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Friday, April 29, 2011

FEATURED AUTHOR: L.S. Childers


L.S. Childers is a native of the Washington, D.C. area, and since early childhood she knew she wanted to be a writer. She attended the University of Maryland, College Park, where she studied journalism, starting out as a crime reporter for a small local newspaper. She is currently an editor at a trade journal in Virginia.

She enjoys painting, watching comedies, and will read virtually anything written by Stephen King or Dean Koontz.

She currently resides in Maryland with her husband and her cat, Barty.

Her debut novel, The Right Maneuver, was released in April. Her work also has appeared in two short-story collections, All That and Then Some and Trippin’ Over Love.

How did you start out your writing career?

I’ve been writing stories in notebooks since I was 10 years old, but my writing career officially began when I was 19-years-old. I was one of four finalists for BET Books First-Time Writers contest. I entered the contest under my mom’s urgings. She had read my work for years and told me it was good enough to get published. I didn’t think I had a slim chance of winning, but I figured it was worth a try. I didn’t win the grand prize, but the short story I submitted was published in the book, All That and Then Some!, as a runner-up prize.

What did you learn while writing this book?

I learned more about campaigning. When I was a beat reporter, I did stories on a few election campaigns, going to polls to talk to voters and following congressmen, mayors and councilmen around. But to write this story, I knew I had to do more research to make it even vaguely believable. I read books on campaigning and how to start a campaign, and who’s responsible for what. The Right Maneuver isn’t meant to be a true reflection of an election, but I felt comfortable that it came reasonably close enough so the readers wouldn’t feel the book was insulting their intelligence.

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

I wanted to do a sexy political drama and I feel I achieved that. I think politics is inherently filled with drama and intrigue. So if you throw in two attractive people from opposing sides during a campaign and make them attracted to one another, you just watch the sparks fly.

Which character did you have the most fun writing about?

All the characters were fun, but I enjoyed writing from the perspective of the male lead, Will Blake, the most. It’s always interesting to get into a guy’s head. I kept asking my husband (who was my boyfriend at the time that I wrote the novel), “What do you think a guy would say in this instance? Do you think this response is realistic?” I have to force myself to take off my “woman hat” and try to think like them.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?

I was surprised that the saga continues even after your book is finally published. You struggle for years, getting rejections from publishers and agents and you finally get a yes and here comes the really hard part. You go through edits, which can be useful but challenging. You start wondering about sales, whether readers and reviewers will like it. You have self-promotion to consider. In the midst of that, you’re engaged in your day-to-day life and trying to write more books. It can be complicated but…it’s still a blessing.

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

I love coming up with an idea and just feeling it flow out of me as I sit at the computer. When I write, I feel like I’m watching a movie in my head. I’m just typing what I see.

The hardest part is all the drama that comes after you write the book — all the little things it takes to get it on a store shelf: pitching the novel, waiting for responses, getting rejection letters, etc. It can really take its toll on you, but you have to persevere and believe in your work and yourself.

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

1) Take advantage of opportunities. They may not come around again. When I had my first romance short-story published by the now defunct BET Books, I was young and kind of immature about the business and took it for granted that I would be able to keep publishing work. I took a break from writing for a few years to finish college and start my first journalism job out of school, but when I came back to novel writing, I found it incredibly hard to get my work published again. It was like the previous anthologies never happened. I had to start from the beginning. I’ve resolved not to make that same mistake twice.

2) Get an advocate. You don’t have to have an agent, but I think it’s better if you have someone who can take on the brunt of the business and promotional side of writing for you and make sure they have your back. Some writers are good business people and self-promoters. I’m not one of them. It gives me a headache! I’m currently looking for an agent for those reasons.

3) There are going to be highs and lows, no matter what. You just have to take it all in stride and remember what you’re doing it for.

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

I think the one do for a writer is always have multiple arrows in your quiver, or in other words, always have multiple novels written and ready to go. I know some writers who work on the same novel forever, trying to perfect it, and pitch the same novel over and over again. Even if an agent or publisher rejects one of your novels, it doesn’t mean they will reject another. I usually pitch multiple stories. Also, a lot of publishers like you to release one to two stories a year. I hate writing fiction under intense deadline. I like to be able to deliver stories I know I worked on as long as I wanted. I want it to be in the strongest state it could be when I send it to them. Having another book waiting in the wings helps me to do that.

One big don’t for writers would be don’t be unwilling to adapt. If you feel strongly about your story or what type of writer you envision yourself to be, that’s good, but you still have to remember that it’s a business and publishers, editors, and agents are looking for stories that will sell. Don’t make endless compromises that could make you hate your work, but be willing to take some feedback. After all, the point is not only to write a book, but to get on a shelf and have readers buy it.

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

When I told friends and family that I was finally getting a book published, many assumed I was making lots of money from the sale of the manuscript. After I stopped laughing, I explained to them that lots of writers still have full-time jobs. Advances are a lot smaller than they were 20 years ago. Many writers do it for the love of the craft — not for money. If you’re going to become a writer, don’t do it with a big paycheck in mind.

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

I haven’t wanted to be a character in a book in a long time, but I can say that the character that made me fall in love with romance novels and who I daydreamed about was the character Zoya from the Danielle Steele novel by the same name. She starts out in the book as a teenage aristocrat in Russia, loses everything including her family during the revolution, becomes a ballet dancer, falls in love and loses love but always perseveres. I thought it was a beautiful story. I remember reading that novel with I was 14 and wanting that to be my life.

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

I like to paint. It’s my other creative outlet. I prefer to work with oil-based paints, rather than watercolor or acrylic. My house is filled with my work and I’ve done paintings for relatives and friends, at their request. I’m no Van Gogh, but they don’t look too bad.

Also, to lose weight and get healthier, I took up running a few years ago. As a writer and editor, you do a lot of sitting in front of the computer. It’s good to be active sometimes. I’ve started signing up for 5-K races and 5-milers, running a few times a week to train. It’s fun.

What do you do to interact with your readers?

Right now, I’m doing very little to interact with my readers, unfortunately. I set up a blog and posted my email address to hear from them, but so far I haven’t scheduled any readings or signings. I feel like it’s a little early for something like that. I don’t have an established audience. Maybe I’ll do a few readings and signings after my second book.

Our theme for this month is Ebooks. Do you own an ereader and if so, what the last book you downloaded? If you don’t own an ereader, do you see yourself purchasing one in the future?

I don’t have an ereader but I might buy one in the future. I’m on the fence about the e-format. I really love to read paperbacks and hardbacks. I love how the pages are formatted and the glossy covers. It feels more substantial, more tangible. Also, as a fiction writer and magazine editor I spend a tremendous amount of time sitting in front of a computer all day. It’s nice to take a break from the computer screen. But I also think it’s great that people have the option to download books right away. I know Genesis Press just started offering books in ebook format. The Right Maneuver is one that debuted as an ebook before it was released in paperback.

Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?

I know for sure that even if I never sold another book, I’d still keep writing. This has been a compulsion of mine since I was a kid. I’ve got plots and characters in my head that I just have to get out, no matter whether the stories make it to bookshelves. It’s just a bonus to have other people read these stories.

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

My next novel, A Love Built to Last, had a fun inspiration. I’m a big fan of style television. I thought, “What would it be like if spliced Kimora Lee Simmons from Life in the Fab Lane (from the Style Network) with Rachel Zoe from The Rachel Zoe Project (from the Bravo Network) and then turned up the attitude several notches?” That’s how you get the feisty heroine, Melody Cannon, a successful fashion stylist.

Here’s the pitch I gave to Genesis Press:

Whatever Melody Cannon wants, Melody Cannon gets — or least that has been the case for the past decade. The famous Hollywood stylist is used to giving orders, but when Melody takes an early retirement from Tinseltown and returns home to the Washington, D.C., area to start a new life, she encounters the irresistible force known as Clayton Reed, a local architect whom she hires to design her new abode. Clayton can think of many words to describe Melody, his childhood nemesis who is now his client. Unfortunately, none of those words are good. He’s a patient man but even he can’t control his temper around her. Despite his dislike for the bossy, hot-tempered vixen, Clayton still feels drawn under her spell. As he designs her new home, he gradually breaks down the defensive walls she has built around her. He does it with a passion and love she has never known.

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

Readers can contact me by email at lschildersromance@gmail.com. Or they can go to my blog, http://lschildersromance.blogspot.com/.

THE RIGHT MANEUVER


Keisha Reynolds is a smart, spunky, sexy campaign manager who is not easily intimidated by a challenge. But even Keisha knows when she's in over head after she agrees to help head the campaign of her old college professor Dr. Sydney Parker — a man whom she deeply respects but who is a long-shot win for the congressional seat. The intense campaign takes its toll on the inexperienced campaign manager and Keisha hopes just to make it to Election Day with her sanity and confidence intact.
Unfortunately, things go from bad to worse when she crosses paths with the competition, William Blake, the deputy campaign manager of the seemingly invincible incumbent, Congressman Vincent Dupré. She despises Will but she can’t deny that she feels an overwhelming attraction toward the man, who is as good-looking as he is egotistical and seemingly devious. She tries to deny the magnetism she feels toward him, but knows she is losing the battle. It could lead her to make a big mistake that will cost Parker the election. But Keisha soon discovers that it isn't only lust she has to worry about. Politics can be an ugly game and during the election, an earth-shattering secret is revealed that will shake her to her very core.


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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

BOOK SPOTLIGHT: How To Get Out Of Your Own Way

How to Get Out of Your Own Way
Tyrese Gibson

Actor, singer, songwriter Tyrese Gibson crafts a memoir filled with every emotion and life experience one could possibly imagine. With personal experiences paired with reflective questions based on his extremely popular blog piece, "The Love Circle", Tyrese hopes to inspire readers to pursue their dreams and not let life's obstacles stand in the way.

HOW TO GET OUT OF YOUR OWN WAY is organized into a series of fundamental questions that helped Tyrese redefine who he was as a human being, and evolve into a new man. Tyrese stresses that life becomes infinitely richer when one takes the time to know him or herself and understand the true meaning of peace and fulfillment. This book is a guide to helping yourself, using his experiences as a learning tool. "It's not about talking down to people, it's about elevating them," Tyrese says.

Some of Tyrese's chapter-based questions include: How much do you love yourself? How much do you want for yourself? Why do men cheat? What is your bottom line? Are you ready for the next level?
About the Author

Tyrese Gibson-known to his legions of fans as "Tyrese"-is an American multi-media entertainer who has been hugely successful as a multi-platinum and Grammy-nominated R&B singer, songwriter, rapper, actor, and fashion model.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Born and raised in the gritty South Central L.A. section of Watts, Tyrese was discovered at the age of fourteen when he won a local talent show. His performance in a 1995 Coke commercial, singing the phrase "Always Coca-Cola," led to worldwide recognition and a longstanding music career. After releasing several award-winning albums, he transitioned into films, first with John Singleton's critically acclaimed Baby Boy, followed by some of Hollywood's biggest movies, including 2 Fast 2 Furious, Four Brothers and Michael Bay's Transformers. Tyrese created the bestselling comic book Mayhem and produced the television show First In.

He is currently working on his sixth studio album and can be seen next in the upcoming mega-franchise films, Fast Five and Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon.

LISTEN TO TYRESE'S PRESS CONFERENCE


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BOOK SPOTLIGHT: A Man from Another Land: How Finding My Roots Changed My Life


A Man from Another Land: How Finding My Roots Changed My Life
by Isaiah Washington

In this inspirational memoir, Grey's Anatomy actor Isaiah Washington explains how filling in the gaps of his past led him to discover a new passion: helping those less fortunate. DNA testing revealed that Washington was descended from the Mende people, who today live in Sierra Leone. For many people, the story would end with the results of the search; for Isaiah, it had just begun. Discovering his roots has given him a new purpose, to lead an inspirational life defined by faith and charity.

Actor, producer and human rights activist, Isaiah Washington is an NAACP Image Award and Screen Actors Guild winning American actor. A veteran of several Spike Lee films, Washington is best known for his role as Dr. Preston Burke on the ABC medical drama Grey's Anatomy.


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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

COLUMNIST: Speaking of Words


Speaking of Words…

Ever received an original poem from someone? Didn’t it make you feel special? Even if you didn’t understand it, just the thought of someone taking time to mentally create something specifically for you made you feel awesome. And even if a “special someone” gave you poetry derived from one of the great poets of our day, you still felt this unique gesture meant a lot.

April is National Poetry Month. This month serves as the Mecca for poets to sling their tongue-tools called words with pride and privilege like no other time during the year. During this month, coffee houses, community centers, dinner spots, theater stages, bar lounges, street corners, and many other social spots are where wordsmiths lay it down for their public. Pregnant with thought and full of creativity, poets, spoken-word artists, or griots, whatever they choose to label themselves as, grab the power of words and spin their unique webs to spill out their thoughts, vision, and mission about various topics and life in general. And while words reek with power and direction, some poems are just to be read and heard for the purity of pleasure.
There are many different types of poetry as well as artists. Some people write with the precision of trained creative writing techniques, while others decide to be free with pen and prose taking “poetic license” to do it their way. Perception can take on many different meanings with the different ways of ideas displayed and presented by people who entertain through words. Words are used to provoke thought, change, and present opinions; incite knowledge; and excite emotions on all levels. These mental conditions change lives and the world.

With just the addition of music, words take on new form and life. Singing in different notes and styles bring words into a different atmosphere and can set the listener in the intended mood of the entertainer. How many times have the words to a song or poem stretched you from within and tears flowed? How many times have you watched a favorite movie where a particular passage always makes you smile or laugh out loud? Therefore, it’s a safe analogy to state that words make us humanly poetic in many forms and style. Our expressions and reactions are stimulated by the things we not only see but also hear.
As we read the thoughts and words from ancient times, the language is more likened to poetry than everyday language. But the dramatic mind-set and purpose of the writer made you envision the time, situation, and subject while you read. The tone made you ponder on the words in order to grasp the intended meaning. It is a lasting and powerful way, indeed, to fertilize and landscape the reader’s mind and thoughts about what mattered through the lenses of the writer. Therefore, the technique of words also project power.

Speaking of techniques, here are just a few that apply to poetry and substantially create their own unique formula of word play.

Perception Poems – Written in different voices

Concrete Poems – Use space; how the words are arranged on the page adds meaning to the poem

Acrostic Poems – The first letter of each line reads downward and creates a word, phrase, or sentence.

A Double Acrostic is when both the first and last letters in each line creates words, phrases, and sentences.

Alphabet Poems – The letters of the alphabet are used to create a pattern for words or lines in a poem.

Important Poems – Tell the significance of an object or feeling. Both the first and last line of the poem read the same.

Found Poems – Writing that was not intended as a poem but is combined in a new way to create a poem.

Calligram – Meaning: calli = beautiful, gramma = writing; calligrams are poems written in a shape that represents the meaning or an important object in the poem.

Couplet – pair of lines in poetry, usually rhymed

Spoonerism – The swapping of the initial sounds of two words to create two different words.
Limerick – Five-line poem; lines 1, 2, and 5 rhyme and have 3 beats. Lines 2 and 3 rhyme and have 2 beats.

Free – Poems not written in any particular format. May or may not rhyme. It is more about sharing emotions than following any particular pattern.

Here’s a poem written by me. This type of poem is called a Double Rondeau. Have some fun with this poem:

• 1. read this poem from the bottom up
• 2. now read every other line from bottom to top
• 3. and every other line top to bottom

DEAR MISS ANNIE MAE’S OLD TRUNK

Dear Miss Annie Mae is missed
She’s buried with a teacup from which she drunk
It’s the only thing of hers that still exists
The late Miss Annie Mae’s old trunk
It contains a romantic letter or two
Her relatives ache to search it through
It’s definitely the last of its kind around
Clamped shut and starting to rust
The keys were lost and never found
Locked for years and covered with dust
From photos to awards and other glories
Its contents are full of many stories
Trimmed in shades of yellow and blues
Its insides are also crushed velvet padded
Filled with old costumes and antique shoes
It’s hid from all in the upstairs attic
Her name’s painted in red, I hear, I’m told
With big dents and its middle sunk
It’s cedar inside and very old
Dear Miss Annie Mae’s old trunk

Now here’s another type of poem by me – free verse with an occasional rhyme.

FIRSTBORN


His existence was as tiny as my knowledge of him
back then
when it was the beginning.
I had just learned I was in love with someone I couldn’t even see,
someone so very much a part of me.
As time passed and my body spoke visions of another
I grew also.
Manifested to my heart were feelings so foreign that grew stronger every day
and that still sway my being.
Someone was changing me,
changing my life,
all the while he didn’t even know it.
At dusk on a Sunday past dinner at 5:21 p.m. we finally met.
Thank God too,
this unfamiliar battle had rumbled us all day.
My prince’s skin tone was a Nubian hue of perfect.
Happiness became the new color of my eyes.
Pain and pleasure lived through me,
had threw me
into a new life
the welcoming of my firstborn.
On that eve I too was born again
And yes, I had shouted halleluiah
and a few other things.
My mind would now be thinking for two.
My heart rejoiced for one more than myself.
My steps would now dictate either victory or treachery for us both,
and from the look in his tiny eyes he approved of my presence too.
What a gift from above
my firstborn
this tiny love.
Eventually his conversation turned from gurgles to words and laughter and then laughter through words until we made up our own language.
His appearance manifested as a newborn, toddler, boy, young man, teenage adolescent, grown man still approving of me. Needing me, and I he.
He’s a true king
and our bond still reigns.
My firstborn.
My first true heartbeat.
My gift from God.
My friend.
My son.
I’m glad you’re the one.


See how much fun you can have with words? Now, take some time and create your own poems. Start with a thought, memory, person, or place and let your fingers flow across the page. Don’t worry about whether or not it rhymes; just make sure it expresses your thoughts. Will you share it with others or just add it to your other memoirs of life? That decision is totally up to you. Just remember, when you share your words, you share your way of looking at the world. Words have power; therefore, so do you.

I’d love to hear your responses or read some of your poetry.

Pens up! to speaking words the write way.

Rachel Berry has been gifted by our Creator to be many things; on the list of these blessings are daughter, caregiver, wife, mother, grandmother, sister, best friend, aunt, published author & poet, motivational speaker, radio talk-show host, mentor, columnist, and community leader.

Berry is proudly promoting her latest book, A Slip In The Right Direction, part one of a YA series.

To arrange speaking engagements, e-mail her at admin@blackpearlsunited.org.



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Monday, April 25, 2011

FEATURED AUTHOR: Kennisha Hill


Candid, real and refreshing are what some readers describe Kennisha's words. They couldn’t be more true. She is an author, speaker, and entrepreneur with a desire to pen words of both practical and biblical inspiration, through fiction and non-fiction books. She's the author of Uncovered, Awakened and Simply Wisdom: Empowerment for Your Purpose. Learn more by visiting her website at kennishahill.com.

How did you start out your writing career?

I have been writing stories since I was about five years old. After discovering my passion to reach people by sharing inspiring stories, I decided to pursue writing on a much higher level. After a push from my husband, I started blogging and then connected with other writers. I joined a few writing clubs, critique groups and ultimately decided to take that next step forward. It was one of the best and most fulfilling decisions I've ever made.

What did you learn while writing this book?

As a mother of three small children, I learned that it is possible to write, while maintaining a healthy balance with my family. I also learned the importance of perseverance. Though in this industry, it's possible to get lots of rejection as you seek publication, it's still very important to keep moving forward and not let that become a stumbling block.

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

In all of my books, I write with a heart to deliver an inspiring message. In Uncovered, I wanted to bright to light the importance of real love and how it truly does cover a multitude of sins.

Which character did you have the most fun writing about?

Honestly, I had lots of fun writing Tamara's fiance', Kameron's, character! Here's a man who absolutely adores Tamara and really love's her in spite of her mess. I wanted to write a character to show women who may be in this situation that it is possible for a man to love who you are for better or for worse.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?

The amount of support that's out there, from readers and other writers. It blesses me to know that there are readers who are impacted by my stories, but I also appreciate the incredible support I get from other more experienced writers who send me a timely word of encouragement. Lots of love for writers out there!

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

I love creating the characters- I get to make them whoever I want them to be. Truthfully, I am terrible at marketing because a part of me feels so unworthy of any praise. A part of writing is putting yourself out there and most times I'm a backstage gal.

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

1.That a good story doesn't need to be forced. It will unfold beautifully in time.

2.How crucial it is to maintain a healthy balance between writing and quality time with my family.

3.To get ready to put in lots of work! Once the book is written, the real work begins!!! :)

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

Do: Keep writing. Even if it's just in a journal everyday or a blog. The more you write, the better you become.

Don't be discouraged. God has equipped you with the ability to write something that needs to be said. Don't let rejections be the end of it all for you.

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

That writing books is different things to different people. It is more than just a hobby or an escape, for some.. Writing is a business, career and a ministry for others. As with any other career or art, having a great support system helps tremendously!

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

Besides spending time with three littles one (ages 3, 1 and 8 weeks), I have a new found love of cooking. My husband and I love to watch "Chopped". We try to create our own unique dishes!

What do you do to interact with your readers?

I frequently post on Facebook, Twitter and I write weekly blog-post my "Refreshing Words for Women" blog.

Our theme for this month is Ebooks. Do you own an ereader and if so, what the last book you downloaded? If you don’t own an ereader, do you see yourself purchasing one in the future?

I do own an iPad where I have Kindle, Nook and iBooks apps. Love all of them! The last book I downloaded was "Love Unexpected" by Shelia Goss

Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?

Without a doubt, I know of God's goodness and faithfulness!

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

Yes! I'm currently working on two books. One is the next book following Uncovered entitled "Unspoken" and the other is a Novella called Marriage at War. Here is an short synopsis:

United States Marine Captain, Alonzo Rodriguez, is welcomed home from Afghanistan by his wife Carla, who has been anticipating his arrival for four years since their wedding night. Little did she know, her charming husband would return home a perfect stranger. With night terrors plaguing him, an alcohol addiction and moments of near insanity, Carla finds herself praying for her husband’s deliverance before her affections are placed elsewhere. Can she hold true to her wedding vows and love him for better or for worse?

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

I love to hear from readers! You can email me at authorkennisha@gmail.com or visit my website http://kennishahill.com/ or Facebook page at http://facebook.com/kennisha.hill

Uncovered


Genre: Christian Contemporary Fiction

In Awakened, Tamara sought redemption out of a life of pain and compromise through success and love. After a series of unfortunate events, Tamara moved back home, met NBA Player Kameron and fell in love. Yet, as Tamara tried to let go of her past with ex-boyfriend Benjamin and move on, she was suddenly reintroduced to Nyla, the daughter she and Benjamin placed for adoption after she was born. And with Benjamin giving her a job with the NSA, one she's always wanted, her past continues to follow her. Having never told Kameron about Nyla, she gave him a six month waiting period before agreeing to marry- hoping she would find a way out of this tangled web.

Uncovered begins on a cold and rainy Seattle morning, when the adoptive mother, Sarah, left Nyla shivering at Tamara's doorstep; forcing her new life into a tailspin.

Tamara must decide whether she is ready for another life-altering change that could affect her career and her relationship with Kameron. In a chilling court scene, to prove who’s the better pick for Nyla’s custody, Tamara puts up a fight and prays his love is strong enough to cover her multitude of sins.

Book Trailer




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Thursday, April 21, 2011

BLOG TOUR - IF YOU LOVE ME By Claudia Moss

Frenonia Roberts leads an idyllic life, if you ask her baby sister Rhonda, her best friend Sharmayne and anyone else looking in on her glamorous, Buppie existence in Atlanta, where she high-steps it through her days as a young entrepreneur, the owner of TheWeAreFamily Bookstore and Coffeeshop. She is the apple of her mother’s eye, a pacesetter spearheading the city’s National Black Arts Festival, hostess of the esteemed Isis Book Club and the flame in J.T.’s heart…until, that is, Free closes the bookstore one evening and bows to the whim of a supernatural breeze guiding her Mercedes towards Techwood Homes, a throwaway neighborhood off her normal route back to the suburbs. Free, glad to be, has no warning that a simple turn in the road will catapult her into a devastating, downward spiral to a place she’s never known…until now.

In turmoil, Free watches as worlds collide and hearts weep. Used to being the epitome of control, she learns to surrender to an unseen power moving for her good, even when she craves little more than an endless night. Meanwhile, the people closest to Free can’t stay her inevitable plunge; they’re too busy handling their own dilemmas: treading water, battling demons and stumbling through their own mazes. How is Free to know an aged stranger with the South in her mouth would be the saving grace she and the others (Rhonda, Sharmayne, Pinky, Pastoria and J.T.) would need to lead them back to love?

A novel about the healing power of love and redemption, about betrayal and longing, about family and its many forms, If You Love Me, Come resonates with lyrical language and reservoirs of emotion. Claudia Moss, a storyteller from a long line of Southern storytellers, plants her post in literature.


CLAUDIA MOSS is a novelist, poet, blogger, motivational speaker and talk show host. She is a former College Board consultant and a former DeKalb County English educator. The author of the adolescent novel Dolly: Memoirs of a High School Graduate, Claudia has contributed to several anthologies. She resides in Clarkston, Georgia, with her family. If You Love Me, Come is her second novel.

Get to Know Claudia

What inspires you: to live, to write, to express yourself?

“I am captivated with the notion that we were made in the Creator’s image, that we are creators and that we have the power to attract the life that we want to live. I am drunk on the thought that we can speak the colors, the brilliant and vibrant colors, like artfully splashed paint, onto the canvas of our lives, and be who we want to be!”

Who are your idols as far as writers?

“I adore so many writers, of which you are one! Idols? Hmmm. There has never been a time when I was not in love with the works of Toni Morrison, Fiona Zedde, and Alice Walker. I admire Terry McMillan, Edwidge Danticat, Pearl Cleage, August Wilson, Trisha R. Thomas and Helen Elaine Lee. I have yet to read Odessa Rose’s “Water in A Broken Glass,” but I have heard she is a wonderful stylist.”

What advice do you have for writers who are just starting out?

“Know who you are. Don’t write to emulate someone you admire who writes. Never bother to write to chase a dollar; it will only lead you to a job. Go within, meet your talents and passion, and if you are a writer, you will do what you cannot help but do: you will write. No matter what. That kind of passion will save you, baptize you, caress you when the rejections come and see you through when the work is done and you, holding it, realize all over again how very much you love the art.”

What can we expect from you, Ms. Moss, in the next few years?

“Creation! This year, I will introduce a new character, unique and outspoken, in a collection that I am proofing now. Her name is Wanda B. Wonders, and she is the Everywoman counterpart of Langston Hughes’ famous character, Jessie B. Simple. My first poetry collection will be published this year as well. On the drawing board are plans to delve into children and adolescent literature, as my first book was an adolescent novel, DOLLY: The Memoirs of a High School Graduate.

“In addition, in the next few years there will be a Claudia Moss calendar series and a card line. I will further explore being on both sides of the camera in sensual, interracial and multicultural views. A one-woman show is planned with burlesque and other manifestations of dance, poetry and dramatic readings. From my travels, I anticipate penning a travel log. I will write a screenplay and make my mark in film and television. And of course, there will be other novels, (lesbian, main stream, romance, and erotica) anthologies that I will edit and publish, fiction collections and stage productions. In short, I will be somewhere doing Claudia Moss as only I can! Quite frankly, I am an ambitious soul! You can expect me to shatter barriers and tap dance on whom I shouldn’t be!”

In terms of novel writing, how do you feel about quality vs. quantity? Do you believe one can effectively achieve both?

“I would like to be a bestselling author with the capacity to publish a yearly blockbuster like the next author, who makes her living this way.

“But realistically, I know that to produce the literature that spotlights quality, attention to detail, and provocative subjects and themes, one must slip outside of time and wade the River Styx, going deaf and dumb to chasing the dollar, and marinate and stew and write and ponder and rewrite and bake and baste the details and pray and cry and write and then and only then, walk towards a printer or publisher. Whichever, I will always cast my lot for quality vs. quantity, for I want my work to speak for me, for itself, when I am no longer here and my footsteps have been effaced in the sand.

“Yes, I believe one can effectively achieve both, if one has been writing and rewriting and placing the manuscripts in a safe, waiting for the magic moment when the works can be published yearly, much like J. K. Rawlings. Remember? She had written, what, four or five Harry Potter novels and had them boxed away, when she released the first book in her infamous series. Great timing I’m sure she didn’t plan!”

Tell us a little about your writing process. How long did it take to complete your novel? Do you have a certain place or need a certain ambiance in order to feel creative? Do you set aside “X” amount of time to write each day or do you wait until inspiration strikes?

“I once wrote every morning, when I left the English classroom. There was usually no preordained stopping time. I wrote until my body moaned and locked up and down, threatening to topple me to the carpet. Music regaled me from my desktop speakers, the house was still and I felt too blessed not to be doing what I’d prayed to do…write all day long. My writing process involved reading what I’d written the day before, rereading my novel’s outline, meditating momentarily on the day’s work, a prayer here and there, and I’d begin writing.

“One way that I proofread is to consistently read aloud what I’ve written, fine-tuning my ears to a tight, natural phrasing.

“Today I know that fear of failure was at the root of driving myself so doggedly back then. Now, I determine which hat the day calls for and I wear that hat as well as I possibly can, be it promoting, proofing, or writing, not necessarily in that order. I yet write with music filling my office, setting moods and creating atmosphere. I write and get it all out, read and reread, and write some more. Then the next day, I revise and proofread what I’ve worked on, before continuing with the new chapter. And if the writing doesn’t want to come, I bow to that and either continue proofing and rereading the manuscript or I rise and do something else, my mind free to embrace the hiatus, my subconscious quietly filling in what the story needs, while I exercise, bake, chat or journal.

“I am confident that I am where I should be. I know that the Divine directs and orders my steps, and I will receive all that I am supposed to have. I focus on the image that I have of myself, not on what others think I should be or have what they think I should possess. I am comfortable in my skin, and I adore Miss Claudia.

“It took me a little over ten years to complete If You Love Me, Come. Por que? Life washed in on me and flooded my writing time. For many years I didn’t write, but I always knew on a visceral level that everything was all right. That what I longed to do would be my reality one day. I had to trust the Unknown within me.

“I love to write in my office. If I had to write elsewhere, I would, but I doubt I’d feel as creative as I do right here where I am currently sitting at 4:13 AM. (laughing)

“Every day I write something. It may not be writing on a novel or short story. It could be a poem or a blog entry, either for my blog at www.theGolden-Goddess.blogspot.com or on a private site by invitation only. I don’t wait for inspiration, yet when I am writing, as I say above, I do not force those times when the writing comes in spurts. I trust that it will come, so I rise to do other things, although my subconscious mind is forever writing and creating.”

Parts of the novel have a feel similar to that of Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God with the use of dialect and the strong connection of the characters to the natural world? Were you conscious of that while writing?

“Although I adore the work of Zora Neale Hurston, I was conscious only of my grandmothers’ voices, especially my paternal grandmother, Sophie Mae Moss. She and my maternal grandmother, Pearlie Mae Young, made my family’s trips to the South delightful every summer we visited from Waterbury, CT. My mother passed away when I was in the ninth grade, ans my grandmothers stepped in to take my siblings and me by the hand and guide us into young adulthood. Both women were amazing, enterprising, Southern matriarchs, loved and respected by many in the small towns of Tuskegee, Roba and Little Texas, Alabama.

Both lived close to the natural world, closer than I’d ever witnessed coming from my inner-city neighborhood in Waterbury. Actually, in my grandparents’ presence, along with my father, I learned to plant and pick everything from corn, peas, cotton and cucumbers. I slopped hogs, swept yards, walked long country roads and listened to ghost stories with my siblings at my grandparents and father’s knee. Relocating to the South at such an early age in my childhood had everything to do with what is evident in my interior writing world.

Find Claudia at the flowing links:

www.Twitter.com/theLadySiren

www.Facebook.com/ClaudiaMossAuthor
 (My Author Fan Page)

http://www.claudiamoss.com/



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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

BOOK SPOTLIGHT: He Was My Man First By Nancey Flowers & Courtney Parker

One man. Two Women. Valentine Daye is Rich’s ride or die chick from the projects while Vanessa Knight is his uptown girl, who also happens to be his co-worker at the elite Jorge Jacobs clothier. These two women will stop at nothing to make Rich their man permanently.

Richard is on the fast track at Jorge Jacob’s, the leading fashion design clothier in the country and Vanessa plans to be by his side as he makes his ascent up the corporate ladder. However, Valentine helped build Rich’s career and was there when he was merely a drug dealer from the ‘hood. Though Valentine works in the corporate world, she maintains her street mentality and will not hesitate to fight for hers.

Valentine Daye is a product of the streets. Raised in Lafayette Garden projects, she lost her father at the tender age of ten and her mother at the age of thirteen. She was pawned off to live with her aunt Zenobia who had enough problems and didn’t want another mouth to feed. By fifteen, the feisty and sexy young Valentine was living the life with drug lord, Colombo. Things were going well until Colombo and his crew are murdered, and Valentine is found alone and beaten by Richard Washington in the apartment from which Colombo operated.

Richard Washington, affectionately called Rich by Valentine is a handsome rugged former thug. Prior to the murder of Colombo, Rich was one of Colombo’s many street runners. However, Rich never cared for Colombo or the way he treated Valentine and doesn’t waste time picking up where Colombo left off by making Valentine his Queen.

Vanessa Knight is a woman who has everything and wants for nothing…except Richard Washington. Vanessa is the heiress to Soul Shine, a multi-million dollar hair care company founded by her grandparents. Armed with a Bachelors degree from NYU and a Master’s in Global Fashion Management from the Fashion Institute of Technology, Vanessa is willing to forgive Richard’s flawed background. Mainly that he attended a college that no one has ever heard of, her parents loathe him and he’s dating a chickenhead who is not deserving of a prize such as Richard. However, her patience is waning and Vanessa tells Richard that he must decide what’s important to him—a flourishing career at Jorge Jacobs, where with her assistance he can become Vice President or a life where he’s constantly dwelling on a scarred past?

Valentine and Richard are a happy couple who have weathered a few minor altercations. Valentine is well aware of the fact that Richard occasionally has flings. But doesn’t every man? Valentine knows that if he has a penis, he’s bound to stray, but he always finds his way home. However, along comes Vanessa Knight, Valentine’s worst nightmare and he’s starting to lose his way.

When Daye meets Knight the plot thickens and someone walks away with a black eye and her dignity while the other winds up in jail. Richard is put to the test and must make a decision. Does he gamble and start a new life with the beautiful and conniving Vanessa who is incapable of love or does he stay with his around the way girl, Valentine who has been with him through thick and thin?

He Was My Man First is the first narrative to intertwine contemporary fiction with street lit. Fast paced and packed with drama, this novel will have a cross over appeal. The characters jump off the page and readers will find themselves rooting for Valentine and Richard to stay together, but not all stories are meant to have a happy ending.

Nancey Flowers is the author of the #1 Essence bestselling novel Shattered Vessels. She also penned No String Attached and A Fool’s Paradise, and contributed to Proverbs for the People and I Didn’t Work This Hard Just to Get Married. Nancey lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband, Michael. She’s presently working on the sequel, He’s Still My Man: After I Do.

Courtney Parker is a writer specializing in self-help, inspiration, and fiction and nonfiction. As a celebrity ghostwriter, novelist, and children’s book author, Courtney has written or collaborated with such bestselling authors as Terrell Owens, Nikki Turner, Victoria Christopher Murray, music producer Teddy Riley, and Olympic gold medalist Maurice Green. Her works include a contribution in Twilight Moods and her debut novel, Runnin’ Game. Currently, she works on the Emmy Award-winning Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Courtney is presently working on the sequel, A Man of My Own.

Book Club Discussion Questions:

1. Why do you think Valentine stayed with Rich as long as she did?

2. Do you think Rich loved Valentine? Do you think Richard also loved Vanessa?

3. Do you believe Valentine overreacted when she saw Vanessa and Richard in the restaurant? What would your reaction have been?

4. What is Vanessa’s motivation? Love? Power? Or possession?

5. Like Vanessa’s mother Cornelia, do you feel people should date outside of their social status?

6. Would you take Rich back after he cheated on you? If so, why?

7. Is half a man, better than no man at all?

Excerpt:  My Man

It’s 2:06 A.M. My stomach has been uneasy for the past two hours and a rash of goose bumps have taken residence on my caramel skin. I’ve been up since midnight wondering where my man is and when he’s coming home. There’s no acceptable excuse that he could possibly proffer for being out this late on a work night and not calling. I’ve already taken the initiative of contacting his mother in the event that there was a family emergency and she confirmed that everything is copasetic. Calling his friends is pointless, since I know they’ll cover for him. As much as I hate to admit it, I know he’s with another woman.

Rich and I have been together for nine years and have been engaged for three of those years. I’m the one wearing the two-carat, princess-cut diamond and platinum engagement ring on my finger. Rich and I go back many, many years and he was my man first and will always be my man. My friends always say, “Valentine, cut Rich off. He ain’t nuthin’ but a dog.” But they’ll never understand our relationship and our commitment to one another. Those other girls that he used to kick it with on the side weren’t nothing serious. I understand that men cheat and those women out there who think their men don’t cheat, are only fooling themselves. If the notion that your man ain’t sticking his dick in some other chick helps you sleep better at night, then good for you. I like to keep it real!

Richard Washington and I met when I was seventeen years old and he was eighteen. I was messing with this drug dealer named Colombo, who had Lafayette Gardens and Marcy Projects on lock. I was Colombo’s number one chick and life was real good with us, but whenever things went wrong with his game I got the short end of the stick or the thick end of the belt, literally. Colombo was known for his quick temper and being violent. Nevertheless, my options were limited.

My father pulled a Houdini and disappeared when I was ten years old. Three years later, my mother was robbed and stabbed to death on her way home from work, leaving me with her younger sister, my aunt Zenobia.

Aunt Zenobia spent much of her time trying to tackle baby daddy number three. It didn’t seem to matter that baby daddies number one and two pissed on her and left. Aunt Zenobia hunted men for sport and was determined to find her big payday. She barely raised her own two children, CJ and Shaquetta, and definitely didn’t want to be bothered with another mouth to feed. I figured adding me to the picture made it difficult for her to pin down another man. Especially since the majority of the men who visited Aunt Zenobia flirted with me behind her back. Yeah, I had barely entered my teens, but my body was very shapely, which made me look mature for my age. Aunt Zenobia was wise on these men, and though she never raised the issue with me, I knew it annoyed her. Either way, I didn’t stick around very long, and by fifteen I was living the life with Colombo.

Rich was one of Colombo’s many runners. Colombo operated out of an apartment in LG projects, but we didn’t live there. Colombo was a follower of Biggie Smalls’s “Ten Crack Commandments” rule number five: never sell no crack where you rest at. I don’t care if they want a ounce, tell ’em bounce.
I had seen Rich at the headquarters, and we would make small talk, but Colombo didn’t like me associating with the hired help. Although I handled the bookkeeping, I knew more than anything I was his dime piece. However, if he ever caught someone admiring me for too long that could’ve caused trouble. Therefore, I kept communication to a minimum. Rich was different though, whenever he came around, he carried himself with respect. His territory and money were always on point and when his business was complete he left. Rich wasn’t like the other runners who sucked up to Colombo, hung around idly, and made excuses for coming up shortchanged. He’s the kind of brother that you can carry to the club one night and a black-tie affair the next. At six feet, two inches, with burnt caramel skin, sensuous lips, silky eyebrows, and lustrous hair to match, Rich put male models to shame. So even though I didn’t say much, my eyes must have said a million words. Whenever Rich came by my heart would flutter and it didn’t help that he was always so nice. All of Colombo’s workers were polite to me because I was his girl. Most of them even had the nerve to proposition me on the low, but I knew better than to ever mess with any of his men. If Colombo ever found out they were disrespecting him he would have popped their dumb asses, but I kept my mouth shut. I could handle myself.

Colombo and I had a bittersweet relationship. The sweet side was he wined and dined me and bought me anything my heart desired. He spared no expense, because he loved to show me off. After all, I was young, sexy, and hot and Colombo knew that if we split the next big-time hustler would be on standby. He paraded me around like a queen. However, he also had a dark side. He was very controlling and abusive to me and his employees. You never knew what or who was going to set him off. He could be in a room with fifty people and even if he never spoke a word to you, he could recollect the outfit you wore, your hair and eye color, amongst other details that the average person may overlook. His memory was remarkable—he could recall numbers, dates, places, and incidents that at the time may have seemed insignificant, but down the line may have had a major impact on his decision to do business with someone. Colombo didn’t take unnecessary chances with his operation and trusted his team to have similar values and common sense. Unfortunately, that wasn’t always the case.

Find the authors at:

Twitter: HeWasMyManFirst

Sites: www.nanceyflowers.com

www.nanceyandcourtney.com

www.hewasmymanfirst.com

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Monday, April 18, 2011

FEATURED AUTHOR: Adora Bennett

Adora Bennett is the pen name for an international business executive whose career encompasses experience as a copywriter at a world-renown New York advertising agency, fashion writing for a major department store, global marketing for a Fortune 500 company and a masthead position at a major metropolitan newspaper.

She has travelled around the world extensively, lived in several cities across Europe, and divides her time between homes in Boston, MA and the South of France.

How did you start out your writing career?

I can’t recall a time when I didn’t write. I worked as a copywriter for several years before and after attending business school. I was encouraged to write a novel by a school classmate who is herself a successful writer. While we haven’t seen each other since we were 12 years old, we started corresponding about five years ago and she played an instrumental role in my beginning to write novels. I have written several pieces in different genres, including Young Adult and short stories. Allegro is my first published work.

What did you learn while writing this book?

I was responsible for book development (among other things) at the newspaper where I worked. Although it would seem that I should have known a lot about the process, it’s very different when you’re the author. I also found the editing process fascinating…and a little intimidating at first, but it definitely made the book better.

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

Well, there were personal goals—I wanted to prove to myself that I could create something worthy of being published. I had also spent a lot of time reading blogs and comments from readers who were saying that they wanted to see some older romantic leads in the books they read. So I hoped to write a novel that was interesting and enjoyable for that market, but still appealing to anyone who enjoys a romance novel.

Which character did you have the most fun writing about?

I enjoyed writing about Jada, of course. Many of the scenes where Jada is interacting with her boss and her colleagues rang very true for me. But I found that I really enjoyed developing the character of Katrina (nicknamed Renie), Jada’s best friend. She is such a great counterpoint to the more serious and buttoned-up Jada. She’s a loyal friend who likes to poke and prod Jada—but she never crosses the line to become mean or overbearing.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?

It may sound strange, but when I wrote the book and learned it would be published, I didn’t think about what it would be like when people other than friends actually read it and reacted to it! I worked as a copywriter, so it’s not that I was afraid of negative comments. But, you have no idea what the general reaction will be. I’m happy to say, the response thus far has been great. I guess the happy surprise is that people have had such a strong, positive reaction to the book.

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

I love it when I have an idea and the words just seem to flow. Most of the time I write longhand first, and then I edit onto my laptop. It’s a lot of fun when it all seems to come together. It’s probably not surprising that what I dislike the most is when this doesn’t happen. I get distracted easily when I write, so I need to have the right space around me to be productive. When I can’t make that happen, it’s extremely frustrating.

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

1) I wish that I’d realized how supportive friends and others would be of my writing. 2) Consequently, I didn’t make an effort to dedicate more time to writing. It always seemed that writing time got compromised by other things since it was just something that I was doing “just for me”. 3) Each step of the process has brought with it enjoyment and a learning experience. While writing a book is daunting, it’s also fun and there are new insights in each step along the way.

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

Do try to write as often as possible—no matter what it is you’re writing. I think writing is like a muscle and it works best when it stays exercised. Don’t throw what you write away. I have a good friend who is a fantastic writer and she deletes/tosses anything she doesn’t think is good. Those fragments can often come in handy down the line. (I think I’ve finally convinced her not to throw stuff away.)

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

Sometimes I think family and friends assume that because you enjoy writing, you can write anything at any time, at the drop of a dime—whether it’s poetry, a letter to the insurance company, a novel. If you’re a writer, you can just sit down and, “Poof” something brilliant ends up on the page. If it were only that simple! So, I wish that non-writers would understand that while they may not see all of the process, it is indeed a process that takes time to do well.

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

One of my favorite books ever is The Alchemist, by Paolo Cohelo. I read it at least once a year. I think I would like to be the shepherd in that story because he had great adventures and learns so much about himself and life along his journey. It’s not all happiness and cheer along the way, but the end result is inspiring.

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

I enjoy traveling and spending time at my home in the South of France. There’s no place like it in the world—a wonderful quality of life, fantastic weather and amazing food. I also have great friends there who have been very supportive of my writing.

What do you do to interact with your readers?

It’s all still new for me, but I’ve got a Facebook Fan Page and a Twitter account. I have also got some signings in the works—both here and hopefully over in the UK where I used to live and have some family and friends.

Our theme for this month is Ebooks. Do you own an ereader and if so, what the last book you downloaded? If you don’t own an ereader, do you see yourself purchasing one in the future?

It’s kind of funny that I don’t own an e-reader because I worked with one of the big e-reader companies on getting my company’s newspaper formatted to be read on one. I tend not to be an early adopter of technology. I wait for all the glitches to be worked out before I buy. I also admit to liking the touch and feel of paper—newspapers and books. While the convenience of an e-reader is appealing, the idea is less so for me. Nevertheless, I’m sure I’ll jump on the bandwagon soon enough.

Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?

Hmm. My first impulse is to say, “Not much!” But, I’ll try. I think that writing is something that I’ve always wanted to explore but time and circumstance always got in the way. I know for sure now that if there is something you were meant to do, it will happen, no matter how you might try to ignore or deny that aspiration. Situations often have a strange way of aligning themselves in your life, but align, they do.

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

I have a couple of book ideas. One is a sequel to Allegro. But I have also started work on another story with a different twist. It’s still very much in development, so I don’t want to say much more than that. I could wake up tomorrow and decide that it was all a very bad idea!

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

I have:
* A website: www.adorabennettromance.com

* A Facebook Fan page: Allegro by Adora Bennett
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150380839160088&set=a.10150380834420088.616298.535080087#!/pages/Allegro-by-Adora-Bennett/181704601858574?sk=wall&filter=12

* A Twitter account: @AllegroBook

Post a note on my Facebook page!

ALLEGRO

At 45, Jada Green has made it to the top of her ad agency, Honoraria, through her smarts, determination and hard work. She has learned how to swim with the sharks and not only survive, but thrive. Still, like most of her girlfriends, Jada’s love life is non-existent and the prospect of love hardly even seems worth hoping for. Until she meets Lucca Alessandri, a tall, strikingly handsome Italian company president—and a prospective client.

Their whirlwind romance takes them from the tony streets of Boston to casual greasy-spoon diners to the breathtaking vistas of Torino, Italy as Jada and Lucca discover the depth of their passion…and a rival’s passion for revenge.


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Friday, April 15, 2011

FEATURED AUTHOR: Stacy-Deanne

Stacy-Deanne is an award-winning author of crime, mysteries and interracial romance novels. She’s been writing professionally for over thirteen years. Her first published book is the award-winning biography, “Divas of the New Millennium” (2005) followed by, “Everlasting” (2007) and “Melody” (2008). She is featured alongside other notable authors in the 2006 NAACP-nominated book, “Literary Divas: The Top 100+ African-American Women in Writing”. She was born, raised and resides in Houston, Texas.

How did you start out your writing career?

I started on a whim. I’d always loved writing but never thought of doing it as a career. When I was nineteen I got my first computer and I immediately began a story. I hadn’t planned to but it was as if something took over and I knew that’s what I wanted to do. I love writing and it truly makes me happy.

What did you learn while writing this book?

The main thing I like about writing crime and mysteries is the element of surprise and I brought out so many twists that I surprised myself. I learned that my level of suspense has intensified since my last novel and I’ll continue to grow with each future release.

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

I just hope to entertain. If this book can make someone’s day better or take readers away from stress or a hectic life and just give them a moment of peace then I’ve done my job.

Which character did you have the most fun writing about?

Man I loved writing about all of them! LOL! I’d say my favorite was Simon Watts because he is such a deep character. There are so many sides and layers to Simon. His personality keeps you guessing and he is such a passionate character. He’s mesmerizing and at times it was as if I hadn’t even created him.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?

That I keep learning. Just when I think I know all there is to know about writing, I learn something new. I love that because it keeps me on my toes. Authors should always research and keep up with different techniques and ways to shake up their writing.

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

I love writing the first draft. There’s nothing like meeting those characters or getting into that story like the very first time. It gives me a rush and is so exciting. I won’t say I hate editing, but it’s not my favorite part of the process. I’d love to just be able to spit out a first draft that was perfect but editing is a necessary evil. Editing our work is also how we become better writers.

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

1. That life doesn’t change much after publication.
2. That the bulk of promotion is on the author’s shoulders.
3. That publication has its cons as well as its pros.

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

Don’t write strictly for fame and fortune. If you don’t love writing and have a deep down need to write, do something else. It has to be a feeling inside you that compels you to write because you love it and that should be your main reason starting off. There is nothing wrong with having goals but make sure they are realistic. Start off with small goals you can accomplish and go from there. Don’t start off immediately thinking about publication. Your first goal should be to write the best book you can. You have plenty of time to think of publication. Writing is a marathon not a race.

Do study how to write a publishable manuscript and the ins and outs of the publishing industry. You’ll be glad you did and it helps you stay a step ahead.

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

That being an author in real-life is not like the image they see of authors on television and movies. Some people think once a writer’s sold a couple of books they’re on their way to fame and fortune. It’s not like that and for those where it’s happened, those are rare exceptions. Most writers have regular jobs and do the same things they did before publication. I also hate that some people think anyone can write a book. Anyone might can string words together and “call” it a book but it takes hard work, determination, talent and patience to write a book that’s publishable.

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

Dr. Henry Jekyll because he could step out of his normal life and experience things as Hyde he never had the courage to do. He might have done bad things but Hyde took him to a level that was already inside of him. He just had to let it out. I think it would be amazing if I could step out of who I am for a little while and do something I wouldn’t dare. Not murder or anything of course. LOL! Just something I’m too afraid to do as myself but always wanted to.

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

I’m a very solitary person and a homebody so I love to chill and be in my zone. I live inside my mind and I always retreat there whether I’m writing or not. LOL! So just relaxing and taking it easy is what I do between writing breaks.

What do you do to interact with your readers?

I work the social networks and Facebook and that’s where I come in contact with readers. I am always online and I am very approachable when it comes to people. I don’t mind for fans or readers to reach out to me and I love picking readers’ brains and finding out what they like and don’t like about their reading choices.

Our theme for this month is Ebooks. Do you own an ereader and if so, what the last book you downloaded? If you don’t own an ereader, do you see yourself purchasing one in the future?

I LOVE ebooks! I am a big cheerleader for ebooks. I’ve had a Sony Reader since December 2009. I love it! Honestly I can’t recall the last book I downloaded because I download books in clumps. LOL! I download so many at a time but the last book that stood out was Delilah by Sheila M. Goss. I loved that book and it was one of the best books I read of 2010.

Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?

That everything I’ve done and every choice I’ve made stands from fate.

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


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

People can reach me by email through the contact page on my site: http://www.stacy-deanne.net/

They can also connect with me on many social networks. They can send me a request on Facebook and visit me below on Twitter.

http://www.twitter.com/stacydeanne

Publisher’s Site: http://www.peaceinthestormpublishing.com/

Giving up the Ghost (Book 1 in the Bree and Steven Series) will be released in print, Kindle and Nook. Look out for The Season of Sin, book two in the Bree and Steven Series!

Thanks so much for having me!

Giving up the Ghost

Albany Detective Brianna “Bree” Morris is having the year from hell. A sadistic admirer has been stalking her for months and now her friend Cheyenne Wilson has been beaten and left for dead.


With her ex-lover and faithful partner, Steven Kemp, Bree thrusts herself into the case. It’s not long before they believe two unrelated British men are connected to the attack. Michael is a womanizing artist with a ferocious appetite for rough sex. Simon is a wealthy free spirit looking for love in all the wrong places, but has one too many skeletons in his closet.

Bree struggles to determine fact from fiction when it comes to Michael and Simon but her attempts are blurred by Michael's manipulation and her sexual attraction to Simon, who Steven’s convinced cannot be trusted.

Meanwhile the stalker does everything in his power to get close to Bree and his obsession evokes a spiral of violence.

Bree must trust her heart to find answers but her heart leads her to the most dangerous man of all.


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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

My Father’s Colors Blog Tour

About the Author

Marian L. Thomas graduated Magna Cum Laude, receiving her Bachelor degree in Business Communication. She began her writing debut as a Sports Editor and as a News Editor for a local Atlanta college paper.

It took over twenty-years for Marian to see her first piece of published fiction in Print─Color Me Jazzmyne, in early 2009. Color Me Jazzmyne went on to become a Amazon Best-selling novel for Marian, reaching #1 in the Rhythm & Blues category, #2 in Inner-Child and #7 in Performance/Voice for her character Naya Moná’s, amazing melodious tones that are developed throughout the book.

Color Me Jazzmyne was awarded as one of the “Top 100 Books” for 2010 by the Sankofa Literary Society Review.

While Marian’s books are a work of fiction, they touch on the struggles of women, abuse, relationships and friendships, giving each one a hint of reality that readers are looking for in a good, clean and emotional story.
Visit the author online at http://www.marianlthomas.com/

Tell us about My Father's Colors.

"March 2011, I welcomed the release of My Father's Colors-The Drama-Filled Journey of Naya Monà Continues, to online retailers such as Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble.com, Kindle and Nook. It was my favorite book to write as it takes you on the journey of four individuals that lead to one incredible destination, filled with betrayal, lies and shocking secrets.

How did you come up with ideas for this book?

I wanted to develop a story that would be a continuation of the first book, but be written completely different so I thought about ways to change how the characters interacted with each other. Often when writing a particular chapter, it helped for me to imagine how I would react if I were in a similar situation.
Who are your main character(s)?

Naya Monà is the main character in the story. She is back on another emotional and drama-filled roller coaster as she finds herself fighting to find her voice, discover her father's past and search for her daughter. How do you find a daughter you never knew you gave birth to?

Then there's Chris—her husband. How far would one go for love? That is the question that Chris wastes no time answering. He will do whatever it takes to remove his wife’s pain, even if it means being the one to cause her the most.

Let's not forget Misty. Fame and Fortune have been the determining factor for Misty ever sense her father passed away. How far will she go, this time, to achieve it?

Introducing, Carl Thompson. Carl has found the love of his life, only she doesn’t know it. Green eyes and hazel brown hair fill his dreams for the future. Does he have enough love for the both of them?
Did you have a favorite character(s)? Who and why?

My favorite character is Misty. She has a "fierce and fabulous" type of attitude that portrays a strong sense of self. Confidence in oneself is very important and that's what I like about her character.

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

The character Chris, required that I do quite a bit of research to ensure that what happens to him is real. Misty's character also required me to do some research.

What do you hope readers will learn/discover from reading My Father's Colors?

That as women we are made up of so many colors—our attitudes, reflections, journeys, pains, loves and even disappointments color us in such a way that it can define what we are made of. But only if we allow it. As women, we can either allow the people in our life to color us or we can determine the colors in our own crayon box of life.”

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

Almost every author will tell you that reviews can make or break the success of a book. However, I have seen quite a few best-selling books that had very little to no reviews. I think reviews are important to those who like to read the reviews of a book, and there are those who based their decision to buy a book on reviews. The latter seems to happen when they have never heard of the book. Word-of-mouth is to me, what helps get your books in the homes and hearts of readers.


About the Book

Four people will travel on a journey that will lead to one destination.

How do you find a daughter you never knew you gave birth to? That is the question that Naya must answer as she once again finds herself on a journey filled with betrayal, lies and shocking secrets of her past.
How far would one go for love? That is the question that Chris wastes no time answering. He will do whatever it takes to remove his wife’s pain, even if it means being the one to cause her the most.

Fame and Fortune have been the determining factor for Misty ever since her father passed away. How far will she go, this time to achieve it?

Carl Thompson has found the love of his life, only she doesn’t know it. Green eyes and hazel brown hair fill his dreams for the future. Does he have enough love for the both of them?

Join best-selling author Marian L. Thomas as she takes you through the pages of My Father’s Colors. This book is guaranteed to make you laugh, cry and get caught in the drama-filled story of a woman’s journey to find her voice, again!

Purchase the Book Online at:

Amazon.com
BarnesandNoble.com

For More Information

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

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



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The Deepest Waters Blog Tour


What began as a fairytale honeymoon in 1857 for John and Laura Foster aboard the steamship SS Vandervere becomes a nightmare when a hurricane causes their ship to sink into the murky depths of the Atlantic. Laura finds herself with the other women and children aboard a sailing ship while John and a hundred other men drift on the open sea on anything they could grab as the Vandervere went down. Suspecting her John is gone but still daring to hope for a miracle, Laura must face the possibility of life alone--and meeting her new in-laws without their son if she ever reaches New York.

Readers will be holding their breath as they sail through this emotional and honest story of hope, faith, and love in the face of uncertainty. Talented author Dan Walsh skillfully tells an epic story through an intimate focus on two lost lovers. Inspired by real events, this moving novel will capture the hearts of all who dive into its pages.

Dan Walsh is the award-winning author of The Unfinished Gift, The Homecoming, and The Deepest Waters. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Dan served as a pastor for 25 years. He lives with his family in the Daytona Beach area, where he's busy researching and writing his next novel.


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Monday, April 11, 2011

FEATURED AUTHOR: P. Nettie Nelson




The Supper Models

A sexy romantic story of true friendship between four “Rubénesque” women.They defy all the modern myths that “no man wants a big girl”. Each character brings a unique quality into the four-way relationship: compassion, determination, wisdom, and courage. Each woman has her own conflict to contend with, but they manage to find the time to support each other in the truth spirit of sisterhood.

P. Nettie Nelson, a proud native Texan, has been writing most of her life. Discarding conventional romantic fiction character stereotypes, she brings a fresh new look and body image to the romantic heroine. Her work is simplistically sexy and very indulgent. She suggests a bubble bath, red wine, dark chocolate and John Coltrane to compliment her novel.

How did you start out your writing career?

I feel like I have been writing all of my life although I wrote my first story around 8 years old. I love all facets of writing: fiction, poetry, stage, screen even journalism.

What did you learn while writing this book?

I learned that there was actually a novel inside of me all of this time. Supper Models actually started out as a short story, just a little something I had to get out of my system. Before I knew it, I had developed characters and they just kept on growing into a full novel.

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

I wanted to continue the tradition of true friendship and sisterhood in fiction, demonstrated best by Alice Walker and Toni Morrison. I also want to dispell the fiction myth that all lead female characters are fragile, virginal waifs waiting to be rescued. That theme is great for a historical romance, but contemporary romantic fiction no longer needs a damsel in distress situation. And if she is, her girls can help her work it out! LOL!


Which character did you have the most fun writing about?

BillieJean! She is confident, sexy and smart and she wears a 14/16. What? She has big brand new breast implants to add to her vulptuousness and she's got that little bit of freak in her; we all need that fantasy sometimes.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?

I am surprised by the dedication it takes to promote yourself, to get out there and get the word out. Its as if afte work, I go back to work, blogging, facebooking, looking for ways to draw readers to my work.

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

I love when the feeling just flows and the pages are filling up and I getting all into the action and feeling it...and then the phone rings or my man needs taking care of and I have to stop!

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

First I wish I had just epublished this novel at first and not faced the numerous rejections. Secondly, I wish I had more time to dedicate to promoting my writing. Finally, in the midst of my second novel, I realized now that I under-estimated the depth of the story and I am working extra hard at completing it. (hope that makes sense?)

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

First time writers, its ok if you start out writing the greatest novel of all time, and it ends after five pages; call it a good short story and move on. Writing is a learning and growing process. It's about quality not quanity. Big cliche right?

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

That writing is a gift, not a money maker. If you're trying to break into writing to be rich, good luck and let me know how that works out.

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

Ruby Montana from James Baldwin's Just above my head. Her character is strong, understanding and she loves her man and has his back throughout the story. Not once does she doubt him or think him weak, even in the midst of his breaking down after loosing his brother, she just lays real good loving on him and makes him get up out of bed and face the world. Now that is one hell of a woman!

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

Spare time is me time. I love going to bookstores, especially used books, records and stuff. I can browse for hours.

What do you do to interact with your readers?

Being a new e-author, I started a facebook account and I am looking at other options for reaching out. Ideas are welcome!

Our theme for this month is Ebooks. Do you own an ereader and if so, what the last book you downloaded?  If you don’t own an ereader, do you see yourself purchasing one in the future?

I do own an e-reader and the last download was Eric Jerome Dickey's "Tempted by Trouble"

Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?

 In the words of N'dambi, "I think for sure that what it is will be whatever it will be. Wait and you will see what will be will be." It's just that simple ladies.

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

The next book, a spin-off of The Supper Models, is a ultra-erotic look into one of the very minor characters life, who will become major in your hearts!

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

I am on Facebook. Just drop me a line, be my friends.LOL! I would love feedback from readers! Plus I will be posting a sneak peak of the upcoming spin-off novel soon.




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About Me

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

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

I’m available for:

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

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