Jill Weatherholt

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


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SUMMER SPOTLIGHT: JOHN HOWELL

Many thinks, Jill for hosting the Summer Spotlight Series and for including me in your selection of guests.

Here are my three questions and answers.

What is special about the place you grew up?

I grew up in Detroit, Michigan and at first blush that doesn’t sound like a place that could in anyway be special. To me, there was no other place I would have rather been. I lived in a culturally diverse neighborhood. This diversity gave me wonderful experiences and memories of people with different backgrounds and customs. I was always amazed at how differently my friend’s families celebrated Christmas for example. There was always a core sameness around the birth of Christ, but customs and rituals were varied and unique. I was also able to gain a respectable amount of experience with different kinds of food by being invited to friend’s houses for dinner. In all, I think the diverse neighborhood was very special about where I grew up.

What are some of the events in your life that made you who you are?

There were two defining events in my life. The first was when my father died. I was ten years old and could not find a rational justification for his death. Adults tried to explain about dad being taken up to heaven, but none of their words seemed to help. I concluded that I had done something wrong this was my punishment. Of course, I couldn’t put my hand on the specific act that caused such wrath but spent about twenty years trying to figure it out. During that time, I was conscious of trying to do my best not to repeat the error and to overachieve in everything I tried. There came a time when I finally realized that my dad’s death was not my fault. The result was a feeling of freedom that eventually allowed me to begin writing. The second event was a horrific auto accident when I was twenty-two. I was hospitalized for over seventy days and spent a fair amount of time in various stages of lucidness. My first thought when I woke in the ICU was that I had messed up again. It was during this time that I had to decide on blaming myself and giving up or continuing to fight to remain part of this world. After considering all that I had wanted to accomplish I chose to fight. It was this fight that demonstrated to me that one should never give up chasing a dream. The give up part is easy. The harder road is to commit to a plan and then accomplish that plan.

If you could make one rule that everyone had to follow, what rule would you make?

My rule would be that everyone on the planet would be responsible for helping one other person to become self-sufficient.  Of course, this rule would apply to everyone, and there would be no exceptions. I can just imagine the kinds of activities that would be taking place as each got engaged in helping someone else stand on their own two feet. A beautiful result over time is those who needed help would slowly become extinct. Then maybe the rule could change to everyone being required to save an animal. I can imagine the possibilities from there.

 

A little about me. I started writing full-time in 2012 when I finally threw off the yolk of organized commerce. I live on a barrier Island off the coast of Texas in the Gulf with my wife Molly and spoiled rescue pets.

I have since published three books. The first My GRL has just been re-released with a new cover and updated editing. It tells the story of John J. Cannon who buys a boat he names My GRL. Unbeknownst to him a group of terrorists want the boat since it will be a perfect vehicle to go undetected into New York harbor and deliver a fatal blow to the Annapolis Midshipmen on their summer cruise. John is the only one standing between the terrorists and the accomplishment of their goal. The second is His Revenge. John seeks to atone the killing of Gerry Starnes, the woman who sold him My GRL. The action moves from Port Aransas to California and on to Ecuador. His enemy Matt Jacobs has a twisted idea that John would make an excellent spokesperson for the terrorist group. He figures out a way to get John to cooperate on a plan that is designed to embarrass the President and wreak havoc on the oil industry. John must pretend to go along hoping he can create a way to get revenge. The question remains who will get the revenge? The Third is Our Justice the final story in the trilogy. John has been keen on bringing Matt Jacobs to justice. Matt has been keen on getting John to help him in a plot to assassinate the President. He plans to use John’s hero status to get close to the President to do his duty work. Both Matt and John feel their cause is right and both want justice extracted in their favor. We must see who in fact achieves Justice, Matt, John or neither.

All my books can be visited at Amazon https://www.amazon.com/author/johnwhowell

My forth book is with the editor and is titled Circumstances of Childhood and will be launched in September of 2017. It is the story of two friends and how they come to help each other when times get tough.

In addition to my novel writing I write a seven day a week blog which is filled with short stories, a top ten list of what not to do, pictures of my neighborhood, and a little philosophy. I would hope your readers would check it out at http://Johnwhowell.com.

Here is my other contact information

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/john.howell.98229241

Twitter –https://www.twitter.com/HowellWave

Authors db –http://www.authorsdb.com/authors-directory/6604-john-w-howell

LinkedIn –http://www.linkedin.com/pub/john-w-howell/48/b59/462/

Google +https://plus.google.com/+JohnHowellAuthor/

Goodreads –https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7751796.John_W_Howell


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SUMMER SPOTLIGHT: DONNA CONNOLLY, RETIREMENT REFLECTIONS

A warm thank you to Jill Weatherholt for including me in her Summer Spotlight Series. I’m Donna Connolly from RetirementReflections.

When my husband and I first toyed with the idea of retirement, I tried to read as much as I could on the emotional aspect of this transition. At that time, I found heaps of information on the financial side of retiring and much less on the emotional side. Thus my decision to document my reflections (and confessions) as I journeyed into retirement and to reach out to others who were doing the same.

As I began to write and to read other people’s blogs, I discovered what, for me, lies at the true heart of blogging. Building relationships, sharing ideas, reaching out, connecting, and inspiring each other have by far been the most rewarding part of the on-line writing experience. Blogging has allowed me to process both joyous and sorrowful events that have taken place for me during the past year and a half. Other than school documents, policies (and report cards), I had not done much writing since university. Now, spending time each day blogging has been like reconnecting with an old friend who I never realized how much I missed.

You can check out more about me in my answers to Jill’s clever and inspirational questions. I’ve found these questions to be a perfect platform to get to the core of who truly lies at the heart of my writing.

What are some of the events in your life that made you who you are?

Prior to retiring, I worked as a Middle School Principal and Deputy Director at an international school in China, The Western Academy of Beijing. I was privileged to be able to spend much time with children from diverse backgrounds and cultures. As Brazilian novelist, Paulo Coelho has stated, “A child can teach an adult three things: to be happy for no reason, to always be busy with something, and to know how to demand with all his might that which he desires.” I have found these lessons from children to be invaluable.

If you could make one rule that everyone had to follow, what rule would you make?

Our Middle School in Beijing had only four ‘rules’, i.e. Respect Yourself, Respect Others, Respect the Environment and Practice Kindness. With these four guidelines firmly in place, our staff and administration discovered that we did not need any other rules for our students, or for ourselves. If choosing just one ‘must’ for the world, I would select “Practice Kindness.”  As actor Morgan Freeman has stated, “How do we change the world?’ One random act of kindness at a time.”

Where do you most want to travel, but have never been?

On our fridge, my husband and I have a list of destinations to which we wish to travel and a yearly calendar placed beside the list.  At the top of our compilation are Machu Picchu and the Trans-Siberian Railway (okay, so maybe the latter is not exactly a ‘place’). We do not yet have any dates set for these two journeys. Nevertheless, our goal is to get both trips on the calendar within the next three years.

I hope that my answers to Jill’s questions have helped you to get a sense of who I am and what I write about. I’d love to hear from you in the comment section of this post. I’d especially like to know what rule you would make for our world. I look forward to connecting with you!