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Friday, December 9, 2016

Authors To Watch: Joseph's Journey by Christina Nicole Smith






Christina Smith is an entrepreneur, consultant, mother, and published author. "Joseph's Journey" is her first children's picture book.

Born and raised in the Bay Area, she grew up in a house with 3 children, WITHOUT the white picket fence and no dog! However, there was lots of love and laughs to go around. When she was about 10 years old, she thought she was going to be the "next coming" of Whoopi Goldberg! Well, "life happened" and "that" did NOT happen, but in 2014 she was able to cross ONE ITEM off of her bucket list and perform stand-up comedy in front of a live audience.

When she's not homeschooling her son or driving him all around town to his various activities, some of Christina's favorite things to enjoy are: PEET'S COFFEE, the local library, a throw-your headback, "that brought tears to my eyes" kinda laugh; organic, gluten-free, dairy free, non-gmo food (did we mention she's from the BAY AREA?) and good music.

Christina is a certified graduate/alumnus of, certified professional speaker/author, George Ramirez' "Present with Purpose" (2008) & two-time student of his "The Miracle in the Mirror" programs. She has received a Certificate of Recognition from California State Assembly in Honor of Graduating from the Women's Initiative for Self Employment and dedication to empowering the quality of her life and her community (2007). 

Additionally, she is a student of Certified Rebirthing-Breathwork Practitioner, Iris Nelson. She holds an Associates degree in Legal Administration/Paralegal Studies from
Heald Business College.

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Title: Joseph’s Journey: When Dad Left and Never Came Back 2nd Edition
Author: Christina Nicole Smith
Publisher: Be A Blessing Enterprises
Pages: 44
Genre: Juvenile Literature/Nonfiction

As a mother, how do you explain an absentee father to your child without blame, anger or resentment? Empower them! Seven-year-old Joseph shares his story about when he first learns about the POWER of choice he possesses after his father leaves and doesn't come back. His mother teaches him the difference between his father’s choices and his own. Do Joseph and Mom become angry with Joseph’s father? Well, a belief is just a thought you keep thinking over and over...find out what happens on Joseph’s Journey!

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Tell us a little about yourself.

Well, my name is Christina Nicole Smith, I was born in Oakland, CA, which is a part of the San Francisco Bay Area. I currently live in the Central Valley, which is about 95 miles from San Francisco. I have two siblings; a brother and a sister.  I’m a homeschooling mother of one son, Joseph, who is now in the 6th grade.  I’m 8 months pregnant with my second child, a girl!  I recently got married a few months ago and Joseph’s Journey is my first children’s picture book.

When did you begin writing?

I started writing in 2006.  English language arts, spelling and reading were always my best subjects throughout my school career.  When I went to business college, I attained a degree in legal administrative assistance, which, required plenty of reading AND writing!  When I graduated, friends and family would come to me asking me for help with writing business letters and preparing legal documents.  For instance, they would have a general idea of what they wanted to “say” in these documents however, they wanted it to sound a bit more eloquent and concise. 
From there, I got into comedic writing.  I would write and perform my own material in front of friends and family.  It was my therapy, if you will. In September 2014, I performed a stand-up comedy routine in front of a live audience at the Tracy Playhouse in Tracy, CA.  It was awesome and scary at the same time.  I hadn’t been on a stage in YEARS!  I did get some laughs, but my stage fright got the best of me and I was unable to finish out my routine.
I still had stories to tell inside of my heart.  Comedy was a way for me to talk about things that were bothering me on the inside and laugh about it.  I was super disgusted about some life choices I had made and I was trying to deal with it in a positive way.  Around this time, in 2009, my son’s father decided he would stop calling and coming to see his son.  Believe me, I wrote TONS of comedy sketches around that and while it helped me and others to laugh about it, my son, Joseph had questions.  He was four at the time.  So, that’s when I decided to write a children’s book about my experience and how I chose the best words to explain to Joseph about his father being absent.

Describe your writing process. Do you plot or write by the seat of your pants? When and where do you write?

I only write when I’m inspired.  When I’m inspired, the words flow better. I’m into the non-fiction juvenile literature genre so when inspiration hits, it’s coming from real world experience and I’m able to capture those lessons on paper.  I have a desk next to my bed where I sit and write when inspiration hits.

Can you tell us about your most recent release?

Yes, “Joseph’s Journey: When Dad Left and Never Came Back” is about a mother, who explains an absentee father to her son, Joseph without blame, anger or resentment and the experience is recounted through the voice of Seven-year-old Joseph.  He shares with readers when he first learns about the POWER of choice he possesses after his father leaves and doesn't come back.  He learns the difference between his father's choices and his own

How did you come up with the idea for your book?

Personal experience…Joseph’s father left when he was around four-years-old.  He just stopped calling or visiting.  I had my own feelings about it and they were NOT nice ones either!  However, I had enough awareness to know that I shouldn’t say anything about what was going on with Joseph until I could be calm or reasonable.  I didn’t want to “ruin” him with my bitterness or anger.  I just said nothing. However, I did take a photo of Joseph’s father off the wall and threw it in a cabinet because I didn’t want to look at his face.  Well, Joseph found the photo and tacked it back up on the wall and I knew it was him because it was tacked up to the wall except closer to the floor!  Remember he was four at the time and still very little.  That was my wake-up call telling me that Joseph was thinking about his dad and I needed to find a way to explain things that would be helpful and not hurtful.  First I had to go on a personal healing journey because my emotions were very raw and angry! I did not like it that he “left” my child. I grew up with my father so I didn’t understand this type of behavior and I was judging this man very harshly.  I read a bunch of books by self-help experts such as Lisa Nichols, Dr. Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, Louise Hay, Marianne Williamson and Dr. Leah Klungness.  I did some forgiveness work until FINALLY, the words came to me exactly what to say to Joseph and he understood. It was such a positive experience that I was inspired to write the book so I could help other mothers find the best words to talk to their children too.

What was the most challenging aspect of writing your book?

Coming up with a title for the book…

Which authors have inspired your writing?

Dr. Leah Klungness, Louise Hay, Marianne Williamson, Lisa Nichols, Dr. Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra to name a few…

What projects are you currently working on?

I’m working on a parents’ companion guide to Joseph’s Journey, the picture book, because I want parents to know that in no way do I consider Joseph’s Journey a stand-alone solution that will answer all questions or end all feelings of negativity a child may be experiencing due to an absentee father.  However, it does open the topic of discussion in an easy and inspiring manner, yet, follow-up, consistency, and modeling of new behaviors will be necessary for the new learning to be incorporated into everyday practice.  Only then can true change, healing and self-growth occur.

What advice would you offer to new or aspiring authors?

Unless you’re made of money and can OUTSOURCE ALL aspects of publishing a book, come up with a plan for marketing, editing and designing of your book in advance.

Yes, write your story, don’t be afraid to move forward and publish your book, there are so many low cost, affordable ways to do this AND unless you are truly just publishing a book to show family and friends, then do yourself and favor and consider the aforementioned items.  I finished writing my book in 2010.  I didn’t publish my first edition until December 2015! This is because I hadn’t considered how to market my book and how to design a professional-looking book cover.  Editing was easy because of my educational background.  However, learning how to market and design my book cover and choosing a print size etc., all of that took me an extremely long time to learn how to do properly and then apply in real-life terms.

Also, join a support group for indie authors.  Lots of helpful information is shared and members are always willing to give you feedback on your book cover art, any book trailers you share etc.  I would recommend the Support for Indie Authors group on Goodreads.com as I am a member and it’s a fantastic group to be a part of.


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