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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

FEATURED AUTHOR: H.D. Campbell

EDITOR’s Note:

Writing is a strange business, but every now and then you find someone who gets why you sit up nights writing in your notebook or laptop. H.D. was the first person I met in St. Louis, who had the desire of writing as I did. We met while in junior college and our writing adventure began. We started a literary group together and dreamed New York Bestselling dreams.

H.D. moved away and we lost touch, but to my surprise we found each other again on the internet. I began to watch his career grow and I’m so proud of all he has accomplished.

It is my pleasure to introduce you to my friend, H.D. Campbell.



H.D. Campbell has over twenty-five years of writing experience with credits in freelance newspaper reporting, personal fiction and poetry. Starting his career in St. Louis, H.D. Campbell’s first published piece was at ten. From there, he wrote fiction and nonfiction pieces personally and for different outlets while helping other writer get where they need to go. In his college days, he co-founded The St. Louis Creative Black Writer’s Guild with LaShaunda Hoffman. The group, which lasted five years, was an organization where writers networked and inspired each other through guest speakers, trips to various bookstores and various critique sessions. Before moving to Fort Smith, Arkansas in 1999, he started working with new, unpublished writers giving assistance to marketing their work. In 2000, H.D. Campbell published the book How to Lose a Black Woman. Then he published Late Murder @ 10 in 2005. Finally, in 2010, he published two books The Sergeant Wiseguy Chronicles and Garth: From the Heart of A Virtual Demon. More information about all of these books can be found on his website www.hdcampbell3.net

His website is built around marketing not only his books but also providing the latest in writing new and interviews with people in and around the industry. Besides a lot of writing and spending time with family, he also produces an Internet show on YouTube and his site called The Author’s Corner. It’s show with news, interview, and other use tidbits for authors and inspiration for those who aspire to write. The show debuted August 4, 2009 and will expand into a bi-weekly series May 2010.

How did you start out your writing career?

I started my writing career when I was ten years old. I discovered it by accident when I wrote a black history poem and turned it in to my teacher. (For those who remember Ebony Jr.) she had it published there. From there, I started realizing that I did like writing stories so by 14 I was writing short adventure stories (especially those featuring my currently published character Sergeant Wiseguy)

What was your most difficult scene to write?

For all four of my books, the conclusions are the most difficult scenes to write. I know how they’re going to end but you have to be careful on how many elements you can add to the conclusions.

Have you had a "Wow" moment since you have been an author? What made it a "Wow" moment for you?

A “wow” moment for me is during my first book signing ever. First the mayor showed up and gave me a declaration making it H.D. Campbell day that day. In addition I met someone who’s read all of my books to date and love them. By then two of my books have been published and it was the start of something that would be today. I’m very proud of my reader fan base and looking for it to continue to grow.

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

With every book, I usually up the ante on the marketing and this time with my new show The Author’s Corner which I use to market myself and other authors. One of my biggest goals with the show is to put my book on a new marketing plane. I’m looking in the next year for my show to put bring more awareness to my book and get it into other markets and genres.

What’s playing on your CD while you’re writing?

Often anything old school R&B & Hip Hop but currently it has to be anything by Angie Stone or Jill Scott. I love all genres of music which is constantly playing on my Ipod and Itunes.

If you had the opportunity to talk with three writers, who would you choose and why?

Number one would have to be Terri McMillan. I’ve always been a huge fan and used to be one of my secret crushes before I got married. She is a talent with so much to give to us. Number two would have to be James Patterson. As a fellow mystery writer, we’re both character oriented like the Cross books Woman’s Murder Club series. I’ve been writing books about ordinary people with extraordinary lives and adventures since the beginning. Finally, there’s Tom Clancy. He writes books closer to my genre of espionage/adventure thrillers. They are fast paced and offer a more real world, technological approach to the spy novel.

What movie had the greatest impact on you as a kid? Why?

I’m sorry but it’s a cross between two movies for two different movies. The first movie was Higher Learning directed by John Singleton. John Singleton’s a director who directs movies about individual personalities who come together to form bonds and overcome conflict. Of all Singleton movies, I like Higher Learning the best because it was in a college setting. My other movie is Citizen Kane. It’s a movie about journalism and tells the tale of the state of the newspaper industry today.

If you could be on a Reality TV show, which one would it be and why?

As much as I love Reality TV, I don’t think I can be on any of them. I can’t sing, I don’t want to go into the jungle, never liked fighting over a woman even if I was single. You know what I’d take that back, I’d do the Apprentice but we need a reality show for writers and authors.

If you could visit any place in the world where would you travel to?

I would love to take a tour of the entire African Continent.

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

I have to only mention one thing? Wow, but okay. One thing I don’t get about non-writers is their stereotypes of the writing/publishing industry. There are people who don’t understand that it takes a daily grind of marketing in order to get your work out there. One of my biggest complaints from individuals are the perils of family or friend support. They believe that either it takes a lot of money (which it doesn’t) to be a writer. People also believe that it takes a lot of resources and time which it doesn’t. I started writing with notebooks, graduated to typewriter, then eventually the PC. There is more than one way to get your work out there.

What was the best advice you’d ever gotten about the publishing industry?

The best advice I’ve gotten was to take your time and don’t just take the first offer on the table. There are authors out there who take the first offer on the table and they regret the experience. The worst? I can’t recall any bad advice because I try to make it a point to ignore anything that would be negative to my writing career.

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

I want all those aspiring writers to write and gain as much knowledge as you can about the writing industry. The research is what gave me the advantage. One don’t I have is to never give up on your dreams. I’ve seen so many writers who came up with me since high school and so far only me and another friend (LaShaunda Hoffman) are still immersed in the literary world.

What is something readers would be surprised you do?

I am a news & political junkie; I collect comic books; am a hopeless romantic; likes all music by Luther Vandross, Jill Scott, and Angie Stone; loves old movies; and old school hip hop.

Our theme for this month is Resources On The Net. What are your favorite resources on the net.

http://www.writersmarket.com/; http://www.writersdigest.com/; http://www.aaambc.com/

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

Sure my next book is the sequel to the Sergeant Wiseguy Chronicles. In the sequel, terrorists recreate the bubonic plague and unleash it upon the East Coast. The other details are top secret but know that you will get even more action in this one than the first novel and you learn more about our main character Sergeant Wiseguy.

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

Readers can contact me at http://www.hdcampbell3.net/. There you can learn more about me, my show The Author’s Corner, and take advantage of sales & discounts. For those individuals with questions, comments and concerns may contact me at hd_campbellproductions@yahoo.com. To catch me more quickly just look for H.D. Campbell on MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter.


Late Murder @ 10-Mystery/Thriler

Mark Alexander, an ex-investigative reporter (turned broadcast engineer for a St. Louis television station) witnesses the on-air murder of a hated news anchor by a mysterious assassin. When evidence points to the co-anchor Laura Skaggs and her survivalist fiancee, they are soon arrested for the crime. Convinced of her innocence, Mark Alexander employs his old investigative reporter tactics and launches his own investigation. He elects the help of his own partner, Laquita Davners, from the St. Louis Post to help. They find the anchor had personal problems both within and and outside (including both inside and outside the station (including mob ties) As Mark Alexander gets closer, the truth gets closer, and the more dangerous things become. The case allows Mark to regain the spirit he lost when he left investigative reporting five years ago. Mark fights to unravel the mystery, but not before opening the floodgates of controversy surrounding the murdered news anchor.


How to Lose a Black Woman-Christian Romance

Bruce Williams, a St. Louis teacher, searches for love by using nontraditional methods, a telephone dating service. Through an uncomfortable search, he eventually finds his true love but an argument and a wrong decision afterwards causes a break-up. This book is a look at one of the aspects of modern relationships. Filled with original poetry and prayers, it personifies how love should be handled. The first in a series of these books, How to Lose a Black Woman will empower as well as entertain. For those who are unhappy with their current relationship it may evaluate what’s going wrong. The book also shows how God should play a part in modern relationships today. It would eliminate a lot of cheating, unwanted pregnancies, and mistrust. It’s not for everyone nor is it targeted for everyone. However, if you’re looking for a good story about one aspect of the human spirit, this is your book!


Garth: From the Heart of A Virtual Demon

Mark Alexander returns in this thrilling story as he employs his investigative skills to track down a woman hating serial killer. In addition to the dangerous assignment he has the task to training new partner with issues of her own. He learns he must overcome his issues before he can move on with tracking down the smart and elusive killer before the body count rises. Can Mark and his new parnter stop the elusive killer?




The Sergeant Wiseguy Chronicles

In August 1991, the Soviet Union coup and the fall of Communism are underway. During the chaos, a terrorist group steals a long-range nuclear warhead, using the coup as a cover. The terrorist group, headed by a rogue KGB agent named Joe Pituskin consists of agents and soldiers looking to give the world a new order through terrorism and an iron fist. The group smuggles the warhead into Paris under some private sewer property beneath the Eiffel Tower.

Ten years later, enter: Sergeant Wiseguy. He’s an African-American ex-strategy specialist for the Blue Light military counter-terrorist unit recently who’s been recently discharged only to be picked up by The Meadowlark Group. It’s a private government organization that acts as a three-ring circus: government funded scientific research, foreign relations work, and counter-terrorism. He was recruited to be head of the agency’s terrorism investigation and extraction team.

What makes Sergeant Wiseguy unique is explained in his code name. His name is so for two reasons. 1) It’s because he’s one of the world’s top strategy specialist, capable of making the wisest decisions under pressure; 2) Because of his snappy, smart, sarcastic mouth, even when the bad guys have the advantage. He’s normally his most sarcastic when the bad guys have the advantage.

Sergeant Wiseguy’s ability to be unique gives him a great advantage over his enemies because he’s unpredictable. This unpredictability allows him to be two steps ahead of his enemies but it also gets him in more trouble than he realizes at times. Beneath all the sarcasm and planning, he works by one simple rule when he’s out in the field. When you’re in a tough situation, learn to think your way out.

His first mission takes him to Paris to find the nuclear warhead where he meets up with an ex-girlfriend (who’s currently an investigator for a special unit called the Paris Underground) whom he saw die years ago. That’s opens a can of worms and hinders the investigation in the beginning, but the two get past the confusion. They eventually agree to work together in finding the terrorists before they use the warhead and the two rekindle their relationship in the process. They rekindle their relationship and learn new details about each other during their mission.

The mission involves the murder of five undercover Paris Underground agents who discovered the missing warhead. One agent escaped but not without sustaining life-threatening bullet wounds to his back and shoulder putting him in a coma. He managed to tell the female Paris Underground agent about the warhead before he fell unconscious.

Sergeant Wiseguy narrates his missions from a top-secret journal he keeps in a safe in his apartment. What makes his stories interesting is that he takes on these serious missions, but maintains his sarcastic demeanor for the missions he goes on. It’s an espionage novel with a sense of humor and an ordinary Joe who just loves his job. There’s also strong characterization with a good supporting cast, which is only matched with a good plot. Sergeant Wiseguy is a good novel for those who likes espionage/suspense but would like a sense of humor with it.

This is the first in a series of the Sergeant Wiseguy series.



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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Celebrating Women in Ministry Blog Tour


Vanessa Miller of Dayton, Ohio is an Essence best-selling author, playwright, and motivational speaker. Her stage productions include: Get You Some Business, Don’t Turn Your Back on God, and Can’t You Hear Them Crying and Abundant Rain. To date, Vanessa has written the Rain Series and the Storm Series. The books in the Rain Series are: Former Rain , Abundant Rain, and Latter Rain. The books in the Storm Series are: Rain Storm and Through The Storm . These books have received rave reviews, winning Best Christian Fiction Awards and topping numerous Bestseller’s lists.

Yesterday’s Promise is the first book of a series entitled, Second Chance of Love. Whitaker House plans to release the next two books in October 2010 and January 2011.

Visit her online at http://www.vanessamiller.com/
.


Yesterday’s Promise (Whitaker House – March 2010).

Melinda Johnson has always felt called to ministry. So, when her father, Bishop Langston Johnson, decides to step down after thirty years of leadership at Omega Christian Center, it seems only natural for her to take his place. But Bishop Johnson feels led by a God who has other things in mind, and to succeed him, he appoints Steven Marks-a man who is opposed to female pastors, not to mention the fact that he is Melinda’s ex-fiancĂ©.

Feeling defeated, Melinda nevertheless maintains her position as the church’s Missions and Community Outreach Director. Frequent interaction with the new bishop incites bitter sparring-and rekindles long-suppressed attraction, which grows only stronger when Melinda develops a relationship with Steven’s precious daughter, Brianna, who’s still struggling with the death of her mother.

Can Steven and Melinda set aside past pains, forgive each other, and learn to love again? Or will their opposing positions regarding women preachers keep them forever at odds?

Vanessa's video for the tour.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hdGqt101g-A


Her book trailer is at:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5bYJD9BzCc




WOMEN IN THE MINISTRY - Minister Patricia Williams-Murphy

I would like to dedicate this blog to a woman I’ve admired for years. Minister Patricia Williams-Murphy. She is a minister at my church, Star Bethel Full Gospel Church.

We met at church before she received her calling. I always admired her commitment to the church and her willingness to minister to others. I was not surprised that she was called into the ministry because she had the spirit of teaching.

I have learned a lot from Min. Pat from our long talks to her sermons. One thing I like about her sermons is that she always breaks the Word down for everyone to understand, even the children in the church. She’s a visual minister who uses visual aids for her sermon. I believe this keeps the members attention because they don’t know what to expect when she steps up to the podium.

I would like to thank Min. Pat for sharing her gift from God and not running away when he asked her to be one of his teachers. I know she has many more things to share with others and I look forward to seeing her grow into the Pastor God has chosen her to be.



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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

WIN THIS BOOK: Dutch II: Angel's Revenge


Dutch II: Angel's Revenge
by Teri Woods


Pub. Date: March 2010
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Format: Paperback, 304pp
Sales Rank: 5,273
ISBN-13: 9780446551557
ISBN: 0446551554
Edition Description: Reissue


HE IS THE MASTER OF THE GAME. HE'S BUILT THE ULTIMATE EMPIRE. BUT HIS STORY IS ONLY BEGINNING. NOW NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR TERI WOODS BRINGS YOU THE SECOND IN THE SENSATIONAL DUTCH TRILOGY, WHERE ONE WOMAN WILL RULE DUTCH'S STREETS . . . OR DESTROY THEM.

DUTCH II: ANGEL'S REVENGE She is the most merciless of his lieutenants, with style and skills that even the hardest hustlers fear . . . and none survive. And with Dutch gone, Angel is fueled by a shattering vendetta and methodically eliminating every successor, wannabe, and mobster trying to lead Dutch's madly profitable organization.


Teri Woods was born in Delare and later moved to Philadelphia, PA where she worked as a legal secretary/paralegal for eight years in a Philadelphia law firm. She began writing True to the Game in 1993 and began to submit her work to publishers. After being turned down, the book sat dormant in a closet for two years. In 1998, she began selling handmade copies of the book out of the trunk of her car. With the success of the handmade books, she started her own publishing and production company, Meow Meow Productions.

Teri Woods lives in New Jersey with her three children. She is hard at work on her next novel.

Leave your name and email address for a chance to win a copy of Dutch II

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Monday, March 22, 2010

FEATURED AUTHOR: Zuri Day


Zuri Day is the romance writing, alter-ego persona of author Lutishia Lovely. Hooked on romance since sneaking to read her older sister’s Harlequin collection, Lutishia wrote feature articles for a holistic magazine and penned several mainstream novels before entering this genre of her heart. Along with titillating the sensual senses, her “Zuri” persona loves to stimulate provocative thought on timely, relevant topics that will benefit her community of readers. When not writing, she enjoys the beauty of southern California, where she lives, along with vegetarian cuisine and international travel.


How did you start out your writing career?

My career was born through my alter-ego, Lutishia Lovely. Her editor asked if she could write romance novels. She said yes, and created my persona – a free-spirited, daydreamin’ sistah from the Caribbean who’s all about one love, mon!

What was your most difficult scene to write?


The storyline in my first novel, Lies Lovers Tell, was probably the most challenging. Everybody’s lying, and people aren’t who they say they are. I used a chart to keep it all straight!

Have you had a "Wow" moment since you have been an author? What made it a "Wow" moment for you?

Getting the deal to write romance. I grew up reading them, and to now write them is a dream come true!

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

My first goal is always to entertain, to tell a page-turning, engaging story, and because it’s romance - to capture the love and passion between the hero and heroine. In Lessons From A Younger Lover, it was nice to write about Gwen, the “older” woman, having choices when it came to dating, and nice to portray Ransom, her twenty-six year old love interest, as a responsible, focused, single father who defies the stereotypes of men his age.

What’s playing on your CD while you’re writing?


Either classical music or low-key jazz.

If you had the opportunity to talk with three writers, who would you choose and why?

A hard question, LaShaunda! I admire so many writers. In the genre of romance, Beverly Jenkins’s historical romances are the best! That sistah makes me want to jump into a time before there was electricity and running water! I’d love to know her process and motivation. An afternoon with Nora Roberts would be lovely. Like her, I want most if not all of my books to become movies. And I would have loved to spend time with Barbara Cartland, the undeniable queen of modern romance. She wrote over 700 novels, sold a billion copies, and lived to almost 100 years old. I could have learned a thing or three from her! :)

What movie had the greatest impact on you as a kid? Why?

The Wizard Of Oz, and it’s still among my favorites. It inspired me to dream, and believe that if one really wanted what they wished for, it could happen.

If you could be on a Reality TV show, which one would it be and why?

Hands down, The Amazing Race! I love to travel, and to do so and win a million would be the ultimate adventure!


If you could visit any place in the world where would you travel to?

If I could pack my bags and leave tonight, it would be to the Cap Maison resort in St. Lucia.

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

That it is harder than it looks.

What was the best advice you’d ever gotten about the publishing industry?

Follow the rules that work for you, break the ones that don’t.

The worst? To change my “voice”.

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

Do: study your craft!

Don’t: assume that because you can tell a good story that you can write a great book. It’s harder than it looks!

What is something readers would be surprised you do?

Keep this alter-ego persona totally separate from her creator, Lutishia. Either Lutishia shows up or Zuri shows up. They can’t appear together, for obvious reasons!

Our theme for this month is Resources On The Net. What are your favorite resources on the net.

Google is my number one favorite. Search engines have literally put a world of information at our fingertips.

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

What Love Tastes Like is the story of Tiffany Matthews, a recent culinary graduate, who receives a one-month internship to cook with a world-renowned Italian chef. While in Rome, she has a whirlwind romance with Nick Rollins, a debonair businessman. Things heat up when she returns to Los Angeles and – against her better judgment - takes a job in his five-star hotel. What happens next is simply delicious! It comes out in September.

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

I love to hear from readers and every email is answered. My website is: ZuriDay.com and email address is ZuriDay@ymail.com

Thanks for this opportunity to share and connect, LaShaunda. Much heart to the readers. One love!

Lessons From A Younger Lover

First grade teacher Gwen Smith was happily married—until her husband got himself a twenty-something mistress and filed for divorce. Now just months away from turning forty-one, Gwen is back in her tiny California hometown, caring for her ailing mother, convinced her life is over. Then she meets Ransom Blake.

Ransom is a twenty-six-year-old hunk who pushes every one of Gwen’s buttons. Gwen has no intention of getting involved with a younger man, but he won’t take no for an answer. When he shows up at her classroom unannounced, Gwen tells him off—and then realizes he’s come for his daughter. Ransom isn’t shy about letting Gwen know how she can make it up to him. And if he gets his way, Gwen will lose all her inhibitions—and her heart...



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Sunday, March 21, 2010

AAMBC Spring Virtual Tours with Niobia Bryant


1 writer with
3 Publishers
15+ books
4 Genres
Celebrates 10 years of being an author with 2 award nominations

and 3 new book releases in 2010



Message from a Mistress is your 15th novel since you started your career as a published author in 2000. What was the inspiration behind this book and its storyline of a woman sending a text message to alert her friends of her affair with one of their husbands?

My first book that was published ten years ago was a romance and I enjoyed--and still enjoy--telling these really great stories about the love a black woman and black man have for each other. But I always wanted to tell more drama driven fictional stories where there was no guarantee of a happy ending. Where people dealt with real meaty and complex issues in their lives. So I had to one day cross over into the commercial or mainstream fiction genre.

Message from a Mistress is my third mainstream work and it is a look at the dynamics of both marriage and friendship and how they can be affected by secrets, lies and betrayals. My main inspiration was not just to deliver drama and scandal but to really travel the road many marriages take that leads to that ultimate betrayal and then to examine the effects of it. More than my previous mainstreams novels, I truly believe that Message from a Mistress is the one that most captures the reason why I wanted to write more than just romance fiction.

Message from a Mistress was loosely inspired by the 1940's film A Letter to Three Wives, and your Hoodwives series was inspired by the television show Desperate Housewives on ABC… it seems that you find inspiration in TV and film to influence your writing. Are you inspired to tell stories that share views of what women of color aka "sistahs" would do in particular scenarios?

Definitely. Although the vast majority of my books are completely original I have been influenced by my own desire to see “you know what would a sistah do in this same situation.”

For the Hoodwives series, my co-author and I were like “Desperate? Puh-leeze. Living in a beautiful subdivision in a great neighborhood? They want desperate? How about the wives in the projects? We’ll show you desperation.” The idea for the series was born and then we came up with four original storylines for the wives.

I loved, loved, loved the movie “A Letter to Three Wives”. I enjoyed the concept of three wives learning that their mutual friend has run off with one of their husbands and then have the entire day to ponder which one of them has been betrayed. It’s really clever and it intrigued on so many levels. So I wanted to modernize the story and give it some new perspectives-- like adding the wives having secrets of their own. I really just wanted to see where I could go with it. Again the general premise is the same but the actual stories for each character are original and I had a lot of fun bringing those characters to life in Message from a Mistress.

You write in 4 genres… and are signed to 3 different publishing houses... very impressive…how did that happen for you?

I am definitely ambitious and very focused on living my dreams. The same way that I write in different genres, I read different genres. Black, white, whatever. From non-fiction by Cornel West to street-lit by Donald Goines. Sci-fi, young adult fiction, romance, commercial fiction, literary fiction and those like Tina McElroy Ansa and Gloria Naylor who have found a nice blend of commercial and literary fiction--I read it all. I wanted to try my hand at a lot of it. People always say to write what you enjoy. Well, I enjoy a lot of different things and it transitioned over into my writing.

I started out in romance because I did my research and discovered it was easier to get published without agent in this particular genre. Those books did well and I eventual got the agent. I had these different stories in me that I wanted in print so I came up with proposals over the years and my agent got to work making the deals happen.

This year you are nominated for the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award for Best African American Romance for your 9th full length romance novel "Make You Mine" as well as the Best Steamy Romance in the 2010 Emma Award presented by Romance Slam Jam. Congratulations on those accolades. As a national bestselling author, how important are these award nominations to you?

The award nominations are great. They are testament that the hard work you put into a book is appreciated and respected. It’s a great way, besides having a great sell through percentage, to know that you’re getting it done; that people enjoy what you’re doing. I’ve been up for a lot of awards in the past ten years and I’ve won some, but I’m always just as excited as if it was my very first nomination because I have great passion and love for this writing game.

For someone who is celebrating her 10-year anniversary in book publishing and has over 15 novels of your own, what is your greatest achievement to date and what would you like to accomplish in the next 10 years?

I think the fact that I once dreamed of getting published and having just one book deal and to now have four is a great achievement for me. I’m a girl from a single-parent household from Newark, NJ who use to sit on the back of the public bus and tell stories to my friends and anyone who would listen. I used to write short stories in my notebook. I used to say I will have a book published before I turn a certain age. I did it. But I have even more dreams. I am a national bestseller which means I have hit some bestseller lists across the country but I definitely want to hit the New York Times or USA Today. Also, like any other author I would like to see one of my books turned into a major movie or television show. So in a nutshell, New York Times and a movie deal. Point blank, those two things are definitely on my to-do list.

For those who have never read one of your books please suggest a book in each one of the categories that you write in for them to begin reading--


Let’s see for one of my “sexy, funny and oh so real” romances, I suggest my GIVE ME FEVER. It comes out in May of this year and its book 3 in a series centered on the Strong family.

For the teen fiction of course I recommend my debut book, FABULOUS. I am writing under the name Simone Bryant. It’s about a clique at a private school for children of celebrities.

For urban fiction, my solo book as Meesha Mink debut in January 2011 so I suggest starting with the book that kicked off the series, DESPERATE HOODWIVES.

For mainstream, I suggest MESSAGE FROM A MISTRESS. It really is a smart, well-written, emotional, drama-filled roller coaster ride in the pages of the book.
What writers inspire you and why?

I am most inspired by authors Tina McElroy Ansa and Gloria Naylor. Tina's book, The Hand I Fan With and Gloria's novel, Mama Day are two of my all time favorite works of fiction. What I love about them is the blend of literary and commercial fiction. They both write very smart, entertaining, character driven books that remained with me so many years after first reading them. As a writer I want to be able to create that kind of lasting connection between my books and readers.

As an author, what are the keys to your success that lead to Message of a Mistress getting out to the public?

The internet has been such a fun way of promoting the release of Message from a Mistress and I'm sure will prove itself vital in the upcoming sales success as well. I have my Twitter pages, I have my Facebooks pages, MySpace and my personal blog www.niobiabryant.com; I use them all to keep my fans updated and to invite new ones. Tweetdeck is a must for me. I simply love the way it works.

As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take for you to start and finish Message of a Mistress?

Since I write in multiple genres it helps me stay organized by creating a synopsis and an outline for each of my books. I write a full synopsis of the entire story and the first chapter which I usually have to submit to the publisher. Afterward I begin writing with the use of an outline chapter breakdown. Message from a Mistress took a few months not including editing.

What's next for Niobia Bryant?

I am working on promoting my three 2010 book releases, Fabulous my first teen fiction/young adult novel on Kimani Tru, Message from a Mistress on Dafina/Kensington and in May I will release Give Me Fever on Dafina. I'm doing my first virtual book tour starting March 1st. Readers can keep up with the itinerary on my blog and by following me on Twitter and Facebook.

After receiving the text message from Jessa Bell-- Aria, Renee and Jamie decide to head to Jessa's home to confront her and discover yet another surprise

The taxi slowed at the glass-enclosed security booth and Aria lowered the window, knowing they would need to identify themselves to get inside thier subdivision. Sure enough, Lucky, the potbelly, red-faced security guard, walked back to the rear of the taxi. He stuck his head inside. "Hello ladies, he greeted them warmly.
"Lucky, have you seen Ms. Bell yet? Aria asked. His face was instantly confused. "Ms. Bell?" Well, remember she moved today ---?

"She moved," all three women said in unision with plenty of emphasis, obviously shocked as hell. "You ladies being such good friends, I assumed you all knew she was moving today."

Renee pocked the cork on the Patron again.

A sexy, unforgettable and drama filled novel about love, infidelity, and the importance of keeping your friends close and your enemies closer... From bestselling author, Niobia Bryant

Message from a Mistress

Will 160 characters lead to the end of someone’s marriage?

By: NIOBIA BRYANT

“Very Impressive” –Cyndey Rax, author of My Sister’s Ex

(March 2010) National bestselling author Niobia Bryant releases her seventeeth novel, Message from a Mistress which is loosely based on the 1940's movie A Letter to Three Wives.

Jaime Hall, Renee Clinton, and Aria Livewell all reside with their spouses in the affluent gated community, Richmond Hills, in New Jersey. The ladies are all best friends with their Richmond Hill neighbor, Jessa Bell–a sexy and single socialite. Trouble is Jessa Bell has just sent them all a text message taunting that she has run away with one of their husbands. That message opens the door to each of the woman’s unspoken insecurities in their marriage as each recalls incidents that hint that their husband is the one. And with the husbands away—and unreachable-- on a chartered fishing boat all day and Jessa not answering her phone, they have all day to wonder…and to worry about scandalous secrets of their own.

Throughout the book–which takes place in one day–Jessa Bell also recalls her steamy relationship with her unidentified lover. Everything about their explicit romps are revealed from the day she first seduced him up until the day he agreed to leave his wife–her friend–for her.

BOOK TRAILER---

http://www.youtube.com/user/niobiabryant#p/u/2/bNv9llajroY



About the Author--

Niobia Bryant a self described chameleon of the written word has contributed to the book world since 1999 with the release of her first short story Hush, Hush. Since then she has garnered publishing deals with 3 major houses, Simon & Schuster, Dafina and Harlequin. As a full-time writer she has penned over 15 novels using three different monikers including Simone Bryant (Young Adult) and Meesha Mink (Urban Fiction) within four genres of fiction literature targeted for African American females including romance and contemporary. In 2010 she will release three new books a contemporary, a romance and a young-adult within months of each other. This Newark, NJ native splits her time between South Carolina and New Jersey.

Communicate with Niobia Bryant

TWITTER @infiniteink

FACEBOOK--Niobia Bryant Meesha Mink

Receive updates on appearances,bookclub meetings, awards, new releases, deals and more http://www.niobiabryant.com/


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Friday, March 19, 2010

FEATURED AUTHOR: LaConnie Taylor-Jones


LaConnie Taylor-Jones, a native Memphian, is a health educator consultant and holds advanced degrees in community public health and business administration. LaConnie has been an active member of the San Francisco Area Chapter of RWA since 2003 and received the Romance Slam Jam 2008 Emma Award for her Baptiste Family saga debut, “When I’m With You” that was released in 2007. She published her second novel, “When A Man Loves A Woman,” in 2008 and now rounds out the family saga with, “If I Were Your Woman,” that’s on sale now March 4, 2010. LaConnie Taylor-Jones resides in Northern California with her family. Visit LaConnie Taylor-Jones online for more information at http://laconnietaylorjones.com


IF I WERE YOUR WOMAN


LaConnie Taylor-Jones
Mainstream Romance: Contemporary, Interracial/Multicultural
ISBN: 978-1-60435-608-3
Cover Artist: Frauke Croco – Croco Designs and Shirley Burnett
Editor: Deatri King-Bey
Word Count: 59,590
Release Date: March 04, 2010
Purchase Link -
http://redrosepublishing.com/bookstore/product_info.php?products_id=639


Tinsel Town is about to learn a few lessons from a Southern doctor with the courage to win the heart of a man who swore no woman ever would.

If it doesn’t have a scientific basis, Dr. Laney Olivia Houston doesn’t believe in it —and that includes love at first sight. But she meets Raphael Baptiste. One encounter is all it takes; and she realizes her life is changed forever.

Jazz musician, Raphael Baptiste is no stranger to women or their beds. When an illness strikes, his life is thrown into turmoil. But a quiet Southern belle sees beyond his past and bitterness. She sees a man who could love. . .

If I Were Your Woman is a book about imperfection, trust and unconditional love.


Book trailer too -
http://www.youtube.com/LaConnie1


For a limited time today SORMag readers are invited to visit LaConnie
Taylor-Jones’ website - http://www.laconnietaylorjones.com/blog - to enter
their information and the promotional code – SORMAG – for a chance to win 1
of 5 -- IF I WERE YOUR WOMAN t-shirts – to be given away!

In addition, every entry is automatically included in a drawing for the FREE Barnes & Noble Nook to be given away Saturday, March 20, 2010 @ 12 NOON PST/2 PM CST/ 3 PM EST via LaConnie’s official blog website at
http://www.laconnietaylorjones.com/blog


So join the celebration of IF I WERE YOUR WOMAN today!

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Transformation Blog Tour with Lori McKenney


Tell us about yourself?

My name is Pastor Lori McKenney I’m a Prophetess, Preacher, Teacher, Praise Dancer, and Prayer Warrior. I’m a very passionate person when it comes to the people of God. I love to encourage people through the Word of God by reaching out to the destitute, the forgotten, and those looked over by society. I have three wonderful children Lakeithea, Sabrina, and Keith Jr. My husband name is Paul and my grandson Amier whom I love dearly. My goal in life is to become a full time Ministry and write several books.

Tell us about, Transformation.

My book Transformation is like a thesaurus, revealing kingdom secrets to establishing a legacy of successful living. I have an amazing testimony of how God can take a person through seasons of tremendous hardship, brokenness, mental pain, and anguish. Then though his ever-flowing blood, bowels of mercy and remarkable love, alter our destiny and set us in heavenly places. Symbolically, I share the four stages of a caterpillar before it’s conversion into a beautiful butterfly and disclose how the heart and mind are connected as the metamorphosis is completed.

When did you begin to realize you liked to write? Was this book your first experience with writing a manuscript?

I always love to write from a child. However I didn’t have the faith I could do it but the desire never when away. Writing helped me to express areas in my life that was diffcult and God give me the wisdom on how to overcome. It allow me to touch on what most people feel passionate about but don’t know how to express what has occurred in their life.

Sometimes we receive revelation through our writing. Was this your experience?

Yes, I can only write when the power of God comes upon me. Transformation was birth out of revelation from God.

What do you hope readers will learn/discover from reading transformation?

That the metamorphosis is a part of the God plan for our life. Your attitude determines your success. I want my reader to understand this book is about freedom---a book about deliverance---this book will help empower your goals in life.

Where can readers order your book online?


Transformation can be found at most online bookstores and http://www.amazon.com/. My website is www.lsktransformation.com.




About the Book

Many believers have a hard time accepting transformation is a part of God's plan for their lives. Changes happen every day. We accept address changes, income changes, management changes, and we even agree that our physical appearance changes, but we do not embrace that God wants to change our sinful nature to that of a Holy people. Change is something we all need; however, few are willing to make the change from mediocre to greatness.

Prophetess Lori McKenney shares about the four stages a caterpillar must achieve before it transforms into a beautiful butterfly. In correlation, she imparts how the heart and mind is connected to the complete metamorphosis process. The powerful scriptures and motivational quotes found in "Transformation" also reveal the treasures of how God wants you to have a successful life. A must have for your personal library and chat groups. "Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass."(Psalm 37:5)


Listen to an excerpt from Pastor McKenney



View the blog tour schedule and read an excerpt at http://bit.ly/TransformationBlogTour.



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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

RESOURCES ON THE NET

This month on SORMAG our theme is Resources On The Net.

As you know I’m a fan of the internet. You can learn various things on it. There are many writers sharing their knowledge on the craft of writing. You can learn about how to market your book and even connect with readers who would like to read your books.

Resources on the net are in abundance. I like to use the net for my research. So if you choose to use a site for your reference, make sure to verify your information at least three times before you use.

Here are a few of my favorite sites.

Writing Sites:

Randy In blog. He has excellent tips on writing
http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/blog/


Blogging While Black – Offer various opinions from writers on writing.
http://blogginginblack.com/

Rachel Gardner is an agent who shares her wisdom about the business
http://cba-ramblings.blogspot.com/

Need an online dictionary
http://www.merriam-webster.com/home.htm

Patricia Woodside – Shares her writing experiences and keeps you up todate on the literary industry
http://readinnwritin.blogspot.com/

The Writing Nook - Need an online writing space
http://www.mywritingnook.com/


Reader Sites

Book Remarks is great site if you want to see when the latest books release.
http://www.book-remarks.com/

Penny Pinching Diva - Are you a fugal mom, this is great blog to visit. She shares more ways to save.
http://pennypinchingdiva.com

Hip to Save - Are you into coupons? This sites know where to find them.
http://hip2save.com/

Lion Brand Yarn - Do you like to knit or crochet? This site has some great patterns.
www.lionbrand.com

Grey Anatomy – Are you a fan? Check out what their writer’s blog has to say.
http://www.greyswriters.com/


Do you have a favorite resource on the net? Share your resource for a chance to win a SORMAG goody bag. Please include your email address.


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Monday, March 15, 2010

FEATURED AUTHOR: Jill Williamson


Jill Williamson is a novelist, dreamer, and believer. She writes stories that combine danger, suspense, and adventure for people of all ages. An avid reader, she started Novel Teen Book Reviews (http://www.novelteen.com/) to help teens find great books to read. She lives in Oregon with her youth pastor husband and two book-loving children. Visit Jill at http://www.jillwilliamson.com/.

How did you start out your writing career?

At first I wanted to be a speaker. I discovered that sometimes, people hire a speaker based on articles the person wrote for magazines. So, I looked into writing articles. Somewhere during all that research and writing, I started a teen fiction novel. It was so fun that I lost interest in speaking and writing articles. When a writer’s conference came to town, I signed up right away. I couldn’t believe how much I had to learn. When I got home, I did everything that the conference speakers had recommended. Being teachable has really helped me, I think.


What was your most difficult scene to write?

The scene where Vrell finds Achan wounded after the battle and must tend to his arrow wounds. I knew nothing about medieval healing methods. So I had to do a lot of research. I discovered so much interesting information that the scene turned out great. I know that scene was stronger because of the research I did.


Have you had a "Wow" moment since you have been an author? What made it a "Wow" moment for you?

When I got my first email from a teen who loved my book. It felt really good, and I was able to email back and forth with that person for a few days. I like connecting with teens, encouraging them if I can. It makes it all worthwhile.


What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

My goal was to entertain teens with an exciting story that also presented truth. That there is only one God and that he is the desire of our hearts. No matter what we face, knowing him will make life more worthwhile. He created us for a purpose. If we want to know our purpose, we must discover him.


What’s playing on your CD while you’re writing?

None! I can’t listen to music at all when I write. It distracts me because I start singing along.


If you had the opportunity to talk with three writers, who would you choose and why?



First, C. S. Lewis. He was such a wise theologian, I would divulge my writing insecurities to him, ask if he ever felt that way, and if so, what he did about it.

Second, J.R.R. Tolkien. I’d show him my Blood of Kings binder where I kept all my storyworld brainstorming. I’d ask if he had something similar for Lord of the Rings and beg him to show it to me.

Third, Jane Austen. I’d tell her how much I love her stories and tell her I cry every time Elinor discovers that Mr. Ferrars is not married after all. I’d ask her for advice on how to make readers cry.


What movie had the greatest impact on you as a kid? Why?

Without a doubt: Star Wars, the whole original trilogy. We didn’t own a television set, but on my ninth birthday, my parents rented a TV and VCR and all three Star Wars movies. It was the most incredible day. Seeing those films opened up a new, wonderful door in my already-active imagination.


If you could be on a Reality TV show, which one would it be and why?

I’d have to give Project Runway a shot. I was a fashion design major in college, though I doubt I’d win. I’d probably get way too emotional and the cameramen would find me crying in the closet. :)


If you could visit any place in the world where would you travel to?

Europe. England and France, especially. I want to see real castles!


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

That I am not a millionaire because I wrote a book. So far, I’ve spend as much money on marketing as I’ve made in royalties. It’s really discouraging to have people treat me like I’m rich when I’m actually quite the opposite. The term “starving artist” comes to mind. LOL


What was the best advice you’d ever gotten about the publishing industry?

Finish your story. No one is going to contract your idea or a book that is only partially complete. I thank Mr. Steve Laube for that bit of reality check.

The worst?

That you need an agent. Most writers get to that point where they feel they are ready to be published. When that doesn’t happen, they believe it’s because they don’t have an agent. I heard many authors say, “You don’t need an agent.” And, “Don’t sign with the first agent to come along. Make sure he or she is a good fit.” But I didn’t listen, and I wish I had. Impatience causes so many writers to make mistakes that affect their career. Trust me, I’ve made them. But also trust me on this: even though patience is so very hard in this industry, the more patient you are, the more blessed you will be.


Can you give us one do for those aspiring to be a writer?

Make yourself write until you finish a book. Then write another one. The more you write, the more you learn. Then you can go back and see what needs rewriting. Most writers never even finish that first book. Or they start lots of books and never finish one. You can’t be an author if you never finish one. Set a goal and don’t give up.

One don’t?

Don’t be impatient! I doubt that Leonardo DiVinci or Piccasso were in a hurry to get their artwork done. Art is a labor of love and writing is art. Every word and scene matters. When you rush and get so impatient to get published, you do yourself an incredible injustice. If I could go back, I would have written my entire trilogy before I submitted book one to anyone. In doing so, my stories would have been stronger and could tie together better. But once a book is published. That’s it. You can’t make it any better.


What is something readers would be surprised you do?

I speak a little Japanese. I took Japanese in high school and spent a month on an exchange program to Okinawa, Japan.


Our theme for this month is Resources On The Net. What are your favorite resources on the net.

Two that really helped me learn writing:
http://www.ingermanson.com/



Randy Ingermanson taught me how to write a synopsis and blurb that helped me sell my first book. His Fiction 101 and 201 classes are amazing. He uses really great examples for the visual learner.

http://www.wherethemapends.com/



Jeff Gerke is an amazing editor. And he gives away his amazing advice for free on his website. If you read it and apply it, you will become a better writer.

And two I use every day as I write:
http://www.dictionary.com/: An online dictionary and thesaurus.

http://www.etymonline.com/: An online etymology dictionary that allows you to type in a word and find its origins. This is really helpful for historical writers. This way you can use words that people would use during a certain time period. I use this to help me find out whether a word goes back far enough to be medieval.


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

Readers can learn more about me and my writing at www.jillwilliamson.com and can email me thought the website.



To Darkness Fled (Bloof of Kings, book 2)

Achan, Vrell, and the Kingsguard Knights have fled into Darkness to escape the wrath of the former prince. They head for Ice Island to rescue two of Sir Gavin’s colleges who were falsely imprisoned years ago.

Darkness is growing and only one man can push it back. Achan wanted freedom, not a crown. His true identity has bound him more than ever. He must learn decorum, wear fancy clothes, and marry a stranger. Achan knows one thing for certain. He will not be a puppet prince. Either he will accept his role and take charge or he will flee. But which will he choose?


Jill is offering a chance to win a copy of her book. Leave your name @ email address and you might be our lucky winner. (only those who leave an email are eligible)



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Sunday, March 14, 2010

AAMBC Spring Tours w/ Darine Davis


Darine Davis is the author of Bayou Drama and When A Good Man Goes Bad. Born in Shreveport, LA he moved to Texas when he was a toddler. He lived in Greenville, TX for eight years of his life where his mother’s family resides. After his mother’s divorce, they moved to Houston where he lived with his aunts and cousins. Prior to graduating from high school, he joined the Navy under a split trainer program where he did boot camp the summer after his eleventh grade year, graduated from North Shore High School and returned to the Navy. After an eight year stint in the military, he left under honorable conditions and pursued his education earning two associate degrees at Houston Community College and bachelors in Information Systems at University of Houston – Victoria. He is currently married and has two children who he cherishes dearly. He has always wanted a true family and feels he has that in his wife and children. His writing is inspired by life and intense imagination. His country humor and controversial topics invoke thought provoking topics that will engulf the reader into the world of the character and the situations posed in the stories he develop.

Bayou Drama is a collection of five short stories that deal with the all too familiar issues of unsolicited drama we all tend to encounter. These stories will make you laugh, cry, and in some cases may make you a bit angry at the actions these characters take in certain situations.

When all said and done. Darine assures me the stories will make you look at your own situation and how we handle our own drama in our current situations.

Email address
Darine32@comcast.net

Directions or link to where book can be purchased

http://www.dniceone.com/
http://www.pheink.com/
http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Bayou-Drama/Darine-Davis/e/9780982447567/?itm=1&usri=bayou+drama



Book Trailer
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rauoKd7W_E8&feature=autofb


Excerpt of book

As the morning sun creeps over the horizon, a small moan is heard as the two forms slowly turn over. Michael slowly wipes the sleep from his eyes and tried to gather his bearing. He tries to focus and realized the room looked rather different.

“Oh, Snap!”

The lady lying next to him startled from his outburst jumps up.

“What the…Oh Lord baby I am so sorry!”
Michael looked at her and smiled.

“Don’t worry about it she doesn’t get home until eight anyway.”
ichael hurried to get dressed and kissed his lover passionately.

“You were great last night, Sarah”
She looked at him with disgust, “Then if I am that damn great why can’t you leave your wife?”

Michael not up for an argument pretended not to hear her.

“Are you coming by tonight Michael?”
Michael looked at her and smiled, “You know I am.”

Sarah smirked and gave him a loving peck on the cheek.

Michael made his way outside and got in his car. As he pulled off he thought about Sarah’s comment. “I need to leave.” He thought. He could not understand what was keeping him at home. He began to think back on how great his marriage once was.
Michael's thoughts seemed to fumble in his mind. Everything felt like confusion. All his thoughts seemed to tangle in his head like yarn. He loved his wife but he was falling in love with Sarah. She was able to do to him things Joyce couldn't begin to grasp.

Michael and Joyce were married fifteen years ago. Everyone stated they completed each other. Although they were total opposites they complimented each other well. Michael is a software engineer and very good at what he does. Very soft spoken and easy going, people tend to cling to him. Once you befriended him he became a friend for life. Joyce, on the other hand, was the night to his day.

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Friday, March 12, 2010

FEATURED AUTHOR: Y.S. Lee


Y. S. Lee was born in Singapore and raised in Vancouver and Toronto. In 2004, she completed her PhD in Victorian literature and culture. This research, combined with her time living in London, triggered an idea for a story about a women’s detective agency. The result, A Spy in the House, is her first novel.

As "Ying S. Lee", she is also the author of Masculinity and the English Working Class (Routledge). She now lives in Kingston, Ontario with her husband and young son.

How did you start out your writing career?

I was ridiculously lucky: Spy is my first novel, and my first focused shot at fiction. Having said that, I spent years studying literature (did a PhD in Victorian literature and culture) and teaching it, too. I consider those my apprenticeship years!

What was your most difficult scene to write?

For me, the difficult scenes are whichever ones occur 2/3 of the way through the first draft. By then, the thrill of the adventure has worn off, and I feel as though I’ll never finish. I become convinced that the whole thing is a stupid idea and that I should just scrap it and start something new. Sticking with it is the hardest part.

Have you had a "Wow" moment since you have been an author? What made it a "Wow" moment for you?

This is a clichĂ©, but it’s hearing from readers that makes me think, “Wow!” Writing itself is such an uneven process – inspiration and elation followed by discipline and frustration. But reading letters from readers is unalloyed pleasure – perhaps because I’m such an avid reader, and know the deep impact that books have on me. It’s always a thrill to think that I’ve had the same effect, in a small way, on others.

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

I began by wondering what happened to smart, unconventional women in the Victorian era. If you weren’t a good little girl, and you didn’t have a lot of money, what on earth happened to you? Women’s choices were grim, even for the clever. You could be a governess (underpaid, powerless – look at Jane Eyre, and remember that’s a happily-ever-after story!). You could live with your rich relatives as a semi-servant (Jane Austen has a lot to say about that). You could try for a job as a clerk (and earn half what the man next to you did, for doing the same work – some things haven’t changed that much). And to do any of these jobs, you had to be respectable, educated, and extremely long-suffering. Just thinking about it makes me want to scream. So while my historical research is, I hope, a careful and accurate reflection of the mid-nineteenth century, the Agency most definitely is not. It’s my version of an alternative history for girls like Mary Quinn.

What’s playing on your CD while you’re writing?


Nothing, I’m afraid – I’m too easily distracted by music. But when I’m done for the day, I crank up Florence and the Machine.

If you had the opportunity to talk with three writers, who would you choose and why?

George Eliot, one of the great English novelists; Madeleine L’Engle, my favourite YA author as a child; John Donne, Metaphysical poet and seventeenth-century sex bomb.

What movie had the greatest impact on you as a kid? Why?

Watership Down was my earliest lesson in catharsis. I barely remember the movie itself, but I cried myself to a pulp in the theatre. I can still feel how limp and ragged I was by the end – chest aching, eyes burning. It was great.

If you could be on a Reality TV show, which one would it be and why?

I’m the last person on earth who would volunteer to be on a reality tv show. Unless Jeopardy counts…

If you could visit any place in the world where would you travel to?

Right now, I’d go to India. I’d practice yoga in Mysore, eat coconut-flavored everything in Kerala, and visit a good friend in Delhi.

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

That I can’t think while you’re talking to me? (hi, Mom – love you!).

What was the best advice you’d ever gotten about the publishing industry? The worst?

Best: Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing, or what’s hot. Just focus on your craft.

Worst: Any prescription or laundry list for writers that presumes one size fits all.

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

Do: read widely and deeply. You have to be a reader before you can be a writer.

Don’t: take any one person’s advice too seriously (unless it’s your agent!).

What is something readers would be surprised you do?

Sometimes, I feed my cat by tossing pieces of kibble into the air which she then catches with her front paws. I guess that makes me a crazy cat-lady.

Our theme for this month is Resources On The Net. What are your favorite resources on the net.
For primary sources in historical research, I love Lee Jackson’s Dictionary of Victorian London (www.victorianlondon.org) and the Proceedings of the Old Bailey (http://www.oldbaileyonline.org/). They’re terribly addictive: long after I’ve found what I first wanted, I keep flicking through more and more pages.

On publishing in general, you can’t go wrong with lit agent Kristin Nelson’s Pub Rants (http://pubrants.blogspot.com/), where she blogs about very useful, topical issues in publishing. I’ve also recently been reading The Intern (http://internspills.blogspot.com/), who’s both whip-smart and very funny.

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

I’d love to! The Body at the Tower is the second novel featuring my girl sleuth, Mary Quinn, and it opens nearly a year later. Disguised as a poor apprentice builder and a boy, Mary braves the grimy underbelly of Victorian London — as well as childhood memories of fear, hunger, and constant want — to unmask the identity of a murderer. Assigned to monitor a building site on the clock tower of the Houses of Parliament, she earns the confidence of the work crew, inching ever nearer her suspect. But if an irresistible desire to help the city’s needy doesn’t distract Mary and jeopardize her cover, unexpectedly meeting up with an old flame just might…

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

I love hearing from readers, who can find me via:

Email: ying [at] yslee.com
Website & regularly updated blog:
www.yslee.com






The Agency

Rescued from the gallows in 1850s London, young orphan (and thief) Mary Quinn is surprised to be offered a singular education, instruction in fine manners — and an unusual vocation. Miss Scrimshaw’s Academy for Girls is a cover for an all-female investigative unit called The Agency, and at seventeen, Mary is about to put her training to the test. Assuming the guise of a lady’s companion, she must infiltrate a rich merchant’s home in hopes of tracing his missing cargo ships. But the household is full of dangerous deceptions, and there is no one to trust — or is there? Packed with action and suspense, banter and romance, and evoking the gritty backstreets of Victorian London, this breezy mystery debuts a daring young detective who lives by her wits while uncovering secrets — including those of her own past.

Y. S. Lee is hosting a contest. Stop by her site to see if you can win.
www.yslee.com




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Thursday, March 11, 2010

SORMAG's INSPIRATION - MARCH: Francis Ray

New York Times bestselling author FRANCIS RAY is a native Texan. She is a graduate of Texas Woman's University and has a degree in nursing. Currently she has over forty books in print. You can visit her at www.francisray.com.







If You Were My Man
by Francis Ray


St. Martin's Press
ISBN-13: 9780312573690
ISBN: 0312573693

Nathalyia Fontaine has been the sole proprietor of the restaurant Fontaine since her husband died four years ago. She hasn't dated anyone in all those years, choosing not to open her heart again, or risk revealing her dark past. That is, until she meets Rafael Dunlap.

Rafael is a hostage negotiator with his own set of problems. Though he loves women, he vows he'll never marry because his job is just too unpredictable. He can't imagine leaving a widow and children behind. But his thinking and game plan of loving and leaving changes when he meets Nathalyia. Though she tries to resist him, Rafael sweeps her into a whirlwind romance. When the unexpected happens, and Nathalyia is forced to keep it a secret, she ends things with Rafael before he can break her heart. But when Rafael is in harms way, will Nathalyia resolve to tell him the truth before it's too late? Or will past demons keep them apart forever?

Thank you Francis for helping inspire SORMAG's creation.


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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Take Off the Mask Blog Tour with Sonya Visor


Take Off the Mask Blog Tour

Who I’ve Become is NOT who I AM, is Sonya Visor’s first non-fiction book. Her passion is to minister to the people who hide behind masks. Sonya’s calling is to break and destroy the yokes of bondage, releasing the power of God into the lives of others by the preached Word and prayers of deliverance. When you can find the strength, to step into who you truly are; you can find the strength to BE THE (Tru U). TruU Ministries is the women’s ministry that God has charged her with to help other’s become free.

Sonya shares her heart with her husband, Pastor Tony Visor, who she calls her better half, for nineteen years. She and her husband have ministered effectively in the city of Racine together at NCC since 1999. Sonya is blessed to love two sons, Jason and Tony, Jr. Visit her online at sonyavisor.com.

Sonya, tell us about yourself.

I am a people-person who loves to see people embrace the essence of who they are!
Sonya Visor is a woman who is passionate about seeing hurting women and men be healed by helping them to take off the mask. She is a co-pastor, inspirational speaker, author, playwright, and founder of TruU Ministries.



Tell us about Who I’ve Become is NOT Who I Am.

This book starts off by telling the reader how I lived a life of secrets and hid the person that I truly was due to sexual abuse. This book is not a testimonial alone; it deals with getting to the core of who are you when nobody’s looking? I talk about masking because that’s what I did and how I almost took my own life because I was afraid to show my wounds. I covered up Sonya but I was bleeding internally until I could no longer hide the sins of my past behind a mask.

Some of my readers will nod their head, laugh and maybe get mad after taking in some of the pages. There are so many women who have come forth, finding courage, after reading the first part of my story. My favorite chapter talks about the Bethany’s we walk pass each day.

When did you begin to realize you liked to write? Was this book your first experience with writing a manuscript?

I have always loved to write or tell a story but I didn’t get serious until the last five years. The Check for $3.96 was my first published work included in Blended Families, an anthology compiled and edited by Valerie Coleman, Pen of the Writer Publishing Co.

Sometimes we receive healing through our writing. Was this your experience?


Oh my goodness, yes! The first couple of chapters of the book had me going deep to those places tucked down in my soul. I shed tears as I reached within to capture the scenes about what I had lived through. It was Marilynn Griffith, a national best-selling author, who encouraged me by telling me I was barely scratching the surface with my draft in 2006. As you can see it took a moment to get to this point – just three years LOL! But, in two weeks time, when I was ready to take off the mask, I wrote a chapter a day at the end of 2008. It was truly a healing to me.


What do you hope readers will learn/discover from reading Who I’ve Become is NOT Who I Am?

I don’t believe that God gave me a message to put myself out there like I have without it being a tool to help someone else find courage to break silence.


I hope that readers would look at where they are in life and evaluate the questions, who have I become? What am I masking? Whether the reader is someone who has low self- esteem, been through divorce, endured sexual or physical abuse; it is time to uncover issues and deal with them. Looking at “it” not sweeping it under the rug is the way to become the true you.


Where can readers order your book online?

Who I’ve Become is NOT Who I Am is available on www.amazon.com

About the Book

Who are you when nobody’s looking? It’s time to take off what hides who you truly are…the mask! Are you tired of going around family, friends and church folk with a frozen smile and a broken heart? Unmask your true identity and learn your real name as pastor’s wife and playwright Sonya Visor cuts to the heart with dynamic testimony of sexual molestation at a young age.

BEING SILENT GAVE POWER to the hands that touched her life. Can hands meant to protect you also have the power to crush your identity? YES! But when we stop allowing a mask of shame to hold us captive with CLOSED mouths, WE CAN let Jesus be real in our lives.

Discover who you have become and embrace who you really are in a book that goes past the pews and what other’s think about you — to bring glory to God by being transparent and transformed. It’s time to take off your mask and let the true you show up!

How to Stop Masking



View the blog tour schedule and read an excerpt at http://bit.ly/TakeOffTheMask.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Building Colorful Characters


Building Colorful Characters – The Literary Bones of a Story, Part 3

Picture this: You step into a neighborhood red brick building, the home of a popular hiring agency, with intentions of acquiring an advertised job. You walk into a well lit office atmosphere speckled with cubicles, file cabinets, plants, and professional-attired employees posed behind office desks and ringing telephones. Behind you sit a row of bored people with pencils and clipboards hovering over a detailed three-page application for the very job you’re there to apply for. Not only are you not looking forward to the redundant pencil-push required to fill out the lengthy application, but you’re pretty tired of the huge competition for each available job. So, with this in mind, you check in, receive your paper-weapons, join the pencil crowd, and line up your written strategies against them—the job enemies. As a job seeker you have to be the best, you must stand out from the rest; therefore, the description of yourself must colorfully qualify you and supersede all the rest.

A story’s characters face the same stage whenever they are created. The writer is the “hiring agency,” and each character’s part in the story is the “job.” Every character is in huge competition to stand out as the best, or to at least win a lasting memory in the story they show up in—therefore, an invisible application is taken by the writer that places his or her characters in the mind of a reader as a good job or a forgettable one. It’s all in the development derived from the initial character application.

Beyond the standard reference to a character’s name, age, height, weight, race, hair and eye color, and body type, writers need to dig further into the knowledge and psyche of their characters in order to present them in their full glory. Let’s extend our previous list of suggestions of how to breathe colorful life into our characters.

Perhaps a prepared sheet of paper entitled a “Character Application” can be copied and used for each primary character before or during the first draft. This could be kept nearby for easy reference whenever needed. The application can also include: hair style, physical condition, chronic illnesses, mental health, distinguishing features, physical imperfections or disabilities, characteristic gestures, ethnic group, religion, family background, years of schooling, college studies & degrees (if applicable), grades, special training & skills, talents, areas of expertise, past and present occupations, military experience, short- & long-term goals, personal and professional needs, personality type, quirks, introvert or extrovert, IQ, temperament, methods used to handle embarrassment, anger & grief, negative traits, good & bad habits, prejudices, pet peeves and gripes, painful things that exist in their life, arrest record, opinions (about abortion, homosexuality, crime, religion, and politics), fears, phobias, hobbies, interests in sports, favorite TV shows & movies, speech style, clothing style, pets, favorite foods, favorite drinks, alcohol consumption (if applicable and how many), favorite attributes in the opposite sex, sexual turn-ons & turn-offs, number of friends, best friends, known enemies, most critical event that molded their life, neighborhood, kind of car owned, home, major & minor life problems, and lessons learned.

While this suggested list might seem a bit too elaborate—or too much trouble—knowing as much about our characters as possible brings them to a believable life and helps curb the chances of orchestrating them to do things out of character. Keeping a written record of each character and their traits also helps a writer not to create repetitious characters during another project, unless done intentionally. Let’s take a stab at implementing a few more of the aforementioned character traits from our extended list into our ongoing character.

When last we visited our first character—homeless vet January Frittmier, he was in line at a Chicago soup kitchen demanding his evening ration …

Having finally made it up to the serving line, January Frittmier, better known as Auggie, reached for a plate of mashed potatoes being handed to him by the woman behind the counter. Auggie grunted, looked around, and twisted his mouth. He sharply gave the Mexican woman an up-and-down frown with his eyes. He hated foreigners, and especially women who chopped off their hair. The stout, tall woman retracted her tattooed hand and mirrored his agitated emotion. Her pierced eyebrow arched in question, asking silently for Auggie’s immediate decision.

This one, he thought, looks like one of them lesbos, another type of entity he hated to deal with. He made up his mind he didn’t want anything tainted by her touch and threw up his palm towards her and moved vigorously forward, muttering under his breath. The next food-server was a slim black boy of medium height wearing yellow plastic gloves and kinky blond hair. January chewed his tongue and beckoned for the plate holding a chicken leg that the boy presented. He continued down the line, his eyes lighting up at some of his favorite foods being rationed to him. The steaming, foiled, corn-on-the-cob; hot, soft, buttered biscuits; and chocolate cake cooled his heated spirits as his mouth watered in anticipation. Once through the line, January stood searching the huge eating area for a free spot next to someone he could temporally tolerate. Moments later, he zoomed in on a table of old vets laughing and talking in between bites of food. January headed toward them.

“Auggie, you old fart,” said a pale and frail man who waved him to be seated.

Immediately, the guy’s hand flew to his cadaverous chest, and he began a two-minute wheezing cough.

Another seated old black gentleman commented affectionately, “For crying out loud, Willard, the food’s not that bad, man.”

January, shaking his head and clicking his cane, made a spry U-turn to an unoccupied table in the corner. It was his belief that disease chose its victims by association.
“Cancer isn’t con-taa-gious,” Williard choked towards January. The group of men then quickly resumed their private gossip.

But once at his chosen seclusion, January became agitated by the food crumbs and spilled liquid that covered the table. Angrily, he raised his cane, kicked back the chair from under the table, and yelled for immediate service. A food service worker came running over and quickly contained the mess with apologies. January, however, continued to rant about the situation until someone seated nearby cursed a request for him to shut up.

January remained silent, unaware, though, that his face told of his soul’s turmoil. He swung his eyes periodically over at the table of loud-talking African American men that had boosted his silence. The muscle-bound crew all wore red scarves attached to either their clothing or around their necks. January hated weak men who only chose to build their bodies and not their brains. The once all-white neighborhood was going to hell as far as he was concerned and crawling with misfits. He feared that one day his disdain for them would provoke a war of a different kind than the one he fought on the bloody foreign battlefields. He prided himself in his four-year college education and military expertise that taught him to choose his battles and fighting tools. He made a mental note to call city hall and complain about the apparent gangs that were strong-arming their way into public domain using verbal and physical assaults. So what, he thought, if my message is embellished a bit. His space was being invaded, and war was always about tactics and strategy. The war was on!

January, however, didn’t notice the gang member staring at him coldly, who sensed his fear and disdain and was plotting a personal revenge shortly of his own.

***

The above information to our ongoing tale highlights and enriches the character’s persona of prejudice, phobias, temperament, education, and fears. Do you think these new revelations are true to his projected personality so far?

More than likely, each character applicant at every writer’s office of “character positions” is unique in mind, body, and spirit. Their jobs fill our pages and excite the tales we weave together for the hearts and eyes of our captivated audience. Portraying them as real and believable beings, unfortunately, is not always an easy job, but it is a satisfying job when our readers truly grasp their nature and personality and love or hate them for the people that we paint them to be.
We must ask ourselves as writers, will our audience, after reading the material we present them, allow our characters another chance with the “job” of occupying their time and mind space? Only a well qualified “applicant” will ever get the chance to apply again.

Don’t forget, Wordsmiths, Auggie is a freelance character, as will be all the characters born here. I’d love to meet who you introduce into our imaginary world. E-mail me with your creations and I’ll post them here for all to meet and utilize. For your gifting, I’ll also post a picture of your latest book and a link to your Web site.

Pens up! to building colorful characters the write way.


Rachel Berry has been gifted by our creator to be many things; on the list of these blessings are daughter, caregiver, wife, mother, grandmother, sister, best friend, aunt, published author & poet, motivational speaker, radio talk show host, mentor, columnist and community leader.

She has been a government employee for 24 years.

Rachel is the founder and president of Black Pearls United INC. (an African American sister-circle) which was founded in 2000.

Berry is also an alumni member of Toastmasters International where she has earned her CTM and has been awarded as Toastmaster of the Year.

Rachel is proudly promoting her books 'From The Heart And Heat Of Me.' and her novel ‘Family Pictures:’ the family saga of two women with too many secrets and the up and down relationships they have with those people they call family.

To arrange speaking engagements e-mail her at admin@blackpearlsunited.org. For book signings please e-mail her at rachelwrites2@yahoo.com. To preview and buy her books please visit her web site at http://www.LuLu.com/RachelBerry
& http://www.rachelberry.webs.com/



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