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)



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!

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Unknown said...

This is the first I have ever heard of a "Panther" and I would like my membership card mailed right away..just thinking about it is making me feel sexier than before I learned of this term...PURRRRRRR (smile)

Alethea *Forgiveness* worships? this sounds like something I would love to share with my book club. We have a retreat every year, its just 7 of us but when it is time for the share that is when every member must come up with some idea that will help us back to our queen-ness and forgiveness is a great idea. I would love to do something around that. Our theme in 2009 was Exhale, 2010 was Breathe and now for 2011 its Beauty, Essence and the Spirituality of a BLack Woman.
Are your workshops online?

Lisa I love coming of age stories, currently I'm following one written by Margaret Johnson Hodge on A Chapter A its called Promise..I love it!

I cannot wait to meet Camille, because in most of the books I read the characters are younger than I, young is in their 30's.

How you both answered "What did you learn while writing this book"
Is what piqued my interest in this title. Thanks a bunch.

And LaShaunda as always rock on sis...

Unknown said...

I forgot to ask looking on Amazon I don't see the number of pages, please advise.
Also do you foresee Kindle being added as a format this year?

Freelancer's Funk said...

Hi Missy, this is Lisa DeNeal here; thanks so much for your comments and we hope you will reserve a copy of "The Panthers Club" at! Alethea overheard a woman at an event last year say, "Honey, I'm not a cougar, I'm a PANTHER!" and it stayed with her.

Our characters' ages start at 40 to 53...we discussed that a great deal because of the maturity levels of the four females in our novel.

And if you are interested in purchasing the memoir I co-wrote titled "Unflappable" you can send me an email at "Unflappable" is $20.

Take care, Blessings and Thank You!

Freelancer's Funk said...

oh and the baby in the profile pic is me...44 years ago, lol!

Freelancer's Funk said...

and we are looking at a little more than 300 pages in the novel. we are in the final revisions. Kindle may happen later; for now we still love our paperbacks :-)

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