Seven Sentence Sunday with Cheryl Holloway

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Seven Sentence Sunday

Once Upon a Time

 

Most of my readers enjoy Seven Sentence Sunday and often request the short stories. 

I write a short story using only seven sentences. I also use this as a writing exercise in the writing workshops that I present. This writing prompt is from my writer’s group, Accokeek Womens Writing Group.

Title: Spring Greenery—Symbolic of New Beginnings

I love spring because it is a refreshing and revitalizing time after a long, cold winter.

The trees and the grass are fresh and green with all of the plants and flowers blossoming.

It starts with the Cherry Blossom season that spills over with warm sunlight, bright colors and delicate fragrances.

Ahh…the smell of spring greenery brings a new beginning for nature and me.

I’m ready to make some changes that are long overdue in my writing and in my life.

So, I’ve begun writing a new book and I’m trying to get myself ready to recycle all of the old stuff.

Yes, I’m ready for a new journey…California, here I come.

The End

Short Stories_2

Thanks for reading this story. Please give me some feedback and tell me if you like it or what you think about the topic.

Have a Great Writing Day!

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

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

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

   

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? Interviews? Contact :

AuthorCherylHolloway@gmail.com or Cheryl@CherylHolloway.net

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Celebrity Guest Author Interview – Pat Simmons

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Celebrity Couch (2)

Title: Love by Delivery

Genre: African American/Christian Romance

Synopsis: Senior Accounts Manager Dominique Hayes has it all—money, a car and a condo. Well, almost. She’s starting to believe love has passed her by.
One thing for sure, she can’t hurry God, so she continues to wait while losing hope that a special Godly man will ever make his appearance.
Package Courier Ashton Taylor knows a man who finds a wife finds a good thing. The only thing standing in his way of finding the right woman is his long work hours. Or maybe, not.

A chance meeting changes everything. When love finally comes knocking, will Dominique open the door and accept Ashton’s special delivery?

Pat Simmons, Author

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Celebrity Pat Simmons. Pat is a self-proclaimed genealogy sleuth who is passionate about researching her ancestors and then casting them in starring roles in her novels. Welcome to my blog, Pat.

CH: Can you tell us in one sentence, why we should read your book? 

PS: For Christian inspiration

CH: Where do your ideas come from?

PS: Anyway and everywhere—church, strangers, news, movies, and real life situations. There are no limits when it comes to listening for God’s direction.

CH: Do you have a standard formula for plots or do stories come to you as a whole concept?

PS: That depends. As a Christian author, it is important for me to defer to the Lord for the message in a story. Case in point, I have readers waiting and I was eagerly ready to pen book nine in the Guilty series when I realized that I had no spiritual message for the readers. Concerned, I prayed and asked God what should I do? That had never happened before in all my works. The Lord Jesus had me resurrect an outline from 2011. He told me it was time to tell the story and He had a message in it for someone, so that is my current project. As for other plots, I have a news background, so I like to write stories that are issue-driven.

CH: Was it hard creating believable situations and issues or did you take them from real life and elaborate?

PS: No. I want my stories to hit home with readers. I want to be sensitive to people who are hurting. That’s real life.

CH: Was there a special reason that you decided to write this book?

PS: Yes, I had a conversation with a young woman who asked why do all my characters have to be well-off, especially the men. She asked, “What about the plain everyday guy?” First, I chuckled, because I thought some of my characters were down to earth heroes. Also, I entered the industry at a time when Arabesque/BET had the market cornered for Black romances. One requirement to write for them was the hero had to be almost wealthy to create the fantasy escape for their readers. Although, I never wrote for them, I followed their lead.

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

PS: Always, sometimes the research will create scenes in the story that I might not have ever thought about before. Digging deeper is part of my personality to a fault sometimes. I got it honestly with a degree in broadcast journalism. I call them field trips when I have to go interview someone or go on location. I did so much research for The Acquittal that took place in Ghana, Africa that I felt I lived there.

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

PS: I would like to think as Christian authors, there would be more similarity than differences between us. That’s not always the case. I don’t have sex scenes, use profanity, and have a woman or child violated. I believe in using scriptures rather than paraphrasing a quote. If people don’t read their Bibles, and my work is their only exposure to scriptures, it’s important for me to be accurate and list the references where they can go and study for themselves. I also like my Christian characters to be consistent. In other words, my writing mission statement is Jude 1:24. God can keep anyone from falling into sin. He gives us warning signs. There are Christians who are sincere with their walk with Christ and those are the type of people I like to feature in my stories.

CH: Who was your favorite character to write? Who was the hardest character to write?

PS: My favorite is Grandma BB who is a hoot in my Guilty series/Jamieson Legacy. The woman writes her own scenes. I wouldn’t say some characters are hard to write, rather my focus is on convincing the reader that a dislikeable character can be redeemed and are worthy of a second chance. I liked Karyn Wallace in Crowning Glory (My favorite book). I have to be true to their past, but show their baby steps to salvation: Jet (Restore My Soul series); Landon Thomas (Redeeming Heart); Michael Bishop (The Keepsake)

CH: What inspired you to write an inspiration book for others to read?  

PS: I thought, emphasis on ‘thought,’ it was because I wanted a clean and inspirational romance to read free of sex/profanity/infidelity. But God had other plans after a couple of years into my writing. The Lord Jesus let me know I had a writing ministry to help hurting people by giving Him the glory.

CH: As a Christian writer, is there a message in your novel that you want the readers to grasp?

PS: Absolutely, Jude 1:24: Now unto him who is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy… 

CH: How long does it take you to write one of your books?

PS: From outline to release, a novel takes about four months and for a novella, six weeks to two months.

CH: You’ve been writing for ten years and you have published over thirty books. Can you tell us a little about your writing journey?

PS: I’m so happy to share the testimony about my first book deal. Guilty of Love was actually the third novel I wrote, but the first one that was published. The amazing thing is I didn’t want to write the story because of the subject matter: abortion. After I gave it some thought, I realized that I could write ten novels and none of them would be successful until I wrote the one God told me to. Let me tell you what Jesus did. That book broke sales records for the imprint that year. It also established my writing career. The Guilty series now called the Jamieson Legacy will probably go to twelve books. Look at Jesus. What would have happened if I didn’t say, yes Lord?

Prior to starting that book, I became interested in my family’s genealogy. I decided to incorporate some of my family names for characters in the stories in hopes of tracking now distant relatives who might pick up the book and recognize names.

I chose Charlotte for my main character’s mother. Charlotte was my maternal grandmother and my maternal great-great grandmother. Then on to the last name. I needed something that had a distinguished ring. Somehow Jamiesons stuck, thus creating Parke K. Jamieson VI. He and his brothers became the strong, successful and confident black men who were the tenth generation descendants of a royal African tribe.

Okay, back to my family history. My maternal grandmother’s last name was Wilkerson. I located Charlotte Wilkerson along with her two sons: William (my great-grandfather b. 1866) and his brother Samuel (b. 1868), on the 1880 census. I hit a wall when I went back to the 1870 census. I couldn’t locate them. I turned to other genealogy enthusiasts to help in the hunt for Charlotte Wilkerson and her two sons who would have been four and two. It’s amazing how savvy some of these sleuths are. A few days later, they came back with information that made me hold my breath.

It appears that Charlotte’s last name was actually Jamieson. Eerie, huh?  I had no idea I was giving my character the exact FIRST and LAST name of an ancestor.

Since 1870, was the first year blacks were counted as free, I searched the 1860 slaveholders’ schedule. Sure enough, Robert Jamieson was the slaveholder over my great-great-grandmother. In his household, there was a guest and teacher in the academy, John Wilkerson (my white great-grandfather).  The Guilty series renamed the Jamieson Legacy has captivated black and white readers alike with its positive strong black family and historical facts that are weaved into contemporary storylines. Currently, the series is eight books strong with plans for four more to complete the series.

Throughout my publishing career, I have learned that I work for the Lord, and any recognition is God’s.

CH: Can you tell my audience about some of your series?

PS: Restore My Soul Series: Wounded spirits, troubled pasts, and a God who can restore souls for His glory. (John 8:36) “He who the Son sets free, is free indeed.” Karyn Wallace has issues with forgiving herself. Jet Hutchens refuses to forgive others. And the man of God who stands between them, Minister Rossi Tolliver, knows the power of prayer and deliverance.

Love at the Crossroads Series: When relationships are tested, love covers a multitude of faults and conquers all for Candace Clark, who has to start over after the death of her husband. She will learn faith and fear aren’t friends; Solae Wyatt’s inability to have children has been a deal breaker when it comes to relationships. Will Hershel Kavnaugh let her walk away?; Next, it’s going to take Desi’ forgiveness, and Michael’s repentance, and redemption to give their marriage a second chance after infidelity; In hindsight, unwed mother Halcyone Holland admits that God didn’t handpick the father of her children. Yet, that doesn’t stop God from sending her the man who has been standing on the sidelines for a long time; Finally, Monica thought she knew what she wanted in a man until she suffers health challenges, then God sends her what she needs most, a praying man.

The Andersen Brothers Series: There is nothing sexier than a man who loves God and family. Christian kicks off the holiday series by showing how he celebrates Christ’s birth, resurrection, and the biggest of all, Father’s Day to a single mother; It takes a pure heart to capture God’s attention, and David is looking for that one woman who can pull at his heartstrings; Nathan finds a kindred spirit in Noelle who has a heart for the helpless, hungry, and homeless. Together they try to make a difference during Christmas.

The Jamieson Legacy Series: If you love history? You won’t be disappointed as American Black history and genealogy are weaved into the romances. The series tackles cultural issues with godly intervention, whether it’s abortion, single parenting, or our angry youth. The Jamieson men are tenth and eleventh generation descendants of a royal African tribe. They carry strength and determination in their DNA when it comes to family ties. The only ones who can penetrate their armor are strong-willed women that God puts in their paths.

The Carmen Sister Series: Sisters who pray together, stay together, and Stacy, Shari, Shae, and Sabrece (Brecee) hold one another accountable when it comes to dating God’s way. Shae has to choose between her career and true love; Shari has to believe God when He sends her a man with a tormented past; and Brecee has to be convinced of a match made in heaven when it doesn’t make sense on paper.

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

PS: Great reviews are this being a sweet inspirational romance. I have faithful fans, but I’m always looking for new readers and that’s where reviews come in. In addition to a great back blurb, only a reader can sway another reader to give my book a try.

CH: Most reader/fans can hardly wait. So, what is your next writing project?

PS: I’m working on book one of a new series called THE CAREGIVERS. I’m still tweaking the title, so amazingly, I don’t have one to share, yet. Also, I’m not sure if this story will be a novella (35,000 words), or a novel (65,000 words). The most important thing about this story is that I get God’s message out.

CH: How to Find Pat Simmons:

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

PS: There may be some of my older titles in book stores, but all are sold online and some are available in libraries.

CH: Any closing remarks?

PS: Cheryl, Thank you for the invitation to share my story, and God bless you.

CH: Thank you so much, Pat Simmons, for taking time out of your very busy writing schedule to join me and my blog followers.  It has been a real pleasure discussing your book with my audience.  And readers, if you’re like me and would enjoy this book.  I suggest you pick up a copy at your earliest convenience. 

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

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

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

   

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? Interviews? Contact :

AuthorCherylHolloway@gmail.com or Cheryl@CherylHolloway.net

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Seven Sentence Sunday with Cheryl Holloway

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Seven Sentence SundayOnce Upon a Time

Most of my readers enjoy Seven Sentence Sunday and often request the short stories. This year is no different.

I write a short story using only seven sentences. I also use this as a writing exercise in the writing workshops that I present. Last night, as the TV was watching me write, I was inspired to write these stories. Of course, they are inspired by true incidents on the news. 

 

Title: I Told You So…

She had been physically abused by her husband for over ten years and she just couldn’t take it any longer.

He always showered her with gifts of love and apologized for hurting her.

She had prayed and prayed that God would intervene, but she finally had to call the police and file charges against him.

He came to court in his work uniform and always convinced the judges to let him go on some technicality.

She had taken enough and decided to get a restraining order.

She quickly and happily moved to safer quarters.

A week later, the police found her dead and next to her body was a note from her husband—the minister.

The End

 

Title: The Ball                    

The children were so happy, Santa had bought them a ball for Christmas.

It had snowed, but now in January the snow was melting and the weather was much warmer.

The boys begged their mother to go outside and play with their new ball in the yard.

She finally agreed after she had explained that they had to be safe and not let the ball roll into the street.

She carefully watched the children play from the front door and smiled as they enjoyed throwing the ball to each other.

The mother turned and ran into the kitchen for a split second to check on the dinner, when she heard a car’s tires screech.

Her sons ran into the house, and the older boy said, “Mom, we didn’t go after our ball in the street like you told us and the nice man stopped his car and got our ball for us!”

The End

Short Stories_2

Thanks for reading these stories. Please give me some feedback and tell me if you like them or what you think about the topic.

Have a Great Writing Day!

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

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

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

   

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? Interviews? Contact :

AuthorCherylHolloway@gmail.com or Cheryl@CherylHolloway.net

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Cheryl Holloway’s Personal Writing Thoughts for the New Year

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Cheryl Holloway’s Personal Writing Thoughts for the New Year

Some of my fans and readers are on the One Year Book Plan. If you are you are, you should have written 8 pages or 2,000 words. Yay!

Some of my fans and readers are on the Write When You Can Plan, who tend to write most on weekends.

My thoughts are this, “I don’t care when or how much you write, as long as you write and you recognize that ‘Writers write.’”

Cheryl Holloway’s Personal Writing Thoughts

I firmly believe in My 3 P’s of Writing—passion, persistence, and practice. Here are my definitions:

Passion is a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something.

Persistence is firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.

Practice is repeated exercise in or performance of an activity or skill so as to acquire or maintain proficiency in it.

 

Writing can be a lonely situation.

 

My downfall of writing is that I am alone most of the time, but at least I’m in good company. Since I am an introvert, it doesn’t really matter to me. When I come up for air, I visit with my writer friends, family and others. I have a sign in my office that reads: I live in my own little world, but it’s okay…they know me here!

When all else fails…I am still a Writer!

 

 

Cheryl Holloway’s Best Writing Tip and Best Writing Advice…Ever!

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Cheryl Holloway’s Best Writing Tip Ever!

If you write 1 page a day (approximately 250 words) for one year, you will have more than enough pages (365) and words (91,250) for a book.

How many days will you spend writing in 2017?

Cheryl Holloway’s Best Writing Advice Ever!

There are 525,600 minutes in a year. If you write 60 minutes (1 hour) a day for 365 days, you will have written for 21,900 minutes

How many minutes will you spend writing in 2017?

My 2017 Wish for You “is you will find the time to write the book you were meant to write during 2017. You can go from being a writer to being an author.

You can make 2017 your best writing year, EVER!”

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

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

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

Thanks for Sharing

Become a Subscriber_meme

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

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Cheryl Holloway Suggests A 2016 Year-End Review of Your Writing

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Hi Creative Writers Everywhere,

The year is almost over and soon we will be thinking about New Year’s Resolutions and Writing Goals for 2017

Hey, Not so fast, I challenge you to do a 2016 year-end review of your writing and tell us about it?

I mean…Think about it… what great writing success did you have in 2016?

What went well for your writing in 2016? Did you do any great writing?

Made the Best Seller List…Sold 5,000 copies of your book…Started a Blog…Got a Contract…Got an Agent…Self-Published your Book

Let’s share it on my blog!

So, here’s how I review my year (the short version).

What went well for my writing in 2016:

I published two books: A Sisterhood of Women Living Life and The Proposal: A Leap of Faith.

Two of my books were considered for awards: Cougar Tales: Jamaican Love and A Sisterhood of Women Living Life.

I was chosen as an Author to Watch by Best Indie Book Awards.

I sold lots of books on Amazon.com.

I already started writing books for 2017!

My Advice to New Writers (Pay it Forward to others)

Write. Write. Read. Write. (Remember: This is the key to being successful.)

Learn your craft—take writing classes and workshops. (Remember: Before you can make it big, you have to learn the ropes.)

Get a website—it is your bill board to the world. (Remember: Readers have to be able to find you.)

Use professionals—editor, graphics designer, and formatter. (Remember: You have to look good to your readers.)

Pay it forward to another author/any author. (Remember: You have to share with others.)

My Writing Goals for 2017

Create/Recreate my Action Plan for my writing

Publish my book, The Lady in The Trunk.

Publish a full-length romance novel.

Take James Patterson’s Writing Workshop

Social Media Plan-Increase the number of subscribers on my blog, CherylHolloway.net/blog.

Continue writing more novels and short stories.

This is Important. So, here’s what I want you to do:

Today, I want you to take some time to think about what went well this year for your writing. Then, I want you to think about what advice you can give to other writers. And finally, I want you to think about what your big plans are for 2017.

There are 525,600 minutes in a year. How many minutes will you spend writing in 2017? My 2017 Wish for You “is you will find the time to write the book you were meant to write during 2017. And you can make 2017 your best writing year, EVER!”

Even better? I want you to tell my blog fans and readers.
I want you to leave a comment on this blog post. Write the comment like this:

Hi, My Name is __________________.

My website is __________________________________ (a little free publicity for you)

  1. My writing and What Went Well in 2016: [Insert What Went Well]
  2. My Advice for a New Writer: [Insert any advice, tips, books, etc.]
  3. My Writing for 2017: [Insert any goals, great events, New Books, etc.]   Go leave the comment now.
    Thanks for Participating.

Cheryl Holloway Explains How to Go from Writer to Author

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How to go from Writer to Author and from Dream to Reality!

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Question: Have you ever wanted to write a book?

Fact: 82% of Americans say they want to write a book, but only 2% actually write one!

The Truth: Most people believe they have a book in them just waiting to emerge; however, they fail to ever write it. They only dream of writing a book. For most people, that dream never becomes a reality and a written word never reaches the page.

accountability_4

Getting Started: What people don’t realize is getting started is easier than you think. And…I can show you how.

Fact: I know how good writing makes me feel, and I do believe that most people will benefit from writing their book…and seeing a completed product.

Learn how you can go from Writer to Author and from Dream to Reality!

I can show the writer how to produce written pages and how to begin book building.

Email me for the Accountability Writing Coach Survey, Is Accountability Coaching What You Need?

Remember: I offer Accountability Writing Programs for every level of writer and every budget.

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If you feel overwhelmed by the thought of writing the book you’ve always dreamed about, then you need to contact me and find out the secret that I have for getting started today and…completing your book in the near future!

Learn how you can go from Writer to Author and from Dream to Reality!

Email me for the Accountability Writing Coach Survey, Is Accountability Coaching What You Need?

Remember: I offer Accountability Writing Programs for every level of writer and every budget.

With the Program, You Receive:

  • 3 Easily Doable Tips That Keep You Accountable and Writing
  • 7 Steps to Stay Motivated, Encouraged, Accountable and Writing
  • 7 Important Tools Every Writer Should Have
  • An Accountability Writing Plan
  • Feedback from An Experienced Writer
  • Monitoring and Evaluating of the Writing Process

With the Program, You Find out:

  • The benefits of an accountability writing coaching.
  • What are the S.M.A.R.T. Goals
  • What are the W.O.W. Goals

 My Guarantee: If you follow my advice, I will help procrastinating writers to become debut authors.

nowisthetime

 

“I offer my clients insight and expertise. Accountability is Action.”                  ~Cheryl Holloway

 

 

 

If you want to take the next step to begin an accountability writing program, and get a FREE Consultation, then contact:

Cheryl Holloway                                                         Email: AuthorCherylHolloway@gmail.com

Toll-Free: 1-877-WRITE18

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet and Cheryl Holloway.  If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to my blog.

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

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

Thanks for Sharing

Become a Subscriber_meme

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

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Cheryl Holloway is Featured on GeeLovestoWrite Blog

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Cheryl Holloway is Featured on GeeLovestoWrite Blog

TUESDAY TALENT      gee

geelovestowrite presents Cheryl Holloway, an Accountability Writing Coach…

Link: https://geelovestowrite.wordpress.com/2016/10/11/tuesday-talent-9/

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

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

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

Thanks for Sharing

Become a Subscriber_meme

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

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Overcoming Procrastination and…Becoming A Writer

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How many of you are Aspiring Writers? 

Now, I’m going to give you the definition of an aspiring writer.

Aspiring writers are the people who sit watching their favorite show on TV or those who spend eight hours on facebook, all the while saying, “One day, I want to write that novel!”

Now, how many of you, who are aspiring writers, have written a novel?

None

Why? Because Aspiring Writers are Procrastinators

Procrastination 1

Why do so many people procrastinate when it comes to writing?

The #1 reason is that most aspiring writers make excuses for not writing.  Such as, I don’t have enough time. I work. I can only write on weekends.

The #2 reason is they don’t make a plan to implement their writing and act on it. Such as, I don’t have enough time to start writing today. I will start writing my book next year. I don’t really need a plan to write.

The #3 reason is that they have poor time management skills. Such as, I will start writing tomorrow, because I have to watch the basketball game today.

Procrastination 2

Remember: If it can be done tomorrow, it can be done today.

Procrastination leads to feelings of anxiety and stress, fatigue, and disappointment from falling below your own standards and having to put your life on hold for extremely long periods of time.

Procrastination can be hard on you and actually increase your chances of failing, but so many aspiring writers do it anyway.

So, what can you do to overcome your tendencies to procrastinate?

Five Simple Steps

Step One: Awareness– You must understand the reasons why you procrastinate. Most people can’t come up with an effective solution, if they don’t really understand the root of the problem. As with most problems, awareness and self-knowledge are the keys to figuring out how to change. In your case, how to stop procrastinating when it comes to writing.

Step Two: Commitment- You start simply by committing to write. Period. Say to yourself, “I am a writer.” Then, complete a small task, any task, and write it down. Finish it and reward yourself. It’s just that simple. Focus on starting your writing project, rather than finishing it. People who write down their task tend to finish them. Make a “to do” list and when you finish something on the list, check it off or X it out. You will feel so much better.

Step Three: Motivation- In order to overcome procrastination, it’s critical that you stay motivated to be productive. Tell your best friend that you want to write a book and you need her to call you once a week and check on you and your progress.

Step Four: Set Goals– You must make reasonable and doable goals. You must be realistic when making goals. Achieving goals and changing habits takes time and effort (usually 21 days); don’t sabotage yourself by having unrealistic expectations that you cannot reasonably meet.  Such as, I’m going to write the first ten chapters this week. You need to take action and ten chapters will only frustrate you. It’s not the thought that counts — it’s the action. You must take action to make your goals and dreams a reality.

Step Five: Time Management- In order to overcome procrastination, some time management techniques and tools will help. Break big tasks into smaller tasks. Instead of having one giant task, break it down to four smaller tasks. Instead of saying, “I’m going to write for four hours today.”  Say, “I’m going to write for one hour today. When I accomplish that, then maybe I’ll write an additional 15 minutes.”

The truth is you are not procrastinating, but you are deciding not to write.  Ultimately, you make time for the things you want to do.

Procrastination 3

Just a thought…Writers Write.

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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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Seven Sentence Sunday with Cheryl Holloway

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Seven Sentence SundayOnce Upon a Time

Most of my readers enjoy Seven Sentence Sunday and often request the short stories.

I write a short story using only seven sentences. I also use this as a writing exercise in the writing workshops that I present. Today, when I went to church, the Pastor said something that triggered the following seven sentence story.

Title: Great-Grandmother’s Friends

There was a great-grandmother, who was getting up in age—97 years old—she always enjoyed telling stories to her great-grandchildren and the young children in Sunday school.

She often told stories of her youth, which the children enjoyed tremendously.

They were stories about her life and the various things that she had done long ago when she was a small child.

This Sunday’s story was about the ice cream socials after church and how the mothers of the church had several small ice cream makers and let the little kids hand-crank the ice cream, which was ready to eat almost immediately.

Her favorite flavor had been peach, while her best friend’s favorite flavor was vanilla, but her friend had died years ago and so had most of the old lady’s friends.

Her great-grandson thought about it and asked her where were all of her friends, now.

The old lady thought for a moment, and chortled, “They are all in heaven and they probably think I’m not coming to join them.”

The End

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Thanks for reading the story. Please give me some feedback and tell me if you like it or what you think about the topic.

Have a Great Writing Day!

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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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Seven Sentence Sunday with Cheryl Holloway

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Once Upon a Time

Most of my readers enjoy Seven Sentence Sunday and often request the short stories.

I write a short story using only seven sentences. I also use this as a writing exercise in the writing workshops that I present. I woke up this morning with this story on my mind. Of course, it is inspired by a true incident. 

Title: Cancer, Church and Faith—What Do They Have in Common?

A few years ago my friend had breast cancer and she had the Chemo and the radiation treatments, but what’s most important is that she is a “Cancer Survivor.”

She believes in God and attends church on a regular basis, probably more often than myself.

We have celebrated her success with pink ribbons everywhere and been on many of the Cancer Walks together.

A couple of weeks ago, she told me that she has cancer…a second time.

We cried and prayed together and discussed how she would defeat the Big C, once again.

Then, she hit me with the news…she still believes in God, but she no longer attends church, because her faith has waned.

I told her that now is the time for her to have more faith than ever before, because With God All Things Are Possible!

The End

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Thanks for reading the story. Please give me some feedback and tell me if you like it or what you think about the topic.

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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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Would I Still Write, If…

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Would I still write, if I never got paid?

My answer is “Yes! I love writing and I write every single day. Why? Because writers write.”

If you honestly believed that you would write, if you never got paid, then you obviously have a passion, a talent, or a need to write. So, you must discipline yourself to write every day. Preferably at the same time each day and for the same amount of time daily.

If writing brings you happiness, go for it. You will find a way to pursue your happiness and you might even make a few dollars along the way.  I’ve been writing all of my life.

I acquired a love for books and writing at an early age. My mother bought me little Golden Books once a week when I was three years old.  These books were to keep me occupied while my mother was pre-occupied with my new brother. Since I could read, I started writing and drawing my own little books. So, the rest is history.

Then at fifteen years old, I won my first Writing Competition. I wrote the winning essay on Crime Prevention for a statewide contest in Indiana. (I still have the trophy.)

 Writing Trophy

During high school and college, I was on the Newspaper and Newsletter staff. After college, I started writing for the Government as a Technical Writer and later became a Writer/Editor. So, I can proudly say that I have been a writer all of my life.

I wrote for Military magazines and was also Managing Editor—Road and Recreation; Flying Safety; Nuclear Surety; and the Proceedings Magazine, the oldest Military magazine in history.

For years, I had a business writing resumes for clients. I also freelanced as a writer for many magazines and newspapers from coast-to-coast. I even dabbled in writing poetry from time-to-time. And I landed a prestige Intern job working at the Smithsonian Press.

Now, as a retired Writer/Editor, I teach writing workshops and lead writing retreats. But most of all I write books for myself and my readers. So, the ultimate writing decision for me now—I write a blog—about writing and books.  My two favorite things.

So, as you can see, I have had my fair share of writing throughout the years. I am not rich or famous, but I can honestly say that I love writing and I had a good writing career as a professional Writer/Editor.

So, would I still write, if I never got paid?

Yes, do what you love and the money will come.

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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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Guest Author Interview – Michael D. Beckford

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Title: Little Black Bird: The Slaughter (Volume 2) and Little Black Bird: The Decision (Volume 3)

Genre: African American

Synopsis: A little black boy is dead. A white police officer shot him. Was he correct in shooting Junior Green or was it murder? Sheila Green is living every black mother’s nightmare. Her eight-year-old son was murdered and the police officer has not been charged. Can the D.A. and the police be trusted to investigate and do the right thing? Should Sheila Green and her husband Rocky Green take advantage of the public outcry and join alongside the angry protesters who are out for revenge? Junior’s death was only the beginning, as scores of other black males fall victim to the police. Should Rocky Green retaliate against the slaughter of black males in America? Or will he and Sheila enact forgiveness during the most heart-wrenching time of their lives?

Micheal Beckford

Michael D. Beckford, Author

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Michael D. Beckford, an Urban and Christian Fiction author. Welcome to my blog Michael.

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

MDB: Little Black Bird: The Slaughter (Volume 2) is about the killing of a black boy by a white policeman. Little Black Bird: The Decision (Volume 3) is about changing the framework for justice. Rocky and Sheila Green are still mourning from the loss of their son, Junior. So they decide to take their case all the way to Congress.

CH: When you start a new story, do you have a title for it? Or does the story trigger the title?

MDB: I am normally gifted the titles by the author of this universe before I write one page. I am actually appreciative of this process because when I receive a title, it sets the theme of the story. Then, it’s just a matter of me outlining the beginning, middle and end.

CH: Black Lives Matter is currently trending. So, when you are coming up with a new idea for a book, do you look at the market for trends?

MDB: In retrospect, the answer is no. Why? Because at the core of my being, I am an activist and I strive to stay true to my work no matter how few or well my books sell. I have had many individuals tell me what I can write that would make me a lot of money. I don’t write for prosperity and I don’t write for charity, either. I write with the thought in mind that God gave me this gift for a purpose. My goal is to write the best books for His people, which is all of us. Now, I would not state that I’m not influenced by current trends, while writing my books; it would be foolish to not lend an ear to the surrounding world. Yet, to measure your work based on a trend is the sacrificial death of your book. My objective has always been to write literature that last through the test of time.

CH: Why did you decide to write this book?

MDB: The answer is simple. Many of our people, march till we turn purple, which marching has made a significant impact on change, both during the Civil Rights Era and today. Yet, I believe the true change begins in the halls of Congress—they are the ones that write the laws. They are the ones that can create laws that would make it much harder for police to shoot and kill an unarmed individual without true justice being served.

CH: This is Volume 2 in a series, when you wrote the first book in the series, did you realize it would be a series then?

MDB: Yes, I wrote the first book with the knowledge that it would be a three book series. But just as of recent, I received more inspiration to expand, so this very well is tracking to be a five book series and beyond.

CH: Which book was hardest to write?

MDB: The first book in the series was hardest to write because it’s sort of the origin story. It lays the foundation for everything else to come.

CH: How long have you been writing? How did you start writing?

MDB: I have been writing since I was nine years old, when my mother had me to write in journals every day. That journal about my daily life expanded into poetry and from poetry to one-page creative writing. I published my first book, SpeakUp! Poetry! when I was eighteen years of age.

CH: What genre are you most comfortable writing?

MDB: It’s sort of a blended genre for me which is African American, Urban Christian Fiction and Poetry.

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

MDB: Little Black Bird: The Decision (Volume 3) was recently released. I have the fourth book in this series Little Black Bird: Judges and Liars to be released at the end of February 2016. I am releasing my third book in my wildly successful Dying to Be Straight series Dying to Be Straight! Again in March 2016.  I have my poetry book Poetry of My Sins to be released in May 2016, which is not attached to a series. Lol. Then, I have the fourth and final book in the Dying to Be Straight series projected to be released in September of this year. I also have sent off my book Dying to Be Straight! to a movie producer I met at a conference in Miami.

CH: Who is your favorite author? Why?

MDB: My favorite author is God, because I don’t know anyone else that could have written a better book on life. Many people shy away when you speak about God, which is actually not even his name. It’s just an adjective to describe Him, just the same as author is not my name. But many people shy away because they believe you are going to bring a big Bible into a conversation. Hey, just look around and you’ll see the billions of books that God has written because each one of our lives is a story. And let’s be honest with ourselves, how many other authors can you say wrote billions of books without breaking a sweat? So, yes, He is my favorite. I love Him.

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

MDB: Of course, I am influenced by the work of Kimberla Lawson Roby, and I was inspired by the work of Stephanie Perry Moore. I get my foundation from the Bible.

CH: What book are you currently reading?

MDB: The Arrivals by Melissa Marr. It is a sci-fi book. I love sci-fi movies, and everyone that knows me, knows that I am also a movie buff.

CH: Can you give my audience your website address?

MDB: www.Speakpub.com

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

MDB: This book was released the first week in February and will be sold on speakpub.com, Amazon, Kindle and Barnes and Noble’s nook. Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1QgWzC5

CH: Any closing remarks?

MDB: Thank you for this wonderful opportunity to share my dreams and passions with others. I just want to tell all your readers to let the writing speak for itself. Don’t craft your writing for temporary pleasures, write so that your work can be seen as eternal jewels that even the heavens can appreciate. God bless you.

CH: Thank you Michael D. Beckford, it has been a real pleasure discussing your book and your writing journey with my audience.  

Celebrate Black History Month

Note: February is the shortest month of the year, so we will post on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

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Note: Photos are compliments of the Internet and Michael D. Beckford.

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 – Rusty Blackwood

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International Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

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Title: Willow’s Walk

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis: The Path each person walks is entirely their own. The pitfalls along that path, as well as the way in which they are dealt with are entirely up to the individual. But Willow Sutherland-Crosby walks a far different path, and with her own agenda. Abuse, deception, intrigue, and a never ending quest for happiness and love – will she find these, or will her blind determination be her downfall? This 5-star awarded romantic fiction drama is a gripping new tale, certain to hold readers captive from the very first page. Set in the beautiful city of Ottawa, Canada in 2003, this touching story centers on the life and times of a woman determined to prevail at all costs, regardless of what is set before her, the result of which is certain to leave the reader reeling in its wake.

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Rusty Blackwood, Author

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Rusty Blackwood, a Canadian author. This is Rusty’s second interview on my blog. Welcome back, Rusty.

CH: Please tell us in one sentence, why we should read your book.

RB: I believe what can be derived from Willow’s tumultuous journey is invaluable in helping the reader with their own life choices.

CH: A quote on the back of your book reads, “The path each person walks is entirely their own.” So, what inspired you to write about “Willow’s Walk?”

RB: I very much enjoy writing about topics near and dear to my heart, and although Willow Crosby is not me as such, the idea to borrow assorted aspects of my life in which to create her, the tumultuous path she walks and the story surrounding it, was greatly influenced by my life experiences. I believe a reader can gain enormous insight into their own life by the way in which a story is presented to them, especially if they themselves are contemplating an area whose outcome, should they blindly venture forth, not turn out exactly the way they might hope.

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

RB: This is a question that I don’t really have a specific answer for and I don’t think many authors would without sounding full of themselves. However, I would hope my readers enjoy the perspective of what I’m writing about, possibly my tenacity to write it the way I feel and want it to be, and possibly my ability to open my soul in areas one might not expect. I’m an expressive writer, but I don’t believe in writing so intricately that my readers would require the constant need of a dictionary in order to understand the words I’m using, or what I’m trying to express with them. Often times, the more simplified the use of an adjective or verb, the more impact they have when trying to state a point. I don’t enjoy reading a piece that confuses me, or makes me feel inept because I can’t understand it. I don’t wish to imply that a writer who writes this way is doing so with the intent of appearing more knowledgeable than another writer—for that matter the reader—or is trying to appear well above others who may not hold the same level of education.  My writing style has been described as simplistic and smooth, lyrical and genuine, as well as somber and appropriate for the chosen topic, but to me my writing, as well as the style of it, is simply an outlet of expression and emotion, and if I cannot feel what I’m writing about then I may as well put it away and wait for another day.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

RB: All characters have their idiosyncrasies, as well as their own views and personality that the writer gives to them, so in that respect this question is a bit difficult to answer. But if I had to choose, I would say it would be Willow’s second husband, Jonas Crosby. When you create a character, especially for a specific role in a story, it can be difficult to project them in the way you would expect them to be if they actually existed. You put thoughts in their head, make them do the things they do, and you hope that the choices you make will be believable, and politically correct in keeping with the story you’ve put them in. I somewhat answered this previously when you asked whether or not I base my characters on actual people. Jonas, without revealing my inspiration, was in-fact a bit of a stretch because I wanted to present him in a multi-colored light, because he truly is a multi-faceted character who happens to have sharp wit, a spiteful tongue, and whose over-the-top-actions could be taken out of context, depending on the happening of the moment. He can even be calculating and heartless, but without revealing too much, he is justified in what he does. I tried to walk a careful line with him and not let my feelings over-take the character, because he really is someone that the reader will either like, or despise.

CH: Which character was your favorite to write?

RB: There are a few that were a delight to create and brought me enjoyment to use, but I believe my favorite would be Willow herself. I certainly relate to her in many ways and can totally understand where she’s coming from, why she makes the choices she does, and why she is so adamant to see them through. Experiences in life have made Willow strong, to quite an extent, but they have also made her vulnerable when it comes to the choices she makes. I admire her point of view, as well as her staunch determination to stand her ground and find her way, even when the odds are stacked against her.

CH: Where do your ideas come from? Do you have a standard formula for plots or do stories come to you as a whole concept?

RB: I, basically, draw from my life, the experiences I’ve had, and hopefully have learned from. I’m fortunate to be blessed with a vivid imagination and endless ideas in which to draw from, but I don’t sit down and purposely decide to write a specific topic; instead, I let my thoughts go where they wish, and often times they reveal the next story. I have never been fortunate to physically travel the world, so I do it in my mind, and let my expression do the rest.

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

RB: Unfortunately, yes. At the time I began what eventually became Willow’s Walk I was still writing Passions in Paris and I was also going through some very difficult personal issues, so it was difficult to express anything, let alone stay focused on the creation of a new story. As the years went by, certain issues changed into other issues, and some of these managed to help in the writing and finishing of Willow’s Walk. There were times—many times in fact—that I simply stepped away and totally shelved it, but it always beckoned me back. I believe a story, possibly the characters within a particular story, are what allows a writer to continue with it. I think the characters develop the need to live, and this very often helps to finish a piece that might otherwise stay on the back burner, or totally abandoned.

CH: Was it hard creating believable situations and issues or did you take them from real life?

RB: I draw from my own life experiences, as well as my ideas and needs. I’m a hopeless romantic, I’ve said that many times, but just because I have never managed to find that wondrous bliss for myself doesn’t mean I can’t find it in what I write. I’ve always thought that whatever one writes about should be situations that are not only believable, but something that the reader can actually relate to. Then again, there is a lot to be said about writing about topics that might be considered totally unbelievable. It’s really all in the imagination and mind of both the writer and the reader, but I think if it’s believably written then it will be believably enjoyed.

CH: Take us through your writing process. When you get an idea, do you map out the book beforehand, or do you allow the characters to write their own story?

RB: I’m a character writer first and foremost. I love that part of the entire writing concept. I truly do feel the characters can project the scenario they wish to be immersed into, so I always create them first and then the story. But I will admit to already having an idea of what I’d like to say. I’ll map-out certain areas of a story to help me move along the course I’m hoping to take, make notes to refer to and pull from along the way, but I don’t block out a book. It’s hard to explain, but the method I use seems to work for me, and so I stay with it.

CH: How long does it take you to write one of your books?

RB: That very much depends on what I wish to express. Passions in Paris took ten years—of course that’s from initial inception of character and story idea to a finished novel, and Passions in Paris is a grand scale novel. I was also working full-time during the writing of that novel and could only work on it during evenings and weekends. Willow’s Walk has taken ten years, but as I stated earlier that was due to personal issues throughout the time of writing it. The stories that appear in my children’s short story collection, Through the Eyes of Innocence, where created at an earlier time, and then newly revised in order to create that collection. The same could be said in regard to my poetry collection, Impressions. Both of these collections were previously published under different titles, but because I was not satisfied with the way my work had been handled by the publishing firm I had used, I decided to terminate my contract, revise the work, and republish it through the company I presently use. The Misadventures of Derwood Tugbottom, the comedy short I wrote in 2012, took only a few months to write and produce, so it really depends on the circumstances at the time of writing a piece.

CH: When did you realize that you were meant to be a writer? 

RB: I don’t know if I am meant to be a writer, but I greatly enjoy it, I always have, although it was something I did not set out to do with my life; therefore, I was never professionally trained in the field. But I have always loved to write, and would write whenever the time allowed. It wasn’t until the separation from my husband that I decided to see where my writing could take me. One might even refer to me as an accidental author, but I have never been sorry for making the decision to write and self publish my work. I suppose when you invest time and money into something you also make the choice to see it through, which of course I did, and continue to do, but I greatly enjoy what I do and hope to continue with it for many years to come. If I could change any area of it, I would have loved to become an author at a much younger age; then again, if that were so I wouldn’t have experienced life as I have, nor would I have that experience to draw from now. In that respect a lot can be said for beginning new ventures later in life.

CH: What are some of your aspirations as far as the writing profession?

RB: I would like to see independent authors and writers be given the same respect and chances as those represented by Standard Houses. Unfortunately the reading public has been educated to think that if a book has not been written in the traditional manner, or by an author who is represented by a Standard House, it is not worthy of attention, least of all purchase. This can be witnessed in bookstores everyday; the shelves are lined with books carrying Standard House imprints. They are front and centre; the latest publications stacked at the front of the line and practically forced into the hands of the reading public; yet, a self-published book—if it even gets into the store let alone on a shelf—is totally ignored. It is given not one speck of promotion, nor is the author. Some stores, depending on the manager, have an independently published author and local author area, but it is usually no more than a few spaces, and the books will get no coverage or push. When an author does a signing, it is on consignment, the author provides the stock, does all the signage, all the work, and the store takes forty-five percent of sales—if you manage to get any at all. Some have a set requirement of sales in order to be given another signing, if you’ve not managed any prior success. Yet how can you hope for any measure of success when you get no support? The stores think they are being supportive because they allow an indie author time and a table in their store, usually in areas where you’d have to literally trip customers in order to get their attention. I may sound somewhat jaded, but if I do it’s because I’ve been through this so many times. This kind of treatment needs to stop, or at least improve. If these places were to have a renowned author grace their establishment, they would roll-out the red carpet for them, and if they can do that for them, they can do it for all. There are many talented, superb authors who choose to remain independent, and it is my hope that the choice to remain so, will finally be given the respect it deserves.

CH: As far as accolades or achievements, what would you say has been your greatest writing achievement?

RB: I believe that would be the writing of my 818 page romantic fiction drama Passions in Paris: Revelations of a Lost Diary. To undertake a novel of this scale is not an easy task, nor is it something to be taken lightly. However I don’t intend on ever writing a piece of that page count again, not because I can’t, but because the cost of stock and shipping is too great because of the weight. Looking back, I don’t think it was my intention in writing a piece that lengthy, but I had a lot to say, and the further I went the more I had to say—or the characters had to say and do—so it ended up being what it became. The original manuscript was well over 1,000 pages before edit, and it was hard to let pages be cut, but of course it was necessary, areas were repetitious or simply not needed. It really did feel like cutting your child’s arm off, because a piece you create and build is very much like a child you are nurturing. I realize it’s only another writer who could understand this comparison, but it is true, and hard to explain any other way. I’m extremely proud of Passions in Paris and I am of Willow’s Walk, as well. I’m proud of every book I’ve written, as well as every poem, because they are part of me, my thoughts, and my life.

CH: What authors do you read? And who are some of your favorites?

RB: I seldom get a chance to read as much as I would like, in fact I don’t read at all when I’m writing a piece of my own. I like to remain focused on my own thoughts, words, and experiences, as opposed to the possibility of borrowing from someone else, and though the chance of that happening would be next to nil, by not reading another’s work during the creation of my own removes that possibility entirely. However, in between projects, I do try to read interesting work; the last novel I read was The English Professor by fellow St. Catharine’s author, Gina Iafrate. Wonderful read, and made even more pleasurable by the fact it was written by a local Indie author. I very much enjoyed The Help by Kathryn Stockett, very descriptive writer, and entertaining story. I still enjoy the authors I read during my childhood: Louisa May Alcott, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and Canadian author, Lucy Maude Montgomery. I greatly admire Stephen King’s work, for I find his uncanny ability in creating a story that will never leave your mind, an ability that not many writers possess. But in general, I don’t I have a favorite; I simply appreciate expressive writing, and interesting storylines.

CH: Last but not least, why do you write, and what do you want readers to take from your novels?

RB: I write because I love it, I love to create scenarios for my characters that I would like to experience myself, if given the chance. There are times I feel the need to express something that I cannot express verbally, or if I do, it is not wholly expressed in the way it would be if it were in written form. I have often used my writing, especially my poetry, as therapy to help me through troubled times in my life. I, often, pull from life experience when creating a piece, because I, more than anyone, know how I felt at the time it happened, or at the moment of expressing it again, and it can often assist me in coping with or accepting something in my own life, possibly something I am experiencing difficulty with, or something that I would like to experience for the first time. I find an escape through writing, and I would hope that my readers could feel this same way in regard to something that may be happening in their own life. Above all, I would hope my readers find enjoyment through my expression, the topics I write about, the scenes I describe, and the stories I tell.

CH: Can you give my audience your website address?

RB: You may find my official website at http://www.rusty-blackwood.com and from there you can take direct links to my Twitter and Facebook pages.

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

RB: Willow’s Walk is available in paperback and Kindle at all Amazons worldwide, in paperback at Barnes&Nobel.com, and Create Space. The E-PUB version for all reading devices is available at Payhip.com Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1TBylle

CH: Any closing remarks?

RB: I would very much like to take this opportunity to thank you for this interview, Cheryl. Through conducting an in-depth interview such as this one, and displaying it on a well patronized Blog, such as yours, allows an author’s work to gain a larger audience, and better awareness of what is found between the covers of a new title. The boost it gives is invaluable in more ways than you realize, so thank you again.

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

Note: February is the shortest month of the year, so we will post on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

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Note: Photos are compliments of the Internet and Rusty Blackwood.

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

Cheryl Holloway’s Seven Sentence Sunday

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Most of my readers enjoy Seven Sentence Sunday and have requested it for the New Year.

I write a short story using only seven sentences. I also use this as a writing exercise in the writing workshops that I present. This one, of course, was inspired by New Year’s Resolutions and is based on a true story. 

Title:  A   New Year’s Dream

January 1, 2011, Paige Davenport was an unknown writer, who loved to write about ordinary people and the lives they lived, so success with her book was her New Year’s Dream.

She had written a book—a simple story—about people living their lives in a small town with all of the ups and downs of daily life.

Everyone who had read the book—mostly family and friends— had bestowed many accolades on the book and had wished Paige much success.

She had tried to find an agent and a traditional publisher to no avail; and the rejection letters and forms had started to pile up.

Paige was getting more and more frustrated as time went from days, to months, and finally, to years without having success with her book.

So, after what seemed like an eternity, she decided to self publish her book with Amazon and Create Space.

A couple of years later…the article read, “Local author is overnight success with 46 weeks as #1 on the New York Times Best Selling list and publishers are lined up to give her a contract!”

The End

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Thanks for reading the story. Please give me some feedback and tell me if you like it or what you think about it.

Have a Great Writing Day!

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Note: Photos/clip art are compliments of the Internet and 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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Questions? Comments? Interviews? Contact : AuthorCherylHolloway@gmail.com or Cheryl@CherylHolloway.net

Guest Author Interview – Deidra D. S. Green

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Title: Suddenly Single: So Undeserving

Genre: Saga/Women’s Fiction

Synopsis: Are happily ever after’s only for fairy tales? Bailey Jamison’s life could have been plucked right from the pages of the most romantic story book. She married the love of her life. He loved her without condition. It was like a dream. But what happens when the dream turns into a nightmare? Devastating loss, new life and divisive lines drawn in the sand wreak havoc in Bailey’s life. Can she handle all that is being thrown her way or will Bailey crumble under the pressure? Find out in “Suddenly Single, So Undeserving”.

Deidra Green

Deidra D. S. Green, Author

CH: Today’s guest is the prolific author Deidra D. S. Green, who writes life.  Welcome to my blog, Deidra.

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

DDSG: Suddenly Single: So Undeserving is the encapsulation of the story of my life; some fictionalized but mostly fact.

CH: Why did you decide to write this book?

DDSG: When I was going through what I was going through, so many people said to me they didn’t know how I did it, how I managed it, how I got through it. Some of those same people would suggest that I in some way, convey my story as it may be helpful to someone else. I wrote Suddenly Single because it’s the testimony to my personal test.

CH: Where do your ideas come from? Do you have a standard formula for plots or do stories come to you as a whole concept?

DDSG: My ideas generate from everywhere and absolutely nowhere. Most often, I don’t go looking for ideas.  They generate from things I hear, see, and witness in my everyday life. I certainly do not have a standard formula for plot or story development. I may get a sentence, a title, a concept and it flows from there. I am a panster by nature. I fly by the seat of my pants and don’t do any outlining. The most I do is character development as the characters introduce themselves to me. I truly believe that I am merely the conduit by which these stories are told and I rely quite heavily on the characters to present and my muse to guide them.

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

DDSG: I don’t ascribe to traditional directives as to how a book should go. That doesn’t mean I don’t take into account grammar, syntax, etc., but I am not a prescription writer. I don’t believe that every love story has a happy ending. In real life they don’t and I tend to reflect the rawness of relationships in my writing. I also deal with topics that tend to make people uncomfortable (intimate partner violence, mental illness, grief, and dysfunctional relationships, etc.), but I deal with them in such a way that causes one to think and consider.

CH: Why did you decide to write this book?

DDSG: Suddenly Single was catharsis for me. I have started and stopped the writing of this book multiple times. When I tried to write the story before, I was still very angry and it showed in what I produced. It has taken on many shapes from a how to guide to what eventually ended up being the final product. Finally, after 15 years, Suddenly Single: So Undeserving is the result.

CH: What pitfalls have you run into as an author?

DDSG: I think I have been able to avoid pitfalls because I stay focused on why I write in the first place. I have always used the written word as personal expression. I respect the power of words and have used them to express my emotions, happy, sad or indifferent. So when I decided to publish, I went into it understanding that what I write would not appeal to everyone. I understood I may not be the most popular author and have a huge following. That was and is still okay with me. What I know is that those who read my work, see my passion and if my story impacts one person, then I’ve done what I set out to do. I did my due diligence and continue to research the industry. I developed relationships with people I trust who are in the industry and that has aided in averting many of the problems that may befall others.

CH: When you start a new story, do you have a title for it? Or does the story trigger the title?

DDSG: It can happen either way—title then story or story idea then title. I am not locked in to a particular order of pulling a story together.

CH: Was it hard creating believable situations and issues or did you take them from real life?

DDSG: I have a very vivid imagination… lol… and I tend to balance that with real life situations (not necessarily my own) that make my characters believable.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

DDSG: The hardest character for me to write was Holly from The Twisted Sister Trilogy because of what she experienced. In Suddenly Single I would consider Bailey the most difficult to write because she is me.

CH: Who was your favorite character to write?

DDSG: Gina has been my favorite character to write so far. She is the lead character in the trilogy Woman at the Top of the Stairs. In Suddenly Single, Reign was my favorite character to write. She is Bailey’s daughter.

CH: Is there an overall message in your book that you want the readers to grasp?

DDSG: No matter what the situation, what the circumstance, know that you were designed to overcome it. The Creator gives the hardest tests to the toughest soldiers. You were not designed to fail.

CH: You write books back-to-back, and seem to be quite successful. What kind of advice do you have for those aspiring to write? If you had to give them a blueprint for success, what would that be?

DDSG: Write what you love to read! Be true to your authentic voice. Don’t follow fads in literature, create your own path. As long as you stay true to the writer you are, success is imminent. If you are an aspiring writer, determine if you are passionate about the writing process. It is a lonely endeavor and everyone is not cut out for the time and dedication it takes to produce good material. Writing is not something you decide you want to do. For real writers, if they don’t write, they don’t live. Research, research, research is the blue print.

CH: How long have you been writing? How did you start writing?

DDSG: I won’t give the cliché answer that I have been writing since I could pick up a pencil. What I would say is that I wrote for me for a long time. My brother spoke life into my gift and told me that I had a story to tell and no one could tell that story but me. That was nearly eight years ago and I have been writing professionally ever since.

CH: Can you tell us a little bit about your publishing journey?

DDSG: It started from my brother’s comment to me. He spoke life into my giftedness and no matter how much I tried to downplay what he said, I couldn’t. I didn’t sleep for nearly two weeks, after he said that to me. There were thoughts and ideas and a flurry of words that kept me from sleeping. I spoke to the universe after 13 nights of sleeplessness and said if I am supposed to write, I need a clear sign. Well, I received that sign. The first book I wrote was a children’s book, My Forever Airplane. It deals with grief from a child’s perspective, but not in a sad way. Once again, this was a book based on real life, much like Suddenly Single and that’s where my journey began. I knew I didn’t want to have someone else dictate to me what I wrote and so when my brother and I launched our own publishing house and we have been producing our books, as well as over 200 authors, since its inception.

CH: Who are some of your writing influences?

DDSG: Stephen King by far is one of my most significant writing influences; not just because he is a NYT (New York Times) bestselling author but because of his work ethics.

CH: Can you give my audience your website address?

DDSG: Yes, my website address is www.deidrawrites.weebly.com

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

DDSG: You can find Suddenly Single: So Undeserving with Amazon, Kindle Unlimited, eBook and paperback. If one desires an autographed copy they can reach out to me on my website or via Facebook at Deidra Ds Green. Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1UPK1PG

CH: Any closing remarks?

DDSG: Cheryl, thank you so much for having me! I certainly appreciate you and your readers!

CH: Thank you Deidra D. S. Green, it has been a real pleasure discussing your book and your writing journey with my audience.  

 Spread the Word

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

Note: Photos are compliments of the Internet and Deidra D. S. Green.

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

Guest Author Interview – LaCricia A’ngelle

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Title: Journey to Love

Genre: Romance/Inspirational

Synopsis: Wealthy, debonair bachelor Christian Tyler, a building contractor from Los Angeles, agrees to take on the task of building a youth center in the town of Bethany, Tennessee. Completely out of his element, and unaware of what lies ahead, Christian remains open minded as he uses his skill to pursue the philanthropic opportunity.

Shelby Lamar, the town’s self-proclaimed gold digger, sets her sights on the handsome new man in town. With a reputation for getting what she wants, Shelby stops at nothing in order to carry out her plan. A chance meeting at the grocery store provides her with enough information to get the ball rolling in her pursuit of adding Christian to her list of benefactors.

Unlike her former conquests, Christian does not easily bow down to her advances. What she finds in Christian is a lot more than her next mark. Will he be the one who teaches her the true meaning of love, or will he be blinded by her seduction and become her next victim?

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LaCricia A’ngelle, Author

CH: Today we have best-selling guest author LaCricia A’ngelle visiting. She began writing short stories as a child. Welcome to my Blog LaCricia.

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

LA: I create stories and characters that readers can identify with. Readers will experience every emotion when reading my books.

CH: Was it hard creating believable situations and issues or did you take them from real life?

LA: Not at all. I try to focus on situations that are relevant and relatable.

CH: Why did you decide to write this book? 

LA: I wanted to give readers hope in romance and to encourage them to look beyond the surface of others to find the treasure that is found in each of us.

CH: Who was your favorite character to write?

LA: My favorite character to write in this book was Blake, Christian’s best friend because he was always saying or doing something funny.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

LA: The hardest character was Kim, Shelby’s best friend because of her back story and the situations that occur in the story.

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

LA: I normally write stories with a fairly strong Inspirational message. In Journey to Love, I had to find ways of creating a powerful message without the use of scriptures or scriptural references.

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

LA: Yes, I had to research the process of commercial construction.

CH: Where do your ideas come from? Do you have a standard formula for plots or do stories come to you as a whole concept?

LA: My ideas come from things I’ve seen, or experienced and current events. My stories pretty much come as a whole concept. I usually know how it will end before I begin writing. I don’t use outlines, so I enjoy watching the story unfold.

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

LA: My stories always have an element of humor and romance. These are things that are very dear to me. More than anything, I always include something to make you think and that readers can apply to their lives in some way.

CH: Who is your favorite author? Why?

LA: I have a few Shelia E. Bell, Jacquelin Thomas, and Michele Andrea Bowen. Each of these authors writes stories that are entertaining, as well as compelling. They pull you into the lives of their characters and make you feel like you know them personally.

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

LA: Into Each Life by Shelia E. Bell (formally Shelia E. Lipsey) and Church Folks by Michele Andrea Bowen.

CH: How long does it take you to write one of your books?

LA: Typically 2-3 months or less depending on my current life situation and work schedule. I write better under pressure, when I’m facing a strict deadline. It helps me to stay focused.

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

LA: Never ever give up. No matter how long it takes to complete your book. Keep going because you have that story in your heart for a reason, and no one can tell it like you can. Believe in yourself. You have to been your own cheerleader first.

CH: Are you an avid reader? Who are some of the upcoming authors that you read and support? 

LA: I support several authors. One of my favorite pastimes is reading.  Some of my other favorites are: Wanda B. Campbell, Keshia Dawn, Adrienne Thompson, Brian W. Smith, and Vanessa Davis Griggs

CH: Last but not least, why do you write, and what do you want readers to take from your novels?

LA: I write to inspire and encourage my readers. I am a woman of faith and I try to leave my readers with an element of hope. No matter what life situation they are facing, I want them to know there is always hope.

CH: Can you give my audience your website address?

LA: My website is www.lacriciaangelle.com. Readers can also connect with me on Facebook.com/authorlacricia; twitter @authorlacricia; and Instagram @Lacricia_Angelle

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

LA: My books are sold on online retailers such as Amazon, and Barnes and Noble. In both print and eBook. They are also available in eBook format on Smashwords, iBooks, Kobo, and other outlets. Autographed copies of my books are available on my website www.lacriciaangelle.com/books. Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1NS4wqM

CH: Any closing remarks? 

LA: I would like to thank you, Cheryl, for allowing me to spend a moment with you and your audience. I appreciate the opportunity to share my gift with you all. Please check my books out and feel free to contact me. I love hearing from my readers please email me at author@lacriciaangelle.com.

CH: Thank you LaCricia A’ngelle, it has been a real pleasure discussing your book and your writing journey with my audience.  

 Spread the Word

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

Note: Photos are compliments of the Internet and LaCricia A’ngelle.

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

Guest Author Interview – Jennifer Handford

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Title: The Light of Hidden Flowers

Genre: Alzheimers Disease/Contemporary

Synopsis: Book-smart Melissa Fletcher lives a predictable life in her hometown, working behind the scenes for her charismatic father in a financial career that makes perfect sense. But when her dad is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Missy is forced to step up and take over as his primary caregiver and the principal of the firm.

After her father’s death, Missy finds a letter from him in which he praises her for being a dutiful daughter but admonishes her for not taking any risks in life.

Devastated, Missy packs her suitcase and heads for Italy. There she meets a new friend who proposes a radical idea. Soon, Missy finds herself in impoverished India, signing away her inheritance and betting on a risky plan while rekindling a lost love.

The Light of Hidden Flowers is a deeply felt story of accepting who we are while pushing our boundaries to see how much more we can become. It’s a reminder that it’s never too late to pursue our dreams.

Jennifer Handford

Jennifer Handford, Author

CH: Jennifer recently visited the Accokeek Women’s Writing Group and it was such a wonderful experience.  She offered some great tips and ideas for aspiring authors. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule and joining me on the blog. Welcome Jennifer.

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

JH: The Light of Hidden Flowers is a story of accepting who we are while pushing our boundaries to see how much more we can become.

CH: What inspired you to write The Light of the Hidden Flowers?

JH: Years ago, I attended a business conference and the speaker was one of those larger-than-life, charismatic types—a born storyteller. I had heard him address audiences in the past and always marveled at his ability to remember so many stories without consulting a single note. He was a Johnny-on-the-spot, always ready with the perfect anecdote and the Kaboom! punchline to drive home his point.

A few years later, I happened upon Susan Cain’s seminal work, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking (2012). I was struck by the difference between her message and delivery and that of the Kaboom! guy’s. Cain dispels the notion that quiet, or introverted, individuals fall short as contributors to our society—to the contrary, she asserts that people who listen and think before taking action are often more successful than their impulsive and louder counterparts.

Along the way, a few nuggets from that dynamic speaker along with the concept of introversion, merged, and I got an idea for a novel. My protagonist, Missy, would be introverted—brilliant but quiet. She would work with her father, Frank, the charismatic superman in her life. But her father would leave her. He would get sick and die, and she would have to stand on her own two feet. From there, the flowers grew: the story of lost love, travel to India, and the responsibility of adulthood for my once diffident protagonist.

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

JH: I did a lot of research on India.  I watched videos—tourist videos, political videos, charitable videos. I read from the pages of UNICEF publications, and those of other philanthropic organizations. Eager to immerse myself in the details of everyday life in India, I turned to The Leaving of the Things (2014) by Jay Antani, an informative novel about a teen-aged boy who returns with his family to India from their home in Wisconsin.  I also did a lot of research having to do with the USMC and being a Marine.  I consulted with a Marine and he helped me with word choice, phrases, and descriptions, and really understanding what goes on in the field.  He read my ‘Joe’ pages for accuracy.  I’d say, “Would a Marine say that?”  And he’d comment, “Not in a million years.”  It was great working with someone who has actually lived the life.  I also read books, such as Phil Klay’s Redeployment.

CH: Which characters were hardest to write and which were your favorite characters to write?

JH: I enjoyed writing all of the characters because I related to each of them on some personal level, but I especially enjoyed writing from the perspective of my teenage character, Kate.  Writing her was like crawling into the mind of my younger self.  I remembered that time frame well.  As well, I enjoyed writing for my male character, Joe.  It was fun to have the challenge of thinking differently and putting together language that would match the male mind versus the female mind.  I knew Joe would be a good upstanding guy, but he wasn’t flawless. So from the beginning he says of his break-up with his wife that “there was plenty of blame to go around” to show that he has accountability to the separation.  And how he deals with his daughter, his default is to “fix” which is very male, when he knows he should just “listen.”

CH: Was it hard creating believable situations?

JH: I believe plot can be as made up as the writer would like.  If one does enough research, he/she can master a knowledge of a region, a skill/career, a time period.  But no matter the plot, the writer must rely on his/her own personal emotions and feelings to inform the writing.  This is what makes a character real.  So even if I’m writing for characters in a story that takes place hundreds of years ago, I still must rely on my own sense to describe the behavior and motivation of these characters.

CH: Writers who are storytellers seem to bring so much to their audience. What is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your detailed writing?

JH: My unique ability, as a writer, is my ability to dwell in the gray spaces of human uncertainty.  So long as I don’t write my characters as one dimensional (all good, all bad), and show the human side of each of us (that we can fail, that we all struggle), I seem to be able to write realistically.

CH: Where do your ideas come from? Do you have a standard formula for plots or do stories come to you as a whole concept?

JH: Good ideas are all around, and people are always pitching me fascinating stories, but not every story resonates with me.  Like most projects, a seed is planted (the first indication of interest), and from there the larger story grows.

CH: How long does it take you to write one of your books?

JH: It usually takes me about a year to write a book, and about a year to edit it.

CH: You’ve written three great books in a row, which book was hardest to write? 

JH: I find writing hard, in general.  So whatever I’m working on at the time, seems challenging, at the time.  Looking back, none of my work seems too overwhelming.  But in the midst of it, I think the work is hard.  It takes a lot out of me to give so much to my writing, but I wouldn’t want to write on a more surface level.  I demand of myself to dig deep when I’m writing and that’s just difficult work, I believe.

CH: Take us through your writing process. You get an idea, do you map out the book beforehand, or do you allow the characters to write their own story? 

JH: A little bit of both.  Sometimes I let the story take its own path, but I believe strongly in outlining.  But until I’m far enough along to see the structure, sometimes I allow myself to ‘just write.’

CH: As far as accolades or achievements, what would you say has been your greatest achievement? 

JH: Winning a first place award in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest has been my biggest boon, to date.  That certainly launched my career.  Receiving a review in People Magazine was exciting, as well.

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

JH: So far, so good!  The reviews are reflecting the book how I intended it to be received—a journey in self discovery; and a story of courage and finding strength.  Here are a few reviews:

“Handford’s third novel (after Acts of Contrition and Daughters for a Time) centers on identity and how the people in our lives shape our choices…Fans of Carrie Brown and Helen Simonson will enjoy this quietly moving tale.” —Library Journal

In The Light of Hidden Flowers, “Missy finds the courage to live life for herself and rekindle lost love.” —Northern Virginia Magazine

“The Light of Hidden Flowers is a special book in the realm of self-discovery fiction. Handford has a wonderful set of skills put to use in the novel form, from smart pacing to a delightful knack for metaphors and a great capacity for warmth. None of her characters feel contrived, most especially—and importantly—our protagonist. Missy is a relatable and deeply genuine character, flawed and humble and human in a particularly endearing way. In a culture that praises its extroverts and admonishes its introverts to “put themselves out there more,” Missy is a reminder of the admirable bravery it takes to be quiet in a loud world, to be openly scared and vulnerable and to still persevere.” —Literary Inklings

“Not to sound all Oprah, but The Light of Hidden Flowers is one of those wonderful books that really makes you think about how you’re living your own life.” —1776 Books

“Inspiring readers with a feel similar to Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia, the story weaves a journey of self-growth with a meaningful reminder that the heart always knows which path is right.” —RT Book Reviews

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

JH: The best piece of advice I can give is that there is no substitution for doing the hard work.  The quality of your work is a direct reflection of the number of times you touch it.  As writers, we are required to repeatedly apply function to our work. There’s no two ways about it. Writing is hard work. Seldom does it come out right on the first try, or even the second try, or even the third try. Writing is rewriting

CH: Can you tell us a little about your next writing project?

JH: My next project, a novel titled From Disaster, will take readers to 1964, the year of the civil rights legislation, the year of much hope followed by much tumult.  We will meet a young mother, Diana, who is assaulted while at the laundromat.   We will also meet Astrid, age 50, in modern time, who is dealing with her grown daughter’s bi-polar depression.  In alternating chapters, we learn that these two women are connected through time and history, family and tragedy.  Diana pushes forward to regain her life, while Astrid travels back in order to understand hers.  And Sophia—Astrid’s beautiful, yet tortured daughter—who fights her depression to stay on this earth, just might be the thread that holds these women together.

CH: Can you give my audience your website address?

JH: Yes, it is www.jenniferhandford.com

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

JH: On Amazon and online through most booksellers, such as Barnes & Noble and Powell’s. Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1OzRkGF

CH: Any closing remarks?

JH: It’s been my pleasure to spend time with you.  Thank you!

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

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 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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Seven Sentence Sunday – A Christmas Story

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Once Upon a Time

Hello, from time-to-time, I write a short story using only seven sentences. I also use this as a writing exercise in the writing workshops that I present. This one, of course, was inspired by the Christmas holiday and is based on a true story. 

Title: The Lonely Old Lady at Christmas

I visited the Senior Citizens Home to bring them some cheer and joy at Christmas and I noticed a well-dressed old lady sitting on the sidelines; she was alone, but remotely enjoying the party.

I asked her if she had any family in the area and she said that her only daughter lived on the West coast and was “too” busy to ever visit.

I said that I wasn’t busy and that I would love to visit her and hear about her life.

So, she gave me the short version, and about two hours later, we were up to last week.

The old lady had lived a full and exciting life, but she was very, very lonely.

I decided to visit her on a regular basis and not just on Christmas, so we quickly became friends.

She is no longer the lonely old lady, and five years later, she is my dear old friend.

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Thanks for reading the story. Please give me some feedback and tell me if you like it or what you think about it.

Have a Great Writing Day!

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Note: Photos are compliments of the Internet and 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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Questions? Comments? Interviews? Contact : AuthorCherylHolloway@gmail.com or Cheryl@CherylHolloway.net

Guest Author Interview – Dan Buri

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Title: Pieces Like Pottery: Stories of Loss and Redemption

Genre: Inspirational Short Stories

Synopsis: The first collection of short fiction from Dan Buri, Pieces Like Pottery, is an exploration of heartbreak and redemption that announces the arrival of a new American author. In this distinct selection of stories marked by struggle and compassion, Pieces Like Pottery is a powerful examination of the sorrows of life, the strength of character, the steadfast of courage, and the resiliency of love requisite to find redemption. Filled with graceful insight into the human condition, each linked story presents a tale of loss and love.

A collection of nine stories, each exquisitely written and charged with merciful insight into the trials of life, Pieces Like Pottery reminds us of the sorrows we all encounter in life and the kindness we receive, oftentimes from the unlikeliest of places.

Dan Buri

Dan Buri, Author

CH: Today, I would like to welcome Dan Buri to my blog. Dan is a debut author who is definitely carving his spot in the literary world.

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

DB: An examination of life’s sorrows and redemptions reminding us how we all need kindness, oftentimes from the unlikeliest of places.

CH: What inspired you to write a book about the five sorrowful mysteries?

DB: Great question. I am moved and inspired by people’s real life stories of overcoming tragedy. Every person has trials in life. Life always presents obstacles and disappointments. I wanted to examine how individuals overcome these obstacles in a variety of characters. I toyed with the idea of each of these stories being its own novel, and I still may expand a couple of them into full length novels, but I settled in on a collection of linked short stories because it presented the opportunity to have a range of characters and display that, despite how different our life experiences are, we are all connected as human beings. We all suffer and laugh just the same. My hope is that readers recognize that and are inspired or moved to compassion through the book. Utilizing the thematic framework of each of the five sorrowful mysteries was simply a way to communicate that suffering and redemption.

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

DB: There are hundreds of books, thousands even, that have influenced me and helped shape me. If I was forced to choose one, I would have to say The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. I have read it a half dozen times or so, but the first time I read it was with my mother. I think I fell in love with storytelling hearing my mother read this book to me. It’s a beautiful fable. I can recall lying up at night before bed as she made the world of C.S. Lewis a reality for me.

CH: Losing a child is indeed a sorrowful mystery and I was certainly drawn into the book from the very first story. Was it hard choosing the situations and issues to be included in this book?

DB:  Yes, because of the emotional toll it took on me at times. I had to simultaneously tap into both a melancholic and a hopeful part of myself for this book, which made it difficult to write the stories in long stretches.

CH: Who was your favorite character to write?

DB: I really enjoy Mr. Smith, the teacher from Expect Dragons, (one of the stories in the book). He also pops up in a few other stories throughout the book, but those are little hidden clues for the reader to find. I think many of us have had inspirational teachers and mentors in our lives. It is so important to have these people during key moments in our development as young people. I have had some amazing teachers and mentors in my lifetime. Both of my parents are teachers, as well as my sister and my sister-in-law. Teachers give us so much of themselves and as a society, at least here in the United States, we tend to give them so little back. It’s really sad. Mr. Smith is an inspirational character and I enjoy hearing his thoughts on life.

CH: Who was your hardest character to write?   

DB: I found the dockworker from Twenty-Two very difficult. His story is so sad and it became exhausting emotionally to tell his story. 

CH: Take us through your writing process. When you get an idea, do you map out the short story beforehand, or do you allow the characters to write their own story?

DB: Both. I typically have an idea or framework for a story before I begin. I also keep a journal of notes and ideas that strike me throughout the day. We all have what an old teacher of mine liked to call pristine moments of coherence—those moments when an idea strikes us so profoundly and clearly. I don’t want to lose those thoughts when I have them, so I try to write them down. Once I have the framework and I am writing the story, then I will let it develop where it wants to go. As I am writing, I will pull concepts from my journals or other notebooks. In one of the stories in Pieces Like Pottery, the ending I had planned just didn’t work. It felt dishonest to take the reader on the journey and then finish with the original ending. I just knew the reader would feel betrayed, so I had to rework it completely. So, sometimes the original plan just doesn’t work and the story unfolds on its own.

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

DB: This is a tough question. Very nice, Cheryl. I hope people see inspiration. Hope. Love. I remember a time years ago when I was going through some very difficult things. People were very supportive, but like anything in life, their lives continued and soon I was mostly on my own. I remember thinking, ‘How many times have I failed to recognize a friend’s sadness? How many times have they walked by me and I failed to realize how much they were struggling? It really stuck with me. My book, I hope, taps into a very real and raw side of our shared human experience. I hope it takes my readers on a journey that is common and accessible, but very powerful.

CH: Have you always wanted to write?

DB: I can remember writing as far back as middle school. It’s something I have always enjoyed doing. One of the first poems I ever wrote was about my older brother and his basketball playing abilities. I still remember the opening lines and I wrote them as a kid nearly 30-years ago:

  • I’m Joe the King of Basketball,
  • I’m the king of the basketball court.
  • All my shots are always on target,  
  • None of them are ever short.

I didn’t say it was any good! I don’t remember any more than that. To be honest, I’m not sure how I even remember those lines. I share it, though, because your book The Italian Basketball Player  (Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1MqgxVQ) brought it to mind. The point, I guess, is that writing has been something I have always enjoyed doing myself and admired in other people. Story telling is a beautiful gift. I love learning to hone the craft.

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

DB: Good question. After a writer completes his work, it becomes the reader’s, so I do want for each reader to understand the book in their own way. I will say that in Pieces Like Pottery most everything in the book is intentional. The names are not randomly chosen. The numbers used are intentional. Quotes, songs, artists, etc. Most everything referenced in the book has a purpose, sometimes within the context of that one story and often times within the context of the entire framework of the book. It is no accident that there are five Sorrowful Mysteries in the book and that there are four intermediate stories and poems that break up the five main stories—that all has meaning. There are a lot of Easter eggs in the book, so readers should look closely. Hopefully in addition to enjoying the stories on their own merits, your readers will enjoy searching for clues, almost like a mystery novel that challenges the reader to pick up the individual pieces of the story and piece them together into a grander whole.

CH: What advice would you have for aspiring writers and authors?

DB: Over the years I have been lucky enough to be offered abundant feedback and to hear excellent commentary from a few creative people that I admire greatly. There are three comments/ideas that have stuck with me throughout all my writing endeavors and I’d like to pass them along to anyone that explores (and struggles with) creative undertakings like writing. (Each of these is summarized in my own words.)

  1. When asked about the fears and doubts that she had with her writing, Elizabeth Gilbert (best selling author of Eat, Pray, Love) said she finally had an epiphany that her “writing muse” was telling her that this isn’t her story. If she doesn’t tell it, she said, then the muse would move on to someone else who will. Ms. Gilbert discussed how freeing this was for her. She was no longer declaring to the reader: “Listen to me. I have something to say.” It was almost as if she had no other choice but to write. This opened her up to write every day without fear of the result.
  1. Ira Glass is an American public radio personality and the host and producer of the radio and television show This American Life. He has a great quote for young creatives. In short, he encourages that your work is not going to be good when you’re first starting out. You may have an excitement for your craft and a killer taste for what’s good, but your execution is poor. The only way to improve your work, the only way to close the gap so that your work is as good as your ambitions, is to do a lot of work. Write. Every day. Every week put yourself on a deadline to write something new. It’s going to take a while, but that’s normal. Good writing doesn’t come the first time you sit down.
  1. Louis C.K. is one of the most thoughtful and innovative comics alive right now. I once heard him speak about his HBO show, Lucky Louie, which was cancelled after one season in 2006. He was asked if he was disappointed and if he looked back at it as a failure. His answer was unequivocally: “No.” For him it was just another experience that taught him how to hone his craft, which was invaluable.

So those would be my three pieces of (long-winded) advice for young writers. One, don’t worry about whether you have anything important to say. If you are inspired, say it. Two, write constantly. You won’t become a good writer unless you’re writing all the time. Three, take every writing experience and use it to hone your craft. Something is not a failure simply because the public doesn’t receive it the way you would like.

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

DB: I have been lucky enough to have some very positive reviews. It seems to have been well received so far, for which I am grateful. There was one lovely woman in particular, though, that had some feedback that really touched me. In her review itself she had wonderful things to say, commenting how she wanted to give the book 10 stars instead of 5 and how people will want to read my book again and again; but she contacted me directly as well and shared a wonderful story. She told me that her husband was an Air Force helicopter pilot who died in 2012 in a mid-air collision. She had spoken to him one last time less than 2 hours before he passed away. His last words to her, she says, were nearly identical to the last words in my book. She was so moved and just cried. She told me that she could never thank me enough for bringing her that experience in my writing. I don’t know if I’ll ever have a more beautiful review than that. It was a gift to hear that.

CH: Are any of your personal experiences reflected in your writing?

DB: I think every story that an author creates is at least slightly based on real events or an amalgamation of real events. I also think an author will drop a little piece of himself or herself into every character they create. It is just too difficult to not let experiences and biases seep into one’s writing. There is certainly a piece of me in each character throughout Pieces Like Pottery. That being said, I didn’t create any of the characters to represent me or to be a caricature of myself.

CH: Can you tell my audience your website address?

DB: I don’t presently have a website for a few reasons, but I would love to hear from your readers. Please feel free to contact me with your comments and questions about the book. You can reach me via email at danburi777 [at] gmail [dot] com, on twitter @DanBuri777, or on Goodreads Link: http://bit.ly/1MVKxZY. I really do hope you and some of your readers will check out my book. I need the support of thoughtful and intelligent readers like your audience. The life of an indie author is not easy and every little bit counts!

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

DB: Currently at promotional pricing! It is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, and Kobo. Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1NFWalt

CH: Any closing remarks?

DB: I would like to first of all say thank you, Cheryl, for hosting me on your site. You have a wonderful blog! This is a great place for us all to indulge in our shared love isn’t it? Thank you for your excellent content. I am grateful to be here and hopefully I have the opportunity to get to know your audience better.

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

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

Note: Photos are compliments of the Internet and Dan Buri.

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