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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

BOOK OF THE DAY: Keeping Secrets by Kiru Taye

Have you ever loved someone and didn’t even know it?

That’s the dilemma facing Felix Essien when he wakes from a coma to find he is married to the most beautiful and sensual woman he’s ever known. He cannot remember her or their wedding; he who had sworn never to get married or to give his heart to another. Yet, he feels an intense bond with her that he intends to explore fully.

Ebony can’t believe her good fortune when her paper husband wakes not remembering the temporary marriage arrangement with no intimacies he’d proposed, and is now the adoring husband she’s always dreamt of.

She plans to make the most of the passion blossoming between them. However, would he still feel that way when he regains his memory and realises she’s been keeping secrets and their marriage is not what he thinks it is?

Get your copy TODAY

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Monday, July 21, 2014

COVER AUTHOR: Brenda Jackson

Just to share a little information about myself, I was born in Jacksonville, Florida. I am a proud graduate of William M. Raines High School, and I earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Jacksonville University. Also, I am a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

I got married forty-one years ago to my high school sweetheart, Gerald, and we have two sons, Gerald Jr. and Brandon, ages thirty-six and thirty-four, respectively. I still proudly wear the going-steady ring Gerald gave me at fifteen. A few years ago I retired after working 37 years in management for a major insurance company, and I am now writing full-time and enjoying every minute of it.

I began my writing career in the eighth grade at Northwestern Junior High School, when I would hand- write my stories for fellow classmates to read. I’m proud to say some of those same classmates are still Brenda Jackson readers today!!

I have published more than 100 novels and novellas, becoming the first African American author to accomplish such a feat. Additionally, I have over 3 million books in print. My professional writing career began in 1994 when I signed on with Kensington Arabesque. My first book, Tonight and Forever, became a huge success, introducing the Madaris Family. Since then I have introduced the Bennetts, the Westmorelands, the Montgomerys, the Masters, the Savoys, and the Steeles, just to name a few. A listing of my books can be found on this website. And because I love writing connecting stories, I have a listing of how my books connect in my various family saga series.
Over the years I have received numerous awards and made many trail-blazing accomplishments by being the first African-American author to have a book published under the Harlequin/Silhouette Desire line of books and the first African-American romance author to make USA Today’s Bestseller’s List and the New York Times Bestseller’s List for the series romance genre. Click here to view a printable list of my awards.

I have written for the following publishers: St. Martins Press, BET, Kensington, NAL, Harlequin/Silhouette and Harlequin Kimani Romance. Presently, I am writing exclusively for Harlequin, and I’m excited to have all my books under one dynamic publishing house.
I am proud to be a 2012 NAACP Image Award Nominee for my 81st book, A Silken Thread. I am also a strong supporter of giving back to your community and have received Community Service Awards from the Delta Sigma Thetas, the AKAs and the Zeta Phi Beta Sororities. And because I believe in the power of education, in honor of my grandmother, ten years ago I established the Josiephine Streater Threatt Scholarship Foundation at Florida Memorial University in Miami Gardens, Florida. Over $100,000 have been donated to this Foundation to provide scholarships to students wanting a college education.

In 2014, I received the Mary McLeod Bethune Community Service Award from the Jacksonville Alumnae Chapter of Bethune Cookman University; and I received the Pioneer Award in Writing from Romantic Times Magazine.

In 2013, I was recognized by the mayor and the city of Jacksonville as being a Trailblazer in the literary field. In 2012, I received the Romance Writers of America’s (RWA) Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award. One of the highest literary award an author can receive in the romance genre.

In 2010, I wore the hat of “film-maker” when I collaborated with my son’s production company, Five Alive Films, to turn one of my books, Truly Everlasting, into a feature film. For more information about the movie, please visit www.trulyeverlasting.com or click here – Truly Everlasting, the Movie. This movie is currently on Netflix.

Periodically, I will come up with a story idea which does not fall within the guidelines of my publisher.  For that reason, I created my Love, Passion and Promise (LLP) line of books that are published exclusively by my own publishing company, Madaris Publishing Company.  As of today’s date, I have published 4 books under the LLP imprint.  These books are sold exclusively in my online store – www.brendajacksononlinestore.com

In 2015, we are scheduled to begin work on bringing my book, A Silken Thread, to the big screen with Debbie Allen as movie director.


A man's word is his bond. His family is his strength. His heart is his own.

Superstar musician Caden Granger has spent years running from love, commitment and family. Yet despite his fame and fortune, he knows the kind of respect and adoration he needs can only come from one person—the very woman who wants nothing to do with him.

Charity volunteer and owner of a wine boutique, Shiloh Timmons finally got her life on track once her relationship with Caden ended, and she's in no hurry to revisit a romance with the man who believes she left him standing at the altar.

If Caden can't have Shiloh by his side, all the success in the world will mean nothing. Now he has a chance to renew his promises…but is it too late?

Read Brenda's interview in the SUMMER ISSUE of SORMAG Digital

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Friday, July 18, 2014

The Writer's Cafe - Hybrid Authors


The Writer’s CafĂ© talks to Marissa Monteilh , Rhonda McKnight and Margaret Johnson-Hodge on how to be a good hybrid author.




Did you enjoy this podcast? 

Would you like to be a guest on The Writer's Cafe? 

Send a comment or pitch to 1sormag@gmail

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Book Spotlight: The Devil Made Me Do It By Colette R. Harrell

The voluptuous Esther Wiley has always known that she is special. She’s a tiara-wearing, wand-carrying kind of Cinderella princess in disguise. The problem that her very own Fairy Godmother, the Prophetess Mother Reed, struggles with is getting her to live like it. 

Briggs Stokes is the reluctant heir to his father’s worldwide, multimillion-dollar televangelist ministry, yet he yearns to be his own man. His past mistakes have caused him a private life of hurt and loneliness. 

Esther and Briggs meet and develop a deep soul connection, until tragedy strikes and the two are thrust apart. Their separation leads each down a different path scattered with emotional minefields. While each step they take brings them closer to who they were always meant to be, the devil is on assignment. He sends in reinforcements to usher in confusion and create chaos, and soon no one is safe. The members of Love Zion church reel from the rumors, innuendo, and downright sabotage that is going on around them. 

When others devise evil schemes to seek the destruction of Esther and Briggs through jealousy, greed, and murder, only divine intervention can save them. As an all-out battle for dominion breaks out in the heavens, will Esther and Briggs become a casualty of war?


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Monday, July 14, 2014

Featured Author: Phil Margolin

Phil Margolin graduated from The American University in 1965 and New York University School of Law in 1970.  From 1965 to 1967, he was a Peace Corps volunteer in Liberia, West Africa.  From 1972 until 1996, he practiced criminal defense at the trial and appellate levels, appearing before the United States Supreme Court and representing 30 people charged with homicide, including several who faced the death penalty.

Since 1996, Phil has been writing full-time.  All of his novels have been bestsellers.  He has been nominated for an Edgar, two of his books have been made into movies, two have been nominated for an Oregon Book Award and two of his short stories have been included in “The Best American Mystery Stories” Anthology.  Executive Privilege was awarded the Spotted Owl Award for the Best Northwest Mystery novel of 2009.  Willamette Writers awarded Phil the 2009 Distinguished Northwest Writers Award.

Phil was a co-founder of Chess for Success, a non-profit charity that uses chess to teach elementary and middle school children in Title I schools study skills.  From 1996 to 2009 Phil was the Chairman of the Board of Chess for Success.  He still serves on the Board. 

What I would like readers to take away from my book: 

“Worthy Brown’s Daughter” has all the action and surprises of my contemporary legal thrillers, including a surprise ending in the middle of a murder trial, but it also deals with the terrible impact of slavery. We tend to think about the deep South when we discuss slavery but there were slaves in the West too. This book is a fictional account of the impact of being a slave on two human beings.

Roxanne Brown, a young girl, has been told that she is subhuman because of the color of her skin and Worthy who has his daughter ripped from him and can only free her with the help of a white man.

What character did you have the most fun writing about?:

My enjoyment did not come from creating a particular character but from recreating a period in history about which I knew nothing. It was exciting learning what day-to-day life and the practice of law was like in 1860, a time when there were no cell phones, automobiles, computers or bottled water.

What was your greatest roadblock and how did you overcome it?:

Once I decided to set my book in 1860 Oregon I had to overcome my total lack of knowledge about the time period. I did this by spending years researching life and the law in the 1800s in the library at the Oregon Historical Society and the Multnomah County Public Library.

Here is a do and a don’t for aspiring writers: DON’T talk about your book. DO sit on your butt and write it. And here’s an extra DO – To be a good writer you have to have no ego involvement in your work whatsoever. Always listen to advice on how to make your book better unemotionally and with an open mind.

What is one thing about writing you wish non-writers would understand?:

Writing is like any other learned skill like playing the piano or tennis. Most published writers don’t turn out great masterpieces the first time they pick up a pen. Most early efforts are terrible, but your skills develop with hard work and discipline. I start writing at 7:30 every week day and I don’t leave my word processor until 4:00 in the afternoon. Some days I produce nothing but I still keep at it.
What was the last book to keep you up at night reading?:

“The Orphan Master’s Son” by Adam Johnson won the Pulitzer and deserved it.

What do you do to make time for yourself?:

I read several books a week, work out, play golf and watch bad and good action and sci-fi movies.

How can readers get in touch with you?:

I have an interactive website – www.phillipmargolin.com – where readers can ask questions that I respond to as soon as possible.

“Worthy Brown’s Daughter” is fiction but it was inspired by an 1853 Oregon case dealing with slavery. Caleb Barbour, a powerful lawyer, brings his slaves, Worthy Brown and fifteen year old Roxanne Brown, from Georgia to Oregon. Slavery is not permitted in Oregon but there is a lot of prejudice against blacks. Barbour frees Worthy but refuses to free Roxanne. Matthew Penny, a young, white lawyer, agrees to sue Barbour. Matthew is still grieving over the death of his wife who drowned while crossing a river on the Oregon Trail. He feels guilty because he could not save her and he is motivated to save the person Worthy loves most in the world. Then Worthy is charged with Murder and Matthew faces a terrible moral dilemma that must end with Matthew or Worthy facing the gallows.

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Friday, July 11, 2014

Featured Author: Walter Jury

Walter Jury was born in London, has a background in the film industry, is a big fan of the New York Giants, and he’s enthusiast of Jamba Juice’s Protein Berry Workout smoothie only with soy, never whey. SCAN is his first book for teens. Under his real name, Walter is a producer of one of 2014’s biggest blockbusters.

What would you like readers to take away from your book?

This is fun, escapist reading for the action-adventure/sci-fi (but not too heavy sci-fi) fan.  To expound on that, at the core, this is the story about a boy coming of age and using the skills that his domineering father drilled into him during what could be the start of an intergalactic war!

Which character did you have the most fun writing about?

I love Tate.  This is his journey.  He faces the ultimate moments of discipline, sadness, and adversity--he is run through a virtual gauntlet of experiences.  It is intense to see him battle and fight through the obstacles that are laid in front of him--and he has a very Steve McQueen-esque heart of gold under an exterior of toughness that we get to learn about and love. 

What was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?

Without question, my toughest moments are trying to (a) work through a mythology and (b) stay true to that mythology while keeping characters true to their journey and motivations. Sometimes it's tough to not write the idealized version of how I would want to live my life and learn from my own mistakes. But you always have to remind yourself that these characters have their own story, their own history, their own limited and unlimited life experiences.  That is what sometimes makes it tough.

Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?

To aspiring writers, the main advice I would give is to surround yourself with people who truly have the expertise to provide you feedback on your work.  It's great that a friend or family member will give you a thumbs up, but to achieve the highest levels of achievement in the brutally competitive industries of professional writing, whether it's publishing, screenwriting, journalism or the like, it is paramount to be surrounded by people whose daily living is to judge and shape the merits of great writing.  There is no substitute for receiving feedback from the top experts in your field of choice.  Any other advice or feedback is simply not going to cut it and will not help you.

What one thing about writing you wish other non-writers would understand?

I'm going to give you a Hollywood pet peeve answer--more about screenwriters than about non-writers generally. I wish that non-writers and Hollywood fans in general would understand how difficult it is to attach talented cast and filmmakers onto a project.  There are always such loud and boisterous complaints about casting choices and filmmaker choices on high profile projects.  But film projects are extremely difficult to put together and attracting top talent to projects is a gargantuan feat.  One studio executive/producer I know refers to the filmmaking process as "herding cats!"

What was the last book to keep you up at night reading it?

Leigh Bardugo's SIEGE & STORM.  It's amazing--I highly recommend the entire Grisha Trilogy. 

What do you do to make time for yourself?

I try hard to get great family time in.  It is something that I need to schedule between all of my jobs and duties.  But very important to focus on!

How can readers get in contact with you?

SCAN is a sci-fi thriller for teens that’s MacGyver meets War of the Worlds. 

Tate and his father don’t exactly get along. As Tate sees it, his father has unreasonably high expectations for Tate to be the best—at everything.  Tate finally learns what he’s being prepared for when he steals one of his dad’s odd tech inventions and mercenaries ambush his school, killing his father and sending Tate on the run from aliens who look just like humans.

All Tate knows—like how to make weapons out of oranges and lighter fluid—may not be enough to save him as he’s plunged into a secret inter-species conflict that’s been going on for centuries.  Aided only by his girlfriend and his estranged mother, with powerful enemies closing in on all sides, Tate races to puzzle out the secret behind his father’s invention and why so many are willing to kill for it.

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Featured Author: Marcus J. Guillory

Marcus J. Guillory, Houston-born, Los Angeles-based, writer/producer has established a reputation for strange, subversive material including creating the aesthetic genre called “nigga gothic.”  He has worked as a screenwriter for over 10 years and is the first American to have written a produced Bollywood film.  Under the moniker “Mateo Senolia”, Guillory has recently teamed up with LA radio icon/tastemaker Garth Trinidad (89.9 KCRW) to create a fusion of spoken literature and house music called “Lit House” with the intent of introducing non-readers to literature with an EP “Postcards From Strangers” on house legend Osunlade’s Yoruba Records.  His shorts stories and magazine articles can be found on the web and better newsstands.  His debut novel entitled “red now and laters” was released Spring 2014 on Atria Books/Simon & Schuster Publishing.  BA in Philosophy from University of Pennsylvania.  JD from Tulane Law School.  www.marcusguillory.com

What would you like readers to take away from your book?

I hope to give readers a wild ride through the bayou country of Louisiana and the humid streets of Houston, Texas with  a young boy at the moment of discovery.  In the process, I hope that readers will become more familiar with the rich and beautiful culture of my people – the Louisiana Creoles of the bayou.  I hope that readers take away from this novel the idea that faith can accomplish anything, no matter the odds.

Which character did you have the most fun writing about?

Nonc Sonnier, the mysterious relative of our hero Ti’ John.  I intended to present him with a certain creepy vibe then turn it around and let him be the source of the novel’s mythology.  After a certain point I just let him tell me what he wanted to do and say.

What was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?

Trying to find a theme related to Louisiana Creoles that hadn’t been explored in previous novels.  I was clear that I didn’t want the narrative thread to relate to food or music – too easy.  However, treaters or spiritual healers was a great theme that other people outside of Louisiana could find accessible.  Once I knew that treating would be the main thread then I was set to go.

Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?

You must write everyday.  It’s the only way to develop your machine.  Never send out a first draft.  Writing is rewriting.  Take a few days or weeks or months away from the first draft then return to it.  I promise you may see a few things you didn’t see before.

What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?

It is not easy to be a writer.  The amount of time you have to spend with yourself can be downright fatal.

What was the last book to keep you up at night reading it?

Tuff by Paul Beatty.  Love Beatty’s work.

What do you do to make time for yourself?

I DJ and produce house music under the name “Mateo Senolia” for Osunlade’s Yoruba Records (my group is called “Trinidad-Senolia” along with LA radio legend, Garth Trinidad of 89.9 KCRW).  But when I’m not writing, DJing or producing music, I workout regularly and play tennis about three days a week to keep the blood flowing.
How can readers get in contact with you? 

(Instagram) @mjguillory
(twitter) @marcusjguillory
Facebook:  marcusjguillory

Photo credit:  Kawai Mathews
Cover Art:  Angelbert Metoyer

In this impressive debut Marcus J. Guillory brilliantly weaves together the many obstacles of a young man growing into adulthood, the realities of urban life, the history of Louisiana Creole culture, the glory of the black cowboy, and the role of religion in shaping lives.

South Park, Houston, Texas, 1977, is where we first meet Ti’ John, a young boy under the care of his larger-than life father—a working-class rodeo star and a practitioner of vodou—and his mother—a good Catholic and cautious disciplinarian— who forbids him to play with the neighborhood “hoodlums.” Ti’ John, throughout the era of Reaganomics and the dawn of hip-hop and cassette tapes, must negotiate the world around him and a peculiar gift he’s inherited from his father and Jules Saint-Pierre “Nonc” Sonnier, a deceased ancestor who visits the boy, announcing himself with the smell of smoke on a regular basis. In many ways, Ti’ John is an ordinary kid who loses his innocence as he witnesses violence and death, as he gets his heart broken by girls and his own embittered father, as he struggles to live up to his mother’s middle-class aspirations and his father’s notion of what it is to be a man. In other ways, he is different—from his childhood buddies and from the father who is his hero. 

The question throughout this layered and complex coming-of-age story is will Ti’ John survive the bad side of life—and his upbringing—and learn how to recognize and keep what is good.

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