Interview with Ashlee

This week I interviewed a fellow, blogger!  Her name is Ashlee and she can be found here.  Her blog is a great place for inspiration, recipes, faith, football and book reviews!  Stop by and check her out!

  • Who are you and where are you located?

Well, I’m Houstyn’s mommy. I’m Chris’ wife. I’m Tyrone and Sica’s daughter. But foremost, I’m Christ’s daughter. In short, I’m Ashlee Barclay! I’m currently located in West Virgina, by way of Williamsburg, Virginia. But I was born and raised in Kentucky.

  • What is your blog about?

My blog, “BE Humble. BE Honest. BE Blessed.” is about things that happen in my daily life and how I am able to see God show up in those instances. It is about anything having to do with my faith, my family and football (my husband is a college coach, so I try to write about my family’s experience and perspective of collegiate football – it’s a neat viewpoint). Since becoming a stay-at-home mom, I began wondering who I was, and God stopped me and brought me on this journey of blogging. I am a Chrisitan, still growing in my spiritual life and this blog is basically my journey, documented along the way. I write a lot of analogies and parallels of everyday life with what the Bible tells us. Also, I like including posts about my faith (struggles & strengths) and biblical revelations. So in essence, this is not a blog simply telling others what the Bible says they should do, but I’ve designed it to where other believers, no matter where they are in their faith, can put themselves in my shoes, saying “Ooh, ooh, me too! Me too!” while reading. I also write recipes and review posts every Thursday, “Eats & Treats Thursdays.” I’m definitely not a food blogger, but food is a big part of my family’s life, so I wanted to find a way to include it on a regular basis. My blog doesn’t quite fit the devotional standard, so I would categorize it as a lifestyle blog…Christian lifestyle!

  • How long have you been blogging?

I’ve been on my journey in writing my blog for about a month and a half. Even in its infancy stage, I feel like I have been doing this forever and love every minute of it!

  • What do you want people to take away from your blog?

My blog, I hope, is written in a way to help other Christians to relax in the Word, get comfortable in it and learn it, however, they feel comfortable. I want to create a space for people, men and women of all ages, to be able to come and grow with me in faith, in a no-judgement zone. I don’t feel like I have it all together or that I have “arrived,” and I am always learning about my parenting, marriage, and my faith. So, I want others to be able to see my growth and either learn from me or with me! Once again, when someone reads my posts, I want them to feel comfortable saying, “OMG, I know exactly what you mean!”

  • What mistakes did you make and what did you learn from them?

A big mistake that I’ve made (so far – I’m sure there will be more) is trying to do too much at once. Your blog is a reflection of you and it’s not something that can be rushed – it has to be developed. By rushing, I became overwhelmed and confused, especially with a family to take care of. You can’t sign up and work every social media outlet, have your final blog design just the way you want it, write post after post after post, have a gazillion and one people on your email list, and have your blog monetized all at once, all in the beginning. Patience is very important and I had to take a step back before I ruined my view of what I was going after – writing for me from my passion and the long-term goal of helping others. There are so many resources out there that you can overextend yourself early and get bogged down, discouraged and frustrated. Don’t compare your blog to anyone else’s…you may have sown the same seeds, but you don’t know how long their crop has been growing!

  • What is next for your blog?

The next thing in works for my blog is to be able to provide my readers with different monthly series – something they can follow along with and engage in – kind of like a study of sorts. I just finished my first four-post series, “Let Life Encourage You.” I would like to do more of those, with a different focus each month and/or a web-based book club…before trying my hand at writing my own E-Book. I love engaging with others!

  • What is your favorite recipe that you have done recently?

Ahhh, my favorite recipe has to be the carrot cake. It was already my favorite dessert, but once I made it myself, for some reason, it made it that much better!

  • What is one piece of advice you would give someone who is trying to create his/her master plan?

To create one’s “master plan,” I would say…to follow God’s plan! My tagline is Proverbs 16:9 – “A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps,” and as a Christian, that is how it has worked best for me. Alone, I don’t think that we can “create” a successful plan. Before we ever knew what a plan was, God had one for us. I also think it’s important to be okay with being imperfect. One of my favorite authors says that we need to “let go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embrace who we are,” and I really couldn’t have worded that any better – I love that phrase just the way it is! But to add to that, in order to embrace who we really are, we have to be able to cultivate a spiritual relationship with God, in order to know and follow His will for us.

  • Anything else you would like to share?

Well, I’m really excited about what I’m doing (as you can see) and encourage others to not just visit my blog, but to engage with me and share their stories! I’m anxious about where this journey will take me and I appreciate the opportunity that you’ve given me to interview with you!

  • Where can you be found online?

My blog can be found at I also have a Facebook page at, I enjoy pinning at, and you can tweet with me as well, at!

Until next time…

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Interview With Ana Spoke

Hello all!  This week I also interviewed Ana Spoke.  She can be found here.  She is the author of the very poplar novel Shizzle, Inc.


1. Who are you?  Where are you located?  What is you book title and what is it about?

I’m Ana Spoke and I live in Australia – but you can always find me on! I’ve just released my first comedy novel Shizzle, Inc. It is about Isa Maxwell, your average blond chick, who embarks on a not-so-average adventure as billionaire’s protege. This novel started with a one-off joke spoof of the 50 Shades of Gray, although there’s no sex in it. There’s however, lots and lots of sexual tension – after getting dumped unceremoniously right before Valentine’s Day, Isa seems to get a lot of new love interest. Trouble is, Isa may be mistaken in how she interprets the world around her. One of those mistakes just might lead to a slow, torturous death at the hands of a maniacal beefcake…

2. Who are your biggest influences when it comes to writing and/or life?

I love comedy in all forms, and funny books have always been a big part of my life. My writing style is undoubtedly influenced by some of my early favorites – Russian Ilf and Petrov’s “Twelve Chairs” and “The Golden Calf”; Czech Jaroslav Hašek’s “The Good Soldier Švejk”; and O. Henry’s short stories. More recently, I’ve loved John Kennedy’s “A Confederacy of Dunces” and Jonas Jonasson’s “The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared”.

I’m equally drawn to stories of people who’ve overcome obstacles and achieved their dreams – ranging from famous motivational speakers to stories of people around me. They not only help me keep going, often they have an unexpected impact on the character arcs.

3. What is your writing ritual (if you have one)?  Anything over the top or simple like your favorite playlist or your favorite flavored coffee?

I love writing in bed. I know, it’s bad for my posture and you’re not supposed to do any work in bed, otherwise you risk developing insomnia, but I just can’t help it. I cozy up with pillows and covers and just escape into a made-up world.

4. How much of Shizzle, Inc is based off real life?  As writer’s we tend to base things off what has happened in our own life.  For example, are you or have you worked in the corporate world? Or did you graduate from community college and is a self-proclaimed badass like Isa, your main character?

I’m not Isa, but I did base some of her experiences on my own – a natural step, at least for the first novel. I’ve never met a billionaire, and I actually have a Ph.D., but the feeling of getting your dream and then the terror of not coping with it is very real for me. When I myself was 20, I won a scholarship to study in the US – my life changed in a matter of weeks from gray, ordinary, and very sheltered to one full of color, noise, and fear.  I could hardly understand what people around me were saying, and I had to participate in class and take exams!

I’m no badass, although occasionally I’ve played one in short films. I did, however, have military training as a 14-year old – it was part of the Soviet high school curriculum. It’s probably hard to believe now, but we had a gun shooting range in the basement of my high-school.

5. What is your favorite quote? It can be about writing or just your catchphrase!

I don’t have a catchphrase, per se, but oh, how I love to pump my fist when things are going well! I could offer my personal life philosophy – anything is possible if you know what you want, have a plan, and are willing to work hard on it every day. I’m sure one of the literary greats has said it much more eloquently.

6. How long did it take you to write this book?  From the first words through editing to publication?

It took about six months from the first concept joke to the “let’s get serious” day. At that point I only had about 20,000 words and decided to throw out half of them. It took another three months to finish the first draft of 84,000 words. From there it was six months of editing and re-editing, losing about 5,000 words, followed by over a year of trying to pitch the novel to publishers and agents. After I’ve realised that I will never get anywhere trying to go the traditional route (except maybe to the mental facility), it took about three months to polish and publish on Kindle. I’m currently working on a print edition via CreateSpace. I’m sure there will be many blog posts on this particular bit of the process!

7. What is your spirit animal?  During writing? During the rest of you day?

Never thought of this one! When I’m in the gym, I imagine myself as an antelope. On a good day at work, I’m a “future CEO”. On a good day of writing, I’m so lost in the story that I literally forget myself – it’s as if I watch a movie. I love days when I get into the flow, and the story unfolds in a direction I did not foresee, and the characters surprise me with their reactions and dialogue.

8. What is your favorite kind of format for books?  Are you team hardcover, team paperback or team eBook?

I’m old school in that I prefer a printed version. Probably a paperback, so that I can afford more books 🙂

9. What does your family and friends think or you being a writer?

My family is cheering me on like mad. My sister was with me all the way, my mom is currently reading it and translating it the best she can to my Dad, and my fiancé is in awe. My friends are supportive of the idea, although most of them didn’t get the novel when I let them read the first draft. This is the most amazing thing about the Internet – I am more likely to find readers that “get” my work online, in the US, then I am in my circle here, in Australia. I feel like I’ve made real connections through my blog – I’m in touch with some of the followers more regularly than I am with my “real life” friends.

10. What was your schedule like while you worked on Shizzle, Inc?  How did you balance writing/editing with work/ family/ life?

Balance? What balance? That’s not how I work – I just get obsessive and spend every waking moment writing or thinking about it. I’m consciously trying to be better at balancing now, but during the three months of the first draft, it was literally every waking moment. I got into a habit of walking home from work (about 40 minutes) and would fantasize whole scenes in my head, then write them down once I got home. I jotted ideas in my work notepad whenever they came to me (often in the middle of boring meetings), wrote on the tram in the mornings, and even had a notepad on my night table.

11. Any advice for fellow writers out there?

Persistence and hard work do pay off. I think that was the main message of Stephen King’s “On Writing”, and it’s the message I would like to pass on as well.

12. What do you have planned next for your readers?

I was so happy to see in the reviews that people wanted to read more of Isa’s adventures! I have started working on the second instalment of Isa Maxwell’s escapades, this one set in India. Poor Isa has no idea what’s in store for her…

13. Where can we find you on the web?

I just started a Goodreads Author page and would love to connect with readers on that platform. My Goodreads page can be found at

Well, that is all for this week’s interview!  If you would like to be interviewed or know someone who might want to, please fill out the form below!   [contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]

Until next time!

Interview with Claire

This week I interviewed a fellow blogger.  Her blog is Claire’s Comfy Corner.  Go ahead and check her out.  If you know someone that struggles with chronic pain, please share her blog with them.   She is a wonderful lady and I think more people really need to understand more about ‘invisible diseases’.

  • Who are you?

I’m a teacher, blogger and Fibromyalgia warrior. I teach English in a secondary school in London. I love my job and sometimes I can’t believe I’m being paid to talk about books, plays and poetry. I love Shakespeare but I also have so many other favourite authors: Oscar Wilde, Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams and F Scott Fitzgerald. I am an avid reader and I love relaxing with a good mystery or thriller. I was diagnosed earlier this year with a central nervous system disorder called Fibromyalgia. Working full time is tough with this chronic pain condition but I try to remain positive and my new motto is ‘with pain comes strength’. I’m discovering that I am stronger than I ever thought and I’m learning to smile through the pain. My three loving but mad cats always make me laugh 🙂

  • Where are you located?

I was born in Ireland and I have a BA (Hons) degree in English and History from the University of Limerick. I moved to Liverpool, England, to do my Post Graduate Certificate in Education in 1996 and I started teaching in Essex a year later. I love living in the London borough of Barking and Dagenham and when I can I visit one of the theatres in the West End, it’s only a tube ride away. The last play I saw was ‘Death of a Salesman’, it was a brilliant production and I must admit that I did shed a tear. I have a great love for food and enjoy eating out with friends in Turkish, Indian, Mexican, Italian and Chinese restaurants.

  • What is your blog about?

My blog is about life with Fibromyalgia – I’m trying to raise awareness about this often misunderstood and underfunded invisible illness. I am determined to live life to its fullest. I’m not as active as I used to be nor do I socialise like I used to. My life has changed but I am not going to let this chronic pain condition beat me and even though I’m often in severe pain I have been setting myself little challenging like learning to cook, bake and even make my own laundry powder, soap and gifts. I am enjoying learning new skills and working towards a goal, my new hobbies keep me motivated. I find that engaging in little challenges and blogging about them actually provides me with an outlet for releasing stress and gives my mind something else to focus on than the painful symptoms of Fibromyalgia.

  • In your own words, what is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is an invisible illness, I may appear fine but so many normal activities are a painful struggle. It’s like being a held captive by my own body, Fibromyalgia causes quite severe fatigue and pain, and it can interfere with my ability to carry out simple daily activities. The physical pain varies in intensity each day, I often have severe stabbing, throbbing, burning or shooting pains in different parts of my body – my knees, ankles, arms, neck, shoulders and hips are where I feel the worst pain – and strong prescription pain killers work sometimes.

  • What is your overall goal for your blog Claire’s Comfy Corner?

We need the government and the health department to recognize Fibromyalgia for what it is, a debilitating life-changing illness and give more funding to help find a cure. So I am trying to raise awareness about this chronic pain condition. I’m also hoping to inspire others who live with chronic pain, I want to reach out and let them know that they are not alone in their fight.

  • What is the one thing you want people to take away from your blog?

I want people to understand what life is like for a Fibromyalgia warrior. I fight every day to keep going, I’m not alone in this fight, there are lots of other people out there with invisible illnesses, and sometimes it’s difficult to focus on the positive things in our lives. I hope to inspire people to keep fighting, to keep smiling and to keep positive.

  • What is your favourite quote? Is it something you live for everyday?

As an English teacher I have a lot of favourite quotes but in the last nine months the words of a fellow Fibromyalgia fighter, Morgan Freeman, have inspired me – ‘I only get one life and I will not let Fibromyalgia take the joy from living it.’

  • What is next for you blog?

What other challenges will I try? Maybe candle making, making more beauty products, jewellery making and trying new recipes. I’m sure that there will be small successes and disasters along the way. I intend to blog about them all! But mostly I hope that I’ll continue to raise awareness about Fibromyalgia.

  • What advice do you have for others with Fibromyalgia or others living with chronic pain?

Pain can change you but don’t let it define you. You will have good days! Do something you enjoy on those days. Set yourself realistic goals, you need to know your limitations and not do too much. Listen to your body and rest when you can. Take pride in your achievements – you are doing your best. Most of all know that you are not alone. Reach out to other fibro warriors, we understand what you are going through.

Where else can we find you?







996137_820565131347830_1627162760133665427_n Please share this with someone you know how suffers!  No one should suffer alone!

Well, that is all for this week’s interview!  If you would like to be interviewed or know someone who might want to, please fill out the form below!   [contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]

Until Next time…

Interview with Tracey Clark.

One of my new series I wanted to start on my blog is interviewing other bloggers and writers and to show case their work and their blogs.

This week’s interviewee is Tracey Clark.

Tracey Clark – Picture from her blog

She is a writer, blogger and soon to be published author (her book is to come out on October 26 this month.  You can find it here) I hope you guys enjoy her quirkiness and see how awesome she is!

Post by @traceylclark11.


  • Who are you in five words? And where are you located?

—hmmm…1. & 2.  artistic author… I love all art, and am willing to try it all… painting in oils, singing, working with yarn, etc… but my favorite is to write or read… sadly, my two left feet and I have to agree that dancing will always be a spectator sport…

4. pug lover… really I love all animals but pugs are my favorite… in fact, I have had many over the years… they keep me sane and keep me going when life gets hard… horses come in as a very close second…
5 nerd… yep, I wear that title with pride…I love most things that others look at nerdy… all things Sci-Fi/paranormal; especially conventions, movies, books… and I love numbers and words equally… before I got diagnosed and hit hard with MS (multiple sclerosis) I was on my way to becoming a mathematics major in college… my words saved me

soooo…. artistic pug loving, nerdy author

  • What is your title in life?  What do you call yourself? (Like wife, mother, cook, racer, reader, writer, crazy person, etc.)

–author/or daughter… both are very important to me… my mother is my rock and my words create my babies

  • What are your biggest influences in life and writing?

–nature, animals & the world of man… I take in the beauty and the evils to be found and use them… either to become a better person, or to bend into my paranormal romances

  • What is your writing ritual?

–I procrastinate, I tweet, I check my other sites… then I buckle down and become lost in a world of my own making… first I create a story board, or the roughest of rough draft… a few words here and there to see where the story will take me.. then I write the actual rough draft and usually change more than half of it.. lol

  • Where did the inspiration Shocking Finds come from?

–I’m not sure I can point to just one thing that inspired me to write Shocking Finds, I wanted to create something that I would enjoy reading .. I can’t believe the number of people already pre-ordering my baby

  • What little bits of yourself are in Marin?

— lol… for the most part, Marin is my complete opposite… I’m tall with brown hair that sports the occasional red highlights… and I absolutely detest coffee… if there is a bit of me in Marin it is her need to stand up for the little gut, and her loss of temper when she witnesses an injustice

  • What is next for the Finders Keepers series?  Are you working on any other projects for the future?

–I actually have five very rough draft waiting for me to give them my attention… two of which are apart of the Finder’s Keepers series, two that will become two different series within there own right but loosely related to Finder’s Keepers (but there won’t take front and center until after the third Finder’s Keepers novel, at the very least)… and the last is actually a contemporary romance… and that is all beside the large number of shorts I have floating around.. some of which will become freebies on my blog or maybe my book site

  • What is the time frame of writing for Shocking Finds? (Like how long did the writing, editing and all that jazz take?)

–that’s hard to answer… I wanted to be ready for any setbacks due to my health… my MS pretty much stable at this time, but is a disease that can take you by surprise… I spent five years getting rough drafts and short stories written down… I have spent the last year editing and re-editing while I looked for someone to take interest in my novel… Mary Smith from Gone Writing Publishing [you can find Gone Writing Publishing blog here and follow them on Twitter] picked me up last month.. since then things have been flying

  • Do you have any advice for other writers out there?

— have fun.. if you don’t enjoy your words, chances are that others won’t either… and find a writing group (inline or in person) to brainstorm and inspire… especially in the beginning… and NaNoWriMo is excellent, give it a try

  • Would you like to add anything else?  Anything else you LOVE to do other than write?

–yep… I suggest finding a hobby, something for down time when the Writer’s depression hits.. it is real, and can hit before you know it.. a lot of us feel it after the high of finishing a project

Tracey can be found on the following social media sites.  Give her some love!

Well, that is all for this week’s interview!  If you would like to be interviewed or know someone who might want to, please fill out the form below!   [contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]

Until next time…