Tuesday, February 27, 2007

BLOG TOUR - Barbara Joe Williams

I decided to publish the "Sweetheart" book because I'm a hopeless romantic. While attending a New Year's Eve party, the hostess turned to me and asked, "Barbara, how did you meet your husband?" Well, by the time everyone at the party had finished telling their stories, we were all laughing to tears. Several days later, I was still laughing when I shared the story with a friend of mine and she replied, "It sounds like a good book to me." So I present to you the "How I Met My Sweetheart" anthology.

Barbara Joe-Williams is a long-term resident of Tallahassee, Florida. However, she was born and raised in Rosston, Arkansas. She spent four years in the U.S. Navy prior to attending college. She holds an A.A. degree in Office Education from Tallahassee Community College. She has a B.S. degree in Business Education and a M.Ed. in Counseling Education from Florida A&M University.

She is currently a freelance writer, an independent publisher, and an active member of the Tallahassee Writer's Association. Barbara spends her spare time traveling as a motivational teacher or conducting seminars and workshops on writing, publishing, and marketing. When she's not publishing books for other newcoming authors, she's working on the following projects for herself:

* How I Met My Sweetheart Anthology Too
* A Man of My Own (February 2008)

Barbara enjoys life with her husband, Wilbert, and their daughter, Amani Nigia Williams.
Please visit her blog at: http://www.barbarajoe.blogspot.com/

Thursday, February 22, 2007


A Moment on the Lips
Phyllis Bourne Williams
A Leisure Book
Dorchester Publishing Co., Inc.
ISBN: 0-8439-5659-3
Published: February, 2006
Contemporary Romance

Rating: 4 Stars - Excellent
Reviewer: Delores Hines

This book was a good old-fashioned romance, where the hero and the heroine take their time to build something meaningful. The romance moved at steady pace without overpowering the story. The whole feel of the story makes the reader slow down and enjoy the journey. It was quite refreshing.

Grant Price works for his family’s Boston investment company and he’s next in line to take over the company if he can get Wall Street Wizard, Melody Mason to come and work for their company. Grant and Melody know each other from college and have always been very competitive with one another. Grant goes to small town Tennessee to lure Melody back to Boston before another company gets her. He gets quite the surprise when Melody is nothing like the competitive, geeky girl he knew in college. Who is this new woman and why does Grant feel an immediate attraction to her?

After a tragic incident, Melody Mason, the infamous Wall Street Wizard, returns to her hometown without taking a second look at the life she once valued so dearly. Life for her now moves at a much slower pace and she’s happy about it until Grant Price enters it, the man she’s always secretly pined over. She challenges him to slow down and do some soul searching. He finally comes around to this slower pace, until his Dad reminds him of his commitment to the company. Grant never disappoints his father. Pleasing his father is only one of the dilemma’s he faces. Melody has demons of her own. Will they exorcise these demons together or on their own? You be the judge.

Cuffed by Candlelight
Beverly Jenkins, Gwyneth Bolton and Katherine D. Jones
Parker Publishing - Noire Passion
February 2007

Rating: 3 stars – VERY GOOD
Reviewed by Renee Motley

Cuffed by Candlelight is the opening act in Parker Publishing Noire Passion line. I found that all of the heroines in the three novellas were strong women and it gave the anthology an edge that most do not have - tasteful erotica.

Beverly Jenkins’ selection Prisoner will not disappoint her fans. This historical novella gave new meaning to justice in the old west. The story opens with the heroine, Elizabeth,
receiving a letter from her husband that he has met someone back east and is divorcing her. In her quest to keep her property, she has to marry. She marries a former marshal, Jordan Yancy, who was accused, convicted and jailed as a murderer. Their story of finding their way was enjoyable because the characters were well developed and the touches of humor throughout kept the story exciting. As in her previous novels the sexual escapades were well written and tastefully done. This is the best selection in the anthology.

Guns and Roses by Katherine Jones is an interesting mix of unresolved desire, romance, responsibility and victory. Stephanie Gunn is the correctional officer where Bryant Wilson’s brother is housed. The attraction between Stephanie and Bryant is strong, but Stephanie makes an erroneous assumption about Bryant because of his brother’s crimes.

Bryant’s brother, Mac, is murdered and this event throws Stephanie and Bryant together. Mac in an attempt to get a message to Bryant tries to enlist Stephanie’s aid. However, she doesn’t and this causes a rift in the new relationship with Bryant. In order to right the wrong, Stephanie decides to investigate the murder on her own. The story moves along quickly, almost too quickly (my personal complaint about novellas) and I found that to be a little distracting. Yet, the author ties everything together and there is a satisfying ending. As a fan of Ms. Jones, I am happy to see her novella included in this premier anthology.

Gwyneth Bolton’s novella, Handcuffs Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry, was a perfect end to this anthology. This novella has characters that are true to life and easy to relate to. The heroine, Tamara Dowling a.k.a.Lil Bit, is an uncover police officer who is in the middle of an investigation at Murder Row. Lance King, a DEA officer, is also running an investigation at the same place. Tamara was taken in by Lance’s family as a child and has always considered Lance her big brother until their passions over take their sensibilities. Now ten years later and both investigating Murder Row Records, they are forced to deal with each other professionally and emotionally. Tamara has successfully avoided Lance, but Lance has always been there to protect her, something that Lil Bit no longer wants, though she feels that way, Lance has another plan for Lil Bit. Ms. Bolton’s novella was entertaining and the characters were interesting. The history of the main characters gave a deeper understanding to the passion between them and the use of the handcuffs were a classy end to this anthology.

Forever and a Day
Dyanne Davis
Noire Allure
ISBN: 978-1-60043-004-6
Publish Date: February 2007
Contemporary Romance

Rating: 4 Stars – EXCELLENT
Reviewed by: Delores Hines

Torrie and Jake have been in love since preschool but they’re from different sides of the tracks. Their prospective families feel they should stick with their own kind. Torrie and Jake can’t seem to do that. Torrie has been having dreams/visions about the severity of the storms heading towards New Orleans since she was a kid, but no one believed her except Jake. Jake arrives to ride out hurricane Katrina with Torrie but all hell breaks loose. The family is on edge and they’re distrustful of the man Torrie has loved her whole life. The couple has to deal with hurricane Katrina and all the other obstacles in their lives. Will their love survive the drama of past hurts, the present dilemmas the hurricane brought, or the bleak future of rebuilding from nothing? You can find out when you read this snapshot of life in the eye of Hurricane Katrina.

Ms. Davis took on a challenging task of blending a love story with a documentary on Hurricane Katrina. The beginning reads like a documentary but very quickly she blends the two stories and leaves us with a beautiful romentary. (Romance and documentary)

How I Met My Sweetheart
Amani Publishing
ISBN: 097528519X
Published: February 2007

Rating: 5 Stars - Supreme
Reviewed by: Clara Sutton

Eighteen authors tell how they met their sweethearts. If you are a romantic at heart you will enjoy reading these stories. Sharing how they met his or her soulmate is an inspiration to all of us who have loved and lost, and who has been hurt badly by someone that you loved in the past.

Reading their stories, lets the reader know that with patient, time and the willingness to take that chance on true love, and above all that the love, faith, and belief in GOD, all things are possible and we all can find the love of a good man or woman. We just have to be patient and trust in GOD and what we feel in our hearts.


If the Shoe Fits
Marilynn Griffith
Steeple Hill
January 2007
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0373785763

Reviewed by Regina Hightower

When this book started off I thought it was going to be a comedy but as it progressed on,
I began to see hurt, betrayal, friendship, a willingness in a teenager to become a man and accept his responsibility it deals with teenage pregnancy, teenage marriage, a sisterhood, a brotherhood. Baby’s daddy drama even though the baby is grown you name it this Christian book covers it.

Although it has a abundance of hero’s and heroines friends that are amateur physiologists and prescribe ice cream instead of pills (my kind of shrink lol,) It is sometimes hard to keep them all straight. In the end it has the most surprise ending that you will ever see it was an enjoyable and well written book complete with scriptures.

Mr. Satisfaction
Brenda Jackson, Delilah Dawson, Joy King, MaryAnn Reid
St Martin’s Press
ISBN: 0-312-34901-7
Publish Date: January, 2006
4 Sensuous Novellas

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars- GREAT
Reviewed by Delores Hines

Extreme Satisfaction by Brenda Jackson was about financial advisor Cathleen who worked so hard on her career that she let her personal life go. She realizes after attaining her goals that life is a little lonely without the man she loved and pushed away, Rory. Cathleen comes up with a plan to win Rory back but he refuses to make it easy since she broke his heart when she pushed him away. Will their love survive the pain that Cathleen caused?

Satisfy Me by Delilah Dawson was about childhood sweethearts from opposite sides of the track. Shauna was never good enough for Max in her father’s eyes, years later the couple meets up again at a mutual friends wedding and the sparks start flying. Can they put their past hurts aside and give love a try?

Ice Princess by Joy King was about Madison, a businesswoman, who was very successful at whatever she put her hands on. She was able to put a man under her spell in minutes, until she meets her building owner Maurice. Maurice flips the script on Madison and has her wondering what she can do to get under his spell. This man is one challenge she’s determine to conquer.

The Morning After by MaryAnn Reid about Alexis who is tired of pampered and well-to- do men who are only focused on themselves. She decides that being single is better that dealing with these shallow men. On a challenge from a friend she leaves her Park Avenue area to visit a hole in the wall in Bed-Stuy and stumbles on the love of her life. Can she get pass their differences? Will she let love prevail despite the size of their bank accounts?

All the novellas were hot as proclaimed on the front of the book. The novellas get hotter as the reader progresses through the book. My only complaint is that the stories were too short; they were over before I knew it.

Hanging On A String
Janette McCarthy
December 2006
Contemporary Romance

Regina Hightower

This is a hard hitting suspense drama to which I must admit I'm a sucker for it starts off hard hitting who done it.

I guessed the plot but it was exciting and suspenseful never the less, the investigations were never ending, and in the end there were a lot more players in the game than you might think, but it was worth every minute of the reading and popcorn.

So get comfortable for the best of the who done it for the last of the season the Hero and Heroine Jasmine Spain & Detective Marcus Claremont are the virtual dynamic duo even if she fights the attraction every step of the way because of past bad experiences it's a must see how he wears her down as they solve the mystery of who done it .

You Belong To Me
Patricia Sargeant
Dafina Books
ISBN: 0-7582-1876-1
Published: November 2006

Rating: 4 Stars - EXCELLENT
Reviewer: Donielle Ruff

Science Fiction Writer Nicole Collins is excited that her novel is about to be made into a movie and she couldn't be happier. That is until she realizes that Malcolm Bryant, her ex-husband, is co-owner of Celestial Productions. Turning down the deal and her dream so as not to deal with him, a family crisis forces her to unselfishly reconsider. Putting aside emotions and problems that seem incapable of being solved Nicole agrees to work with Malcolm for the integrity of the movie and the help it will bring to her loved ones.

In the midst of trying to ignore memories of a past filled with love, loss and miscommunication, Nicole and Malcolm realize they have more to deal with. The suspense begins on a wild ride as a crazed fan believes the fictitious family in Nicole's novel is to be protected at any cost and they go to great lengths to prevent this movie from being made. Nicole believes that Malcolm can't hold up during hard times. Can she trust him to stand with her or will he run like before?

Patricia Sargeant's debut novel is a great read that will keep you anxious and attached to this story full of murder, doubt, danger and love. Nicole and Malcolm are great characters whose relationship you'll root for as they deal together and individually with their emotions and the danger surrounding them. You Belong to Me is a great debut by the author, looking forward to more from her.

I'm Your Girl
J.J. Murray
Kensington Books
ISBN: 0-7582-1397-2
Published: November 2006
Mainstream Fiction

Reviewed by: Donielle Ruff

Diane Anderson is an African American librarian living a solitary life consisting of work, reviewing books in her spare time, and pleasing her closed-minded mother. Jack Browning is a white author just beginning to dig himself out of an emotional hole since the fatal car accident of his wife and son.

Unable to force herself past the first 50 pages of a novel she's reading, Diane writes a scathing review. Jack, who happens to be the author Diane blasts in her review, begins the work on his new interracial romance. While coming to terms with his loss, Jack spends his days in the library reading African American literature. Once they meet sparks slowly begin to fly and Diane realizes that this nice white man who reads Essence is the author she shot down in her review.

Trouble begins when Diane, dealing with a mother who can't stand the thought of her dating a white guy, must decide if she should come clean about the review. Jack deals with publisher demands, memories of his family and unexpectedly falling in love with a black woman.

What I've always liked about J.J. Murray's novels are the realistic emotion and the quirky humor. I liked the characters, especially Jack and the unique ways he dealt with his emotions and his writing process. The three extra storylines in the beginning that give us a taste of the books Diane reviewed prevented this novel from being even more of a hit. They were a bit confusing and lengthy but once you move past this point the book really picks up and is a pleasant read.

Body of Lies
Deirdre Savoy
Dafina Books
Kensington Publishing Corp.
ISBN: 0-7582-1229-1
Published: November 2006
Contemporary Romance

Rating: 4 Stars - EXCELLENT
Reviewed By: Clara Sutton

Clinical Psychologist Alexandra Waters, has been asked by the police to help with a case involving one of her former patients who they believed is the Amazon Killer. Alexander hadn’t banked on seeing Zach Stone, the man from her past that had once served as her father’s partner when Zach was a rookie.

Zach didn’t recognize Alexandra when he walked into the task force meeting. It had been thirteen years since he had seen his Alex. Thirteen years ago when he walked out of her life because he thought that was the way she wanted it to be but he never stopped thinking about her.

The Amazon Killer has wants to make Alex his next victim but Zach is determined not to let that happen. Zach must find a way to keep Alex safe or lose her again forever to the Amazon Killer. The flames between the two never died completely, maybe Alex’s father knew what he was doing when he brought home his rookie partner.


Michelle Buckley
Urban Books
Kensington Publishing Corp.
ISBN: 1-893196-49-6
Published: November 2006

Rating: 3 Stars – VERY GOOD
Reviewed By: Clara Sutton

Dr. Madetra “Mad” Price, planned a travel club that would include just her , her husband and her twin sister, turned out to be a club of seven including a stalker TV producer, TV Reporter, Drug Dealer/Massage Therapist and Psychologist who had been harassing Madetra for the past two years.

The group made plans to attend four vacation spots together. Nothing ever stays in Vegas if you are in a group. All your little secrets and motives come out once your back home and the blackmailing starts. I believing in saving your marriage but sometimes you just have to let go. To save her marriage, Madetra took a lot of blackmailing and degradation from one of the men in the travel club. I couldn’t have taken the blackmailing like she did. In the end, Mad got her revenge on all those that had caused her pain.

Vindication: The Adventures of Private Jane
Lyric James
ISBN Number ~ 1-60088-045-2
Release Date ~ September 1, 2006
Cobblesestone Press, LLC.
African American/Suspense

Rating ~ 3 Stars – VERY GOOD
Reviewed by Michelle Alexander

Karyn, a former police officer who now has her own all female, private investigating firm P.I., is searching for the killer who murdered her sister and branded her a rogue cop. Zechariah, ex-cop and law student, has helped ease her pain. Can Zechariah convince Karyn there's more to their relationship before they fall victim to the same people who
murdered her sister?

Holy Ghost Corner
Michele Andrea Bowen
Publication: September 2006
ISBN-13: 978-0-446-53035-4
Walk Worthy Press

Reviewed by Camellia Johnson

Michele Andrea Bowen has done it again! Another #1 Best-Seller! I couldn't put this book down until I finished it. I took it to all my appointments for expected waiting room reading and relax time at home. I found myself laughing out-loud at the scenes so vividly written by author Michele Bowen! This novel appeals to everyone whether you’re single or married. Ladies, your God given husband is worth the wait as you will see in this hilariously and romantic novel.

Theresa in this novel is like many single Christian women today, wanting a husband and getting impatient on God to show up and show out. She has all the qualities a man would desire but she had to realize some expectations she had put on herself was causing her to overlook someone from her past that complimented her lifestyle.

Lamont is your typical millionaire bachelor with some issues that only God can clearly change. With a God fearing family constantly bombarding God's throne to bring Lamont back home does he truly see the wife God said is his "help-meet".

Queen Esther is the priceless spiritual backbone of the family who doesn't have a problem using the word of God on anyone!

The brotherly connection between James and Lamont is priceless and crucial in their lives. Not only does the younger brother James share his mistakes and life with his brother Lamont but shows him how to treat and get some time with a true Christian woman Theresa.

Throughout the book one scripture that kept coming back to me was Romans 8:28 "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Holy Ghost Corner clearly shows through the lives of Queen Esther, Theresa, Lamont, James, Rhonda, Baby Doll and Mr. Lacy (to name a few) that with prayer and faith God's counsel will stand!

Divas Of Damascus Road
Michelle Stimpson
Publication July 2006
ISBN: 978-0-446-57746-5

Rating: 5 stars - SUPREME
Reviewed by: Camellia M. Johnson

I think the reader can relate to at least one of the characters in Divas of Damascus Road. Author Michelle Stimpson touches so many issues that happens in life. She takes the reader through life's twists and turns and shows how truth unveils itself and how lies destroy lives and families if not uncovered. Stimpson truth may hurt but it's freeing in ones spirit, mind and body.

Gloria had a secret that cost the sanity and life of her sister and almost destruction of her entire family. Joyce Ann lived a life of deception to help cover for Gloria. Dianne almost let her past control her mind, body and soul. Regina, thought how she looked on the outside determined her self worth. Yolanda, had so many walls up in her heart she didn't want to recognize when love was knocking them down. Aunt Toe, was the backbone of the family that by keeping a closed eye almost didn't see the fruition of her answered prayer come to past.

Life goes on but when lies are covered up and buried, truth will come to set the captives free. Set the captives free in your mind, soul and body. Divas of Damascus Road, will leave every reader with the assurance that God will meet you on that road to lead you to your light of tomorrow.

Darnella Ford
St. Martin’s Press
ISBN: 0-312-34803-7
Publish Date: June 2006
Mainstream Fiction

Rating: 5 Stars - SUPREME
Reviewed by: Delores Hines

Choke is a tribute to single mother’s doing their best with very little resources. Vanessa is a hard working mother trying to come up with the cash to get her talented daughter into an esteemed music academy. Nothing is working properly in the apartment, her estranged husband drops in for booty calls she can’t resist, her 12 year daughter has discovered boys intimately, and to top it off she loses the job she hates, when her employer dies suddenly. Vanessa is down on her luck and resorts to the profession of her neighbors, escorting. Sometimes the means to an end goes against everything she’s ever been taught in Sunday school. Can she swallow her pride and beliefs to make a better life for her and her daughter? Or is she destined to her present life?

This book is realistic, raw and rugged. It holds no punches. It reminds us all, that at any point this could be you no matter your present station in life. The book should have been called captive cause once I started reading it I couldn’t put it down.

Ain’t No Sunshine
Candice Dow
Kensington Publishing Corp.
ISBN: 0-7582-1055-8
Publish Date: June 2006
Mainstream Fiction

Rating: 5 Stars - SUPREME
Reviewer: Delores Hines

This story is about a woman named Laila who was abandoned at birth and turned over to the foster care system. She tells about her trials and tribulations in the first person. The account she gives of her journey is so real the reader feels right there with her. In the foster care system all of her life, Laila turns to dancing in a strip club to make fast money to one day break away from her group home. One night David Dubois enters the club and whisks her away from the fast and dangerous lifestyle. She feels like she’s met her knight in shining armor, only to find out after a year, she went from the fire to frying pan. David is physically abusive.

After 4 years of living this hellacious life with David, Laila jumps at the chance to start a new life in another city. She immediately turns to a man in her new life because that’s all she knows. She’s hurt and finds out that without self-love she could never really receive true love. She finally gets her life on-track, to be blind-sided by a call from a sister she never knew she had about a mother she wasn’t sure existed. Laila has to define the true meaning of home and family and she’s tough enough to do it.

I was pulled into this book from the very first page, I was intrigued with how a young woman who endured so much, so young would still be open to love. She never whined about her life, she rolled with the punches and did the best with what she had. Hats off to Candice Dow for such a great story, it invoked all types of emotions. I look forward to her next book.

Caught Up
Deatri King-Bey
Genesis Press – Indigo Vibe
ISBN: 1585711780
Published: March 2006
Suspense Fiction

Rating: 2.5 Stars -GOOD
Reviewed by: Flashette Shirer

Rosa Bolivar’s thirtieth birthday is one in a series of events that forces Rosa to discover truths about who she is, where she comes from and where she wants to go. Overhearing an argument between her father and her mother, Rosa visits a Florida prison where a notorious drug lord awaits execution. She struggles to put together the puzzle of her life as she searches for answers to the truth about who she really is. Not getting any help from her father or mother, she launches her own investigation. However, she learns that the DEA is investigating her family as well. Falling in love with the handsome, intelligent lead detective on the case will only complicate her discoveries. But this is a complication that both characters desperately need in their lives.

This is good suspense fiction and romance all in one. I found myself hoping for Rosa to find the answers she desperately searched for while embracing true love. The flashbacks were a bit confusing at times and the novel was slow in the beginning but the author more than made up for that in the dramatic page turning final chapters.

Depth of Desire
Sophia Shaw
Dafina Books
ISBN: 0-7582-0957-6
Published: March 2006

Rating: 4 1/2 Stars - EXCEPTIONAL
Reviewer: Donielle Ruff

When Naomi Chambers moves back home to New York, she feels she's found a great deal when her best friend, Patrice, offers up her brother Joshua's apartment while he's away on business. Assuming everything has been worked out with Joshua, she's just as surprised as he is when he comes home unexpectedly and finds her in his bathtub. Embarrassed by the turn of events, she is grateful when Joshua suggests she stay on until she finds a place of her own.

Living under the same roof will be anything but easy considering Naomi has secretly loved Joshua for many years. Concealing her feelings isn't as easy as she'd hoped, especially when Joshua decides that he's ready to settle down and pursues a relationship with Jacqueline, his ex-girlfriend. That plan turns sour as Joshua comes to terms with his feelings for Naomi. As they begin to explore the feelings that have surrounded them for years, things start to get complicated. Someone has it in for Naomi. Can they figure out who's out to break them up before they really get started and fix it all before it's too late?

Sophia Shaw did a great job in keeping the suspense and romance high in this novel. Both Naomi and Joshua are very likeable and well developed characters. Depths of Desire is a well-written story that grabs your attention and keeps it to the very end. It's definitely a great read for a true romance lover. This was my first Sophia Shaw novel but it won't be my last.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

FEATURED AUTHOR - Victoria Howard

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

Victoria Howard:
I was born in Liverpool, at a time when the Beatles (Twist and Shout!) were becoming popular. We moved to the Wirral on the “posh” side of the river Mersey when I was eleven. I attended the local girls’ grammar school, going on to college where I received my Medical Secretarial Diploma.

I’ve lived and worked in various places since then, spending most of my adult life on the outskirts of a village in the Highlands of Scotland. While living there, I managed a company involved in the offshore oil industry. I feel Scotland is my spiritual home, which probably the reason why I’ve used it for the setting of my second novel.

In October 2000 I moved to South Yorkshire to be with my partner, Stephen, and until recently, I worked for Britain’s National Health Service.

I've always enjoyed writing – mainly in the form of letters to friends overseas, but had never considered writing fiction, until I had the idea for Three Weeks Last Spring.

SORMAG: Tell us about your current book?

Three Weeks Last Spring is a suspense romance, set in the stunning scenery of the Pacific Northwest. However, it's not a straightforward hearts and flowers, boy meets girl romance.

The story is centred on two main characters; Skye Dunbar, a London based computer expert, and Jedediah Walker, a marine biologist.

Although successful in her business dealings, Skye has never been able to forget the disastrous love affair she had with a US naval Officer, and in attempt to lay the past to rest, she rents a cabin in the San Juan Islands, where she meets the mysterious Walker.

From the first time they meet, it is hate at first sight. But that's not the only chemical reaction occurring on the island. Dead fish with high quantities of toxic chemicals are being washed up by the tide. After Skye’s sudden and somewhat unexpected appearance, things only get worse. When a hacker breaks into his computer files, Walker decides to learn more about the strange and beautiful woman, now renting the cabin on his land.

As the store progress it becomes a cat and mouse game of wit, as both Skye and Walker seek answers to their questions.

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

Obviously, a sense of enjoyment. However, I hope I've written something more than just a romantic novel. You can't listen to the radio, or read a newspaper, without hearing or seeing an article on the environment. In writing Three Weeks I hoped to draw people's attention to how delicately balanced the eco-system of our planet is, and what we should be doing to preserve it.

SORMAG: What’s something you wish you’d known earlier that might have saved you some time/frustration in the publishing business?

Two things in particular come to mind. Firstly, I hadn't appreciated how difficult it is to have manuscript accepted by a publisher. Many publishing houses will only accept manuscripts through an agent, and literary agents prefer to represent authors who either have had work published, or have a sure block-busting idea, such as J K Rowling did with Harry Potter. It's a catch twenty-two situation in may respects.

Secondly, it takes far longer than a novice author might realise for his or her work to appear in print. From signing the contract to your book hitting the shelves can take anything from one year to eighteen months, depending on your publisher's schedule.

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

Very few authors become bestselling authors. Publishing companies aren't willing to take many risks on a first-time author. So concentrate on quality. Write the story you'd most like to read. Tell your tale very well, edit your manuscript not once, but at least twice before submitting it, and be willing to spend serious time afterward marketing your book.

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

I love writing dialogue. Once I've developed my characters and have the plot line roughed out, I can envisage conversations between the key characters taking place. Until recently this always seemed to happen when I was driving to work, or late at night when I would be trying to get to sleep! Since I no longer work, this isn't a problem.

Like many new authors, I hate writing a synopsis of my novel. How do you condense a 120,000 word novel into three pages? It’s a difficult question to answer. A synopsis needs to focus on your story's essential details; it's after all, it's what sells your book to the publisher.

SORMAG: What music do you listen to when you’re writing?

I don't usually listen to music when writing, I find it too distracting. However, occasionally I will, in which case it tends to be mainly instrumental, Kenny G, Sam Riney, Jonathan Cain and John Barry to mention a few.

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

Diana Gabaldon's "A breath of Snow and Ashes". I've been a huge admirer of her work, and in particular this series.

SORMAG: If you could take five books on a desert island what would they be?

Only Five? That's a bit harsh for an avid reader like me! I think I would have to take the following:

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, for her irony and wonderful characterisation. It's one of the great British classics and no matter how many times I read it, I always find something new.

Zemindar by Valerie Fitzgerald, now sadly out of print. It is a magnificent novel, and Fitzgerald's description of India in the 1830's is so detailed, that you can almost feel the heat, smell the rotting corpses after the massacre and feel the heroine's frustration at being so close to the man she loves, but unable to ever have him.

Highland Fling by Katie Fforde. I love reading anything with a Scottish theme and Katie Fforde writes as a modern day Jane Austen.

Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier. The opening line– "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderlay again," is perfect. The reader is immediately drawn into a novel of suspense and romance, and is almost forced to read on. DuMaurier's plotting is impeccable, and the haunting story told from the unnamed heroine's view point, is compelling.

My final book is The Shining Levels by John Wyatt. Wyatt was Head Warden for the Lake District National Park. His book is a humorous account of his life in the Park.

SORMAG: What do you do to make time for yourself?

I have a border collie, Lucy, who needs plenty of exercise. Taking her on long country walks gives me plenty of time to think about plots, characters, and dialogue.

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

Readers are welcome to sign my guestbook at http://www.victoriahoward.co.uk/. They can also contact me via email at info@victoriahoward.co.uk.

FEB 07 EXCERPTS: Three Weeks Last Spring

Three Weeks Last Spring

ISBN: 1424129907

Author: Victoria Howard

Website: www.victoriahoward.co.uk

Publisher: PublishAmerica Pages: 293

Genre: Romantic suspense


"I wouldn't do that if I were you. The water is pretty darned cold at this time of year."
Skye nearly jumped out of her skin, her heart thumping in her chest, thoughts flashing through her mind like lightning. First and foremost, this was supposedly private land. Second, turning and scanning the trees in an attempt to locate the voice, just who the hell did he think he was telling her what she could or could not do?

The voice seemed to emanate from the very depths of the pinewood. Squinting into the early afternoon sunlight, Skye watched as a figure emerged from the trees. He was tall, well over six feet if he was an inch, with raven black hair and the slight shadow of a beard. She couldn't really see his eyes, but had a feeling they would be icy blue and would have that "damn you to hell" expression. A chill ran down her spine. The cabin occupied an isolated spot after all, and even if there were neighbours within screaming distance they probably wouldn't be at home at this time of day. Skye considered her options as the tall figure walked towards her; if he were to prove difficult she could always throw her cup at him and kick him in the shins, before legging it back to the safety of the cabin. He halted a mere foot or so from her, forcing her to look up.

"Sorry to startle you, ma’am, but I wasn't sure if you were planning on taking anything else off besides your shoes…" the stranger grinned.

Skye's mouth opened but she couldn't utter a word, and before she could collect her thoughts, he continued.

"…Because if you were, you'd only last about thirty minutes before hypothermia set in, and of course, being the gentleman that I am, I would feel duty bound to come right in after you. And that would be a shame, because I'd planned on going home and cooking this fish for lunch," he finished matter of factly.

Coughing and spluttering, Skye choked on her coffee. So a fish was more important than saving someone from freezing to death. She inclined her head to examine him more closely and could see she’d been right about his eyes. Here was a man who didn't suffer fools gladly. Well, she thought, Mr Damn Your Eyes could just go back where he came from and take his fishy friend with him!

"You’ll be relieved to know, that I had no intention of er, er…. taking anything other than my shoes off. The thought of going for a swim hadn't even entered my head, but now you've mentioned it, it's not a bad idea. As for you coming in after me, I'll take a rain check, if you don't mind! Not, I might add, that what I do is any business of yours. I was assured that this was private land. May I ask just what you think you are doing prowling around scaring the hell out of people?" Skye asked indignantly.

"My, my, we're mighty touchy. What happened, someone wake you up too early?" The icy blue eyes flashed. There was a trace of laughter in his voice that was totally lost on Skye. Feeling more than a little intimidated by the stranger's height, she stood up in one fluid movement. Not one inch of her five foot five frame gave her any more confidence. She barely came up to the man's chest – a chest that any woman would feel comfortable snuggled up against, at that. Now where in the world did that thought come from? Skye asked herself.
Still feeling at a disadvantage, Skye took a long look. Close up he didn't appear quite so intimidating - "impressive" was a better adjective. In fact, she could think of a number of suitable adjectives to describe Mr Damn Your Eyes, including handsome, rugged, and virile, not to mention offensive and arrogant. This guy would stop traffic in London, but there he would be completely out of place. Here in the rugged mountains of the Pacific Northwest he was totally at ease.

Now that she was standing, Skye revised her estimate of his height. He was at least six feet four, possibly more. His eyes were deep set and she’d been right about the colour. He had a scar over one eyebrow and smaller one on his chin. Fleetingly she wondered how he'd acquired them, but she had no intention of asking. He was dressed casually in black jeans, which fit him like a glove and a navy blue check work shirt which he wore open at the neck, revealing a tangle of dark hair on his chest. In one hand he held a fishing rod and a fish in the other and looked for the entire world, as if he had stepped right out of the pages of her guidebook.

The stranger watched her slow appraisal of him, but said nothing. Skye stiffened and haughtily tossed her head, her eyes narrowing as she spoke.

"Look, Mr…? Sorry, but I didn't quite catch your name, and at this particular moment, I don't even care to know what it is. I've had a long journey and I'm tired. As far as I'm concerned you're trespassing on private property. I'd very much appreciate it, if you would leave by whatever means you arrived and allow me to finish my coffee before it goes cold."

"My, my. The lady obviously has a temper to match the colour of her hair. Now why don't you take a deep breath, calm down and enjoy the day? You're obviously not from around here otherwise you wouldn't jump down a perfectly innocent person's throat, especially one who's trying to give you some friendly advice. Don't worry, I won't disturb you any longer," he said tersely. "I'll be on my way, and for future reference, the name is Walker, Jedediah Walker, but everyone just calls me Walker," he declared, challenging her to laugh. Abruptly he turned and strode quickly up the dock before jumping down and continuing along the pebble beach, heading off in the opposite direction from which he'd come.

Friday, February 16, 2007

FEATURED AUTHOR - Electa Rome Parks

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

Electa Rome Parks
, one of the rising stars in contemporary fiction, is the author of the best-selling novels THE TIES THAT BIND and LOOSE ENDS, which were originally self-published through her own company, Novel Ideal Publishing and Editorial Services Company, a company now dedicated to quality editorial services.

After successfully self-publishing her debut novels, New American Library, a division of Penguin Group, bought the rights. Mrs. Parks signed a three-book deal with New American Library. Her first novel, THE TIES THAT BIND, was re-released in October 2004, and LOOSE ENDS was re-released in November 2004. Both books were immediately chosen as Black Expressions Book Club selections and embraced as Books of the Month by book clubs across the country. A third manuscript, ALMOST DOESN'T COUNT, which was immediately chosen as the main selection for Black Expressions Book Club, was released in August 2005.

Recently, Electa signed her second and third book deals with Penguin Group/New American Library and HarperCollins/Avon Red. Her upcoming projects are: LADIES' NIGHT OUT (NAL, January 2007) which was immediately chosen as a Black Expressions Book Club selection and THESE ARE MY CONFESSIONS (Avon Red, July 2007).

Electa Rome Parks has been a frequent guest on radio shows. She’s been interviewed by newspapers, Vibe Vixen, Upscale Magazine, Rolling Out and Booking Matters, to name just a few. Parks lives outside Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband and two children. With a BA degree in marketing and a minor in sociology, she is following her true passion and working on her next novel.

SORMAG: Tell us about your current book?

My current book, which dropped on January 2nd is titled, Ladies' Night Out

Zane has praised Electa Rome Parks’s writing for her “cutting-edge dialog, intriguing characters, and spicy storyline.” Now she delights readers with the steamy story of four best friends—Lexie, Meshell, Tonya and Tracee—who have met once a month for years to savor “Ladies Night” and escape the drama of high-pressure careers and families. But their friendships will never be the same when one night someone asks, What's the freakiest thing you've ever done? As confessions pour as quickly as their cocktails, the women discover they don’t know each other as well as they thought they did. But will their revelations tear them apart—or make them closer than ever before?

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

I would like for my readers to come away thoroughly entertained; I'd like them to have fun with Ladies' Night Out and appreciate their own bonds of friendship.

SORMAG: What’s something you wish you’d known earlier that might have saved you some time/frustration in the publishing business?

That is a great question! Hmmm. . . .have a thicker skin. That would have saved me a lot of frustration.

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

: The literary industry is a business. Sales, which translate into dollars, is the bottom line.

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

I love the creative aspect; I hate the business side.

SORMAG: What music do you listen to when you’re writing?

Absolutely none.

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

He Ain't The One by Carl Weber and Mary Morrison

SORMAG: If you could take five books on a desert island what would they be?

The Ties That Bind

Loose Ends

Almost Doesn't Count

Ladies' Night Out

These Are My Confessions

SORMAG: What do you do to make time for yourself?

I shop, collect African American memorabilia, read, and go to the movies and plays.

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

Readers can get in contact with me via my e-mail address at novelideal@aol.com or my website at www.electaromeparks.com.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

BLOG TOUR - Hoffman & Woodside

In honor of Valentine we would like to introduce you to some of the authors featured in the new book, How I Met My Sweetheart. A tribute to the loves of their lives.

LaShaunda Carruth Hoffman – is a wife, mother, caregiver and full time government worker. In her fantasy life she is the editor of Shades Of Romance – SORMAG. An award winning online magazine for readers and writers of multi-cultural literature.

My dream is to see my books on the shelves of bookstores and libraries. Meanwhile, I write Christian fiction and take care of my family.

My purpose in life is to introduce readers to authors and their books. I believe reading takes you into another world and that there is a book for everyone.

This book arrived the same month as my third child. It will always hold a special place in my heart, because its my first publication in book form. I’ve always wanted to write a story about romance and this story makes that dream come true. This story is a tribute to my husband, my friend and my love.

Her Story:

Falling in love has always been my dream every since I read my first romance. I was looking for my very own hero. When he came into my life I was engaged to another man and I tried to fix him up with a friend. Thank goodness I opened my eyes to see that my hero could also be my friend.

Visit her at her blogs: http://lashaunda.blogspot.com & http://blog.myspace.com/lchoffman

Patricia Woodside, a pastor’s wife, mother, and full-time business analyst, finally has begun to heed the whispers of her heart. Filled with book ideas for eyars, after an online writing class in 2001, she began to pursue her dream in earnest. Hooked, she quickly found an online writer’s conference, which became the launching pad for meeting and networking with fellow writers, learning more about the writing craft, and educating herself on the publishing industry.

In 2004, Patricia took a break from writing to relocate her family from New York to Florida. Shortly thereafter, her writing was further delayed by the birth of their fourth child. Patricia has since resumed her full-time vocation as a financial business manager, while writing in her spare time.

Patricia has written for online sites, including a pastor’s wives support newsletter. She had some early success with contest entries, including a short story designated “Notable Entry” in the 2003 N.E.B. Publishing contest and a non-fiction essay about coping with the stillbirth selected for the as-yet-unreleased “Hope Lives On” anthology by Obadiah Press. She currently writes book reviews for Shades of Romance (SORMAG) and Fresh Fiction, two online magazines. She has published several sweet romances in True Romance magazine, and most recently, her story of finding true love was included in “How I Met My Sweetheart” (February 2007; Amani Publishing), an anthology of inspirational stories.

Patricia resides in Tampa with her husband Bernard, senior pastor of Global Harvest International Ministries, and their three sons: Bernard Benjamin, Trevor, and Phillip. An avid reader—thanks to her schoolteacher Mom!—Patricia reads loads of romance and inspirational fiction. She plans to write both multicultural and inspirational romance—sometimes combining the two—and is currently at work on her first novel. She shares her reading and writing exploits on her blog at http://readinnwritin.blogspot.com.

Her Story:

I tried to write my tale as though I were writing any other short story. I wanted it to be entertaining, to draw the reader and keep her reading until the end. I wanted the reader to feel the drama and the comedy but especially the romantic aspects of our story. My husband and sister-in-law dispute one particular fact--you'll have to read it to discover what I mean--but I stand by my aging recall. It was my pleasure and a blessing to have this opportunity.

My blog site is http://readinnwritin.blogspot.com

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Author Intro: Marilynn Griffith

Marilynn Griffith is wife to a deacon, mom to a tribe and proof that God gives second chances. Her novels include Made of Honor (Steeple Hill, Jan. 2006), Pink (Revell, Feb. 2006), Jade (Revell, June 2006), and Tangerine (Revell, January 2007). Her other credits include Chicken Soup for the Christian Woman’s Soul, Cup of Comfort Devotionals and her Shades of Style series (Revell, 2006). She lives in Florida with her husband and children. To book speaking engagements or just say hello, email: marilynngriffith@gmail.com.

If the Shoe Fits is the second book in the Sassy Sistahood Novels. The first in the series was Made of Honor (Steeple Hill, Jan. 2006).

In all my thirty-five years, I, shoe designer Rochelle Gardner, have never had so many men interested in me! My teen son's dad is back in my life after suffering from amnesia (yes, really). The church deacon has had his eye on me for years (and never said a word). And the young waiter (from the restaurant I've visited for singles' events) is trying to steal my heart. I've been struggling with my faith, trying to figure out which man God has chosen for me and wondering if I have the courage to step forward, on my not-so-pretty feet, to accept love. It's almost too much for the Sassy Sistahood to handle, but my girlfriends always have my back!

Marilynn's website link: http://marilynngriffith.com/

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

eTours: Abrams, Ward, Michaels

Dwan Abrams, author of "Only True Love Waits"

Xavier Roberts receives bad news - he has cancer. To spare his fiance, Summer Love, the trauma of enduring his medical treatments, he ends their engagement! Summer finds comfort in the arms of the handsome Ryan Kennedy. Of course, all is not what it seems with this rap music mogul.


Sammie Ward, author of "It's in the Rhythm"

R&B singer Garrett Martindale is at the top of the music charts. The son of a Baptist preacher, he travels home for a relaxing two weeks, but the trip is far from relaxing.


Cherlyn Michaels, author of "First Fridays"

“It’s just business...nothing personal.” FIRST FRIDAYS ignites sexual energy while exploring one woman’s attempt of balancing love while blazing trails on the predominately male business scene. Michaels returns with another smart and sizzling-sexy novel that is sure to uplife and empower, as well as entertain.


Monday, February 05, 2007


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

Kevin M. Weeks:
Many find that my personal story is just as intriguing and suspenseful as my debut novel. I was born the second of four children in West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I spent most of my youth in and out of foster homes and juvenile detention centers. Deep inside I always knew I would be accomplished, especially after I was chosen to be in a documentary for the Boys Village of Maryland, a youth facility of the Maryland State Department of Juvenile Services. During my twenties, I was reunited with my father. This is where many of the wise quotes and old school sayings for my novels are derived.

Unfortunately, I continued to run the streets and am paying the price now by serving time at the Georgia Department of Corrections in Atlanta, Georgia. Ironically, this resulted in my discovering a new career in writing. Initially, when I sat down to write, I found it difficult to stay focused. I shifted my priority to mentoring young men, who were coming into the system, about not taking the same path that I took when I was their age. I was shocked by their interest in the wisdom I was sharing with them and was encouraged by them to complete my novels. With a renewed passion, I started to write again. I have since dedicated my life to be an inspiration to others, particularly to those who are incarcerated, that it is never too late to achieve career goals and turn things around in order to make a positive impact on society.

SORMAG: Tell us about your current book?

The Street Life Series is a collection of Urban Fiction novels. My debut novel is The Street Life Series: Is It Suicide or Murder? The book depicts the decisions a young man, Teco Jackson, has to face every day as he lives the street life. There is a quote I agree with: “For every action, there is a reaction.” As the characters come alive in the story, the reader is right there with Teco as he chooses which paths in life to take. Until one day, his boss, whom he trusts the most, is found missing. Now what does he do? He does what his immediate instinct tells him to do. Find who did it and pay back whoever snatched up his boss in a way that no one could imagine. Readers become so engaged that they no doubt wish they could personally tell Teco which suspects to speak with or which ones to leave alone. It’s the journey with Teco that is so fascinating.

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

An avid Urban Fiction reader told me that my book is the first Urban Fiction book to give it to the readers “raw and uncut.” I don’t glamorize the street life. I want readers to have a better understanding of a “Teco or GQ”, who are the main characters.

SORMAG: What do you do to make time for yourself?

I pull out my headsets and listen to music or turn on the radio and listen to the talk shows on PBS.

SORMAG: Do you do anything to promote Black History Month?

If you look at my website you will see my Black History slogan, “Celebrating Black History All Year Long.” I appreciate what our forefathers have contributed to the world and we shouldn’t wait until February to celebrate. I am promoting the AMAG intern program, which teaches our youth graphic design, web design, marketing, reporting, journalism, and public relations. If I can help one young person be the next W.E.B. Dubois, then I feel I have helped to advance Black History. To make a contribution or donation to AMAG, go to website: http://www.awarenessmagazine.net/authorintern.html

SORMAG: How did it feel to hold your first book?

This was a major accomplishment for me. I felt like I was holding a new future.

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

I love developing the story and witnessing the characters coming to life. However, I hate when I get a mental block. That’s when I know it’s time to get some rest and start anew tomorrow.

SORMAG: What’s something you wish you’d known earlier that might have saved you some time/frustration in the publishing business?

I wish I understood the value of using Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds for Press Releases earlier in marketing my book. The money I initially spent using fax services for Press Releases, I would redirect that budget funding to use RSS feeds instead.

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

My lady kept telling me about her favorite book of all times called Adams Fall by Sandra Brown. I really wasn’t excited about reading it. However, she was relentless and bought me the book. I couldn’t put the novel down. (laughing)

SORMAG: How can readers get in contact with you?

Kevin M. Weeks
3961 Floyd Road
Suite 300 PMB 178
Austell, GA 30106

Email: info@thestreetlifeseries.com

Website: www.thestreetlifeseries.com

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Congrats to the Editor

Sean Carruth Hoffman – 5lbs 3oz and 19 ½ inches

LaShaunda's newest blessing made his entrance on January 17th

She says he looks like Nichaela and CJ smushed together.

He and his mother are doing fine.

Congrats to the Hoffman family.

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 at:lchwriter@gmail.com

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