Monday, September 26, 2011

FEATURED AUTHOR: Taaji Rauf


Taaji Rauf is a native of Los Angeles, California. She is a graduate of Crenshaw High school and Howard University. At Howard she majored in English. These two institutions nourished her love for reading and writing books. She currently lives in Los Angeles after making the District of Columbia home for many years. She is writing more books to contribute to the literary movement. Visit her website http://www.taajirauf.com/


How did you start out your writing career?

I was in middle school when I first started writing and I haven’t stopped since. I started writing as a reader first. I used to read the Babysitter club series books and dream of writing. Then one day I wrote a poem in a notebook. The release felt amazing. I used to write poetry, but stories made me feel more fulfilled.

What did you learn while writing this book?

I learned that I am a very determined writer. I enjoyed developing each story and character. I also learned how to end a project. I put myself on a deadline. My characters come to me at the most random times. I just listen and write whatever comes to me on the nearest piece of paper I can find. One time I wrote something a character did around the edges of a flier and on napkins.

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

I want my work to show the complex simplicity of life. I hope to tell a story about human emotions and feelings based on the different aspects of life. As human being we all have different events and circumstances that mold our lives. I wanted to tell stories that showed people dealing with life under the surface.

Which character did you have the most fun writing about?

I had the most fun writing about Bilal from the title story Before Life. Even though he wasn’t even born he was filled with such wonderment and hope. I also liked writing about Jocelyn in A Broken Vow. She was a piece of work, but an extremely complex character.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?

I am now an instant business owner because I published my first book. Its fun, but I have to do something toward the promotion and marketing of my book daily.

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

I love the quiet time and having my characters rattle around in my brain until I tell their story the way they want. I hate final edits. It’s such a time consuming arduous task, but needed.

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

I wish I had known to release my e-book a few months before my print edition. They work well together, but it looks like the e-book helps the print sales.

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

Do get your book edited. Don’t rush anything.

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

I wish that non-writers understood that we writers write for readers. We write alone, but we want others to read with us.

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

I’d be Always from J.California Cooper’s Always collection of short stories.

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

When I’m not writing I teach Integrated Math and Algebra 2. When I’m not teaching or writing I like to socialize with friends. I also like to laugh until my ears burn.

What do you do to interact with your readers?

I have a Readings and Poetry event every third Thursday of the month at Lolo’s boutique in Carson, California. I have fun on my twitter @crownkindqueen and I have my own book club.

Our theme for this month is Online Marketing. What online marketing have you found works well for you?

Twitter is amazing.

This is SORMAG’s 11th Anniversary online. Would you like to offer us anniversary congrats?

Thank-you for talking with authors and sharing the beautiful world of authorship. Continue your great work and congratulations!

Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?

I know I have to dream big, live well, laugh often, and the sky isn’t the limit anymore.

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

It’s a story of a young lady trying to become a better person, but her past is so familiar. Love is her anchor in all her relationships. ~ That’s all I can give because the characters are still being put on paper. They are not ready to be all the way revealed fully at this time. HA! I will be finished by the end of this year. Look for more info about my upcoming novel on my Face book or Twitter page. I’d share the title, but I need to get my copyrights back before I just go telling folks the name of my first novel.

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

E-mail: taajirauf@gmail.com
Twitter: @crownkindqueen
Facebook: www.facebook.com/beforelifebytaajirauf

http://www.taajirauf.weebly.com/

Barnes and Noble: Nook: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Before-Life/Taaji-Rauf/e/2940013116290

Createspace: https://www.createspace.com/3619600

Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005E8YY0U

Smashwords:
www.smashwords.com/books/views75978

Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Before-Life-Taaji-M-Rauf/dp/0983757305/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1311996875&sr=8-1o

Before Life: A Collection of Short Stories

“Before Life” - The unborn spirit of a child named Bilal talks to his Angels in a waiting place in heaven. The life he gets is a surprise to him.

“The Smoker”- Tessa finds comfort in smoking cigarettes. She meets a young man named Sinica that she pushes away.

“To Love in 1840” – Man used slavery to keep them apart, yet divine intervention brought them back together on a North Carolina plantation next to the Atlantic Ocean.

“A Broken Vow” - Jocelyn grew up motherless after her mother died when she was very young. Grief holds her captive as she turns away from loving her children.

“The Commuter” - A nameless woman is plagued by a reoccurring dream after 9/11. Her subconscious mind replays the same nightmare every night.

“Toxic Urine Boy” - Two girls create a manipulative and devious plan to free Tanya from Toxic Urine Boy.

“Black Robin Hood”- Ellis serves drugs in all four quadrants of the District of Columbia. The street where he began his drug empire is the same street where he dies.

“Our Attic” – Patricia keeps the secret of Adam’s biological father hidden in shoeboxes stacked away in the attic.



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Friday, September 23, 2011

FEATURED AUTHOR: Nakia R. Laushaul

Editor Note:  I had the pleasure of meeting Nakia at the Fall Into Books Literary Conference this past weekend.  I loved her personality and she blew me away at the poetry recital, she recited a poem that gave me goose bumps.  Make sure you pick her first book,  The Truth As I See It, for some deep poetry.

It is always a pleasure to meet someone who is excited about their craft and sharing their experiences.



Nakia R. Laushaul was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, and now resides in Houston, Texas with her lovable teenage son. She is an inspirational poet, novelist, and entrepreneur. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family and writing.

Running from Solace is the author's second work followed by her literary debut, . She is currently working on third book, "Do You Know Daisy McCloud?"

Nakia truly believes that by doing what you love, you become happy! She hopes that you will go find your happiness.

For more information about Nakia visit her website: http://www.nakiarlaushaul.com/ or blog, Random Rants of Truth of a Social Butterfly: http://nakialaushaul.blogspot.com/


How did you start out your writing career?

My love of reading led to my love of writing. Once I learned my ABC’s … it was on from there (smile). I’ve always known that I could write, that I loved to tell stories and that I wanted to be a writer. But, back then, I always thought it was by magic or some unknown stroke of luck that people actually authored books and that it would never happen to somebody like me. In an attempt to quench the desire for a book with my name on it, I kept trying to live what I thought was a normal life. There’s something about that thing called purpose, it began to gnaw at my spirit, it became an incessant itch and the only way to satisfy its hold on my life was to take one tiny little step forward, despite not knowing what to do. I began to organize all the works that I had ever written into one place. Then, I wrote more, if I wasn’t at work or taking care of my son—I was writing. Finally, I began to seek knowledge about writing as an industry and publishing. And do you know what happened? Doors just blew open and a path cleared in this world just for me. I said all of that to say, that I never had a choice because at birth, writing chose me.

What did you learn while writing this book?

How to listen to myself and trust what my heart told me to do. The process of writing can be filled with so much self-inflicted doubt that it makes you want to stop. At those times, I would ask God to lead me in His will before I would peck out another word. I learned how to see and hear God through my words.

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

Besides just wanting to finally have a novel with my name on it, I also hoped it would spark interest with readers. That the one person that was meant to read it would find it out of the millions of other books out there and be blessed by Running from Solace.

Which character did you have the most fun writing about?

All of them! Running from Solace was told from the perspective of three interesting characters and they were all so different from each other. However, if I had top pick just one, it would be Mona. She wasn’t my favorite character, but she was quite a persona to write. There were times when she made me laugh out loud with her antics. She was so foolish that I almost felt sorry for her at times. Mona was for sure was an emotional rollercoaster of a ride to write.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?

The feedback from readers has been absolutely unreal. As a new author, I never expected for people to be so supportive of me. I love it. Also, on my journey I meet many of the authors that I follow and they are so real and supportive as well. I absolutely love the lit life!

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

I love the writing part. I love transforming the eccentric stories taking place in my head into books that people read and relate to. Writing is a love, like a reward for me, but because I have so many other obligations, like work, I hate not having the time to write as much as I’d like to.

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

I wish I had known how much criticism would hurt, that writing would take over my entire life, and that I really could have done this sooner had I listened to the little voice in my head.

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

Do your own research and spend time learning as much as you can about the craft of writing and the publishing industry. Don’t give up. I repeat, don’t ever give up.

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

That it is not possible to write a book that 100% of the people will be satisfied with. A writer will spin their wheels forever trying to make everybody happy. I learned that from experience.

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

I love this question. I would be Davidia (Davie) Jones from 32 Candles by Ernessa T. Carter. I related to Davie’s character in so many ways.

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

I like to spend time with the funniest dude on the planet—my fifteen year-old son. Since he doesn’t have a license yet, I play Mom-Taxi for fun.

What do you do to interact with your readers?

I am a real life social butterfly so I do a lot of social media. Everybody is welcome to connect with me online. I also try to make my way to various literary events around the country to meet as many readers as I can.

Our theme for this month is Online Marketing. What online marketing have you found works well for you?

I would have to say Facebook works very well for me. It’s one of the best resources out there for writers. When readers get a chance to really know me as a person, they seem to jump behind me and we push together. I’m a grassroots kind of author.

This is SORMAG’s 11th Anniversary online. Would you like to offer us anniversary congrats?

Happy Anniversary! Keep doing what you do best and that’s bringing authors and readers closer together. I wish you many more years to come. Thank you for sharing my literary journey with me.

Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?

That I was born for the write life and if I’m not sure about anything else, I’m sure about that.

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

My next book is titled, Do You Know Daisy McCloud? I’m still writing through some of the details, but in short Daisy is a seventeen year old girl. A tragic event lands Daisy in the hospital life where she meets up with a young Polish immigrant that has been around the block a few times. The two unlikely friends embark on a journey of self-discovery, forgiveness, and tolerance. I’ll be posting a chapter excerpt to my website very soon.

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

Mail: 12620 FM 1960 W. Ste. A #121 Houston, TX 77065
Website: http://www.nakiarlaushaul.com/
Blog: http://nakialaushaul.blogspot.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/nakiarl
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Nakia-R-Laushaul-presents-The-Truth-As-I-See-It-In-Poetry-Prose/346645442878


Running from Solace

“She passed a hard candy over her shoulder as though whatever was in the tiny wrapper was supposed to make it all better. I clutched the peppermint in my hand and buried my face in the hard leather seat while she explained what was going to happen to me. She promised that I’d be safe from then on.”

And so begins the journey of Naomi, whose amazing story picks up where the past and future intersect. As Naomi struggles to hide the ugly physical and emotional reminders that insist on haunting her dreams, she crosses paths with a young boy, Xavier and his bad-tempered mother, Mona, who share an interesting story much like her own.

Running from Solace is an emotional tale that will send you catapulting on a breathless journey beyond breaking points and will lead you to believe in the power of accepting what is to be.

Book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VIqKdzMoAA


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Thursday, September 22, 2011

SPOTLIGHT: Grace For The Good Girl


Are You Tired of Trying Harder?
Emily Freeman Invites Women to Stop Trying to Impress God and Rest In Him

She’ll always volunteer to teach Sunday School. If a family needs a casserole, she’s on the list to bring one. She’s seen as dependable, organized, and capable. And she likes it that way. But deep inside she struggles. Is her quiet time long enough? Why does it feel like everyone else in her women’s Bible Study is getting more out of it than she is? What more could God want from her?

In Grace for the Good Girl (ISBN: 978-0-8007-1984-5, $13.99, September, 272 pages), Emily Freeman invites women to let go of the try-hard life and realize that Christ gives us freedom to receive from God rather than constantly trying to achieve for him. As “good girls,” we focus on the things we can handle, our disciplined lives and our unshakable good moods. When we fail to measure up to our own impossible standards, we hide behind our good girl masks, determined to keep our weakness a secret.

“We may have learned to hold our tongue, to raise our hands in worship, to be kind when we feel unkind. We may have learned to act right,” Freeman writes. “But the unseen mind is an unruly battlefield. Even though I know that my spirit has now been united with God’s Spirit and my true identity is found there, my soul still has muscle memory.”

With an open hand and a whimsical style, Freeman uncovers the truth about the hiding, encouraging women to move from hiding behind girl-made masks and do-good performances to a life hidden with Christ.

Chapter by chapter, Grace for the Good Girl helps readers:

 Learn how to stop hiding behind performance and reputation
 Let go of the try-hard life
 Rest in God’s grace instead of trying to impress Him

Emily Freeman is a writer who loves to read and a speaker who would rather listen. She writes for DaySpring (a division of Hallmark) and has also traveled as a writer with Compassion International to raise awareness for the needs of children in poverty around the world. She received degrees from both Columbia International University and The University of North Carolina Greensboro. She is married to John, a student ministries pastor, and together they live in North Carolina with their three children. Emily extends a daily invitation on her blog for women to create space for their souls to breathe. Come join the community of grace dwellers at http://www.chattingatthesky.com/.

Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, offers practical books that bring the Christian faith to everyday life.

Disclaimer:  This book was sent as a review from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

REVIEW:

This book is for all the good girls trying to hold it together.  As hard as we try we’re not perfect.  This book shows you that you don’t have to be perfect to be a servant of the Lord.

Ms. Freeman introduces you to the type of good girl you are then she shows you steps on how to move from those labels.

I recognized myself in many of the chapters, and welcomed her advice on how to move myself from the good girl mentality.  Are you a good girl? Pick up this book and move forward in your relationship with God.

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Monday, September 19, 2011

FEATURED AUTHORS: Alethea Pacascio & Lisa DeNeal


A self-proclaimed master of relaxation, Alethea finds her best times to write are early in the morning after prayer and meditation or late at night when everyone is asleep. The sight and sounds of rain and thunderstorms also enrich the creative process for her. Alethea finds that this process calms her enough to create a heartbeat for each character.

What causes Alethea’s heart beat to accelerate in real life? God and her their two daughters.

When not writing, Alethea loves to indulge her passion for traveling, attending church, giving forgiveness workshops, watching movies, reading fiction and non-fiction, chatting with friends, shooting pool, watching NFL and NBA games, and shopping.

Alethea is the author of four books, Bag Lady, Womb Child, Help Wanted, and Forgiveness for the Man’s Soul.

This new bright star in fiction’s publishing galaxy has earned undergraduate degrees in Electronics Engineering and Telecommunications Management. Alethea and her family now live in northern Illinois, where she is hard at work on her next project.

Lisa DeNeal of Gary, Indiana, has been a freelance journalist for 18 years and is currently a correspondent and weekly columnist for the Post-Tribune of Northwest Indiana. She is also a contributing writer for various magazine publications. She made her debut as an author in 2008 as co-author of the memoir, "Unflappable"(IBJ Custom Publishing), a coming of age book about fellow Gary native and friend, Carolyn E. Mosby. She is an alumna of Roosevelt High School in Gary and Calumet College of St. Joseph in Whiting, IN, earning a B.A. in Communications from the latter.

How did you start out your writing career?

A: I started out my writing career many years ago with poetry and journaling. The poems evolved into short stories and eventually the journaling resulted in writing my first novel, Bag Lady which was loosely based on my own experiences.

L: I've always written stories as a child and it led to a love for journalism. Writing a book, however, began when my friend offered me the job in 2007 to help write her memoir.

What did you learn while writing this book?

A: While writing this book I learned that love looks and feels like love, no matter the age, size, sex, or color. I along with many have so many misconceptions about what we believe the perfect couple looks like, but the fact is- the heart wants what the heart wants and often defies logic.

L: That it's a little easier to write fiction than nonfiction. With fiction, once you have your characters in place, creating them and telling their stories is fun and challenging.

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

A: I hoped to show readers that not all men who date “Panthers” are looking for a sugar-mama. And not all “Panthers” are desperate lonely old women who can only keep the company of a younger man by lavishing on him and performing circus-like sex acts.

L: To tell the stories of four beautiful, black women seeking love in an area that society still sort of frowns on - the older woman/younger man relationship. Although mass media has shined a spotlight on this type of May-December romance, it is still considered controversial.

Which character did you have the most fun writing about?

A: I had the most fun writing the story for Brandon and Denyce. Especially because Brandon reminds me of my first love.

L: I had a lot of fun with Camille, who at 53, is the oldest of the older women in "The Panthers Club." She is revising herself after a long-term marriage and she makes some discoveries about her life and choices. When she meets Roman...let's just say I had a lot of fun putting her story together!

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?

A: What surprised me the most was finding out that readers just want a good story. They don’t have a problem reading the work of new authors. Once being an avid reader, but now on the other side of things, I also have come to have a much greater appreciation for process involved in writing and publishing quality work.

L: Becoming a published author! It really does not hit you until you actually see and hold a copy of the book in your hands.

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

A: I love starting a book and developing characters. The excitement of watching someone in my head come to life on the pages in indescribable. I hate wrapping up the story because I can always find one more thing to say and who wants to type a never-ending story.

L: I love when the characters' stories come together as I type. What I hate the most is writer's block.

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

A: I wish I had known the importance of marketing and advertising your work continuously. I also wish I’d known that “no” can often mean “not right now”. And finally, I wish I known the importance of partnership.

L: 1. Writing a book is not a fast thing to do; 2. Patience and 3. Don't allow negative vibes in your mind and soul.

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

A: Do support new authors because you hope to be one also. Do not get discouraged by rejection letters. Keep going until you find the right editor and audience for your book.

L: DO follow your aspirations and DON'T give up on your aspirations

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

A: Writing is probably the hardest and easiest thing we do. And its like any other craft…continuous practice is essential.

L: Writing is a lengthy and challenging process. It takes time, patience and sometimes a lot of rewrites, editing and isolation.

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

A: I love watching movies, going to plays, and spending time at a wonderful Korean spa that I recently gained knowledge of.

L: I read a lot of books of different genres. I go to the movies and occasionally go out with friends. I am not a big socialite

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

L: Damali from "The Vampire Huntress Legend" by the late L.A. Banks! Damali's transition from a naive young girl to a powerful woman with the ability to save and change the world from darkness and evil speaks on so many levels!

What do you do to interact with your readers?

A: I do book signings, online chats, networking events, and social media.

L: I connect with them through social media and attend book clubs or literacy groups for discussions.

Our theme for this month is Online Marketing. What online marketing have you found works well for you?

A: Email Blasts.

L: Facebook is incredible with the ability to create a "Like"(formerly known as a fan page) page and purchase ad spaces. I also like Linkedin which provides great networking opportunities.

This is SORMAG’s 11th Anniversary online. Would you like to offer us anniversary congrats?

A: Congratulations, SORMAG on your 11th year of service to the literary community. May you continue to grow and prosper exponentially.

L: Indeed! Congratulations, SORMAG for being a pioneer in providing writers current, aspiring and veterans a spotlight for our projects. Many more blessings and years to you!

Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?

A: I know for sure that God created me to make a positive impact on people’s lives and inspire them to do better.

L: When God gives you a gift you should unwrap it, embrace it, and use it to the best of your abilities.

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

A: There maybe a part 2 to Bag Lady.

L: I have not decided if it will be a paperback or an e-book, but I am working on a story about a male reporter who is caught in the middle of a criminal investigation that may involve some people in his friendship circle.

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

A: Alethea@queenpublications.com

L: miss_lisa_67@hotmail.com


The Panthers Club

When one mentions the word, "Panther", the image that comes to mind is the sleek, sultry, powerful four-legged predator that lives in the wild and prepared for the hunt.

However, there is another type of PANTHER who prowls the concrete jungle in four-inch heels and curve-hugging clothes trying to capture a more cunning species -love and happiness. Meet CHANALE, CAMILLE, DENYCE and AUTUMN.

After experiencing years of heartache and deception, these lovely creatures prowl on to a new and unchartered territory....younger men who' make the hottest 20-year-old woman drip with desire.

Each searches for her version of happiness but instead find themselves in the midst of unexpected love, lust and lies.

They possess their own definition of beauty, confidence and magnetic sexuality, but is it enough to capture and obtain their one common goal?

Authors Alethea Pascascio and Lisa DeNeal present a collection of stories about animal attraction in its sexiest, risque and sometimes most heartbreaking form from the newest members of THE PANTHERS CLUB!

Are YOU a card holder?


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FEATURED AUTHOR: Kim Cash Tate


Kim Cash Tate was born and raised in the Washington, D.C. area. After completing her undergraduate degree, she distinguished herself as a law student at George Washington University.

Tate’s law career took off, but in spite of her success, she was plagued by constant feelings of discontentment and loneliness for the racially diverse environment she left behind in D.C. She began seeking faith, simply as a means of maintaining sanity. But she and her husband Bill both felt Jesus calling.

When her children were young, Tate left her thriving law career to stay home. A passionate and persuasive communicator, she tried her hand at writing. More Christian than African-American shares her story of finding her identity in Christ rather than in her race, which had been a major focus for her. Her first novel was Heavenly Places, followed by Faithful and her newest release, Cherished. Tate was a speaker for Women of Faith in both 2010 and 2011.

Tate is also the founder of Colored in Christ Ministries. Her appeal as a Bible teacher and a “big sister” in ministry, as well as her messages of hope, is what attracts discerning fiction lovers worldwide. The Tate family now resides in the St. Louis area.

How did you start out your writing career?

My writing career actually started in nonfiction. I was on maternity leave with my firstborn, and thought I was praying about what kind of home based business to start. :) Instead, God moved me to write a memoir about my spiritual journey. More Christian than African-American was published in 1999. I never dreamed of writing fiction, but several years later, these characters showed up in my head along with a story line. I began writing, and that story became my first novel, Heavenly Places.

What did you learn while writing this book?

I learned a lot about compassion while writing Cherished. I had been praying for a heart of compassion for quite a while. But I noticed that as I started writing, I didn't have a whole lot of compassion for the character who had committed adultery with a married man. As the story continued, though, and I got to know her and her story, I grew to have a heart for her. Everybody has a story, and oftentimes, the pain in their past informs their present choices. I learned more about loving people with the love of God as I wrote.

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

I hoped readers would walk away with a freeing picture of God's unconditional love for them, no matter where they've been or what they've done. I wanted them to know that God can still use them, that He wants to use them, as a marvelous trophy of His grace. I also hoped to shed light on the importance of forgiveness.

Which character did you have the most fun writing about?

I probably had the most fun writing about Brian, who's a Christian rapper in the book. I love Christian rap, and was able to spend time with a nationally known Christian rapper to gain information about the craft and the lifestyle. These young guys have such a heart for ministry, and I loved being able to inhabit that character for a while.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?

That each book is it's own special baby. From the writing process to the cover design to holding the finished product in my hand...it never gets old!

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

The aspect of writing I love best is when I'm in the zone where I know that I know that I'm being inspired by God because words are flowing and fingers are flying. The aspect I like least is what's generally known as "writer's block." For me, it's the period in which I'm praying and waiting for the ideas I need for the plot or the characters, and I inevitably think, "This is it. I'm done writing because nothing is coming." That's no fun.

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

1. how to write well and fast under a deadline -- before I was published, I had the luxury of pondering every plot thread and every aspect of every character as long as I desired; writing under deadline is more challenging.

2. how to juggle well -- I didn't realize I'd essentially be working on three books at one time...drafting a new manuscript, editing the just-completed manuscript, and promoting a newly released novel

3. how to market effectively

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

Don't try to mimic another author's voice or style. Do write from the heart.

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

I wish non-writers would understand the blood, sweat, and tears that go into writing. So often, I hear people say writing a novel is on their list of things to do one day....as if it's easy. I wish! :)

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

I would love to be Frodo. The Lord of the Rings is one of my favorite books, and I love that this little hobbit from the Shire took on a huge task that could only be accomplished with faith, determination, and the fellowship of friends.

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

I love to watch movies with my husband and kids. The best Friday nights are popcorn and a DVD we've been waiting to watch.

What do you do to interact with your readers?

I have a pretty active blog where I respond to everyone who comments. I love getting to know my readers and hanging out with them. I also actively interact with people on Twitter and on my Facebook page. And I reply to every email I receive.

Our theme for this month is Online Marketing. What online marketing have you found works well for you?

With Cherished, there's also a song by that name recorded by Christian rapper Da' T.R.U.T.H. and CeCe Winans. Da' T.R.U.T.H. and I did a trailer together to highlight the novel and the song, and posted it on youtube. That's been the best online marketing I've done.

This is SORMAG’s 11th Anniversary online. Would you like to offer us anniversary congrats?

Happy 11th Anniversary!!! How awesome to be blessed with such longevity in the online world!

Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?

I know for sure that Jesus is the Son of God and Savior of the world.

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

My next book will feature a cast of characters based in a small town in North Carolina. But I'm right in the middle of praying through certain plot threads, so that's all I can say for now. :)

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

I'd love to hear from them! They can reach me the following ways:

http://www.kimcashtate.com/

http://www.facebook.com/kimcashtate

http://www.twitter.com/kimcashtate



CHERISHED

How can she believe God cherishes her when she can't forgive herself?

Kelli London once dreamed of being a songwriter. As crazy as it seemed, she hoped that God would use the lyrics that came to her while she slept. She dreamed about Brian too, that the love they shared would be a forever kind of love. But choices she'll forever regret upended her hope . . . and turned her dreams to dust. When those dreams come knocking once more, she's forced to deal with the pain of the past.

Heather Anderson's life has spun out of control-first, an affair with a married man, then a one-night stand with the drummer of a popular Christian band that left her devastated. Broken and alone, she cried out to the only One who can save her. And He did. But that's just the beginning, because now she must leave behind the only life she's ever known.

Two women with shame-filled pasts form an unlikely friendship. What does God's forgiveness look like for them? Will they ever believe that He loves them . . . and can still offer them a life where they are cherished?


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Sunday, September 18, 2011

SORMAG'S READERS CHOICE AWARDS 2011 - VOTING OPEN

You're invited to vote in our annual Readers Choice Awards.

Click on the link below to vote.

VOTE TODAY - http://survey.constantcontact.com/survey/a07e4vbmln1gsqdoyaa/start



Thank you for your vote, feel free to foward to this link to your book loving friends.


Authors you can vote for yourself.

Sincerely,

LaShaunda Hoffman

SORMAG

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Friday, September 16, 2011

DEBUT AUTHOR: Ruthie Robinson



Ruthie Robinson resides in Austin, TX with her husband and two teenage children. She holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Clark College and a master’s degree in economics from the University of Texas in Austin (Hook ‘em horns!). She worked for more than a decade in the banking industry before turning her love of stories into a second career.

How did you start out your writing career?

I took up writing as a hobby and through the course of completing my first book, entered the Genesis Press writing contest and was fortunate enough to win.

What did you learn while writing this book?

I learned the importance of rewriting.

The first draft of Lights Out was more than 120,000 words. I didn’t pay attention to my word count as you can see. It was originally a story of both Joe and Piper as well as Piper’s father, Mac, and his wife, Christina. Needless to say, I had to lose more than a few words—almost half of my book. I was heartbroken to say the least. I really loved all those words.

It actually ended up being a really good process for me. I learned to consider my scene choices, and critically review which scenes moved the story along and which ones didn’t.

There is this quote in the Fiction Writer’s Handbook, written by Hallie and Whit Burnett, that I found after I’d finished rewriting Lights Out that explains it best:

“It is my contention that a really great novel is made with a knife and not a pen. A novelist must have the intestinal fortitude to cut out even the most brilliant passage so long as it doesn’t advance the story.”

Good to know now.

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

This was Joe’s story. I wanted to show the story behind the man, what made him the person he is, which is a good guy with a big heart, albeit well guarded. Piper was perfect for him in that she had the same commitment to family as he, but she’d dealt with the craziness of her parents differently. She was the kind of woman he needed to help him move beyond his past. She was someone who he could entrust his heart to. I think it’s what we humans seek and hope for.

Which character did you have the most fun writing about?

It wasn’t just one character, but several. The kids==Taylor, Kennedy and Shane—and the two dogs—McKenzie and Pepper—were all fun to write about.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?

I’m most surprised at how much fun it is to write. It’s work, but it is fun, too. I am surprised at how much I like telling stories. I didn’t grow up with dreams of being a writer, ever, but I’ve always loved stories in any form—books, movies, all kinds, And romance was and still is my heart.

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

I love creating stories. Publicity and marketing writing are two things I’m not sure I’ll ever embrace totally.

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

I wish I had known that as a new writer, I needed to be patient with the process of writing, of figuring out how I write and with learning to tell better stories.

I wish I had known that each story takes time and may require different amounts of time to write, depending on the topic.

I wish I had known how often I’d have to tune out everything but the voice in my head, to close my eyes and just write; no second-guessing, just letting go. That’s scary stuff.

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

Do write what you want to read.
Don’t let others deter you.

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

It’s fun, but it is also work.

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

I don’t have one.

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

Hang out with my family, volunteer, read, and watch movies.

What do you do to interact with your readers?

Readers can contact me via my website (http://www.ruthierobinson.com/)

Our theme for this month is Online Marketing. What online marketing have you found works well for you?

SORMAG ads and interviews.

This is SORMAG’s 11th Anniversary online. Would you like to offer us anniversary congrats?

Yes! Thank you for providing a forum for authors to connect with each other and readers. The interviews are helpful and inspirational for me.

Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?

I know that love is the answer.
I know that the greatest of these is love.
I know that God is love.

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

So Different

Mariah Sullivan is a tattoo clad, multi-colored hair, sometimes bruise covered, kick ass roller derby girl, who doesn’t put up with people who mistreat others. The outside view of her masks a woman who is loving, compassionate and fiercely loyal to those she loves.

Adam Barnett Jr. is a dentist, like his father, who returns to Austin to take over his father’s dental practice while he recuperates from a motorcycle accident. The timing couldn’t have been better for Adam, having just broken off his engagement to a woman he thought was perfect, both inside and out.

He meets Mariah at her regular dental appointment. She is definitely interested in Adam, and willing to put aside her normal reticence and actually give men a chance. Adam, however, assumes the worst about her, given her outside appearance. Mariah, with assistance from Adam’s father, has a thing or two to teach him about passing judgments.

Over the course of the story, they come to realize that underneath all of their assumptions are two people who have more in common than they think, and are not so different after all.

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

I can be reached on my website, http://www.ruthierobinson.com/


Lights Out

Piper Renee Knight was sole proprietor of two coffee shops located in Austin, Texas. Lights Out Coffee opened two and a half years ago as a joint venture with her father, Macarthur “Lights Out” Knight, former boxing great turned businessman.

Joe and Piper meet during Joe’s second visit to her shop and exchange not only cash for coffee, but banter as well. After a short flirtation they agree to take their attraction further. But before they can start, Piper’s father asks her to look after his two younger daughters after his third wife has left him.

Piper settles her sisters into her life, locating a school for them nearby. She decides that Joe is not an option for her now that she has the girls, He gets her message and stops coming by the shop.

When they happen to meet again at the kids’ school, Piper finds out that Joe has been raising his nephew for the last two years, after his sister’s unexpected departure. During the school year, Joe and Piper support each other and Piper falls in love. While Joe likes her, he’s not sure with his nephew and prior life experiences that he’s in for the long haul.



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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

DEBUT AUTHOR: Regena Bryant


Regena Bryant is a training and organizational development specialist, motivational speaker and registered corporate coach. She holds a Masters degree in Adult and Continuing Education. She has educated and encouraged groups that range in perspectives from corporate executives to concerned parents. She has delivered multiple programs in leadership, communication skills, personal growth and wellness.

In 2004 she made a pact with her nephew, “…if you give me a college degree, I’ll write a book.” For the next five years she actively worked on the craft of writing and her first novel. An active member of the Windy City Chapter of RWA, she serves as the chapter secretary and writes a column for the newsletter, “Letters to my Unpublished Self.” She lives in suburban Chicago with her husband, two children and her nephew’s college diploma gracing the mantle.


How did you start out your writing career?

Writing has always been my strongest skill through school so I can say that writing has been an important part of my professional career. I started writing novels in 2004 when my nephew and I made a pact. If he'd finish college I'd write a book.

What did you learn while writing this book?

I learned a lot about the publishing business and about myself. It is possible to make your dreams come true, but it requires a lot of hard work.

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

All I really wanted was to keep my nephew on the path to competing his college education. I'm so happy that we were both successful.

Which character did you have the most fun writing about?

Bishop Sutton since he always gets to have the last word. It was fun to write the scenes he appears in because The Reverend Doctor Gates can't debate or talk back to him.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?

I'm still delighted and surprised about the whole thing.

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

The freedom to create. I hate to proofread because I have a tendency to read what I wrote instead of what's on the page.

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

1. How hard it is to get off of the slush pile. 2. I wish I'd known more about the business side of the business. 3. How to properly place a comma.

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

Do. Write, just write. Editing can come later. Don't. Don't wait. Get started today.

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

That writing takes time, lots of time.

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

I can't name just one. I just started reading The Heroines Bookself, Life lessons from Jane Austen to Laura Ingalls Wilder by Erin Blakemore. It's really like a conversation with my favorite heroines through the ages and the lessons they have taught me.

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

I enjoy providing taxi and fan service to my children. They are involved in lots of sports so I enjoy going to thier games and cheering on their teams.

What do you do to interact with your readers?

Going to conferences, facebook and participating in local forums. I always learn something from the experience.

Our theme for this month is Online Marketing. What online marketing have you found works well for you?

I'm not sure just yet since "Except on Sunday" is my first book. But as I learn more about publishing and marketing I sense that online marketing is an important part of any marketing mix.

This is SORMAG’s 11th Anniversary online. Would you like to offer us anniversary congrats?

Yes congratulations and blessing on having the vision and putting in the hard work to make SORMAG a success.

Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?

That our efforts and hard work are always rewarded, but not always in the ways we plan.

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

My next book Believe In Me will arrive in March of 2012.

When David Thornton lands his dream job as executive director of a faith based community empowerment center established by his paladin, Congressman Roosevelt Franklin. This honest hard working true believer must unite a staff divided by the scandal of the pervious director’s departure, while trying to convince the girl of his dreams to trust him.

Kitty Franklin the outspoken, jaded daughter of the politically savvy and slick Congressman Roosevelt Franklin. As her father's personal attorney Kitty’s intimate knowledge of her fathers dealings, have caused her to loose all faith in God, government, and men. And now a viral internet scandal has erupted that threatens to destroy the Congressman’s re-election campaign.

The scandal shakes Kitty’s fragile faith and may prevent her from ever believing in anything or anyone ever again.

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

I'd love to hear from readers at my website http://www.regenabryant.com/ or via email at ladyregena@comcast.net

EXCEPT ON SUNDAY

The Rev. Dr. Finus Gideon Gates is the charismatic, intelligent, wealthy and decidedly single, favorite son of his denomination the Baptist Methodist Assembly, where it is a “truth universally acknowledged” by the senior choir that he needs a wife. He thinks his reasons for not dating are a closely held secret. But every single woman in the Assembly and her mother know why he’s not dating and they are working overtime to get him to change his mind.

When Dr. Cassandra Brownley, a shy, sensible high school principal, accepts a consulting project with the BMA, she is caught between two opinions regarding the project’s leader. The Rev. Dr. Gates is pompous and condescending from the pulpit and she can’t stand him. Away from church he’s witty, warm and wonderful. Can she love him-except on Sunday?


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Monday, September 12, 2011

FEATURED AUTHOR: Sherman Turner


How did you start out your writing career?

Prior to my writing career, I was a Master-Plumber owning a minority contracting business working for the government in the SBA 8/a program. When minority unemployment skyrocketed upwards to critical stages the government instructed me to hire and train minority workers; regardless of the “Unions” and “Wall Street Contractors” objections. This was at West Valley Nuclear Plant in New York State, where they never hired minorities or trained minorities before! Find out what happened? (Read “Minorities Deceived”)

About 18 October, in year 1995 I had serious stroke that left me 99 % paralyzed, with loss of memory, and no speaking abilities too. It seemed like my life ended because I could not comprehend my surroundings. Find out what happened? (Read “Minorities Deceived”)

After nine years of rehabilitation in year 2004, I decided to take my Doctors advice trying to learn another language to enhance my abilities learning walking and talking again. My selection was my roots in Africa and the language of “Swahili” in Kenya. At the Kenyan school of rehabilitation they started me in the 3rd grade because I wanted to also learn writing too! I lost my right hand and now only had use of my left hand. My trainers and friends were mostly from the “Luo tribe” in Kenya and friends & cousins of then Senator Obama.

The friends and cousins of President Obama would not allow me to give up on myself either. Every time I wanted to quit they would tell me stories of the hardships of then Senator Obama. Also see the rare photo album pictures of the Kenyan rehabilitation school and find the picture of President Obama’s relative(s). (Read “Kenya Rehabilitation”)

What did you learn while writing this book?

While writing this book “The New Plumbing Guide” made look back to me remember how hard it was to learn plumbing because of discrimination back in the day. Also I can never forget those times when my Mother would ask those plumber’s questions and never get the correct answers either.

Therefore I would not want any other young minority men or their Mothers getting and having embarrassing moments. For these are the reasons that gives me greater encouragement to write the best of the best, plumbing book. There are not really any “how-to” and “self-help” plumbing books which aids in checking plumbing billings costs and estimates either.

Why did you choose to write a book about this subject?

Minorities today have a great disadvantage facing hidden discrimination within the specialty construction trades. Therefore it’s only natural that I past on my expertise and knowledge in plumbing and construction trades.

Plus after hearing and seeing the many complaints of the elderly being ripped-off, also from church ladies, and wow my daughter too! Then I received letters from my Kenyan friends wanting to an interest in learning various plumbing topics.

Therefore my new book will satisfy everyone because the first part is informative and explains various plumbing methods. The second part teaches estimating with the new estimating methods for plumbing engineering with computers.

What was the hardest part about writing your book?

Explaining technical answers to something simple for the novice person to understand but yet be informative. That is very hard when a person has no knowledge in plumbing and construction type estimating fields.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?

I still don’t believe I am an author because I only write about what I know and have experienced.

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

I like and treasure researching topics of interest and then wish I was afforded a good education. I hate nothing about writing yet, which tells me that I am still at the learning stage of writing.

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

To be honest “no answer” to this question, todate!

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

Sorry, I lack the knowledge and correct education to advise aspiring writers. But I can only say for me being 70 years old plus, that writing seems easy when I write about topics of interest that I know and am passionate about.

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

Some times you have to experience something to be a good qualified writer. My experience gives me that firm base and foundation of truthfulness in my books.

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

None because I like to be me!

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

I like to talk to people for their opinions and ideas on lots of subjects, books, and ect…

What do you do to interact with your readers?

I always give out 5 to 10 free copies of my new books to readers asking for an honest book opinion.

Our theme for this month is Online Marketing. What online marketing have you found works well for you?

Book reviews seem to work best for me!

This is SORMAG’s 11th Anniversary online. Would you like to offer us anniversary congrats?

Yes, congratulations and many more blessed ones too! Akubariki sana (may God bless you very much)

Oprah always asks. What do you know for sure?

Taxes and death.

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

It seems like my daughter, plumbers, and friend fans in Kenya, have requested me to write an enhanced informative plumbing and construction estimating book, to help save them their money by popular demand. This means you can expect me to start on my new book in September and October of 2011 to be published and ready in May or June of 2012.

How can readers get in contact with you?

Please by Email: hallow123@msn.com
Plus you can follow me on TWITTER: @shermanturner and @plumb8080

THE NEW PLUMBING GUIDE
Master-Plumber & Author wrote “The New Plumbing Guide” hoping to help Home-Owners & Ladies from not getting ripped-off. Since my retirement there has suddenly been an increase of fraud in plumbing work and repairs by many Plumbers and want-to-be handy-men Plumbers and other Contractors also!

When the Author noticed that there were “NO” how-to-books written and available for Home-Owners and Ladies detailing plumbing work. Relating to checking estimates, materials, and “NO” information on man-hours either! This lack of information caused the Author to write the first of its kind book because many are getting ripped-off by unscrupulous contractors.

Therefore Author wrote “The New Plumbing Guide” with the hope to help Home-Owners and Ladies who knows nothing about plumbing. This book will serve as your guide in preparing you to deal with Plumbers and Contractors to help save you 10% - 50% of your money. Get better informed today!

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Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Read A Book Day

2011 READ A BOOK DAY

Today, September 6, 2011 is National Read a Book Day. The holiday is designed to encourage us to take time from our busy lives and relax with a great book. This year we have selected Shana Burton’s Catt Chasin’(Urban Books) as our 2011 Read a Book Day Pick.

Why did we choose this book?

Catt Chasin’ the story of Jamal Ford. He has narrowed his love life down to a science through the creation of his 30-Day Dating Plan, a guide intended to weed out the drama queens, gold-diggers, and baby mamas from his ideal: a part goddess, part sex kitten, and part Stepford Wife mate. The shallow, fun-loving 33-year-old knows he’s one of Charlotte, North Carolina’s most eligible bachelors, and he won’t settle for anything

less than the trophy wife of his dreams.Catherine “Catt” Cason has never let anything slow her down. The brilliant chemist takes being labeled “the cute fat girl” in stride as she fast-tracks her way to a top position with her cosmetic company, Telegenic. While she would enjoy the love of a good man, Catt refuses to risk heartbreak again just to have a warm body at her side. Besides, why settle for the love of an earthly man when she is the fiancĂ©e of Christ?

When Jamal is paired with Catt to launch a new product for work, it’s loathe at first sight. She thinks he’s arrogant and incompetent; he thinks she’s a sanctimonious kill-joy. However, what each believes they want may not be what God knows they need. In this game of love, rules don’t exist, and no heart is safe. The Lord is speaking, but will they be too caught up in their own agendas to listen?
Doesn’t the sound like fun?

We will be talking about the book all September and chatting with the author, Shana Burton, too.

Would you like to join us?

To join us is an easy three step process:

1. Join us all month long on Facebook by clicking here (http://on.fb.me/bookmonth).

2. If you do not own a copy, click here to purchase one (http://amzn.to/cattchase )

3. Share http://amzn.to/cattchase with your friends on Facebook or Twitter/

Once you’re done, please check in here. Our Goal is to get 50 readers reading Shana Burton Catt Chasin on September 6 and throughout the month. That’s not a Hard Goal. Right?!

Thanks for participating!


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Friday, September 02, 2011

DEVOTIONAL: Every Step


Every Step
By Iris Celeste


 
I tell you the truth, I don’t know why God hasn’t given up on me by now. I’ve been downright hard-headed. Disobedient. Been places I shouldn’t have. Entangled with the wrong party. Danced a two-step with the devil. Shucks, some of my thoughts have even been mischievous. All because it felt good at the time. See I’m not one of those ‘super’ Christians that others pretend to be. I mess up. Make mistakes. Slip and fall, sometimes skinning my knees in the process.

But inspite of all of my foolishness, God continues to find it in His heart to rescue me, keep me, forgive me, protect me, bless me, love me; while sometimes chastising me. It is only by His amazing grace that I am still here! Even when I fail, God is still faithful. Why? Because He knows what’s inside of me. He recognizes my potential. He foresees my future and views me not as I am, but for who I am becoming. He believes in me when I don’t believe in myself…The steps of a [good] (wo)man are directed and established by the Lord when He delights in her way [and He busies Himself with her every step]. Though she falls, she shall not be utterly cast down, for the Lord grasps her hand in support and upholds her. (Psalm 37:23-24)

He sketched and designed me just as I am, flaws and all…God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good and He approved it completely. (Genesis 1:31) Therefore, errors are anticipated. He keeps close watch as I bebop down a dead-end road or two. He’s not surprised as I entertain seedy company or aghast over whispered conversations...He knows the way that I take [He has concern for it, appreciates, and paids attention to it]. When He has tried me, I shall come forth as refined gold [pure and luminous]. (Job 23:10) He understands some things have to be experienced in order for growth. How can I effectively minister to a desperate single mother had I not been desperate and now delivered? How could I empathize over a death of a marriage had not my own died right before my eyes, yet lived to praise God for reviving my lifeless spirit?

There are no accidents in life and nothing is wasted. Every step, every move, every failure was calculated by God and purposed for my good…We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to His design and purpose. (Romans 8:28) With that in mind, I resign all feelings of contempt when I blunder. I no longer hang my head in shame over an impulsive mishap. Because I realize every decision (good and bad) landed me in this very spot that I presently vacant…Blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. (Ephesians 1:3)

Iris Celeste, Author

Praise Your Way Through

http://www.irisceleste.webs.com/



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Thursday, September 01, 2011

It’s our anniversary – SORMAG celebrating 11 years online.


11 things you might not know about SORMAG

  1. SORMAG was created as way to thank my favorite writers for writing their wonderful books.

  1. Our first featured author was Rochelle Alers.

  1. SORMAG won its first award, Writer’s Digest for best writer’s web site in 2000.

  1. We were mentioned in Essence Magazine thanks to our girl, Leslie Esdaile.

  1. In 2003 we became a print magazine.

  1. In 2005 we went to the blog concept and loved the interaction.

  1. In 2007 we started eblasting literary news.

  1. In 2009 we hit facebook and twitter.

  1. We have the best readers in the world.

  1. Our SORMAG Authors are the most loyal supporters.

  1. I’ve loved every minute of these ll years and wouldn’t change one day even those days when I asked myself why are you doing this?  The answer always because I love books and I want to tell others about them.
Thank you for stopping by and supporting SORMAG.  Without you there is no SORMAG.

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Welcome To SORMAG's Blog

About Me

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

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

I’m available for:

Online promotion coaching
Lectures
Seminars
Freelancing
Contact me at:lchwriter@gmail.com

Serving Our Community 365 Days a Year!