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Monday, August 30, 2010

FEATURED AUTHOR: Elaine Cantrell



Elaine Cantrell was born and raised in South Carolina . She holds a master’s degree in personnel services from Clemson University . She is a member of Alpha Delta Kappa, an international honorary society for women educators. She is also a member of Romance Writers of America and EPIC authors. Her first novel, A New Leaf, was the 2003 winner of the Timeless Love Contest. When she isn’t writing or teaching high school social studies, she enjoys gardening, quilting, and collecting vintage Christmas ornaments. You can learn more about Elaine at her web site http://www.elainecantrell.com/


Return Engagement

Elizabeth Lane has heard the call of the four most seductive words in the entire English language: what might have been. Would you risk everything you hold dear to find out what might have been? That’s the choice which Elizabeth has to make.
Elizabeth is lucky, for she has it all, money, fame, a satisfying career and a devoted fiancé. Her humble beginnings are all but obscured, but she isn’t the kind of woman Senator Henry Lovinggood wants for his son, Richard. Senator Lovinggood plans to make Richard the President of the United States ; he’ll need a woman from a wealthy, powerful family by his side. Ten years ago he broke Richard and Elizabeth up, but this time it won’t be so easy, for Elizabeth wants to know what might have been. This time she’ll fight back, a struggle which ultimately leads to kidnapping and attempted murder and alienates her from the man of her dreams.


How did you start out your writing career?


Totally by accident! My son came home one day and told me he'd written a book. He said that he'd always made up stories in his head to amuse himself, so he thought he might as well write them down. I got cold chills because I'd always done the same thing. 'Write one yourself,' he said, and I did.


What did you learn while writing this book?


I learned that I can do things I never thought I could do. I'd always wanted to be a writer, and my husband had actually encouraged me for years to try, but I didn't because I thought I couldn't. I have a lot more confidence in myself now which is a wonderful thing.


What did you hope to accomplish with this book?


As I said before, I just wanted to prove something to myself. I didn't make a lot of money off that first book, but like I told my husband, I got what I wanted from it.


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


Without a doubt it's promoting my work. I'm a dreadful introvert so it isn't in my nature to put myself out there. I get great reviews, and when people read my work they always seem to like it, but they can't read it if they don't know about it. I'm working real hard on this issue, but it's a challenge that's for sure.


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


The first one would be Elizabeth Peters. I love that woman's work! She wrote a series of books about a female archaeologist who lived back during the Victorian Era. Her name was Amelia Peabody. She defied convention with her occupation, married a gorgeous man when she herself wasn't so gorgeous, and matched wits with a master criminal. Fantastic stuff!


The second one would be Nora Roberts. I want the woman to give me some pointers.


The third one would be Clive Cussler. Lots of men read his books, and maybe he could give me some tips that would make romance acceptable to more men.


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


First, writing is a business, not just a hobby. Second, I'd take a creative writing course before I started. Maybe then I could have learned some things about writing the easy way, and third, hire a good publicist.


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

Do read publisher's guidelines carefully so you know what to expect. Don't ever give up your dream. If you work at it you will succeed.


I borrowed this question from Author Carleene Brice, What is your author fantasy?


That's easy. I want to be on the New York Times bestseller list.


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


I'd like them to know that sometimes I do have to work. I can't always drop things just to talk on the phone or go out to dinner.


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


The best advice came from author Lisa Renee Jones. I took a class with her, and she said that if you’re going to be an author you should learn about the publishing business. I don’t know that anyone has given me really bad advice about the publishing world in general.


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

I think I’d go California and drive down the Pacific Coast Highway. I’ve seen part of it, and it’s incredibly beautiful. If I left the country I’d go to Egypt and see the pyramids. And maybe ride a camel.


What is something readers would be surprised you do?

I can western square dance which is very different from most of the stuff you see on TV or in movies.


Our theme for this month is STAYING OUT OF THE SLUSH PILE? What advice would you give someone to make sure their manuscript stays out of the slush pile?

Get an agent, and if you can’t be sure to follow the publisher’s guidelines to the letter.


Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?

Not much. The older I get the more I realize that I still have a lot to learn.


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

I’d be glad to. Here’s a blurb to set the stage.


Blurb:

Elizabeth Lane has heard the call of the four most seductive words in the entire English language: what might have been. Would you risk everything you hold dear to find out what might have been? That’s the choice which Elizabeth has to make.
Elizabeth is lucky, for she has it all, money, fame, a satisfying career and a devoted fiancé. Her humble beginnings are all but obscured, but she isn’t the kind of woman Senator Henry Lovinggood wants for his son, Richard. Senator Lovinggood plans to make Richard the President of the United States ; he’ll need a woman from a wealthy, powerful family by his side. Ten years ago he broke Richard and Elizabeth up, but this time it won’t be so easy, for Elizabeth wants to know what might have been. This time she’ll fight back, a struggle which ultimately leads to kidnapping and attempted murder and alienates her from the man of her dreams.

Excerpt: This excerpt takes place when Richard and Elizabeth meet on a California beach after a ten year separation. They go to a beach front carnival.

She paused when they passed a shooting arcade. “Richard, you’re FBI, so I guess you’re supposed to be a good shot. Win me a stuffed animal.”

Richard groaned. “Those guns are probably all sighted wrong so you can’t win. Couldn’t I just buy you one instead?”
“No, that won’t do at all. Never mind. It’s okay if you don’t think you can do it,” she replied with no hint of a smile whatsoever. Would he try to win a prize for her or not?
Richard stepped up to the counter and inspected the row of guns provided by the arcade. “Okay, I know a challenge when I hear it. I’ll win you an animal if I have to stay here all night.”
The attendant, a wizened gnome of a man with a sour expression on his face, wandered over to them. “Win a prize for the lady, mister? Dollar a shot.”
“Yeah, I’ll give it a try.”
He selected the gun he wanted and shot, but he missed. “Just as I expected, the sights are off, and it pulls to the left.” He adjusted for the bad sights, aimed, and squeezed the trigger. This time he hit the target dead center.
“Hooray,” cheered Elizabeth . “I want that big white cat over there. How many does he have to hit to get it?”
“Ten in a row,” the man sourly replied.
A few minutes later Richard and Elizabeth walked away carrying the big cat with them.
Elizabeth tucked her arm through his. “This is so exciting! Nobody ever won anything for me before. You are such a good shot. I bet you’re one of the FBI’s best marksmen.” Is he blushing? thought Elizabeth. I bet it’s been a long time since a woman made him blush.
She couldn’t resist the urge to tease him. She came to a halt and looked intently into his face. “Why, Richard, are you blushing?”
The color in Richard’s face deepened. “I don’t think so. It’s just the lights.”
“Oh, yes you are! You always used to blush when I teased you. Did I embarrass you?”
Richard ducked his head, a little gesture that probably sent her blood pressure sky high. “All right, my face does feel a little warm” he admitted, “but no, you didn’t embarrass me. It’s… well it’s kind of nice to have you flirt with me and brag on me. I’m surprised how bad I wanted to show off and win that damn cat for you.”
“You are so sweet,” she declared, giving him a warm smile.
“I don’t believe it! Is that what I get for winning the cat? Sweet? I don’t want to be sweet.” Ignoring the crowds of people all around them, he jerked her close which made her breath leave her in a little woof. “I want to be your lover. I want you to say I’m sexy and that you want me. I can’t believe you think I’m sweet.”
Elizabeth willingly threw both discretion and Alex to the wind. What did discretion or Alex matter at a time like this? “Oh, that’s what you want, is it? I’m glad you made your intentions clear, Mr. Lovinggood.” She took a small step toward him and obligingly tilted her face upward.
She had known Richard wouldn’t waste his chance. His eyes darkened as he bent his head. Elizabeth gasped when his lips touched hers. She had forgotten how his kisses made her knees shake, her heart pound, and almost burned her up from the inside out.
Richard finally lifted his head. “You have a lazy, satisfied smile on your face,” Elizabeth breathlessly observed.
A smile crossed his face. “Yeah, I do.” His voice dropped. “You held me so close, and you kissed me like you’d never get enough of me.” He gently stroked her cheek with his fingertips. “That kiss thrilled me from head to toe. I…I don’t ever want to let you go.”
Elizabeth looked around at the crowds of people everywhere and blushed herself. “It’s one thing to kiss an actor in front of a camera, but I don’t like to be too affectionate in public. No more kissing right now, please.”
“Can I kiss you later when we’re alone?”
Alex! Elizabeth came down to earth with a thud. “No. We shouldn’t have kissed at all. It’s my fault, and I apologize.”
Richard laughed as if she’d said something hysterical. “You don’t have to apologize for that. You won’t hear any complaints out of me.”
Oh, lord! What time was it? She glanced at her watch. It was time to go home. Maybe Mother and Alex are worried about me. I haven’t behaved very well tonight. It isn’t fair to Alex for me to go out on a date with Richard. Oh, but you can’t call this a date! Yeah, right, and maybe the sun won’t come up tomorrow. She picked up her cat, and they started the walk back to their cars.


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


Web site: http://www.elainecantrell.com/

Blog: http://www.elainepcantrell.blogspot.com/

My Space: http://www.myspace.com/elainecantrell

Facebook: http://www. http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/profile.php?id=100000153041486

Email: elainecsc@aol.com


Thanks for having me, LaShaunda.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a PDF of a previous release Purple Heart.

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Friday, August 27, 2010

DEBUT AUTHOR: Chicki Brown

EDITOR NOTE: It is always a pleasure to introduce you to loyal supporter of SORMAG who has reached her writing goal of publishing a book. My hope is that it will inspire those who are still on the hard path to publication. Yes it takes a lot of time and determination to make it but as you read these types of interviews, you know it is all worth it.

I also want to feature more authors who offer their books in ebook formats because more readers are purchasing ebook readers and looking for books to download.


Chicki has reached her goal and is also trying the ebook path. Please take moment to meet her.


Chicki Brown began writing in response to an inner urge to record the stories that had been accumulating in her head. A job layoff nudged her into the decision to write full time. She is the author of Have You Seen Her? a contemporary, multicultural romance and is currently working on her eighth manuscript.


Brown was the Grand Prize winner in the Black Expressions Fiction Writing Contest, and has been published twice in Releasing Times magazine. A New Jersey native, and the mother of two grown daughters, she and her husband live in metro Atlanta, Georgia.



Have You Seen Her?


Marcia Hadley, Santa Barbara, California socialite has been married for seven years to the heir of a family fortune. He sees to it that she has the finest home, cars and clothes. Yet that isn’t enough to keep Marcia from running.


Dani Reynolds, Atlantic City nightclub cocktail waitress works on her feet seven hours a night, five days a week for less than minimum wage in a crowded, smoky nightclub. She lives in an aging, run-down apartment, rides the city bus, and she’s happier than she’s ever been.


Marcia and Dani have more in common than anyone could imagine. They are the same woman.


And only Taylor Villanova, the club’s sexy bouncer can help her reconcile her two distinct personas and help her face her greatest fear.


How did you start out your writing career?


I wrote when I was in middle school, but as life got in the way, I put my writing aside and didn’t return to creative mode until seven years ago.


What did you learn while writing this book?


I did a lot of research into domestic abuse and discovered a wealth of assistance for women who find themselves in life-threatening home situations.


What did you hope to accomplish with this book?


I wanted to let readers know all that glitters isn’t gold. Many of us desire all the material treasures, but there are women who have all those things and are desperate to escape their lives. My character, Dani Reynolds, is one of those women.


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


Becoming confident in my writing in spite of the rejections. As the rejections came in from the major houses, I had to keep reminding myself that they were merely the opinion of one person. The fact that I was working with a major literary agent was proof enough to me that I could write, so I decided to enter the e-publishing world and get the readers’ opinions.


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


Only three? LOL!


I was fortunate to talk with Eric Jerome Dickey, one of my favorite authors, a couple of years ago. He was browsing in an Atlanta Barnes & Noble and agreed to sit and chat with my writer’s group meeting in the store that night. As he shared, I realized how much his work background and his travels have influenced his work. The advice he gave us was priceless.


The other would be J.R. Ward. I’ve read her Black Dagger Brotherhood series twice, and can’t get over her world-building skills and ability to draw characters that are so urban and unlike herself. She’s amazing.


Beverly Jenkins is my other choice. The way she incorporate true details into her fictional historical books is tremendous. I so appreciate the fact that she includes her sources at the back of her books. Her contemporary books are just as awesome – fast moving and sexy.


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


The first would have been to learn more about the publishing industry before I started submitting to agents and editors. It would’ve kept me from looking like an idiot at the beginning. :)


Second, get involved with a writer’s/critique group at the beginning. It would have saved me a lot of frustration and rewriting.


Third, understanding the importance of social networking in person and online. The writing community is full of great people!


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


DO write every chance you get. Writing is no different than any other craft. You improve from constant practice.


DON’T allow discouragement to swallow you up. This is a craft that takes time and diligence. You might give up just when you’re on the verge of a breakthrough. Do I sound like I’m preaching?


I borrowed this question from author Carleen Brice. What is your author fantasy?


Seeing my name on the New York Times bestseller list and being able to bless people as a result of my financial success. I’d love to visit inner city or rural schools and pass out cases of books to children.


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


How much work it takes to write, revise, submit, and market a book. Sometimes I think many non-writers believe it’s a simple process, but if it were then everybody would do it, right?


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


I think the best is to write because you LOVE it. If writing is a chore or a struggle, you should be doing something else. As Russell Simmons says, “The payoff isn’t the deal. The payoff comes from the work itself.”


The worst: “You need to get a real job.”


If you could visit anyplace in the world, where would you travel to?


Fiji and Bali, two of the most beautiful places on earth.


What is something readers would be surprised you do?


Love to watch old movies from the 1930-40’s – Bette Davis, Errol Flynn, etc. Great stuff!


Our theme for this month is STAYING OUT OF THE SLUSH PILE. What advice would you give someone to make sure their manuscript stays out of the slush pile?


I’m not so sure there is a way to do that considering the way things are in the industry today. I’d say write the best manuscript you can, seek out a good agent and pray.


Oprah always asks, “What do you know for sure?”


That people will always want to read good stories regardless of the medium. The industry is changing rapidly, and writers need to adapt and flow with those changes.


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


I’m not sure whether this will be a paper book or an e-book, but here’s the blurb: What happens when seven African-American singles rent a New Jersey beach house for the summer?


For the third year in a row, writer Shontae Nichols plans a quiet summer in Beach Haven sharing a rental house with friends – a drama instructor, an accountant/realtor, a cosmetologist, an aspiring actor, and a hip-hop video-dancer. The friends learn the truth behind two age-old questions: Can men and women ever just be friends? Is it possible for women peacefully co-exist in the same house? Their quiet summer is shaken to the core when one of their housemates ends up in the hospital in critical condition. The hospital vigil acts as a catalyst to the already growing tension in the house and ultimately defines their relationships.


Hot Fun in the Summertime, is a fun, sexy story I would compare to Why Did I Get Married? featuring singles.


How can readers get in contact with you?


Web site: http://www.chicki663.webs.com/

Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/chicki.brown

Amazon Author Central page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003U6RT96

Twitter: http://twitter.com/Chicki663

Thank you so much for the opportunity to share with SORMAG readers. Sites like this are a lifeline for authors.


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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Do You Still Do? What Happens Happily Ever After Blog Tour

Households headed by unmarried people have quadrupled in since 1970. According to recent polls 73% of Americans under the age of 45 believe life spent with the same partner is unusual. 6 of 10 children live in a single parent household. 1 out 0f 3 marriages end in divorce


Families are suffering all around the world. The failure of the family is causing serious problems. Why are families failing: because we have strayed away from the grand design.


All buildings begin with a plan. Buildings that have stood the test of time begin with correct materials on a solid foundation. If you want your family to be solid you must begin properly. Keith and Cheryl Donovan have been married 17 years and now they have written books designed to help the family build a solid foundation.


Do You Still Do? What Happens Happily Ever After


Why leave your marriage to chance when you can give it to God? What do you really want for your marriage; happiness, growth together, common purpose? In Do you Still Do? What Happens Happily Ever After, you'll find the hope that can only come from following God's will for your marriage. Learn how to turn to God and place every detail of your marriage in His hands. Identify patterns of thinking that contradict God's Word for your marriage and begin to replace them with the truth found in Scripture. Even in your darkest moment, God can do exceedingly more than you could ask or think. It's never too late to discover the joy that comes from yielding yourself and your marriage to the Father. Being a perfect couple doesn't matter being yielded to God does. As you begin to depend on Him, He will lead you into new fulfillment as you walk toward a marriage of purpose. “Do You Still Do” Is an insightful look into the realities of marriage.


About the Authors


As an Award-winning Author, Bible teacher, and licensed Evangelist, Cheryl's books, CD's, and devotionals are not meant to only entertain, but to also minister to and encourage others.


Founder and President of Worth More Than Rubies Ministries in Houston, Texas, Cheryl is the author of two award winning books, Women What the Hell are you Thinking and The Ministry of Motherhood. No doubt the newly released Do You Still Do What Happens Happily Ever After Co Authored with her husband of seventeen years will follow.


A “Worshipping Warrior”, Keith Donovan, is a man after God’s own heart. Respected and highly sought after for his down to earth transparent advice, Keith is a man’s man in a society desperate for his example.


Keith and Cheryl are the proud parents of three children and grandparents of two grandsons. Their desire is that their marriage be used for the glory of God.


To schedule the Donovan’s for interviews, speaking engagements, book signings, workshops, seminars, etc. contact them at cherylspeaks@gmail.com.




Why are families/marriages falling apart?


Families/marriages are falling apart because we spend a lot of time planning for the wedding and not enough time planning for the marriage. We don’t really seem to understand the commitment involved in maintaining a relationship. We get married for convenience, financial security, and every other superficial reason under the sun, but commitment never crosses our minds. Marriage is a 365 day a year, 24 hour a day job and it takes two complete individuals to pull it off.

What happens when families fail?



When families fail the enemy has a foothold in society that he doesn’t let go of easily. Our children suffer, single parents suffer, and ultimately our communities suffer.


What are three steps a person can follow to plan for marriage/family?


1. Self Development – You must know who you are and whose you are


2. Patience- Don’t be anxious. Wait for Mr./Mrs. Right


3. Personal Relationship- Be able to live with you. If you can’t live with you (be alone) who else can?


What is the solid foundation upon which a family/marriage should be built?


The Word of God outlines Biblical principles for Christian marriages. Keith and I have tried to model our marriage after these principles to form a marriage of purpose.




Link to Book


http://www.amazon.com/Still-Happens-Happily-Publishing-Presents/dp/0981963129/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1280952214&sr=1-1



Product Details


Peace In The Storm Publishing
ISBN-10: 0981963129
ISBN-13: 978-0981963129


Book Trailer







Website:


http://www.doyoustilldomarriage.blogspot.com/

Link to excerpt


http://doyoustilldomarriage.blogspot.com/p/book-excerpts.html






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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Fearfully and Wonderfully Made Diamond Blog Tour


Chizellé T. Archie is an author, registered school nurse, mother and wife for thirteen years to her husband John Archie. She works for a private school and lives in Atlanta, GA with her family.


The Fearfully and Wonderfully Made Diamond.


Posh Manhattan investment banker Victoria Diamond Cartiér lives a life of ultimate success: owning an affluent estate in Harlem’s Hamilton Heights district, working on 5th Avenue, and having the love of her devoted husband Malcolm. But when Victoria discovers that her marriage is a lie, she uncovers a deadly horror that may threaten her belief in healing, second chances at love with Marcel and God’s providence over her diamond life.


Tell us about “The Fearfully and Wonderfully Made Diamond.”


This book is an Urban Christian Novel set in the city of Manhattan, and it is about a posh woman named Victoria Diamond Cartiér, who is an investment advisor. She’s got it all, everything she could ever ask for, and she is in love with her husband Malcolm of eight years, but she soon discovers that her perfect marriage is not so perfect, and this one day when she plans to give him the best news of his life, she gets news of her own. While trying to deal with it, she begins to distrust everyone she thought once loved her, even God! And while on that journey, she finds herself asking just I have, and I’m sure so many of us have, “God where are you?”


How did you come up with ideas for this book?


Well like I have said previously, the vision came from God, I never had any intentions on writing a book, but once He gave me the assignment, and I finally began to write, then it all started to flow. I am a Registered Nurse, and while working for a pediatric clinic, I began to see so many of our African American babies being diagnosed with this devastating disease, it was horrible. So from there once God had given the charge, I then began to write about some of the things I know, and furthermore I was so frustrated with the way our African American women were just beginning to settle for any and everything in a man as long as he had a nice car, or lived in a nice home, then all common sense would fly out of the window. Leaving them alone, and heartbroken, or even something in their bloodstream that has no cure!


Who are your main character(s)?


There’s Victoria, Malcolm, Lucy, Noëlle, Zoe, and Marcel.


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


Yes, my favorite character has to be her best friend Lucy, because he is fun, carefree, living his life like he wants to, but he is missing one thing … love. Also, I would say Marcel, because I really had to go into my imagination to create this man. I would have to say in my mind, he is right up there with the angels! And most of all he is what every woman needs.


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


Oh yes, this book deals heavily with topic of HIV/AIDS, and by me being a nurse I knew I needed all of my medical facts to be correct. I didn’t want it to be your everyday book about, love, relationship, break-up, I wanted to bring awareness, as well as put fear in your hearts just the same.


What do you hope readers will learn/discover from reading “The Fearfully and Wonderfully Made Diamond?”


I hope the reader will go away with a sense of responsibility. Realizing to every action there is a consequence. Yes I also want them to really believe in love, that there is true love, whether it comes from an earthly love or a Godly love, it does exist, but first you must trust and believe that it can and it will happen.


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


They are very important to me in this point in my career, because I really would like to know what is it that I can do better as far as writing the next book, or better yet, I understand that all reviews are not good, which is a good thing, because it keeps you humble. I also understand that everyone will not agree with your writing style, or your story period, but if you stick to what is important to you, then you will be able to learn from it, and move on. How does the saying go, what doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger.


Chizelle Archie reads an excerpt from The Fearfully and Wonderfully Made Diamond.



MP3 File





For More Information


• Visit the author at http://chizellearchie.com/

View the blog tour schedule at http://bit.ly/DiamondBlogTour

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

COLUMN: Are You On The Net? - August Online Promotion Tips

How to have a successful blog tour?


I’m sure you’re thinking I’m about to give you the scoop on how to set up a blog tour. Sorry this isn’t one of those type of articles. Today I’m going to discuss what to do when you set up a blog tour.


A blog tour can be a fun way to introduce your book to readers. Unfortunately a lot of authors have treated their blog tour like an one day advertisement instead of a book tour.

With a book tour you can’t sign books if you don’t show up. I’ve found that many authors aren’t showing up for their own blog tours. Doesn’t sound very professional does it? It’s not; however many authors schedule blog tours and think all they have to do is send a blurb about their book and a canned interview and BAM they're on tour. If all you want is a one day promo, pay for a one day promotion and don’t call it a tour.


A real blog tour takes time and the commitment to treat it like a real book tour. If you don’t have time don’t sign up for one. Enough with my fussing. As one who enjoys a good blog tour, I want to offer a few tips to help you have a successful one.


Before I began, please note that a blog tour does not equate SELLS, it is a way to introduce you and your book to new readers. If you get sells out it count it as a blessing.


1. KNOW YOUR SCHEDULE - Can you do a one week, two week, or one month tour?


You need to be available to follow your tour. If you’re on deadline, this is not the time to schedule a tour. Don’t overbook yourself. Yes you have a one week tour, but you have five stops a day. Can you handle five sites a day? That’s a lot of typing if you have readers asking you questions. Make sure you can handle the typing commitment it might take to tour on certain sites.


2. SHARE SOMETHING DIFFERENT - Make sure each stop has something different to post. Some readers like to follow the tours, and they like to read different posts. Don’t have the same thing posted at every site, that makes for a boring tour . Be creative, make your tour about you and the book. Entice the reader to wanting more.


3. PROMOTE YOUR TOUR - If you don’t tell your readers about the tour, how will they know? Post the schedule on your site/blog. Send a post to your social media. Promote, promote, promote.


4. GIVEAWAYS - Readers love winning prizes. Think of fun things to giveaway: gift certificates, gift baskets, backlist of your books. Don’t forget to let the readers know in your promotion that you will be giving away prizes.


5.VISIT YOUR TOUR - Make time each day of the tour to visit the site hosting you. Stop by the site and thank the person hosting the tour. Answer any questions or comments left in the comment section. Don’t get discouraged if no one leaves a comment or question. Many readers read the posts, but don’t comment. If you want to interact with the readers, let them know when you will visit the site and show up at that time, for a Q/A session.


6. GIVEAWAY SUGGESTIONS - Host a giveaway for the hosts with the most comments. Hosts love a little competition to see if they can get the most comments.


Offer a prize to the reader who follows you on your tour. Readers like following the tour. Have them post a comment at each stop and draw a name from the readers who participate.


Offer a prize for joining your newsletter. You’re always working on building your database with new readers. Offer a chance to readers at each site to join your newsletter. Maybe tempt them with an excerpt for your next book.

7. REMEMBER TO HAVE FUN - You want to be able to do this again. If it so time consuming that you’re not having fun meeting new readers, you won’t want to do it again. Have fun.


8. STOP BY THE SITE AGAIN - After the tour is done, stop by each site to make sure you answered all the comments/questions and say thank you again to the host.


9. SEND OUT PRIZES - Make sure you send out your prizes in a timely manner. You don’t want your winners contacting the hosts for their prizes.


10. EVALUATE YOUR TOUR - How did the tour go? Did you have any comments? Did you meet any readers? Is this something you want to do for future books?


Sounds like a lot of work doesn’t it? It can be, that’s why I say schedule your tour when you have the time and the commitment to tour. The goal of a blog tour is to meet new readers. You want to make a lasting impression on them. Make them feel as if they attend a live book tour. They will remember your name and your book and hopefully they will buy a copy and tell their friends about it.


So are you ready for your next blog tour? I’m ready to host it for you.


Stop by next month for more information on online promotion.


Until then,


I’ll see you on the net.


LaShaunda C. Hoffman


LaShaunda is the creator of SORMAG – Shades Of Romance Magazine. She has 11 years of experience on online promotion, most she learned from trial and error. She has taught workshops on online promotion and is available for private online promotion coaching.


Leave your email signature for a chance to win a 30 minute online promotion coaching session.


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Monday, August 23, 2010

FEATURED AUTHOR: Brook Blander

Liken to the waves of the ocean in her hometown of Savannah, GA, Brook Blander, is a force of nature. At the tender age of five, she penned her first story and has since matured into an author, poetess, publisher, lecturer, teacher and mentor. Honesty, passion and the power of words are her weapons to proclaim love, profess healing and calm the unrest in the souls of the lost. Her personal movement includes the restoration of the hearts and spirits of women wounded by violence. Thus, she is a compassionate philanthropist to the cause. Her proudest of all accomplishments is being a mother and partner in love. She lives in Michigan where she continues to write, design and manage her companies.


now that I’m here; lyrics from the mud to the sun


now that Im here is a story filled with the joy and pain of remembrance, and the glory of a journey to the sun. Like the lotus flower, the roots of poetess, Brook Blander, settle in the muddy waters of her past. These seven chapters rearrange the mind and reach for the deepest regions of the heart.


The product of a rape and molestation, the collection opens in The Basement of moist walls, singing blues and the marks the end, and the beginning of two souls. Hanging Moss is a meal to remember those gone during a season of unjust killings. Waiting for Tomorrow tells of a child deprived and Girl of a life of growth and acceptance. Making You tells of the desperation for and need for love while A Getting Society shows how selfish behaviors and laziness are inherited. It tells they are passed on in a predetermined roap map and in the end a choice must be made to continue or derail. Good Morning, Dew is an aubade and truth is sought in I Wanna Taste The Sun as it screams to explore and challenge all that is supposedly known. In I Want To Ask You Something, the burden of generational curses is described and the non-accountability of the careless transfer of them are exposed.


The collection is filled with fury and a desperation to unfold. It is the story of the journey of a soul, a lotus flower, from a dark beginning into the rays of the warm sun and the pains, and joys of the emergence.


How did you start out your writing career?


At age five, my mom taught me to read and write at home. Being an only child, I sought refuge in making up characters. From there the stories began. At age nine, I got my first audience riding the city bus back and forth to school. The regular riders encouraged me to share my stories with them and this gave me an avenue to share my imagination.

What did you learn while writing this book?

I learned that I have come farther along in my healing than I thought I had when I first began writing this book. Many wounds I wrote about did not hurt as bad and many scabs had been formed and faded away.

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

With now that I'm here, I would like to tell my story of triumph over the various abuses that I have endured throughout my childhood and teen years through poetry. This book allows me to really begin to heal as well as paint a portrait for others who may be in the same situation(s).


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


The toughest test I’ve encountered as a writer is having to face my own demons and wrestle them onto paper. To write about fictional characters and situations is much easier, but in this book of poetry, I have had to get up close and personal with my feelings about the topics I wrote about. There were times I wanted to through in the towel. But I couldn’t. And I am glad I stood up to the challenges.


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


Alice Walker would be my number one choice. Though I had the honor or meeting her and speaking with her briefly, I would love to sit with her and just listen. I don’t even know if I would want to ask questions. I would simply just want to hear the words she has to say, watch the facial and body gestures, and bask in her energy.


Jill Scott would be my number two choice. There is a raw and real element to this Sistah that I admire in her. Her poetry is exact reflection of her music and of her performance, which to me says authentic. Authentic is rare today, and I’d love to sip tea under a tree with her and just have real girl talk, artist to artist, sister to sister.


Though he is no longer with us, I’d love to talk to Langston Hughes.
His poetry “puts me there” and though I can read his lyrics over and over, I’d love to hear him describe the day, the weather, the heartbeat of the situations he wrote about. I would love to learn the man behind the words from his own mentoring and teaching.


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


Even though I’d been told, I wish I had accepted the bit of advice given to me that the real works starts after the book is completed.


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


One do would be, create your own standard. Don’t try to write in a way that will get you published. Write from your heart and to a level that satisfies you first. All else will follow.


I borrowed this question from Author Carleene Brice, What is your author fantasy?


Well, lets see…my author fantasy would be to write full-time and have a series with a waiting audience. I also want to experience being able to write in unique and exotic places all over the world.


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


I wish that non-writer would understand that no matter how great a poem may sound (or read), it isn’t always easy. Writing poetry takes a lot out of a writer. And its often heart and soul on paper. Every piece of poetry is not always written for an audience, but sometimes for the writer him(her)self.


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


The best advice…”write for yourself and then see where you fit into the markets. If you don’t see a place with your name on it, create one. “ The worst advice…”write to accommodate your readers.”


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


Because I am a person who wants to explore so many places in the world, right now, it would be Japan.


What is something readers would be surprised you do?


…that I like to sneak and eat fried chicken wings for breakfast in the morning.

Our theme for this month is STAYING OUT OF THE SLUSH PILE? What advice would you give someone to make sure their manuscript stays out of the slush pile?


…to write authentically but study any market prior to submitting their work. Knowing your market that you are submitting your work to is similar to applying for a job. It is important to do the work and research your desired audience as well as the publishing company that will represent you.


Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?


I know for sure that I can’t change the past, but I can control how the past directs my present and future.


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


I am working on multiple projects right now. One is a novel entitled “The Secret of Sweet” which is a family saga and their endurance of abuse and challenges across generations. Poetry continues to spill from me through the next poetry collection I am working on which is currently untitled.


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


http://www.brookblander.com/
 Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of now that I’m here; lyrics from the mud to the sun.


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Sunday, August 22, 2010

BOOK SPOTLIGHT: Weathering Life’s Storms:‘Turn it Around’

Paralleling the life of the Apostle Paul with struggles faced by people today, Santora provides hope through faith in God. In the chapter, “Holding Fast As You Weather Life’s Storms,” Santora provides these four tips to attack five different storms he sees most people face: Satanic storms, sudden storms, self-made storms, storms by association, and sovereign storms.


Hold Fast to God’s Word. Keep an alliance with God by using His Word as a lifeline to cling to when in the midst of struggles.


Shake Off Your Problem. Make a decision to move forward, leaving the problem behind. Quit telling everyone the problem and begin to talk about what is right. Quickly dispel the problem and do not do things that re-inflict the pain.


Recognize That God Turns Delays Into Divine Appointments. Realize that God’s timing is perfect. View a setback as a setup for a comeback.


Realize That God’s Favor Never Fails. Remember that favor means goodwill; approval; to prefer or to help, do a kindness for or endorse. God’s favor is a promise upon which can be relied, even in the midst of storms.


In “Turn it Around,” Santora weaves his personal life experiences with well-known Bible stories to explain key elements that promise to transform what appear to be life’s road blocks into victories.


Santora pastors Faith Church in New Milford, Conn., where the congregation has grown from under 300 to more than 1,700 in weekly attendance in just over 10 years. He has a Bachelor of Science in accounting and business from Rutgers University, and is an ordained minister with RHEMA Bible Training Center. Santora’s preaching embodies the Faith Church motto, “Believe. Grow. Serve.”, as his sermons reflect those tenets. Some of his sermon titles have included “My Messy Family,” “American Idols,” “Life’s Battles” and “Surviving a Recession.” Santora’s television show, “Destined to Win,” airs weekly helping people to discover the winner within themselves. It is broadcast on 13 cable access stations, covering an area from eastern New York to Essex, Conn., and from the Bronx to northwestern Connecticut. More information about “Turn it Around” and Santora is available at http://www.franksantora.com/.


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About Me

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I believe in promoting authors and their books. Let me introduce you and your books to online readers.

I'm also a happily married mother of three who's trying to break into the Christian writing field. The writing road can be rocky.

I’m available for:

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Contact me at:lchwriter@gmail.com

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