Today I welcome author Sherri McLendon to my blog. Sherri writes
a popular women, spirit and money column for WNC Woman Magazine and is an
Asheville-area feminine business leader with a growing global business. Her
company, “Sherri L. McLendon Signature Strategies,” specializes in marketing, public relations and content
Hi, Sherri! Welcome to my blog… Thank you for letting me interview you today!
You’re very welcome. The pleasure is all mine.
Your column for “WNC Woman Magazine,” focuses uniquely on women, spirit and money. Can you tell me how the idea for the column came about?
I had the good fortune to meet the lovely Linda Heitel, an advertising executive with the magazine, and she invited me to meet the publisher, Sandi Tomlinson-Sutger, over lunch. The three of us were just chatting away like old friends, and the idea surfaced. The topic is an area I’m passionate about, and so the idea for the column was born.
The thing I love most about doing the column is that I get to challenge the idea that money is dirty, or that somehow we, as women, are unworthy of it. If we look at money from a spiritual perspective, our relationship to how we earn and spend becomes a parable, if you will, which can help us understand our lives from a perspective of conscious reciprocity. That
allows us, as women, to claim our value and worth in the world from a place of love rather than fear.
You shared with me that when people ask what you do, your first response is usually, “I’m a writer.” Do you write
Over the years, I’ve written every genre and form you can imagine. But the only formal style instruction I’ve ever enjoyed was a creative writing class at the University of Georgia with the exceptional Judith Ortiz Cofer, a writer of Puerto Rican descent. Her works are studied in the curriculum of public schools here in North Carolina. Learning to shed the journalistic form
and style in order to branch into other types of writing was a priceless gift. And it’s also made me an excellent writing coach and teacher. But these days, I write mainly non-fiction for both print and online formats.
I understand living in Western North Carolina helped jumpstart your entrepreneurship? How did that happen?
We moved to Asheville in 2006, and it was impossible to find a mid-career job in my field. So I taught 7th grade communication skills, literature and writing, and began freelancing. But I realized it was actually costing more than I was making to write on the side. So I began to look at changing my business model, and incubated the new business at night as I
tested and tweaked. It took a while, but I was able to successfully transition into an entrepreneurial business – without significant capital outlay. That was actually my goal, to figure out how to create a successful business from zero, and have it pay for itself as it grows.
Fortunately, western North Carolina is a great environment for innovative thinking, and I found a lot of support for the process here, especially among public relations professionals. I’m thinking of Gary James, Amy Fowler, Alicia Knighton, Chris Power and Lisa Sullivan, with whom I served on the board of the Public Relations Association of Western North Carolina in years
past, and I really loved the integrated platform communication style modeled by Michelle Tennant Nicholson with Wasabi Publicity in Saluda.
What role does spirituality play in your business?
Mindfulness practice plays a huge part in the way I work, and so do emergent organizational models based on the organizing systems found in nature. I believe everything we need to succeed in business already exists in the miracle of Creation.
Have you written a book, or considered writing one?
(Laughs.) Well, I wrote a 200 page master’s thesis on the themes of pan-Indianism embedded in news accounts of the occupation of Alcatraz from 1969-71, but I don’t think that’s what you’re asking.
Right now, I’m completing a book, “From Zero to Shero: How to Start from Behind, Get Ahead, and End Up a Winner in Your
Business,” based on my own success as a global online entrepreneur. We’re expecting it to be ready for publication this fall by Wiregrass Lotus Publishing, which I set up so I could maintain ownership of my own work, and to take on small specialty projects.
What advice would you offer other writers?
First, the difference between a “real” writer and a “fake” writer is that real writers write. So no matter what, keep writing. Second, make writing a practice. The genre in which we’re working matters less than the fact that we’re engaged in a conscious relationship with the act of writing. Third, once the work is on the page, work with a good editor. Writers unwilling to be coached to excellence never reach their full potential. So we have to leave our egos at the door to create our best work.
You an learn more about Sherri L. McLendon, M.A., O.M., and her writing, coaching, and consulting, at http://www.sherrimclendon.com.
Today I welcome author Stu Summers to my blog. Stu is a Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas author, who makes is home in the Carribean Islands.
Hi, Stu! Welcome to my blog… Thank you for letting me interview
Your book, Summers’
Love, was published by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. There was a
bit of controversy with your books published by a different publishing company.
Tell me how it came about that LPC was willing to offer you a contract in spite
Well, first my agent got involved. That’s always
a bad sign. I mean, you almost have to have an agent these days. Major houses
won’t even open your email without agent representation. So he queered the major
houses. But of course, I’m blacklisted due to the fact that I … well, your
readers will have to read Summers’
Love to find out why I’m in the doghouse with Little Brown Pelican
Publishing and the other New York houses.
Then my agent pitched the story to some medium
size publishers. They were put off by the fact that the big houses passed on me.
I guess it made me look like tainted goods or
Finally he was able to get a nibble from my
current publisher. He asked for an advance. The publisher explained that they
don’t give advances – not even to Nicholas Sparks. Not that Sparks is one of
their authors but they mentioned him in their email to my agent so I thought I’d
pass that along in case Mr. Sparks reads this and decides he wants to publish
with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. Good luck getting an advance from
Anyway, I’m happy Lighthouse Publishing of the
Carolinas picked up Summers’ Love.
They took a chance on me when no one else would. Now I just have to prove I was
worth the risk.
Summers’ Love is a light-hearted romantic comedy. Did you ever
see yourself writing romantic comedies?
Not really. I’m more of a love story author. Or
was when I was … hang on. I almost inserted a spoiler. To answer your question,
no: I never thought I’d write romantic comedy. Watch them, sure. But write one?
That seemed like too much work. And it was. But like I always say: “Anything
worth doing well, is worth outsourcing.” And that’s all I’ll say about
You live in relative privacy on a Caribbean Island. You spend
part of your days volunteering at a community hospital there. How did those two
things help prepare you to write this
Buffett was dead on when he wrote, “Please don't
say Mañana if you don't mean it.” Down here, no one gets too excited about
anything. Working at the hospital allows me to give back to the neighbors who
mean so much to me. Not that I’m handy with a scalpel or anything, but in the
end I think the only “ting dat matters” is how we improved someone’s life. So I
do what I can for as many as I can and surf when I can.
I know I didn’t answer your question. Maybe next
time ask an easier question.
You have lived two very different lives- a fast-paced,
money-driven life, and a calm and contemplative life. I think I know the answer
to this, but which of those two lifestyles brought you closer to God and
Well first, I’m don’t claim to be a biblical
scholar or anything so I’m probably wrong about this but … I don’t’ read many
verses where Jesus got in a hurry. Even when people were about to die on him,
like his friend Lazarus, Jesus took his sweet time. And if my prayers are any
indication, God doesn’t seem to move very fast, either.
So I guess I’d have to say that letting His
Spirit move you at His pace is the key to walking with God – though I like to
think of it more as a beach stroll than a walk. And honestly? For me surfing is
worship. That’s when I feel closest to my Maker. Part of it may be that I feel
so small among all the sea life and amidst the huge swells. But the other part
is I get to play in and on God’s creation and I get to do it without spending a
ton of money. I think that’s pretty awesome.
And finally, Stu, what advice do you have for adults out
there thinking about writing a book and getting it
Don’t chase the markets. Write what makes you
laugh and cry, and ignore the negative reviews. Writers are artists and not
everyone – or in my case, hardly anyone - will like your work. But that’s okay
as long as you’re true to yourself and write from the heart. You may be a
one-book wonder or a best-selling machine but in the end, you better enjoy the
process because if you’re successful, you’ll be doing this a lot. That’s what I
learned in my first career. And I’m glad I learned that while I was relatively
young. I’d hate to be doing this twenty years from now and dread getting up in
Life is too short to write stories that don’t
excite you, so study the craft and enjoy the work. Then, it’s not really work at
You can purchase Stu's novel, Summer's Love, as a Kindle book or in paperback on Amazon.
This week, I am pleased to welcome as my guest Nivine Richie. Nivine is a professor of finance at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, and the author of Enduring Faith: An 8-week Study Guide to the Book of Hebrews.
I thought my life was busy when I had babies in the house, but I was wrong. Not long after the diaper years came the grade school years, and to our schedule we added ballet and little league and scouting and swimming lessons. Then just when we thought life couldn’t get much busier, we joined the teenage world with final exams and marching band and part-time jobs and college applications. Time seems to have sped up.
Why This 8-Week Bible Study?
As a young mom, I enjoyed participating in and leading in-depth women’s Bible studies, and homework that required an hour or more each day didn’t scare me off. But as I’ve moved from one season of life to the next, I’ve found that I and others in my small groups can’t always find an hour to do homework.
But we still need time alone with God. We still need sound teaching that we can sink our teeth into. Something that will challenge us to mature as Christians.
This desire to study the Bible in a more focused way led me to write Enduring Faith, an 8-week study of Hebrews. What started as a series of homework devotions and discussion questions written for my small group grew into a full 8-week devotional Bible study that outlines and explores one of the more challenging books of the New Testament.
I want to say that I wrote this book because I considered all the great lessons of the Bible and settled on faith as the one of primary importance. But the truth is simpler than that. I was reading Hebrews in my quiet time, and I kept seeing lesson after lesson focused on Jesus. Who He is, what He’s done, and who we are as a result.
Many great lessons can be drawn from any book of the Bible: redemption in the Old Testament book of Ruth, joy in the New Testament book of Philippians, and many more. In Hebrews, we find the story of faith, the kind of faith that relies on Christ. I hope readers will be encouraged to cultivate that kind of faith.
I am a women’s Bible study teacher in Wilmington, N.C., where I live with my husband and our two teenage children. I’m a university finance professor, and I’m actively involved in the Christian faculty association on campus. I’ve participated in and taught many small group studies over the years. I welcome the opportunity to serve as a guest speaker to help you launch your women’s Bible study. Please feel free to contact me if I can encourage you in this way.
My new study, Enduring Faith is available on Amazon at
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