At SIWO, you will find all types of talents. One of them is Kallie; well known within the SIWO community for her electrifying personality. Kallie has just published her first book which the Cameroonian prolific writer, Marie Abanga describes as “delightful, inspiring, and refreshing”. We are happy that Kallie has accepted to talk to us about her book, her inspiration to write, the challenges she overcame; of what benefit her book can be to readers and how aspiring authors can emulate her. You will enjoy hearing from Kallie.
Q- Kallie, you just published a book. What is the title of your book?
A- Where the Cows Still Play
Q- Who are you, by the way?
A- (Chuckling), Excellent, question, lately at 56, I have been asking myself the same thing. I am the mom of two wonderfully successful grown children, a G’ma, with 30 plus years of Cost Accounting/Inventory Control Specialist and bookkeeping background. I am the owner/writer of TheBlackWallBlog and one of the writers/Board of Directors and currently head of International Marketing and PR for the SIWO blog. I am an advocate- for raising awareness to the crisis that we are losing “22” Veterans to suicide per day. Thanks to my passion for in-depth research, I created my own self remedy, when my with was down to barely 110 lbs. It allowed me to be a very lucky C-diff survivor. Which is a growing “super bug” epidemic. Currently, we are losing 25000 people a year in the USA. My goal in life is to bring people together. There are too many lonely people, who are suffering from depression, PTSD and anxiety. As Ben and Jerry’s had their “Leave no Child Behind campaign, I would like to implement leave no person behind. I believe that is why the Universe has brought me to where I am today.
Q- What is the book about?
A- It is a book full of photography showing the beautiful countryside of my own back yard, known as New Hampshire and Vermont. I have added prose which hopefully enhances the journey.
Q- What prompted you to write and publish on this subject?
A- It’s a project I have been toying with, in the back of my mind for about 5 years. It’s amazing how often we take things for granted and do not see the beauty that surrounds us. Tourists plan vacations to come here. Yet we take it for granted. I wanted to share it with people that are not able to buy a plane ticket. My photographer and best friend, recently celebrated his first anniversary of one year free from throat cancer. Life really is short. Currently without employment, my house almost paid for. I hope to find an investor/partner to help me update or sell/flip my home in NH, where I have lived since 1996. Between the house and good book sales, it would allow my photographer and I, an opportunity to move closer to my youngest granddaughter in NC. It would give us the freedom to travel, so we can photograph and write about all the beautiful “backyards”, across the USA and quite possibly other countries. who knows what doors will open?
Q- What is unique about your book?
A- It’s definitely a non-tourist view of the scenery through the six seasons around our area. Add the prose and 3 years of back road photography, it’s a glimpse into why we love where we live. Even when we move to other parts of the US, as I have, there is always something in your heart that longs for home. Where else do you enjoy the sweet smell of boiling sap in the Spring, or sugar on snow, offset with eating a dill pickle to cut through the sweetness. Ha! ha! The looks you get, when you make a statement such as above, are priceless. On the more serious side, I have talked to a large number of people that are currently experiencing that longing to move back to New England.
Q- How long did it take you to write and publish.
A- That is a tough one to answer. Having the idea for over 5 years and knowing I wanted to do something. When It all clicked and I knew what I wanted. The majority of what I needed already existed. I created an outline, went through hundreds of pictures, revamped past prose and put the book together. Then I wrote a bit more on the fly. Replaced, some of the pictures. Believe it or not, it was about 4 1/2 weeks!
Q- Who published for you?
A- I did some extensive research and decided I would give Amazon “self publishing” a try. I knew it would not be a kindle type book. Frankly, I wasn’t sure if it would work at all. I “stumbled” onto the paperback section of their self publishing and started adjusting margins, gutters etc to the word doc book I had created. Uploaded and took a look at it. Made a large number of changes and Self published! It was quite a journey.
Q- Publishing is definitely not an easy job. What difficulties did you encounter and how did you over come them?
A- since my old desktop still runs XP, I could not download their template. So everything had to be done manually. I am an Excel spreadsheet expert and have used word for years. When I got to the automatic table of contents, which was a requirement, I was stumped. I actually wrote a blog post entitled, Singing the “Create a table of Contents in Word Doc” blues. link to the “Singing the create a table of contents in Word Doc blues”
Q- How did you know that you could publish with Amazon?
A- I really did not know for sure if I could. I had read about their kindle publishing. So I popped into their website and created an account. Then I started reading. My beloved dogs at my feet. I actually read some of it to them. Of course they were quite helpful. (Giggles) They would nudge me on with their noses and force me to take breaks, to take them outside, just at the perfect time, usually as I was feeling starting to feel a bit overwhelmed.
Q- Tell me how Amazon worked with you till publication of your book.
A- Actually, Amazon has a Self-publish Community section. You can go in and review questions from people/authors who are attempting to self publish. Included are the answers they received from other people/authors that have already self published. The majority of the time, I followed the written instructions, often stopping to read them 3 to 8 times. Having tested programs for IT, I have never had a fear of technology. I am one of those people that just jumps in and says, OH! let’s push THIS button and see what it does! Basically, I would say it was a lot of trial, error, try again, ahh! sweet success. (SMILE)
Q- Would you advise any one to follow your footsteps?
A- Definitely! It is an experience you don’t want to miss. I am also here to help anyone who has a question. If I don’t have the answer, I am willing to help with the research and find one! I’m actually thinking of offering my services for a small fee.
Q- What are your expectations after publishing your book?
A- Hopefully, that it will not fall flat on it’s face. Though it is just a start, I want to do more! I am hoping it will open a door to not only creating more books. But, perhaps bring in some editing, publishing gigs. A BIG PLUS would be that it inspires others to realize their true potential! If I can do it, so can they!
Q- What is your advice to aspiring authors?
A- Listen to your heart. Follow your passion. Listen to your gut. Ask advice, be true to your vision. At the same time, DO NOT be so stringent that you shut others out when they suggest a few modifications. Most importantly, if it isn’t flowing. Set it aside and let it simmer for a day or two. Then, go back and look at your work with fresh eyes. It’s incredible, that a 24 to 48 hour break can totally change your perspective.
Q- Tell us about your blogging experience- your blog and other blogs to which you belong.
A- Ngobs, you really have out done yourself with these questions. You sure are thorough! (GRIN). TheBlackWallBlog, opened up a new world to me. It took time, but I found my voice. Even after 3 years, I am always learning, changing, working on improving. The blogging world is an amazing place of people that want to help others. One of my best moments, was the day you reached out to me, to start writing for “Success Inspirers’“. I felt so honored. As time has gone by, gosh, how long has it been? Have we hit two years? Your quest, to spread inspiration and happiness around the world, bringing people together, just wrapped it’s arms around me like a warm bear hug. One day, it HIT me, I was home. THIS is was what I wanted to do with my life. Help mentor people and encourage them to realize they have an inner light to shine. At the same time, I wanted to find a way to work the two blogs as a team. I think the Meet and Greet and K’s blog recommendation is a start. Becoming, a board member has given me a family. Something, I haven’t had for a very long time. Everyone is there to encourage, cheer and respect one another as we help other bloggers and readers succeed in their life path. I feel like the whole world has opened up. It all sounds so cliche’. Yet it is real!
Q- How can people interested get your book?
A- It is available on Amazon.com. As of 9.9.2018 it was the #1 on Amazon’s NEW releases of New England US Travel Books. “Where the Cows Still Play”.
Q-In what way can it benefit readers?
A- Honestly, I think Coffee table books like this, are a fabulous way to travel to other places without a plane ticket! They also make a fabulous gift! I know through the years I have read and seen pictures of other places. After getting a glimpse, I would add some of them to my travel wish list. Then, later on in life I was able to visit some of those places. I like the opportunity to see the world and the difference in the countryside, the wildlife, plants, trees and traditions. I am still old fashioned enough, that I love to hold a book in my hand.
Q-When we talk publishing we are talking money; how did you finance your book?
A- Actually, that is an upside to Amazon self publishing. It costs you zero dollars to create your vision and publish. If you want an authors copy, you have to pay for it yourself. I was lucky that an old friend, bought the first copy of my book and dropped shipped it to me. The royalties aren’t extremely high. But, it is definitely a good jumping off point.
Q-What advice do you have for fellow bloggers?
A- Well for the newbies, get involved. Do MEET & GREET, challenges, and writing prompts, Always! always! always!, take time to say a sincere, thank you. Acknowledge people, be honest, keep it upbeat. Ignore, the doubter. To the people that have done this for a long time.
Thank you for your continued support! As I have said, this is not FB! We are here to help each other, cheer each other on and share ideas. We are all neighbors living in a beautifully landscaped community of our creativity, passion and imagination.
Q-Who are those you would like to pass a vote of thanks to for your publication?
A- The first person I have to thank is Brian Gage, my best friend and photographer. He not only re-discovered his own passion for photography, he also helped me re-discover my own. A giant THANK YOU to you, Ngobs, to Shilpa, Kate (Upwards Journey), Susanna, Amulya and an old friend John J. All of you helped either by editing and/or keeping the faith and believing in me, during this process. I also have to send a big shout out of thanks to the bloggers that gave input on the Cover I designed! 🙂
Q-What do you enjoy best in life?
A- I enjoy creative writing, all sorts of challenges, finding ways to improve myself. Helping others find their way. Making people laugh, reading other blogs so that I may learn what people are passionate about. I sew, do miniatures in the 1/12th scale. Spending time with my littlest grand daughter, which is not that often, due to distance. I come from a long line of writers and teachers. I know in my heart that I can make a difference. The joke has always been, since I was born on Valentine’s Day, that I have two hearts. (SILLY SMIRK). On a really serious side, having first hand knowledge, to how someone’s suicide impacts a child, a mother, changes a family’s life, with all the “never to be answered” questions that are left behind… If I can ease even one person’s pain, stop them from feeling that sad helplessness, loneliness and direct them on a path toward their inner sunshine. Then I will consider myself to be successful.
“Life isn’t meant to be lived perfectly…but merely to be LIVED. Boldly, wildly, beautifully, uncertainly, imperfectly, magically LIVED.”
― Mandy Hale-The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass-2013
Q -How do people who are interested contact you?
A – My email isTheBlackWallBog@gmail.com.
It was a real joy for us to talk to you. Thanks for accepting to be our guest. At SIWO, we are greatly impressed by what you are doing and it is our wish to see you rise to greater heights in service to humanity. Let the sky be your springboard.