Tag Archives: writing books


                                                                                                                                                                                                           AuthorTHINGS WE CANNOT CONTROL!!



Shirley Harris-Slaughter is a Michigan native. She is a community activist having been a school board trustee in the Oak Park School District and mentored four freshmen girls in the Winning Futures Program. Shirley loves trains, vintage clothes, and old buildings with historic significance. So it was a natural that she would write about growing up in historic Royal Oak Twp. and keep alive a catholic community that was about to lose its history and identity. It seems that everything she loved closed down and she was not about to let any of it be forgotten. Shirley joined Rave Reviews Book Club because she recognized the need to support fellow authors in order to move forward in her own endeavors. She already had a thriving relationship with like twitter followers that lead her here. “We all had the same goals so it was a natural fit.”


The continuing saga of this story is played out in an excerpt presented here…


Book Excerpt

With the help of our godmother, Martha Palms-Williams, my severely

retarded brother, Rudolph James, was baptized a year before the rest of the

family and placed in an institution in Lapeer, Michigan. When they took him

away, he turned around and reached out his hands for Mother. It was so

amazing that he knew that he was leaving her. He knew who she was in spite

of his handicap. It was also a sad thing to see, and I cried so hard for him and

my mother that day. Yet I was relieved. It had been very stressful on the family.

Because he was so handicapped, we could not lead a normal family life.

We never saw him again. I do not recall him getting baptized before the rest

of the family, but there it was in the records. I can certainly see the urgency of

it, looking back. We got help for him only after coming to Our Lady of Victory

and meeting those wonderful, Christian people.


Years later, Mother received a letter from the State of Michigan informing

her that Rudy had been dropped during the birthing process, and that was the

cause of his retardation. Apparently, there had been an investigation. Mother

could have filed a lawsuit, but her faith in God would not allow it. The faith

came from her association with Our Lady of Victory. This church profoundly

influenced her, and it helped her through this stressful period in our lives. As I

sit here at my computer writing about this incident, I am emotionally distraught. It still hurts after all these years, and I still feel the guilt of leaving him in that institution, even though I had nothing to do with any of it…Slaughter CoverImage


This excerpt is something that played out in my mind for many years. It was something I planned never to talk about. But when my editor told me that I needed to tell my story, since I’m the author, this became part of it along with other incidences that were buried deep within; things that I was too ashamed to discuss let alone put in a book. Like the time my brother and I were put back a grade just to get into a Catholic School for the first time in our lives. Talk about humiliation; I would not speak of this for many years because I was too ashamed. I get butterflies in my stomach every time I think about it. Our parents were willing to sacrifice a lot to give us a good education, even sacrificing us if that’s what it took to get it. They weren’t trying to hurt us – they were just that desperate to do whatever it took to give us a good start in life.


Question: Did you ever feel desperate enough to do whatever it took to reach your goal – trying to control something you had no control over?

Book title: Our Lady of Victory, the Saga of an African-American Catholic Community. RRBC Seal of Excellence

Genre: Biography; Narrative History


Createspace Twitter Handle: @sharrislaughter Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sharrislaughter3 Email: sharrislaughter@gmail.com

Website: http://shirleyslaughterblog.wordpress.com/

Taking Control of Your Social Media

me and amyWhat a joy to be able to connect with readers through social media. One junior high boy wrote to me  yesterday that he loved The Dry. He said it was “awesome”. A girl wrote recently on FB that she was enjoying The Dry.

Social Media is a buzzy set of words. Without social media how do we connect with people that we know now? Or how do we meet new people who share our interests? I don’t know the answer. The world is not necessarily friendly. There are few opportunities to connect to people we would want to hang out with daily.

With social media such as Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest you can at least view those trying to connect with you. I don’t connect with people with no photo for instance unless I do know that person already. When someone tries to connect to you, wanting you to “accept” them, you can check out their page first. This would be difficult to do in the physical world. It’s not as if you can ask a person who wants to meet you walking past on the street all the pertinent questions within a few seconds. I think if someone stopped me on the street, I’d be apt to run away. Unless I’m walking the dog and they have a baby in a carriage.

Meeting people on Facebook is a snap. You can see where they’re from, where they live now, what they do for a living, if they own a dog… all in the comfort and time period that you wish, before accepting them as “friends”. It seems safe.

Are computer “friends” the same as friends? There are pros and cons about the “friendships” we have on the computer. Our FB friends are there as we share troubles, have a birthday, or celebrate a book launch. They might live on the other side of the world, but they are able to press “like”, type “Congratulations!” or “LOL” just as if they lived nearby and will be meeting up for lunch later in the week. The cons are that some FB friends are friends in a disconnected way.

Fortunately, you can control how much and to what extent FB friends, twitter friends, or LinkedIn friends/associates can see of you and what they can see of your other FB friends. The part about “your other friends” is important. I have marked on my security controls that friends except acquaintances can see my posts on my personal FB page. This is important. I may not know my friends’ friends so I don’t actually want them to see pictures of my family.

We all get the occasional repeat repeat of announcements in our news feed. An example from back when it was popular is Farmville. I never wanted to get on Farmville, but Farmville under the guise of being posted by friends would send me invite after invite to join. To the far right and upper corner of every post you can scroll your mouse over and see a little drop down box. In that box you can “mark as read” or “turn off”. In other words, you can turn off those annoying “please join such ‘n’ such” bits that turn up every other hour.

Another way you can control what shows up on your actual FB page is that you can delete and even edit what appears or what you’ve added. There have been things that I did not solicit or want to appear on my page. The occasional old photo where someone has “tagged” me I enjoy seeing. I don’t enjoy seeing ads to enter contests, or buy products. In a post, you can run your mouse over the top right hand corner and you will see a drop-down box that asks if you want to: change date, add location, highlight, hide from timeline, delete, or report/mark as spam.

Any post you post to your own timeline or to someone else’s you can go back and edit later, or immediately. Just like my writing, I often see mistakes in a post that I’ve posted when I read it again the next day. And just like my writing gets edited often more than once, so a post gets edited. You can do this, too.

Not seeing much on FB? If you click on “Home” at the top of the page you will see a long list/feed of what everyone on your friend’s list has posted. Poignant, sad, hilarious, scary, morbid, encouraging, and interesting stuff gets said every day. Scroll down and engage in fun, happy events. Leave a short comment or click “like”. Spend a little time doing this every day. You may see someone whose opinion makes you smile and think “I wonder if they would join my friend’s list?” Do it. But not often and not many. Facebook does not encourage mass “friending”. In fact, you can get booted off.

I hope I’ve given you some ideas about how you can control what kind of FB experience you have. Give yourself an enjoyable fifteen minutes a day on your FB visiting friends.

Briefly, I want to share the one thing I’ve learned of value from Twitter. There is a lot of information being passed around on twitter in the form of “how-to’s”. Check out what interests you. If you find something you like or have found very informative, retweet it. You can scroll over the top right hand corner of a tweet and see your options appear.

Control your social media so that it doesn’t control you. Enjoy getting to know others in shared business or interests. Have fun and be careful. Navigating the internet is like walking down the street. For your own safety you need to know what’s going on around you.

About Writing

English: Stephen King's House in Bangor, Maine
English: Stephen King’s House in Bangor, Maine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Actually, I should post something about what my blog is all about.

I write. Today my blog is about success with writing. Did I say success? What exactly is that? What success have I had? I’ve had a short story published. I’ve had poetry published. I’ve had newsletter articles, a small story published in a children’s magazine, my artwork published in small and large-scale venues.

However, I measure my success with whether or not my novels have been published or not and they have not been. So I do not consider myself a true success. And even if I have one published, will I be a success if the others are not? Every day I fight the voices real and imagined that harp at me. Why don’t you give up? Don’t worry about it, just stop writing. Give up. Give up. Give up.

No, it isn’t for me to give up. True writers must never give up. Look to those who have gone before, the success stories of writers. Were they successful when trying to publish their manuscripts at first? No. Sometimes it took many years and reams of rejections.

Jack London’s first story was rejected over 500 times.

Stephen King’s novel, Carrie, was rejected 30 times, so he threw it in the trash.

27 publishers turned down Dr. Seuss’s first book.

Charles Schultz was turned down for a job by Walt Disney. Schultz later created Peanuts which is still syndicated and in most major newspapers in the USA are using repeats. Because he doesn’t draw them anymore. He’s dead.

So this I say to you who write. True writers must repeat daily that it isn’t the most talented of writers who have novels published. It is the most persistent.