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Welcome To SORMAG's Blog

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

FEATURE AUTHOR: Lynn Hernas


Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, Lynn has lived in exotic places such as Mexico, Burkina Faso and the Congo. When she’s not living elsewhere, she calls Davenport, Washington home. She has always had a passion for storytelling and writing. Her works include “Even Hippos Can Drown” and “Letters from Boot Camp” and two works in progress, “Spy*hopping” and “Forbidden Mountain.” Visit her website at http://www.lynnhernas.com/ and follow her on Twitter @LHernas.

How did you start out your writing career?

During my childhood I would write and create books of all kinds: story books, craft books, even photo books that became stories (before scrapbooking became popular). I have always dreamed of writing my own novel, but the task seemed too daunting. One day I stumbled across the NaNoWriMo website (National Novel Writing Month) whose opening line was, “Have you ever wanted to write a book but never got around to it? All you really need is a deadline.” You know what, they were right! I was hooked.

Writers across America (and even around the world) use the month of November to produce thousands of novels through the website, www.nanowrimo.org with a challenge to write 50,000 words before the end of the month. I planned out my storyline, did research and wrote an outline before November so that I could just sit down and bang out the novel on my computer. Once you’ve written 50,000 words, you’re much better prepared for your next encounter with “writer’s block.”

What did you learn while writing this book?

Writing is hard work, but finishing the project is exhilarating. During November I set a goal of writing 2000 words a day (to make the NaNoWriMo goal of 50,000 words) so I had to apply myself and write each day. Even during Thanksgiving my family got the turkey in the oven, set the table, mopped the floor while I sat at my computer typing away. (They are a really nice family).

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

At first I didn’t have any aspirations short of completing the book. Once I did finish it I wanted to assure myself that I wasn’t a “one hit wonder.” I’ve written four books so far (all rough drafts written in November). One is finished (“Hippos”), two are in editing and the latest one needs some major overhaul.
I hope that I have written an engaging story for the reader. My feedback so far has confirmed that I have. And that is motivating and gratifying.

Which character did you have the most fun writing about?

The Marine Lieutenant was my favorite character. There is an interesting story behind that Marine. My son is in the Marine Corps. One day I was discussing with my husband about the time we had to visit the American Embassy while living in Africa. Those fellows in uniform with weapons were intimidating at the time. My son piped up and said, “You didn’t need to be afraid of Marines, Mom.” Those armed men were Marines at the embassy? I had no idea.

So he dragged out the DVD of “The Bourne Identity” to illustrate to me what he thought everyone in the world knew except his poor old mom. That became the beginning of my education about the Armed Forces.

We had such conversations as:

“Son, what do you call those weapons that bad guys put on their shoulders to take out cars with?”
“You mean RPGs, Mom?”
“And that stands for …?”
“Rocket Propelled Grenades.”
“They propel grenades!?!”
I had much to learn.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?

Nowadays published authors have to promote themselves. The publishing houses don’t take care of all that promotion stuff for you the same way they did in the old days. Just as I was getting on board in the book business, book stores across America began shutting their doors in the face of a booming e-book business.
Self-publishing means promoting yourself as if you already were a published author, and circumvents all the hassle of seeking out agents and publishers. Publishing e-books is the wave of the future. That’s where I’m heading.

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

I find the crafting of a plotline to be extremely gratifying and fun! I am not so fond of editing a novel that I have just labored over. I love learning to improve my writing. Some days I hate sitting down to work on a difficult scene so instead I clean my house, do laundry—anything but sit down at the computer. But when I finally do, I’m engrossed.


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

I was cautious enough not to think my first book would be a best-seller right out of the box. So I did these three things: researched a great deal, attended writing conferences and read books on the subject. I strive to improve my writing skills constantly.

If there was one piece of advice I would give to aspiring writers it would be to attend writing conferences and be prepared to learn to improve your writing. If you go in with that attitude—rather than thinking that everything you write is already awesome, you’ll have a much better experience.

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

Do prepare yourself for revision, revision, revision.

Don’t get discouraged. Rejections don’t mean you don’t have talent. It just means more revision. You can do it!

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

When I meet new people and they find out I’m an author, they’re all flabbergasted as if in the presence of a celebrity. But hey, I’m really an ordinary person who just happens to write stories.

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

My favorite character has always been Elizabeth Bennett from Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice.” She’s smart, sassy and self-confident. Those three things make an interesting character and attract fellows like Mr. Darcy!

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

I work part-time as a bookkeeper for two businesses my husband and I own, and I am a substitute teacher. But my main passion outside of writing is directing musicals for our local Christian high school and our community theater group. I have directed 9 musicals so far, including such favorites as “Annie,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Aladdin,” and most recently, “Annie Get Your Gun.”

What do you do to interact with your readers?

I really enjoy visiting Book Clubs who read my book. It’s fun to talk to individuals about my work. I have done presentations at schools, ladies clubs and bookstores. I have even taught a NaNoWriMo student writing class. I will travel to most anywhere in Washington State or do online discussions.

Our theme for this month is MEN IN LITERATURE. What male author are you reading?

Currently I am exploring the work of Randy Ingermanson who just released his novel, “Oxygen” as an e-book. He has great technique in writing which makes his work gripping, fascinating and hard to put down. If you ever have the chance to attend one of his workshops, I encourage you to do so.

Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?

I know that God has my life firmly in His grip. My hope and faith is in my relationship with Jesus Christ. Everything else … well, I’m still learning.

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

My next book, due out soon, is entitled, “Forbidden Mountain.” Here’s a short synopsis:
The story is set in present-day Turkey where Will’s family is spending two years on a medical mission with a humanitarian agency. As Will and his younger brother embark on a last-day-before-school outing to chase down the legend of the Ghost of Zōhak, the boys and their friends soon become lost on the Forbidden Mountain. Their ensuing adventures include discovering an ancient people group living on the mountain in secret, becoming their hostages, encounters with bears and earthquakes and a life-threatening ride down a mudslide! All this makes for a riveting novel for young adults.

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

Readers can connect with me on Facebook, Twitter (@LHernas), LinkedIn, my website http://www.lynnhernas.com/, or email me at lhernas@gmail.com I’d love to hear from them!

Even Hippos Can Drown is the harrowing adventure of Liza Hanson, a youthful idealist who embarks on a humanitarian trip to West Africa. She quickly finds her world as well as her worldview turned completely upside down. A chance encounter with a hippo, the loss of her dear friend, unwitting possession of secret information and a clash with a certain Marine Lieutenant who must later rescue her all add up for a gripping race against time in a foreign land caught up in a vicious cycle of civil war. Will her budding faith get her through to safety?

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Monday, November 28, 2011

FEATURED AUTHOR: Kenya Lumpkin

Kenya (pronounced Keen-ya) grew up in the Bronx, New York. She has received two degrees in Physical Therapy, the latter an advanced degree with a specialty in Neurology. Kenya has worked on and off as a therapist for years. She began writing, however, at the age of four. Her childhood dream of becoming a writer came true when she became the published author of novels that combine faith, romance, action, and suspense.

Her current series, Quenching the Fire, combines all of these elements in a story that is tender at points and heart-racing at others. Although the majority of her focus nowadays is on the joys and challenges of being a wife, homemaker, and busy homeschooling mother of two, Kenya’s passion for writing and sharing her stories persists. Quenching the Fire, a romantic thriller, was birthed from her vision to mold the two genres into one with a tale of intrigue, suspense. Readers from diverse backgrounds have related to Quenching the Fire’s characters that sometimes win and sometimes fail in their struggle to live for Christ in the midst of danger and physical temptation. Kenya and her family have lived in Maryland, Virginia, Maui, and California. They currently reside in Arizona.

How did you start out your writing career?

I began writing at the age of four when I could first put pencil to paper. My first "book" was entitled "The Black House" and I illustrated a black house for the cover. Throughout my childhood, I gave lengthy handwritten books to my parents as presents. In other words, I have always been a writer. However, it was not until I returned to this love as an adult and wrote what I thought would just be a book for me that my writing career was born. The books I wrote for my parents were horror stories, although I often wondered why they would laugh hysterically when reading them. While I am definitely no longer into that genre, the element of a suspense thriller that makes the heart race remains with me. After completing Quenching the Fire, private edition, I realized that I had written that type of story intermingled with romance. I wanted to share the story with the public.

What did you learn while writing this book?

My real learning came during the editing process. The company that published Quenching the Fire, Leeway Artisans, is relatively small; thus, the editors were able to give me one-on-one attention. My manuscript was accepted by a publisher years earlier. She made very few changes, so I thought few were needed. When she became ill shortly before publication date, I had to resume my search. Subsequently, I received a rejection letter from a publisher who stated that I was an excellent writer, although I fell into the trap that most new authors make: I told instead of showed. I honestly did not understand the statement because she gave no explanation. However, in editing Quenching the Fire, the editors at Leeway provided me with a 16-page tutorial with examples that went far beyond showing what the character is thinking and how he is feeling. Imagination and creativity were never a problem for me. Setting the scene and making the novel not simply a thriller with specks of romance but truly a romantic thriller had been.

Okay, so I finally knew what was missing. Then what did I do? I took everything I had learned and poured it out of my heart into my writing. This should have been the time of my life when my head was cloudiest –and many ways it was–but the adrenaline surged when I was recreating Quenching the Fire. After putting my two-year-old daughter and infant son to bed, I would write from around 10:00-11:30 while getting in brief conversations with my husband. One of our longer talks revealed that we were moving to Maui in less than two months. I went into overdrive because I had to have everything to the publisher before we left. I’d write during the late night hours, take a nap prior to getting the alarm from my nursing baby boy, write some more, and crash. In that state, I should have had no clue what I was doing, but guess what. I got it! I knew I had absorbed the lessons when I essentially rewrote the book, resubmitted it, and received tremendous praise from the publisher. With each segment of Quenching the Fire, it has become more natural to read from the reader’s point of view --I'm no longer writing for myself, after all-- and has become very natural to feel as if I'm the character when I'm writing from her point of view.

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

My hope has been to reach people of all faiths with a realistic portrayal of coming through the most fiery of trials --no pun intended-- through the power of God and strength of love via a story that combines faith, romance, and suspense.

Which character did you have the most fun writing about?

Although Kyana is most like me in many respects, in the first in the Quenching the Fire series, I loved writing from David's point of view because I had to get into the head and heart of a man. I also loved writing about him from Kyana's point of view because I was further able to develop a man most women would want but might be afraid to love. Okay, I'm telling a bit, but when you read the book, I really show you. In a later installment of the series, I loved writing about Olivia. She is so unlike me, but it is when I started writing about her that I really got into my zone. Oddly, although she is not like me, it was as if I knew her when I was writing about her, and it came out, as many women have related to her character more than any other.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?

Marketing is hard! I have friends who are published authors, so this did not come as a complete surprise, but there was no way I could know just how difficult it was without experiencing it for myself. What has been somewhat of a disappointment has been the pigeon-holing assumed genre can produce. I discussed this with a newspaper columnist during an interview. He remarked that in the old days fiction was simply fiction. Nowadays, there is so much categorization. The fact that there is an African-American couple on my book cover and that it is a romance novel has produced the opinion that Quenching the Fire is solely for the African-American female market. Of course, I want African-American women to read the book, but it is truly for anyone. Readers from all backgrounds (race, culture, religion, age, etc.) and of both genders have related to David and Kyana while despising --with reason-- other characters. They can laugh at the same parts. Their hearts pound at the romantic and at the suspenseful parts. However, because of marketing hoops and misperceptions, getting the story out to a wider audience of readers has been a challenge. And let's face it. While there might be some, how many of us will not read a book because there is a Caucasian face on the cover? No, we are not exactly alike, but there is a common human condition. My hope is that the content of a story will be the draw and we can learn something about one another in the process.

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

I absolutely love getting into the minds of the characters I have developed in their particular circumstances. I love having people who have read my creation feel as if the characters are real. Okay, that may be a little weird, and I have to remind them that what they have read is purely a figment of my imagination; yet, it is still rewarding. What do I hate? I think you know: marketing.

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

Hmm. This is a hard one because everything I didn't know is really part of growth and learning. It might have been nice to know that marketing is as hard as it is, but my ignorance probably has served me in some ways. My assumption was that if I wrote a book, I could get reviews and interviews. That is the business book reviewers are in, after all, isn't it? Well, guess what. They are already overbooked with submissions. Competition is stiff and their time is limited. However, because of my blind reasoning and dogged persistence, I have gotten reviews and interviews (like this one thanks to SORMAG and without much persistence needed). I could have also known to make sure I kept my story as mine and not be swayed by the experience of the editors, but I ultimately made it mine anyway. Besides, they would not have had it any other way. Lastly, no matter how many promises from individuals or businesses, no sale is a sale until it is completed.

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

One do is to write the story that is inside of you and not what you think someone else would want because it won't be authentic. That is not to say to solely write for yourself and forget about your audience. Your readers have to understand what you are trying to communicate. I am saying that your story is unique. I guess that covers the do and don't.

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

It would be nice if non-writers could understand that it takes time to get a book out to the public, as many elements are beyond the control of the writer. Honestly though, I have to take it as a compliment that anyone would be so eager to read what I've written.

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

Ooohh. This is a tough one because I have always been a voracious reader and there are so many characters. I think I'd have to choose to be one for a day, however, because God is doing so much in this person I am and will be that I'd rather stick with me. For a day... It has been so long since I read this, so I hope I'm recalling the story correctly, but I'd be Harriet of Life of A Slave Girl Written by Herself on the first day of her freedom. Better yet. I'd probably be Harriet Tubman the day she brought her parents to freedom. What an incredible, brave woman and what a day that must have been!

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

Dance. I started writing when I was four, but I've danced since I was five. Writing and dancing are simply part of who I am. I'm so busy with children and home life that dance is not something I go to class for these days. I pirouette at home...and I read a lot. During this stage of my life, I’m homeschooling. My languages of instruction are predominantly Spanish, some English, and recently some French. My brain has to work hard! My family travels as often as possible, which is always fun as well as educational and often exhausting. Learning and growing with my husband and our children is so fulfilling. Nonetheless, I still miss dance. I hope to get back to class one day soon.

What do you do to interact with your readers?

We correspond via my Facebook page, Kenya Lumpkin Books, and e-mail. For readers whose first language is Spanish, I've posted excerpts in Spanish. While bilingual, I could by no means translate an entire novel into the language. I hope it will be available in Spanish one day. On occasion, I might place a call, as happened when one reader contacted the publishing company regarding how much she was enjoying Quenching the Fire and expressed a desire to talk to me. I also started the process of connecting with an international organization that helps broken women and girls in an attempt to reach readers and non-readers who find themselves in similar circumstances as one of the characters, Olivia. The president of the company was very excited about the opportunity, but the process will take some time.

Our theme for this month is MEN IN LITERATURE. What male author are your reading?

This summer and extending into autumn, I have been on a classic and a thriller kick; therefore, I've been reading much of Charles Dickens and some of Ted Dekker.

Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?

I know that God loves me and He works out all things (good and bad) for my good.

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

I can give a snippet. It is a suspense novel, after all, so I cannot give much away, but David's first love, Olivia, comes into the picture and brings with her all kinds of drama...and not the typical kind.

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

Quenching the Fire is available at www.amazon.com via Kindle. Readers can read the first several chapters and, of course, purchase the book. They can post comments on my Facebook page, Kenya Lumpkin Books. They may also contact me via e-mail at klump@leewayartisans.com. If readers write, I will write back.


QUENCHING THE FIRE

In spite of heartbreak, Kyana Cel`on holds out the firm hope that God will bring her the man she has longed for most of her life. David Mitchell, a man who makes women catch their breath with his incredibly good looks and personality, might be the answer to her prayers, but she is afraid to give her heart to him. David is captivated by Kyana’s tender spirit and beauty upon his first encounter with her, but she seems hesitant to move forward with him. Then a surprising temptation re-enters his life and threatens to destroy any hope of gaining her trust.

When terrifyingly sinister dangers from her past catch up to her and threaten every aspect of her life, will Kyana run to David? And will he be there for her when it could cost him everything? Quenching the Fire is where passions rise and nothing is exactly as it appears.

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Friday, November 25, 2011

FEATURED AUTHOR: Koko Brown

Koko Brown is the pseudonym for a quintessential erotic romance junkie who once read over 200 Zebra Club novels the summer before her senior year in high school.

Koko's writing career began at the tender age of nine when she self-published and distributed a newspaper to her fellow classmates. Unfortunately, her grade school principal didn't appreciate the competition and put her out of business after one best-selling issue.

Undaunted, Koko continued to write and read everything she could get her hands on. She honed her writing skills as a staff writer on her college's newspaper, writing obituaries for the local newspaper, and teaching English to high school students.

One day while daydreaming in bed, Koko came up with the idea for her first manuscript. Taking a hiatus from teaching, she had enough time on her hands to flesh out the story in two short weeks. A week later, she cleaned it up, then sent it to Ellora's Cave during the Christmas holiday. By January she heard from one of their editors and by March (and many revisions) she signed a contract for her vampire novel Charmed.

How did you start out your writing career?

I’d dabbled in writing as young as the fourth grade when I self-published a school newspaper. It sold out in less than an hour. Unfortunately, the school principal put me out of business the very next day since the school already had an official newspaper.

I didn’t start writing romance seriously until I found myself taking a six month sabbatical from teaching. Bored and lonely, I started devouring every ebook I could get my hands on especially interracial romance. After shelving over one hundred books and not finding them coming out quick enough, I decided to pen my own. In two short weeks, I wrote my debut novel Charmed.

What did you learn while writing this book?

I learned that when if you set your mind to something you can accomplish it. Too bad many of us don’t realize this until it’s too late.

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

I just wanted to add something to the subgenre. Interracial romance was and still is dominated by contemporary storylines. So I wanted to bring a different flavor, stretch reality so to speak.

Which character did you have the most fun writing about?

I always have the most fun writing the male characters. And ironically in all of my stories there are two male characters that seem to dominate for page time. For example, in my upcoming Thanksgiving release, Player’s Ultimatum, I had two great male leads to work with the heroine’s love interest Paolo Saito and her phony fiancé and best friend Robbie Gutierrez.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?

I think what surprises me the most is the reader’s reaction. Sometimes you think that you really don’t have an audience, but you do. And in truth for me, they are the reason why I keep writing. The majority of us don’t make a ton of money writing books so there has to be some form of gratification other than monetary.

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

I love brainstorming and coming up with the storyline. I also love putting the book to bed and seeing it released because only then I can move onto something else. Like most writer’s, I hate writer’s block.

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

I wish someone would’ve told me that in order to stay relevant in this business you have to put out a book on a more frequent basis. One book every two years isn’t going to cut it. We’re living in a digital age and readers tend to forget you with each thirty-day cycle.

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

Aspiring writers should read other books in the genre they’re trying to break into. However, they should ignore the market trends and write the book of their heart. If you decide to write a book about zombies and you’re not really feeling it the reader will tell and they’ll call you on it.

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

I wish non-writers would understand that I have a life. And that I’m not chained to a keyboard so that I can satisfy their need for a sequel.

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

Well I think I am one of my characters. Chloe, the heroine from my debut novel Charmed, is pretty much all me to the letter. I lived in Atlanta for four years and I was even a licensed realtor at one point. So, you can’t get any closer than that.

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

Live life. I love to travel and experience new people and places. I would rather step foot on all six continents than write a bestseller.

What do you do to interact with your readers?

I use my blog and facebook page to interact with readers. I’m probably a little too familiar with readers than most other authors, but that’s just the kind of person that I am.

Our theme for this month is MEN IN LITERATURE. What male author are you reading?

Right now, none. I’m reading mainly romance to hone my craft. However, I will share the names of two of my favorite male authors: James Baldwin and Tennesee Williams.

Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?

I know that I don’t regret my journey so far in this life.

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

My next book is Player’s Ultimatum. The planned release date is November 22 just in time for the Thanksgiving season! It’s a cautionary tale of lies, deceit and secret babies.

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

Readers can reach me via email at cocobuttr72@yahoo.com or through my facebook page at http://facebook.com/authorkokobrown.

Player's Ultimatum

Yvonne Floyd’s best friend and gay soccer phenom Robbie Gutierrez proposes the impossible, pose as his fiancée until he can ink a lucrative contract. Hounded day and night over the media’s constant speculation over his sexual orientation, Robbie doesn’t want to run the risk of losing his career over who he sleeps with.

Although Yvonne feels Robbie has lost his marbles, she takes one one for the team. As Yvonne is initiated into the fast-paced world of international soccer, she’s ill-prepared for a mutual attraction to Robbie’s teammate, Paolo Saito. And when Paolo discovers her secret and turns the tables on her, she quickly loses sight of her goal and risks losing more than just her heart.


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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

FEATURED AUTHOR: Sherrod Story


Sherrod Story is a diehard romance fan living and working in Chicago. A lifelong lover of love stories, she recently published an interracial romance, Fiona Love on Kindle

How did you start out your writing career?

I've been writing since I was little. I made my own books and bound them with shoelaces and a hole punch. Back then I even did my own illustrations. LOL But my interest grew. I worked on the newspaper in high school, majored in journalism in college, I've always worked in my field. Now I edit business trade magazines.

What did you learn while writing this book?

I learned that I have a lot of work to do! Being extremely competent in your career and being an avid romance reader doesn't automatically mean you've got the techniques down to satisfy an audience. I've learned a ton since I began my romance writing journey - I highly recommend Stephen King's On Writing; it was invaluable as I edited Fiona Love - and I'm grateful to all of the writers and readers out there who have shared a kind word or the little tidbits they've picked up along the way.

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

I think it might be too early in the game for grandiose plans lol but I hope to be read and enjoyed by many, to establish a romance writing habit as solid as my career efforts, to build a following for my future work and to make some money to fix up my house.

Which character did you have the most fun writing about?

I like side characters. Netty and Cleo had a lot of personality, enough to one day get their own stories I think. Each was really focused on their respective tasks in Fiona's life, but they stood out to me, at least I tried to give them some flavor. Some of the images I created for them - Netty's butt waving in the air while she's head first in Fiona's accessories closet for instance, or her and Sugar in the kitchen during Fiona's birthday party - resonate for me on multiple levels.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?

How much work it is. You constantly have to hustle. I literally need to get fired so I can give this thing the attention it needs! lol There's so much to be done via social media to promote your work, tweets to send, blogs to write, it's serious business, and that's not including the actual writing, story creating and editing.

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

I love falling into a story, getting so wrapped up in my characters I laugh and cry right along with them. I hate editing. I love editing, actually, but it's soooo hard for me to let go of a story. That's why I'm this old just getting started. lol

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

To focus on my dream with the same intensity I work on a job. To not spend money on dresses when I could have that money stashed to buy myself the latest ipad2 to help further my writing ambitions. To listen to naysayers and then ignore them and do what I believe and want to do. Basically, to use fear as fuel instead of a stop gap and a staller.

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

Do write. Develop a routine that works for you. Learn about your craft. It's not pretentious to think about writing as a craft. It's serious business if you do it right and you want to be successful. Don't let fear or the need to perfect something keep you from submitting. Find a way to get what you want. The Help was rejected like 60 times before it was published. Look how that turned out.
What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?

That it's not easy. That it takes time, just as any other skill development process. Too many people assume writing shouldn't require the energy and focus that it does, that you're being self-indulgent to focus intensely on your work.

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

OMG, good question. I have no idea. I've been identifying more with authors than characters lately, so I'll pick a heroine from a J.RWard/Jessica Bird novel, or one from anything by Susan Elizabeth Phillips or Francis Ray. They write strong yet appraochable heroines who go through the fire and come out smelling like a rose.

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

Read, watch movies on TV and in the theater. Dream of being a New York best seller.

What do you do to interact with your readers?

I tweet, use Facebook, I blog. I don't do enough. There should be at least 48 hours in the day.

Our theme for this month is MEN IN LITERATURE. What male author are your reading?

I've been reading Eric Jerome Dickey lately, some of the older books like Flyy Girl. Good stuff. I confess, I'm partial to female writers. They dominate the romance genre, which is my favorite so I don't feel like I'm being discriminatory.

Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?

I know writing romance is how I want to make my fortune. I know it's what I love and have passion for and what I'm going to devote my life to perfecting, evolving and sharing with anyone who will take their valuable time to read me. I know this is what makes me happy, what I need to learn about constantly, and what I want to devote myself to mind, body and soul. I know I want to be read on a global scale, and I know I'm the only one who can make that dream a reality.

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

What if there was an 800-year-old African witch with a pesky younger sister who has untapped, rather explosive powers but constantly needs rescuing? Add in an alpha male shape shifter who can adopt not one but any animal form, a few vampires, a cast of minor characters who can manipulate their environment in various humorous ways and a plot to strip the sisters of their earth-rich bounty. It's currently sans title; I'm bad with those.

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

www.sherrodstory.wordpress.com

sherrod_story@yahoo.com

Twitter: @sherrodstory

I hope to hear from you!


FIONA LOVE

When singer/actress Fiona Love meets Dane Craig she wasn't expecting love, only extremely hot sex. And that's exactly what she gets. From playing dress up with beauty products, judging the merits of different kinds of soap suds on skin, and playing games of make believe with silk scarves and spankings for props, nothing is off limits.

But Daney-licious, as Fiona calls him, makes phrases like soul mate and true love feel as natural as the free for all lovemaking they enjoy. Unfortunately, being famous is about as unnatural as you can get. As Fiona’s star rises a silly misunderstanding parts the new lovers. But Fiona doesn’t run the charts and the box office for nothing. There’s a new love waiting in the wings.

Natty is an old friend and colleague, just what she needs to stave off loneliness. Tall, handsome and fond of a different kind of game, as he and Fiona collaborate on her new album, studio time soon includes play time. But Dane is not completely out of the picture. As Fiona juggles movies, music and works to shake a habit that could end her career, tragedy strikes, and it’s anyone’s guess whose love Fiona will choose…

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Monday, November 21, 2011

FEATURED AUTHOR: LD Hardy


LD Hardy was born in the small rural town of Garysburg, North Carolina. Being raised in a small town help shape her outlook on the world but it also made her eager to see what else was outside of her hometown because she knew the world was bigger than the 2.5 square mile town.

While she was still a young girl, she would use books to take her where
her feet could not. She was educated in the Northampton County School
System until she moved to Greensboro, North Carolina to pursue higher
learning at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro; she ultimately
graduated from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

After graduation, she worked in various fields trying to find her niche;
from public education to finance. While work was fulfilling she never
forgot her first love; writing. Currently, she is a free-lance writer for
various online publications but Generational Curses is her first completed
novel.

Ms. Hardy currently resides in Charlotte, North Carolina with her dog Piper.

How did you start out your writing career?

I guess you can say around the time I was ten. I was always writing short
stories and poems. I even won a few awards for my pieces. When other kids
were at summer camp, pitching tents, fishing, and playing games, I was at
writing camp at a nearby college; honing "my craft". It sounds funny
saying that now because I never thought I would become a writer but I
always knew I would write a book. In retrospect, books were always a part
of me. If writing is my father, reading is without a doubt my mother and I
was being raised for this very moment. In terms of writing a book and
publishing it, I completely romanticized how it would come together. I had
this dream that after I amassed a substantial savings from my career as a
stockbroker, I would rent a small bungalow in St. Thomas or some other
island and just write from my soul. Monetary gain would not be a
consideration because I would be okay financially and trying to appease an
audience would not influence how I wrote. My book would just be for me; my
own small accomplishment and if success was a by-product, well then that
would just be a cherry on top. However, as the old saying goes, we make
plans and God laughs. After the housing crash of 2007, I was laid off a
year later. Even during a year of unemployment, I did not want to write
because I felt I would compromise my art to attain financial freedom. Then
another year went by and there was this internal pull that kept urging me
to just write and stop being scared, yet I would still make excuses. I
realized then that my fear was not that I would sell out for money, it was
that I was scared I would fail at something I loved, that I feel is a part
of me. As long as I was still a stockbroker, and wrote a book, well then,
I would be just that; a stockbroker who wrote a book. But if I put myself
out there as a writer and failed, it would be like saying, I was a
failure. I would not failing at something that I did but instead failing
at something that I am. When I had that ah-ha moment, my dream shifted
into third gear. I thought to myself, why wait? Why not now? So about a
year ago, I just started typing on my laptop and after a month of writing
with no real direction, Generational Curses was born.

What did you learn while writing this book?

I learned that writing is a journey. Emotionally, it can take you on wild
highs and crazy lows. If you are writing from the depth of your being, it
can also expose somethings about yourself, that you may have not been
aware of. The gift is to embrace those things and not run from them.

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

I hope to create a dialogue with this book. In many households, black
households especially, you often here talk of "breaking the curse" or
"breaking the cycle" but what does that really mean? I wanted to explore
the topic of generational curses but in a lighthearted manner. I want the
reader or a book club to have honest and fruitful dialogue about the idea
of family curses and determine if there is any validity to the idea that
another person's actions or lack thereof can influence our decision-making
or are the choices that we as individuals make truly our own? Should we
completely own those choices and the subsequent consequences and not defer
to our family histories, pain, and angst as a crutch?

Which character did you have the most fun writing about?

There are two. I enjoyed writing about Taylor Montgomery (Cynthia
Solomon's best friend) because she is loud, brash, yet personable. She is
the complete anti-thesis of who I am, that is probably why I had so much
fun with her. I got to live vicariously through her words, say things I
normally would not say.

The second character I enjoyed writing about was the a miscellaneous
character that only appeared in the second chapter and that is Cecilia.
She is Claudine's aunt; Cynthia's great-aunt. She was the most fun because
I got to draw from many of the women in my family who are very outspoken,
strong-willed women, who speak their minds. You know that old aunt that
has a quick wit and an even sharper tongue.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?

Just how much work goes into this business. It is such a full-time job and
I really do not see how some authors can approach this as a part-time or
leisurely endeavor (that is, if they expect to become successful at it).

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

I love character development. I really like creating people, giving them
thoughts, personalities, dreams, ambitions, and fears. Some friends call
it a god-complex; I think that is a sacrilegious way to look at it, so I
would prefer to call it a Frankenstein complex, except my characters are
not monsters (well most of them anyway).

The part I like least, is the more technical aspect. Editing. Going back
and revising; omitting what does not make sense or having to completely
revamp a story line because it just does not fit or is too long and
detailed.

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

1). To position yourself, in terms of brand or name recognition, before
your book even hits shelves.
2). Try to get reviews BEFORE the book is published.
3). If you write it, they will not necessarily come.

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

Do write with your own voice; be authentic. I believe that is what will
separate you from other authors at the end of the day and will allow your
book to stand the test of time and trends.

Do NOT allow someone to compromise your words or your art. If a change,
edit, or revision does not serve the greater good then respectfully
decline it. Your name and reputation will be tied to that book, not an
editor's. Fight for what you truly believe in.

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

Writing is a process and it is demanding, on both your energy and time!
For me, I have to literally check out when I am writing and it is not
meant to alienate anyone. I just have to be able to put forth the best
work I can and that means a lot of introspection with little to no
distractions.


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

Wow. I would be Janie Crawford from Zora Neal Hurston's "Their Eyes
Watching God". I want to know what it feels like to live these two very
different lives in one short lifetime. The bravery it must have taken to,
in the autumn of your life, surrender completely to this new love by
defying logic and reason and to live impulsively like she did when she
sold everything she owned and went off with Tea Cake. I like to think I am
that brave, but I do not think that I am.

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

I am a foodie and a reality-show junkie. I do not like saying that reality
television is my guilty pleasure because I take no guilt in it. I enjoy
it... a LOT! Also, I like to take cooking classes, going to wine-tastings,
but most importantly I love trying new dishes at different restaurants.
Nothing is better than a good glass of wine, conversation with friends,
over a delicious meal.

What do you do to interact with your readers?

I interact with my readers on Facebook and Twitter a great deal. I am very
plugged in when it comes to social media, perhaps too much. Like a lot of
writers, I am a very private person, so I enjoy allowing my readers a
small glimpse into my life and letting them know I am a lot like them in a
lot of regards.

Our theme for this month is MEN IN LITERATURE. What male author are your
reading?

1000 grams by Mike-O. He is a little known author from North Carolina, like myself.

Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?

I know for sure that God is love. He is infinite and all-encompassing. He
imparts greatness in people not so that they can revel in their own glory
but so that they can demonstrate to others God's perfect love. That should
be our legacy; everything else is meaningless.

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

I have yet to start writing my next book but when I do, SORMAG, will be one of the first to know about it!

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

ldhardy@ldhardy.com
www.LDHardy.com

Generational Curses

Cynthia Solomon is beautiful, smart, focused, ambitious, and is trying to
break free of the ghosts that haunt her and her family. She comes from a
strong line of women, where the men exited as quickly as they entered and
she is pervaded with so much self-doubt growing up in the sleepy town of
Savannah, Georgia that she clings to what she feels is her best and only
asset, her intellect. Her own father checked out on the family when
Cynthia, was very young and because her mother was so wrecked by the
betrayal, she will not or perhaps cannot express her love for Cynthia in
the way she needs and wants.

Even with her dysfunctional home life, she manages to maintain some
semblance of normalcy growing up, if only superficially, thanks to her
younger sister Camille who loves her fiercely and her best friend Taylor
who is a loud, outspoken wild child. Taylor is the complete opposite of
Cynthia, it is something that Cynthia loves about her but she also
secretly covets it.

After Cynthia and Taylor move to Atlanta for college, Cyns' perfectly
mapped out life is still moving along as planned, that is until her senior
year at Emory University, when she meets this sexy New Yorker, Mitch
Capleton who manages within one summer to disrupt Cyn's quiet life.


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Friday, November 18, 2011

FEATURED AUTHOR: Cindy Huefner Cromer


Cindy Huefner Cromer, formally a New Jersey resident, now resides in Stuart, Florida, with her husband, son, and daughter. Cindy works as a laboratory scientist and executive. As the president of a laboratory network, she has written numerous laboratory procedures and research documents. Driven by a passion for suspense and mystery novels, she dreamed of becoming a writer. Her dream turned into reality with the release of her debut suspense novel, Desperate Measures. She is currently working on her second novel, Desperate Deceptions. Plots are in place for her third and fourth books.

How did you start out your writing career?

I’m sure this isn’t the answer you’re looking for but my first publication was as co-author of a Bitter Intensity Study when I worked as a research chemist in the citrus industry. Pertaining to the novel I have written, I will have to take you back to my teenage years. When I was in eighth grade, I wrote a descriptive essay. On my way to basketball practice one day, I saw my father come out of the Principal’s office. I immediately became nervous and thought I had gotten into trouble, for what I had no idea. My father informed me that that my essay was written so well that I had been placed in the honors English and Literature classes. You may ask if this bit of my history has anything to do with where I am today. The answer is yes and no. At that time I had plans of grandeur and envisioned myself as a bestselling author, but also wanted to be a professional woman’s basketball player. Hey, I was only a teenager, had big dreams. Back to the point I focused on my favorite subject in school, science and earned my degrees in chemistry and biology in college. Through the many technical papers, contracts, and invaluable experience in my career, I’ve come full circle, realized my dream, and have begun my writing career.


What did you learn while writing this book?

To be patient and not give up.

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

To have the readers guessing, anxiously flipping the pages to find out who the villain is and the motive. From the reviews posted on Amazon and my publishers website, www.etreasurespublishing.com, it appears that I accomplished my goal. These words are a dream come true.

Which character did you have the most fun writing about?

Barry Solerno without a doubt and he's my favorite character. When I'm asked this question, most expect me to respond with Caitlin the main character. I'll explain why I am partial to Barry. I reached an impasse when righting Desperate Measures at around 12,000 words, all of you writers know how important that work count ticker is. I had the plot and ending set but realized I needed something or someone to add and bring it all together and thus Barry was born. I'm particularly proud of how I introduced him them peeled away the layers and revealed to the readers what makes him tick. One of my favorite scenes is when that first layer is pulled away. I read it over and over sometimes when the dreaded writers block sets in. Those who have read Desperate Measures, any guess to which scene I am referring to?

I also had a lot fun writing about Tomas Medina, FBI Senior Special Agent in Charge.  He has some light comedy scenes and at times found myself laughing hysterically when writing about him.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?

The fabulous reviews I have received so far! As a new author with a debut novel, I honestly expected some comments such as, "Good plot but the writing was immature, could tell it was the author's first book." I never expected all five stars so soon!
What aspect of writing do you love the best, and which do you hate the most?

Promoting my book,creating characters, and developing their their backgrounds are my favorite. Editing I'd have to say is my least favorite. When I edit my manuscript before submission, it is very hard to see the errors after writing it then reading each scene over and over again. Then when the editor gets a hold of it and red slash after red slash appears, I brace myself. However, once done, I realize how invaluable the edits and comments are from the editor and fresh pair of eyes are.
What are three things you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now?

I'm not sure how to answer this question. I did a lot of research, knew the process, from querying agents and publishers, and was prepared for the process.
Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?

Don't give up and do embrace every rejection as an opportunity to polish your work. Also, always carry a notepad when those magical scenes suddenly come to mind and a computer is not available.

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

I wish they'd understand how competitive the industry is and it takes a very long time once the manuscript is completed to obtaining a contract, and the book actually released. Also, there is no overnight fame, glory, and fortune. I had someone ask me just this morning, "When are you going to be on Ellen or Regis and Kelly? Too bad Oprah is off the air." It doesn't happen like that, there are many talented writers and it takes time.

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

I would have to say Emma Harte from Barbara Taylor Bradford's saga, "A Woman of Substance." Emma came from nothing, but being a strong woman she built an empire and legacy that was handed down from generation to generation. In someways she's the female version of Lukas Bucklin in Desperate Measures.

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

I have a seven year old daughter and a twelve year old son who keep me quite busy. In between their schedules and my writing, I love to read, go boating and fishing.

What do you do to interact with your readers?

I utilize all of the social media on line, I belong to several readers and writers groups, but most importantly I make a concerted effort to respond personally to anyone who contacts me, via, direct e-mail, my website, responses to any of my posts, etc.

Our theme for this month is MEN IN LITERATURE. What male author are your reading?

At this time I am reading Michael Palmer's "The Last Surgeon." I just started it but it has captured my interest.

Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?

Dreams can come true but you need to work hard to make it happen.

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

Desperate Deceptions focuses on Caitlin's newly formed but strained relationship with her biological grandfather, Lukas Bucklin. Does Lukas have more secrets that he'd go to any length to keep buried? Can Caitlin maintain her integrity or does she become influenced by her ruthless and powerful grandfather?

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

 e-mail thecromers@comcast.net and my website is Cindy's Writing Studio www.cindyhuefnercromer.com

DESPERATE MEASURES

The secret is out AGAIN…! This time lives are in jeopardy.
What should have been the perfect vacation soon became a nightmare. Caitlin Martel made a stop before meeting her family at Miami International Airport. A cryptic message waited for her. She dismissed the threat and assumed it was directed toward the brilliant scientist that she recently hired. Caitlin has no idea that a forgotten secret was about to explode and put her life in jeopardy.

When Caitlin and her family arrive on the Caribbean Island of St. Kitts, they find their dream home vandalized. In the kitchen, another message has been left. In blood, leaving no doubt that Caitlin personally is the target.

In a flashback Caitlin recalls the secret that her father, Jack Spencer, revealed to her sixteen years ago. He didn’t tell her everything. Will Jack be able to confront the truth and reconstruct the past in time to save his daughter?

Caitlin’s husband Scott, FBI Assistant Director, also believes the threats are related to Caitlin’s professional life. Once Caitlin points out the significance of what was left in their home, Scott unofficially brings his top FBI agent, Tomas Medina, to St. Kitts.

When Tomas arrives, his status is quickly upgraded and the investigation becomes official. The third threat creates a direct link to multi-billionaire Lukas Bucklin.

The suspense escalates through twists, turns, and family secrets yet to be revealed. A
powerful climax unveils an unlikely alliance between two deadly and dangerous enemies.



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Thursday, November 17, 2011

FEATURED AUTHOR: Stephanie Casher



STEPHANIE CASHER is a freelance editor and author of multicultural women’s fiction. Her debut novel, When Love Isn’t Enough, has been earning rave reviews, and was a finalist in Dan Poynter’s 2011 Global eBook Awards in the category of Multicultural Fiction. She has a BA in Sociology with a Minor in Education from UC Santa Cruz, and won the Dean’s Undergraduate Award for her Senior Honors Thesis “Negotiating Identity and Cultural Capital: The Social and Structural Factors Affecting the Educational Attainment of Bi-Racial Men of African-American Descent.” In December 2010, Stephanie partnered with authors James W. Lewis and Omar Luqmaan-Harris to form The Pantheon Collective (TPC), an independent publishing company. TPC has published four books to date, including the award-winning novel SELLOUT by James W. Lewis.

Currently living in Santa Cruz, California with her partner and two cats, Stephanie tries to spend as much time as possible in nature. When she’s not climbing mountains, swimming in the ocean, or wandering through the forest, she spends her free time dabbling in Astrology, hanging with her amazing nephews, and meditating on how to make the world a better place. To placate her inner gypsy, Stephanie travels extensively in search of inspiration.

How did you start out your writing career?

I actually started writing as therapy. :) I’ve been journalling since the 7th grade, and have always found writing to be quite cathartic. When I was in my mid-20’s, frustrated with my misadventures in dating, I decided to write a “novel” depicting what I wanted my life to look like when I was thirty. An extended wishing exercise of sorts. At that point, I never really intended to try and get the book published, but a friend of mine who is also an artist read some chapters and proclaimed, quite persuasively, that this was my “path” and that I needed to drop everything and finish my book, ASAP. I took his words to heart and set off on this crazy journey into the writing world!

What did you learn while writing this book?

I learned so many things from this process. WHEN LOVE ISN’T ENOUGH is actually my second completed novel (I completed SOUL MATES, the sequel, first), so the most important thing I learned was not to write novels in a series out of order! But I also learned that great books are never written on the first draft... the greatness emerges through the editing and revision process. I have a great respect for editors, and deep gratitude to everyone who provided feedback on the early drafts of my novel.

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

I wanted to tell a relatable, real-life love story. I grew up reading romance novels and watching soap operas, and have a sincere appreciation for both genres and the escapism they provide. But for some reason I felt compelled to tell the story of what happens if you DON’T get your happily ever after, and how to heal, move on, learn, and grow from those experiences. I feel those messages are important as well, especially for young girls.

Which character did you have the most fun writing about?

It’s hard for me to pick a favorite because all my characters are special to me for different reasons. But Damion was fun to write because he encapsulates a lot of qualities I always imagined in my “dream guy.” He is a true hero, that rare selfless man who does everything right, most of the time, yet is chronically underappreciated. I can relate. ;)

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?

Honestly, how well the book has been received, and how emotional folks can get over my little characters! I’ve read some reviews that made my heart swell with pride, and received emails from folks that just blew my mind in terms of their level of connection and engagement. I mean, I definitely have my own favorite authors where when I finish one of their books, I just cannot stop gushing to anyone who will listen about how wonderful it was... But I never really dreamed that folks would be gushing like that about ME. That part has been really cool, and the most pleasant of surprises. :)

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

I love everything about writing. Being able to dive into another world of your own making is just... magical. I’m a control-freak, so my make-believe world is one of the few places in my life where I have total control (well, at least until my editor gets her hands on the manuscript, lol). What I hate is not having enough space and quiet time to dedicate to writing. I’m totally one of those writers who would be quite happy all by myself in a little cabin in the woods, with no phone and no internet, just drinking coffee, reading, and writing. But alas, the “real world” demands that I make money to pay all these bills that keep showing up in my mailbox, hence the day job, publishing company, and freelancing. All of that leaves very little time left over for my own writing. :(

What is one thing you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now?

I wish I’d known that traditional publishing wasn’t the only pathway to becoming a successful, published author. In starting my own publishing company, I’ve learned that this path is ultimately more fulfilling, and financially lucrative, than if I had gotten a book deal with a traditional publisher. I retain more creative control over the product (once again, the control-freak in me couldn’t be happier), keep more of the profits, and get to experience success on several different levels. With the rise of ebooks, the game has completely changed, so being in bookstores (the few we have left) isn’t essential to sell books. Granted, this route is a LOT of work, but so far it has been incredibly satisfying.

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

The biggest DO is to definitely invest in having your manuscript professionally edited, especially if you plan to self/independently publish. As authors, we’re just too close to our work, and we can’t approach the manuscript objectively the way a fresh set of eyes can. And we owe it to our readers to put forward the strongest, cleanest, body of work possible.

The DON’T would be, don’t give up on your dream. It may take longer than you want or imagined, but if you keep pushing and keep working, you WILL get there.

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

Oooh, that’s a tough one. I think I might have to say Elizabeth from Eat, Pray, Love because taking the time to spend a year having adventures abroad sounds so amazing to me. I would love to take an extended vacation to Italy and Indonesia, though I might substitute India with someplace like Brazil or Australia or Thailand. :)

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

Granted, I don’t have much spare time these days, but I love to travel, and I love being out in nature. Whether I’m relaxing on a beach, or strolling through the redwoods, those are the moments when I feel most at peace. My life moves really fast, so I take every opportunity I can to slow it all down. It keeps me sane.

What do you do to interact with your readers?

Everyone can find me on Facebook, so I interact with a lot of readers there. More and more people are finding me on Twitter as well. I also love attending book fairs and festivals when I can because 1) I love to travel and 2) it gives me a chance to meet folks in person, which I really enjoy.

Our theme for this month is MEN IN LITERATURE. What male author are your reading?

Since I moonlight as an editor, I’m currently reading author James W. Lewis’s work-in-progress. James is a fantastic writer, and author of the award-winning novel SELLOUT, which follows three individuals and the consequences they experience dating outside their race. His sophomore effort, A HARD MAN IS GOOD TO FIND, is an erotic comedy. It was released in June 2011 and is just hilarious. I highly recommend both.

Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?

That love is the answer to most of life's questions. :)

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

My next book is SOUL MATES, the sequel to WHEN LOVE ISN’T ENOUGH. The novel rejoins our characters (Samantha, Tony, Damion, Faby, and the gang) about seven years later. A lot has happened since the last time we saw them, and they’ve all moved on in some surprising (and startling!) ways. SOUL MATES also introduces a new male protagonist, Jake Clayton, who is throwing his hat in the ring to win Samantha’s jaded heart. I’d say the question at the root of this novel is -- what do you do when you discover you have more than one soulmate???

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

Email: author@stephaniecasher.com
Website: http://www.stephaniecasher.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/stephaniecasher
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/stephcasher


WHEN LOVE ISN’T ENOUGH

Samantha’s second year of college started with heartbreak and betrayal. Lost, lonely, and robbed of all joy, she’d completely given up on ever finding love again when a chance encounter put her in contact with the man who would change her life.

Tony never believed in love at first sight – until he laid eyes on Samantha. But within moments of meeting her, he knew without a doubt that she was the woman he was put on this earth to love. There was only one problem – Angela, his girlfriend of five years.

Tony doesn’t want to hurt Angela, with whom he shares a rich history, but his connection to Samantha is undeniable. Angela, however, is not about to let the love of her life go without a fight.

When desperation takes a tragic turn, a chain of events unfolds that changes the course of all three of their lives forever. It is a heartbreaking tale of true love, terrible timing, impossible choices, and how you find the strength to go on when you discover that, sometimes, love just isn’t enough…

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

FEATURED AUTHOR: Naa Shalman


My passion for writing about relationships is equalled by my passion for reading novels that reflect real life. I can create an entire world in my head where I live with many fictional couples, suffering their trials and experiencing their triumphs. Like them our life journey is never carefree and rosy, but it is real and every challenge along the journey that we have taken was ours to accept and ours to overcome. I believe that every experience in life provides an opportunity to re-mould ourselves and our spirits; my experiences have certainly been so and I look forward to a future filled with more of them.

As a writer I hope my words will build a bridge across the cultural lacuna that grows deeper as our world continues to shrink. Sharing stories from other continents through characters steeped in centuries old traditions and beliefs as they make their way through our modern-day global community. I look forward to my future continually exposing my readers to different cultures and some new and old social issues. Most of all, evoking a real sense of emotion, making them fume at injustice, share in sadness, understand and relate to new perspectives, laugh in appreciation of human nature and where possible end with a smile.

How did you start out your writing career?

I was asked by four people in two days “when are you going to take your writing seriously?” that same week I won a laptop. I took that to be a message from my marker and opened word file, I have never looked back since.

What did you learn while writing this book?

I went back to my roots, learned about our forefathers and how they lived. I am a strong advocate for women’s rights and will be the first to challenge any dated tradition binding women in their native lands. However, the journey has thought me that to lose some of those traditions will be to lose our identity and that equates to losing our souls.

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

I wanted my readers to be exposed to new perspectives and appreciate life. If they take away one positive response from reading New Dawn then it has served its purpose.

Which character did you have the most fun writing about?

Adiago, he was a complex character, a warrior with a sensitive soul. He touched me; I felt his pain and understood his struggles. I wanted him to find peace after so many tragedies in his life.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?

The positive response from my readers. I had a speaking engagement at a book event held in a library in London after the talk a gentleman came to me and said he had no idea that female circumcision was still practised in this day and age until he read a piece I had written on the subject. He left promising to donate to one of the charities fighting this dreadful practise.

I am surprised and pleased about how my words can help change the suffering of young women who stories are mostly untold.

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

I love it when my characters are forming in my head, developing their own individualities, when they are telling me their story and they become in a way my friends.

I hate that I can’t type fast enough, sometimes my fingers can’t meet the pace necessary for telling the story and I wish my brain was doing the typing instead.

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

The hard work it will take to achieve this dream.

How my outlook on life will change.

How my writing will evolve from what I thought it will be in the beginning.

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

Write because this is what you want to do, write because even when you are sleeping the words are finding ways to escape and make their way onto paper.

If you choose to go down the self-publishing route, then remember the writing and publishing is the easy part there are hundreds of companies out there promising the unrealistic dream of making you a successful author (even with the error filled manuscript you have given them). This isn’t what is important because you can do it all yourself, what is fundamental for your journey is investing in a good editor and spending money to have your work proofread. Avoid the “disease” associated with self-published novels, lack of content, full of errors. Achieve this...then even with the hard work ahead there is light at the end of the tunnel.

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

That traditionally published authors aren’t necessarily the best storytellers. A lot of readers will stick to purchasing novels by 1) writers they have read before and 2) those who have publishing houses representing their work. It’s a big world we live in readers should be open to picking up novels by unknown authors; you never know the journey you will take with the author might be a fulfilling one.
It is sad to see the stigmatisation in the industry, I am proud to write about my heritage and culture but it doesn’t mean I want to limit my audience rather I am introducing others to new perspectives.

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

Rama (Sounds of the Drums) a woman who is willing to sacrifice her very soul to make sure that she can provide for her children. In all her adversities, she draws on her strength and faith that one day their lives will be better.

Immaculée (Left To Tell) a young woman’s strength in her struggle to survive the Rwandan Genocide. Her faith and spiritual development. Her forgiving heart, an attribute we believers must muster but are likely to forget in our search for vengeance.

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

LOL. It seems as if I have no spare time, there are just not enough hours in the day and night for that matter. I read an article by a successful author that said if you wanted to be the dad (in my case mum) of the year then you didn’t miss your son’s ball game. If you wanted to be a successful author then you missed ball games and didn’t sleep until the early hours of the morning only to wake shortly and start again. This signifies my life; however, even though I wouldn’t win the wife of the year award I know how fast children grow up. I struggle but if I get a moment I invest it into sharing it with my children.

What do you do to interact with your readers?

I try to respond to all emails I receive, to show my appreciation for their words of praise, support and pointers. I have social media sites where readers get to interact with me most of the time and I also use the opportunity to interact personally at speaking engagements.

Our theme for this month is MEN IN LITERATURE. What male author are your reading?

I reading the late Ola Rotimi’s The Gods Are Not to Blame.

Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?

This journey has just begun and I know that I will write for many years to come if God has ordained it so.

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

My next book is Coronation, this time my readers are introduced to Bako the heroine a queen who battles with her destiny in the beginning but will leave a legacy for the generation unborn. It also tells the love story between Bako and Bartolomeu, two people who would never consciously select the other for a life partner but treachery and calamity pave their way into a forced union: a joining that denigrates the Prince’s reputation until his life is in danger and the very person he most despises is the one who holds his survival in her hands.

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

They can send me an email: naashalman@gmail.com
Via my website: http://naashalman.com/
Or on Facebook and other social media sites.


NEW DAWN

In the days of ethnic strife and struggles for Kingdom-wide control in the African Gold Coast village of Asempa’Krom, the beautiful young Ima eagerly awaits for her marriage to the village’s lustiest warrior, Batum. Batum’s air of cockiness and physical strength are nearly a perfect match for Ima’s impetuous spirit, and both have a fire burning in their belly for the power of their promising young lives. But, when Batum carries out a wholly unprovoked attack on the neighbouring village’s Chief Warrior, Adiago, to feed his greed for power and glory, his uncontrolled actions prompt his desperate flight from Asempa’Krom.

To avenge the attack on Adiago, the offended warrior’s clan sets out to kidnap Ima, and unintentionally begin her journey to womanhood. Over a week’s journey by foot away from her home, Ima is kept in the house of the man whose family was slaughtered by Batum. Referring to her only as “Batum’s intended wife”, Ima must learn to stave off her loneliness, and prove herself as an individual and not the reflection of Batum’s evil doings. While there, she discovers her compassion and resolves her growing desire for the very man who is now her captor.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

BOOK SPOTLIGHT: Thyme for Love


Thyme for Love
by Pamela S. Meyers

When April Love signs on to be an in-house chef at an old lakeshore mansion in Canoga Lake, Wisconsin, she comes face to face with her long- lost love, the drop-dead gorgeous Marc Thorne.

It doesn't take long for their old magnetism to recharge, but how can she trust the guy who left her nearly at the altar eight years earlier? Her gut tells her something happened to Marc in between--something he's reluctant to reveal.

When April's boss is murdered, Marc is accused of the crime. Unless April can find out who really killed Ramón Galvez, her chances for love will end up at the county jail. But someone else is just as determined she not solve the mystery...and will go to any length to stop her.



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Monday, November 14, 2011

FEATURED AUTHOR: Angeline Bishop



Angeline Bishop was born in Washington, D. C. but lives most of her life in New Jersey and considers the ‘Garden State’ her home. Her childhood passion for writing led to a degree in English Literature and a membership in Romance Writers of America.

She works in academic, is a current board member of Write of Passage, Inc., a nonprofit which supports under-served artists in the Baltimore, MD area and an active member of the NAACP. She enjoys providing aspiring writers with writing resources to strengthen their craft.

How did you start out your writing career?

I’ve been writing since high school but I began to take the craft very seriously as an English/Literature major in college. It was there that I decided to broaden my literary tastes.

In my college, Celtic Mythology & Early Irish Literature course, I had an epiphany when Professor Tom Kinsella told me I was a good storyteller. I was the only black woman in that literature class, with not an ounce of Irish blood coursing through my veins, but my story was one of the best. It was a light bulb moment for me. I was captivated by Celtic Mythology and amazing how many of their traditions supersede race and time.

Now, I enjoy writing contemporary African-American novels and I continue to be influenced by many different literary genres.

What did you learn while writing this book?

You know many single moms put their responsibilities and careers in front of everything else because they don’t want the drama of a bad love choice to sidetrack them.

They’ll bury themselves in work, child-rearing and community service in order not to face the fact that love is a risk and sometimes a battle. This book reminded me you have to put your heart on the line to get the love you deserve. Good loving relationships aren’t for the faint of heart. They’re for the brave. We need to stop envying the kind of love relationships other have and get out there and do the work.

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

I hoped to entertain romance readers with Sheridan siblings and make them root for their favorite. I wanted to tell Graham’s story more than anything else. He’s a troubled soul because he’s always had to fight to protect what is his. He had to fight his father’s dreams of him entering the Navy to enroll at Princeton University. He had to fight to start a magazine with a concept no one thought would work. He even had to fight to make his former fiancé part of his past, and not his present. I can gladly say I’ve done what I set out to do. I told Graham’s love story.

Which character did you have the most fun writing about?

That’s a hard question because I had fun with all of them, in different ways. Yvette has a very ‘over the top’ and ‘in your face’ mentality so I enjoyed writing her dialogue. But I also have a soft spot in my heart for Caresse --she took a chance on love when she didn’t have to.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?

The way I bonded so quickly with the wonderful authors at Soul Mate Publishing. The publishing process can be very overwhelming so at our author’s blog site we share stories, information and encourage each other. It’s nice to know there are some friends in the trenches with you.

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

I love editor feedback. It always challenges me to be a better storyteller. I totally hate writer’s block. I’m a plotter so if I can’t see where the story is going I just stop right there in the outline stage and get frustrated. That is when I usually step away from the computer and live my life away from writing.

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

I wish I’d listen to my gut instincts that kept telling me to send out more queries. Just because my novel didn’t fit one agent’s taste or a publishing house worried about causing competition with other series author on their roster, I lost my confidence and stopped my process. Thankfully, my life changed drastically and my writing was able to take center stage again.

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

Do – Write something every day. It keeps you sharp and helps you improve as a writer.

Don’t - Waste days, months, and years talking about the story you want to write. Make it happen. Don’t talk the talk, walk the walk.

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

It’s a job, not a hobby. Its work that can be very reward and cathartic but it’s still work. And just because no one pays you doesn’t mean you can get away with less of a commitment.

Each night, I would tell my colleagues, I was going home to work my second job, and I’m sure all of them thought it was cute that I liked to write at night, but it was so much more. With North Star available it will be great to show them the results of my work.

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

Do comic books count because I’m feeling the new Black Panther series, right now? Shuri is sister of King T'Challa (the Black Panther most comic book fans know). Through her self-sacrificing act to save Wakanda, she earned the mantle of the Black Panther. When one assumes the identity of the Black Panther, they're not just becoming a costumed champion, they're also becoming the ruler of Wakanda; one of the most technologically advanced nations in the Marvel Universe.

Like me, Shuri is a pretty complex woman, and she's doing her best to put on a good front. Both of us have evolved from headstrong, short-tempered and arrogant little sister to being the master of our own fate. When we first meet Shuri, she appears cool and confident, but some of that is a front. It's a 'fake it until you make it' thing. She’s learning to trust her instincts and her support team, (known as P.R.I.D.E.-Princess Regent's Intelligence Division Executives) just like I seek the wisdom of my inner circle.

Okay, if we aren’t talking comic books I would have to say I would be Penelope from Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey. Right now I can relate to the way she never gave up hope. She’s martial faithfulness personified.

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

I like to exercise, visit with friends, watch ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy/Private Practice, cook, horseback riding and reading.

What do you do to interact with your readers?

I enjoy using the social networks like Facebook and Twitter. My Kindle Fire contest has a Twitter component so I can see how Tweeter savvy my fans are.

Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?

A healthy loving relationship bring you joy, not just some of the time but most of the time.

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

My next book in the Sheridan series will be South Beach, it’s Laila’s story. I’ll be sending her on a much-needed vacation in sunny Florida, where she’ll cause a media whirlwind with her old college friends, Dr. Sofìa Vega-Barea and Ms. Marina Carter. Fans will also get to hear from Malcolm, Graham and Gray again.

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

Email: amb.novels@yahoo.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/ambishop1

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/AMB-Novels/348407484637

Website: http://www.angelinembishop.com/



NORTH STAR

Caresse Aldana is chosen to persuade Psyche’s dangerously handsome editor-in-chief, Graham Sheridan, to feature an article on the Mason Community Center. She tells herself it’s just business.

She thought her heart wasn’t in jeopardy, but she clearly underestimated Graham’s charm, and his determination to win her heart. As their passion intensifies, disturbing mishaps at the Center place Caresse’s life in danger.

The highly anticipated Mason Ball fundraiser is in peril. Can Graham decipher the evidence, finger the culprits, and save Caresse before it’s too late?

Book trailer: http://youtu.be/WNMhnmqhfkM



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