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Welcome To SORMAG's Blog

Thursday, July 31, 2008

AUTHOR INTRO: Reshonda Tate Billingsley


ReShonda Tate Billingsley always did have an active imagination. From making up stories to crafting award-winning poems, the national bestselling author has always maintained a love for telling stories. After numerous rejections from publishers, ReShonda stepped out on faith, established her own publishing company, and released her debut novel, My Brother’s Keeper. The book caught the attention of one of the country’s top literary agents, who secured a deal for ReShonda with megahouse publisher, Simon & Schuster/Pocket Books.


CAN I GET A WITNESS?

She thought she was through with love and marriage.
But a renewed faith may just change her mind. . . .

Vanessa Colton-Kirk has seen it all in her notorious divorce court. But she never thought the drama would make its way into her own marriage. However, that’s just what happens when Vanessa’s husband Thomas tires of his career-driven wife….and turns to Alana Irving to give him what he needs, and wants – a baby. But Alana has ulterior motives. She’s out to take Vanessa’s man, her money and her life…all in a quest for revenge. Now a woman scorned, Vanessa thinks her only relief will come in paying back her husband and his mistress. But just when she thinks she’s won, fate steps in and helps her see things in a whole new light.

Vanessa’s not the only one hell-bent on revenge. Her sister, Dionne is looking to show her cheating boyfriend a thing or too. But when her payback plan goes horribly wrong, Dionne’s life may end up in shambles.

Two sisters will discover that they need a lot more than revenge to heal their hearts…they’re going to need a whole lot of faith.


http://www.reshondatatebillingsley.com/

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

FEATURED AUTHOR: T.N. Williams


T.N. Williams was born and raised in Muskegon, MI. Writing short stories and poems had been a passion from childhood, but it wasn't until graduating from Grand Valley State University with a Bachelor degree in Sociology, that she began to fully embrace that God-given gift and relate it to the diversity of people. She has received several awards for recognition from the International Society of Poets and collaborated poetic work in the published collection entitled Traces of the Infinite. Since college, T.N. uses her experience in the field of Employment Services and currently resides outside of Charlotte, NC with her three children.


Something on the Inside

On the outside, Khalil Alexander seemed like the dream husband that every black woman wanted. But on the inside, something is terribly wrong with Khalil. Something so wrong that it makes his wife, Celia, run with the children. Celia Alexander believed herself to be blessed and highly favored in the eyes of God. Her marriage was solid, her children were wonderful and her recent promotion only added to her list of proud accomplishments. Few obstacles have crossed her path. That is, until she catches her husband committing an unspeakable act.

At once, her comfortable family life is ripped apart, causing her to doubt everything that she thought mattered. Celia is determined to get justice as Khalil goes to great lengths to manipulate her into silence. With somethimes wavering faith and more drama than she thought imaginable, Celia tries to bridge the gap of confusion for her children and find a greater strength within to carry them through the storm.

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


I want my readers to feel enlightened about the decisions people make under pressure even when they are Christians. That decisions are not always pretty, or morally acceptable, or easy. Life can't be wrapped up in an idealistic bow.

What did you learn while writing this book?

That God gave me a gift I didn’t realize I had. Writing is my self-therapy, it never dawned on me that it could be a ministry for others.

What is the hardest part about the writing business?

Like many other first time authors I learned that completely the book is only a quarter of the battle, it takes a great deal more to get published and for marketing of that book.

Do you still experience self-doubts regarding your work?

All the time now. With ‘Something On The Inside’ I was focused so I didn’t think much about any doubts, but once it got published and I started writing my second book some serious self doubt set in because I realized people were going to judge what I wrote and nobody wants their baby judged.

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

That a craft such as writing not only takes creativity, but it also requires disciple to complete a project.

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


Word of mouth is still the best marketing device. I talk about my book where ever I go. I also like eTours and other internet marketing.

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


I wish I had studied the publishing world and knew how that particular machine operates better than I did.

This month our theme is Agent Hunting. Do you have any advice for finding an agent?

If you don’t personally know a good agent ask other authors. There are a few books out that gives a listing of agents, but research is required in that process.

Do you have any advice for the aspiring writer?

If you believe in yourself and your craft don’t give up. Also join a critique group so others can give you feedback on your manuscript before you start submitting it and go to a few writer’s workshops if you can. Even the best author has something to learn.

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

I don’t have a snail mail address yet, but their is a comment section on www.uchisglorybookclub.net, my email address is tn.williams@yahoo.com and my website is http://www.tnwilliams.com/

Friday, July 25, 2008

FEATURED AUTHOR: Phillip Thomas Duck

EDITOR NOTE: We met Phillip when he submitted a short story, now we're introducing him as a published author. For you still pushing forward on this path, it does happen, don't give up. It is always a pleasure to introduce supporters of SORMAG, please take moment to learn about Phillip.


Phillip Thomas Duck is the author of PLAYING WITH DESTINY, GROWN AND SEXY, and APPLE BROWN BETTY. Just released is his first YA novel, DIRTY JERSEY, in July '08. The steamy COUNTERFEIT WIVES (cover features the talented Christian Keyes) will be released in December '08. The author lives in New Jersey.

DIRTY JERSEY

From zero to hero

What's cool at Eric Posey's high school? A player's swagger, a baller's style, and game enough to catch every girl. Unfortunately, Eric is seriously uncool—unlike his popular sister, Kenya...., who sings like an angel. But forget the choir; ....Kenya.... wants the fabulous life—bad boys and fly girls.

A chance encounter with Fiasco, one of the hottest rappers around, gives Eric entrĂ©e into the world of the "Dirty Jersey" crew, where he's introduced to everyone and everything. Suddenly, Eric is cool and has access to anything he's ever wanted. Never mind that Fiasco isn't exactly a good guy— so what? But so what has a price. And Fiasco has just named it: ....Kenya.....

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

I consider myself a relationship novelist. And not always in the sense of a romantic coupling between a man and a woman. I attempt to explore all types of relationships. Mothers to their children. Children to their fathers. Husbands to wives, of course. Siblings. The full gamut. So with every book, whatever the plot points, whatever the ups and downs the characters may encounter, my ultimate goal is that readers will examine their own relationships with family and loved ones. That in some way my stories jar them to cultivate their already strong relationships and work to strengthen those that aren't strong.

What did you learn while writing this book?

A great deal. This was my first YA (Young Adult) novel. It required me to use different writing "muscles" than I do with my Adult fiction. I was starting my Fall 08' Adult release, COUNTERFEIT WIVES, at the same time I was working on DIRTY JERSEY. The adult novel is steamy and provocative. Those elements will keep readers turning the pages. With DIRTY JERSEY it would be destructive for me to put those elements in the book, so I had to find intriguing and interesting elements to keep my young readers involved in the story. I focused on the elements that are pertinent to them: peer pressure, finding their way in relationships, fitting in, decisions on sex, etc. I have to admit it was a challenge. But I believe I succeeded in writing a book that will be enjoyed.

What is the hardest part about the writing business?

Without a doubt the most difficult thing is finding an audience for your work. There are myriad choices for the reader once they step inside a bookstore. Shelves and shelves of books. How then do they find their way to my novels?

Do you still experience self-doubts regarding your work?

Not from a writing perspective. Certainly I've written books that could have been better, could have been trimmed and pruned and refined. But I haven't written a bad book yet. And I read as much, or more, than I write. And I've had the misfortune of reading some terrible books. Books that made me question the publisher's sanity and the writer's ability. Now, everyone isn't going to appreciate or enjoy my novels, I know that, but I'm confident at this point that I write good novels. My only real doubts are with the marketing and promotion of my novels. Again, finding an audience is a difficult task. And in these times of plus-4 dollar gasoline consumers have so many greater concerns than finding and reading a good book. I have self-doubts about the publishing industry in general.

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

I think the greatest misconception is that anyone can write a book. The majority of us learn to write in school. So at face value writing seems like a skill that basically everyone has. We've all written someone a letter, or jotted down a quick note. We've all told someone a sad story, or a funny story. You combine those experiences, the ability to write on some level and the ability to tell a story, and it would appear that anyone could write a book. But writing is a craft. Writing a novel is like building a house. There are essential elements that must exist for the thing to stand. It takes study and work to build a house (a novel) that doesn't come crashing down at the first sign of trouble. Think about sitting at your computer, blank screen in front of you, and as a writer you must construct a world populated with characters in interesting situations, and the end line is hundreds and hundreds of pages later. That's a difficult task. I believe anyone can START a novel, but how many have the stamina and ability to FINISH one. Very few.

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

Interviews. The internet. MySpace, blogs, ads on sites that cater to my readership. Postcard mailings. I think you have to be actively involved in your book's success on so many levels. No one really knows how to make a book a bestseller. Not even the publishers. What it ultimately comes down to though is word of mouth. One reader telling another reader they read a wonderful book. So to me, it's like the lottery, you have to be in it to win it. So how you get that one reader will vary. They found you through MySpace. They read an interview. They met you at an event. Everything helps, I believe.

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

1) That the books wouldn't get easier to write.

2) That having a novel published was just the start of things. The book still had to sell.

3) That writing good novels wasn't a guarantee of commercial success.

This month our theme is Agent Hunting. Do you have any advice for finding an agent?

I'd advise any aspiring writer to first write the best novel they can. Reshape it, rewrite it, refine it, until it is the absolute best reflection of you as a writer. Aspiring writers want to be published so quickly. They want to see their books on the shelves. And I understand, I was there, too. But you often will only get one chance to make an impression with an agent, so put your best foot forward. Present them with the best possible novel you could have written. Secondly, make sure you're presenting your work to agents that represent similar works. Research what the agents have sold. Familiarize yourself with any agent you want to represent you. I'm a big Eric Jerome Dickey fan. He inspired me to want to write. So naturally I worked hard to get the same agent. Thanks be unto God I was successful and she has turned out to be a wonderful representative for my work. Thirdly, craft a clear and concise query letter seeking representation. The internet is chock full of query letter samples. Work on the query letter even HARDER than you worked on your novel. There are annual guides for writers with the names and addresses of Literary Agents. Peruse those guides and compile a list of agents you'd like to represent you. Rank them by preference and start with your most desired agent and work your way down. When I first started my good friend (and brilliant writer) Timmothy McCann always kept my spirits high when I was agent hunting by reminding me I needed "just one" to believe in me. The hunt can be frustrating, but that is a good thing to remember. All you need is one.

Do you have any advice for the aspiring writer?

Read. Read. And read some more. The best understanding of how to build a novel comes from reading novels. Read in all types of genres. Read all types of writers. Make notes of what worked in the novels and what didn't. Then develop a full understanding of the craft. I suggest reading Sol Stein's books on writing (best I've encountered). And once you have the basic tools of understanding, then sit down and write the book. So many aspiring writers reach out to me, seeking advice, and I'm stunned to learn they haven't actually written anything yet. Writer's write and dreamers dream. If you want to be a writer you have to do the work. You have to write.

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

MySpace: www.myspace.com/phillwrite

Email: phillwrite@aol.com

Whisper my name three times and I will appear. (Just joking)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

COMING SOON - Up Pops The Devil


Up Pops The Devil
by Angela Benson

Avon A
July 29, 2008

ISBN-10: 0061468509
ISBN-13: 978-0061468506

A powerful and moving story of sin, temptation, and redemption involving a reformed ex-con and the four women in his life.

Wilford "Preacher" Winters served two years in jail and has now reentered society, determined to live up to his jailhouse conversion and be a law-abiding citizen. But his life on the outside is complicated by the women waiting for him: his live-in girlfriend, his sister, an ex-girlfriend, and a new female friend.

With his world about to explode all around him, Preacher's going to need every ounce of his new-found faith to remain strong. Because it takes a lot to become a new man, sometimes even a miracle.

Website address: http://www.angelabenson.com/

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

FEATURED AUTHOR: L.A. BANKS


L. A. Banks, is the recipient of the 2008 Essence Storyteller of the Year award has written over 30 novels and contributed to 10 novellas, thus far, in multiple genres under various pseudonyms. She mysteriously shape-shifts between the genres of romance, women's fiction, crime/suspense thrillers, and of course, paranormal lore. A graduate of The University of Pennsylvania Wharton undergraduate program with a Master's in Fine Arts from Temple University, one never knows how or when this enigma will appear… her forms are many, her secrets of crossing genres vast, and she does this with her teenaged daughter and her black Lab from some remote, undisclosed lair in Philadelphia.

The Shadows

The Dark Realms are taking cover after an angel onslaught from On High. The Antichrist has been injured and the fourth Biblical seal has been broken.

Seething in the underworld is the Unnamed One—so furious that he’s bringing the battle topside, unleashing a full frontal assault on mankind for the offenses committed by the Neteru Squad.



Better ThanWith a New Year beginning, twenty-five-year-old Deborah Lee Jackson has a major list of resolutions. Newly divorced, unfulfilled by her job, and carrying a few extra pounds, Deborah's ready for a mind, body, spirit makeover, and she's starting at the local university. From yoga to painting to healthy cooking, finding a man is the last thing on her mind. But fate has other plans...

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

Hope... that there is always hope, no matter what is going on in your life or in the world.

What did you learn while writing this book?

Each book an author writes, if he/she is going to be true to the craft, makes you examine your own life, where you've possibly lost hope, and makes you have to find the silver lining in your own storm clouds.

What is the hardest part about the writing business?

The marketing. Once you write the book, the real work begins. I'm in the process of touring now, and although I LOVE people, it's a grind being away from home and away from family during that period.

Do you still experience self-doubts regarding your work?

LOL, always! I think when you get too comfortable you get sloppy.

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

I wish non-writers would understand that we are always writing. It's not just when you're sitting in front of the computer... but when I'm off "thinking" I'm working, LOL... when I'm watching a documentary, I'm working. I used to get into ALL KINDS of struggles with my family because they thought the moment I left my desk and clicked off the tube, I was done. They had a very hard time understanding that it's a creative process and it's not like a 9-5 job where you can interrupt me and I can get right back on task. Interrupt the writer and you may have blown a scene, a story arc or their writing day.

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

Having a committed, loyal Street Team has been a blessing from On-High. Those folks take care of advance publicity, make people who attend book-signing events feel a part of something bigger, and support the stores. I bow to them, BIG SMILE--for real!

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

I wish I had known some of the behind the scenes ways publishers look at writing, packaging the books, and how book store really buy. I've learned how important a cover really is and to ask for cover art approval... have learned to understand that the publishers actually pay for positioning in the stores, and have learned that you're only as good as your last sales numbers indicate. This is a tough business and it's all about sales, not art or literature.

This month our theme is Agent Hunting. Do you have any advice for finding an agent?

Go to the conferences where agents attend, hunt them down, but be ready to pitch your book or project in terms of the market slice it hits and the target audience that will buy it. This is what they understand and this is how they get paid... remember, they don't get paid until they land you a deal--so they are so NOT interested in your book if they don't think they can sell it. They work for you, but you're a bad employer of their time and energy if they can't make a commission quickly because your work is not selling at the time. This is why agents brush people off... they will tell you straight up, they can't make their bills on charity cases. So go in strong, confident, and talk like a business person (about the money) not an artist hoping someone will pick you up. Let them know you can crank out the volume so they also understand you are the goose that lays the golden eggs.

Do you have any advice for the aspiring writer?

Finish the book. Pay attention to craft and format and grammar. It is your baby, but it is a product. An agent can't sell it, the publisher can't sell it (to book store chains until the book is complete. It is the engine to the train. So don't go around "talking" about your work or your idea, go home and finish your work, polish it, and then you have a 120% better chance of no longer being aspiring. I'm serious--it's as simple as that.

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

http://www.leslieesdailebanks.com/

http://www.vampirehuntress.com/

http://www.crimsonmoonnovels.com/

email is Vamplegend@aol.com

Friday, July 18, 2008

FEATURED AUTHOR: Norma L. Jarrett


Norma L. Jarrett is a speaker and author of the novels Sunday Brunch and Sweet Magnolia (An Essence magazine national book club selection), and The Sunday Brunch Diaries (August 29, 2008 release). She’s a graduate of Thurgood Marshall School of Law and North Carolina A & T State University. Her work has gained attention in Ebony, Essence, Upscale, USA Today, Gospel Truth, Publisher’s weekly and other media. Among other honors, she’s been awarded a Certificate of Congressional Recognition for her literary work. She attends Lakewood Church in Houston, where Joel Osteen is the Pastor. Please visit her site at http://www.normajarrett.com/.

Sunday Brunch Diaries

The Ladies of Sunday Brunch, Capri, Lexi, Jermane, Angel, and Jewel are back with more mayhem and madness, in this follow up sequel. Just when they think that everything has fallen into place, these five friends are forced to trust God as they find themselves in unexpected situations and facing new challenges. The Sunday Brunch Diaries explores what happens when your prayers are answered but you wind up getting a whole lot more than you bargained for. Lexi discovers that priorities and commitments change as a newlywed. Jewel learns her husbands “Ex” isn’t void of baby momma drama. Capri isn’t happy about the limelight as an NBA player’s wife. Angel has begun attending Lakewood Church. Jermane learns her husband isn’t superman and struggles with family secrets. Through another series of triumph, tragedies with the men in their lives, the Sunday Brunch ladies realize take their spiritual walk and sisterhood to a new level.

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

I like for readers to be able to identify with some aspect of the character’s humanness. I’d also like to let readers see the growth in each of the characters. I love humor and a great romance. However, we must all learn to give up that “idealism” in life, love and relationships. Of course, what comes out naturally through my characters is the element of spirituality, not religion, but spirituality. So many of us get caught up on religion, but I want readers to identify that we are all at different places in our spiritual walk and we need to continually strive to get in line with God’s plan and purpose for our lives. I try to do all of this with an entertaining story with moments of clarity, truth and even sometimes tragedy.

What did you learn while writing this book?

I’ve learned that every thing is seasonal. Depending upon where we are in life we may have to let go of the familiar in order to grow. By God’s design, he allows people and friends to come in and out of our lives in order to get the best out of us. I’ve also learned that life is dynamic; you don’t know what is going to unfold over the course of time. I’ve learned that sometimes we seek explanations for life circumstances, but there are times when God offers none and we just have to trust and continue believing. I also learned, as Lexi has, that true love does exist in the least expectant circumstances, but only after you completely surrender and become whole.

What is the hardest part about the writing business?

Staying focused and getting in the mood to write. Also, staying on your own path and not getting distracted by what other writers are doing. I try to stay in tune with God and He never fails to open major doors! Also, creating time for writing, as I can procrastinate and make excuses! Because I am with a publisher, you may have to make a few compromises here and there, but for the most part I am in a very blessed situation.

Do you still experience self-doubts regarding your work?

Absolutely! That’s when I have to rely on prayer. My confidence is in God and what He wants to accomplish through my work, so as long as I am seeking Him, I’m good. However, if I start to slack in that area, I start to question myself. No matter how hard you try, there will be those who enjoy and appreciate your work and others who may not. You must not let your highs get too high or your lows get to low. I was really concerned about The Sunday Brunch Diaries, as it was the sequel to a very well received book . However I just recently received a great review from Publisher’s weekly.

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

It’s not about the money! (sort of). Of course you want to make a great living, but it’s also about the process and honoring your gift of writing.

What marketing have you found that particularly works well for you? Definitely all forms of media. Magazines, Radio and the Internet have served me well. Also, book clubs are a major force to be reckoned with.

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

1. Writing is a journey nothing happens over night!

2. I started out self publishing then went on to a book deal. When I was self published I should have learned how to run a business!

3. Not every event and/or opportunity is for you and to pray before making all decisions!

This month our theme is Agent Hunting. Do you have any advice for finding an agent?

1. Do your research – try to speak with past or current clients.

2. Present your best work to the agents who handle your genre.

3. Know how to sell your work in a two minute pitch! (verbal or written).

4. Attend writing conferences & network.

5. Don’t ever pay in advance for an agent (standard is 10-15% commission).

6. Try to find an agent that matches your personality and wants to explore all opportunities.

7. It’s okay to have a lawyer review your agent contract.

Do you have any advice for the aspiring writer?

1. Believe in yourself.

2. Identify what your niche and literary calling is.

3. Writers write…get started instead of talking about it.

4. Self Publishing is a great option to get started (it lead to a book deal for me!)

5. Nothing takes the place of hard work.

6. Be prepared for the word “yes” (Have a finished, polished and professionally edited product).

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

http://www.normajarrett.com/

http://www.harlemmoon.com/

nljarrett@normajarrett.com

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Are You Reading This - Before Dawn Breaks



by Rae Lori


Alexandra Lyons is a cold, seductive assassin, skilled in the art of killing. Camilla Angelson is a bubbly writer enjoying the quiet life as a recent graduate from college. Both women are the same person. Unfortunately, her former employer, the secret government bureau that hired her, knows this all too well.

Josh Mayer is a former secret service agent looking to pick up the pieces of his life after a messy divorce from a cheating wife and a job of putting his life on the line. Doubling as a restaurateur and an "unofficial" undercover agent, the beautiful female target he is protecting may be the same one he is willing to risk his life and, most of all, his heart to save.

Soon, Josh must put his life on the line to evade an unknown killer that ties them all the way to a money-laundering scheme involving the newest presidential candidate to the White House. Meanwhile, Alexandra's heart is warmed with Josh at her side as she slowly remembers the dark past she left behind.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

FEATURED AUTHOR: Sophia Shaw



Sophia Shaw released her debut novel, Shades and Shadows, in January 2005. The Romantic Times chose Shades and Shadows as a top pick and rated it with 4.5 stars (out of five).

Depths of Desire is Sophia’s second novel, released in March 2006, and also received a rating of 4.5 stars from the Romantic Times. She released her third novel, Moment of Truth, in July 2007 and has again received rave reviews. Here 4th book, A Rare Groove, will be release on July 1, 2008.

Sophia lives in Brampton, Ontario with her young daughters, Sierra and Naima.

A RARE GROOVE

Twenty-eight-year-old Simone St. Clair has a successful career as an on-air announcer in Atlanta, and an enviable romance with one of the city's most eligible bachelors. Yet Simone can't help feeling something is missing. She’s never been in love, and wonders if she is dreaming of a man who can't possibly exist - until she travels to Jamaica for a friend's wedding.

Simone is then forced to choose between what should be the perfect man and what feels like the perfect love. In the process, she discovers that one of these men hides a dangerous secret, and he will do anything to protect it, including murder.

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

I would like my readers to feel inspired to look deeper than the surface when choosing a life partner. The right man or woman for you may not come in the perfect package, but if there is that very rare connection between you, many obsticals can be overcome.

What did you learn while writing this book?

I learned that all relationships are very complicated - between friends, siblings, parents and children. It was very interesting for me to analyse that motivations behind the different personal conflicts in the book.

What is the hardest part about the writing business?

My natural tendency is to write when I'm in the mood, so the hardest part is being consistant and deligent in order to meet deadlines.

Do you still experience self-doubts regarding your work?

I do still experience self-doubts. Though I've published 4 books, I feel very new in the industry. I am still developing my style and, of course, I get very nervous when the reviews are about to come out.

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

I wish they would understand that it's about 80% tedious work and research, and 20% creativity. I have a full time job that is quite demanding, so I write at nights and on the weekend. That means I'm not always available for people and activities, but is the only way for me to finish my novels.

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

I do a lot of community events in the Toronto area, and quite a few books signings here and other cities. I am also developing a stronger web presences by participating in on-line forums and discussions and maintaining a Facebook and Myspace account. I think this will be the most effective marketing tool going forward.

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

First - the importance of a well developed outlined. Second - that writing the book is half the job, marketing is just as important. Third - I wish I knew more about the business of book sales, contract negotiations and the overall industry.

This month our theme is Agent Hunting. Do you have any advice for finding an agent?

The best advice is to really understand what it is you want from your agent, and role you expect them to play in your career. When you start reaching out to potential agents, follow their submission quidelines and only submit material that is in the best shape possible. My manuscript was finished and professionally edited when I started looking for an agent, and it definately help me secure mine faster.

Do you have any advice for the aspiring writer?

I think it's very important to understand what's going on in the genre that you are writing for such as the trends, what readers expect, what other writers are doing. You should treat your writing like a business and your books like a product, while still mainting the creative perspective.

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

They can visit my website - www.sophiashaw.com, or send me an e-mail at sophia@sophiashaw.com. My mailing address is 3 Allness Road, Brampton, Ontario, Canada L7A 3N5

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

What's On The Net - Agent Hunting

As a writer unless you’re publishing your own works, you eventually have to find an agent. I will admit it’s not an easy job. However if you write a good book, hopefully someone else will recognize and represent you. I’m currently on this path, and welcome any comments as you join me. Below are few links to get you started.

I highly recommend finding all the information you need when you’re on your search. You want someone who will represent you and your book well.

Good luck in your search.

Check out the agent before you contact

http://anotherealm.com/prededitors/pubagent.htm


Directory of Literary Agents

http://www.writers.net/agents.html


Booktalk Agent List

http://www.booktalk.com/agents1.html


Guide to Literary Agents

http://www.guidetoliteraryagents.com/


Literary Agents Who Represent Christian Authors

http://www.michaelhyatt.com/fromwhereisit/2007/11/literary-agents.html

Monday, July 14, 2008

FEATURED AUTHOR: Artist C. Arthur


Artist C. Arthur was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland where she currently resides with her husband and three children. An active imagination and a love for reading encouraged her to begin writing in high school and she hasn’t stopped since.

During the course of her writing career Artist has won the YOUnity Guild’s Best New Drama and Romance Author Award in 2005/06; been nominated 3 years straight for EMMA Awards, with the fourth time being a charm she took home the 2007 EMMA Award for Favorite Romantic Suspense; and has also received her first Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award Nomination for Best African American Romance.


GUARDING HIS BODY
“Mr. Bennett, I’ll guard your body as if it were my own.”

The ex-marine spoke with confidence and steely determination, but all Renny Bennett saw in his new bodyguard was a petite, doe-eyed nymph. Sabrina Dedune’s feisty, take-no-prisoners attitude proved she took her job seriously. But suddenly, the gorgeous body under that T-shirt seemed far more dangerous than any threat on his life.

Sabrina was good at her job, but this talented sculptor and his erotic works of art left her reeling. Staying focused was hard when her body ached to taste all Renny had to offer. But after one searing kiss, she was guarding more than his body. Now her heart was at risk…

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

That woman can and continue to do anything they put their minds to.

What did you learn while writing this book?

I learned that there was a good reason I never enlisted in the armed forces. LOL
Researching the Marine Corp and their basic training, etc. was enlightening and more than a little scary.

What is the hardest part about the writing business?

The “business” aspect. Coming up with the idea and writing is a piece of cake compared to learning the ins and outs of the publishing industry, selling your work, promoting your work and keeping up with an ever changing readership. All in all, being in the writing business is not easy, it takes a lot of hard work and dedication.

Do you still experience self-doubts regarding your work?

All the time. I don’t turn a story into my editor until I feel satisfied with it. Yet a day or two later I’ll think of something else I could have added. It’s a terrible habit of mine. Then just before the book is about to be released I’m so nervous as to what the readers will think. At the end of the day, I’m going to write the story I want to tell, but I respect the opinions of the readers who purchase my books.

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

That writing is a passion, it’s a serious career and that if you are not going to dedicate yourself to learning the trade and putting out the best product that you can, don’t do it.

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

Online marketing has been great for me. This way I’m able to reach readers all over the world. Between email blasts, my newsletters, my yahoo group (The Book Lounge) and participation in other literary groups, I’ve been able to steadily build my readership.

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

I wish I’d known how cutthroat the business could be. But then it’s like any other industry and I should have taken that into account. There are many technical aspects I wish I’d known early on, but learning the hard way is sometimes best.

This month our theme is Agent Hunting. Do you have any advice for finding an agent?

Agh! I would be the worst at giving that advice since it’s taken me four years to find one. LOL But I will say this, do your research. Make sure the agent is selling the type of work you are producing and make sure the agent knows exactly what you want out of the relationship.

Do you have any advice for the aspiring writer?

If you don’t have patience, learn it! Pray on it and wait for it because you will need it in this industry.

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

Email is best. I make a valiant effort to respond to every email.
acarthur22@yahoo.com

Friday, July 11, 2008

FEATURED AUTHOR: Karen Siplin


KAREN SIPLIN was born in Brooklyn, New York and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Film Production from CUNY's Hunter College. Her first novel, His Insignificant Other was a Borders Original Voices selection. It was published in Serbia in June 2004. Her second novel, Such a Girl was a Main Selection of Black Expressions Book Club in 2005. She has worked as a telephone operator at the Four Seasons Hotel in New York City and as a celebrity personal assistant. Visit her at http://www.karensiplin.com/


Whiskey Road

After one too many run-ins with irate A-List celebrities and their bodyguards on the streets of Los Angeles, paparazza Jimi Anne Hamilton has decided to throw in the towel. But when she planned to ride her BMW K 1200 motorcycle from California to New York, she didn't count on having her cross-country adventure interrupted by a motorcycle thief. Disillusioned and hurt after the attack, Jimi chooses to recuperate in a nearby town where she meets Caleb Atwood, a local contractor fighting his own demons. Jimi and Caleb make a mismatched pair: black and white, highbrow and low. But in Caleb, Jimi believes she has found someone who is as much of an outsider as she feels.

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

Whiskey Road tells the story of a Black female celebrity photographer named Jimi who ends up in a small town in rural New York after a brutal attack during a cross-country trip from California. Jimi meets Caleb, a white contractor born and raised in the small town she ends up in. Whiskey Road asks the question where does a black woman born and raised in the big city go when she wants to escape, and what happens when she gets there? I wanted to create a character whose life has been spent in the city, and in a moment out of necessity she seeks refuge in a rural white community. Her experience can go either way, but I chose to explore the idea that black people do have a reason to fear small white towns in America. And that sometimes, white men in small towns are dangerous. I want the reader to ask: How do you know the difference? And I want the reader to come away with the same answer Jimi and I came up with: You don't. You don't know the difference between a dangerous man in a small white town and a nice man in a small white town until you have an actual conversation. The same can go for a small black town, of course, but for the book I wrote, I chose to exclusively explore a black woman's experience in a small white town. The experiences aren't comparable or interchangeable because every individual experience is different.

What did you learn while writing this book?

After the terrorist attacks in 2001, I had a strong desire to leave New York City - the city I was born and raised in - to find refuge in a small, peaceful community in America. But having traveled by car through several rural communities in the United States, I wasn't sure I would be able to live easily or comfortably in the kind of town I imagined moving to. People stared when I passed through those small towns and I took those stares to mean I was unwelcome in certain places.

As I was writing Whiskey Road, a few things started to become clear to me. Sometimes working class white people in small towns are racist. Sometimes working class white people in small towns are just tired from a long day at work and really don't care whether you're Black, White or blue as long as you don't bother them. But it's impossible to know what's in a person's heart until you have a conversation and learn about one another.

I learned that I fear small towns for the same reason Jimi fears them. There always seems to be a threat of small town lawlessness and a sheriff who will protect his own.

What is the hardest part about the writing business?

Uncertainty is one of the hardest aspects of the business. It's been reported that nearly 300,000 books are published each year. With so many books coming out, it's a real challenge to get people to notice yours. The book business seems to be a lot like the film and television business to me. Everyone is looking for the next blockbuster. Books don't stay on bookstore shelves indefinitely, so a great book can easily get lost. Many authors don't know whether their next book will sell, so each experience is almost like selling that first novel all over again.

Do you still experience self-doubts regarding your work?

I do. I never know how my audience is going to receive my next book. Whiskey Road is my third novel and it's different from my previous two, His Insignificant Other and Such a Girl. Whiskey Road is darker and addresses issues of race and class in a way my first two books did not. While I was writing it, I worried my readers would be disappointed. But it's terrible to write that way. It makes the writing more difficult and I found that I was cutting out things I really wanted to write because I feared readers would reject them.

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

I think a lot of non-writers view writing as a hobby, not a real job. I also have a feeling a lot of non-writers think writing a novel is easy. I often feel weird when someone catches me thinking or reading. Thinking, imagining and reading are really important aspects of writing, but writers can often seem to be hanging out or goofing off when we're really working.

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

Internet presence has been really helpful. Interviews, blog posts and my myspace page have worked well as a way to reach readers and let them know I exist.

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

Almost everything I wish I'd known before now has to do with marketing and publicity. Since a lot of self-published Black authors have been incredibly successful, the publishing business seems to expect Black authors to adopt the same marketing strategies self-published authors adopted when it was still a fairly new way to get books out there. I was completely unfamiliar with the marketing strategies of self-published authors when my first book was published, so I had a certain expectation of what I would get from my publisher. But I've learned that being published by a big house doesn't mean you can sit back and expect someone else to do all the work for you.

I also wish I'd known how important book festivals, book clubs and signings at independent Black bookstores are. I had a lot of time to travel when my first two books were published, so I wish I'd taken advantage of that.

This month our theme is Agent Hunting. Do you have any advice for finding an agent?

Research is very important. Buying a guide to literary agents is an excellent investment. But the aspiring writer shouldn't send queries blindly to every agent in the guide. Many agents are blogging on the Internet these days. And many agents have websites. They make it very easy for aspiring writers to learn what they're looking for. In many cases, they list their clients and the books they've recently sold. The aspiring writer should look for an agent who represents books similar to the book she has written, find out if that agent is taking on new clients (they usually state whether they are open to unsolicited manuscripts) and pay close attention to whether the agent wants a query or sample chapters. It's important to follow an agency's submission guidelines, if they've been made available on the site.

Do you have any advice for the aspiring writer?

Write everyday, even if it's in a journal, and read everything. Writing everyday is the only way you will find your voice. Reading as much as possible broadens a writer's horizons. I'm always shocked when I meet people who are writing books but say they don't have time to read.

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

Visit my website at http://www.karensiplin.com/. There you will find links to my MySpace page and blog.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

EXCERPT: Me, Myself and Him


Me, Myself and Him

E.N. Joy

“How was Locksie supposed to tell her boyfriend that she had gone off to church and fallen in love with another man…”

Locksie grew up in the church, but now she’s all grown-up and church is the last thing on her mind; her boyfriend is the first. When Locksie finally does go back and visit church, she ends up finding more than she ever expected. In Me, Myself & Him, the characters are torn between holding on to the person they believe is the love of their life, or having to let go for something that’s missing from their
life.

email address is: enjoywrites@aol.com
website: http://www.enjoywrites.com/

myspace: www.myspace.com/enjoywrites.com


Chapter 3

The next day, Locksie was at work trying to focus on her client’s hair, but instead, thoughts of her and Dawson lingered on her mind.

“You sure you okay today?” asked Hannah, one of Locksie’s regular clients at Fiesta.

Locksie had been doing Hannah’s hair for close to a year. Outside of the salon, they never talked to each other on the phone or went out together or anything, but in the salon, there was just this bond between them as if they’d been friends for years. It was funny how women had that certain relationship with their beauticians. They tell their hairstylist things they’d never tell their best friends, knowing that everything is going to stay right inside the shop; which is usually where their friendships stays as well.

Hannah was one of several clients who had followed Locksie from the beauty school to the hair salon. And she was also one of Locksie’s few white clients. Hannah wasn’t 100% white though. Born to a black mother and a white father, her father’s jeans seemed to have dominated, especially the fire red hair and red freckles that were sprinkled across Hannah’s face over her sugar cookie colored skin tone.

"Yeah, I’m good,” Locksie replied, removing one of the bobby pins she had nestled between her lips. She was using them to keep Hannah’s pin curls in place.
A white girl Hannah may have looked to be, but her hairstyles, that were typically more so worn by black women, let the brothas know she had some chocolate drizzled over her sundae, which is how Elkan, her husband, knew he had a chance with her. As the fine honey-dipped brotha he was, when Elkan saw Hannah up at Alumn Creek Beach with all those hips and bootie hanging out of her swim suit and her hair corn-rolled down her back, he was convinced that she was the one white girl he was willing to throw his “never play in the snow” motto out the window for.

With a five feet and eleven inch, one-hundred eighty pound frame and looks that could land him any woman he wanted, Elkan definitely had been blessed with his share of women, but he vowed to himself that he would never disrespect the black woman by dating outside of his race; especially a white woman. He had contemplated a Latino, Jennifer Lopez look-a-like that worked as a clerk at the law firm where he practiced Civil law, but he came to the conclusion that no matter how dark her skin was, she still wasn’t no sista. Besides, what would his mama think? Him bringing someone other than a black queen home? So whenever Elkan got attention from a white woman, his subconscious would have to remind his conscious that he didn’t play in the snow. But the moment he laid eyes on Hannah, he silenced that little voice in his head and made a move.

There was something about Hannah that just stood out of all the women at the beach, especially since half of them were blatantly trying to get Elkan’s attention, which was a complete turn off for him. He liked being the cat that chased the mouse and not the other way around. Hannah, on the other hand, had paid Elkan no mind at all. He comforted his ego by coming to the conclusion that Hannah just hadn’t noticed him yet. As Elkan lay on his stomach with his chin rested on top of his hands, he was watching Hannah rub sun block all over her body. He was certain she had noticed him when she got up and came strutting his way. He prepared a huge smile aimed just at her. But Hannah just walked right on by Elkan as if the slab of handsome wasn’t even in her path. She didn’t even turned back to apologize when she accidentally kicked sand in his face as she was dashing by him headed for the water.
Not about to go unnoticed by Hannah, Elkan made his way to the waters and managed to strike up a conversation with the bathing beauty. They hit it off instantly, even sharing a soda on Elkan’s bath mat after exiting the water. Laying there talking on the beach for hours, Hannah and Elkan ignored the friends they had each come with. But what they couldn’t ignore was the evil eye the sistahs were giving Elkan for being with a white chick and the looks of disgust the white men were giving Hannah for being with a black dude.

The conversation was engaging and flowed easily. But it was as if Elkan had been holding his breath the entire time, and the moment Hannah told him that her mother was black, he could breath again. He wanted to shout it out to all the sisters on the beach who had been giving him the evil eye for choosing the pale girl over them, “She’s black too! Her mother is black.” Instead, he just smiled and thought,

Thank you, Jesus. This one can go home to mama!

Elkan compared Hannah to that chocolate dipped ice cream cone from the Dairy Queen. Only someone had just eaten all the chocolate covering off of her so she just appeared to look like nothing more than a vanilla ice cream cone. But he knew she was black, and that was enough. At least that’s what he tried to convince himself of, but Hannah could sense differently.

“You sure everything is good?” Hannah asked Locksie.

Locksie looked up at the picture of her and Dawson that was on her station. It had been taken two years ago, before he had shaved off all of his hair. In the picture he had a goat-tee, but he had since shaved off all of his facial hair too.

“Yeah, positive…I guess.”
“That means no,” Hannah said as she spun around in the chair after Locksie had placed the last bobby pin in her hair.

Locksie relaxed her shoulders and sighed. “Seriously, Hannah, I guess everything is okay. I mean I think it is. I don’t know. It’s just that lately with Dawson and me…” Locksie looked around the salon to make sure no one else was listening. She then lowered her voice. “The sex-”

“Don’t tell me,” Hannah said, cutting Locksie off, “You ain’t as into it anymore?
That happened with Elkan and me, you know, after the incident where he cheated on me with that winch named Peni. It just took a long time for my body to start craving him again, you know. And then there are those times when you just get sick of the same old-”

“It’s not that.” Locksie was quick to come to Dawson’s defense in the love making department. “It’s good.” Locksie smiled. “It’s real good when we’re getting down. It’s afterwards that I have a problem with.”

Hannah had a puzzled look on her face. “What is it?” She pondered for a second and then said, “Ahh. I get it; he throws in the towel afterwards?”
Now Locksie had a puzzled look on her face. “Huh?”

“You know, throws in the towel; after sex; for you to wipe yourself off with.” Hannah shook her head. “There is nothing more degrading than that. You give a man a special part of you and what does he do when y’all finished? Get’s up, go pisses and then throws a towel at you to wipe yourself off with and then says, ‘Yo babe, how ‘bout making me something to eat?’”

Locksie laughed at Hannah’s imitation of a man by using a deep voice. She could tell she was speaking from experience.

“I’m serious, girl,” Hannah said. “That’s why I loved Elkan so much from the start. He wasn’t anything like that. He was so considerate and passionate. From the first time we ever made love to the last. It’s been nothing but like a scene
from a classic romance movie. That’s why I don’t understand why…”

Hannah’s voice began to fade and Locksie knew where her thoughts had gone; back to five years ago when she found out that Elkan had not only cheated on her with a client of his, Peni Lampkin, but that a child was the result of the affair. It was the child Elkan and Hannah had been trying to conceive since their wedding night seven years ago, only Hannah hadn’t been able to get pregnant.

Devastated, Hannah had moved in with her mother the night that Elkan sat her down with a tearful confession that she’ll never forget. He begged her not to leave him. He unpacked her things from the suitcase just as quickly as she was packing them.

“Baby, I’m sorry,” Elkan had cried to her. “Peni meant nothing to me. It was one time. I swear to God. It was that night after I had won her lawsuit for her; I had to take her the paperwork to sign so that she could get her settlement. When I showed up, she had a nice little thank you/celebration set-up waiting. After one too many glasses of wine…”

“Let me guess,” Hannah had interrupted him, “she thanked you for a job well done with a well done blow job?” Elkan put his head down in shame. “Oh, and then one thing led to another. Isn’t that how the story always goes?”

“Sorry, Hannah. I wish I could take it back, but I can’t. And now there is a child involved. A child she insists on giving birth to.”

Tears Hannah had been able to hold throughout Elkan’s miserable confession suddenly just poured out accompanied by wails so loud that it took her a minute to realize that the horrendous sounds were coming from deep within her own soul. Elkan tried to hold her and console her, but she fought him off, seeping down to the ground like a melted candy bar on the cement on the hottest day of the summer.

“What color was she?” Hannah was finally able to ask once she stood up and got herself together.

“Huh?” Elkan had clearly heard her inquiry.

“Was she black?” Hannah yelled. “I mean all the way black? Black Mama and black Daddy kind of black?”

“Yes, she’s black, but look, Hannah, that doesn’t matter. What matters is that I cheated and I shouldn’t have, no matter what color she is,” Elkan reasoned.

“And she’s going to have your baby. I’m your wife, but yet another woman is carrying your child.” Hannah pointed at herself for clarification that she was his wife. That she should be the woman giving him his first born. Just hearing those words come out of her own mouth, reaffirming the situation at hand, sent Hannah back to the ground in a tearful fit. “God, why? Why are you doing this to me? To my life? This is a mean-mean, cruel joke, God. You are a mean, cruel God?”

Even though Hannah had been saved as a teenager at the church where her uncle was a Deacon, in her adult life she hadn’t been to church very much with the exception of an Easter Sunday here and there. The last time she had attempted to go to church was a couple years ago when Christmas had fallen on a Sunday. She had woken up that morning, and for the first time, felt the true meaning of Christmas brewing in her belly. She felt what pastors had been preaching about for centuries; that it wasn’t about shopping in over crowded malls for over priced gifts, but that it was to remember the birth of Jesus.

Hannah had gotten dressed and hopped in her car heading to church. Had even adjusted her radio dial to 106 Joy, the gospel station in Columbus, Ohio. When she arrived at the church doorsteps, she was disappointed to find that it was closed. Some pastors across the country had decided to make the executive call that with Christmas falling on a Sunday, the attendance would be too low to have service since everyone would be at home opening up gifts. The church Locksie had decided to go to that morning was one of them. If they won’t even open up the church doors on the birthday of God’s son, Hannah had thought, then why should I even bother? Disappointed, she turned away, never to return to church again. She couldn’t help but think how God had closed the doors on her that Sunday, and now, as she sat weeping on her bedroom floor, He had closed the door on her marriage too.

At the time, Elkan didn’t know what to do for his wife. He wanted to help her by just taking her into his arms. But how ironic would it have been for her to want to rest in the arms of the person who had hurt her? For the first time ever, Elkan now knew what Prince meant by the one line in his song titled Girlfriend; “Would you run to me if somebody hurt you even if the somebody was me?” Instead of running to Elkan, Hannah ran to her mother and father.

It only took two weeks for Hannah’s parents to convince her that she shouldn’t just walk away from her marriage without at least trying to work things out. “God wouldn’t have you marry a man just to be hurt, wounded and left for dead,” her mother told her.

“God ain’t gonna bring you this far just to leave you,” her father had added. “This is just a test. He wants to see if you trust in Him to see you through all of this.”

Although God was the last person Hannah wanted to put her trust in to fix the situation she felt He had let happen to her, she did feel as though Elkan was worth fighting for. And the last thing she wanted was for that hussy, Peni Lampkin, to live happily ever after with her man. So to this day, as far as Hannah was concerned, she had made the right decision by forgiving Elkan and giving their marriage another chance.

“Look, Hannah,” Locksie interrupted her thoughts as she removed the cape from around her. “You know I love Dawson to death, and he loves me. My mind is just playing tricks on me is all. It’s nothing, really. I’m just letting my Aunt Mary get to me.”

“Ohhhh,” Hannah said, nodding her head. “I get it. Has your sanctified aunti been making you feel guilty about spreadin’ without weddin’?” Hannah chuckled. “Trust me; I know what it’s like. My mom and dad did the same thing with Elkan and me when we were only dating and not yet married. It got so weird that I started hearing my parents’ voices during sex. ‘Your body is your temple…blah…blah…blah.’ Pretty soon the aftermath of sex with Elkan was like the aftermath of eating an entire chocolate cake or pizza all by yourself. It was sho’ nuff good while you were eating it, but then with all the guilt and weight you had to carry around as a result, you felt miserable and it just didn’t seem worth it.”

“Hmm, not even my aunt Mary has used that analogy; fornication and gluttony.”

“Hey, they’re both sins. I’m not a huge Bible reader, but I don’t think anywhere in the Bible God puts any greater weight on one sin than He does the other. That’s society’s doing. You know how it is; we like to pick and choose our own sins. Some pick murder, some pick fornication, some pick gluttony. A sin is a sin. Anyway, I better get out of here. It’s Elkan’s son’s weekend with us. His mother will be dropping him off at the house in a little bit and I need to be there.”

“Alright then, chick. Have a good weekend…oh, wait, I need to ring you up.”
The two women headed over to the register. Locksie had gotten so wrapped up into Hannah’s words that she almost forgot to charge Hannah for her hair service. She thought about if it was possible, because of the life she was living with Dawson, that right now God was looking down on her with the same disgrace and disappointment as he would a murderer. Locksie hated the mere idea that God might feel like that about her. But, if He did, He’d have every right to. After all, Hannah couldn’t have put it any better…a sin is a sin

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

COMING SOON: The Legacies


The Legacies
By Michelle Larks

In the tale, The Legacies, two young people, Morgan Daniels, and Noah Stephens born of totally different lifestyles, meet and fall in love while en route to their first year of college, each trying to escape their family legacies. The Legacies is rich with family drama and touches upon the themes; power-plays, revenge, secrets, forgiveness, and most of all redemption.

Publisher: Urban Books

Month Published: July 29, 2008

ISBN-10: 1601629672

ISBN-13: 978-1601629678

Genre: Christian Fiction

Visit Michelle at: http://www.michellelarks.com/

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

PURPOSELY SAID - Dr. Linda F. Beed


An Interior Look
By Dr. Linda F. Beed


Reading is a pleasure that was introduced to me in the lap of my father. As a little girl I would sit in his lap as he read his Alfred Hitchcock mysteries. From time to time I would point to a word. With patience he would enunciate each word for me.

Like most children I sought to emulate the actions of my parents, especially when it came to books. I would sit for long periods of time running my finger up and down the pages of books and columns in magazines. Before I could read I became familiar with the interior of a variety of reading materials.

The interior of my childhood friends were important to me for no other reason than the fact that they existed. As a seasoned reader, the content of a book is my major interest, but just as important to me as the interior/inside of the book.

I do not have enough fingers and toes to tally the amount of books I have set aside simply because the interior was too distracting.

As a bona fide ‘I Spy’ I sought to learn as much about the industry as I possibly could. When typesetting became the topic of discussion, I went into sleuth mode and set out to learn.

Simply defined, setting type or typesetting is the process of putting text into the right style and size of type and the desired arrangement on the page. In others words, it is the process that gives your book ‘eye appeal.’

When formatting your book there is much to consider:

  • Book size

  • Font

  • Margins

  • Line spacing

  • First page of chapter placement

  • Pre-pages

  • Placement of page numbers

  • Placement of name and title

  • Paper color

The budget of the independent author must be seriously considered for the allocation of contracted services. Printers charge by the page and those pages must be divisible by four. Therefore, you must strategically plan.

Book Size: The option of choice is dependant upon the printer you choose. If your funds are minimal you may want to consider 6x9 rather than the standard 5 ½ x 8 1/4. By doing so you are able to cut your production costs in this area.

Font/Line Spacing: Most books are ‘10/Times New Roman.’ Consider your readership. If your novel appeals to an older readership you may want to consider ‘12/Times New Roman’ and 1.5 spacing.

NOTE: Do not mix fonts, i.e., Times New Roman, Arial. The combination of fonts is very distracting to readers. However, using italics for inner thoughts is permissible.

Margins: Margins are dictated by the size of the book. Consult your typesetter/printer for specifications.

Pre-Pages: These are the pages in the front of the book that include:

  • Title page

  • Legal page (ISBN, Copyright info, etc.)

  • Dedication (optional)

  • Acknowledgements

First Page of Chapter Placement: There is no hard fast rule regarding this. Traditionally, the first page of a chapter begins mid-way down the page and does not have a page number or header.

The option of placement is up to you. Some choose to begin higher on the page in order to minimize costs. Try several options to determine eye appeal. I would not suggest beginning the chapter directly after the header.

Placement of Page Number: The option here is your own. Again, try several placements to determine what works best with the header and margins.

NOTE: Page numbering begins with the first page of the chapter not with the pre-pages. The first page of your book always begins on the RIGHT side.

Placement of Title and Name: Some authors choose to have their name and title appear alternately throughout the book. This is done using the header option in your Word program.

Paper Choice: Nothing screams cheap louder than WHITE paper. Select an off white/buff paper for your interior.

The information above is food for thought when strategizing your plan of production. Do not be afraid to ask questions and push through obstacles to learn all you need to know about your craft.

Until next time, remember—Purposely Said words can destroy or create a life. Linda!

Dr. Linda Beed is an educator, speaker, children’s minister and author of Business Unusual and co-moderator of BWChristianLit and online writing and mentor group.

You can find her on the web at:
http://www.lindabeed.com/ / MySpace / On Assignment Reviews / R U Living On Purpose

Monday, July 07, 2008

BOOK INTRO: Protect and Serve


Protect And Serve
by Gwyneth Bolton

Contemporary Romance
Kimani
ISBN-10: 0373860757

Police detective Jason Hightower is flooded with memories when Penny Keys comes home to New Jersey. After fifteen years, he still wants to understand why she loved, lied to and left him. And he needs to know before she disappears from his life again.…

Penny came home for family reasons, not to face her difficult past…or the man she still loves. But Jason is determined to have answers—answers that it breaks her heart to give. And it seems nothing will keep Jason from the truth this time. Or hold him back from what he wants to protect and serve the most—their chance for a future together.

Gwyneth Bolton

By day I’m a mild-mannered college professor . . . By night I’m a sultry-seductive weaver of romantic tales . . . Okay, seriously, I teach at the university level and live in upstate New York with my husband. I have been an avid reader of romance novels since I was around twelve-years-old. I published a non-fiction book on women and hip-hop culture titled Check It While I Wreck It: Black Womanhood, Hip-Hop Culture and the Public Sphere. I have also published several non-fiction essays and articles. But fiction writing has always been near and dear to my heart. I have an MA in creative writing and composition studies and a Doctorate in English (Rhetoric and Composition). In 1996, I received the College Language Association’s Margaret Walker Creative Writing Award for a one-act play I wrote when I was an undergraduate. I’m at my happiest when I’m either writing or reading.

Visit Gwyneth at: http://gwynethbolton.com/

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

SLAM JAM - AUTHORS 2008

SLAM JAM - LaShaunda & Authors

SLAM JAM - Friends

REVIEWS: June 2008

To Tame a Wild Stallion
Deborah Fletcher Mello


Kimani Romance
ISBN-13: 9780373860692
Pub. Date: June 2008

Rating: 5 Stars – Supreme
Reviewed by: Regina Hightower


Mark love women and fast cars and motorcycles but when he first met Michelle (Mitch) it was love at first sight, and Mitch thought the same way when she first saw Mark. They almost had me believing in love at first sight.

Mitch is a top notch mechanic and college professor, who jump starts Mark’s heart. The characters of this book are so good together. Once a Stallion falls in love with you it can't get any better. When these Stallion men love they love hard. There are two more fine Stallion men and I can't wait to see what’s going to happen with Matthew and Luke. This is a great book can’t wait for the next two.


Coles Red Hot Pursuit
Brenda Jackson

Silhouette Desire
ISBN-13: 9780373768745
Pub. Date: June 2008

Rating: 5 Stars – Supreme
Reviewed by: Regina Hightower


From the First moment that Texas Ranger Cole Westmoreland had laid eyes on Dr. Patrina Foreman, the only thing that he could think about was how he was going to get her into his bed. Patrina had been widowed when her husband, Perry, who was the town sheriff, had been killed by an escaped convict. Patrina vowed to never be involved with a man that had anything to do with the law enforcement. Eleven months later, Cole had left the airport was on his way to his sister’s house on the outskirts on Bozeman, MT. An unexpected blizzard caused white-out condition. Cole was involved in a fender bender hit his head and he passed out. Cole awoke in a bed that he didn’t remember ever seeing. He then noticed a woman in the room. He saw it was Patrina Foreman.

Patrina had found Cole along side the road on her way home. She managed to get him into her car and she took him home with her. Now with the blizzard raging outside she was going to be with the one man that could turn her into the passionate woman that she never knew she was. How can Patrina stay out of the way of Cole’s Red-Hot pursuit?

Ms. Jackson edition of the Westmoreland story continues with sexy, red hot male, and a beautiful, sultry full figured female Doctor. This book will have you needing a pair of gloves as this relationship is Hot…

Ms. Jackson has once again has brought four very different people together. Who are the other two? Will they find true loved? Stay tuned.


Destined to Meet
Devon Vaughn Archer

Kimani Romance
ISBN-13: 9780373860715
Pub. Date: June 2008
Contemporary Romance

Rating: 4 Stars - Excellent
Reviewed by: Regina Hightower


Three years ago Joseph Hudson died in an accident. He left behind a grieving widow Courtney, whose social life has been dormant ever since. Her cousin Pilar persuades her to meet her at the hottest club in Lake Barri, Colorado, The Train Stop. However, Pilar failed to show or answer her cell phone leaving Courtney to fend for herself.

Born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska. Detective Lloyd Vance moved to Lake Barri. The person he is to meet at The Train Stop failed to show up however, when he sees Courtney he no longer cares. They talk as each is attracted, but their first encounter is interrupted when he is called on duty as her cousin is a hit-and-run victim. As they fall in love, he refuses to discuss with her either the case or his relationship with Pilar before he met Courtney.

This is a fascinating contemporary romance in which the lead male’s reluctance to discuss his relationship with this beloved’s cousin puts their future in jeopardy. The story line is driven by Courtney and Lloyd who each has ghost they bring into their relationship she feels guilt regarding Joseph as he’s never recovered from his dad walking out on his mom and him. Although one subplot “heals” long festering wounds too easily, fans will appreciate the romance between the Alaskan Detective and the Lower Forty-eight widow.


Wrong Dress Right Guy
Shirley Hailstock

Kimani Romance
ISBN-13: 9780373860708
Pub. Date: June 2008
Contemporary Romance

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars – Great
Reviewed by: Regina Hightower


Okay, so the story was cute and made you feel warm and fuzzy. It wasn't all that I thought that it could have been. I thought it was a little unbelievable. Mac and Cinnamon made a cute couple but something about Mac I didn't like too much. He seemed to act too much like a spoiled child at times. I wanted to know did he need a woman, a wife or his mother?


The Perfect Man
Carla Fredd

Kimani Romance
ISBN-13: 9780373860685
Pub. Date: June 2008

5 Stars – SUPREME
Reviewed by: Regina Hightower

Ms. Fredd has come back with a vengeance. I compare her to Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson they are the only ones who can be gone for years and make a jubilant come back. This is the second book in the series, The Three Mrs. Foster. This book was great. You get to know the up tight Renee who has built up this wall around her heart until she meets back up with Chris Foster the younger brother of her deceased husband who happens to be Fine.

Chris sees the real Renee and that is who he falls in love with. Chris is also the man who said he did not want a forever relationship but Renee does. Renee has some issue in trusting. Will Chris break that wall down? Will Renee fall head over heels in love with him as he falls in love with Renee?

We also get to see Alexandria and Hunter again along with Danielle and Tristian. I also recommend that you read the first book, This Time For Good by Carmen Green, and Just Desserts by Brenda Jackson the third book in the series.

REVIEWS: May 2008

Irresistible Forces
Brenda Jackson

Kimani Romance
ISBN-13: 9780373860647
Pub. Date: May 2008

5 Stars – Supreme
Reviewed by: Regina Hightower

Taylor Steele had everything that she ever wanted in life a great home, money and a fantastic asset management company. The only thing that was left for her to want was a baby. Taylor had decided that’s she would be a single parent and pick her baby’s daddy, instead of waiting for a husband. She had even picked out just the man to be the child’s father.

Dominic Saxon was a widower who had said that he would never marry again. Dominic was the perfect man for the job. Taylor managed Dominic money for him, it was just what Taylor was looking for, no relationship or commitments were needed or so she thought. All she had to do was convince Dominic to go along with her plan to the beautiful Caribbean island, for a week of fantastic sex, and produce a baby to boot. But would they be able to walk away from each other at the end of the week? Dominic and Taylor just may get more than what they were bargaining for. The attraction between Dominic and Taylor is so hot that there was smoke coming off the pages.

Brenda Jackson has once again brought us a story that will hold you from the first page until the last.


Long Hot Nights
Candice Poarch
ISBN-13: 9780758219787
Pub. Date: May 2008
Kimani Romance

4 Stars – Excellent
Reviewed by: Regina Hightower

This is the second novel in the "Quest for the Golden Bowl" series.

Detective Alyssa Clayton gets the shock of her life as she is riding her motorcycle and discovers what she thinks are teens in the road making out. Imagine her surprise to discover that she has just stumbled onto a homicide scene and the victims are her cousin's husband and her best friend's sister.

Alyssa switches into detective mode and proceeds to process the scene. All the while she is devastated because she has to deliver the news to her best friend and the rest of her family.

Jordan Ellis is a man whose sole interest is making a love connection with Alyssa. And Alyssa is attracted to Jordan as well, but she’s involved with someone else.
Fortunately for Alyssa and Jordan they share a passion filled night while out on the camp grounds, leaving Jordan fighting everyone and everything to make it more than a one night stand between him and Alyssa. Will he win? Can he win her heart and her loyalty as well as her love? Only time will tell.

Release Me
Farrah Rochon

Leisure
ISBN-13: 9780843960587
Pub. Date: May 2008

4 Stars – Excellent
Reviewed by: Regina Hightower

A car accident that ended NBA basketball player Toby Holmes’ career, but he did not give up over his forced retirement from the NBA or over what could have been instead he became an entertainment manager concentrating on music talent. He becomes euphoric when Marshall Keller man of Over the Edge Productions offers his client Aria Jordon a fabulous deal that will make her famous. To help, Toby hires a management company to help promote his star. His childhood friend Sienna Culpepper is put in charge of the publicity. She assumes Aria and Toby are seeing each other and becomes jealous because she is attracted to him as she was all her life. Meanwhile Aria also wants Toby, but turns to his long time rival hoping to generate jealousy. On the other hand Toby heeding his older brother’s warning is careful with his relationship with Aria and begins to fall in love with Sienna. Havoc reels his ugly head and becomes the norm for this foursome.

RELEASE ME is an enjoyable contemporary romance starring likable lead characters that forge a triangle of sorts that converts into a rectangle. You will relish this story as Toby falls in love with Sienna, who has loved him since they were children. I also recommend her 1st book Deliver Me

This Time for Good
Carmen Green


Kimani Romance
ISBN-13: 9780373860654
Pub. Date: May 2008

4 Stars – Excellent
Reviewed by: Regina Hightower



I began reading this books with the anticipation of ok what now? The characters were hilarious. I loved the fact that they never took anybody’s word for anything and the way she showed up at the funeral with a dog was priceless. The love connection between the leading lady and the leading man was never revealed until the night that she broke down crying because everyone was guarding their hearts.

This being a Trilogy it will be interesting to see how this will play out. The leading lady was a classic Diva complete with all the family drama. There was not enough physical description of characters to make you dream of them is my only critique.


Whiskey Road
Karen Sidlin

Washington Square Press
Published: May 20, 2008
ISBN-10: 0743297628
Contemporary Romance

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars - Great
Reviewer: Renee Motley

Love has no boundaries or crossroads…

Jimi Hamilton has made a name for herself as part of the celebrity paparazzi, but now it’s time for a vacation, a cross-country adventure on her new Harley-Davidson. What she didn’t expect was to be robbed of her bike or waking up in a hotel room in No- Where’s Ville beaten and bruised with a bag of money she took from her attacker. Now having to hike to her brother’s place in parts of rural Pennsylvania isn’t easy when the locals don’t take kindly to her kind at least she thinks until she meets the town’s bad boy, Caleb Atwood.

Caleb has had his share of problems and women. In a town where everybody knows everybody, they know about your problems before you do. But Caleb didn’t think that giving this stranger with the bruised face a ride would cause such a ruckus in him and his hometown. Was she worth it?

Whiskey Road isn’t your typical boy meets girl romance. It gives you a look into the way society views interracial dating. Not everyone is for it. I liked that about the story, the realness of the issues that they had to face. I enjoyed getting to know what the secrets were that made up each character and how each handled their differences and views. The secondary characters added a little suspense to the story as well. The author handled this racial issue with real and true emotions and did a great job at it. So if you’re looking for a story that’s a little off the beaten path, and I do mean off, then I recommend you take a look at Whiskey Road.


Controversy
Adrianne Byrd

Kimani Press
ISBN-13: 9780373831005
Pub. Date: May 2008

Rating: 5 Stars - Supreme
Reviewer: Regina Hightower

This book is the bomb as the kids can say. If you're like me, I'm fascinated by the Adams sisters. In this book Ms. Byrd out does herself. It will make you laugh, and you might even cry, she even throws you a real curve ball.

I read this book in one day. I took it everywhere I went because I did not want to put it down on the way back from Savannah Georgia. I was reading this on the plane. I'm sure the man next to me thought that I was crazy I was laughing so hard at some of the antics. I hope she gives us a sequel on these two because I really hope that was not the end.

REVIEWS: April 2008

Jewel
Beverly Jenkins

Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers
ISBN-13: 9780061161353
Pub. Date: April 2008

Rating: 5 Stars – SUPREME
Reviewer: Regina Hightower


Ms. Jenkins has done it again with Jewel. If this lady wrote the telephone book, it would be a best seller. If you read Vivid then you will remember the character Jewel. She is the youngest of the Crowley family and the only girl surround by all those big brothers and her father. Eli you met in Vivid too. We get a better understanding why Eli and Nate did not get along well in the past.

Jewel and Eli are the main character in this book. Eli is on the verge of reopening the town's paper the Gazette but need some financial backing. We meet G.W. Hicks who wants to help finance the reopening of his newspaper, the Gazette. However, Mr. Hicks has one stipulation. He only works with men that are married, which in Eli case is a problem. He’s single but he lets Mr. Hicks believe he’s married. Now he has to find a wife. Eli come up with this plan to have Jewel pretend to be his wife for one evening. Jewel listen but is not really sure his plan would work but she'll help him out anyway.

I won't tell you too much more about the book, but know that it is GREAT. I begin reading Jewel Friday morning and finished it in a day. Of course I took the book everywhere I went. There were some funny parts in the book.
I f you if you didn't like Eli in Vivid you are going to love him in Jewel. Jewel has really redeemed him and they are so good together.


Bad Blood
L. A. Banks

St. Martin's Paperbacks
April 2008
ISBN-10: 0312949111
Paranormal

Rating: 5 - SUPREME
Reviewer: Patricia Woodside

BAD BLOOD by L.A. Banks launches the Crimson Moon series, in which Ms. Banks focuses her expert storytelling skills on werewolves. In this first story, Sasha Trudeau is a member of a unique Special Ops team charged with keeping the human community unaware of the parallel werewolf community by taking down the demon-infected wolves that would threaten humanity.

She returns from her most recent mission, one on which she was surprisingly sent solo, only to discover that all of the members of her elite fighting team are either dead or missing. Sasha is determined to find out why and despite her initial misgivings, she teams up with Max Hunter, leader of the Alpha Pack, who guides Sasha on her quest for justice while also introducing her to a love she's never known.

The characters in BAD BLOOD are wise, sexy, scary, back-stabbing, seductive, and lethal. And those are the werewolves.

Ms. Banks gives an exhilarating tale that is part thriller and part romance wrapped up in an entrancing paranormal bow. I was immediately taken with the complexity of the story and with the masterful, highly sensual yet hardly explicit love scenes. Like a movie that gives you something different each time you watch it, I could easily read this story again and again, exploring a different layer of it each time. I won't give anything away by saying that I'll never have another steak dinner-at least not one in a diner-without recalling this book.

I'm not a big paranormal fan but BAD BLOOD is a captivating good-vs.-evil suspense/love story. I eagerly await the next installment of this series.


Never As Good As The First Time
Mari Walker

St. Martin's Griffin
April 2008
ISBN-10: 0312375425

Mainstream Fiction

Rating: 4 ½ - Exceptional
Reviewer: Patricia Woodside

Samai Collins is an active church-going stay-at-home mother in an abusive marriage. When they divorce, she is left to raise their two children as well as the daughter she had prior to marriage. Samai struggles with being alone, as she distances herself from the congregation where she'd previously felt so welcomed and connected.

In her struggle, Samai reconnects instead with an old high school friend. Despite the voice within that consistently tries to warn her away from the wrong people and bad situations, Samai, who led a relatively sheltered life prior to marriage, decides to explore some of life's seedier avenues. Her life quickly spirals downward as she becomes a drug-addicted, welfare mother.

NEVER AS GOOD AS THE FIRST TIME chronicles Samai's descent into the abyss and her rise from the ashes. With each step downward, she knows that she's headed in the wrong direction but either feels powerless or is unwilling at that moment to turn around. The one constant that keeps her somewhat afloat is that voice within, the voice that never deserts her. The voice of God.

In her debut novel, Mari Walker dives into life in the early 1980's when cocaine is first king, then quickly displaced by the more virulent crack. She examines how easy it might be for a steady churchgoer to make some very bad decisions and how hard it might be to overcome the resulting consequences. At the same time, Ms. Walker renders a bit of an indictment of the church, in that the church members hardly seem to notice Samai's absence when she falls away from regular attendance, and take little or no action to find out what's going on with a woman who was previously the wife of one of their ministers. As much as this disturbed me, I was pleased that Samai found the help she ultimately needed by returning to her faith.

NEVER AS GOOD AS THE FIRST TIME is a gritty, seamy, no-holds-barred tale of destruction and redemption. This story grabs hold of the reader and doesn't let go until the last word, in part because of curiosity as to just how far Samai will fall and in part because the reader is hanging on to see whether Samai will indeed be saved.


Dusk to Dawn
Niambi Davis

Parker Publishing Llc
April 1, 2008
ISBN-10: 1600430368
Contemporary Romance

Rating: 3 ½ stars - Great
Reviewer: Renee Motley

The heroine in this novel, Ayo Montgomery, is mother of a “grown man,” and is a successful business woman as the entrepreneur of specialized bath and body products. After losing her husband of twenty years in an accident, she believes her life is just fine the way it is. However, after listening to a friend, Ayo meets Bilal, who makes her feel differently about that decision.

Bilal, an appraiser, meets with Ayo to give her an estimate on some antique furniture. When she meets Bilal she realizes he is not what she expected. A young man who ignites some thoughts that she didn’t think she had. Yet when the attraction starts between the two, they fight like crazy to stop it. They are complete opposites. He’s younger, she’s older. Religious differences could tear them apart, but ultimately they come to the conclusion that their attraction is too strong and finally get together. Ayo and Bilal fight the typical family and friends to prove that their love is strong and that they are willing to sacrifice it all to be together.

I believe this is the author’s first novel as I haven’t read anything else from her, and it is a very well written novel. She offers a different spin on your typical romance story. She draws you into their lives as they meet, attempt to destroy the stereotype of older woman/younger man, and their religious differences. Not only does she weave all of this into the story, she gives you the real life issues of family, friends and children placing their opinion into Ayo and Bilal’s lives. I found the story to have wonderful descriptions that made you feel like you are a part of the story. This novel was also an educational experience as she gives detailed explanations of the Muslim faith and their practices. The down side of this novel was that while it is a good read, there could have been more romance. I recommend this novel for anyone who can open their minds to learning. This book will definitely be recommended to everyone that enjoys a happy and loving ending.


Model Perfect Passion
Melanie Schuster

ISBN-13: 9780373860616
Pub. Date: April 2008
Kimani Romance
Rating: 5 Stars – Supremes
Reviewed by: Regina Hightower

This is the best tastefully written book that I have read in a long time. Jason Wainwright was a wealthy man of the world. He could get sex anywhere from any woman that he pleased, but can he get someone to love him for the real man that he is? Jason has a love them and leave them with a Tiffany necklace in 30 day policy.

In comes Billie Phillips who just happened to be an ex- Super model and beautiful on the outside as well as the inside and brilliant to boot who was interested in his brain not his wallet.
Ms. Schuster also put in some new people whom I hope will get a book such as Johnny and Ayanna, Todd the sister-in law from Hell. I really didn't think that Ms. Schuster could have topped Working Man but she did. She’s like fine wine she gets better and better with time.

Golden Nights
Candice Poarch
ISBN-13: 9780758219770
Pub. Date: April 2007
Kimani Romance

Rating: 4 ½ - Exceptional
Reviewed by: Regina Hightower

Gabrielle’s aunt passed causing her returned to Paradise Island, Virginia to assume management of the family's bed and breakfast that she inherited. The establishment is revered by many for its hospitality and historical significance. Paradise Island is a small island where most of the inhabitants are related to one another and Gabrielle's family takes pride in the fact that they are one of the four original settlers of it.

Gabrielle has also inherited her aunt's old home which is across the street from where Cornell Price lives, who happens to be the bed and breakfast's chef. Cornell has returned to the island because of a failed relationship and plan’s to open a restaurant. There is history between Gabrielle and Cornell's families; Gabrielle's aunt and Cornell's uncle, both deceased, were married to each other and a tumultuous relationship it was. Because of the turbulence, Gabrielle's grandmother does not trust Cornell or any members of the Price family.

Gabrielle's aunt owned a bowl that was part of a collection and it is now the target of art thieves. The island is turned upside down when a former guest of the bed and breakfast is found murdered and homes throughout the island are broken into. GOLDEN NIGHT by Candice Poarch puts an entire island on notice to help catch a thief and possibly a murderer. The author weaves an incredible historical tale of Gabrielle's ancestors and their passage to America; this is where the bowl originates from. With Gabrielle's grandmother at the helm, the story hails from present day to the 1600's intertwining the story of the bowl and its significance important to Paradise Island. In addition to the mystery surrounding the bowl’s location, GOLDEN NIGHT is also the story of a romance between Gabrielle and Cornell and a modern who done it. The race to locate the vase coupled with guests doing research of the island, adds to the mystery of the unknown.

The primary characters portray genuine passion for their heritage and realistic ideals. The secondary characters possess some interesting traits, which add to the humorous dialogue .Since this is a trilogy I can’t wait for the last one. Exquisite detail of the locale, the food and the island celebrations assist you in clues to the; the whereabouts of the bowl assures you'll continue to read the next saga.


Sweet Like Honey
Kim Louise

Arabesque
ISBN-13: 9780373830701
Pub. Date: April 2008

Rating: 3 ½ Stars - Great
Reviewed by Regina Hightower

If you fell in love with Brax, then you are going to love Honey. She is something else. Her love interest is Houston, ladies, ladies, ladies. Houston is known to be a ladies man. When he meets and gets a taste of Honey all of that change. Of course we know all relationship have issue this one is no difference. You will see that Kim Louise wrote another great story. You will not be disappointed. I am hoping we will get Collen’s story. He is the intense brother.


Her Little Black Book
Brenda Jackson

St. Martin 's Press
Pub. Date: April 2008
ISBN-13: 9780312359331
Contemporary Romance

Rating: 5 Stars - SUPREME
Reviewed by: Regina Hightower


You will burn the midnight oil with this book and never be disappointed. You will learn about the rest of the Masters clan. Ms. Jackson has several stories going on in this book as only she can do and is so good at. You will meet the parents of Sonya and Courtney (cousin’s two sister’s children). Courtney Andrews is at the wedding of her cousin (Sonya). Courtney is wondering if she will ever have what her cousin has. She is 29-year-old single, and a not real big on marriage. Her parent have been married for 30 years, and Courtney has witness nothing but infidelity from her father and her Uncle Joe during that time.

Courtney and Sonya both have issue with trust and with fathers like that you could understand why anybody would have issues. Sonya hit the Jackpot so to speak when trying to help out a friend. As the bible says, a good man found her and completed her. She finally trusted him with her heart, mind, body and soul. Mike will just make you melt.

Sonya understood what Courtney was going through so she gives her the legendary black book. That is where the fun comes in for Courtney. The reader is going to enjoy the men she meets.

Now meet Lake Masters, reader if you remember those Masters. Trust me when I say Lake is no different, like the rest of those fine men. Lake sees Courtney from a far and is taken with her from the beginning. Being a Masters he makes it his business to find out about her. He gets his chance when Brandy throws a welcome home party and of course Lake Masters is invited. Lake Master is older, handsome and is second oldest of the Masters men. The only one that is not married. Lake is mature and don't like a drama.

Grey Masters see how much Lake is interest in Courtney and wants to introduce them. Lake being the person that he is, tells his brother no. He does not want any of his sisters-in-law to interfere. Lake makes the decision to meet Courtney on his own and that just what he does. Ladies you talking about a man, with confidence and sex appeal. Lake is it. He knows what he wants and he goes after it. It takes Lake no time to figure out that Courtney is the one for him. Convincing Courtney they are meant to be is another story to only which Ms. Jackson can weave her magic.

No One But You
Michelle Monkou

Kimani Romance
ISBN-13: 9780373860630
Pub. Date: April 2008

Rating: 4 ½ - Exceptional
Reviewed by: Regina Hightower


In this book you will meet Jackson Thomas and Sarafina Lovell who were college sweethearts. Sarafina thought her and Jackson future was set but of course something happen. Jackson left her to work the family business. Now three year later Jackson walks back into Sarafina life. He decides he wants her back. Jackson has never stop loving Sara but he knew what he had did years ago hurt Sara. He wanted to let her know that he was sorry and realize he made a mistake.
Sara and her line sister has kept in contact with each other over the years. Sara’s line sister was there for her when all of this went down with Jackson and also was there for her when the unthinkable happen at her wedding. Now Sara has been hurt twice by men she had given her heart to. She did everything right that she knew how to do in the relationships. I can understand why she doesn't trust easily.

You will love the UNITY of the soro sisters in the book. AKA Until I die ( Alpha – Omega Chapter )

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