Monday, February 28, 2011

FEATURE AUTHOR: Sean Young



Sean began writing romance at the encouragement of her dear friend Christian Fiction Author Jacquelin Thomas. After the release of her first two novels TOTAL BLISS and WITH THIS RING in 2005 & 2006, Sean continued to work diligently at her craft and her next novel.

FROM THIS MOMENT, the second installment in the Hearts and Flowers Series, was released in January 2011. At an early age, Sean found that she loved words and tried to read everything she could get her hands on. She joined her first book club “Sweet Pickles” at the age of 7. Writing would come later, when she wrote short stories for her own enjoyment, then she wrote the Easter play for the youth at her church at the age of 12.

Sean, a graphic/web designer loves building websites and graphics almost as much as she loves writing her stories. She loves working in her church and lives in Northwest Indiana with her family.

How did you start out your writing career?

That honor goes to my dear friend Jacquelin Thomas. She saw something in me that I didn’t even realize was there. Although I’d been writing since I was young, as I grew older, I got away from it and never thought about being a published romance author.

What did you learn while writing this book?

I learned to work under pressure.

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

I wanted anyone who read the book to understand Ivy and her struggles because all of us have thinks in our lives that cause us to reflect and exam ourselves. And also that you can find love in spite of adversity.

Which character did you have the most fun writing about?

I actually loved writing Jonathan Damon (my hero). I loved seeing him on page as a lovable black man who loved a black woman unconditionally through all her mess and uncertainty.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?

I was surprised by the way I touched the readers’ lives. When I wrote the first book in the Hart Sisters Series, WITH THIS RING, I received countless emails from plus-sized women telling me that I gave them renewed hope in finding their prince charming. Lately, I’m being told that they love the way Jonathan treated Ivy even though she didn’t always deserve it. They understood all too well why she behaved the way she did and was glad that she finally found true love.

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

I love watching the characters personalities unfold and getting to know them. I hate revisions, but I know they are necessary and at the end appreciate them.

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

1. I wish I’d known that for all the rejections I’ve received, that someone would give me a chance to tell my story to the world.

2. I wish I’d known that I could be victorious as a romance author despite all circumstances.

3. I wish I had known the joy I would feel once I completed the work.

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

1. Do learn your craft.
2. Don’t ever give up.

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

I wish non-writers would understand that writing is a tough business. The stories take time to take shape and then be executed into an enjoyable story. In doing that you may have to re-write portions several times trying to get it right, just to have the editor remove it. Readers enjoy the stories, and then want the writers to magically come out with something new in the next couple of months. Publishing doesn’t work that way for a lot of us.

When you're not writing, what do you like to do in your spare time?

I’m a graphic/web designer, so I love creating websites, book covers etc. I work a lot with the media ministry at my church. I’m also a wedding/party planner, so I enjoy putting together special events/occasions.

What do you do to interact with your readers?

For all the readers that are on my email list, I send out holiday e-cards. Respond to them on social networks. Make myself available if asked to participate in a discussion about my books.

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

The internet is very resourceful and I use it for many aspects of my life. When I’m working on graphics, I love to go to: http://sixrevisions.com/ – Six Revisions has a lot of Photoshop tutorials etc.

Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?

I know that the Lord loves me and I’m grateful to him for his mercy towards me.

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

Straight From The Heart - Pub date April 2012. Genesis Press.

Pastry chef Lili Hart hasn’t been satisfied with what she’s accomplished with her siblings at Hearts and Flowers. She yearns for independent success, so she seeks to take on clients of her own not tied to the family business.

Excited about her first client, her celebration is short lived when she sees dreamy eyed Dominic Ballard again.

Charming and talented singer/songwriter Dominic Ballard majored in music in college despite the discouragement of his mother. Eventually, he moved to California to pursue his dreams of superstardom.

After the sudden death of his father, Dominic finds himself back in his hometown of Taylor, Indiana assisting with the family’s chain of restaurants. When he’s offered an opportunity to collaborate on popular R & B singer latest CD he feels closer to realizing his dream. But, his life is further complicated when he runs into the one who got away…feisty Lili Hart.

In the face of fierce ambition, will Lili and Dominic realize what’s truly important and make their own sweet music together?

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

You can always reach me via email: seanyoung0907@msn.com, Website: http://www.seandyoung.com/ , Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/sdyoung1

From This Moment

Wedding Planner Ivy Hart discovers that sharing her hotel room with Jonathan Damon in Las Vegas isn’t such a good idea. The sexy Banquet owner makes her feel things she thought she long forgotten. The thirty-four year old Wedding professional’s vow to leave all thoughts of marriage and happily ever after to her clients goes out the window when she wakes up married to her roommate. Now, all she wants is out of the farce of a marriage and fast, but her new hubby has other plans.

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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Did you miss this week's Eblasts?

Click on the links to read

Books By Yahrah St. John's -"Orphan Series" 2

ON THE SHELF NOW - A Silken Thread by Brenda Jackson

BOOK INTRO -  The 13th Amendment Freedom Week Manual by Kariem Abdul Haqq

Looks What's On Kindle This Week


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Friday, February 25, 2011

FEATURED AUTHOR: Alexandra Kane

A military spouse and mother of two, Alexandra Kane leads a sometimes hectic, always interesting life. Whether watching her husband jump from a perfectly good airplane, chasing the children, or penning her next tale, adventure is never far away. She's been writing since middle school and can't imagine life without it.

How did you start out your writing career?

I've been writing since I was about 11, but didn't begin to take it seriously until around 2003. I've always loved to read, so it seemed natural to want to tell stories like the ones I enjoyed.

What did you learn while writing this book?

That the paranormal side of things can be really fun. I'm a really serious person most of the time, so escaping into fantasy was a lot of fun.

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

I wanted to expand my writing to other genres. I already write contemporary/ suspense under the name Kianna Alexander. So I guess you can say I 'm branching out.

Which character did you have the most fun writing about?

Probably Junjie, the hero. I'm really interested in Asian culture and Junjie is Chinese, so that gave me an excuse to delve into some interesting things about that country and the way they do things.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?

Probably the way people say, "I've never met a real writer before!" That kind of tickles me, and I hear it almost every time I tell someone what I do.

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

I love the creation and the research phase, where I can take a really vague idea that I have and expand it into what I hope will be a great story. There are so many different paths an idea can take before it becomes the finished work and I love that journey. I don't really care for the editing, but I know it's got to be done.

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

Hmm. I wish I'd known that not all other writers would be supportive. Some can be catty, and some of the non fiction writers look down on romantic fiction. I wish I'd known how long the publishing process can take, because I can be impatient and it's a bit trying for me. I wish I'd known how great it would feel to have your work praised, I got some really great reviews on my Kianna Alexander book and I was so excited I had them laminated, now I'm going to get them framed!

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

What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?That it is not easy and it takes a lot of time and effort to turn out a finished product that's good! I have had a lot of readers rush me to finish the next book, but I am not going to release my work into the world until I'm satisfied with it.

If you could be a character from any book you've read, who would you be?


Probably Kate Love from Beverly Jenkins' Topaz. She was full of fire and journalistic spirit.

When you're not writing, what do you like to do in your spare time?

What it this spare time you speak of? I have two small children and my husband is a soldier, so I have very little time to myself. I like to cross stitch when I can, and I like to look up random articles on Wikipedia. Those random factoids become fodder for my stories.

What do you do to interact with your readers?

I have a Facebook Fan page and most of the interacting happens there. I just don't have time to manage a thousand and one social networks, and the very idea of Twitter turns me off.

Our theme for this month is Writing the book, what advice do you have for staying motivated to complete the book?

Stay away from negative folks. The ones who say you can't, or shouldn't bother to finish your book are not worthy of time you could be using to complete it.

Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?

That God controls everything and I control next to nothing. Hard lesson but I've learned it well.

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

Well, my next book in the PHOENIX Files series is called Embrace the Night. Here's the blurb:

John Groves is a professor of World History in Raleigh by day. But outside the world of academia, he uses his special talents as a telekinetic to fight crime as a member of PHOENIX.

Tatiana Yates owns a beauty shop in downtown Durham. After leaving the hot curlers and shampoo bowl behind, she releases the tigress within, running free in the forests around RTP. And ripping the bad guys a new one as a seasoned PHOENIX operative.

When the two are paired together to solve the mysterious disappearance of priceless artifacts from North Carolina's museums, can they fight their fiery attraction long enough to get the job done?

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


The best way to reach me is by email (I'm kind of an obsessive email checker, ha ha). The address is alexandrakane_1ATyahooDOTcom.

Alexandra's Web Site:

http://www.kiannaalexander.com/Writing-as-Alexandra-Kane.php

Become a fan on Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#!/pages/Alexandra-Kane/156797787681924






DARKNESS RISING

When Lalah Norris, a city council secretary in Fayetteville, North Carolina is kidnapped twice in one night,she doesn't know who to trust. Yet she can't shake her attraction to the mysterious Asian man holding her hostage.



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Thursday, February 24, 2011

FEATURED AUTHOR: Kristina McMorris

Kristina McMorris lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two sons. Her foray into fiction began in the fall of 2006 as a result of interviewing her grandmother for the biographical section of a self-published cookbook intended as a holiday gift for the family. Inspired by her grandparents' wartime courtship, Kristina penned her first novel, a WWII love story titled Letters from Home. This award-winning debut is scheduled for release in trade paperback from Kensington Books (2-22-11; U.S.) and Avon/HarperCollins (5-5-11; U.K.). Various book club rights have been sold to Reader's Digest and Doubleday, and the film rights are represented by the prestigious Creative Artists Agency of Los Angeles.

Prior to her literary career, Kristina acted in numerous independent films and major motion pictures. She began hosting an Emmy® Award-winning television show at age nine, and most recently served as the six-year host of the WB's weekly program Weddings Portland Style. Adding to her diverse résumé, McMorris is a professional emcee, literary workshop presenter, and former owner of a wedding/event planning business. Her previous writing background includes being a contributing writer for Portland Bride & Groom magazine and ten years of directing public relations for an international conglomerate. A portion of Kristina's sales proceeds from Letters from Home will benefit United Through Reading®, a nonprofit organization that video records deployed U.S. military personnel reading bedtime stories for their children. She is currently working on her next novel. For more, visit www.KristinaMcMorris.com


How did you start out your writing career?

I had been a PR director for many years, specializing in business writing, and occasionally contributed articles to magazines, but I'd never imagined penning a novel. Only because of a Christmas project did this unexpected career come about.

I was in the midst of self-publishing a cookbook for the family, filled with recipes my grandmother had collected and created over several decades, when I decided to interview Grandma Jean for a biographical section. It was then that I learned an astounding fact: She and my late grandfather had gone on merely two dates during World War II before exchanging vows, as their relationship had developed almost entirely through letters. She then retrieved from her closet a gorgeous stack of yellowed pages, all of them sent by the young sailor to his "sweetheart."

Long after our visit, I continued to ponder their courtship, and I found myself wondering how well two people can truly know each other through letters alone. What if those letters weren't entirely truthful? Therein bloomed the idea for my first novel, LETTERS FROM HOME.

What did you learn while writing this book?

That writing a book is hard! :)

Thank goodness I was blissfully ignorant as to what I was getting myself into. Otherwise, no doubt I would have run screaming in the other direction! But, too late to turn back, I gradually learned how to actually write a novel. More importantly, after an overwhelming amount of research and many unforgettable interviews with WWII veterans, I discovered firsthand why they are so aptly dubbed the "Greatest Generation." When it comes to the women and men who served our country on both the battlefront and home front, their heroism is surpassed only by their humility.

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

When I first began writing the story, my husband and I agreed that even if the novel didn't reach store shelves, it would find a fabulous home on our own bookshelves, compliments of Kinko's. I loved the idea of passing a novel along to my children that one day they could read and enjoy. So aside from now wanting to help spread word about the unsung heroes of this momentous war, I'm most proud of providing my kids with tangible proof of what a person can accomplish through hard work and determination.

Which character did you have the most fun writing about?

The American soldiers, without question! I often joke that I must have been a Midwestern GI in my past life because I enjoy writing their scenes more than any others. From the verbal jousting to the limerick duels, as well as the camaraderie, their narratives and dialogue typically feel effortless to create. Actually, a WWII vet was once kind enough to compliment me on how well I depicted the soldiers' interactions—only then to point out that the female characters weren't quite as believable. After laughing about the remark, which was spot-on in that early draft, I definitely put more effort into the girls of my story.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?

Gosh, what hasn't surprised me?!

At the top of the list, I'd have to say the timeline. Outside the industry, people continue to balk upon learning that my debut novel was slated for publication two years ahead of time. Among other elements that continue to intrigue me are cyclical trends in the market, the career challenges faced by even well established authors, the amount of promotion an author is responsible for, and, on the upside, how genuinely supportive fellow writers can be of one another.

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

What I hate? Writing from scratch. Unfortunately, when it comes to craft, the more knowledgeable I've become, the more I've struggled to simply throw unpolished words onto the page. I tell you, it was so much easier to write a novel when I had no idea how clueless I was!

Conversely, what I love the most—even more, I admit, than learning my book has deeply touched someone's heart—are the occasions when, in the midst of editing and tweaking my manuscript, I've happened across a really good sentence, one that makes me think, Wow…I wrote that. Those are the moments that help me through days when I review an entire chapter and think, Please tell me I didn't write that.

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

1) I wish I'd known how thankful I would ultimately be that the first version of LETTERS FROM HOME wouldn't sell to a publisher. I would have been grateful instead of disappointed at the rejection letters from editors who, as it turned out, did me a huge favor.

2) I wish I'd known that when you realize you and your agent are not the right fit, it's best to part ways rather than let the relationship linger. You will find another agent. You will find the right fit.

3) And I wish I had known from the beginning not to take personally any literary criticism a fellow reader or writer was willing to offer. I would have simply and genuinely thanked them for their time, and given more objective consideration to input that I indeed invited.

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

DO believe in your voice. Everyone has one that is uniquely his or hers. You can improve upon grammar and opening sentences and a whole slew of other literary aspects, but take pride in your voice, your perspective on life, so you can share it with others.

DON'T get caught up in the so-called "rules," particularly when they use the word "never." Never use adverbs, never write prologues, never write in first person…never write a WWII story. Creative writing is an art form. Treat the "rules" as a cafeteria line; pick and choose what works for you.

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

I wish readers who enjoy nitpicking minor factual errors in novels would keep in mind that what they're reading is fiction. In general, it's meant as entertainment. Although I take great pride in my extensive research efforts, doing my best to honor those who lived through my stories' eras, it's nerve wracking to know there are readers out there who would love nothing more to pounce on an author's labor-of-love.

If you could be a character from any book you've read, who would you be?

I'm embarrassed to say I can't think of a single character I'd like to be, but I can certainly name my favorite character in a novel: Death, the narrator in THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak. He had wit, compassion, and profound insight about human nature.

When you're not writing, what do you like to do in your spare time?

As the mother of two young boys, I sadly don't encounter much "spare time" any more. But when I'm not writing, I love watching movies, enjoying wine and cheese, catching up with friends, and spending time with my family. I swear, there is no sound in the world more beautiful than my kids making each other giggle.

What do you do to interact with your readers?

Since my novel provides a nice source of book-club discussions, I've geared pages on my website specifically for their interests. I'm very excited about meeting with reading groups in person, on the phone, or via Skype. And I also welcome readers to submit WWII letters on my website to be posted as part of the collection.

Our theme for this month is Writing the book, what advice do you have for staying motivated to complete the book?

Treat it as a job. Don't wait for the muse to guide you to the keyboard. On days when the words fly across the page, or when typing each syllable is as enjoyable as enduring a root canal, sit in the chair at your scheduled time and write.

Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?

People should never be judged at a glance. Beneath every permanent scowl or grin, every offensive remark or unyielding belief, is a reason. I've learned firsthand that the curt receptionist might have just lost their child. The elderly passenger you ignore, seated beside you on a plane, was once a young person who has since survived events others can only imagine. He just might tell you about the day he broke an Olympic record, or liberated a concentration camp—if only he was asked. What I know for sure is that we all have a story to tell; we just need to know someone is interested.

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

Given that it's my new shiny toy, I welcome any chance to chat about the next one. BRIDGE OF SCARLET LEAVES is another World War II love story, but completely different from my debut. It's about a Caucasian violinist who secretly elopes with her Japanese-American boyfriend—against societal molds and families' wishes—the night before Pearl Harbor is bombed.

As the half-Japanese daughter of an immigrant father and American mother, I'm very proud of the vastly unknown history I was able to incorporate into the story, as well as the unique perspective of living between cultures.

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

I love to hear from readers! My email address is Kristina@kristinamcmorris.com and my mailing address is PO Box 100, Troutdale, OR 97060. They can also contact me through my website at http://www.kristinamcmorris.com/

LETTERS FROM HOME

In the midst of World War II, a Midwestern infantryman falls deeply in love through a
yearlong letter exchange, unaware that the girl he's been writing to isn't the one replying.

Chicago, 1944. Liz Stephens has little interest in attending a USO club dance with her friends Betty and Julia. She doesn't need a flirtation with a lonely serviceman when she's set to marry her childhood sweetheart. Yet something happens the moment Liz glimpses Morgan McClain. They share only a brief conversation—cut short by the soldier's evident interest in Betty—but Liz can't forget him. Thus, when Betty asks her to ghostwrite a letter to Morgan, stationed overseas, Liz reluctantly agrees.

Thousands of miles away, Morgan struggles to adjust to the brutality of war. His letters from "Betty" are a comfort, their soul-baring correspondence a revelation to them both. While Liz is torn by her feelings for a man who doesn't know her true identity, Betty and Julia each become immersed in their own romantic entanglements. And as the war draws to a close, all three will face heart-wrenching choices, painful losses, and the bittersweet joy of new beginnings.

"Ambitious and compelling…[a] sweeping debut" (Publishers Weekly), LETTERS FROM HOME is a story of hope and connection, of sacrifices made in love and war—and the chance encounters that change us forever.

BOOK TRAILER:

www.tinyurl.com/McMorris



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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

BOOK SPOTLIGHT - A Silken Thread by Brenda Jackson

Erica Sanders has found the man of her dreams. A rising lawyer, Brian Lawson is smart and gorgeous—and the only man who has ever made Erica lose all reason with just a glance. The wedding is just a few weeks away, and the only person who objects to the match is Erica’s imperious, social-climbing mother, Karen. She would prefer that her daughter marry Griffin Hayes, scion of another wealthy Hattersville family—despite the fact that he and Erica, friends since birth, have never felt even a tinge of romance between them. Determined to end the union, Karen hires a private investigator to dig up any dirt she can about Brian—a decision that will have a devastating effect on many people’s lives.


Griffin, meanwhile, has set his sights on his own ideal woman: Erica’s best friend, April North. Born on the wrong side of the tracks in Hattersville, April is now an internationally recognized model, who still clings to family ties in her exclusive hometown. A third romance brews between Erica’s father, Wilson, and Brian’s mother, Rita. Fighting a palpable attraction from the moment they meet at their children’s engagement party, Wilson and Rita succumb to their passion when fate throws them together. Wilson, trapped in a loveless marriage, and Rita, a widow who long ago gave up on love, try to resist this forbidden romance, but discover things about their needs that cannot be denied.

Even as Karen’s efforts to thwart Erica and Brian’s happiness begin to play out according to her plan, secrets from the past surface that threaten the perfect little cocoon that she has constructed from silken threads—at once strong and vulnerable. In the end, only the power of love can prevail. A SILKEN THREAD is a powerful, electrically-charged evocation of romance and passion—vintage writing from one of the most beloved women working in romance fiction today.

About the Author

Brenda Jackson has been a trailblazer in African-American romance as the first African-American romance writer to make USA Today’s and the New York Times’ bestseller lists for the series romance genre. The author of more than eighty books, she is the recipient of countless awards, including numerous Romance in Color Reviewers’ Choice Awards, Emma Awards, and eHarlequin Reader’s Choice Awards. She has lived her entire life in Jacksonville, Florida, and has been married to her childhood sweetheart, Gerald, for thirty-nine years. Visit her at http://www.brendajackson.net/.



Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.


"So, tell me. Have wedding jitters taken a toll on you yet?"

Erica Sanders glanced across the table, thinking that only April, her close friend since junior high school, would have the nerve to ask her something like that with a straight face. April North knew her so well. She could tell Erica's anxiety and stress were mounting, only a couple of weeks from the engagement party at which the couple's families would officially meet. Erica was so not looking forward to that affair— unless her mother's attitude changed drastically.

"Yes, I'm a little stressed," she admitted. "My sanity is barely holding up. But it's to be expected of every bride, isn't it?" She figured if anyone should know, surely April would. After all, her best friend had walked down the aisle three times already.

"Umm, a little stress is to be expected of every bride. But in your situation…" April left the words unsaid.

Erica's mother was driving her crazy.

With one breath Karen Sanders would rant and rave about Brian Lawson not being good enough to marry her daughter, and with the next breath she'd give the wedding planner hell because she intended for Erica's wedding to be the social event of the year.

It would be a wedding befitting the great-great-granddaughter of one of the founding fathers of Hattersville, a small town of seven thousand, noted in the history books as one of the first cities for freed blacks in Ohio. Erica had lived in Hattersville all twenty-seven years of her life, except for her college years in Wisconsin. Living in another city those four years had opened her eyes to a lot of things, especially how closed-minded and snobbish some of the residents of her hometown were. But not all of the citizens were privileged. Her friend April had been born on the other side of the tracks, in the Fifth Ward—something Erica's mother liked to remind her of every chance she got. But to Erica, what side of the tracks someone was born on didn't matter, and her close friendship with April had always been special. Besides, April, who had always been a beautiful person, had gone from rags to riches and was now a world-famous model. That proved that anyone who put her heart and mind to it could become successful, despite her humble beginnings.

Needing to escape the oppressive atmosphere of the town even more than Erica did, April had traveled west to attend UCLA, where she'd met husbands one and two. Husband number three, whom she'd divorced a year ago, was someone she'd met in Great Britain.

"You know as well as I do," April continued to say while eating her salad, "that Ms. Karen's idea of a dream marriage is one between you and Griffin."

Erica knew that was true. Griffin Hayes's family, like hers, represented old money in Hattersville. Naturally some people, especially her mother, assumed she and Griffin would grow up and marry. There were those, again namely her mother, who figured that doing such a thing was not only politically correct, but would destroy some curse reputed to have been placed upon the two families that could only be broken by a marriage between them.

Unfortunately, nobody bothered to inform her and Griffin's hearts, since they just weren't feeling it. Their families had thrown them together so often when they were growing up that eventually they began thinking of themselves as sister and brother, rather than as a couple whose lives were destined to end in holy matrimony.

Although they'd tried dating while in high school, the fire was simply not there. Griffin had recognized it and so had she. That was when they'd made the decision to be nothing more than friends.

"Mom might as well get used to the idea that I will not be Mrs. Griffin Hayes," Erica said. "I most certainly have. Trust me. Brian is all the man I want and need." She doubted anyone, even April, knew just how much she meant that.

"Will he be flying in this weekend?"

A huge smile spread across Erica's lips and she held up two crossed fingers. "Let's hope. They've hired two more attorneys at his firm but he still has a large caseload."

She and Brian, an attorney at a prestigious law firm in Dallas, had met last summer while vacationing in Myrtle Beach. He had been out fishing on the pier one morning and she had been jogging along the shoreline. They had struck up a conversation, and he had invited her to breakfast the next day. A few weeks later, they had become lovers.

When the summer ended they decided to keep the affair going and, beating the odds, their long-distance romance had survived. Over the Christmas holidays Brian had asked her to marry him. She had accepted and now looked forward to her August wedding and her move to Texas.

Her mother had been in an uproar at the thought of her only child marrying someone other than a Hayes and moving away. Even now, months later, there were days Karen Sanders had problems coping with the inevitable.

"So how's your dad holding out?" April asked, breaking in on Erica's thoughts. "Has your mom convinced him to disown you yet?"

Erica thought about her dad, with his soft hazel eyes so filled with love and understanding. He had given her his full support—although he kept it low-key so as not to get her mother riled. But it was the little things he would say and do to let her know he admired the fact that she was doing the very thing he hadn't done, marrying for love instead of for the sake of preserving some legacy. It was no secret her parents' marriage had been arranged.

"You know as well as I that won't be happening," she replied. She and her father had a close relationship and things between them would always be that way.

A short while later she and April were walking to their parked cars, promising to get together several more times while April was in town visiting her grandmother. It was the first week of March and there was definitely an Ohio chill in the air, which made Erica tighten her shawl around her shoulders. The shawl, a Giorgio exclusive, had been a birthday gift last year from April.

Up ahead Erica saw the town's square, brightly lit and rimmed by a well-maintained lawn. The parks in the Fifth Ward might look deteriorated and in need of care, but here the statues of the city's forefathers were in perfect condition. It almost sickened her when she thought of the good citizens' priorities.

She glanced at her watch. It wasn't even eight o'clock and already the retail businesses had closed, leaving the area looking like a ghost town. The town had survived what would have been rough economic times when a few wealthy residents had come in and bought out the small, struggling businesses, which made the rich even richer and gave them tighter control and ownership of the town.

Even her job as head librarian and accountant at the town's historical library was nothing more than a cushy position created by her parents—mainly her mother—to assure the history of Hattersville was well preserved. Erica was constantly reminded that if it hadn't been for the forefathers—those free blacks who'd come from Canada—the town wouldn't exist.

For generations there had been a distinct line between the two groups of people living in Hattersville, the haves and the have-nots. Those that had money—the Hayeses, Delberts, Sanderses, Carters, Heards, Bakers, Cobbs and Stonewells— were those who owned major manufacturing corporations that employed thousands of people who drove into the city to work.

After giving April a good-bye hug, Erica slid into her car, a cherry-red Mercedes two-door that had been a birthday gift from her father a couple of years ago. After strapping on her seat belt, she was about to turn the key in the ignition when her cell phone rang. She smiled when she saw the caller was Brian. She wasted no time answering it. "Hi."

"Hi, sweetheart. Where are you?" he asked.

"About to leave Ryder's Steak House. April's in town so we did dinner." She paused a moment and then asked, "So, do you think you can get away for the weekend?"

She heard his chuckle and the sexiness of it carried through the phone. She immediately recalled the first time she'd seen him, shirtless and wearing a pair of cutoff jeans with a fishing pole in his hands. He had given her a flirty smile and she'd turned to mush. She had actually felt that smile in every part of her body, every pore and every single cell. That smile had transformed her into one hot and achy mass and on that day she'd discovered that the whole concept of lust was as real as real could get.

"Yes, I think I can get away," he said, interrupting her thoughts. "By the way, there's something waiting for you at your house."

A smile touched her lips. He had been known to send her thinking-of-you gifts through the mail. "There is?"

"Yes."

She wondered what he'd sent her this time. Last week it was a CD on which he'd recorded "Rock-a-bye Baby" in his deep voice like Barry White's as a way to lull her to sleep each night. "What is it?" she asked.

He gave her another sexy chuckle before simply saying, "Me. And now that you know, don't speed getting here."

How could she not, Erica thought after a quick gasp escaped her lips. They hadn't seen each other in over three weeks and she was filled with a deep longing that she knew would be getting satisfied in a big way when she saw him. Sensual shivers danced up her spine when she envisioned how that would be accomplished.

"Make yourself comfortable until I get there," she told him.

"I've done that already and I can't wait to see you, baby."

She couldn't wait to see him, either. "I'm on my way."

Before Brian could give her a hot response, one that would probably make her detonate, she clicked off the phone, started her engine and pulled out of the parking lot. With Brian in town her plans for the weekend had definitely changed. Everyone would understand.

Everyone but her mother.

Would you like to win a copy of A Silken Thread?  Leave your email and tell us your favorite Brenda Jackson book.

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

COLUMNIST: Are You On The Net


Online Promotion Plan

For the next few months this column will be dedicated to the newly published author. It will offer tips to help you promote your new book.

I can’t promise you a bestselling book, but I can promise you ways to get your name and book in front of readers.

As a new writer your time is very precious so you don’t want to wait to the last minute to try to come up with a promotion plan. I suggest you start planning six months before the release. This will give you a chance to do a little at a time and you won’t feel overwhelmed.

Take a moment to answer these questions and you will be on your way to creating your online promotion plan.

1. Is your book release or information about your book included in your email signature?

2. Do you own a site or blog?

3. Have you researched the sites/blogs that promote your genre?

4. Have you made of list of sites/blogs to introduce yourself to?

5. Have you written your introduction letter?

6. Have you sent out your letters to the sites/blogs?

7. Have you researched the online radio shows that promote your genre?

8. Have you created your list of online radio shows you want to be on?

9. Have you sent out your letters to the online radio shows?

10. Have you created at least five articles that focus on your books’ theme?

11. Have you researched forums that promote your genre?

12. Have you created your list of forums you want to be on?

13. Have you sent out letters to the forums?

14. Have you researched the online book clubs?

15. Have you created a list of online book clubs that promote your genre?

16. Have you sent out letters of intro?

17. Have you scheduled chats or skype chats?

18. Have you researched the online magazines that promote your genre?

19. Have you created a list of online magazines you want to be featured in?

20. Have you requested interviews from these magazines?

21. Have you researched their advertisement prices?

22. Have you created a budget for your online promotion?

23. Have you scheduled your online advertisement?

24. Have you decided if you would do a blog tour?

25. If yes, have you set up the blog tour?

Next month we will break down these questions to get you started on creating your plan.

Can’t wait to next month, contact me –sormag@yahoo.com I’m available for private online promotion coaching.

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.


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Monday, February 21, 2011

FEATURED AUTHOR: Cheryl Faye


Cheryl Faye recently returned as a resident to Harlem, New York, where she was born and raised and is an active member of First Corinthian Baptist Church. A legal secretary by profession, Cheryl is the proud mother of two sons, Michael and Douglas, and grandmother to Mikayla. Cheryl has five previously released novels; Be Careful What You Wish For, released in Spring 2005 for Strebor Books International, First Love and A Test Of Time for BET Books, and A Time For Us and At First Sight for Pinnacle Books, an imprint of Kensington Publishing. Her short story, A Second Chance At Love, was included in a Mothers’ Day anthology Mama Dear, for Pinnacle Books.

Who Said It Would Be Easy? is her first foray into the Christian fiction genre, but Cheryl believes she has definitely found her niche.

Cheryl can be reached at MsCherylFaye@gmail.com or on Facebook. Please include a subject matter in your message. No attachments, please.


How did you start out your writing career?

I’ve been writing since I was a teenager. Writing has always been something I’ve done for my own comfort, pleasure and escape, however, my first attempt at writing a full-length book was on a bet with my ex-husband. That wager opened up a flood-gate that hasn’t been closed yet.

What did you learn while writing this book?

In writing Who Said It Would Be Easy? I learned that nothing happens before its time. I began writing this story in 2001 and it went through a major transformation right along with me. This story was not supposed to be published before now.

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

My hope for this book is that it represents the best of who I am—the me God created me to be—right now. I am growing everyday and what I’ve done in my life up to this point doesn’t begin to touch the surface of what I’ll do before I leave this earth. God’s not through with me yet; I don’t know all of His plans, but I’m looking forward to finding out.

Which character did you have the most fun writing about?

Stefàn Cooper — for me, he is the embodiment of my ideal black man (I love my brothers). Although his outward appearance is darn near perfection (the brother’s fine), the flaws he has hidden so well and from so many, are brought to the surface by the light of the love he receives from Charisse and really show his humanity and give him a safe place to be himself. (I have a painting on my living room wall that I’ve named for him.)

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?

That other people are willing to spend their hard-earned money to buy something I’ve written. I am truly humbled by that.

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

I love creating my characters. I live somewhat vicariously through them, although not so much now as I did when I was younger. I’ve always been a “people” person and I try to create characters that I would enjoy having in my life.

What I dislike the most about the writing process is the work it takes to sell my stories. Unlike some authors who will talk up their work to just about anyone they meet, I am very reticent about doing that because I’m somewhat embarrassed to talk about myself like that.

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

1) That my mother knew what she was talking about—I could have saved a lot of time and avoided a lot of heartache; 2) that everyone doesn’t appreciate my honesty and outspokenness—sometimes it’s better to just be quiet; and 3) that God is always with me, even when I feel completely alone.

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

Do believe in yourself enough to get the help you need to be the best writer you can be.

Don’t take rejection letters too personal; if you’ve done what you need to do to be the best writer you can be and you’ve written a well-crafted story, that rejection letter is only the opinion of the person who signed the letter.

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

I wish non-writers would understand that just because you think you have a great idea for a story, doesn’t mean that I’m the person to write it for you. I’ve had so many people come to me and tell me they have the perfect story for me to write. That’s not the reason I do this; my stories come from my heart and, presently, I’m not looking to write anyone else’s story.

If you could be a character from any book you've read, who would you be?

Hester Wyatt from Beverly Jenkins’ book, Indigo, mainly because Galen Vachon, a/k/a The Black Daniel, is my absolute favorite hero of any book I’ve ever read and I’d love to be loved by him. LOL

When you're not writing, what do you like to do in your spare time?

I love serving at my church. I am part of the leadership team at First Corinthian Baptist Church in Harlem where our pastor is Michael A. Walrond, Jr. and although that occupies a lot of my time, I love being there and being a part of the work that is going on there. I also love to read, watch movies—at home and the theater—and I enjoy playing computer games (sometimes a little too much).

What do you do to interact with your readers?

Probably not enough. I hope to connect with as many as possible through social networks like Facebook and Twitter, but I’d also like to participate in book club discussions and reader conferences, too.

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

One of my absolute favorite resources is www.dictionary.com. I love words and whenever I come across one I don’t know, I can access that site via computer or on my phone and learn a new word. It’s also great when I’m writing and don’t want to use the same word repeatedly to convey a similar thought because of the thesaurus feature.

Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?

I know for sure that I am the beloved of God, that God’s spirit rests on me and that in me God finds favor simply because I am part of a wonderfully loving family with the best parents in the world (now deceased), the mother of two amazing sons and because I’ve had the privilege of having six stories that I’ve written touch the lives of those they have.

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

My next book, tentatively titled Saved By Grace is the story of a widow named Ruth Morgan, who has spent the last fourteen years of her life singularly focused on raising her daughter, Grace. In the years since Grace’s birth, Ruth has never even considered the idea of falling in love again, especially since her husband’s death came on the night he left her for another woman. Now, with Grace growing up and needing her less and less, Ruth has to decide if she wants to spend the rest of her life alone or take a chance on a love that won’t betray her again.

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

I can be reached via email at mscherylfaye@gmail.com; or at the following social network sites: www.facebook.com/cfaye127; www.twitter.com/cfaye127. I can also be reached through www.goodreads.com/cheryl_faye.

Who Said It Would Be Easy? A Story of Faith

Who Said It Would Be Easy? is a journey along the path of life’s trials, tragedies and triumphs.

Charisse Ellison is a single professional who is new to her faith, but convinced that her relationship with God is the only way to the have the truly fulfilling life she desires – one that includes a husband and children.

Stefàn Cooper is a bachelor who has no desire to change his marital status. Tall, muscular and strikingly handsome, Stefàn is so used to getting what he wants from the opposite sex that he has come to expect a certain demeanor upon first encounters and is intrigued by Charisse’s indifference to his charms.

With the sincere yet cynical voice of her best friend constantly in her ear, and the encouragement of his humble, discerning running buddy, the couple embark on a cautionary friendship that quickly leads to an intense romance. Their relationship takes them through trials that challenge the bravado Stefàn has held on to for most of his adult life and forces Charisse to see that God’s answered prayers don’t always come packaged the way we expect.

Read an EXCERPT

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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Did you miss this week's Eblasts?

Click on the links to read the eblasts.


MUCH ADO ABOUT NSL FEB

Have You Read This Book?  Game, Set, Match by Nana Malone

Promote your product for Black history

BOOK INTRO -  All Up In My Business by Lutishia Lovely

COMING SOON - Secret Place by Leslie J. Sherrod

SPOTLIGHT - Books by Lisa G. Riley

Do You Need A Valentine Treat?

Join Our Book Clubs

Black History Newsletter 11


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Friday, February 18, 2011

FEATURED AUTHOR: Elaine Flowers

A retired salon owner and hair stylist of more than 25 years, Elaine Flowers always dreamed becoming a published author, creating stories with interesting characters, and in 2002 it was realized when she became a fulltime writer, releasing her first novel, Black Beauty in 2004.

In 2007, this bestselling author signed with Hollygrove Publishing joining the literary team headed by national bestselling author, Brian W. Smith releasing It’s Morning: Torn Lovers and Their Stories (2008) is her second book, comprised of two novellas and one short story The long-awaited Broken Appointments, and sequel to Black Beauty, will be Ms. Flowers’ third work of fiction. Being released February 2011 In the interim, this eager writer is having great success with her first try at non fiction. I Wouldn’t Mind Having a Husband, I Just Don’t Want to Be Somebody’s Wife: The Single Woman’s Guide to Self-fulfillment is a self help e-book designed for single-never-been-married women who are egregiously seeking a husband.

Elaine Flowers is a divorcee of 20 years with 2 adult children. She is a full time writer and discussion leader It is her desire to create a dense body of work for those who enjoy her writings.


How did you start out your writing career?

Years ago my best friend and I would swap books, as we were both avid readers. One day she said to me, why don’t you write a book. I’m sure you could do a better job than some of the ones we’re spending our money on. I wasn’t presumptuous enough to think I could do just that, but I accepted the challenge. When we were young girls I would write stories, but never actually finishing any of them. So I got started, not immediately, but I was determined to complete something. During the time I was writing Black Beauty things in my life changed. I retired as a hairstylist and sold my salon and that’s when I decided to see about actually turning my manuscript into a published book. And here I am.

What did you learn while writing this book?

Working on Broken Appointments, which is my third work of fiction, has taught me that in just these few years between books that the industry is constantly changing. The way to market and promote books is different than before. So, instead of applying what I’ve learned, I have LEARNED that I have to learn new things.

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

This novel is written differently than my others. There are five protagonists and it was a difficult juggling act to maintain everyone’s voice and personality. But, I accomplished it.

Which character did you have the most fun writing about?

I love writing about complicated people and in this book, Glory is very complex—almost baffling.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?

I independently published my first book in 2004 and I was unprepared for how difficult it would be to put together a book—especially when you care about producing a good product. After each book, I have asked myself, why are you putting yourself through this grief? And then the next thing I know, I’m on to the next project.

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

I love creating the story in its initial stages—when the characters are speaking to me. That’s when it’s most fun. I think part of the reason it is fun at first because it only belongs to me. No one else, editors and the like have been introduced to the people in my world of make believe.

The part I hate is the oh-so-necessary editing of the story. This is when everything is technical and mechanical, and not fun and endearing. It all has to make sense to a potential reader and when you’re writing you just can’t see how the story may not flow until an editor points it out.

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

I can’t think of anything, but if I had one regret that would be that I didn’t start writing professionally earlier.

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

DO lots of reading, especially reading the kinds of things you want to write.
DON’T adopt other people’s ideas of what success looks like. Come up with your own definition.

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

I wish non-writers understood how important it is for them to support the author whose works they enjoy in order for that author to continue to give them more.

If you could be a character from any book you've read, who would you be?

Janie Mae in, Their Eyes Were Watching God, just so I could change the ending into a happier one.

When you're not writing, what do you like to do in your spare time?

Read, or spend time with my son and/or daughter when the opportunities arise.

What do you do to interact with your readers?

One of my favorite things to do is to attend book club meetings when I’m invited to join in their discussion of one of my books. I love this!

Our theme for this month is Writing the book, what advice do you have for staying motivated to complete the book?

You must find quiet and alone time in order to get your writing done. I have found that when my life is busy, whether mentally or physically, it is difficult for me to make any real progress on my work.

Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?

I know a lot of things for sure, but in the spirit of this interview I will say that what I know for sure who I am—and who I am is a writer.

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

Call me superstitious but in order to avoid any unnecessary delays I do my best not to talk about what’s next until it’s a sure thing.

How can readers get in contact with you? www.facebook.com/authorelaineflowers, www.twitter.com/eeflowers, http://www.booksbyelaineflowers.com/, Elaine_flowers@yahoo.com


BROKEN APPOINTMENTS

Meet the Parkers

A woman’s heart holds many secrets and Joyce Parker can attest to that. She raised all of her children alone working at the beauty salon attached to the back of the house her father left her, and taught them everything there is to know about the business. Can her deepest secret be kept? Have the choices she made created the dysfunction in the family?

Wendell, a recovering womanizer, has always been the go-to man in the family. He’s changed his ways, but is it enough to repair the damage with the only woman he’s ever loved—Naomi?

Glory has seen her brother go through women like a stylist goes through hair spray. And if every man operates like Wendell, none of them can be trusted. So, if you can’t beat ’em—join ’em.

Sanita, affectionately called Sweetie, is a magnet for men with issues. Either they’re verbally abusing her or physically abusing her…until Ricardo. Ricardo treats her like a princess—and then his hustler’s withdrawal sets in. Can she help him through his addiction to making fast money?

Overworked, overweight, and overwhelmed, Frannie is ‘happily’ married and raising three children. She has the life that everyone in the family sees as ideal—too bad she doesn’t agree.


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Thursday, February 17, 2011

FEATURED AUTHOR: Naomi Chase

Naomi Chase went from chasing stories as a newspaper reporter to weaving juicy thrillers spun from her own naughty imagination. Like the real-life dramas she once chronicled, her novels are sure to deliver enough sex, scandal and suspense to leave readers breathless.

How did you start out your writing career?

I started my writing career as a self-published author. My debut novel was a romantic suspense entitled Ghosts of Fire. Since then, I’ve published sixteen more novels and one novella.

What did you learn while writing this book?

I learned that I’m capable of stepping out of my comfort zone and challenging myself to explore new boundaries as a writer. While I thoroughly enjoy writing romance novels (as Maureen Smith), I appreciated the freedom of writing a story that would push buttons and get people talking. I really want to emphasize to readers that Exposed is NOT a romance, because I don’t want anyone to buy the book expecting to receive a happily-ever-after ending.

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

Exposed is a story about a woman who will do anything to keep a secret hidden. I want the book to make readers think about the choices we make in life, and how those choices impact not only our lives, but those of our family and friends. And, of course, I also want readers to be thoroughly entertained by the story.

Which character did you have the most fun writing about?

While I enjoyed developing all of the characters, Tamia was my favorite because she was the most complex. She was so unpredictable that you never knew what her next move would be, and you didn’t know the lengths she would go to cover her tracks. She definitely kept me on my toes!

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?

Honestly? I think I’ve been most surprised to discover just how hard it is to make a living as a writer. It’s been a very enlightening experience.

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

What I love most about writing is creating new characters and plots, and pushing the boundaries of my imagination. What I dislike most about writing is the business side of things (negotiating contracts, deciphering complex royalty statements, handling publicity, etc.).

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

1) I wish I’d known that success doesn’t come overnight
2) I wish I’d known that comparing myself to other writers is counterproductive
3) I wish I’d known that not everyone has my best interests at heart

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

DO finish the manuscript you’ve been working on for years.
DON’T allow rejections to keep you from achieving your goal of becoming published.

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

I wish more people understood that it takes time, talent, perseverance—and yes, sometimes luck—to become a successful author. The reality is that there are many talented writers out there who may never land a publishing contract, or who may never “make it big.” It takes a true love for writing to persevere through all the ups and downs of the business.

When you’re not writing, what do you like to do in your spare time?

I love to read, bake desserts, travel, and hang out with my husband and our two children.

What do you do to interact with your readers?

I love to interact with my readers! In addition to having a Facebook page, I periodically send out a newsletter to announce upcoming releases, contests, etc. I also make it a priority to respond to every email I receive, even if someone’s writing to tell me how much they hated one of my books. LOL. If a reader took the time to write to me, then I owe them the courtesy of a reply. One of my favorite ways to interact with my readers is through my Yahoo group. I’m able to provide updates on my books, share what I’m currently working on, and get valuable feedback on various topics. My Yahoo group is truly like a family. We not only discuss books; we also pray for one another, share good news, and support and encourage one another.

Our theme for this month is “Writing the Book.” What advice do you have for staying motivated to complete the book?

Plant your butt in front of your computer and write. It’s that simple. Don’t make excuses for why you’ve been unable to complete a book. If you really have a story to tell, don’t let anything or anyone keep you from seeing that story through to the end.

Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?

I know that the journey of a published author can be filled with enough ups and downs to drive anyone crazy. But I also know that anything worth having is worth working hard for.

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

I’m currently working on Deception, the sequel to Exposed. The story picks up right where the previous book ended. I hope readers will enjoy this new tale of lust, deception, and betrayal.

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

I absolutely love to hear from readers! I can be reached via email at chaseme@naomichase.com, and readers can also visit my Web site at http://www.naomichase.com/.

EXPOSED
On the brink of a major promotion, Tamia Luke is within reach of the glitzy life she’s always dreamed of—until her client, Dominic Archer, blackmails her into becoming his mistress, threatening to reveal her scandalous past. Tamia has no choice but to submit to his demands. But the tables turn when her hostility toward Dominic is replaced with insatiable lust. No man—including her boyfriend—has ever satisfied her the way Dominic does. And as her infatuation grows, the closer she comes to losing everything—including her life.


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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Clutch your Pearls Girl Blog Tour


About the Author

Stephanie McKenny is a licensed minister who resides in South Carolina. She has written one novel and three non-fiction books. She facilities a yearly women’s retreat (dates for 2011 are May 19-21, 2011) and has recently started her own self-publishing company (J & J Publishing). Visit her website at: www.stephaniemckenny.com for more information.

Tell us about your current book.

My current book is called, Clutch Your Pearls, Girl! – Sister Wisdom to Protect Your Heart. Any woman can read this book and glean wisdom from it, but there are specific messages for single women within each chapter. The book can be purchased online at www.stephaniemckenny.com, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and wherever books are sold.

Relationships are what keep us all connected. Every woman wants a man of her own whether she wants to admit to it or not. We all have an innate desire to love and to be loved. However, there are some relationships we should never entertain. Getting entangled in unhealthy relationships can damage a woman emotionally and physically; leaving scars that may last a lifetime, which causes many women to settle for mistreatment in relationships.

This book is filled with woman-to-woman wisdom on bringing awareness of healthy and unhealthy relationships, exposing unhealthy characteristics in men and pointers on helping you women to recognize their value.

How did you come up with ideas for this book?

I was influenced to write the book based on some of my own personal experiences and because I recognized that many women were experiencing different kinds of abuse and mistreatment in relationships. I would often see women in churches who loved God, but were ensnared by the wrong kinds of relationships.

This book was also actually birthed from the scripture, Matthew 7:6. I read that scripture one day and it was as if the text jumped right at me. As a result, it became a teaching at a women session at my church and from there God continued to whisper the words into my spirit, which formed into a book.

Research

After counseling women and doing some interviews with them concerning their relationships, I realized there was a need to write a book that would share the importance of them valuing themselves and exposing unhealthy characteristics in mine.

What do you hope readers will learn/discover from reading Clutch Your Pearls, Girl! : Sister Wisdom to Protect Your Heart?

I hoping that women would begin to love themselves and see themselves the way God sees them so that they won’t settle for mistreatment in their relationships. There is some wisdom shared about relationships, dating, your children and also some signs for women to look for while dating to determine whether they are hooked up with a man with unhealthy characteristics or a good man.

How important are reviews to you as a writer?

Reviews are very important to writers because it gives potential readers the opportunity to get a glimpse of your book. Those reviews could very well create book sales.

About the Book


Is Mr. Right…Really Right? Some women are caught off guard when they finally find out Mr. Right isn’t so right after all. By then, their heart, mind, and body are already ensnared by an unhealthy relationship.

Relationships are what keep us all connected. Every woman wants a man of her own whether she wants to admit to it or not. We all have an innate desire to love and be loved. However, there are some relationships we should never entertain. Every man that comes into your life doesn’t necessarily deserve access to your heart.

This book is filled with sister wisdom that brings awareness to healthy and unhealthy relations, exposing unhealthy characteristics in men and pointers on helping you become the woman God intended for you to be.
For More Information

Visit the author online at:
http://www.stephaniemckenny.com/


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



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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

COLUMNIST: KISS

My Facebook Needs A LIFT


By Jamillah Warner

I don’t know about you, but between (1) the movie, The Social Network, (2) the book, Accidental Millionaires and (3) the fact this site is the only real competition for Google (their words, not mine), I hear the name Facebook quite a bit. If you are an author planning to market your business, then Facebook is the elephant in the room. It is worth the effort it takes to learn how to ride that beast (for your own benefit). According to Alexa.com, after a short half decade, this social site is the second most used website online. Consequently, it is no longer a question of

“Should I be on Facebook,”

but

“How?”

It’s easy to wonder why you need a Facebook page when you already have a profile. But the differences can be astounding. In the spirit of being KiSSED (Keyed In Set Straight Educated & Delivered) from complication, below are three bite-sized tips about using Facebook pages.

The Page.

Did you know that your profile has a limit? You can only have 5000 friends. So today you have a hundred and it just doesn’t seem that important. But, imagine the moment when all the marketing work that you do finally pays off. The last thing you want to deal with is turning away friend number 5001, 5002, 5003 – you get the picture. Having a fan page makes it unlimited!

The Event.

Event planning is built into the fan page. You can list every program, conference, radio show that you will be a part of starting from today and going as far as your calendar will take you. When the event gets closer you can “share” it with your fans and see who will attend. Plus, you don’t have to worry about the etiquette of talking too much business in social settings. The people signing up to be a fan want to know what you are up to professionally, so “share.” If you choose, you can save your personal page for more intimate friends.

The Name.

Although you can do this with your profile, it’s still cool for your business page too. After you acquire about 25 fans, you can apply for your name. Why is that important? Because future fans can find you at Facebook.com/yourCOOLname instead of Facebook.com/some-painfully-awful-and-ridiculously-long-name-that-noone-will-remember (not even you). Now, you can put that on the bottom of your business card, right up under your website, and welcome the world to get social with you and your literature.

To create a page of your own, visit our SORMAG fan page (be sure to “like” us while you are there!). Look in the left sidebar near the bottom and click “Create a Page for My Business.”

That’s it for today.

----------------------

You have just been KISSED by Jamillah Warner, Keyed In Set Straight Educated & Delivered from complication. Jamillah is a writer with a passion for business. Her work has been published on multiple websites and magazines including SmallBizTrends.com and Phenomenal Woman Magazine. Expect another KISS next month.



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Friday, February 11, 2011

FEATURED AUTHOR: Nicole Green

Nicole Green received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Virginia and a Juris Doctor from the College of William and Mary. She currently resides in Falls Church, Virginia. She works as an attorney for the federal government. She enjoys reading, writing, and learning new things.


How did you start out your writing career?

I've always liked to write. When I heard about the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest in 2007, I decided to enter. I didn't win, but the contest gave me the push I needed to try to get published. After the contest, I edited my manuscript, submitted it to publishers, and in May 2009, Genesis Press offered me my first publishing contract.

What did you learn while writing this book?

Patience. It takes time to edit a book well, and to make sure that the words get across to the reader the way that you want them to. It takes a long time to get from story idea to finished book.

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

I just want to write a book that people enjoy. My goal with all of my books is to write the kind of book that I've always wanted to find on the shelves. To paraphrase Toni Morrison, if there's a book you want to read, but it hasn't been written, you have to write it.

Which character did you have the most fun writing about?

Probably Davis. When I was writing him, he always surprised me. Also, he's funny, smart, and loyal to the people he loves.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?

How much I've learned. I thought at first that you put some words on a page, and that's it. People buy the book, and you don't have to do anything else. I've learned a lot about craft, editing, and other things related to writing. I've also learned a lot about marketing and self-promotion. People can't buy your book if they don't know about it. Also, writer's conferences are a lot of fun. I've been to several, and I might try to make it to the RWA conference this summer.

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

I love creating characters and dialogue. What's most fun is when your characters do or say something that you never expected them to. Especially when it's something funny or something that takes the plot in a new, exciting direction. There are several things I find difficult, but I hate it when things aren't working in a scene or chapter, and I can't figure out why. Sometimes critique partners can help with this, but sometimes nobody can really figure out what's wrong. That's incredibly frustrating.

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

1. It's important to be yourself. Trying to be someone else is too hard, and you're not impressing other people by doing that no matter what you think. 2. Don't let other people's insecurities bring you down. This kind of goes along with number 1. 3. Be informed and stand up for what you believe in. Make yourself heard.

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

Do: write every day. It doesn't matter if you think every word is terrible. It doesn't matter if you only write a paragraph. The important thing is to write. Reading is very important, too, but write every day. Don't: give up. I think most writers who never get published never make it because they give up. Like I said earlier, everything about this process takes patience. Even before you get your first contract, you have to have patience. There are a lot of talented writers trying to get published. Most of them have been writing for years. Agents and editors have too many good writers to choose from, so it just takes time. In the meantime, work on your craft. This goes back to writing every day.

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

Writing a book is hard. It's rewarding and fun, but it is definitely hard work.

If you could be a character from any book you've read, who would you be?

That's a really hard question! There are so many characters I admire, but I don't know if I'd want to be them. Off the top of my head, I'd have to say Diane from J.J. Murray's I'm Your Girl. I'm Your Girl is what inspired me to write my first novel, and I love the chemistry between Diane and Jack.

When you're not writing, what do you like to do in your spare time?

Hm...I don't have a lot of it outside of writing that I don't devote to reading. So I guess...reading. I also listen to a lot of NPR. NPR is great for learning about people and their stories. I'm always learning something new from listening to it. In fact, I've gotten a few story ideas from it.

What do you do to interact with your readers?

I blog. I've done one book signing, but I haven't set up any future ones yet. I try to set up as many author events as I can. I'll be at the Virginia Festival of the Book in Charlottesville, VA in March. I also try to send out a newsletter every two months. Sometimes I'm late with it, but I really do try! I've also held a blog contest in the past. I haven't done that recently, but I'm getting an idea for one to go with my third book. The theme will be Christmas In July. More details on that closer to July.

Our theme for this month is Writing the book, what advice do you have for staying motivated to complete the book?

Write a book you truly love. Don't try to write to trends or the market or what you think people want to read or anything like that. If you write what you truly love, you'll stay invested in finishing it. Also, writing is a long and hard--and rewarding--journey. If you don't have fun along the way, it'll seem even longer.

Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?

That I'll never stop trying to improve. That includes everything from writing a better book than my last one to getting better at my job to being a better friend and family member.

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

Sure. I haven't released that much information about it yet, but here's the basic premise. A busy lawyer meets an artist while she's visiting her family for the holidays. They get off to a rocky start, but there's instant chemistry between them. The book comes out in July, and it's called Holding Her Breath.

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

You can email me at niki.g82@gmail.com or visit me at http://www.nicolegreenauthor.com/

The Davis Years

After graduating from college, Jemma returns to the one place in the world she thought she'd never see again--her hometown of Derring, Virginia. She can't stay away any longer when she realizes her best friend from high school is getting married. Returning home also means seeing Davis again. He broke her heart in high school, but she has a new life now and Davis is a part of the past she's determined to put behind her.


Davis knows Jemma can do better than him and he wants her to. So even though his heart nearly stops when he sees Jemma for the first time in six years, he's determined not to get attached to her again for her sake. Trying to ignore what he feels for her isn't his only problem. His two brothers may want to sell the house their dad left all three of them. His brothers abandoned him to their abusive father and now he's sure they only want to come back into his life to take the house away from him.

Neither Jemma nor Davis want to fall in love with each other again, albeit for different reasons. However, it's hard for them to fight the forceful attraction that hasn't disappeared over the years. If anything, it's grown stronger.

 
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Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Love and Forgiveness Blog Tour


About the Author

LaShawnda Jones is currently living and thriving in New York City. Her prior work includes an autobiographical devotional, My God and Me: Listening, Learning and Growing on My Journey and an autobiographical volume of poetry, Cliches: A Life in Verse. LaShawnda’s writing and publishing work ranges from poetry, to blogging, to designing an annual full-figured fashion calendar. She was a contributor to a daily political blog during the last presidential election and an anthology of letters addressed to First Lady Michelle Obama.

LaShawnda’s current work is a series of short books, focusing on foundational Biblical principles. The series is called the MeatyWord series. The first volume, The Process of Asking for, Receiving and Giving Love & Forgiveness, will be available January 2011.

LaShawnda’s life is an illustration of transition – constant movement and growth from one point to another. She is ecstatic about moving forward on her journey with the LORD. She continues to grow stronger in her faith, wiser in her knowledge and more loving to people as she seeks to mirror exactly the Christ in her.

To keep up with LaShawnda’s journey, subscribe to her blog at www.mygodandme.info/blog.


About the Book

Love & Forgiveness is the first of a six volume pocket book series called the MeatyWord Series. Each volume of the series will focus on a very essential Biblical principle and its application in our daily lives.

In Love & Forgiveness, love and forgiveness are defined Biblically and then contrasted with worldly use. The book explores what love is, what love does, how love feels, the importance of repentance and forgiveness and the benefits of both.

PODCAST

For Readers




OR

Click here to listen...
For More Information

Visit the author online at:

Website: http://www.mygodandme.info/

Blog: www.mygodandme.info/blog

Page: www.facebook.com/mygodandme

Excerpts: www.scribd.com/LaShawnda

Updates: www.twitter.com/ldjonsey

View the blog tour schedule at :

http://bit.ly/SteppinIntotheGoodLife



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