Literary consultant Sharon C. Jenkins has helped hundreds of authors and writers get their messages out to the masses over the years. She has performed many tasks from hosting workshops and webinars to assisting new and established authors through the intricacies of self-publishing. Her reputation as The Master Communicator has qualified her as one of the most in-demand writing and media professionals in her hometown of Houston, Texas.
There was just one thing. Sharon is also an author and when it was time to market her own books, she found it difficult to rely on the tried and true advice she’d given to her clients. “It’s hard to switch from consultant to client. In order to practice what I preached to others, I had to change my mind about my work,” says Jenkins.
The first shift was glaring. Jenkins decided that it wasn’t enough to think like a creative, but she had to embrace what she did as a business. Recognizing that publishing required her to budget, research, strategize and execute in the same manner as traditional publishers, she began to embrace her efforts as entrepreneurial.
“It was amazing. The revelation that I could either be one more struggling author with a book or take ownership of my publishing and strategize was mind-blowing.”
Jenkins saw almost immediate results. Once she fully embraced herself as an entrepreneur, she also embraced the concept of being an “authorpreneur.” She studied publishing house business models as well as changed her mind about expenses, and viewed them as investments into herself, the business.
In 2014, she published Authorpreneurship: The Business Start-Up Manual for Authors as a way of evangelizing the good news of being an authorpreneur. She states, “I wanted to make it easier for others who wished to take their self-publishing efforts seriously. The manual provides both information and encouragement.”
This year Jenkins is launching another authorpreneurship book, Will the R.E.A.L. Authorpreneur Please Stand Up? A Collection of Inspirational Stories Celebrating R.E.A.L. Authorpreneurs, an anthology featuring publishing superstars. She will also be releasing a companion guide, Will the R.E.A.L. Authorpreneur Please Stand Up? 81 Tips for the R.E.A.L. Successful Authorpreneur.
Sharon C. Jenkins is a cheerleader for women seeking their second act in life. “Some of the stories in my latest book are absolutely riveting and inspirational. There are women just like me who didn’t have time or money to waste, and in some cases, they needed a lifeline. Publishing gave them that lifeline.”
Oops50 is happy to welcome a new contributor, Donna Molofsky. Donna lives near Winston-Salem, NC with her husband Barry and dog Sally. She is a former minister in the United Methodist church, but her life has taken many twists and turns since then. One of her latest gigs was caring for her elderly mother who had dementia. Welcome, Donna, and thank you for this review of Wild!
Life makes you want to scream sometimes.
For therapy, is it better to scream or take a long hike? Reese Witherspoon does both in the movie Wild, which is in theaters now.
She plays the role of Cheryl Strayed, a woman hiking the Pacific Coast Trail in an effort to exorcise some demons that are holding her back in life. I immediately identified with this woman although our journeys are completely different.
For one thing, Cheryl is a woman in her twenties, and I am a few decades older. She deals with the tragedies in her life by doing drugs, sleeping with strange men, and ruining her marriage – things I probably would not do. But it is the nature of her life tragedies that makes this woman and her story so easy to understand.
After growing up with an abusive father, Cheryl faces her mother’s death from cancer when her mother is only in her forties. Laura Dern plays the strong but fragile mom beautifully. Cheryl needed her mother more than ever, but suffered from crippling grief. I have been working through some serious losses over the course of the last two or three years. My mother died after a long struggle with dementia. Six months later a close cousin committed suicide. Most recently, I lost a job that I cared about. After these difficult times, I have had such a range of emotions – from sadness to disbelief to anger.
Witherspoon plays this role with such honesty. At the start of her journey, she has no idea what she is doing. Later, she exudes loneliness and suffocating fatigue. Her burden is symbolized by the heaviness of her pack. Some kind souls help lighten her load. Some look and walk away. All the while, she has to balance self-reliance with trust and asking for help when she does not want to .
As a viewer, I was so anxious for this character. I so wanted her to make it, to reach her goal! But I was worried that she might be killed on the trail, assaulted, or bitten by a snake. By the end of the movie, I was drained.
Witherspoon and Dern are both nominated for Academy Awards for this film. I hope other women will get to experience this movie and scream at some of their own demons.
What a treat for oops50 to have Glenis Redmond (poet – teaching artist – imagination activist) write a post for us. We’ve been secretly waiting for Glenis to turn 50, and before we knew it, she turned 51.
Who’s counting? Obviously the world is and everyday it speaks with many mouths and many television and internet eyes that reflect the many ways that I will never measure up.
When I am out of sync with myself and not aligned to my own stars, I take this projection personally. I listen to the critique and the opinions of the vapid. I down the chatter like greasy fast food. The poison enters my bloodstream and spreads so I don’t know where I begin and the toxicity ends.
This is when I fall prey to counting the ways that I don’t measure up: the number of crow’s feet around my eyes, the pounds on the scale, the dollars I have or do not have in the bank and my lovers or lack thereof.
I know better than to succumb to this useless counting of what is wrong, but I always adopt a myopic vision that is destructive to my spiritual and creative being. When I am in my holistic mindset I only count what’s right. So here is my list of what I know to be true on turning fifty-one.
Drinking tea makes me a better woman. The power is in the sipping of: Egyptian Mint, Ginger or Green Tea. The healing is in the slowing down to savor the moment. When I take time to drink a cup of tea at home or in my hotel room before I start my day of work. This mark indicates that I am on my mark. This ritual fills my gauge to full.
Fortunately and unfortunately I am not always on my mark. I don’t always stop to drink tea. I rush and get ahead of myself, because I am both a Dreamer & a Doer
The doer sometimes dominates the dreamer-poet.
The pros? I get things done.
Check the map and my odometer that teeters close to 350,000-miles.
I have performed and facilitated poetry workshops in every state except Alaska, Maine, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Idaho.
Travel does not always allow for my roots to sink deep.
I yearn for deepness:
South Carolina, my birthplace
I am from South Carolina, but not totally of South Carolina.
My family’s military trek made sure of that.
This makes me a seeker. I cross over man-made boundaries on the regular. Traveling is part of my vibration. I am served and fed well by crossing regional and cultural boundaries.
Collecting both rocks and stories ground me.
I always come back to my roots: South Carolina
The cons of my traveling? My mind races too. I rarely slow down.
My body is having its say by forcing me to slow down.
I have Adrenal Fatigue bordering on Adrenal Failure.
I do not sleep. I do not rest.
I often feel like a stranger.
North Carolina is where I gained my poetic wings.
There’s no Tiger or Tarheel in me. Ironically, orange and Carolina blue are my two favorite colors.
I wish I cared who was in the playoffs. I just don’t.
I was a cheerleader in high school and I did not care then about the sport on the field or court, I just loved being with the crowd: dancing and cutting flips feeling the high vibrations of people’s spirits.
I’m still a cheerleader. I’m an imagination activist. I help people to unlock their imaginations. We talk of what matters. Then, I tell them to write.
I found that when I was twelve what mattered to me:
I find solace and comradeship in good books – stories of overcoming. People who have traveled to their inner space and written about it: Zora Neal Hurston, Frida Kahlo, Maya Angelou, Wangari Maathai and many more — generally stories of women. I study on how they have traveled this rugged terrain.
There’s struggle to being a woman.
I overcome those obstacles daily. What woman doesn’t?
I was born a feminist – womanist, yet I’m a lover of men unapologetically. I do not see the two as mutually exclusive. I love being a woman.
My mom is my best friend. Politically and religiously we are of two different ilks, but we have similar cores: Love! She is my touchstone.
My mama bought me an orange bike with turquoise rims for my 51st She gets me if not left of centered views. She says, “ride Glenis.”
The color orange in all its incarnations gives me life.
I’m a pacifist at all cost, yet I do not suffer fools lightly. I get this from my dad: Johnny C. Redmond
I am a weeper, but a warrior.
I was born into poverty.
I stand for the underdog. I was the underdog.
I still sometimes have an impoverished mindset.
Therefore, but by the grace of God go I.
I am not defined by my challenges.
My spirit radiates all colors.
I’m a traveler
Places I want to travel: Cameroon, Nigeria, Bahia, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the English countryside.
I’m Afro-Carolinian. I love to dance: tribal, interpretative and funk.
It is my prayer – the way I talk with God.
I love to walk. I work out my worries with each step.
I don’t consider myself old, just an old soul.
YOLO rolls off the tongue (You Only Live Once) not mine, because I have been here before many times. I recognize lands and people from other eras.
I was an old soul when I was born, therefore turning fifty-one does not faze me. Yes, getting older has its challenges, but also being a person diagnosed with fibromyalgia at twenty-nine years does, too. Everyday I get out of bed is a challenge, yet it is also a victory.
My daughters, Amber and Celeste, are the most precious metal of my inner circle. They make the bright ring in my life glow with pride and joy. Now my grandson has joined this golden lineage. Oh yeah, I write poems. Here is my latest poem for my grandson. Julian teaches me everyday how to meditate on goodness and not on the standards by which the world measures me and finds me lacking. He has been here before and he is wise. I listen. Like tea, love makes me a better woman. Here is the poem I wrote for my grandson.
Grandma Waterfall for Julian Josiah Priester
My status has been upgraded
from mom to grandma–
who knew the heart morphed
I should have known the moment,
when my heart shape shifted,
when I gave birth to twins
two decades and five years ago:
from stream into raging river,
from the weakest trickle into a force of nature.
There’s no parent handbook
that foretold of the more I would become.
I looked into my inner pond
and I could see I had become more alive with giving.
I wanted to stay on earth
with the territory of my heart expanded –
pushing west with poetry and purpose:
the frontier of becoming mama
packing lunches and endless carpools
to school and soccer,
tucking babies into bed
and growing girls into beautiful women –
artists people with pen and brush
ready to right the world.
Now, to you the first son of our family
you have made me grand
the only royalty I will ever know:
a grand waterfall unable to contain what I hold.
A treasure : Julian Josiah
10 fingers: starlit
10 two toes: eager squiggles
cheeks: squishy pockets
earned you the nickname: The chipmunk gnome.
Your eyes: lit with the deepest shine, déjà vu remembrance.
Your birth weight: 9 lbs. 3 oz.
You’ll carry what’s been passed on: the walk of the ancestors.
This legacy also a burden,
but your legs will be sturdy
and worthy of the task
like Yusef Komunyakaa writes:
You were born
to wear out at least
one hundred angels.
Like Maya Angelou penned
You come as one but stand as ten thousand.
You will carry this load with wisdom
and an undeterred stride.
Julian, all is possible with you.
Unflinchingly I will sing
of the more I want to give you
what John Lennon dreamed
imagine there’s not countries
it is not hard to do
nothing to kill or die for…
Imagine all the people living life as one.
Julian I am a dreamer
it is all that have: the gift of my imagination.
Pour into these waters little boy
brother, son and grandson of the Universe
flow into this world
with dreams better
than the one I/WE are
handing to you.
I am here as Grandma Waterfall
also an eagle watching over you
with the lesson of water ever ready
gently guiding you to find your own flow
from black boy to black man
like Langston Hughes wrote,
I hope you’ll dream a world
where love will bless the earth,
because you are part of that blessing
lighting the world with the brilliance
of what you came to do.
If you’ve never had the pleasure of experiencing Glenis in person, catch her at TEDxGreenville or visit her blog.
But this was not a competition for high school seniors. Competitors were seniors citizens. You know, the generation born before spell check. The folks who learned to read phonetically, and who memorized rules like “i before e, except after c, or when sounding like ay as in neighbor or sleigh.”
Yes, those seniors.
Some came in wheelchairs from a nearby assisted living facility. What they lacked in physical ability they made up for in mental agility. A few were retired English teachers. But what they had in common was the love of words and libraries.
“Public libraries are one of the best things about America,” said a competitor whose first language was not English.
The joy of browsing the library shelves may be lost on younger generations for whom “googling” too often replaces a visit to the library.
Another lost art is etymology (word origins). Contestants not only asked for words to be repeated, defined or use in a sentence, but their place of origin, which can provide clues to their correct spelling.
Phonics and etymology have been replaced with … “magic spelling.” My daughter was introduced to this approach when she started first grade in 1992. In a desire to get young children comfortable with writing, teachers told them not to worry about spelling correctly.
Okay. That made some sense, but why not at least correct the misspelled words for the child’s edification? Unfortunately, the writing and spelling methodologies of the day coincided with the self-esteem movement. You know, “No Child Left Without a Trophy.”
And also lost to posterity is cursive writing. How are future historians going to decipher primary source documents written in cursive?
Oh, of course, they’ll be an app for that!
Audrey: I’m a writer-editor with nearly 35 years spent working in the federal government. When I think I began working for the government at the tail end of the Carter administration, it really does seem like a lifetime ago. In a way, it was a lifetime ago. I’ve since married and raised a wonderful daughter with my husband, with whom I now share our empty nest. Our baby bird flew across the pond to live with her British husband. So, to keep up with her life, I got on Facebook, where I have since reconnected with many old friends from my childhood in Brooklyn, New York, as well as from my other walks of life. Most recently, I had the joy of reconnecting with Annice, who launched this blog. It should feel like a lifetime ago since we met in our twenties, but happily, it’s like time never passed. That’s one of the secrets of getting older—the face and body may change, but at heart you may remain very much the same.
Let me introduce you to, Casey Curry, wife, mother, and educator who has just published her first novel, Promises. Curry is a master at weaving together fragile family alliances and with four aspiring African American daughters growing up in a military family all over the world, Curry has tons of material to not disappoint her readers. Like her protagonist, Pamela Sloan, Curry is a woman over 50, and the wife of a naval officer who takes us on a thirty year journey full of family secrets and promises.
I mention that the daughters are African American because it was that one fact alone that piqued my interest enough to read the book. It made me realize how little I knew about Black families in our military. Truth is, I had not read much about military families in general, and must confess, had only seen films about families coping with war and death as a young adult – starting with WWII, Viet-Nam, and now Iraq. Films or TV series that stand out are: Coming Home (1978); MASH (the 70’s); even Hogan’s Heroes from the 60’s and all those had an all white cast – or at least that’s how I remember it. It wasn’t really until Glory (1989) and Red Tails in 2012 that Hollywood portrayed African American families in the military.
So, Curry’s book allowed me to enter a world I knew very little about. What did I find? Having grown up with two sisters, I found the relationship between the siblings to be not all that different from my own EXCEPT mine didn’t involve military espionage, family sacrifices, or vacationing on the Vineyard. Interwoven between the daughters’ stories is Pamela’s story, their mother whose past is nothing like her daughters. Raised by a father because her mother was either absent or should’ve been, Pam managed to marry well while her half-sister struggled as a poor single mother with an ungrateful and selfish daughter. The contrast between Pamela’s tight knit family and her sister’s rather sad existence with her spoiled daughter is significant and what stories are made of.
I think Casey’s story will resonate not only with readers who have struggled with an empty nest or who are military wives but with women of all ages who have struggled to protect their family. The whole time I was reading Promises, I kept thinking this would make the perfect Lifetime channel movie – one of my guilty late night pleasures.
Casey Curry is the Director of Creative Writing at a fine arts magnet school in Tampa, Florida where she teaches poetry and fiction to high school students. She holds a B.A. from Hood College in Frederick, Maryland, and M.Ed. from Norfolk State University in Virginia. She is a 2012-2013 National Arts Teachers Fellowship (NATF) winner. The novel, Promises is her second book, and was born out of the NATF project, formerly funded by The Surdna Foundation. Ms. Curry is married to a retired Naval Officer and is the mother of three adult daughters. Her youngest daughter, Tori Rose, was the inspiration for her first book, I Remember You Today, and died of a brainstem tumor at the age of three.