Author Interviews – Tsungi Chiwara

tsungi-chiwaraWe are in the final stage of the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) 2016. I hope you have finished your novel or at least you are almost done

As part of the Self-Publishing Africa initiative, today at It’s My Footprint (IMFP) we are joined by Tsungi Chiwara (TC), a wife, mother, public health professional and Christian author, who enjoys touching lives through her passion of writing. She has written an award-nominated novel, and is about to publish her second book, an anthology – a collection of poems. She enjoys both creative and motivational writing and the Gospel of Jesus Christ is pivotal in her writing, as that is her foundation for life.

(IMFP) Welcome Tsungi, and thank you for spending time with use at It’s My Footprint.

(TC) Thank you very much, I am grateful for this opportunity.

(IMFP) Can you start by giving our followers a brief background of yourself and where you are coming from?

(TC) When I think back, I realize that I’ve always enjoyed writing, even from school days. Because I was an all-rounder, back then it never dawned on me that I was actually born to write. As fate would have it, I studied the sciences in my last two years of high school and I went on to study Pharmacy at university. I basically abandoned writing and focused on my ‘scientific’ career. After about 20 years of focusing on my family and career, I began to be restless in my spirit and knew I had to find out my purpose somehow; there was a void in my soul. Without yet linking the two (my purpose and writing), I began writing notes here and there about things I felt God was laying on my heart. Then through prayer, a lot of soul searching, going to one writers’ workshop and several other activities, I began realizing that writing was my passion. And here I am! Writing to me is so fulfilling. It was unexpected, a bonus, that I also received recognition: My first book, Reflections of the Heart – a Story of Hope, was nominated for a NAMA (National Art Merit Award) for ‘Outstanding First Creative Published Work’ in 2014. In the same year, the novel was also selected by the Department of Curriculum Studies & Education (University of Zimbabwe) as one of the set books for students who are studying for a Masters of Education in English. International acclamation came in the form of the US-based Library of Congress selecting my book to be housed in several university libraries across the US and one in Germany. I never thought my writing would bring me this far! I am still believing God for even bigger things for my novel.

(IMFP) Where do you get your ideas from?

(TC) Firstly, I pray a lot as I write – I ask God to write through me, as it were – to be His scribe; to push His agenda forward and not mine. I always want to write what is on God’s heart. So much so that when I review what I have written I am sometimes led to cross out some of the things as I won’t be at peace about them, no matter how good they look or sound. I draw a lot from life experiences, be they mine or other peoples; observations I have made throughout my life. I believe any type of artist, writer, singer, painter, sculptor etc. is heavily influenced by their own life – that is the nature of art, it’s about life. Writing is an art and it is quite different from science which is factual and has to be evidence-based, prim and proper etc. – with writing, however, you can take things from different perspectives and places and mix them in order to produce something, and that’s what I do. Being into creative writing, there has to also be room there to ‘create’ things from nothing, or for imagination, which I must say, I definitely have, and a wild one!

(IMFP) Why do you write?

(TC) Writing is my number one passion, though it took me years to articulate that. Now I don’t even think about it; I just find myself writing. I write because I feel I have things worth sharing, because I want to encourage people not to give up on their dreams, to inspire people, and most importantly to point others to God. I feel like I have achieved something each time I write. Writing is also very therapeutic for me, because I will be writing to myself and encouraging myself – I won’t be talking down at people but I will also be learning in the process and identifying with some of the things I am writing about.

(IMFP) What do you find most appealing about your chosen genre?

(TC) I am a Christian writer, so my writing centres on God. Most would view this as therefore writing only suited to a teaching approach. My style however, is ‘creative evangelism’ which then makes it versatile – my writing is for anyone and everyone, but a large part of it tries to reach out to those who do not yet know God, in a manner that is less conventional or traditional; I talk about God but I also talk about everyday issues while at the same time I encourage people to go for their dreams. Rooted in Christianity, I write poems, short stories, novels, inspirational quotes and prayers. In that way I find I am able to appeal to and reach a wider audience but without abandoning my chosen genre or compromising my convictions. What you find generally is that the world, Christians or not, is searching for real and lasting answers in life, and I believe that those answers can only be found in God. So, I ask God for wisdom in order to tap into that context or environment that I live in.

(IMFP) How do you deal with bad reviews, rejection and criticism?

(TC) I think these are a part of life, no matter what domain you are in. While I do not focus on these, I certainly do not ignore them – instead I try and see if there is something I can possibly improve on, learn a lesson from or correct, then I do just that. I have reviews of my first book on my website as well as on Amazon, and they are there for viewing, the good ones and ones less favorable. Beside writing books I am on social media a lot with inspirational nuggets –  I always try to engage with readers, especially on Facebook, where that is possible, and on my page I allow people through their comments to give their views and even if I don’t necessarily agree, I respect all opinions or viewpoints (I only delete disrespectful, rude or blasphemous comments), responding, if necessary at all, and giving clarity if that is what is required.

(IMFP) Tsungi, you surely have developed in your writing. What are you busy with now in terms of writing?tsungi-chiwara2

(TC) I have just finished my second book, ‘Poems of Hope Vol. 1’ and already have some samples of it from a couple of printers. I’m sure in November it will be available to the public. I also am a contributing writer for Scripture Union Southern Africa, for the publication ’Closer to God’. 2017 will be the third year I have contributed, and this time I really stretched myself and wrote 3 weeks of teachings out of the 52 weeks. It is such an honor being able to be part of encouraging people with God’s Word – it helps to fulfill my desire to spread God’s Word. Currently I am the only Zimbabwean writer; most of the writers are from South Africa.

(IMFP) What do you find difficult about book writing?

(TC) Writer’s Block is something that can and does happen – your mind goes blank and you have nothing to write that particular day; later of course, you then get ideas and resume. I also think it is challenging to decide when to end a book; as you are reviewing it you keep wanting to add great ideas you have, but eventually you just have to decide to end – the more reason to write another book if you have so many ideas!!

(IMFP) What is your opinion on self-publishing vs traditional publishing?

(TC) I am a self-publishing advocate because I believe, it is challenging to get a good publishing deal quickly even if you write a good book, especially in this part of the world. Self-publishing gets your work out there quickly while at the same time you have 100% rights to your work. But you have to ensure that your work is of excellent quality, above reproach – especially the editing, but also the book cover design, layout and design etc. and you have to market it on your own – it’s usually by word of mouth that you will sell your book. These days we have the help of social media. Having said that, personally I would still keep a look out for a publishing deal with a traditional publisher, even after self-publishing a book, and just do a second edition – the advantages of traditional publishing is that although you will get a small piece (less than 100% rights to the book) of the pie, the piece is destined to be much bigger than your pie from self-publishing, as you are bound to sell many more copies because of the way traditional publishers operate; and at the end of the day, one of the goals of writing a book is to have has many people as possible buy/read your book.

(IMFP) What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

(TC) Start writing and keep at it – if writing is your passion, then you’ll always find something to write! Nobody can tell you what to write about; write about what you love – every writer is different. Write whenever you have a moment (like during lunch times), don’t wait for some free hours or the weekend, because you may never get all the time you want all at once. Make sure you proof-read everything you write because silly mistakes spoil the content. Don’t be swayed or discouraged by what people say. Be brave enough to showcase to one or two people you trust what you write, occasionally – this will really encourage you. Someone once said, “If you don’t write your book because you are worried that no-one will buy or read it, then DEFINITELY no one will, because you won’t have written it!” (paraphrased).

(IMFP) If you could go back in time 12 months, what would you advise yourself?

(TC) To be quite honest with you – I would not change a thing! Considering that I have a day job, am a family woman, am doing some studies and that I therefore write part time (as a passion and not as a hobby), I think I have written a lot book-wise and in many other ways, like on Facebook where I am very active. I am always asked where I find time to write (laugh).

(IMFP) Who is your favorite author and why?tsungi-chiwara4

(TC) I don’t really have one favorite author, but enjoy reading from a variety of writers, including Christian authors such as Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer. I enjoy authors that encourage, inspire and motivate.

(IMFP) Do you do book reviews? What type of books do you review?

(TC) No, I don’t do book reviews. I’m sure I would enjoy doing them, but I just don’t have the time.

(IMFP) Which email lists are you subscribed to?

(TC) Just one: BookBaby ; I self-published through BookBaby. I used to subscribe to several but ended up clogging my inbox and not even having enough time to read all the lists!

(IMFP) How do you interact with other authors? Are you a member of a book club?

(TC) I am a member of the Facebook group Authors & Writers Lounge and the WhatsApp group Writers Clinic.

(IMFP) What types of books do you normally recommend to your friends?

(TC) Firstly, I recommend ‘easy to read’ books like mine (smile), then also ones that are spiritual and/or inspirational, for example, ‘The Power of a Praying Wife/Parent/Woman (3 in 1)’ which I now use almost daily; it’s very practical, powerful and effective – it has helped give me direction and conviction in how I pray for my husband, kids and myself on a daily basis, in addition to my other prayers. Also ‘Screw it, let’s do it!’ by the Virgin empire founder, Richard Branson – I read it five times!

(IMFP) Let’s talk about Tsungi the lady! Give us a bit of your social and family life.

(TC) I am first and foremost a born again, spirit-filled, child of God. I am a wife, a mother of four beautiful children aged between 8 and 20. I am a family woman and spend most of my spare time at home with my family – I do my best to spend quality time with my husband, and from time to time with each child, so that we bond. I’m a daughter to an inspirational and hard-working mother – she is a role model. I’m also a friend and generally a fun-loving person; I’m willing to try out new things and I enjoy life. Being a former model (I was one of the 20 finalists in the 1994 Zimbabwe Super Model Competition), I have flair and love for fashion and of course I absolutely enjoy shopping. I love walking (sometimes with my husband in the mornings), travelling, going on holiday (Cape Town is my favorite spot, so far) with my family, eating out and trying different cuisines. I go to movies, I have programs on TV that I enjoy (EastEnders is tops for me), and I love reading Women & Home Magazine because it is loaded with inspiration. One of my favorite pass times is studying successful people from Zimbabwe and other countries and seeing how I can learn from their lives.

In the marketplace, I am a public health supply chain expert – currently I work as a Senior Manager for an international development organization. I have a special interest in HIV and AIDS. I would describe myself also as an academic – I’m studying towards a PhD in health Studies, focusing on HIV/AIDS communication for women.

(IMFP) Any final word for our followers?

(TC) One of my own quotes: “Above everything, believe in God. Next believe in yourself and you’ll be unstoppable! Then, others will believe in you.”

Then one by Steve Jobs, which I find to be so true: “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

(IMFP) Many thanks for this interview, Tsungi. Good luck with your writing.

(TC) It’s been my pleasure, thank you very much.

Tsungi Chiwara Links and Contactstsungi-chiwara3

 

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Thinking About 2017?

Thinking About 2017

As 2017 draws closer many thoughts starts to flood our minds. We become concerned and have a bit of mixed feelings about what the New Year will bring.

Now, the best way to face the New Year is to prepare and plan for it. I encourage you to spend the last few weeks of the year thinking through your life and planning for 2017.

This is where this little free book with a wealth of wisdom to kick-start 2017 comes handy. Go ahead and down load it.

In this book you will find out what great leaders do at the beginning of each year. These 30+ high achievers include John Maxwell, Tony Robbins, Dave Ramsey, Chalene Johnson, Andy Andrews and others.

The access to the answers from these well-known influencers about preparing for 2017 is all yours (at no cost) here in this PDF:

Best Year Ever – Achieve What Matters in 2017.

Have a great day.

Blessings,

Taka

Posted in From My Life, Leadership, Personal Development Tagged with: , , ,

Author Interview – Margaret Welwood

margaret-welwoodWe support all writers participating in the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) 2016.

As part of the Self-Publishing Africa initiative, today at It’s My Footprint (IMFP) we have Margaret Welwood (MW) a writer of picture books for children, and editor of *squeaky clean* family-friendly fiction and non-fiction for all ages. Margaret taught English as a Second Language (with stories as a teaching tool) for years, and now writes and edits from the acreage she shares with her husband in Northern Alberta, Canada.

Margaret has edited a business magazine, a Writer’s Digest award winning non-fiction book, and five-star children’s books and adult Bible study materials.

(IMFP) Welcome Margaret, and thank you for spending time with us at It’s My Footprint.

(MW) Thank you for the invitation, Taka. It’s a pleasure to connect with you and your readers.

(IMFP) Can you start by giving our followers a brief background of yourself and where you are coming from?

(MW) My mother taught me to love stories and the language used to tell them, and I’ve always enjoyed reading and writing. When I was laid off from my ESL position at our local college, a friend said, “When God closes a door, He opens a window.” That window opened into Storyland, in both its fiction and non-fiction forms. I enjoy working with people, words and ideas, and appreciate the rich variety this work provides. Right now I edit short pieces (blog posts, articles, devotionals, and stories) for children and adults.

(IMFP) Where do you get your ideas from?

(MW) My grandchildren inspire me, both by asking for stories and by serving as story generators themselves. I wrote Scissortown after asking myself what Tommy and Tina would do if there were no cutting tools to be found. My granddaughter’s sweet disposition inspired Marie’s choice to show compassion in Marie and Mr. Bee. Little Bunny’s Own Storybook (to be released) tells the tale of a little rabbit, who, like my granddaughter, shows ingenuity and initiative when faced with a problem. In Dustin, Natalie and the Man-eating Snake, I honor my grandson’s curiosity and sense of humor. Your readers might enjoy true stories about my grandchildren at my grandma blog, and they can read about my author journey on my writing blog. A visit to my Amazon Author Page will reveal something different about my books: the two on Amazon not only offer customers a choice of e-book or paperback, they also offer a choice of endings. Both books encourage children to do the right thing, but either the last page (Marie and Mr. Bee) or the inside back cover (Scissortown) have slightly different wording that reflect either a faith-based or a secular perspective.

(IMFP) Why do you write?

(MW) Four reasons:

  1. I believe that this is some of the work that God has called me to do.
  2. I believe there is a place in children’s literature for clean, wholesome stories featuring characters who, possibly after a struggle, make good choices and reap the rewards.
  3. I write because I have something to say. Perhaps the best example of this is Advance Directive Warning, which I wrote under a pen name to warn others of how an Advance Directive can be (willingly?) misinterpreted.
  4. The stories are in my head and they want out!

(IMFP) What do you find most appealing about your chosen genre?marie-and-mr-bee

(MW) Before I had young grandchildren close by, most of my dealings were with adults, and most of my writing was for them. Now that there are young grandchildren close by to inspire me, children’s picture books are my genre of choice.

(IMFP) How do you deal with bad reviews, rejection and criticism?

(MW) Learn what I can from it (I’ve had some extremely helpful constructive criticism), remember that not everyone likes the same thing, and try to obey I Thessalonians 5:18—“In everything give thanks.”

(IMFP) Margaret, you surely have developed in your writing. Have you published yet? What are you busy with now in terms of writing?

(MW) I have two books on Amazon, over 100 magazine articles published, two blogs, and numerous other pieces, both online and in in print.

(IMFP) What do you find difficult about book writing?

(MW) I need time for the ideas and language to incubate. After I write something, I need to leave it for a while and come back to it. I also depend on feedback from others.

(IMFP) What is your opinion on self-publishing vs traditional publishing?

(MW) I think self-publishing opens many doors to new writers, but I also think that traditional publishing still has more prestige in many people’s eyes. I’m glad we have both.

(IMFP) What advice would you give to aspiring writers?imfp212-scissortown

(MW) Spend time with your target audience. Read in your genre. Be open to feedback from readers and other writers.

(IMFP) If you could go back in time 12 months, what would you advise yourself?

(MW) Keep plugging. The future is bright with promise!

(IMFP) Who is your favorite author and why?

(MW) Francine Rivers. Her stories are utterly absorbing, and her characters are realistic and memorable.

(IMFP) Do you do book reviews? What type of books do you review?

(MW) I review picture books for children, and the occasional fiction or non-fiction book for adults.

(IMFP) Which email lists are you subscribed to?

(MW) Many, mostly Christian devotionals, and blogs about writing and marketing books.

(IMFP) How do you interact with other authors? Are you a member of a book club?

(MW) I interact with other authors on Facebook, LinkedIn and google+. I’m not a member of a book club, but I work with local authors in the promotion and marketing of our books.

(IMFP) What types of books do you normally recommend to your friends?

(MW) Children’s picture books.

(IMFP) What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Full-time job, pets, hobbies?

(MW) I like to help my husband on our acreage, and spend time with my children and grandchildren.

(IMFP) Let’s talk about Margaret the lady! Give us a bit of your social and family life.

(MW) Some of my favorite times are family get-togethers, where the little ones play and the big ones talk. I also enjoy quiet evenings with my husband, and visits with my church family.

(IMFP) Any final word of wisdom for our followers?

(MW) If God has given you a dream and a vision, follow it. Spend time with Him, and walk in His direction and wisdom.margaret-welwood

(IMFP) Many thanks for this interview, Margaret. Good luck with your writing.

(MW) Thank you, Taka.

Margaret Welwood Links and Contacts

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Teacher Teach Us To Pray

Teacher Teach Us To Pray by Davison Charamba

Guest post by Davison Charamba

It struck me that in Luke 11 verse 1 Jesus’ disciples asked Him to teach them how to pray. The request is riddled with a puzzle because all the twelve disciples are Jews, hence they must have grown up seeing prayer being modellled by either their parents or community leaders. According to Levitical laws, they were supposed to have been taught how to pray early in their life. Yet when they saw Jesus and John pray, they realized the inadequacy of their prayer model. Could it be that their prayers were out-moded, ineffective, inefficient and indifferent?

Most of us take effective praying for granted. We keep on doing the same thing and accept different results! We take effectual, fervent praying for granted either because we do not care or we are ignorant. How did we learn how to pray? Do we pray right? Who modelled prayer for us? Did our parents taught us and modelled prayer for us? How effective and efficient is our praying? Is our praying yielding results? Below is some tit bits for effective praying.

  1. Pray from knowledge 

God said His people perish because of lack of knowledge (Hose 4 verse 6). Paul writing to the Romans cautioned against zeal without knowledge (Romans 10 verse 2). The same advice is given by Solomon in Proverbs 19 verse 2. Paul commended the Greeks for being religious but rebuked them for praying to an unknown God (Acts 17 verse 23). Praying is as effective as your knowledge of what you are praying for, who you are praying to and your position/relationship to the One you are praying to.

  1. Pray from confidence 

We are encouraged in the Word to approach the throne of grace boldly and confidently (Hebrews 4 verse 16).

  1. Pray from power 

“For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and of a sound mind.” – 1 Timothy 1 verse 7 (New Heart English Bible). Fear paralyses us, but faith emboldens us.

  1. Pray from son-ship 

Paul taught the Romans that they serve God as sons not servants hence their spirit identifies with God’s Spirit and cries “Abba father” (Romans 8 verse 15). Your relationship to God matters. Talk to Him as a son if you identify with Him. If you do not, then sort out your relationship first before you can commune with Him.  As a son, you commune with your Father. As a son, you will not settle for crumbs but for bread. It is no wonder that the first natural request in the Lord’s Prayer is for bread! (Luke 11 verse 3).

  1. Pray in the Spirit

Could it be that this was the difference maker in the prayer of John and Jesus? Until the two appear on the scene, the power of the Spirit was distant in ordinary people’s lives. Jesus teaching, especially as he prepares to depart to heaven, is heavily laden with the importance of the Spirit. He taught that the Spirit provides power (Acts 1 verse 8), knowledge and remembrance (John 14 verse 26). And as quoted above in Romans 8 verse 15, the Spirit also provides identity. It is no wonder then that Paul advised the Ephesians to pray in the Spirit with all manner of prayer and supplication (Ephesians 6 verse 18). 

Davison CharambaAbout the Author: Davison Charamba, CA (Z), FCA, RPA, MBA (Finance)

Davison Charamba is a Chartered Accountant. He is a member of both the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Zimbabwe (ICAZ) and the Botswana Institute of Chartered Accountants (BICA). He has vast experience in financial management and accounting, auditing, corporate finance and strategy, capital markets and taxation, cutting across multi industry sectors and various African economies. He is an ardent student of leadership. He is a Christian and a member of Faith Ministries Church. He currently resides in Gaborone, Botswana. You can connect with him on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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Author Interview – Sharon Felicia Acheampong

Sharon Felicia AcheampongNovember is the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). We are supporting all the writers who are participating.

As part of the Self-Publishing Africa initiative, today at It’s My Footprint (IMFP) we are joined by Sharon Felicia Acheampong (SFA) a Trainee psychologist and part time author/singer-songwriter based in the town of Kadoma, Zimbabwe.

(IMFP) Welcome Sharon, and thank you for spending time with use at It’s My Footprint.

(SFA) Thank you very much, pleasure is all mine.

(IMFP) Can you start by giving our followers a brief background of yourself and where you are coming from?

(SFA) I’m 26 years old, an only child raised by my mother. Two years of my childhood were spent in Ghana, but I have lived in Zimbabwe most of my life. I am currently studying for an Honours degree in Community and Health Psychology with the University of South Africa. I have also been teaching at Kadoma Montessori pre-school since 2009.

(IMFP) Where do you get your ideas from?

(SFA) Honestly, I don’t know. I guess my environment influences me. I spend a lot of time alone so I tend to live in my head and that’s what usually comes up on paper.

(IMFP) Why do you write?

(SFA) Mainly self-expression. When I came to Zimbabwe in 1996 I couldn’t speak any of the local dialects, and I was surrounded by children who didn’t understand me, so it was a way of creating friends who understood me.

(IMFP) What do you find most appealing about your chosen genre?

(SFA) Fiction gives free reign. You can create what doesn’t exist and it’s ok.

(IMFP) How do you deal with bad reviews, rejection and criticism?

(SFA) I think because I don’t really target anyone other than myself with my writing, any attention I get is alright, a sort of any publicity I good publicity scenario.

(IMFP) Sharon, you surely have developed in your writing. Have you published yet? What are you busy with now in terms of writing?

(SFA) Yes, my first novel World’s Apart was published in October 2012 by Authourhouse UK. I am currently working on a poetry compilation titled Love, Life & Whatever Else Matters.

(IMFP) What do you find difficult about book writing?

(SFA) Naming the characters. I can never start a story if I don’t have names which are in my head a perfect fit. The search can take ages and can be frustrating too.

(IMFP) What is your opinion on self-publishing vs traditional publishing?

(SFA) Having my fingers in many pies, makes self-publishing work better for me as I determine the pace I work at and I’m not constantly missing deadlines. Other than that, I feel both ways are pretty even on the pros and cons and it all depends on personal preference.

(IMFP) What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

(SFA) Believe in yourself. Writing is an art form and unlike mathematics there isn’t right and wrong, only different shades of right.

(IMFP) If you could go back in time 12 months, what would you advise yourself?

(SFA) Manage your time better so you are not focusing on one aspect of your life at the expense of the others.

(IMFP) Who is your favourite author and why?

(SFA)I have plenty, but my top three would be Danielle Steel, Evelyn Anthony and Jeffrey Archer. I like writing that makes me experience world’s I probably would never encounter. Danielle Steel is also very good with evoking emotion and I find myself hating/loving/sympathizing with some of her characters.

(IMFP) Do you do book reviews? What type of books do you review?Worlds Apart

(SFA) No. I haven’t done any.

(IMFP) Which email lists are you subscribed to?

(SFA) Mostly publishers, music and psychology.

(IMFP) How do you interact with other authors? Are you a member of a book club?

(SFA) I am actually quite a loner, partly because I find it comfortable and partly because I don’t always have time for social interaction. That’s a long way of saying no.

(IMFP) What types of books do you normally recommend to your friends?

(SFA) Really depends on the person and what I feel they need or would like. Mostly fiction though, historical, Christian.

(IMFP) Let’s talk about Sharon the lady! Give us a bit of your social and family life.

(SFA) Lady made me laugh. Family, I live with my mum Sue, she is my number one fan/critic/stylist who believes I have zero dress sense. I have two very naughty dogs, Star whose 6 years old and DeAngelo who is 4 years old.

I have been teaching at Kadoma Montessori pre-school since 2009, in class lessons as well as swimming in the summer. I am now also the in house trainee psychologist since I got my Baccalaureate in Community and Health Psychology last year. I am back at school for the Honors this year.

I have been doing music commercially since 2013 & have a couple of songs and videos on local radio and television under the name Felicia Diallo.

I don’t really do much outside work, school music and writing. If I am not at work, I am probably at home.

(IMFP) Do you have any final word for our followers?

(SFA) In whatever you do, don’t lose yourself. Life should not be about being the best copy of someone else but the best version of you that you can be.Sharon Felicia Acheampong

(IMFP) Many thanks for this interview, Sharon. Good luck with your writing.

(SFA) Thank you

Sharon Felicia Acheampong Links

 

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Author Interview – Michelle Natali Kwaramba

Michelle Natali KwarambaToday we have a special guest at It’s My Footprint (IMFP), as part of the Self-Publishing Africa initiative. We are joined by Michelle Natali Kwaramba (MNK) a young lady aged 16, who is an author and a poet. She grew up with her mother after her father abandoned them. She leaves in Greendale in Harare, Zimbabwe. Michelle did her primary education at Courtney Selous Primary School and her secondary education at Oriel Girls High School also in Harare. At this young age, Michelle has a message for the world.

(IMFP) Welcome Michelle, and thank you for spending time with use at It’s My Footprint.

(MNK) It’s a pleasure.

(IMFP) Can you start by giving our followers a brief background of yourself and where you are coming from?

(MNK) Okay…Umm. I come from a family of three, with two boys and I being the only girl.

(IMFP) Where do you get your ideas from?

(MNK) I get my ideas from my surroundings. I see the problems most people face and I say to myself I have to put this into writing.

(IMFP) Why do you write?

(MNK) I write to educate the girl child.

(IMFP) What do you find most appealing about your chosen genre?

(MNK) It helps girls to understand what is happening in this present day and to make them plan their future.

(IMFP) How do you deal with bad reviews, rejection and criticism?

(MNK) Hahaha, that is really bad, but however it would have happened so I just have to understand.

(IMFP) Michelle, you surely have developed in your writing. Have you published yet? What are you busy with now in terms of writing?

(MNK) My book is currently being published. I am still writing right now I am working on a new book.

(IMFP) What do you find difficult about book writing?

(MNK) To gather information and put it into one book.

(IMFP) What is your opinion on self-publishing vs traditional publishing?

(MNK) Ummm. I think traditional publishing is best s since experienced people get to read and review the book before it is published.

(IMFP) What advice would you give to aspiring young writers like you?

(MNK) Do not despair. Keep on writing you will surely get somewhere.

(IMFP) If you could go back in time 12 months, what would you advise yourself?

(MNK) I would advise myself to do my own thing and never look at what other people think.

(IMFP) Who is your favorite author and why?

(MNK) Ralph Jonathan Kadurira because he writes truth.

(IMFP) Do you do book reviews? What type of books do you review?

(MNK) Yes, fiction.

(IMFP) What types of books do you normally recommend to your friends?

(MNK) Set books.

(IMFP) Let’s talk about Michelle the lady! Give us a bit of your social and family life.Michelle Natali Kwaramba

(MNK) I am a very social person and so is my family. Most of the time we spend it together if I am at school I interact with people and hear about their lives how they manage it as I give them advice.

(IMFP) Any final word for our followers?

(MNK) Aspire to inspire before you expire.

(IMFP) Many thanks for this interview, Michelle. Good luck with your writing.

(MNK) Thank you so much.

Michelle Natali Kwaramba Links and Contacts

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Mega List of Facebook Book and Author Promotion Groups

Book promotionEvery author needs a platform. It is a fact that book sales increases as the author platform increase.

We have created the longest list of Facebook Book and Author Promotion Groups from which you can use for book promotion and to increase your followers.

If you know a group that is missing just let me know, and if a group on the list shuts down also let me know.

Happy book promotion!

Author Page Like Swapping

All types of Book Promotions

Free and 99c Books Promotions

Only Kindle Books Promotions

Only Kids Books Promotion

Black Author’s Book Promotion

Romance Books Only

Reviews / Review Exchange Groups

Groups for Authors with NO Promotions

Group for Author Services

Christian Writers Groups with No promotions

Extra Facebook Groups

If you like this article, share it with your most favourite friends! 

Please share your thoughts, ideas and comments below!

© Copyright 2016 by It’s My Footprint, www.itsmyfootprint.com.

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Author Interview – Gregory Brown

Gregory BrownAs we continue with the second phase of the Self-Publishing Africa initiative, today at It’s My Footprint (IMFP) we are joined by Greg Brown (GB) the author of The Bible Teacher’s Guide series. Greg is a humble man, a Chaplain and Professor at the Handong Global University in Pohang, South Korea and Lead Pastor of Handong International Congregation also at the Handong Global University. Greg holds a Master of Arts (MA) degree in Religion and Master of Arts (MA) degree in teaching from Trinity International University, in Deerfield, Illinois, United States, a Master of Religious Education (MRE) degree from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, United States, and a PhD degree in Theology from Louisiana Baptist University in in Shreveport, Louisiana. He has served over twelve years in pastoral ministry in the United States and in South Korea.

(IMFP) Welcome Greg, and thank you for spending time with us at It’s My Footprint.

(GB) Thank you. It’s my pleasure.

(IMFP) Can you start by giving our followers a brief background of yourself and where you are coming from?

(GB) Yes, I’m originally from Austin, Texas. I was a basketball player in college, and coached college basketball to help pay my way through seminary. I’ve been pastoring the last twelve years: First as the English Pastor/ Youth Pastor at a Korean Church in Chicago, and now as a Chaplain/Professor at Handong Global University and as the Lead Pastor for Handong International Congregation. I am also a Navy Reserve Chaplain with the rank of Lt. Commander. In addition, I am an indie author with twelve books published in a series called The Bible Teacher’s Guide.

(IMFP) Where do you get your ideas from?

(GB) All my books come from my sermon manuscripts which I write weekly to preach at church or from my lectures at the university.

(IMFP) Why do you write?

(GB) In 2 Timothy 2:2, Paul says, “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.That’s really my goal in life, to pass on the Biblical deposit that others faithfully passed on to me, with the hope that those I teach will continue to pass it on. And hopefully, when I get to Heaven, I will hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” That’s the reason I write.

(IMFP) What do you find most appealing about your chosen genre?

(GB) It’s been said that Theology is the Queen of all Sciences. There is no higher endeavour that knowing God and his Word. However, with that said, knowing God through his Word brings blessings on our life and our families. That’s the great appeal of the Bible Study/Commentary/Christian Living genre.

(IMFP) How do you deal with bad reviews, rejection and criticism?

(GB) Well, as far as bad Amazon Reviews, I am typically just glad someone decided to write. Most people who enjoy your work never write a review, so even a bad one is great. In sales, having quality reviews certainly matters, but probably the most important thing is having a high quantity of reviews.

But as far as general rejection and criticism, as a pastor I have developed thick skin. Not everybody will love your writing or your preaching. And I make no claims of perfection. So at least inwardly when criticized, I can say, “I know. Lord, help me.” When the criticism is unjust, many times people can discern that as they read it. In addition, some criticism can be extremely helpful. I am a young writer (in the sense of years of publishing), and I have a lot to learn. Hopefully, critical reviews can speed up my learning process.

(IMFP) Greg, you surely have developed in your writing. Have you published yet? What are you busy with now in terms of writing?

(GB) As mentioned, I’ve published twelve books in a series titled The Bible Teacher’s Guide. Essentially, they are devotional commentaries on Bible books or topical studies. They are great for small groups, teachers preparing to teach, or individuals simply desiring to understand Scripture better. Currently, I just published a book called Ephesians: Understanding God’s Purpose for the Church, and another book will publish this winter called, Abraham: Living the Life of Faith.

(IMFP) What do you find difficult about book writing?

(GB) The most difficult part about writing is either editing or rewriting. They both are difficult. When looking at my book after an editor has gone through it, it’s easy to get discouraged. In my mind, I say to myself, “I thought it didn’t need much editing!” In addition, rewriting old sermons not originally written for publishing is extremely difficult. I have tons of writing that that I almost hope to never get to. Currently, I’m trying to focus on new studies that I initially wrote with an eye towards publishing.

(IMFP) What is your opinion on self-publishing vs traditional publishing?

(GB) Both are great models. I initially started with a hybrid traditional publisher. They were a hybrid in that they only took select books and we both invested money into my first two books. The contract included a clause that when I reached a certain number of sales, they would return my investment. However, in the end, it wasn’t a good working relationship. I left the company, taking my books, and losing my investment to self-publish. I learned a lot from that experience which I now use in self-publishing.

I tried traditional publishing one other time, but I found that not having complete control over my book was hard for me. I would much rather oversee the entire process from editing, to creating the book cover, publishing, and even marketing. So in general, I don’t think traditional publishing is for me, but I think it could be great for others, especially if it’s a big publisher with strong marketing. With that said, I might be open to trying traditional publishing again if our visions aligned and it was a great situation.

(IMFP) What advice would you give to aspiring writers?Gregory Brown books

(GB) As a Christian author, I would say write to honor God by cultivating the gift he gave you and seeking to give him pleasure. Use your writing to encourage and equip His people. If God calls you to write a blog and give it away for free, to publish and reach 10 people or to reach 10 million people, be faithful to God and trust the fruit to him.

(IMFP) If you could go back in time 12 months, what would you advise yourself?

(GB) Be Patient. There is no need to hurry. Enjoy the process of completing your projects and be balanced as you do it. Give thanks for the opportunity.

(IMFP) Who is your favorite author and why?

(GB) John MacArthur has had a tremendous effect on me spiritually and doctrinally. I’m very thankful for his ministry.

(IMFP) Do you do book reviews? What type of books do you review?

(GB) Yes, I try to stick to Christian nonfiction—preferably Bible study/Commentary/Christian Living books.

(IMFP) How do you interact with other authors? Are you a member of a book club?

(GB) I am on Goodreads in several Christian Author groups, and I’ve met most of my Christian author friends there. We update each other when our new books come out, ask each other questions, and share tips and encouragements.

(IMFP) What types of books do you normally recommend to your friends?

(GB) I love commentaries and systematic theologies.

(IMFP) What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Full-time job, pets, hobbies?

(GB) My favorite thing to do is have small group in my home with great fellowship and a good meal (hopefully my wife is cooking). Other than that, I enjoy working out, studying in coffee shops, going on dates with my wife and/or daughter, and watching the UFC and NBA.

(IMFP) Let’s talk about Greg, the man! Give us a bit of your social and family life.

(GB) I am married to one wife, Tara, and I have one daughter, Saiyah. Saiyah just turned four years old. We’ve been living in Korea for the last five years serving at Handong Global University. We love it. We love the students, the faculty, and the opportunity to serve here. Most of my family lives in Texas, the best place in the US.

(IMFP) Any final word for our followers?

(GB) Thanks for reading. Please check out The Bible Teacher’s Guide on Amazon.

(IMFP) Many thanks for this interview, Greg. Good luck with your writing.

(GB) Thanks for your time. God bless your ministry.

Gregory Brown Links and Contacts

Gregory Brown Books

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Author Interview – Sympathy Sibanda Mazuruse

Sympathy Sibanda MazuruseAs part of the Self-Publishing Africa initiative, today at It’s My Footprint (IMFP) we are joined by Sympathy Sibanda Mazuruse (SSM) a writer, voice over artist ,poet and businesswoman whose love for humanitarian issues  knows no bounds. She uses her voice to inspire others and spread love to the marginalized society’s .She is passionate about talent development as well as women empowerment.

(IMFP) Welcome Sympathy, and thank you for spending time with use at It’s My Footprint.

(SSM) It’s a great pleasure to be here.

(IMFP) Can you start by giving our followers a brief background of yourself and where you are coming from?

(SSM) I am a woman who loves life, travelling and family. I am the eldest in a family of three girls and a boy. My father trained us (the girls) from a very early age to be independent women who could do anything by ourselves, we were taught to be united and love each other. This healthy family background has really had a positive impact in my life. I was fortunate enough to marry a man whose interests match mine. We love writing; human development and making people achieve their dreams.

(IMFP) Where do you get your ideas from?

(SSM) Life is my greatest inspiration. My ideas come from watching people with a keen interest to understand what they feel, what makes them tick and what exactly makes them who they are.

I am a poet whose talent dates back to my childhood. I look at myself as a multi-talented woman. I love writing from what I observe people going through as well as what I experience.

(IMFP) Why do you write?

(SSM) I love documenting events as they happen so on one hand writing is my legacy to the unborn while on the other hand writing is my therapy and catharsis to let out steam.

(IMFP) What do you find most appealing about your chosen genre?

(SSM) Poetry fits every situation; I love this genre because I can experiment with it in so many ways. For example I have written social poetry, there was a time I wrote poems that were transformed into songs; in my new book I have written Christian poems. I just love poetry so much.

(IMFP) How do you deal with bad reviews, rejection and criticism?

(SSM) I learn from them. Naturally, I get disappointed but I then come back to myself and try to understand what needs to be changed. If it’s just ‘hate talk’ I ignore, but if it’s something I really need to learn, I then change accordingly. Criticism in whatever forms helps our brands to be known. Rejection has never broken me; I keep pushing till I reach my goals.

(IMFP) Sympathy, you surely have developed in your writing. Have you published yet? What are you busy with now in terms of writing?

(SSM) Yes I have two books published in my name. One titled ‘Matters of Life”(2009) and the recent one is a 2 in 1 anthology composed of 2 books ‘On His Bosom vs Celestial Sympathy’. I have also published a book in collaboration with my friend Catherine Magodo-Mutukwa, under my pen name Awande Ngwenya in 2015.

Currently I am busy holding school outreach programmes where I go to schools, hold mentorship talks and donate my book. I am appealing to any authors and well wishers who would like to come on board to get in touch so we can make an impact on the future generation.

(IMFP) What do you find difficult about book writing?

(SSM) When writer’s block hits! I feel so sullen when the inspiration finds a gap to escape. I’m glad for me it never lasts long, there is bound to be something that shakes me back in shape.

(IMFP) What is your opinion on self-publishing vs traditional publishing?

(SSM) Self publishing has provided an opportunity to hear so many voices that would have been choked were they to try traditional publishing. The latter trusts the names it knows yet self publishing brings with it the independence to let everyone’s voice known. We just have to guard against producing half baked cakes (cliché as it may sound), there is discipline to be practiced through getting assistance from professionals.

(IMFP) What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

(SSM) A good reader makes a good writer, so challenge yourself to read widely and train your mind to observe beyond what everyone else sees.

(IMFP) If you could go back in time 12 months, what would you advise yourself?

(SSM) Diaspora based publishers or printers are not always the best. We have talent in Zimbabwe. I would never have wasted money and time trying to get my books printed in the UK.

(IMFP) Who is your favourite author and why?

(SSM)Well…I am a wide reader and have several favourites. I would spend the whole day tring to list them here. Every book gives me a lesson different from the others, I appreciate every author.

(IMFP) Do you do book reviews? What type of books do you review?

(SSM) Yes I do…mostly poetry because it’s the area I’m comfortable with.

(IMFP) Which email lists are you subscribed to?

(SSM) Poetry international, Goodreads, Issuu, Pen America and Win-Zimbabwe.

(IMFP) How do you interact with other authors? Are you a member of a book club?

(SSM) I belong to the writer’s clinic, a brain child of renowned author Phillip Chidavaenzi and also Writers international network Zimbabwe, brainchild of talent developer Beaven Tapureta. These as well as many other social media platforms do the trick.

(IMFP) What types of books do you normally recommend to your friends?

(SSM) I encourage my friends to read widely and we share those books. We love digging out books written in n different styles but more so we love books written by Zimbabweans.

(IMFP) Let’s talk about Sympathy the lady! Give us a bit of your social and family life.

(SSM) I’m a lady who loves life and people. I am also a hopeless romantic whose choice of movies and novels mainly centers on ‘happy endings.’ I am married to a man created just for me; Takemore Mazuruse my perfect mirror. We are journalists, humanitarian workers and we run some businesses together. Some even say we look alike (laughs).

God is the center of my life and I always love to share his promises with the hopeless and downtrodden.

I love being around old people as I have learned that their wisdom is very rich and they have all these funny stories that make me so curious to keep digging about what it was like living in the past. Oh my word, I love travelling! When I travel I always carry my pen, paper and camera to capture everything as it happens.

Sympathy Sibanda Mazuruse(IMFP) Any final word for our followers?

(SSM) Life is never a rehearsal so live it purposefully.

(IMFP) Many thanks for this interview, Sympathy. Good luck with your writing.

(SSM) It was a pleasure, thank you so much.

Sympathy Sibanda Mazuruse Links and Contacts

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Author Interview – John Museredzo

John MuseredzoAs part of the Self-Publishing Africa initiative, today at It’s My Footprint (IMFP) we are joined by John Museredzo (JM), a relationship expert with a bias towards the youth and family relationships, an author, a motivational speaker, a pastor, a life coach, a business consultant and blogger.

(IMFP): Welcome John, and thank you for spending time with us at It’s My Footprint.

(JM): Thank you very much and it is my pleasure to be on this platform.

(IMFP): Can you start by giving our followers a brief background of yourself?

(JM) my name is John Museredzo. I am an international motivational and conference speaker, life coach, author and consultant. I am also a pastor with Forward In Faith Ministries International; teaching Kingdom principles so that people can discover and fulfill their God-given purposes. My interactive speaking and coaching style is uniquely motivational and educational. As a conflict resolution expert I brings expedient solutions to complex people, groups and team problems. I provide people with a mindset, skills, and tools to think strategically and work collaboratively to solve problems and create opportunities in life. I have experience in lecturing and seminar presentations in NGOs, private companies, churches and Christian organizations, schools, colleges and universities on Leadership, Administration, Spiritual Maturity, Relationships and Marriage, Professional and Personal Development. I am an author of many books and articles including: The Dream in the Wilderness, In Pursuit Of The Calling, Youth, Relationships and Marriage and Destined For High Achievements.

(IMFP): What a rich back ground. Where do you get your ideas from?

(JM) My writings are inspirational and thought provoking. All of them touch life issues from a particular dimension. Writing is natural to me. I strongly believe that my ideas are from God. I also get ideas from my experiences in life and other people’s experiences. I take lessons from what life offers to us every day. I take writing as a calling not as a hobby.

(IMFP): Why do you write?

(JM): I write to inform, inspire, motivate and challenge people to discover and fulfill their God given purposes.

(IMFP): What do you find most appealing about your chosen genre?

(JM): True motivation, to me touches the soul and the spirit man. When these are in right shape then humanity can experience the success needed.

(IMFP): How do you deal with bad reviews, rejection and criticism?

(JM): I take these as a learning curve. Many people take criticism with a negative eye when they should actual take this in a positive way for the betterment of their works. After all reviews, rejection and criticism are opinions of some sort, meant to perfect your work. 

(IMFP): John, you surely have developed in your writing. What are you busy with now in terms of writing?

(JM): I am doing books on Leadership, Character Development and Personal Development. These are tools for this generation and are packaged with a lot of wisdom.

(IMFP): What do you find difficult about book writing?

(JM): Writing needs a lot of concentration and imagination. Trying to be perfect is also one challenge I have encountered. In my first days of writing I have faced a lot of discouragements but I have managed to overcome that one.

(IMFP): What is your opinion on self-publishing vs traditional publishing?

(JM): Self-publishing has the advantage that the control and success of your book is in your hands. In this information and technology age; internet marketing, e-Book publishing and social networking sites have helped self-published authors get their books in front of potential readers and book buyers. Self-publishing is also cheaper in many ways. Personally traditional publishing is costly for nothing. However I have a caution for all who would go for self-publishing. Do not rush to publish your work when you are not yet ready. You need a professional editor, proof reader, layout and cover designer. Just because you are self-publishing does not call for shoddy work.

(IMFP): What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

(JM): Writing needs a lot of persistence, commitment and dedication. When an idea has come, quickly capture it before it is gone. There is also need to balance between writing as a calling and writing as a business. In writing you will face a lot of discouragements but continue writing.

(IMFP): If you could go back in time 3 years, what would you advise yourself?

(JM): I would have capitalized on the technology era. Internet has helped me in my writing in terms of advertising and distribution of my work

(IMFP): Who are your favourite authors and why?John Museredzo family

(JM): My favourite authors are Brian Tracy and the late Myles Munroe. Their books are loaded with wisdom needed for life.

(IMFP): Do you do book reviews?

(JM) It would be my pleasure to do books reviews. The person would just have to send the soft copy and hard copy for me to do the review.

(IMFP): How do you interact with other authors? Are you a member of any author club?

(JM) I have done collaboration for a book with about 14 other authors called Success Within Reach. I have also done author coaching for free. As an Author I participate frequently on Author groups and platforms on facebook, tweeter, blogs and online magazines.

(IMFP): Which books can you recommend to a friend?

(JM): All books by Myles Munroe and Brian Tracy.

(IMFP): Let’s talk about John the man! Give us a bit of your social and family life.

(JM): John Museredzo a family man born in a family of 5 boys and 3 girls. I am married to Barbra and we are blessed with 3 children (2 boys and one girl.) I love gardening and also doing adventure trips.

(IMFP): Any final word for your followers?

(JM): I want to encourage my followers to keep supporting my work. Your feedback is very much appreciated. You are great people.

(IMFP): Many thanks for this interview, John. Good luck with your writing.

(JM): Be blessed for the opportunity you afforded me.

 

John Museredzo Links and Contacts

John Museredzo

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