Literary Spotlight: Dawn Hill Publishing’s New Author Soleil Collins & a Peek of Her Soon to Release Book of Short Stories~ He Came On A Summers Day…


Book by Author Soleil Collins




Here we go Readers & Visitors!

My amazing UK friends of Dawn Hill Publishing is sharing with Cat an exclusive Sneak Peek of a brand new author they represent and some of the first chapter of her “Coming Soon” new release titled “He Came On A Summers Day.” Dawn Hill has some fantastic authors and writers.

I am confident Soleil Collins is as well. I’m honored Dawn Hill Publishing chose Cat and her readers for this opportunity to have the first preview of Soleil’s which I hear is packed with action, thrills and a splash of romance.

I’d highly suggest you give Dawn Hill a visit as they have more amazing authors, writers, and BOOKS
here: https://www.dawnhillpublications.com/ & make sure you tell them Cat sent you!


Here is more about the book:

“Randi Moffatt, bounty-hunter extraordinaire, is looking for an escaped convict – a pirate.

She goes undercover at a popular seaside bar in San Diego, where her prey is known to have frequented, hoping to catch him.

There, Randi encounters several interesting characters, but which of them is her prey? Or is she going to return empty-handed?”


Important disclaimer: 

Just so you know that the content in this new book follows themes and therefore require you to be above the age of 18. These themes are:

– Profanity
– Violence 
– Sex
– Drugs


An Excerpt From the Short Story: 

Days turned into weeks. Joe still hadn’t cracked a smile at me, although Bob did warm up a little. It was understandable that Joe had turned up his nose at the trash that passed for female companionship. I’d even made friends with few of them, mostly hookers who wanted my help setting up customers or warn them of the weirdos.

The daily ritual of sharing my tips was at the end of each day was my opportunity to flirt without interrupting work. It was nearing spring when I decided that enough was enough. It was a quiet night – a Monday, not that it made a huge difference at a Seattle bar by the docks.

      “What’s up, Joe?” I asked him, fluttering my eyelashes at him as I handed him a roll of bills. “Here’s your share.”

He grunted and accepted it, stuffing it into his front jeans pocket.

      “Is that a roll of bills or are you just happy to see me?” I joked.

Nothing. Not even a derisory curl of his lip, which I knew that he was more than capable of issuing. “Go get cleaned up, why don’t you? You stink.”

      That’s the most he’s said since we met. Progress indeed.



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So, who is Author, Soleil Collins? Let me share a little more about her in her own unbridled words…

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Bonjour.

Ciao. Namaste. And a big, big, hello to everyone. First off, I’d like to thank Dawn Hill Publications for this wonderful opportunity. I was asked to write an introductory piece about my upcoming series of short stories and a little bit about myself.

I wasn’t given a title for this blog, so I’ve decided it to call it fun facts. Now, here’s a disclaimer. I think they may be fun, but you, the readers, obviously decide and let me know.

Let me start by saying that English is not my first language. In fact, I grew up learning and speaking five different languages. Also, I learned to read and write in four of them. Ironically, I understand only three of them reasonably well. I speak only two of them fluently. And I write really well in only one of them. Guess which one?

I’m a bit of a brat. Middle child, spoilt rotten, not by my parents but by a host of cousins, aunts and uncles who forgave my every prank, laughing at my irreverence, egging me to get even more outrageous. I haven’t changed one bit! I’ve enjoyed classical education in a private school where equal importance was given to extra-curricular activities including sports, drama, debate, elocution and politics. Oh, yes, politics. Our teachers were amazing, liberal and broadminded, and allowing us the same liberties to express our views without fear of prejudice or reprimand. The majority of my life has been split between the US and UK, although I’ve travelled widely. I began writing at an early age, mostly short stories, although they were fairly childish, a queer mix of romance and thriller.

They’re not necessarily my favourite songs. In fact, there are a couple in there that I don’t particularly like. They do, however, have a bearing on the stories themselves, which is why I selected them. Either there’s a scene in the video rendition of the song or the lyrics, or perhaps the story the song is trying to tell. The first of them is a song by Looking Glass about a girl who works in a bar who’s in love with a sailor. The protagonist of the story is Randy Moffatt, a slightly slutty, cage-fighting, foul-mouthed bounty hunter who isn’t afraid of a brawl.

Randy’s smart (like me, I think), physically active and able (unlike me – I’m a little lazy), highly sexed (I’d rather not say), sassy (definitely me) and brazen. Which is why DHP have started a new series titled Brazen just for little me, yay! Brazen is the one word which is truly representative of my writing. Who knows? They may even create a new genre called Brazen.

I hope you enjoy my stories. Please do tell me what you think in Cat’s comment section as we’d would love feedback.

Au revoir. Arriverderci. Alvida, for now.

Sol Collins



And to close is a message from the fine folks of Dawn Hill Publishing:

Yay, it’s finally here! 

We’re so happy that Soleil’s first short story is ready to go. Soleil’s titles can be described as action thrillers with romance thrown in to spice things up. Soleil has already written all 12 so we’ll be slowly sending them out to Cat.
She’s now started working on her first book with us and that will be in your inbox very soon.

Her 12 short stories is a great way to set up her very own genre at DHP. Which is, Brazen.

~Dawn Hill Publishing Team

Interview with Author Marilyn L. Davis Courtesy of Deb at Book Goodies. It’s Where Readers & Authors Meet…



Meet Author Marilyn L. Davis, a tireless advocate of addiction and recovery and an extraordinary writer. Deb from Book goodies caught up with her as her new book, “Finding North: From Addict to Advocate,” has released on Amazon. So I wanted to share this fantastic interview with all my readers so you can learn more about the woman behind the book. 

I just happened to finish reading and gave her a 5-stars! My review is now on Amazon. Readers Favorite thought her book was also fantastic and gave Marilyn a 5-star awarded book review too. 

Give her author profile visit to read the review! https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/finding-north
*Cat*




ABOUT Finding North: A Journey from Addict to Advocate

New in recovery, a chance encounter with Gray Hawk, a 74-year old Native American, showed her that healing would include looking within, taking Steps, and creating a house of healing for other women.

Today, Marilyn is a Certified Addiction Recovery Empowerment Specialist, recently celebrating thirty-two years of abstinence-based recovery. From 1990-2011, she opened and managed North House, an award-winning residential facility for women.

Before reaching this milestone, she was a desperate woman on drugs, managing rock bands at night, pretending to be okay, but ultimately giving up on herself, losing her husband, children, family, and friends due to her addiction.

This book is that journey.




In-Depth Author Interview With Marilyn L. Davis


Marilyn L. Davis is the author of the memoir Finding North: A Journey from Addict to Advocate. A chance encounter with a 74-year-old Native American helped her find her purpose. From 1990-2011, she opened and managed North House, an award-winning residential recovery home for women.

She is also the Editor-in-Chief at her recovery blog, From Addict 2 Advocate. She recently celebrated 32 years of abstinence-based recovery and is a Certified Addiction Recovery Empowerment Specialist.

Before her recovery, she was a desperate woman on drugs, managing rock bands at night, pretending to be okay at PTA meetings, but ultimately giving up on herself, losing her husband, children, family, and friends due to her addiction.

Marilyn is widely known for her writing in many literary communities, including her award-winning website, Two Drops of Ink, where she encourages collaborative writing and is the Editor-in-Chief. The site’s writers are poets, problem-solvers for writers and bloggers, as well as those who educate, entertain, and enchant us with the written word. The writers represent different countries, viewpoints, and opinions.

When she is not writing, Marilyn is an avid reader, enjoys gardening and cooking. She has raised two beautiful grown daughters, both in recovery, and is a Nana to four grandchildren. None of her grandchildren have ever seen their mother’s or their Nana use, so maybe the addiction cycle is broken. She resides in an Atlanta suburb with a controlling cat named Jackson.


What inspires you to write?
I am inspired to write as I believe that writing helps us heal. Whether it’s a journal or a memoir that we publish, writing allows us the emotional safety to fully explore our thoughts and feelings.

Since I was a child, I’ve scribbled down words once I understood that those black squiggly lines on a page told a story. I was bullied as a child, and these passages helped me feel better about myself and my isolated world.

I don’t know that it was ‘inspiration’ that helped me create a recovery curriculum for my recovery home. It felt more like desperation. I got tired of saying the same thing, so I decided to write it out. The response to Therapeutic Integrated Educational Recovery System (TIERS) gave me the confidence to start writing at Two Drops of Ink and ultimately write my memoir.

What authors do you read when you aren’t writing?
Each of the following authors helps me learn the craft of writing: Joan Didion, Vladimir Nabokov, Roshani Chokshi, Neil Gaiman, Anne Lamott, Natalie Goldberg, Annie Dillard, William Zinsser, Roy Peter Clark and others.

Tell us about your writing process.
My writing process starts with an idea, topic, or subject that I want to write about, prompted by a conversation, a question from one of my recovery groups, or emails with other writers.

Taking the idea and doing some looping, brainstorming, prewriting, and then creating a first draft complete that phase.

Next, I research the topic, taking into account whether the subject is saturated or is there an aspect of it that I could develop further. At this point, I decide if I’ll write from breadth or width on the topic.

Writing for two blogs, one on recovery and one on writing means there’s always a deadline, and those add incentive to get the writing done.

So the process can be most accurately be described as, “You’ve got to get a post done. Now write.”


What advice would you give other writers?
Advice:
1. Don’t be afraid to write.
2. Don’t call yourself aspiring, soon-to-be-best-selling, or wanna-be. If you’re writing, then you are a writer.
3. Stay with it.
4. Read books on how to improve your writing.
5. Find a website that takes guest posts and submit a post to them.
6. Once you see your writing on a site, let that encourage you to write more, start that novel, write the definitive how-to, or finish your memoir – whatever is your big book.
7. Never throw away your darlings. Keep them in a file and review them monthly. You wrote those for a reason, even if you couldn’t use them at the time.

How did you decide how to publish your books?
I’d been encouraged to publish Finding North: A Journey from Addict to Advocate by my family, friends, recovery professionals, and writers I’d shown drafts to over the past three years. Fear kept me from publishing it until this year.

However, while procrastinating on publishing my memoir, I also wrote a how-to on memoir writing called Memories into Memoir: The Mindsets and Mechanics Workbook that will be published later this spring.

What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think that traditional publishing will still factor, but with new and emerging platforms for authors, I think we’ll start seeing self-publishing increase.

I published on Amazon and found the experience straightforward. I hired a formatting specialist; my sister is an artist and designed the cover, and I followed the directions once the manuscript and cover were ready.

I also see more diversity in the books that are published. We have lacked diversity for some time. While that may read as “jumping on the bandwagon”, I know that living a counter societal lifestyle in my addiction meant that my memoir did not meet the criteria for certain publishing houses.

I think a problem with traditional publishing is that there’s not a connection to the reader. In contrast, Amazon understands what readers want and takes the time to recommend similar books. While not publishing sites, Goodreads and ThriftBooks do, also.

I also think that print-on-demand factors for the author, reader, and environment, and it would be a mistake to discount those factors when choosing which route to take as an author. Plus, it means not having 75 autographed copies of your book gathering dust in the attic.

What genres do you write?:
Memoir, How to Write a Memoir, primarily non-fiction


What formats are your books in?:
I publish in both eBook and Print


Come Connect with Marilyn on Social Media!

Social Media Links
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn


Spotlight & Guest Post By Ravina Hilliard, a Dawn Hill Publications Author… “Why She Became An Author.”


WELCOME READERS AND VISITORS ALIKE!
Happy Reading!


The First Part of WHY I BECAME AN AUTHOR




NOW, just ignore the above “Click Below, to read more” as CAT was given permmision to SHARE Ravina’s Guest Post in full. I will urge you to go visit “Dawn Hill Publications” as they are located in the UK and have some amazing author’s they publish for and their books! https://www.dawnhillpublications.com


YES, Ravina was born to write! Ravina Hilliard – Nov 5, 2019 – 4 min read

Unlike poorly written mysteries where the plot twists and turns with characters hiding information for no fathomable reason other than to stretch the plot to its inevitable conclusion – the denouement, I am not going to make you read the whole article before answering the question in the title.



The lightbulb moment came to me in a flash of inspiration, born of despair and crystallised by a simple compliment from a great man. Okay. No names shall be shared. No locations shall be shared. But here is how it happened. I was working in a fairly senior position in a private establishment – a software development and training organisation. The noise from the surrounding environment was horrendous.

It was inevitable, I guess as the location was bang in the centre of a raucous city. Eye of the storm. No surprises there. One day, in a fit of rage, I sent a letter to my favourite columnist, an editor of sorts who covered mostly interesting takes on current affairs. He often mentioned letters he received, summarising their messages. I had written it out of pure spite. In fact, I would go as far as to say that I didn’t even expect my personal assistant to actually send the letter to the columnist – she was smart enough to recognise a temper tantrum for what it was. 

And then, one fine day, as I was sipping my morning cuppa, paper in hand, the unimaginable happened. After skimming through the headlines, I went straight to his column. This great man, winner of many awards for his writing, respected by literally everyone, had not only mentioned my letter – he reprinted it word for word, with the precursor – “I have to admit that is a hoary subject, but I really enjoyed the style of the writer, I would like to share it with you – verbatim.”

None of my family understood my whoop of sheer delight until I explained it to them. An uncle, who was a pretty good writer himself, beamed a smile at me and congratulated me. My heart, bursting from its inadequate confines, was filled with a warm glow. I realised that I had been wasting my time trying to teach Digital Design to eager young upstarts and leading a team of programmers who were one step away from becoming hackers. I was born to write.

“That was the moment that I decided to become a writer.”

Let’s go back to the beginning. In retrospect, I don’t think that lightbulb moment was an accident. As a child, I read voraciously. I skipped the children books phase almost in its entirety and launched straight into crime and romance fiction. I had a penchant for romance, though, letting myself get submerged into heart-rending plots, becoming one with the heroines, riling against the tall, dark and handsome male with a mocking smile and jeer in his voice. I loved him. I hated him. I loved him. The last few pages were of a particular thrill to me, when the hero and heroine confessed their love for one another, hearts beating as one. Those moments were indescribable.

I don’t think my parents noticed me reading these books, or even if they did, bothered to remark about its appropriateness. I was barely old enough to understand sex when I started reading. In many ways, I think it made me a trifle more idealistic and utopian in my outlook towards the opposite sex. When I met my soulmate, years later, our eyes met, and I knew that I was in love. Perhaps I will tell you that love story in another article – it’s full of twists and turns – the stuff movies are made of – er – romcoms, at any rate.

I have to admit that I didn’t stop at lurid paperbacks. I read the classics – the Emily & Charlotte Bronte, Robert Louis Stevenson, Alexandre Dumas, Sophocles, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Louisa May Alcott, Miguel Cervantes, Jules Verne, Daniel Defoe, and later Ayn Rand, Leo Tolstoy, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to name a few – and by no means an exhaustive list.

I even read Sophocles. Romance and crime authors are far too many to enumerate here. Literally thousands of books. I managed to read 180-200-page paperbacks in a matter of hours, more often than not, more than two or three in a day. Some books, I read over and over again. I must also admit that I had a particular fondness for happy endings. Please don’t fault me for that. By the way, I enjoyed horrors and science fiction just as anyone else – Stephen King was one of my favourites, as was Michael Crichton.



What is the fastest you have ever read and why ? Was it an engaging story or are you a fast reader ? Let us know in the comments !

And then there was university, where literature, as a subject appealed to me more than any other. Hint. It was not my major. At school and at uni, I performed stage plays after formal training in elocution. It was a wide range of plays, from comedies written by Moliere to Greek tragedies – remember I told you about reading Sophocles? Of the tragedies, Oedipus Rex was my favourite. Of the comedies, Sganarelle. 

So, it took me time to reach that lightbulb moment. Big Whoop. By that time, I was older, wiser and ready to launch into my new and exciting career as a writer. I spend all my idle time daydreaming of my heroines arguing and making love with their heroes – in equal measure, keeping secrets, solving mysteries, saving lives and finding the bad guys. After all, the influence of reading crime novels has narrowed my niche to writing romances steeped in mystery and intrigue. Thankfully, my experience reading tragedies has had no influence whatsoever. 

After all, I did say that I like happy endings, didn’t I? I like to remain a mystery myself, so I have done some pretty heavy editing. I hope you enjoyed it reading this. I certainly enjoyed writing it!


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The Billionaire's Secret Kindle Edition

Books By Ravina Hilliard on Amazon

The Billionaire Needs a Bodyguard Kindle Edition









Cat’s Literary Share …International Best-Selling Author, Darren Prince Shares Some Memoirs of Sports Icons, Legends, and Much More. “Two Kings”

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Hello literary friends!

This week I am sharing my amazing friend, fellow advocate, and international best-selling author Darren Prince. Darren is a well-known sought after sport and celebrity agent for some of the most legendary former sports pros and iconic popular actors and actresses of our generation. With that aside, he also enjoys writing and sharing his many memoirs and stories about his journey and clients who always seem to become good friends.

Now, Cat is very honored to be helping Darren market his amazing book titled “Aiming High: How a Prominent Sports and Celebrity Agent Hit Bottom at the Top.” I enjoy book marketing for my friends who write and share their stories of addiction and recovery as well. But Darren’s book is so much more than a downfall. He has proven that no matter how successful you become, addiction will tag you out in a heartbeat! He and I know that Addiction Will Not Discriminate on who it will touch next, even successful people!

Moreover, his memoirs are incredible as he shares his own life falling apart. There could never be another “Smokin Joe Fraiser or another Muhammad Ali,” two icons while they boxed through the years, both had such a hate for each other …until they meet Darren! It was one of my favorite stories in his book. To learn more about who he represents, you can visit the Prince Marketing Group today!  

I’m sharing a post and story by Darren did about “The Two Kings”

It is from his Official Darren Prince – Work With Darren website…
Darren shares and explains the inside scoop while he was trying to stay clean from prescription drugs on his own but was still living in HELL while working for many high profile clients. Darren cares deeply about those still suffering in silence from opioids or other drugs as he had and show how he helps others today.

Reach out now as help is available. You can download a copy of his book on sale at My Book Orders … and now available as an audiobook too and listen free with a free  Amazon Audible trial. Listen to how he fought to gain his life and career back and a much better life he is grateful for every day. He shows it by helping others through his new cause and founder of the Aiming High Foundation.

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45210354_2248129048753693_4315125931162206208_o

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THE TWO KINGS…

I knew I had a problem with drugs because, at an early age when I took them, they helped me with my anxiety tremendously. The crazy thing is, as time went on, that same anxiety that went away from the drugs got so much worse, and then I was in my 20s, and although I thought they were working, I had some disastrous experiences working as a celebrity agent. The first one was with my biggest client Magic Johnson.

I’ll never forget being in Anaheim at the Convention Center, and I felt so sick, so nauseous. My stomach was so upset. I had heart palpitations, sweaty palms, hot flashes. And I said to him, I need to lie down. I’m literally lying down on the convention floor in the bathroom as Magic’s meeting and greeting with different fans. It’s humiliating, embarrassing, to say the least. I remember getting home that night, just being so disgusted at myself. How could this happen? How could I let it get this bad?

Then I had another experience, which was even worse. It was the biggest thrill of my professional career. I’m sitting center courtside with Muhammad Ali and Smokin’ Joe Frazier at the 2002 NBA All-Star game. I got these two kings together to make peace for the first time in over 35 years, and mate, I was high as a kite because I didn’t feel worthy of the situation.

My body also just couldn’t adapt to being in a situation just like that, that should have been so historic and so monumental. I only knew how to numb myself. And I completely didn’t enjoy the experience whatsoever, when I really should have just made it the greatest professional experience in my life.

And I tried to get sober for so many years at least two on my own, with the help of doctors, I would go on suboxone, I would come off of it, I would detox, I would have to go back on drugs. It was hell, pure hell. I was suicidal, miserable. Everybody around me knew how bad it was getting. They would say something to me, but I didn’t know what to do. I had nowhere to turn, and you know, looking back at it now, I wish I did it differently.

I work with Banyan Treatment Centers. They have 11 facilities in four different States. And if I knew of a Banyan, I would have taken the shortcut, I would have done it the right way and said to myself, “Check me in. I need help. Let me get my life back.” That’s all I ever wanted. Because of the way I did it, it took forever. It was years of heartache, years of just terrible, terrible withdrawal pains until I finally got sober on July 2nd, 2008.

So I’m trying to save you all the time and the heartache and the suicidal depression.

Call me directly at 888-6-Darren And let me try to help you get to Banyan Treatment Centers and get the help thing you need to have the life that you deserve.

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Darren Prince | Steered Straight

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DhL6wN2VQAAmO0YDarren

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HERE is a Commercial (just having a little FUN), and a Wee Bit More of Darren’s Career and Business Side About Prince Marketing Group on YouTube!

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The Prince Marketing Group was established in 1994 and is now a leading marketing firm in the sports and entertainment industry. Darren keeps many superstars in action! Stop by and see the list of Star Clients and services they can provide for your next virtual event or commercial!

OK, so he knows a lot of Amazing Peeps!! Lol.

**CAT**
The Reading and Writing Den

Guest Article By Author and Advocate Deb Morgan. A Little Peek Inside Her Soon To Release Book “Trapped.” A Look Inside Addiction.

 
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Every child comes into this world with a clean white canvas, and life fills in the colors. In my experience, that was an extremely gray area. I would start my life on a destructive personal path. When I got into my teenage years, I would slowly destroy everything in my life.

My life would continue spinning in this tornado of damage. I thought that I was hurting everyone but myself. What lies I told myself and others, what’s worse I believed them. I would get thrown a life preserver that I would be very blessed to have that would save my life; however, I would come close to drowning before using it.

 

 

Trapped Blog


In all the jumbled up fake reality, I thought I ruled the world. How bad could it be now I have my pills and alcohol all is well. I had driven a bulldozer in the window of my life for a long time. I was a walking, talking disaster. My timing superb, just like an addict. The Doctor had put me on opiates because of two surgeries.

After six months, it was time to get off of the pills. No problem, but after two weeks it was a problem, so I decided to start shopping for doctors for more pills. Doing this was easy for a little while, and then the doctors would take me off the opiates. So I started taking their prescription pads, and I was off to the races.

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I never thought about what this could do to my kids or myself. I never thought of how much jail time I would get or that I was ever going to get caught. I did not believe or care. I started on this journey of slowly taking risks like every other dangerous thing I did. Like a baby needs a bottle, I needed pills.

Over and over, I wrote prescriptions using anyone’s name, writing prescriptions in at least four counties. So was it a surprise when I got caught? Yes, of all answers, yes. I thought in a sick addict’s mind that I defied the odds. What I did not know was I wanted to get caught. I was just tired. Tired of the worry, the running, and the fear of what lies ahead, still all I wanted to do it run!

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Here is where my life began to go quickly downhill. Even though I thought I was six feet tall and bulletproof, I was neither one of those things. I knew I was going to need more pills and was up to one hundred a week. It was a full-time job, and I was at the point where I couldn’t live without them.

I would make that stupid mistake that addicts so frequently make and got caught. So I would get thrown the life preserver instead of a jail cell. All of this wouldn’t be how I thought it would happen. It was time to stop treading water.

It was time to stop running and start living.


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Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling

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A NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR

“I started writing and talking openly about my journey about 5 years ago. Writing my story and getting it out in the world as far as I could is my goal. My writing started out with journals and essays, always thinking someday I would get a book written and had no idea how to begin to do it.

So I started writing, then a website, then an opportunity for a radio show, then another, and I just kept refusing to give up. I was asked to be on a show a few months ago in 2019, from there life would change to the point where I don’t even know which way it is going. But my advocacy work today keeps my dreams alive and help others who still suffer from any addiction.

So far, I have had 15 radio spots, 2 podcasts, and was invited as a contributing chapter writer in the new book titled “Simply Amazing Women” available on Barnes and Noble and Amazon.  I will then publish my new book titled “TRAPPED” sometime in 2020 or early 2021. I am currently writing another little book on Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain to release hopefully soon.”

A dream isn’t a dream anymore when we do the work, it can be a reality. “ I am living proof of that. 
When we want something bad enough that will be helpful for someone else, that is the hope that it does exactly that, help.

~Author, Deb Morgan

 

Our Amazing Author, Amy L Bovaird Who Is a Low Vision, Memoir, & Mobility Writer, An Invited Guest For a “Special International Women’s Day Podcast.” It is a Must-Listen, Empowering Show …

It’s not every day you are chosen and invited to an International Podcast and show and especially when it is a popular one for “International Women’s Day” SPECIAL. Our award-winning writer and author, Amy L Bovaird had just had that honor and experience! Cat proudly presents this empowering and encouraging show for my readers and especially for those who may have the same challenges as Amy with low-vision, hearing, and mobility.

Even though she has challenging disabilities? She never lets them stop her from accomplishing all the goals she sets out to meet!

As Amy always shares; “I’m a Low Vision Motivator with High Expectations. While I feature other cultures in my writing, I also focus on how God has taken my life on adventures of faith through my losses right here at home. I speak about a bright future no matter how dark it physically becomes.”  So I invite you, and everyone to take a listen to the show and hope something will resonant and inspire you as you enjoy this podcast!…..

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Amy-Speaking
(Ms. Amy L. Bovaird, Author, Speaker, Coach.)

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Just Click On The Link>>>>>> Special Podcast With Amy L. Bovaird, Author

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On Spotify:  https://open.spotify.com/show/3X6HFYtuVRN63KjMjmO2QE

International Women’s Day special

This is a very extra special episode saluting all the women in the world Happy International women’s day ladies!

 

Lyon Media Services “Special Report” and a Deep Dive For ‘The Least, The Lost, and Hopeless’ by George Miller/Citizens Journal.us -Ventura County…

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ED-NOTE: I want to thank George Miller of the Citizens Journal for printing my story I shared on my recovery blog here last month titled; The Least, The Lost, and The Homeless

Just a piece of my overall opinions after speaking with my dear Lang Martinez about how many become homeless from addiction. He had shared with me some news and happenings going on in the city of Oxnard that didn’t sit well with me and voiced my concerns.

George has now done a deep dive and article hoping to get more answers on how the city is handling their homeless plight and how to better help the homeless with more services and housing. Here is his article as to what he found …

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Oxnard Housing Director Emilio Ramirez on Homeless Program


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Added by Citizen Reporter on March 6, 2020.
Saved under CommunityFeatureHeadlinesNewsOxnard/Port Hueneme/Camarillo/Somis
Tags: 

 

By George Miller/ Citizens Journal – us

Oxnard Housing Director Emilio Ramirez recently talked to us about the city’s homeless program effort.

Topics Covered were:

1. Status of new shelter/navigation center, Armory move-out

2 Alternative shelter possibilities

3. In the context of overall homeless strategy

 

Oxnard, like many other cities, has struggled with a growing homeless problem, even as the economy has boomed. Reasons for this include: more serious addiction problems, mental, emotional and physical disabilities, abuse, social changes, lack of education and more. Spiraling housing and living costs are also a factor. Legal and legislative changes have helped further aggravate the situation.

The city has only had ad hoc approaches until more recently. Things changed with the appointment of a Homeless Coordinator, Housing Director and City Manager who place a higher priority on helping the homeless, with the support of the City Council and Homeless Commission.

 

So, first …

1. Status of new shelter/navigation center, Armory move-out

Existing Shelter

This has actually been renamed a “Navigation Center,” to place more emphasis on the real goal of helping to move or “navigate” clients from their current dire straits into more stable, happier and hopefully productive, situations, with the “shelter” merely a temporary waypoint along their journey.

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Oxnard has one of only two public homeless shelters in the entire County of Ventura (The City of Ventura also has a 55-bed facility). There are also several private facilities. Currently, it is housed in the National Guard Armory on K Street and accommodates 110 people. It is not especially well-configured for living. In addition, it is in a runway protection zone adjacent to Oxnard Airport, meaning that there are potential emergency hazards from aircraft crashes.

While there is no hard deadline to vacate, it is a non-conforming use. The airport authority is exerting pressure on the city to vacate the armory shelter because it is impeding their funding for unrelated grants, per Ramirez. It is possible that the county might cut off funding if the shelter isn’t moved.

The facility is currently operated by Mercy House, for about $2 million/year. Until last year, this was mainly a  seasonal overnight shelter with very limited services. It is now year-round, 24/7, with more services offered. Ramirez said that case management services are available there, but another source told us that guests must go elsewhere for some services.

So, the Armory is only a stop-gap solution until a better, long term one becomes available.

Saviers Rd. Navigation Center Proposal Dropped

Last fall, the City proposed taking over a building on Saviers Road, a bit south of 5 Corners, for a homeless Navigation Center. The plan immediately ran into a wall of opposition from adjacent residential neighborhoods, citing concerns about public safety, quality of life, traffic, parking and more. But it would have been a fairly quick turnaround, cost-effective approach.
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It would have cost about a million dollars for the buildout and $22,000/month rent. Operating costs would have been roughly the same $2 million a year that the current Armory Navigation Center operation costs.  The City abandoned that plan and elected to pursue a new plan/site downtown near the library ….

Current Proposed Downtown Navigation Center


“The city put out a request for proposal for a homeless navigation center. It looks like Mercy House got a two-year contract to do that, regardless of where it will be located.”

 

Currently, the city is proposing to put it in a downtown 6 story new construction facility on 2nd & B St. and is now doing public outreach/meetings to get peoples’ ideas and reactions. Ramirez said that there is both support and opposition. No contracts have been signed or would be until this ongoing public outreach process is completed and decisions have been made, he told us.

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The proposed project would provide a “Navigation Center” facility to provide services to clients. It would include:

  • 110-bed mixed-use residential shelter complex
  • 40-bed recuperation center
  • 54-bed revenue-generating supportive low-income apartments

Total capacity- 204 clients, plus office accommodations for support staff.

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When asked what it would cost to provide the facility, he replied that the estimate is about $34 million, but this isn’t finalized. He said that a developer would take ownership of it and that it would be financed by tax credits, state grants and local (city and county) funding of about $3.5 million.

Ongoing operating costs would be about the same as the current rate of about $2 million annually for the navigation center. This doesn’t include whatever other non-city agencies provide for case management services, or operating the other sections. About half is borne by the city, but most of that has grant funding.

This comes out to $168,317 per bed (mostly from tax credits and grants) development costs, plus $18,218 per client annual ongoing costs for the shelter portion. It was unclear what the recuperation center would cost to operate.

The low-income housing section would actually be a revenue source, financed by tenants, tax credits and any other public assistance/subsidies provided. Director Ramirez points out that the cost per bed we stated above can be misleading because shelter beds and recovery beds are mixed in with total low-income unit capacity. Because the costs provided weren’t detailed, we can’t break that down for you here.

The developer would be Community Development Partners, which builds affordable housing and navigation centers. The recovery center might be run by the National Health Foundation, Mr. Ramirez said at the 3-4-20 Inter Neighborhood Council meeting. The city would also work/is already working with Ventura County Health Services.

Director Ramirez was unable to say exactly when all of this would happen, since the outcome of the public outreach and final decisions on design, developer selection, project planning, and scheduling, and financing cannot yet be known.
He told me that “there are a lot of moving parts.”

Homeless Commission Chair Peggy Rivera said she is concerned about the proposed project’s downtown location and high cost, but sees some good points in it, too.

At the 3-4-20 Inter Neighborhood Council meeting, board member Jackie Tedeshi asked what happened with the Rose Ave site and is the proposed downtown facility 110 beds? Ramirez responded that there are additional beds in the recuperative center and there is also the low-income housing. Re: Rose Ave/Gabriel House possibility: He discounted it almost immediately.  It didn’t seem viable. There is already an active operation serving people. He is already in discussion with them for a family shelter redevelopment possibility.

Another speaker asked about the new anti-loitering/camping ordinances and how local businesses are reacting to the project. But she is concerned about it attracting undesirables and adversely affecting businesses.

Ramirez said business reactions were “mixed.” He said the downtown business board voted to support it. He said some felt better to have the homeless “managed” in the center. He said opposition seems primarily from residents. He said that proper design, building, and operation are important. He finished by saying that without such a facility, it will be harder to attract business and investment.

2. Alternative Shelter Possibilities

So far, the city:

  • Has been told that they must vacate the K Street Armory shelter facility
  • Rejected the Saviers Road navigation center proposal, mostly based on strong public opposition
  • Is evaluating the downtown facility proposal
  • Has engaged Mercy House to run the navigation center
  • Had been in discussion with Shelter USA for a much lower cost and larger solution
  • Has engaged Salvation Army homeless outreach services

    …..

We learned from the formerly homeless, now homeless advocate, Lang Martinez that Shelter USA solicited, then was asked by the city to learn about its project requirements and say what they could do. They were previously unaware of the city’s need or RFP. Company President Craig Mc Ilroy told me he hadn’t seen and wasn’t even aware of the RFP’s (Request For Proposal) existence.

They met with several city personnel, he said, on October 9 and sent what he said was a “proposal” on 11-7-19. It didn’t look to us or Ramirez like a true proposal but did lay out how many and what type of units they could build for how much on sites identified by the city. Mcilroy says the city has not asked for anything further from him.

Martinez also told us that the city discussed the possibility of building these units at locations on Rose Ave. and Del Norte Blvd. Housing Director Ramirez confirmed that and added more details. A Shelter US partner confirmed it as well.

It involves two sites:

  • At the existing site for Kingdom Center/Gabriel house on Rose Ave.
  • A vacant 5-acre lot near the foot of Del Norte Avenue.

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Without knowing if there is an “apples to apples” comparison between Shelter USA’s numbers and the downtown facility estimates, the former’s appear on the surface to be much cheaper and involve using modularized converted cargo containers vs a higher-end, custom-designed specialized facility.

For the Rose Ave Gabriel House site, Shelter USA envisions 19 housing “modules” accommodating between 48 to 128 residents, made up of a maximum of 20 families of four, plus another 12 families of four in low-cost housing units, which would generate $216,000 in rental income annually.

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Homeless Commission Chair Peggy Rivera said she thought the Rose Avenue site was an excellent location and that she thought highly of Director, Sam Galluci and his women’s shelter operation. She said it is near services and a bus stop and not adjacent to residential neighborhoods. But Rivera expressed concern that the women/children’s operation might be lost if the site was developed for other purposes.

Mc Ilroy said that the per person housing cost would be far lower than the proposed $34 million downtown project and that they have quite a bit of flexibility to configure these to customer requirements. He said that these could be manufactured offsite and be installed in mere weeks. Of course, that doesn’t include approval, permitting, utilities, site prep, etc. He also said this could all be done at no cost to the city.

I asked where these are now installed and Mc Ilroy told us that they are only in the proposal stage with several prospects, including Riverside, Los Angeles, and the Orange County Rescue Mission. He said his partner is a general contractor, but that they would work with other contractors if desired.

He said that their designs maintain the structural integrity of the cargo containers resulting in higher strength. Mc Ilroy also said that these can be ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) and FEMA- compliant. The modules would come in studio, 1 bedroom, and 2 bedroom configurations and can be combined.

We asked Mr. Mc Ilroy to send us some info on his product and received the following:


“We Offer A Better Temporary and Affordable Housing”

…..


…….

Concept That Provides:

Safety and Security

Fast Delivery

Affordable – Low Cost Per Unit and Per Resident

Self-Contained to Allow Independence

Many Units A.D.A. Accessible

The flexibility of Module Design for Better Site Efficiency

Low Maintenance and Operational Cost

Multi-Use / Re-Purpose Capable

Transportable

Environmentally Sustainable

Excellent Value for Public Investment

….
Advantages of Working with Shelter US

Site Planning Capability for Highest and Best Use of Site

Land Development and Construction Experience

Building Design

Project Management

Consultant Coordination

Creative and Integration of Best Business Practices

Understanding of and Compassion for End Users

Simple Design Objectives for Success

Needs vs. Wants — All components are evaluated so to provide the for

basic living needs.

Flexibility – Overall unit designs provide for multi-use of space and of

furnishings taking into consideration the function of basic living tasks.

Value – Selection of components and systems that provide the best cost

benefit for all stakeholders.

Compatibility and Integration of Systems – Avoid conflicts that arise from

dissimilar materials, missing components, environmental impacts, or

products that do not work together.

Minimize Risk of Maintenance and Liability – All elements and systems

of a unit are evaluated for ease of maintenance and reduce risk of health

and safety standards.

Production and Delivery – All operations are established to provide

efficient production and delivery of units.

Quality and Workmanship – All phases of work to be of the best quality

and workmanship regardless of price point of the product.


Available Options

Decorative Siding

Water Heating Solar Panels

Photovoltaic Solar Panels

Green Roof System

Higher Standard Interior Finishes

Microwave Oven/Vent Hood

Patio Cover

Respectfully,

Craig Mc Ilroy

Shelter US, Inc.

Direct: 949.858.1166

_______________


We do not know if there are any other possibilities floating around.

 

3. In the context of the overall homeless strategy

The city has assigned the Housing Dept the responsibility of dealing with programs for the homeless.
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Oxnard’s overall homeless strategy is what is known as “Housing First.” When I asked Director Ramirez what that means to him, he replied that it involved the delivery of case management services and “supportive housing” to clients. The latter could be overnight shelters; extended living shelters like the K St. facility, via private organizations like VC Rescue Mission, Gabriel House, Casa de Vida; transitional and permanent housing.
……
In response to our question about “weaning people out of dependency,” he indicated that while the objective is to make people self-supporting and independently living, it is recognized that some may never have that capability. He included severely disabled, mentally or emotionally ill people in that category.  He said that the opposite extreme is those who can be “self-resolving” after some initial support and stability.

You might find this video of Housing Director Ramirez’s presentation at the 3-4-20 Inter Neighborhood Council of interest (at about 20:00).

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Ramirez estimates that for every one of the 600 or so identified homeless people in Oxnard, there are 9-10 more who are “couch surfing” (living at various homes short term), or on the verge of homelessness. The idea is not to build enough shelter space for all the homeless, but to get them transitioned into permanent housing.

Lack of affordable housing and good jobs are reasons which contribute to homelessness.

The city owns 540 public housing units. There are thousands more private, often subsidized, very low or low-income units, plus many substandard units, excessively subdivided, converted garages and nonconforming uses. Ramirez did not have these numbers at his fingertips but promised to get back to us on that. The city has started an initiative to crack down on the nonconforming units, which would create even greater housing shortages until alternatives become available.

The city only has one position dedicated to homeless services- Homeless Coordinator. This position is currently vacant, since Mark Alvarado left a few months ago. Ramirez says they are looking to fill the position. He envisions using that position to manage contracts and relationships with service providers.

Ramirez told us that the city engaged the Salvation Army to provide city-wide homeless outreach services- a two-year contract. Outreach involves contacting homeless people to assess what their needs are, formulating case strategies and referring them to needed resources to help them. Two people will be provided to do this.

At the 3-4-20 Inter Neighborhood Council meeting, a speaker asked how the city plans to deal with those who choose to stay on the street, take drugs and are “in our face on the streets.” Ramirez responded that outreach units will try to deal with that. County Health resources and One Stop will also be used. He said he doesn’t believe that anyone wants to be homeless, but rather those people have “traumas” that cause them to “make difficult decisions.”
He even said, “someone who wants to get high would prefer to do that in their own house, on their own couch.”

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Housing Director — City Of Oxnard – Ventura County

 

Endnote: Community Action in Oxnard forced to close- Help!

Community activists and homeless people I have talked to on the subject can’t say enough good things about Community Action on Richmond Ave, just off 5th Street. The NGO provides a host of services to homeless and very low-income people, such as showers, storage lockers, a place to be, WiFi, laundry, mail drop, service referrals (including housing) and more. They also host the “One Stop” people, who help clients get personal ID and service signups, such as health care, food stamps.

But all this will come to an end, at least temporarily, on March 27, as they will run out of funding to continue operations. Executive Director Suzanne Lopez Garcia says they were getting their funding from:

  • City of Oxnard
  • Community Services Block Grants
  • Ventura County
  • Private donations

Learn more about Community Action and/or donate, go here: https://www.ca-vc.org/
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We thank Oxnard Housing Director Emilio Ramirez, Homeless Commission Chair Peggy Rivera, Community Action Executive Director Susana Lopez Garcia and homeless advocate Lang Martinez for their valuable guidance/assistance with this article.


George Miller is Publisher/Co-Founder of CitizensJournal.us and a “retired” operations management consultant residing in Oxnard.

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Tips and Advice From Our Friends of Book Bub ~How To Self-Publish a Book…


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Welcome Readers and Writers to Cat’s Reading and Writing Den!

Today I will be sharing one of the best places to get grand exposure to all your books and your brand as an author and writer. Our hard-working friends of Book Bub and Blog share a special informative post all about How to Self-Publish a Book!

It can be both rewarding and challenging to figure out all the intricate parts to the self-publishing field but so worth learning as then you get to keep more of the royalty share of your work and craft as a writer. So when Cat comes across an informative article for all to learn from, I enjoy sharing it with you. So let’s see what we can learn from Book Bub and the advice and tips they share all about self-publishing your next book!

*CAT* 😺💻📚📚🖋✏💞

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How to Self-Publish a Book: Tips from Indie Authors


You’ve polished the final draft of your novel,
and now you’re looking into self-publishing — you’re not alone! Over 1 million books were estimated to be self-published in 2017, and that number is only rising. With self-publishing comes a quicker turnaround to hit shelves, deadline flexibility, full control over your own marketing, and a larger percentage of the royalties from sales of your book. If you’re still on the fence about whether to pursue a traditional publishing route versus self-publishing, check out our comparison of the two.
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But for those who are interested in learning more about the ins and outs of how to self-publish a book (or veteran indie authors who want to hear what their peers have to say about the business), we’ve compiled a flipbook of self-publishing tips from authors who have seen it all. From writing advice to cover design to marketing strategy, these 26 authors have fantastic self-publishing wisdom to share.

(Subscribe to their blog to download a high-resolution PDF of How to Self-Publish a Book: Tips from Indie Authors” https://insights.bookbub.com/how-self-publish-book/

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Heres a small sampling of quotes you can find inside:

“The absolute best advice I ever received was not to rush to publication, hire top-of-the-line editors, and get more than one proofreader. We have one chance to hook readers, and presentation matters as much as content.

Whether you offer a book free, at a reduced price, or at full price, it should make no difference in the level of editing your product receives before landing in the hands of readers. Every reader who picks up your book deserves the highest quality in both story and presentation, even if that means waiting to release your story until you can afford proper editing. Errors stop readers while reading, and may also stop them from picking up the next book in a series.” — Melissa Foster, author of This Is Love.

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“Focus on your readers, not your sales. When you place your readers first, it means not rushing the story, it means ensuring the experience your readers have is one of full immersion and it means reader loyalty will become your reality. Sales will follow as you grow your readership — but if all you do is try to market your first novel without placing your readers first, your potential readers will turn away.” — Steena Holmes, author of The Patient.

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“Look at the bestsellers in your genre. Make sure your cover looks just as good. Make sure your blurb is just as enticing. Make sure your manuscript is edited, proofread, and impossible to put down. With a professional cover, blurb, and story, you’re already ahead of the game. In some genres, it also helps to write a series. If you write science fiction like me, consider labeling your novel ‘book 1’ and get started on that sequel!” — Daniel Arenson, author of The Requiem Series.

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Daniel Arenson self-publishing advice for authors
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Go download the high-resolution PDF for more book marketing inspiration whenever you need it!  https://insights.bookbub.com/how-self-publish-book/

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Special thanks to the authors who contributed quotes and guest content to BookBub: Daniel Arenson, Chelle Bliss, Cheryl Bradshaw, Glynnis Campbell, Claire Cook, Adam Croft, Tanya Anne Crosby, Ernest Dempsey, Melissa Foster, Kellie Coates Gilbert, Steena Holmes, Lisa Renee Jones, J. Robert Kennedy, Julia Kent, M. Louisa Locke, Dale Mayer, Patricia McLinn, Deborah Fletcher Mello, Rick Mofina, Ty Patterson, Ana E. Ross, Stormy Smith, Lee Strauss, Alana Terry, Skye Warren, and Lacy Williams.

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How to Self-Publish a Book: Tips from Indie Authors