Sunday, August 31, 2008

Book Release Party - STORM


Angie Daniels was born on the South side of Chicago, Illinois. At a very early age, she spent nights creating soap operas with her younger sister until the two drifted off to sleep. Never did she realize that her longtime dream to become a published author would someday become a reality.

In 1999 Angie decided it was finally time to return to her love of writing. She took a year off to write her first book Intimate Intentions, which started off as a simple romance novel and later escalated into 542 pages of romantic suspense. After two submissions, Angie was offered a four-book contract with Genesis Press and her first book was released in 2001. In 2003, she also signed with BET Arabesque, and Kensington's Dafina imprint in 2004. In 2006, she added Parker Publishing, Aphrodisia and Harlequin Kimani Romance to her list. Angie currently resides in Missouri.

Careful Of The Company You Keep

Danielle Brooks isn't sure she's ready to commit and asks her best friend Renee Moore to test her boyfriend's fidelity, but when the seduction goes too far all their relationships may be in jeopardy. Meanwhile Kayla Sparks is getting married and she's counting on Danielle and Renee to help plan the wedding, whether they are speaking to each other or not. But with Renee now being threatened by a mystery woman and Danielle facing her most serious crisis yet, they can not help wondering if it is all going to get worse before it gets better.

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

This is the final saga of a three book series. My readers have traveled a journey with these women. I want all questions answered and for readers to finish the book feeling satisfied. If I accomplish that then I'll feel as if I've done my job.

What did you learn while writing this book?

I've been writing back to back books for the last several years and I have realized writing is so much more enjoyable when you have the time to enjoy writing it. For me because I've been writing like a machine for so long, writing has lost that important quality. In fact I was so burned out I hated writing my last two books. And I don’t like feeling like that. I should feel bless that God has giving me the gift of storytelling. That's why I decided to take some time off from writing and spend the rest of the year working on just one book that I've been passionate about for years without the pressures of deadlines or contract.

What is the hardest part about the writing business?

The time you lose with your friends and family. People don't realize how much time it takes to write a book. I'm constantly under not one but two contracts at the same time and my evenings and weekends are already preplanned. I’ve missed out on spending time with my kids. My house looks like crap for weeks and a lot of things go undone for weeks. It's truly a sacrifice. But if you want it bad enough you have to be willing to give up a few things in exchanged.

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

Editorial mistakes are not always our fault. As an author I can not edit my own work because I am too close to it. That's an editor’s job. I love English but I'm not good at finding my own mistakes. I've gotten emails from people complaining about mistakes and I hope that readers can understand that it's hard to catch every little thing.

What marketing have you found that particularly works well for you? Word of mouth has been the best marketing tool. That’s why I don’t mind giving books away because if someone reads it and likes it they’ll tell someone who’ll tell someone else. I don’t particularly like book signings but it’s the same thing. Even if only three people come, think of all the people they will tell, who will tell someone else.

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

Not to quit my day job. I seriously thought I was going to be rich after selling my first book. I still laugh at that one. Another thing is you have to invest in yourself. Publishers are not going to do a lot to market your books. It's up to you as an author to get out there and find ways to self-promote. Otherwise your book is just another one on the shelf. Plan to spend at least a small portion of your advance on marketing. The third thing I learned is to write was in your heart and what you feel most passionate about writing. If you write for contracts and not for the love of writing you're not going to be happy. Writing should be an enjoyable experience. It has to be about more than just the money otherwise it’s going to get old real quick.

This month our theme is Getting Out Of The Slush Pile. Do you have any advice for getting an editor/agent to request your manuscript?

It's the same as you wanting a reader to not only pick up your book but take it home with them, those first pages have to pull them in. Agents/editors are solicited daily by authors have to grab their audience from page one. No time for picking up speed because by then they're bored and have tossed it in the slush pile and moved on to the next. A writer has to come out of the starting block running full speed ahead.

What was the last conference you attended and what did you like about it? The last conference I attended was Romantic Times Convention 2007. What I like most is the networking. That’s really what this business is all about. I make so many connections every year at that convention. Attending the workshops you find out about what’s coming out, what editors are seeking. It’s not at all about selling books it’s about making the connection so that we as authors can continue to stay in the know.

What do you do to make time for yourself? Hide out in a nice hotel room for the weekend away from computers, kids and housework. There's nothing like room services and a bar in the lobby.

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

Valerie Wilson Wesley's “Dying in the Dark.” I love her books!

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

I love to hear from my readers. My email is and my website is

Saturday, August 30, 2008

GUEST BLOGGER: Marilynn Griffith



I have to be honest. When I saw some of the books scheduled for the tour, I was feeling out of place before I even left home. As usual, God put the joke on me. It was the urban fiction and erotica authors that I connected with first. They even hung out with my mom. They treated this church chick with kindness and expanded my understanding of the heartbreaking things that are going on. Books are books but people are people and God is working on us all.


When my Steeple Hill trade books got downsized to mass market, readers wrote asking about "those little books." As I said then, many a woman with five dollars and hurting heart has been uplifted my a story of hope and love. When the women arrived with SHOPPING CARTS of romances for Brenda Jackson, Beverly Jenkins, Rochelle Alers and Donna Hill to sign, I felt honored to have been in their presence and even more proud of my "little books."


God gives each author her own road, a trail crooked with waiting and rejection for some and a seemingly straight shot to success for others. Yet, as I listened to the sistah stories (and the brothah ones too), I realized there are no easy paths, no shortcuts and no way to compare. And yet, I did it anyway, and by evening found myself far into what-am-doing-here land. I had to call Claudia for the pep talk I usually don't need until page 175. She repeated our script with zeal, ending, as always with,"Just trust God." Thinking of it now, I daydream a footpath through a field of wheat, dotted with sunflowers, the path where Jesus carries each of us to different destinations, a road that rolls up behind us as we go.


One of the things that I think surprised me the most was some of the reactions to the term "Christian fiction" or just the word Christian in general. One author of a different faith expressed how it is often assumed she is a Christian and people pray things over her without her permission and proclaimed she was going to hell and so on, but basically, "that's just how Christians are." It sounded a lot like the book UnChristian: What a New Generation Thinks about Christ and why it Matters, that I'd heard about at the Baker chocolate party a couple years back. Only this was real and personal, not on a page. Since I've been home, I've really been considering anew what our labels mean to others. For the authors on the bus, these words meant very different things. I hope to bring you some interviews soon from their perspectives.


For years now, people have been proclaiming the death of the printed book and the rise of e-readers, the Internet and other technology. True enough, two authors on the bus brought their Kindles along and downloaded some of our books with a flick of the wrist, but for the hundreds we met along the tour and the woman penning this post, it's still all about getting into bed and turning the page...and the next one...and the next. I've been doing it since I was four years old and I don't think I'll stop anytime soon.(Though if anyone wants to send me a Kindle, I'll try it! LOL)


One thing that came very clear for me during the tour is the void between art and business. As I watched and listened to the best-selling authors on the bus, my mind reeled at talk of months spent on the road and the money spent on advertising and promotion. I can see clearly why I haven't achieved what some might consider success--bestsellerdom isn't just about writing. It must be bought, both in money and time, two things I'm usually short on. And yet, I don't regret it. I've done what I could with what I had, however I will try to implement some of what I learned and I'm thankful that Baker believed in me enough to send me so I could see even more of how things work. Though I love business, I believe it is the art that intrigues me more, the hidden dance so at odds between the hustle required for someone to listen to the tune. And yet, I know that God has called me here. By and by, it will all come clear.


One of the biggest problems I've had with my writing has been folks not knowing where to put me. On this trip, it was no different as alongside Rhythms of Grace, I had Pink, Jade and Turquoise. (Tangerine might have been sold out. Dunno.) Last year, I wondered if all four women on the cover might have made a difference. Well, this tour made me sure of that conclusion. I was glad to have something for the white readers who approached the table. However, to my surprise, when I shared Turqouise with them, they put it down and reached for Rhythms of Grace. They had a look as if to say, "Don't give me the white girl book. Give me what you're handing everybody else." I had to laugh at that since in Christian publishing the prevailing thought is that people only pick up covers with characters who look like them. I guess we all need to get out more.


At ACFW 2006, Claudia Mair Burney and I roomed together and I warned her not to sit down on the bed too long or even consider laying down because she'd wake up fully clothed with the TV on. Well, this trip was no different. I called myself sitting down for a minute and zzzzz... I'm now totally convinced that those things have some sleeping powder or something. When I grow up, I'm going to get one of those duvets for my bedroom, I think. I know! I'll get one for my kids! LOL


A bus tour is basically a cruise...on wheels. We ate good y'all. Then we ate good again and often late because we'd been on the road. My mother made me go to the fitness center in sneakers and jeans the first night and I should have kept it up. I did expand my palate though and absorbed many sights and scents that will likely appear in future books so it's all good...except for my waistline, which was already well, generous. LOL Workout dvds here I come!


One of the best experiences of the tour for me was talking books with some of the authors. No matter what genre the author wrote in, most folks read widely and the conversations really inspired me. Donna Hill, Bernice McFadden and I talked about everything from trends to the impact of race on publishing while others were chatting over their meals. There was reading everywhere and talk of books in a pure and passionate way that only bibliophiles can understand. I've met a lot of people who want to write, but don't read. I tell them all that really doesn't work. My experience on the tour backed me up.

I'll wind up by saying that every author (and reader) is a book and if you'll turn the page, you'll learn something new. Pam Nelson and the Levy team who were often up before dawn, amazed me by their dedication. The Romance Divas (Rochelle Alers, Donna Hill - click here ror her recap, Brenda Jackson and Beverly Jenkins) were the height of class, grace and humor and reminded me that writing is both a gift and a profession. The Ponytail Princesses (Victoria Christopher Murray and Kimberla Lawson Roby) showed me the blessing of friendship and faithfulness in a business that can be tough. Dr. Angela Benson reminded me that it'll all work out in the end and that we all have our own author paths.

The Urban Queens (Wahida Clark, Allison Hobbs, Seven and Vickie Stringer) reminded me of the importance of sisterhood, loyalty and partnership and a healthy sprinkle of hustle. The YA crew (L. Divine and Earl Sewell) gave me a glance into the power of writing for young people (and Earl was kind enough to open all the stuff I kept handing him! LOL). The Undercover Artist, Bernice McFadden (read her recap), reminded me that no matter what markets or publishers do, there's always a way to pay your bills and feed your dreams, even if they call it by two different names. As I said before, I've been to a lot of writer's conferences but the knowledge and wisdom exchanged on the Soul Expressions bus topped them all.

Marilynn Griffith is a wife to a deacon, mom to a tribe and proof that God gives second chances. When she's not trying to park her van straight or find someone a clean shirt, she writes novels about faith, friendship and forgiveness and speaks to women and writers about reaching their dreams. Visit her at

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Virtual Release Party For STORM by Pamela Leigh Starr


Cordially invite you
to the release party
for STORM by Pamela Leigh Starr

Reading and discussion

Meet the main characters

Interactive 20 questions game

Participants can win:

gift cards
and other star-studded prizes

Date: August 31, 2008
Time: 8pm - 9pm eastern time

Call-in Number:
(646) 200-0402

or listen online:

This release party
is in memory
of Hurricane Katrina

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Editor On The Net Today

My column is up at Blogging In Black - I miss the deadline

Come tell us if you missed a deadline.

This month I was also at:

BWChristianLit Blog - 5 Low Cost Ways To Promote With An Online Magazine


Christian Fiction Online Magazine

Monday, August 25, 2008


Titus Pollard has ventured into new artistic ground by signing to the Urban Christian imprint with a highly anticipated debut novel scheduled for release August 2008, Living Right on Wrong Street. He is also a critically acclaimed Classical, Jazz & Gospel musician, educator, clinician, playwright, and actor.

He is personally responsible for teaching some of the most renowned artisans of contemporary music. Some of his former students have been in the employ of Dr. Bobby Jones, Maynard Ferguson, the New York Repertory Theatre, Kelly Price, The Clark Sisters, The O’Jays, and the Morehouse Glee Club.

In addition to his writing, his most recent projects include his role as Rev. Cole in the film A Black Woman’s Guide to Getting Married (2008), the Gospel music CD Conversation with a Psalmist (2007), and the musical director of the stage play The Whole House (2008). He is probably best known for his world-renowned video instruction series Learn to Play Gospel Piano (1989).

Living Right On Wrong Street

You can have it all, and then lose it. How you regain it, and define it, depends on you. Living Right On Wrong Street is a contemporary tale on the Biblical story of Job.

Job Wright gains notoriety as the founding partner of Wright & Storm, a commercial real estate firm. When Delvin Storm, his partner, is convicted of embezzlement, Job loses his license and closes the firm.

This story weaves three main characters through a series of victories and challenges that hold their relationship to God, or the lack of it, to the proverbial light.

When the race ends at Rong Street and the desert dust settles, the characters come to realize the meaning of true salvation and the essence of living right.

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

No matter where you feel you are in life, whether you believe yourself to be a success or failure, the forces of evil can and most often do, come after you, but if you hold to your faith, you can overcome adversity.

• What did you learn while writing this book?

In finding Bible verses (for the opening of each chapter) that relate in some way to that part of my story, I learned that there is no contemporary situation in life we face that hasn’t already been addressed by the Word of God. There is a Bible answer for every Bible question; any question that doesn’t have a Bible answer, is foolish.

• What is the hardest part about the business?

It is difficult balancing my time, energy, and financial resources for marketing, publicity, and advertising while, at the same time, writing my next piece.

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

Non-writers often pick apart things in or about the book that, many times are out of our control once we hand the manuscript over to the publisher: the cover art, the storyline, sometimes even the title. Bear with the writer. The more popular he or she becomes, the more control is retained.

• What marketing have you found that particularly works well for you?

Personal contact with relatives and friends who want you to know that they are with you and want to support you. Let them know you have a book. Follow up with them to make sure they have purchased your book. Then, ask the same people to tell others to support you as well. It works when as author asks, “By the way, did you know I have a book coming out?”

Another marketing device that seems to work for me is sending postcard packs to bookstores after you’ve made an initial call to a willing manager or clerk, asking them to place them into buyer’s bags at the time of purchase. As an incentive for that manager or clerk, give them a signed copy. It works.

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

Well, this question can be difficult; you know, narrowing hindsight down to only two things.

1) Marketing begins from the time you outline the story, or decide on the title. Begin your word of mouth at that point.

2) The inception of the manuscript to the published book really does take years!

• This month our theme is Getting Out of The Slush Pile. Do you have any advice for getting an editor/agent to request your manuscript?

Some writers may disagree with me when I say that I wouldn’t do this process without securing an agent first (may I give a shout-out to Kim Matthews of Kissed Literary Agency?) Research for an agent who fits the genre(s) you write in; don’t waste time trying to break the mold. Get actual sample query letters from published authors and formulate yours to one you like. And don’t rely on your first draft of the query to be the one you send. Have a traditionally published author critique and edit your letter. If you want to catch an agent’s curiosity, have a catchy title and an intriguing storyline. Then, after you have secured your agent, then the two of you can work collaboratively to pound the pavement for an editor/publisher. This should narrow your rejection percentage. I did my research while as I wrote my book. I sent three queries to agents. Two requested the first three chapters of my manuscript. One became my agent.

• What was the last conference you attended and what did you like about it?

I attended a Christian Fiction & Arts Conference hosted by Jacquelin Thomas (The Prodigal Husband/Jezebel, and some 30 other titles). She is my mentor and the one who encouraged me to write. I love her conferences because they are designed specifically around the Christian writer; classes, mentoring sessions, agent pitching, fun activities and entertainment.

• What do you do to make time for yourself?

I’m an early-morning writer; from 5:30 to 8:30am, there’s no cell or home phone to answer, no one in the house wanting one-on-one time. My creativity flourishes best during those hours (hey, I answering these questions during these hours!) I keep books on the craft strewn all over the house, and I pick them up all during the day. And…am I allowed to say “bathroom time”?

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

Sorry readers. You may be holding on to your seats for my last favorite fiction read. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. The last book that kept me awake is Spunk & Bite, by Arthur Plotnik. It’s a book (I found my first copy of this book in a Salvation Army for 50 cents) designed for writers who are looking to make their writing more engaging. I’ve read it, reread it, outlined it, and marked all over it. I have recommended it to anyone in the editing phase of their writing. And the one book that works for me anytime of the day is the Bible. You can’t get enough of it.

• How can readers get in contact with you?

I love to hear from readers and even potential readers of my book(s).

Titus Pollard
Post Office Box 6165
Raleigh, NC 27628

My email is or

You never know – once I get to know you, you may get my phone number!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Book Blogger Appreciation Week September 15-19

Now you know I love books and talking about them.
Guess what I found?
Someone who wants to give us blogger a week worth of appreciation.

You still have a chance to sign up.

Tell them I sent you their way.

What's On The Net - Staying Out Of The Slush Pile Part2

I'm always looking for more info to improve my writing. Yesterday I saw a link that I hopped on.

I thought it was perfect for our monthly theme: Staying Out Of The Slush Pile.

A free Ebook by Terry Whalin, Straight Talk From The Editor, 18 Keys To A Rejection-Proof Submission.

Click here for your copy.

Also sign up for Terry's newsletter, he shares a wealth of information each month. He knows this business and is willing to share his knowledge. Don't miss out on this information.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Faith & Fertility - The Ebook
by Wanza Leftwich

To be barren forever is not God’s plan for us all. It is not the end of the world, nor is it a place that many of us choose to be in. There is a bitter- sweet blessing to being barren and then become fruitful. I know you must think that I’m crazy for saying this, but trust me, I am not crazy or delusional. The Bible says, the barren woman has joy when a child is finally born.

Being barren leads you to an ever-loving God that will supply your heart’s desire if you ask. “Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” John 16:24(KJV)

God specifically chooses women and men who have been barren for a season to then have children. He opens a closed womb for His glory. It is a miracle that brings fulfillment, joy and happiness.

A miracle for you is not too hard for God. A miracle can be anything from having an overdue bill paid on time to seeing someone raised from the dead. Miracles vary from person to person, situation to situation, and from faith to faith.

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

My mission in life is to let people know that with God all things are possible. God has given each person a measure of faith and it is up to us to use it to receive all of His promises. I want families facing infertility struggles to know that God has not punished or forsaken them, but He has chosen them specifically to perform a miracle in their lives.

What did you learn while writing this book?

I learned that if you practice the principles of faith - even in times of uncertainty - God will answer your request. I did not realize how much I practiced the principles of faith until I began to write this book. During my time of infertility, I had many days of doubt, loneliness and confusion, but I continued to confess God’s word over my situation. I refused to speak negative - even if it hurt.

What is the hardest part about the writing business?

The most challenging part of this business is definitely marketing and promotion. Once the book is written, you have to get it into the hands of your readers. I’m learning that it’s best to begin promoting your book before it’s finished.

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

I wish my readers (especially the ones waiting for the sequel to my self-published novel) would understand that writing for me is a personal journey. I can not sit down and write any type of story. As a Christian writer, I pray about my storyline and the characters. Sometimes, I even pray for the characters - lol. They become a part of me. I believe it is my duty to write novels or non-fiction books that my readers will enjoy and bring them closer to our loving God. And to do that it takes time.

What marketing have you found that particularly works well for you?

I find social networking and blogging very helpful. There are many sites where you can get to know thousands of people - Myspace, Shelfari, Gather - and the list goes on and on. Many of these sites allow you to connect with people you would have never met on your own. And let us not forget the numerous online writing groups. I take my emails very seriously. It’s important not to be rude or antisocial once you have joined one of these groups - you never know who may be reading. Another marketing tool is blogging or doing virtual tours. I have found many new authors on blogs. I would have never heard of them if they hadn’t done an interview on a blog - or write a blog themselves. Blogging is an excellent marketing tool - blogs are archived and they pop up in search engines soon after the post goes live.

This month our theme is Getting Out Of The Slush Pile. Do you have any advice for getting an editor/agent to request your manuscript?

My latest work is self-published, however, my advice is to write as often as you can and do not be afraid to submit your work. An editor or agent can’t request your manuscript if you don't use your faith and submit it.

What was the last conference you attended and what did you like about it?

The Greater Philadelphia Christian Writer’s Conference. I love the fact that God was the center of the conference. Yes, we were there to learn and possibly get an agent/editor, but I enjoyed starting the day with worship to our God.

What do you do to make time for yourself?

I wake up in the middle of the night and meditate or pray. I also tend to stay on the internet for long periods of time. Sometimes my family thinks I am writing, but truthfully, I am researching or reading the bible.

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

Living the Maximized Life by Dr. I.V. Hilliard

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

or simply email me @

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

When Do You Write?

Some of the authors I've interviewed say, they get up early to write.

I'm not a morning person, so getting up early doesn't help me. Most of my writing is done at night. Since having a new little one, I haven't done much writing at home. Most is done at lunch time at work.

When do your creative juices began to flow for you?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

EXCERPT: The Last Miss Understanding

The Last Miss Understanding
by RL Taylor

website address:

On the journey to find Mr. Right, sometimes you have to be Ms. Understanding…What happens when a wealthy business woman falls for a washed up athlete? Can a woman who has everything overlook the flaws?How many chances will a woman give a man?

Chapter excerpt:

Another week had quickly dissolved and the inevitable routine was happening all over again. Another Friday night. In no way distinct from any other Friday night. The weekend unfolded slowly as usual leaving Lee and his longtime friend Keith just hanging out at the bar idly passing time.

The two had been appearing at that location every Friday for the past ten years like it was some sort of ritualistic ceremony. The fact of the matter was Lee’s Uncle Charlie was the owner so the drinks were at least half off, and most of the time, free. The pair could come and go as they pleased, recipients of royal treatment. The town they called home was bordered against the fringes of the big city while sky rise lights could be seen flickering hastily in the distance just past the interstate located a few blocks from the bar.

Every so often you would get some city folks shuffling in to hear some jazz or to try the catfish, but for the most part it was locals pouring into the always busy lounge eager to drink, and hesitant to leave. Friday nights gave way to live music to accompany the low lit dusty lounge type ambiance. Everyone knew these two staples of the east side establishment and they treasured every moment of the attention thrown their way.

“We aint nothing but some playas,” laughed Keith. He was the sort of guy who just blurted out statements for no apparent reason, almost like a strange variation of turrets syndrome.

“Yea sure,” Lee nodded unenthusiastically while staring face down into his usual mix of Crown Royal and Coke.

“What’s wrong?” Keith inquired still smiling.

“Nothing. The band sounds good tonight,” Lee quickly changed the subject while sampling the well mixed concoction from his ice filled glass.

Something submerged inside Lee had been eating away at him lately, and he
couldn’t quite distinguish what it was. Perhaps it was the monotony of his job processing bulk mail where he worked for the past decade? Or maybe it was the fact that now at age thirty one he was ready to settle down.

Keith, his friend since elementary school was perfectly content with continuing to chase women. Lee desired more. He’d grown tired of the games and drama associated with meaningless relationships. His life had been riddled with so many disappointments and missed opportunities he could write a book. Maybe two..

Fortunately, he’d dodged having any children out of wedlock which by some standards made him an eligible bachelor. On the other hand, what did a guy with a $15.00 per hour job and bad credit have to offer?

“They out tonight, they out, look at this place…nothin but ladies,” Keith chuckled rubbing his hands together as if he was attempting to start a fire.

Lee looked up and stared blank stating, “Hey Keith, enough with all the player talk, can we talk about something else. I‘m tired of the same old thing.” With that said, he crumpled up his napkin, pitching it towards the trash can behind the bar.

“You trashing my place now?” was heard from a familiar gruff voice in a playful tone, followed by a hacking smokers cough. It was Uncle Charlie, beaming as usual, almost like his face was permanently contortioned that way. Charlie was a big man, but the one thing he could do was dress. He had a standing reputation for being cleaner than hospital carpet. The clothing he wore stayed immaculately coordinated and as a rule never left the house without at least two buttons on his shirt undone to expose his chest hair. The big bushy coal shaded moustache that covered his lip, made him appear to be the last member of the Whispers.

Over the past few years Charlie and Keith had gotten close as panty hose two sizes small. Most times you could find the pair in a corner booth lounging like mob bosses. Charlie approached the two.

“What’s wrong Lee?” Charlie asked in a tone loud enough for the whole club to hear.

“Nothing’s wrong, I’m cool,” Lee said straightening up like a man gone sober.

“Hold that thought Playa,” Charlie whispered low, motioning his arms the same way as football players do when trying to calm a raucous crowd.

“Okay who is that and what her name is…,” Keith said in a similar breathless tone. Half of the time they spoke identical foolish thoughts. Lee lifted his head to see what the commotion was all about. These two were carrying on as if they witnessed someone find the cure for cancer. He needed to know why. What was it that intrigued this pair of men? Probably nothing.


The instant Lee lifted his head from staring into his drink, he saw her.

His mind shifted expeditiously as he sat up trying to keep a cool look glued to his face. Keith and Uncle Charlie both already needed to wipe the drool from the corners of their dry chapped lips. Those two talked a good game but usually settled for local regulars who were odd shaped and low on intelligence.

He desired to meet someone with substance, a lady with classy style. Someone like this mystery woman who just walked in was exactly what he envisioned for himself. You could tell by the way she glided across the floor that she wasn’t from around there. He kept thinking to himself that she had to be lost. Somehow she just didn’t fit in with the crowd filled with locals who grew up together but never found the courage to leave. He knew if he didn’t act fast, that some ridiculous looking clown, clad with polyester pants and knock off cologne would approach her equipped with an act of buffoonery within minutes.

Without speaking, he instinctively removed himself from the bar progressing towards the stranger whose enchanted face danced beneath dim light. Her body language exuberated confidence. Her face was to be desired. Everything about her from the way her wavy hair complimented her face, down to her model like shape was in perfect place. Even her feet were gorgeous as he watched her take a seat. She sat alone at a table near a window, looking slightly bored.

“Where’s he goin? Where’s he goin?” Keith chuckled as he and Uncle Charlie slap boxed playfully, bouncing up and down like children wanting to be picked up. Lee knew exactly where he was going and he wasn’t about to blow it by hanging around with his usual crowd. He dispersed from their vicinity, eager to approach her. Out of the corner of her eye, the lady noticed the well built former athlete moving in her direction. As a waitress passed by shouldering flutes of Moet & Chandon White Star champagne Lee grabbed two glasses and kept moving like you see in the movies.

Perhaps being Charlie’s nephew had its perks to go along with years of poor advice. Lee’s father died young and Charlie was his mother’s brother who to his credit stepped in to fill the void. Lee was thankful for that, but right now all he could think about was what he could articulate to this elegant woman who entered the lounge.

He was within a few feet when she glanced his way her eyes looking up at him, leaving him momentarily paralyzed. Her long eye lashes hovered over her light brown Asian inspired eyes. “Oh I’m sorry, can I sit down, I mean are you…” Lee stumbled over his words like an old drunk at midnight. Feeling sorry for his audible error, an invitation was extended to sit down by way of a hand gesture. She moved so gracefully, almost like she was below the oceans surface. Her jewelry shined radiantly, a tasteful mixture of gems and semi precious stone adorned her neck, wrist, and fingers. “Let me start over, I’m Lee, and you are?”

“Rita Clark, nice to meet you,” she said, her voice sounding better than she looked, the smoky sound was laced with proper tone and pronunciation. One thing was for sure, Lee had to step his game up, and it was unequivocally clear by the Burberry perfume that intoxicated his nose she wasn’t like the ladies from around town. He breathed deep to take in the fragrance again. “I’ve been in town for a few weeks now,” she explained, “I bought one of the new lofts not far from here and commute to the city for work.”

Lee was familiar with the lofts she was referencing; he used to play baseball behind those once abandoned buildings as a youngster. Those lofts now overlooked the park which gave way to a lovely view. He knew because he toured one of them at an open house when they first remodeled the once vacant furniture factory. Reality was he couldn’t afford half of a payment they were asking for the home.

The brief conversation was moving along exceptionally. She was smiling and laughing at his usual charm while he continued to speak with confidence. Keep your cool he kept telling himself, don’t blow this one. “What do you do for work?” Lee inquired doing his best to sound professional.

“I’m a CPA, I just started a job with a firm in the city but I wanted to live out a little. I’m tired of the hustle and bustle of the city since I grew up in D.C. before going to school at UCLA.” He was impressed and befuddled both, that this woman has been all these places and ends up there, on that night at Charlie‘s Lounge of all places. What were the chances of something like that? Slim to none. A miracle.

“I needed a change,” she continued, “and when the opportunity came to head up Jackson & Fitz Accounting Division, I jumped at it.”

“You run the company?” Lee inquired hesitantly.

"Oh, you don’t think a woman can handle her business?” she laughed playfully.

Even her teeth were perfect. Along with her laugh. Perfect.

She continued, “I’m the first female COO in the company’s eighty five year history and I’m proud of that,” all while taking another small sip of champagne. Her glossed lips shined as Lee watched them closely as she talked seemingly in slow motion. She now had a captive audience of one as he hung on to every word ushered out of her mouth. “Enough about me, what do you do?”

Lee froze. Panic stricken, he felt his body temperature rise and a little trickle of sweat slowly rolled down the center his back. “I work at Home Towne Mailers as the first shift supervisor. I mean it’s not much, but…” Lee looked down as he spoke, his eyes fluctuating left to right.

"That’s great, have you been there long?” she asked seeming interested.

“Yea, ten years now …yea ten,” he said begrudgingly while shrugging his shoulders. The player fa├žade he once had was now removed, and Lee didn’t feel much like conversing. Somehow ex ball player and bulk mail supervisor didn’t seem so fascinating matched up with accounting firm COO.

“Stability…I like that in a man,” Rita smiled as she talked. “I’ll tell you what Lee, I have an engagement in the morning and I just wanted to check this place out. Why don’t we exchange numbers and talk sometime,” she said all this while reaching into her pecan brown leather Coach bag and handing him a business card. Lee looked at it, and there it was, Rita Clark, COO of Jackson & Fitz. Indeed it was a far cry from Home Towne Mailers to say the least.

“Sounds good, oh, um, I’m all out of business cards here’s my number,” Lee said still trying to sound cultured as he scribbled seven digits on a soiled wrinkly napkin. Within moments she was gone after politely thanking him for the champagne.

As he walked back towards the bar, he watched her pull out the parking lot in a brand new silver two door Audi TT 3.2 coupe. Lee lethargically dropped his head, still rubbing the business card she gave him as if he was consoling it. Inside his head he was thinking, maybe this time he was in over his head, and perhaps out of his league. His good looks could always get his foot in the door, but this door wasn’t like any other he had knocked on.

Monday, August 18, 2008

FEATURED AUTHOR: Pamela Leigh Starr

Pamela Leigh Starr, a wife and mother of three, works to aid teachers in creating readers, and hopefully future fans, as a National Staff Trainer and Consultant for an educational publishing company. Ms. Starr traces the budding of her love for writing back to her very first creation, entitled The Terrifying Night, a comedic thriller illustrated by a fellow seventh-grade classmate. Long after, Ms. Starr began to develop love stories that were thrilling and romantic. She has fallen in love with presenting the never-ending cycle of two people meeting, opening their hearts and finding their way to love.


Fate, Chances, Misconceptions, and Ironic, titled the Love Found Series, introduces the Lewis’s, a strong, black, southern family in Pre-Katrina New Orleans. My newest novel, STORM, takes place in Post-Katrina New Orleans. Experience the aftermath of the worst natural disaster to hit the Gulf Coast through the eyes of the Lewis’s as Sabrina Adams and John Lewis find and preserve love in the midst of devastation.

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

I would like readers to gain a deeper understanding of the effects of Hurricane Katrina. Though television allowed the world to witness the aftermath of the storm, the slow rescue and complete devastation of the city I love, I wanted to share a more personal insight of the effects of Hurricane Katrina.

Through STORM, I was able to show the Post-Katrina effects on a family my readers have come to know and love. In my 4-book LOVE FOUND series, the Lewis clan gives a Pre-Katrina view of a black, southern family in New Orleans. STORM shows how this strong family came together to overcome the challenges Hurricane Katrina created in their lives as well as the discovery of a love despite them.

What did you learn while writing this book?

I learned that in times of need the best of human nature comes out. While experiencing the impact of Hurricane Katrina in my life and the lives of my family, friends and sometimes perfect strangers, there was always a story of people giving and sharing their time, money and talents for the benefit of those who lost so much. As STORM developed I would reflected on all the helpful organizations, especially the Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity and the many church organizations still coming in to help those who have not been so lucky with insurance companies and the state Road Home Program. So, what did I learn? I learned that people are wonderful and giving.

What is the hardest part about the writing business?

For me, the hardest part about the writing business is getting the word out about my novels. Time is always a factor. Being a wife, mother and teacher has always been first in my world. Finding the time to write the stories swirling around in my head has always been a challenge, so imagine the challenges I face in going that next step to tell the world about my books. I have vowed to let the world know that my books exist! Thanks, LaShaunda, for giving me the opportunity to advertise and be interviewed on Sormag.

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

A writers heart and soul goes into any creation they have developed.

What marketing have you found that particularly works well for you?

I’ve mostly done book signings and have had a website for a while which is being redeveloped. I’ve heard from a reliable source (LaShaunda) that the internet is a great place to get the word out. So, here I am!

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

• More about promotion
• More about the legal side of writing
• How to find an agent

This month our theme is Getting Out Of The Slush Pile. Do you have any advice for getting an editor/agent to request your manuscript?

The best advice I can give is for you not to give up. A rejection can be a subjective thing. What one editor/agent believes won’t sell, another may have a different opinion. My first novel FATE was rejected twice and Misconceptions and Mission were both rejected by my publishing company before a different editor came on board and was picked up by the same publishing company. As I tell my kids, “Never give up!”

What was the last conference you attended and what did you like about it?

I attended Romance Slam 2008 and had a ball! I loved meeting other readers and authors. I am not only a romance writer I am a romance reader, so it was great to see so many of my favorite authors and to meet so many readers.

What do you do to make time for yourself?

Now that my kids are older they sleep later than me so waking up before the house gets busy is how I make time for myself to write. Time for myself to have fun? That’s something I have to steal whenever I can.

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

Jewel by Beverly Jenkins
It was amazing!

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

• Email:
• Website:

Make a comment for a chance to Win a copy of this book.

You're invited to Pam's Virtual Book Release Party - August 31. We will be announcing the time and where later this week.

WINNER: Six Prayers God Always Answers

WINNER - Vanessa A. Johnson

Friday, August 15, 2008

FEATURED AUTHOR: Jennifer Schuchmann

Jennifer Schuchmann is the co-author of Six Prayers God Always Answers* Results May Vary (Tyndale) and Nine Ways God Always Speaks—Offer Not Available in All States (Tyndale, Spring 2009).

Her first book was Your Unforgettable Life (Beacon Hill). She’s also ghostwritten for an international leadership consultant and contributed to The Couples’ Devotional Bible (Zondervan), The Church Leader’s Answer Book (Tyndale), Whispering in God’s Ear (WaterBrook) and Loved (Hachette, 2009).

Jennifer has an extensive public speaking background. She holds an M.B.A. from Emory University and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Memphis. Learn more at
A short blurb of the book 100 words or less.

In Six Prayers that God Always Answers, Herringshaw & Schuchmann write that the most authentic prayers may not look, feel, or smell like the things we were taught in Sunday School. Using illustrations from the Bible, history, and pop culture they demonstrate prayer isn’t a specific posture or a recitation of words, but rather the foundation of a relationship—a relationship where some unexpected results can occur.

If you’re frustrated because it seems your prayers often go unanswered, Six Prayers won’t show you how to pray better, but how to talk with God and discover the answers you’ve overlooked.

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

First, I’d like them to know that prayer can be awkward. We’re given lots of models of prayers that include things like getting up at four o’clock in the morning, standing before a crowd and quoting verses, or closing our eyes and saying funny words we don’t normally use. That’s not how we talk to our friends. So why do we talk to God that way?

Prayer should be a natural and on-going conversation. Yes, he is the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth, but he invites us to come and have and have a conversation with him. My hope is that readers will learn that talking to God can be as enjoyable and comfortable as having a conversation with a girlfriend.

What did you learn while writing this book?

I’ll have to answer that with two things. From a prayer standpoint, I learned a lot about having an ongoing conversation with God in addition (or in some cases instead of) whatever formal prayer time I have. That verse in Thessalonians about praying unceasingly (1 Thess 5:17) got much easier when I learned that short quick thank-you’s and acknowledgements of his presence count as prayers.

From a writing standpoint, I learned that I reach readers when I am most authentic—when I am willing to say things that aren’t pretty, but are true.

As I write this, I realize that in many ways, these two ideas are really the same thing. When I’m honest in my prayer and honest in my writing, something good happens, but it takes getting past myself to find it.

What is the hardest part about the writing business?

The self-doubt.

Why? I’d written three other answers to this question and realized I didn’t like them all for one reason or another. I was judging myself, the content of what I was saying, and trying to second-guess what would be most helpful to your reader. That’s when I realized it wasn’t that any of my answers were the problem, it was the fact that I doubted myself each time I wrote one. So I guess more than anything else, that’s the hardest part—getting over my own doubts.

The question you didn’t ask though, is how do I deal with it? I deal with it by having confidence that this is something God has called me to. I turn it back on him and realize that often it isn’t about my strength, but his strength in my weakness. He is most glorified in my weakness.

Guess I glorify him a lot more than I ever thought...

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

That it is like parenting—easy to do badly, almost impossible to do well, consistently.

What marketing have you found that particularly works well for you?

I am not sure I know…and the other folks in the industry don’t seem to know either.

I can tell you that with my first book, radio didn’t seem to do anything. But now that I’m with a larger publisher with better distribution, radio interviews seem to bring a quick spike. When I speak, I connect well with audiences and that seems to translate into some immediate and some slower sales. I am doing more online marketing and my publisher has done some web-based advertising, but until they can get better data from the bookstores, I can’t really measure the effectiveness of those activities.

I can tell you that online social networking sites don’t sell books. They can help you make friends who may later be helpful with word of mouth, but if you’re a writer who wants to get on Facebook or Shoutlife just to sell books, it’s not the best use of your time.

But people in my real life networks—friends, neighbors, people at my kid’s school etc., sell a lot of books for me. I think that’s why it’s important to invest your time in the community you’re trying to minister to, because it’s easiest to market and sell to communities where you’re an active member.

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

1) That at writer’s conferences making relationships with established authors is just as important as relationships with editors and publishers.

2) That paying attention to grammar and punctuation in high school would cut down on the number of times I have to rewrite a piece.

3) To enjoy the process wherever you’re at as a writer and not constantly dream about the next level. The next level always looks better but in getting there, you lose some of the joys found in this one.

This month our theme is Getting Out Of The Slush Pile. Do you have any advice for getting an editor/agent to request your manuscript?

1) Attend a writer’s conference. Make a five minute pitch (I taught this class at
Write to Publish that gets them asking questions and eventually causes them to ask you to send it.

2) Relationships always trump slush pile. When your manuscript is ready (and I mean really ready) ask someone you know well, who knows someone at the publishing company (that you’ve researched and are confident is the perfect fit) and ask if they will help you get it into the hands of the right person.

3) But whether you’re a beginner or an old pro, there will still be times when you have no choice but to go through the slush pile and the best way to get out of that pile is to write so well that they can’t help but notice you. And that means everything from the presentation of your proposal, to a captivating title, to stellar writing.

What was the last conference you attended and what did you like about it?

Not counting ICRS (International Christian Retailing Show) which wasn’t a conference, was the Write-to-Publish Conference in Wheaton, IL in June. I was on staff and my favorite part about it was the people I met and worked with while I was there. I saw some incredibly talented young writers, with great timely book ideas, the background and platform to write them, and the willingness to work hard to do what it takes to make their stuff the best it can be. I referred one attendee to my agent who wasn’t even there and yet she picked the attendee up as a client.

What do you do to make time for yourself?

I am not very good at this. The things that I love to do are the things that many people describe as work, so it’s hard to separate it all. I try to take a Sabbath—one day a week where I don’t write anything. I try to regularly write for my blog, ( because it is not assigned, and I can write about anything I want. I meet regularly with other writers for social activities and occasionally manuscript critiquing. I meet regularly with other Christian artists and arts professionals, in dance, film, and theater because we’re all in the communications business. I attend conferences that don’t have anything to do with writing but where I get t hear interesting speakers, hang out with the younger generation, and get excited about the projects others are doing. Two of my favorite conferences are Catalyst held in October in Atlanta, and Q which is put on by Fermi ( I am a connector by nature and so I love hearing people’s stories whether online through Facebook or in person.

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

He’s going to hate me for saying this, but my friend Patrick Borders ( ) has this great new fiction book he’s working on called Zach’s Colors. He let me read the first 200 pages of it and I couldn’t put it down.

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

On each of my websites there is a Contact Me page, they can fill out the information and I keep that forwarded to whatever email is most active at the moment so that’s often the fastest. The websites are and Or they can leave a comment on my blog at . I am on Facebook almost everyday (and I have a MySpace page which I rarely check). They can also have their people call my people, but since I don’t yet have any people, it might take awhile before we get back with you.

Make a comment for a chance to Win a copy of this book.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

PURPOSELY SAID - Dr. Linda F. Beed

A Method to the Madness
By Dr. Linda F. Beed

My writing career was not one that developed from a seed of careful development. Honesty compels me to tell the whole truth. The truth is that I entered a short story contest in 1998. To date I’m still waiting for a response to that entry. LOL

While waiting for the honor of WINNER to be bestowed upon me I was encouraged to turn the 2,500-word entry into a book. Those words of encouragement opened the door to the creation of On Assignment Publishing and the release of my first book—Business Unusual.

The journey from concept to completion was not without a myriad of obstacles. Those obstacles ranged from being told what I could not do to the negativity from some peer authors and condescending attitudes of public relations marketers who felt I did not have the financing or name recognition to be worth their time.

What I want to relay to you in this post is this—An obstacle is just a testimony waiting to be told.

You have a full-time job, a family and maybe a few social/professional obligations and you now have the audacity to add the pipedream of writing to your already full plate. Yet when you announce the fact that you are going to write a book the negative responses from some will come. There are those (possibly you included) believing that your entrance into the literary world is madness.

Let me clarify what I mean by madness. Madness—the condition of being insane or a lunatic. Loosely used, madness is a condition to be positively embraced when needing to move beyond the confines of expectation. Within the embrace of your alleged delusional state should also be the presence of a method. Method—a way of doing something, especially in a systematic way. For the sake of this post I would like to define method as—an act that causes the illusion of being mad to become the reality of purpose fulfilled.

Lack of finances or knowledge cannot become your obstacle to achievement. Ask yourself the following questions:

• Who is doing what it is I hope to achieve?

• What draft have I drawn up for the promotion of my book?

• What is my current and ongoing budget for marketing?

• Where do I begin gaining information about marketing strategies?

• Have I considered cross-promotions with others writing in my genre?

• Have I considered working with a PR professional who fits my needs?

• What trade magazines and/or online groups will help me with my need?

No one person can accomplish this feat alone. What each must understand is that there is a method to the madness that it uniquely yours. Do not shy away from it. Embrace it and work until something happens.

Dr. Linda Beed is an educator, speaker, children’s minister and author of Business Unusual and co-moderator of BWChristianLit an online writing and mentor group. She is also review editor for KDgospel Media Magazine.

You can find her on the web at: / MySpace / On Assignment Reviews / R U Living On Purpose

Monday, August 11, 2008

IN MEMORY OF: Bernie & Issac

We lost two legends this weekend. Their deaths were a surprise to our community.

Bernie will always remind me of my fun times in the Navy. Every Friday we’d meet over a friend and watch the Def comedy show. We’d laugh until our sides hurt. Bernie was always one of my favorite because he was always real.

Bernie Mac

Issac’s music always will bring back good memories of the 70s. My mother was a fan of his and that’s how I was introduced to his music. I heard Shaft today and I remember Issac with all his gold chains. He wore gold way before the rap guys started.

Issac Hayes

My deepest sympathy to their family, friends and family.

I, robot - WINNER

WINNER - Pamela J - I,robot

Friday, August 08, 2008

FEATURED AUTHOR: Dr. Howard S. Smith

Dr. Howard S. Smith is an MIT-trained engineer with an interest in artificial intelligence – the supermarket self-checkout machines are all based on his work – and natural intelligence – evolution of the brain.


Set a few years into the future, nuclear North Korea is extorting financial concessions from Japan, while terrorist rockets from Lebanon rain down on Israel. The main character of the novel, Tokyo Police Inspector Suzuki Haruto, stumbles upon an incredible arms deal. The rigid, by-the-rules-only Haruto is thrown from his murder investigation into love and happiness. Will the love one man has for a woman save our world or destroy it?

The title of the book is intentionally similar to Isaac Asimov's classic I, Robot but of different meaning. In Asimov's stories, the robot-based plots develop interesting twists because the robots must follow their rigid rules known as the three laws of robotics. Some sixty years later, this book updates Asimov's work with a realistic technology for the robots, as well as a realistic driving force – military need – for their emergence. This is one reason the title is used, but the other one is that the main character of this book, Haruto, is in fact a human 'robot' who must follow his own internal rigid rules. And by following these rules an interesting twist in the plot arises, and ultimately leads to the emergence of vast numbers of robots in our world, thereby bringing Asimov's vision to fruition.

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

I intentionally wrote I,robot to be read at different levels. At the top level there is an action-packed story – lots of karate, nuclear explosions, robots with bullets firing out of their mouths, and finally falling in love with that special person. At the next level there is a reflection of the many rules we all follow, what happens when some of us follow these rules too rigidly, and so on, in tight association, of course, with Asimov's original ideas. At a deeper level there is a realization of how fast time passes us by, as the first paragraph of the book states in a Japanese haiku (with an English translation of course) and without realizing it, what we are doing to our world, and that despite our cultural and emotional differences we need to learn to get along with each other.
What did you learn while writing this book?

That if we're not nicer to each other, maybe things won't finish off so well.

What is the hardest part about the writing business?

Editing… and re-editing… and re-editing… and…

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

Editing… and re-editing… (oops… you wanted to know "one thing")

What marketing have you found that particularly works well for you?

Online blogs and interviews, just like this one.

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

For every minute of writing, be prepared to do an hour of editing and re-editing.

This month our theme is Getting Out Of The Slush Pile. Do you have any advice for getting an editor/agent to request your manuscript?

I couldn't find an agent in Toronto. No rejections, but no reads either. But feedback from friends and colleagues was good, so I took the next step and set up as an independent publisher (not a self-publisher, but as a bona fide indie… yup, there are other authors' works in the pipeline).

What was the last conference you attended and what did you like about it?

Polaris – the Toronto sci fi convention. It's sci fi, so automatically I liked it… well… lots of creative persons, lots of interesting discussions… that sort of thing.

What do you do to make time for yourself?

Set time aside. Say that I will work until this time, and then I'm going for a walk or whatever. Does it work? Nahh… usually not.

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

I just finished an ARC I got at BEA… "The Tourist" – a spy thriller. Quite exciting.

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

My personal e-mail: I love hearing from readers… please write. :)

Make a comment for a chance to Win a copy of this book.

It's Not About Me - Winner

It's Not About Me - by Michelle Sutton


Congrats !

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

What's On The Net - Staying Out of The Slush Pile

As writers that's our ultimate goal, to stay out of the slush pile.

Below is a link to an article about the common mistakes writers make.

Thank you to our SORMAG member Ty for the link.

Do you have a link that will help us on our journey to publication?

Send it our way, if I use it I'll send you a $10.00 gift certificate.

Monday, August 04, 2008

COVER AUTHOR: Michelle Sutton

EDITOR's NOTE: I think one of the best things about the internet is meeting new people. I met Michelle online and we became fast internet buddies. She is a loyal supporter of Christian fiction. She’s introduced me to some wonderful new authors and I’ve done the same for her. When I try something new with SORMAG, she’s the first to respond with the good or the bad. I always appreciate her honest opinion. When she told me she had a contract on her book, I praised God with her. It is my pleasure to introduce you to my friend and new author, Michelle Sutton.

Michelle Sutton is a member of ACFW, Volunteer Officer on the ACFW Operating Board, Editor-in-chief for Christian Fiction Online Magazine, Sheaf House Marketing Director, edgy fiction writer, book reviewer, avid blogger/alliance member, CWOW blog mistress, mother of two teenagers, wife, pet owner, social worker by trade, and follower of Jesus Christ.

It's Not About Me

Annie has it all. She's attractive, graduated with honors, was accepted at the college of her choice, has supportive parents, good friends, and a steady boyfriend who loves her. One night when an unexpected visitor appears, Annie's safe world is destroyed. As she tries to recover the pieces of her broken life, a war ensues between two brothers who both claim to have her best interests at heart. But who will Annie choose? Or will she decide to turn her life in a different direction?

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

That love is not just the warm fuzzy you get when a good-looking man kisses you. Seriously, real love is a commitment. Friendship and faith are the best foundation to build a long-term relationship on. Plus, sacrifical love is the best, most secure love there is.

What did you learn while writing this book?

I had a hindsight experience into my youth and how gullible I'd been at the time. It wasn't pretty.

What is the hardest part about the writing business?

Waiting for answers on your submissions.

Do you still experience self-doubts regarding your work?

Not really.

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

That writing a book is just the beginning of the publication process, and it's not as easy as everyone thinks it is.

What marketing have you found that particularly works well for you?

Blogging and internet marketing.

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

How long it would take. But then again, I'm glad I didn't know that or I may not have persisted until I sold my first novel.

This month our theme is Getting Out Of The Slush Pile. Do you have any advice for getting an editor/agent to request your manuscript?

You have to write something that is uniquely you and in your own distinct voice. Find it before you submit. When I asked my agent (after we'd gotten to know each other very well) why she signed me on, she said I had a very unique voice. That's very important in this business.

What should a new writer know about the publishing business?

Do you have all night? Seriously, take your time and learn the craft. Don't expect to be a senior just starting out. Take your time and enjoy being a freshman in the biz. You will grow if you keep working at it, and one day it will happen and you'll be a published author.

What was the most profound lesson you learned while writing this novel?

That God uses even the ugly stuff in life to turn our hearts in the right direction.

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?

Time. I never have enough. I'm still working on figuring that out. For now I just take one bite of the elephant at a time. When I'm having a droll moment I tell people I've been gnawing on his stubby little tail for years now.

What was the last conference you attended and what did you like about it?

ACFW in Dallas. It was my first conference as an ACFW Board officer, so that was nice.

What's your secret to balancing career and family?

Get the hubby and kids to chip in and it's not so bad. My family is great this way. It's essential if you are going to progress as an author.

What do you do to make time for yourself?

I just go with the flow. I refuse to stress out. It's that simple.

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

Wiser than Serpents by Susan May Warren.

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

Go to my website or my blog at and e-mail me from there.

Make a comment for a chance to Win a copy of this book.

Friday, August 01, 2008

AUTHOR INTRO: Angela Benson

Angela Benson has published nine novels, one novella, and a nonfiction writing book. Her books have appeared on national, regional and local bestseller lists, and she has won several writing awards, including Best Multicultural Romance from Romantic Times magazine, and Best Contemporary Ethnic Romance from Affaire de Coeur magazine. She was a finalist for the 2000 Romantic Times Lifetime Achievement Award in Multicultural Romance.

Angela made a career move to Christian fiction in 2000 with the publication of Awakening Mercy, the first book in her Genesis House series from Tyndale House Publishers.

Angela has a diverse education and work history. She majored in mathematics at Spelman College and Industrial Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), and worked for fifteen years as an engineer in the telecommunications industry. She holds Masters degrees in operations research and human resources development. Her most recent degree is a doctorate in instructional technology from the University of Georgia. Dr. Benson is now an associate professor of educational technology at The University of Alabama.


A powerful and moving story of sin, temptation, and redemption involving a reformed ex-con and the four women in his life.

Wilford "Preacher" Winters served two years in jail and has now reentered society, determined to live up to his jailhouse conversion and be a law-abiding citizen. But his life on the outside is complicated by the women waiting for him: his live-in girlfriend, his sister, an ex-girlfriend, and a new female friend.

With his world about to explode all around him, Preacher's going to need every ounce of his new-found faith to remain strong. Because it takes a lot to become a new man, sometimes even a miracle.

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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.

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