Friday, December 6, 2013

That Voice Inside My Head

Happy Friday, my Messy friends.  As you know, I normally do guest posts on Saturday, but when Shirley asked me to be a part of her blog tour, I just couldn't say no.  So settle back with your morning cup and learn more about this great writer and her book.  Be sure to check out her links as well as her book, Our Lady of Victory, and participate in the giveaway at the end of this post.

And thank you, Shirley, for allowing the Mess to be a part of your blog tour.  It was great having you here.

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Hello Robbie. Thank you so much for hosting me on your site. This is the last stop in my blog tour and as they say, the last is always best. I have been sharing a little bit about myself along the stops as a way for my twitter friends to get acquainted with me. Now I will share with your audience what exactly got me motivated to become an author.

Shirley Harris-Slaughter
Hi Everybody! My name is Shirley Harris-Slaughter @motorcityauthor.  I hail from the great state of Michigan. I married my best friend Langston and we raised two children between us. I graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BBA from Cleary University in Howell, Michigan in 1993. I am a community activist and believe firmly in” paying it forward.” I’ve done speaking engagements and talked about how I got started in the writing business. Here is what I said about it…

I guess I should be thinking about writing another book. Lord knows I have a lot going on in my head. But you know what? I’m not really a writer. I’m not!! But let me tell you what motivated me to write in the first place. I had something to say. I needed to get our story written down somewhere for the sake of history. I kept waiting for somebody to do it, but that somebody was me. It took me a few years to figure out that I was the one. How about that for a revelation?

I talk about this sometimes when I am doing speeches. You have to listen to that voice inside your head. I firmly believe that God is speaking when you cannot get a thought out of your head and you are compelled to finally act on it. Or, wherever you find yourself in this life, you are supposed to be there and all of it shapes everything that you do leading up to writing about it. I felt that our history needed to be told. I didn’t know at the time that I was privileged to have met some historic and famous people along life’s road. I only found this out as I started to do some serious research.

Three things happened that led me [kicking and screaming] to write this book:
  1.  About 2001 the priest I met as a child was celebrating fifty years in the priesthood. A big story appeared in the Michigan Catholic listing all the parishes that he was affiliated with. When I searched the list for Our Lady of Victory (OLV), Msgr. Ferdinand DeCneudt, was listed as an administrator not the pastor. I stared at that entry for a long time. We thought he was our pastor. No one in our church had ever heard of an administrator. But it was to have a profound effect on our church over time.
  2. The Archdiocese of Detroit put out a 300 year anniversary book called “Make Straight the Path” 300 years of history. I scrambled to find something about OLV. There was just a short blurb under a picture.
  3. I had the opportunity to work at Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church in Detroit after going back to school and getting my BBA Degree. I hired in as office manager and then was promoted to business manager. Working there gave me the rare privilege of seeing the inner workings of the Catholic Church. There was a church directory so being curious I took a look. Our Church was listed under the merged Presentation and Our Lady of Victory with an establishment date of 1975. Are you kidding me? Our church started in 1943 and I know Presentation was established in 1941. With the stroke of a pen they wiped out our history!!
And so folks that was how I came to write about our story—my story. Initially I just wanted to honor the pioneers. I really didn’t know how I was going to format this book. Would it be a chronology of events? Would I pay homage to the folks who blazed this trail? I definitely didn’t see myself writing a biography which has come to be known as a narrative history. That genre was coined by Mark Bowden of the Burton’s Historical Collections at the Detroit Public Library. You see, he found me after discovering my book and asked me to come and speak before the Fred Hart Williams Genealogical Society. Mark never had a narrative history done by anyone before and so he was excited to hear what I had to say complete with a power point picture presentation.

During the beginning stage of the research, my editor suggested that I tell my story. I said “why? The book is not about me?” She said, “But you’re the author”. So I said, “Ok”! And that night I started typing my story basically from memory. It took me two nights to do a short version to go into Part I of the book, Our Lady of Victory, the Saga of an African-American Catholic Community. Lo and Behold, my story turned out to be the most fascinating according to a playwright I met. I was shocked actually. I never thought my story would be interesting. You never know until you tell it. The story had been in my head all of my life. Putting it on paper made it an interesting biography and as it turns out—local history is what a lot of folks really like here in my hometown.

So I’m going to stop right here. You can get the rest yourself. I’m not gonna stop you!

Click on this link to catch the sale while supplies last!
Again, thanks so much Robbie for letting me stop by for a visit.

Here is My Contact Information:


For each comment left (1 per day) on each day of my tour, your name will be entered into a drawing.  ONE (1) lucky winner will receive an autographed copy of my book "OUR LADY OF VICTORY:  THE SAGA OF AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN CATHOLIC COMMUNITY" and a $5 Amazon Gift Card. 1 daily comment = 1 entry into my giveaway.  Thanks again for the support and good luck in winning!!!

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Did you enjoy what you read?  Leave me a comment and then join me at The Mess that Is Me on Facebook!

Other posts you might enjoy ~ The Mess Welcomes Joseph Wilcox 
                                             The Mess Welcomes B. J. Sheldon 
                                             The Mess Welcomes Back Nonnie Jules

Thanks for visiting The Mess! Keep chasing your dreams!


  1. I love how you came to write the book and "your" story as well. I have never written anything myself before my book on my story other than a few speeches for PTA. Very excited for you.

  2. I have seriously enjoyed each stop. Now for the real reason that I am here: DID I WIN ANYTHING?

  3. Isn't that how it always happen? I was never a writer but I had something to say and was on a mission.

    1. And we are glad you completed your mission. Thanks for being at the Mess, Shirley. It was great having you here.

  4. Nonnie I'm laughing. You'll know soon enough.

    1. Now, you're scaring me motownwriter....LOL....I'm only here for the giveaway. Shirley knows! LOL