Author Q and A: Jacqueline Goodwin

 

 

Picture of author jacqueline goodwin

 

“There is purpose in your pain.” – Jacqueline Goodwin

 

Blaque: It’s that time again. Another author spotlight. This time, I have the pleasure of speaking with author Jacqueline Goodwin, who resides in South Carolina.

 

Jacqueline: It’s such an honor to have the opportunity to speak with you Blaque Diamond.

 

Blaque: The pleasures all mine. It makes me feel like you and I share something special just because you’re from South Carolina. LOL.

 

Jacqueline: Really?

 

Blaque: Yes, I am also originally from South Carolina. Charleston, South Carolina to be exact.

 

Jacqueline: Oh, wow! That’s pretty amazing. You never know how small the world really is.

 

Blaque: Yes, I miss home, but there were better opportunities for me in North Carolina, so it is my home now.

 

Jacqueline: That is understandable.

 

Blaque: So, before we begin your interview, tell me a little about your book.

 

Jacqueline: Well, Healing in the Vessel is my story. It is a book filled with true-to-life testimonies of how God has moved in my life as a mother and a daughter. I want my book to empower readers everywhere and build up their faith in God.

 

Blaque: Nice. So, this book is full of inspiration as you tell your life’s story?

 

Jacqueline: Yes, I’m sharing my story with the world to change the life of some young person out there. If my story can touch at least one person, then I know there is purpose in my pain.

 

Blaque: Powerful. I’m sure your readers will be able to take some valuable lessons with them after reading your book.

 

Jacqueline: That is my hope and prayer.

 

Blaque: Ok, so let’s get started.

 

Jacqueline: I’m ready when you are.

 

Blaque: What inspires you to write?

 

Jacqueline: My inspiration for writing comes from the Holy Spirit.

 

Blaque: Where is your favorite place to write?

 

Jacqueline: My favorite place to write is at the park.

 

Blaque: What is your favorite holiday, and why?

 

Jacqueline: My favorite holiday is July 4th, because that is the day that God brought me into this world.

 

Blaque: Cool! You’re the second person I know that has a fourth of July birthday. That must be pretty exciting. Not only are you celebrating America’s independence, but also your born day.

 

Jacqueline: Yes, it’s pretty amazing.

 

Blaque: So, where do you see yourself in five years?

 

Jacqueline: In five years, I see myself traveling to various countries preaching and teaching God’s Word. Also, I see myself publishing more books and speaking at different conferences.

 

Blaque: What can bring tears to your eyes?

 

Jacqueline: When I see a young person give their life to Christ, it brings tears to my eyes.

 

Blaque: If you had $1,000,000 to donate to a worthy cause, which would it be, and why?

 

Jacqueline: I would donate the money to help further the research in finding a cure for HIV and AIDS because of my own personal testimony.

 

Blaque: We all need someone to keep pushing us forward, so who has been your biggest supporter in your writing career?

 

Jacqueline: My daughter Jasmine has been my biggest supporter in my writing career.

 

Blaque: What is your favorite color?

 

Jacqueline: My favorite color is pink.

 

Blaque: Pink is also my favorite color as well. Actually pink, red, and white are all my favorite colors. So tell me, where do you get most of your story ideas?

 

Jacqueline: Many of my story ideas come from my own trials and tribulations that I have endured in my life.

 

Blaque: What is your fondest childhood memory?

 

Jacqueline: My fondest childhood memory is playing in my room with my Winnie-pooh bear that my dad won from the State fair.

 

Blaque: What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment as an author?

 

Jacqueline: My biggest accomplishment as an author is having my book sent overseas to be placed in a library in Kabul, Afghanistan.

 

Blaque: If your best friend could describe you in one word, what would it be?

 

Jacqueline: My best friend would describe me as humble.

 

Blaque: When you’re not writing, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

 

Jacqueline: When I am not writing, I enjoy reading my Bible, meditating, praying, and exercising.

 

Blaque: What did you want to be when you grew up? Is that the occupation you’re in now?

 

Jacqueline: I wanted to be an attorney when I grew up, but God took me in a totally different direction. I am not an attorney, but instead I am a pastor and author. These are two occupations that I never really saw myself in, but I would not change them for anything now.

 

Blaque: As authors, most of us have nine to five jobs that help to support our writing careers. Do you write full-time, or is writing like a second job?

 

Jacqueline: Writing is a second job for me, but I am praying for God to open the doors for it to become a full-time career.

 

Blaque: Are you a cat, or a dog person?

 

Jacqueline: I am a dog person.

 

Blaque: I know how it makes me feel, but how does it make you feel when a reader tells you that they enjoyed reading your book?

 

Jacqueline: When a reader tells me that they enjoyed reading my book, it makes me feel that there is purpose in my pain.

 

Blaque: What is your goal as an author?

 

Jacqueline: My goal as an author is to publish my first novel, have my books in various languages, and produce my books in audio format.

 

Blaque: Producing your book(s) in audio format would be beneficial to me and other blind and visually impaired avid readers out there. Even though EBooks are accessible for the blind to read, we still enjoy listening to an actual person read a book compared to a text-to-speech software reading it. I would definitely encourage you to pursue that avenue of publishing your books.

 

Jacqueline: That is definitely on my agenda.

 

Blaque:  What has been the hardest hurdle you’ve had to jump over while embarking on your writing journey?

 

Jacqueline: The hardest hurdle I’ve had to jump over while embarking on my writing journey is finding time to write.

 

Blaque: If your parents could see you right now, would they be proud of you?

 

Jacqueline: Yes, both of my parents would be proud of me if they could see me right now.

 

Blaque: Well, we have reached the end of the interview. I hope your readers enjoyed getting a chance to know you better.

 

Jacqueline: I hope so too. It was nice talking to you.

 

Blaque: Oh, no! The pleasure was all mine. Before I let you go, leave readers with your information so that they can get a copy of your book. We want to make sure that your book gets into the right hands.

 

Jacqueline: LOL. Definitely. So, my book can be purchased from Amazon in paperback format. Readers can also purchase an autographed copy here Autographed Healing in the Vessel A Mother’s Love, A Daughter’s Journey of Faith

 

Blaque: Great! Are you active on social media?

 

Jacqueline: Yes, readers can follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

 

Blaque: Readers, be sure to grab your copy of Ms. Jacqueline’s book. If you’re looking for a book of inspiration, you have to look no further. Thanks again for stopping by.

 

Jacqueline: No, thank you for having me.

 

Blaque: Until next time. Happy writing!

 

 

** Note ** If you are an independent author and would like to spotlight on my blog, visit Author Spotlight to view the requirements and send in your interview. I look forward to speaking with you soon.

 

 

What is Love?

 

Picture background of pink, white, and red hearts

 

“Love is a verb that requires action to have true meaning. Without action, it is just another noun.” – Blaque Diamond 

 

This article is dedicated to the two people I love most in the world. The two people who helped me discover what love feels like.

 

Samantha Cunningham Jones

Quinton Terrell Jones

 

I decided to make this topic my writing prompt for today. Love. Such a small word, but it has such a big meaning. Love represents different things for different people, so what you think is love, and what I think is love, may be totally different. Neither one of us is wrong, we just see love differently. What is love? What does love mean to you? How do you know how to love? These are questions that I have been asked by several people in my life. Just recently, while walking with my walking partner during our break at work, he asked me,

 

“What is love to you? How do you know how to love?”

 

We have very deep conversations while we strive to get in our daily exercise. I love stimulating conversations, and I especially like conversations that make me think. Although, I didn’t have to think too hard about this subject. Love is something that has always interested me. There is being in love, and there is having love. Most people throw around the word love just like any other word because they don’t know that there is a difference in the way you use the word. You can have love for someone without being in love with them. When I use this way of speaking of love, I’m referring to relationships, friendships, family etc. Yes, I can love your new coat, or love to read, but that kind of love isn’t in the same context I am relating this article in. That type is more of a strong like for something.

 

I was also asked the same question while doing a podcast interview back in August of this year. Ms. Blue asked me,

 

“How can you love if you’ve never experienced love before?”

 

My response to her and my co-worker was the same.

 

“Love to me is natural. It isn’t something that I had to learn to do. I love because my heart allows me to. If you have to learn how to love someone, then you don’t know what love truly is. Love comes from the heart. It is a natural reaction. No amount of teaching can teach a person to love if it’s not in them to do so.”

 

To most people that may be confusing, but to me it’s clear as day. Growing up, I never heard the words “I love you” from my parents. I don’t think the word love was ever even mentioned in our household. There were no signs of love at home either. There weren’t any hugs or kisses, displays of affection, or words of endearment. So, as you can see, I never experienced love from my parents while I was growing up. At home is where love should first begin, but that wasn’t the case for me. I grew up in a loveless household. If love lived there, then it was well-hidden from my reach, or maybe it wasn’t meant for me to receive love there. So, I was thrust out into the world without ever once knowing what it felt like to be loved by someone.

 

As I journeyed into adulthood, I got into relationships looking for the love that I never received at home. All I ever wanted was someone to love me. One bad relationship after another left me still wondering what love was. What was so wrong with me that I wasn’t good enough for someone to love? Yes, guys told me that they loved me, but based on their actions, the love wasn’t genuine. To them, love meant me being pushed into a wall, or their hands wrapped around my neck if I didn’t do what they wanted me to do when they said do it. That was their version of love. Being a young girl out in the world by herself, I started to believe that maybe that was what love really was. My parents were supposed to love me, and all they did was abuse and neglect me. So, a man saying that he loved me right before he smacked me across the face seemed natural. It was all I had ever known. Love for me meant pain.

 

When I finally took a hiatus from dating and took time to delve into myself, I found my answer to what love was. Despite the hurt and pain that others had put me through, I still loved them. Even though I tried to tell myself that I didn’t, deep inside I knew I loved them. I couldn’t explain how I could love people who did nothing but hurt me. I tried for a while to define my feelings and pick a part my reasoning’s. But I was always brought back to the same statement.

 

“Love to me is natural. It isn’t something that I had to learn to do. I love because my heart allows me to.”

 

The lesson that I had to learn while searching for love was to learn to love myself. Even though I had never experienced love and didn’t know what being loved felt like, I knew that before I could truly love someone else, I had to love myself first. How can you expect someone to love you when you can’t love yourself? That was a question that I repeated to myself over and over again over the years. One day I sat down at my computer and opened a brand-new word document. At first, I had no idea what I should write, so I just sat there for a while. Finally, the thought came to me. I wrote this exact question.

 

What do I love about me?

 

Once I wrote that question, I began writing all the things down that I loved about myself. The more I actually thought about it, the more things flowed from my mind to the computer screen. Once I had listed all the things that I loved about myself, I sat back and went through the list. I was surprised at how much I loved about myself. Things that I hadn’t even thought of reflected how I felt about myself in my words. I couldn’t believe that there was so much about me that I could love. It didn’t matter to me anymore that I had never been loved by someone else. I had enough love for myself to suffice. Of course, I knew God loved me, but to know that I had so much good about myself that I could love actually brought tears to my eyes.

 

I worked on me over the years building up my self-esteem and my self-confidence in myself. Never being told anything good about myself had me thinking that there wasn’t anything good about me, but after making my list and frequently going back to look it over, I knew that I was worthy of love. While I was on that journey to self-love, I met some wonderful people who showed me what being loved felt like. For the first time in my life at the age of twenty-one, I knew what it felt like to be loved. Even though I was in a relationship at the time that was loveless, I had two people in my life that I knew for sure loved me without a doubt. There love had no limitations, and there were no boundaries that their love wouldn’t cross for me. I am eternally grateful to them for being the first people to show me true and unconditional love. Because of them and my own self-awareness, I now know what love is. I know how it feels to be loved, because I love myself, and they love me also.

 

What is love to you? Leave me your comments below. I would love to hear from you on the topic of love.

 

The Triumph in Me Book Review

 

Picture of The Triumph in Me: Living to Die, but Decided to Live book cover

 

The triumph in me: Living to Die, but Decided to Live

 

By: Kashinda T. Marche

 

While at a book-signing event this past weekend, I was given an autographed copy of this book. The author talked a little about the book during the event, and I was intrigued to find out more about it. Because of my visual impairment, the print book wouldn’t have done me any good since I can’t read the words. I did appreciate receiving a signed copy from the author though, so I added it to my library in my home-office for safe-keeping. I didn’t want to wait to have someone read it to me, so I went on Amazon to see if the book was available as an EBook. Yes!!! It was available on Kindle, so I wouldn’t miss out on a great read. I immediately downloaded the book to my Kindle library and began to read.

 

I was drawn into the story just by the first few lines. Tharisse, the main character was a young girl growing up in the urban streets of New Jersey. The story talked about her life growing up and the things she and her friends got into as young teens. Her parents were on drugs, so Tharisse was practically raising herself and her younger siblings. She became promiscuous in her teen years, looking for the acceptance she always yearned for.

 

When Tharisse is fifteen-years-old, she meets Eugene, who is twenty-seven-years-old. He treats Tharisse like she has always wanted to be treated. He buys her the latest fashions, he chauffeurs her and her friends around town in his car, and he even gives her money. To her young mind, this is love. Love is something she has always been trying to find, so to her, Eugene is her knight in shining armor. Her mother has a problem with Tharisse dating Eugene, but she continues to date him anyway. Tharisse falls head-over-heels in love with Eugene, and she doesn’t care who doesn’t like it.

 

At the age of seventeen, Tharisse finds herself pregnant with Eugene’s baby. When Tharisse tells her mother that she is pregnant, she walks away disappointed in her daughter; even though she was the same exact age when she gave birth to Tharisse. Eugene never reacted to the news of Tharisse’s pregnancy either way. Tharisse’s pregnancy was a hard one filled with sickness and misery, but thankfully she delivered a healthy baby girl. Tharisse strived to be the best mother she could be to her daughter. She didn’t want her to grow up in the life that she had, so she did what she had to do to show her daughter a different way of life. When her daughter was just eleven-months old, Tharisse got some devastating news that would change her life forever. She was diagnosed with HIV. Somehow, Eugene had contracted the virus, and he had given it to Tharisse. She wasn’t sure how long she had the virus, but when she went to be tested, she was told that she was infected.

 

Tharisse hoped and prayed that her daughter had not contracted the virus, and by the grace of God, she had not. Tharisse went into a deep depression after finding out the news. She couldn’t figure out how she would raise her daughter when she had been pronounced with a death sentence. The story goes on to describe Tharisse’s life and struggles of dealing with her HIV status. There were plenty of ups and downs as she comes to terms with her illness. Tharisse instills positive skills and inspirations in her daughter as she grows up, trying to guide her in the right direction. She didn’t want her daughter to make the same mistakes, or worse mistakes than she did.

 

Tharisse deals with low self-esteem issues, so she makes her daughter stand in the mirror every day and tell herself that she is beautiful. Tharisse is later diagnosed with mental illnesses as well, and she attempts suicide when her lover exposes her condition to another of her lovers. Tharisse was truthful to some people about her condition, but she kept her status from others as well, so when her lover exposed her, she fell over the deep edge. She didn’t think that life was worth living anymore since she was already dying from HIV. Thankfully, Tharisse was not successful in her suicide attempt, and she got the help that she needed through therapy. She decided to turn her life around in a more positive direction for her daughter. She didn’t want to traumatize her child for the rest of her life, so she started living her life with a purpose instead of living her life recklessly.

 

This was a story that really hit home for me. Having a family member who died from HIV, made this story so real to me. The fact that Tharisse contracted the virus at such a young age, brought tears to my eyes. All she ever wanted was to be loved, and the one man she gave her heart to, gave her a death sentence. She was looking for love and thought she found it, but sadly, she was mistaken. Growing up in a world uninformed and uneducated, caused Tharisse to go down the wrong path in life, searching for the love she never found in herself. What she hadn’t been taught, she tried to teach to her daughter. She wanted her to have a better outlook on life than she did.

 

What I took from this book is, nothing is promised to anyone. In the blink of an eye, your life as you know it can be swept up from under you without any explanation. Good health, life, wealth, love, or anything else isn’t promised to anyone, so you should live your life to the best of your ability. When Tharisse finally decided to change her mind-set, she saw the world through different eyes. She was able to see positivity where she once saw only negativity. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a story of strength and inspiration. It will allow you to take a look at your own life situations and possibly change the way you do things.

 

None of us is perfect, and we all have done things that we are not too proud of, but the only way we can get pass them is if we change. We have to change our thinking, change our attitudes on life, and change the way we react to situations. We can’t wait around for someone to change things for us, we have to be that change we want to see in our life. It was unfortunate what happened to Tharisse, but in the end she changed. She changed for the betterment of her daughter, and she changed for the betterment of herself. She began to live, instead of living to die.

 

 

Coming to the Light

A picture of open french doors with light spilling through

I never would’ve guessed that my last fight would be the very last fight of my life. On March 14th, 2005 was the day that my life would be forever changed in a dramatic way. I got into an altercation with my brother, and it caused me to be where I am today, and where I will probably be for the rest of my life. At the tender age of fourteen, I got into a fist fight with my brother, and this time it wasn’t like our usual fights. I would walk away the loser of much more than just the fight, but also my sight.

I was already partially blind due to mal-practice at birth, but I still had good vision. I was not considered legally blind because I still had perfect vision in the “good eye.” I wore glasses to keep that eye strong. My retina had been detached in the right eye during my birth due to the doctors mishandling of the forceps, so my vision was already delicate. I didn’t find out why I couldn’t see out of that eye until I was an adult. I had always been told that my optic nerves never developed in that eye. I also developed a cataract in that eye at the age of five due to the trauma to the eye.

My brother and I got into the fight over a radio because of me changing the station that was playing. For most people, this is probably such a trivial thing to fight over, but in the violent household and environment that we were living in, this was the norm. Since my brother did not like the fact that I had changed the channel on the radio, he became enraged with me. We began to fight for the radio. He hauled off and punched me in the eye, and I immediately saw red dots. I thought that maybe my eye had been cut and that I was bleeding in my eye. I thought that it was just a minor injury and that I would be back to normal in no time, but I was wrong. That one punch caused me to be in darkness for the rest of my life.

After the fight was over, I tried telling my family that I was having trouble seeing, but I wasn’t believed. My sight did not go away right away, but it was the start of the damage. Losing the vision in that eye happened over time until I woke up one day and couldn’t see anything. When my mother finally did take me serious and took me to the doctor, it was found that it was too late. They could do nothing to fix my vision. Too much time had passed, and the tissue of the eye had already started scarring over. Since it took my mother seven months to get me help for my vision, the doctors didn’t hold up much hope of me getting any of my sight back. Surgeries were performed to see if it would make a difference, but sadly it was useless. From that one fist punch, my retina had become detached and the damage was irreversible. At that point, I felt life was now not worth living for me since I could no longer see.

My self-esteem took a huge nose dive. I felt that I would never be able to live a normal life. The only people that I had ever seen that were blind were elderly people and that happened with age. I thought that I was too young to be blind, and I went into a deep depression. So many scary thoughts were going through my mind. I kept replaying that day over and over wishing that I could rewind the hands of time and do it all over again. Well, my reality was that I couldn’t get a redo, so I had to deal with the circumstances that I was left to deal with. Not having any family support didn’t make the transition any easier either. I was left to deal with this tragedy all on my own.

Over the years, I learned to adapt to my new situation once I finally got out of my depression phase. It was a long and treacherous journey filled with many nights of tears and self-pity. I had to take a hard look at myself and my situation and wonder if I wanted to be that cripple or disabled girl that had to have someone do her basic needs for her, and I knew that was not the life I wanted for myself. So, I began to embrace my new life and learn all that I needed to know so I could live a normal and happy life. I learned braille, computers with the aid of text to speech software, independent living skills, and how to travel alone with a white cane. These skills were very necessary for me to live the life I wanted. I took on every new task with gusto because I was determined to be as independent as I possibly could. I didn’t want to feel like a burden to anyone, and I wanted to be able to take care of myself with minimal assistance.

There were times when I just wanted to give up, but whenever I would think of the outcome if I didn’t push myself, it made me go even harder to learn all that I needed to know. I would always think of people who had other disabilities that were worse than mine, and I would think that I was lucky to just be blind. Even though I could no longer see physically, I could still walk, talk, feed myself, think for myself, and all the other great body functions we take for granted. I felt that things could’ve been worse and I know that I am blessed. I eventually started mentoring people who were just like me. They were struggling with the life that they now had to live because of their visual impairment. Before going blind myself, I would have never known that there were millions of people all over the world just like me young and old dealing with the same situation. Some weren’t taking it so great like I was at one time and others were taking it in stride. So, I look at my situation as a blessing in disguise. I could’ve died that night, but instead god had other plans for me.

I enjoy encouraging other blind and visually impaired people to become as independent as they possibly can. I always like to say, “Just because society sees us as being handicapped and unable to do for ourselves, doesn’t mean that we must live up to that standard or stigma that is placed upon us.” I take pride in knowing that I can do for myself despite what others may think or say because they are not in my situation. It took a while for me to get to where I am today in my thinking, but I am glad that I experienced all that I have in life because it made me the person that I am today. I wouldn’t change one thing about my past because if I did, then I probably wouldn’t be the same person that everyone knows and loves. My faith has a lot to do with how I got through my situation and remain positive about it. I feel that god doesn’t make any mistakes in our lives, so what happened to me must have happened for a specific purpose.

Now, I’m not going to lie and say that life is easy because of course it’s not. I still struggle everyday with the fact that I can’t experience some of the day to day activities that most people who can see take for granted. Driving for example; I would love to be able to drive myself to and from work every day. I would also like to be able to go into a grocery store and pick out my own items without the assistance of someone. Going out to a place that I am not familiar with without assistance from someone who can see is something that I also wish I could do, but I am thankful for the blessings that I do have. There are some out here in the world who have it a lot worse than I do. I get frustrated from time to time when I must depend on someone who can see to read stuff for me or help me fill out paperwork, but that is minor compared to the circumstances that others must go through on a daily basis.

As of right now, there is no cure or treatment for my eye condition, but I have faith that one day there will be a way for me to regain my sight. If that day never comes, then I am comfortable in who and what I am. I have adapted to my life just fine and enjoy all the many blessings that god has bestowed upon me. I do not let my disability stop me from living and enjoying all that life has to offer. My life had to be adapted to fit my new situation of being blind, but with the way technology is, it makes it a fun and great learning experience for me. I had to come to the light by accepting who I now am and loving myself despite my circumstance. Every negative occurrence doesn’t have to be a tragedy. Sometimes things happen for a reason because life is something we have no guarantees in.

As an author, my visual impairment does throw up some road blocks that I have no control over. For instance, I have to depend on people to design my book covers and my website for me. I tell them what I imagine my items to look like, but the fact that I can’t see them for myself makes me have to trust their creative skills. I do have someone close to me check them out for me, but in these instances I have to go on what someone else thinks. As someone who used to be into graphics and drawing, the fact that I don’t have that ability anymore sometimes does get to me. Being artistic was a gift that I was proud of, but now I have to use the artistic talents of someone else to get my message across the way I picture it. The fact that I have seen before makes it easy to tell someone how I want something to look, but it still isn’t the same as me designing what I picture myself. When you have a visual impairment, you have to learn to trust people. There are things in life that having a visual impairment will alter, but there are ways to get around it. Everyone needs someone else for something since no one is totally independent and able to do everything themselves. Having that knowledge brings me relief and makes it easier for me to accept my circumstances and live life to the best of my ability.

I shared my story to encourage and inspire those who may be struggling with circumstances in life that they may feel have made them lose hope in themselves. There is still hope if you have faith in god and in yourself. You may see a situation in your life as a mountain or hill that is too steep for you to climb, but all you have to do is step back and evaluate your situation and figure out a new way to accomplish that task. Look at your situation in a positive light instead of as a bad thing. What could’ve happened to make your situation worse? For me the other outcome would’ve been death, so for me losing my sight was a minor inconvenience than losing my life. Every situation won’t be that easy to look at in a positive way, but to grow and accomplish whatever you are trying to succeed at you must see the light at the end of the tunnel.