Saturday, June 30, 2012

FEATURED AUTHOR: Kelli London

Kelli London is the author of Boyfriend Season: Cali Boys, Boyfriend Season and Uptown Dreams. A graduate of the University of Connecticut, she lives outside of Atlanta with her family and has daily one-sided conversations with her dog Marlowe, who’ll be making her fiction debut in Kelli’s next novel, Charly’s Epic Fiascos.


How did you start out your writing career?

My writing career…(Laughing), well, it seems as if I’ve always had one, even when I wasn’t published. I first began writing, rather, attempting to write in elementary school, while on a summertime punishment. Unable to go outside and play or talk on the phone, I began to entertain myself through characters, who, eventually, worked themselves into a full-length story because they had so much to say and so much life to give. I’ve been writing ever since, and I owe that to my Mom, who exacted that punishment!

What did you learn while writing this book?

Being a teenager isn’t easy. Better yet, being a teenage girl who’s relocated and trying to find herself can be two of the hardest feats a girl has to overcome. Women deal with a lot, teenage girls deal with just as much and, maybe, more. Friends, hormones, boys…a trio of unanswered, not yet figured out important parts of life dominate teenage existence and, as a woman, who once believed teenaged problems dissipated with my generation, I encountered a huge wake-up-that-still-exists-call that served as proof that teen life is tough. Today’s teenagers are much stronger than most people think. Teenagers aren’t nearly as confused as adults believe either; adults just can’t seem to figure out all that teens endure because in the process of reaching adulthood we forget, and that’s why adults and teens don’t speak the same language. One has lost fluency, and the other is mastering it.


What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

I want girls to know that no matter what walk of life they come from, no matter how they view themselves, whether negatively or positively, no matter how others view them, they are important—they are queens, not court. Their dreams are important and real and worth it, and so are they. I needed them to know that if the world viewed them as beautiful on the outside, they are equally beautiful within. And if the world’s vision was skewed and unable to recognize their outer beauty, they were and are still beautiful. Life isn’t what other’s think of us or what they call us. Life is what we answer to.

What came first with this story, the characters or the plot? Why?

The story came first, then the plot, then the characters. The story was first because I wanted to write about something relevant to many girls. We’ve all dealt with maturing, physically and otherwise, of being in that weird in-between stage of becoming beautiful, but not quite making it yet. And we’ve all dealt with boys, the one’s we didn’t think we were good enough for or the ones we didn’t think good enough for us. Another reason I chose the story first was because I wanted to show there are two sides to pretty just as there are two sides to a hand, and most, if not all, girls fit into either category. On one side of the hand you have a girl who is physically attractive and seems to have it all. On the other side of the hand, you have a girl who hasn’t yet realized her beauty, and is worth more than she believes. The bottom line, no matter which side a girl relates to, it’s still the same hand, and all girls possess beauty, and that beauty starts within—it’s the pulse running through the hand. And the rest: boys, clothes, popularity, smarts, etc. are just life’s accessories that either make the hand look good or not, but can never change the hand from being a hand. In short, a girl will still be a girl—important and beautiful—and nothing can change that.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?

That teens would really enjoy and relate to my stories. I love it when I get it right, and when they email and tell me they’ve somehow connected to a character or story. Knowing that something I’ve written has moved them in some positive way always awes me and makes me grateful.

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

I love the actual writing of the first draft, then seeing it all come together, piece by piece, character by character. I’m not a big fan of edits. I’d rather do a rewrite than an edit, and, usually, that’s what I do. Drafts, I can do all day. Edits make me pause because I’m always afraid of breaking the momentum.


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

That I could’ve done this years ago. I used to talk about writing all the time. I’m going to write a book one day. When I get the time, I’m going to sit down and start and finish a story. Next summer… I’m almost ashamed to admit I used to make every excuse about why I hadn’t written a full-length novel, but I did. The other two things are: 2.) Preparation and 3.) More preparation. Writing means honing and honing means writing. A writer can never study the craft enough, and to learn the craft, you have to relearn it, and that’s also a process that requires you to write, edit, then write again. It’s cyclical, and never stops.

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

Do talk to yourself, your characters, and listen to both, then write. Don’t listen to others who tell you how to write, what to write or when to write. Listen to your internal clock and voice because your story and your method is within, and only you can breathe life into it.

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

Writing is a process—a seriously hard process that takes a lot of time, study, effort and delivery. Oftentimes, I’m approached about writing because everyone has a story, a great story, and their having a great story may, in fact, be true. However, I’m not the one who will advise them on how to write it, other than giving them the basic answer, which many don’t like because they’re looking for more. That basic answer is always the same: Write it. Just write it. Writing the story is the only way it’ll get written. However, I do offer another answer they need, and that is: You better write it because if you don’t, the story will never go away. It’ll just keep stalking you until you get it out. Characters need to be introduced and their stories need to be told, and only a writer can do that.

Tell us something few know about you?

I’m an education junkie. I love education. Schools. Libraries. Research. Anywhere you’d think to find a book on education, history, the craft of and study of writing, I’m bound to have been there or spend a lot of time there. However, I’m even more big on educating one’s self because people can only teach you what they’ve been taught. Therefore, the real teaching is behind the teacher of the teaching. The real learning is in the discovery of truth, not man’s or the history writers, which is equivalent to the winners of battles, etc., but the whole truth, which rarely lies on the surface or makes its way into textbooks.

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

Besides talking to my dog, Marlowe, I run, am an Ashtanga yoga junkie, and sing all the time. I like to have fun, celebrate life, and radiate good, positive things. I also like girly stuff: clothes, dressing up, lip-gloss, movies with happy endings, and long walks. Other than that, there is no spare time because I’m always thinking of new stories, new characters and new situations.

What do you do to interact with your readers?

I mostly interact through email and social media.

Our theme for this month is INDEPENDENT PUBLISHERS. Have you ever considered self publishing your work? Why or Why not?. If you are a independent publishers, can you offer some tips for taking this journey.

I think self-publishing is a great thing and know many who’ve done it, but I was fortunate enough to have a publisher publish my work, and that gives me more time to write.

Who was the first author you ever met?

I was fortunate to meet the great Maya Angelou, and it was simply amazing. She’s a wonderful person and speaker—an incredible woman who exerts positivity and makes one want to be better.

Oprah always asks, what do you know for sure?

I know that I do not know, but am always on a mission to learn. However, if I could know one thing without a doubt—okay, multiple things, they’d be: How to excel in happiness, love, and best-ness (Okay, it’s not technically a word you’ll find in a dictionary, but I like it! ☺). I think we focus so much on right and wrong, that sometimes we forget about what’s best. To me, what’s best is what makes the world better—what makes me better. If I’m better, then I can create better stories that will, hopefully, attribute to making my readers better.

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

CHARLY’S EPIC FIASCOS

My name is Charly, I’m sixteen, and between my dream-killing mother and having to work part-time to help pay the bills, my life sucks. Big Time. But guess what? I’ve got a dream no one can kill, and I’ve been planning how to make it come true.

I had it all figured out: save money for a smartphone and finally get connected to the world beyond this Illinois dump I call home. Take online acting classes, send out headshots, and boom—get on a Reality TV show. But guess what? Ms. Dream Killer “borrowed” my hard-earned cash. She said “Well, you owe me for having you.” So I’m done. I’m outta here and on my way to New York. I’ve got an aunt there who works for a TV network. She told me to look her up, and the time is now. I’ll do whatever I have to do to get there—and between the most messed up travel plans you can imagine, and a bunch of broken promises, it’s clear that’s going to be a lot. But nothing will stop me, not even if the biggest challenge of all is waiting at my destination…

How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)
www.kellilondon.com
Kelli@kellilondon.com
Facebook: Kelli London
Twitter: @Kelli_London


It’s a town of heartthrobs, drama queens, and bullies. Now two teens who are new to LA are about to get a crash course in it all—and learn that getting the guy isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be…

Kassidy Maddox has everything—beauty, brains, and confidence to spare. Fresh off the New York A-list, she knows what she wants: Brent, Romero, and Carsen, three extremely fine, must-have boys. And she isn’t about to choose between them—until she meets Diggs. He’s a hot property—and he doesn’t like to share. Will Kassidy finally have to give up the spotlight?

Jacobi Swanson is a late bloomer with a major crush on two guys. There’s Shooby from the old neighborhood, the guy she can’t let go of, and seemingly, can’t have, and then there’s Malone, the guy next door who’s got a serious case of the perfects—perfectly popular, perfectly smart, and perfectly rich. Determined to break out of her shell and into the heart of the guy who’s right for her, Jacobi turns to Kassidy for beauty and boy tips. But when Jacobi finally captures the right one’s attention, she’ll have to figure out whether he’s for real—along with everything else in La-La Land…



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Thursday, June 28, 2012

BOOK SPOTLIGHT: SUSPECT: A Confessional Anthology - Thrillers

It is the night before Christmas at Portsborough, New York. The snow blankets the ground, the shining lights hang from the trees with great care and the smell of chestnuts roasting permeates the air. Although the city is ready for Christmas, the people who are finding themselves in Trinity Church are not there to celebrate the birth of their Savoir. No tonight. They find themselves confessing sins they meant to keep hidden from the world. You'll never see Christmas quite the same.

Website address: www.pheinkpub.com




Suspect: A Confessional Anthology

Play Me by Linda Watson
Lacy could hear voices as she drew closer to the confessional. She couldn’t make out what was being said, but she knew one of the voices belonged to Alexander. He was arguing with someone who sounded like a woman, but it could have been a man. It was hard for her to tell.
He done lost his damn mind, how dare he sit his ass up in this confessional with another woman? I got his ass now and there’s no way he’ll get out of this one.
Fear began to take over her entire body. Something just wasn’t right. She kept hearing someone say Robert, but Alexander would respond. Then she heard Alexander say, “This is going too far. I didn’t sign-up for this. I’m not going to kill anyone.” The male-female voice answered, “Robert, you have no choice, you must follow through with the plan.”
Lacy was more confused than ever.
“I can’t do it, I’m not going to,” she heard Alexander say.
“Look Robert, if you don’t do it first, then you’ll be risking your life. There is no turning back, you’re in too deep,” the other voice said.
Sa’Rai by LM Blakely
“I thought he told you to stay away from here? We know you chained Father Dunklin to the bed and we will carry out your punishment. You had to come back and run your mouth, eh?” one of the priests said as his breath brushed my right earlobe, making me aware that he was having his way with me again. For some reason I couldn’t feel a thing in my loins. He repositioned himself and began to sodomize me as he quietly chastised me. I heard another voice tell him to hurry up because he also wanted to reteach me a lesson.  When he climbed on me, it was hard for me to breathe. Something was terribly wrong because I heard a loud banging noise and saw blood pooling around me. The second priest thrust himself against my backside, literally tearing my flesh. I heard him stand up and collect himself as the two talked amongst themselves as if I wasn’t there; naked…sodomized, raped and bludgeoned. They splashed something on me and spoke in Latin. I assumed it was holy water, but it smelled something like bleach.
State Street by JA Gardner
Right before nine, Joe walked into the garage.  He hadn’t had a drink since yesterday afternoon and it showed. He looked tired. “Can’t drive cars drunk,” she’d said.  “If you’re going to do this, you’re going to have to hold off on the liquor. When I asked how she swung the job for me so fast, she told me she had checked out the owner info and just said I was a friend of the owner’s son.  Figured it was good for a week before payroll.  
“Hey!  You know where the manager is?”
“How do you know I’m not the manager?”  Cisco asked, a bit peeved because this guy didn’t think it was him.
“Didn’t think.  Sorry, you the manager?”
“Nah, he’s in the back.  Said you were starting this morning and that I should show you around.”
“Cool.  Someplace I can drop this bag?  Lots of books.”
Cisco smiled and pointed to the back. 
“In the manager’s office.”
“Be right back.”
“Hey!  Nothing much going on here.  Boss sits around more than he works.  A car comes in occasionally and whoever is near the front parks it.   We start the same time every day and leave the same time.  Schedule never changes.
Joe called Tracy to tell her to “Drive that piece a shit car into the garage tomorrow morning at 9:15 and I’ll park it for you. That’s Cisco’s coffee break.”
In This Life by Jean Holloway
Cameo stayed in the confessional and waited for Father Grimaldi to arrive. It was 9:45 on the dot when she saw the man in black come through the double doors, looking around. Obviously, he was in just as much of a hurry as she was to get this over with. It was time for him to pay. Cameo waited until he passed the confessional and slipped out behind him. She pulled the knife out of her coat pocket and jabbed him in the back three quick times, one for the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. After all, it was Trinity Church and he was a priest. On the third strike, she twisted the knife counter-clockwise. Somewhere she had heard that would cause the most damage. Satisfied that her nightmares were gone forever, Cameo took a deep breath and knelt down in the red carpet to turn the body over.
The face that looked back at her was all too familiar. It was Joshua!
Murder in the Sanctuary by C. Highsmith Hooks
The impact of the second blow rattled the weapon in my hand, but I managed to maintain my grip. Peter tipped forward and fell into the water with a splash that left me almost as wet as he was.
Startled by the sound of the splash and the shock of the cold water, I jumped backwards from the edge of the pool, dropping the candlestick. In my paranoia, I looked around, certain that someone had heard the enormous commotion, and my first instinct was to run from the church.
But what if no one saw me? I thought. I didn’t want to risk getting caught by drawing undue attention to myself, so I slowly shuffled my way past the altar and back towards the front of the church.
Double Take by Lorita Kelsey Childress
Father Patrick was traumatized. However, he found strength to continue his confession. “Once in a while my brother Tony, who was twenty-one at the time, would stop by the church. On one of his visits he saw Eve. He was smitten with her. For months I had hidden Eve, but once he saw her Tony started making regular visits to the church.  One day, I caught the two of them in bed. To say I was upset is a vast understatement.”
Chief Haddock was grinning. “Thanks for the memories brother. There is nothing like a young girl to make you feel like a man.” 
“A man wouldn’t take advantage of a sixteen year old, impregnate her with twins and then dismiss her like an old pair of shoes!” Father Patrick yelled at his brother.

A Walk in the Courtyard by Michele T. Darring
I can’t explain the pain and rage that fueled my body at the trial that day as I listened to him explain in explicit detail what he did to my child. His voice was very distinct; my rapist had finally been caught. Too bad it wasn’t for raping me. My aunt and uncle convinced me that it would be in my best interest to let it go and not pressure the police into finding him because then I would be labeled and my son would never get a fair chance in life. It’s funny how the system works sometimes and as young as I was, I trusted their advice.
I couldn’t believe that, after all this time, I would find out my own family had something to do with my pain and suffering for the last twelve years. My body wrenched with pain at that time, but I had to keep my cool until I found out the details of what they were discussing. I needed to know how bad I was going to make the both of them suffer.
The Escort by TL James
Hours later, Iam stood at the double doors. His heart was so heavy and mind burdened with all the pain from his Christmas Eve experience. Confessions about murders, haunting spirits, vile acts against his creations by his creations, and the ultimate – wishing death upon HIM consumed his mind. He gave so much to mankind, but mankind was still hurting and hurtful. As he took steps through the double doors, the bright sun and the crystal clear sky burned his eyes. He was so burdened that he didn’t even marvel at his own creation.
Iam slowly walked down the steps with his mind spinning. He was so consumed in thought that when he felt a tap on his shoulder, he jumped, exclaiming “Mary, Joseph, and Judas!”



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Monday, June 25, 2012

FEATURED AUTHOR: Queen Brown

Queen Brown was born and raised in Pacoima, CA. She now resides in Lancaster, CA. with her teenage son and young daughter. She enjoys writing, singing, movies, reading and spending quality time with her family. She works with the mentally and physically handicapped and it has been her occupation for over 5 years. She was inspired to write the Darker the Berry the Deeper the Roots as therapy to help overcome her troubled childhood. Queen Brown s passion for storytelling shows in her writing. Her aim is to inspire people who have gone through or who are going through similar situations to have faith and stay strong so that they too can make it out of the darkness she has fought her way through. Queen Brown can be reached at queen.brown@gmail.com

How did you start out your writing career?

I've always had a passion for writing, poetry and song lyrics were my thing. A friend of mines encouraged me years ago to write a book because I always had some drama to tell him eveytime he came over! I sat down at my laptop one day, and I let the words in my head flow. I now have a finshed product that I'm proud of.

What did you learn while writing this book?

I learned story and character development as well as what a lot of readers want now and that's drama!


What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

I hoped and still hope to touch the lives of many who are or have gone through similar situations as Ebony (the main character in my book) has. I would like to inspire them to keep faith & determination high in their lives. You can make it if you really want to.

What came first with this story, the characters or the plot? Why?

The plot because I've taken some of my life experiences as well as the people around me and incorporated it into a book with a twist.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?

I am surprised to have so many supportive readers! I am definitely both grateful & humbled.

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

I love the writing aspect of it all because I enjoy being creative. I hate the editing aspect only because I have no patience! Lol I'm learning though.

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

1. How to promote on a wider scale.

2.How to shorten chapters.

3.How to target a specific audience.

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

Do your research before leaping in!

Don't ever settle for less than the best when it comes to your manuscript. It is your baby, treat it as such.

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

That it is a process, I cannot have it all figured out over night. It takes lot's of creativity, consistency, hard work, courage and most importantly, faith.

Tell us something few know about you?

I am one of the goofiest people you'll ever meet, I love being silly sometimes! It's good for the soul.

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

Quality time with the kiddies, read, shop, movies, karaokee and poetry lounges.

What do you do to interact with your readers?

I love live conversation and feedback! I also join in on other book discussions etc.

Our theme for this month is INDEPENDENT PUBLISHERS. Have you ever considered self publishing your work? Why or Why not?. If you are a independent publishers, can you offer some tips for taking this journey.

I am an independent publisher. I would say do your homework thoroughly, check for the pros and cons, get feedback and advice from other independent authors. Check out infinitesourcepublishing.com as well.

Who was the first author you ever met?

The first author I ever met is Diallo Frazier author of Hood Hieroglyphics & Revelations of a Warrior.

Oprah always asks, what do you know for sure?

The Most High is definitely all over this experience! I'm blessed.

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

I can't give a sneak peek just yet, it's still a work in progress. I can assure you though that you won't be disappointed!

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

Queenbrownwrites.com
Queen.brown@gmail.com
Queen.brown@infinitesourcepublishing.com
Facebook.com/Ms.Queen.Brown
Twitter.com/queenbrownwrite


Facing diversity from every angle, Ebony experienced and witnessed things no child should. With a crack addicted mother, an incarcerated father and a devoutly Christian grandmother—whose disdain for her could not go unnoticed—there was never anyone to protect her. From sexual and physical abuse to rape and spousal abuse as an adult, Ebony has endured too much pain for far too many years. After narrowly escaping an abusive boyfriend, protecting her son and getting her life on track is her main priority. Will Ebony find happiness and the peace she deserves or will she remain a victim of her past?

Let Ebony take you on her journey to mental freedom.



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Friday, June 22, 2012

FEATURED AUTHOR: Jae Henderson

EDITOR'S NOTE: It is always a pleasure to meet young writers who have it on the ball. I had the pleasure of meeting Jae at the Romance Slam Jam. She was very professional and motivating. I attended her workshop and learned a lot. I gave her a business card to contact me to do an interview. She sent an email I think as soon as she got home. To me that meant she was serious about your craft. I can see bright things in this young ladies future, and I hope SORMAG will be there to help support her.

After embracing careers as a radio talk show host, marketing and media professional, freelance writer and voice over artist, Jae Henderson made her debut as a Christian/Inspirational romance author. Through her website, www.imagoodwoman.com, Jae is constantly motivating women to embrace their virtue and accomplish great things. The I’m A Good Woman Literary Series, began in 2011 with her debut novel, Someday, and is an extension of that spirit of success and imparts lessons of love, perseverance and triumph. In 2012, she released the sequel, Someday, Too. Join Jae as she uses her wit and way with words to take us on a most entertaining journey that imparts some sage wisdom and assists readers in further realizing that we may not be perfect but we serve a perfect God. Jae Henderson is a graduate of The University of Memphis where she earned a BA in Communications and an MA in English. She is the former host and producer of On Point, a popular talk show geared toward youth and young adults. Other accomplishments have included serving as a contributing writer for the award-winning, syndicated Tom Joyner Morning Show and a successful career as a voice over artist. Her signature voice has been heard in hundreds of commercials and even a couple of cartoons. When Jae isn’t writing she works as a public relations specialist and college professor. She currently resides in her hometown of Memphis, TN.

I began as a freelance writer for local magazines and newspapers here in Memphis. Later, I started putting articles about men and women who were accomplishing amazing things on my motivational website, www.imagoodwoman.com. My novels are an extension of that. I wanted to find another avenue to continue encouraging people to accomplish their dreams while minding their morals.

What did you learn while writing this book?

While writing my first novel, Someday, I learned that writing isn’t as easy as many people think it is. In order to be good at it you must study the craft. There is a technical/mechanical process to writing. Having a product that is not only entertaining but marketable is key to being successful. It also takes a lot of discipline. My second novel, Someday Too, only helped to solidify what writing process works best for me. Some people can crank out a novel in a month. I can’t. I actually believe if I tried to put something together in that short amount of time it wouldn’t be my best work. Taking my time is very important to the development of my novels.

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

In both books, I wanted to encourage single Christians to trust God and count their blessings. Just because they don’t have a mate now doesn’t mean it will always be that way and rushing into a relationship that isn’t right for them just so they won’t be alone will ultimately be detrimental. However, while they are waiting for Mr. or Ms. Righteous to come along, people need to continue to work on themselves spiritually, physically, mentally and emotionally. Enjoy that season of singleness. It could be worst. They could be with someone who is abusive, a habitual cheater, a drug addict or alcoholic…you get the picture. As a single, African American woman, oftentimes, we find ourselves in competition with another woman for a man’s affection. It’s important that we don’t compromise our bodies or our beliefs in order to get a man.

What came first with this story, the characters or the plot? Why?

Definitely, the characters. The plot came to me as I wrote. I know that many writers sit down and create an outline before they begin their novels. I didn’t do that with Someday or Someday, Too. God revealed that plot to me as I wrote. However, with the final book in this trilogy, Forever and A Day, I am creating an outline. At this point, I already have the characters, and I want to make sure that I give my readers a truly grand finale.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?

The outpouring of love and support I have received from readers and other authors. I am humbled every time someone gives me a compliment or tells me that they loved my book. It always puts a huge grin on my face.

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

I love being able to put my thought on paper and the ability to use my imagination by creating this entire world that the characters I create reside in. I can make them say or do anything I want. It’s like the adult version of playing with dolls, only better.

The hardest thing for me sometimes is making myself sit down and write. I love writing but my attention is being pulled in so many directions each day. However, when I do sit down and write, the finished product makes it all worthwhile. I look forward to the day when I can claim that I am a full-time writer.

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

1. Editing your book yourself and having friends who are not editors do it for you in order to save money is a bad idea.

2. My only true competition is myself. Every writer moves at their own pace. I don’t focus on beating another writer to the printer or in the amount of sales I have. It’s my job to make sure that each one of my books resides on a different plateau than my last. We are supposed to get better as we do something more. We can all be successful if we work hard. There are millions of people in the world who love to read, and they are always looking for quality, entertaining books to read.

3. You can’t do it all. Create a team of talented, trustworthy people who have a genuine desire to help you become successful. You’ll run yourself raggedy if you don’t.

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

Do study your craft and find a mentor. No man is an island. Don’t think that you can just figure this out on your own. It only wastes precious time. There are thousands of people who have done it before you did. Reach out to them and ask for advice. This will allow you to learn from their successes as well their failures. The blueprint has been created. Be smart and follow it but be sure to add a style that is truly your own along the way. Don’t be afraid to write what’s in your heart. Everyone will not like you. That’s a fact, but there are other people who will enjoy what you have to offer and love you!

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

Authors need you to write book reviews. We live in an instant information society, and many people like to research books before they buy them. That is also how authors get noticed by news outlets, book publishers, event planners, etc. If you enjoy someone’s book, please take the time to go to the website of wherever you purchased it or to a literary social networking site and write a review. We’ll be extremely grateful. Book reviews are great publicity.

Tell us something few know about you?

It’s in my bio so I guess it’s not little known anymore. I used to host a radio talk show for youth and young adults, and I’ve been a professional voice over artist for over a decade. I’ve done commercials for national companies like McDonald’s, Ampro, Kroger, Ben & Jerry’s and others. I’m always looking for my next opportunity, and I would love to do cartoons-especially an episode of The Boondocks. I love Aaron McGruder’s work. My VO website is www.jaehendersononline.com.

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

I enjoy reading and traveling. They both serve the same purpose. They allow me to escape to a place that isn’t a part of my daily routine. Reading is also research for me. I love immersing myself in the writing styles of others.

What do you do to interact with your readers?

I do a lot of social networking…Facebook, Twitter that sort of thing. I enjoy participating in book club discussions, whether it’s in person or via Skype. I’m also accessible through email. Of course there are the appearances at events, conferences, etc. The wonderful people I’ve met are definitely a bonus to being a writer.

Who was the first author you ever met?

The first one I remember is Harriette Cole. She wrote a book on etiquette called How To Be. Sometime during the 90’s she was in Memphis for a Playtex Pantyhose event and we sat down and had a conversation on the importance of etiquette. So many people don’t have anyone in their lives to introduce them to the proper way to behave in certain settings. I’m still learning myself. I also vividly remember the day I interviewed Alice Walker’s daughter, Rebecca Walker. I read her autobiography Black, White & Jewish. At the time her book was released, she was in her mid 20’s (I think), and I was in awe of how much she had accomplished at such a young age. That meeting motivated me to do more with my life. Your age doesn’t dictate how big of an impact you can have. Your determination and hard work does.

Oprah always asks, what do you know for sure?


I know for sure that I am a child of God, and He has called me to minister to people through my writing. He’s calling young women and young men to recognize that a lot of what we initially thought was entertainment has now made its way into main stream society and has been deemed acceptable. These negative behaviors have contributed to a decline in morals. I’m talking about women walking around half-naked thinking it’s cute, promiscuity, sinful or illegal acts committed to obtain a wealthy or glamorous lifestyle, etc. What God says is unacceptable is still unacceptable. He is calling us to do better. My books serve as realistic, applicable examples of why we should do better and how we can use faith and scripture to help us do so. We will never be perfect. As humans, we a flawed by nature but we at least owe it to Him to try. God has blessed each of us in more ways than we can count. You don’t have to be a prude or boring to be a Christian. You can still have plenty of fun. I do it regularly.

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

Forever and A Day is the end of the Someday series. People will find out if their stalker, Becca is actually still alive. Sorry, but that’s all I’m willing to give away. (-:

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

You can always find me at www.imagoodwoman.com www.jaehendersonauthor.com They can sign up for my monthly newsletters on the two sites above. www.facebook.com/imagoodwomn www.twitter.com/imagoodwoman

There’s my blog for singles: My Side of the Single Life http://imagoodwoman2.blogspot.com/

Then, there’s always my email: imagoodwoman2@yahoo.com

As a child Tina “Tee” Long dreamed of having it all and as one of Memphis’ most sought after event planners everyone believes she's achieved it. Even though creating breathtaking events and rubbing elbows with the social elite seems fulfilling, there’s one thing missing from her fairy tale life—her prince charming. After a string of failed, faith-challenging relationships this woman of God refuses to give up on meeting the man of her dreams. Tee knows in her heart that God will answer her prayers--SOMEDAY. Until then, she tries to remain prayerful and content by occupying her time with work, her sister’s drama-filled marriage and counseling wayward youth. When Tee is introduced to an incredibly handsome, retired NFL player named Michael Stokes, it seems that someday has finally arrived. There's one problem. He’s been marked for death.

Michael Stokes thought life was over after a knee injury claimed his career as a NFL superstar. He realized just how wrong he was after dedicating his life to Christ and beginning on a wonderful new path as a motivational speaker and book author. He even meets Tee, a woman that makes all the other women he’s dated seem like a waste of time. But when his past comes back to haunt him Michael’s greatest fear is not the loss of his lucrative contract but losing the woman who must be heaven sent. Will Tee accept a man who has a killer on his trail and a surprising new addition to his family? Someday is full of adventure, excitement, thrills, laughter and love as Tee and Michael fight to stay alive in order to stay together.

Someday, Too picks up right where Someday left off with more romance, more mystery, more laughs, and more mayhem! Tee and Michael are back but so are “the girls.” Sandy is expecting a new bundle of joy but the baby blues take over when her adulterous past comes back to haunt her. Lenice finally seeks help for her man-hating ways, but learning to love again is hard to do even if there is a good man willing to help. Her twin, Lenora, has a love affair with food that is threatening her health and her marriage. Also, Tiffany finds herself living single after giving her married lover the boot, but she isn’t fond of living without his loot. Can she find the strength to take care of herself and her son on her own, or will her love of money keep her tied to a sinful relationship?

Someday, Too delves into the complexities of love, friendship and faith. It reminds us that God can provide all your needs but first, you have to be willing to trust Him.


BOOK TRAILER
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3Cyvxes87Q


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Thursday, June 21, 2012

FEATURED AUTHOR: Candace Shaw

Candace Shaw is the author of fun, flirty and sexy African-American contemporary romance novels. She is a PRO member of Romance Writers of America and Georgia Romance Writers. She is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

When Candace is not writing or researching information for a book, she’s reading, window shopping, gardening, listening to music or spending time with her loving husband and their loyal, over-protective weimaraner. She is currently working on the next novel in the Arrington Family Series.

How did you start out your writing career?

In the summer of 2007, I was contracted to write teacher workbooks for an educational company after I sent a manuscript of a workbook I’d written for my students. In the back of my mind, I knew I needed to complete a novel I had begun the year before and think seriously about my goal of being published in the romance genre. I joined Georgia Romance Writers, a chapter of Romance Writers of America to hone my craft and to gain better insight and knowledge of writing contemporary romance novels as well as the publishing industry.

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

With Cooking Up Love, I want readers to feel as if they have read a fun and flirty romance novel that doesn’t necessarily fit all of the guidelines of a traditional contemporary romance novel.

What came first with this story, the characters or the plot? Why?

The characters came first because I was inspired while visiting Memphis, Tennessee. I was contemplating a series centered around five siblings and Memphis seemed like the perfect city with blues, barbecue and the downtown trolley. While sampling barbecue at the Memphis in May festival, I got the idea to make the heroine a food critic and the hero a restaurant owner and chef like my grandfather.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?

Receiving emails or Facebook messages from readers saying they enjoyed the book and can’t wait for the next one in the series. It keeps me motivated to write and on my toes thinking of new and fresh ideas for future books.

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

I love being able to use my imagination to create people, places, situations and events in order for them to have a happily ever after. I dislike writer’s block or not being able to write when I want to because something happens that I don’t have any control over.

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

I wish I had known that some days I would be promoting more than writing, that everyone isn’t going to like my books and that everyone in my life isn’t going to take my writing career seriously or support it.

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

Do join a writer’s organization in your city that is geared toward your genre in order to attend the workshops and conferences they offer. These organizations are also beneficial to meet fellow aspiring authors as well as published authors who can mentor you along the way and offer sound advice. Don’t give up after one rejection letter from a publisher. If I had done so in 2007, my teacher workbooks wouldn’t be in teacher supply stores nationwide. I received “the call” from the second publisher.

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

It’s my career, not a hobby.

Tell us something few know about you?

I actually like to and know how to cook. I just tell people I don’t so they won’t ask me to make a dish for an event. I’m always scared it may not turn out right. I have perfected a few dishes that I don’t mind bringing but as of right now, nothing outside of those.

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

I like to hang with my husband, read, shop, work in my gardens, travel, decorate my home, eat out, listen to music, watch my favorite television shows, and spend time with family and friends.

What do you do to interact with your readers?

I’m very accessible through Twitter, Facebook, email and my website. In the future, once I have more Facebook fan page followers, I would like to do contests and games centered around my books. I’m also available for any book clubs who would like to chat on line about my books or meet in person if they are in the Metro-Atlanta area.

Our theme for this month is INDEPENDENT PUBLISHERS. Have you ever considered self publishing your work? Why or Why not? If you are an independent publisher, can you offer some tips for taking this journey.

I decided to self-publish after I received a few rejections for Cooking Up Love. However, while waiting for the editors to respond, I began research on self-publishing just in case I decided to take that route. My best tip to give someone who is contemplating self-publishing is to find fellow authors that are successfully self-published and to listen to whatever advice they give you. All of it may not pertain to you depending upon the audience and the genre you write, but the basic things such as formatting your manuscript correctly in order to load it properly for the ereaders is important information. I’m fortunate enough to have a critique partner that is a bestselling author---published traditionally and independently--- and I listen to everything she has to say.

Who was the first author you ever met?

I honestly can’t remember who she was, but I was in elementary school either in first or second grade. The author read a children’s book she had written to our class. I remember being in awe of her because I wrote short stories and my teacher suggested I read one to her. I was so shy at the time, but I did it anyway and she liked it. From there, I felt more confident and began to write more.

Oprah always asks, what do you know for sure?

That God and my husband love me.

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

Sure. The next book in the Arrington Family Series, The Game of Seduction, is about Dr. Bria Arrington, an allergist who works for her family’s medical practice. Much to her father’s dismay, she prefers to incorporate holistic and naturopathic medicine with traditional for her patients. She wants to practice freely, but her father is against it, therefore Bria is contemplating accepting a position in Atlanta at a medical practice that will allow her to do both. On top of all that, she is falling for her best friend the handsome, arrogant, mocha-covered playboy, Rasheed Vincent. An ex professional basketball player, he is a self-proclaimed, life-long bachelor after his fiancĂ©e left him for another basketball player when Rasheed hurt his knee and opted to retire. This book definitely has some hot scenes and more of a sexy tone unlike Cooking Up Love, which was more of a fun and flirty tone, in my opinion. The Game of Seduction will be released in early fall 2012.

How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website) Email: Candace.Shaw@aol.com Website: http://candaceshaw.net Twitter: twitter.com/Candace_Shaw Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Fanpage-of-Author-Candace-Shaw/278432475555023

Cooking Up Love is available as an ebook with Amazon, Barnes and Noble and All Romance Ebooks.

Thank you so much for having me on Shades of Romance today, LaShaunda.



What happens when a suave, handsome chef meets a cute, sassy food critic?

When Shelbi Arrington accepts a position as a food critic in the hopes of burying her medical career and foregoing her residency, the last thing she’s searching for is love. However, that’s just what the doctor ordered especially when she lays eyes on the handsome chef, Justin Richardson. While sorting out her secret conflict of continuing her medical career, she falls for his mouth-watering charm, leaving her hungry for anything he has to offer.

Justin is leery of doctors because a doctor’s negligence caused his mother’s death when he was twelve. He has put his focus and energy into his restaurant, which had been a dream he and his mother shared. Justin is immediately smitten by the cute, sassy food critic that has him cooking up different ways to please her appetite. But when things start to heat up, Shelbi learns of a shocking revelation that could extinguish the flame of their relationship. Will Justin be able to forget his pain and commit to the woman who has stolen his heart?

Cooking Up Love is the first book in the Arrington Family Series.



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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

FEATURED AUTHOR: Maxine Billings

Maxine Billings is a native of Villa Rica, GA. She now lives in Temple, GA with her husband Tony and their daughter Natasha and son Stefan. She also works full-time as a Program Assistant for the Department of Juvenile Justice.

She has enjoyed reading and writing as far back as she can remember. During her summer vacations from school, she participated in the reading programs at the local library and spent most of her time reading. She also likes to write poetry She loves to read and write wholesome stories that inspire people in positive ways and give them hope. When she isn’t writing, she loves spending time in spiritual activities and with her family. She also likes to dance, listen to Jazz and R & B, and do container gardening.

How did you start out your writing career?

When my author cousin Jacquelin Thomas became a published author in the 1990s, I was inspired by her work and wrote my first story in 1999. After receiving rejections from a couple of publishing companies, I wrote another story. By the time I had finished it, BET Books had come out with an inspiration imprint called New Spirit. I sent them a query letter regarding my new story. They were interested. I submitted my manuscript, and a year later, I got the call from them that they wanted to publish it.

What did you learn while writing this book?

I learned how to loosen up more with my characters so that I can develop them to an even greater degree. In my previous novels, I was very strict and rigid with regard to developing my characters. Coming from a Christian background, my goal is to write entertaining stories that are wholesome yet depict real-life issues. The more I write, the more I learn how to write about these issues in ways that I hope readers can read them with a clear conscience.

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

My goal was to write a story dealing with just a few of the challenges our young ones face today (for example: being part of a stepfamily, being the only teenage daughter of a widower, how to deal with the opposite sex, the meaning of true friendship, and how young ones can develop friendship with God).

What came first with this story, the characters or the plot? Why?

The characters came first. I actually took the characters from the very first story I ever wrote, which had been rejected by a couple of publishing companies, and wrote a totally different story using the same characters. I loved the characters so much that many years later, I decided to put them in my first young adult novel and rewrote the entire story.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?

I’ve been most surprised by all of the work that is involved just in the process of getting from point A to point B; in other words, getting my stories from manuscripts to books. Before I became a published author, I never realized all the work that goes into publishing a book. When I saw the books on the shelves in the book stores, I assumed that the way they were in book form was the way they originally started. I did not realize how much editing was involved.

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

The part I love the most is writing fictional stories with real-life issues about family and relationships. How we, as imperfect humans, interact with one another (especially when under stress) is so fascinating to me. I like putting my characters onto the theater stage of my readers’ minds. I like having my characters perform for their audience (the readers).

What I hate the most is when I get writer’s block. When my writing juices are really flowing and my mind suddenly goes blank as to what to write next, it is so frustrating when I have to stop.

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

I wish I’d known how to develop a close, personal relationship with God when I was younger. I wish I’d known that I don’t have to be a perfectionist in order to succeed in life. It also would have been nice to know that when I got older, I would have a whole new outlook on life.

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

If you enjoy writing, do it for yourself, if for no one else. No matter how many rejections you get, don’t give up.

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

I wish non-writers would try to understand that writing is like everything else we learn to do in life. I like to compare it with a baby learning to crawl, walk, and talk. All don’t learn at the same pace, but most usually learn. Well, it’s the same way with writing. Writing is art. Some people learn to master the art quickly and soar with little or no difficulty. Others, however, may struggle at a slower place, but eventually they improve in their craft.

Tell us something few know about you?

I don’t care much for change. Being a writer has helped me to come out of my comfort zone a lot, but I still like doing some things old-school.

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

I love to read, of course. I also love to dance, listen to music (R & B and Jazz), and do container gardening. My family and I enjoy vacationing in the Smoky Mountains.

What do you do to interact with your readers?

I love corresponding with my readers via e-mails, letters, blogs, and occasional book signings.

Our theme for this month is INDEPENDENT PUBLISHERS. Have you ever considered self publishing your work? Why or Why not?. If you are a independent publishers, can you offer some tips for taking this journey.

My first five novels were published by a publishing company. I am currently a self-publisher of my work. While there are some disadvantages, I like being self-published because I have the freedom to write when I want to and what I want to. I’ve even learned to design and create my own book covers which I really enjoy doing.

In April, 2010, my first self-published novel, IN SICKNESS AND IN HEALTH, was released through CreateSpace which is a print-on-demand company and a member of the Amazon group of companies.

I am currently self-publishing eBooks through Amazon which I enjoy doing as well. Being a self-publisher has helped me to also learn how to promote my own work. As I already mentioned, there are some disadvantages to being self-published. However, since I love writing so much, I really do appreciate the companies that are in the business of helping writers get their work published.

Who was the first author you ever met?

Several years ago when my cousin Jacquelin and some other authors were in Atlanta for a book event, one of my sisters, a friend, and I met Jacquelin at the hotel where they were staying. We ate dinner with her and some of the other authors. We met several of them, but one that really sticks out in my mind was Angela Benson. At the time, I had read a couple of her books and really enjoyed them. When I met her, I got a chance to talk with her about my passion for writing. When I asked what advice she could offer me, she told me to just write what’s in my heart. To this day, that’s what I continue to do—write what’s in my heart.

Oprah always asks, what do you know for sure?

One thing I know for sure is that whatever talents and abilities we have are blessings from God, and I intend to continue using my gift of writing to create stories that bring Him honor, praise, and glory.

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

My next book is DESPERATE HEARTS which is the sequel to my short story ONE OF A KIND. Bradford has fallen in love with Paula and has finally decided to share his feelings with her. But when he goes to tell her, he finds her and their friend Phillip kissing. Bradford learns that the couple has been secretly dating. The next day, Phillip and Paula get engaged. Now Bradford is faced with another dilemma—not only is his friend dating the woman he loves, but he’s also going to marry her. But because he sees how much they love each other, he vows to say nothing. However, as the couple plans their wedding, he wrestles with feelings of regret. But before Paula and Phillip are able to walk down the aisle, tragedy strikes! Now Bradford is confronted with an even worse dilemma than the one he originally faced. How can he be with the woman he loves when his heart is condemning him?

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

My mailing address is: P. O. Box 307, Temple, GA 30179. E-mail: maxinebillings@yahoo.com. Website: www.maxinebillings.com.



About to turn sweet sixteen, Kiara Murdock is at a time in her life when she desperately needs her mother and craves the understanding that only a mother can give. Her father Terrence still treats her like she's six years old, and she can't wait to get older so she can make her own decisions. But in the meantime, she has to abide by his rules--or does she?

In the midst of living her double-life, her father is taking his relationship with his lady friend way too seriously, which only makes Kiara feel more threatened. She vows that no other woman will take her mother's place in her life or in her heart. In the process, her once-close relationship with her father starts to crumble. But when she is hit with another traumatic blow, she will finally understand that the love of a father can be just as strong as the love of a mother.



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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

FEATURED AUTHOR: Jamie Jones



Jamie Jones is ready for her close up. She always did have a passion for writing since she was a little girl. Going from writing stories that only her family could read and writing scripts as a little girl in which she would act out all the characters; this 27 year old stay at home mom decided she is ready to share her passion of writing with the world. She once had a desire to have a successful music career, until she realized that being an author was not only a passion but it just fit her perfectly. After facing a number of rejections growing up trying to strive for a music career; she decided she would self-publish her debut novel, Echo of Her Cry to be in control of her own destiny. That’s when Passion Street Publications was born in which she is the CEO and Founder of. Jamie makes it clear that she would love to be signed to the right publisher. Until then; she is determined to be a respected self-published author.

Jamie loves being with her family. She and her husband and 2 year old daughter reside in Houston, Texas.

Twitter: @itsjamiej
Facebook: authorjamiejones
Website: www.iamjamiejones.com

How did you start out your writing career?

Writing has been a passion of mine for many years. I used to write books years ago and my grandmother would turn down her television and listen to me read them to her. She does the same thing now. Lol. As I was writing my book, Echo of Her Cry-she and my husband would listen to each chapter as I finished. I’ve written music, poems and even scripts that I would act out all the characters to when I was a little girl. (Smile) In middle school I wrote poems that some of my classmates would recite. I even remember a classmate reading a poem I had written for a school program. So, writing has always been a huge part of my life. My career started officially with this book. I decided to share my passion with everyone.

What did you learn while writing this book?

My characters took on a life of their own. The more I would write, the deeper I would get into the story.

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

I hope that my readers will recognize my passion for writing by enjoying this story. It’s fiction but it’s realistic and relatable. I definitely would like to build a fan base that will look forward to more books from me.

What came first with this story, the characters or the plot? Why?

When I knew what I wanted my book to be about-the characters popped in my head from their personalities on down to their image. I can’t really explain why. Maybe it’s the mind of a writer. Lol.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?

It feels good knowing that Echo of Her Cry went from a manuscript that I typed on my laptop to a book that is published and many are really enjoying. The feedback has been great.

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

I love writing. It is definitely a passion of mine. I can’t think of anything I hate about it.

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

I’m still learning different things about this industry. I think regardless of the amount of time anyone is in any industry-they learn if they are open to learning.

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

I would say the key to longevity is passion. You have to love what you’re doing. If someone aspires to write I would say DO it if you enjoy writing and everything that comes along with it. I would say DON’T do it if you’re only doing because someone else is doing it. Writing is not for everyone. Find what works for you and carve and mold your own steps.

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

It would be my previous answer. Writing is NOT for everyone. I get a lot of “How do you write a book” questions.

Tell us something few know about you?

I love cooking. That’s actually another passion of mine. I love to cook and create recipes.

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

Spare time? I like watching the Food Network Channel, Sweetie Pie’s and a few other shows. (Smile)

What do you do to interact with your readers?

I use social media. Twitter, Facebook, my blog that’s on my website (www.iamjamiejones.com).

Our theme for this month is INDEPENDENT PUBLISHERS. Have you ever considered self publishing your work? Why or Why not?. If you are a independent publishers, can you offer some tips for taking this journey.

I self-published Echo of Her Cry. The tip I would give is to definitely do your research.

Who was the first author you ever met?

Well, Victoria Rowell is an actress first but she’s definitely an author. In 2008 she released a book called, The Women Who Raised Me: A memoir. I had the opportunity to sing two songs at a book signing that she held in Houston, Texas. That was a great experience.

Oprah always asks, what do you know for sure?

I know I love my family and I am blessed. I have a beautiful and smart 2 year old and a great husband. I was raised by my grandmother and my uncle Isiah and they are incredible people. My mom, my siblings. I love them. My spirituality and my family are important to me.

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

Echo of Her Cry is a 3-book series. So, for those who’ve read Part 1 can look out for Part 2.

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

My email address is authorjamiejones@yahoo.com; Twitter:@itsjamiej; Facebook; authorjamiejones; and my website is www.iamjamiejones.com.



Myla Pickins was the average carefree teenager living what seemed to be the perfect life. With successful parents in the food industry, a fun-spirited best friend, and the love & attention of almost every high school girl's dream guy, life couldn't be more rewarding-that is until devastating news, at least for an unwed teenager, abruptly halts her fun. While eventually accepting the upcoming role of motherhood, and with the support of her parents and boyfriend, Bernard, Myla begins to understand the changes she needs to make to improve her life. But the story is just beginning to unfold. Discover the shocking secret that will turn her world upside-down and force her to make decisions she never imagined. Will she break under pressure, or will she find the strength to move forward?



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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

FEATURED AUTHOR: Matthew Mather



While I always wanted to be a writer, when I was young my mother told me two things; first, that before writing about life, one had to live life, and second, that it was always good to have a way to put food on the tables while pursuing dreams. And so, while tutoring creative writing at nights in University, during the days I became an engineer.

I started out at the McGill Center for Intelligent Machines, and soon went on to found one of the world’s first tactile interface companies, eventually selling it to a company in Silicon Valley. I spent many moons thinking and working on human perception, and this drove my creative thinking as well as my technical innovating. Since then I’ve worked in a variety of endeavours, getting involved in everything from nanotechnology to weather prediction, genomics to cybersecurity, and even social intelligence research work which I won a major award for in 2008. It was at that point I decided to return to my dream of writing, and began writing the Atopia series of books. Just this month, “Brothers Blind”, part of the Atopia series, became the #1 best seller on the Amazon Science Fiction/High Tech best sellers list.



Atopia is an exploration of the meaning love, life and the pursuit of happiness in the near future world that is teetering on the brink of post-humanism and eco-Armageddon.

Set in the mid-21st century, Atopia is an enormous floating platform in the Pacific Ocean where the world’s elite flock to escape the crush and clutter of a packed and polluted Earth. Atopia is more than just a retreat, however, it is the new Silicon Valley where Dr. Patricia Killiam is rushing to perfect the ultimate in synthetic reality to save humanity. As the world’s remaining resources near exhaustion and the Water Wars engulf the planet, the question is whether Dr. Killiam is unwittingly saving the world only to cast it towards an even worse fate.

The book breaks new ground as an emo-cyber thriller, looking into the technological future but from very human point of view. The story is told through the eyes of ten narratives that wind their way through the world of Atopia to entwine together, eventually revealing the mystery and danger that lies at Atopia’s heart.

How did you start out your writing career?

I started out writing young, and even began tutoring creative writing at college while I was earning degree in engineering, which was an unusual combination. I made a career out of writing business plans for aspiring new technologies, which was a kind of science fiction if one stopped to think about it. When I turned 40, I decided to take a year off work and sit down to write all the stories I had been collecting and thinking about over time, and that’s how I got started.

What did you learn while writing this book?
It allowed me to explore some thinking I had been having about life, the universe and everything, so to speak, and to put it all together. Writing is a very cathartic experience, allows one to pull out emotions and realize them, see them for what they are. That is what I learned.

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?
I had a vision of the future that I wanted to share, a cautionary tale of what could go right and wrong. While this has been done before many time, I believe my unique experience in bringing so many innovations to life in reality gave me a different perspective.

What came first with this story, the characters or the plot? Why?
The plot, as a result of the thinking behind the ideas I wanted to explore. In fact, most of the plots come from ancient texts, but put into a future context.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
A kind of belief in the idea that you I have something to say that others would be interested and ready to devote their time to listening to.

What aspect of writing do you love the best, and which do you hate the most?
I love being able to connect with people and have them connect with my stories and characters. I hate the moments when things become stuck, the frustration of not being able to make something come together the way I want.

What are three things you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now?
How peoples’ attention spans have diminished greatly, how powerful the new self publishing arena is, and how expensive it is to live with three dogs (kidding, I love them!)

Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?
Just write, write whatever you can, get it down and then improve and improve the next time. It sounds clichĂ©, but the longest journey is just one step at a time. As for a do and a don’t...don’t write anything too long to start; get some short stories out there and see how people respond and build from that.

What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand? How painful the process is!

Tell us something few know about you?

I am secretly a cat person (don’t tell the dogs)

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

I work in the field of cyber security, basically protecting information in the cyber universe.

What do you do to interact with your readers?
I have a great website for future prediction that allows readers to enter their own predictions, vote on them and communicate with me. www.phuturenews.com

Our theme for this month is INDEPENDENT PUBLISHERS. Have you ever considered self publishing your work? Why or Why not?. If you are a independent publishers, can you offer some tips for taking this journey.
Yes, I started out entirely self publishing. I think it is important to come up with an online strategy that complements whatever the stories you want to tell are...

Who was the first author you ever met?
I met Carl Sagan when I was young.

Oprah always asks, what do you know for sure?
That I won’t live forever.

Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?
A sweeping epic starting in the distant history that will explain psychic phenomenon, ghosts, UFOs and religion...stay tuned 

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

Matthew.mather@phuturenews.com
www.phuturenews.com



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Monday, June 11, 2012

FEATURED AUTHOR: Ann Lee Miller



Ann Lee Miller earned a BA in creative writing from Ashland (OH) University and writes full-time in Phoenix, but left her heart in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, where she grew up. She loves speaking to young adults and guest lectures on writing at several Arizona colleges. When she isn’t writing or muddling through some crisis—real or imagined—you’ll find her hiking in the Superstition Mountains with her husband or meddling in her kids’ lives.

How did you start out your writing career?

I always say I became a writer the year I discovered Sister Sheila had hair. I was in fifth grade at St. Hugh’s Catholic School in Miami, knee deep in nouns and verbs, when Sister Sheila walked through the door in a new habit that showed two inches of mouse brown hair threaded with silver. Thanks to Sister’s encouragement, I went on to earn a BA in creative writing from Ashland (OH) University.

And growing up on a sailboat, an aquaculture for mold and dysfunction, shoved me—in lieu of therapy—into writing.

What did you learn while writing this book?

I learned to be a plotter. I wrote my first two books seat-of-the-pants, but became frustrated with fixing plot lines. I used Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake method of plotting as well as Karen Weisner’s First Draft in 30 Days to learn how to plot Kicking Eternity.

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

So many people in my life are wrestling with their dreams and God’s dreams for their lives. I wanted to give them hope.

What came first with this story, the characters or the plot? Why? Actually, I think it was the setting. I’ve spent a fraction of almost every year of my life at summer camp. Thus the setting. I loved the excuse for wallowing in my affection for camp.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?

Since this is my first book to publish, I’ll have to tell you later!

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

I hate plotting, but consider it a necessary evil. I adore the self-editing process.

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

Even though I had a degree in creative writing, I had taken no classes in novel writing. I wish I had realized that I needed to study craft books, participate in critique groups, and hone my skills before expecting publication.

Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer? Do write every day. Don’t give up.

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

How difficult it is to land a publishing contract.

Tell us something few know about you?

I lived on a sailboat as a child.

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

I hike in the mountains with my husband, do Zumba, and go garage saling every Saturday morning with a friend. This year I mentored three teens from my youth group. I don’t know if it counts as a hobby, but I’ve been guest lecturing on plotting in Phoenix colleges for the past few years. Great fun!

What do you do to interact with your readers?

I’ve taken up Twittering, and I try to respond to every e-mail.

Our theme for this month is INDEPENDENT PUBLISHERS. Have you ever considered self publishing your work? Why or Why not? If you are an independent publisher, can you offer some tips for taking this journey.

After trying to publish traditionally for ten years, I hit bottom. I think God needed me there so He could redirect me. Trust me, I had to swallow a giant hairball of pride to indie publish. But I’m chewing on hope, and it tastes a lot better than despair. I recommend Jeff Bennington’s Universe of Indie Publishing as a resource for anyone who wants to go this route.

Who was the first author you ever met?


Roxy Henke. I met her at Glorietta Christian Writers’ Conference about six years ago when she taught a class I attended. We have hung out several times since at conferences and when she visited Phoenix. We keep in touch via e-mail, and she continues to encourage me.

Oprah always asks, what do you know for sure? I know for sure God uses stories to drive His truths home. Writers and readers tap into this part of His personality and are blessed.

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

Cal looked up from the easel and caught her staring.
Her gaze darted toward the window, her cheeks burning. When she looked back at Cal, she saw a small smile playing at the edges of his mouth and eyes. It reminded her of one she’d seen and dismissed earlier.

“Why are you quizzing me on prayer?”
“You think I have an ulterior motive?”
“You tell me.”
He sat on the table top behind him. “You were sitting there like you were afraid of your own skin. I wanted to paint your fire. Pretty much a no-brainer to get you going on a topic that lights your passion.” He shrugged and grinned at her.

Raine turned her face toward the bulletin board covered with crosses her elementary students had colored. Stupidity for having fallen for Cal’s manipulation warred against something entirely different. Cal saw something she didn’t see in herself—passion.

A board creaked nearby, and Cal squatted down in front of her. His hand cupped her face. “You moved.” He brought her head back into position. His palm stayed on her cheek a heartbeat too long, his fingers trailing down to her chin almost in a caress before he broke the contact.

She met his steady gaze. “What button are you trying to push now?”
Cal stood. “The one that turns your cheeks pink like they were a few minutes ago.”
Cal wasn’t the only one who could manipulate. “Let’s talk about obeying God.”
“Talk about whatever you want. I’m going to work on your shirt now.”

Stuck in sleepy New Smyrna Beach one last summer, Raine socks away her camp pay checks, worries about her druggy brother, and ignores trouble: Cal Koomer. She’s a plane ticket away from teaching orphans in Africa, and not even Cal’s surfer six-pack and the chinks she spies in his rebel armor will derail her.

The artist in Cal begs to paint Raine’s ivory skin, high cheek bones, and internal sparklers behind her eyes, but falling for her would send him caterwauling into his parents’ life. No thanks. The girl was self-righteous waiting to happen. Mom served sanctimony like vegetables, three servings a day, and he had a gut full.

Rec Director Drew taunts her with “Rainey” and calls her an enabler. He is so infernally there like a horsefly—till he buzzes back to his ex.

Raine’s brother tweaks. Her dream of Africa dies small deaths. Will she figure out what to fight for and what to free before it’s too late?

For anyone who’s ever wrestled with their dreams

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

AnnLeeMiller.com
Twitter: @AnnLeeMiller
Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ann-Lee-Miller/356653761022022



KICKING ETERNITY

Fresh from college, Raine scores a teaching job at New Smyrna Beach Surf and Sailing Camp. A crush on the camp rebel/art teacher threatens to derail her plans to teach orphans in Africa. The broody recreation director spots her brothers meth addiction and Raine's enabling. Raine believes she is helping her brother--until lives are threatened.

Note: Anyone who leaves a comment with an e-mail address (JaneReader[at]msn[dot]com) will receive a free e-book copy of Kicking Eternity. Those who don’t want to leave an e-mail may contact Ann for their free book at AnnLeeMiller.com.



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