 Readers and followers, please share this post with your friends.

 If you find us deserving, please nominate us for Writer’s Digest “101 Best Sites for Writers.”  Email: writersdig@fwpubs.com with “101 Sites” in the subject line.  Type: “Cheryl Holloway Author Blog http://www.CherylHolloway.net/blog in the body of the email.  It’s that simple!  And “thank you” from all of us!

On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                                                                                                       ~ Cheryl Holloway

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Questions? Comments? Contact : AuthorCherylHolloway@gmail.com or Cheryl@CherylHolloway.net