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.”
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.
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.
Every summer I wait and wonder if my favorite morning glory will appear.
There are many of the deep purple “Grandpa Ott’s” and the pink “Carolina Morning” variety, as well as lots of white and light blue ones with blue stripes that start to bloom very early in the season. They are lovely, but by this time of the year I am pulling them out because they start to take over.
There is only one that truly makes my heart beat fast, and that one starts to open at the end of summer. It’s called “Heavenly Blue”, for a reason.
I saw the first one by the chicken run the other day and it made me feel so happy…that shade of blue, its unreal! Even if I am stressed and in a hurry or having a time keeping up with things, or missing something or someone, I have no choice but to stop and stare at “that blue” and fall into the moment.
When it was time for our “Sally” hens to be “harvested” a few weeks ago, I decided that I would be able to do something that I was not able to do with the previous 3 flocks we’ve had, and that is, to eat them.
I can’t do the actual killing, and I can’t even be around the killing of them, but really, since I am a meat-eater I should be all right with eating them, right? Some of my friends find that thought horrifying! I also have friends who cannot stand having the bones in the meat they eat because it reminds them that they are eating what was once a living animal. But really that is what eating meat is! We couldn’t have loved our hens any more than we did; we fed them homemade organic kefir and organic feed and scratch, and since they had to die one day, I believe they would want us to eat them!
I went back and forth as to whether or not we should get another batch of chicks, because I feel like we’re getting older, and I know that I might have to clean out their house once, plus maybe I don’t want to get attached to another batch of hens. In the end, I found myself calling McMurray Hatchery to place another order of “Black Star” hens.
Here is how they looked on July 21st when they arrived by post.
Then they started to get bigger and a few days ago I took a video of them coming out of their house. I decided to name them “Shanti” instead of “Sally” (my mom’s name) since I think it is good to say the word “peace” as often as possible these days.
For the next 2-3 years, these hens will be part of our lives, and I’m OK with that idea. Plus, I cannot wait until they start laying eggs because once you have had fresh eggs, it is not easy to eat any others. Om Shanti!