Woman Wednesday: Sandra L.


Q and A with Sandra L. from Gibbons, Alberta, Canada

I can’t change the world, but if I could change one life or help one person, that would be fantastic for me. I know it sounds selfish when I say fantastic for me, but I truly do not want anybody to feel like I felt.”


Q: What are you passionate about? 

A: I am truly blessed. I have realized life is much too short, so I have decided to live life to the fullest. There are so many new things that I have become passionate about in the last few years and, as you get older, you realize your passions change. The love for it might still be there, but the passion doesn’t draw you like it used to. I love horses. Always have and always will. They are one of those loves for me that the passion has died down a bit. I love playing sports, but again, I am slowing down. Right now, my real passion is writing and travel. I love to write, and I love teaching people how to write and not make the same mistakes I did when I first started publishing. I have still got my 9-5 job, but I am hoping that will change soon with my new business endeavors.

Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I am a total small-town girl with fantastic family and friends who were there and still are through thick and thin. My best friends are still my best friends today. My parents worked hard and instilled a good work ethic in me, and my siblings, and I was very involved in sports, but what else was there to do in a small town? I called Gladstone, Manitoba, Canada, my hometown and even today, years later, I call it my home. On cold winter nights, which were many, I would write my own little mysteries, but in the garbage, they would go. I believe I had a perfect life, but things change.

Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: Growing up in a small-town means life moves at a slower pace. Families at that time were never divorced, and you could stay out till it got dark and hang out with your friends and not have to worry about anything bad happening. Times have changed even though I grew up with the whole idea of when you get married, you stay married forever and you stick it out and work it out. That didn’t happen to me. I was married for 26 years and that’s when my life fell apart. I went to many counselors, I had a nervous breakdown, I cut myself off from everything, and then I had a breakthrough and started to write. I started off just journaling to help myself through my breakup and that turned into an escape and an outlet for me. At that point, I realized that I felt so alone and embarrassed and ashamed of everything that had happened, but I didn’t want anybody else to feel that way period. I can’t change the world, but if I could change one life or help one person, that would be fantastic for me. I know it sounds selfish when I say fantastic for me, but I truly do not want anybody to feel like I felt. So again, the rating came into effect, and I wrote my first book about narcissism. I have to laugh now because my friends that I grew up with (and I’m sure my teachers) didn’t even think I could spell. [Sandra laughs.] I want you to know and take away from my little blurb here that you can do anything that you have set your mind to. You are never too old and the only thing stopping you from your greatest successes is yourself. You need to be the strongest person you know and truly believe in yourself and know you can do whatever you set your mind to. I always thought I was very confident and secure, but when my divorce happened, I realized I was a scared insecure woman but not anymore.

Q: What does feminism mean to you?


A:
To me, feminism means courage. I believe that all women are just as capable as men, and we all have our strengths and our weaknesses. We need to play up to our strengths and know that we are all different. We have different thoughts, different cultures, and beliefs, but that does not define who we are. I believe we are all capable of being outstanding at whatever we do or try. We are women!

MORE ABOUT SANDRA: I now live in Gibbons, Alberta Canada, and have two amazing grown boys who see and treat women with respect, no matter their age. They know that no matter what circumstances arise, I will float to the top because the cream always rises to the top. Make every day your best day!

Thank you for reading!

Publishing With Sandra, click here.

Woman Wednesday: Denise J.


Q and A with Denise J. from Brampton, Ontario Canada

“I grew up in a not-so-nice area as a kid, but I know that it has made me who I am today because if I was raised anywhere else, I don’t think I would have as thick of skin today as a mom of three.”


Q: What are you passionate about? 

A: My biggest passion has been and still is helping people. I have been a registered massage therapist for the past 13 years and this was my goal when I was in high school as I had taken a course on the body and fell in love with what I would be able to help with. I am loving what I do and, over the early part of the pandemic, I got my life license. I had no idea what I was going to get out of it, but WOW! I was shocked at all that I learned and now could educate others and help plan/protect their families. Then I started an online business in the essential services industry. This is where I have been able to provide my customers with better rates on services, they pay for in the home such as natural gas, electricity, internet, mobile, home phone, travel, and health care.

Q: What were your younger years like?

A: My younger years were amazing because I was always out and about playing, or we were at the Boys and Girls Club after school and evenings program where we went on many fun outings and once took a Tim Hortons camp trip to Alberta. We often traveled back to Jamaica and the US for a few weeks and see family. I played many if all the sports I could in school up until high school as I then became focused on my studies.

Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: I grew up in a not-so-nice area as a kid, but I know that it has made me who I am today because if I was raised anywhere else, I don’t think I would have as thick of skin today as a mom of three. I don’t look at where I came from as a bad thing because I know it gave me humble beginnings and some to look back and see how far I’ve come. Even though many kids didn’t end up in a good place as an adult, I can safely say my siblings and I all went on the great things in life.

Q: What does feminism mean to you?


A:
Feminism to means….to be honest, I don’t give it much thought because I teach all three of my kids to not think they can or can’t do anything because of their size and sex. Yes, the world doesn’t see a woman as equal to a man in some cases but knowing that we can do anything they can do if not do it better.

Denisejohnson.acnibo.com

Thank you for reading!

Woman Wednesday: Katherine J.


Q and A with Katherine J. from Bethlehem, PA

“Never stop caring, growing for others, and building connections!”


Q: What are you passionate about? 

A: As a copywriter for service providers, I’m passionate first about community and second about writing. I founded my business on a love for helping others and a professional background in writing and marketing for nonprofits, sharing stories, and promoting causes that improve and enrich lives. My joy comes from channeling the right words to lift purpose-driven work. I decided to name my freelance business Lehigh Valley Copywriter because what you choose to support can be anywhere–but it starts where you are.

My mission is to serve the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania and the communities my clients are building through their work. I offer brand messaging, SEO website copywriting, and sales writing campaigns to help other entrepreneurs grow their voices, connections, and visibility. The kinds of clients I gravitate toward working with are teachers of all disciplines, musicians, artists, photographers, coaches, and service-based business owners like realtors, financial advisors, event planners, and wellness professionals. Most are women. My work is gratifying because my clients’ work is meaningful and intentional, and makes a difference for others. I’m in my first official year of business and growing quickly. Beyond client projects, I’ve been building partnerships through collaborative work, online learning groups, and local support systems of like-minded female entrepreneurs. Freelancing can be isolating if you don’t step back from the work to build relationships. It’s finding a community that makes all the difference.

Q: What were your younger years like?

A: Growing up in upstate New York, I lived in a small suburban town where kids left bikes in the front lawn when visiting friends, swapped Jolly Ranchers for Fun Dip at the open park across from the stony creek and played manhunt across neighbors’ backyards until we were called home by our parents’ silhouettes in windows. It was a genuine community. I’m from the last generation to experience childhood without the internet and also the first generation to grow up fully alongside the internet. My first online writing experience was through the Open Diary website (which I’m stunned is around–go look it up)! AOL chat rooms, AIM profiles, and message boards were all creative outlets for a budding writer. I remember writing “books” and “newspapers” with friends on clunky PCs in the family computer room and the thrill of printing stories at home! The after-school world ignited me as a young person. I attended a public school system rich with diversity, civic engagement, and extracurricular opportunities like Rotary Club, band, writing club workshops, and the school newspaper. I also found meaning in volunteering at nursing homes, homeless shelters, and other service-based agencies with my youth group. Reflecting on those experiences, it makes sense that I found nonprofit work appealing and have taken up freelance copywriting to support community development. I had a healthy support system and the right people as role models.

Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: At the end of the year, I get sentimental as I reflect on my learnings. I imagine each year as another draft in my life’s story, scrawled with edit notes and suggestions for improvement. In copywriting, my writing tells the passions and stories of other people. It’s a learning process of hearing what other business owners care about, who they serve, why it matters, and how we can help others discover their offer as the solution to a problem. It’s also a learning process on the customer service end. Much like the writing drafts that sit at the bottom of my Google Docs, the experiences and feedback that I earn with each copywriting project serve as reminders for growth. Never stop caring, growing for others, and building connections!

Q: What does feminism mean to you?


A:
Feminism starts with keeping an open heart and leaning into intuition. We live on a spectrum of callings rooted in lived experiences and spiritual identities. We serve ourselves and others best when we pursue what feels right professionally and at home. But our society and economy haven’t made this available to everyone yet. We have to be vocal about barriers and inequities when we see them. Feminist strength comes through knowing other women, understanding their personal and professional desires, being loud about what gets in the way, and supporting each other. I recommend finding a network, tribe, village, community–whatever you want to call it–to build a support system for yourself and others.

Thank you for reading!

If you’d like to work with me, please visit my website: katjacksoncopy.com

You can also follow me on Instagram @copywritingbykat for tips on small business growth, copywriting, brand messaging, and Search Engine Optimization.

Woman Wednesday: Jess I.


Q and A with Jess from Jamaica, living in London, UK

“Use words to build, not break. They carry energy and are more powerful than we understand them to be.


Q: What are you passionate about? 

A: I’m Jess, also known as Dreamz She Wrote. My passions are many, but predominantly, I care most for words and their use in creative spaces. I also love traveling, good food, and good music in any order. I’ve been writing from as young as I can recall; I’ve always been creating stories and poetry. As well as being a copywriter, I am also a spoken word artist. In another life, I taught high school, passing on my love for words and all the wonderful things they help us to create. I’m currently working on a collection of poetry NFT’s and looking forward to being the featured spoken word artist at a micro festival on healing the self through the arts.

Q: What were your younger years like?

A: As the eldest of five, spare time was in short supply. I used to relish being able to go and sneak off somewhere quiet, usually under a table and just write stories or color, which is something I still find therapeutic now. I was lucky enough to be introduced to travel at an early age and, above all, I’ll hold this as something sacred. There is an education that is afforded through travel that cannot be gained anywhere else. I feel like I’ve kept my childlike curiosity and excitement for meeting new people and learning new things because of my early travel adventures. One of my funniest memories is being in a chalet in Andorra on Christmas Day and having no other option than to slide down the icy road on our bums to get to the cabin at the bottom of the hill where dinner was being served. Of course, we were all wearing our salopettes, so no ice-burnt bottoms.

Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: I feel it’s really important that no one tries to fit into anyone else’s idea of who they should be. I have always been the ‘quirky’ one; I like books and films and rarely watch TV. I have adult coloring books and turquoise hair and all of these things make me feel comfortably like myself and I think that is really important. Being comfortable with who you are and what you like is powerful.

Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: Feminism, to me, is understanding how to comfortably be a woman in my own right, knowing that I have a special type of magic that may make others fearful. It means understanding that my femininity doesn’t have to be defined by anyone’s standards but my own and that as well as (and not despite) being a woman, I am also many other things.

MORE FROM JESS: If I could leave this world with anything valuable, I’d leave it with this: Use words to build, not break. They carry energy and are more powerful than we understand them to be.

Let’s get in touch! Contact me via:

Copy Is King

Thank you for reading!

Woman Wednesday: JoAnn


Q and A with JoAnn
from Sicily, Italy, living in Georgian Bay, Canada

“A theme that I include in my novel is that of the immigrant experience, the struggle, and prejudice experienced by many hardworking new immigrants.”


Q: What are you passionate about? 

A: I had never held a book in my hands until my family immigrated to Canada from Sicily in 1957. There were no libraries in our small Sicilian village in the 50s, and my family could not afford books. I was seven, so I was placed into first grade, and by the end of the year, I could speak and read some English. In grade three, my class was allowed to walk to a nearby library where we were allowed to borrow three books. The books suggested by the librarian were very thin children’s books. I would take three home, read them the same night, then wait patiently for two weeks to go by so I could go back to the library and bring home three more. That’s when I developed my passion for reading, which also inspired me to write. My other interests are baking and gardening, both of which require reading, whether you want to bake some really delicious scones or learn how to grow beautiful flowers. I have been a freelance journalist for many years, but I only recently published my first novel, A Scarcity of Virgins. It is a women’s novel with a feminist bent, that incorporates the immigrant experience as a backdrop since it is so much a part of me. I have almost completed a second novel, Island of the Vespers, a historical romance that takes place in Sicily during the 1860 unifications wars led by Giuseppe Garibaldi.


Q: What were your younger years like?

A: In elementary school, my favorite subject was composition, and I remember my grade-four teacher being so impressed by a story I had written, that he passed it around among the other teachers, much to my embarrassment. It was a silly story about a bear that attacked a hunter, but instead of eating the hunter, the bear preferred the hunter’s honey sandwiches. For some reason, my teacher thought it was hilarious. I thought, if my grade-four teacher liked my writing, maybe writing was something I should do. So, I always wrote stories at home for my own pleasure and had a diary going, even into my late teens. My parents didn’t speak English, so on parents’ night when kids were supposed to stay home, I had to accompany my parents to the school to translate. Because of that, and because of all the children of Italian immigrants that were enrolling in our school, I became the school’s official translator assisting teachers who wanted to communicate with the parents. My decision to study modern languages in university stems from this experience.


Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: In spite of the women’s liberation movement, which was at its height in the 60s and 70s, many women of my era remained mired in patriarchal and misogynistic traditions. Fifty years later, it continues to exist. I just recently watched a series entitled Maid, based on a true story, a contemporary story, and was saddened to see how women are still treated badly, and how much they have to struggle. Even though my novel, A Scarcity of Virgins, takes place in the 80s, the subject matter, which includes, marriage, family, patriarchy, misogyny, feminism, fidelity and infidelity, is still relevant today. Women cannot allow themselves to be used and abused by men and are often unfairly disqualified from jobs or social assistance. Additionally, a theme that I include in my novel is that of the immigrant experience, the struggle, and prejudice experienced by many hard-working new immigrants.


Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: To me, feminism means the freedom to be ourselves, without fear of reprimand or retaliation, without physical or emotional abuse. It means being able to have control of our own lives, and most importantly, having equal rights and opportunities, without the consideration of gender.

MORE FROM JOANN: I lived my early years in Toronto, Canada, where I studied, married, worked, and raised my three children. After retirement, I moved farther north to enjoy country life on the shores of Georgian Bay. I am so happy that I was able to combine the launch of my first novel, A Scarcity of Virgins, with my mother’s 106th birthday on October 23rd. We had to have two separate cakes, of course!

Book to order: amazon.com/author/jo-annwrites

Website: joanncatania.com

Facebook: JoAnnCatania2

Twitter: JoAnnCatania1

Instagram: joanncatania1


Thank you for reading!

I’d love to connect with you! 🙂