Monday, March 30, 2009

Literary News

The 5th Annual On-line Auction for Diabetes Research will open May 1st and run through the month. They are currently gathering items and plan to make this auction the biggest and the best ever. Last year, they are raised $252,300. They hope to break $300,000 in 2009.

SORMAG participates in this auction, so check out what we’re offering this year for a chance to promote your books.

Congrats to the RWA/Golden Heart nominees

Congrats to the Christy Nominees:

Congrats to Brooks Young on her new magazine

Looking for a contest? Check out this one:

Book In a Nutshell Competition

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Escape from Cubicle Nation: From Corporate Prisoner to Thriving Entrepreneur
by Pamela Slim

Portfolio Hardcover
April 30, 2009
ISBN-10: 1591842573
ISBN-13: 978-1591842576

Despite grim headlines about the economy, you DON’T have to stay in a job you intensely hate. There’s a better opportunity waiting out there, and escaping from cubicle nation is easier than you think.

Pamela Slim spent a decade traveling all over the country as a self-employed trainer for large corporations. She was surprised to find that many of the most successful employees at these companies harbored secret dreams of breaking out to start their own business. They would pull her aside after a meeting and whisper, “I would love to work for myself, but have no idea how to get started. How did you do it?”

So Pamela started a blog—Escape from Cubicle Nation—to share her experience and advice. Soon, questions and stories poured in from corporate prisoners around the world. As her blog gained popularity, she also interviewed some of the brightest experts in entrepreneurship on topics from finance to branding to marketing via social networks.

This book includes Pamela’s very best material, based on thousands of conversations and reader submissions. It provides everything you’ll need to consider before making a major change—not just the nuts and bolts of starting a business, but a full discussion of the emotional issues involved. Pamela knows firsthand that leaving corporate life can be very scary, especially if you have a family and other obligations. Fears and self-defeating thoughts often hold people back from pursuing an extremely gratifying solo career.

Get ready to learn your real options, make an informed decision, and maybe, just maybe, escape from cubicle nation.

I Will Teach You To Be Rich
by Ramit Sethi

Workman Publishing Company
March 23, 2009
ISBN-10: 0761147489
ISBN-13: 978-0761147480

At last, for a generation that's materially ambitious yet financially clueless comes I Will Teach You To Be Rich, Ramit Sethi's 6-week personal finance program for 20-to-35-year-olds. A completely practical approach delivered with a nonjudgmental style that makes readers want to do what Sethi says, it is based around the four pillars of personal finance— banking, saving, budgeting, and investing—and the wealth-building ideas of personal entrepreneurship.

Sethi covers how to save time by not wasting it managing money; the guns and cars myth of credit cards; how to negotiate like an Indian—the conversation begins with "no"; why "Budgeting Doesn't Have to Suck!"; how to get things rolling—for real—with only $20; what most people don't understand about taxes; how to get a CEO to take you out to lunch; how to avoid the Super Mario Brothers trap by making your savings work harder than you do; the difference between cheap and frugal; the hidden relationship between money and food. Not to mention his first key lesson: Getting started is more important than being the smartest person in the room. Integrated with his website, where readers can use interactive charts, follow up on the latest information, and join the community, it is a hip blueprint to building wealth and financial security.

Every month, 175,000 unique visitors come to Ramit Sethi's website,, to discover the path to financial freedom. They praise him thoughtfully ("Your site summarizes everything I want with my life—to be rich in finances, rich in experience, rich in family blessings," Dan Esparza) and effusively ("Dude, you rock. I love this site!" Richard Wu). The press has caught on, too: "Ramit Sethi is a rising star in the world of personal finance writing . . . one singularly attuned to the sensibilities of his generation. his style is part frat boy and part silicon Valley geek, with a little bit of San Francisco hipster thrown in" (San Francisco Chronicle). His writing is smart, his voice is full of attitude, and his ideas are uncommonly sound and refreshingly hype-free.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Theresa is an ordained elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. She serves at DuPage AME Church where she leads community expansion initiatives and serves on the board of REACH, a non-profit empowerment organization.

Theresa has a heart for helping others and giving back. She is a member of the West Towns Illinois Chapter of The Links Incorporated, where she spearheaded a project to reduce the digital divide and assisted in sending vitamins to South Africa for AIDS victims. She donates her time to Bridge Communities as a workshop facilitator for mentors. Theresa was a mentor with Big Brothers/Big Sisters for seven years. She is the Chairperson of Global Projects Help, a non-profit organization which provides counseling, resources and support to women and children in impoverished areas around the world

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

I would like readers to realize how uniquely extraordinary they are and discover that God created them for an assignment that no one can do except them. I want them to stop settling for the life they have created for themselves and begin pursuing the life God created for them.

Why did you choose to write this book?

I believe people- to some degree have lost their way. Some have forgotten the source of their strength. It seems that after 9/11, we stopped believing in ourselves. I wrote this book to remind people of the greatness that is encoded in their DNA.
What did you learn while writing this book?

I learned that inadequacy is not a bad quality. God created us to lean on Him. Thus, we are all inadequate and in this context we are all on equal footing. I also learned that I have more to say. (more books to write)

What was your favorite scene/chapter from the book?

I have three favorite chapters:

1. From Battle Lines to Battle: This is the chapter where I write about challenges and battles in life and how these battles through God’s promises, prune and prepare us for victory. This is also where I write about my two diagnoses of cancer and how God healed and restored me through these battles.

2. Face Your Giants: This is an empowering chapter. I find myself reading it often. It is inspiring and I believe it makes a clear case why it is important not to run from giants but look them in the eye, face them and deal with them.

3. Reflections of a Giant: I love this chapter because it acquaints us with the life of a giant who made a lot of bad decisions and took no action to change his/her course in life. When death came upon him/her and it was quick there was little time for reflection but just enough time to call on the name that he/she once cursed.

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

You must have dedicated time to writing. It takes discipline. Some days I was in a zone and could write all day. Some days I couldn’t write a paragraph because there were so many interruptions. If you are serious about writing, surround yourself with people who believe in your story and your talent. Allow them to be your champions and cheerleaders.

What is the best lesson you have learned from another writer?

I can save money by going on-line and getting my own Bar Code, ISBN and Copyright numbers.

What is the toughest test you've faced as a writer?

My editor told me I was using too many big words. As I began to change some of the words, I felt like I was losing my voice as a writer. I became somewhat frustrated. I experienced writer’s block for three weeks. I would look at the content, read a few chapters and – nothing. I had nothing else to add. After consistent prayer and meditation, it started flowing again and I finished the book.

What is something readers would be surprised you do?

I am a golfer wannabe. I have all the accessories of a golfer but I can’t golf. I continue to take lessons and I’m working on it.

I have an adventurous spirit. I love to try new things. I went parasailing over the Pacific Ocean and I can’t swim.

I volunteer and donate service to organizations every week.

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

I wished I’d known to listen to my inner voice because she has always been right.

I wished I had faced some of my giants sooner instead of letting them roam and multiply over time.

I wish I had known sooner how to invite God’s peace and assurance in my life.

How do you reach new readers?

Logistically: I reach readers primarily through the internet. Spiritually: I reach them by holding up a mirror and helping them see the greatness of God in themselves.

If you could have dinner with 3 authors to talk with about their writing (living or deceased) who would you invite and why?

Maya Angelou – I have always loved her. I have everything she has written. I met her and it took everything I had to remain somewhat composed and poised.

Langston Hughes – He really knew how to put texture on words and bring situations and characters to life.

Max Lucado – He is a great writer. He invites you to walk with Christ with him. He always has a unique approach to the Jesus’ journey. I believe he has a great heart.

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

Do engage others to read, proof and challenge your work. It will make it stronger and better.

Don’t give up on your dream. Give life to the message and people that need to be heard.

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

They can go to or email me at

Our theme for this month is Resources On The Net, what three resources do you use on the net?

I use I contact. It is a great e-marketing tool.

Google anything. Especially Google news. It is easy to access and navigate. I read it several times a day.

Smart pages for phone numbers and addresses. It’s fast. It saves time and money.

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

The next book will highlight people all over the country who have inspired or mentored greatness in others.

Inadequate, Unprepared But Ready

Is for people with unmet goals, unrealized dreams but remain hopeful. This book is for the “one day” people – the people who say, “One day I am going to__________”(You fill in the blank.) You are already chosen for something magnificent. Your day has come. Your time is now. The beginning of your “one day” starts today.

Inadequate, Unprepared But Ready is about discovering your potential, finding your purpose and greeting the unborn parts of yourself that no one has seen, but God knows. It is about how we lead a great life of purpose and intention in spite of obstacles and opponents. It provides skills and insight on how to satisfy the ongoing search and seemingly endless quest for something more. Throughout the book, it shows us how God takes the illogical and does the unimaginable in our life.

It is intended to make you think, thank, believe, journal, act and change. As you read each chapter, you should become reacquainted with your dreams and passions. By the time you complete the book, you should have a sense of impatience about evaluating your priorities, pursuing your purpose and realizing your potential.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Book Buzz 2.0

Thou Shall Not Market Alone

by Tyora Moody

Writing can be a lonely activity. The loneliness may not necessary end after the book is published. Hours of travel, sitting at book signing tables, setting up booths, and hotel rooms may take a toil on a writer, may even steal some of the joy from the publishing process. With the current economy, authors have to be careful with funds. It's imperative to include a combination of traditional and online ideas in book marketing plans. With the Book Buzz 2.0 column, I try to share with you online marketing ideas to help you get your book out there to your readers. I also run a marketing blog, but there is no way I could share with you all the options that are available to you. What makes the Internet such an awesome place is the willingness of so many who don't mind sharing tips. I've found the best teachers when it comes to marketing are those who are veterans or who have a creative spirit when it comes to book promotion.

Here are a few blogs and social networks worth your time to add to your feed reader or join as a member.

Book Marketing Network is a social network owned and operated by John Kremer. Kremer is quite the book marketing guru with his own site and numerous books. Like any network, it's more than just setting up a page and hoping someone will come by to check out your book. I think the true benefit of the group lies in networking and sharing ideas.

The Big Bad Book Blog is the owned and operated by Greenleaf Book Group’s. Readers will learn about the writing and publishing community.

Book Marketing in the Digital Age Online Promotion Made Easy is a blog owned by author, Yvonne Perry. Perry includes tips about blogging, how to get traffic to your site, virtual book tours, social media, podcasting and more. She offers many more valuable tips in her ebook, Book Marketing in the Digital Age.

The Web-Savvy Writer blog is operated by Patrice-Anne Rutledge. She updates the blog regularly with social media tips. Rutledge's second edition of The Web-Savvy Writer: Book Promotion with a High-Tech Twist is available.

You Can Sell More Books is a blog operated by Lisa Copen. Copen offers down to earth tips that authors can use. I love what she says, "If I can save someone a few steps or teach them to put a new slant on how they can market their book, I feel like I’ve saved them a few steps and thousands of dollars.”

We CAN! Promote Our Books Blog has a group of writers who contribute daily. All the authors are members of the Christian Authors Network, and they are very transparent about sharing their victories and struggles when it comes to book marketing. The writers cover everything from social networking to traditional offline methods with a twist.

Some other folks you may want to check out for marketing ideas, happen to be two of my favorite publicists. Pam Perry (Ministry Marketing Solutions) and Robin Caldwell (The J Standard Media Group, LLC) have blogs loaded with a wealth of information. Authors really need to learn what works best for them and be willing to try new ideas.

As an author, you are in the business of promoting your books and your brand.

Being a small business owner and a tech geek, I spend quite a bit of time each day learning from business folks who are social media experts. If you are really interested in the "nitty-gritty" side, I encourage you to follow some of my favorite blogs.

Chris Brogan advises businesses, organizations, and individuals on how to use social media and social networks to build relationships and deliver value.

I highly encourage joining one of the webinars that are offered each month ( Sutton is a social media strategist. If there is a social media platform out there, Wayne will try and test it. His ideas maybe way out there for an author, but it definitely gets your creative juices flowing.

HubSpot Internet Marketing Blog covers social media, blogging and SEO (Search Engine Optimization). They offer a sweet tool that will help you analyze your website. Check out

My last recommendation is a young lady I've known as an acquaintance on and off. I admire how she's expanded over the years. Whether you are an author or just an aspiring writer, LaShanda Henry is a guru on Internet Marketing, Social Networking and entrepreneurship. Definitely visit or join her online network, Black Business Women Online.

Okay, so if you've been feeling alone and confused about this marketing thing, you have no excuses because there are people out there to help you get started or jump start your plans.


Tyora Moody is a writer and web developer. The owner of Tywebbin Creations is also a social network enthusiast. You can find her online at two of her favorite networks, Facebook and Twitter. For more marketing tips and ideas, be sure to stop by the NEXT LEVEL Marketing blog at

Monday, March 23, 2009


I was born in Harlem and raised in New York City and in a small town, Rose Hill, North Carolina. I currently reside in Washington, DC with my family.

I am a mother, wife, and author with aspirations of writing as a living or creating a short film and/or writing for a major network or studio. I believe that God has equipped me and everyone with spiritual gifts that we must cultivate in order to live a full and rewarding life.

I am a graduate of the Maryland University, College Park and Pfeiffer University with a MBA/MHA. I have worked in healthcare and marketing for the past ten years. Also, I believe that we all should volunteer and I love to travel and meet new people.

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

A conscious message and understanding that life is full of ups and downs (episodes) and when you don't resolve or deal with negative episodes, they will leave "scratches" in your life that can hinder your growth, focus, and direction. Also, understand that people deal with their episodes (life predicaments) differently, which may result from a verbal, mental, physical, social, or emotional situation, because some seek God, attend therapy, have a shot of their best "joy juice" or a combination of them all, including denial. However, episodes are part of life, regardless of who you are, where you live, or how much money you have or don't have - it's life, regardless of your background.

“We all have them!"

And resolution can come by forgiving others, loving unconditionally, becoming responsible, facing adversity, learning life lessons, and understanding that "this too shall pass".

Why did you choose to write this book?

Well, after experiencing a job termination and putting my reality into perspective. I found myself asking God: What should I do next? Eventually, my spirit led me back to a twenty-year old hobby (writing), which was never a priority, but a past time of reflection and escape. Soon, I began to write.....

What did you learn while writing this book?

There were many learning lessons, but I'd learned how to deal with procrastination, especially when you don't want to do certain tasks. Also, I uncovered new attributes about myself and that writing is an activity that you must do EVERYDAY, so that you can consistently develop your characters and story line.

What was your favorite scene/chapter from the book?

I would be bias to say that any one chapter was my favorite because in some form of fashion, I'd enjoyed creating them all. Yet, I really enjoyed "Cherub Cove" because it's filled with disappointment, hope, dreams, and faith.

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

It is definitely a creative and redundant writing process, so it's important that you learn from your mistakes. And like any talent, you must study and hone it!

What is the best lesson you have learned from another writer?

You must consistently promote your book and name - it is a tool for exposure and success, regardless of who likes it.

What is the toughest test you've faced as a writer?

Accepting that your countless edits are part of the process, because practice and review will make it better for your next book.

What is something readers would be surprised you do?

I like to look at television episodes of Monk and the Dave Chappelle Show.

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

Form relationships with people in different fields.
Writing can be a full-time job.
Save and look for cost-effective ways to promote your book.

How do you reach new readers?

When my promotion hat is on, I speak to prospective readers about my book, so I extend a flyer or synopsis to strangers, as well as meeting new readers at book festivals, book clubs, networking functions, and social media forums, such as this one.

If you could have dinner with 3 authors to talk with about their writing (living or deceased) who would you invite and why?

Maya Angelou - because her writing is the essence of beauty, consciousness, love, sincerity, and a positive message for readers to embrace.

James Baldwin - because his boldness, literary voice, and writing style reflected an expression of change and social stigmas that life ensued.

Jodi Picoult - because her writing has developed into other outlets and international success.

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

Do your research!

Don't stop believing in YOUR dream!

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

Email me at for book discussions, speaker requests, and inquiries.

Visit my website at:

Mailing address: PO Box 29513 Washington, DC 20017 for book orders.

Readers can order my book on-line at

Our theme for this month is Resources On The Net, what three resources do you use on the net?

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

Promoting the rise of Scratches in 2009 with different ventures, so that I will not limit my market and readers; another book or possibly a sequel to Scratches; and to expect the unexpected with stories and subject matter. I look to become a voice in the industry and to enrich the lives of others.


Scratches offers a look into the life of Charlie, the protagonist, and her friends, who are connected in some form of fashion. She gets entangled in several situations that test the boundaries of friendship, loyalty, honesty, and love; and unexpectedly helps several friends confront life predicaments and finds herself in a dilemma with a close friend, while learning a thing or two for herself. But what does she do when her friend's boyfriend is attractive to her?

Therefore, it's a page-turner with a series of fabricated episodes that you can identify with, especially when the person you trusted is a green-eyed monster; a close friend, Lorna, who deals with an abusive past, while learning the truth about an estranged friend; and a neighbor, who struggles with dealing with a failed professional sports career.

This book is filled with drama and contains NO explicit material or profanity.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Happy Birthday To Me

Today's my b-day so I'm celebrating by hanging out with the kids.

Have a slice of your favorite cake and hug someone you love today.

See ya on the net,

Birthday Girl

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

WIN THIS - Girl Talk

Confession on an Answering Service is about a fly, but shy sixteen-year-old girl who has a crush on her classmate as big as Pennsylvania. Will she finally tell the object of her affection how she really feels? Or will she keep her feelings on the down low in fear of rejection?

In Kiss And Tell, Essence is sick and tired of her girlfriends constantly hooking her up with every guy who has a heartbeat and a pair of legs. With the help of her best friend Sean, she devises a scheme to put an end to their relentless matchmaking.

Cloud Triple Nine is a humorous tale about three best friends head over heels in love with the same guy-their English teacher. Which one of them will he pick for steady after school sessions?

In What A Sista Wants, you meet Yasmine Harley who has everything going for her. She's smart, funny, beautiful, independent and has more curves on her than a roller coaster at Great Adventure. But, there's one thing she doesn't have-a man. That is until she meets Jacquese Wilson. He's successful, charming, sexy and covered in the smoothest darkest of chocolate. Before she can say "love," she finds herself in a relationship with him but realizes that like a lot of things, love isn't perfect.

So go grab a bag of potato chips, kick off your shoes, relax your feet and lie back to enjoy some...GIRL TALK.


Born and raised in Philadelphia, PA by her parents and older sister, Shereen McKellar developed a love for reading. She was an avid reader of books by Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary, Paula Danziger and the different children/young adult book series such as Ann M. Martin's The Babysitters' Club, Francine Pascal's Sweet Valley and Betsey Haynes' The Fabulous Five.

Shereen's first two book series Summerdale Friends and Greenfield Friends which she created during her pre-teen years was inspired by those series she enjoyed reading. Although she loved writing and received numerous recommendations from classmates and friends to pursue a writing career, Shereen had dreams of becoming a famous choreographer and dancer. It wasn't until she acknowledged her lack of passion for dancing and read Omar Tyree's Flyy Girl that she aspired to become an author.

She attended both Community College of Philadelphia and Temple University where she took various Creative Writing classes. Once she received her B.A. in Broadcasting, Telecommunications and Mass Media, she began to work on Girl Talk, a collection of teen chick-lit stories. Girl Talk is a combination of personal experiences, other individuals' personal experiences, things Shereen wished would have happened to her and good old imagination.

Currently, she is at work on her first novel and thinking about half a dozen more writing projects.


Monday, March 16, 2009


As a long time resident of Wickliffe, Ohio, Alesica discovered her love for writing at a young age when she penned her first story called “The Duck Who Loved Rainbows” for a class project. Having put her own dreams on hold for years as she tended to family and other personal obligations, Alesica found that she was unable to share her gifts with the world. Having overcome obstacles such as being hearing impaired, being labeled a slow learner during her early years as a child, and being told by a teacher that she could never learn another language because she could barely speak English, Alesica has compiled a book of poetry that reflects the struggles, trials, and tribulations, that life often brings our way. As a “30-Something” woman, Alesica states that, “I am thankful that God has given me another chance to share what could be my greatest moment in life, with others!”

Inspired by her three children and having almost lost her life to chronic asthma, Ms. Smith feels that all of her experiences in life have given her the strength to understand that life is too short and that writing helps her fulfill her goals and purpose in life, as well as the encouragement to pursue her other artistic talents that include drawing and painting.

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

Exhale wordz from tha' soul is about all the elements that makes us human. It touches some of the subjects that we are most sensitive about. It's about life, love, and family. It shares some of the trials that we may face and offers a little inspiration that so many people need to see a different view perhaps another way to get through their day. I am in hopes that the reader will receive the thought that life is what you make it, not what it makes of you. It's okay to hold your breath as you go through certain life experiences as long as you learn to exhale all that you have been holding in. I hope to offer the thought that lovers and families will be closer after reading the thoughts that have come from one heart to another. Why did you choose to write this book? For so long I've held on to the thought that I was learning disabled and that I could never achieve such a great accomplishment. God has opened my eyes when I almost lost my life to asthma and I found myself renewed with a whole different outlook on life. I have been blessed with a dream that I never knew would finally come true.

What did you learn while writing this book?

I learned that producing a book takes time and patience. Good communication with your publisher is a must!

What was your favorite poem from the book?

My favorite poem from the book is called Breathe

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

That writing isn't always a finished product on the first try. Often times writer's rewrite things more than once until satisfaction of their work is obtained.

What is the best lesson you have learned from another writer?

That organization is the key to the whole process of writing even after the book is finished.

What is the toughest test you've faced as a writer?

Having the money to complete the book on time

What is something readers would be surprised you do?

Animal Photography

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

Three things I wish I'd known before now are 1. That my health was going to give me problems 2. That I still would be unmarried at the age of 36 3.That my aunt Mary Norfleet wouldn't be here to share some of my most accomplished moments.

How do you reach new readers?

Networking sites and Events

If you could have dinner with 3 authors to talk with about their writing (living or deceased) who would you invite and why?

The three authors I would pick are:

1. Maya Angelou she's one of my idols and I've always wanted to meet her.

2. Barrack Obama because he's an extraordinary man and I've read his first book and loved it.

3.Barbara Williams not only is she my publisher but, she is an inspiration to me and not having met her yet we have much to talk about!.

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

One do is: Stay focused and One don't is: Give up

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


Our theme for this month is Resources On The Net, what three resources do you use on the net?

Facebook, Myspace and Essence

Exhale: Wordz from Tha' Soul

For many years I've dreamed of this moment, and now I'm actually sharing it with you. I never thought that this moment would arrive. I've poured my heart and soul into finding the right words to place in front of my reader's eyes. I try to give each and every poem that I write a story behind a picture that needs to be painted for all to see the way that I see. I'm hoping that you'll love me for the words that I present as much as I love them as they come from pen to paper. I hope that you find me unique, and that I represent some feeling that you've felt at one time or another. Know that someone else is out there thinking about things and going through the same trials and tribulations of life, love, and family. I'm with you through every emotion. It is my hope that you will take the time through all of this happiness, sorrow, hardship, love, and pain to take a moment to EXHALE.

Win a copy of Exhale: Wordz from Tha' Soul by leaving a comment.

Friday, March 13, 2009


Rae Lori is an avid reader and viewer of science fiction, romance and fantasy since she was young. She enjoys merging the genres to create an adventurous reading experience in her own work. Throughout her writing career, she has garnered credits writing movie reviews, fiction and articles on the comic book and film industry.

Currently, Rae makes her home in Phoenix , Arizona where she pens her stories and works as a graphic designer. Learn more about her work at: She loves to hear from her readers so feel free to drop her a message!

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

I hope readers are entertained and learn a little bit about some interesting historical facts in the process of reading my book. I love to write with a speculative bent and I think readers of dark fantasy, romance and a little bit of horror will get a kick out of my Ashen series.

Why did you choose to write this book?

I wanted to write a traditional vampire story. I was in the process of writing about a vampire-like race while working on Cimmerian City but I wanted to do something more fantasy and less SF. So to satiate that craving, I started the Ashen Twilight series. It's interesting because it grew to be so much more than what I anticipated. I got to do a lot of research in various cultures like Dahomey in West Africa (now called Benin) and Scotland and I learned a lot of history and mythology I didn't know about before.

What did you learn while writing this book?

Definitely a lot. I learned a lot about the Fon people of Dahomey along with their beliefs in how the world was created and of their language. I also found out they had their own fairy myths which is what really inspired my book. There wasn't much info on what exactly the fairies were so I had a bit of leeway to make my own mythology while incorporating some of the Dahomey mythology as well. I also learned they have their own vampire myths which I would love to explore in my second book.

In addition I also learned some Scots Gaelic thanks to my wonderful editor and was able to put some Scottish history and mythology in the story.

What was your favorite scene/chapter from the book?

Hmm, it would probably have to be the scene where my hero and heroine meet for the first time. Both have their own respective worlds and cultures they come from and whatever myth they knew growing up clashes with what and who is standing before them. So that was really fun to write because I got to add a lot of my research to mold the character's interactions.

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

Probably that writing is definitely a process. There's a lot of thought and reworking that goes into it and many times what you see on the page is very different than what it was before. It's weird, growing up I used to zip through book after book but it wasn't until I really wrote my own books that I realized how strange it is to take up to years to write a book but it can take hours or days to read one and form a conclusion. It's an interesting situation, much like filmmaking I imagine.

What is the best lesson you have learned from another writer?

That I can always do better. I love reading different writers' opinions on writing and I admire the ones who always strive to do better than they can. And that's what I try to do with each story I write and each genre I explore.

What is the toughest test you've faced as a writer?

Probably finding the right home for my work and the best way to get it to readers. There's a saying that goes the writing is the easy part and in many ways that's true. If you want to be a published writer, there's lots of pre planning and research to finding the right publisher in your work and sometimes things pop up that take you completely by surprise that you didn't anticipate. Sometimes it's a good thing and sometimes it's pretty bad. But you learn from it and apply it to the next time you do the same thing because you are that much wiser for it.

What is something readers would be surprised you do?

I don't write everyday and I give myself permission to write a crappy first draft. In fact, much of my first drafts usually aren't seen by anyone but me until I go through and self edit and rewrite it the way the story dictates. I usually have different levels of writing.

Level 1 is get the story on the page no matter how bad it is. As long as the story is down, I can mold it later. This is probably the hardest because it takes a lot of brain power and I have to push myself to keep going no matter what.

Level 2 is my rewriting stage where I go back and make sure the words make sense and the characters actions are in with the continuity. Sometimes I do this at the half way point where I need a break and want to make sure it all fits together coherently. Sometimes (but very rarely) it's at the end. Mostly my brain won't let me write straight through. I like this part because the story is written and it just needs some tweaking and adding on.

Level 3 is where I go back after leaving it for a while and self-edit. I usually have a pair of fresh eyes at this point so I put my reader hat on and think about if I bought this story, how would I feel about it? What would I change? Are the characters doing things that make sense to me? And I create accordingly.

Level 4 is the heavy edit where it's halfway out the door to my editor (or critique group depending on the project). I have a list of crutch words and repeated words that I try to stay away from (thanks to my previous editors!) so I take these out as much as I can while making sure my prose is still getting the visuals across.

At this point, I have to make sure I'm really satisfied with the work before sending it out to other eyes or else I go and repeat a level just to make sure.

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

I wish I had known a little bit more insider information back when I first started writing! *laughs* But I do value what I know now. I think the path I took taught me a lot and I probably wouldn't be in this position if I took another road.

How do you reach new readers?

I do some blog and forum hopping and get to know different kinds of readers. Some are aspiring writers and I love to give them some tidbits because I see some great stuff that would be awesome on the marketplace. It's definitely in need of some new voices and stories. I also meet new readers through forums run by other writers and some of my social networking like on Facebook or Twitter.

If you could have dinner with 3 authors to talk with about their writing (living or deceased) who would you invite and why?

Oh wow. Diana Gabaldon would definitely be on that list. I'm a new fan because her prose is gorgeous and I love her way of storytelling. She really makes you feel like you're experiencing exactly what the characters are feeling and doing. It'd be so fun to pick her brain. Also Philip K. Dick would be a blast because his brain would be even more fun to pick (unfortunately, he's deceased). Last I'd probably choose Bram Stoker just to see what he was thinking while writing Dracula.

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

Definitely. A do would be to learn the craft and ask questions to be the best writer you can. A don't would be don't believe that the path to publishing is a one size fits all. What may work for another writer may not work for you and sometimes I see aspiring writers listening to the general opinion. Look at your goals for what you want to do with your writing career and plan accordingly.

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

They can feel free to reach me at (I love to hear from readers) and check out my current and upcoming releases at I'm also on various networks like Twitter, Myspace and Facebook so you can catch me there or on my blog ( as well.

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

Sure thing! It'll be entitled Within the Shadows of Mortals and it'll deal with the next chapter in the Ashen series. Jace and Ariya will hit a rift as reality sets in when mortals find out the existence of the immortals in their world. There will be lots of little side stories including Julian's relationship with his formerly estranged son, the Hammond past and how they meet then deal with working alongside the Archanes and Ariya's move to rid the Aziza realm of another threat that may have been brought on by her love, Jace. I should have an excerpt available at my website for the books ( so keep an eye out on that page or feel free to join my newsletter for all sorts of exciting news to come!

Our theme for this month is Resources On The Net, what three resources do you use on the net?
I use Booksquare a lot to keep up with current publishing news. Kasia is great over there because she offers some wonderful suggestions on where the industry could go and where they're headed. I also visit Dear Author to keep up with publishing news and what's on the mind of readers in today's market. Finally I also visit Readers Rooms (formally Blogging in Black) for some wonderful writing advice and posts on being a writer. I highly recommend these sites to aspiring writers. I also have a Writer's Resources page on my website ( where I've gathered lots of posts around the web for aspiring writers, articles, forums, agent and editor sites, writing organizations, book lover networking sites, lots of goodies to help aspiring authors learn the craft of writing.

Thanks for having me stop by LaShaunda!

A Kiss of Ashen Twilight

An attack on her family drives Ariya to seek protection at the Ashen Twilight House. Once there, she encounters only more danger, along with the dark rescuer who haunts her dreams.

Jace Archane is a vampire on the hunt, and distractions like Ariya are the last thing he wants or needs.But their survival might just hinge on one another when a vicious elemental creature threatens the underground world of Nightwalkers, Lycans and Shifter Elves.

Caught between a shared enemy and otherworldly love, Jace and Ariya must unite before fear can tear them apart.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Online Resources

Let's talk about online resources.

What sites are helpful for you as a writer?

What sites do you use everyday?

Share your links in the comments.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Purposely Said – Dr. Linda F. Beed

Electronically Yours

This month’s theme focuses attention upon online resources.

The words online and resources immediately caused my head to rotate at a rapid pace. How on earth could I give you so much information within the confines of this article? Once the swiveling subsided I was able to harness the plethora of ideas demanding to have their say.

The Internet is a wonderful thing. Its invention and constant evolution has made it possible for even the agoraphobic to enjoy a social life. With the depressing of a button the world is brought to you. The same is applicable when seeking information necessary for establishing and keeping abreast with the business of writing.

You may be wondering how to start your search. What is the link to finding this or that? Well, I’ll be very honest, just ask the computer. Sounds crazy, but no one told me that you could ask the computer questions. Because they didn’t, I did and it led me to information I needed and would need later. One such query led me to OWL/Online Writing Lab ( On this site I learned the variety of possibilities for exploration as well as Internet basics.

Google, Yahoo and similar search engines store seemingly limitless information. Type in your query and up pops a host of avenues to follow. As you become savvier you will learn how to use key words to pinpoint your search efforts.

Looking for information on writing? You can query the Internet with specific questions such as: 1) Articles on setting up your writing business; 2) Books on the craft of writing; 3) The complete directory for self-publishers; 4) Your marketing plan, and so on.

The phenomenon of the Internet’s ability to connect us to research needs and social communities that lend support to common goals is commendable.

Need to connect with other writers? Search Yahoo and Google Groups for your specific need. Also, consider social networks such as MySpace, Nings, Shelfari, Shoutlife, Writing Blogs, Blog Talk Radio, Twitter and Facebook.
*Please note that serious consideration should be given before joining any online group.

There is much more information to be found and applied to your writing and business process. Rather than overwhelm you I will stop with what we have here. As I leave you I would like to remind you of something very important. Instant information is a wonderful thing, if it is the right information. The convenience of online information is no guarantee that what you receive is true, relevant or up-to-date information. Be sure to check references and ask questions before applying information to your process.

Before leaving you I would be remiss if I did not leave a few links for you to explore. Since my passion is for the aspiring/novice author I have chosen links for the most frequently asked questions. The list is brief, but will give you a starting point. Further questions may be referred to Dr. Linda Beed @
Please use ‘Industry Question’ in the subject line.



State Licensing for Business:
Seek information on state licensing in your state

Federal Licensing:

Have a question about a specific company. Try these literary watchdog sites:
Predators & Editors:
Writer Beware Blogs:

As stated before there are many more resources available. Take your time, ask questions and do your homework.

Until next time, remember—Purposely Said words can destroy or create a life. Linda!

Dr. Linda Beed is an educator, speaker, children’s minister and author of Business Unusual. She co-moderators BWChristianLit, maintains its sister online blog and is the Review Editor for KDGospel Media Magazine.

You can find her on the web at: / MySpace / On Assignment Reviews / BWChristianLit

Monday, March 09, 2009

FEATURED AUTHOR: Jessica A. Robinson

Jessica A. Robinson is a fresh, new author from Ohio.

She's also one-fourth of a national Hip-Hop group named Carnival who's slated to release their sophomore CD in 2009.

She has always been an avid reader but came into the wonderful world of writing by accident. Upon losing her father when she was ten to pancreatic cancer, she began journaling as a form of therapy. The emotions and thoughts expressed on paper turned into short stories and continued to evolve from there.

Coming from such a rich background in the church of having twelve ministers in her family, she writes about the things she's went through and the things people have gone through around her. Her spiritual heritage was the breeding ground for her very own genre, "Church Dramedy."

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

I would like readers to know that what you do in the dark will come to the light and although I know its a cliche' it's very true.

Why did you choose to write this book?

I wanted to write this book because I felt it would be interesting to explore infidelity between a married couple in ministry from a woman's perspective.

What did you learn while writing this book?

I learned that if we're not willing to forgive someone for what they've done to you then it will only hinder you from moving on with your life.

What was your favorite scene/chapter from the book?

My favorite scene is when everything comes together and all of the lies and deceit comes back on Denise (my main character) all at once.

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

Writing is not an easy thing. It is something that takes dedication, passion, and hard work. Not anyone can just sit down and write a book.

What is the best lesson you have learned from another writer?

To make sure that I tell the story in a way that it is vivid and that I'm able to place the reader in the very scene where my story is taking place.

What is the toughest test you've faced as a writer?

Being able to push through procrastination.

As a first-time novelist, how would you describe the first moment you found out that your book was going to be published? What did you do to celebrate?

I remember being so excited like I was on the top of the world. I felt so good to have accomplished such a great goal. To celebrate, I went to dinner with my family.

What advice would you offer to someone whose book is about to be released?

Get connected with the literary community by building relationships while you network. Those same people will in turn support your endeavors.

How long did it take for your book to be published after you finished writing it?

It actually happened fast. I believe it was less than 6 months.

What is something readers would be surprised you do?

I'm actually a singer and a rapper in a group named Carnival.

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

That in order to be a successful writer you must be able to accept critique, be willing to rewrite your manuscript in order to make a masterpiece, and spend countless hours promoting yourself and your work.

How do you reach new readers?

I reach new readers by myspace and directly approaching them to tell them a little bit about my book and myself.

If you could have dinner with 3 authors to talk with about their writing (living or deceased) who would you invite and why?

Kimberla LawsonRoby (because I really enjoy her stories and her work ethic), Toni Morrison and Alice Walker because they have written some novels that I consider to be classic.

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

If you really feel you're a writer it is important to learn all you can about writing so that you can be prepared to do well.

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

My P.O. Box 1291 Yo, Oh 44501-1291,

Our theme for this month is Resources On The Net, what three resources do you use on the net?

I really recommend the social networking sites because that is what helped me to find out things going on in the literary world and it still helps me to stay connected.,,

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

My next book is called The Sins of my Mother and it's dealing with addiction, family secrets, lies, and molestation. It's a very dramatic piece.

Holy Seduction:

Thirty-five year old First Lady Denise Tate is a woman who has it all. She is living the life most people dream of; a beautiful house in the suburbs, luxury cars, shopping sprees, and a husband, Randy, who is ready and willing to keep her laced in nothing but the best. Even though she has everything a woman could ever want, she's still not satisfied and firmly believes she can have her cake and eat it too.

Randy Tate has his work cut out for him as the Senior Pastor of Oakdale Baptist Church, the largest in Youngstown Ohio, yet, he humbly embraces the challenge. Denise has more time on her hands than a clock and she uses this and her endless cash flow to her full advantage. In addition to playing the good, little, church wife, First lady also juggles three other men on the side. She executes the game with such expertise - effortlessly, until one of her lovers decides to flip the script on her.

Relentlessly determined not to be found out, Denise decides not to admit a dark secret that has the power to destroy her cozy life as she knows it.

Eventually, all good things come to an end and the wrath of God is delivered that will haunt her for the rest of her life. Holy Seduction's premise is this; you may play the game well, but, remember there is always someone who plays the game better than you.

Lies, Drama, and deceit are front and center in this novel with a plot so
sneaky and so seductive you'll swear it's a sin.

Jessica is donating a copy of Holy Seduction to one lucky reader. Leave a comment for a chance to win.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

BLOG TOUR: Dinner with a Perfect Stranger and Day with a Perfect Stranger

Dinner with a Perfect Stranger

By David Gregory

You are Invited to a Dinner with Jesus of Nazareth

The mysterious envelope arrives on Nick Cominsky’s desk amid a stack of credit card applications and business-related junk mail. Although his seventy-hour workweek has already eaten into his limited family time, Nick can’t pass up the opportunity to see what kind of plot his colleagues have hatched.

The normally confident, cynical Nick soon finds himself thrown off-balance, drawn into an intriguing conversation with a baffling man who appears to be more than comfortable discussing everything from world religions to the existence of heaven and hell. And this man who calls himself Jesus also seems to know a disturbing amount about Nick’s personal life.


"You’re bored, Nick. You were made for more than this. You’re worried about God stealing your fun, but you’ve got it backwards.… There’s no adventure like being joined to the Creator of the universe." He leaned back off the table. "And your first mission would be to let him guide you out of the mess you’re in at work."

As the evening progresses, their conversation touches on life, God, meaning, pain, faith, and doubt–and it seems that having Dinner with a Perfect Stranger may change Nick’s life forever.

Day with a Perfect Stranger:

What if a fascinating stranger knew you better than you know yourself?

When her husband comes home with a farfetched story about eating dinner with someone he believes to be Jesus, Mattie Cominsky thinks this may signal the end of her shaky marriage. Convinced that Nick is, at best, turning into a religious nut, the self-described agnostic hopes that a quick business trip will give her time to think things through.

On board the plane, Mattie strikes up a conversation with a fellow passenger. When she discovers their shared scorn for religion, she confides her frustration over her husband’s recent conversion. The stranger suggests that perhaps her husband isn’t seeking religion but true spiritual connection, an idea that prompts her to reflect on her own search for fulfillment.

As their conversation turns to issues of spiritual longing and deeper questions about the nature of God, Mattie finds herself increasingly drawn to this insightful stranger. But when the discussion unexpectedly turns personal, touching on things she’s never told anyone, Mattie is startled and disturbed. Who is this man who seems to peer straight into her soul?

Thursday, March 05, 2009


Down Home with the Neelys: A Southern Family Cookbook

by Patrick Neely, Gina Neely, Paula Disbrowe

Knopf (May 12, 2009)
ISBN-10: 0307269949
ISBN-13: 978-0307269942

Meet the Neelys: Pat and Gina, husband-and-wife team, hosts of their own television show, and proprietors of the celebrated Memphis and Nashville eateries, Neely’s Bar-B-Que.

The Neelys’ down-home approach to cooking has earned them the highest accolades from coast to coast. It has also won them millions of viewers on the Food Network. Simply put, the Neelys are all about good food and good times. In this, their eagerly awaited debut cookbook, the Neelys share the delicious food they have been cooking up for years both at home and in their restaurants.

Pat and Gina hail from families with a boundless love of cooking and bedrock traditions of sharing meals. At the Neelys’, mealtime is family time, and that means no stinting on “the sauce.” Indeed, that’s one of the Neely secrets: the liberal application of barbeque sauce to almost anything—spaghetti, nachos, salad, you name it. Of course, there are other secrets as well, and you will find them all in the pages of Down Home with the Neelys, along with more than 120 mouthwatering recipes.

Here are the tried-and-true southern recipes that have been passed down from one Neely generation to the next, including many of their signature dishes, such as Barbeque Deviled Eggs, Florida Coast Pickled Shrimp, Pat’s Wings of Fire, Gina’s Collard Greens, Grandma Jean’s Potato Salad, Nana’s Southern Gumbo, Memphis-sized Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Slaw, Get Yo’ Man Chicken, and Sock-It-to-Me Cake. Certainly, no self-respecting southerner would dream of offering a meal to a guest without a proper drink, so Pat and Gina have included some of their favorite libations here, too.

The Neelys work, laugh, love, and play harder than any family you’ll ever meet. Their love for good food is infectious, and in Down Home with the Neelys, they bring their heavenly inspired cooking down to earth for all to share.

About the Authors

Patrick and Gina Neely are owners of Neely’s Bar-B-Que in Memphis and Nashville and hosts of the Food Network series Down Home with the Neelys. They have been married since 1994 and live in Memphis with their two daughters (and scores of other kin nearby).

Food writer Paula Disbrowe’s cookbook Cowgirl Cuisine was published in March 2007. She lives with her husband, daughter, and menagerie of animals in Austin, Texas.


My mother introduced me to the Neelys. Every Saturday she came home from dialysis talking about these wonderful people who cook food that had her wishing she was there so she could eat it.

For Christmas I gave her The Neelys first season on DVD. I spent one day watching it with her and I was hooked. When I heard they were writing a cookbook, I knew I wanted a copy. I was not disappointed. The recipes are easy to understand and something you could see yourself making. The pictures make you hungry and want to cook something.

My first recipe was the turkey barbeque meatloaf, simple and delicious. My next recipe will be the pound cake. I’ve always wanted to make a pound cake. If you’re looking for some down home recipes, check out the Neelys and if you’re in Nashville or Memphis, stop by their restaurant. LCH

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