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Welcome To SORMAG's Blog

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

FEATURED AUTHOR: Christine Pembleton


Lord I'm Ready To Be A Wife

Do you want to get married, God's way? Lord, I'm Ready to Be a Wife will show you how to avoid common dating pitfalls and recognize a potential husband when you meet him. Funny, real, and relevant, this book will encourage you while you're waiting, and help you prepare to be the woman he's always wanted to marry. The stories of Ruth and Esther will show you what it takes to get a man to "put a ring on it" and still maintain your love for the Lord. Today could be the day you meet the man you've been praying to meet.

Christine Pembleton is a proud wife, mother, talk show host, and author. With a sincere desire to encourage and empower women who want fulfillment and happiness in their marriages, she helps people understand the foundational truths of the Word of God through her ministry of writing, speaking and teaching.


She hosts the Christian Wives Club Show, a weekly internet radio show for Christian wives and women desire to be married. The show airs every Sunday at 9 p.m. EST on BlogTalkRadio. With guidance from the Lord, Christine has completed her first book, "Lord, I'm Ready to Be a Wife: Helping You Go from Single to Married God's Way."

Christine's hobbies are gemstone collecting and creating new projects and initiatives. But she most enjoys spending time with her family. Married in 2005, she and her husband Robert reside in Philadelphia, PA, with their two daughters.

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

That God is still connecting men and women in marriage, and if we follow the Biblical examples in the Word of God, women can position themselves for the love of their life.

Why did you choose to write this book?

I wrote this book so that Christian single women would know what marriage entails, and how they can prepare to be wives. Many times, people teach women about marriage after they've already said "I do", yet the best time to know about marriage is before you get married. That way, you can choose a man who can love you for a lifetime, and when you marry, you will know it's truly something you want to do, for the right reasons.

What did you learn while writing this book?

That authors really put a ton of work into producing a book.

What was your favorite scene/chapter from the book?

My favorite Chapter of the book is Chapter 1: Why do you want to get married? It's my favorite because it "puts it all out there" in regards to marriage so that women can truly decide if they want to get married.

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

I'm not sure. I am a writer because it's a way for me to express myself, but I also speak so I'm not sure I am a true writer exclusively.

What is the best lesson you have learned from another writer?

I learned from Omar Tyree that you have to finish your manuscript at some point. I always feel like there is more that can be said, but you can't write a book forever. Eventually, you have to decide that what you've written is enough, and if there is more to be said, you can write another book.

What is the toughest test you've faced as a writer?

Finishing my manuscript

What is something readers would be surprised you do?

I sing to my oldest daughter before she goes to bed at night.

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

1. That everyone gets nervous when writing their first book.

2. That what seems obvious to me now may be impactful to someone else.

3. I should not minimize what I say, as long as it's a blessing to someone else.

How do you reach new readers?

Word of mouth, mostly. And through our wife-in-waiting events.

If you could have dinner with 3 authors to talk with about their writing (living or deceased) who would you invite and why?

Maya Angelo -- because she's so authentic to herself

Michelle McKinney Hammond -- because she's meant so much to Christian single women, and is an inspiration to me.

Jack Canfield -- he's put together books (Chicken Soup for the Soul) that are simple, yet have blessed millions.

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

Do believe in yourself and your gift. Believe in your own self-worth, irregardless of what people say or do.

Don't do this all by yourself. Lean on others that are strong in the areas in which you are weak. Work with others who respect you, and those you can respect.

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

http://www.readytobeawife.com

christine@christinepembleton.com

Josephine Communications, LLC

P.O. Box 49016

Philadelphia, Pa 19141

Our theme for this month is REACHING YOUR GOALS. What steps should a writer take to reach their goals?

Write everyday, and work with an editor/critique group to perfect your writing voice. There is nothing like being understood by your readers.

Get your writing into the hands of someone who can take your message to your target audience. If you can do the job, self-publish your work or begin a blog. If you don't have the resources, send your writing to editors/publishers who do have the resources.

Thank the Lord each day for your gift, and walk through every door He opens for you.
Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?

My next book will discussion the qualities of a Godly wife, unless there is more to be said for Christian single women.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Lord I'm Ready To Be A Wife

Monday, June 29, 2009

FEATURED AUTHOR: Lizzette G. Carter


Born and raised in Queens, New York, Lizzette Grayson Carter, has always had a passion for literature and started writing in her first year of high school. After high school, she left The Big Apple to attend Virginia Union University in Richmond, Virginia and majored in English Education with a minor in Spanish. Following college, Carter entered the workforce and with her passion still in her along with her keen interest in the complexities of race and interracial relationships, started The Color Line.

The Color Line, a contemporary romance novel about a black woman’s struggle with being in an interracial relationship – with her boss, nonetheless, was a fantastic debut for Carter. It was the June 2005 Black Expressions Book Editor’s Choice, published in exclusive hardback edition cover and sold out in a short period of time. It exceeded her expectations even further, by going into its second print in mass market paperback in November of 2007.

Now, as a full-time author, with the release of Across The Color Line, the much anticipated sequel to The Color Line, Carter brings the issues of race and the internal struggles of an interracial relationship to the forefront. Carter has launched her own audio book, book publishing and print on demand company, and is working on the screenplay for Across The Color Line. She continues to travel near and far for book events, lectures, speaking engagements, conferences and book club meetings.

She is a resident of Mathews County, Virginia and lives with her husband, Michael and daughter, Brienna. She continues to devote her time to her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, her church and many other Christian engagements.

Across The Color Line


Lacie, a black woman and Tony a white man are at the beginning of their interracial relationship. They’re happy and very much in love, but things sour once Lacie meets Tony’s mother, Abigail. Adding to the problem, is a black male co-worker, Trevor Weeks, who is constantly harassing Lacie for being with Tony while ironically trying to steal her away from him. But the real twist is when Lacie’s ex-fiancé, Joe returns with a deep secret…and he’s the same guy that she originally broke up with to be with Tony and he’s also Tony’s best friend!

So…with all of the problems at the cusp of their relationship, will Lacie and Tony’s relationship survive Across The Color Line?



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

“Across The Color Line” is an emotionally charged novel and I want readers to take their emotion and the message they’ll get from the novel and act on it positively.

Why did you choose to write this book?

I chose to write “Across The Color Line” because race, color and interracial relationships are still controversial issues - even in today’s time and this country has wounds from the past that have yet to heal.

What did you learn while writing this book?

I learned that nothing is impossible with God; I was faced with many challenges as a writer during the creation of “Across The Color Line” and I was constantly in prayer.

What was your favorite scene/chapter from the book?

My, there are so many scenes that I love in “Across The Color Line” , but I’ll pick Chapter 38 – The Wedding. There is a part in that chapter that is so funny - and very creative, I might add. I get so tickled every time I read it.

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

I’d like for other non-writers to understand that writing is just as creative as any of the other arts – music, acting, dancing, sculpting, animation.

What is the best lesson you have learned from another writer?

The best lesson I’ve learned from another writer is that when writing fiction – anything goes when it’s in the mind of the writer. Although it might not be possible in reality.

What is the toughest test you've faced as a writer?

The toughest tests I faced would undoubtedly be overcoming rejection – especially when I first started out. But prayer, resilience and support from family and friends is what I used (and still use today), to combat it.

What is something readers would be surprised you do?

Readers might be surprised that I own my own publishing, and print-on-demand company. We actually make our own books.

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

There are some things that I wish I’d have known, but the reality is that without those test and trials I could not have grown to where I am now.

How do you reach new readers?

I usually reach new readers from touring and attending events.

If you could have dinner with 3 authors to talk with about their writing (living or deceased) who would you invite and why?

I’d love to have dinner with James Baldwin because just as I did, he confronted race and prejudice in his works.

I’d love to have dinner with Langston Hughes, because he’s one of my most admired poets of the Harlem Renaissance. I read his poem “Mother to Son” for a contest in sixth grade and know how to recite it verbatim to this day.

I’d love to have dinner with Terry McMillan because she had an influence on me becoming a writer with her usage of ‘first person’ in her novels.

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

Do a lot of research into the writing business and don’t ever give up!

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

My mailing address is :
Lizzette G. Carter
P. O. Box 1
Hallieford, VA 23068
e-mail: lgcauthor@yahoo.com
website: http://www.lizzettegraysoncarter.com/


Our theme for this month is REACHING YOUR GOALS.

What steps should a writer take to reach their goals? 1) Pray 2) Write down their goal (s) on a piece of paper 3) Work hard to achieve their goal (s). 4) Contact my publishing company.

Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?

As of now, I’m fully involved in writing the screenplay for “Across The Color Line” and once that’s done, there will be enough closure for me to fully focus on my next novel.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Across The Color Line.

Friday, June 26, 2009

FEATURED AUTHOR: Cathy Yardley


TURNING JAPANESE

Meet Lisa Falloya, an aspiring half-Japanese, half-Italian American manga artist who follows her bliss by moving to Tokyo to draw the Japanese-style comics she's been reading for years. Leaving behind the comforts of a humdrum desk job and her workaholic fiancée, Lisa has everything planned-- right down to a room with a nice Japanese family-- but hasn't taken into account that being half-Asian and enthusiastic isn't going to cut it. Faced with an exacting boss and a conniving "big fish" manga author, Lisa risks her wedding, her friends, and her fears for a shot at making it big.


Cathy Yardley needs to get out more. When not writing or playing with her son, she is probably cruising the Internet, sleeping or watching D-list movies and adding to her unnatural mental store of character-actor trivia. She can hum along with all the theme songs on Cartoon Network's "Adult Swim" and is learning Japanese from anime. She considers Daria a positive role model. Her family is considering performing an intervention for her addiction to pop culture. Email any time... she ought to be sleeping, but let's face it. She's online. :)


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

I'd like readers to understand what it's like to be mixed-race, and how attitude in life is more important than anything.

If you could have a conversation with one of your characters who would it be and why?

This is going to sound like a total cop-out, but writing the novels is like having a conversation with my characters. So it's not something I've ever thought about. I'd like to have drinks with the main character, Lisa... especially at Comic-Con!

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

I suffer from writer's block periodically -- usually when I'm not taking care of myself, or when I just need to take time to figure out what I really want to communicate. That's always rough. The best answer has been to be with writer friends, improve my health, have lots of quiet time and replenishing activities to "refill the well", and to just have faith that the block will go away. It always does.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

That if you write because you want to be successful, a block the size of a semi is probably waiting in the wings to wallop you. Not that there's anything wrong with success, per se. But if you lose sight of your love of a great story, and wanting to share that great story, then I think your muse tends to take a hike until you come to your senses.

What's your secret to balancing career and family?

Again, make sure I have at least a little time to myself, or else I can't take care of anything -- not the family, not the books. And I've got the slogan "progress not perfection" taped to my wall.

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

My mail is going to change... I'm hoping to move to the Seattle area by the end of the summer. So email is easiest, and fastest: cathy@cathyyardley.com. I blog and post news and new releases on my website, http://www.cathyyardley.com/
.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

FEATURED AUTHOR: Maurice Gray


Maurice M. Gray, Jr. is an author (of two novels), an editor, a speaker and a comedian. He serves on the faculty the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference, where he evaluates manuscripts for conferees and teaches workshops as needed. Along with Lacricia A'ngelle, Dr. Linda Beed and Wanda Campbell, he is a member of the Damascus Road Authors. As a Christian comedian, Maurice has worked with the likes of James “The Storyteller” Ford and Pat “Sister Betty” G'orge-Walker.

Maurice serves as an HIV/AIDS Prevention Counselor for Beautiful Gate Outreach Center; in this capacity, he regularly educates men, women and teenagers about this disease.

Maurice is a member of Bethel AME Church in Wilmington, DE, where he is active in many ministries (including the Singles Ministry and the Men's Chorus). He is also a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc and of the Greater Newark Area Toastmasters club. He lives in New Castle, DE with his family.

The Soul of a Man: A Triumph of My Soul Anthology, features short stories, essays and poems by Joe Thomas, Jihad, William Fredrick Cooper, Alvin C. Romer, Marc Lacy, Maurice M. Gray, Jr., Brian Ganges, Jarold Imes, K.L. Belvin, Joey Pinkney, Thomas Ashburn, Jr., Clarence "Baba Simba" Mollock, Tyrell Floyd and Eddrick Dejuan.

Long Term (a short story)

After a season of sowing his wild oats, Nate Carter is a changed man. He’s turned his life over to God, but that doesn’t exempt him from the consequences of his past. Nate, a supervisor of temporary employees at a local credit card bank, is challenged when a former conquest comes to work for him and wants to pick up where they left off a few years prior. The man he is now struggles with the man he was. Who will win? God knows.

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

The knowledge that there are many black male authors out here, and that we each have a different voice that needs to be heard. The fourteen of us in The Soul Of A Man are just the tip of the iceberg. I want those who read this book to appreciate the diversity of minds and talents assembled in this work.

Why did you choose to write this book?

I wanted to be part of this project because it’s something new and different. I hear a lot of women say that there aren’t many male authors for them to read, and this anthology says differently. Here are fourteen different men, none named Omar Tyree or Eric Jerome Dickey or Walter Mosely, but whose writing abilities are just as worthy of a reader’s time.

What did you learn while writing this book?

That holding myself to 5000 words is not an easy task- I’m wordy! I also learned that it just may be harder to write a short story than it is to write a novel. In a short story, you have considerably less space to develop your characters and your plotline. But, writing tight is a good skill to have, and this helped me to hone that particular skill.

What was your favorite scene/chapter from the book?

I haven’t read everyone’s contributions yet, so I’d have to speak for my own story, Long Term. My favorite scene is near the beginning, where my main character Nate is stunned to realize that the newest temporary employee under his supervision is a woman with whom he had a brief relationship a few years back (during his BC- Before Christ) days).

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

That writing is a real job :). That it’s not as easy as one may think- just because writing a book involves sitting at the computer for hours on end doesn’t make it any less strenuous than other jobs. And, that writers need serious alone time when on deadline :). It’s not personal- it’s about getting the book or story or article done when you promised it would be done.

What is the best lesson you have learned from another writer?

Patricia Haley (author of many Christian fiction books, most recently Chosen) taught me almost everything I know about self-publishing. Without her advice, I more than likely would still be shopping my first manuscript around instead of stepping out on faith and doing it myself.

What is the toughest test you've faced as a writer?

There were two occasions where I lost money in literary deals. One was when a publisher I worked with didn’t adhere to the contract I signed for a project, and another is a situation where I signed on to participate in a book expo. I’d sent books to the person in charge, and when the expo was cancelled, I never got my books back. Between those two incidents, I’d say I’m out a good $2000.00-$4000.00. My challenge was to get over being angry with those individuals and write off the money. I was particularly upset because both were African-Americans who call themselves my brothers in Christ, but I had to get over it. I’ve got better things to do than to hurt myself by staying angry over something I can’t control.

What is something readers would be surprised you do?

They might be surprised to know that I work as an HIV Prevention Counselor for a faith-based non-profit organization (Beautiful Gate Outreach Center). I’m comfortable in saying that it’s not your typical day job for a writer :).

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

1) That a good printer for your self-published book doesn’t have to cost a small fortune
2) That you should make your business plan and set aside money for a budget before you jump out there and self-publish
3) That you need a strong online presence from Day One to be an effective author

How do you reach new readers?

Word of mouth has done wonders for me in that regard, and a good online presence has also been highly effective. Facebook and MySpace, along with my web site, have gotten me in front of lots of readers I might otherwise not have reached.

If you could have dinner with 3 authors to talk with about their writing (living or deceased) who would you invite and why?

Zora Neale Hurston, because I enjoyed Their Eyes Were Watching God so much I’d love to pick her brain about how she got her ideas.

Alex Haley, because I’d love to know how he handled all that research. He traced his roots all the way back to Kunta Kinte, and it’s all I can do to find out what a person who works a particular job does so I can give that occupation to a new character :).

The Apostle Paul- anybody who could write such compelling letters to those various New Testament churches without computer, typewriter or even pens and pencils as we know them is someone I want to have a writer’s chat with.

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

Do: Put the same level of effort into your writing as you would any job you’ve ever done for any employer. Whether you intend to self-publish or look for a contract with a traditional publisher, this is a business. Treat it that way.

Don’t: Quit your day job without a plan for how you will sustain yourself as a full-time writer.

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

My web site is http://www.mauricemgrayjr.com/
. My e-mail is writevision2000@yahoo.com, and I can be found on Facebook and MySpace.

Our theme for this month is REACHING YOUR GOALS. What steps should a writer take to reach their goals?

Research, research, research. Learn the craft, and learn the steps towards your particular writing goal. If you intend to self-publish, find someone who’s successfully done so and learn as much as you can from them. Don’t be offended if you reach out to a professional and they have a fee. You pay a doctor for medical care, and a lawyer for legal advice. If you want extensive information on how to become a writer and the person you ask teaches it professionally, they may charge for a consultation. Treat writing as a business and act accordingly. Make your business plan, set your budget and get to stepping!

Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?

My next novel is due to be released in September. Female Problems follows Erik, Garvey and Sam, three Christian men trying to figure out the women in their lives (or the lack thereof). Think Waiting To Exhale with Christian men in the lead roles and you have the idea :). Those who read my first two novels, To Whom Much Is Given and All Things Work Together, will be pleased to know that this book contains all new characters. These men are by no means perfect, but they are representative of the good men out there that so many women believe don’t exist or are not available.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Worth a Thousand Words Blog Tour

MEET STACY HAWKINS ADAMS

Stacy Hawkins Adams is a nationally-published, award-winning author and speaker. Her contemporary women’s fiction novels are filled with social themes and spiritual quests that take readers on journeys into their own souls.



Tell us about Worth a Thousand Words.

Worth A Thousand Words explores the tough decisions a young woman named Indigo Burns must make in her relationships and her career. Indigo is a recent college graduate, eager to forge her path in the world and pursue her dreams. Then she’s faced with some challenging realities that force her to grapple with who she wants to be. Indigo realizes that you have to find the courage to accept difficult truths about yourself, and about others, before you can embrace life and love others unconditionally.

How did you come up with ideas for this book?

I started with the idea of writing about a character who had everything going for her and trusted that as long as she continued to believe in God and give her best, life would be perfect. I wanted to show how such a character would persevere and mature in wisdom and in faith when life threw her a few curveballs. Ultimately, the story boils down to helping readers see that just as the pictures this character takes as a professional photographer are worth a thousand words, so are the truths she has to embrace in her life.

Who are your main character(s)?

Indigo Burns, a recent college graduate who has lived in Jubilant, Texas since childhood, is the main character. The secondary character is her fiance, Brian Harper, who is pressuring her to alter her goals so they can be together. Other important characters are Rachelle Covington (Indigo's favorite cousin and the main character in The Someday List), and Aunt Melba, who plays a pivotal role in helping Rachelle grow up and find the courage to follow her heart.

Did you have a favorite character(s)? Who and why?

Aunt Melba was one of my favorite characters in The Someday List, and she holds the title in this book,too. Because of circumstances that unfold during the novel, Melba is not as visible a character in this book, but I love her personality and her ability to "tell it like it is" without hurting people.

Did you have to do quite a bit of research for this novel?

Yes, I did. Even though I'm writing fiction, in order for the story to resonate with readers, it's important for them to enter the characters' world. To do that well, I commit a lot of time adding as many true-to-life elements to my books as I can.
Near the beginning of the book, Indigo's boyfriend, Brian, and her best friend, Shelby, leave Texas to attend Officer Candidate School in Rhode Island. Most of Brian's scenes take place in Rhode Island, and his life is consumed by the training program. To make this storyline authentic, I did extensive research on what occurs during Officer Candidate School, what the experience is like for recruits, how the commanders talk to the recruits, etc. I also extensively researched details for a personal issue that Indigo confronts.

What do you hope readers will learn/discover from reading Worth a Thousand Words?

I hope readers will journey through Worth A Thousand Words and feel empathy for these characters, because Indigo and Brian find themselves grappling with decisions most of us have struggled with in some form or fashion. I also hope that when readers put down this book, they'll reflect on their own journeys and consider how to respond when they face uncomfortable truths in their own lives.

Okay, a not-so-fun question. How important are reviews to you as a writer?

All writers want their books to be well-received and appreciated. I respect reviews and value them. Great ones make me feel good about the work I'm doing. Not so great ones challenge me to take a harder look at my work and consider ways to strengthen my writing. At the same time, I know that everyone has different preferences and tastes, even when it comes to reading, and every book isn't for everyone.


ABOUT THE BOOK

Worth a Thousand Words
Jubilant Soul Series Book Two
by Stacy Hawkins Adams

Life has always gone Indigo Burns’s way. She’s smart, pretty, and talented, and she knows exactly what she wants. A photography internship at her hometown’s local newspaper is the next step in her well-laid plans for her future. But her long-term goals are put to the test when her boyfriend Brian proposes–two years before he’s supposed to and in front of all the guests at her college graduation party.

Too concerned about his feelings to say no, she heartily agrees, but inside she’s cringing. Indigo knows in her heart that she’s not prepared to sacrifice her dreams to become Brian’s wife–not before she has achieved any of them. Will she find the answers among family and friends in Jubilant, Texas? Or will the picture-perfect life she dreams of be left behind?

For more information about Stacy, visit her at http://stacyhawkinsadams.com/.

BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE

DAY 1 Monday, June 22

Rhonda McKnight
http://www.urbanchristianfictiontoday.com/


Victorious Cafe
http://www.victoriouscafe.com/

LaTara Ham-Ying
http://www.momunplugged.com/

DAY 2 Tuesday, June 23

RAWSistaz Literary Group
http://www.rawsistaz.com/

Joey Pinkney
http://www.joeypinkney.com/

Linda Beed, D.R.Ed
http://lindabeed.blogspot.com/

DAY 3 Wednesday, June 24

SORMAG
http://sormag.blogspot.com/

Patricia Woodside
http://readinnwritin.blogspot.com/

Ella Curry - Black Pearl Magazine
http://edcmagazine.blogspot.com/

Ruth Curcuru
http://rannthisthat.blogspot.com/


DAY 4 Thursday, June 25

All the Buzz Reviews
http://www.allthebuzzreviews.com/

Vanessa Richardson
http://thecertainones.blogspot.com/

Britni Vigil
http://booknookclub.blogspot.com/


DAY 5 Friday, June 26

APOOO Books
http://www.apooobooks.com/

Word4Women
http://wordforwomen.wordpress.com/

Faygo's Report
http://instanter.wordpress.com/

Edgy Inspirational Author
http://edgyinspirationalauthor.blogspot.com/


ONLINE RADIO SCHEDULE

JUNE 23 - WordThirst Literary Journal Online Radio Show (8:00 pm EST)
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/ashea-goldson

JULY 9 - Chocolate Pages Show (6:00 pm EST)
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/chocolatepages

JULY 16 - Inspiration Station (6:30 pm EST)
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/InspirationStation


Monday, June 22, 2009

FEATURED AUTHOR: Celeste O. Norfleet


National best-selling author, Celeste O. Norfleet, was a late bloomer to romance. But as soon as she picked up her first romance novel, she was hooked. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Celeste is a graduate of Moore College of Art & Design. An art director and graphic designer for many years, Celeste now devotes all of her time to writing and creating romance letting her artistic imagination flow through the computer keys. Her romance novels, realistic with a touch of humor, depict strong sexy characters with unpredictable plots and exciting storylines. Her young adult novels delve into dramatic fiction, reflecting current issues facing African-American teens. Celeste currently writes for Harlequin’s Kimani Arabesque, Kimani Romance and Kimani Press TRU (young adult) lines. Celeste lives in Virginia with her husband and two teenagers.
For more information see her website at www.celesteonorfleet.com or contact her at conorfleet@aol.com or P.O. Box 7346, Woodbridge, VA 22195-7346

Sultry Storm

Mia James will do anything to save her family home—even drive into the eye of a hurricane. But from the moment she comes to the rescue of a rain-soaked stranger, another kind of storm rages.

Stephen Morales thinks he's dreaming when he sees the sultry beauty tending to his wounds by candlelight. And he wants more than shelter from the storm. Soon the sexy deputy sheriff is tempting Mia to throw caution to the gale-force winds and give in to a night of passion neither will forget.

But a new tempest is gathering, swirling around a tumultuous family secret that threatens their future. With the Florida Keys erupting, Mia and Stephen can play it safe—or risk everything for a love that's sweeping them beyond danger, beyond deception…beyond anything they've ever known.

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

Sultry Storm is a wonderful book filled with romance, heartache, family drama and the challenge of situations that are beyond anyone’s control. I think the main thing I want readers to take away from reading Sultry Storm is the idea of forgiveness and letting go. It’s sometimes the hardest thing to do, but in the long run it’s often the most rewarding.

Why did you choose to write this book?

Sultry Storm is part of the Mother Nature Matchmaker Continuity and the idea of sending a character into the path of a hurricane was too tempting to pass up. The parameters were set and I had a basic storyline in mind. I wanted high drama and lots and lots of sultry seduction. The result is Mia James and Stephen Morales and a very hot book.

What did you learn while writing this book?

I actually learn a lot while writing books. I try to always insert a larger, deeper emotional message as I write. Sometimes it’s subtle, something it’s very obvious. In Sultry Storm I learned, as my heroine learned, to be more vigilant when it comes to letting go of old drama and holding onto grudges.

What was your favorite scene/chapter from the book?

My favorite scene is probably when Mia is up in the attic and Stephen gives her the letters from her father. It’s very emotional and a pivotal turning point in the character releasing pain and accepting love into her heart.

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

Writing is a solitary profession and it isn’t easy. It takes a lot of time and forethought to plan out a novel, create believable characters and work their motivations into a 200 page story then do the same for the next fifty books.

What is the best lesson you have learned from another writer?

From other writers I’ve learned focus, patience, perseverance, and dedication, but I think the best lesson was to let the book go. End the story, walk away and go on to the next project. It’s a hard lesson and I’m still learning it.

What is the toughest test you've faced as a writer?

I think the toughest test I faced as an author was separating myself from things around me. It’s hard not to be affected by family, friends, national and international events. 9/11 was devastating. I couldn’t work for a month, but that didn’t stop my deadline. I had to pull myself together and get the job done.

What is something readers would be surprised you do?

When I’m stuck on an idea or I’m having difficulty seeing through a plot point I go downstairs to the family game room and either shoot pool (I’m pretty good) or play video games (Bust-A-Move is my favorite). Also, puzzles and word games help clear my mind and clarify things for me.

How do you reach new readers?

Good question. I don’t really know if I have an answer. I don’t physically go out and stomp the pavement, but I do try to keep an online presence. I have a brilliant online specialist who is constantly getting my name out there. I also have a sizable reader email list and I send out book and information announcements.

If you could have dinner with 3 authors to talk with about their writing (living or deceased) who would you invite and why?


1. Toni Morrison
2. Zora Neale Hurston
3. Jane Austin

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

The one do would be to learn all aspects of writing. Study hard and know the business as well.

The one don’t would be never to give up on yourself or your dream.

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

My snail mail address is P.O. Box 7346, Woodbridge, VA, 22195-7346. My email address is – conorfleet@aol.com. My website address is – www.celesteonorlfeet.com

Our theme for this month is REACHING YOUR GOALS. What steps should a writer take to reach their goals?

I’d say “Just Do It” sums it up nicely. No one is going to know that you have the greatest novel ever if you don’t write it, edit it and send it to an editor. It takes sacrifice, dedication and drive, but the rewards are so worth it. There’s nothing like typing the words, “The End” after six weeks of writing then later opening a box and seeing your printed book. The way to reach your goal is to write and don't stop.

Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?

I’d love to. My next release is called, When It Feels So Right and is set in Alaska. It’s a wonderful romance about second chances and moving on. It features a new family, the Buchanans and will be released this September. After that the "Matchmaker Series" featuring Mamma Lou continues as she sets her target on the ever elusive Trey Evans. The book is called, Love Me Now and will be released in November. If you haven't read any of this series yet this is an excellent book to start. I’m currently writing a sequel to Sultry Storm. It’s Natalia’s story and is called Cross My Heart. The scheduled released is May 2010.

Friday, June 19, 2009

FEATURED AUTHOR: Maureen K. Lipinski


Maureen K. Lipinski, a graduate of Miami University (in Ohio, not Florida), resides in Chicago with her husband Kevin, two obese cats and one demented dog.

She discovered the true meaning of irony when, shortly after finishing A BUMP IN THE ROAD, she became unexpectedly pregnant and her son Ryan was born in 2007. She works full-time and signs her paycheck directly over to the nanny.


A Bump In The Road

When twenty-seven-year-old event planner and famous blogger Clare Finnegan got married, she didn’t mind moving out of the city. After all, a suburban existence didn’t necessarily equal domesticity. Yet after a weekend in Vegas, Clare discovers she’s pregnant and is thrown into a world where eating lunchmeat is equivalent to smoking crack and maternity clothes appear to have been molested by a Bedazzler.
In the midst of her slow transition from beer bottles to baby bottles, Clare juggles burgeoning internet stardom, plans Chicago’s biggest black-tie gala and attempts to keep the peace between her two feuding best friends.

Through it all, Clare manages to keep it together and discovers that, sometimes, the unexpected can be a whole lot of fun...despite the extra thirty pounds.

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

I would love for readers to laugh their butts off when they read my book. Pregnancy is such a strange, unique, fun and goofy experience so I hope that women can relate Clare’s journey. There are few other times in a woman’s life when she can experience true hilarity as when she’s nine months pregnant. My hope is that readers can laugh with Clare as she navigates a world of hideous maternity clothes and swollen ankles.

If you could have a conversation with one of your characters who would it be and why?

Ooohhh! Cool question! Let’s see…I guess I would have to pick Sam, Clare’s teenaged sister. I would ask her to please stop asking Clare if she has to wear high-waisted “Mom Jeans” now that she has a kid. And gently remind her that Clare and Jake have no current plans to buy a minivan, despite living in the suburbs.

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

I think, like a lot of other writers, my greatest roadblock was myself. Actually forcing myself to sit down and put in the bazillion hours it takes to write a first draft of a book. And then, forcing myself to spend many, many evenings ripping that book to shreds in revisions. It was making the mental commitment to pursue my dream—and the intestinal fortitude to believe I could succeed in such a tough business. Writing is such a solitary profession that we have to be our biggest fans, our best cheerleaders. Because those books aren’t writing themselves, you know?

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

I learned that writing is an amazing amount of work. I always had this rose-colored fantasy in my head that as soon as I “decided” to become a writer, the story would flow out effortlessly, be bought for mucho dinero by a publisher and become an instant best seller. Hilarious, right? I’ve learned that success in publishing, like any other profession, is only rewarded after lots of hard work, thick skin and a “never surrender” attitude.

What's your secret to balancing career and family?

OK, so this one stumped me. Because? Most days? It doesn’t feel like a balance. It feels like a tug-of-war and whatever is most urgent wins out. But, hands down, my family comes first. I think the most important thing a working mom can do is cut herself some slack. There’ll always be self-regenerating laundry piles, grocery lists longer than War and Peace and work stress rivaling that of an air-traffic-controller’s. But that stuff can wait. Because dancing around with my toddler to Jack’s Big Music Show is a heckuva lot more fun than cleaning out my fridge or doing an expense report.

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

I love to hear from readers! They can contact me via my website at http://www.maureenlipinski.com/
. I love to chat about books, the Chicago Cubs and any trashy reality show airing on Vh1.

LEAVE A COMMENT FOR A CHANCE TO WIN A COPY OF A BUMP IN THE ROAD.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

FEATURED AUTHOR: Joey Pinkney


Joey Pinkney writes book reviews and conducts author interviews for his website http://joeypinkney. His book reviews have been featured on Urban Book Source as well as C&B Books Distribution's website. Joey Pinkney's "5 Minutes, 5 Questions With..." author interview series has seen the likes of both New York Times and Essence Best Selling authors as well as newly published writers.

The Soul of a Man Anthology:

About "Like Father, Like Son":

Joey Pinkney's contribution to The Soul of a Man Anthology is the short story "Like Father, Like Son". Follow Terrence Greene as he struggles to remain faithful to his wife. His problem is far from sexual frustration. Terrence's step-son Andre is a momma's boy with a criminal streak that will soon put a rift between Terrence and his bride Mary. Will Andre's behavior continue to be supported by his mother? Or will Terrence convince Mary that the best plan of action is to let the delinquent 17 year old go to the street to preserve their marriage? Witness all three characters getting their spiritual fortitude pushed to the limits.


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

I wanted to give the readers a Christian family that is atypical to what they read in most Christian fiction. This is a family that can't quote every scripture, but they have their own way of staying connected with God. Mary loves the church environment, yet Terrence approaches Christianity spiritually instead of mechanically. I also wanted to challenge what is considered to be standard protocol in the church.

I want the reader to ponder the question: How should you handle a teenager that will absolutely not respect the step-parent? Terrence is hard pressed to find the happy medium between loving his wife and handling the criminal and disrespectful ways of his step-son. He can turn the other cheek only so much...

Why did you choose to write this book?

I wrote "Like Father, Like Son" because the characters would not let me rest until I put them on paper. "Like Father, Like Son" started out being partially biographical. When I started writing "Like Father, Like Son", Terrence, Mary and Andre took a life of their own and became more than the characters I sketched in my head. This story is a challenge to the Christian status quo. Let's just say, I didn't want everything to be "comfortable". You have to read it to see why I say this.

I had most of the story worked out in my head by the time Elissa approached me about being a contributor to The Soul of a Man Anthology. She gave me a perfect reason to stop procrastinating and get the story in physical form. Thank you so much for this opportunity Elissa Gabrielle and Peace in the Storm Publishing.

What did you learn while writing this book?

I learned that it's hard to write and think critically about every aspect of the story. I had to step back a couple of times and tell myself to write the story instead of edit what had been written. I also learned how much of an effect of reading a bunch of great books over the last couple of years had on writing from a reader's standpoint.

I also learned that character's personalities and actions can take a totally different path from what you hold to be true in your heart. There can be some things in your story that your characters do that you would do or support personally.

What was your favorite scene/chapter from the book?

My favorite scene in "Like Father, Like Son" is Terrence waking up and is being able to predict which fork and bowl Mary is using to make the scrambled eggs. The way that motif was incorporated into the story was so classic to me. That's one of my favorite aspects of the book besides the amount of poetry I infused into the narration of the story.

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

Writing a story of any length requires a lot of time and mental energy. There some people who make it look easy, and there are others who do a terrible job at it. Writing and getting published takes an amount of professionalism to get the job done even when you are not feeling "inspired". That's why you have so my people who say, "I got so many stories." They say that because they don't have the desire to put the work in. When you read an author's novel

What is the best lesson you have learned from another writer?

All of the successful writers have a common thread if we define success in terms of dollar signs. They work as hard if not harder at promoting their books as they do at writing the books.

What is the toughest test you've faced as a writer?

Writing when my wife and children want me to be with them. I'm not a recluse. Well...not a total recluse. I've been in a situation where I'm in a perfect writing zone, but my family wants me to hang out with them. To write or not to write; that is the question...

What is something readers would be surprised you do?

I am a chocoholic. If I get a bag of of chocolate, I can't stop until the bag is finished. I'm close friends with D Pain (tm)

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

1) Start now. Don't wait for perfect time. There is no perfect time. 2) A young child is such a blessing. 3) Promotion is key to being successful in the book industry.

How do you reach new readers?

Facebook, myspace, twitter and Sormag.

If you could have dinner with 3 authors to talk with about their writing (living or deceased) who would you invite and why?

Mari Walker because she's my favorite author. Moses Miller because of his genius level of intelligence. Robert Kiyosaki because I want to be a rich dad instead of a poor dad.

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

Don't wait. Do put some time in thinking about how to market your book.

How can readers get in contact with you?

Websites: http://joeypinkney.com
(for author interviews and book reviews) and http://joeyisinit.com (for autographed copies of The Soul of a Man Anthology)

Email: joey.pinkney@gmail.com

Our theme for this month is REACHING YOUR GOALS. What steps should a writer take to reach their goals?

Writers should study their craft and be prepared to get their goals accomplished even when they don't feel like it.

Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?

I'm working on the continuation of "Like Father, Like Son" for Jarold Imes' Broken But I'm Healed anthology for his Our Teen Voices series. I'm looking forward for this next story for a couple of different reasons. Jarold Imes' short story "I Used to Love Her" is also in The Soul of a Man Anthology. We both live in the North Carolina, so we can promote the anthologies in conjunction with eachother. The next story is going to be read from Andre's perspective, and we'll get to see what makes him tick. Andre was an antagonist of sorts in "Like Father, Like Son". In the next story, which is untitled at the moment, I'm wondering if he will continue to be "the bad guy" or will he get back on the right path.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Meet Patti Lacy, author of What the Bayou Saw


Patti, tell us about What the Bayou Saw.

Since leaving Louisiana, Sally Stevens has smothered her childhood with a sunny disposition and sugar-coated lies. No one, not even her beloved husband Sam, knows what happened to her and her best friend, Ella Ward, when they were twelve years old.

Now a teacher in Normal, Illinois, Sally has nearly forgotten her past. Then Shamika, one of her students, is violently attacked, and memories of segregation, a chain-link fence, and a blood oath bubble to the surface like a dead body in a bayou.

Finally entrapped in her web of lies, Sally—and Shamika—embark on a quest to find Ella in post-Katrina New Orleans. With the help of friends, family, and God, Sally can glimpse a life free of the mire of deceit and truly begin to live with joy. But will she pay the price for a lifetime of deception?

How did you come up with ideas for this book?

Oh, LaShaunda, a wonderful cast of women (black, white, and everything in between) shared poignant memories of growing up in the South. With the help of several editors, including one with a PhD in literature, I tried to capture the voice, dialect, and values of 1960s Louisiana and present-day Normal, Illinois.

It all started with the story of Sheila Flanagan, director of the Mobile Museum. Though Sheila lived next door to a little girl who was her age, racism and a chain link fence kept the wannabe friends apart. For seven years, toys were stuck through the spaces in the fence so the little girls could play. That image grabbed my mind, wouldn’t let go, and formed the seed of a story. God, and my imagination, took it from there.

Who are your main character(s)?

Sally Stevens, the teacher who’s buried a swamp full of lies behind her big-toothed smile. Ella Ward, a nurse who’s fighting to forget a betrayal, deal with an addict brother, and save her patients from the she-devil Hurricane Katrina. Sam Stevens, the math professor husband of Sally who is tired of the lack of intimacy—and honesty—in their marriage. Shamika Williams, a brilliant but sullen student who decides to turn her horrific sexual assault into a get-even event. Detective Price, a bigoted cop who is about to get a lesson in how to really live free.

Did you have a favorite character? Who and why?

Yes! Shamika! I love her sassy personality and inner strength. And this girl has hairdos that you can’t believe. Check out the trailer at www.pattilacy.com to see the perfect portrayal of Shamika by Erin, a college student who is actually studying to be a teacher, just like my Shamika. One day, when Erin waited on me at a local café, I stared at her hair, her cheekbones, and blurted out, “Will you be in my book trailer?” To my shock—and I think Erin’s as well—she agreed. The rest is the coolest Godstop.

Did you have to do quite a bit of research for this novel?

Oh, my, yes. I read Conversations with Earnest Gaines and Bloodline (both by Gaines), Meridian by Alice Walker, The Best Short Stories by Black Writers, The Classic Anthology, The African-American Heritage Hymnal, and interviewed well over a dozen Southern men and women. Post-Katrina, I took a research trip both to New Orleans and to my former home, Monroe, Louisiana. God opened the door to an English class, a high school dean’s office, a bayou guest house, the Lower Ninth Ward; writing has carried me to the most unusual and fascinating places!

What do you hope readers will learn/discover from reading What the Bayou Saw?

Slavery’s and racism’s awful human stain on the people of this country. The subtle and overt ways that we all lie, and how those lies ruin relationships. The terrible reality of sexual assault in America and how young girls often don’t seek help after the incident.

Okay, a not-so-fun question. How important are reviews to you as a writer?

LaShaunda, as I’m sure you know, we writers get little affirmation for our work, and that doesn’t change after you’re published. Bad reviews hurt my feelings, but I am glad that we live in a country where people can freely express their opinions. At least those folks read the book!

The reviews that gall me are the ones where it’s obvious the reviewer hasn’t read the book. I’m talking about a recent Bayou review that didn’t mention racism, sexual dysfunction, or lies. The review basically parroted the back cover copy and added a line or two about my other books (though I’ve only written one other book). What can you do about this kind of thing? Absolutely nothin’. That’s where the Still, Small Voice and those soulmates whoosh in to offer manna and Living Water. Whew!

Visit Patti on line at www.pattilacy.com
.

View the full blog tour schedule at http://bitly.com/WhatTheBayouSaw



What the Bayou Saw

Segregation and a chain link fence separated twelve-year-old Sally Flowers from her best friend, Ella Ward. Yet a brutal assault bound them together. Forever. Thirty-eight years later, Sally, a middle-aged Midwestern instructor, dredges up childhood secrets long buried beneath the waters of a Louisiana bayou in order to help her student, who has also been raped. Fragments of spirituals, gospel songs, and images of a Katrina-ravaged New Orleans are woven into the story.


Monday, June 15, 2009

FEATURED AUTHOR: Gloria Mallette


Nationally acclaimed award winning author GLORIA MALLETTE began her true literary journey by self-publishing her second novel Shades of Jade in April of 2000. By July and 13,000 sold copies later, Gloria signed on with Random House who re-released Shades of Jade in 2001. Shades of Jade made several best sellers lists, including Black Board, Essence Magazine, The Dallas Morning News, and The Washington Post/Washington is Also Reading listing.

Gloria has been featured in The New York Daily News, USAToday, ToDay’s Black Woman, Upscale Magazine, and The Pocono Record. Gloria also has a featured novella, Come Tomorrow, on the USAToday website.

To her credit, Gloria now has ten published titles including the newly released SASSY; Weeping Willows Dance; and Living, Breathing Lies winner of the National USA Book News Best Book 2007 Award and the 2008 Indie Excellence Award.

SASSY

The murder of two women in New York City has Detective Frank Keifer looking for a vicious killer while Sassy Davenport, a popular romance novelist, has finally met the man of her dreams.

When architect Norris Yoshito, on a whim, steps off the street into one of Sassy’s book signings, he is instantly smitten and Sassy is curiously intrigued. A passionate relationship develops, but when key people associated with Norris are brutally murdered, Sassy is thrust into a world of uncertainty and doubt. Norris appears to have two personalities: One is that of a violent man, the other a man of great compassion who helps Sassy with her cousin who is dying of AIDS.

Fear and edge-of-the-seat suspense plunges Sassy into a nightmare of deception and danger where romance cease to exist and the real world of murder is the force to be reckoned with.


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

I hope readers will sense how hard I work to make my characters as real as possible.

Why did you choose to write this book?

I started out trying to write my first romance novel, but right away a murder happened and the romance was that Sassy Davenport was a romance novelist who meets a man a signing. From there the characters told me the story they wanted me to write.

What did you learn while writing this book?

It's not so much what I learned, it was what was reinforced while writing SASSY. Allowing my characters to guide and lead makes for a more interesting story.


What was your favorite scene/chapter from the book?

There are so many great scenes but the ones with Sassy and Bernard, her cousin who is dying of AIDS, are always emotional and sometimes funny. When Bernard reveals how he got AIDS was heart wrenching. Then again, the scenes with Sassy and Norris are great because of their passion; oh, and the scene toward the end when Sassy has to fight for her life is great. Hey, I could go on and on.

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

Interesting question. I guess I want non-writers to understand that writers can't please everyone. I've gotten comments that a story should have gone another way, or that a particular characters wasn't likeable, while others liked the story just the way it was written.

What is the best lesson you have learned from another writer?

Not to take it personally when readers hate my books.

What is the toughest test you've faced as a writer?

I guess the toughest test I faced was when I had to decide whether to sign my third contract with my ex-publisher or go back to self-publishing. My publisher wanted me to write erotica but that was not the direction I wanted to go in. I opted to go back to self publishing so that I could continue to write the stories I feel passionate about.

What is something readers would be surprised you do?

Readers would be surprised that I ride a tractor to cut the grass in my front yard. Really fun.

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

For one, I wish I had known that my ex-publisher had no intention of ever promoting my books. I would have never signed with them. I wish I had known about self publishing way back in the early nineties. I would have gotten an earlier start in publishing. Lastly, I wish I had known how to use the internet to my advantage a lot sooner.

How do you reach new readers?

I reach new readers by networking on the social networks like Facebook, Shelfari, Goodreads, etc.

If you could have dinner with 3 authors to talk with about their writing (living or deceased) who would you invite and why?

The only author I would like to sit down with and talk to about his work would be Stephen King. I'd like to know how he comes up with his varied storylines.


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

For those aspiring to be a writer, I suggest they read, re-read, and re-read again their manuscripts before sending to an agent because they will get only one opportunity. I suggest they don't copy anyone else's style or storyline. Too many authors today are beginning to write and sound like each other.

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

My email address is: gloriamallette@aol.com

My website: http://www.gloriamallette.com/

My mailing address: P.O. Box 488, Bartonsville, PA 18321

Our theme for this month is REACHING YOUR GOALS. What steps should a writer take to reach their goals?

The first step an author should take to reach his/her goals is to treat each book like it's the first. Do your best writing and work hard to promote it.

Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?

My next book will be Shh! Don't Tell. It's about a street reporter who wants to be a network anchor and how far she will go to achieve her goal.

Friday, June 12, 2009

FEATURED AUTHOR: Stashia Barnaba


Stashia Barnabá was born September 3, 1986 to Edward and Tracey Wooden-Barnabá. She is the older of their two children (brother, James).

Tapping into her creative niche at an early age, Stashia wrote her first song at age 7 and was involved with four different music groups. Although those groups were unsuccessful, her writing gained recognition when her poem "My Generation" was published in the November 2003 issue of Vibe Magazine. At 16, she wrote her first novel Jupitervale, published by AuthorHouse weeks after her 18th birthday.

A John A. Brashear High School graduate, Stashia continued her education at the Community College of Allegheny County in Pittsburgh, PA as a music major. This led her to an internship with American Urban Radio Networks as the co-writer and co-producer of the nationally syndicated Surfin the Net (winner of two Achievement In Radio Awards); an internship with the Walt Disney World College Program in Orlando FL; and volunteer work as a student DJ for the Community College of Allegheny County-South Campus radio station, WSCR.

Currently, Stashia is a freelance audio journalist for American Urban Radio Networks and continues to write books, poetry, and lyrics. She plans to continue her education Chatham University.


Jupitervale is a coming-of-age young adult novel about the dilemmas four teenage girls face over their summer break.

Abitha Smith and her sisters were abandoned by their parents at a young age. Having no desire to be separated by the foster care system, she keeps a job, attends school, and raises her sisters while maintaining a low profile until her 18th birthday ... when she can qualify as their legal guardian.
Kat Brazilson is a new mother who has plans to move home to Jupitervale to start anew. She knows they deserve better than the life their headed for ... but she will have to fight to get it.

Marie Kyle has always been close with her family ... but she is coping with the death of her mother, a loving father who's pulling disappearing acts, and a boyfriend who is an ass. What will she do when a new face compels her to find her inner strength?

Graciela Sinclair is frustrated from battling everyday with her older sister and the secret love she has for her best guy friend. Will she reveal her true feelings when he comes back?

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

I would like for adults to take a sense of what their own teenagers or students or young family members may be dealing with. And for young adults, I would love for those who are dealing with these situations to know that they are not alone in facing such challenges. For those who are unaware of these situations, open your eyes to a way of living unfamiliar to your own.

Why did you choose to write this book?

Honestly, one of the characters was developed when I was 7 or 8 playing with my dolls. One day, my parents bought me a three doll Barbie set. It had an older sister, a middle sister and a baby. Since I already had names and stories for my other dolls, I developed a story of these particular one being abandoned by their parents and having the eldest hold down a job and whatnot to take care of her sisters. And thus, Abitha Smith was born. The other ones were tales I was knowledgeable of when I was 16, Situations I had heard about from people I encountered.

What did you learn while writing this book?

The lesson that surprised me the most was learning that people actually related to the story. I don’t think that while writing it I realized how realistic it was and to know that I was in fact telling somebody’s story … not just tales created by my imagination … was amazing to know.

What was your favorite scene/chapter from the book?

I love the introductory chapters (the first four) because it allows you to develop a sense of the characters earlier than expected. I do like the scene where Marie and Francisco get caught by Paul and one of his many girlfriends. It’s highly ironic and hilarious.

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

It’s very therapeutic. No matter the format (poetry, novel, short story, song lyrics), it’s cleansing to find an outlet in which to express your feelings. And when you are writing something completely fictional, it allows you to escape your known reality and create another world for readers (and you) to get lost in.

What is the best lesson you have learned from another writer?

Don’t limit yourself. You will have to jump over enough hurdles in this life trying to reach your goals. You don’t need self-made boundaries in addition to the journey.
What is the toughest test you've faced as a writer?

Writing in a way that will not only get the reader/listener interested, but hold their attention for the duration of the piece. Working at the network, I had to write scripts that would interest the host as well as keep listeners tuned into the show. It’s the same with a novel; no one with pay attention if It’s not a story or subject that people care about. So the way I test myself is by self-editing because if I can read the story over and over again without being bored, I know that somebody will be just as interested as I was.

What is something readers would be surprised you do?

Oh goodness. I don’t know what would surprise them but I love to be creative and help people. Whether I’m creating literature, music, a new dish … as long it helps somebody along the way that makes me happy.

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

1. That people make careers out of their hobbies.
2. Everybody has stories to tell that are worth hearing
3. If I believed in myself at an earlier, I could have accomplished a lot more by now.

How do you reach new readers?

In all honesty, I’m still working on that! I mean, within the book, I reach them by telling stories that they can relate to. But nobody knows these stories are out there without thorough promotion. And the promotional thing is what I have to work on.

If you could have dinner with 3 authors to talk with about their writing (living or deceased) who would you invite?

Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, and Terry McMillian.

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

Do not limit yourself to what you think you can’t do. Do push yourself past your self-made limits (whether it’s self-promoting your book, tapping into another literary genre, etc.).

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


Stashia Barnabá
P.O. Box 51
Mckees Rocks, PA 15136
Stashiabarnaba@jupitervale.com
http://jupitervale.com

Our theme for this month is REACHING YOUR GOALS. What steps should a writer take to reach their goals?

Research everything! Dig deep into your craft and find ways that you can take advantage of it. Not so that you won’t need anyone else, but so you will have that knowledge and nobody can play you stupid. Knowledge is power. Also, don’t take for granted the support and backing you have. For those who only have themselves to support their dreams, trust me, that is enough. Just continue to push yourself, have faith and trust that God will lead you to where He wants you to be.

Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?

Jupitervale Revisited (the sequel to Jupitervale) is going to continue the journey of Abitha Smith, Kat Brazilson, Marie Kyle, and Graciela Sinclair. Abitha will find her parents and the true reasons as to why she was left to raise her sisters. Kat will try to develop a new relationship while still battling against her baby’s father who refuses to disappear and leave her alone. Marie will find herself in a whirlwind of drama and has to tap into her strength to get out of a situation that could potential ruin her life. Graciela will find how necessary it is to grow up and not let the past keep you from living or else you may lose everything you’ve worked so hard to keep.

Outside of that, I have two other novels I’m working on, a book of poetry, and turning Jupitervale into a screenplay.

LEAVE A COMMENT FOR A CHANCE TO WIN A COPY OF JUPITERVAL.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

BOOK INTRO: FIRE in the ROCK


FIRE in the ROCK

At the turn of the twentieth century, some class distinctions linger, boundaries between men and women are clearly defined and social conventions remain strict. In this setting a well-meant deception finds a young woman involved in a desperate search to unearth crucial information, for the truth, preserved by its wary keepers, lies buried in the opal fields on the fringe of the vast Australian Outback.

Realizing her future depends on the choice between two rivals of diverse faiths, she hesitates in the belief that those she cares for most always seem to be taken from her. But when it finally appears she has lost everything, she discovers that true love, like faith, does not depend on feelings alone.


What aspect of God do you most hope readers will take away after reading your book?

I won't even try to supply a theological answer, but in simple human terms I want my readers to realize that the Lord never gives up on us. Even when our hearts stray far from Him and we build shells around us so we can't be hurt, He waits patiently and even causes things to happen to turn us back to Him. He's our loving heavenly Father.

If you could have a conversation with one of your characters who would it be and why?

La Shaunda, that's tricky. I can't pick any of them because I already have had those conversations! Seriously, I had to know every one of my dear characters intimately and even learned more about them as I wrote. I couldn't even let some of them get away without exposing their flaws. I reckon I'm their Mama & they're all my children.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?

It struck me that my fictional characters are so very much alive and yet none of them ever lived!

What's your secret to balancing career and family?

Plain commonsense. Cooking big meals and freezing half or more for other busy days. Ignore dust until I can see it without my glasses. Always making time to talk with them.( I have two menfolk at home.)

What do you do to make time for yourself?

Because I script and co-present on a weekly Christian radio program, I am chomping at the bit to get to write my books. That's special time for me. Also, I have a friendship garden where I plant cuttings from anyone who'll give them to me and I love to see them bud. And I enjoy editing (pruning) them in autumn.

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

My email: ritagal@optusnet.com.au

Website: http://www.ritastellagalieh.com/


I'm also on Facebook.

If interested in purchasing my book, FIRE in the ROCK, see http://www.arkhousepress.com/


RITA GALIEH:

As a scriptwriter and co-speaker for a weekly radio program broadcast throughout Australia, Rita is a graduate of Emmaus Bible College, the National Art School, and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She occasionally appears on Australian Christian television as a graphics artist.

For the past fourteen years she and her evangelist husband have ministered throughout Thailand for one month, authorized by the Buddhist government, in schools, prisons, hospitals, shopping malls and churches. With several CDs to her credit, she is also a contributor with the Cup of Comfort series, and is now contracted with the Hartline Literary Agency.




Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Purposely Said


Reaching Your Goals

When I was a child there were numerous queries as to what I wanted to be when I grew up. Broad grins and words of encouragement were the responses from family members and friends that bolstered my goals for the future.

With the belief that I could accomplish whatever I set out to do, I dared to step into the literary arena. Lessons learned along the way have been valuable. The most valuable of them all has been in knowing that I had to set goals.

Knowing this I began my march toward success with two important strategies, a vision and a mission statement.

The vision statement allowed me to write out/see what the end result of my goal looked like. It was necessary to do this so I would recognize it when I saw it. More important was that I would be equipped to step away from deterrents masquerading as the goal of writing novels.

The mission was my strategy/roadmap to follow for accomplishing that goal. Included in that plan was the necessity to take writing and business courses. I joined a writing group, attended literary events, took out subscriptions to industry magazines and read, read and read some more.

Through the writing groups I learned how to accept constructive criticism, was challenged to push harder in the areas I was weak in and encouraged not to give up. At literary events I attended courses such as plotting, pacing, demography, research and even how to infuse levity into writing. To my surprise, many of those workshop presenters who are well-known authors, have remained in touch with me and keep me pushing toward my goal. Industry magazines have kept me abreast of the latest tips, insights, trends and technologies that would assist me in remaining current.

To some this may seem a bit daunting, but it really isn’t. Planning ahead for success takes time and energy that you may feel you don’t have. Despite the possible stamina draining process the end result can definitely be worth the effort.

As aspiring, novice and seasoned authors, if you have not done so, I encourage you to take the time to write your vision and mission statement. Set it somewhere that you will see it everyday. From that master plan make a list of quarterly goals that are divided into today. Each day you should be a step closer to accomplishing your goal(s) by honestly being able to check off at least one item from that list.

Bottom line – A person without a plan is a person planning to fail; and reaching a goal is an expectation that cannot take place without proper planning.

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. She co-moderators BWChristianLit, maintains its sister online blog and is the founder of the Damascus Road Authors, review editor for KDGospel Media Magazine and contributor to Victorious Voice Magazine.

lindabeed.com / MySpace / On Assignment Reviews / BWChristianLit

Monday, June 08, 2009

FEATURED AUTHOR: Iris Celeste


Iris Celeste spent endless hours as a child being entertained through her books. Writing became her chosen method of expression and with that her debut novel Praise Your Way Through was brought to life. She writes a weekly column As a Woman Thinketh for Big Time Publishing Magazine, as well as, being a contributing writer for Victorious Magazine.

Praise Your W
ay Through is a Christian Fiction novel detailing the lives of four characters from very different backgrounds and the challenges they encounter from day to day. From adultery, hidden childhood wounds, abandonment issues, wavering faith and everything in between. When all hell breaks loose the crucial question is will they have the courage and faith to listen to God's direction or will they simply continue to take matters into their own hands?

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

Well, I think the most important thing I want readers to take away from my novel is that they don't have to go at life alone. Stop struggling and start praying. God will send help your way in whatever form you need it.

Why did you choose to write this book?

The book actually chose me! I tried suppressing it, ignoring it, running from it; but the characters kept calling my name. They had a story to tell.

What did you learn while writing this book?

I learned that life is good when we use God's road map. While writing the story I was able to let go of a lot of emotional baggage that was holding me down...bitterness and unforgiveness. I now embrace and accept the fearfully and wonderfully made woman God created me to be.

What was your favorite scene/chapter from the book?

Wow! That's hard. I love the book as a whole, but I will have to say I really like the humorous scenes between the characters. One being because I'm silly! Two because even though the story is Christian Fiction, I wanted the characters to be as real and relatable as everyday people. I'm saved, but I'm also quite nutty...in a good way.

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

That it's more than a notion and much harder than it looks. But to hear someone comment that they were blessed and inspired by something I've written makes it all worth it.

What is the best lesson you have learned from another writer?

Be authentic by using my own voice. I can't write like J.D. Mason or Carleen Brice. I can only be Iris. Anything less is a counterfeit.

What is the toughest test you've faced as a writer?

Accepting criticism.

You have to develop tough skin, because not everyone is going to like your work.

What is something readers would be surprised you do?

I love watching reality shows. People fascinate me!

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

I wish I would have known to market myself and my book beforehand, network and not to be afraid to ask for help.

How do you reach new readers?

Actually I write a weekly column at http://www.freewebs.com/btpmagazine/asawomanthinketh.htm and that is how most of my new readers find me. So check me out.

If you could have dinner with 3 authors to talk with about their writing (living or deceased) who would you invite and why?

Darnella Ford, because I love her writing style. She is poetry in motion. Octavia Butler, I would just love to get inside her head and pick her brain. Her writing has the ability to transport you into another world. Victoria Christopher Murray, simply because I love her and her spirit. She's my shero!

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

Don't quit and just do it.

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

I love receiving emails and my email address is irisceleste2000@yahoo.com.

My website is www.irisceleste.com.

Our theme for this month is REACHING YOUR GOALS. What steps should a writer take to reach their goals?

Write the vision. Write it down and keep writing. Surrounding yourself with a great support system is also key. We all need our own personal cheering squad.

Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?

I'm currently working on the sequel to Praise Your Way Through. Taste and See guarantees to deliver and evoke every emotion as you continue to follow Tamara, Samuel, Sheila and Leon's journey.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

BOOK INTRO: Spotlight on Desire


Spotlight on Desire

by Anita Bunkley


Kimani Press
Pub. Date: June 2009
Kimani Romance Series #141
ISBN-13: 9780373861163

For Jewel Blaine, the spotlight and her fans are all the family she'll ever need. She is the star of the popular daytime soapie The Proud and the Passionate, after all. After a high-profile breakup, Jewel has come up with her own call sheet: no romantic entanglements with cast members, producers and especially directors. But when the stage lights dim, Jewel secretly yearns for a sexy leading man to costar in her real life.

Rugged, handsome Taye Elliott is new on set at P&P— this time behind the camera. Trained as a stuntman, but always with an eye on directing, Taye knows this is his big break. And he needs P&P's leading lady to trust him. But Jewel thinks he's better off pretending to break legs than really calling the shots. Taye's never shied away from a challenge and he's certainly not going to now. He's perfecting the scene of a lifetime—to direct Jewel on-screen…and love her off of it.


Excerpt: SPOTLIGHT ON DESIRE by Anita Bunkley

Jewel Blaine slowly dropped her chin and ran her eyes over Taye Elliott, the studio's pick to direct The Proud and the Passionate, the popular African-American soap opera where Jewel had reined as Diva Queen since the daytime drama first hit the air. Eying Taye from beneath thick lashes, she waited for him to speak first.

"Hello. I'm Taye Elliott," he said, in a voice that was melodic and low, reminding

Jewel of Teddy Pendergrass' sexy soul-stirring vocals.
When Jewel stood up to shake Taye's hand, two things immediately clicked in her mind: First, his palm was dry and cool. And second, his lemon-lime cologne made the muscles in her stomach tighten and freeze her greeting on her tongue.

Gulping back her unease, Jewel floundered for a moment, and then regained her voice. "Yes, I'm Jewel Blaine. Good to meet you, Taye." She squeezed his hand, quickly let it go, and then sat down, struck by an irresistible urge to grin. Her new director was one fine brother! Just the touch of his hand had rocked her, shaken her, made her go damp in her panties! And she was supposed to maintain a professional cool while following this man's direction? That was going to be a hell of a challenge.
Keep it together, girl, she silently reprimanded. Gotta play this one right. Can't act too glad to meet him.

Luckily, the waiter arrived to take their lunch orders, interrupting the electrified lull, while providing Jewel a chance to regain her composure and study Taye Elliott's ruggedly appealing profile.

The tiny nicks and scars on the side of his face only added to his Alpha male image. Trophies from his stuntman days, Jewel surmised, her eyes moving over his rich tan skin. He had sooty brown eyes that sloped gently at the edges in a lazy slant that sent serious bedroom signals. His jaw line was severe, but rounded at the chin, softening an otherwise tough-guy face. Flared nostrils capped a keen nose. Black curly hair that was slightly unruly, but still well groomed.

I'd love to slip my little finger through that ringlet behind his ear, Jewel impulsively mused, shifting her attention to the vintage Cartier watch on Taye's wrist. The man's got good taste, she allowed, moving on to assess his flamboyant shirt, realizing why it seemed familiar. Ralph Lauren. Last season. She'd seen it on the runway during Design Week in New York.

Her producer, Fred Warner, broke Jewel's mental trippin' with a snap. "Jewel, I was telling Taye that you and the cast of The Proud and the Passionate are ready to get back before the cameras." He blinked at Jewel, clearly urging her to jump in and express her mutual delight with the studio's newest hire.

Getting Fred's message, Jewel locked eyes with Taye, who shot her a dazzling smile. Exhaling, she hurriedly plunged ahead. "I agree completely. We're fired up and anxious to get back on the set. And please, Taye, let me know if I can help in any way ... as far as characters' motivation or back story."

"Thanks," he replied, sounding sincere. "I'm sure I'll need to take you up on that. Your character on P & P is intriguing and very complicated. You sure play Caprice Desmond to the max. She is somethin' else."

"Yeah, Caprice a sister on a mission, all right. And the more you get to know Caprice, the more you'll love her," Jewel jokingly agreed, while thinking, Damn! Why'd I have to say that?

"I'm sure I'll fall in love with Caprice, just as your fans have done," Taye concurred, sending warm pulses of interest surging through Jewel, who watched as his attention slipped from her face to the gold chain settled in her cleavage, and then back up to her lips.

Jewel resisted the urge to respond to his obvious visual meandering by clearing her throat and adopting an all-about-business demeanor. "You'll find the cast is easy to work with," she changed the subject. "We have no neurotics or dual personalities among us. We’re a pretty normal bunch, so don’t be nervous."

"I won't, as long as you're around to keep things sane."

"But if things get crazy, and they can … I'll do what I can to help you sort it out," she promised, touching her front teeth with her tongue, deliberately teasing him.

"I'm sure it won't take long for everything between us to fall into place," Taye replied with a self-assurance that made Jewel flinch.

Sitting back, she listened closely to his plans for their next location shoot, mesmerized by the man whose presence was sending all the wrong signals. Whose eyes were undressing her. Whose cologne was stoking a pleasure point deep between her legs, and whose voice was challenging her long-standing, never-to-be-broken rule: No romantic involvement with anyone connected with her career. Especially not her director!

Taye Elliott drove away from the restaurant with both hands tensed on the steering wheel of his Hummer, as if holding onto it would keep Jewel Blaine's image from slipping away. Damn, she was hot! And she must have felt the sexual magnetism radiating between them. He could still feel her luminous brown eyes engaged with his, smell the delicate perfume that drifted from her beige-tan cleavage, hear the titillating chime of her voice in his ears. The heat of his impression of Jewel filled his gut, simmering like hot coals banked to hold their warmth. He felt flushed with a strange sense of anticipation, and was not surprised that just thinking about her initiated the beginnings of an arousal that had no business existing and definitely no place to go.

She was more beautiful in person than on TV. Soft sable brown hair, pulled back into a cascading up-sweep of curls that created a sophisticated, yet playful portrait. Shockingly deep brown eyes that could flash with intelligence one minute and then quickly simmer in sexy seduction. She had skin like sweet toffee -- candy that he'd love to feel melting in his mouth. She was a diminutive powerhouse of a woman with gorgeous curves and the electric chemistry that put her slightly out of reach, even though her low cut blouse had come close to shattering that proper-public image she presented to the world.

Taye smiled to himself. Jewel Blaine might not know much about him, but he sure knew all he needed to know about her. She had never been married, had won two daytime Emmy's, a BET Award and an NAACP Image Award. She was devoted to her fans, whom she referred to as her family, and in more than one interview had stated that a husband and children were not important to her, as they would impede her skyrocketing career as one of the most popular stars in daytime TV.

But is she happy? Taye wondered, struggling to throw off images of his mouth crushed to hers, his hands spanning her tiny waist, their bodies molded as one. His heart turned over. Was Jewel's doing the same? A quiver of arousal slid through him, initiating a surge of startling need. God, it would be a dream come true to make love to Jewel Blaine! But that was an impossible dream, wasn't it?

http://www.anitabunkley.com/



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