Friday, April 28, 2006

SORMAG's Reader's Choice Awards Winners


The Best Multi-Cultural Romance Book Of The Year

A Heart of Devotion – Tia McCollors

The Best Multi-Cultural Romance Author Of The Year

Tia McCollors

The Best Multi-Cultural New Romance Author Of The Year

Tia McCollors

The Best BET Romance Of The Year

All My Tomorrows - Rochelle Alers

The Best Genesis Press Romance Of The Year

A Love Of Her Own – Cheris Hodges

The Best St. Martin Romance Of The Year

The Way He Makes Me Feel – Tamara Sneed

The Best AVON/Harper Collins Romance Of The Year

Black Lace – Beverly Jenkins

The Best Silhouette Romance Of The Year

The Chase Is On – Brenda Jackson

The Best Multi-Cultural Fiction Book Of The Year

A Heart Of Devotion – Tia McCollors

The Best Multi-Cultural Fiction Author of The Year

Tia McCollors

The Best Multi-Cultural New Fiction Author Of The Year

Tia McCollors

The Best Multi-Cultural Christian Romance Of The Year

A Heart Of Devotion – Tia McCollors

The Best Multi-Cultural Christian Romance Author of The Year

Tia McCollors

The Best Multi-Cultural New Christian Romance Author Of The Year

Tia McCollors

The Best Multi-Cultural Christian Fiction Book Of The Year

A Heart Of Devotion – Tia McCollors

The Best Multi-Cultural Christian Fiction Author Of The Year

Tia McCollors

The Best Multi-Cultural New Christian Fiction Author Of The Year

Tia McCollors

The Best Multi-Cultural Self Published Book Of The Year

He Loves Me Not, but I Love Myself! – Tamika Johnson

The Best Multi-Cultural Self Published Author Of The Year

Tamika Johnson

The Best Multi-Cultural New Self Published Author of the Year

Tamika Johnson

The Best Article Of The Year
(Articles featured in the Shades Of Romance Magazine)

Do I have What It Takes To Become A Successful Novelist - Ann Clay

The Best Short Story Of The Year
(Short stories featured in the Shades Of Romance Magazine)

Someone to watch over me- Delese Moton

The Best Poet Of The Year
(Poet featured in the Shades Of Romance Magazine)
Wanda Garrett

The Best Poem Of The Year
(Poem featured in the Shades Of Romance Magazine)

What Do You See - Eleanor Shields


Tate Brown is calling her own shots and to hell with whomever gets in her way. Detective Julian Barone's ex-wife's disappearance and send Tate through a spiral of a deception and mystery and that’s only the start of a love affair that will leave her breathless.

Brown Suga Inc.
Book 1

Anisa Damien

Publisher : Venus Press

Month Published: April 2006

Monday, April 24, 2006

FEATURED AUTHOR - Michelle Monkou

SORMAG: Please give the readers a brief bio on you the person and the writer.

Michelle Monkou:
In 2002, I started my professional career as a writer with a two book contract from BET Books. My Arabesque book, Open Your Heart, earned me a nomination for Favorite New Author. So far I have five books in print and three more due to be released later in September 2006, January 2007 and another later in 2007. I also work as a manager in the compliance area on behalf of life insurance member companies in Washington, D.C.

SORMAG: Tell us about your current book?

My April release – Island Rendezvous – is the second installment of the Glen Knolls series which debuted with Finders Keepers, The Romantic Times Bookclub, Top Pick Award. An emotionally bruised Toni Kimball accepts her friend's - Nicole, offer for a much needed vacation in Nassau, Bahamas under one condition. Toni must find Derek Calverton and help Nicole with her plan to get her husband and his newly discovered brother, Derek, reunited. During one of their girlfriend bonding moments, this plan seemed air tight. However in the tropical heat, Toni doesn't count on falling for the romantic and sensual headiness that Derek delivers to her mind, body and heart. Past relationships, family history, and separate countries conspire to pull apart and destroy their love. Derek has to pull out all the stops to complete his circle of love with Toni at his side.

SORMAG: What would you like your readers to take away from your book?

My readers, I hope, would have an enjoyable read that makes them want to continue reading about all the friends in the Glen Knolls series. I hope that they fall in love with each character. And for anyone out there that may be feeling burdened by life, I hope that a message of love, acceptance, and forgiveness can fill their heart.

SORMAG: Tell us about your publishing experience?

Here is my current list on my journey to 100+ books:


Open Your Heart – November 2002

Finders Keepers – June 2003

Give Love (anthology) – October 2003

Making Promises – October 2004

Island Rendezvous – April 2006


Sweet Surrender – September 2006

Here and Now (contracted; work in progress)

SORMAG: How do you feel about critique groups?

I think critique groups are good if you find the right one and very bad if you don’t find the right one. My basic advice would be to treat it with the same attention as if you were picking a soulmate. Determine what you need from the group. Do you need a detailed critique, help with plotting ideas, a proof reader? Are all the members writing at the same or similar pace? Is the group too big and as a result, all the opinions become overwhelming? These are just some of things to consider. Sometimes, having a sole critique partner is just as helpful. Having said all of that, I do not work with a critique group.

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

Sometimes those who are not writing may only see the glamorous side of the profession where the author appears at seminars, participates on panel discussions, or attends book signings. However, more than likely, they are very busy, balancing many hats since most of us are not fulltime writers. This might prevent them from developing one-on-one relationships with their readers.

SORMAG: Do you have any promotional tips for writers?

Combine efforts when able and when it’s logical. A shy writer can make it solely on her writing, but the realities of the business probably dictate otherwise. You have to promote your product in some form or fashion. Internet use will only get bigger as future generations come along. Today’s writer should become knowledgeable with what is out there: websites, blogs, review sites, online conferences, etc.

SORMAG: What is a favorite book from your childhood?

I read lots of series. Many of the books were by a British author, Enid Blyton. Growing up in the Caribbean exposed me to more British writers than American writers. Enid Blyton wrote several series about groups of kids who got into various adventures. I also imagined myself as one in the group off to find a clue to solve a made up puzzle.

SORMAG: What was the last book to keep you up at night reading it?

I’m currently reading L.E. Banks Minion – vampire huntress series. I absolutely love it and bought all the books in the series, so far.

SORMAG: What resources do you use on the net?

I go on frequently because my new publisher has an extensive Internet presence that has not only information about the authors, but online shopping, blogs, chat rooms, online novellas, and writing guidelines. It’s a great resource whether a brand new writer or an experienced pro.

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

Mailbox: P.O. Box 2904, Laurel, MD 20709




Photograph by Tisara Photography, Inc.

EXCERPT - Island Rendezvous

By Michelle Monkou

Kimani Press - Arabesque
ISBN 1-58314-613-X

April 2006

Here's the excerpt and the blurb under it has to be included too.

“Excuse me, sir?”

Derek looked toward the woman standing off to his right. She held her wide brim hat with one hand while shielding her eyes with the other. His eyes flicked over her body. Nice. “Yes.”

“I heard that I needed to sign up for the boat ride here.”

“Usually folks sign up at their hotel. But there is room for the occasional walk-ons.” He smiled.

“Well, where do I pay?” Impatience laced her question.

“Pay the bartender over there.” He tossed his head in Cecil's direction before turning his back on her.

“Do you know anything about the trip or even about the boat?”

She followed him to where he sat at the bar. He had to review his list, which he did for every trip. It also gave him a few additional minutes of quiet before having to turn on the charm for his customers. People expected all the natives to be smiling and happy for their business. There was no off day in the tourism industry.

“I've read this, but there isn't much information about the crew's experience or how old is the boat.” She unfolded a heavily creased brochure from her purse. He didn't look at the information since he wrote and designed the marketing piece.

“You sound nervous.”

She nodded.

Her admission surprised him. She didn't appear to be the timid type. There was the direct manner in which she looked at him and held his gaze. “Don't worry, it's safe.”

“Don't care for boats ever since I saw the movie about great white sharks.” She offered a shaky smile.

At least she had a sense of humor. Derek laughed.

Oh, oh, big mistake. He quickly tucked his light-hearted approach when he noticed that she had stopped smiling. She had pulled her hat low on her head. Together with the dark glasses most of her face was hidden. But her lips were exposed and tightened into a straight angry line.

“Sorry. I thought you were kidding. You couldn't be more than a child when that movie came out.” Charm and flattery always worked on his behalf. Plus he didn't think that he was far off with his observation. Her body was toned, fully curved in all the right places. Her face revealed natural beauty, unaffected by any make-up.

“Doesn't matter. I've made up my mind.” She walked over to an open view of the pier and shook her head. “I'm not getting great vibes from this boat. Doesn't look very sturdy to me.”

A strong gust of wind whipped off her hat. She reached out to grab it, but it tugged and dipped in the air and finally rolled toward Derek's feet. He reached down and picked it up. He'd thought that the glasses hid her face, but it only shielded her eyes. With the hat off, he could see her entire face. She had a heart-shaped face that showed off sharp cheekbones tapering down to a narrow chin.

Full lips covered with glossy dark lip color drew his attention. It took him a few minutes to stop focusing on her lips to realize that she was talking to him.

“I've changed my mind. I'll give it a try. Is there another tour in the area?”

“Another tour company?” Derek didn't take kindly to being dismissed. But he especially didn't care for anyone turning up her snobbish nose at his boat. This stranger dressed in her bright yellow shorts set and crisp white sneakers may have the body of a fitness instructor. Being scared was one thing, insulting him was another.

“It may not be an iron maiden like your cruise ships. The boat is only part of the equation. Her captain is the other factor. I can guarantee that he'll give you the smoothest ride. You won't realize that your feet aren't on firm ground.”

“What makes you the fortune teller?” Her challenge poked at him.

The implication was clear. She didn't think him worthy of giving her advice, but good enough to answer her questions like what other companies to recommend. Now he dearly hoped that Miss Snooty Pants would join him on the next excursion.

“I know the guy who operates the trip.” He deliberately softened his tone. He wanted her to take his tour. “Have a free ride. Only if you enjoy yourself, you'll pay for your next ride. And I know that you'll want another trip. I think that's fair, don't you?”

“Maybe.” A smile tugged at the edge of her lips. She took off her glasses and peered up at the sky. “Heard about the rain showers that pop up suddenly and then disappear. What if that happens while I'm out there?” She pointed a thumb toward the ocean.

As much as he would love to see her drenched, he did his part to continue reassuring her. “Rain showers don't last long. Think of it as a cleansing touch. Anyway, the boat wouldn't be that far from shore. The crew is aware of the dangers.”

She had a bag that matched the hat, both were hand woven by a native merchant. He recognized the generic style that was made quickly and cheaply sold in the market place. She dove into the bag and retrieved a black umbrella. With a triumphant grin, she raised the umbrella.

He shook his head. There went his dream of a sopping wet Miss Snooty Pants.

“Since you can't help, I'll go check out the other services. Thanks for your time.” She stuck out her hand.

So that was it. He hadn't passed muster. He shook her hand, appreciating the brief touch of her skin. Close up, he savored the soft fragrance surrounding her. The smell of a bouquet made him look at her neck where he figured she had sprayed the scent. His gaze traveled upward to her face with its sharp contours and smooth skin that reminded him of brown sugar. Her soft brown hair framed her face in soft waves that moved gently under the breeze. He didn't want to let go of her hand.

“It's a small island. Maybe we'll meet again.” And that was a promise.

# # #

From the book: Island Rendezvous
By Michelle Monkou
Imprint and Series: Harlequin - Kimani Press
Publication Date: 06/04
ISBN: 158314613X
Copyright(C) Year 2006
(R) and TM are trademarks of the publisher.
The edition published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.
For more romance information surf to:

Friday, April 21, 2006

EXCERPT - Colorless Soul

Colorless Soul

by Mary Wilson
Visiting The Mother Land

December 4, 2004, the day my mother died, seemed like everything under God’s sun kept me from getting to the hospital. I knew in my heart this was the day she would die and I wanted to be there with her. Every attempt to get to the hospital presented a stumbling block. I had been to the hospital that morning and told her I would be back to spend the night with her. Her response was weak and almost incomprehensible. Why did I leave? No matter how many times I have been told it was meant to be that way, my heart aches that she was alone at her demise. I know she went home to be with the father, but I did not get a chance to say goodbye. Why did I leave her?

When I finally made it to the hospital about 7:45 p.m., I parked the car and walked to the front entrance of Wayne Memorial Hospital. I was relieved that I was finally going to be with my mother. I walked through the doors, down the hall past the gift and coffee shop through another set of double doors into the hospital reception area. I politely smiled as I passed two elderly Caucasian female volunteers at the lobby desk. Straight ahead were the elevators and I pushed the up button and immediately an elevator door opened. The 6th floor was my destination and I anxiously watched each floor number light up as the elevator made its ascension. I rode the usually busy elevator alone that evening. When I got to the 6th floor, the door opened facing the nurses’ station. Everyone was going about his or her normal duties, shuffling papers, preparing medicine carts, answering phones, and with polite irritancy answering patient family members questions. I took a right turn at the nurses’ station and then another right turn walking down the hall to room 646, the last room on the left. Mom’s door was closed. I felt probably she was being changed or something like that. I knocked at the door and no one answered so I opened the door to find the curtains closed around her bed. “Mom,” I called out. No answer. “Anybody in here?” No answer. I pulled the curtains back to find what looked like an empty bed. The usually blaring television was silent and I started to leave to find out where my mother had been taken. Suddenly I stopped and looked at the bed again. I pulled the sheets back and was horrified at the lifeless, emaciated corpse of my mother. I cried at the sight. She literally looked like “death warmed over.” I would love to say she looked peaceful, but she looked like she had been through a tremendous battle, which she had been. I cried at the site and also because she was gone. My beautiful mother who was so meticulous about her appearance was nearly bald. Her face was sunken in because she had been too weak to insert her dentures. Her body was thin, but her stomach bloated and her foot was black from gangrene. Diabetes had taken her site, destroyed her liver and kidneys, and obliterated her once beautiful shoulder length salt and pepper hair.

As long as she had breath, she maintained her dignity and never succumbed to self-pity or hopelessness. She enjoyed life even in her state of health and like Biblical Job, never blamed God or took her eyes off of the promised dream of glory after this life. She was courageous. She had died at 7:50 p.m., probably while I was on the elevator. I asked myself again, “Why, why did you leave her?”

For months after mom died, I felt a need to finally see where she was born and visit some of the places I had only heard about in Milledgeville, Georgia. Through one of my sisters, Arlene, I was able to contact a distant cousin, Michelle who was the granddaughter of my mother’s oldest half-brother (20 plus years older) and set up a time to visit.

It was July 18, 2005 we met with Michelle my cousin by way of mom’s older half brother Willie B who as I mentioned is Michelle’s grandfather. We were in Baldwin County/Milledgeville, GA. My husband and I had checked into a room at the base nearby early in the morning that day.
Michelle met us at an old nostalgic general store on highway 49 headed into downtown Milledgeville. A friendly looking, stocky bearded white man in blue coveralls sat outside the store in a chair. He waved as we pulled up on the corner lot, passed the store and parked closer to the corner of the lot. We sat there in our black Chevrolet truck and just sort of looked around at the 4-way intersection. Michelle finally drove up in an eggplant colored Honda with a sorority plate on the front. She got out and we hugged, chatted briefly and then we followed her down the road until we got to Kitchens Road making a right onto an old lot that displayed a sign reading Hills Towing Service. (That building is used as a towing service as well as a get-together for big ball games and such things of that nature, according to Michelle). She got out of her car waving her hand over the scenery, “This is where it all began.” I did not understand what she meant until she invited us to get into her car and then explained we were actually sitting on the entranceway of the old Hill Plantation. The Hill Plantation sits on the border of Baldwin County and Jones County.

I was captivated as my husband and I piled into Michelle’s car. Here I sat on historic land. Yes, this was where it all began. Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever thought something probably so insignificant to others would hit me so profoundly.

Suddenly a large white house with stately columns appeared at the small building of Hill’s Towing Service. I blinked and realized it was just a mirage. My imagination had wound-up to full speed. I was back in the 1800s.

We drove back toward the road where we had made the right hand turn, and Michelle made another right-hand turn down a dirt road, she explained this is the old plantation that after the owner Master Hill died passed onto his slaves. It was sectioned off to different families and has remained in those families for generations. The stipulation from the master was that the property could never be sold or coveted by outsiders, but was to remain with the slave decendents.

Cruising like tourists, I saw lovely homes of African-American Hill decendents on the right side of the road.

The lovely homes temporarily became old slave quarters and then flashed back to the modern brick houses.

I had to keep blinking to keep it real. Was I going crazy? I decided that I was quite sane and I was enjoying every minute of this imaginary repertoire. Some residents were out riding lawnmowers or puttering around their property.

Their lawn mowers became obsolete plows with mules and the men sweated under the intense summer heat.

On the opposite side of the road was farmland, but ….

and all I could see was endless miles of corn that suddenly became endless rows of cotton with miles and miles of black people bent over diligently picking the tiny white clouds.

We must have driven for about 3 or 4 miles and Ed, my husband estimated a good 40 acres or more from what we could see.

Words cannot explain my elation as we drove this dirt road and my head went from side-to-side taking all of it in. I wanted to get out of the car and stop the few people I saw and say to them, “We are related.” I am so and so. Please, please tell me what you know about my grandfather, my great grandfather Mr. Hill and my ancestors, your ancestors, our history. One day I will return and do just that.
After we left the plantation, Michelle said we were going to a town called Toomsboro, located in Wilkinson County, about 40 to 45 miles away. Wilkinson County is where my mother was born and lived until about age 7. We were going to visit the Parker-Hill Church that her family attended. The place where grandpa Alex met all 3 of his wives.
We drove for a little ways and stopped at a cemetery where mom’s younger brother was buried with his wife and his wife’s family. It was a neat well-manicured plot and an interesting beginning to what was ahead for me.

When we left the graveyard, we drove about 35 more miles until the city street turned back in time as Michelle said we are about to go down a dirt road. The road was actually red clay and she explained how grandpa would gather up the family and pass through this road on Sunday meeting day. She explained that in those days people did not have church every Sunday because of the travel constraints even though everyone lived in close proximity to the church of perhaps 5 to 10 miles total. A short jaunt these days by car, but in the 20s and 30s, horse and buggy was still the mode of transportation for a family unable to afford a car or truck.

Just ahead of us, I saw a horse drawn wagon. A little girl about 5 years old turned around and smiled. “Momma,” I thought. No one saw her but me. I was in another zone. She was a precious little girl, tight long braids, blue and white polka dot dress that tied in the back with a matching bonnet.

We followed the horse-drawn buggy down that red clay road for about 5 or 10 minutes with the little girl who occasionally turned around, smiling as if to make sure we were still behind them. Her eyes would gleam as she zoomed on me and I could see traces of my siblings and myself on her lovely round face.

Ed and Michelle exchanged stories about how the old wives tales explained how this rich red clay would cure aches and pains.

Finally we turned left onto the Parker-Hill Church property. There was a small sign at the entrance and behind the sign to the left were 2 large trees. Michelle later told us that those 2 trees were the focal point for many church picnics back in my mother’s day. Directly behind all of that and yet visible was the church. The left side of the church was white and probably the old structure that momma used to attend. On the right was a red brick structure that was newer.

Behind the church were the cemetery and family plots. We drove up the hill and decided mutually to leave inspection of the church on the way back down from the cemetery.

When I saw my grandfather Alex’s grave and Anna Ruth’s, one of my mother’s sisters who had died at the tender age of five, it was like the first time I had visited the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis. I had the same fluttery feeling looking on these grave plots as I did at the hotel room of Martin Luther King, and the balcony where he was murdered. There were other graves, grandpa’s second wife, Michelle’s grandmother, Michelle’s grandfather and a fresh grave of about 4 months of one of Michelle’s aunts.

To the right of the plots a huge ancient tree caught my eye. It was as though it had a soul and was peering through mine trying to get my attention. The old tree seemed to holler “Come here if you dare.” I chose not to get any closer, but I thought, “If you could really talk, I would cradle at your exposed roots and listen to your tales.”

Michelle bent over and picked up something. “Blackberries,” she said. I could not resist, so I bent down to pick a few berries myself.

There she was again, the little girl picking berries and storing them in a small napkin. She smiled again and I smiled back.

I walked down the hill and envisioned that little girl playing at the picnics, but she was still picking blackberries and when I glanced back, she looked up briefly and continued gathering her berries.

My imagination took on more than visual, now I could smell the chicken, apple pies and chocolate cakes. I could see blankets spread on the ground with mothers and babies; children playing hide and seek; young lovers sneaking behind a tree to steal a kiss.

I glanced back behind me again to see Ed and Michelle driving down the dirt road and I saw the vision of the little girl who this time stood crying at the grave plots of her little sister Anna Ruth, and her father, grandpa Alex.

When we got to the bottom of the hill, we took more pictures of the church grounds and headed back to the plantation. Our journey was over.

The little girl was coming down the hill as we were leaving with her napkin and pockets filled with berries. She was also carrying some wild flowers. Mom always loved plants and flowers. Her eyes were saddened, as she looked my way as if not wanting to see me leave. I turned away wanting to remember the smile instead of the sad eyes. I did not want to say goodbye again to my mother.

Excerpt from Colorless Soul – Part II. To be released summer of 2006.
@ Mary Wilson 2006

Monday, April 17, 2006

FEATURED AUTHOR - Stacy Hawkins Adams

SORMAG: Please give the readers a brief bio on you the person and the

Stacy Hawkins Adams:
I write Christian fiction, inspirational columns and stories to entertain readers but also to feed their souls. While my work isn't preachy, it's designed to help readers consider where they are in their personal journeys of faith and where they'd like to be. I'm now a full-time author and speaker. Until taking that leap of faith in early 2006, I worked as a newspaper reporter for 13 years, covering social issues and writing a column on spirituality for the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia. Along with my faith and my gift for writing, my other passion in life is my family. My husband and I have two young children.

I regularly blog for and work with a national nonprofit organization to help promote youth literacy in at-risk communities.

SORMAG: Tell us about your current book?

"Nothing But the Right Thing" is the sequel to my debut novel "Speak To My Heart." It resumes the stories of Erika, Serena and Micah, a few years after they've experienced major life changes. Erika finds herself coming to grips with a violent marriage; Serena longs to have a baby; and Micah, a minister, struggles with church politics. In their own time and in their own ways, they realize that when they turn their lives over to the "one true thing" - God - everything else will fall into place.

SORMAG: What aspect of God do you most hope readers will take away after
reading your book?

I hope that readers will finish the book with the understanding that God loves us just like any other father loves his children. He wants what's best for us, He doesn't always give us what we want when we think we need it, and no matter how angry we become, He's remains nearby, reminding us of His abiding love.

SORMAG: Tell us about your publishing experience?

I was blessed to be contacted by an editor for Revell Books in early 2003 who wanted me to help a friend of mine complete a book proposal. During our discussions about that project, he asked me to send him some of my work. About four months later, he called and said they were interested in publishing the book.

When my first novel was released in October 2004, I had the honor of being the first African American novelist published by the company. The editors and marketing team have been great about soliciting my feedback and opinions during the publishing process. I don't get everything on my wish list, but they do a good job of working with me to reach the target readership for my book and introducing my work to a broader audience.

SORMAG: How do you feel about critique groups?

I don't participate in such a group at the moment, but I think they can be helpful as writers work to hone their skills and improve a book or poems. The
feedback can help you view your scenes, plots or characters from a perspective
you hadn't considered.

SORMAG: What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would

That it is HARD WORK! :) It takes discipline and focus and often requires a sacrifice of leisure time to meet deadlines and to finish the book.

SORMAG: Do you have any promotional tips for writers?

My advice is to write the best book you can, a book that you are so passionate about that you don't mind telling others they need to buy it to be blessed. Once you've mastered that, it's easier to be successful at the tried-and-true promotion efforts - book signings, blogs, writing freelance articles and securing as much media coverage as you can. Once you've done all of that and the book is compelling, word of mouth will help you succeed.

SORMAG: What is a favorite book from your childhood?

What a great (but hard!) question. I loved "Heidi" for some reason when I was in elementary school. As I grew older, I fell in love with Judy Blume's books and all of Maya Angelou's works.

SORMAG: What was the last book to keep you up at night reading it?

That would have been J. California Cooper's "Some People, Some Other
Place." I love the symbolism she weaves into simple stories about characters with complex lives.

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

I love to hear from readers. They can contact me at, or P.O. Box
25985 Richmond, VA 23260.

EXCERPT: Nothing But The Right Thing

Nothing But The Right Thing
Stacy Hawkins Adams
April 2006
ISBN: 0800730976

Nothing But the Right Thing – By Stacy Hawkins Adams


The first blow split her lip, then his fist kissed her eye. By the third time her beloved slammed his shiny knuckles into her soft flesh, Erika Tyler Wilson had decided.
This was it. Tonight’s one-sided boxing match would be her last.

Elliott would hold her tight, as usual, and try to kiss away the pain of the bruises he had inflicted. He would cradle her in his embrace and wipe her tears, whispering in her ear how much he loved her. Tomorrow, though, the dozen yellow roses he always sent after a particularly brutal episode would be coming to an empty house.
As she lay there in a child-sized, crumpled heap, covering her face and head with her arms, she told herself this would be the last time she would cower on the floor of this house. No more worries about removing bloodstains from the snow-white carpet. No more wondering if the neighbors were peering through their palladium windows to get their weekly entertainment -- same time, same place, same guest star.
No more excuses. No more shame. No more pain. Erika felt free, even as Elliott continued lashing out at her.
“Why – do- you- make- me – do – this, – you –“
He punctuated each word with a blow as he called her out of her name – again.
She knew the routine. When he began spouting ugly words, it meant the end of his tirade was near. Erika locked herself into a corner of her mind, away from the pain. She felt her husband hitting her, but then again, she didn’t.
In this space, she was safe. She didn’t think about anything, really, except getting through the beating. By removing herself from the present, she could keep her sanity.
She often lifted her thoughts above what her body was enduring so that when Elliott was ready to make up, she could comply without hating herself. If she forced her mind to disengage from the beating, she couldn’t remember everything that happened.
The process made it easier to look into her husband’s clear brown eyes, past the injuries he had given her and believe him when he said he was sorry. It made it easier to believe what she always told herself: He couldn’t help it. He really hadn’t meant to hurt her, but once again, she had done something foolish to provoke him.
Erika always did, with her probing questions, with her inadequate efforts to be the dutiful wife of a law firm partner, or simply by not having dinner on the table when he arrived home from a stressful day in a courtroom.
“Don’t I work hard enough so you can stay home? The least you can do is have an adequate greeting ready for me. Is that too much to ask?” Elliott would sneer as he sat in the cavernous dining room loosening his tie and waiting to be served like a king.
His after-work routine never veered too much off course. He rarely entered the house the same way, always coming in quietly, as if to catch Erika in an illegal act. Sometimes he would casually enter through the garage door off the kitchen, sometimes through the front door, and other times through the entrance off the side patio. On occasion, Elliott would even use the entrance to the walk-up basement and startle Erika by emerging in the foyer as she stood in front of the stove putting the finishing touches on their meal.
He would stroll past her without speaking, pick up the dry martini she had waiting for him, and stand with his feet spread apart, in front of the bay window that took up most of the rear wall of the expansive kitchen. He would gaze at the golf course, even though he couldn’t see much because it was usually late evening and too dark.
Instead of relaxing him, the routine seemed to fuel his frustration. It seemed to be his quiet time to dream up a grievance that would give him an excuse good enough to pick a fight. If it weren’t about dinner, the problem would be an errand she had forgotten to run, or the inappropriate tone she had used when she finally summoned the courage to welcome him home for the evening.
The reason never mattered. When his mood soured, when he felt like swinging, she would be entering the ring whether she had asked for the match or not. It had been that way since they had eloped in Jamaica four years earlier. Even in that idyllic retreat, he hadn’t been able to control himself.
“Why do you make me hurt you?”
It seemed he had been asking that question in a pained, remorseful whine for as long as she could remember, even before she had become his wife. Funny how she thought their vows would make things better. Not funny had much worse life had become.
Now, he was finished. He had grown tired quickly tonight. The trial today must have been particularly grueling, Erika thought as she let her mind return to the present.
Elliott knelt beside her and picked her up. In his muscular arms, she felt as light as a paperweight. She struggled to recall a time when she had felt safe there, too.
She kept her eyes closed as he carried her up to their bedroom. A single tear slid down the side of her cheek as she rested her head on Elliott’s chest.
“I love you, baby,” her tall, honey-complexioned husband said softly as he lay her on their king-sized bed.
Any other night, she would have concentrated on keeping her bloody lips and eyes off the sand and gold comforter, but tonight she didn’t care. She shook with silent sobs as Elliott peppered her with kisses. He didn’t seem to notice.
“Why do you make me act this way?” he asked as he closed his eyes and kissed her neck. “Why do you always make me hurt you? I love you.
“Stop crying, baby, I still love you,” Elliott whispered into Erika’s hair. “Let me show you how much.”
Erika stopped shaking as Elliott began to peel off her clothes. Her tears dried up as she lay there and stared at the ceiling. Tonight, she was grateful he hadn’t bothered to look into her eyes.
If he had, he would have known she was leaving. He might have tried to kill her. Instead, he apologized, and expressed his affection in the best way he knew how.
As usual, he didn’t notice Erika’s lackluster response to his fervent lovemaking. He mistook her stillness as enjoyment. And when he was done, he lay next to her and told her again that he loved her.
He pulled her close to him and gently kissed her swollen lips.
“Goodnight, baby. Happy anniversary.”

Thursday, April 13, 2006



SORMAG is an online magazine that caters to the readers and writers of multi-cultural literature. This is a great vehicle for getting exposure for your name, your web site and your books.

New writers are especially encouraged to submit their work. We also welcome submissions and inquiries from published authors.


DEADLINE – April 24th

DEADLINE – May 1st

DEADLINE - June 1st

DEADLINE – July 1st

DEADLINE – Aug 1st

DEADLINE – Sep 1st

DEADLINE – Oct 1st

DEADLINE – Nov 1st

We will feature one article based on the theme for the month.

We are accepting submissions:

Articles on the business of writing, marketing your writing, promoting and selling fiction. (500-800wds)

Short Story (Romance Stories (500-1500wds)

The short story must focus on the romance, and have an upbeat ending. All genres are considered, including historical, contemporary, paranormal, mystery, regency, futuristic, and time-travel.

We are a multi-cultural magazine. Submissions should be geared toward the multi-cultural reader/writer.

We do not publish erotica, horror, graphic sex or language.

NO UNSOLICITED SUBMISSIONS: Please query before sending.
Please query: LaShaunda Hoffman, Editor, Shades of Romance Magazine at Please use an appropriate subject line. "Query: (subject)"

RESPONSE TIME: 2-4 weeks

PAYMENT: For accepted articles we pay $20 upon publication (within 30 days).

For accepted short stories we pay $25, upon publication (within 30 days).

We accept reprints for which you hold copyright. However, we prefer reprints from print publications, or articles that have not been seen in the last six months. We pay $10 upon publication (within 30 days).

We pay only by PayPal.


Thank you for considering writing for SORMAG. We look forward to working with you.

LaShaunda C. Hoffman


Wednesday, April 12, 2006

What's Happening at SORMAG in April

The book is done, but you don’t feel it’s ready to submit. You need a little help to make it an even better book. Critique Groups just might be what you’re looking for, someone to look over your manuscript and give you some constructive criticism.

How can you find these groups? You can search the literary section of your local newspaper, they usually feature a listing of writer’s groups in your area. Or try online. Depending on your genre, you should be able to find an online group.

This month I’ve found a few online links to help you in finding the right critique group for you. If you’re in a critique group, tell us what you like about it and offer your suggestions to those looking for one. If you’re a group in need of new members, let us know.


April is one of my favorite months, the flowers are blooming, Easter is around the corner and you have the perfect excuse for eating chocolate. Enjoy the beginning of spring and stop by each week to see what’s happening with SORMAG.


Sabra Robinson
Tempie D. King
Stacy Hawkins Adams
Michelle Monkou

If this is your first visit to SORMAG, we welcome you and invite you to come again. Enjoy your time here and tell us what you think. We always welcome comments.

Thank you for your continued support.

Happy Reading,

LaShaunda C. Hoffman
SORMAG - Publisher

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Critique Tips

Here are few links to help you with critiques. The second list has more links.


Articles on Critiquing

Are you in a critique group?

Are you looking for new members?

Tell us about it.

Monday, April 10, 2006


SORMAG: Please give the readers a brief bio on you the person and the writer.

Tempie King: This is a great question and one that I had really never thought about until lately. From a subjective point of view I believe there are similarities and differences that contribute to the essence of me the person and me the writer. Even though we are the same we are yet different. Both seem to compliment and embrace the other in allowing each to be the very best in discovering their fullest potential. What I find fascinating is that me the person and me the writer have each learned how to work very well together with out conflict to accomplish our common goal of simply being the very best we can be living life in a very vivacious and loving way.

Tempie King the person was born in Memphis. I lived in Nashville, Louisville and Chicago the past 25 years and I recently quit my Management HealthCare Position in Chicago’s Hospital System a couple of years ago to return home in Memphis and help my family care for our parents who became critically ill suddenly and both died about a month a part. I have had a passion for writing and reading for as long as I can remember. I have a B.S. Degree in Pre-Med and have attended Writers Digest School of Novel Writing. I’m currently in process of pursuing my Master Degree in Business Management and am currently a Consultant that enjoys speaking and utilizing my Sales, Marketing, Management and Healthcare Skills. My hope is to always portray my Christian values in all that I say and do. I’m very proud to have become a published author. My debut fiction novel, Feelings was just published and released on March 27, 2006 by Publish America and dedicated to the memory of my parents and brother.

As a writer I am very much the same except I learned that I’m able to allow my pen and words on paper create and develop and go beyond any boundaries or restrictions that I felt ever existed. In during this as the writer I’ve been able to experience all emotions and learn to overcome and rise above obstacles, heal sooner and grow beyond at a level of self assurance that as the person would never knew thought possible in my wildest dreams.

SORMAG: Tell us about your current book?

Feelings is my debut fiction novel with a lot of inspired truths. When I wrote it ten years ago I had an idea as I outlined my storyline to build scenes, plots, conflicts and characters involving questions of where I wanted Feelings to go. Writing to answer questions such as; what if anything, does doing the right thing really mean? Or knowing God would forgive them but wondering could they? Or even would you? Being torn between deciding to continue living to please family or following their hearts to happiness, which would they choose? Or if being faced with seeing diversity and asking were they still yet the same? And if faced with confronting reality and knowing what was done, they could loose everything if the truth was ever told? Once I felt I had mastered these questions, created and developed my characters and outlined my chapters I felt confident in writing and presenting my story. But then something very profound happened.

Just as I was writing and editing my first sentence on the first page ten years ago, it happened...I actually witnessed the birth of a fictional character that immediately came alive and took total control. Her soul was born on paper, carrying over fifty years of history that had been kept inside of her. She used the power of the pen to unleash all of the hurt and turmoil that had haunted her soul. The moment her medium brown eyes met on paper and looked into the dark brown eyes of her unknown friend, she became alive. She was no longer a main fictional character, she became Feelings heroine, and she had a very real story to tell. At that point she took complete ownership of the story.

Manerva R. Jones, was not just created she had been unleashed and she came out strong to tell her story. A story which covered the lives of herself as well as so many people she had seen or know or had read about living in a time and a city where racism and injustice was rampant and existed then as well as still being very much alive over fifty years later. An injustice that involved race, gender and status quo. It was just ugly. But she was determined not to tell it ugly. She was determined to tell about this dark, ugly and mean creature but in a loving way.

And so it was a battle for me the author from the very first time I became face to face and met the powerful and ambitious Manerva. All of my ideas and outlines were over powered by the sheer power and determination she brought forth when given the opportunity to finally speak. Thus a sort of dimensional storyline effect immersed. As the author my storyline was fiction and created to allow each of my fictional characters to come alive, interact, present dialogue and action so that hopefully the reader would be satisfied. Manerva on the other hand was a creation of fiction but her stories and life were so real and they were based on a lot of inspired truths. There were actual battles throughout the story where being the author I had to yield to my heroine and remove myself completely and allow her to guide and dictate the story. For an example, when she had the opportunity to tell Dr. Grant off. I had to move and just let her work it. I had no idea what she would say or how she would say it. She had suffered so much and the inner afflictions and scars were there. Her boldness and her ambition to see justice done was her driving force and I knew she would not stop nor would she heal from her past until she was allowed to tell her story in her own way and tell it now. She was on a mission.

SORMAG: What would you like your readers to take away from your book?

I invite readers as well to do the same thing and just hear over fifty years of history methodically interwoven and told by a fictional heroine named Manerva R. Jones. She will fight this dark, ugly and mean injustice in such a loving way by standing firm in doing what is right. I invite and challenge readers to meet her, and read her story, Feelings.

She wanted to tell the story in a way that readers saw how her love for humanity and growth had risen about racism and she could exist in a multi- culture environment. She also told me her story had to be told in a way where the three things she treasured the most that she had seen with her own eyes be denied of others during her time and even before her simply because of race, gender and status quo had to be there. They were love for God, love for family and love for freedom. She wanted to tell her story and show how it could be an inspiration for generations to come not just for blacks but for all people, that rising above any stigmatism, hope and justice can prevail in the face of adversities.

SORMAG: Tell us about your publishing experience?

Feelings is my first fiction novel that I actually wrote ten years ago. All of life seem to exist and it was not until this past August that I signed a contract with Publish America with them agreeing to publish my book. I base my publishing experience on this and my publishing journey has been beautiful. From August 2005 until February 2006. Less than six months Publish America along with friends, family and support groups have made my dream come true. I received my published author copies delivered by federal express from Publish America on February 8th and I was able to salute and dedicate a ten year dream to the memory of both my parents on my Dad’s birthday February 9th.

Additionally, I want to thank SORMAG and LaShaunda for her On-line Writer’s Conference. Publish America’s Public Relations department notified me several days ago that they have placed this prize award on Publish America’s website indefinitely UP IN LIGHTS!!!

Tempie King Wins Promotion Package from Book Entrée Tempie King, author of Feelings won a one-month state promotion package from Book Entrée when she attended the SORMAG (Shades of Romance Magazine) On-Line Writer’s Conference. Ms. King was notified of her winning entry on October 27, 2005, and was told that her prize would be held until her book was published in February 2006.

This State Promotion Package consisted of Two Newsletters from Book Entrée, sent twice monthly to thousands of librarians in the states of Tennessee, Mississippi and Illinois. Ms. King's book has also been placed on the Unsung Great Books page, indefinitely.

For more information, please visit

SORMAG: How do you feel about critique groups?

I think critique groups can be informative. They can be the real pulse of objectivity. They represent your reading audience. They can point out strengths and weaknesses about you as a writer, your characters and your book. This in my opinion can be a great way to get constructive criticism and help you in your writing journey.

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

I wish non-writers would understand that a writer has to have an environment that allows his/her creative juices flow. They need that to think clearly and freely. I wish non-writers would have a higher level of compassion for a writer’s style of writing and writing environment. I have so many other writer friends and we all have different styles and situations that we feel we write best in. For me I like peace and quiet. I find myself waking in the middle of the night when everyone sleeps or when I am alone. I know this type of environment is not easy to achieve and I’m just saying if at all possible just allow that writer to be in his/her favorite environment and watch the difference in the outcome of the writing.

SORMAG: Do you have any promotional tips for writers?

Having been in sales and marketing over twenty five years I would say to writers as I would any business person, to always sell your self. Be proactive and start marketing immediately. Don’t wait and rely on others including your publisher. Surround yourself and join support groups of other successful writers. Be as a sponge, listen and learn from others that have been successful. Always set goals and have writing projects to practice and perfect your skills. Participate in as many workshops, trainings, seminars, conferences as possible and always focus on networking and getting known. Be persistent and consistent in your writing journey.

SORMAG: What is a favorite book from your childhood?

I remember reading a lot of different books but I can’t remember a particular title, I remember later going into my teens reading a lot of mystery books especially most of the Nancy Drew Mysteries.

SORMAG: What was the last book to keep you up at night reading it?

The last book that kept me up reading it was Babylon Sisters by Pearle Cleage. It intrigued me so, I couldn’t figure it out and I couldn’t put the book down.

SORMAG: What resources do you use on the net?

Publish America has a very informative website including an author message board with a great variety of topics including writing discussions. I use many but here are my favorites; Authors Den where authors and readers come together. Writer’s Digest School, Memphis Raw Sistaz, Raw Sistaz, Author’s Guild, Book Entree, Amazon , Christian Writer’s Market, and of course SORMAG.

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

My address: Tempie
P.O. Box 901457
Memphis, TN 38190
My email:
My websites:

Sunday, April 02, 2006

AUTHOR INTRO - Sabra Robinson

Sabra Robinson: I'm the 9th child out of ten children and originally from Baltimore, Maryland where I am a proud alumni of Morgan State University.

I currently assist in the youth ministry at my church and enjoy singing on the praise team.

In the Summer of 2006, I will be attending Billy Graham's Seminary school, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary here in Charlotte.

In addition to writing my first multicultural children's picture book, Micky, Ticky, Boo! Says Hello, my vision to animate my characters for film and television allowed me to become recognized as a finalist out of over three hundred applicants for the ABC/Disney New Talent Development program for 2003.

Me, the writer

I am the founding editor of the inspirational anthology, The Lost Sheep: How I Got And Am Still Getting Over the Hump, an annual inspirational anthology which features true stories of God's restoration.

My first published book, Micky, Ticky, Boo! Says Hello, is a multicultural picture book of which I was a finalist for the ABC New Talent/Development program for my proposal to animate the characters for film.

I am also a member of the following professional organizations: The Christian Writers Fellowship International (CWFI), The African American Children's Writers and Illustrators (AACBWI), The Atlanta Urban Mediamakers Association (aUMi) and soon to form a Christian ministry, The Lost Sheep Ministries.

I anticipate writing for all age groups and anticipates featuring my children's book characters on film.

"The Lost Sheep: How I Got Over The Hump."

PREFER PREACHINESS? DESIRE CONSERVATIVENESS? WANT TO LAUGH? WANT TO CRY? Check out Volume One in The Lost Sheep series and hear the Voices of Restoration! The Voices of Restoration project is proud to announce its new 'down-to-the-bone' inspirational anthology "The Lost Sheep: How I Got (and am still getting) Over the Hump. PERSONAL ACCOUNTS OF GOD'S RESTORATION AFTER DOUBTING HIS PURPOSE, THE CHURCH, AND HUMAN EXISTENCE." The “The Lost Sheep” ™ is an annual inspirational book series featuring compilations of true stories, poems, scriptures and illustrations of God's restoration by everyday people. These testimonials are meant to assist those individuals in the area of restoration. Remember, getting over the hump in difficult times takes initiative. Obtaining restoration takes God. Following God's plan has its rewards. So listen to Him today and be restored!


Welcome To SORMAG's Blog

About Me

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

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

I’m available for:

Online promotion coaching
Contact me

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