Sharon's INSPIRATIONAL Short stories of Faith and Romance can be found HERE or visit her
Facebook Page, which also has the links in the comments.)

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

In God We Trust


Into this world He sent His only son to make this world a better place
Noble kings rejoiced on whom His favor rests

Glory to God in the highest and peace to His people on earth
Our creator God, our returning king
Devoted teacher, hallowed be His name

Who is our Savior?
Emanuel is His name, not a president or a dictator

Truly He taught us to love one another. His law is love to redeem the world
Rejoice rejoice
Under battle we are at war
Sing His praises in the fields
The Savior will reign and save the world

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Interview with Laurean Brooks

Today’s special guest is fellow White Rose author and good friend Laurean Brooks. Laurean is a woman on the move, promoting her debut book--Journey to Forgiveness. I have read this book and it really is all that and more. What makes it such an emotional and heart-felt read is the fact the story is based on her mother’s true life. In Journey to Forgiveness, Jenny must face her demons and let go of her anger before she can find love with Austin. I give Laurean Brooks all the credit in the world for taking on such an emotional challenge. Delving into such personal and traumatic issues about her mother could not be easy. Let’s hear it for this incredible woman. Welcome, my friend!

Thank you for agreeing to be my guest today, Laurie. Grab a seat and a French Vanilla Latte. Now I’ve given readers a premise to Journey to Forgiveness. But I’m sure folks would prefer hearing a synopsis of this book in your own words. The stage is yours, girlfriend.

Laurean: First, Sharon, could you add an extra dollop of whipped topping to this Latte? There. I like lots of whipped cream, thank you. And thank you for inviting me to be your guest on this awesome blog. (Laurie sips her latte, deep in thought. “Mmm-mm.” After she places the tall glass on the table beside her easy chair, she begins.)

Sharon, as you mentioned, Journey To Forgiveness is based on my mother’s life. I have to insert a disclaimer here or my mother will string me up by my feet. (Laurie rolls her eyes.) The abuse from her father—my grandfather—was real, as was his desertion. And my heroine, Jenny’s move to Chicago to seek employment to support her mother and siblings was also fact. Even the humorous incident where Jenny is almost caught slipping shrimp to her employer’s poodle under the table, is true. (Laurie laughs) My mother still thinks shrimp is disgusting.

After Jenny Hinson’s abusive father deserts the family and takes her older brother along, the responsibility of the 50-acre Tennessee farm falls to Jenny and her mother. Her siblings are too small to help with the heavier work such as plowing, cultivating. In the 1930s most rural farms still used mules to do the work. So fieldwork was extremely exhausting. The cotton crop was the Hinsons’ main source of income. In 1938, four years after her father’s desertion, boll weevils infest the cotton. Along with a letter from Jenny’s aunt in Chicago, comes the solution. Jenny packs her bags and heads north on the Illinois Central.

Jenny is a stranger to electricity since it hasn’t yet reached rural Chicory Valley. But not only is she introduce to it in its tapped form in Chicago, but also encounters a few jolts along the way when she challenges the handsome, but infuriating, Austin Grant over a luggage mishap. Sparks fly outside the Kankakee train station when Jenny discovers her missing vanity case under Austin’s arm. She is sure he’s a thief.

A few days later, Austin smiles at her from behind the pulpit at her aunt’s church while coaxing money from the congregation. Jenny is furious! The money is supposed to go to aid victims of a tornado-ravaged town three hours south of Chicago. But Jenny has her own ideas about Austin’s intentions. She is sure the man is a scoundrel! So when the reverend asks for volunteers to join a mission trip to that same small town, Jenny signs up determined to expose Austin and his nefarious deeds.

The volunteers live in a warehouse-turned-homeless shelter during their twelve-day mission trip. Jenny misses Austin one night at the evening meal. She gets suspicious, goes in search and finds him kneeling in front of the mission strongbox. When he removes a large roll of money and stuffs it into his pocket, she flees. That is when she realizes she can’t report the theft. The money isn’t the only thing Austin has stolen. Her heart speeds up and performs all kinds of crazy acrobats just at the sight of the gorgeous man. Still, her personal convictions would never allow a relationship where trust was blatantly missing.

She must face Austin with the tough questions that either make or break their relationship. Even then, how can she possibly trust any man unless she confronts her estranged father? Can she forgive her father’s brutality? Is Austin guilty of theft?

I am not saying another word. (Laurean wags her finger at the audience.) Sorry, folks. You will have to read Journey To Forgiveness and draw your own conclusions.
Sharon: That’s so intriguing, Laurie. Now let’s talk about book signings and presentations. As a new author with a debut book, this must present as many thrilling challenges as it does phobias. It must be so exciting to have a dream turn into a reality. How do you feel, sitting there in your local library or bookstore, signing your signature to a book you’ve written, your baby from conception to birth and beyond. What goes through your head? Do you enjoy being in the limelight—or do you have to push yourself to be a go-getter?

Laurean: Sharon, it can be thrilling. I’ve described my life in the past two months as a tilt-a-whirl that keeps spinning. Sometimes I want it to stop, but truthfully, I’m not sure I want to get off. I think I’ll hang on for the ride. As far as the public, I love people, so the book signings are right up my alley. I do get a little nervous if the person stands over me while I sign his/her book, so I pen a Bible verse (usually from the Psalms) on the inside of each book the night before. Then all I have to add is a name and one personal line.

Speaking publicly to a group is another story. In the last month I’ve done two book presentations. These were my first attempts. I was nervous both times, but beforehand I asked God to give me the words and reminded Him that I was doing this for Him, and that I was depending on His strength to get me through. He has not failed me yet. Now, I’m not saying I wasn’t nervous.

For instance. This Saturday when I drove up in front of Obion County library to give a presentation, and spied at least 70 cars in the parking lot, I almost panicked and burned rubber. LOL. Turned out that 99% of the people were in a class in the adjoining room. Whew!

Sometimes I like the limelight, but other times I like my solitude. I guess you could say I have a dual personality. I guess it’s all about balance. I need people, but also need quiet time.
Sharon: How interesting. And tell me about the teacher that planted the seed in your head to become a writer. I know Miss Mary is no longer with us, but her son came to one of your book signings. That must have been so emotional, so both of you. Can you share with us a little about that meeting?

Laurean: Sharon, I will have to admit that I was probably Miss Mary’s pet. It was fifth grade and I was very shy. No, really I was. Miss Mary was nearing retirement, even then. She placed the class cutup behind me, probably thinking Kemp would behave better near a shy person. Wrong! He just brought out the comedienne in me. One day she had assigned us sentences to make from our spelling words. I turned around to get Kemp’s input. “What sentence can I make with ‘drank’?” He replied, “The man drank whiskey for breakfast.”

I giggled a little too loud. Miss Mary yelled, “Kemp!” and stalked over gripping her plastic ruler. “Hold out your hand,” she commanded. Kemp stuck out his hand and she smacked it three times. When she finished, I held out my hand.

Miss Mary asked, “Do you think you need one, too?” I nodded. I probably could have gotten out of it, but I knew that I was at least half to blame since I had asked Kemp the question. She grabbed my hand, bent my fingers way back, and smacked three times with that ruler. Boy, it stung! But I knew I deserved to share the punishment. I felt awful about getting Kemp in trouble since he stayed in trouble half the time anyway. After another incident or two, she moved poor old Kemp somewhere else. (He probably thanked God.) But no matter where she put him, there was always a commotion. Kemp had such an outgoing personality and crazy sense of humor, that everyone liked him.

Miss Mary was the first one who encouraged me to write. I know you’ve heard the story, Sharon. But some of our audience hasn’t. We were to read one book every six weeks and give an oral book report. I loved mysteries so that was no chore. And I really dug into the Nancy Drew books. Any mystery, really. One day after I had given an oral report on a popular mystery, I ended it with a couple questions? Did they ever find Tony? Were his kidnappers ever caught? Find out when you read this book.”

When I finished, half the students started to argue over who would get the book next. Miss Mary settled the issue, then smiled at the class and announced, “One day Laurie will be an author.”

I felt something swell up inside my spirit. She had planted a seed. It sprouted and grew over the years. And it is finally producing fruit. I needed her encouragement more than anything. Coming from a family of seven kids, me being the fourth, I craved the attention that my parents never found time to give. So because she believed in me, I tried my best to impress her.

Of course there was the time my impressing got a little carried away. I received a reprimand from Miss Mary for an essay about Columbus. How was I to know it had to realistic? And what is reality to a 10-year old? Just because the natives stuffed Columbus in a cannon and shot him back across the Atlantic Ocean…I mean who says it didn’t really happen that way? (Laurie laughs while Sharon shakes her head and smiles.)

You asked about Miss Mary’s son. This past Easter weekend I held a book signing in the Historical Society building of my alumni. A man and his wife, in their 60s approached my table. The woman said, “My name is Patsy Brann and this is my husband, David. When we saw the write-up about you and your book in the Historical Society newsletter, we just had to meet the lady who wrote about his mother.”

I did a double take. David was the spittin’ image of Miss Mary…minus the fluffy, grayish-blonde hair. I told him how much his mother had influenced me, then related the Columbus essay catastrophe. He smiled and said, “That sounds like mother.”
Sharon: Life truly does come full circle, doesn’t it? Now, Laurie, I know you’re a very spiritual woman. And I also know you enjoy taking long walks with your dog to meditate and contemplate life. What goes through your head while surrounded by the birds chirping, the sounds of nature, and the awesome beauty of the hills of Tennessee?

Laurean: When I have a problem, I go to the woods, weather permitting. Of if I need to think. Sometimes just to get away from noise. I’ve even taken a notebook and pencil to write down my thoughts. Other times when I’m desperate to hear God’s voice, I take my Bible and sit down on an old log. You would be surprised how many times it will fall open to just the verse you need. The sounds of nature calm me. The dogs head off on to follow the scent of a long-gone squirrel. They are protective, though. They come back to check on me about every five minutes. It doesn’t take long for the peace to come. Not always in the form of an answer. Sometimes it’s just the peace of knowing that God has the situation in His capable hands and He will work it out for my good.
Sharon: How inspiring. What do you find to be one of life’s most frustrating challenges? And what or whom do you turn to when faced with one of these challenges?

Finding time to do everything I want to do. If I get online to post to the loops or check email, my writing time slips away. When I write, the housework piles up. I wish I had a live-in housekeeper. Anybody want the job for room and board only? LOL. Other than that, insomnia saps my energy. If I get to bed by 10:30, often I’m still awake at two. Then I awake every couple hours. I get up by 7:30 or 8 a.m. regardless, but some days I have to get in an afternoon nap to survive. I blame it on hormone fluctuations; though I take everything natural that has been capsuled or whipped into a body cream.

Regarding the time issue, I have taken our friend, Pamela Thibodeaux’s advice. When I asked her a question about time management, she said that she did not get online until she had written
or edited for at least one hour. I’ve tried this for a couple weeks, and I’m a lot less frustrated. And, hey, I’ve even added to my WIP. Slowly, but it’s getting there.

But, if I take a few minutes to meditate especially to read praise Psalms before I pray, my day goes smoother. I accomplish more. If I forget to ask God for words, my writing lacks something.
Sharon: That’s lovely. So what’s next for Laurean Brooks? Do you have a WIP you’d like to share with readers? Do share, girlfriend. Give us the scoop!

Laurean: My current WIP is a story of a cowgirl raised on a Wyoming ranch. She lost her mother to cancer when she was a child, then her father re-married. Now he has died, also. My heroine is left with a scheming, ambitious stepmother who tries to manipulate my heroine into a marriage with a local wealthy rancher’s son. My heroine wants no part of this guy. He’s ten years her senior and obnoxious, plus looks more like a frog than a handsome prince. On a scale of one to ten, Oliver is a one.

When her stepmother announces a party and insists she announce her engagement to the frog, my heroine packs her bags and flees. She has found an ad in the classifieds for a ranch hand in Colorado. She’s almost sure the ranch owner wants a man for the job, but, hey, she can do anything a man can. When she calls the ranch owner, her voice is hoarse because she’s recovering from laryngitis. He thinks she’s a man. She tries to explain, but he cuts her short, tells her she needs to get packed and get on the road, then hangs up. She starts to push redial, then rethinks her options. She packs her dad’s Levis and western shirts, then tosses in a fake mustache for good measure, whistles for her dog, hops in the truck, and tears out for Southern Colorado.

So what do you think so far? That’s all I’m telling.

Sounds like another bestseller. What is your favorite genre to read when not writing? And do you want to explore several genres—or are sweet romances it for you?

I sometimes read suspense, mystery. I’m not much into murder. Can’t sleep after I read those. I love time travel stories, too. Speaking of which, my favorite time travel movie was made in 1978 and starred Lindsey Wagner. “The Two Worlds of Jennifer Logan.” If you folks haven’t seen it, it is well worth pestering your video stores to order it. Back to reading favorites. Mostly I read inspirational, though I would like to see more suspense or mystery added to inspirational stories. Not murder, but a theft or vandalism to solve.

As for writing, I like using humor, but I would also like to add suspense. I will always keep the romance sweet. Old-fashioned romance with plenty of implied passion, but where the hero and heroine wait until they are married, and then it’s behind closed doors.
7. Sharon: Interesting. Okay, let’s talk about Laurean Brooks. What makes you tick? Inquiring minds want to know! What are your dreams? Your expectations? Your deepest fear? Your greatest joy?

Music moves me, inspires me, gets me excited. Contemporary Christian music, Southern Gospel, even some of the older hymns. And pop music from the 60s, and 70s. Country music from the mid-70s to late 80s. I just know when I like a song. Did I miss anything? Can’t get into rap or heavy metal.

My dreams….hmm. The most outlandish one is to make enough money to purchase land around Taneycomo Lake in Branson, MO. My husband and I take a 4-day trip there almost every summer, and always hate to leave. It’s not just the beauty of the mountains, hill, lakes, but the people are even friendly. When they discover that you are a tourist, they will hold up a long line of traffic just to let you pull out of a parking lot.

My expectations? To write several bestsellers. Not just any best seller. I want my writing to have depth—to go straight to the heart. If I can’t make my readers experience every scale of emotion through my writing, I feel that I have failed. I want them to laugh, cry, get angry at an injustice, experience jealousy, annoyance, frustration, but always end up saying, “Hey, that was a good book.”
Sharon: Now there ya go folks, a well-balanced woman. Just a few more questions, Laurie. Oh, and here comes dessert. We’ll just wrap up this interview and then dig in to those scrumptious goes. What is the message you’d like to portray through your writing?

Laurean: My greatest fear is that I will leave this world without having made a difference. I want to leave behind a legacy through my writing and through my life as a Believer. If my life has changed at least one other life for the better, then I have not lived in vain.

I experience my greatest joys when I see or hear the excitement of others after they have just received great news. For instance, authors on the loops. It thrills me to read their excitement over a great review, or a win for best book of the week. And especially the first time an author holds her first print book in her hand. You can feel the excitement through the post.
Sharon: That is so beautiful. Thanks for sharing. Now how about hobbies. Do you do anything in your spare time to relax you? And how about an author who has made an impact on your life?

Laurean: With my hectic life, right now I don’t have much spare time. I do enjoy browsing antique malls, auctions and vacationing in the mountains. I just wish we could take more than a few days per year, or that we could take our dogs with us. I always worry about my babies when we are gone.

You asked about relaxation? Reading calms me. I usually fall asleep with a book in my hand. Spending time with my Labs, tossing a stick or just hugging them, relaxes me. And let’s not forget soothing music.

As far as an author who has made an impact, I would have to mention two. I grew up on Victoria Holt. I couldn’t get enough of the suspenseful stories she weaved in first person. My favorite book by her, “On The Night of The Seventh Moon.”

Next, I would have to mention Danielle Steel. She has a way of delving into her characters’ minds. I love that and try to copy it. Of course, I have to stop and give Michael Landon credit. When I watched “Little House on The Prairie” I thought. “That’s the way I want to write. To move my readers.” If the reader doesn’t feel anything, what I have I accomplished.

I don’t enjoy writing detailed description. I would spend time in dialogue and inside my characters minds. In the past decade I’ve read mainly inspirational romance. Marta Perry and Loree Lough are two of my favorite Steeple Hill authors. They know how draw the reader into the story.
Sharon: Those sound great. Now before I let you go, I have my three trivia questions for you. I know, hurry up. You wanna dig into that Double fudge brownie delight. I’ll make it quick. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? If you could choose a historical era in time, which would it be and why? And last but not least, if you could be the leading lady in any literary fiction, which would it be and whom would you want playing your hero?

Laurean: Let’s see. I would love to be a Southern Belle from Mississippi or Georgia, who lived on a large cotton plantation before the Civil War. It would be lovely to dress up and go to the balls and be wooed by Southern gentlemen. LOL. Life was simpler back then, though I’m not sure I would enjoy all the needlework and quilting.

If I could play Scarlett O’Hara to Clark Gable’s Rhett Butler, that would suit me fine. He had that same scoundrel-like charm that oozes from my hero, Austin in “Journey To Forgiveness.” If I couldn’t have Clark Gable, I’d take Clint Walker, the tall, muscular man who starred in “Cheyenne.” Do you remember him? I know these guys are ancient history, but I can’t think of one modern-day celebrity who has those same old-fashioned qualities, and treats a woman like a real lady.
Sharon: Of course I remember Cheyenne Bodie! Well, that brings us to the end of this very exciting interview. It’s been so much fun, Laurie, and I sure hope you come back again. You know I love you and everything about you. I wish you mega success with all you do. And I know readers will look forward to all future books by Laurean Brooks. Thank you, my friend. Now let’s dig into dessert!

Laurean: Thank you for inviting me, Sharon. I’ve had a wonderful time. And this has been such a wonderful audience. Let’s give them a big hand. (Laurean claps, then blows kisses to the audience before she digs into her Double-fudge brownie delight. Mmm-mm! Sharon, you can invite me back any time. Just stock up on fudge brownies, hot fudge sauce, and ice cream. Oh, and whipped topping.

The curtain starts to close with Sharon and Laurean waving. Laurean waves her spoon and mumbles around the hunk of brownie bulging her left cheek. “Bye, everyone. See you soon.”

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Interview with Tami Winbush

Today I have another special treat. Tami Winbush, Co-Founder from You Gotta Read Reviews is my guest. Tami is such a busy woman she makes my head spin. Not only is she a reviewer and co-founder of an awesome review sight, but she is going to college for accounting. And if that isn’t enough, Tami has just earned the title of Promotions Manager of Champagne Books. Let’s hear it for Tami Winbush. Welcome, my friend!

Tami: Hi Sharon, cyber hugs to you darlin'! Sorry it's taken me so long to get over here.Champagne has been keeping me very busy, along with You Gotta Read, the garden, the kids, the boyfriend, and.....phew, now where was I? Oh yeah, I'm so excited about my new position with Champagne!

Sharon: Congratulations on this wonderful achievement! Let’s talk a little about that. Pull up a seat and grab a glass of sweet tea. So tell us all about Champagne Books. What will being the products manager entail?

Tami: Mmmmm......Sweet tea.....girl you know me too well. Hope you got it from McDonalds. Did I ever tell you that when I moved to NY I told my dear boyfriend that I wouldn't move if they didn't have McDonald's sweet tea? He almost went into a panic, but luckily for him, they carry it everywhere but Canada! But again I digress.....
Well lately I have been working on setting up a blog specifically for readers to
get to know our Champagne authors. We have excerpts, interviews, publishing and writing
tips, promo days and Friday free-for-alls! You should stop over sometime and visit
us. ( And I am also very busy getting together something that is very exciting for me,and new for Champagne, podcasts!

Sharon smiles and holds up the Golden Arches.

Sharon: You have it going on, girlfriend. Doing podcasts will be a real crowd pleaser! How exciting. Now, I can’t help but wonder where you find the time to do all these things. What’s in that sweet tea? Iron? Mega energy boosters? Pass me a glass! So how about it, Tami. How do you fit it all in? Any Wonder Woman secrets you’d like to share? Inquiry minds want to know!

Tami: How do I do it? Not quite sure. Massive doses of caffeine, lack of sleep, hours
on my laptop, insomnia, and the fact that everything that I do isn't a thing like
work. I have WAY too much fun doing it. I enjoy reading, reviewing, talking to authors,
making friends, and just being out there and getting things done!

Sharon: Amazing. Now being a reviewer, you read quite a lot of books by a lot of different authors and genres. Do you have a favorite genre? And was this genre something you have always enjoyed reading?

Tami: Favorite genre, geez, that's very unfair of you to ask. You have to promise not
to tell the other genres this, but I love paranormal romance the best though I try
not to show it. I love anything that bites, shifts and casts spells! I've always
loved things that were "otherworldly"! I guess that stems from being a little off
myself. LOL

Sharon: One more question about reading and then we’ll move on to writing. When you read a book, either short or full length, do you prefer reading it as an eBook or a print book? And why is that?

Tami: Again a toughie. I really don't mind either print or eBook anymore since I have
my iPhone. I have Stanza on there and can convert any of my eBooks to that program
and take it on the road with me, but I always, always have a paper book in my purse
in case the battery runs low on my phone. I used to like full length books, but
now that I am so busy, I prefer the shorts or novellas. I just don't have time for
full length anymore. But sometimes when Champagne and YGR isn't looking, I sneak a full length book and close my laptop, just don't tell them, OK?

Sharon: The FBI couldn’t bribe it out of me. LOL All right. I always ask that question because of the variety in answers. We’re all set in our ways to a certain degree. I personally like sitting in the sun with an audio book. I find it very relaxing. Now let’s move on to writing. You and Val are working on a book, a WIP. Can you tell us a little about the story? The setting? The plot? And where did you come up with the idea?

Tami: Yes, we certainly are. But unfortunately, I am a little slow in the groove right
now. But for some reason I think that the powers that be are trying to tell me to
get off my butt. I went to our local library which is only a block or so from the
house and told the librarian about the book, and he happened to be the president
of the Colton Fire Department and agreed to give me a tour. Since then he has been
ordering books on arson investigation for me without asking. It's great living in
a small town.

So, from that little bit, you can tell that it's going to be a firefighting story.
We still have to nail down the female character but there is going to be some question
as to why mysterious fires keep happening and someone from her past. The handsome
fireman that she doesn't want to get involved with is the key to stopping all the
fires and all the inner turmoil that she is facing, if only she will let him in.
But will she?

Val and I brainstormed the concept up from a submission call that I was given by
a dear friend of ours, Kissa Starling! **waves** She's trying to get me more motivated
in my writing and is very helpful with sending things along that spark my interest.
(No pun intended.)

Sharon: I’d call that doing your research well. I imagine two authors writing a book together might be challenging. Hmmmmm. You girls must be on the same wave length to write on the same page, literally! I’ve heard of critique groups that write a story together, chapter by chapter. One person will pick up at the end of the next chapter and flow with it. Is this the model you and Val will use?

Tami: Val and I have decided that we are going to do it this way: One chapter is in the
POV of the male lead, the next in the female lead. She will be the female lead and
I the male and we will edit each others work so it flows together smoothly.

Sharon: What a novel idea! Sounds like a recipe for success! Don’t look now, but here comes the snacks I ordered, a cheese tray, just for you! But I must admit cheese is my personal weakness, too—next to potato chips. How about it, Tami, what other foods do you have stashed in your computer desk or kitchen for energy boosters? We all have our food fetishes. Do share! And which of these is your favorite cheese?

Tami: Mmmm mmmmmfff mmmffmmmf ....... **clears throat** Sorry about that, I really like
Muenster cheese the best! When I was a kid I loved to eat the orange "skin" off of
it. It was just the best. Well I don't really stash things, I am more of a craving
kinda gal. If you didn't know better you would think that I have been pregnant for
the past 18 years of my life. I will get in the mood for something and I will crave
that for weeks and then switch. It's rather odd. Right now it's orange, yellow
and red bell peppers and cherry tomatoes. I have a taco thing every once and a while
and a BIG grilled ham and cheese thing every couple of months.

Sharon: A girl after my own heart. Hmmm. Pass me a big ol’ hunk of that Muenster cheese with one of those wheat crackers. Oh and we have your favorite peppers and cherry tomatoes as a special treat! Dig in. Now you like to crochet. I must say I admire anyone who has this gift. My aunt once tried to teach me to crochet and after one big tangled web, she politely told me perhaps I’d best find a new hobby. LOL So tell me about crocheting. How did you get started and what kind of things do you crochet?

Tami: Oh, that's a good question. When I was pregnant with my son 14 years ago, I was
put on bed rest because I was going into premature labor. So the ladies from the
church went to WalMart and got me some yarn, and a hook and went to the library and
got me a How to Crochet book. I sat down and taught myself to crochet. Since I
couldn't do anything else for over a month I got pretty good at it.
My favorite things in the world to crochet are stuffed animals. I also crochet sweaters,blankets, and scrunchies. Here's a pattern I actually came up with a very long
time ago.

Sharon: Well there you have it folks. What a talent Tami Winbush is! Now another one of your hobbies is photography. This is such a window to life’s many adventures. What kind of things do you like to take pictures of? And don’t animals love to ham it up for the photo! What is the sweetest photo you ever snapped of your dog?

Tami: I like to take pictures of nature. I've always found a peace there when I get stressed out and a little on the frazzled side. So I tend to look to nature photos to calm me down. Sweet pictures of the dogs? I don't know about that one, LOL. They are
only sweet when they are sleeping, but I do remember when I was a kid, I took a picture
of my mother's dog yawning and when the picture came out (back in the day before
digital cameras) the tongue looked like it was about 2 miles long. We all had a
good laugh at that one. Now the cats on the other hand, I get all kinds of cute
ones of them pretty much telling me off, especially after their baths. I do want
to include a picture of my Kurgan who we had to put down recently. This picture
made her look like an angel before her time. We miss you darling.

Sharon: How adorable! Look folks, isn’t Kurgan just the sweetest thing? (Sharon holds up the photo)

Sharon: I’m sure you have this one framed as a treasured keepsake. Now let’s talk more about Tami Winbush, the inside scoop. What is your strongest asset? Your weakest? What is the message you’d like to leave behind as your own special footprint on this earth?

Tami: My strongest asset? My loyalty to my family and friends. Those that have been there for me through thick and thin, good and bad, they are the ones that deserve that
undying loyalty. And oddly enough, I have a lot of those friends from online. You
are counted among them!

My weakest point? I tend to believe the goodness in everyone. I know that sounds
like a good thing, but I will believe the best in everyone and get stomped on. I
have been hurt too many times over that one, so I am learning to make people earn
that trust a little bit more instead of just trusting in the inherent goodness in

The message to leave the world. Let those that you love know that you love them.
Every single day. Do not let a minute go by in their days that they might doubt
that you loved them. Almost 5 1/2 years ago I lost my husband to a heart attack.
We were talking at 9:00am and at 11:15am he was declared dead. You never know when
your last moment, or your loved ones last moment will be. So as the song goes, Live Like You Were Dying. Love with all your heart and soul!

Sharon: Beautiful words to live by, Tami. Now let’s talk about your great sense of humor. There’s nothing like a great belly laugh to change our mental health and well being, is there? Tell us something that still makes you laugh, no matter how many times you’ve heard or told the story?

Tami: I was driving down the road with my daughter and a friend of mine and the song GetDown On It by Kool in the Gang came on the radio. The person I was riding with didn't want to listen to the song and turned the station. My daughter (5 years old) screamed at the top of her lungs, "Turn that back, I wanna Get Down On It!"

Sharon: Out of the mouths of babes! LOL! My side is hurting, stop! That is too funny! Now how about movies. Do you like to see comedies? Sad stories? Love stories? Are you a hopeless romantic? What is the most romantic thing a man has ever done for you?

Tami: I love romantic comedies. They are the best. I do also like suspense, and action,
but not horror. Oh I get nightmares badly. I remember sitting in the theater for
Dreamcatcher and hiding behind my husband's coat the whole time hiding! It was horrible.He laughed at me the entire time.

Oh, that's EASY! My boyfriend, he's the sweetest ever! He wanted me to see Battlestar
Galactica with him. So we started with the mini series. For some reason we couldn't
get the closed captioning to get off the screen. After a while you just ignore it
and I just forgot it. We were watching, and I said, "Hey, rewind that! My name was
on there!" He looked at me like I was nuts.

"No, seriously, rewind it!" So, he willingly obliged. I told him to stop, and on
the screen it said in the closed captioning:

Tami: Do you know that I love you? Rob

Sharon: (reaches for a tissue) Sniffle sniffle. That’s romantic with a capital R. Rob sounds like one in a million. Now let’s reverse the situation. What is the most romantic thing you have ever done for a man?

Tami: I brought my husband velvet roses to his job. He didn't like real flowers because
they died and fake ones would last forever. I have something really romantic planned
for Rob's birthday/Valentines (same day) next year though. But I can't tell you,
he might find out!

Sharon: (crosses her lips with an x) Mum’s the word. Can’t wait to hear all about it! Well, Tami. Time flies when we’re having fun. Our time is just about up. But before I let you go, I have three trivia questions for you. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? If you could live in any era in history, which would it be and why? If you could play the leading lady in any literary fiction, who would it be and who would you pick as your leading man?

Tami: Crete - and I don't know why, but always wanted to go there since I was 16 years
Knowing what I know now, I would stay in this era only because I don't want to live
without my electricity and music and indoor plumbing. :)
I would be Janie (I know I'm not black, but the work was so well done) from Their
Eyes Were Watching God, and Taye Diggs would be my leading man cause he is just whew.....

Sharon: Great answers! Well, thank you so much for the awesome interview, Tami. I hope you come back again. I love you and everything about you and can’t wait to read your books. Best of luck with your new job and mega congratulations my friend. You deserve it. Here’s wishing you all good things. Cheers!