Tuesday, April 29, 2008

FEATURED AUTHOR: Megan DiMaria


Megan DiMaria was born and raised in New York State and attended SUNY Plattsburgh where she earned her B.A. Degree in Communications. She has been a radio and television reporter, freelance writer, editor and marketing professional. Her husband’s job moved the family to Pennsylvania, Texas, New Jersey and ultimately Colorado. Megan and her husband live in suburban Denver near their adult children. They often travel back to their roots in Long Island, NY to visit family and get their fill of delicious Italian food.

Megan loves to spend time with other writers and be an encouragement to colleagues on their writing journey. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, HIS Writers, and is assistant director of Words for the Journey Christian Writers Guild, Rocky Mountain Region.

Searching for Spice

Searching for Spice tells the story of Linda Revere, a married woman who wants to have an affair—with her husband of nearly 25 years. Of course life isn’t scripted, and nothing goes according to plan.


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

Life is hard, and that’s a reality that must be accepted. We shouldn’t be caught off guard when we hit a bump in the road. The message I hope readers gain from Searching for Spice is to know you can trust God despite what your circumstances look like. That was a lesson I had to learn during a difficult valley I walked through. At the time it looked like nothing good could come of that situation, but now I see the hand of God guided me. Equally important to me is the message that marriage is valuable and precious and should not be lightly regarded. Another message I hope readers grasp is that friendship is priceless, and we should cherish the people in our lives.

What did you learn while writing this book?

I think one of the most interesting observations I had while writing this book is what characteristics or traits I personally don’t want to display. You know, you put characters in a situation, and then they react. I often found myself thinking, “No, no, no. You shouldn’t do that. You could be misunderstanding the situation or you could hurt someone with your careless words.”

What is the hardest part about the writing business?

Before I had a contract, the hardest part was writing into “a black hole” and wondering if anyone besides me and my critique partners would see my story. Now it’s just trying to manage my regular schedule, deadlines and marketing responsibilities.

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

Without a doubt, it’s that I really am working when I’m home with my laptop. Just because you have the luxury of making your own schedule doesn’t mean you have the luxury of blowing off your responsibilities when you should be home writing.

What marketing have you found that particularly works well for you?

I pass out bookmarks whenever I get that opportunity, which is just about every time I go out in public. I’m the kind of girl who can strike up a conversation with anyone, so it’s not difficult for me to promote my book.

What are three things you wish you'd known before you reached where you are now?

I was fortunate to find American Christian Fiction Writers in January of 2001. This amazing organization does a wonderful job at educating and mentoring writers. I think because I took advantage of all ACFW has to offer and became acquainted with the community of writers, I was fairly prepared for what happened. That said, I believe this business is all about learning, hard work and marketing. People need to know that once you get your contract, you’ve still not arrived.

What’s the most interesting change in your life as a result of being a published author?

I’ve discovered that people perceive that the job title “author” has a certain cachet. They’re more curious about me than if I say I’m a clerk in an office. Other than that, not much has changed. I’m blessed with a wonderful family and incredible friends who see me as the same person who toiled away for 12 years dreaming of being published.

This month our theme is Men In Fiction. Can you give us five male authors you read?

Randy Ingermanson, James Scott Bell, Alton Gansky, Nicholas Sparks, and Michael Snyder’s My Name is Russell Fink is on my TBR list.

Do you have any advice for the aspiring writer?

Write regularly, read regularly, join a writers group or two, hang out with writers, have your work critiqued and attend conferences if you can. I confess, many times in my writing journey I was tempted to throw in the towel. But the moral of the story is, don’t give up. Hold on to your dreams. Press on. Trust God.

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

Readers can find me online at my blog at megandimaria.blogspot.com and my website, megandimaria.com. If you want to drop me a line, there’s an “email” button on my site.

Monday, April 28, 2008

FEATURED AUTHOR: David Rivera


David begins and ends his days with one prayer:

May the evil man be good.
May the good man find peace.
May he who finds peace be free; and,
May he who is free make others free."

David Rivera Jr., has been writing short stories for his own entertainment since high school. He has been inspired by the writings of the contemporary black male writers that have emerged in the past few years.

His first book, Harlem's Dragon, has been met with great enthusiasm by other writers – most notably by Zane, as well as literary critics. In a recent interview, David admitted that the sex scenes depicted in his writings are taken from some of his personal experiences and enhanced for the entertainment of his readers. He enjoys the erotic writing of Anne Rice and hopes to master a full spectrum of writing genres just as she has. As a man of color, David has taken on the task of showing African American men in a more positive light in his writing. He believes that every black man has the responsibility of contributing something of worth to his community. The proof that he is doing his share becomes apparent in his writing.

David, the youngest of three siblings, was born in the old Lincoln Hospital in the South Bronx on January 14, 1965. He grew up in the South Bronx and graduated from Norman Thomas High School located in midtown Manhattan in 1982. David has lived in Harlem for the past 20 years. He holds a Bachelors degree in Sociology and a Masters of Science degree in Public Administration.

PLAYING IN THE DARK:

Beautiful women, seductive men and saged priestesses are intriguing characters used to spin this urban legend of seduction, sex and suspense. Return to Harlem, NYC to experience Playing in the Dark, The Emptiness that Love Brings -- another must read erotic thriller by David Rivera, Jr., author of Harlem's Dragon and The Street Sweeper.

The irresistibly sexy, Chemah Rivers is in pursuit of a ruthless killer whose sole purpose is to destroy the highly celebrated NYC detective. The ensuing chase blazes an international path of deception and destruction strewn with broken bodies and souls. There are no limits to the quest for ultimate possession, including using those Chemah holds most dear as pawns in this deadly game of cat and mouse.

From the opening seduction to the final love scene, Playing in the Dark is a cover-to-cover read - sure to keep new readers up well past their bedtimes and draw avid Chemah fans deeper into the Dragon's den


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

I want my readers to feel like they’ve just returned from a mini-vacation – relaxed and generally in a good mood. Although you can find different meanings in my stories, I write purely for entertainment purposes. I want my stories to give readers with a good excuse to kick back, take a deep breathe and live vicariously through normal people placed in very abnormal situations. I want my readers to have a cathartic experience – having the opportunity and space to laugh out loud, cry tears, and most importantly want to make love.

Can you tell us about Chemah Rivers and what inspired him?

Chemah was inspired by my desire to recast men of color in a positive light through urban literature. I was careful not to make him “a dream” or “perfect” – because, as men … we just aren’t. Although he struggles with age-old issues of manhood, fatherhood and brotherhood, he’s innovative in his thought and approach to these issues. He’s a 21st century superhero – fighting bad guys at all hours of the day and night, while finding time to brush his daughter’s ponytails, be a role model for his son and a sensitive partner to his lady.

What did you learn while writing this book?

In my previous books, I didn’t do a whole lot of research. With this book, I spent a lot of time researching various aspects of the story. I was very deliberate in my attempt blur fact and fiction as much as possible. The results of the research greatly enhanced the overall imagery in the book.

What is the hardest part about the writing business?

Maintaining the creative edge – although the genres stay the same the challenge is to remain relevant to everyday life which changes constantly. What’s funny today may not be funny tomorrow.

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

Writing is a process – it’s not as easy as it looks.

What marketing have you found that particularly works well for you?

Word of mouth

Book Club Discussions and Appearances – I will readily visit any book club that invites me.

What are three things you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now?

I really didn’t know anything about the business of writing so I am still on a really steep learning curve. If I have to narrow down to three things, they would be:

1. Fortune does not come with fame – I’ve been a lot of different places where people recognize me, ask me for my autograph and even take pictures with me, but I haven’t made any money yet.

2. Writing for publishing purposes is a purely entrepreneurial undertaking and should be approached with the same level of professionalism and effort as managing and operating your own business.

3. Each project feels like your definitive work – while you’re working on it. When the project is finished, then you feel as though you could have done better and that you will do better the next time. There’s always “the next time.”

This month our theme is Men In Fiction. Can you give us five male authors you read?

Walter Mosley, Paulo Coelho, Stephen King, Dan Brown, John Grisham

Do you have any advice for the aspiring writer?

Writing is a creative process that takes extraordinary discipline. Set aside one hour a day and do nothing but write. Be exact about what time you will begin and end – if you go over the time, that’s fine. You should write without any expectations, sometimes you won’t get what you want – you might only get a sentence, you might write 20 pages, but end up with only three sentences, but those may end up being the most important three sentences in the book.

If you don’t write something, you’ll always have writer’s block.

How can readers get in contact with you?
Direct email address: setodavid@aol.com

Website: davidriverajr.com

EXCERPT: PLAYING IN THE DARK


PLAYING IN THE DARK
by David Rivera

Beautiful women, seductive men and saged priestesses are intriguing characters used to spin this urban legend of seduction, sex and suspense. Return to Harlem, NYC to experience Playing in the Dark, The Emptiness that Love Brings -- another must read erotic thriller by David Rivera, Jr., author of Harlem's Dragon and The Street Sweeper.

The irresistibly sexy, Chemah Rivers is in pursuit of a ruthless killer whose sole purpose is to destroy the highly celebrated NYC detective. The ensuing chase blazes an international path of deception and destruction strewn with broken bodies and souls. There are no limits to the quest for ultimate possession, including using those Chemah holds most dear as pawns in this deadly game of cat and mouse.

From the opening seduction to the final love scene, Playing in the Dark is a cover-to-cover read - sure to keep new readers up well past their bedtimes and draw avid Chemah fans deeper into the Dragon's den

Chapter 1

Genesis 19 ½

Bereft wound his way through Sodom's crowded streets. He was enjoying the powerful new body he recently acquired. It belonged to a Kemetan slave trader who strayed too far from the spiritual path of his ancestors. Bereft could only possess and corrupt the wayward, but that was not a problem as he could identify those who were open to him easily enough. He had found this one in a house of the most ill repute. The Kemetan was brutally bending the fallen woman's body to his will and Bereft decided to continue fornicating with the whore when he entered the slave trader. The Kemetan was holding her one leg behind her neck and was convulsing a torrent of semen into her when Bereft entered him. The pain in her face was intoxicating to Bereft. The woman was a worthwhile prize and Bereft would have taken her instead if not for her missing leg and his need for a male body at this time. The woman noticed the change in her temporal lover instantly when she saw the passion in his eyes replaced by malice. Bereft would have gotten pleasure from choking the life from her at that moment, but decided to save her for another time. Maybe tomorrow he would come back and break her other leg off. He would fuck her with it, he thought, as he jumped off of her laughing. The woman scampered across the dirty floor to the farthest corner in the hut. Bereft laughed at her fear, absorbing the power he drew from this human emotion.

Bereft's promise to Lot's daughters was a simple one. He would come back to them in a form other than that of the woman he seduced them with the night before. In return they would allow him to secretly observe their father's consecration rituals for fellowship with God. Bereft was convinced that if he could understand God's relationship to men, specifically why God granted them so much mercy and how Lot received his power from God, he would be able to somehow take the power away, harness it for himself, thereby guaranteeing his control over Sodom.

In this city, where every soul was doomed to be lost, any and all spirits could run rampantly without ever being contested, but that freedom was not enough for Bereft. He wanted the absolute authority that came with sovereignty that came with deification. Bereft was recklessly ambitious, he wanted to be more than king of Sodom. He wanted every soul in Sodom subject to his will. He wanted to be a god—adored and worshipped incessantly. Bereft and his four brothers made a grave wager that had driven all but him from this city thus far. It appeared to be an easy bargain. Each brother had one attempt at separating Lot from God. A failed attempt meant banishment from the city forever. His brothers had tried and all had failed. Bereft was the last to try. His attempt at seducing Lot had to be calculated and precise, lest his try at the halo over Lot's head be as futile as his brothers' had been. If he failed this one time, the wager would be null and his brothers would be allowed to return and the city. Sodom would never be his to rule alone.

Lot's daughters, Shelena and Miriam, were waiting for Bereft behind the small shack where the animals were kept. The girls, who were ages twenty and twenty-one respectively, were no match for Bereft's seductive nature. He winked and smiled at them and they knew him as soon as they met his gaze. His eyes were always the same. They smoldered with malevolence. The icy evil in his eyes had a chilling but hypnotic effect on all who looked into them. Despite Bereft's transformative powers, he could not change his eyes or their sinister gaze.

Shelena and Miriam were old maids by the standards of their tribe. Most considered it a sin that they lived with their father without husbands or children. They felt it was disgraceful that their father had not already married them off. They were more beautiful than any other women in the city and they looked so much alike that everyone thought they were twins. Both had olive skin that held no blemishes, their eyes were green like emeralds in pools of water. Their mouths were full and red, yet they wore no paint on their faces. Each had hair so black and thick that all women who saw them were instantly jealous.

Their father, Lot, left them and their mother on many occasions while he went into the mountains to commune with God. When he was gone for long periods, the girls secretly watched their mother entertain assorted men in their father's bed when she thought they were asleep. She allowed men to put the hard fleshy meat they kept between their legs into the soft wet opening between hers. At first, the exhibitions frightened them, the way she would grunt and scream when the men with the biggest flesh under their robes would ram themselves into her. After a time they came to realize that those were the men their mother favored the most. She enjoyed spending time with them and the girls watched and learned the joys of being with men through their spying.

When Bereft left Shelena and Miriam yesterday, they were in a sweated heap on the floor of the stable behind their home. He had introduced them to his body, which at the time was that of a twenty-five-year-old woman whom he had possessed after watching her fornicate with her husband's best friend. First he plied them with wine, knowing that after their hard work with the animals, it would be enough to erase all of their bewilderment at the responses their bodies would have to the lewd acts to be performed. He teased them both with his fingers, simultaneously entering them with the longest digit of each of his hands as they lay on the hay-strewn floor with their legs opened wide. When he brought them to the edge of ecstasy and they could take it no longer, Bereft bent his head to Shelena's venus and placed the full mouth that was now his against the lips that hid her birth opening. Miriam recognized the look on her sister's face immediately. She had seen that look of rapture on her mother's face quite often. She couldn't wait to have this woman's mouth on her birth opening too. When it was her turn, she thrust her hips into the face of the wanton woman boldly. She spilled such copious amounts of fluid into the woman's mouth that she thought at one point that she might be urinating unwittingly.

Now Bereft came to them as a large, onyx-colored male with the features of the royal family of Egypt plainly upon his visage.

"Do you recognize me, Shelena? Miriam?" he addressed one, then the other.

The two young women spent last night in the corner that they shared in their father's hovel, quietly giggling at the crazy woman's claim of having the ability to change her form to that of a man. They discussed, in hushed tones, the experiences they had sharing their bodies with the woman who called herself Bereft and how she succumbed to their beauty, devoutly worshipping their flesh. They fell asleep in a dilemma of guilty pleasure, vacillating between dread for the acts they committed and desire for another encounter with Bereft.

Now Miriam and Shelena stood still as Bereft came toward them. The sisters were frozen in fear. There was no doubt in either of their minds that the entity in front of them and the being who had seduced them yesterday were one and the same.

Bereft held his hand out to Miriam and she could not stop her feet from going to him. Shelena wanted to run, but she found his eyes latched on to her soul and knew that her will was his. When Miriam reached the spot where Bereft stood, he only slightly touched the top of her head and she dropped immediately to her knees in front of him. The front of his robe was frighteningly extended from his waist and she knew the man flesh beneath the robe was more than she or her sister had ever witnessed while watching their mother's affairs. Bereft grabbed a handful of Miriam's hair and pressed her face into his groin. She felt the length of him press against her face, from the tip of her jaw past the top of her head. He kept her face pressed against him as he pulled his robe over his head with his other hand. The fabric of the tunic was rough, scraping her lips raw as he drew it up slowly over his head, taking care to ensure Miriam could not move away. As the fabric gave way to flesh, Miriam's mouth dropped open in astonishment.

"Oh."

Bereft wasted no time. He saw the chasm of her mouth and thrust forward. Miriam's mouth snapped closed in time to keep from being filled.

Friday, April 25, 2008

FEATURED AUTHOR: Amy Wallace


Amy Wallace is the author of Ransomed Dreams and Healing Promises, a wife, homeschool mom of three, speaker, Bible study leader, and avid chocoholic. She loves crafting high-action suspense that delves deep into heart issues. But who she really is can be summed up in a few short words: Amy is a daughter of the King learning to live and love with laughter.

Healing Promises, book 2 in the Defenders of Hope series:
Healing Promises is a high-voltage romantic suspense novel which explores how a life-threatening medical diagnosis and the search for an elusive serial kidnapper affects even the most solid, loving Christian marriage and poses a key life question: Can God be trusted when things don’t go the way we prayed?

Healing Promises

Facing a new threat. When FBI Agent Clint Rollins takes a bullet during a standoff, it might just save his life. But not even the ugly things he’s seen during his years working in the Crimes Against Children Unit could prepare him for the overwhelming powerlessness of hospital tests revealing an unexpected diagnosis. If only Sara weren’t retreating into doctor mode…he needs his wife now more than ever. Frozen in fear. Sara Rollins is an oncologist with a mission–beating cancer when she can, easing her patients’ suffering at the very least. Now the life of her tall Texan husband is at stake. She never let the odds steal her hope before, but in this case, the question of God’s healing promises is personal. Can she hold on to the truth she claimed to believe? Faith under fire. As Clint continues to track down a serial kidnapper despite his illness, former investigations haunt his nightmares, pushing him beyond solving the case into risking his life and career. Clint struggles to believe God is still the God of miracles. Especially when he needs not one, but two. Everything in his life is reduced to one all-important question: Can God be trusted?

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

My prayer is that as readers become involved in Clint and Sara’s journey, they'll experience a deeper sense of the goodness and trustworthiness of God, even when life doesn’t go the way we prayed. I also hope readers will see that at the end of ourselves only one truth remains—God is good. What we do with that fact changes everything.

What did you learn while writing this book?

Writing this story brought to the forefront some painful memories. But as I typed and cried out to God, He taught me again how true Job 1:21 is. The Lord gives and takes away. But in it all, blessed be His name. It took me a long time to experience the truth of that verse when I lost a dear friend after praying for his healing for over three years. It took a longer time to bless His name when I lost a baby. But looking back I see even more clearly that I never walked a step of this journey alone. And very often, I didn’t even do the walking because God carried me.

What inspired the Defenders of Hope series?

Long before I had any idea I’d become a novelist, I sat glued to my TV, watching with the rest of America as the events of 9-11 unfolded. I stayed transfixed and crying for over a week, numb and yet so full of pain at the same time. But while watching the firefighters, police, military and FBI being real-life heroes, a deep desire to pay tribute to them started to grow. I had no idea what God would do with that desire. All I knew was He had planted a seed. Not long after, God watered that desire with a literal dream, an amazing husband who believed in me and an awesome federal agent contact. That long-ago seed of an idea grew into the three-book Defenders of Hope series.

What is the hardest part about the writing business?

The hardest part about this business is fighting the lies the enemy whispers at every turn. Lies about worth, ability and just about every detail of the writing life. But praise God, there’s an answer for every lie. And that answer can be summed up with remembering who we are in Christ and that He has called us, not according to our works, but according to His purpose and grace which He granted us in Christ before the beginning of time. (paraphrase of 1 Timothy 1:8-9)

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

I wish non-writers understood that the voices in our heads don’t qualify us for a mental health assessment. Although…. ;-)

Seriously, I do wish non-writers understood how much blood, sweat and tears we put into our work. We’re not in this for the money, but to honor the One who called us and to share the story that’s birthed from the deepest parts of our souls.

What marketing have you found that particularly works well for you?

I love doing blog tours and interviews—online, TV and radio. They’re an opportunity for me to spend a few minutes with readers connecting, sharing and hopefully encouraging them to dream big and seek the Lord in all they do.

I also really enjoy speaking to book clubs. What a great way to further the conversation between author and reader that begins when someone picks up a book.

I never imagined I’d enjoy marketing. But it’s become something I enjoy because I’ve learned it’s not about selling books. It’s about connecting with readers and sharing what God has done as I walk through the doors God opens and trust Him with the outcome.

What are three things you wish you'd known before you reached where you are now?

I wish I’d known that a closed mouth gathers no problems.

That a good night sleep is far more valuable than one last scene written at 1 AM.

And that God can do more in five minutes than I can in five hours of stressing.

This month our theme is Men In Fiction. Can you give us five male authors you read?

One of my favorite authors is Mark Mynheir. I also enjoy Creston Mapes, Brandt Dodson, C.S. Lewis, and Max Lucado.

Do you have any advice for the aspiring writer?

Tell your story. And in so doing, worship. The writing life is a tough journey filled with sacrifice. That’s why I love 2 Samuel 24:24—I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God that which cost me nothing. When you consider your writing and all the good, bad and ugly of it, lay it at the feet of Jesus. Then rest, knowing your sacrifice is well received by the One who smiles and loves you more than you can imagine.

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

I love to hear from readers, and I’d be honored if you’d drop me a note when you visit the Heart Chocolate site www.amywallace.com. Another awesome way to keep in touch is to join the Dark Chocolate Suspense newsletter. I look forward to hearing from you!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

GUEST BLOGGER: BESTSELLING AUTHOR R. BARRI FLOWERS


Hello, LaShaunda and other friends and fans of romance fiction:

I am delighted to be the guest blogger this day as part of the MEN IN FICTION discussion.

To be sure, men are a big part of the fiction scene today with some of the hottest names in the business being James Patterson, John Lescroart, Nicholas Sparks, Eric Dickey, David Baldacci , and Carl Weber just to name a few.

I happen to be one of the men making a name for himself as a novelist. I write contemporary romances, mysteries, and mainstream fiction, and having a great time in this fascinating world of fiction.

How did you get started writing fiction?

I actually got started by writing short stories for magazines—including romance, mysteries and sci fi.

From there I became a bestselling nonfiction writer before returning to fiction, my true love. Since childhood I have had an active imagination, which has served me well in writing creative and complex stories with three dimensional characters.

Tell us about your latest book?

It is a contemporary romance under the pseudonym, Devon Vaughn Archer, published by Harlequin/Kimani, entitled, DESTINED TO MEET.

When children’s book author and widow, Courtney Hudson, agrees to go out to a club with her cousin Phoebe, little did she imagine a night of passion with a sexy Alaskan detective, Lloyd Vance.

Only the night is also marked by tragedy when Phoebe is killed by a hit and run driver. Further, Courtney learns that Lloyd dated Phoebe, making Courtney leery as to whether he can be trusted.

As she comes to know Lloyd better, Courtney begins to believe he is the real deal, but with the cloud of Phoebe’s death hanging over their heads, Courtney wants to see justice served first and foremost, and fears that the distraction of romance and passion could impact Lloyd’s ability to do his job.

Lloyd Vance came to Lake Berri to work for the city’s police department and escape his own past marked by child abandonment and unfulfilling relationships.

When he happened upon the gorgeous woman named Courtney at club, he never knew she was the cousin of Phoebe, whom he’d gone out with a couple of times. Phoebe never affected him the way Courtney has.

Now he was investigating Phoebe’s death and searching for the hit and run driver. At the same time, Lloyd is falling in love with Courtney and hoping that a serious relationship doesn’t hinge on his ability to solve the case.

Well-meaning family and friends are only too happy to give advice and/or try to steer them in other directions.

In the end, Courtney and Lloyd discover what it means when early lust gives way to all consuming love and desire to give in to their destiny.

What do you have published as a mystery and mainstream novelist?

My mystery novels include STATE’S EVIDENCE (Dorchester, 2006), JUSTICE SERVED (Dorchester, 2005), and PERSUASIVE EVIDENCE (Dorchester, 2004).

JUSTICE SERVED was nominated for a Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award.

On the mainstream front, I have written a novel titled, THE STREETS OF PARADISE BAY that I am working on placing with a publisher.

How do you managed to move back and forth between various genres?

It’s not difficult at all. Each genre requires only knowing what it is all about in terms of plotting and characterization. Also helps to be an avid reader of all types of fiction, which makes for excellent training ground as a writer.

Which genre do you most enjoy writing?

I honestly can say that I love writing in every genre that I am currently involved in. each brings something different to the table.

If pressed, I would probably lean toward romance fiction as it allows me to tear down stereotypes that men cannot write romance fiction, though it has often been proven otherwise with such well regarded male authored romances as LOVE STORY, BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY, and MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE.

Besides that, as a married man who gives undivided attention to the love of my own life, I am only too happy to pass some of my own romantic vibes onto the characters in my romance novels.

How have your life experiences helped you as a writer?

My experiences in life have helped me as a writer mainly through the maturity process that comes with age; along with observing human nature all around me to draw upon in creating entertaining tales with vibrant, realistic characters.

How do you promote yourself as an author?

I promote myself as a novelist through TV, radio, the Internet, book conferences, conventions, and signings, along with a strong website. In this day and age with so much competition in writing fiction, it is more important than ever to utilize every avenue to build on your brand and increase exposure.

With respect to TV, in February 2008, I appeared on the Biography Channel’s Crime Stories, to talk about serial killers and police procedures.

I have also just taped a TV interview for the Investigation Discovery channel’s new crime series, Wicked Attraction. I discuss the dynamics of killer couples and what makes them tick. The episode will premiere during the Fall 2008 season.

On radio, I recently gave an interview to iRock Talk Radio (www.iRockTalkRadio.com). It can be heard online at:

http://irocktalkradio.com/JR_Show_devon_archer.htm


What upcoming books can we expect from you?

I am the editor of a collection of mystery short stories from bestselling, award winning members of the American Crime Writers League, titled, MURDER PAST, MURDER PRESENT. The anthology will be published by Twilight Times Books in the summer of 2009.

I also just signed with Harlequin/Kimani for two new romances, IT HAD TO BE HIM and CHRISTMAS DIAMONDS, to be published in May 2009 and December 2009, respectively.

I am currently working on a procedural mystery, A KILLER IN PARADISE, and a crime thriller, DEATH CRIES.

How can readers learn more about you and your writings?

I am always happy to have readers contact me, join my newsletter, and learn more about my current and upcoming books, signings, and more.

Check me out at these online sites:

Official Website of R. Barri Flowers:
http://www.rbarriflowers.com/





Devon Vaughn Archer’s web page:
http://www.rbarriflowers.com/DevonVaughnArcher.html


Monday, April 21, 2008

ARE YOU READING THIS?

CHOICES

Making choices had come easily for Lara Boyd, until an unlikely ultimatum from her fiancé changed everything.

Six years later, the kindergarten teacher is heartbroken, love-leery, and certain her dreams for husband and family will remain just that. But everything changes when widowed illustrator Ryan Andrews and his young son, Justin, enter her classroom, and Lara finds herself making choices she never thought she would, in the name of a love she never thought she'd have.

Three years widowed, Mr. Mom Ryan Andrews never thought he'd want to date again, but one look at Lara Boyd changes that. If feeling attraction isn't enough of a surprise, his dead wife appearing and urging him to finally move on definitely is. With Justin's encouragement and his wife's prodding, Ryan chooses to pursue the relationship, a choice that does not sit well with everyone in his life, and proves the power of love can make the easiest choices the most painful.


Choices

Tammy Williams

Genesis Press

April 1, 2008

ISBN-10: 1585713007

ISBN-13: 978-1585713004

http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?e=001LRNxpgDl0jlvP8AyoAwS4EtmlhnIa-EnQWUh5ibtxojd7w98oeCq6UVtnrpNhXon8OamRnTv5-fwRqOrHVh7Em6oNsz0PcT9qCr_6h6LHxTJSw23gIuUwT2NLcNZ2eBE

FEATURED AUTHOR: Xavier Knight


Xavier Knight is the pseudonym of C. Kelly Robinson. A native of Dayton, Ohio and graduate of Howard University and Washington University in St. Louis, Robinson is a marketing communications manager by day and has a long record of volunteer experience across organizations including United Way, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Mentor St. Louis, and Student Venture Ministries. Author of five previous novels including the best-selling No More Mr. Nice Guy and the critically acclaimed Between Brothers (Random House) he lives outside Dayton with his wife and daughter. He is hard at work on his next novel and a nonfiction project.

The Things We Do For Love

Jesse Law, a lead singer of the fast-rising gospel supergroup Men with a Message, is caught between two sets of secrets – his own, and that of his best friend and co-lead singer, Coleman Hill. Jesse, a former secular star who left a life of debauchery behind to accept Christ and build a family with his minister wife, Dionne, is hiding a devastating secret concerning the identity of the child he and Dionne are about to adopt. Meanwhile, Coleman’s marriage to Dionne’s close friend Suzette falters when he is outed for a homosexual past. This story of two Christian marriages rocked by scandal is about the limits of love when placed in a spiritual context.


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

I hope that readers will be inspired by seeing two couples who are fighting for their marriages against all odds, in the types of situations where the average friend would lean over to these wives and say, "Girl, you should walk out the door . . ." Bottom line, every marriage faces its share of perils but when you come to it with a spiritual component you have an edge at surviving the valleys, though plenty of Christians have messed up this venerable institution!

Why did you decide to write Christian Fiction?

It was a natural move for me as I got further into my thirties and the market began to change. As a Christian I had always included elements of spirituality in my books, I just had to toe a line because I was classified as "secular". It has been freeing to write openly about people who are Christians and are approaching their conflicts with scripture, prayer and fellowship in mind. Not to say they are perfect “reading one page will show you that" but they are trying to address their human shortcomings with a spiritual component.

What did you learn while writing this book?

Probably learning how to smoothly integrate scriptural passages, and characters' thoughts on them, was a big challenge. This also helped me challenge myself to be more mindful of truly applying scripture in my own life.

What is the hardest part about the writing business?

From the time you complete your manuscript, it just gets harder. My perspective on the industry is far more cynical than it was when I first broke in, but I still view it as privilege to write for pay, because I would do it for free.

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

That if you invite an author to come speak to your book club or in your city, they most likely need you to foot the costs. People too often are under the mis-impression that we authors are banking! With a few exceptions, not true!

What are three things you wish you'd known before you reached where you are now?

Very interesting question. I will say it like this, if my daughter comes to me eventually and says she wants to follow in my footsteps, I will counsel her to first get a degree in journalism. That seems to be the best way to write full-time and earn a reasonable living. From there I would suggest that she work on her novel or other book project in her spare time, but stay at it and maybe save up additional money if she needs to take time off at some point to finish it off. Finally, I would say that that she should treat book royalty income as investment income, not money to live off of because it can be here today, gone tomorrow.

This month our theme is Men In Fiction. Can you give us five male authors you read?

Sure. If we're speaking of contemporary writers, some of my favorites are Walter Mosley, Scott Turow, Chris Chambers, Eric Dickey and E. Lynn Harris.

Any advice for the aspiring writer?

Just get regular writing time in, at least 2-3 days per week, if you're serious about getting that book done. Stay at it and keep elevating your craft, doors will open for those with the right mix of talent and hard work.

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

Ckrob7071@aol.com or www.ckellyrobinson.com

Friday, April 18, 2008

FEATURED AUTHOR: Sylvia Lett


I reside in Garland, Texas with her children, Michael and Courtney. She is not only a published author, but a playwright as well.

Books in print: 4

Self-Published - For Christina’s Sake, I Wish I Had Waited
Kensington - Perfect For You (March 2007), Like Never Before (April 2008)

I Wish I Had Waited play debuted at the Plaza Theatre in 2005. Two years later, the venue “Sold Out” Carpenter Performance Hall in Irving, Texas. Next scheduled venue March 2009 at CPH.

The new play, Game Over will debut in 2009. This one is for young men. The novel is in process.

Like Never Before


Danielle was leading an uneventful life, until Greg, moved back to Dallas. He made her remember what was like to feel passion. Suddenly her well-ordered world is spinning out of control. She is torn between running from Greg and running to him.

Greg wanted forever, but Danielle wasn’t ready or willing to test the waters of a relationship with him again. What she offered was something totally unexpected. She wanted a no-frills, no-commitment, no-strings liaison.

Just when Danielle decides to give their relationship another chance, secrets, lies, and past mistakes tear them apart.

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

Sometimes, but not always, second chances are possible.

What did you learn while writing this book?

I learned alot about forgiveness. I also learned that we all make mistakes. No one is perfect. It is alright to forgive, but learn something from the experience.

What is the hardest part about the writing business?

Making connections in the industry, I was lucky and someone referred me to my Agent.

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

It's not as easy as you may think. A lot of hard work goes into each manuscript. Every book is not for everyone.

What marketing have you found that particularly works well for you?

The internet and book signings.

What are three things you wish you'd known before you reached where you are now?

How much time and energy it takes to become a successful author, playwright? The first book may not make you. Not everyone will be able to live off book royalties, so don't quit your day job. Also, have a very thick skin. Not everyone will like your work.

Can you tell us about your play, I Wish I Had Waited?

I Wish I Had Waited is my first teen novel. It promotes abstinence. It shows what can happen when teens rush to grow up too fast. It also proves that every day teen issues crosses all racial and socio-economical boundaries. These issues can have lasting effects on the individual as well as the family unit.

The play had its 1st curtain at the Plaza Theater in Garland in 2005. In April 2007, we had our first "Sold Out" show(707 seats) at Carpenter Performance Hall in Irving. We are scheduled for another performance there in March 2009.

This month our theme is Men In Fiction. Can you give us five male authors you read?

Brandon Massey and James Patterson. I have to admit, I have not read a lot of male authors.

Do you have any advice for the aspiring writer?

Follow your dream. Don't give up. It took me 20 years to get up the courage to publish my first novel. My fourth book is due out this month. I also just finished another teen play and now I'm working on the novel for the play.

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

My two email addresses are: slylett@verizon.net, slylett@gmail.com

My website is http://www.lettsdreambigpublishing.com/


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

DEBUT AUTHOR: Niambi Brown Davis

EDITOR NOTE: It’s always a pleasure to introduce you to a member of SORMAG’s Community who has achieved their publishing dream. For me it’s an inspiration to see someone who has stumbled down the publishing road and never give up on her dream of publication. Niambi is a loyal supporter of SORMAG and has attended the online conference soaking up the information on writing. She didn’t tell me she had a book coming out, I was pleasantly surprised when I received an advance copy of it. For you writers out there who believe the publishing road never ends, don’t you turn back. Dreams do come true, you too can see your name on a book. Please meet, Niambi Brown Davis debut author.


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

I was born in Philadelphia but raised on the Eastern Shore of Maryland where I now reside. My family and I lived for many years in Washington, DC and for a time in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. I’ve been an avid reader since first grade (we didn’t have kindergarten back in the olden days) when I realized those 26 letters could be turned into words. I came to writing much later in life, right after I bought a computer and stumbled into the wonderful world of African American literature. RAWSISTAZ was the first group I joined. When I learned that an online class would be taught by writers whose work I enjoyed, I signed up, and the rest is history!

Tell us about your current book.

From Dusk to Dawn is a story of two people who are opposites in every way. Their initial clashes give way to a love that is deeper than either of them imagined. That love is put to the test many times, but when they’re faced with the greatest challenge to their union, each of them must decide how far they’re willing to go or how much they’re willing to sacrifice in the name of love.

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

It’s easy to judge a person by their name, their religion, where they’re from or the job they do. But we miss out when we put up barriers based on surface judgments. Somewhere I read that there are only two emotions – love and fear. They cannot exist in the same place, and there is no good outcome to a decision based upon fear. And just like the truth, real love can’t hide forever.

Are you’re a morning writer or a night writer?

I’m a morning person, but I’m an anytime writer. Most of From Dusk to Dawn was written at the crack of dawn when the house was quiet and I was the only person awake. I’d get up at 5:00 and get in at least two hours before my other life called. However, I can write at any time, especially when an idea just won’t leave me alone. I’ve been known to wake up in the middle of the night bursting with just the right description or dialogue and grabbing a piece of paper to write it down.

What aspects of writing do you love the best and which do you hate the most?

There’s a place in writing when I hit that “ah-ha” space. I’m not struggling to make sense and the words flow without effort, especially when I’m writing in long-hand. Second to that is research. It’s so easy to get caught up, to click from link to link, or read past the point in a book where I should stop. I sometimes lose myself in the research instead of the writing.

Simply said, I hate it when I’ve hit my stride but have to stop in mid-stream.

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

For me, it was not something I wish I’d known; rather it was my own reaction to certain things that are simply out of an author’s hands. I’ve attended a few conferences where I listened to authors describe their journey to publishing; I’ve even talked to friends who are published authors. Intellectually, I was prepared, but when my book appeared on Amazon before I knew it would happen, I was genuinely shocked. Now, logic and emotion are a little more aligned.

What’s the most interesting change in your life as a result of being a published author?

There haven’t been many changes yet, except that I’ve become more organized, a trait that I’ve been working on diligently since the first of the year. I’m finding that there aren’t enough hours in the day. There is so much to be done in the promotion of a book that if I’m not careful, anything not related to From Dusk to Dawn will fall through the cracks and by the wayside.

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

It’s not as easy as it looks; there’s no magic map with a straight line from “go” until “the end.”

Name your top five favorite writing books.

In the beginning I purchased a few, but reading about writing didn’t work for me. My brain learns best through hands-on. I jump in, swim, and then figure it out.

What do you do to make time for yourself?

I love libraries, museums and eating out. I’m also deeply involved in researching and documenting the history of both sides of my family, which is as relaxing as it is hard work. Recently, I’ve discovered the world of scrapbooking, which could become an obsession if I let it. And in the summer and fall, I enjoy sailing.

This month our theme is Men in Fiction. Which male authors do you read?

I’ve enjoyed books by Brandon Massey, Gary Hardwick, and James McBride as well as Robert Greer and his wonderful series featuring C.J. Floyd, an African American bail bondsman/bounty hunter.

How can readers get in contact with you?

Please visit my website at http://www.niambibrowndavis.com/, and email me at niambi@niambibrowndavis.com

Read my blog at http://niambibrowndavis.blogspot.com/ and visit me at http://myspace.com/niambibrowndavis.

Thanks for inviting me to SORMAG. It too was one of the places that inspired and encouraged me to write.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

SORMAG READERS CHOICE AWARDS - 2007

The Best Multi-Cultural Romance Book Of The Year

Deliver Me - Farrah Rochon



The Best Multi-Cultural Romance Author Of The Year

Farrah Rochon


The Best Multi-Cultural New Romance Author Of The Year

Farrah Rochon


The Best Multi-Cultural Fiction Book Of The Year

Slow Burn - Ebony Farashuu



The Best Multi-Cultural Fiction Author Of The Year

Ebony Farashuu


The Best Multi-Cultural New Fiction Author Of The Year

Ebony Farashuu


The Best Multi-Cultural Christian Romance Book Of The Year

Into Each Life - Shelia Lipsey





The Best Multi-Cultural Christian Romance Author Of The Year

Shelia Lipsey


The Best Multi-Cultural New Christian Romance Author Of The Year

Shelia Lipsey


The Best Multi-Cultural Christian Fiction Book Of The Year

The Triumph of My Soul



The Best Multi-Cultural Christian Fiction Author Of The Year

TIE

Carole McDonnell

Shelia Lipsey


The Best Multi-Cultural New Christian Fiction Author Of The Year

Shelia Lipsey


The Best Multi-Cultural Self Published Book Of The Year

Being Plumville



The Best Multi-Cultural Self Published Author Of The Year

TIE

Sylvia Hubbard

Ann Clay

Savannah Frierson


The Best Multi-Cultural New Self Published Author Of The Year

Savannah Frierson


The Best SORMAG Featured Author

TIE

Linda Wattley

Wynter Cuthbert

Monday, April 14, 2008

FEATURED AUTHOR: Alex Hairston



Alex Hairston was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. He is a former U.S. Naval Hospital Corpsman, a graduate of the Johnston School of Practical Nursing, and is currently employed as a Home Health Nurse. Alex is the author of the novels For Lovers Only, She Creeps, If Only You Knew, and Love Don’t Come Easy. He resides in Randallstown, Maryland, with his wife and three kids.

Erin…


After having my heart broken by my ex, I was all about friends-with-benefits and having a good time. The last thing I wanted was something heavy with my new neighbor Joel. So my roommate Kenya and I decided to have a little fun with him. But Joel’s sensual, romantic side is sparking a hunger in me for something much more than sex with no strings attached…

Kenya…

With all the players out there, Erin and I always joked that if either of us ever found a good man we’d share him. And that’s exactly what we did when Erin told me about Joel’s skills in the bedroom. The only problem now is that I want him to myself…

And Joel…

I thought that Erin was the only woman for me. But her friend Kenya was just as appealing. When they proposed that we become a threesome, my hottest fantasy became reality. And before I knew what was happening, I found myself falling hard—for both of them.

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

After reading For Lovers Only I would like readers to come away with a better understanding of polyamorous relationships and to realize that poly relationships aren’t just about sex, but largely based on love and commitment.

What inspired a threesome story?

I really wanted to get back to what I do best and that's writing sexy stories. I’ve always wanted to write about a threesome. Being with two women is probably ever man’s fantasy. I wanted to turn the tables a little. In For Lovers Only my main character Joel finds himself between two very attractive women who want to live out their fantasy.

What did you learn while writing this book?

Writing this book made me realize how much I love making love and being in love. Of course it made me think about how much fun it would be to be part of a threesome.

What is the hardest part about the writing business?

The business part. That’s what takes the fun out of writing. After you’re in the business for a while it becomes a numbers game. The biggest challenge is gaining media exposure. There aren’t a lot of media outlets who really care about showcasing authors.

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

I wish the average person understood the writing process and realized how much planning, writing time and dedication goes into creating a novel.

What marketing have you found that particularly works well for you?

Marketing directly to book clubs over the Internet has proven to work well for me over the years.

What are three things you wish you'd known before you reached where you are now?

I wish I had known how much stress came along with being an author and how much taking a two-year break would impact my career. I really wish I had learned to market myself and my books better. I got off to a great start with my first and most successful novel, Love Don’t Come Easy and then the industry changed.

I read you were former Navy, I’m a Navy Vet too. Have you ever consider doing a story about your Navy experiences?

No. I have to laugh because my experiences were pretty boring and probably wouldn’t make good reading material. I would definitely have to make up something or write about someone else's experiences.

This month our theme is Men In Fiction. Can you give us five male authors you read?

Richard Wright, Eric Jerome Dickey, E. Lynn Harris, Michael Baisden and Omar Tyree.

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

My email address is alexhairston@yahoo.com and my website is www.alexhairston.com.

Friday, April 11, 2008

FEATURED AUTHOR: Bettye Griffin


Bettye Griffin writes women’s fiction for Dafina Books. Her 14th novel, Once Upon a Project, will be released on April 29th. A native of Yonkers, New York, Bettye lives in the Far North Chicago suburbs with her husband. For more about Bettye and her books, visit her web site (http://www.bettyegriffin.com/) and her blog (http://chew-the-fat-with-bettye.blogspot.com/).

ONCE UPON A PROJECT

Turning 50 is especially traumatic for four lifelong friends who grew up in the projects of Chicago's South Side.

ELYSE considers herself to be in her prime, but her husband, 13 years her senior, is slowing down. Is old age creeping up on him, or is something really wrong?

SUSAN's breast cancer has created a rift in her marriage. Fortunately, there's someone waiting to love and care for her. But illness is expensive. Dare she take her children and just walk out on the comforts and security her millionaire husband provides?

PAT gave up the love of her life to please her parents and never recovered . . . or married. Now a new man enters her life. Will she grab a late-life chance at happiness . . . or will her lingering feelings for a love long gone create a new barrier?

GRACE, twice divorced and her only child grown with a family of her own, fears growing old alone. Can she actually find happiness with a younger, less successful man?

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

Just a feeling that it was time well spent. I definitely wouldn’t want anyone to say, ‘Well, that’s six hours of my life I’ll never get back.” But there’s no lesson to be learned, no moral. There won’t be a test when you’re done. I just want readers to enjoy the story. It ain’t homework.

What do you like about writing mainstream fiction?

For those who don’t know, mainstream fiction was always my first calling. I guess I like it for the obvious reason . . . because my only restrictions are reality and plausibility. There’s no long list of don’ts to follow.

What did you learn while writing this book?

In hindsight, I probably had a lot of nerve, deciding to use the city of Chicago as the setting for my new book (the original setting in my proposal was New York) about longtime residents like I’d lived here all my life (I’d been here less than 6 months when I started writing). I picked up quite a few tidbits about Chicago history, like the Blizzard of ’67 and the evolution of what is now known as Six Flags Great America. A PBS documentary about growing up here in the 1960s helped a lot; and so did my husband, who’s a native of Gary, Indiana (I’m an East Coast girl myself).

What is the hardest part about the writing business?

Probably trying to stay focused. It can be difficult to prepare for the release of a new book while still trying to work on the next one. Sometimes I find I have to leave my WIP untouched for a week at a time, which isn’t good for my output. Fortunately, the enthusiasm I have for my work allows me to jump right back in. It’s not like I can afford to hire an assistant.

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

I’m not really concerned about being understood, but I do have to laugh at some of the ideas held about writers. To that end I’d say that books don’t just write themselves, and it’s not as easy as it sounds. Okay, so it’s not digging ditches, but nor do you sit down and complete a book in two weeks, get packed for your whirlwind book tour and then wait for the money to roll in. Uh-uh.

What marketing have you found that particularly works well for you?

Probably the simplest one. I never leave the house without a supply of business cards, which I print myself using Print Shop and update regularly (with art from two my most recent releases (I print on both sides of the card). It’s simple, inexpensive, and the net gains can be extraordinary, if that lady who’s reading in the gynecologist’s waiting room turns out to be a newspaperwoman or in public relations for a major corporation.

What are three things you wish you'd known before you reached where you are now?

Uh . . . where exactly am I? Seriously, I’m just a struggling artist. This question is better reserved for someone a lot higher on the mountain.

This month our theme is Men In Fiction. Can you give us five male authors you read?

I can’t say that I read anyone’s work on a regular basis – my schedule just doesn’t allow for it – but I did enjoy The Million Dollar Divorce by RM Johnson and look forward to the sequel. I had a hard time putting that one down, which rarely happens for me, even if the book is extremely well-written with a good plot. I thank him for waiting a few years and giving me an opportunity to read other authors in the interim. Carl Weber wrote a novella in a collection called, I believe A Dollar and a Dream that I found remarkably vivid and quite impressive. I thought Casanegra, partly written by Blair Underwood and Stephen Barnes, was the best book I read last year. I read a few of E. Lynn Harris’ early works before coming to the conclusion that I tend to get bored by continuing and connecting stories (although I believe he’s an excellent writer). Strangely enough, I’ve never read an Eric Jerome Dickey novel. My all time favorite book by a male writer has to be Blue Heaven by Joe Keenan. He’s not a black author, but he’s got great wit and was one of the head writers on the Frasier TV show for years and until recently worked on Desperate Housewives (although his later books weren’t nearly as good, at least not for me).

Do you have any advice for the aspiring writer?

Learn your craft, of course. Every writer has a bad habit they need to work on, whether it be sentences that run too long, starting every other sentence with an ‘ing’ verb, etc. Find your weakness and get rid of it.

Finish the book (simple advice, but it tends to separate the men from the boys, as they say) polish it, and then start another.

Remember that a bad agent is worse than no agent.

Ask yourself if you’re well aligned with current market tastes. Are you willing to chuck it all if the market turns toward in a direction you’re uncomfortable with, or are you willing to write whatever sells?

Try to avoid being pigeonholed, unless you’re content to stay in one genre for your entire career.

And plan to be a Luther Vandross, not an Angela Bofill. In other words, if you’re unmarried and want to write full time, for God’s sake get health insurance, or else you’re a charity case waiting to happen.

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

Bettye: Mail: P.O. Box 9171, Gurnee, IL 60031. Email: bettye@bettyegriffin.com . Website: http://www.bettyegriffin.com/. Blog: http://chew-the-fat-with-bettye.blogspot.com/ (comments welcome).

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

DEBUT AUTHOR: Victoria Wells


Victoria Wells has been a lover of contemporary romance since reading her first novel at age 15.

Victoria works as an adult nurse practitioner. She lives in the Philadelphia area with her husband and three beautiful children.


Website: http://www.victoria-wells.com/





A Special Summer

In love with the man of her dreams, Summer Jackson's world is perfect bliss...so she thought. Devastation rocks her very existence when handsome Nick Stiles walks out on her, leaving her to put the shattered pieces of her life back together again.

Months later, out of the blue, Nick reappears and is in for the shock of his life! A love that once was so pure is plagued by heartbreak, deceit and betrayal. Will Summer and Nick find true love again?

Monday, April 07, 2008

COVER AUTHOR: Dwight Fryer


Dwight Fryer is an ordained Christian minister and an international marketing manager at FedEx, a graduate of the University of Memphis and Christian Brothers University, a Board of Directors member of Porter-Leath Children's Center and a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. His first novel The Legend of Quito Road earned him a position among the five finalists for Outstanding Literary Work from a Debut Author at the 38th NAACP Image Awards in February 2007.

Visit www.DwightFryer.com for more on Dwight and his work. Dwight is an enthusiast of history and his work has a major crossover following among readers of varied backgrounds. He is a Tennessee native and descended from a family of farm workers who lived on the historic twenty thousand acre Ames Plantation near Grand Junction, Tennessee (www.AmesPlantation.org) Dwight has twenty-five years of business experience in technology, finance, accounting, marketing, and leadership. He and his wife live in a rural area near Memphis. His hobbies include reading, flying stunt kites on the Mississippi River in downtown Memphis, and tooling around the countryside in his '69 Chevy Impala.

THE LEGEND OF QUITO ROAD, a religious man teaches his only son to make illegal white lightning whiskey in 1932 Lucy, Tennessee near Memphis. The novel's main theme is "the worst things wrong with most of us were planted by those who love us the best." Making white lightning just gets in your bones," Papa Gill Erby (the son of Gillam Hale by Rena Erby) told his only boy, Son Erby, during their first trip to a whiskey still. That illicit knowledge transformed Son from pure and innocent to cunning and calculating.


The economic and emotional common ground of Prohibition-era illegal whiskey and cross-race relationships create the story's tension. The book was released in June 2006.

THE LEGEND OF QUITO ROAD communicates complex societal themes in simple, easy to understand language. Readers learn the secrets to whiskey making, molasses cooking, and great Southern barbecue from Ray's father, Gill Erby.

Papa Gill taught Son to smoke whole hogs with wild cherry wood, sassafras root, and pecan tree leaves. This authentic and time-tested family barbecue lesson includes anecdotes and analogies on how the smoke (troubles) and proper seasonings (tragedies) create the flavor in the pork and in life.

THE KNEES OF GULLAH ISLAND


This book examines the life of Gillam Hale, an African American born to free parents in the 1820s in Cumberland, Maryland. His life was untouched by slavery until his African Methodist Episcopal preacher father took him on a trip to minister to the Virginia slaves. Gillam wants beautiful Queen Esther from the moment he sees her, but the only way to purchase her is by distilling illicit whiskey against his family's advice. Though Gillam achieves his aim, his talent for making fine whiskey earns the wrath of jealous white neighbors who kidnap Gillam's family and scatter them to plantations throughout the South.

After the Civil War, Gillam Hale could not find a trace of his wife or five children. He eventually started a second family and his son in that relationship is Papa Gill from my first book, THE LEGEND OF QUITO ROAD. In this prequel, THE KNEES OF GULLAH ISLAND, Gillam finds out what Rena Erby, the woman he has lived with for twenty-five years, never wanted him to know-his wife Queen Esther was on Edisto Island near Charleston in the Carolina Lowcountry (they spell it as one word near Charleston). Gillam left his second family to search for the first. The novel's main theme is "bent knees straighten crooked deeds." That's how African American men learned to leave. They were forced to at first and later it became a bad habit.

THE KNEES OF GULLAH ISLAND follows Gillam, Queen Esther and their son, Joseph, to Charleston, Edisto Island, and the South Carolina Lowcountry in the years surrounding the Civil War and Reconstruction, when the destiny of a nation hung in the balance. Filled with richly drawn characters and details that bring the past to vibrant life, this is a timeless story of love, loss, hope, and rebirth. Gillam Hale is the grandfather of Son Erby from THE LEGEND OF QUITO ROAD and this prequel explores the complex racial dynamics that shaped the South through one family's extraordinary journey to freedom.

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

The theme of The Knees of Gullah Island is "bent knees straighten crooked deeds"? This novel examines the tragedy American slavery was and its impact on today’s families, African American and white. A great deal of evil happens in the world and most of those illicit activities are centered around making money. We don’t like to admit it, but that is what slavery was all about…making money.

Often, we struggle mightily when we encounter those type events in the middle of our lives. The primary message of this novel is to calmly and faithfully do our best against whatever may come and, as my mother often reminds me when we speak, “Don’t forget to pray.” Much of what we see that is pure evil can only be helped via prayer.

Why did you decide to write Historical Fiction?

I have always been a story teller and it is still about the story FIRST for me--it must be compelling. I was in my early thirties and in graduate school at Christian Brothers University. One of my professors liked an economics paper that I wrote about a drug dealer who had cornered one third of the cocaine market in Washington D.C. I wrote this econ paper entitled "Incentives Matter" from the standpoint of moral arguments aside a drug dealer and the people that know that they're selling drugs and the people that help them sell drugs and even their customers perform economic thinking. And, as I moved forward from the years I thought about the similarities between selling crack-cocaine and illegal white lightning whiskey. And that's where the idea for "The Legend of Quito Road" originated. I see huge similarities in moonshine and the sale of illicit drugs today. The glaring similarities include primary ingredients from plant materials, easily learned condensation based manufacturing processes, violence stemming from a strong economic model and the resulting struggle over property rights, secrecy accompanied by community knowledge, strong criminal penalties, and surprisingly similar addiction rates. The professor said I should be published and that was the seed that began my odyssey from there to where I stand today with my literary career.

If people don't understand our history, then we run the risk of repeating it. So today, there are many things that our children need to understand. I really think that we need to understand what has gone on in the past so that — not to pull anybody down or be combative about it or anything like that, or to bring up or open up old wounds — just the fact that we need to know our history. We need to understand from whence we've come so therefore no one can ever devalue us. If we understand how deep and difficult the struggle was of our ancestors and that we came from the best of the best, as one of the chapters of The Knees of Gullah Island is titled, we did come from the best of the best. It took a great deal to go through what African-Americans had to get to this country and then make the huge contributions. Some historians even rumor that when Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin that he got a lot of ideas about how to do so from the slaves on a plantation that he was visiting. So African-Americans — now we didn't own ourselves, our intellectual capital, not even our children were our property; but we made a positive difference in history and we do today, just like we did then. People need to understand that. Black, white, or of any persuasion, they need to know all of history. It's not just Black history, it's our history, and that's the way I tell these stories.

Historical fiction is such an interest to me because I see the way it plays out in our lives today. When I see a young woman today that may have children at too young of a age, I think of a slave girl that was required to do so when she was 13 or 14 because from the moment that child drew breath it was worth $200.00 to $250.00 on its master's balance sheet. I see that impact even across those centuries today in our communities. I also see the men that, like Gillam Hale in my book who was ripped from his family against his will, but too often if they couldn't survive being ripped away like that, they couldn't make it. So today, I think men leaving the home has become a bad habit because of those things that happened in that era. So I like to tell these stories because I think the modern reader needs to think about the similarities in what we're living today.

Also, some of them are just fun. It's just fun to sit around and think about the old times when they were cooking in big, black pots, and making shrimp and grits, and hoppin' John, which is basically black-eyed peas with some form of hog in it served over rice to celebrate New Year’s Day. I think about the struggle and how far we've come and yet how much farther we still need to go. We've made a great deal of progress in our society, but there's still much work that needs to be done.

What did you learn while writing this book?

Charleston and the Carolina Lowcountry (they spell it as one word in South Carolina) is a fascinating area with centuries of history compacted in its culture and geography. The first shots in the Civil War were fired there on the US military garrison at Fort Sumpter. Charleston was the largest slave port in the United States and many historians have called it “Ellis Island South”—four of ten African slaves sold into the US came through that port.

During my study of Gullah culture and its language, a Creole mixture of African dialects and English, I found eye-opening facts that pointed back toward the well-spring from which I have come. I recalled a favorite college speech teacher’s efforts to help me not use “d” at the beginning of many words that start with “th.” This is a Gullah speech trait. During my upbringing, one of my favorite great aunts, Mrs. Emma Sue Prewitt Buntyn, often said “ooman” instead of “woman.” My mother always says “swimps” for the word “shrimps”, despite the most gentle but persistent efforts of her eight children to use the English word we considered more correct.

She is saying it correctly for her culture because swimps and ooman are Gullah words formed and steeped in a rich Sea Island culture of the Carolina Lowcountry and the Eastern sea board. I do not know when, where, or how, but everything within me speaks that some part of the forced migration of my forebears traveled through Charleston or the Atlantic barrier islands along the eastern coast of this country where the Gullah - Geechee culture was formed.

What is the hardest part about the writing business?

This is my second book and it has been a huge task to juggle the many responsibilities I have while completing The Knees of Gullah Island. If you have a living room full of elephant and you nibble away at it, a few bites at a time, you will soon run out of elephant and achieve what you are working to complete. I am married and am the father to an adult daughter. My life has numerous calls on it, I preach and speak on numerous topics and mentor several persons in my professional and personal life. I still work full time in a leadership role at a fortune 500 company. My responsibilities there are significant and I was promoting The Legend of Quito Road while writing this second novel. It has been a very busy, but fruitful time in my life. This period has helped me learn a great deal more about health, wellness, multitasking, and thinking positively.

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

I just turned fifty, but the publication of this second book, The Knees of Gullah Island, makes me feel like a boy at Christmas whose wishes are right in front of him under the family tree. This is my life’s work. It is a privilege and a blessing to have this opportunity. I hope to keep writing until I leave this life. I enjoy telling stories that I hope entertain, enlighten and positively impacts my readers. It is a great deal of work, but a truly wonderful experience.

What marketing have you found that particularly works well for you?

The ability to connect with people works very well for me. So, I have visited with book clubs via the internet, in person, and over the telephone. Also, I have been able to reach customers, and that is what readers are to me, via the radio and television—I have particularly enjoyed internet radio shows. Articles about me or my work in newspapers have also been great. Also, email and other forms of web marketing via my website, blogging activities and networking on sites like myspace have worked great. I also do a great deal of public speaking at community organizations, churches, schools, colleges, bookstores, and businesses. Speaking on various topics from my past experiences that include being a cancer survivor, experiencing the death of a child, business and technology, parenting, history, and writing helps me reach people on a very personal level.

In my workshops, I openly discuss topics that include how a business man with no literary background or physical agent was bless to conceive, develop, write, and sell a main-stream novel to a top-ten publisher—the English Department at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville recently brought me to their campus to teach my workshop on this called “Focus On The Story.” I include anecdotes on what it has been like to walk through all this while I have survived colon cancer and a wreck caused by a driver under the influence and buried my youngest child after a twenty-hour illness from meningitis in 2001. Adrienne died on my birthday, Super Bowl Sunday, two days sacred to me, and many folks, especially men. It took a long time to enjoy those events again, but the joy of another year and the annual NFL clash are again happy occasions for me. I use my platform to advocate colon cancer education and meningitis immunization. Nothing is wasted, my faith speaks to me. I always search for how I am supposed to use whatever may have come. It enriches my story telling and provides opportunities to share with others.

What are three things you wish you'd known before you reached where you are now?

I am very happy I did not know how difficult this is or it might have stopped me from starting it (big smile). Networking is very important and writing and selling books has shown me over and over just how important this ability it. I encourage all I meet to learn all you can, do all you can and be nice to folks…network. Second on my list is organization. This is a profession that truly works better if you are organized and you can stay efficient by utilizing those skills. Third, it is important to be tough mentally, spiritually and physically. It is a great deal of work and the pace can bring you to your knees if you are not ready for it. Also, you have to be ready for whatever may come when dealing with the public and other members of the media, so it is important to be ready if you meet persons that do not play nice in our sandboxes—know that is part of the journey so learn from those experiences and just keep doing your very, very best.

This month our theme is Men in Fiction. Can you give us five male authors you read?

Dr. John Hope Franklin (I am breaking the rules here—he is non-fiction, but his work is so important that I mention him first), Walter Mosely, John Edgar Wideman, Jeffery Renard Allen, and Mat Johnson.

Do you have any advice for the aspiring writer?

Focus on the story you are telling and learn it so well that you can tell it with the ease of recalling actual life experiences. Develop characters so real to you that they might pick up the telephone and call you one night to discuss their story. Practice your craft by orally and verbally sharing stories. Improve as a writer at every opportunity and do not become overly critical of early versions of your work, but also strive to deliver your best work in later drafts by rewriting it numerous times (I call that making gravy…the meat’s done, but we are adding thickening as we say down South). Your work represents you and it should be your best. Also, it is important to develop great business, technology and marketing skills to help manage your career, develop your work and get it into the hands of the public.

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

My website is www.dwightfryer.com. There is a great deal of info about me on my site, including video and audio interviews and downloadable MP3 files of workshops I have delivered on various topics and at various venues. My email is author@dwightfryer.com and my mailing address is 9160 Hwy. 64, Suite 12 #332, Lakeland, Tennessee 38002.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

TRAILER: I Stand Accused


I Stand Accused
By Monica Frazier Anderson

Successful, sexy and celibate Dr. James Adams has bizarre nightmares about the murder of his father years ago. When his troubled past threatens his future—with the only woman he’s ever loved, he embarks on a life-changing journey. He must learn what really happened the day his daddy died.

Website: www.drmoeanderson.com
CLICK VIEW ALL IMAGES to see the slide show trailer

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