Southern Horror Stories – New Release!

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HORRORJust in time for Halloween, I decided to release a short story collection of Southern Horror Stories!

Here’s what it’s about:

The mistreatment of slaves has caused the captives to fight back. Tired of the mistreatment, the slaves want revenge and blood. Follow six separate stories of betrayal, violence, bloodshed and revenge. These short stories show what can happen when people have been pushed to their limits. In Barren Plantation find out why we use the word barren for people who cannot have children.  Caleb’s Stitches shows how to turn the tables on a mad scientist. Climb inside the Mind of Hope if you think you can survive the insanity. Read about a spooky way station for escaped slaves in The Underground Hell Road. Pirates of Slavery is a bloody story of revolt, while Slave Island will lure you to a dangerous island that you can never leave.

Disclaimer: Not suitable for young children. Contains violence, sexual content and paranormal activity.

 

My Southern Horror Short Stories Collection is now available as an e-book on Amazon for $0.99. Click Here to get your copy. It is a 6 story collection of fictitious slave stories. You can read excerpts of Barren Plantation and Mind of Hope by clicking on the highlighted titles below:

Story 1: Barren Plantation

Story 2: Caleb’s Stitches

Story 3: Mind of Hope

Story 4: Underground HellRoad

Story 5: Pirates of Slavery

Story 6: Slave Island

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Chasing Day – A New Series by Author Twyla Turner

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©Author Twyla Turner used with permission

©Author Twyla Turner used with permission

This past week I received an email from one of my favorite romance authors as a part of her mailing list. It contained an offer to receive an Advanced Reader’s Copy of her upcoming series “Chasing Day” in exchange for an honest review. Needless to say I jumped at the chance to get my hands on the latest Twyla Turner creation! Being a self published author I know how important it is to have readers write reviews of your work and I was happy to be able to assist Twyla. Being able to read the series before the general public was the icing on the cake.

After I got over my excitement, I settled down in my favorite chair with my Kindle App and dug in. I read with vigor, curious to find out what was going to happen next with the main characters, Chase McCoy and Daylen Daniels. The story takes place over a 30 year period as the readers watch the best friends, who meet on the school bus when they are in the fifth and fourth grades respectively. That’s where Chase learns a valuable lesson that “external beauty didn’t always match what was on the inside.”  The story is captivating as the two young people who are total opposites bond for a lifetime of love, heart aches, triumphs and downfalls, finally to find their happily ever afters.

Twyla has once again written characters that make the readers fall in love with them. I was taken in by the story and refused to relinquish it until I had milked every drop. I felt like I knew Chase and Day personally and wanted nothing more than to see them beat the odds. Who knew the story of a football jock and a band geek could garner such emotions? A myriad of emotions coursed through my veins as I read about these two wonderfully flawed people.  I was angry at the mean girls, I laughed at the class clown, I cried during the heartbreaks and smiled wide during the triumphs. The story ended just as it should have, but not before taking my feelings on a roller coaster ride.  Thank you Twyla for making my blood pressure go up! Lol

Now let’s get down to brass tax. This is an erotic romance series and there were several steamy scenes to warm your, well you know what it warms… The author shows us a caring and loving scene where Chase and Day lose their virginity to each other. It was done in a very tasteful manner and I was amazed at how attentive Chase was instinctively, especially for a teenage boy full of hormones. I must admit I was not enthused when the main characters were with other people. That had nothing to do with the writing; it was the romantic in me who was rooting for the BFFs to get back together.   I loved how Day transpired from a shy, timid girl into a confident, sexual woman.  I also like the fact that Chase did not enjoy sex with the so called “Pretty Girl” who was frigid and unresponsive, the total opposite of Day. I understand they had to experience someone other than each other to know what they lost, but I don’t have to like it.

©Author Twyla Turner used with permission

©Author Twyla Turner used with permission

If you are in the market for a great love story with life lessons and some hot sex mixed in, please do yourself a favor and pick up the “Chasing Day” Series by Twyla Turner set for release on November 20, 2015!(Pre-order Available Now) If you just can’t wait until then, feel free to read one of her other wonderful books that you can purchase on Amazon! Check out my interview with Twyla on her “Damaged Souls” Series Here.

Couch Convos with Lisa W. Tetting, featuring Author Cat Meyers

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Welcome to another edition of Couch Convos with your girl, Lisa W. Tetting. Today we’re chillin’ with new author Cat Meyers about her compelling novel “Boy Toy”.  Cat is a very busy lady who writes and teaches; and as if that wasn’t enough, she’s also a lawyer. Let’s find out more about this fascinating young lady and her book.

Part I

© Cat Meyers used with permission

© Cat Meyers used with permission

LWT: Welcome to Couch Convos, Cat! Let’s get started. You make a living as an Assistant Professor at Temple University and you are also an Attorney. How did you find your way into the world of writing?

CM: Actually, writing found its way to me before I started practicing law or teaching.  I had been in school for nearly the first 30 years of my life (including undergrad, grad school and law school); so I’ve written a ton of academic papers.  And I hated it.  My professors would complement my writing skills, but for me writing was just a means to an end.  I got no joy from it.  It wasn’t until my final year of law school that I wrote my first work of fiction.  I had this story idea and I was so intrigued by it that I had to write it down.  I noticed that whenever I felt bored or restless I started writing.  I found such joy in creating new worlds and developing characters, that I was hooked. 

LWT: Wow, you have spent a major portion of your life as a student, so tell us how long have you been teaching?

CM: I had been teaching on a part-time basis for about seven years, while working full-time in the private sector for a law firm in Philadelphia.  I really loved teaching, so last year, I was blessed with the opportunity to teach full-time and I jumped at the chance.

LWT: That is a blessing. What type of courses do you teach at the university?

CM: I was hired to teach a writing intensive course called Planned Change & Criminal Justice.  The university wanted to put more of an emphasis on improving students’ writing skills.  I also teach Intro to Criminal Law, Courts & Criminal Justice, and Psychology & Criminal Justice.  This fall, I’ll be teaching a new course for me called, Criminal Behavior.

LWT: As a professor in Criminal Justice, do you plan to write a crime thriller in the future?

I have some adult romance, YA, even a sci-fi in my treasure chest of future books.  And I actually do have a crime thriller in the works, which I have written the notes for.  I’m just waiting for when the time is right to sit down and write it.

LWT: If they are as good as “Boy Toy”, I can’t wait. On your website, you share an interesting story about finding some books in a box. Can you please share that story with the readers?

CM: It was during the summer before my final year of law school.  I had never been a big fan of writing, but I had this story idea that I was intrigued by, so I wrote it down.  I enjoyed the process so much, I kept revisiting that story.  When the summer ended and school resumed, I put the writing aside and really didn’t think much about it after that.  However, when winter break began, I found myself with the same urge to write.  I found it so strange because more writing was definitely not how I planned to spend my break from school.  Finally, one night when I was saying my prayers, I said:  “Lord, every time I’m feeling restless I get the urge to write.  What’s up with that?”  He didn’t answer me at the time and I went on to sleep.  The next day, when I came home, I saw this box in the lobby of my apartment building.  Whenever people moved out of the building they often left unwanted items by the elevator for someone else to take.  I like free stuff, so I usually stop to take a look to see if there’s anything I can use.  This time was no different.  I saw this shoe box that had some books in it.  Upon closer inspection, I saw that the box had a message written on it:  “To someone who will give these a good home.”  Inside was a box of writing books:  How to Write Mysteries, How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy, How to Write Romance; How to Write Christian Fiction and How to Write Action and Adventure.  I thought:  Surely God left these here for me.  I scooped up that box and never looked back!

LWT: I am a believer in signs and that sounds like a major one. Your book “Boy Toy” focuses on an abused teenage girl who is placed in the foster system. How did you use your experience as a former social worker to write your book?

CM: I drew upon my experience as a social worker to discuss the procedural stuff, i.e. the mechanical inner-workings of the foster care system in Pennsylvania.  I also called upon my experience to talk about the dynamics of the relationships between the foster parent, foster child and natural parent.  Foster parents often express frustration that all they want to do is provide a good home for the child, and sometimes find themselves in the role of the bad guy in the eyes of the foster child.  “I’m not the one who abused her or abandoned her, why does she take it all out on me?” was a common concern they would raise.  Natural parents sometimes feel hostility toward the foster parent because they feel like the foster parent is trying to take their place; and guilt because the foster parent has been able to do what that natural parent has not been able to do, so far—take care of their child.  Finally, even if the natural parent has abused or neglected the foster child, that child often feels a loyalty toward their natural parent.  Many long to live with their natural family even if they know it is not a safe environment for them.  They also experience guilt if they come to love their foster family because they feel like they are betraying their natural family.  So there is a lot of tension and conflict in these relationships, some of which I’ve tried to portray in the book.

LWT: I believe you did just that. When your protagonist is in turmoil, she learns to turn to God for help. What prompted you to make this her path instead of turning to drugs or something worse?

CM: As a survivor myself, I could only write about what I know has helped me.  I’ve been in that place of such emotional pain and thought:  “Man, I could see why people get hooked on drugs.”  It would be so easy to take something, a pill or inject something and just be able to escape.  Leave that pain behind me.  But I also knew that when the drug wore off the problem would still be there—as well as some new ones on top of that, due to the drugs.  I just figured it’s better to face it head on and deal with it.  The amazing thing about God is, once I surrendered that pain to Him, He was able to replace it with His peace.  The Bible calls it “Peace that surpasses all understanding.”  Having peace, when by all rights, you should be on the verge of losing your mind. 

LWT: That’s very deep. Please explain what you mean when you say “Boy Toy” is your love letter to girls and women who got off to a rough start in life?

CM: I think for those of us who’ve experience rape or other forms of abuse, or were abandoned by one or both parents, or experienced some other setbacks early in life, it is not uncommon to come to the conclusion “I am not loved, not valued.  That there must be something wrong with me, otherwise my father wouldn’t have left; or God wouldn’t have let me be abused…”  Even if we don’t think it consciously, it may be a belief that operates on our subconscious.  Whether it is a conscious or subconscious belief, it can have a tremendous impact on our lives, influencing our choices, our sense of self-worth, relationship decisions, career choices, even the choice to engage in high-risk behaviors, and other things that can have lasting consequences.  I found many of the girls I’ve known through my social work days or personally, struggle with the concept that they are loved, valued and therefore, entitled to the best that life has to offer.  I feel like God put this story in my heart to remind me, and others like me, that we are loved.  We are not damaged goods.  In fact, He has loaded us with all kinds of gifts and abilities, as well as a tremendous capacity to love and be loved.  We are not forgotten or invisible.  In fact God has great plans for each of us.  All we have to do is believe it

LWT: Being a survivor of sexual abuse, why is it so important for survivors to not be labeled as having a ruined life?

CM: Imagine if I were to come to your house for a dinner party, and brought along a beautiful chocolate cake.  Except, just before I handed it to you I said, “I should warn you, it’s been ruined,” what would you do?  How likely are you to set it on the table, and serve it to your guests?  Would you be more likely to tuck it away in the kitchen to keep it away from your guest,s and then throw it in the trash after everyone goes home?  Perhaps you would be adventurous, and take a chance on the cake.  You taste it, and discover that it’s not ruined after all.  It was actually very good, and you were so glad that you gave it a chance.  It was the label “ruined” that told you everything you needed to know about that cake; and therefore, how you would treat that cake.  The same happens when we deal with people.  When you hear the words “her life is ruined” or “she’s damaged goods” how do we respond?  What are our expectations for that person?  Even worse, what are that person’s expectations for herself?  If she thinks her life is ruined is she going to set her standards high?  Is she going to dream big?  Is she going to believe she deserves to be loved, and in loving relationships?  It all comes down to our perception.  Keep in mind the content of that cake did not change.  It was what it was when I gave it to you.  The label said “ruined” so either it was perceived as ruined, and set aside to be thrown away later or someone said, “I don’t care what the label says, I want to give it a chance anyway”; only to find it was the best cake ever.  Sadly, when it comes to people most of us are not that adventurous, and could be missing out on something really special.

LWT: That is the best analogy I have ever heard for this situation. Now, in “Boy Toy”, Toya goes through several different stages of emotions. Explain why it was necessary for you to show this range of emotions?

CM: I really wanted to take the reader on a journey.  Toya was a complex person with complex issues.  As a child in foster care, due to sexual abuse, she was not just dealing with the trauma of sexual abuse.  She was also dealing with abandonment, separation from her family, the stress of moving from foster home to foster home, on top of all of the normal pressures, and changes that come with adolescence—the transition from girl to womanhood (school, sexuality, relationships, career decisions, etc.).  As women, we’ve all had to go through this transitional phase—and most of us had our own additional stressors on top of it (even if it wasn’t abuse).  I think it’s something we can all relate to in some way.  That’s why, I believe, many of the adult women who have read this book have also been able to connect with it.

LWT: There was a definite connection for me. Tell us, what does the butterfly leaving a cocoon symbolize for Toya?

CM: Toward the end of the story, Toya says that she would never get a tattoo, but if she did get one, it would be the image of a butterfly leaving a cocoon.  That is how she saw herself.  For so long in her in young life, she felt shrouded by the weight of her past, which masked who she really was—it even masked who she really was from herself.  Now, with the help of her new family and friends, with God’s help, she was finally starting to emerge from all of that darkness from her past—her cocoon.  Like a butterfly, she was finally starting to blossom into her full beauty.  The beauty of her personality, her gifts and talents, and the bright future ahead of her.  It was undeniable.  Everyone could see it, even Toya.

 

LWT: Your Pinterest page is very inspiring. What prompted you to make it like a scrapbook for “Boy Toy”?

CM: I was in the process of setting up my website and went online searching for ideas for things to include in my website.  I came across this article:  “Yes, Fiction Writer Can Develop Awesome Online Platforms, Too” by Lorena Knapp on the website, The Write Life.  The article includes a ton of creative ways fiction writers are growing their readership.  As an example, it pointed to fantasy author Justine Musk, who makes use of Pinterest as a “planning tool for her next novel.”  Since I am a Pinterest junkie, I took a look at it and loved it.  For a future book it can be helpful to generate images of things that you want to write about, which helps develop your idea and gives further inspiration.  Then after the novel is finished, readers can look at those images on Pinterest and see what the writer envisioned or was inspired by.  For example, Boy Toy, there’s a scene where Toya had bought a very sentimental gift for her mother, completely forgetting that her mother didn’t have a sentimental bone in her body.  So she had to scramble to find a gift that really spoke to her mother in her native language:  MONEY.  Toya took her savings and gave the money to her best friend Dwayne to find the perfect gift.  He came back with an expensive pair of thigh-high, stiletto, black, leather boots.  Toya called them “hooker boots,” but her mother adored them.  In searching for the boots on Pinterest, I was blown away by the variety of thigh-high leather boots out there:  from the conservative to the out-of-control.  In re-reading that portion of the book, it added a whole new level of imagery to my mind as I read about those boots and I hope it does the same for readers too.

LWT: Well your page definitely inspired me to update my Pinterest Page, and I have found it helpful when developing my stories, as well. Why did you name your blog “My Front Porch”?

CM: I had never blogged before, and I was struggling to think of what I would blog about.  I thought about the things I enjoy writing about in general, and realized I enjoy writing about being a woman.  No offense to men, but I love being a woman!  And I think there is so much we can learn from each other.  I think some of the best times for me, as a woman, is sitting down on the porch with a hot cup of tea on a cool, fall afternoon; or cool glass of lemonade on a hot summer’s evening, and just talking.  Talking about everything from hair care to heartache, and everything in between.  It’s where we let our guards down and connect with each other on the common ground of womanhood.  I hope that people of all ages will come and share their own wisdom on my blog.

LWT: That is a nice way of looking at life and I think we need to do more sitting on the porch and talking to each other. In your bio you mention your goal is to visit as many beaches as you can. How many have you visited so far? Which ones?

© Cat Meyers used with permission

© Cat Meyers used with permission

Sadly, I’ve only been to 11 so far.  I grew up in South Jersey so I spend a lot of time on the beach in Wildwood.  I’ve also been to Stone Harbor, Long Branch and Ocean City.  I had an amazing time in Myrtle Beach.  In California, I lived right down the street from Venice beach, which I visited as often as I could.  But also spent many wonderful days on the beach in Santa Monica, Long Beach and Malibu (breathtaking).  Outside of the country, I’ve basked in the sun on the beaches of the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic and never wanted to leave either one.  So as you can see, I still have my work cut out for me.

Part II

LWT: Indeed, but that’s the fun of it all. Let’s switch gears a little and focus on the business side of writing. Not only do you write books, you write plays. How does the writing process differ?

CM: For me, the play-writing process is a little easier, though it does have its challenges.  For play-writing, I don’t have to be nearly as descriptive.  In fact, I really only provide enough detail to serve as a road map for the actors and production team (me) to follow.  I don’t want to provide too much detail because I want to leave room for the actors to interject their own creativity into the characters.  For fiction writing, you have to be much more descriptive.  The reader won’t have a stage to look at as the story unfolds.  The pages of the book become the stage, so I have to paint the scenery, design the costumes, and portray the characters expressions with my words.  The challenge then comes in not just describing but bringing the words to life.

 LWT: There is a bigger difference than I realized. Besides novels and plays, do you have plans to write any other genres? If so, which ones?

CM: I’ve written screenplays.  In fact, I moved to LA to sell my screenplay, and learn about how things work in “Hollywood.”.  I LOVE movies; and I love writing screenplays too.  I didn’t sell that screenplay—yet.  But I did write a couple of short films (which were produced by some very good friends who are actors).  I am confident that one day those screenplays will make it to the big screen.  I believe God gave me those stories for a reason.  And I’ll always treasure my years spent in LA.

LWT: That is very exciting. It is also a dream of mine to write a screenplay, sell it and see it come to life on the silver screen. Tell us, as an indie author, what has the publishing side of writing looked like for you?

CM: The publishing side of writing has been exciting.  As a creative person, all I really want to do is write.  I really don’t want to be dealing with marketing, copyrights and royalties.  Just let me write.  But the lawyer in me recognizes that this is a necessary part of the process.  I also like having some degree of control in the decision making that comes with being an Indie writer.  Having control over how my book will be marketed, priced, even the cover art, has been very empowering.  Thankfully, there are so many other Indie writers out there that are willing to share their resources and lessons learned, which has made this process much more doable.

LWT: I have also found some great authors willing to help. What challenges have you faced along the way?

The biggest challenge I faced as a writer has been perseverance.  When you write fiction, you put so much of your heart, soul and time into that book.  You spend hours crafting the perfect query letter and researching publishers and agents, and then just put it all out there.  Only to be rejected.  In many cases, you get the sense that the person didn’t even read your next great novel.  I say this not as a critique against agents and publishers:  their time is limited and there are a lot of manuscripts out there for them to review.  I say this to indicate that sending little bits of yourself out there and getting rejected can take its toll.  If writing were dating, there would be a whole lot of lonely, single writers out there.  Who could put up with all that rejection?  There was a time when I stopped trying.  I loved writing, so I was content to write and it didn’t matter to me if anyone ever read anything that I had written, just as long as I got the chance to create new worlds through my words.  Then I realized that I was just playing it safe and my God is too big for me to be playing it safe.  He wants us to be fearless, to trust Him and see what He can do with even just a little bit of our faith.  So I’m back to putting myself out there.  If I’m discouraged, I remind myself that it only takes one “yes” to change my whole world.  Just ask JK Rowlings or Theodor Seuss Geisel (author of the Dr. Seuss books) and other great writers on literaryrejections.com, to see how many famous authors went through the rejection phase before finally breaking through. 

LWT: I am glad you stuck with it. What was your editing process like?

After I finish writing, I put the book aside for a while:  a few days or weeks, depending on what else is going on in my life, then come back to it, and edit with a fresh set of eyes.  I didn’t have the budget to hire someone to do the editing, but I have been fortunate to have teachers, secretaries and other lawyers in my life, people that have good writing skills and attention to detail, who have volunteered to do some editing for me as well.  It doesn’t matter how many eyes have reviewed a piece, multiple times, mistakes do slip through the cracks.  It’s just a trick of the human brain that tries to help us out by fixing our mistakes for us in our minds instead of pointing them out to us.

LWT: Please give other indie writers 3 tips that you learned and used during this process?

CM: 1.  Let as much time a possible pass between each reread, so that the piece is as fresh and new to you as it possibly can be, and the mistakes will stand out.

 

  1. Read it in as many different mediums as possible. Not just on the computer screen, but also print out a hard copy for review.  Amazon also allows you to preview your book on an e-reader so you can see what it would look like on Kindle.  Just something so simple can give you new perspective and, again make errors stand out.

 

  1. If possible, invest the money in a professional editor. I know you can also find them on a site like Craigslist too, but be sure to check out their references and reviews. It can be a pricey, but very worthwhile expense, and if you don’t pick someone of who really knows what they’re doing, you might as well have saved your money and done it yourself.  So choose wisely.

LWT: I believe professional editing is worth the money and there are some reasonable ones out there. Share one unique thing you’ve done to market your book?

CM: I can’t say that I’ve done anything unique to market my book.  However, I’m constantly on the lookout for ideas of things I can try.  Like I said before, thankfully there are many writers out there who are willing to share their ideas, which has been a big help.

LWT: That is exactly why I started doing these interviews. I want indies to learn from each other. Tell the readers the one resource you can’t live without as a writer?

CM: Thesaurus.com.  Since we deal in words, it is a writer’s best friend.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been stuck for the perfect word to express an idea, just sitting there staring at the screen hoping the word will leap off the screen.  I go to Thesaurus.com and Eureka!  It’s there, the piece to the puzzle I had been looking for and I can get back into the flow.

LWT: That is a great tool. Name 3 writers who have influenced your writing style?

It’s hard to say what writers have influenced my writing style.  I can’t say that I consciously try to emulate anyone’s style in my writing.  I can say that I have read a lot of books and I have very eclectic taste in books:  I love YA, sci-fi, mysteries, fantasies, legal thrillers, historical fiction, Christian fiction, etc.  After reading this question, I went back to my Goodreads account to look back at some of my favorite authors who really stood out to me for their writing style.  For example, I love Dean Koontz, because of his pacing.  He is a very patient writer; and willing to take his time to allow the story to simmer and then come to a rolling boil.  I admire Mark Zusak (the Book Thief), because of his excellent use of language.  I find his writing to be imaginative and his ability to turn a phrase is very clever. Finally, I love Gillian Flynn and Karin Slaughter for the same reason.  They both have the unique ability to create protagonists that are so flawed that you’re not quite sure you can always root for them, but you are also so intrigued by them that you can’t put the book down.  In both authors’ books, I often find myself saying:  “Aw man!  I can’t believe she/he just did that!” and in the same breath I’ll say: “But hey that’s real.  That’s what people do.”  I love it!

LWT: That’s what makes a book a good read. What does success look like for you?

CM: Success for me, is sitting on the deck of my dream beach house with my true love, writing another book, inspired by the ocean, the sunset and the first stars appearing on the horizon.

LWT: That sounds like heaven, not success. Lol. What’s up next for Cat?

© Cat Meyers used with permission

© Cat Meyers used with permission

 

CM: I am currently process of re-writing my book, “Run Away Love”, which is the first book I ever wrote.  It is so deeply personal to me, that I never really thought about publishing it. Yet, I revisit it from time to time and it always speaks to me.  I’ve just recently come to the conclusion that if it speaks to me, maybe it will speak to someone else just as much. So I’ve decided to just put it out there.  I also have the crime thriller I mentioned earlier that I want to get started on. Finally, I have two plays to produce. I usually produce a play during the summer months, but I took off this summer to focus on my novel.  I’m looking forward to getting back into the theater next summer.

There you have it. Another episode of Couch Convos in the books. To find out more about Cat Meyers, please visit her author website and reach out to her on social media at the links below. To purchase her book, Boy Toy click the book cover below:Cat Meyers 5

Author Website – catmeyers.com

Twitter – catresameyers

Pinterest – Catresa007

#Author #Interview -Visible Confidence by Chantelle Anderson by @rebirthoflisa #lwtcouchconvos

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Welcome to another edition of Couch Convos with your girl, Lisa W. Tetting. Today we’re chillin’ with the one and only Chantelle Anderson. Miss Chantelle, as she is affectionately known, is a beautiful spirit who has found her way to Visible Confidence, and wants you to do the same. She is a former WNBA player, turned college coach, turned sales rep, who learned through trial and error how to harness the power of confidence you can see. In her debut book titled, Visible Confidence, Chantelle gives up the 7 steps she took to get there. 

 

Part I:

©Chantelle Anderson used with permission

©Chantelle Anderson used with permission

LWT: Welcome Chantelle and thank you for chatting with me today. Let’s start with basketball… I’m an avid Tennessee fan and I remember playing against Vandy during your stint. Let me just say, I was happy when you graduated. Lol. In your book you quote the legendary Pat Summitt, so you obviously have love for her. Why did you choose to go to Vanderbilt instead of crossing over to the Orange side of the state?

CA: Hi Lisa! And thank you for having me! Yes, I definitely have a ton of respect for Pat. It’s actually kind of a funny story. When I was coming out of high school, there were two schools in the top 25 that didn’t recruit me: Tennessee and Old Dominion. I didn’t care much about ODU, but I was kind of offended that Tennessee didn’t want me because, I mean, they were legendary. So when I went to Vanderbilt and had to play them a bunch, I promised myself that I was going to make Pat wish she had recruited me. Haha. I always wanted to show out against them. It all worked out in the end because Vanderbilt was a much better fit for me than Tennessee would have been.

 

LWT: And show out you did. I’m sure Pat asked her staff how they let you get away. Having such a great college career, as a 3-Time All-American, explain the feeling you had when your college jersey was retired?

CA: Man that was a great day! It was surreal. As I watched them unveil it, I couldn’t believe that was my name up there. It was a goal I set freshman year before I ever played a game and so to have it come true was really special.

 

LWT: I can only imagine how great that felt. After college, you went on to have a successful career as a professional player. What do you miss most about the WNBA

CA: I miss being part of those moments that feel bigger than life. And there’s no place in the “real world” where screaming and chest bumping after something good happens is ok, Lol. I miss that too.

 

LWT: I can just see that now, going into a sales meeting after a great forth quarter and chest bumping your co-workers while screaming in their faces. That might garner a visit to HR. LOL.  I’m not even sure if you are aware of this, but in 2011 therichest.com voted you to their Top 10 Sexiest WNBA Players of All Time. As an intelligent woman who empowers others, how does that make you feel? 

CA: Ha-ha. Someone pointed that out to me when it came out. I mean, I was flattered. I’ve always resisted being put in a box by people. I resist the idea that you can’t be sexy, smart, classy and empowering, all at the same time. These days I definitely play down the ability to be sexy though, just because it doesn’t really fit my platform. I never want my looks to distract from my words. But yeah, still flattered. 

 

LWT: I admire your platform and the way you carry yourself. Why is Women’s Empowerment important to you?

CA: Women’s empowerment is important because there are times in my life when I’ve felt powerless. I think those are unavoidable, but I also believe we can’t let them kill our spirit. My goal is to inspire and equip women to fight when they feel powerless too!

 

LWT: You came up with a plan that will help women with this issue. Explain the “Have it All Plan” to our readers.

CA: The “Have It All Plan” was something my sister, Kristin, and I came up with in High School. Instead of being one-dimensional people living one-dimensional lives, we decided we could be smart, pretty, successful in our careers, and have fulfilling relationships, all at the same time. It goes back to not allowing anyone – even ourselves – to limit us by putting us in a box. It’s something I’ve always tried to live by.

 

LWT: That is a great sentiment, especially for someone so young. What does your “Have it All Plan” look like?

CA: My “Have It All Plan” is constantly evolving. At the foundation is the ability to love God, be me, work hard, and have fun. And I want to be surrounded by people I love and who love me in return. Sounds simple, right? Ha-ha.

 

LWT: Exactly, now, when you were an Assistant Coach at Virginia Tech you had the honor of presenting during a TEDx event. Share with us what that process was like?

CA: It was awesome! They asked for submissions and then picked about 20 people from the 200 or so they received. I was honored to be part of a series I respect so much. After being chosen, we had several rehearsals where we got feedback from the group on how to make our talks better. I had a blast!

 

LWT: You looked like you had fun in the video. The crowd received you very well.  Please explain is the story behind the title of your blog, “Call Me Miss”?

CA: Honestly, the name is one of those things that God just dropped in my mind about 3 years ago. I was looking for something that conveyed respect, class and strength, and there it was! It made complete sense because my online persona is Miss Chantelle.

 LWT: Won’t He do it? Well. Miss Chantelle, can you speak on how Lisa Leslie  changed your outlook about yourself?

CA: Lisa was a role model for every tall, feminine athlete who wanted to stay true to themselves and still play ball. From the outside looking in, she embodied the “Have It All Plan.” She showed me I could be everything I wanted to be because she already was. It’s like giving someone permission to dream about something they feel has to exist, but have never seen before. 

 

LWT: That is a very powerful gift Ms. Leslie has shared with tall girls. Let’s switch gears for a minute and speak about someone as powerful, but not necessarily using her “power” for the “Greater Good”. Last year there was a little, shall I say, controversy on your blog over a Beyonce concert you wrote about. Spill the tea on why the Bey Hive came for you? 

CA: Lol. Uh yeah, about that… I posted a picture calling out “Christians” for worshiping Beyonce as she “repeatedly reps Satan in your face.” Lol. I often say things in a way that provokes feelings, either positive or negative, and that was an example of it. I got called all kinds of things. But if we’re being real, no one who has ever read the Bible and is being honest can say Beyonce represents God. And I hate to say it but there’s only one other side. There’s no third option. (I undoubtedly just pissed off some of your readers…).

 

LWT: You may have, but most of my readers are usually open- minded. I know your faith is very important to you. Can you tell us how you felt when you found out there was a church dedicated to worshiping Beyonce?

CA: It made me sad. We as people were made to worship God. That’s why it’s so natural for us to worship. Unfortunately we fill His spot with all kinds of other things, including people. Beyonce is amazingly talented but she didn’t create the universe. 

 

LWT: Amen to that. I attribute it to people having a hole somewhere inside that needs filling, and they are misguided. Some turn to violence, others turn to worshiping deities and then you have those who turn to violence and bickering. On your blog you touch on this a little, please tell the readers your opinion about young girls fighting via social media.

CA: I wrote that blog after watching two girls fight over a guy on twitter. It’s just messy. If you have to tell another girl to stay away from your “man” on social media, you have a problem. Never deal with her when you really have a problem with him.

 

LWT: That is a great segway into your book. Explain to the readers what Visible Confidence is?

CA: Visible Confidence is the kind of confidence that everyone can see, and that doesn’t come off with anything you can take off. Visible Confidence is also the title of my first eBook! On social media I often talk about how I used to be super shy and self-conscious. One day someone asked me how I got over my issues, so I wrote her a quick, 3-page to-do list on how to be confident. I started to get that question more often so I expanded it into an eBook of practical things I used during my own process, and still use every day. I wanted it to be a resource that people could apply to their lives.

 

Couch Convos Chantelle2LWT: Without giving too much away, briefly tell us a few of the 7 steps to get there?

CA: Well, the first chapter is called, “Get a Divorce.” I talk about a bunch of things to help us divorce the fear we all feel going through life. Another important chapter is Chapter 6: Define Love. It discusses how our definition of love has a direct impact on our confidence level. I think my favorite chapter is Chapter 7: Unpack Your Heart. It’s probably the most practical of all, talking about how we can intentionally heal from the inside-out. Without the practicals in chapter 7, I wouldn’t be who I am today.

 

LWT: The book is chock-full of great tips and concepts. What is the “No Rules, Just Principles” concept?

CA: Ha-ha. It basically comes from the fact that I’m a rebel at heart. Give me 5 rules and I’m going to try to break every one of them. I think a lot of us are like that. But if we can develop a system of principles, it then becomes a lifestyle instead of a list of “can’t-do’s.” It makes decisions a lot easier, and I don’t feel like I’m fighting myself so much, as I try to live the right way.

 

LWT: In the book you talk about choosing role models for various parts of your life. Who are your role models for style and life?

CA: I do have different role models for different areas of my life. One is my spiritual mentor, Elizabeth, for her wisdom and Biblical knowledge. Gabrielle Union is my beauty role model, though I need to work out a little more to keep up with her, ha-ha. My manager at work, Jessica, is a terrific example of the kind of leader I want to be. And I love what Heather Lindsey of Pinky Promise has been able to do from the standpoint of a global woman’s ministry. The Bible talks about imitating different things from different people so I try to do that.

 

LWT: In Visible Confidence you tell a touching story about this phrase “If there is a question about it, the answer is probably no.” Please share that story with us?

CA: Sure! A couple years ago I was checking into a hotel one night and there was this girl in front of me who was trying to decide if she wanted to get a room with her date after a school dance. She looked really conflicted about the decision. So when he ran back out to the car for something, I told her, “if there’s a question about it, the answer should probably be no.” She ended up posting that phrase on her Facebook page and making the decision to go home alone. I was super excited but have no idea who she was. Lol.

Part II

LWT: Indeed you helped her to make the right decision for her that will last a lifetime. You are a walking, talking billboard for Visible Confidence. How has that affected your book sales?

CA: Thank you. I’m not sure though…

 

LWT: Can you tell our readers, what your marketing plan looks like?

CA: Really, I didn’t have a marketing plan for my book. I promoted it on social media, but haven’t done much else. Being my first book, I challenged myself to put my heart into writing it, which I did, hoping to have it to offer anyone who needed it. I didn’t really put a ton of effort or resources into marketing this book. However, I am putting more effort into my upcoming project, Call Me Miss, so ask me in about 6 months. Lol. 

 

© Chantelle Anderson used with permission

© Chantelle Anderson used with permission

LWT: 6 months it is. Lol. Explain to us what Call Me Miss is all about?

CA: Call Me Miss is a lifestyle brand that I recently launched. The goal is to inspire and impact women’s lives through faith, empowerment and growth. It is built on the “Have It All Plan” and highlights that there is no way to truly have it all without a loving relationship with God. The response I’ve gotten so far has been great, including a feature in Madame Noire Magazine, and I’m excited about what’s in store!

 

LWT: That sounds amazing and I can’t wait to see it all come together. You are such a fabulous public speaker, are you doing any speaking engagements to promote your work?

CA: Thank you. I spoke at a Women’s Day to promote it a few months ago and I have 3 speaking engagements in the next couple months lined up for Call Me Miss.

 

LWT: You also have a new Facebook page “Call Me Miss” that has daily graphic updates and videos. How do you come up with your topics?

CA: Either something I’m personally going through, some advice I gave a friend who asked, or I have a list of sayings that I have already written. I make the graphics each week in advance and adjust if I’m inspired by something different.

 

LWT: I have to ask about your font on your website, because it is so unique. What is it? Why is it your favorite? And how can my readers get it? 

CA: It’s called Miss Lankfort. I like it because like you said, it’s so unique. As soon as I saw it I felt like it fit Call Me Miss, and I offer the download on my website as a gift to my readers.

 

LWT: In addition to the many hats you wear, you host Brunch’N in Houston once a month. It is a great idea so please share what it is and how it came about?     

CA: Thank you! My church is huge on missionary work and sending out mission teams to spread the Gospel all over the world. So I wanted to throw an event I could use to support that cause. I also meet a bunch of awesome people from all different walks of life in Houston. So I wanted something that connected people to others they might not naturally meet. The two needs met and Brunch’N was born!

 

LWT: For those of us not in Houston, how can we eat, vibe and connect?

CA: Right now it’s a local event. But if someone wants to host a Brunch’N in their city, we can definitely talk! I anticipate expanding to other cities at some point.

 

LWT: Networking is a key component in selling books. Outside of Brunch’N, how do you network?

CA: I think the most important part of networking is the willingness to talk to strangers anywhere you go. I talk to everyone, whether I’m at the grocery store or a specific networking event. Based on the conversation, I’ll invite them to church, Brunch’N, or connect for a potential business opportunity. I also go to a ton of events around Houston. I love live music and spoken word, or events put on by the National Sales Network, which I’m a member of. One of the coolest events I found recently was Dinner Lab.  Check it out. It’s perfect for meeting new people and I loved it!

 

LWT: Thanks for the tip and I will definitely check it out. What are your thoughts on crowd funding? Would you ever try it?

CA: I did it before starting Brunch’N to raise money for mission work. I think it’s a great way to give people in your life the opportunity to support something you’re passionate about.

 

LWT: What is the main thing you want readers to get from your book?

CA: I want them to gain the ability to take control of their own confidence process, and get rid of their insecurities from the inside-out.

 

LWT: Tell us what success looks like to you?

CA: The ultimate success for me is becoming the woman God wants me to be. Since I don’t know exactly what she looks like yet, I’m just following Him day by day, trying to do the best I can with what I have. That may sound corny to some. But I just want to love God and help a lot of people. However that happens is fine with me.

 

LWT: Well, I’m a cornball at heart so I love it. What does your ideal career as an author look like?

CA: Well, I love my job in sales now. So I don’t know what being an author will look like. Whether it’s my main job eventually or stays on the side, I want to have impact through speaking, writing, and one-on-one mentoring. I’m building a faith and empowerment brand in Call Me Miss. Everything will branch off from that based on need.

 

LWT: Will you be writing a memoir anytime soon? I for one would love to read it.

CA: Thank you! And I will. It’s actually already written. I had a publishing deal for it a few years back before becoming a college basketball coach. Once I started coaching, publishing it wasn’t an option. Now that I’m out of the coaching world, I’ll publish it as soon as I feel it’s a good time. It’s been on my mind lately. As you can see, my plans are pretty fluid. I work better that way.

 

LWT: That is very exciting about the publishing deal. What’s up next for Chantelle?

CA: I am currently working on my “Dear Miss” video series. I release a new video blog every Monday on my Call Me Miss Facebook page and YouTube Channel. I have a Call Me Miss Teen Empowerment Camp in Houston in June, and a couple speaking engagements during that time also. I’m just doing my part to build and seeing where God takes it.

 

Well, there you have it folks, another Couch Convo in the books. Chantelle is a fascinating lady with the world at her feet. God will lead her in the right direction and she will continue to spread His word.

book_cover Chantelle AndersonFor more information on Miss Chantelle, please check out her website and social media pages. To purchase her e-book, Visible Confidence, click here to go to Amazon

 

CallMeMiss.net

Facebook –  callmemissbymisschantelle 

Twitter – misschantelle

Instagram – misschantelle 

YouTube – CallMeMissWeb

About Me – misschantelle 

Couch Convos!

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couch convos (1)

Hi Guys,

Just a quick post to introduce my latest venture. If you’ve been following me, you know I recently started a love affair with hosting Author Interviews. My first crack at it was with Author Tinzley Bradford and I enjoyed it immensely.  As a result I decided to make this a regular feature on my blog! I will also be sharing the interviews on my Author Website. The next edition will be available tomorrow with Author Chantelle Anderson! Please join us for the latest on Visible Confidence! #lwtcouchconvos

Couch Convos (2)

Thunderclap Hooooo!

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This story will have you cheering for

Yesterday I had a chat with someone who has become dear to me over the past few months. The thing is I have never met her in person, but she and I are building a “BLOGSHIP”. I know that’s not a word, but there is not a word for a relationship via a blog, so I made-up my own. Colleen Chesebro from the Silver Threading blog has been a great source of support with the launching of my debut novel, The Mistreatment of Zora Langston. Well Colleen suggested I start a Thunderclap campaign to help get the word out.

As an indie author I am all about finding unique and effective ways to market my book, not to mention FREE! I decided to check out their website and found it very interesting indeed. Thunderclap is an online forum for people to spread the word about their causes. You’ll find campaigns about the environment, health, legalizing cannibus, etc. They also offer artists the opportunity to start a campaign to get the word out about their work.

The Basics:
You sign up in just a few minutes providing a social media account of your choice.(required because this is how they run the campaign) You can choose the amount of clicks required to start running your campaign. I chose 100, the basic plan. Once the set-up process is complete, they will review your campaign and either approve or deny your campaign request. I am happy to report mine was approved!

Now come the fun part. I NEED to get 100 of my family, friends, followers and fellow bloggers to go to my campaign and simply click the button to support my campaign. If I meet the minimum clicks by the deadline I set during set-up, the company will launch a social media campaign to spread the word about my book! I chose the FREE option, but you can upgrade to other packages for a pre-determined rate.

Now I need your HELP! I need everyone who reads this post to click the link to my campaign and support me. It doesn’t cost any money and it will help get my book some exposure.

CLICK HERE TO HELP!

Thanks for your assistance and please spread the word: Reblog, share on FaceBook and Twitter