Tag Archives: RWISA

#RRBC, It’s Lonely at the Top …

You know, GOD has a way of making us take stock of our lives – even our time and how we are spending it.  Just today, I thought to myself, “Just as soon as Mar gets back from her vacation, I need to take a little hiatus myself.”  Well, just as soon as that thought entered my mind, it left…quickly.

How will the club manage without me?  How will ALL the million and one things that I do every day, get done?  Who’s going to make those hard and very important decisions that I have to make on a daily basis?  If not me, who?

Then, I opened my phone (to my Twitter account) and there was this article that was meant just for me to see.

Please, read on…


Man on top of mountain. Element of design.

Leaders need time for reflection and hard analytical work, just like everyone else.


Solitude has been instrumental to the effectiveness of leaders throughout history, but now, they (as with everyone else) are losing it with hardly any awareness of the fact. Before the Information Age – which one could call the Input Age – leaders naturally found solitude anytime they were physically alone, or walking from one place to another, or standing in a line.

Like a great wave that saturates everything in its path, hand-held devices deliver immeasurable quantities of information and entertainment, that now have virtually all of us instead staring down at our phones.  Society did not make a considered choice to surrender the bulk of its time for reflection in favor of time spent reading tweets or texts.

Yet, with an awareness of what we have lost, each of us can choose to reclaim it.  And leaders in particular – whose actions by definition affect not only themselves – have more than a choice.  They have an obligation.  A leader has a responsibility to seek out periods of solitude.

The assumption, unless the leader says otherwise, is that he is constantly accessible – if not in person, then electronically.  But the task of changing that assumption requires only an act of will.  A leader can designate a certain number of workdays each month as no-meeting days, as Endgame CEO, Nate Fick does.  A leader can mark off 60 or 90 minutes each day for time to think.  A leader can make it known that he does not text or check his email only intermittently or at certain points in the day.  (One has to wonder what leaders who make a point of responding to email within minutes, are otherwise doing with their time.)  A leader can declare weekends off-limits for work email, as Wendy Kopp did at Teach for America.

There is a price to be paid for changes like these. Email will go unanswered for hours rather than minutes, subordinates might have to wait 60 minutes to speak to the boss, and meetings might get pushed back a day.

So be it.  Scheduling a leader’s time is a zero-sum game, and fundamentally a manager must decide whether reflection and hard analytical work are important enough to warrant perhaps a third of his time.

There is another price for changes like these, namely the usual social levy upon nonconformity.  Left unexplained, these changes will lead others to say the leader is arrogant, aloof, unapproachable.  But there is a reason to leave the reasons for solitude unexplained.  The leader can simply make clear, in as much or as little detail as he sees fit, that doing the organization’s work requires time to think.

And he can bear out that explanation during the times when he is accessible – by providing subordinates with clear comments on their work rather than vague ones, thoughtful answers rather than platitudes, and otherwise performing like a leader who has thought through his guiding principles rather than made them up on the fly.

(This article taken from THE WALL STREET JOURNAL)


RRBC, if we are to continue to grow as we have in years past, I need time away.  My job is a HUGE one here, and although I am not complaining, I’d like the time away to regroup so that I can do my job better (just as you all get time away to regroup)…and when I’m doing my job better, when I’m at the top of my game, we all benefit from that.

So, it won’t be today, maybe not even tomorrow, but sometime soon, I will be taking a much-needed rest or mini vacation.  It will only be for a week, and, I’ll probably still work during that time, but at least I won’t feel so bad when I turn on my computer to write and ignore the hundreds of email that have popped into my email box within minutes of my waking.

I also hope that during my short time away, that all of my wonderful RRBC family members will continue to do what they would normally do when I’m present – supporting each other, lifting each other up, recruiting, engaging, welcoming, and don’t forget, leaving honest reviews…all in all, just playing nice, so that those standing in my stead won’t have so much to deal with in my absence.

I hope you all have enjoyed this “peace.”  I sure did. 😉


#Motivational & Inspirational Friday! #RRBC

Inspire Image1

Today is our Motivational & Inspirational Friday and we want all of you to help us lift someone up!  But, today it’s more than just leaving an inspirational comment.  Today, we want you to share with us how you handle a specific situation, because maybe, we’re not handling it as well as we could or even should be.


(Before we get started, let me make one thing clear, I’m not speaking of members of the older generation who are suffering from mental illnesses or dementia.  They are definitely not apart of this discussion.  I’m speaking of the ornery class of the older generation).

Yes, leave it to me to touch on topics that others shy away from.  Sorry, folks (not sorry, really), but, today we are going to discuss (honestly, I hope) the older generation.  We spend copious amounts of time talking about the younger generation…and most of that conversation always leans in the direction of their failings…their wrongs.  Well, you know what, the older generation isn’t all that grand at times, either.  Now, I’m going to say that I fall somewhere in between both groups, so my opinion won’t be biased at all.

Pug dog face

(That’s the most neutral looking face if I ever did see one!)

In honor of full disclosure, though, I must own up to the fact that I’m closer to 60 than I am 50.  I’ll let your minds wander from there.

I have a general saying that goes:  “I have zero tolerance for poor behavior.  Doesn’t matter if you’re 3 or if you’re 73…I can’t and I won’t deal with it.”  I’ve heard people say so many times, “Well, she’s older…she gets a pass” OR “At 75, they don’t know what they’re saying.”  I don’t believe that’s true.

My dad’s mom was 90 years old when she passed away and NOT ONCE did I ever see her misbehave or hear her speak in such a way that she might have to be forgiven, for not knowing what she was saying.  The same applied to my beloved grandmother who just left me, at the tender age of 89.  Because of this, I give no passes for poor behavior when it comes to age.  If my dear old grannies, at their ages and wisdom level, could behave as women whose ages and wisdom levels dictated that they should behave, then, again, I will give no passes for poor behavior, or, for not knowing what you’re saying because you’re in your 60’s, your 70’s, or your 80’s.

In my opinion, I feel that some of the older generation feel entitled to misbehave and be rude.  I’ve heard some say that “At my age, I just don’t care what comes out of my mouth.” I’ve also heard others say this in regards to those of the older generation.  And to that I say, “I hope you care when you’re speaking around me.”  

My friend’s dad is 75 years old and she often asks him: “Should I charge this to your head or charge it to your age because if I charge it to your age, you’re gonna get a pass,” she says with a smile.  The response she always gets is “charge it to my head.”  I know why she gets this response, too.  Her dad doesn’t want to be perceived as “old” (for falling asleep with the door wide open, or leaving the keys in the car ignition at night, or forgetting to take care of his personal hygiene) so, he would rather she thinks he just made simple mistakes.

Some of you might not agree with me here and that’s fine.  This is my opinion of this situation and I am entitled, just as you are.  This is also why this topic is being brought up because I want to know how others feel about the subject.

I am no walk in the park, and although my husband lives that reality but would never say it, my daughters would give you an earful.  Knowing how I am now, I can only imagine the horror that I will be as I get older, and in true-Nonnie fashion, I have said to both my daughters, “If mommy EVER behaves that poorly, you do not have to put up with it.  Throw me in a home with a nice television for my Lifetime movies, a slew of books, and a nice young aid with good eyes to read them to me, and I’ll be just fine.”  And you know what, I mean every word of that from the bottom of my heart.  Do I think they’ll oblige me?  NO, but I have put it out there that they do not have to put up with my poor behavior (which I know is coming in my older age).

Our club is filled to the brim with those of the older generation and they’re all loved dearly!  I’m not going to go so far as to say that they are all always on their best behavior, but, they are still loved.  So, whether you are 23 or 93, let’s hear your (honest) thoughts on this subject.  I mean, we all share one very important other thing aside from us all bleeding red…we all have our very own opinions about things.

Remember, we want our community to get inspired and feel uplifted by simply reading the comments left by YOU.  This is our year of better, and maybe your take on a situation will help someone else to see it more clearly, and also cause them to think and grow from what you have shared.  The person who leaves the most inspiring and motivational words of wisdom in the comments section below, wins our SURPRISE OF THE WEEK!

Listen, you never know just how impactful your words are, until a life has changed because of them. – NJ


Hello and welcome to “WHO’S ON THE SHELF?” with yours truly, Nonnie Jules!  Since we are a book club, you know we had to offer something that included a book shelf.  A lot of interviews merely cover an author’s work or an individual’s career stories.  Here on this “SHELF,”  we get down and dirty and ask the questions no other interviewer dare ask.  We ask the questions that you want to open up a book and find the answers to on your favorite authors and fellow book club members, but no one has dared to cover them.  WE get personal!  Because when you sit on the RRBC “SHELF,” YOU are an open book!

Today we have a very special guest on the SHELF with us, our Club Secretary, Marlena Smith.  Mar is our “SPOTLIGHT” Author for the month of January and we are celebrating her all month long.  This week, she gets to sit on the shelf with me.  Typically, I tend to be pretty hard on my guests, but today…eh, I’ll go a little easy on this one.

(Throwback Thursday!)



NJ:  Before we get started, Mar, how do you like the design and feel of my new shelf?  We’ve made it more comfortable in 2017, in that we want all of our guests to feel at home…that’s if they’re coming from a nice, neat one, and we also wanted the layout to be a bit safer….you know, we’ve had a few accidents up here on this shelf?  So, comfy?

MS:  Oh, the shelf is very comfy, thank you!

NJ:  Let’s start by confirming whether or not your author name is your birth name or a pen name?

MS:  It’s my birth name.

NJ:  {Your real name?  Seriously?  Who does that?}  Oh, OK!  Tell us where you were born?  Do you still live there now?  If not, what city and state are you calling home these days?

MS:  I was born and raised in Cullman, Alabama. It has always been my home and probably always will be.

NJ:  Why…because you’re so in love with the caves there?

Dog rolling his eyes

Anyway, are you hitched or unhitched?

MS:  I think you’re asking if I’m single, so I’ll just respond with “Yes.”

NJ:  Any kids?  What kind?

MS:  No.

NJ:  Any pets?  What kind?

MS:  Yes – a big lap dog, a black cat and two bell-ringing guinea pigs.

Many dogs

NJ:  {Guess she sent us photos of another family’s pets by accident, unless she doesn’t know that cat above isn’t black and the two jokers on the end aren’t guinea pigs…and, maybe she meant she had a dog that LAPPED up dogs, with that huge hanging tongue above!}  What’s the food that’s so good to you, you go to bed dreaming about it, and you forego breakfast just to get to it?

MS:  Anything Italian!

NJ:  I know!  We both love Olive Garden, don’t we?  LOL!  (The folks who eat “real” italian food are rolling their eyes right now!) Mar, what’s your favorite color?

MS:  Blue.

NJ:  Favorite sport?

MS:  If I have to choose, I guess baseball.

NJ:  Favorite TV Show?

MS:  I’ve recently become addicted to “Supernatural.” Also “The Blacklist”

NJ:  Favorite Actress/Actor:

MS:  Just naming one, I’ll say Jessica Biel. (This often changes, though. LOL)

NJ:  Do you like to exercise to stay fit OR do you not mind just letting it all go?

MS:  I enjoy exercising when it doesn’t feel like exercising… Like hiking or dancing.

NJ:  Biggest pet peeve that makes you want to spit nails?  (For the record, NJ does not condone violence, but she does believe in being honest so she admits that there are those times and there are those people, who do cause her to want to spit a few nails in the direction of their foreheads.  Hey, just being honest.  It’s the only way I roll).

MS:  Lying.

NJ:  Can the church say AMEN?  All lyers, head to the hills, because Mar is about to spit nails in the direction of your foreheads!  So, are you neat or messy?

MS:  I like to think of it as organized chaos.

NJ:  And I’d like to think that I won’t have to ban you to that special island where I send the not-so neat people!  And it ain’t Fantasy Island, either!  Facebook or Twitter?

MS:  Facebook to stay connected with family & friends, Twitter for my Writing/Reading family & networking.

NJ:  We’ve come to realize that the internet is giving way to tons of budding friendships.  Who would you say is the one person you’ve connected with the most…your internet BFF or buddy?

MS:  Well, of course it’s you, Non!  😉

NJ:  Who do you favor most:  Nonnie Jules or WonderWoman? Be honest.

MS:  Trick question… NJ & WW are one and the same.

NJ:  We all know that WonderWoman has her truth lasso and Nonnie has…well, just my truths, in the no-nonsense way I force us all to be honest and to simply, tell it like it is, whether it makes others uncomfortable or not.  In your opinion, which one does a better job of making the world a better place?  Me or the WonderWoman who wears those provocative clothes? You can be honest here, too.

MS:  Please refer to the previous question/answer.

NJ:  Name two favorite INDIE books that you’ve read.

MS:  IF ONLY THERE WAS MUSIC by you Non and THE HEART’S JOURNEY HOME by Natalie Ducey. Both amazing books of poetry.

NJ:  ONE good INDIE book you’ve read that was so good you wished the entire world would read it:

MS:  It’s difficult to select just one. I’ve read several wonderful books of our RRBC Members. There are many talented writers among us, each having a unique way of writing. {Secretly, she wanted to name all my books, but she didn’t want to hurt y’all’s feelings…}

Blushing dog

NJ:  After you read books, do you post reviews?

MS:  Of course.

NJ:  Of course is a great answer!  That’s to say that if you’re a very supportive member of RRBC, posting reviews is a given and goes without saying.  Mar, what do you think readers should base their reviews on?

MS:  The story, the uniqueness, the writing, the characters. When I review, I look at different elements, different angles.

NJ:  Are you one of those who are afraid to be honest in their reviews lest the author gets upset with you, or is honesty your best policy, especially in reviews?

MS:  I tend to sugar-coat sometimes, but I’m still honest about key points.

NJ:  You’ve…been…SUGARCOATIN’?!  MARLENA TRISHA DENISE MARIE-ANNE SMITH!  We don’t SUGARCOAT!  Now I’m almost afraid to ask this next question, but I will.  Read any poorly written books lately?

MS:  Nothing too terrible.

NJ:  If it looks like SUGARCOATIN’ and it smells like SUGARCOATIN’…then, you’re still SUGARCOATIN’!

angry dog

How many poorly written books have you read that you gave high marks to in your reviews, when you knew they were horrible?  Be honest, I won’t ask you to name the books here in public.

MS:  I’m sure there are a couple I ranked incorrectly, especially when I was new to reviewing. I like to think I’ve improved in my reviewing and hope to continue to do so.

NJ:  {Wonder Woman has a truth serum…I just know how to ask the right questions!  Notice how she’s singing like a bird!}  Mar, you know, I never imagined in a million years that you might have an accident while visiting my shelf, but, the more you talk…the closer we get to hearing…



Now that I’m composed again (and Mar is falling over the cliff…I hope she can hear this next question), there are some INDIE authors who have come onto the scene and have given our literary playing field a new look.  Can you name two INDIE authors who have done this in your eyes?  And, how have they changed the field for us?

MS:  Well, you, Nonnie, are one that comes to mind. I like your tell-it-like-it-is philosophy. People should take lessons from your honesty. I must also refer back to RRBC, where our Members, our Board have made a new way for Indie Authors with one-of-a-kind support. That’s made a big difference in the literary world, I think. People see others doing good and receiving good in return.

*WOW!  All of a sudden, the spirit of saving someone’s life has come over me!  Get back up on this shelf, Mar!  Are you OK, honey?  {NJ brushes Mar’s hair}


Mar, are you an author?  Are you a good one?  C’mon, we love honesty here.

MS:  I am an author and hope that I’m a good one, but I do believe there is always room for improvement.

NJ:  There is definitely always room for us to improve, that’s if we wish to continue getting better.  How long have you been writing?

MS:  My earliest memory of writing would be 2nd grade, when I wrote a story about my mom. So that puts my writing background at about 22 years.

NJ:  Are you able to take constructive criticism of your written work?

MS:  Yes, it’s needed at times and is usually quite helpful.

NJ:  I can definitely vouch for you there…and you take it extremely well.  Name two books that you’ve written?

MS:  I have some short writings and poems in RAVE SOUP FOR THE WRITER’S SOUL ANTHOLOGY and my debut book. THE POWER OF LOVE, will be available May 1st.



NJ:  Do you have a blog or website?  I love GREAT blogs, so would you say that yours is written well enough for harsh critics like me to enjoy?

MS:  Of course! I do enjoy blogging, and have been doing so for a few years, just wish I could do it more often.

NJ:  {Uhhhhh, of course what?}  Which online resource or organization has helped you as an author the most?

MS:  RRBC, hands down.

NJ:  How were you helped by them?

MS:  The members of RRBC have been the encouragement and support that I’ve needed for my writing. They often go all out to make one feel great about the words they’re putting out there. I say “one-of-a-kind” often, but that’s exactly what RRBC is.

NJ:  Since you’re sitting on the SHELF, you’re obviously a RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB member, so what do you think of the club?

MS:   I adore everything about and everyone in RRBC. I am beyond grateful for the friendships I have created and can’t wait to see what’s in store for all of us, as Indie Authors and as a book club.

NJ:  Have you come across any other online entities like it?

MS:  Nope.

NJ:  Would you recommend it to your friends and family?

MS:  Of course, and I do.

NJ:  What’s your most favorite program or place here within RRBC?  (#PUSHTUESDAY, RAVE WAVES shows, Block Parties, Writers’ Conference & Book Expo, BOOKS OF THE MONTH discussions, “ON THE SHELF” interviews, etc.)

MS:  Oh, goodness, that’s impossible to answer! Each program has its own perks, its own awesomeness. Each one is unique. I can’t choose just one because each has something special to offer.

NJ:  OK, good answer.  This shelf is getting hard on my hiney, so we’re going to wrap this interview up.  Any final words for our guests today?

MS:  Just that I’m thankful for the continued support that I receive daily. And I’m looking forward to everyone’s thoughts when my debut book is released.   🙂

NJ:  Thank you so much for hanging out on THE SHELF with us today, Mar!  You are so appreciated for being my right hand.  Your interview was the first of 2017 to  be introduced with some fresh, new questions, so I hope you aren’t traumatized anymore than you usually are, after having had a chat with me.  To my guests, please  pick up a copy of Mar’s book when it hits virtual shelves in the Spring!

Have you joined RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB yet?  Well, here’s your chance!  And since Marlena was on the “SHELF” today, tell them she sent you.  Make it a great day, my friends…or not.  The choice is all yours!   We’ll see you next month, right here on the SHELF” with another INTERESTING GUEST!!

%d bloggers like this: