August 28, 2020

Meet Don Newsom, Co-Founder of BBS Radio

 Learn how BBS Radio was born from a blogging platform service.

Don Newsom joins Sasha in conversation.

Celebrating #flashbacks as Moving Mountains kicks off Season 6.*

Credit: Sasha Talks & Donald Newsom

August 24, 2020

Meet Linwood Jackson Jr., Author of Growth


 Sasha Talks hosts the pleasure of welcoming Author Linwood Jackson Jr.

Join us as we discuss insights from the Bible & discuss self-worth through Growth.

Credit: Moving Mountains with Sasha; Linwood Jackson Jr.

Visit to learn more.
Linwood @ Amazon

#books #authors #realtalk #growth #nurture
#mind #wellness #perspective #bible #life
#learning #celebration #diction #heart
#purpose #values #society #learning
#foodforthought #sacrifice #joy
#decisions #payitforward
#thankyou #blessings

August 20, 2020

Meet Jabril Mack, Award Winning Animator

Credit: Jabril Mack
Jabril Mack, it's a pleasure to meet you! Please share with audiences what a typical day of an award-winning animator looks like. ​

I spend a lot of time drawing! Whether I'm sketching out a new story or designing a new funny Holiday character, I'm always trying to find ways to make my work fun and inviting. Animation takes a long time so I like to really plan my stuff out and make sure I love it before any real work begins. 

You've captured the limelight of network executives from Disney and Nickelodeon thanks to your creation of "The Weeklings". ​Where does the premise of "The Weeklings" emanate from? What were your initial thoughts before launching your first episode on Youtube, TikTok and Instagram? Did you have any expectations when you clicked 'send' to upload your first Youtube video?

The Weeklings is a broad comedy series about these crazy characters but at its core, the show is about friendship. Even though they all have very different personalities and points of view, these 7 Days are best friends who have each other's backs through anything. This relationship is based on a lot of the friends I had in college. In my freshman year dorm floor, there were a bunch of different people from all over the country who were forced to interact with one another every day! Throughout the school year, we all collectively built a strong bond. I wanted to share that magical quality of friendship with the world! When we first finished the first episode, I was SO NERVOUS that people wouldn't get what I was trying to say but luckily it all worked out. 

The Youtube comment section can be the worst place ever. It's always scary putting your soul out there for people to comment on publically! I get fan mail and fan art sent to me daily. Kids from all over the world have fallen in love with the Weeklings. I couldn't be more grateful. I would've never imagined the impact my cartoons would have on the audience. 

There are seven characters representing each day of the week. Which character resonates with your personality and how so? ​If you had to add an eighth day to the week, what would you name that character? What personality and emotions would that character exhibit?

All the characters are different parts of myself. While I do the voice for Tuesday and appreciate his focus and smarts, I like to think I'm as cool and likable as Friday! As anyone who actually knows me and they would probably disagree with that assessment, hahah, but a guy can dream right? I think If i were to add another day to the calendar I'd add Blunday! It would just be an extra day on the weekend! Weekends are too short! 

While creating your weekly series, did you intend to accommodate any vacuum that exists within the entertainment and animation market space? How did you rationalize your work was distinct enough to attract loyal audience members? What do "The Weeklings" deliver that some shows lack in today's cartoon space?

When it comes to Youtube, there isn't that much on there that is impressive. I knew if I created something that looked like an actual TV show on Youtube, it would catch people's attention. Diversity is so important for audiences as well and I feel like people want to see themselves represented, having holidays that are the cornerstone of cultures from all around the globe, helps us stand out too. From a storytelling standpoint, right as I was ending college I knew I had a distinct point of view and style that wasn't quite like what I was seeing. Once I realized that I just decided to jump in and see if people would like it. 

Did you pitch the idea of "The Weeklings" before a talent agent or a network prior to taking control of your destiny? When did you decide to manifest your artistic blessing on your own? 

I don't think I formally pitched it before making it myself. I've never been the type of person to ask for permission. I just decided to do it. We live in the best era to be an animator. We have the tools to make animation easier than ever before, we have the platforms to get our work in front of an audience without the studio gatekeepers as well! Artists 10-20 years ago would dream of being in a situation like we are in today. I couldn't squander that privilege. Anyone can make anything now, there is no excuse. 

What advice do you have for creative minds that are seeking their big break? Is there such a thing as a 'big break' in today's world of globalization? 

Try your best to create your own luck! Make stuff. Tell stories. Share your work. Everyone's entry into the industry is different so don't compare yourself to others. It doesn't matter where you are from, where you go to school, etc. just work on being the best artist you can and your big break will happen, eventually. Try everything and never give up. 

You host a respectable presence on social media including Instagram where your mom is featured among your social adventures. What has your mom taught you about life, work and love? 

I'm a total mama's boy! My parents are great and have always supported me in my ambitions! I'm not sure where I would be right now if they weren't such great parents. The major lesson my mom has taught me about life is the power of love. I've been on this earth for 27 consecutive years and every single day my mom has shown me pure love. When I grew up and left the house, I quickly realized how much of a blessing that is. That love has empowered me to create and share my voice in all aspects of life. More specifically, my mom also raised us on a healthy diet, she has been teaching my sisters and I the value of taking care of your body. Drawing, as much as I do, used to be no problem but as I get older I can feel it slowly starting to take a toll. Luckily, I already had the foundations of self-care instill. So transitioning into a healthier way of living and working was easier. 

While growing up, which cartoons and role models were you a fan of? Are there any characters or personalities that you find to be timeless and funny?

I watched a lot of SpongeBob and the Simpsons growing up. Those shows are classics because those characters are so strong. We know Homer, Bart and Spongebob as if they were our best friends. Those are the kind of characters audiences want to see. I strive to create characters that you want to invite into your home every day to have out with and laugh with. I looked up to Genndy Taratovsky, the creator of Dexter's Lab, Samurai Jack and the Hotel Transylvania movies. He's one of the greatest filmmakers of all time and doesn't get the credit he deserves.

"The Weeklings" is also a collaboration with other artists. What are the qualities you seek in talents wanting to collaborate with you? 

I like to work with people that like to work with people. The animation is one of the most collaborative art forms. Learning the Art of Collaboration is essential. You can't be afraid to speak up, pitch ideas, add on to something someone else created and work as a team!

Please share with audiences how they can support your work.
Instagram: @Jabrillo
Youtube: The Weeklings
Tiktok: TheWeeklings

August 16, 2020

Meet Katia R.V. Reed, Author of The Foretold Story

Credit: Katia R.V. Reed
Katia, Welcome to Kreative Circle. You're an artist of all sorts including being the founder of Victory Seen USA studios. ​How did VSU come into existence? 

Victory Seen Studios came into existence when I was in high school. Originally it was supposed to be called VBrice but my Graphic Design Teacher wasn’t feeling it. After playing around with it she said, “How about VSeeN?” which later became Victory SeeN USA. It is the place I call home to all my art and creations. 

The virtual studio welcomes visitors to explore writing, music, fashion and art of all sorts. When and how did writing become a main anchor of your work? When did fashion design enter the picture along your career path? 

​Writing has always been part of my life since I was a kid. I would keep a diary and write about my days. I would write about the dreams I dreamed, adventures and life’s usual yet unique encounters among many things I experienced. My first piece of work, which was a poem, part of a collective work of my 4th grade class, was published with the help of my 4th grade teacher. I continued writing from there more poetry and stories. Writing also became the anchor in developing my series throughout the years in bringing my creations and characters to life. As for fashion design, it was always part of my life too. Drawing my characters in fashions of my own was something I did. Of course, as I grew, the more I studied the art and production behind fashion design and pursued it on my own through fashion internships while in college for art and animation.

"The Foretold Story" is the debuting novel of a four-part book series that took 19 years to create from inception to launch. Is there a reason why this project remained in the incubation stage longer than other typical multi genre sci-fi fantasy novels? ​How have your writing abilities evolved over this extended time period? 

The project remained in incubation for so long because I was building the whole entire world for it, conceived at the age of 9 years old. Over the years, I have been working on it doing all the art, animation, character designs and story along with the filming of live-action demos. And of course, as I grew, the story and the art matured. During the time, I was also juggling life, mishaps, and other creations of mine such as PB The Angry Paper Bag. I also designed and completed the vision board of the much larger story tied to this book series that is currently in the form of a concept vision board website and the first full-length motion picture movie script in the series titled “Gordon’s Quest” which is completed. As for my writing, I would say my writing evolved in capturing vivid details and the many elements of life as well as strong character development. 

The character names and personalities appear diligently crafted and presented in "The Foretold Story". Which character did you find most challenging to name and why? Are any of the characters inspired from real life personas in your life? 

​The character I found the most difficult to name would be Midas, the main character of the story. I wanted his name to be as powerful as his father, Titan. A few months past, I went through numerous names from all different cultures with no success in finding a suitable one. And then I thought back on my high school English class when we studied in-depth Greek mythology. As I pondered, I liked the story of the King Midas with the golden touch. And strangely with the theme of the story, the name was a good fit. I then attempted to find the perfect middle and last name which failed. Then finally, a mentor of mine suggested Midas’s last name be Aurelin because AU stands for gold. So, I ended up naming Midas, “Midas Aurelin” and adjusted the spelling of Aurelin to Aurulien to make it more unique. I also eventually gave up on the middle name hunt but then in the story, Aurulien slowly transitions into becoming Midas’s middle name which was not planned but just happened and works out great maintaining the flow with his new last name which you will discover later in the book. As for the inspirations behind each character, as all artists do, I was inspired by some of the people I met along the way in my life’s journey and experiences while others are from dreams. 

Do you have any custom writing rituals you enjoy when sitting down to write? Where do you seek inspiration from when you encounter writer's block? 

​Yes, I have a nice cup of hot tea with ginger slices or a chai tea latte. I also pray before I start to work. I have Ivan Torrent music playing softly in the background. I have some of my favorite pieces of sea glass and a small jar of blue topaz that my nephew gave me. I then like to wear my Star Wars 1980’s tee-shirt and have my Legend of Zelda art book in hand. If it is nighttime, I like to light my crackling vanilla scented candle that a dear friend gave to me. I always enjoy writing by candlelight. I also have my creation “PB The Angry Paper Bag” pin on my desk where I can see it. Once my station is surrounded by my art and things I like, I am then ready to begin the writing and creating process. When I have writer's block, there are a couple of things I do. Sometimes I go for a walk in nature and let the nature around me inspire me. I also stay in prayer. The other thing I do is go into my big box of ideas that I wrote down throughout my life to bypass writers block especially when it's time sensitive. Sometimes I will stop working on the writing as a whole and go work on another project or even talk to some close friends about possible ideas. 

"The Foretold Story" takes place in New York City. Is there a reason why this city resonates with you as an author? If this story were to take place in another major U.S. city, would the premise of the story be different? Would the roles (not the personalities) of the characters differ than the original? 

New York City is my home. And some of my adventures took place there. If this story took place in another city, it wouldn’t be the same because the experiences didn’t happen there and as a result would be different.

If music was being orchestrated to support "The Foretold Story" in a motion picture, what genre of music would you incorporate in the film? Are there any musicians you'd invite to collaborate with La Musique Studio? 

If I had the opportunity, I would work with Hear My Declaration Band, Ivan Torrent, Seal, Parov Stelar, and John Williams along with a bunch of unknown musicians from all musical genres to come together to create this motion picture soundtrack for The Foretold Story movies. If Michael Jackson, Prince, and George Michael were still alive, I would want them all to be part of this. I would also have a few top-secret cameo band surprises and alliances. At that point, people would not only be coming to see the movie, but they would most certainly be coming for the music. 

Katia, what do you do for fun when you're not writing, designing or mixing beats? Art is a way of life. Is there any escaping it even in the leisure? 

For fun I like to play video games, read comic books and manga. Go to the movies. Study astrophysics. Go to Comic Con. I like adventures on the ocean, beach, and in nature. I like going to see operas, theater and ballets. I love having afternoon tea with friends. I like going to art museums and planetariums. Can I escape art even then? Nope. It’s in my DNA. No matter what, I am constantly analyzing and studying everything. Even the street corner. My mind followed by my hands are constantly creating which is why I always have a notebook or sketchbook with me. I am always getting inspired and getting new ideas. It never ends. 

Your novel hosts a very captivating book cover. What tips can you offer writers for choosing the right book cover to reflect their writing efforts? Your guidance can assist writers who produce their own book covers as well those who purchase covers from third parties.

First, I would like to thank you for your compliment on my book cover. The tips I would offer is first and foremost, have fun doing your book cover. At the same time, you have to take it seriously and find a balance because your book cover is the first thing the eyes see. It’s your sales pitch. Its business. Do a few different covers. Play around with composition and color schemes. Don’t rush it but do it. Allow it to flow. Ask yourself what your story is in one sentence. Work off that answer. Sum it all up in a book cover. This is what I did as I designed my own book cover for The Foretold Story book. 

As an entrepreneur managing a studio, what are some projects that you're most proud of? Are there any new projects being launched in the coming months?

Some of the projects I am most proud of is my novel, Gordon’s Quest Movie 1 Full Motion Picture Screenplay, PB The Angry Paper Bag, and My Box18 music. A few of many. There are some new projects and finishes coming soon. One being The Foretold Story Book 1: Part 2 due around Christmas of this year. Others are top secret and will be unveiled in time. 
Credit: Katia R.V. Reed

Please share with audiences where they can support your work.

The official website for The Foretold Story Book Series is There on the website you will find social media and more information about the book including the purchase links. Please like, share and if you read the book, please leave an honest review. I would love to hear your thoughts on it. Also, my artist website is and the Gordon’s Quest concept and vision board website is If you wish to contact me, you can do so through any of the websites.

August 13, 2020

Meet La Mancha Sims, Author of Franchising Secrets

Credit: La Mancha Sims
La Mancha, welcome to Authors by Sasha. How did a former naval communication officer decide to embrace entrepreneurship?

Thank you. I am happy to have the opportunity to share my journey with your listeners and readers. Becoming a Naval officer was one of the most exciting things I did when I was younger. The amount of responsibility that I was given at such a young age along with the ability to travel and see parts of this world I would otherwise never have seen was incredible. But there was always this undercurrent, something missing, that feeling of not being my own person, that maybe I was shortchanging my life journey. Please do not misunderstand, I loved my work and the opportunity to serve this great country. However, I wanted something else, something that was mine; I wanted to live out a bigger dream, one that I saw my father try to live out in his life. See, my Father was the first business owner I knew and seeing him try to run his business during the day and work full time at night always weighed on me. Here was a man that tried to have security for his family by working full time at night while during the day trying to realize his dream of being an Entrepreneur. He died before I was old enough to fully understand how to ask him which one served him better. I think he allowed fear and safety to control his path in life. So, by him not picking one career to Focus on, (either the full-time job or being an Entrepreneur), caused him pain and inner conflict. Having 6 kids, a wife and mother-in-law to feed and shelter, all depending on him gave him little opportunity to fully take the chances that I think he wanted to. For me, I had to pick one to Focus on and Becoming an Entrepreneur has fed my soul. 

Prior to transitioning from the Navy to the commercial sector, what was the inspiration behind joining the Navy? 

That is an easy answer, when you grow up without any financial resources liked I did. And as in my case, the Navy offers you a 4 year full-ride, everything paid for scholarship to College, informs you that you will be a Commissioned Officer plus have a chance to see the world: There is no other response but to say Yes! 

What were some lessons learned from your Navy career that prepared you to eventually launch Triton Business Group?

There are 4 things that, to this day, I draw from my time spent in the Navy.
  • My Focus – Once I set a goal for the company and my team, I do whatever is required to ensure that we achieve that goal. I do not believe in excuses, only “The how and what’s needed to get things done!”
  • Having the Right Team – Years ago I learned, and it truly shows now, that without the right people around me nothing gets done on time and in a professional manner. So, I try to make sure that I have the right team members around me with all of them having a singular focus on getting the task at hand completed.
  • Patience – This is one thing that the Navy taught me, but I must give my wife of almost 30 years some credit as well. Nothing happens overnight and watching others around you seemingly get things done at a faster pace sometimes be frustrating. Developing the patience that is required has been hard, but it has been worth it when I see the results. Sometimes you must really watch the moments in business and life, then Allow things to develop before you rush into them.
  • Making Adjustments – Its an old saying in the military that once the bullets start flying the best laid plans fall apart. With that, I have learned to be prepared and able to make quick adjustments as market conditions dictates. Triton has been around for over a decade servicing our clients in a variety of ways and when adjustments are required, I am always flexible enough to move and lead with market conditions.
As a business professional whose education and career is derived from a foundation of economics and finance, what guidance do you have for small business owners to navigate the present economic uncertainty?

Read, Listen, and be Prepared to act when the right opportunity comes. We have a lot of headwinds in the current market - many known and many more not yet realized. So, I say to the small business owners, new and well-seasoned, know your market and hone your abilities because these are the times Millionaires are made! 

Process enhancement is to organizations as self-development is to individuals. Ultimately people create and improve processes. How do you engage in self-development compared to when you were in your 20s', 30's,...? 

My father was a businessman and I use to watch him when I was younger go out and talk to everyone no matter who they were. He would always ask them what was going on in the area where they lived, what they thought about different things that were happening, etc. I was often embarrassed by him asking these people he would meet at the store , in parking lots getting in their cars, places we would be at eating lunch, etc., many he did not know, all these direct questions. I thought the old man was as nosy as they came! Today, as I am let’s say, have become a more Seasoned man with age, I find myself out doing the same thing, asking people many of those same familiar questions. Now, as an “Educated Man” LOL, we call it market research and it has worked out well. My father, who had a 8th grade education, may not have called it market research, but the old man taught me a lot. With that said, I read all type of business and motivational material, listen to experts in the field, and get into the market to see what’s really happening. 

Are there certain schools of thought that you've abandoned and embraced along your personal journey?

I honestly believe that we all have a purpose in life. Just that most people spend their lives not following and listening to that inner voice that tells them to turn in a certain direction, which would take them down the road where that purpose lies. That most people ignore that voice for so long it fades into a whisper. Sometimes, all it takes is for a person to sit with themselves, in a quiet space for a while and focus - that voice will once again become loud and clear. At my age, I realize that my purpose and that voice have always been with me. It’s up to Me to Listen and Act! 

La Mancha, life isn't perfect. How do you cope when you're having a bad day? How would your wife describe you on a bad day.

Over the years I have found a love for Jazz. It is the one thing that when I am having a very uncomfortable day, calms me in a way that nothing else does. I realize that yelling, worrying, and pushing up against a wall that is not going to move does not help in any way. So, I step back from whatever is causing the uncomfortable moment, get my Jazz going and clear my head. Always remembering Life is going to happen no matter what!
​As for my wife, she would agree with everything I said, after adding that its that time before I put on the Jazz when I am walking around mad, upset, trying to right the ship that she has spent years teaching me to stop, take a breath and just put on some Jazz. 

What is the biggest surprise you've encountered during your entrepreneurial career? This can be someone, something or an event which reaffirmed your faith in humanity.

That at the end of the day no matter what, most people are just trying to figure out life, business, and their place in this world. They do not mean any real harm to you and when events happen a lot of times its out of their control. Given the time and the resources I genuinely believe that people are good and will try to do the right thing. 

What advice do you have for impending entrepreneurs hosting great ideas yet they defer execution due to their fear of failure?

I had this economic teacher who had a plaque on her desk that to this day has an impact on the way I think. It simply said, “Control Your Destiny or Someone Else Will”. When I am feeling uncomfortable about something, fearful that things are not going my way, or I should have gotten on another path, I remember that plaque. People always ask me “What was my biggest fear about being an Entrepreneur?” My answer is I never gave failure as an Entrepreneur a thought! I have always been more afraid of making 6 figures, having a family, kids in college, mortgage, car payments, a host of other bills and a Boss come into my office, after I worked somewhere for 10, 15 or 25 years, to tell me I am no longer needed. In one moment, one person changing everything about my life and how my family would live. To me that was real Fear and a driving factor for me to become an Entrepreneur.

Why do people fear failure so much?

People fear the unknown and we have been taught that being an Entrepreneur carries an enormous amount of risk. I am not going to sit here and lie; it does carry a lot of risk, but the rewards are so much greater. Each person must decide if they can stomach the Risk over Security and Safety that those first few years will take to become a successful Entrepreneur. If you genuinely want to live like only a few people can, you have to be willing to do what only a few people are willing to do. What you think is scary, after you take that risk, you will realize was the exciting part!

What are the latest projects that you're working on right now?

My team and I are working with a few Builders who are planning to develop and build two new large subdivisions. 

What has been your greatest accomplishment within the past 12 months?

​Getting the company back to its roots. Triton Started off working in the Real Estate space, Sourcing and Lending Capital, Building Houses, Consulting with Real Estate Investors and Builders in all things Real Estate. Over the last 12 mos. we have gotten back to that as the main mission of the company and I think everyone on my team is happier for that. 

You've authored "Franchise Secrets to Building Wealth: Entrepreneur Guide to Success". What are some concerns within the franchising industry that deter people from investing their resources? 

Thinking that the cost to entry is a lot more than it truly is to purchase the franchise. Not knowing how to raise the money required to get everything set up and how much money is going to be needed to conduct the franchise operations that first year. 

Do you believe this industry is misunderstood among audiences?

Yes, most people still do not fully understand what it takes to become a Franchise owner, the benefits as well as the pitfalls in the industry. Like many other industries there are sharks in the water, and you need to truly do good due diligence, or you can and will loss your life savings. It’s a great business model because with the right Franchise a lot of the initial risks are eliminated, and the franchisee has a good structure and support system. 

If you had to create a 'reflection table' which comprised of four personalities that can assist your personal and professional development, who would you invite and why?

I would have to invite the following people:
  • Steve Jobs – His ability to fail and not give up and stay focused, knowing that his vision is something that the world needed and has changed the world. To have the ear of that type of person would be life changing. Over the years I have read most of everything he has written.
  • Miles Davis – Mr. Davis was a man who carried his love of music and creativity in him and he knew exactly how to share it with the world. His ability to create and recreate his music and follow his mind and passion is something from which we all could learn. I listen to his music daily and have watched many of his interviews over the years.
  • Bob Rankin – This is a man that changed my life. He was the Skipper of a Ship that I had the pleasure to serve onboard many years ago. He gave me the courage to stand up for myself and honestly believe in my abilities and how to listen to that inner voice which leads us all. Great Skipper, Great Man, Great Adviser, Great Counsel. I have no other words, but a big part of who I am today is because of that man. 
  • Shirley – She is not known by anyone who really knows me except my wife. She was our first Real Estate Agent. She showed me how real estate really works and how to get inside of the clients’ head in order to deliver the right type of product to the right client. I never got a chance to thank her for her insight and patience working with me. 
  • Mr. Endell Sims – I know you said 4 but I must give my father some credit as well. I never said earlier what type of business my father was involved in. The business I watched him for years try his best to build into something great. He was a Real Estate General Contractor by day and worked at the airport at night. Seeing him take a wooded lot and turn it into a house that people would buy to live in and love was amazing. Without me watching and learning from him, I would not be doing what I am doing today! So, I know the old man is somewhere smiling and saying I told you so. Because he is the one that said this would be the life for me one day. I used to love going to the work sites with him in the summer! ​
I hope everyone out there realizes their dreams and even if they do not reach their goals, the excitement and fun of just trying, trust me, will mean a lot in the long run! Thank you for allowing me to share my journey with all of you.

Please share with audiences with how they can support your work.

Business website:
Following me on Twitter: @LaManchaSims

August 11, 2020

Meet Barbara Lockhart, Author of Elizabeth's Field

Credit: Barbara Lockhart
As a mother and teacher, how did you embark upon the opportunity to publish several of your books among competing priorities? Have you been an author since a young age?

As a mother of three without a degree, I had a long way to go from the first scribblings of poems and thoughts that I never showed anyone. When I finally did get through college at the age of 36 and began teaching, I started work for my first book written for parents and children on the best in children’s literature and language development. The children called the books their homework, and with great cooperation from parents, the program went very well. It was implemented nationwide and later bought up by Houghton Mifflin. Two of my children’s books were written while I was teaching and the language and ideas came easily. I was fortunate that my daughter, Lynne, illustrated the first two books, and we found a publisher and got launched.

As an award winning author of several pieces of published work, what lessons did you acquire in the process of writing children's books? Are there any differences in how you approach writing a children's book versus producing a literary piece for an adult audience? 

While teaching, I would test out a book by reading the manuscript to the children and they were quick to add ideas, like “That story needs a dog.” --one of my favorite suggestions. That kindergartener was so right. Of course writing for adults is a whole different matter. For children’s books, I am always thinking about the audience and about teaching. Writing for adults, I don’t consider the audience. It’s really all about the emotional content (not sentimental please) or the poetic prose or the development of scene. What you write may be subtle or abstract or succinct—but whatever you put before the reader he/she may have to bring their own experience and understanding to the fore. While for children, the literature may be part of their education and language growth, for adults it may, or hopefully, as Franz Kafka said, break “the frozen sea within us.”

Your book Elizabeth's Field is about a free black woman who owns five acres of land in the part of Maryland where Harriet Tubman was born. The story focuses on Elizabeth and her loved ones facing challenges as she co-exists among the enslaved population facing unrest. As a New York city native, how were you introduced you to these five acres of land on the Eastern Shore of Maryland? 

Elizabeth in Elizabeth’s Field owned all of 22 acres. On the deed to my farm, she was labeled as a “free negress.” That sparked my imagination. How did she, a single black woman, acquire the farm in 1852 and lose it in 1857? I never thought I would be writing a historical novel about African American history pre-Civil War, but having moved from the city to a rural area in Dorchester County Maryland 45 years ago, my eyes were opened as to the real life education that had been missing from my education in suburban New York. Once I began digging into the figurative soil of a heretofore rather silent history, I couldn’t stop. I researched for 9 years. 

Elizabeth's Field is made available before audiences by Secant Publishing. What guidance do you have for new authors shopping around for publishers? Does this guidance differ for seasoned writers?

There’s always a combination of good and bad luck involved. After sending out the manuscript for Elizabeth’s Field for 2 years, I couldn’t find a publisher. One editor said it was too regional a book, a fact that really hit home when the book, published by Creative Space, won a silver medal for best in regional historical fiction. As the book was well received, Ron Sauder of Secant Publishing, became interested in re-releasing it.

Which character from Elizabeth's Field was the most challenging to develop while writing the book? Why?

All the characters came easily as I did my research. The person who helped give me voice was Mary Taylor, friend and neighbor, who so generously gave me her oral history. My association with her, and the fact that her life was not much better than Elizabeth’s although she worked the same fields 150 years later, taught me history that was no longer on the periphery, but very real. I know the field, and the land, and the surrounding towns, and while the history awakened me, it was Mary’s voice that taught me, and it was Mary who became Mattie, one of the main characters.

A few of your works have been published by TideWater Publishers, Schiffer and Secant Publishing to name a few. As an award winning writer, what inspired you to self publish on Amazon Create Space? 
Did your self publishing experience match your expectations? 
What did you learn about the self publishing market space?

Creative Space did a good job as far as the physical appearance of the book is concerned, but the responsibility of marketing was a learning experience. My first novel, Requiem for a Summer Cottage, was published by SMU Press where the editor, Kathryn Lang helped me make the book the best it could be and SMU did the marketing, too. Those were the days. The publishing industry is a far different matter now. Editors: Hang in there! You are much needed! Especially when anyone with a few dollars can publish and the market is flooded.

You've credited Chris Noel of Vermont College as your mentor. What has Chris taught you about yourself as a person? How have those discoveries groomed you to become a better writer along your journey?

Chris Noel and Walter Wetherell were my mentors at Vermont College where I earned my MFA. Both exceptional writers in their own right, they each gave me the courage to move forward on a vague dream. We can’t teach you how to write, was the philosophy at Vermont, we can only tell you what is good and what needs more work. The encouragement I received from both mentors had me thinking, “I am a writer and I have something to say.” It was Chris who gave me the quote that I’ve always loved, “In my doubt I go on believing.”

As a mother, what have you taught your children about the art of writing? Do you believe writers are born or are they created?

My offspring are in their own creative worlds, one as a full time artist, one as a sculptor and one as a musician. I’ve watched them strive and grow over the years. We have each had our own paths to follow. I think creativity comes from a way of thinking, an inborn proclivity to try to reach perfection that of course is never achieved, but the journey, the struggle itself is the real teacher. Encouragement and circumstances can open the door, but that’s only the beginning. The rest is an internal whisper that no one can really teach.

What is the best constructive guidance you've received from an editor? What recommendation do you have for writers that struggle with acknowledging constructive feedback?

Kathryn Lang at SMU Press said, when I sent her the manuscript for Requiem, “I don’t want to know the facts so much, but I want to know how it felt.” The emotional growth and understanding of a character goes way beyond anything else. It connects us to each other. It is the struggle that names our humanity.

For constructive feedback, find people who have you in their heart, will read against you, and who will be honest. I’m not good at giving advice, but listen respectfully, try out the idea, and think for yourself. Ultimately, you decide. It’s never as easy as “That story needs a dog!” but after a while, you’ll know darn well what has to be deleted, revised, or kept.

How do you relax when you're not writing? Writers are often thinkers. Thinking about life, thinking about their next prospective projects. Are you planning to release any new literary pieces in the near future?

I think about writing nearly all the time, so that by the time I get to the blank page or empty screen I can get started. There’s nothing worse than staring at a blank screen. Doing something – dishes, gardening, walking – things that don’t need a lot of my attention, things that don’t require a lot of distractive thinking. That would be my advice before the pandemic, but societal circumstances seem to loom over everything now. I have new work planned and research begun. We’ll see. I don’t talk about new work much. I find that if it’s said, it doesn’t get written.

Please share with audiences how they can support your work. 

I post blogs regularly. Visitors can find my blog at

People can follow me on Facebook at @barbaralockhartauthor.

Links to where my books can be purchased are found on my website at:

My books are available on Amazon: 

The following online retailers also carry my books:

An Audiobook of The Night is Young is also available here: 

August 08, 2020

Meet Haley Kilgour, Author of Nanagin

Sasha welcomes author Haley Kilgour to discuss her latest book "Nanagin".

Credit: Moving Mountains with Sasha
Guest: Haley Kilgour

Credit: Nanagin, Author H.C. Kilgour

August 04, 2020

Meet Casey Bell, Author & Fashion Designer

Credit: Casey Bell
Hi Casey! Nice to meet you. Please introduce yourself and share with the audiences how you evolved into becoming a well respected author. Did you know writing was your gift since childhood?

Thank you. I am a writer of books, plays, films, poems and songs. I have been writing since the age of six and never stopped writing. I always wrote for the fun of it and to share insight, stories, and ideas. I did not realize until after college that I was a “writer.” Definitely after doing a play reading of a play I wrote in 2008, after the reaction of the audience, and positive feedback, I knew then I was a “writer.”

You've authored at least 32 pieces of work from children's books to plays. Does life imitate art, or does art imitate life in your professional endeavors? 
Every piece of work has its own story. Most of my books, plays have a piece of me or someone I know. None of my writings are completely based on my life (except my memoir), but there is always some truth to everything I write. I would say that most of everything I write is 20% non-fiction, 30% exaggerated non-fiction, and 50% fiction.

In your book "Cry", you're able to infuse comedy into drama. As an author, how are you able to sensibly strike a balance with integrating comedy in such works without compromising the integrity of the story remaining drama? What advice do you have for new authors trying to merge such two genres into a respectable piece of work like "Cry"?
As weird as it sounds all of my drama pieces start out as comedy. As much as I enjoy silly comedy, I realize in this world the way it is, we need more meaningful entertainment with a lasting message that will cause change. So, once I start a comedy piece, I always ask myself what is the purpose or message of this work. Once I do that the drama just writes itself. I can’t say I have any advice for authors. I believe either you have that gift to do both or you don’t. And if you don’t then stick with your unique gift.

What were the critical lessons you learned as an author following the release of your first book? In hindsight, how have you grown as a person given you've penned multiple genres of work over the past fifteen years?
The first lesson I learned was invest money on an editor. No matter how many times you edit your own work, there will always be something you miss. Also, I learned to educate myself on marketing and advertising. As much as you think everyone you know is going to support you, at the end of the day, if you are selling what they don’t want, it doesn’t matter how much they love you, they will not support. I had to find my audience, my customers, the readers, and market it to them. I also learned it takes bravery to be unique. Every professional wants you to be a carbon copy and wants you to fit in a template, but you have to learn to say true to your fingerprints. I’ve learned to be as unique as my fingerprints. I have grown in a sense that I am now proactive in getting my messages out there as opposed in the beginning waiting for someone to find me.

What was the best piece of writing guidance you received when embarking upon your career?
Is the latter advice still relevant today?
Get an editor. Yes, it still is.

Which genres of writing do you find to be more challenging? Why so? Is there a particular piece of your writings that you hold dear because it demanded you to grow in the process of writing?
Children’s books are always challenging for me because I have to find ways to write simply so it can be understood, which is not always easy when you are used to writing for adults. It is also challenging because I illustrate my own books, which is not always fun. The piece I hold dear is “Essays From Dysfunctional Families: Literary Betrayal,” because it is a unique book and the first of its kind (I think). It is two books in one. The first book, “Essays From Dysfunctional Families,” is a fictional book written by a fictional author, Dean K. Brent. The fictional book is ten essays from Americans discussing their dysfunctional childhoods. The fictional author, Dean K. Brent, used his family and friends’ real-life stories to write the book. The second half of the book, “Literary Betrayal,” is the author’s family and friends’ negative reaction to his book. I actually had difficulty copywriting it, because the US Copywrite Office thought Dean K. Brent was a real person and wanted to know if I had his permission to copyright the book.

In your latest work, "To College or Not to College", what inspired you to write about a dilemma that is more relevant today as parents and students contemplate the significance of secondary education? Please share a valuable insight from this piece of work.
After college I was frustrated that high school did not prepare for college. I thought that there were some vital information school should have taught prior to me going. So, I decided to write a book sharing my mistakes. In writing the book I realized college is not for everyone (not to mention college didn’t always exist), so I decided to write a second section sharing information for those who don’t want to go to college. Two insights I will share one from each section. (First section: To College) In research I found out that there are seven tuition-free colleges in USA. You either pay very little or you pay nothing. Most parents or students do not know that. In the second section: Not to College, I share about Continuing/Adult Education. Most high schools, Vo-techs, and colleges offer classes during the evening for certain professions. They basically teach the same things as college and offer certificate programs in areas such as medical, auto mechanics, computer tech, and many more. The classes are less expensive and take less time to complete and you are able to work in the same fields as your college counterparts.

You're also a fashion designer. How do you describe your day to day fashion sense? What inspired you to infuse your creativity through the means of fashion? In your opinion, is it easier to design or write?

The fashion designer was not planned. I never intended it. I was my church’s graphic designer for a long time. I created the flyers, brochures, business cards, etc. In 2007 I decided to use those skills to open an online store where I created shirts, bumper stickers, trucker hats, and other items as such. In 2010 I believe it was I decided to use my graphic design skills to create art, like the one’s painters create. Somehow someone found my artwork and asked me to join their online store and create designs for women clothing. I originally thought, no, but I then realized it was an opportunity, so I went ahead and opened my own page. For me it is easier and more fun (sorry writing) to design.

Are there any parallels that resonate with being a fashion designer as well as a storyteller before the audiences?
The only thing that is similar is I sometimes am influenced or inspired to create (either writing or designing) through watching or experiencing life (people).

Are there specific writers and mentors that you admire in your life? What have they taught you through living their best life?

After finding out Maya Angelo was a professional dancer before she was an author, it taught me I do not have to stick to one gift. I can, indeed, share them all, when I see fit.

Please share with audiences with how they can support you and your work.

All my books, plays, art, fashion, and social media can be found on one website:

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