Interview: Erika M. Szabo, CEO of Golden Box Book Publishing

Please welcome my special guest, novelist Erika M Szabo. She’s here today to talk about her published books and author publishing services.
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I understand you are not American — can you explain when you came to the United States, and what country you are from?
Thank you so much for the opportunity to introduce myself to your readers. I’m a writer, Alternative Medicine Practitioner, animal welfare activist and publishing coach. I was born and raised in Hungary and moved to the US twenty-five years ago.
Did you experience any culture shock after you arrived in the United States?
Yes, there were a few customs that were new to me. For example, Halloween in Europe, people honor the dead by adorning the graves of loved ones with flowers, burn candles and pray in the cemetery in the evening. It is a beautiful custom. After I had moved to the US, I spent my first Halloween in NYC. We lived in a sixteen-story building and I learned about the holiday only that people party and kids dress up in adorable costumes and go trick or treating, so I had to buy lots of candy. Well, when I heard the doorbell, I grabbed the bowl filled with candy and opened the door. I almost fainted when I saw a six feet tall gorilla holding a little girl’s hand in a pink tutu yelling, “Trick or treat!”
Can you explain how life in your native country is different to that of the United States?
Besides a few customs, there is not much difference in the daily lives of people. The education system is a little different, though, which is free. Also, the majority of jobs require education such as waiter, store clerk, cook and so on. You can’t just drop in and learn how to serve food on the job; you must attend school in order to be hired by restaurants.
I understand you are an author and now have your own company that helps indie authors become published authors, can you explain what made you decide to become a writer and eventually start your own company?
After I had received a Ph.D. in Alternative Healing, I published two books in Hungary related to Natural Health. Later on, I started writing in English, also medical related books. I always loved fantasy stories, so I let my imagination fly and started writing the Ancestor’s Secrets series. A traditional publisher accepted my books, but after I had learned about how much freedom and control self-publishing provides for authors, I learned as much as I could about the publishing process. I started my company, Golden Box Book Publishing, but I didn’t have the intention of taking advantage of authors who work very hard creating their stories. I planned to pay the highest royalty to the authors. However, soon I changed my approach, and instead of publishing books with my company, I decided to help authors with my Publishing Coach service to create the best eBooks and prints at a very reasonable price. This way I get paid for the work I put into it; I get great satisfaction from helping the authors to make their book the best it could be; and I don’t take away the full control of their books and royalty.
As an author, I fully understand how difficult writing is — do you have any mentors, considering that English is not your native tongue?
When I write, I don’t like to follow guidelines or get confused by the opinion of many. I have two editors that I work with and because they give me building criticism as well. I always consider their suggestions. For me, English was relatively easy to learn because I took four years Latin in Nursing School and learned German when I lived in Austria before I moved to the US.
You write fantasy novels — can you talk about what inspired you to start writing in this genre?
I like the freedom that writing fantasy stories gives me. I can let my imagination fly, incorporate some true facts into the story and wrap it in a package that gives the reader the feeling of entering a world where anything is possible.
Tell us what the revision process is like for you. Do you edit as you write or do you edit later?
I edit and revise as I progress with the story, and when I’m finished and the first edit is done, I revise parts that I’m not satisfied with.
Do you have any short and long-term goals, if so, what are they?
My short-term goal is to publish the second audiobook, and my long-term goal is to translate both books in my fantasy series to Hungarian while I help authors publish their books.
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http://www.authorerikamszabo.com/my-books.html http://www.authorerikamszabo.com

Cover Reveal!

I am elated to reveal the cover of my soon to be published book.  This book chronicles the hurdles I had to endure to finally achieve success as a French and Spanish teacher. I hope my story will inspire all future educators from across the globe.

I believe in order to make a change for the better in public education, school districts across the United States should make a concerted effort to hire more educators of color.   I wrote “Saying Yes To My Life’s Calling: Breakthroughs in Becoming an Educator” to inspire all educators, especially African-Americans.

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Viola Davis’ Win-A Win for All African-American Women

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Last night at the Emmys was a historic moment for all African American women when Viola Davis won the Emmys for best actress.   I see this win as a sign that perhaps, America is somewhat ready to recognize women of color as major contributors to American culture.

I am hoping that women of color will be given ample opportunities to let their talents thrive in a world saturated in white privilege.  The struggle for African- American  women to be recognized as a worthy  part of American culture is deep rooted in racism , not only in Hollywood, but also in other professions across the board.

I have a new book soon to be published titled: “Saying Yes to My Life’s Calling: Breakthroughs to Become an Educator” in it I talk about the hurdles I endured as a woman of color to  become an educator.  Viola’s  historic win has fueled me with renewed hope! Thank you Viola, your win was a win for all African- American women!

AMERICA’S DANGEROUS ENEMY: RESISTANCE TO CHANGE

 

The more I thought about the killings of nine innocent people, the more I realize that America has a very dangerous enemy lurking around. That enemy is America’s aversion to change. I believe the election of Barack Obama has ushered in the most profound change in the field of race America has experienced since the Civil War. In short, the election of Barack Obama is shaking the foundations on which America has existed for centuries.

 

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One individual tweeted this: “Convince me Obama isn’t doing the happy dance over Charleston. He created and feeds this climate of racial violence”

Really? I suppose Obama is also responsible for all the evils of slavery that kept African-Americans shackled. The stupidity of some people is mind-boggling. If we are to move forward as a country, we must make a concerted effort to fight our resistance to change. Like it or not it is 2015, not 1900 or 1960 . It is time to move forward.

Those people that want to label the SC killer as mentally ill, I have one question for you all Why a black church? Why kill innocent black people?

Dr. Ben Carson said “If we are to overcome our country’s tremendous problems, first we must come together as Americans, as brothers and sisters, and heal.”

I wish it was that simple, but not all whites want to come together with blacks.
The media is doing a fine job to make sure the races remain divided. Sorry,‪#‎Bill‬ ‪#‎O‬‘Reilly , the spin does not stop here, it begins with ‪#‎FoxNews‬. It infuriates me that self-righteous man makes millions by using hot-button issues, such as race, to scare his white audience, spark controversy and increase his ratings.

And of course , I have to include idiots like ‪#‎Rush‬ ‪#‎Limbaugh‬ and ‪#‎Sean‬‪#‎Hannity‬, the two darlings of the right .

So, is there hope for America? Yes, because ‪#‎not‬ ‪#‎all‬ ‪#‎americans‬ ‪#‎are‬‪#‎racist‬!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Five Star Review : Not All Americans Are Racist

So happy to share the first 5 star review of  Not All Americans Are Racist

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“Not All Americans Are Racist” is an honest, thought-provoking account of one black woman’s experience with racism after she came from Haiti at a young age and later on as she rose through college to get an education. Weaver is objective, not only pointing out the prejudice she experienced, but also the help and support she received from non-racist white individuals. Her decision to look back and write this 46-page essay was sparked by recent events, such as the latest cases in the news with Darren Wilson, Trayvon Martin, and Eric Garner.

As a human being, I found Weaver’s account both compelling and eye-opening. I hate injustices of all kinds and some of her experiences were painful to read. It’s hard to come to terms with the fact that, still in this era, some people hate others or are prejudiced just because of the color of the other person’s skin.

Weaver touches on various subjects, such as Jim Crow and the Civil Rights movement, President Obama, social issues, among others. “Not All Americans Are Racist” would be worthy of high-school class discussions, and Weaver includes discussion questions for students at the end of the book.

What I liked about this book is that it is ultimately positive and offers hope for the future. Above all, the author’s love for this country sparkles through. Most appropriately, Weaver ends the book with an open appeal to the young people of America.

HOPE FOR RACIAL DIVIDE IN AMERICA

Do you believe America’s youth can change the racial divide in the United States? I do! I believe Obama won because of all the young people that voted for him. In my newest book, I talk about how young people can change the landscape of racism in America. Here’s the link to my book on Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/NOT-ALL-AMERICANS-ARE-R…/…/ref=sr_1

Even Hollywood is changing for the better by making for more shows with African Americans. There is hope around the corner.

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Newly Published Book Announcement

After the the killings of young unarmed black men, I was inspired to write about my own personal bouts with racism in America.  See the description below of my newly published book!

In Not All Americans Are Racist, Nicole Weaver recounts her experiences with racial discrimination and the non-racist white individuals who made it possible for her to attend and finish college. As an immigrant from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, she is thankful for the opportunities America has offered her.

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She believes the election of Barack Obama has ushered in the most profound change in the field of race America has experienced since the Civil War. In short, the election of Barack Obama is shaking the foundations on which America has existed for centuries.

In Not All Americans Are Racist, Weaver makes an appeal to America’s youth.  Join the author: use this book as a resource to teach young people the value in treating all individuals regardless of race, creed, and sexual orientation with dignity and respect.

Interview: Susie Krabacher, Co-Founder and President of Mercy and Sharing, a Haitian Children’s Relief Organization

If you are looking for a solid organization to donate to this holiday season, please consider donating to Mercy & Sharing. Read the interview below and you will see why I support this one of a kind organization.  Please feel free to email Susie with any questions. You can leave a question in the contact section of Mercy & Sharing’s  website.  Thanks so much.

Recently, I had the distinct honor to meet Susie Krabacher, co-founder and president of Mercy & Sharing, an organization dedicated to Haitian children’s relief. Susie is a relentless advocate for children, and was the recipient of the prestigious 2000 International Humanitarian Award from the National Association for the Advancement of Haitians in Washington, DC. Mercy & Sharing believes in equipping children with the tools and skills they need to become productive, responsible citizens. Go here to read about Mercy & Sharing’s 2014 Gala for Haitian Children’s Relief. Thank you Susie for taking time to do this interview.

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Can you explain in detail all the work you are doing with Haiti’s children through your foundation, Mercy & Sharing?

The main focus of Mercy & Sharing is to rescue children who are not picked by any orphanage in Haiti. 99% of orphanages in Haiti do not accept children with disabilities. However, 50% of the babies with a handicap can become functional and completely normal [with] medical intervention. This is what we do. Then we raise these little Haitian heroes in their own country with the highest level of education in Haiti. [Students helped by] M&S [are] consistently in the 99-100% [range] of passing the State exams. The Haitian average is 22%. All of our children are introduced to leadership programs. Many will lead their country in the future. We do not avoid teaching values and all the children pray to our Heavenly Father for themselves and each other.

Do you have any short and long-term goals for Mercy & Sharing?  If so, what are they? 

I would like to see financial stability. I would like to have every program annually funded. We have challenges in keeping every program operational from year to year. This is always on my heart. I am always looking for faith-based partners who will join me in this great privilege of serving the poor and saving children’s lives.

How many times a year do you travel to Haiti? How are you able to remain safe?

I try to maintain a schedule of five weeks in the U.S. to raise funds and every sixth week in Haiti. Mercy & Sharing employs 212 local Haitians to run our 11 life-saving programs.

Let’s say someone wants to donate to Mercy & Sharing. What urgent, immediate needs do you have right now?

Any amount is a blessing. Keeping all the programs open is such a challenge. We serve 5,200 Haitians every single day. They get clean water, or their children get an education in our schools. We often provide the only meal they get per day. Our clinics offer care to entire villages. You can’t put a value on keeping people from suffering. But the best part is when they get hope from knowing about Jesus. We can ease the suffering but we get to spend eternity with them if they know him.

I understand all the proceeds from your book Angels of a Lower Flight go to Mercy & Sharing. Where can one can purchase a copy of your book?

The book can be purchased at Amazon or you can always order from your local bookstore. I would love to sign anyone’s copy and answer questions. I am now writing book two. Again, all names will be changed!

If you would like to learn more about Mercy & Sharing and make a donation, please visit its website. You can also follow Mercy & Sharing on Twitter and Facebook.

Mercy & Sharing 2014 Gala For Haitian Children’s Relief

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Nicole Weaver & Susie Krabacher Co-Founder of Mercy &Sharing

The other night I attended a most amazing event: my first Mercy & Sharing Haitian Gala. Mercy & Sharing is a one-of-a-kind organization whose mission is to provide care and education to abandoned, orphaned, and disabled children in Haiti.

I first learned about Mercy & Sharing after reading the book Angels of a Lower Flight: One Woman’s Mission to save a Country…One Child at a Time by the organization’s CEO, Susie Scott Krabacher. I read it in one day and immediately became Krabacher’s number one fan. Her story touched me so deeply that it moved me to action. I made the decision to support Mercy & Sharing financially.

Susie’s story made me stop to think that we do not have to let life’s curveballs define who we become in life. Having been sexually abused by her grandfather from age four until eight, Susie made a sound decision to not let her past impact her future in a negative way. She used her pains as a way to reach out to other children who had struggled with the same lack of self-worth that she had.

Her good deeds have made it possible to help educate the forgotten, feed the hungry, house the neglected, show mercy and dignity to the abused, and empower a new generation to hope and sustainability in my native Haiti.

Twenty years later, Mercy & Sharing is still going strong. The gala was held to raise additional funds to help reach more abandoned and disabled children from a vulnerable state of being hurt and broken and provide comprehensive care until they become independent and thriving.

I am Haitian American and I was deeply touched by people’s generosity. At the gala one person purchased a Peyton Manning-signed jersey for $1,500 dollars. Another purchased a Ty Lawson-signed jersey for $2,500. At a high school teacher’s salary, I can’t afford to make these types of donations, but nonetheless, I was left in awe at how kind and generous some people are.

If you would like to donate to Mercy & Sharing, please visit their website. Thank you!

Interview: Ruth Hull Chatlien, Author of ‘The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte’

I have a lot of respect for authors who can write historical fiction. It takes a tremendous amount of research to write in that genre. Ruth Chatlien has written a compelling story that won gold in the Readers’ Favorite International Award Contest. I am beyond happy she accepted my request for an interview.Ambitious_Mme_Bonaparte_cover

Can you tell me about yourself?

I’m a native of northern Illinois who has worked in educational publishing as both a writer and editor for 25 years. I’ve also published several short stories and poems in literary magazines. My husband is a writer too; in fact we met in a writers’ critique group. We were critics of each other’s work for three years before we ever starting dating. Having this vocation in common really helps us to support each other. I’m also a breast cancer survivor. I was diagnosed in December 2013 – the same month that my novel was published – which made for a real emotional roller coaster at the end of last year. Fortunately, we caught it at an early stage, and I finished treatment on March 21, 2014. The beginning of spring will always symbolize new life for me in an extra way from now on. In addition to writing, I’m passionate about gardening, knitting, art, football, and my dog Smokey.

What inspired you to become a writer?

I started my first novel when I was 10 years old – so long ago that I don’t remember why I did it beyond a love of stories. That first novel was historical fiction about forbidden romance and patriotic spies during the American Revolution. I finally finished the 120-page manuscript when I was in high school. After college, I spent 30 years writing literary fiction. Finally, a few years ago, I decided to go back to my first love: historical fiction. The best way to describe why I write is that it feels as though characters come up to me and say, “If you don’t tell my story, I will die.”

How long did it take you to acquire the skills to become a writer?

It’s a lifelong process. I majored in literature in college and took several writing courses. After I graduated, I kept writing on my own, and I joined the writers’ group I mentioned earlier to get feedback on my work. I don’t believe there is a point where you can ever say, “I’ve made it. Now I’m really a writer.” As soon as you start putting words to paper, you’re a writer, but then you have to work at getting better your whole life.

How many books have you written?

As an adult, I’ve written four novels and one young adult book of biographies. Two books have been published: the young adult book, Modern American Indian Leaders, and the most recent novel, The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte,which is based on the true story of the American beauty who married Napoleon’s youngest brother, only to have the emperor become an implacable enemy.

Some writers go on long walks; others keep a journal, write at a café, or listen to music. What do you do for inspiration and unleashing your creativity?

Going for walks definitely helps me. We live about a block away from an old cemetery that has marvelous avenues of trees. I put the dog on a leash and go there when I have to think things out. I also play out scenes in my head as I’m weeding my garden. Having a physical activity to focus on seems to help clear out the cobwebs. And of course, I talk things over with my husband. Usually, when we have to drive somewhere more than an hour from our house, you’ll find us talking about our work.

What are you working on now?

I’m writing another historical novel with the working title of Captive Summer. It’s based on the true story of a white woman taken captive in one of the most brutal Indian wars in U.S. history.

Where can readers find more information about you and your books?

My website.

The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte is available from Amazon and most other online retailers.