I come from a long line of veterans. My father, uncles and cousins served in every branch of the military. My father was in the Air Force when he married my mother and when I was born. My uncles were in the Navy, Coast Guard and merchant marines. My cousin served many years in the Army. My middle son and his wife also served in the Army, in fact, that is where they met and became friends, and later, fell in love. My youngest is now serving in the Navy. My father-in-law, his brothers and his brother-in-law were all Marines, and all in Viet Nam at the same time. I come from a long line of veterans and I joined a family who also proudly served their country.
While my husband nor I served in the military, service to our country and community has been ingrained in us. We support our military veterans and proudly raise our flag. We honor those who sacrificed to keep us free. For many, being in the military is a job, for others a calling, but for those of us who are free today because of our veterans, it is a blessing.
We are proud to be American citizens and even with all the blemishes we still feel this country is a beauty. She is not perfect for she is made up of humans and none of us are perfect. We strive to be better to continue to build bridges that allow us to reach the other side. I don’t know what it means to be a person of color in this country, but I can open my heart and listen. I don’t know what it means to be a non-Christian in a country built on “in God we Trust,” but I can be respectful of our differences and learn acceptance. I don’t know what it means to be gay, handicapped or anyway marginalized but I can be a friend, an advocate, a neighbor.
As we celebrate Veteran’s Day, let us remember what they fought for…OUR FREEDOM. All men (and women) are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Thank you to all who have served and to all those who are still serving this country. Thank you for doing a difficult job. God Bless the USA.
It is an honor to welcome former Air Force drill instructor, Kevin E. Eastman to my virtual café. It is so good to have you here.
Kevin: Thank you so much for having me. It’s a pleasure to speak with you.
Sherri: My father served in the Air Force, thank you for your service to our country. You are still serving with your books. Your latest book “Don’t Gamble on Life Improvement… Until You Shift the Odds” (Second Edition) is a self-help book. Tell us a little about how you came to write it. What happened in your life that made this book important for you to write?
Kevin: I appreciate the thanks, and the support. Yes, I served over 20 years in the Air Force, a good portion of my adult life, and truly believe it was one of the best decisions I’ve made. I’m grateful for the experiences I’ve been afforded as a result of my Air Force service, and as well as the people like your dad, who served before me, and paved the way.
What inspired my book? Well, my book was “born” as a result of many of my personal experiences. Life wasn’t going according to my plan, and I needed to figure out why. I didn’t like the place I was at in life and knew I didn’t want to continue on that course. Thanks to some wonderful mentors, and through some painful, but necessary self-assessments, I was able to “crack the code,” and it opened up an entirely new perspective. As I was reading what started as personal essays for my own use, I figured I couldn’t be the only person who could benefit from the lessons I learned. So, I decided to publish of few of them.
Sherri: You say this book is for anyone who has faced obstacles, but that’s everyone. Surely your book isn’t for everyone?
Kevin: I truly believe there is something in my book for everyone, either directly or indirectly. I like to say, if someone reads my book, and feels they don’t need anything in my book, they will know someone who does needs something in it. Everyone encounters obstacles; some more than others. Many obstacles hinder some people, yet avoid others entirely. The message of my book is about examining your mindset, in order to get over those obstacles. The topics I discuss in the book are the ones I believe contribute most to the chaos we encounter in life. Naturally, there are many obstacles I may have missed, but the overall message is learning how to develop what I call an “inside out” mentality. When things go wrong, check you out, first. If you are okay, then look for outside causes. Many people will look for an outside cause first, and the problem may never get resolved. What I’ve learned is, most of the obstacles I’ve encountered where only as large as I made them in my head. Learning how to simplify circumstances was the “magic formula” I needed.
Sherri: “Simplify circumstances” you are definitely preaching to me. Looks like I need to purchase a book.
You have degrees in business and marketing. What do you think is the biggest marketing challenge for small business owners and authors especially?
Kevin: As a marketing major, I say this with fair amount of confidence. Many business owners, and authors in particular either don’t realize, or simply refuse to acknowledge the fact that marketing in itself, is at best, a crapshoot. The only part of the process you own is the quality of your product, and the message for its usefulness. Anything beyond that point is out of your control. Your job is to create and produce the best product you can and relay a message to a potential customer of how your product can satisfy a need they may have. You have zero control over whether the customer spends their money on your product. Therefore, I think the biggest challenge is breaking through the “ice” a potential customer may have created. Creating an effective message is essential to achieving this.
Sherri: My dad had a saying, I’m not sure where he got it from but I call it a Jimmy-ism (my dad’s name was James we called him Jimmy), “Scared money don’t make money.” In your book, you have a chapter on “A Fear of Winning,” I’ve been afraid of losing but I’m not sure if I’ve ever been afraid of winning. Explain what you mean by that.
Kevin: Well, to understand that, you must realize, the title of the book, as well as the title for several chapters are largely metaphoric. The chapter you referenced catches many people off-guard, and that’s exactly what I designed it to do. Of course, everyone likes winning. The “fear” I discuss is a figurative one, in which many people (myself included, at one point) become so “afraid” of winning, they engage in activity and behavior they know won’t end well. Why? It gives them something to blame their misfortune on, other than their mindset. It alleviates the pressure of seeing themselves as the obstacle they need to overcome.
Sherri: I have seen this mindset not just in others but in myself. From someone who has lived most of their life, afraid of trying, I can relate to your premise, that fear handicaps us. How do we stop being afraid?
Kevin: Fear, like all every other emotion, affects people differently. It is the ability to keep them under control as much as possible that makes them easier to manage, and that is an important task, if you discover the need to adjust your mindset. The most effective method to think about this, at least in my mind, is remembering something I was taught: “Identify the things that scare you, and do them anyway, because you stand to gain the most by conquering them.” It’s okay to be afraid, as long as it doesn’t prevent you from achieving a goal you’ve set. Then, it becomes an issue. How do you stop being afraid? You just stop! I know…it’s easier said than done, but you facilitate it by putting the obstacle you’re facing in perspective. You will that many of the things you’re afraid of are not as bad as your brain makes them appear. Your perception controls a lot more than you may realize.
Sherri: On a personal note, you are a positive role model for young men, especially young men of color. What would you like to say to the graduating class of 2020? If you were the keynote speaker for a high school or college graduating class, what would you want them to take away from your speech?
Kevin: Thank you for that. I try to act as a role model, because someone was a role model for me. I would tell the class of 2020: Challenges and obstacles are part of life, so get used to them. Some may be harder than others, and sometimes, they may make you feel like giving up, but you can’t. This year put a damper on a lot of things, in ways we never could have imagined. This is why it’s important for you to create goals and strive to achieve them. Among you, are the people who do the research to eradicate the Corona Virus, as well as the discovery and invention of other things! All you need is an avenue and the tools to get you to the place where you can do your thing.
Keep pushing though it seems impossible, because “impossible” becomes reality with continued effort. Remember this: at one time, automobiles, airplanes, elevators, cell phones, and light bulbs were considered “impossible,” too! Remember this, and it took me nearly 30 years to figure out: YOU are your only limit! If you want a goal, do your research, make a plan, and get after it… PERIOD!
Sherri: What separates the winners from the losers in business or in life?
Kevin: I’d like to think that there are no “losers” in life, per se, though some people’s action may warrant that distinction. Given the scenario as written, I’ll say what separates the two, are the decisions they make based on the circumstances they’re dealt, and the effort they’re willing to spend in order to reach a goal. Some people rise to the occasion, and overcome the obstacles in the way, while others are stopped in their tracks. It depends on your perception of the obstacle standing between you and the goal. Your desire to get to the goal, must be great than the obstacle’s ability to defeat you. I was always taught, that a person doesn’t really “lose” until they decide to stop trying.
Sherri: I agree 100% If we are passionate about something we need to keep trying until we find that sweet spot that feels like our own personal success. Sometimes we have to go back to the beginning and start over but we have to keep believing that’s the difference between winning and losing. Trying.
What do you wish you’d done differently when you first published your book?
Kevin: The one thing I would have done differently is publicized the book further in advance of its release. The feedback I’ve gotten since its release has been great, and well appreciated, but in retrospect, I would have started promoting it much sooner.
Sherri: Do you have any plans to write in any other genres? Have you considered writing a book geared to a younger audience?
Kevin: Interesting question. As a writer, I have stories of all kinds swirling in my head, so it’s hard to say. I do have an idea for a fiction story, so I may just give it shot. Surprisingly, I haven’t given a thought to writing a YA book, but who knows what the future holds?
Sherri: What would you like people to take away from today’s interview?
Kevin: I want the people who read this interview to know that my book is written to help people, just as I was helped…. by simplifying obstacles. It isn’t always easy to admit that you may need help, and I know that from first-hand experience. The moment I learned how to get out of my own way, a brand-new perspective was shown to me. The journey to improvement isn’t an easy task, but it is a winnable one, when you have the right tools. Perhaps, one of the lessons I’ve learned can help make someone else’s journey easier. I enjoy getting notes and emails from supporters and readers. Hearing about their successes lets me know that my words are helping other people.
Sherri: Thank you Kevin for joining me at my virtual café. If you enjoyed our chat be sure to check out Kevin’s books and follow him on social media. His links are listed below:
I am so excited to have Marie Savage with me today. I understand
you are a coffee lover. How do you drink yours? I like mine with just a little
half-and-half but I’ve skipped to 2% milk to cut a few calories.
Marie: I like mine with Heavy
whipping cream (part of the keto diet) My
coffee addiction is pretty much in every book I write.
Sherri: I’ve confessed my aversion to tea in
a few of mine. I see the shock on your face, can she really be a southern girl
and not like sweet, iced tea? <sigh>I’m afraid so.
You’ve had an interesting life.
Marie: I joined the US Air Force. I was
stationed at Castle AFB in Atwater California. It was there I met my soul mate
and spent the next twenty-four years.
Sherri: How long have y’all been married?
Marie: My husband
and I have been married for twenty-eight years now.
Sherri: It’ll be twenty-eight
years for me and the mechanic, come July.
How did we meet (real or virtual)?
Marie: (me and you?) We met on
Cain Raisers (virtual) If you meant me and my husband. We met in a bar. LOL
Sherri: Where are you from? Are you still in the Air Force and living
Marie: I’m originally from
the panhandle of Florida. Empty nester syndrome was about to hit us, so we
decided to leave the west coast and move back to my southern roots. We are
currently living in Hartford Alabama. I’ve always been a southern girl at heart
so I’m home.
Sherri: I’m a southern girl, despite my aversion to sweet tea. I was
born in Louisiana when my dad was stationed a Barksdale Air Force Base.
Have you ever been to eastern North Carolina/east coast United
Marie: Yes. I have cousin in
North Carolina. I hope to visit them again real soon. The Carolinas are so
Sherri: Do you write full-time or do you hold down another job as well as write?
Marie: Right now, I still have a fulltime job. When I left the military, I worked my way up to a corporate job with a grocery store chain in California. After twenty years, I decided it was time for my next chapter in my life so we moved to Alabama to be closer to family and I took a job that was less stressful so I could pursue my writing. I have a five-year plan to be a full-time writer at the end of year five. Right now, I’m on year two. <Crossing fingers > three more years!
Sherri: How long have you been writing?
Marie: I’ve been writing for
as long as I can remember. I was the kid everyone hated in school (not
seriously) because I loved doing essays and reports. I always loved reading
romance and one day back in 2015 my husband suggested I start publishing my
stories. I published my first book at the end of 2016.
Sherri: What do you enjoy about writing?
Marie: I love when the muse
hits and the story just flows onto the screen. It’s my escape.
Sherri: What do you despise about writing?
Sherri: When is your best time to write?
Marie: I usually get my best writing in the
mornings, (when I say morning, I mean 3am to 6am) but usually it’s just when I
Sherri: What are your writing strengths and weaknesses?
sure on the strengths, I guess you would have to ask my readers. I like to keep
them turning the page and from the reviews of my books, I seem to do that. My
weakness is easy, deadlines. LOL
Sherri: Who are some of your favorite authors? What genres do you like to read?
Marie: Robyn Carr and Janet Evanovich are my two all-time favorite authors. I tend to like contemporary romance more, but I can get caught up in a historical from time to time. Unless it’s a recipe or self-help book, I tend to only read romance.
Sherri: Are you published?
Indie or traditional or hybrid?
Marie: Yes. I’m Indie published but in September I will have my first published book with Sweet Promise Press. I super excited about that.
Sherri: Do you have any other
hobbies or interests? Do these show up in your stories?
Marie: I love to go to thrift
shops and outlets, (I’m always looking for a bargain) One of my characters in
my WIP loves to thrift shop. I love gardening but I haven’t added that to my
Sherri: Who or what has most
influenced your writing?
Marie: My life. Each story
I’ve written, so far, has been based on something that has happened in my life
or the life of a loved one.
Sherri: What are your plans for the future (writing)?
Marie: My plan is to be a full-time
writer either self (Indie) published or traditional published. I have many stories in my head left to write.
Sherri: Tell me your journey to getting
Marie: Once I decided to do this, I just asked
some author friends and basically learned by making mistakes. I still do. It’s a lot of work to Indie publish because
you not only have to write the book and get it ready to sale, but you have to
promote yourself. I love it though.
Sherri: Aw, are time is running out, I do hope you’ll come back to Creekside again soon. Until then, if you want to know more about Marie Savage check out her links below. Y’all have a great day and keep reading and writing.
About the Author
Marie Savage is a self-published contemporary romance author who has a love for family, friendships, patriotic spirit, and hometown pride.
Born and raised in the Florida Panhandle, she has always had a love for reading and writing, with the romance genre being her obvious favorite. Her desire to expand her horizons, led her to join the United States Air Force and proudly serve her country for six years.
While stationed in Atwater California, she met her true love and together they have shared life’s beautiful joys and tragic losses. After spending over half her life in the Central Valley of California, she has moved back home to the Wiregrass area of Alabama, where her passion for writing first began.
US Armed Forces AnthemAs we celebrate this holiday, let us not forget those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Memorial’s day is a chance to remember those who gave their lives for all we hold dear. It is a time of remembrance but it is also a time of celebration. We are free because they answered the call and served this country.
As an arm-chair historian I have read of the many sacrifices our forefathers gave to create this great country. Many lost homes, fortunes, family, friends, and many lost their lives. Freedom isn’t free. We owe so much to those who fought the battles for our freedom. Who risked everything to sustain our way of life and create a country that offers so many opportunities and gives its people so many privileges.
I never served in the military, nor protected my community or loved ones from fire or danger, but I am proud to be the daughter, daughter-in-law and mother of those who answered the call. To my father, now deceased, who served during Vietnam in the Air Force, to my father-in-law who served fourteen years in the Marine Corp with four tours to Vietnam, to my son who served ten years in the Army with two tours to Korea and two in Afghanistan, to my son who is a first-responder and another who is a volunteer fireman and first-responder, thank you for your service. To my cousins and uncles and my grandfather who served in the Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Marines, and Merchant Marines, thank you for doing your duty for your country and your family.
To those whose loved ones did not return, God bless you and thank you for your sacrifice. To all of us who stand in honor of those who offered their lives for this country, I salute you. “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (US Armed Forces AnthemJohn 15:13 New International Version)
Happy Memorial’s Day.
sherrilhollister.com/Suspense She Writes Bookstore Dismiss