Wynter Pitts: The Legacy of A Life That Said Yes to God

BY CHERYL RISCHER & TONI WILLIAMS

It’s been quite some time since we blogged together. While we love the opportunity to collaborate on the internet, the occasion is bittersweet.

This week, a couple of different areas of our lives intersected in a way we wish it didn’t.

Our lives as moms intersected with our lives as bloggers which would ordinarily be okay, but this intersection created a void for so many people in our local community.

Furthermore, all of it left us in tears. Tears for a heartbroken husband, tears for four girls, and tears for an extended family – none of whom saw any of this coming.

Continue reading “Wynter Pitts: The Legacy of A Life That Said Yes to God”

Make 2016 Work for You

make 2016 work for you

Let’s be honest here. This week (and probably for the next month), we will be hearing a lot about resolutions, plans, goals, and the things we all need to do in order to make 2016 the best year ever.

I know there are many people out there who don’t subscribe to the “New Year, New Goals” theory, but I definitely do. If I can start the year off right and be super-productive, no matter how long it lasts, it would be longer than if I hadn’t made the resolution at all.

This year I thought about my goals and plans a bit earlier than I have before. My plan was to start the reflection process a little bit earlier so that by December 31, I could have clear, actionable goals and actually be working to meet those goals before the new year hit.

However, when I started I was at a crossroads. It seemed that every blog, every coach, every writer I follow was flooding my  email inbox with their plan for success this year. They had published accounts and systems that detailed what worked for them in the past. And they wanted me to join their program.

Maybe it’s the only child in me, but I kind of felt that the only plan I needed to follow was my own. Without throwing shade, I just needed figure out what I needed to focus on. Reading about those other systems helped, especially since I saw a common thread in all of them. But as far as the daily activities are concerned, I needed to work that out myself.

To be honest, I really just needed a workbook that would guide me through some concepts but allow me to add the specifics. I needed that workbook, but I also needed something that could appeal to my life as a writer.

You see, in this funny thing called life, our experiences are not cookie cutter. We all need to be able to carve out our individual plan for love, success, and anything else that’s important to us.  This year, I found two books that are helping me get where I want to be, personally and professionally.

I first heard of author Honoree Corder from the Successful Single Mom book series. As a single mom, I tend to read a lot of books and blogs by other single moms who have been there and done that. Honoree has, and I might add, she’s done it well. In addition to writing about being a single mom, she’s also a successful writer,  business coach and a visionary strategist. It’s her unique combination of sound, practical knowledge combined with family and life priorities that make her strategies work.

I’ve been using two of Honoree’s books to organize myself and 2016. I am highly recommending them right here right now. These two books will help you outline your goals, plans, and priorities and make them actionable.

Book #1: Tall Order.

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As an entrepreneur (and a relatively new one at that), this book has what I need to further establish my business and brand during 2016. When I made to decision to be a full-time creative last August, I didn’t know much about the business aspects of what I was doing. This book gives me a clear path to follow as I continue to do work through Twilli Media.

Tall Order outlines seven master strategies that are essential to business success. They are:

  1. Create Your Vision
  2. Visible Goals
  3. The 100-Day Rule
  4. Find a Masterful Mentor
  5. Use Time-Multiplier Strategies
  6. The Power of Association
  7. Unlock Your Super Alter Ego with a Coach

This book is a must-have for readers that are interested in establishing, rebranding, getting direction, or setting new goals for their brand or company. You can buy it here.

Book #2: Prosperity for Writers Productivity Journal (affiliate links below)

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If you’re reading this, you obviously know I’m a writer. I definitely need to hone in on my craft throughout the year and I can always benefit from help from a writing coach. Prosperity for Writers and its companion, Prosperity for Writers Productivity Journal are the two books that I’m using to aid in my writing goals. In the past, I’ve been a 500-word-a-day writer, but this year I’m striving to be a 2,000-word-a-day writer. For me, that means 2,000 coherent, well thought out words. The benefit actually works two ways: 1. I’m doing more of what I love and improving my craft, and 2. My audience is getting the very best of what I have to offer.

That simple word count goal for me is only one way I can improve my life as a writer, and believe it or not, I actually needed more direction being a prosperous writer with abundant results. For me, I needed to believe that I could have a financially successful life as a writer. Here are the titles of the book chapters:

  1. YOU Can Be a Prosperous Writer
  2. Prosperous Writers Believe They Can
  3. Your Journey to Becoming a Prosperous Writer
  4. Get FAME for Prosperity
  5. What’s Your Money Story?
  6. Practical Practices of Prosperous Writers
  7. Accelerate Your Success
  8. Your Time to Be a Prosperous Writer is Now

This book is one part motivation and the other part action. She does the motivating and we do the work. If you’re a writer, you can buy Prosperity for Writers here and the Productivity Journal here.

Here’s to a fabulous year! What resources are you using to jumpstart your year?

Disclosure: I am a member of Honoree Corder’s Advanced Reader Team. I received copies of all the books I mentioned free of charged in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.

Smiling For My Friends

I love it when my friends conquer their fears, meet their goals, and just do some really cool things. My real-life friends and fellow blogger Biranda just wrote a book. How cool is that? And because I’m smiling for her…I kind of decided to interview her.
ME: How did you come up with the idea to write a book?
BEE: I began this journey 4 years ago, writing by hand in a notebook. After about 3 pages, I put it down. Well my youngest brother Marcus asked to use the notebook.  Of course I let him use it; one thing led to another and I forgot about the notebook, not completely, but it was something I put on my bucket list–something I would get to one day. Then my brother Marcus called me one day, about 3 years later and said, “Bee, when are you going to finish the book?” I said, “What book?”
And he began to read the 3 pages I had written years before, the words that I had forgotten, the rising plot that I had been so anxious to see pan out. That’s how it all began.
ME: How did you go about the writing process?
BEE: This is my first time writing a novel, so looking back on the process, I was all over the place. I started out writing every night and then letting my daughter edit what I  wrote. As the book began to take on a life of its own, I began writing when the inspiration would hit me. But I made sure I touched the story in some way, everyday, whether it was doing research or reading a chapter to a family member. Now that I have finished the book and am weeks away from releasing it, I know that having a scheduled time to write is important, for me at least. With “City of the Guardians: Introducing Alex Honor”, I would finish a complete chapter before moving on to the next. I am taking a different approach with the second book of the COTG series. I have written 3 chapters for the next series but they aren’t complete, I will come back to them as the ideas come to me. Instead of being stuck/having writers block, I just keep it moving.
ME: How long did it take you to write the book?
BEE: I started the book May of 2012 and finished Mother’s Day of 2013.
ME: Your daughter, Amaya, seemed to be a big inspiration for you in writing the book? How did she impact this project?
BEE: Amaya was a HUGE part of this book. I truly believe one of the reasons God placed her in my life was for this specific project. I was working at a restaurant called Outback Steakhouse and no matter how hard I worked, I never made a substantial amount in tips, ie: $36, $25. It was very disheartening. Then when I would come home and  take care of my little boy who was around 8 or 9 months at the time and he wasn’t sleeping through the night. Needless to say, I was exhausted and would fall asleep on the couch with my son in my arms. Amaya would wake me up and say, “Mama, you gotta write. Mama, wake up. You need to write.” She was my inspiration. She saw my dream for City of the Guardians, when no one else did. Amaya has always believed in me and my work. I am utterly thankful and blessed to call her my daughter. Amaya’s future’s so bright, sometimes I wonder why God gave her to me.
ME:  So far, I’ve read two chapters of the book. The character, RIP, gave me the chills. Do you think that all the characters live within us?
BEE: Ooohh, good question. This is  of the things I look forward to most, being able to delve into the characters and how they relate to us all. Rip represents Rage and is a very bad Guardian. He is supposed to give you chills because what he stands for is not something we want to come in contact with. Unfortunately we see his presence  all the time, like when the nightly news reports on a family being killed by a relative or a person shooting up a school. It’s something that I wish didn’t exist but reality says otherwise. I believe we all have experienced each of the characters in one form or another. I know we don’t like to admit it but if you could replay your life, it is guaranteed that there have been moments when you desired the worst  for someone who may have hurt you or a loved one. Not to say you acted on it or even still feel the same way now, but in that moment there was a whisper that wanted you to get Vengence (Vile), Hate (Hurl) someone or caused you to feel Guilty (Gib) about something.
The thing about the Guardians is that they all represent emotions we as a society have dealt with. My mission is to expose the whispers that we sometimes ignore because we are not inclined to listen to that gut instinct or in the case of the “bad whispers,” we think they are the right thoughts at that moment. Everyone knows right from wrong and everyone will be faced with a decision to make, most times on a daily basis. City of the Guardians: Introducing Alex Honor is spiritually based, but I don’t push that because I don’t want an Athiest/Non-Believer to pass it up because it’s labeled as a “Religious” book. I want them to read it too and maybe have a change of heart.
ME: Do you have a favorite character? Who is it?
BEE: Right now my favorite character is Mica because he is the most different of all the Guardians. Mica represents Mercy but he isn’t the soft spoken type. He is very direct and about his business. The characteristic that will stick out most about Mica is his hair. It’s solid white and is constantly blowing, whether he’s outside or not, there is a breeze about him wherever he goes.
ME:  After you write, you must then go through the publishing process. What’s that like?
BEE: I published with a company called Xulon Press. It is a type of Vanity Press in which the author pays a publishing company to publish their book. The process was strenuous because of all the approvals and decisions you have to make. They do what you ask and the rest is up to you. So if you don’t proof your Book Cover well, and it ends up having a typo, that’s on you. The author has the final say on everything. Also, all the marketing is on the author. A Vanity Press will give you outlets and suggestions, but they all come at a price. In the end, I am responsible for making sure the world knows about COTG. I am responsible to getting people interested in it and pushing the brand.
ME: Do you already have ideas for the next book?
BEE: Yes, I have already started on Book 2 and have a good idea of how the series will end. The journey continues and the best is yet to be read.
ME:  What advice do you have for up and coming writers?
BEE: I would tell up and coming authors to write because they love to do it. Don’t write because you want to become rich, if it’s your passion, pursue it, otherwise don’t waste your time. It’s hard and sometimes disappointing but also very rewarding. I will continue to write even if not one person buys by book. I love to write, that’s how I express myself best.
Next, I would tell them to surround themselves with people who can help them achieve their goal. People who believe in them and who can give advice about the craft.
Last but definitely not least, get plugged in to the social media scene, ie Facebook, Twitter, and any other avenue of networking. I have met and connected with so many people, some of whom have pre-ordered my book @ www.beelkirk.com
If you are interested in learning more about City of the Guardians, check out Biranda here:
Twitter: @beelkirk
Keep smiling Bee!

They Have Her Back

friends and family are the crux for one christian authorLast week I did something I had never done before. Ever. I went to a local church, on a Thursday night, and heard one of my favorite authors teach about the Bible. I want to say this now and publicly…if you ever have the chance to hear Priscilla Shirer speak…go! Quick, fast, and in a hurry. And if you can’t get to see her in person, read her books, or read her blog. She has great things to say…and even though she digs deep…it is always applicable to my life.

The Three Amigos even know about her. Their main concern is that I do not act like a groupie when I go hear her speak. In true mom-of-tween fashion, I told them I did act like a groupie and probably embarrassed them, especially since I asked her to sign my copy of her most recent book. And then I got the triple eye roll.

While I was impressed with Priscilla’s sermon, what I really noticed as a mom of three kids is that she would not have been able to host that event without having great friends who have her back. Her three boys were there helping with the community service project attached to the event, and of course, she needed friends watching them!  (She was kinda busy, you know, preaching and all).

Then, her ministry staff selected a group of women to be VIPs for the night. They prayed with these ladies, escorted them throughout the event, and just loved on them. I couldn’t fathom how she orchestrated that…ummm…again, when she was also ministering to a few hundred of her other closest friends.

So here’s what I noticed…her friends were strategically located so they could jump in and help when needed. They were also fully present…not just in attendance, but fully present. They helped with the line of people who wanted to take photos or get an autograph. They stood next to her…not to have a piece of her…but to help her give a piece to others.

They had her back.

And that my friends, is a component of true friendship. Being fully present and ready to step in wherever your friends need you to…even if it means you are helping give your friend’s time to someone else…and not you. I’d love to share with you an interview that some of my friends did on an internet talk radio show yesterday…it seemed to go right along with the theme of having someone’s back.

Tune in here for the recap on demand. Click on the link for “On Demand” and the “Mocha Mob” show. Tell me about your friends…do they have your back, and more importantly do you have theirs?