Jill Weatherholt

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


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SUMMER SPOTLIGHT: JENNIFER KELLAND PERRY

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Thank you, Jill, for featuring me in your Summer Spotlight series. It is indeed a pleasure and an honour, and I look forward to reading about your other guests. Now, on to your questions:

What is special about the place you grew up?

I was born and raised in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.
What makes my capital city so special, besides its colourful houses and distinct culture, is its long history and unique geographical location. It is the oldest English-founded city in all of North America. Besides that, St. John’s is next to Cape Spear, the most easterly point of land in North America.
These are only some of the reasons I used my birthplace as the setting for my novels.

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

I’ve always wanted to visit the United Kingdom. First, it was Italy and France. Now that my husband and I have scratched those countries off our bucket list, England and the surrounding areas are next. If all goes well, we hope to travel there next year. Fingers crossed!

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

I believe we should work harder at celebrating each others’ differences, instead of expecting everyone to speak, think and behave as we do. If we practised more acceptance and cooperation, our world would be an infinitely better place.

More about Jennifer:

Jennifer Kelland Perry is a blogger, writer, avid reader and animal lover. She left the city behind in 2010 for the rural writing life and is loving every moment.
Calmer Girls is her debut novel, the first in a two-book series. The second title, Calmer Secrets, was released in March 2017.
Jennifer lives beside the ocean in Newtown, Newfoundland with her husband Paul and two beloved sister cats, Maisie and Vivian. She is currently working on her third novel. You can visit her here on WordPress at jenniferkellandperry.com, where she shares photography, blogger bouquets, guest posts from her cats, or posts about writing.
Both of Jennifer’s books are available in paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon:

Calmer Girls – First love and family turmoil in a meaningful YA story.

Sixteen-year-old introvert Samantha Cross is falling in love for the first time. There’s only one problem: she’s falling for her older sister’s boyfriend, Ben Swift. Her sister Veronica is beautiful, outgoing, and confident. Samantha is used to her sister getting all the attention and everything she wants, even if she doesn’t like it. But now they’re being torn apart by love for the same boy, their parents’ separation and mother’s declining emotional state, and their move away from Calmer Cove into city life in St. John’s.
As her life crumbles apart around her, Samantha’s feelings for Ben only grow stronger. Then she finds out the boy driving the vintage Thunderbird has mysterious issues of his own. Will Samantha let Veronica keep the only boy she’s ever loved, or will she end up ruining her sister’s happiness to take control of her own? Tensions between the siblings escalate, and Samantha is torn between doing what she thinks is right and acting on her heart’s desire. One thing becomes clear: one of the Cross sisters is in for a broken heart.

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Calmer Secrets – The tale continues in this gripping New Adult sequel to Calmer Girls.

Samantha Cross is all grown up, busy with art school, and free of romantic entanglements. That’s how she prefers it, having renounced love ever since Ben Swift came between her and her sister Veronica four years ago, changing their lives forever. Quite the opposite, Veronica rides the dating circuit with every eligible guy she meets. The rift between the sisters is still intact, troubling Samantha and raising questions about Veronica’s lifestyle choices.

But when an old friend turned sexy bass player rocks Samantha into a wild infatuation, she rethinks her abstinence. While feeling out this intense relationship, Ben barges back into their world with devastating news, sending both sisters into a tailspin. Is Samantha fated to fall under his spell again, or will she side with Veronica against dire new threats facing their family?

In an explosive climax, Veronica reveals long-buried secrets of her own, secrets that could impact all their futures and any hope of reconciliation between the Cross women — a.k.a. the Calmer Girls.

Other Links:

Blog
Twitter
Facebook
Goodreads 
Amazon Author Page
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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!


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SUMMER SPOTLIGHT: COLIN CHAPPELL

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

A sense of despair and depression led me to a man (Philip) who gave me a whole new perspective on life, and coached me through the transitional process. He was a volunteer and asked for nothing. He was a family man and gave freely of his time. He was an ordained minister (I found out many years later) but never broached religion with me. In later years I reciprocated by volunteering in various capacities, all of which involved direct, compassionate and supportive interactions. I look back on my life and am very satisfied with the way things turned out and, for that, I have to thank Philip.

I also heard a number of presentations by (the late) Leo Buscaglia and loved his views on life.

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

That we think very carefully about how we would like to be treated by everybody… and then treat everybody accordingly.

What’s the biggest obstacle you’ve ever had to overcome?

Apart from the circumstances re question oneit was knowing that I was not going to be allowed to pursue my first career choice, and my second (and approved) career choice came to an abrupt end for medical reasons. “What to do now?” was a major obstacle for me in 1965.

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Me, Ray and a book!

I was bitten by a German Shepherd when I was14 years old and so, understandably, my perception of dogs was not too complimentary. I learned to just accept them, but did find them often annoying: soiled areas that I traveled on; chased almost anything that moved; smelled a little when dry, and smelled a lot when wet.

I did get to meet a few dogs that were amiable and, in a moment of weakness in November 2012, I started talking to our local Humane Society about  dog ownership with the view to maybe, just maybe, I might like to adopt one. I was starting to believe that it could be possible to have a really rewarding relationship with a canine.

Eventually I decided yes, and so started looking for a good size, sociable, even temperament, huggy kind of dog. The plan totally misfired because while I was planning on possibly adopting a dog, Ray was planning on adopting me. His strategy was clearly better than mine because he  moved in with us in March 2013.

I would describe him as 75lbs of attitude in a fur coat! He was neither sociable, nor of even temperament and did not like to be touched. In fact the only area where he met my criteria was in his size. He was certainly a good size dog!

Our first 18 months together were an emotional roller coaster as Ray presented so many challenges which had to be addressed. Those first 18 months also carved out a place for him in my heart. I felt so strongly that the “trials and tribulations” of those first 18 months of living with Ray should be somehow recorded, that I wrote the book  “Who Said I was up for Adoption?” which is available in Hard Cover, Paperback and eBook formats from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Good Reads, etc. etc.

Ray was rescued from a life as a stray by our local Humane Society, who then invested considerable time and effort into making him a feasible candidate for adoption. They have continually supported us 120%, and so all profits from the book sales will be directed to them.

The book is written not only from my perspective, but also how I envisaged Ray would see the various events as we journeyed together. The different perspectives of a given situation proved really interesting

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Book reviews (amazon.com) have considered it to be an emotional read however, unlike so many dog stories, the hero is still alive at the end! Everything I learned about Ray and dogs in general, during those 18 months, is covered so there are many training details included which would be of interest to anybody contemplating inviting a dog into their life, or perhaps already have a challenge sharing their home with them!.

The ongoing saga of me and Ray is covered in the Dog Stories category of my Blog at meandray.com

Thank you so much Jill for providing this opportunity to introduce your readers to my beloved Ray, and of course to promote my/his book.