Author Q and A: Joseph D. Hayes

Author Joseph D. Hayes

Guardians of Salem book cover

Blaque: It has been a great month with all the wonderful authors I have had the pleasure of speaking with. For the last author spotlight of February, I am talking with Joseph D. Hayes, author of “Guardians of Salem”. Welcome Joseph.

Joseph: Thanks so much Miss Blaque Diamond.

Blaque: No problem. It’s nice to have you here. So, how many books have you published to date?

Joseph: I just published my first novel, “Guardians of Salem” last year.

Blaque: Ok, nice. You’re a first-time author. How does it feel to know that you have a book that millions of people will read out there?

Joseph: It feels amazing! It is such an indescribable feeling.

Blaque: Trust me, I know the feeling. LOL. What inspired your latest book?

Joseph: The children I look after at my day care center inspired my latest book.

Blaque: What inspires you to write?

Joseph: I’ve always been a story teller. Characters constantly live in my mind on a daily basis. However, my passion derives from inspiring children to read and write.

Blaque: Where is your favorite place to write?

Joseph: I would have to say my bedroom is my favorite place to write. It’s my zone. I can truly bring my thoughts to life.

Blaque: We all have our own ways to help get the creative juices flowing, how do you deal with writer’s block?

Joseph: I put music on to help me in times of writer’s block. The music helps me get in the mindset of the story.

Blaque: Do you prefer writing your first drafts on paper, or on the computer? Why?

Joseph: I prefer writing my first drafts on paper, because I do a lot of marking. It just feels more natural to me.

Blaque: Where do you get most of your story ideas?

Joseph: I am a big fan of superhero stories, anime, action, and Kung-fu movies. I also love to create the why in characters. What I mean by the why, is why does this character behave this way, or what motivates this character? I think character development is fun.

Blaque: Some authors are quite sneaky when they implement parts of their lives in their stories, and I am one of the guilty. LOL. Have you used people you know as characters in your books?

Joseph: Yes, I have. The cool thing about it was that I read the story to them, and they loved it.

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

Joseph: Publishing my first novel is my biggest accomplishment as an author.

Blaque: Yes, having the courage to push that publish button proves your passion for the art of writing. It can be quite intimidating when you go through the process.

Joseph: You’re right about that.

Blaque: Do you write full-time, or is writing like a second job?

Joseph: Right now, writing is a second job, but I write as a goal to become a full-time writer.

Blaque: What is your goal as an author?

Joseph: To touch as many lives as possible through my writing is my goal as an author. I would also love to see my writings on the big screens and television.

Blaque: How does it make you feel when a reader tells you that they enjoyed reading your book?

Joseph: It brings my heart joy. I put a lot of heart in to my writing. Whenever I receive a compliment from a reader, I am overjoyed and humbled.

Blaque: What advice would you give someone who aspires to be an author?

Joseph: I would tell them to read and write! This will help them to find their writing voice.

Blaque: Now that readers know about you as an author, let’s learn more about you as a person.

Joseph: Sure.

Blaque: What is your favorite holiday, and why?

Joseph: I love Christmas! Everything about Christmas! From the celebration of my Lord and Savior, all the way down to the Christmas music. I must admit that I get a head start on the Christmas music in November.

Blaque: If you could change anything in the world, what would it be?

Joseph: If I could change anything, it would be me.

Blaque: What is your favorite food?

Joseph: I’m a sucker for Chinese food.

Blaque: As authors, we are also readers. How many books can you honestly say you’ve read in a single year?

Joseph: I would say a little over ten.

Blaque: What is your zodiac sign?

Joseph: My zodiac sign is Aquarius.

Blaque: What kind of child were you growing up?

Joseph: I was a kid with a very hyperactive imagination. I often acted out a lot of kung-fu and action movies on TV. I believe the most hilarious thing out of all this is the fact that I hated reading and writing when I was younger.

Blaque: Who is your favorite author? Why?

Joseph: I would have to say Mary “Honey B” Morrison. Her story telling skills are so vivid. She is the very reason why I started and got in to reading.

Blaque: I love her writing as well. I have read tons of her books and loved every one of them. Do you have any other talents besides writing?

Joseph: I can draw as well.

Blaque: What is your favorite genre of music?

Joseph: I would have to say Gospel is my absolute favorite genre of music.

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

Joseph: I’m either reading or drawing when I’m not writing.

Blaque: I am not a fan of sports at all, but are you a sports fan? If so, who is your favorite team?

Joseph: I’m a big football fan. Dallas Cowboys is my favorite football team.

Blaque: If you could co-write a book with any author, who would it be, and why?

Joseph: It would definitely be an honor to co-write with J.K. Rowling. She created a universe of characters that will be remembered forever. Enough said.

Blaque: Well, that looks like that just about does it for today’s spotlight interview. Thank you so much for sharing just a small bit of yourself with me and the readers today Joseph.

Joseph: You’re welcome. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to share.

Blaque: Make sure to leave your social media contact information so that readers can follow your writing journey.

Joseph: Sure thing. I am on Facebook, and I can also be found on Twitter. Thanks again for having me.

Blaque: No problem. Keep encouraging the youth of today to read and write.

Joseph: I definitely will.

Blaque: Until next time. Happy writing!

** Note **

If you are an indie author, and you would like to spotlight on my blog, please visit Author Spotlight, and follow the instructions to submit your interview.

Author Q and A: Dr. Theresa Snell

 

“Choose  Your Mood” – Dr. Theresa Snell

 

Blaque: On today’s author spotlight, I have the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Theresa Snell. Welcome.

 

Dr. Snell: Thank you so much for having me Blaque Diamond.

 

Blaque: It’s always great to have another author to spotlight on my blog. There are so many authors out there just waiting to be discovered. It looks like you write children’s books. Is that correct?

 

Dr. Snell: Yes, that is correct.

 

Blaque: Well, you are the first children’s author I’ve ever featured so far.

 

Dr. Snell: Wow! I feel honored.

 

Blaque: I also write children’s stories, but I don’t consider myself a children’s author. I just like to make sure that children are included in the wonderful world of books.

 

Dr. Snell: Yes, reading is important for any age. The younger the better.

 

Blaque: I agree. Let’s jump right into it. What inspires you to write?

 

Dr. Snell: I began writing in response to my eldest child’s need for “one more story” before nap time. I noticed that my stories became his most frequent requests, and he was quite adamant that I not change the details. Writing them became a defense mechanism. After finishing my doctoral research on stress and coping skills, I felt compelled to offer a small trick or technique for kids dealing with frustration, worry, and low self-esteem.

 

Blaque: What is your favorite season of the year, and why?

 

Dr. Snell: Despite this year’s massive ragweed invasion, Fall remains my favorite. Though we are turning toward the darkest time of the year, humans choose to fill that time celebrating the past, expressing gratitude for the present, and hoping for the future. There is a magic to the ending of a year and brilliant colors against an otherwise barren landscape.

 

Blaque: We all have things that rub us the wrong way, so what is your biggest pet peeve?

 

Dr. Snell: Tardiness. I consider promptness to be a sign of respect and worry when those I care for are late. It is incredibly frustrating to me to make a commitment, to honor it, and then not to have that courtesy reciprocated. As a mother of champion dawdlers, I understand delays, but a text takes only a moment and saves me from looking up at every sound for the person I am counting on.

 

Blaque: Hmm . . . That is one of my biggest pet peeves as well. What is your favorite holiday, and why?

 

Dr. Snell: I love Halloween. In my home we explore the history and traditions behind every holiday we celebrate. There is so much hope in Halloween, that the light will chase away the dark. There is a history to the holiday that stretches back the the Celts, which still influences us today. The frivolity of costume shopping and trick or treating is fun and something . . . other than the daily routine. It doesn’t hurt that it is also one holiday without cooking requirements.

 

Blaque: Where do you see yourself in five years?

 

Dr. Snell: A writer writes. I hope in five years, I still call myself a writer, a storyteller, a teacher, a less terrible piano player, and a collector of hobbies. There is always a new adventure- even in the mundane.

 

Blaque: Who has been your biggest supporter on your writing journey?

 

Dr. Snell: I am imagining my mother and husband battling it out for the title of “biggest supporter” even now with my friends encircling them. I am so blessed in my friendships and family. Once I learned to ask for help, a floodgate opened to me.

 

Blaque: What kind of child were you growing up?

 

Dr. Snell: I was a girl of moods. I was an introvert, lost to the written word and a bubbly cheerleader for ten years. My family had an informal list of movies they recommended I avoid to save themselves from the wracking sobs. They probably experienced whiplash when my excitement overflowed and I began speaking too fast to follow. I loved every holiday except Easter, and I only hated that because I am truly dreadful at finding hidden things. I was drawn to theatre-to its drama and its discipline and considered studying it in college before the lure of anthropology, sociology, and psychology drew me in a different direction. I always needed to understand the why behind every action.

 

Blaque: Do you prefer writing your first drafts on paper, or on the computer? Why?

 

Dr. Snell: My notes are always handwritten in a notebook. From there I begin scratching out a rough draft. The rough draft is most often translated to computer until I am frustrated by not being able to hold the pages. I print the pages and, sometimes, my first draft.

 

Blaque: What is your zodiac sign?

 

Dr. Snell: I am an Aquarius. And boy, am I.

 

Blaque: I love to hear people’s answers to this question. If you were trapped on a desert island and could bring only one person, who would it be, and why?

 

Dr. Snell: I would bring my husband on any misadventure. I am the idea lady and he is the get-it-done man. My practical skills are seriously lacking. I can learn anything, but why not bring someone who already knows what to do?

 

Blaque: LOL. I see your point. If you were offered an all-expense paid trip anywhere in the world, where would you go, and why?

 

Dr. Snell: How long do I get to stay?! For a quick trip, I would love to visit Alaska. It is something so foreign from my norm. For an expedition, I would want to trek again through Europe. I would love to have more time in Budapest, or the area surrounding Prague.

 

Blaque: Do you have any other talents besides writing?

 

Dr. Snell: I draw a little, sing a little, and play a little piano.

 

Blaque: Is there anything you do a lot of? LOL.

 

Dr. Snell: I crochet a great deal. I am a collector of hobbies. Last year I had a wood burning kit and a driving, yet unrealized desire to learn to sew. This month I signed up for piano lessons.

 

Blaque: I see. LOL. I have always wanted to learn to crochet. I used to weave when I was younger, but I have never got the hang of crocheting. As authors, we all have made mistakes that we are not so proud of, what is the worst writing mistake you’ve ever made?

 

Dr. Snell: The worst writing mistake I have ever made is to stop writing.

 

Blaque: Wow! That’s a new one. No one has ever said that in response to that question. It’s usually marketing or editing related.

 

Dr. Snell: I’m sure, but that was definitely my biggest mistake.

 

Blaque: What is your favorite genre of music?

 

Dr. Snell: I lose cool points all the time for questions about music. I jam out to country and like to listen to the stories of blue grass. I dance to  anything. Kidz bop plays out of my speakers a little too often for my sanity, but I did have my six year old rocking out to Les Miserables this week, so, score!

 

Blaque: LOL. You still have your cool points with me. My music taste is all over the place. I just like music in general. My IPod is full of everything from Frank Sinatra to Chris Brown. I listen to it all. Music is therapy. If your best friend could describe you in one word, what would it be?

 

Dr. Snell: I hope my friend would describe me as accepting. I value my friends’ differences and enjoy discussing their passions. I suspect, however, that my sarcastic best friend would describe me as organized since my schedules are a source of much teasing.

 

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

 

Dr. Snell: Enjoy is a weak word for my need to read. I enjoy field trips with my kiddos and other homeschooling families, traveling, movies with magic and wonder, crocheting, dancing, comedy clubs, and local events in my community.

 

Blaque: It is always an amazing feeling to learn that someone has purchased a book you have written, but how does it make you feel when a reader tells you that they enjoyed reading your book?

 

Dr. Snell: A compliment, genuinely given, makes me blush still. I feel thrilled when I hear my stories helped get an idea across.

 

Blaque: What is your goal as an author?

 

Dr. Snell: My goal as an author is to continue to write. I would like to write words worthy of reading and find an audience who wants to share it with me.

 

Blaque: If you could talk to your younger self, what would you tell him or her?

 

Dr. Snell: I want to tell my younger self not to worry and not to doubt. I look back and see a girl searching rather than seeing; running rather than being. I am enough as I am, and knowing that has been a gift of adulthood.

 

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

 

Dr. Snell: As a writer, a huge hurdle has been that I tend to become lost in the big ideas and forget the details, or so lost in the details that I delay the writing.

 

Blaque: That was such an informative interview. I enjoyed getting to know you, and I’m sure your readers will enjoy it as well.

 

Dr. Snell: I Thank you so much for having me. I hope they enjoyed getting to know a bit more about me as well.

 

Blaque: It’s always nice to get to know the person behind the books. Even though we are authors, we are still people all the same.

 

Dr. Snell: That’s true.

 

Blaque: So, before we wrap up this session, leave the readers with your contact information so that they can reach out to you.

 

Dr. Snell: Sure. Readers can visit my website here.

Both of my books are available on Amazon, so purchase your copy. Be sure to leave a review! It is greatly appreciated.

 

I can be found on Twitter and Facebook if you would like to keep in contact.

 

Blaque: Well, I think that just about does it for me today. Until next time. Happy writing!

 

*Note*

 

If you are an author, and you would like to be featured on my blog, visit Author Spotlight, and follow the directions to submit your interview.

Breathe Deep Dear Dragon Book Cover

 

 

 

 

 

Look Deep Dear Dragon Book Cover

 

Writing Tip for Beginner Authors 1

Picture of a silouette of a person writing

 

Well, we all have to start at the beginning. No matter how talented we think we are, there is always room for improvement. It can be the smallest thing that could turn a reader off from reading your book. A misplaced comma, the use of nouns too many times, or the hum-drum of reading, he said and she said after every time a character speaks. That would drive me insane, so I know it will drive your readers insane if they see these simple, but reoccurring errors in your writing. No one is perfect, even though we would like to believe we are, so mistakes are going to happen, but if you follow this simple tip, you could possibly gain yourself a new reader. Now, I’m not proclaiming to be an expert on writing, not by a long shot, but this is an error that I have made in my own writing. I’m sharing with you tips that I have learned on my own journey to writing. I don’t want anyone to make the same mistakes I have, so I’m sharing things with you that can help improve your writing. I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m flawed. LOL.

 

Pronouns

 

Become friendly with your pronouns. All too often, we continuously use nouns instead of inserting a pronoun. Using a pronoun will not take away from your writing one bit. If anything, it will help smooth it out. This was something I had to mentally repeat to myself constantly every time I got ready to write something new. When I would go back to read my own work, I would shake my head and ask myself, why did you have to repeat your character’s name so many times? I even decided to test myself and see exactly how many times I had written a particular character’s name. To my horror, I had written it two-hundred times. Wow! But that wasn’t the shocker, I had written this particular character’s name two-hundred times, but there was no telling how many times I had written any of the other character’s names. The kicker was, I was in the process of writing a short story.

 

Using a pronoun instead of the noun can help to enhance your writing. What seems like such a simple mistake could potentially lose a reader, if it is not addressed properly. For instance, read the following examples below, and tell me what’s wrong with them.

 

Example 1: Joseph loved to cruise around town in his new car. Joseph was so proud of his new set of wheels. Joseph worked tirelessly to pay for his new means of transportation. Knowing that he had worked so hard to purchase his own car, brought a satisfied grin to Joseph’s face. Joseph knew that hard work and determination would get him what he wanted, and it did.

 

So, according to this example, what is wrong? Does this sentence flow freely? Does it make use of pronouns? No. Count how many times “Joseph” was used in the paragraph. This paragraph is only five sentences long, but “Joseph” has been used five times. “Joseph” has been used at least once in each sentence. What do you think about that? Does that seem right to you? It doesn’t to me. What can be done to help this paragraph flow more smoothly? Replacing the proper nouns with pronouns. Now, read the same paragraph again in this corrected example. Notice how it is much easier to read and follow the paragraph.

 

Corrected example 1: Joseph loved to cruise around town in his new car. He was so proud of his new set of wheels. He worked tirelessly to pay for his new means of transportation. Knowing that he had worked so hard to purchase his own car, brought a satisfied grin to his face. Joseph knew that hard work and determination would get him what he wanted, and it did.

 

Here is another example of not making use of pronouns.

 

Example 2: The dog sniffed at the discarded can. The dog circled around the can before nudging it with his nose. As the dog pushed the can, it began to roll away from the dog. The dog moved closer to the can. Every time the dog pushed the can, the dog moved closer to it. Finally, after a long while of pushing the can around, the dog abandoned the can and turned his interest to a plastic bag fluttering about on the ground.

 

What’s wrong with this paragraph? Has “the dog” been used too many times? How could this sentence be corrected to make it more readable? Read this corrected version.

 

Corrected example 2: The dog sniffed at the discarded can. He circled around the can before nudging it with his nose. As he pushed the can, it began to roll away from him. The dog moved closer to the can. Every time he pushed the can, he moved closer to it. Finally, after a long while of pushing the can around, the dog abandoned the can and turned his interest to a plastic bag fluttering about on the ground.

 

Read this next example. What can be changed to make this paragraph better?

 

Example 3: Mrs. Brown stood at the chalkboard writing the day’s vocabulary words on it. Mrs. Brown always wrote the words down in advanced before her class arrived. Mrs. Brown was a fifth-grade teacher, and Mrs. Brown loved her job. Mrs. Brown continued writing on the board until Mrs. Brown heard her classroom door squeak open. Mrs. Brown turned from the chalkboard with a smile on her face and greeted her first student.

 

Does that look correct to you? I think not. We already know the paragraph is about Mrs. Brown, so why do we need to constantly repeat her name over and over again. It is unnecessary repetition. Replace some of the Mrs. Brown’s with ”she.”

 

Corrected example 3: Mrs. Brown stood at the chalkboard writing the day’s vocabulary words on it. She always wrote the words down in advanced before her class arrived. Mrs. Brown was a fifth-grade teacher, and she loved her job. She continued writing on the board until she heard her classroom door squeak open. She turned from the chalkboard with a smile on her face and greeted her first student.

 

Don’t those example paragraphs look and read much better? Yes, they do. So, next time you are in the process of writing something, be sure to check that you are taking advantage of your pronouns. Do a quick search of your document to see exactly how many times you have used a particular noun. Can any of those nouns be replaced with pronouns? If so, do so. You want to improve the readability of your work as much as possible. Use pronouns, pronouns, and more pronouns. Don’t worry, they won’t get mad, if anything, they’ll thank you. LOL.

 

If you’re not sure of what a pronoun is, check out these examples:

 

She, he, they, it, we, I, me, us, you, her, him, them, that, anybody, anyone, anything, each, everyone, everything, everybody, nobody, no one etc.

 

These are just a few examples. There are lots more for you to discover. For more in-depth descriptions on pronouns and their uses, a simple Google search will help you to find the pronoun that best suits your needs. Until next time. Happy writing!

 

Alphabet of Motivation

The alphabet letters A through Z

 

We all remember how we learned our ABC’s, right? Well, try learning them again with a hint of motivation to guide you along your way. These motivational quotes and sayings can help you on your way to success in whatever you may want to do in life, or just to help you in your day to day activities. I created these quotes to help keep you inspired and motivated to reach for the stars.

 

Always believe in yourself. Even if no one else believes in you, you should believe in you.

 

Be the best that you can b. Put your best foot forward. Strive to accomplish whatever it is you want to do in life.

 

Count on yourself first to make your dreams and goals come true, then count on others to stand behind and beside you.

 

Dreams were made to achieve. Every success starts with a dream. Envision the goals you have set for yourself and set out to make them happen.

 

Excellence should be the end result. You should always strive for excellence. Anything less is not acceptable.

 

Focus on your goals. Stay focused and motivated on what you want out of life. Seeing the clear picture ahead of you keeps your mind on the end result.

 

God should always be the center. No matter what you want to do, God should always be the center of anything you do. Keeping him in your thoughts and mind to guide you on your path should be at the forefront of your mind.

 

Help is something that should not be hard to ask for. If you need assistance, then you shouldn’t be too proud to ask for it. Pride is good for certain things, but if used at the wrong time, it could mean disaster for you in the end. So, push your pride to the side and ask for help if it is needed.

 

Integrity should be automatic. Your character should matter to you. How you conduct yourself should be in a way that you are proud to show and that someone is proud as well to show others about you. Your integrity tells a person a lot about you.

 

Just be true to who you are. Never change who you are as a person to fit a mold that someone else has cast for you. We are all unique in our own way, so don’t be afraid to be different.

 

Knowledge should be freely shared. If you know something, don’t hold on to it because you don’t want someone else to know what you know. Life is all about learning, so share the knowledge.

 

Life has so much meaning. It’s up to you to find out what life means to you. Live life to the fullest.

 

Motivate yourself and others. Stay motivated, and motivate others to accomplish their dreams. Motivating someone else can also help to motivate, or keep you motivated in whatever it is you are doing.

 

Never give up on your dreams. No matter how hard it seems, or how long it takes, keep pushing forward to succeed. If things aren’t going the way you think they should, or moving as fast as you would like, don’t give up. Let time work itself out. In due time, you will be where you want to be.

 

Observe ways to improve yourself. Nobody is perfect, so always look for ways you can improve. Be observant of your strengths and weaknesses. Always work on creating a better you.

 

Plan ahead to keep from falling behind. Set short term and long term goals for yourself. Plan for things in advanced so if your time frame for completing something shortens, then you can always be on time no matter what because you have planned ahead.

 

Quality not quantity should be what matters most to you in your life. Possessions should never trump your quality of life. Living a safe, healthy, and happy life should override what possessions you obtain in life.

 

Remember that every success starts with a dream. Anything you want to do in life has a beginning, and that beginning is a dream. A dream to be successful at whatever you put your mind to.

 

Success is not built over night. It will take determination, support, and a lot of disappointments to get to where you want to be. Patience is a virtue. Climb the ladder of success slowly so that you can marvel at how you got to the top when you get there.

 

Take time to give thanks. Always remember the ones that helped you along your journey. Thank those who stood by when you felt discouraged or disappointed when things didn’t go your way. Thank your heavenly father for your blessings and gifts. Thank the people who influenced you.

 

Understand that things will not always be easy. If things are always given to you without any effort, then you won’t be able to enjoy the struggle and determination that you exuded to get to where you are. Everything that comes easy isn’t always a good thing.

 

Visualize where you see your life going. Always have a vision of what you want to do in life. Never just live life just to exist in life. Even if the vision you have for yourself veers, as long as you have a vision to start with it can be modified as needed.

 

Willingness to admit your faults takes courage. Don’t be afraid to admit when you are wrong. Nobody in the world is always right about everything. Admit your faults and move on to work on ways to improve them.

 

X-rays are pictures of your insides. What would your brain look like if it was x-rayed? Always keep your mind engaged in activity. Never stop learning and exploring because you finish school. The world is full of new possibilities for growth.

 

You are the key to your success. You are the starting line for whether you succeed or fail. If you don’t believe in your dream, how do you expect someone else to? It all starts with you.

 

Zest to live life. Go out and enjoy life. Don’t let minor insignificant things hold you back from being happy. Enjoy all the great things that life has to offer.

 

 

I hope you enjoyed re-learning your ABC’s. Hopefully, these words of inspiration and motivation will help jump-start your dreams, goals, and desires to be a more positive thinker. We all have those moments when we doubt ourselves, or don’t have the drive to keep going, but thankfully this list of well-crafted motivational quotes will be here to catch you when you fall short. Just pick one, and try to implement it into your life daily.