Jill Weatherholt

Writing Stories of Love, Faith and Happy Endings While Enjoying the Journey

Summer Spotlight: Yolanda McAdam

100 Comments

I feel very privileged indeed to be part of Jill’s wonderful Summer Spotlight Series! I have enjoyed getting to know you all.

Ok so a little about me…

Hi I’m Yolanda and I was born and raised in South Africa to Portuguese immigrants. My parents’ marriage was spectacularly unsuccessful (no adjective can truly describe how awful it was). One of my earliest memories is of my dad arriving home from a night out on the town (he was a notorious gambler and womaniser) to a barrage of verbal insults and flying plates. The trouble you see is they were both far too young and too tempestuous for a serious commitment like marriage. When eventually they parted ways (in very dramatic fashion – locks changed, suitcases left outside, father hammering on windows, police intervention) my father moved to another city and my mother went on to live the life of a single lady.

My sister and I were mostly raised by our grandparents. I started working ‘to pay my own way’ at fourteen years of age. At the time of course, I was resentful of the fact that I had to work if I wanted Corn Flakes for breakfast or a Duran Duran cassette. By the time I was twenty I had worked as a wedding photographer’s assistant (great job – when I think back I can still sometimes smell the chemicals in that dark room), waitress, receptionist and dental hygienist.

Eventually I saved up enough money for university and went on to major in Counselling Psychology but I didn’t practice until I was in my early thirties. Although I now work in marketing I am and always will be passionate about the benefits of therapy and personal development.

Writing has always been an escape of sorts for me. I write to make sense of my thoughts and my feelings and I also write to make sense of the world. I started writing stories when I was eleven or so and I would share them with my friends and one of my English teachers who was very encouraging of my future career as a romance novelist. In high school I had a number of my poems (very dark, mostly inspired by dead poets like Owens and Plath) published in the year books. I should have gone on to become a famous poet or a Mills & Boon author (I have a high school friend who went on to do be just that) instead I went to work for ‘Big Corporate’ and got caught up in ‘making money’. My blog, Scribblings, is my way of committing to the craft of writing – expect to read random posts on thoughts about family, nature and life. There was a time I felt a sense of extreme urgency to ‘get published’ thinking at the time that I was ‘a prodigy’ waiting to be discovered, but countless rejections have since proved otherwise. Now all that matters to me is that I write something that moves people.

What celebrity do you get mistaken for?

John Stamos. I think it’s the dimples. Also I have had more than one male friend tell me I look like Mariah Carey. You should know said friends were not sober at the time and this was back in the early 90s when I still had a big voice. Um, big hair.

If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

I would love to play the guitar. My eldest son plays beautifully but is an impatient teacher and I have short, stubby fingers. I love dancing and find it impossible to sit still when some Guitarra Latina is on the radio (or Spotify and Songza) for example but I move to just about any beat.

What do you miss most about being a kid?

My sister and I spent many happy hours baking mud pies and climbing trees in the African sun. I used to entertain myself, my younger sister and my friends with tales of wild adventure. I read Enid Blyton growing up, so there was always the possibility wasn’t there, of finding buried treasure in our backyard or that our neighbours were smugglers (despite living in a land-locked city)?
I miss the innocence. I miss my childhood friends, most of whom were boys. Two of them died in their teens in car accidents. I miss reading comic books and looking cool doing so. Nowadays you’re a nerd if you happen to know the difference between Green Lantern and Green Arrow. I miss that feeling of rolling in cool mud on a hot summer’s day. We (kids) were always dirty. I wish more parents embraced dirt and encouraged their children to run around in nature barefoot. I miss being small enough in the bathtub pretending I was a mermaid. I miss holding my breath underwater (now I just worry I’ll stop my heart). I miss the smell of ozone just before a Summer thunderstorm.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done?

I would have to say that following my heart was the hardest thing I have ever done (oh how cliché I hear you say)  My husband and I intended to move to Canada soon after getting married (20 something years ago) but family members were understandably upset at the prospect of us moving and we allowed ourselves to be held back. If we have any regret now is that we didn’t move sooner. We love North America.

What do you think the greatest invention has been?

Refrigeration. I know… I should have gone with ‘The printing press’ because what would life be without books and more books but I really do love my swanky refrigerator. So do my boys. I’m all for things that make my life easier like the internet and email and plumbing – oh yes, plumbing. I am very grateful for plumbing.

Thank you for reading.

Thanks for taking the spotlight, Yolanda. I love your thoughts on getting published, I feel the same. Up next week it’s Sherri Matthews.

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Author: Jill Weatherholt

My name is Jill Weatherholt and I’m a writer. I have a full-time job, but at night and on the weekend, I pursue my passion, writing. I write modern stories about love, friendship and forgiveness. I started this blog as a way to share my journey toward publication and to create a community for other new writers. Raised in the Washington, DC area, I’ve lived in Charlotte, North Carolina since 2004. I hold a degree in Psychology from George Mason University and a Certification in Paralegal Studies from Duke University. My first book, SECOND CHANCE ROMANCE, will release in March, 2017. It's now able for pre-order on Amazon. I was the first place winner in the Dream Quest One Short Story Contest in the Winter 2014-2015 competition. In 2014, I placed second in Southern Writers Magazine Short Story Contest. I was also a top ten finalist in Southern Writers Magazine Short Story Contest in 2012 and 2013. I’m a 2010 and 2012 winner of the NaNoWriMo Contest. I love to connect readers, visit me at jillweatherholt.com

100 thoughts on “Summer Spotlight: Yolanda McAdam

  1. You do look like Mariah Carey. Living out in the country as we do, I agree refrigeration including AC and good plumbing where everything is working at the same time is good. I pray the well doesn’t go dry or the pipes get tree roots. Different from the city. Keep writing!

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  2. Great to meet you Yolanda, I enjoyed reading your post very much, you have a wonderful writing style. Boy, can I relate to those dark poems…they are the only kind I write! I can also relate to much of what you share here…your parents tempestuous marriage and split, moving from the home of your birth to North America…as well as your desire that readers are moved by your writing. I look forward to reading more of ‘you’ and I do wish you every success in your writing career. One thing I’ve learnt in this life is it’s never too late! Take care – Sherri 🙂
    PS I think you look like Mariah Carey too 😉

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    • Thank you Sherri 🙂 I find it so much easier to write poems about pain and loss than about sunshiny days. Very cathartic – even when I’m not writing about something I have personally experienced. Seems like my friends were right re: Mariah Carey 😉

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    • Hi Sherri! I agree, it’s never too late for anything. I love reading about people in their 80’s who obtain their college degree or start running marathons. Their stories are so inspirational.
      Enjoy your weekend with your auntie and uncle…don’t stress about the emails and blog posts that will be waiting. 🙂 xoxo

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      • Ahh…thanks Jill! Here I am on Monday and just now back to WP but you know how that goes 😉 We had a wonderful weekend, a beautiful Golden Wedding celebration. I hope your weekend was a lovely one too. You’ll be pleased to know that I didn’t stress once! Although the dishwasher saga continues upon our return home but let’s move on from that…
        Have a great week my friend, see you soon 🙂 xoxo

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      • Oh no…not the dishwasher saga! I thought that was behind you. I’m so sorry, Sherri. xo

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  3. Hi, Yolonda! I agree with Georgette about Mariah Carey. Glad to read this post. You and I have so many commonalities. I studied psychology and my parents had trouble in their marriage. I also loved Duran Duran but in the late 80s. I read Green Lantern and Green Arrow comic books, particularly when they had a joint comic book–Green Lantern and Green Arrow. Nice to meet someone who appreciates the finer things in life. 🙂 I also miss being a mermaid in the bathtub. It just doesn’t work that way now. Too big.

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    • Hi there sister 😉 so who was your Duran Duran crush? Simon, John or Roger? maybe Nick? I had a massive crush on John Taylor. It was insane. My room was a shrine. I wish I had kept all my comic books from the 70s onwards. I would be a millionaire today. I’m still a mermaid. Hubby says it’s near impossible to get me out of a bath once I’m in 😉

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    • Hi L Marie! What a great comment! 🙂 You and Yolanda are definitely soul sisters. I loved Duran Duran…still do and I studied psychology. Thankfully, my parents have a great relationship with 53 years of marriage behind them.
      I hope you have a great weekend that includes some fun fiction writing!

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  4. I imagine your challenging childhood has provided much experience to draw from in your writing. Though sometimes you probably don’t wish to revisit it!

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    • I have toyed with the idea of writing a memoir – but memory and memoir-writing are tricky things. I know that my experiences have proved invaluable in counselling and coaching others . Last year I started a story that is evolving into a novel set in South Africa so I have definitely been drawing from my childhood experiences. Thanks for your comment Carrie 🙂

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    • Hi Carrie! Thanks for stopping by to meet Yolanda. I guess we all have some experiences from childhood that we wouldn’t want to revisit and probably as adults too.
      Enjoy the weekend!

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  5. Interesting interview Yolanda. Great to hear about all the different hats you’ve worn. We had a darkroom in our house ~ the smell of photographic chemicals is . . . distinct.

    Good luck with the guitar. I taught myself to play in high school and have enjoyed countless hours of strumming and singing since then.

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  6. Very nice to meet you, Yolanda! You have a most interesting well of experiences from which to write about. Thanks for sharing with us. 😊

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  7. Hi Yolanda! You do have a wealth of experience to draw from. I wish you well. My grandchildren are city kids and I deliberately take them out to get dirty every now and then 🙂

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    • Glad to hear you are ok with getting the kids dirty 🙂 Sadly most people aren’t aware that scientists actually dig around in soil (and caves) for strains of bacteria to make ever-increasing powerful antibiotics (because bacteria are becoming resistant to our antibiotics). We need is to get ourselves and our children out of the house more. Thanks for your comment 🙂

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    • Hi SK! Good for you for getting your grandchildren nice a dirty! Do you then drop them off at their parents? 🙂
      Happy Weekend!

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  8. Thanks for sharing a little about yourself, Yolanda! I’m happy for you that you eventually followed your dreams. 🙂

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    • I am determined to stay the course despite the inevitable bends and forks ahead. Thanks for your comment Jolyse 🙂

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    • Hey Jolyse! It’s great to see you! You followed your dream and you have a book coming out soon! When can I read it? I’m so happy for you! I miss your blog. 😦
      Enjoy your weekend!

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      • Thanks, Jill! I’m excited. The Christmas novella is being released on 11.11.14 along with the three other books in the series (Jeannie Moon’s is one of them). My blog has been on a reluctant hiatus as I’ve adjusted to many changes in our lives these past months and while I’ve pondered its future direction as I move it over to my professional website. The website goes live in mid-October and I’m thrilled with my design team at WaxCreative. They really know their stuff.

        Anyway, I look forward to seeing you back at my blog soon because I miss all of you, too, maybe even this week if I can get my act together! I finished writing the next scene in one of my three new projects. Off to work on the next.

        Happy writing and reading! 🙂

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      • Thanks for sharing all of your exciting news, Jolyse! I’ll look forward to reading your Christmas novella and seeing your new website! I’m very happy for you. 🙂

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  9. Yolanda it was great to learn more about your background, what an interesting life you’ve led. I love your description of your childhood in particular (Enid Blyton has a lot to answer for!)

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    • Hi Andrea 🙂 I wasn’t sure what to keep in and what to take out 😀 I think most of us have that problem when it comes to summarizing our lives. Enid Blyton. The Best. I tried to get my sons to love her as much as I do but they weren’t interested 😦

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    • Hi Andrea! I thought I knew Yolanda, until I read her post. Between you and I, this was exactly the reason I wanted to do this series, to go beyond the weekly comments and learn more about these wonderful people.
      Thanks for reading! I hope you have a great weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. What wonderful ladies! (Jill and Yolanda)

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  11. Hello, again, my Portuguese sister! Sounds like you found some wonderful childhood memories to cherish in spite of the drama, trauma and pain it also included. I’m actually a tad jealous of being able to ROLL in the mud – we were limited to the mess mudpies could make.

    And no matter WHAT your age, I think you would look TOTALLY cool rockin’ a comic book, Yolanda!

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    • LOL thank you Shel 😀 I do miss my comic books! Yup we bathed, rolled and waded in mud like lil’ piglets. Summer is thunderstorm season in Africa so we would wait for the rain to stop (it was always a quick downpour) before running out barefoot and in our skimpiest outfits for a mud bath. I know of women who pay to have the stuff put on their face. You can get it free from Mother Nature.

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    • Hi Shel! Yolanda had mud baths, you had pies, I was lucky if I could walk barefoot in the mud. I need to make up for lost time and do some major wallowing!
      Thank you again for your great post last week and the sweet e-mail…I’ll respond soon. Enjoy your weekend!

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  12. Hi Yolanda. What a delightful interview! You have an smooth, easy, and interesting writing style. I especially enjoyed reading what you miss about being a kid. Your memories sound so fresh!

    One of the first jobs my mom had was working as a photographer’s assistant. This was in the days before color photography, so one of her tasks was colorizing the photos by hand. She was artistic, so the job suited her. I think we often have fond memories of our first jobs.

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    • Your mother’s job sounds wonderful! Although I love living ‘now’ I sometimes feel nostalgic for those simpler times when most things had to be made or finished by hand. Thank you for the compliment and comment Nikki 🙂

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    • Hi Nicki! I was drawn to Yolanda’s blog after the first post. I really enjoy her style and she is so down to earth.
      You’re right, one of my first jobs was working at a roller skating rink as a skate guard…it was the best job ever!
      Enjoy your weekend!

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  13. It’s a delight to meet you, Yolanda. Anyone who made mud pies under the African sun–and who looks like you do but describes yourself as resembling John Stamos–is an interesting new friend.
    Refrigeration is tied with indoor plumbing on my list. I had a good friend in high school who managed her grandparents’ little farm one summer, and there was a raccoon who made its way into the out house and terrified all of us who were helping out at the farm.

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    • Ah raccoons! Got to love ’em. We have a family living in the hedges surrounding our property (so cute from birth to adolescence – scary when they’re older and the size of Rottweilers). We also have a resident garbage-thieving skunk. He is not welcome but he has the upper hand – or perhaps the better end 😉 Thank you for your comment Marylin 🙂

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    • Hi Marylin! I’m happy you stopped by to meet Yolanda. I don’t get the resemblance to John Stamos, but definitely Mirah Cary.
      I love raccoon’s but they keep stealing my suet. 😦
      Happy Weekend!

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  14. Hi, Yolanda. Did you ever eat those mud pies? 😀 Sorry I couldn’t help asking. I actually did taste of one of mine once. It wasn’t quite as gross as I thought it would be, but I didn’t swallow it. LOL. Nice to meet you.

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  15. I definitely see Mariah in this picture of you. ;). That must have been very difficult growing up in that constant storm your parents created in your home. I am happy to read that in spite of those memories you are able to reflect on the happy times as a child. Playing in cool mud while the burning sun is on you sounds wonderful! Very nice to meet you. 🌹

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    • I don’t know why we ever stopped covering ourselves in mud and clay and war paint (more paint less war). There was a time when people would go about there daily business with their mud masks on 🙂 Children are incredibly resilient and adaptable – and forgiving. Now that I’m a parent I am especially glad that is the case. Thanks for your comment 🙂

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    • Hi Maria! Thanks for popping over to meet Yolanda. In addition to her writing talent, she’s an extremely talented photographer. With her permission, I plan to post a couple beautiful photos she took for me.
      I definitely see Mariah in that picture. Happy Weekend to you! xo

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  16. Yolanda, now I know what makes you a fellow “pie o logist”…. your psychology studies!!!!!

    I liked hearing about your history. The flying plates, the police intervention. I too have divorced parents (had… they are deceased now) and I think a lot of artist people come out of those homes.

    You answered Jill’s questions in an interesting way too. Mermaid playing and mud rolling around!!! Innocence! An big refrigerators!!! See you in blog land!

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    • Hey Hollis! on iPhone, on the freeway, hubby driving…I hear you. No worries 😀 I have made a fair share of typos today (I’m supposed to be working) Apologies to all 😀 yes I think when you come from a ‘broken’ home you tend to be introspective/reflective and I know I ‘escaped’ into fantasy. Story-making and story-telling was my way of imagining a better place for myself. Thanks for your comment Hollis 😀

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    • Hi Hollis! Typos…that’s what makes us human! I think our common psychology background is what drew me to Yolanda’s blog, plus she’s awesome!
      Have a great weekend!

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  17. Sorry for typos. Hubby in car on freeway and me typing on an iPhone. Sorry.

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  18. Yolanda, wow, you’ve led such an inspirational life! And you are probably right about refrigeration! I hadn’t thought of that one, but I can’t imagine how difficult things would be without it!

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    • Hi Luanne! I can’t imagine life without refrigeration. I couldn’t live without my ice water. I hope you’re having a great weekend!

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    • I believe spices were in great demand during the middle ages because people were eating spoilt meat and the spices hid that fact! We are very lucky indeed to have all these niceties that have since become ‘absolute essentials’ 😀 Thanks for the comment Luanne 🙂

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      • Ugh, you’re right about the spices. I like ice water, too, like Jill, and I like my soda well chilled and dislike it after it’s been out of the fridge for a couple of minutes. But more to the point, the food would not have been well kept. I can’t imagine how many people got sick from the food.

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  19. I think this may be unfair of me to say, but Yolanda is the most ‘exotic’ author I have read their background on Jill’s blog. I mean it in the best sense of the word. Yolanda, I admire your candor of your childhood, your survival instincts and your loving sisterhood with making mud pies and all kinds of fun playful childhood adventures. Although, they were short-lived, you mention them as happy memories, so that is good that you can see this way. It is cool that you love your fancy refrigerator and so do your boys! I look forward to ‘checking you out!’ Best wishes!
    Jill, I focused in my comments on the way Yolanda lived as a child, since this makes her rather unique and special amongst your varied authors. It was fascinating to learn more about her. Thanks for another fine post to enjoy and savor, Jill!

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    • It’s my pleasure, Robin! I agree, reading about Yolanda’s childhood made her post extra special. I’m so happy she chose to share that with us. Enjoy your weekend!

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    • Thank you so much Robin for the kind words 🙂 I try to focus on the positive in all things but of course there have been many of those shake-your-fist-at-the-sky days where I wondered ‘why me?’ was I a Nazi in a previous life? Dracula? Therapy definitely helped.

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      • I can see your sense of humor here, as well as on your blog! You definitely ‘earned’ the right to shake your fist up in the air and ask, “Why me?!” You were not a Nazi nor a Dracula in your previous life, I am sure your innocence in childhood deserved much more better things, but glad you got through it, are married and have a chance to provide a great life for you own boys. My Dad felt his horrible and deprived childhood was never an excuse not to be a good father. He was always one of the best dads around, building tree houses, sandboxes, dancing and having fun with us on vacations. We all need to just be able to become ‘better’ than our pasts, but in some (guilty) cases, like mine, I felt my parents could not be improved. I was blessed, which doesn’t mean I was an angel in my past life, either! (Using your logic… Yolanda!)

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  20. You have a very interesting life story, Yolanda. A more attractive version of Mariah Carey? Absolutely!!! It’s been wonderful getting to know a little more about you 😀

    Jill – this Summer Spotlight is fantastic and I’m really enjoying it! 😉

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  21. Hi Yolanda, we have things in common:) I also read Enid Blyton books as a child- I love the “Five go Adventuring Series”. As a child, I played in the rain puddles and walked to school bare-footed. I didn’t climb trees a lot, but I rolled around in the grass in the cemetery and sat on the tombs. My cousin and made pots and pans from mud and baked them in the sun. It’s nice meeting you on Jill’s Summer Spotlight. Have a lovely weekend.

    Jill, you have a great weekend too!

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    • Hi Elaine! I think you and Yolanda would have been great friend growing up. Thanks for sharing a little of your childhood memories. Enjoy your weekend!

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    • Absolutely we would be great friends Elaine! is it ok to say I love cemeteries? I know some people find them creepy. I just find them peaceful. We didn’t live anywhere near one growing up but soon after getting my driver’s license I would drive out to sit ‘with my grandfather’ and years later my departed friends (too many taken too soon) and my father. Yes! I adored the Famous Five by Enid Blyton (as they were called in South Afrcia). Thank you for your comment 🙂

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  22. Hello, Yolanda! As many others have mentioned, you DO look like Mariah Carey 🙂 Even if your friends were drunk, they were spot-on 🙂 This quote from your post really resonates with me: “Now all that matters to me is that I write something that moves people.” I’m there too. Sure, I would love to publish someday, but I suspect that it’ll be self-publishing. In that case, what’s the hurry? As long as I’m writing now and can occasionally move people, I’ll count my blessings. I’m also with you on the things you miss from childhood. I grew up around farms, my nephews grew up on a dairy farm, and I really think the exposure to manure, hay, and cows gave us strong constitutions. I still take a child-like pleasure in getting dirty 🙂
    It’s nice getting to know you, Yolanda.
    Jill, thank you for hosting Yolanda!

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  23. Now that I’m older and more concerned about what the neighbours think 😉 I enjoy mucking about in the garden. Somehow gardening makes getting dirty look respectable. I love reading author interviews and more than one author has said that writers should write for their own pleasure or write the book they wanted to read. I think once we have accomplished that (it is harder than it sounds) it doesn’t matter if we self-publish or follow the traditional path to publication -the book will be a success. Thank you for you comment Marie 🙂 I wish you great success with your writing.

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  24. Reblogged this on Scribblings and commented:
    I was absolutely delighted to be included in Jill Weatherholt’s awesome Spotlight Series. Here is a little more about myself and my answers to 5 of Jill’s great questions.

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  25. Great story and telling, Yolanda. I wished I’d known you back in the day. I would have recorded my Duran Duran albums onto cassette for you (I would even have used high-grade cassettes).

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  26. Yolanda you have a way with your story telling and a compelling story to tell. Happy to have connected and will look forward in reading more from you. Kath.

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  27. Nice to have a few more details, Yolanda. Funny how people from a disturbed marriage so often end up in the field of counselling. I can sympathise- a few shoes flew in our house too! You seem to have survived pretty well and I’m happy you’ve found yourself in the right place. I always enjoy my visits to your blog and your comments on mine.

    Jill- whatever are you going to do after Sherri next week? Are you itching to resume control? It’s been a long Summer! 🙂

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  28. I think most of us want to make sense of ‘things’ and if you’re the product of a ‘broken’ marriage or abuse etc you tend to harbour a fair amount of shame, anger etc… sadly, most want to be counsellors or therapists without doing the necessary work first. I for one knew I needed to process ‘my stuff’ and was fortunate to find a wonderful therapist. Thank you for your comment 🙂 I love your blog! ps. looking forward to Jill’s return too 😉

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  29. Thank you for sharing this quite compelling life story Yolanda. Oftentimes the darkest moments in our lives end up to be the most inspiring catalysts that propel us towards opportunities that can bring about the best in us. You sure did a good job in transforming some of that ‘stuff’ into something you’re passionate about It’s been wonderful getting to know you a little bit more.
    p.s. sorry, I was more a Simple Minds & U2 fan (still am 😉 oh and Pink Floyd of course

    Jill, thank you for hosting Yolanda

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  30. Thank you Karin 🙂 You know I think you’re awesome ❤ I am a huge U2 fan! an even bigger fan of Bono. A few years ago he actually tried to go 'incognito' by backpacking through our beautiful city and surrounding forest. Pink floyd, The Wall – but of course …one of the greatest albums of all time.

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