It is FOR and ABOUT authors. Here we shine the light on authors who we’ve read, reviewed and recommend to others. In this edition we are shining our light on another gifted author...
A native of Cleveland, Ohio, where she has lived all her life, Cathy Jo is a product of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, which may or may not explain some very strange personality quirks. She has been employed by the Cleveland Public Library system for over 30 years—a place she promised herself she would only work for 6 months—where she began as a page in the Literature department. It was there that her love for reading and writing was further fostered. Although she has been writing since the age of eleven—when her mother bought her the first of many diaries—Cathy Jo’s first foray into the world of creative embellishment (read: lying) really began when she would regale her sister Diane Keeley with elaborate stories based on dreams she had experienced during a night’s sleep.
In the midst of juggling a busy schedule of ministering, full-time work, volunteering for the Domestic Violence Center of Greater Cleveland, and college at Franklin University, where she graduated Suma Cum Laude (the grading system must have been jerry-rigged), Cathy Jo made time to devote to her love of writing. She has various projects in different stages of development that she’s currently working on and hopes to complete them at the rate of one per year (if we can keep her off Face Book, You Tube, Twitter, Blogtalk Radio, Pinterest, Word Press, Hulu, Amazon, Smashwords, Goodreads, and the rest of the Internet). Transitions: Short Stories for a Rainy Day was her first published work, followed by No More Expectations. Currently she’s working on an untitled novel that tells the follow-up story of the main character, Cashmere Masters, from the short story “Think Again” and the main character, Lonnie Parker, from the short story “Caught.” She hopes to have it completed for publication later in 2013 (yeah, right).
GETTING TO KNOW CATHY JO…
You have a 10-minute speech to give at a high school, what is it about?
My speech would be about making wise choices in life. I would tell the class that with every decision you make, good or bad, there are consequences. To realize that the person they are today isn’t the person they’ll be 10, even 20, years from now. Choose wisely and always consider the big picture. I’d also tell them that they will meet many people on the road to their destination; some people will be a help to them, others not so much. Regardless of what role people play in your journey, treat everyone with respect. Treat people the way you want to be treated.
What is one thing every woman should have in her purse?
Every woman should have a pack of tissues and a mirror in her purse. You gotta have both. There’s nothing worse, in my opinion, than blowing your nose and leaving a little something behind. It’s embarrassing. And people won’t always tell you that you didn’t get it all.
Who was your favorite celebrity as a child?
As a child, and even now, my favorite celebrity is Carol Burnett! I couldn’t wait until 8:00 Sunday nights when the Carol Burnett show would come on. I cried when the show went off the air!
What one word describes you best?
Receipts – keep them or throw them away?
It depends. Business receipts, I keep for sure. For any other receipt, it’s a tossup.
What is the single best decision you have made in your life so far?
The single best decision I’ve ever made was deciding early in life to worship God the way He wants to be worshipped. That road has not always been easy—I’ve gotten a few scrapes and bruises along the way--but it has been rewarding. That decision has kept me from making some choices that, otherwise, I would regret. It has also given my life purpose and a clear direction.
If I could go back and talk to the 18-year-old me, I’d tell myself:
Cathy Jo, everyone who smiles at you is not your friend.
What is your current desktop picture?
My current desktop picture on my laptop is some weird pre-loaded Windows 7 desktop theme that has a lot of colorful weirdly shaped objects. On my desktop computer, it’s a fall theme with pictures of leaves.
Do you always buckle your seatbelt in the car?
People would be surprised to know that I’ve never:
Been in love.
PRAISE FOR TRANSITIONS
“The book was immaculately written and Cathy Jo has proven to be a skilled and talented writer. I look forward to seeing what she will offer next!” – Vanna B, author of Fancy
“This is a very good book. I found it very hard to put down. I'm looking forward to reading her novel titled No More Expectations.” – Marsha D
“I thoroughly enjoyed this refreshing collection of short stories. Each story was unique and full of real characters, real-life situations, and real emotions. Each story pulled me in and wouldn't let me go until I had finished reading them. And each story left me wanting more. I look forward to reading more from this author. She is a storyteller in every sense of the word.” – Adrienne Thompson, author of Been So Long
“I usually stay away from short stories, because they usually leave you wanting more. Well these short stories did not do that, they can stand the way they are written and be enjoyed or if the author chooses to extend them it will be an added bonus to the reader. I look forward to reading more from this author short story on full length novels in the future. Thank you for sharing your stories.” – O. Moss
PRAISE FOR NO MORE EXPECTATIONS
“This story is full of lessons to be learned. If you want a story that is well written, thought out characters and will keep you guessing what happens next. This is definitely a book you want to read!” – MelBai
“Cathy Jo G did a wonderful job following up on Brianya's and Darnell's story. I laughed, cried, cheered and thoroughly just enjoyed this book! Wish I had gotten around to reading ‘No More Expectations’ sooner!” - Sandra
“This one is a must. Trust me. From beginning to end NO MORE EXPECTATIONS shows you the importance of being comfortable in your skin and knowing who you are. If you can do that, then you will truly learn what it means to live.” – Conversations Book Club
"’No More Expectations’" is a novel that many of us can relate to.” – Katherine Boyer
Got nothing better to do and want to chat with the author? Here’s where you can find her:
Stepping to the stage is: Sistar Tea
Some may not want to believe this, but how one acts on social media websites affects their book sales. If an author is downright rude (and I’m speaking in terms of posting book covers and reviews everywhere they can fit them) and neglects to interact with readers, readers will be turned off. I have spoken with a number of readers and while I know this isn’t ALL readers, this consists of my circle of friends and like-minded readers who will tune out that author and all of their books. So why risk turning off potential readers? That is the big question.
I wouldn’t be allowed to walk into someone’s house, kick off my shoes, hit the refrigerator, sit down and commence to trying to sell them something without speaking, so why do authors think this is the right approach? Blasting of links and book covers is annoying and rude. Try saying hello; maybe ask a question or two. Get to know your readers. While no one is saying be the best of friends with your readers, it does not hurt to engage the readers in groups. Find out what their reading preferences are. What are their reading turn offs and turn ons? You would be surprised to see how many authors are turning readers off and most seemingly don’t care.
In my reading circle those who make lasting impressions are those who are active in groups and their personal pages. Those are the ones whose names are mentioned when recommending books. Why? Because those are the ones we are reading. Those are the authors we seek out when we’re looking for personal reads and/or book club reads. New authors today need to take a step back and follow the trend setters of the past, before the internet when you had to sell yourself in person. Old school ways are NEVER outdated. Let’s get back to the basics and stop flooding the feeds with promo material.
While some may think this behavior of posting links and covers is effective networking and marketing, let me tell you, it’s not. I have seen authors just downright ignore the moderators of groups when asked to post no more than one promo item a day. Why be so disrespectful and not abide by the rules of the group? I have left groups because they look like a rolling advertisement. I have taken the time to scroll through groups only to see links to buy books on Amazon/Barnes and Noble or just book covers with “check me out” or “coming soon.” No introduction to the author, just promotional posts.
Now let me touch on another trick authors are using … third party sites. Using these sites they can blast multiple groups without an author even logging on to social media. Hell, they don’t even have to be on the computer; they can just set times up and the site takes care of the rest. So say you’re in three groups with said author, you will now see the same promo ad/book cover in your news feed back to back to back. Let us say they set it to every four hours. Every four hours said author dominates your news feed. Umm, can you say annoying? I truly hope that this trend fades quickly and the authors of today learn some manners and communication skills as it will only help their overall goals.
SiStar Tea is a plumber by trade. She takes pride in her job with New York City Housing Authority and can truly see how her services are helping the tenants. SiStar Tea has been a proud member of ARC Book Club, Inc. since 2008 and loves the tight-knit group of women. Averaging about six to eight books a month, Tea also loves to review. Her favorite to read being debut authors, as she likes to follow the authors’ career and see their growth. SiStar Tea is also a proud member of Silver Star 50 O.E.S and feels blessed to have such great women in her life. The single mother of four daughters, two granddaughters and one godson, she is happy to see her love of reading has filtered down to her children.