Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day - Thank You

When I joined the Navy at eighteen, I was so naïve I believed I would see the world on a cruise ship. A few months later I found out what I really was in the Navy for when we started having issues overseas. I was in seaman training and most of the men were called up to serve overseas. It hit us all that this was serious business.

Today when you join the military you know that there is a chance that you will have to fight for your country. I have the most respect for our military force today.

For those who serve - You didn’t have to sign up to join the military, but you did. You risk your life each and everyday so we can be comfortable in our homes.

THANK YOU

I pray the Lord continues to keep you safe and bring you home safely.

Have a safe Memorial Day

P.S. To my family members who serve -Khalilah Limbrick and Devora Bevly-Jones. You ladies rock - Love ya.


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Friday, May 27, 2011

Featured Author: Booker T. Mattison


Booker T. Mattison is an author and filmmaker who wrote the screenplay for and directed the film adaptation of Zora Neale Hurston's classic story "The Gilded Six Bits," which aired on Showtime.

His second novel Snitch was published May 1st. His debut novel Unsigned Hype was published in June 2009 and is in its third printing. Mattison received his Master of Fine Arts in film from New York University and his Bachelor of Science in mass communication from Norfolk State University. He has taught Literary Criticism at the College of New Rochelle in New York, film production at Brooklyn College and Advanced Directing, Screenwriting and Directing Actors at Regent University in Virginia.

How did you start out your writing career?

My writing career actually started long before I ever drafted a sentence. I have been creating characters for as long as I can remember. When I was three I created a game called "The Working-tics" where I got up and went to work every day. I made up an entire cast of characters, and my two older brothers would join in and play the game. Essentially, I was creating characters and directing. I guess that was a
prelude to me becoming an author and filmmaker.

What did you learn while writing this book?

As I wrote Snitch I learned that writing a novel can be excruciatingly difficult. I wrote my first novel Unsigned Hype in six weeks. It took me two and a half years to write Snitch! There were times when I really had to wrestle through difficult plot points, characterization issues and lulls in creativity. I had to 'do' many of the things that I teach my students because it was a battle!

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

I hope that Snitch contributes to a larger discussion on witness intimidation, snitching and community involvement in the legal process. I consider that triumvirate to be a silent crisis that is not getting enough attention.

Which character did you have the most fun writing about?

The character of Rock was fun to write because he is so dramatically different from any other character that I've written or read. He is arguably the most interesting character in Snitch.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?

What has surprised me the most about being a published author is the way that people respond to you. I write stories. Always have. And I never thought that writing stories made me special. But sometimes readers can be awestruck by an author; reverential even. That takes some getting used to because I don't consider myself to be special. God has just gifted me to be able to put words together on the page.

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

That's easy. What I like most about writing is reading the completed story. What I like least is the work of writing it!

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

The three things that I wish I knew before I reached where I am now are: a.) Hard work doesn't always translate into dollar signs. b.) As it relates to writing, skill is not the most important factor in determining success.. c.) Serving God will not keep you out of the wilderness, rather it will likely land you smack in the middle of it!

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

As an aspiring writer the most important thing that you can do is finish your manuscript, because it's not about writing it's about re-writing. As for a 'don't do' - never approach someone and ask them for help unless you know SPECIFICALLY what you want them to help you with, but don't get offended if that person says no.

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

This answer is related to your previous question - many authors are busy in ways that non-writers can’t imagine. Let's say an author sells five thousand copies of their novel. Imagine if only a third of those readers sent that author an email or asked that author to read their ideas or help them get their book published. That's over 1,600 requests for an author that is not even that popular! Imagine the same scenario if the author sold 50,000 copies of their book. Requests can become maddening.

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

I would like to be Ralph the mouse in Beverly Cleary’s The Mouse and the Motorcycle. I was intrigued with where he went and what he did on his motorcycle. I especially liked the crash helmet that Keith fashioned for Ralph out of a ping pong ball. When I read that story as a kid I became Ralph and enjoyed the wonder and excitement of riding his toy motorcycle along with him.

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

When I’m not writing I’m a full time father and husband.. My wife and I will celebrate ten years of marriage in December and we have four kids ages 8, 7, 6 and 3.

What do you do to interact with your readers?

I accept all friend requests on Facebook, and often engage in Facebook IM conversations with readers. I also respond to every email that readers send me through my website. I think it’s important to acknowledge, and communicate with people who make the financial and time investment of buying and reading your books.

Our theme for this month is BOOK READERS. Give a shot out to five book clubs who have featured your books.

I’m sorry, but there are six that have been extremely supportive so I must list them all. There is Black Expressions Book Club who has as its editor-in-chief my “label mate” Carol Mackey and AALBC.com (African American Literature Book Club) founded by my good friend Troy Johnson. Then there is Go On Girl Book Club which just celebrated their 20th anniversary. They featured me as part of their 20th anniversary celebration activities. There is also the Sankofa Literary Society, founded by Ella Curry, which is a collection of 30 book clubs, Conversations Book Club founded by my friend Cyrus Webb and last, but certainly not least, AAMBC (African Americans on the Move Book Club) founded by my cut buddy Tamika Newhouse.

Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?

What I know for sure is that God is real and He has a son named Jesus.

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

I have yet to begin writing my next book, however I have two stories that I am kicking around in my head. One is titled Great Falls, and the second The Art of Loss. Both stories are mere fetuses, so I am not at liberty to divulge what kind of life they will grow into. Nevertheless, I plan to finish the screenplays for Snitch and my debut novel Unsigned Hype before I start my third novel.

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

Readers can email me through my website
http://www.facebook.com/l/010f6bvwslOLKWIb0gEzka7eTAg/www.bookertmattison.com.

 I also accept all friend requests on Facebook. You can also ‘Like’ me on my Facebook artist page. My personal and artist page are both Booker T. Mattison. My twitter handle is @bookertmattison.

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SNITCH

On the streets of Jersey City there is a simple code. You don’t talk to the cops. You don’t snitch. Period. But when young bus driver Andre Bolden witnesses a crime on his route, he is compelled to make a choice. If he keeps silent, he might lose his job and be gnawed by his conscience. If he snitches, he could lose his family—even his life.

This explosive story explores the clash between a working man and the code of the street. Gifted storyteller Booker T. Mattison has crafted a realistic tale full of tension and raw suspense yet infused with spiritual truth. Snitch rewrites the rule to mind your own business, peers into the hearts of those who seek revenge and redemption, and celebrates the ability of a community to triumph over violence and intimidation.

"Snitch: A Novel" Book Trailer: http://vimeo.com/23012447


"Snitch: A Novel" Author Commentary: http://vimeo.com/23834111


Praise for Snitch

"Mattison has a suberb ear and his skill keeps on growing." --Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Snitch should be required reading for anyone with a pulse and a conscience." —Lisa Cortés, executive producer of the Academy Award–winning film Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire.

"AMAZING--down to the last line. Bravo!"--Victoria Christopher Murray, Essence bestselling author

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Featured Author: Danyelle Scroggins

Danyelle Scroggins is the founder of Danyelle Scroggins Ministries and co-founder of New Vessels Ministries founded by herself and spouse Pastor Reynard Carter Scroggins in Shreveport, Louisiana. She is a pastor, teacher, motivational speaker, author, mother, daughter, and lover of God's people. She is the spiritual daughter of the one and only, Pastor Tommy Nard, Sr. who is the esteemed pastor of the Word of Deliverance Family Life Church.

Danyelle Scroggins is the author of Not Until You're Ready and The Power of Pain. Her newest release His Mistress or God's Daughter?, will not only shake the atmosphere, but cause God's daughters to become fully aware of who they are. She is preparing for the release of her first Christian fiction novel, Destiny's Decision.

She attended the Louisiana Baptist Theology University and is presently attending the University of Phoenix where she is pursuing a degree in Counseling. Danyelle resides in Shreveport, LA with her husband and five children-two daughters and one son by birth, and two sons by marriage. Connect with Danyelle online at www.danyellescroggins.com.

How did you start out your writing career?

I started my writing career at home at my kitchen table after having heard God's voice. I had gone through so much in unmerited relationships and after He delivered me, He ushered my heart to healing through writing.

What did you learn while writing this book?

With every book that I write, I am constantly going back to the Word of God. I take scriptures from every version of the Bible and I relay back and forward. I also researched the effects of adulterous relationships through various media sources.

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

I first wanted women to truly understand and know their worth as God's Daughters. You can never value anything until you understand its' worth. I prayed that they would see themselves through the eyes of God, and neglect satisfying their flesh and man.

Which character did you have the most fun writing about?

I really enjoyed writing about Mandery in this book. When I tell you the Holy Spirit birth his story right in the midst of me writing His Mistress or God's Daughter?. I liked showing just how men fall into the traps of the enemy and end up pursuing extra marital affairs based on assumptions.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?

What has surprised me the most is how hard it is to get your name out there. People buy books based upon your name and when they have not heard of you, it is harder to get the sales you desire.

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

I love being able to create straight from God's whispers, to my ears, and into your heart. The only thing that I dislike, because hate is too strong of a word, is having such a hard time getting the buzz you need in order to sell your books.

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

I wished I would have known how to market and particular marketing strategies.

I wished I would have known that self-publishing was always the best way to go and you have the right promotions.

I also wish I would have known to stay away from places like Publish America and publishing houses like them that produce your book but have no intentions on truly getting it in the hands of people and paying you.

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

The one do is keep writing. No matter how many traditional publishing houses turn your down, don't stop writing. The one don't is don't sign any contracts unless you have an attorney to overlook them. You never want to give your rights away as an author.

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

That authors just don't create books to say, "I wrote a book". They spend their time, efforts, and money to create books that will either entertain or educate you, the reader.

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

I would not call him a character but I would be Paul from the Bible. I would like to be that Christian who understands completely that God is in control and because of this, be content in whatever state that I am in.

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

In my spare time I am reading. I buy books like I buy household goods. There's nothing like reading and I do be that reading is essential. In order to be a good writer, I believe you need to be a good reader.

What do you do to interact with your readers?

I open the doors to my online home for them to see into my life. I also send out a monthly newsletter in which I pour out of my heart and soul.

Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?

I know that Jesus died for me on Calvary's cross and rose again with all powers in His hands. He ushers us into the knowledge of His saving grace and it is the existence of this Grace that gives me the opportunity to live the story I write.

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

My next book is my first Christian fiction entitled "Destiny's Decision". Destiny is a young one who is struggling with the huge decision of becoming a wife. Although there are women all over the world desiring to be a wife, there are also some sisters who dread having to be committed to a mate like that. When this Christian, educated, business owner finds herself face to face with the man she would dream of calling her own, she realizes that her fear of commitment is the only thing that separates them. Destiny is then faced with the decision that was either her worst decision or her destiny's decision.

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

Readers can always email me at info@danyellescroggins.com. My web address is http://www.danyellescroggins.com/. You can also find out about me by going to http://www.purposeprevailspublishing.com/.

His Mistress or God's Daughter?

Accept...appreciate...and acknowledge that you are one of God's greatest accomplishments!

Accepting who you are as one of God's Daughters will prevent you from faltering and becoming His Mistress. In His Mistress or God's Daughter?, Danyelle Scroggins explains how awesome it is to be one of God's very own daughters and how He is the only source we should look to in times of need. It is this trust in God that causes His Daughters to accept who God has for them concerning relationships.

Be prepared for a complete restoration of self-pride and a complete transformation from selfish-pride! This book will change your heart, mind, and position.




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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

BLOG TOUR: Frederick Germaine


Frederick Germaine has always been fascinated how writing could be so intriguing. It takes dedication and an imaginable thought process to capture an audience within a good novel. After writing leisurely for years, Frederick Germaine decided to pen his first novel. Ladies’ Man is an entertaining love novel from a male-perspective. He wrote the novel because he felt almost everyone has previously been in love, is currently in love or simply seeking love. Thus, we all can relate to it. After the release of Ladies’ Man, Frederick Germaine was featured in Xtra Magazine.

Besides being an author, Frederick Germaine is an advocate for mentorship programs. He currently serves as a mentor to the youth and young adults. Additionally, he is a motivational speaker compelling individuals to make the right “choices” in life.

Frederick Germaine graduated from Jacksonville State University where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business. He currently resides in Atlanta where he continues to write and promises to deliver another hot novel.

Tell us about your novel.

 Ladies’ Man is the ultimate entertaining love novel from a male-perspective. The story begins when the main character, Damien Hardy, finds his girlfriend of more than three years cheating on him when he catches her in bed with another man. His girlfriend, Crystal Gayle, breaks his heart and he basically vows never to fall in love again or commit to a woman. Damien eventually turns into a ladies’ man and goes through a plethora of beautiful black women but eventually has second thoughts on falling back in love again. This is caused when Crystal reenters his life after many years have passed. A dilemma develops when Damien has to choose between the former love of his life or attempt to balance the women in his life now. There are a cast of women characters that will stop at nothing to have Damien all to themselves.

Where did you get the idea for the storyline and do you plan to continue its development?

I develop my storyline for all my novels in an unorthodox way. First, I brainstorm on the hottest titles or topics and write them down. Then, after I narrowed them down to the final two or three I make a selection. That’s how I came up with Ladies’ Man. I chose the title first, and then wrote the storyline from there. I figured everyone could relate to it and know what it means to be a “ladies’ man.” Most men want to me a ladies’ man which means being charismatic, attractive, and well dressed. And of course, women are attracted to a ladies’ man by the traits he possesses. The storyline basically centers on love and romance which I know mostly all readers can relate to.

I plan to develop Ladies’ Man into a play or movie in the near future. A few people who read the advanced copy are already asking me if there will be a sequel. I wrote the novel without a sequel in mind. I wanted Ladies Man to be a classic. In my opinion, classics don’t have sequels.

Do you have anything in common with the characters?

 It’s so funny you asked that because a few of my close friends (who read the book) are asking me if I am Damien Hardy in the book. I laughed at them but the answer is no. The real ladies’ man is definitely Damien not me. I did use to play a lot of baseball growing up but that’s the only similarity Damien and I have in common.

What/Who inspired you to write a novel?

 I love reading African-American Literature and have been writing leisurely for a few years. I’m a big fan of Michael Baisden and he was my biggest inspiration to pen my first novel. I read all his books and constantly listen to his radio show. He is always pushing for entrepreneurship and wants everyone to reach for their dreams. Plus, he does so much for the African-American community. I finally woke up one day and said I was going to stop sleeping on my dream.

What advise you would you give to someone who is interested in getting published?

 First and foremost, learn the business of what publishing is. Many times new authors go into publishing novels without learning the business end first. Publishing is the backbone in the book industry. Always retain your publishing rights no matter what!

After learning the business end, authors should be prepared for running into roadblocks along the way. Never give up on your dreams and aspirations to pen a novel. If you’re denied by a major publishing company try to self-publish your novel. If you are indeed a great author with an excellent novel, the major publishing companies will eventually find you and eagerly come knocking on your door. Remember, for every one hundred doors that close on your dream, there is one that will open. That one might be your big break. Never let anyone say “no” to your dreams. Simply implement your plan if you indeed believe in yourself.

Where can we purchase your book?

 Ladies’ Man will be available in paperback and eBook format at all major on-line retailers including: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Lulu. It will be available in Kindle, Nook, and the iBookstore as well.

Are you available for speaking engagement, events, or book signings?

 Yes, very much so. I currently participate in various speaking engagement in Atlanta now. I speak to the youth and young adults about making the right choices in life. I believe we can’t give up on our youth because they are our future.

All events including book signings can be viewed on my website:

http://www.frederickgermaine.com/. For anyone wishing to book me for an event, please make the request from my website.

Find Frederick at:

http://www.frederickgermaine.com/

www.twitter.com/f_germaine

www.facebook.com/frederickgermaine

My email address: fg@frederickgermaine.com

Ladies' Man
 Part I-Betrayal

Spring 1993: Los Angeles, CA

Damien Hardy is a six-foot one, one hundred ninety-five pound high school baseball player. He is a seventeen year old senior at Crenshaw High School in Los Angeles where he excels as an academic and athletic All-American. Damien accepts a baseball scholarship to USC so he could be close to his girlfriend, Crystal Gayle, who he has been dating for the last three years. Crystal who was a former cheerleader at Dorsey High (Baldwin Hills), is now a freshman at USC majoring in pre-med. One day after baseball practice, Damien decides to surprise Crystal at her off campus apartment. The surprise is actually on Damien as he catches Crystal in the bed with a USC football player. After the incident, Damien is distraught and vows never to give his heart to a women or fall in love again.

He tells no one of the incident, not even his grandmother who has raised him since his parents died in a car accident when he was younger. He refuses to talk to Crystal again and simply wants to move far away from Los Angeles.

He rescinds his scholarship to USC against the wishes of his mentor and father figure, Coach Frazier. He decides to accept a baseball scholarship at the University of Miami which is three thousand miles away.

Part II-The Starting Five

Spring 1998: Miami, FL

Damien is disappointed as his college baseball career is less than stellar due to injuries. His baseball teammate/roommate named “Mookie” convinces Damien to move to Atlanta after graduation. Mookie also turns Damien on to the “Starting Five Concept.” Mookie was a three sport high school All-American at Southwest DeKalb High in Decatur, GA. While at the University of Miami, he was too busy chasing skirts instead of fly balls and never really applied himself academically. Mookie was known as a party guy and received two DUI’s while at UM. Subsequently, he was kicked off the baseball team during his senior year. Damien graduates from UM with a 3.25 GPA in business but Mookie does not.

Part III-Welcome to Atlanta

Summer 1998: Atlanta, GA

With the help and wits of Mookie, Damien finds an apartment on Chandler Road (Decatur, GA) and a modest car. He also secures a job at Macy’s (South DeKalb Mall) in the ladies’ shoes department until he can find a job in his career field. While working there he meets Diamond who is a senior at Spelman College but dances at the infamous Gold Club to offset tuition/living expenses. Diamond is a very attractive young woman who has a fetish for designer heels and lives well in an upscale high-rise in Buckhead. The two hit it off immediately and have several hot and passionate sexual encounters. Diamond graduates from Spelman in the spring and moves back to Chicago to start her own business.

On the Fourth of July, Damien celebrates Mookie’s birthday at Club 112. Damien promised Mookie’s mom he would look after him as his drinking has gotten out of control. That same night, Mookie gets wasted and is involved in a fatal car accident killing a neurosurgeon. He is eventually sentenced to ten years in state prison. Damien feels guilty for what happened.
Damien finally receives a job in his career field as a marketing specialist and goes to work for Coca-Cola. There he meets Nicole, who is his boss and is married and miserable. Damien and Nicole end up having a sexual rendezvous.

Part IV-Full Circle

Summer 2008: Atlanta, GA

Damien loses his job at Coca-Cola due to the recession. After ten long years working for the company, he feels betrayed.

Damien reconnects with Diamond who has now relocated to Atlanta. She owns an upscale salon on Piedmont Road in Buckhead. He later finds out Diamond’s nine year son is actually his.

Crystal resurfaces in Atlanta as well. She relocates her medical practice from L.A. to Atlanta and wants to rekindle her relationship with Damien.
Mookie finally gets out of prison as a “changed man” but turns Damien on to a new hustle.

Raphael, Damien’s flamboyant gay cousin from L.A., relocates to Atlanta and works as a stylist in Diamond’s salon. He adds the comical element within the novel.

Damien is torn between choosing Diamond or Crystal as his true love interest. In the meantime, he has to find a way to eliminate a few other woman in the picture: Nicole, who is still married and miserable but wants Damien all to herself. Katrina, the high profile corporate attorney, who can’t seem to find love and wants to make Damien her “boy toy.” Tameka, Diamond’s fake friend who works at her salon. She is jealous of Diamond and Damien’s relationship and wants Damien to be exclusively hers.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

COLUMNIST: Are You On The Net


Online Promotion Plan IV

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?

Now that you have the website every reader wants to visit you can move on to letting more readers know about you and your book. A good place for this is by visiting other sites and blogs.

If you’ve been online for a while, you’re probably doing this already. You have your favorite sites and blogs. You might even be on the RSS Feeds so you can receive their posts in your email account.

Let’s look at those places first.

Write down five friends who are online either with a site or blog.


Write down five web sites you visit frequently.


Write down five blogs you visit frequently. (Do not repeat any from previous list)


In your research you want to know the following:


Name of host
Email address to contact
When and how they want you to contact them for (interviews, articles, book reviews, and chats)
What genre they promote (if they don’t promote your genre, do not contact)
Who are their readers?

Now you have fifteen places to visit. Now that wasn’t so hard. If you have more sites and blogs that you visit, that’s good because you want to build up the places you visit. For now let’s stick to 15 to get your feet wet.

TOPICS
Your next assignment is to think up five topics you can talk about. If your book has a theme, this is the perfect way to discuss it. Do you have a hidden talent, this something you can write about?

Here are a few examples to get you started.

1. How I Made My First Sale
2. Why I chose to self publish instead of traditional publishing
3. How to market your ebook
4. Lupus the unknown disease.
5. How to network at a conference.

See how different these topics are? Think about what would interest readers and writers. These are the topics you will write a 500 -1000 word article on. Place these articles in a folder for future use.

Write up an introduction letter.

This letter will be used to introduce your self to the site/blog. I recommend sending your letter of introduction 3 – 6 months before your book releases. You want to give the site/blog hosts time to schedule you on their calendar. Waiting until the week your book releases is not a good idea.

EXAMPLE

Hello (name of site/blog host)


My name is LaShaunda Hoffman. I am a writer and would like to introduce you to my new book – Destiny. It is a historical romance set in Asheville, North Carolina. It will be released in December 2011.


I’m a fan of your site/blog and would like to be featured on it. I’m available for an interview, chat or I can write an article.


I hope we can work together in the future. I look forward to hearing from you.


I can be reached at – sormag@yahoo.com or http://lashaunda.blogspot.com




LaShaunda C. Hoffman

You have your introduction letter, your 15 sites, now you’re ready to send out your emails. Remember there is no guarantee that all 15 sites/blogs will say yes, however if you present yourself professionally, you have a better chance of them all saying yes.

Next month we will break down more of these questions to help you continue to build 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, May 23, 2011

FEATURED AUTHOR: Deborah Fletcher Mello


Writing for as long as she can remember, Deborah Fletcher Mello can’t imagine herself doing anything else. Her first romance novel, Take Me To Heart, earned her a 2004 Romance Slam Jam nomination for Best New Author. In 2005 she received Book of the Year and Favorite Heroine nominations for her novel, The Right Side of Love, and in 2009 won a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award for her ninth novel, Tame A Wild Stallion. This year, Deborah’s eleventh novel, Promises To A Stallion, has earned her a 2011 Romance Slam Jam nomination for Hero Of The Year.

For Deborah, writing is as necessary as breathing and she firmly believes that if she could not write she would cease to exist. Weaving a story that leaves her audience feeling full and complete, as if they’ve just enjoyed an incredible meal, is the ultimate thrill for her. Born and raised in Connecticut, Deborah now maintains base camp in North Carolina, but considers home to be wherever the moment moves her.

How did you start out your writing career?

I started scribbling poetry in the margins of my seventh grade science lab book. I hated science with a passion and would write to kill time in class. An astute science teacher gave me an opportunity to continue writing for a passing grade and I took full advantage of it. She validated the experience and I’ve been writing ever since.

What did you learn while writing this book?

I learned that there is nothing that I can’t accomplish if I put my mind to it. Although RESTED WATERS placed favorably in three writing competitions, the major publishing houses would not touch it. I was told that there was no audience for a tale of its kind, that no one would read it. The book eventually took on a life of its own and from start to finish I’ve wanted to prove all the naysayers wrong.

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

From the first word to the very last, all I wanted was to tell a great story that resonated with readers.

Which character did you have the most fun writing about?

Although the main character, Janay Tucker, is near and dear to my heart, I most loved giving life to her grandfather, Daddy James. He embodies the spirit of my father and the supporting cast of men who have supported me so completely over the years.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?

I think I have been most surprised by how darn long it takes for a book to go through the acceptance/publishing process.

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

What I love most is seeing a story blossom from the simplest experience or idea. I love breathing life into my characters knowing that someone may actually connect with their experiences. There is absolutely nothing about writing that I hate.

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

I’m not sure there is anything I’d wished I’d known before. It’s all been one learning experience after another and the lessons have come when I most needed them. They’ve also been necessary for me to grow both professionally and personally.

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

Do write because it’s what you love most to do. Don’t be deterred by those who try to take the joy of writing from you.

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

That what I do comes from my heart and I leave a little piece of myself in everything I write. It’s not a hobby, nor have my accomplishments been just a fluke, but the result of serious effort and hard work.

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

The heroine, Serena Baddeaux Tremain from Guy Johnson’s Standing At The Scratch Line. The hero, King Tremain was a man who absolutely took my breath away and after reading the book, I wouldn’t make half the mistakes with that man that Serena made.

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

I move non-stop. So when I’m not writing I’m reading, quilting, cooking, crafting, going to line dance and belly dance classes and enjoying as much as I can every chance I can.

What do you do to interact with your readers?

I have my blog site (DeborahMello.blogspot.com), my FaceBook page, and I’m trying to navigate the Twitter thing. But I don’t do nearly as much as I would like to do simply because of the constraints that life imposes upon us all.

Our theme for this month is BOOK READERS. Give a shot out to five book clubs who have featured your books.

I could never just shout out five book clubs because there have been so many that have followed me faithfully, critiqued me when I needed it the most and have just been generous in their support of my writing and my books. I love, appreciate, and applaud them all!

Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?

I know that I will not always get it right but as long as I can take ink to paper, lay out the words until they flow like poetry, then getting it wrong will inevitably be alright.

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

I have a holiday novella, ALL I WANT IS YOU, coming October 4, 2011 with author-friend Kayla Perrin. I tell the story of renowned bakery chef Malisa Ivey who is accidently trapped inside the platform for a massive New Year’s Eve cake she’s designed for the Whitman Corporation’s end-of-the-year, black-tie soiree. The platform is delivered to business tycoon Gabriel Whitman on Christmas Eve and their holiday season kicks off with quite a bang!

And then of course, the Stallion men are back in May 2012 with brother Matthew Stallion’s story, STALLION HEAT. Readers will finally discover who fathered family friend, Vanessa Long’s baby.

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

Readers can reach me through the links on my blog site, www.deborahmello.blogspot.com or they can email me directly at DeborahMello@aol.com. And I do hope they will get in contact with me. I love to hear what they think about my stories.

RESTED WATERS is the haunting story of Janay Tucker, a young woman who is forced to reflect back on her past and the memories of her tumultuous childhood when she receives notice of her incarcerated father’s death.

Rehashing history through the eyes of her paternal grandfather, James Tucker, Janay is made to flash back to a past with an abusive mother who dies a violent death, a father imprisoned for the crime, and the family and friends left to help rebuild her future. Through a tapestry of human encounters, Rested Waters delves into the emotions and experiences of love and turmoil, racism and respect, flesh and spirit.



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Friday, May 20, 2011

FEATURED AUTHOR: Paige Agnew


Paige wrote her first book, Starless Sky at age 15 and published it in January of 2010. The seventh book she wrote, but 2nd to be published in January 2011, is appropriately titled, Seven. Her sense of humor and from the heart personality shines through her writing. She was born in Michigan. Her compassion and sense of humor is in all of her writings. When Paige is not writing, she enjoys sports, dancing, singing, playing the piano, reading and attending her brother's football games. Paige is looking forward to watching her brother, Vince Agnew, play at the next level (NFL) in the fall of 2011. In addition, spending time with family, friends, and her dog, Tigger are important to her. She is also actively involved in her church and community.


Fall 2011Paige will be attending college and pursing a Bachelors degree in Creative Writing/English and is currently working on other books


How did you start out your writing career?

Writing has been something that I’ve loved for a long time, but I didn’t get serious about it until my freshman year of high school. I’d written stories before but never finished them, but as I started Starless Sky, my first novel, I knew it’d be different. I had a feeling in my gut that this one wasn’t like all the rest. Before I knew it, I’d completed a book and was working on it getting published.

What did you learn while writing this book?


There are many unfinished stories of mine of out there. Halfway through, I’d become dissatisfied with a story and stop. I’ve come a long way since then… or so I thought. I’ve written fifteen books so far. Starless Sky was my first and Seven is one of the later ones (my seventh). I hadn’t had problems with unfinished stories for a while and then halfway through Seven, I stopped. There was another story on my mind that I was anxious to write and I had writers block with Seven anyhow, so I stopped, figuring that Seven was done for and would go in the pile with the rest of my rejected stories.

To my surprise I literally finished the next story on my mind in a month. I didn’t know what to write next and I found myself going back to Seven and I finished it soon after. So the most worthwhile thing I learned with Seven is how daunting a task writing a book can be. I learned how to push through writers block and I’m happy I did.

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

I intended for this book to be very symbolic and the symbolism is something you really have to dig underneath the surface to see. It’s hard to explain what I mean without giving things away. So what I’ll say instead is that I hope readers catch that how I began the book is really a statement of what I wanted people to take away from it as a whole and see how it’s an ongoing theme throughout:

“We are all born with profound greatness, as immense as the sea. Every day is a choice whether or not we live up to our potential.”

Which character did you have the most fun writing about?

Right off the bat, I’d have to say Jonathan. He’s by far the most interesting character. He’s the bad boy of the bunch who at first just comes off as cold, manipulative, and evil. Little by little, you get glimpses into his life and of the person he really is. He slowly emerges as a leader and perhaps the only one that can bring the other six hostages to freedom. It was fun to write from his mean, sarcastic, indifferent attitude and watch him transform into so much more.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?

What’s surprised me most about becoming a published author is the level of support I’ve received. I mean, getting a book published isn’t something people do every day and when I wrote Starless, I was fourteen going on fifteen. I guess I wasn’t expecting for people to take me seriously. The support I’ve received from friends, family, and strangers has been nothing short of a blessing.

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

I love to read. To me, writing is reading. Even though I’m coming up with the story myself, it was a story I didn’t know before. I feel like I’m telling it to myself as much as I’m telling it to others. That’s my favorite part. I love being the puppet master, creating my own world and being able to share it with others.

I hate the vulnerability that comes with it. It’s one thing to write for yourself, but as soon as others are involved, things get a bit tricky. I’ve never really been an outgoing person, so to put something that I care a lot about on the shelves for others to interpret as they want to love or perhaps criticize is nerve-racking. It’s terrifying and the most that I can do is not think about it. To my relief, my book has been received very well, but the vulnerability never really goes away. It’s just something you have to be strong enough to deal with.

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

I can’t say there’s anything I wish I’d known. I feel like, with some of the mistakes I‘ve made, that I’ve grown from them and taken away more than I would have from something I’d already known. It’s all a learning experience.

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

Do: Organize your thoughts and think things through thoroughly. Whenever I’m starting a new story, I’m always so excited and I want to dive right in, but I have to restrain myself. Developing a story takes a lot of time and a lot of thought. I think it’s important to be in a mindset where you know you can execute your ideas thoroughly. And most importantly, believe in yourself.

Don’t: Ignore cadence. Everything has to flow together as one. Themes have to fit in with the characters and the characters have to fit in with the plot. Finding a rhythm of that is important.

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

It would be great if all non-writers understood that putting your work out there for the whole world to see isn’t as easy as some people make it look. With that being said, I think there should be a little more respect. I’ve seen books get torn apart and I think, regardless of opinion, people should stop and think about how much effort and work someone put into making it. Of course, I don’t like every book I read and we all have our criticisms, but in the back of my mind, I know the amount of sweat and tears that go into it.

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

That’s a hard question. A lot of my favorite characters also have lives that are a little unfortunate at times, so I’ll have to choose carefully. I think I’d either be Aislinn from the Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr or Isabelle Lightwood or Clary Morgenstern from The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare.

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

Of course, I love reading. It’s nothing short of an obsession. I love all different forms of art, music especially, whether it be playing the piano or singing or listening to my favorite bands. I’ve kept myself busy with choir, musicals, dance team, art class, and sports.

What do you do to interact with your readers?

February through March, I went on a virtual book tour and it really helped me promote my book and get in touch with readers. I’ve done a book signing and I’ll be doing a book showing in June for a conference in Atlanta.

Our theme for this month is BOOK READERS. Give a shot out to five book clubs who have featured your books.

Reviews by Molly, Healing Hearts, Acting Balanced, Night Owl Teens, Book Clubs Unite

Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?

I think what I know for sure always comes down to my roots. My roots are my family, my friends, and God. I know who I am and what I want and it’s the people closest to me and my faith that have had a tremendous influence in shaping that.

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

I’m honestly not sure what my next book is. I haven’t decided, but I’m leaning towards publishing Get Real. Here’s a brief synopsis: GetReal.com— It was her escape. The only place she could go and say whatever she wanted without the world judging her for once… the only place she could go where no one would find out how she really felt about how her perfect boyfriend dumped her, how her father’s alcoholism landed him millions of miles away, how her prodigal son of a brother dropped out of college to move back home, and how her mother would rather walk around pretending none of these things even existed. As her last year in high school approaches, Anna realizes it’s time to make a change. But she never would have expected the newest change to be the boy who could see right through her façade, the one place besides GetReal.com that she finds an escape.

And then an excerpt:

The strangest feeling that I didn’t belong came over me and partly I just felt like I had been kidding myself about all of this in the first place. Maybe this was all just a big sign that my life really was moving on. I couldn’t live in the past with all the good memories; I had to get away from the problems I was facing now. Maybe quitting dance had been a good decision after all because this wasn’t my life anymore. I didn’t know who I was now. I wasn’t a dancer, I didn’t have a boyfriend, and these days, I barely had a father or even a mother. I realized that I had been letting all of these labels define me and only days ago, I’d thought living by no definition was a scary thing when really I hadn’t embraced my freedom. I had the opportunity to find myself, to really and truly look deep inside and find a better meaning to my life. All of the people that had surrounded me at the party were people afraid of their future. High school was as good as it would get for them and they were living it up to the fullest. I couldn’t live in the past, or even the future. I had a lot of work to do in my present before I could deal with either of those.


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

http://www.paigeagnew.com/
Starlesssky2010@comcast.net
P.O. Box 88314, Grand Rapids, 49518







SEVEN

Meet the characters: Cecilia and Tommy: Two best friends who live on the wrong side of the tracks with crumbled lives and neglectful parents decide to run away. Can their friendship stand the test of Seven?

Greg: Daily, he wakes up in the morning with a fresh cup of coffee, goes to work, comes home, eats, and goes to sleep. His rote, monotonous life slowly starts to unravel. Will he unravel completely before Seven’s done with him?

Hazel and Kale: Two teenagers madly in love. They thought summer would be a chance for their newfound love to blossom. Will it have a chance before Seven rips it apart?

Kariann: When she’s not taking care of her son, Noah, she’s teaching and taking care of everyone else’s kids. She’s good at taking care of people. How can she possibly make anything better when she’s captured by Seven?

Jonathan: He’s dark. Clever as a snake and as temperamental as one, too. All he wanted was to be left alone. He might be the only match for Seven.

When seven strangers are thrown together, pawns in a psycho’s mind game, they realize they have to work together to reach their true potential or die.

Seven strangers.

Seven stories.

One chance to not only save their lives, but to change them in ways they’d never imagined possible.


Book trailer - www.youtube.com/watch?v=DbfhxDm62rk




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Thursday, May 19, 2011

FEATURED AUTHOR: Mary Monroe

I am the third child of Alabama sharecroppers and the first and only member of my family to finish high school. I never attended college or any writing classes. I taught myself how to write and started writing short stories around age four. I spent the first part of my life in Alabama and Ohio and moved to Richmond , California in 1973. I have lived in Oakland since 1984.

My first novel The Upper Room was published by St. Martin’s Press in 1985 and was widely reviewed throughout the U.S. and in Great Britain . I have thirteen novels in print now which includes God Don’t Like Ugly and several sequels.

I am divorced, I love to travel, I love to mingle with other authors, and I love to read anything by Ernest Gaines, Stephen King, Alice Walker, and James Patterson. I still write seven days a week and I get most of my ideas from current events, the people around me, but most of my material is autobiographical.
How did you start out your writing career?

How did you start out your writing career?

Answer: I started making up stories before I even started elementary school. I never took a writing course, but it was easy for me to teach myself how to write because I read everything that I could get my hands on.

What did you learn while writing this book?

This book, Mama Ruby, is the prequel (to The Upper Room). I learned that it is a lot of fun to do prequels and I plan to do a few more.

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

I hope to tie up a few loose ends to The Upper Room. In Mama Ruby I answer the questions
that people have been asking me for years: why was Mama Ruby so desperate to have a daughter and why was she was so violent and loving at the same time? The answers may surprise you...

Which character did you have the most fun writing about?

The most fun character was Maureen O'Leary, the old Irish madam that Mama Ruby and Othella worked for.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?

What surprises me is that a lot of my friends now think if I can get published, they can too (and they've never written anything before)...

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

I like the aspect of creating new characters and developing them. What I hate most of all is that sometimes
after one of my manuscripts is already gone to print, I come up with more ideas for the story!

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

I wish that I had known earlier how unsupportive people suddenly become "supportive" once you make it (so that I could have avoided them)

I wish that I had known how to structure my writing schedule in a better way so that I wouldn't have to scramble around to meet deadlines now.

I wish that I had been more careful with the money I made early in my career.

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

Do read as much as you possibly can. Reading offers a lot of creative nourishment and you will need that to
develop and sustain your talent.

DO NOT let rejection letters destroy your dream. I used to receive so many that I almost gave up writing. These letters don't mean the end of your career. Instead of looking at them as rejections, look at them as detours.

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

No matter what you write, you can't please every reader.

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

I would love to be Cinderella...

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


I like to watch old movies and game shows on TV, and I love to shop and travel.

What do you do to interact with your readers?

I do a lot of bookstore and library readings throughout the country and I always encourage a question and
answer session at each one. I also connect with my readers by e-mail, Twitter, and Facebook.

Our theme for this month is BOOK READERS. Give a shot out to five book clubs who have featured your books.

Here are the names of five clubs who have either featured my books or hosted parties for me: The Imani Bookclub in the Atlanta area; the Ladies of the Dove Bookclub in Hinesville, Georgia; the Bay Area Women of Color Bookclub. And my books have been featured by Sisters on the Same Page Bookclub, and the You Go Girl Bookclub.

Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?

I know for sure that it was my destiny to be an author.

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

After Mama Ruby, my next book will be God Don't Make No Mistakes, the sixth book in my God Don't
Like Ugly series. It will be released in 2012.

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

My e-mail is Authorauthor5409@aol.com (it's also included on the flap of all my books) and
my web address is http://www.marymonroe.org/. I am also on Twitter and Facebook. They can also send regular
mail to me in care of my publisher, Kensington Publishing, 119 West 40th Street, NY NY 10018.


Mama Ruby

New York Times bestselling author Mary Monroe presents an unforgettable tale featuring Mama Ruby, the indomitable heroine of her acclaimed novel The Upper Room. Now readers will get a peek into Ruby’s early years, as she transforms from a spoiled small-town girl into one of the South’s most notorious and volatile women…

Growing up in Shreveport, Louisiana, Ruby Jean Upshaw is the kind of girl who knows what she wants and knows how to get it. By the time she’s fifteen, Ruby has developed a taste for fast men and cheap liquor, and not even her preacher daddy can set her straight. Most everyone in the neighborhood knows you don’t cross Ruby. Only Othella Mae Cartier, daughter of the town tramp, understands what makes Ruby tick.

When Ruby discovers she’s in the family way, she’s scared for the first time in her life. After hiding her growing belly with baggy dresses, Ruby secretly gives birth to a baby girl at Othella’s house. With few choices, Othella talks Ruby into giving the child away—and with the help of a shocking revelation, convinces Ruby to run off with her to New Orleans.

But nothing can erase Ruby’s memories of the child she lost—or quell her simmering rage at Othella for persuading her to let her precious baby go. If there’s a fine line between best friend and worst nightmare, Ruby is surely treading it. Because someday, there will be a reckoning. And when it comes, Othella will learn the hard way that no one knows how to exact revenge quite like Ruby Jean Upshaw…



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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Life is What You Make It Blog Tour


Tell us about Life is what you make it – seven steps to moving forward.

“Carl Mathis wasn't prepared for the devastation the loss of his wife would bring to his life. He soon found himself grieving, struggling to make ends meet, and trying to raise his sons, who were also dealing with personal turmoil from the loss of their mother. After months of waiting for someone to rescue him, Carl had to face the inevitable truth--no one was coming. He realized that if he wanted out of the mess his life was becoming, he was going to have to do it himself. Join new author Carl Mathis in this motivational story about one man's struggle to put his life back together. Life Is What You Make It will teach you how to overcome any crippling situation you find yourself in and stimulate personal and spiritual growth by accepting the situation, taking responsibility, conditioning your mind, choosing to make right decisions, building a team, believing, and defining the new normal.”

How did you come up with ideas for this book?

At the grieving period of my life when I lost my wife, I was looking for someone to come to my rescue, but help didn’t come as I hope it would. After waiting and seeing my life slowing going down, I decided that no one is coming, so life ended up what I made it out to be. The idea for this book came to me in an unusual way. I was sitting at the computer one day just putting some thoughts down about my past experience of what I went through, then one thing lead to next, and this book was established.

Who are your main character(s)?

The main characters in the book are Carl Mathis, and his three sons Jaron, Carl JR and Torrey Mathis.

• Did you have a favorite character(s)? Who and why? No
• Did you have to do quite a bit of research for this novel?

I did some, but because this book was about my experience, it was like researching me.

What do you hope readers will learn/discover from reading Life is what you make it: seven steps to moving forward?

I hope the readers read the book with an open mind and be ready for changes! Great things are in store for every life that yearns for the Truth, and when you embrace it, the way you see life will completely change for the better. Remember: it's all up to you. One can accomplish anything he/she puts their mind to.
Okay, a not-so-fun question. How important are reviews to you as a writer?Reviews are very important, because this tells me what at lease some of the readers are saying, plus it gives value and credibility to your work.

About the Book

Carl Mathis wasn’t prepared for the devastation the loss of his wife would bring to his life. He soon found himself grieving, struggling to make ends meet, and trying to raise his sons, who were also dealing with personal turmoil from the loss of their mother. After months of waiting for someone to rescue him, Carl had to face the inevitable truth–no one was coming. He realized that if he wanted out of the mess his life was becoming, he was going to have to do it himself.

Join new author Carl Mathis in this motivational story about one man’s struggle to put his life back together. Life Is What You Make It will teach you how to overcome any crippling situation you find yourself in and stimulate personal and spiritual growth by accepting the situation, taking responsibility, conditioning your mind, choosing to make right decisions, building a team, believing, and defining the new normal.

Purchase the Book Online at:

http://www.amazon.com/

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/

http://www.booksamillion.com/

Visit the author at http://www.carlmathis.com/

Visit the blog tour schedule at http://bit.ly/LifeisWhatYouMakeIt



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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

COLUMNIST: KISS

KISS #3: Do You Have A Social Media Dashboard?
by Jamillah Warner 

Tired of forgetting about your Facebook fan page? Your Twitter account? Your LinkedIn Community (and the list goes on)?  With all these options (and let’s remember your blog too), it’s easy to forget about consistent updates, and just cop out of the entire social network thing. I mean you are there, but you don’t say much. Well, there’s help.  

HootSuite Media, Inc has created an effective and affordable tool that makes it simpler  to engage in social networking. It’s a social media dashboard.  You can log into one place and update every place.  HootSuite has a nice interface and it’s easy use but it’s all the information under the hood that makes it priceless to your social media marketing plans.  
3 Things to Know:
  • SOCIAL UPDATES: You can schedule your tweets, Facebook and LinkedIn updates days, weeks and months ahead of time. It also works with MySpace, Facebook fan pages and Ning networks.
  • BLOG UPDATES: You can create automatic tweets and Facebook updates for your blog.  Meaning, every time you launch a new blog article, HootSuite will update your networks automatically (after you set this up, of course).
  • TRACKING: It’s the statistics that let’s you know whether your marketing campaigns are working.  They are integrated into HootSuite. You can see how many clicked on your link and determine how well people are responding to you. It’s the knowing that gives you the power to make educated marketing changes. 

Everyone should have an assistant.  Someone to help you with important, simple repetitive tasks.  These tools make you feel like you have one.  You can set it and forget it.  HootSuite will even send you a note when your tweet or update goes live. With help like this you can go on with the rest of your busy life and just know that you are not dead silent online.  

BE ADVISED: You still need to talk to people, go to their pages and comment on their life.  Conversation is a two way street, and it’s your responsibility to engage. The tools just make it easier to schedule your updates.  Here’s a simple example, you have an upcoming book reading in New York and you want your friends to know, remember and drop by.  Use these tools to schedule a series of updates including a reminder an hour before the event (when you are too busy to think of it, HootSuite can handle it for you—just schedule it ahead of time). 

Find out more about HootSuite and get strategically social.  Once you see it in action and start brainstorming, you’ll come up with all kinds of uses for your own social communication. After all, there are half a million people on Facebook alone and about 145,000 on Twitter.  With 50% of Facebook users logging in every week, that’s a great opportunity to connect.

That it’s 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 is published on multiple websites and magazines including SmallBizTrends.com and Phenomenal Woman Magazine. Expect another KISS next month.

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Monday, May 16, 2011

FEATURED AUTHOR: Tayari Jones


Tayari Jones is the author of two previous novels. Jones holds degrees from Spelman College, Arizona State University, and the University of Iowa. She serves on the MFA faculty at Rutgers and blogs on writing at www.tayari jones.com/blog.

How did you start out your writing career?

I have been a writer all my life, but I started writing seriously when I was in my early twenties. When I was about twenty-seven, I had a chance meeting with Jewell Parker Rhodes, author of Douglass's Woman and Voodoo Dreams. She convinced me to go to get my MFA degree at Arizona State University where she was the director of Creative Writing. She mentored me through the publication of my first novel, LEAVING ATLANTA.

What did you learn while writing this book?

Writing SILVER SPARROW taught me to never give up. About three years ago, my agent contacted me to see how things were coming along with my new novel, SILVER SPARROW. I told her that is was going well and she asked me if I had a hundred clean pages that we could submit to publishers. I was very excited. Who wouldn’t want a new contract and the security (and ego boost) that would bring? She sent the pages out and.. well.. the manuscript was rejected all over town. This left me in an unpleasant predicament. I had a manuscript that was about one-third through, and was said already to be unpublishable. I wasn’t sure if I should even bother to finish the novel.

For months, I wrote nothing at all. It seemed pointless. My characters which I thought were so loveable and complicated had been undressed and shamed. (Some of the rejections were so pointed that I cried. One even suggested that I didn’t “understand fiction yet.”) And this was to be my third novel.

After nearly a year of not writing, I decided that this manuscript was the real litmus test of me as both the person I believe myself to be and the writer that I say I am. I didn’t know if SILVER SPARROW would ever be published or not, but I knew that I owed it to myself and my characters to finish it. Since I am always telling people that it’s process not product that matters, I decided to address myself the way I would talk to someone seeking advice. Would I urge anyone to abandon a story because it won’t be published? I would say to that person, "Since when d

Which character did you have the most fun writing about?

I really enjoyed writing about the girl's mothers because I wrote then through the eyes of their daughters. I think that we all feel that we have a certain authority about events that happened before we were born. These passed down stories become our stories, too. So when each girls tells the story of how their parents met, they can tell it with clarity like they were there themselves.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?

I have been stunned by the generosity of readers. When I have been down, the support of strangers has really kept me going.

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

I wish has had known that publishing is a roller coaster. When I was down, I wish I had known that I would rise again. I wasted a lot of time worrying when I could have been writing.

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

Do-- write as much as you can,

Don't-- be jealous of other writers. They are the ones who can help you the most.

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

I wish readers could understand more that I try to write what I feel really happened, not so much what I WISH had happened, or how I wish things could be. I get letters sometimes from people who are mad at me about my characters behavior!

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

Honestly, I don't really have spare time, unless you count the time when I am asleep!

What do you do to interact with your readers?

I tweet, I blog, I tumbl. Also I give lots of readings and signings. I will go to over thirty venues to meet with readers and talk about SILVER SPARROW!

Our theme for this month is BOOK READERS. Give a shot out to five book clubs who have featured your books.

I don't want to name names-- all the clubs are so wonderful and I don't want to leave anyone out. But I have to say, Atlanta and DC have *amazing* bookclubs!

Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?

I know that writing is important. I know that it matters for people to see themselves reflected in literature. And I know that to touch a reader with a book means so much more than winning a prize or getting a big advance.

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

Can't! I am superstitious like that. But I just found out that I have a fellowship to spend next year at Harvard researching it. It is so exciting to be able to dedicate myself only to my writing and not have to juggle my full time job.

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

There is a contact link on my website.

LINKS:
http://www.tayarijones.com/

www.tayarijones.com/appearances (tour info)

www.twitter.com/tayari (twitter)

http://www.tayarijones.tumblr.com/ (tumblr)

http://www.scribd.com/doc/51479619/Excerpt-From-Silver-Sparrow-by-Tayari-Jones (an excerpt)

Silver Sparrow

With the opening line of Silver Sparrow, “My father, James Witherspoon, is a bigamist,” author Tayari Jones unveils a breathtaking story about a man’s deception, a family’s complicity, and two teenage girls caught in the middle.

Set in a middle-class neighborhood in Atlanta in the 1980s, the novel revolves around James Witherspoon’s two families—the public one and the secret one. When the daughters from each family meet and form a friendship, only one of them knows they are sisters. It is a relationship destined to explode when secrets are revealed and illusions shattered. As Jones explores the backstories of her rich yet flawed characters—the father, the two mothers, the grandmother, and the uncle—she also reveals the joy, as well as the destruction, they brought to one another’s lives.

At the heart of it all are the two lives at stake, and like the best writers—think Toni Morrison with The Bluest Eye—Jones portrays the fragility of these young girls with raw authenticity as they seek love, demand attention, and try to imagine themselves as women, just not as their mothers.


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Thursday, May 12, 2011

FEATURED AUTHOR: J.A. Adams


JA Adams, author of three psychological suspense novels--Chameleon, Purple Haze, and Unfinished Business--uses personal and professional experiences to bring awareness to psychological issues that affect our relationships.
Adams actively writes and volunteers with numerous organization bringing awareness to teen dating violence and women issues, as well as, advocating against intimate partner and family violence.

Adams resides in Austin, TX with her husband and children nearby. For more information visit http://www.jaadamsauthor.com/.


How did you start out your writing career?

My first work, a poem, was published when I was in third grade in an anthology published by the local school district.

What did you learn while writing this book?

That the book industry is a tough business.

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

Lessons in forgiveness

Which character did you have the most fun writing about?

Alison. She's a kick butt, take names later sort of woman.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?

The negative sleazy side of the business. People will exploit you and your creativity ideas and give you no credit or recognition.

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

I love developing characters, but hate editing my own stuff. I don't mind doing it for other people, but I hate doing for myself (it is not easy because your eyes tend to glaze over things when you attempt to edit for yourself).

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

The ends and outs of publishing, how to do book trailers, and starting out younger when the publishing companies were grapping up African-American writers.

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

Do - continue to prefect your craft. Work on it daily, even if it is just through journaling or blogging.

Don't - jump on the band wagon of the first publisher interested in your work without thoroughly checking them out and understanding the small print of your contract. Make sure to get everything in writing. If they say they are going to provide something (a service) and it is not in the contract, they are under no obligation to grant that service. And trust me, they likely will fall back on the cliché, (as in my experience) it's not written in the contract.

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

If you don't buy the hard copy of the book, the author gets no credit for the sell when it comes to book rankings. For example, the reader buys the book, but then loans it out to 6 other people to read. The author misses out on 5 counts toward a book's sales ranking. If 10 people do the same thing, that's 60 counts toward the book's ranking that the author will never receive. For authors under contact with small press or self-published, this really hurts sale rankings. Especially for African American authors. I once had a reader say in front of me at a book signing to her friend who was also going to buy a book, "You don't need to buy a book. You can read mine when I am finished." To readers out there, please never do that to an author. We need all the sales we can get. Authors do not make a lot of money as people think. Even when you make a contract to have your book turned into a movie. Readers do not understand that most writer's income from books goes right back out to marketing.

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

In actuality, I really like being just who I am. So, my answer to that question relates to a future book. I would be a character from my memoir (myself).

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

Cook, spend time with my family, read

What do you do to interact with your readers?

Facebook and I enjoy meeting readers at events.

Our theme for this month is BOOK READERS. Give a shot out to five book clubs who have featured your books.

Readers with Attitude of Richmond, VA,
Circle of Friends,
Page Turners of Los Angeles,
My Delta Sorors of Novel Party of Marshall, TX, and
Phenomenal Women of Houston.

Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?

That one can find love again after trauma.

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

Pineview's Secret will be out end of 2011. Readers will venture back to Pineview, TX where the future of Pineview's leading citizens is at the mercy of an eighteen year old adult telephone entertainer who has no idea of the power she truly holds.

How can readers get in contact with you?

The best means of contacting me is my website www.jaadamsauthor.com or Facebook at www.facebook.com/authorjaadams.

Purple Haze

Residents of Pineview, Texas suspect no foul play when a popular young couple dies in a car accident. However, years later, when another friend of Landan and Janda (the Colquin twins) turns up dead, the twins mull over the possibility of a killer in their midst. Fearing for their lives, can the twins and their friends figure out the identity of the killer before there is another murder? For all involved, they soon learn life is seldom played by its precedent rules as a haze between the world in which we live and the one in which we wish we did emerges.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

FEATURED AUTHOR:Tamika Newhouse



Tamika Newhouse is a self-published bestselling author. Founder of Delphine Publications, at the age of 21, Tamika appeared on various bestseller lists and won Self Published Author of the Year at the 2009 African American Literary Awards.

Along with Delphine Publications, Tamika is the founder and President of African Americans on the Move Book Club (AAMBC) - an online book club and radio show catering to avid readers across the nation. With future projects in the works from short films, stage plays and much more, Tamika is a young woman
on a mission.

Tamika presently tours the country speaking about overcoming her teen pregnancy to fulfill her dream, as well as teaching aspiring writers the publishing ropes. She has hosted her own internet radio show (AAMBC) for over three years and continues to expand her brand.

A wife and mother of two, Tamika Newhouse balances her family and entrepreneurship, and encourages all mothers single or married to do the same.

How did you start out your writing career?

In 2008 after establishing a popular online media group for black writers, I decided to write a novel I had written over two years prior. The Ultimate NO NO was a book I self published in 2009 launching my own Indie publishing house. That novel would go on to win me the Self Published author of the Year at the African American Literary Awards and will be released as a mass market edition by the prestigious publishing house, Kensington.

What did you learn while writing this book?

I wrote this book when I was just a reader and just a dreamer. I had no idea of this big world of literature that includes many black writers, events and festivals, book clubs, reviewers, radio host, and etc. I was a fresh with no knowledge of the book world.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?

That it was a lot of work. This is a constant job there isn’t a clock out time. I am constantly thinking and breathing this industry.

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

I love creating the book. Being able to escape this world and learn about new people in your book. It’s like you control that world. But when it comes to editing it is pure hell. You get tired of reading your book over and over again it can get really annoying.

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

How to market, where to travel, and who to use for editing. It would of saved me a lot of money.

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

Do not publish under a vanity press like Author House or Xlibris and make sure that when your book comes out that you do book signings and the foot work to get that exposure.

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

That you cannot cut cost when it comes to publishing a book. It requires money to have a nice book cover and for your book to lack errors. Take the time to publish your book correctly and professionally.

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

Ooooo that’s hard but I am a character in one of my books. My upcoming release Cookie A Fort Worth Story is based off of my life and some things I had to go through as a teen age young mother. Although it is embellished and all things aren’t true, most of It is.

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

I lie around and watch TV, nothing like watching my favorite reality shows.

What do you do to interact with your readers?

I tweet a lot, constantly on FaceBook, and travel a lot. I love life on the road.

Our theme for this month is BOOK READERS. Give a shot out to five book clubs who have featured your books.

Shout out to Divas Book club in Texas, Readers Paradise, Cozy Corner, Sugar and Spice, Black Lilly, and so many others.

Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?

I know that I am a writer and writing is me.

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

tamikanewhouse@yahoo.com

http://www.tamikanewhouse.com/

www.fb.com/tamikanewhouse

COOKIE

Life dealt Cookie a hand she didn't want to play... Born Latoya James, when starting high school, Cookie believes this is her time to stand out from underneath her sister s shadow. Always declared the odd one, she makes it her mission to be noticed by anyone who will pay attention. Reality starts to settle in when she realizes life isnt always peaches and cream. After witnessing the rape of her best friend, and then the death of one of her classmates, she starts to believe life isnt what she thought it would be. Sex, drugs, catering to her new demons, and hanging out with the older crowd become her escape and not even her high school sweetheart can steer her straight. It isnt until she realizes everyone around her is not who they seem to be when she decides to change her life. But when she experiences an unwanted pregnancy and the death of her mother, Cookie is left to wonder if this is the way her life will always be. Based on a true story, Cookie is a gripping tale of a teen girl who had to grow up sooner than later. Taking place in one of the fastest-growing suburbs of Fort Worth, witness the life of Cookie and her quest to be loved, appreciated, and wanted. You will soon discover life is never what it seems.



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