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Welcome To SORMAG's Blog

Friday, December 30, 2005

BOOK CLUB - JAN SCHEDULE

January 5 – Title: The Journey from Pain to Purpose - Charlyn Singleton

January 9 – Wait For Love: A Black Girl's Story - Wanda D. Hudson

January 13 – This B*tch Is Crazy - Tracy L. Foster

January 16 – On The Edge - E. D. Arrington

January 19 – Hungry for More: A Keeping-it-Real Guide for Black Women on Weight and Body Image - Robyn McGee

January 23 - The Winter Pearl - Molly Noble Bull

January 26 - The Lost Sheep:

How I Got (and am still getting) Over The Hump – Sabra Robinson

January 30 – Mr. Right Now - Monica Jackson


The online book club introduces you to two authors each week by
sending out a chapter excerpt of their books.

To join the book club - sormagforum-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

If you would like your book featured again in our book club, we are
currently scheduling for 2006. All genres are welcome. Contact sormag@yahoo.com for guidelines.

Feature your book in our online store - For the low price of 10.00
your book will be featured for JAN

Check it out - http://www.sormag.com/store.html

Would you like to be a FEATURED AUTHOR?
http://www.sormag.com/AUTHOR.html

Please feel free to forward this information on to other book lovers.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

EXCERPT - A Woman Scorn'd


A Woman Scorn'd
By Dorothy Goins


SHARICE RODE IN the back of the cruiser silent in her thoughts as the car

pulled up in front of the brick faced building at the corner of West 137th and Malcolm X Boulevard.

She stepped out and followed the cop up the steps to building 103, waited while the officer pressed the intercom button. Sharice heard a window open. She looked up into Joyce's cold eyes. Her mother in-law was just like her son, vindictive and mean.

"Yeah!" she hollered down. "What yall want?"

The cop looked up and said, "I have a court order to pick up this woman's son from this address." Joyce rolled her eyes hard. Sharice looked off and waited.

The door buzzed and they went inside, went up the flight of stairs up to the fourth floor. The building had no elevator. When they reached the top of the stairs the cop knocked on the door and Joyce snatched the door open.

"Ain't you 'spose to call before you just pop over here," she said to Sharice when she walked in the apartment behind the cop.

"Ma’am. Go get the child," the cop said intervening. "The sooner you do that, the sooner we'll be out of your way." His voice was hard and dry.

Joyce rolled her eyes at Sharice before she turned to go down the hall towards the bedroom. "Malik!" she hollered. "Come here, baby."

Sharice stood by the door waiting to see her son. Her palms were sweaty and her eye was still throbbing. Malik came running down the hall carrying a toy truck in his hand. He had on a pair of blue footed pajamas. "Mommee! Mommee!" his little voice squealed. Sharice grabbed him and scooped him up in her arms.

She squeezed him tight. "Oww!” he said, “Nuh hurtin me, Mommee!” He

squirmed out of her arms holding up his toy for her to see. "Nanma give me dis."

"That's nice, baby." She looked at Joyce with deep rooted envy. "I need

his things, please."

"He ain't got nothing here, 'cept his jacket.” Joyce snapped.

"Ma'am, Go get it," the cop said in an iron voice. He walked across the floor with his arms folded behind his back watching her, his eyes were as hard as his voice.

Joyce went over to the hall closet. She walked over and bent down in front of Malik with his jacket in her hand. "Here, baby. Grandma’ll see you soon. Okay?” Her hard voice changed to a soft tone. Malik nodded his head. Joyce straightened up and looked at Sharice like she was about to say something.

"It'll be a very cold day when that happens," Sharice said before Joyce could fix her mouth to speak. She snatched Malik’s jacket from Joyce’s hand and put it on him. Then she went over to the door, opened it and went out into the hallway. The cop followed her out.

"That’s what you get.” Joyce hollered behind her. “I wish he’da done more than black your eye! You ain’t nothin’ but trash anyway." Then she slammed the door shut.

MALIK FELL ASLEEP on the ride home. Sharice got out the cruiser and thanked

the cop. Walked up to her building and went inside. She managed to get up the two flights of stairs to her apartment with Malik's dead weight resting on her small frame. It felt good being home with her son again. She carried Malik to his room, took his jacket off and laid him in his car shaped bed. Standing over his bed, with stuff on her mind, she watched him sleep.

Malik always was a good child, so quiet. Always calm. Never cried much as a baby. Always happy and content. She watched his peaceful sleeping face, hoped he'd stay that way and not inherit any of Vernon's traits. She'd read somewhere, in one of those baby magazines she'd purchased while she was pregnant, an article that had said something about children getting their behavior traits from their parents. She stood there wondering. Would Vernon's bad traits rub off on her child?

A bunch of what ifs begin to run through her mind. What if all those nights when she tussled with Vernon, fighting him off her, screaming at him during their loud arguments, Malik had heard them. What if while she was nursing all those swollen eyes and sat there nursing Malik at the same time, he was affected by all her pain and suffering. Was it possible she'd already messed up her own child?

Her feet locked in place as she watched her child's breathing eradicate in his sleep. She agonized over the thoughts racing through her mind. She concluded that she needed God to give her strength 'cause she sure couldn't do it on her own. She couldn't go through the black eye syndromes again. There was a lot more involved than having to deal with the pain from the onset swelling under her eye and around it. There was the humiliation of facing people and having to lie to about what happened. She couldn't face anybody at work in this condition.

Vernon was forever costing her something. Now she had to miss a day's pay and

God knows what his crazy behind self was planning to do to her. What if Joyce or one of them fools in his family had already gone down there to the police station and bailed him out and he was lurking around somewhere waiting to attack her again? At that moment the regrets began to set in. She regretted marrying Vernon. Had she seen signs of his violent ways beforehand she wouldn't have walked down that aisle with him.

From A Woman Scorn'd, by Dorothy Goins, Xpressit Publications

ISBN#: 097140061X. May 2005, Copyright © 2004 by Xpressit Publications

Monday, December 26, 2005

FEATURED AUTHOR - Archer & Jordan


This month BET Arabesque now called Harlequin Kimani Arabesque introduced the first romance novel by African-American men - SLOW MOTION. Romance from a male’s point of view.

SORMAG has the pleasure of featuring these two authors this week.








Please take a moment to meet Wayne Jordan and R Barri Flowers writing as Devon Archer. Feel free to ask them a few questions or tell them what you think of their excerpts.

SORMAG: Please give the readers a brief bio on you the person and the writer.

Devon Vaughn Archer:
I am the author of a number of mystery novels and nonfiction books. My legal thriller, JUSTICE SERVED (Dorchester, 2005), has been a hot seller and is a must for mystery fans.

Writing as Devon Vaughn Archer, DARK AND DASHING is my first contemporary romance novel. It is part of a two novel, all-male authored, book, entitled, SLOW MOTION (Harlequin Arabesque, November 2005).

The book has received a TOP PICK by Romantic Times and 5-Star reviews from RAWSISTAZ Reviewers and Harriet Klausner, the number one reviewer in Amazon.com

Wayne Jordan - I’m 43 years old and live on the beautiful tropical island of Barbados, the perfect place to write romance. I’m a high school teacher and teach Literature and Theater Arts. I write contemporary romance from the Harlequin Kimani Arabesque line (former BET Arabesque). My first book, Capture the Sunrise, was released as part of a 2-in-1 volume of loves stories to feature Arabesque’s first male authors.

I’m a member of Romance Writers of America and the RWA Online Chapter. I’m also the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Romance in Color, a website which focuses on the African-American romance.

SORMAG: Tell us about your current book?

ARCHER:
My next romance novel, LOVE ONCE AGAIN (Harlequin, April 2006), promises to be every bit as entertaining and romantic as DARK AND DASHING. It features an editor who is assigned the task of locating and convincing a prize winning photographer-author to fulfill the obligations of his contract. Love, passion, intrigue, and surprises will keep readers glued and wanting more!

WAYNE: Capture the Sunrise is the first in a three (or four) book series about the Buchanan brothers.

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

ARCHER:
I would like for readers to take away from the book the notion that males, certainly this one, can write engaging tales of love and romance every but as effectively as female authors. Judging by the early reviews, I am sure this will be proven by all who read the book.

WAYNE: There are so many things I’d like readers to take away from Capture the Sunrise. However, I wanted to emphasize the importance of love and family and the beauty of nature. I also wanted to introduce readers to my beautiful island home, Barbados.

SORMAG: How did it feel to finally see your first book in print?

WAYNE:
Getting the call and signing a contract are moving experiences, but holding my first book in my hand was an awesome feeling.

SORMAG: Can you share a holiday tradition with our readers?

ARCHER:
Certainly. A holiday tradition for me is to call my family members across the country and sing Christmas songs over the phone. Also, I enjoy watching Christmas classics on TV, such as The Sound Of Music and Scrooge; as well as helping to prepare and sinking my teeth into sweet potato pie.

WAYNE: There are so many, but my absolute favorite has to staying awake until midnight, just to open our gifts.

SORMAG: What aspect of writing do you love the best, and which do you hate the most?

ARCHER:
I love seeing the project I worked so hard on as a published book for all to enjoy. I also love to hear from my fans through e-mails and at book signings.

What I dislike most is the often long path from the first written word of a novel to the day that it is actually published, which can be an exercise in patience, but well worth the wait!

WAYNE: I love creating my stories in my head and writing down the outline (or what some call the dreaded synopsis). My least favorite would be the final editing process when the first draft is done.

SORMAG: What’s something you wish you’d known earlier that might have saved you some time/frustration in the publishing business?

WAYNE:
To edit my stories as I write. For my next books, I’m going to write a few chapters and then spend a few days editing and proofing before I move on to the next set of chapters.

SORMAG: What advice would you give to someone whose book is about to be released?

ARCHER:
Celebrate the grand achievement for a day or two, then get back to work with a new book. The best way to succeed in this business is to keep producing so readers will continue to come your way.

WAYNE: Promotion is the key! Having an internet presence is very important. Join online discussion lists, create a vivid professional website. Get to know readers.

SORMAG: How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website):

ARCHER: http://rbarriflowers.homestead.com

Or by e-mail at: BarriBorn2Write@cs.com

WAYNE: author@waynejordan.com and www.waynejordan.com or www.arabesqueauthors.com

EXCERPT: Dark and Dashing

DARK AND DASHING
By Devon Vaughn Archer

In

SLOW MOTION

ONE

The celebrity auction had been held at the Shoreline Hotel and Casino for the past five years. Luminaries had come from around the country to the resort town of Oak Cliffs on Oregon’s central coast to participate in this year’s autumn charity event to promote literacy. The money raised would be divided among various foundations and nonprofit organizations specifically aimed at eliminating illiteracy, as well as supporting local and national programs that encouraged reading among youth.
Conneca Sheridan, local owner of the Sheridan Seaside Inn and a member of the Oak Cliffs Business Association, was participating in her third auction. She sat amidst what seemed to be a sea of mostly women, distinguished by her brilliant butterscotch complexion and unusually attractive midnight colored hairstyle, which included Senegalese twist rolls up front and layers of long individual braids in the back, cascading across her narrow shoulders. Conneca’s tall, model slender frame further separated her from the pack. She wore an Ann Taylor sleeveless black squareneck sheath dress, covered by a beige jacket with padded shoulders and high-heeled mules. A simple pearl necklace and matching earrings completed her look.
Though quite busy with her life, Conneca gladly volunteered her time and was prepared to donate a bit of her hard earned money for an evening with a celebrity, even if she generally had a disdain for the egotism and arrogance that seemed to go with the territory for most who wore that banner. After all, she reminded herself, it was for a most worthy cause.
Conneca had been particularly concerned with child illiteracy. When she was in college, she voluntarily taught inner city kids who had dropped out of school to read. It was part of a project between the University of San Francisco and the city to rescue children from illiteracy and its devastating implications for both their individual lives and society as a whole. Since that time--or for the last nine years--Conneca had tried to be involved in some form of volunteer work in helping people with one of the most basic necessities and joys of life: the ability to read and write.
Now thirty, still single, childless, and seemingly eons away from her dream of being someone who could truly make a difference in life, Conneca brushed aside past reflections and future yearnings and concentrated on the moment at hand. Beneath thin, slightly arched brows, she focused her big, bold café au lait eyes on the next celebrity to be bid on.
Almost immediately, Conneca felt a shiver sweep through her as if she was hit with a gust of wind. An air of familiarity took center stage. She watched as the tall and elegant looking, handsome brother--built like he never missed a workout a day in his life--walked down the runway with the poise of a person running for office. He was in his early thirties, she guessed, and was a rich fudge chocolate in color. The man abruptly came to a complete halt in front of her as if to flaunt himself in her face.
Conneca batted her lashes at first in annoyance, then in abashment, sure that all eyes were on her--and him--at the moment. But while she may have wished she could shrink into nothingness, that would probably be playing right into his hands, so to speak. Just be cool, girl, she told herself determinedly.
Following her own advice, Conneca managed to gather herself, feeling there was no other choice in the spirit of things but to appraise him. At well over six feet, he was resplendent in a double-breasted black tuxedo, white shirt, and black bow tie. His head was clean shaven with only a hint of the raven hair he could have had, which would have been the perfect match for deep dark, soulful eyes. She noted that on his right earlobe was a small ruby earring. On a taut, square jawed face was a cute little nose that expanded as a toothy grin spread across a sensual full mouth, as if he was immensely enjoying having every woman in there bidding to be at his beck and call for the rest of the day.
Or maybe me, in particular, thought Conneca with a shudder. Who was he? She was sure she had seen him before. How could one ever forget such a man machine of a human being, if there ever was one?
Conneca suddenly became aware that he was looking directly at her, seemingly amused by her almost hypnotic stare. She hastily averted her eyes, refusing to give him the privilege of thinking that she might actually be interested in paying for his company in specific, charity or not. She would leave some other sister or sister wannabe to feed his ego.
I’ll set my sights elsewhere, thank you.
But that didn’t stop Conneca’s mind from working overtime as to who he might be as a celebrity figure. Perhaps the man was an actor? she scanned her brain. Or maybe a musician. An athlete. A journalist. Or even a politician, heaven forbid! Admittedly, Conneca didn’t make a habit of watching many movies or TV programs that he might have been in. And she was more into older music like classical jazz and Motown sounds. She could imagine him being more hip-hop, if anything. If he was into politics, forget it, she thought. She knew the faces, but at times lost the message in an atmosphere where it was all about me, me, me, and often you couldn’t really distinguish one person from the next who ran for or were already in office.
The reality, knew Conneca, was that she was far too busy with the inn and everyday life to keep track of who was who in the world of celebrities. Yet that didn’t quell her curiosity about the drop dead gorgeous brother before her or, for that matter, stop the frustration over her inability to place his face.
Over the loudspeaker, a woman announced in a voice filled with giddy admiration: “All the way from Denver, Colorado is the dashing, cool as he wants to be, Maurice Templeton. He’s the very male half of the wildly successful romantic suspense novel collaboration team known by most of us readers as Alexis Maurice. Won’t you please make Maurice feel welcome to Oak Cliffs?”
A rousing round of applause followed, and shortly thereafter the bidding began for the right to temporary custody of the clearly more than willing author.
So that’s who the mystery man is, Conneca mused, wondering how she had missed the connection. She knew now where she had seen Maurice Templeton. Or at least his face. It had been on the back of one of his books. A friend had lent her a copy of Alexis Maurice’s latest best selling novel last year called Danger At Sea. Conneca had found it a fascinating, suspenseful read with just the right amount of romance and mystery to keep her thoroughly satisfied, completing the book in only two days, though it was over three hundred pages long. She remembered thinking--in seeing the glossy color photograph on back of book of the attractive authors cheek to cheek--that they seemed like the perfect couple and madly in love or, perhaps, lust.
In fact, she recalled her friend, Nadine, telling her that the two were once married, but far from perfect. Divorced now, they remained connected as writing partners for their novels. Conneca had fixed Nadine with a look of disbelief, and said, rolling her eyes: “They must be using smoke and mirrors, or something. If they couldn’t make the marriage work, it seems like anything else would be asking way too much.”
Nadine had hunched her shoulders, chuckling. “Money makes for strange bedfellows, girl! They may hate each other’s guts in private. But so long as the books are selling like hotcakes with plenty of butter and syrup, they’re keeping the dirty laundry where it belongs and making like they are still lovebirds for public consumption.”
Conneca thought the whole thing sounded more like the fiction they wrote than real life, where love obviously didn’t always conquer all. But, she thought, hey, whatever worked for them, if not for her.
Conneca had to admit she still found herself curious about the two authors and ex husband and wife. Or more like the one, she realized now in considering Maurice Templeton, who had already moved smoothly to the other end of the runway and seemed to really be enjoying this king for a day scenario. As did virtually all those in attendance, judging by the catcalls and whistling for this handsome king.
The bidding had gone up to nearly five thousand dollars, by far the most that had been pledged during the auction for any celebrity. Conneca gasped at the notion and wondered who would be crazy enough to donate such an outrageous amount to spend time with this one man who was probably already spoken for, very conceited, and dullsville behind the brilliant mask--even if it was for a good cause...?
Her answer came quite shockingly as she inadvertently raised a hand to scratch her cheek. The auctioneer--a rotund man in his fifties, who looked as if he was wearing a grayish toupee--saw this as her bid of five thousand dollars, and pounced on it like a leopard.
“The pretty lady with the beautifully braided hair has brought the bid to five thousand dollars,” the auctioneer bellowed gleefully. “Does anyone care to top that for the privilege of Mr. Templeton’s enchanting company, and a most charitable contribution to one of society’s hidden ills?”
Realizing that no other bids were forthcoming, Conneca tried to right her wrong. She muttered some undecipherable words of mistake and protest to no avail.
It was too late.
“Going once... Going twice--” The auctioneer strained his voice, while peering at his audience, as if trying to will the ante to be upped by some wealthy soul, perhaps an elderly woman who thrilled at the prospect of being rejuvenated on the arm of the famous, handsome author.
It was not to be.
“Gone!” the voice bellowed with finality.
Conneca had just bought the temporary rights to Maurice Templeton for far more than she had been prepared to contribute to promoting literacy. It suddenly left her with a sick feeling in her stomach. She was barely breaking even with the inn and was hardly in a position to donate five grand for the company of a man who didn’t appear as if he needed such expensive companionship to take pity on.
“Damn,” muttered Conneca under her breath. “Smile for the folks.”
She flashed pearly white, straight teeth for all to see. Inside, Conneca felt as if she had been sucker punched. She would just have to make the best of it, she decided.
And him.
She looked up at the stage, expecting to see Maurice Templeton’s broad grin as he sized her up and considered the possibilities the evening might entail. Instead, Conneca found that the man she had unwittingly won the bid on had suddenly vanished like a thief in the night.
***
The breathing that raised the hairs at the nape of Conneca’s neck was warm and gentle, almost soothing. Before she could turn around back stage, the velvety deep voice practically sang Stevie Wonder’s Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours, baby...for the rest of the day.”
Conneca met the intriguing, dominating eyes of the author that bore down on her at an angle attesting to his height of at least six feet four inches, compared to her five foot seven inches. His features were even more arresting and virile up close, as was his natural scent mixed with Royal Copenhagen. Conneca found it intoxicating.
He favored her with a steady, amused grin, as though reading her mind and feeling his potent effect on her body. It made Conneca all the more determined to resist being overwhelmed by the man. Or his celebrity status.
“Maurice Templeton,” he said routinely, as if she didn’t already know. “And you are...?”
“Conneca Sheridan.” She willed herself to keep from shaking on the outside like she was on the inside.
He nodded. “Nice to meet you, Conneca. I like your name...it’s very intriguing.”
I’ll bet you do, Conneca thought skeptically. Don’t read anything into it that’s not there, buddy.
Maurice stuck out a hand, the long fingers spread like a turkey’s feathers. Conneca shook his hand, which was as soft to the touch as it was hard. His skin was smooth as silk, and she noted a half moon shaped scar on the back of his hand.
“Happened when I was just a boy,” Maurice explained perceptively. “Was fishing with my old man--or trying to--when I ended up being hooked myself instead of the fish. It was really more embarrassing than painful.” He gave an uneasy chuckle and pulled his hand from hers, burying it self-consciously in the pocket of his trousers. “Are you always so generous with your money? Or are you one of those can’t put ‘em down fans of Alexis Maurice novels?”
Part of Conneca wanted to tell him that she had not intended to write a one thousand dollar check to chaperone him for the evening, much less five times that amount! And though she had very much enjoyed the one Alexis Maurice book she’d read, she would hardly call herself a diehard fan of theirs--or his. Or some sort of crazed groupie.
But what was the point in that? Conneca asked herself. She didn’t want to come off sounding cheap or irresponsible in bidding much more than she could afford. Why not feed this man’s obviously inflated ego and try to just get through it? After all, she’d probably never see him again once they said their goodbyes in a few short hours, she thought.
Pasting a smile across her thin lips, Conneca said in a self-compromise: “Let’s just say that I’m a big supporter of ending illiteracy in this country.”
Maurice touched the tip of his shiny nose and said without making waves: “Fair enough. That is, of course, what brought us to this point--even if it is a lofty goal by any standard. Wouldn’t you say?”
She fluttered her curled lashes. “Isn’t that true for any worthwhile aim? That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.”
“I couldn’t agree more,” he seconded.
Conneca didn’t doubt that the task would require a considerable amount of cooperation and education across the spectrum. But in this case, it was worth each grain of hope for every child who could improve upon his or her reading skills.
“Every little bit counts,” she told him, as if to justify her involvement...and five thousand dollar investment in the effort.
Maurice favored her with one brow raised. “True enough. It’s always the little things that grow into big things.”
Conneca turned away from his gaze, feeling its warmth like basking in sunlight. Or perhaps like being in an oven with the temperature continuing to rise to the point of broiling.
A moment of awkwardness stood between them like a brick wall. It seemed to signify the mutual attraction that neither was ready to acknowledge to themselves, much less each other.
Maurice finally broke the deadlock by saying: “So, are you going to the literacy conference in Denver next month?”
Are you inviting me? Conneca asked herself sardonically, knowing full well he was doing no such thing.
“I’m thinking about it,” she told him. In fact, she had received information in the mail about the conference, but had not committed one way or the other, knowing that the inn had to take precedence over anything else--including leaving town. But she didn’t need to tell him about her business. “Will you be there?” Conneca decided to ask.
Maurice seemed to ponder the question as if he hadn’t previously considered it. “Not if I can help it,” he said honestly. “I try to stay away from these high profile events so close to home. You agree to one and the vultures are banging down the door trying to lock you in for every charitable event known to man, woman, and child...”
Conneca was only mildly surprised. She imagined that, realistically, successful writers could only give themselves to so many causes before they ended up spending more time on the social and charity circuit than writing. The same was true as well, she thought, of innkeepers. Still, the notion of visiting the Mile High City next month had its own appeal all of a sudden, if only in her mind.
Maurice leaned forward slightly. “Look, I don’t know about you, but I’m starved. What do you say we go get something to eat?”
That was always a safe bet, thought Conneca, remembering the previous times she had won the rights to a celebrity guest for a charitable cause. One had been a seventy-nine-year-old male world famous concert pianist. The other was a thirteen-year-old boy genius. Everyone had to eat, regardless of his or her claim to fame.
Conneca had a feeling that anything she did with Maurice Templeton would be a different story altogether. And this both excited and scared her like never before. Whether that was a good or bad thing remained to be seen. I’ll just go with the flow, she thought.
“Sounds like a wonderful idea,” Conneca told him in a thick voice.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

FEATURED AUTHOR - Dorothy Goins



SORMAG: Please give the readers a brief bio on you the person and the writer.

Dorothy Goins:
I'm what I would call your average single parent. I'm driven and goal oriented and want the best for my family. I'm very much into my children and their personal growth. I consider myself blessed to have two wonderful children, a son and a daughter, who do what I ask of them without being complicated and strive so hard at achieving their own set goals. The two of them have been very supportive during my writing process. I consider that a plus to have children who understand when I must shut them and get my write on. My family structure has a lot to do with the genre I write about which is women's fiction. Let me just say, it wasn't easy growing up with six sisters. I had my good days with them and sometimes, my not so good days. What family you know gets along all the time. In order to keep the peace between us, I read a lot as an escape.

Besides being an avid reader, I'm also a poet. I've ventured through a lot of open mic venues embracing the spoken word. This venue was the inspiration that led to me writing novels. I love me some Maya Angelou. Her poems always moved me, made me want to write, which has led to my release of my first writing endeavor, a poetry book entitled. "Woman I Know" in 1998. I actually wrote a novel in 1996, gave it a title and everything, but never released it. However, I was motivated by my accomplishment with the poetry book that I made the decision to establish myself as a self-published author and used that initiative to start my publishing company, Xpressit Publications. In 2002, I released my first novel, Married Man under Xpressit and from there went on to complete my second novel, A Woman Scorn'd which made its debut in May 2005. I am currently penning my third novel.

SORMAG: Tell us about your current book?

GOINS:
My recent novel, A Woman Scorn'd introduces you to Dr. Roxane Brissett, a psychotherapist who starts up her own counseling service in the heart of Manhattan. The women she counsels are women who have been battered and abuse in some form or some facet. What Roxane's clients doesn't know is that she's haunted by a past she wishes she could put behind her. Roxane's major concern is helping her clients get through their issues.

Then, all hell breaks loose, Roxane's left trying to handle everybody's issues while losing touch with herself in the process. Her relationship with the ever so foine, smooth-talking Maurice Walker is suddenly on the brinks thanks to a crazy, deranged chick named Karma who keeps sending her threats, a phone call from a client leads her straight to a murder scene, and good ole' Auntie Nadine, with her religious sermons is working her last nerve.

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

GOINS:
What it truly means to heal from a hurtful past or a painful situation.

SORMAG: What do you do to make time for yourself?

GOINS:
I love to travel to places I've never been, learn the history there and meet and become familiar with people with different backgrounds and history. I love learning about other cultures. I prefer road trips.

SORMAG: Can you share a holiday tradition with our readers?

GOINS:
I embrace Kwanzaa solely because of what it stands for, the seven principles which I've incorporated into my daily life. I don't think we AA's celebrate enough of our own traditions or learn enough about who we really are. I'm not a calendar holiday person. If it doesn't make sense and have significance, I'm not gong ho about embracing some of these so-called traditions that don't pertain to my history and who I am.

SORMAG: What aspect of writing do you love the best, and which do you hate the most?

GOINS:
I love literary fiction, like the works of Toni Morrison and Alice Walker and then there's Donald Goins and Iceberg Slim, my favorite. Serious storytellers. I am not a lover of this new street fiction genre that is way over-rated. I know everyone has a story to tell, but let's be serious, it's a media style hype with way too much emphasis on these thugs, the women who love them, and the drug life altogether. Can we talk about something else, please.

SORMAG: What should a new writer know about the publishing business?

GOINS:
That it's a competitive business same as the music industry. But, there's plenty of room for more talent to fit in. Trust your instincts...write from the heart.

SORMAG: How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)

GOINS:
Through my website which is www.dorothygoins.com. I answer my readers all the time.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

OPEN HOUSE WINNERS

Thank you for attending our first open house. I hope you had some fun and gain a few ideas for your Christmas shopping.

Thanks to everyone for their sympathy. It is much appreciated.

The lucky winners for our SORMAG Christmas Goody bags are:

Vanessa Johnson
Essence 4real
Happy Reader – Kim

Send your mailing address to: sormag@yahoo.com and I’ll send out your bags.


SORMAG sends out goody bags once a month. If you would like to be a part of the goody bag – send your donations to:

Goodybag
Attn:
L.C. Hoffman
7127 Minnesota Ave
St. Louis MO 63111

Monday, December 19, 2005

SORMAG's OPEN HOUSE



Welcome to our first open house!

Come in have a cup of cocoa.
Don't forget to top it with lots of marshmellows and whip cream.


Grab a few cookies.
I hope you like sugar cookies.


Before you start mingling.
Click HERE and make your music request.
You can't have an open house without music.

I have some doorprizes for those who attend.
So if you stop by, make sure you leave a comment, so I can put your name in the hat.
Can't win if you don't leave a comment.

If you're an author, please tell us about your latest book.
We're still in need of Christmas gifts.

Come on and have a little SORMAG fun.


Sunday, December 18, 2005

Are You Reading This -2

Christmas is coming fast. Here a few selections that will make great gifts.


The Best Recess Ever
by Stephanie Mara Dawson

Book Nook Productions
ISBN: 0974899003



A Heatbeat Away
by Maureen Smith

BET Books
ISBN: 158314532X



Micky, Ticky, Boo! Says Hello
by Sabra A. Robinson

InstantPublisher
ISBN: 1591962307



Daughters of the King : Finding Victory Through
Your God-Given Personal Style
by Dr. Gail M. Hayes

Walk Worthy Press
ISBN: 0446694649




Healthy Hair Care Tips For Today's Black Woman
by Cheryl T. Moss

Talley Publishing
ISBN: 096714910X

Thursday, December 15, 2005

COMING SOON - MARCH



From Here To Forever
by
Monica McKayhan

BET Books
March 1, 2006
ISBN: 1583146067

Do you have a book coming out soon? Feature it here

Sunday, December 11, 2005

EXCERPT: Made Of Honor



MADE OF HONOR - MARILYNN GRIFFITH


CHAPTER ONE

I'm turning into a Chia pet.

With legs.

Little children are starting to toss dandelions when they see me. The brides of Leverhill, Illinois have taught the kiddies well. One little darling from church, a cutie with zigzag parts and snaggle teeth, wants to grow up and take my job-big flower girl. The little girl nailed it, especially about the big part, but we're not going there. Not today, with my formerly fat best friend looking like Twiggy goes bridal, while I gasp for breath in a dress fit for a train wreck. My only consolation is not having to worry about Tracey aiming a floral missile (known to some as a bouquet) at my head later on.

She wouldn't do me like that, would she? Nah. At least that's what I tell myself, but then I thought this wedding wouldn't happen either. Still, this bride is one of my closest friends and my roommate for the past three years. Tracey Cox, well, Tracey Blackman now, has picked enough baby's breath out of my teeth to know better.

Just in case though, a pint of Chunky Monkey and a pedicure appointment await me after this reception. Who knows? Tracey just might snap and throw long. Marriage does things to people. One day they're normal and the next they're inviting total strangers to wear ugly dresses in their weddings and then after the ceremony, said brides proceed to cut off all communication with members of the wedding party except for goofy Christmas photos of the newlyweds cradling an ugly dog, signed "from all of us." And don't let them actually get pregnant. Have you ever seen an entire album of birth photos? Not cute.

Do I sound bitter?

I'm not. I have friends. Sistahs even. And trying to keep up with them, keep my job and stay right with God occupies most of my time. Like now. I need to find Rochelle, my other best friend (yes, I have two) and founder of the Sassy Sistahood email list. If I don't catch up to her soon, she might make a fool of herself.

Or me.

Though my girlfriend is a paragon of virtue most days, weddings turn Rochelle into a gelatinous pool of desperation. Remember the birth photo album I mentioned? It's worse. Okay, so nothing's worse than that, but it's bad. Even the sight of me, voluptuous black woman tangled in tulips after a bouquet toss, is easier on the eyes.

Using my emergency x-ray vision (activated by squinting so hard I almost fused my contacts to my eyeballs) I glimpsed a pink satin horror similar to my own, but a set of three-inch shoulder pads blocked my view. Who would wear a power suit to a wedding-my boss. There she was, looking just as angry as when I'd left her at work last night. I ducked before she saw me, recovering from my shock that she'd even shown up. The bride, who left our office to start her own graphic design firm six months ago, insisted on inviting Naomi, her-former and my-current employer and Renee, my assistant, who was probably somewhere taking pictures of me for blackmail. She'd be giggling in my ear about this dress for the next month. At least.

My future torture aside, I was proud of Naomi for actually leaving the office (I think she secretly lives there). For her to show up at her own funeral would be the height of etiquette. Some people just don't grasp interaction, you know? And having "interacted" with Naomi daily for the past six years, I could do without her today. Besides, I needed to find Sassy Sistah #1 before she melted down and kissed somebody.

With that thought as fuel, I forced my Baker dyeables (those satin shoes that can be dyed to match your gown? I know. Prom flashbacks.) across the sprinkle of autumn leaves on the ground. Rochelle tiptoed up beside me, fanning her face, despite the growing chill. Man Mania was in full swing.

"Did you see Ryan's brother?" She said breathlessly. "From the looks of things, Tracey should have picked him."

From the reality of things. Anyone seemed a better choice. I mentally squashed the nagging doubt about my friend's hour-old marriage. Thoughts like that were getting me nowhere. It was done. God would have to take it from here. Me worrying myself to an ulcer before I got back to work on Monday was definitely a waste of resources.

I shook my head at Rochelle and considered reaching out and shaking hers. This time she was really in the zone. I spoke right into her ear, hoping it would jar her brain. "I wasn't really paying attention to the brother of the groom." Or any other man around here. What would be the point? The last guy I dated had just married my best friend.

Rochelle made a clucking sound. "You should have been paying attention. His brother is foine." She rolled her neck for effect, but didn't quite pull it off. I just stared. She'd been watching too much UPN again.

"Come on." I tugged at her arm and started back across the smattering of red-gold leaves, away from Mr. Foine. She'd hate me later if I didn't. If a brothah showed up tomorrow in response to Rochelle's flirting, she would run for her life while dictating a restraining order into her recorder.

Usually, her wedding trance would have been long since broken. But this was Tracey's wedding. And whether Rochelle and I were willing to admit it or not, we'd both thought that if anyone got married, it'd be one of the two of us, not the cute, fat, geek of the group. Not that Tracey was fat anymore. The plump-but-cute girl role was currently being played by moi. My midsection pressed against the strangling fabric of my dress as if in agreement.

Rochelle made a shrill sound, almost like a whistle. The weary-in-well-doing sigh. The sound she makes when she just can't take anymore. Not a good sign. Her pink leather t-strap shoes, designed by her own hand and much prettier than my castoffs from last year's spring formal, peeked from underneath her frock, several sizes smaller than my own. Our skirts skimmed the lawn every few steps. This was downright antebellum. If I didn't know better, I'd think a plantation was going to pop out of the ground any minute.

Rochelle's words cut through my thoughts. "I can't help feeling romantic on days like this. Lately, I even wonder if-"

"If what?" My body stiffened. I'd heard this speech before. All my die-hard single friends give this little talk before becoming wife wannabes. Tracey's little rant three months ago was still fresh in my mind. Rochelle? Despite her wedding breakdowns, I never thought I'd hear it from her. Well, not until Jericho graduated from high school anyway. That boy kept us all busy.

"I'm just talking," she said, moving faster. "It's nothing, really."

More like a big something, but I decided to leave it. This day had enough mess going without adding to it. "I hope the punch is good."

Rochelle nodded, gathering her skirt to gain a little speed. Good punch could cover a multitude of sins. Even Tracey marrying Ryan. (Okay, he's not so bad. He's rich, handsome and loves her to pieces. But there's just something creepy about the guy. I don't know. Forget I said anything).

While I pondered the groom's strangeness, Rochelle grabbed my wrist, digging her natural length nails into my flesh. Without looking at her, I knew it was already too late. And we'd almost made it to punchdom.

Tracey would not, could not throw that bouquet at me.

But she did.

A few inches ahead, a group of women floated onto the green in front of us, like a cloud of cotton candy. The bride broke through, holding her weapon of choice, peach hybrid roses from the Leverhill Botanical Gardens.

"Run!" Rochelle screamed with the concern of a fire marshal at a brewing blaze.

Obeying her command was my first mistake. The stop-drop-and-roll technique is always best to achieve my goals: avoiding head trauma, keeping the contacts in and keeping the dress covering my backside.

As previously stated, I deviated from this method.

When nothing tagged the back of my head (seriously, they stopped aiming for my hands two summers ago) I did a dumb thing and turned around. The bouquet slapped against my forehead like a Jackie Chan sound effect. I tripped on my skirt trying to escape (she'd already nailed me, of course, but it was instinct). My dress ballooned around my waist like a giant boat made of Bubble Yum.

Then . . . the pain burned beneath my eye. What was that? I dropped to one knee, jerking the whole pink mess of me back into place, while peeking through my fingers. Something I mistook for tears trickled into my mouth. Blood.

I wobbled to my feet. "What in the world?" I'd been hit with a lot of flowers, a few small shrubs even, but no one had ever drawn blood. This was past wrong.

Rochelle hovered over me, panting and picking greenery from between my braids. Satisfied with her job on that, she peeled back my fingers and surveyed the scratch under my eye. "The thorns. Tracey forgot to have them removed. It was the only thing on her list . . . Sorry."

I took my hand off my eye. Rochelle's tone let me know that she hadn't been in on this but she had been aware of the possibility. Not for the first time, the Sassy Sistahs had made me mad. Tracey approached slowly, waving like she always does after doing something crazy. I felt my anger wash away at the sight of her silly grin. Still, this was a bit much. "Thorns? You've got to be kidding."

"Wish I was." Rochelle dabbed my face with a napkin from her clutch. No doubt there was a first aid kit, needle and thread, makeup bag and two shades of pantyhose crammed in that tiny thing. How she'd even managed to hold on to it while trying to drag me to safety was beyond me, but I'd long given up on trying to figure out Chelle's superwoman capabilities. She just has skills like that. I'm lucky to keep my shoes on. (Although I did manage to keep my contacts in. A new accomplishment).

Just before Tracey reached us, someone from the groom's family intercepted and wheeled her away. The beginning of the end. She was no longer my roommate, my best friend. She was someone's wife. We walked past Tracey, giving us the "be right there" signals.

Rochelle smiled. I sulked. "Knowing Tracey, she probably thought it was more Christ-like to leave the thorns on." Mock disgust sounded in my voice. I was trying to be mad and couldn't.

"Hush you," Rochelle said, using our code phrase for when one started in on another of the three. It was the standard defense, but right now I felt like pushing past it.

Tracey joined us and slipped an arm around-well, almost around-my waist. "Got you, didn't I? Sorry about your eye though."

"You'd better be glad I love y'all," I whispered as people packed in around us. Pain seared my scalp where Rochelle had raked a stem through my hair.

"Maybe if you'd helped with the wedding errands, you could have taken care of those thorns." Rochelle said, reaching back in her purse for her dabbing cloth.

Ouch. That hurt way more than my eye. The truth always does. I pushed away Rochelle's hand, preferring to blink my own way back to health. In a minute, there'd be no skin left on the right side of my face. That girl was dangerous with a Kleenex.

Tracey started to say something, but was called away . . . again. I took a deep breath, watching her walk to behind the punch table with her mother-in-law. Where was the groom? Why was I the one getting jealous instead of him? Like I said, he's a little weird. This whole deal was. But there was no use trying to explain that to Rochelle. She wasn't trying to hear it. So I did what I always do-tried to explain it anyway.

"Look, Rochelle, I already regret not helping out with the wedding. But I just wasn't sure about this. When I dated Ryan-"

She tried the neck thing again, with success this time. "Dated? Is that what you call it? That mess was so boring he just stopped calling and came back to the singles group. So he wasn't for you. No reason he can't be the one for Tracey." In a deft motion, she grabbed a napkin from the table next to us, wadded it quickly and removed several layers of my epidermis. "There's just one last spot . . ."

She reached out again, but I shook my head, thinking I should have thrown in some cookies with the Ben and Jerry's waiting for me at home. Somehow we wandered into the punch line. We both relaxed allowing the tide of people to pull us forward. Only when a gruesome Pepto-pink cake with what looked like the watermelon gel I brushed my teeth with for filling came into view was I totally appalled. I definitely should have helped with the wedding plans. The gold-colored punch in the bowl beside the cake monster looked good though.

It would have to be.

From MADE OF HONOR, by Marilynn Griffith, Steeple Hill

ISBN 0373785542, January 2006, Copyright © 2006 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited. ® and tm are trademarks of the publisher. This edition published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

FEATURED AUTHOR - Marilynn Griffith


SORMAG: Please give the readers a brief bio on you the person and the writer.

Marilyn Griffith:
Well, let's see... I'm mom to a tribe of kids, wife to a very handsome deacon and blessed to be friends with some wonderful writers, like you, LaShaunda. I love to read, write, speak and all things communication related. I'm the person at the family gatherings who is always either telling a story or listening to one! Before realizing I was a writer life was a bit confusing. I tried everything from secretary to math tutor (that actually worked out pretty well). These days it's family, friends and church activities when I'm not writing. I like blogging though. That's fun.

SORMAG: Tell us about your current book?

GRIFFITH:
Dana Rose pledges to say "I won't" the next time she's asked to be in a wedding. Her weak will has turned her closet into cemetery for satin gowns from periwinkle to Pepto pink. After ten stints as bridesmaid, Dana thinks she's seen it all. Then she's fired, forced to turn her hobby into a business and faced with her prodigal brother, back-stabbing sis and Mr. Practically Perfect, the ex who not only married someone else, but opened the business of her dreams across the street. There's that Maid of Honor thing too. And this time she can't say no. Will wedding #11 show Dana what's she's really made of?

SORMAG: What inspired this story?

GRIFFITH:
I used to own a seasonal bath and body business. Steeple Hill rejected my first manuscript but they liked my voice. They asked my agent about me doing a chick lit. I didn't know what that was exactly, but the prospect of writing in first person sounded interesting, so I tried it and loved it. I also have had a lot of wonderful single friends over the years.

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

GRIFFITH:
I'd love for readers of MADE OF HONOR to come away from the book knowing that they are fearfully and wonderfully made and that God delights in them and loves them in an intimate way, despite whatever mess riddles their pasts. Christ stands waiting to embrace them as His bride.

SORMAG: How do you balance writing with your "every day life?"

GRIFFITH:
I don't. LOL Really. I've long since given God that job. He called me to be a wife and mother and a writer. Sometimes (like a deadline week) that doesn't always look like I think it should, but God graced me with the family I was supposed to have. I try to keep the Word first place and keep the lines of communication open so that when things get off balance (too much work, not enough work) we can talk about it. When I try to stop writing to be Super Mom, my kids are like,"Go write something. You're cranky!"

SORMAG: How can readers learn more about your books and get in contact with you?

GRIFFITH:
I can be contacted at marilynngriffith@gmail.com" or through comments at my website http://www.marilynngriffith.com/ .

Marilynn is our guest for this week. Stop by and say hello or ask a question.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Are You Reading This?

This is our new feature for Fridays.
Each Friday we will introduce five HOT Books you should be reading?

Tell us what you think!



Made Of Honor – Marilynn Griffith
Steeple Hill - ISBN: 0373785542

Inspirational Chick Lit – Fun reading




Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential - Joel Osteen

Houston televangelist Joel Osteen shares
his seven principles to living a better life.



More Than A Bargain - Ann Clay
Genesis Press: Indigo - ISBN: 1585711373

College romance at its best.




Get Your Own Damn Beer, I'm Watching the Game! :
A Woman's Guide to Loving Pro Football - Holly Robinson Peete
Rodale Books - ISBN: 1594861633

Don’t understand football? This is the book for you.
Holly shares her experiences and knowledge about the game of football.



Slow Motion (Arabesque) - Wayne Jordan, Devon Vaughn Archer
Bet Books - ISBN: 1583146164

Men writing romance – You can’t pass this one up.


Do you have a HOT book and want us to recommend it to our readers?

Send two copies to:

L.C. Hoffman
7127 Minnesota Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63111

If we think its HOT we’ll tell our readers about it.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Holiday Open House –December 19th

On December 19th we’re having our first open house. Come over and have some cyber cocoa and cookies. Tell us about your shopping, or what your reading. Do you have a new book coming out in 2006? This is great way to plug it for FREE.

For all those who make a comment, you’re eligible for a SORMAG Christmas Goody Bag.

Stop by and share your holiday cheer.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

REVIEWS IN 2006

Book Reviews are returning to SORMAG.


Would you like your book reviewed in 2006?

Our review staff is ready to accept ARC for 2006?

What we need from you?

A review copy of your book ( ARC, PDF or hard copy)

To insure the book is reviewed the month it comes out, please send 2-4 months before release date.

Do not autograph books to LaShaunda. All books are sent out to our review staff.

If you would like your book to be a part of our SORMAG Goody bag. Send two copies.

Send review copies to:

L.C. Hoffman
7127 Minnesota Ave
St. Louis, MO 63111

Send an email to LaShaunda to let her know you put it in the mail.


LaShaunda will send you an email when the review is online. All 2006 reviews will be online for a year and 4 stars or more will be posted on Amazon.com

If you would like your book to be featured in SORMAG’s online bookclub please contact us for guidelines.

We look forward to reviewing your books. If you have any questions contact us at – sormag@yahoo.com

I Want The Next Page Contest - Winners

Congratulations to the I Want The Next Page Contest Winners

Another Day - Rosseanne Dowell

Sopaipilla Blues - Cerridwen Ellis

Friends & Lovers - Dee Moten

Love Can Slip Away - Idrissa Uqdah


1st Place Prize -Publication on SORMAG Blog
A copy of "The Book Sistah's 21-Step Guide to Writing, Publishing & Marketing Your Book". - Sophfronia Scott

2nd Place Prize

An e-copy of "Straight Answers to Tough Writing Questions" - Cyndi Appel

3rd Place Price
A copy of the 2006 Writer's Market - Donated by Stacy Hawkins Adams

4th Place Prize

SORMAG Goody Bag

Winners send me your address to claim your prize - Winning Page will be featured in January on SORMAG’s Blog.

Monday, December 05, 2005

FEATURED AUTHOR - Alice Wootson



Shades Of Romance Magazine: Please give the readers a brief bio on you the person and the writer.

Alice Wootson:
I'm a retired teacher who is in her second career. My 9th novel, Perfect Wedding, will be released in December. In addition to writing prose, I am also an award-winning poet. I enjoy speaking at conferences and with groups.

SORMAG: Tell us about your current book?

WOOTSON:
Perfect Wedding: A TV program, Perfect Wedding, offers a honeymoon to Hawaii. Dana decides to enter. Never mind that she doesn't have a fiance' or even a boyfriend. She'll worry about that later. Of course, the ideal man, Steve Rollings, teaches right next door, but she thinks of him as a friend.

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

WOOTSON:
That romance is often right next door. Also, we need to lighten up a bit. My last 3 books were romantic suspense. I started to write another, but found that I wasn't ready for the stress. (I put myself in the heroine's place.)

SORMAG: What do you do to make time for yourself?

WOOTSON:
I go to the gym 5 times a week and have learned to read while on the bike & treadmill. I do crafts and I LOVE yard sales. I also travel a lot. My favorite time is spent with my 3 grandchildren, especially Claire, the youngest and the first girl in two generations.

SORMAG: Can you share a holiday tradition with our readers?

WOOTSON:
I always fix dinner of traditional foods, & my two sister and my son and his family come over. It has recently become a tradition for me to spend every weekend from Thanksgiving until Christmas with booksignings at stores.

SORMAG: What aspect of writing do you love the best, and which do you hate the most?

WOOTSON:
I love writing the beginning. I HATE writing the synopsis because I never work from one. I have to write it after the story is finished. I also dislike the time I spend scheduling signings, meetings, etc.

SORMAG: What should a new writer know about the publishing business?

WOOTSON:
It's not just about writing. Just do your best.

SORMAG: How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)

WOOTSON:
I can be reached at:
lydiagreenhowe@netzero.com
or
Alice Wootson
PO Box 18832
Philadelphia, PA 19119

Alice is our guest for this week, feel free to ask her a question or leave a comment.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

DECEMBER SORMAG

SORMAG is back with a new format. We’re blogging. Its an easier way to keep you inform and for us to continue to support our readers and writers.

This is the month we reevaluate our goals for the next year. Have you taken time to write your goals down? The articles online this month, show you have to get your goals in order.

This month we feature some great authors and their books. Each week we’ll feature a new author. Stop by and read their interviews and chat with them on the blog.

Alice Wootson – Dec 4th
Mary Griffith – Dec 11th
Delores Goines – Dec 18th
Wayne Jordan and Devon Vaughn Archer - Dec 25th

We’re having our first open house on December 19th. Stop by – join in the fun.

Each month we will feature hot books for you to read. Check out the Are You Reading This section.

Happy Reading,


LaShaunda C. Hoffman
SORMAG - Editor

Friday, December 02, 2005

DECEMBER ARTICLES

I like to end the year off by focusing on my completed goals. It lets me see what I have accomplished for the year. Sometimes we need to know what we have completed to be able to move forward.

If you didn’t complete any of your goals, don’t feel bad, you have a whole new year.

Take some time write down your goals for 2006. Make sure they are realistic and not something you will take time to strive for. Take baby steps, don’t leap out or you’ll never do it. Make time to write. If its five minutes a day its better than no time at all.

Below are few articles to help you with your goals.

Writing Your Goals And Objectives
http://www.goal-setting-guide.com/writing-goal.html

Right on Target: Setting Goals that Work
http://www.hodrw.com/goals.htm

How to Create Terrific Writing Goals—And Achieve Them!
http://www.women-ink.com/smart-writing-goals.htm

How to Get There from Here: The Magic of Goals
http://www.hollylisle.com/fm/Workshops/setting_goals.html

EXCERPT: Perfect Wedding


Perfect Wedding - Alice Wootson
"That’s was so beautiful." Dana sighed as she stared at the final scene of the latest episode of a new reality show. She leaned back and sighed again. "So perfect. So ideal."

On the television screen, the newlyweds were still pressed together in a kiss that promised happily ever after. As if that wasn’t perfect enough, Hawaiian music, played sweetly on a steel guitar, swelled in the background. As wonderful as if was, the whole scenario failed to make Dana forget that she was living in Philadelphia trying to survive another hard, cold winter. She shivered as if Hawaii’s warm climate made the Philadelphia temperature drop another fifteen degrees. Usually her imagination was great. Right now it was failing her. She stared at the television screen as if hoping to find it hiding there.

The camera pulled back a bit and the credits rolled as if the words were overdue for an appointment a long way off. Still the couple remained locked in a kiss. Dana sighed yet again. A wistful look filled her face.

"Just look at that. They get a beautiful wedding, including the dress for the bride and the bride’s maids, at no cost to them. Most of all, they get an all-expense paid honeymoon in Hawaii. Two weeks in Hawaii. In the winter, no less, if that’s when the winning couple wants to go. Who wouldn’t want to go to Hawaii in the winter? Actually, who wouldn’t want to go to Hawaii any time?" She pushed the off button of the remote and turned to Cathy, her best friend. "Why can’t I have that? What’s wrong with me that I can’t have that?"

"You can have that," Cathy said. "If you win the contest for the next ‘Perfect Wedding’." She stared at Dana. "Of course, there’s the teensy matter of finding a husband-to-be. I’d say the lack of one is what’s wrong with you. At least in this case. We’ll deal with your other faults at another time."

"The word is fiancé, not groom-to-be." Dana glared at her long-time best friend.

"Girlfriend, there’s a huge distance between knowing what he’s called and having one." Cathy dodged the throw pillow that Dana decided to have live up to its name.

"Do you know that I have always wanted to go to Hawaii?"

"No." Cathy showed mock surprise. "How could I possibly know that? Let’s see; maybe it could be the fact that you have made me watch every single documentary and each and every movie ever made in the history of the movie industry that mentioned our fiftieth state? Or was I supposed to get a clue from the fact that every month or so you bring home a handful of brochures with pictures of pineapples, exotic flowers and spectacular sunsets over perfect beaches. The last time you even had a whole pineapple and a honest-to-goodness coconut still in the shell. Each time, the next thing you do is start counting your change and bank account? Is that how I should know?"

"Not only sarcasm from you, but caustic sarcasm. I don’t know why I put up with you."

"Well, let’s see:" Cathy held up her hand and folded one finger down. "a) I put up with you, b)we’ve been friends since kindergarten, c) nobody else will understand your craziness, d) nobody else will listen to your lame-brained plans, e) …."


"Okay, okay." Dana held up her hands. "Don’t go teacher on me. That was a rhetorical statement."

"I can’t help but go ‘teacher’. Not only is it in my blood, it’s also the reason for my paycheck. Besides, I’m good at what I do. Ask my students." Cathy, a smug look on her face, set her nearly empty bowl of popcorn on the coffee table and crossed her arms across her chest.

"They’re second graders. They don’t know any better. Now, if you had sixth graders like I do, you’d have to prove yourself every period of everyday as you try to get through their ‘teach me’ challenges." Dana ate one final handful of popcorn and placed her bowl beside Cathy’s. She sighed. "You think maybe we can get second jobs?"

"What I think is that it takes all of my energy to get through the one job I already have. Those little kids wear you out. I’m sure the big kids do the same to you." Cathy stood. "Hey, look. I like Hawaii, too, and I’d love to go there some day, but I’m not obsessing over it the way some people I know are."

"You talking about me?"

"If the shoes fit I hope they match one on my outfits so I can borrow them." She grinned. "I’d better go. I have those math papers to grade. I want to see how good I am at what I do." She laughed as she took her bowl and glass to the kitchen and rinsed them. Dana followed her. She leaned against the counter and sighed.

"Cathy, when we were young, did you ever think that this would be it when we grew up? Usually in bed every weekday night, including Friday, right after the eleven o’clock news? Did you dream that your big excitement on the weekend would be staying up until after midnight to watch a movie on tape?"

"Uh, uh." Cathy shook her head. "I expected my own version of Prince Charming to have found me by now, put that beautiful glass slipper on my foot and carried me off to his castle where we’d live happily ever after. The problem is that there’s never a prince around when you need one." She grinned and shook her head. "Ain’t that just like a man anyway? He’s probably somewhere watching some sports game on television and lost track of time." They walked toward the door.

"Mine must be hanging out with him." Dana put her hand on her hip. "I sure hope their game doesn’t go into overtime. They’re taking too long as it is." Dana laughed as she opened the door to let Cathy out. "See you in the morning. My turn to drive."

"Same time, same station as today."

Dana stared at the closed door for a few seconds after Cathy left. Then she turned the television back on to watch the news. She was staring at the screen, but she wasn’t watching what was showing there. Downtown Philadelphia in January was on the news, but Dana was still seeing Hawaii in all its warm and beautiful tropical glory.

She pulled the knitted throw from the back of the sofa, wrapped it around her and listened as the weatherman, Dave Roberts, warned of a cold front coming from the north. Why does he have to be so cheerful about it? she thought. Maybe if we all go outside and push up really hard, we can make that weather stay up in Canada. She sighed. No matter what we do, nobody could mistake Philadelphia for Hawaii. She turned off the television and went into the kitchen.

As she made her lunch for the next day, the thought of next week and the week after following the same pattern as last week and the week before made her shake her head. She sighed and turned off the light.

"I’m too young to be set in my ways," she mumbled later as she looked through her closet for something to wear. No matter which of my clothes I look at, it seems as if I just wore it yesterday. She frowned as she shuffled through the clothes, pausing at something a few times then moving it aside. Then she started over again.

Finally she shook her head and took out a royal blue blouse and a navy blue skirt. She stared at them, then draped them over the chair in the corner as she always did the next day’s clothes. She frowned at them. They look like a uniform, she thought. She added at blue and white cardigan sweater to them. She stared at the clothes for a few more seconds, then sat on the edge of the bed.

"I definitely don’t want all of my weeks ahead to look like the ones past." She frowned. "To label them ‘boring’ would be kind. A rut wouldn’t describe this. Even a trench is too shallow."

As she got ready for bed, she replayed the conversation she had had with Cathy. They had kidded as they always did, but beneath the lightness was an ache. The television show didn’t have anything to do with the way she was feeling. She really wanted a special someone in her future. And really, really soon, please.

"All joking aside," she said. "Why shouldn’t I have the American woman’s dream? I’m a good person. I try to live right. I’m not mean to anybody. Why not me?"

She got ready for bed. By the time she slipped between the sheets they had been warmed by her electric blanket. When she turned out the light, she still hadn’t found an answer.

She sighed and rolled over into the empty space beside her, then rolled back far enough to turn the blanket up another notch.

Maybe this is just my biological clock ticking. She stared into the dark. I hope it decides to turn down the volume so I can try to ignore it.

She pulled the covers up further, tucked them around her shoulders and scrunched down further. After a slight adjustment of the blankets, only her face was exposed to the cool air. She thought of Hawaii and found sleep.

"Morning, Sunshine." Cathy greeted Dana in the parking lot of their apartment complex early the next morning.

"Yeah. Sure. Whatever."

"My, aren’t we chipper this morning?"


"I didn’t sleep well."

"Too much popcorn?"

"Uh-uh." She shook her head. "Nothing as mundane as that. It was those handsome, bronze, substantial Hawaiian hunks who kept me busy in my dreams." She sighed as she slipped into the driver’s seat and looked at the temperature gauge. She tapped it as if it was sleeping and she had to wake it up.

"O-k-a-y." Cathy dragged out the word as she turned to face Dana. "You didn’t bring me one back, did you? I thought you knew how to share."

"If I could have I would have. The guys chickened out and disappeared when I woke up."

"Just like a man. Toy with you, get what they want, then desert you." They laughed.

"I’m thinking that maybe we need to cut you off from your Hawaiian habit," Cathy said as she got into the car.

"Are you kidding? That’s the only fun I have." She shook her head. "That’s so sad, isn’t it? The only fun I have is when I’m dreaming." She frowned as she pulled onto the street. "You know, if I had just studied harder in high school, maybe I would have had scholarships instead of loans to finance my college education. Then I could afford a vacation to Hawaii. At least two glorious weeks. Maybe three."

"Yeah. And if fate was kind, the men of our dreams would be on their way as we speak." Cathy shifted her purse on her lap.

"Yeah." Dana nodded. "That would most definitely work. Then I could afford Hawaii. Actually, I could handle going alone, if I could afford it. After all, you don’t have to have a husband to visit Paradise."

"Absolutely not." Cathy grinned. "You could find one over there. After all, brothers vacation alone, too. If nothing else, you could enjoy the male scenery."

"Yeah. Oh, yeah. From the pictures I’ve seen, that view would be better than one of those perfect sunsets."

They rode the rest of the way to school in silence, but Dana’s mind was busy trying to find a plan to get her to Hawaii.

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