Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Let the Buzz Begin

Some days you wrote feverishly, other days you stared at a blank page. After much procrastination and then finally a stroke of genius, you finished the story that’s haunted you months, maybe even years. You probably didn’t know at the time completing the manuscript was only the beginning. The journey to “getting the call” can be heart wrenching.

You may be one of the writers who receives the call not long after the submission process. Or you can be the one of thousands of writers (including some very famous published authors) who received one rejection letter after another. Either way, when you get the call, it will be joyous time. As you begin to settle back down to earth, don’t get caught up in the myth.
The myth.

Yes, the one where now all you have to do is let the book sell itself. NOT! Save yourself from heartache later. Be smart and start making the switch in your mind to marketing.

Depending on your publisher, you may receive a marketing budget or you may have to set aside a bit of your advance for marketing. There are some ideas you can implement that won’t affect your budget, but may take a bit of time management.

These days an online presence is a must. The most important starting point for your online presence is a website. You should plan to have your site online at least six months or more before your book is released. Before you received the call, you may have had a free website or blog. You should plan for a professional look for your online presence. Remember with free sites, they offer a certain amount of templates. There will probably be others using the same template as you are for their website. Set yourself apart with a customized look.

I highly recommend, if you haven’t already, secure the domain name you desire. The domain name is usually yourname.com or yourpenname.com. Even if you need to use a free website for awhile, using your domain name will enable you to start utilizing it on print materials like postcards, bookmarks and business cards.

It used to be a time when individuals started a website and waited for the crowd to find them via Yahoo or Google. With Web 2.0, it’s all about community and relationship building. There are various ways an author can establish a community using social media. Here are few ideas to consider alongside your website.

Use a Blog to Build a Platform

Having a platform is really emphasized for nonfiction writers, but this can work for fiction writers as well. If you can establish yourself as an expert on a certain topic, this could help you bring attention to your book in a subtle way.

Authors are always asking about blogging. “Should I have a blog? Do I have time to write blog posts? Will blogging be a waste of time?” If you are considering blogging, think about the subject matter of your upcoming release. Can you build on the themes of the book and create an entire blog around it? Yes, you can.

A great example of building buzz around a book was started a few months ago by author, Mary DeMuth. Her book, Daisy Chain, was recently released and she started the following blog,
http://blog.myfamilysecrets.org/. Her book discusses family secrets and she collected family secrets anonymously for the blog. This was a genius way of marketing a book.

Create a Group (A Fan Club)

Many authors cringe about self-promotion, so creating your own fan club may seem a bit on the ego-tripping side. If you don’t want to set-up a group yourself, request a good friend, a book club or hire a virtual assistant to manage the group for you. I highly recommend choosing one of the popular social networks to create a group, but using a mailing list can work as well.

(a) Mailing List (ex. Yahoo Groups)

Email Group – Yahoo has had mailing list groups around probably since their existence. Many authors are more comfortable with email versus social networks. Email still remains the dominant form of communication despite the rise in Twitter and Facebook. If this describes you, go for this option. Just make sure it’s not all about you. I’ve seen a few writers coordinate giveaways and in some cases teach mini-classes or seminars.
Newsletter – The newsletter is more one way communication than an interactive mailing list group. With the newsletters, you would simply collect email addresses and send updates to the list periodically.

(b) Social Network

Facebook.com – Facebook surpassed MySpace as the most popular social network. There are a ton of authors on both, but Facebook seems to be the one where more “socializing” is actually taking place.

Authors can create either a group or fan page. The fan pages work more like a regular Facebook pages where members can post to the wall. The group pages allow for more discussion with forums.

Ning.com – Ning hit one million social networks a few weeks ago. They also have had several major improvements. If you really want a more intimate community, Ning is the best for creating your own social network. If you are a new author, I would consider building your network around a theme. Some great examples of author sites are: http://jamespatterson.ning.com/ and

Shelfari.com, GoodReads.com – What better place to create a group than around book lovers. Ask your fans to post book reviews or set-up a discussion session about the book.

All of these community building ideas won’t cause you a single penny (unless you want to avoid ads). Week by week, you can build your group or community. The most important rule is to make sure you are participating and building relationships. Take the time to try out several methods. You may find one or two will really work for you. The goal - by the time your book is released, you will have quite a fan base of potential readers.


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 http://www.tywebbin.com/next.

Monday, April 27, 2009

BOOK INTRO: Step To This:

Step To This:
So For Real Series
By Nikki Carter

Fifteen-year-old Gia Stokes knows exactly what she needs to make her life fantabulous:

Get her mother Gwendolyn to let her relax her hair

Find a boy to ask her out

Get on the Hi-Steppers dance squad

Gia doesn't have the hair or the clothes, but she's got the moves and the attitude to make her sophomore year at Longfellow High unforgettable. But not everyone agrees, so Gia decides it's time for a makeover. With her stylish new look, she scores a date with hottie football player, Romeo, snags a spot on the Hi-Steppers dance squad, and makes a ton of new friends. Gia's on top of the world?until things go horribly wrong. Now Gia feels like all she has left is her mom and her faith. That's not going to stop Gia, she's just got to convince the Hi-Steppers and everyone else at school, to follow her lead and step to her beat.

Friday, April 24, 2009


Barbara Mix wrote her first manuscript at age sixteen. She is a devoted Christian and gives God all the glory for her creative ideas and talent. In addition, Ms. Mix is focused on charities, family, art, decorating, and travelling. Ms. Mix is currently working with and providing assistance and compassion to our country s Veterans who have served this country with great pride and dignity. Ms. Mix resides in a suburb of Chicago and is currently working on her second novel.

Locks and Handcuffs

This is a wonderful novel about a successful woman of compassion and moral principles who happens to work for a prestigious law enforcement agency based in Chicago, Illinois who has found love under the most unusual circumstances. Imagine you are working for a federal law enforcement agency within the busy lockup unit. You view prisoners (some high profile individuals), marching by in orange jumpsuits all day and you hear the chatters of their dialogue, the smell of their daily stench as they all wait to appear before the judges in court. It is all second nature to Diamond Jackson, who works for the U.S. Marshals Service as a criminal specialist. Chicago s tough person, Great Lakes Fugitive Task Force Deputy, Charles Laurent is Diamond s new boss. Under Charles leadership as her supervisor, Diamond found Charles distant, rude and Unfriendly. Diamond is fascinated with the criminal justice system so she buries herself into her work by working late hours five days a week to keep up with her demanding workload. The attraction and tension between the both of them was becoming obvious each time he was explaining the different techniques to her. Charles placed his big masculine warm hands over Diamond hand. Diamond felt an electric pulsating shock all over her body as she focused on his sexy full lips as he spoke. Charles on the other hand found Diamond's interest in learning the basic of Locksmith fascinating and unusual. Locks and Handcuffs shows us by all accounts one woman who is successful, compassionate, caring and most of all her humanitarian ways tamed a man who was willing to following her around the world. The twist and turns unfold from Chicago, Georgia, Philadelphia, Paris andthe Principality of Monaco and all the way to the prestigious halls of the U.S. Congress. The magic of compassion, wit, intelligence and the difference that make all women unique and special brings two people together in the name of love.

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

Love will find you at the appropriate time when God sends the person who is destined to be your mate in life regardless of the current circumstances. We must wait on love and patience is your best friend.

Why did you choose to write this book?

I am a romantic at heart. I wanted to write a storyline about two people who simply fell in love with each other under unusual circumstances.

What did you learn while writing this book?

You need to be focused in writing your book. You must write everyday in order to complete your manuscript. You need to have an idea of whom your characters are and what conflict they are to overcome in your story.

What was your favorite scene/chapter from the book?

My favorite scene in my book is when the two main characters have a romantic dinner for the first time on the 70th floor of a French restaurant. This is also where the hero is ready to confess how he feels about the heroine in the story.

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

Writing is a gift from God. To be creative and to choose the right words in order to let your story flow from the images that are in your mind is something only God can give us.

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

Write everyday if you can. Find a quiet place and write if only for an hour each day.

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

You must believe in your work regardless of what your critics will say about your work of art.

What is something readers would be surprised you do?

I believe in giving to charities and helping others who are less fortunate.

How do you reach new readers?

By word of mouth and book clubs.

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

I would like to have dinner with Michael Baisden to discuss how he sold 50,000 copies of his self-published first novel to hosting his own radio show and his Baisden After Dark cable TV show. I would like to ask Steve Harvey what was his strategy in marketing his current NYT best selling book, and his current walk with GOD in his daily life. I would like to have dinner with Barack Obama to discuss his best-selling books and his journey all the way to the White House.

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

Write everyday and do your research for your novel. Don't ever think you can't succeed once you envision your dream. Because once you put you earnest effort into your work of art rest assured and eave it in God's hands.

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

I can be reached at Ladybobbie@gmail.com

Our theme for this month is Getting The Call. How should a writer prepare after getting the call?


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

I want my next book to be a surprise. I would like to leave my audience in anticipation for my next book.

Monday, April 20, 2009


Just to share a little information about me, I was born in Marianna, AR. I am a proud graduate of Holly Grove High School, and I currently working toward a degree in Business Management from Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas and continuing on to a four-year college to get a degree in Business Administration.

I have one small son born in July 2007 and I have a grown son from a previous marriage who is twenty-three. I do have a full time job. I work as a Quality Auditor for a major air-conditioning company. I don't consider writing love stories as work. That is my fun time, my stress-reliever time, so when I get in from work and get my son taken care of, I relax by writing love stories.

I began my writing career in the High School, when I would hand-write my stories for my classmates to read. I'm proud to say some of those same classmates are Carrie J. Keaton readers today!

My professional writing career began in 2006 when I self-published my first book with Authorhouse. My first book, Two Loves, One Heart is an inspirational novel that explores domestic violence, love, romance, relationships, and friendships. Anyone who has ever felt the heartbreak and trials that love can bring, especially those who have experienced abusive or controlling relationships, will relate to my main character Lynnette’s journey to find true love within herself. I want to give readers hope that they can bring their lives around from the brink of devastation and despair if they have the desire to help themselves. I want to get it out there that they are worthy of being helped. This help can come from family and friends or professionally if the need be. I am speaking from experience and I am a SURVIVOR. My strong faith in God and my family helped me to find my way back from that dark and lonely place. I am thankful and truly blessed. That horrible experience has taught me that, “LOVE SHOULDN’T HURT”.

I have just completed this wonderfully, inspirational page-turner titled, Always in my Heart. Rachael Pendleton and Roman “Romey” Sinclair are two people who connected with each other and have been the best of friends since childhood. But Rachael and Romey share something else ---- a deep love for each other that neither will acknowledge. Rachael or Roman must find a way to let their inhibitions go or they could lose each other forever.

Always in my Heart

What happens when friends cross the line and become lovers? Lies fly, emotions erupt, and the stage is set for a totally uncensored, and entertaining adventure in seduction, betrayal, heartbreak, revenge, and oh-so-sweet true love. Adventure is exactly what Rachel Pendleton and Roman Sinclair go through together in my new romance novel, Always in my Heart. It is a story about the choices you make in life and the results of those choices.

True love often triumphs through the most complex of circumstances. Rachel Pendleton and Roman “Romey” Sinclair are two people who connected with each other and have been the best of friends since childhood. This special connection they share has triumphed over all else that has gone amiss in their lives. They each always knew that they would always be there for each other no matter what.

But Rachel and Romey share something else ---- a deep love for each other that neither will acknowledge for fear of ruining their long-standing friendship. Both have had relationships with other people, but they never lasted because some very important elements were missing.... true friendship, honesty, and love. When Romey ends up marrying a materialistic, self-centered woman, Rachael must find a way to let her inhibitions go or lose the man she truly loves forever.

Can best friends become lovers? Can lovers stay best friends? Absolutely! That is ---- if you are not afraid to open up your heart to love and take a chance.

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

Hopefully readers will be able to see that life is all about the choices that we make, but also they have to be able to face the good or bad results that occur from these choices. Life can often knock you down. Whenever life does sucker punch you, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and go again. If you give out, don’t give up. Rest if you must and then continue on your journey.

Why did you choose to write this book?

I wrote this book to give readers a entertaining, engrossing read as well as giving them a message that they could possibly learn something from.

What did you learn while writing this book?

That friendship, real friendship, is priceless. Real friends don't tell you what you want to hear, they tell you the truth. Also, one should always be honest with yourself about your true feelings because ignoring these feelings won’t make them go away. If you feel that in your heart that you love someone or you are in love with them, I feel you should bring it out in the open. I think there is some truth to the phrase, “If you love someone let them go, if they return to you then they are yours. But if the person doesn’t return, then they weren’t yours in the first place.

What was your favorite scene/chapter from the book?

My favorite scene in my book was when my character Rachel went to her best friend Romey’s wedding and allowed it to take place with no interference on her part. She sat there and watched the man that she loved marry another woman. I admired her for having the inner strength to not interfere with what he wanted to do. She wanted to give him and his marriage a chance to survive and prosper. I don’t think that many people could be that strong-willed as to watch the one they love marry someone else.

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

That writing isn’t as simple as it may seem. Writers are only human and we write the best story that we can and there's a lot of thought and rewriting that goes into it and many times until the writer is satisfied with their work. I know that before I penned my first novel and would read other books, I never gave a second thought to the time that it took to get to this completed work, but I understand now. This understanding has given me greater appreciation for what others authors went through on their journey to becoming a published author. We as authors can take criticism, just do it in a constructive way. Please don't choose a public environment to trash a book. Just think about it, will this help or hurt? Never intentionally set out to hurt or try to destroy someone because that would be downright cruel.

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

Keep a positive and open atmosphere and attitude, learn patience, work hard, be able to accept constructive criticism, don’t spread youself too thin, to err is human, be courteous and humble to your readers, and work on acquiring agents, editors, and publicists and have them to help prepare the book for publication and market it to the masses.

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

Trying to juggle writing, promoting, reading, and motherhood

What is something readers would be surprised you do?

I still enjoy animated movies like Beauty and the Beast and Disney Pixar Cars. These were cute, touching movies to me.

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

First of all, I wish that I had recognized my writing talent before now and would have had more time to prepare myself for all that being a writer entails. I feel that I missed out so much due to the fact that I allowed too many negative people influence me to not pursue what I enjoy doing ---- writing.

Second, I didn’t know how hard it is to promote my books. To me it is much easier to write a book than to promote one.

Third, I wish that I knew my loving grandma would not be here to share my book writing/publishing experience with me because I know that she would be in my corner cheering me on no matter what.

How do you reach new readers?

There is no place you can advertise your book to as many people at once as the Internet. I will make use of my website by posting book reviews, links to where my book is sold, email link where people can send me fan mail, book signings and speaking engagements, promotions and giveaways, guestbook, and a message board, join email groups and forums created for writers and special interest groups, do search engine advertising, have author events and book signings, set-up Internet chats and offer discount coupons to the participants of the event, do virtual tours, and book trailers are just a few ways I will try to reach new readers.

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

Francis Ray, Brenda Jackson, and Mary B. Morrison are three wonderfully seasoned authors. I hope to someday come close to their talent in writing the wonderful stories that everyone loves to read.

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

Do proofread your work.

Better yet, have someone else proofread your work, including your query letter. Sometimes authors are so close to their work, they cannot read what it actually says and read instead what it is supposed to say.

Don’t give up.
Dreams do come true if you make them.

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

Readers can visit me at my website on MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/carriekeaton
and through email: carrielee10@yahoo.com

Our theme for this month is Getting The Call. How should a writer prepare after getting the call?

Most authors would hope to get a traditional publisher because they pay for all the costs involved in taking a book from unedited manuscript to the finished product. In exchange for paying all costs, the traditional publisher will take all rights to the book and give you a small percentage of the sales (usually around 8%-10% give or take). Submitting manuscripts to a traditional publisher is a highly competitive endeavor - as there are far more manuscripts submitted than publishing houses to publish them. It is especially difficult for authors with an unproven sales history.

If you are looking for a way to put your book up for sale and forget about it, then self-publishing will be a major disappointment for you. A self-published author is heavily involved with the creation, production, and marketing of their book. Nothing significant happens without that involvement. You have to be willing to roll up your sleeves and do much of the work yourself, otherwise you will never recoup your investment.

Unfortunately, even if you land a traditional publishing contract, there is still a chance that you may have some responsibility with marketing and promoting your book.

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

My next novel is called, “Not my Sisters’ Keeper.” It is sibling rivalry at its worst. Mahrissa Jackson-Thompson, the older sister and Trinitty Jackson grew apart due to the fact that Trinitty had always resented her older sister, even when the two of them were very young. It had been very difficult for Mahrissa to find the root cause of this sibling rivalry between her and her younger sister because their parents had always loved them both.

Trinitty wanted no part of Mahrissa’s sisterly love because she hated her and had harbored this resentment for years. Anything that her sister Mahrissa had earned throughout her life, Trinitty desired. She lived to get back at her sister in the cruelest most vicious way that she could.
But Trinitty’s quest for the ultimate punishment for Mahrissa comes with a very heavy price and it puts her niece Kamiah’s life at stake. Can Mahrissa get past all of the obstacles Trinitty has purposely placed before her and forgive all of her indiscretions? Or maybe Mahrissa will not be able to forgive and hold it in her heart and say that I’m ---- Not my Sister’s Keeper.


Friday, April 17, 2009


The Alexis McDougal Character Building and Life Skills series feature an 8 year old precocious little girl named Alexis, her special angel friend~Gabrielle, her best-best friend, Chelsea, along with a host of multicultural classroom friends.

In book 3, “Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide”, Alexis and her best friend Chelsea believe they’re doing a good deed by offering support to a “friend” who appears to need help. However, Alexis has a hunch that something is just not quite right about this “friend”. Will Alexis choose to ignore her feelings and help a “friend” in need? Will Chelsea go along just to get along? What will they both learn about trusting and believing in oneself and listening to that still small voice within???

Darla J. Foxx

With over 20 years of experience in serving the public as a professional cosmetologist, Darla J. Foxx brings her customer resolution skills, life experience (and those of her clients!) and creativity to the field of writing, publishing and manufacturing. Although she’s a novice children’s author, she prides herself in writing stories that offer “a positive learning experience and not just a physical product.”

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

I would like readers to learn that we are all unique individuals born with a beautiful and incredible gift of knowing. Often times we tend to ignore it (our feelings), however, this story teaches children (and adults, for that matter) about the tool of intuition and how important it is to learn to pay attention, listen and trust it. This story also demonstrates that when something unexpected happens, we have the power to turn the most unloving incident into something wonderful and beautiful where everyone can benefit from the lesson.

Why did you choose to write this book?

I wrote this story because as a child, a similar situation occurred in my life and I’d like to help prevent a child from having to experience such childhood devastations by equipping them with safety and awareness tools while learning to trust themselves and their innate intuition.

What did you learn while writing this book?

I finally feel that I have totally gained my power back by writing this book and being able to say out loud, “a similar situation occurred in my life”. No one would believe how much it took me to get to this point without worrying about exposing or hurting the perpetrator’s feelings or family.

What was your favorite scene/chapter from the book?

Although this book is a valuable teaching tool for children (and adults), Alexis’ personality always shine through with her precocious and humorous way of expressing herself. So with that said, I would say my favorite chapter is “The Awakening”, chapter 5, where Alexis calls on her special friend for the help that only she can give and, also in the same chapter where Alexis decides to take matters into her own hands…

And, if I might add the last chapter is pretty amazing also, titled, “Awareness is the key!” but I won’t give anymore away, I’ll let you decide which chapter is your favorite!

What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?
Although all forms of art are gifts from God, most artists need to exercise the very necessary alone time to create, which means that while an artist is on a sabbatical, please don’t take it personally…

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

To be patient and to believe in your work. Eventually, your audience will catch on…

What Is the toughest test you’ve faced as a writer?

The toughest test I’ve faced as a writer is believing in my gift. Most writers I know have either studied their craft for years, have degrees in literature or English, or have read books all of their life, none of which is me. However, my life experience has been my teacher and my material.

What is something readers would be surprised you do?

I think readers would be surprise to know that I love cuddling up with my daughter’s newly found Chihuahua while I’m writing because she’s so soft, lovable, and loving. I’m convinced she’s a gift from the Heavens. Her name is Lily…

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

I wish I would have honed in on my gift of writing as a teen because I would have kept a journal instead of keeping my feelings and experiences inside for soooo long.

I wish I had used my intuitive mind about wasting money on nothing. I could be using it now to support my family and me while marketing and advertising my books and building my business.

I wish I had more insight early on to the business of writing and how much time and energy it takes to get your work noticed and read by your intended audience and those who can help you make an impact to the world.

How do you reach new readers?

Hopefully by word of mouth, book signings and making school visits. Prayerfully, my new websites, once fully optimized will attract more new readers as well.

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

I love and respect Maya Angelou’s work. I believe she writes from experience and from the heart about self love, being a wonderfully created woman and being strong and courageous.

I love Louise Hay and Marianne Williamson’s work. I love their philosophies and teachings about life, self, health, love, and healing…

I love Barbara Parks children’s books because my daughter and I have read them for the last 12 years and have fallen in love with her characters. I love their self-expression, very funny and entertaining!

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

Do observe the world around you and keep notes. There’s sooo much to discover and share…

Don’t make it harder than it has to be. If and when the so-called “writers block” rears it’s head, take a break, walk away, and do something else. The story will come when it’s ready to be born, so you don’t have to rush it.

How can readers get in touch with you?

Email- darlajfoxx@universalmessengers.com
Snail mail- Universal Messengers, LLC, P.O. Box 9039, Wilmington, DE 19809
Websites: http://www.alexismcdougal.com/ or http://www.universalmessengers.com/

Our theme for this month is Getting The Call. How should a writer prepare after getting the call?

Depends on who the call is coming from, however, for the most part, know what you want and don’t be afraid to ask for it. Have your media package together and just know that if this is THE CALL, then it is NOW YOUR TURN…

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

I actually have two other books on the market that maybe the viewing audience may not know about. My first book published in 2005 is Alexis McDougal starring in “The Day I Met My New Special Friend”, which is about love, friendship, self-esteem, and being controlling of others.

My second book published in 2006, Alexis McDougal starring in…”Secrets Are Confidential Business” is about selfishness, sharing, and forgiveness.

I haven’t quite decided which of the 10 manuscripts will be the next one, however, I have a feeling that it may be Alexis McDougal starring in “Sticky Fingers”, which is a little obvious, but the plot is funny as heck and the lesson is greatly needed.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of “Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide”

Thursday, April 16, 2009

SORMAG's Goody Bag Needs You

I would like to help a small business promote their products to our readers.

I send out a goody bag twice a month to lucky winners.

You send me goodies to add to my bag and I'll promote you for a month in our newsletter.

If you're interested please send an email to: sormag@yahoo.com

Our readers are 90% women and 10% men.

Look forward to promoting you and your products.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Starr Title Contest Winners

First, I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to enter my Starr Title Contest. I was given some interesting suggestions along with votes that were cast. Too bad I hadn’t thought of those before the contest.

Without further ado, the title of my story for the new White Boyz Antholgy title What White Boyz Fight For is…


The titles are listed bellow from the greatest number of votes to the least:

1. Collide
2. Nuts
3. Clash
4. Crash


Patricia (Woodside Writer)

Debra Owsley

3rd Place
Victor C. Charles

Thank you for taking the time to enter the contest and remember you can always find a happy ending when you catch a STARR!

Pamela Starr

CFBA: The Secret - Beverly Lewis

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Secret

(Bethany House May 1, 2009)


Beverly Lewis


Not until her own children were well into middle school did Bev seek to publish her work, first in magazines such as Highlights for Children, Dolphin Log, and Guideposts for Kids. Her first book followed in 1993—Mountain Bikes and Garbanzo Beans—presently retitled Big Bad Beans (book #22 in the popular CUL-DE-SAC KIDS series of chapter books—see list of Bev's children's books).

Beverly's first venture into adult fiction is the best-selling trilogy, THE HERITAGE OF LANCASTER COUNTY, including The Shunning, a suspenseful saga of Katie Lapp, a young Amish woman drawn to the modern world by secrets from her past. The book is loosely based on the author's maternal grandmother, Ada Ranck Buchwalter, who left her Old Order Mennonite upbringing to marry a Bible College student. One Amish-country newspaper claimed Beverly's work to be "a primer on Lancaster County folklore" and offers "an insider's view of Amish life."

Booksellers across the country, and around the world, have spread the word of Bev's tender tales of Plain country life. A clerk in a Virginia bookstore wrote, "Beverly's books have a compelling freshness and spark. You just don't run across writing like that every day. I hope she'll keep writing stories about the Plain people for a long, long time."

A member of the National League of American Pen Women, as well as a Distinguished Alumnus of Evangel University, Lewis has written over 80 books for children, youth, and adults, many of them award-winning. She and her husband, David, make their home in Colorado, where they enjoy hiking, biking, and playing with their three grandchildren. They are also avid musicians and fiction "book worms."


In the seemingly ordinary Amish home of Grace Byler, secrets abound. Why does her mother weep in the night? Why does her father refuse to admit something is dreadfully wrong? Then, in one startling moment, everything Grace assumed she knew is shattered.

Her mother's disappearance leaves Grace reeling and unable to keep her betrothal promise to her long-time beau. Left to pick up the pieces of her life, Grace questions all she has been taught about love, family, and commitment.

Heather Nelson is an English grad student, stunned by a doctor's diagnosis. Surely fate would not allow her father to lose his only daughter after the death of his wife a few years before. In denial and telling no one she is terminally ill, Heather travels to Lancaster County-- the last place she and her mother had visited together.

Will Heather find healing for body and spirit? As the lives of four wounded souls begin to weave together like an Amish patchwork quilt, they each discover missing pieces of their life puzzles--and glimpse the merciful and loving hand of God.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Secret, go HERE

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Purposely Said – Dr. Linda F. Beed

Getting the Call?

As a writer the most exciting words you can hear from a publisher are, “We are accepting your submitted manuscript.” What you’ve hoped for has come true.

Life as you once knew it is about to change. Once you sign on the dotted line you will have reached the current zenith of your career. All that is left for you to do now is get ready for the media blitz, your coast-to-coast tour and every few months, merrily skipping to the bank to deposit those coveted royalty checks. You can do this because after all, the hard work is behind you.

Think so? Not hardly.

Once you receive ‘The Call,’ it is time to roll up your sleeves because this is where the next level of HARD work truly begins.

Wisdom dictates that you stop, take a deep breath then look at what your next steps should be.

First you should seek the services of an entertainment attorney to help you understand the language of the contract as well as expectations and responsibilities of both parties (you and the publisher).

While going over that contract pay attention to pertinent items, including:

  • Author’s Rights
  • How long does the publisher retain rights to your work
  • Your rights for reproduction in the form of
  • Audio books
  • Books into Movies, DVDs, Stage Plays
  • Selling of title to book club buyer
  • What happens if the company sells
  • Do you have the option to purchase the rights to your book back
  • Multiple Book Deals with Options
  • What is the actual number of books you are obligated to write under your contract
  • What is the deadline schedule for manuscript submission for each required book
  • What is the definition of option

  • What is an advance
  • Is it a one time payment covering both books
  • Do you have to pay it back if you do not earn out through sales

  • What is it
  • How is it paid
  • What are your rights if not paid according to the contract agreement

    Publisher Assistance
  • Will they provide a marketing budget
  • Will they provide marketing materials
  • Will they provide travel to industry conferences
  • Do you have any say in editing assistance, i.e., if the one assigned to you is not a fit do have an option to choose one who does
  • Do they provide ARC for industry reviews
  • How many complimentary copies does the author receive
  • Do you have the option to purchase copies for your own use

  • Just as you expect the publisher to disclose their position to you, it is your responsibility to understand what you are signing and honor what you have signed. Before you commit be sure that you fully understand the document.

    We cannot know everything, but it is YOUR responsibility to know as much as you can about your business. Do not be afraid to take your time to read and reread. Discuss what you don’t understand with your representative. If possible ask questions of another literary professional. The bottom line is that contracts are binding and each party is expected to fulfill their legal obligation.

    This presentation is rendered as food for thought. Take the time to think through each section. As you do ask yourself:
  • Is this right for me at this time
  • Am I able to meet the responsibilities
  • Can I afford to do this
  • Do I have a personal support system

    Receiving the call is a glorious thing. Enjoy the moment then get down to business. Do so understanding that writing is not only a passion, it is also a business. It is a business you cannot afford to mishandle.

    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:

    lindabeed.com / MySpace / On Assignment Reviews / BWChristianLit

Monday, April 13, 2009

FEATURED AUTHOR: Jacqueline Moore

Jackie Moore is currently pursuing her undergraduate degree in religion and offers spiritual words of encouragement daily on her website http://www.jacquelinedmoore.com/. and her myspace page www.myspace.com/mamajacq. She and her two sons, James and Joseph reside in Detroit, Michigan.

She is also a contributing author to several anthologies including 2008 releases, "Triumph of my Soul, Stories of Hope, Triumph and Inspiration” "Journeys of Love, Voices of the Heart" and “Gumbo for the Soul, Here’s our Child Where is the Village.”

Serving Justice is her debut novel under the Peace in the Storm Publishing imprint.

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

So often we allow others to influence our decisions when it comes to relationships. Instead of listening to our inner voice we listen to the external voices around us and will often make the wrong choices because of it. We have to learn to listen to what’s inside of us rather than to those external things that will try to influence us.

Why did you choose to write this book?

I like to write about issues that make you think. There will always be a lesson learned in everything that I write. So often we allow the world to decide what’s best for us rather than seeing the truth for ourselves.

What did you learn while writing this book?

Everything isn’t always black and white and even when you make a mistake, there is always an opportunity to at least try and correct it.

What was your favorite scene/chapter from the book?

There were several. I enjoyed seeing my characters experiencing their aha moments as self-realizations occurred.

What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?
That even writers aren’t perfect. Every now and then a mistake might make it through, but don’t let a mistake prevent you from seeking out that same author again.

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

Everybody isn’t going to like your work and that’s okay. Everything that you write isn’t meant for everybody.

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

The fact that you have to stay the course if you want to make it in the industry. No matter how good or bad you are, if you never get your work out there, you will never establish yourself as a writer.

What is something readers would be surprised you do?

Roller-skate. I don’t do it as often as I like, but I still succumb to the lure of the music whenever I get near the rink.

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

Just how difficult the writing game can be. The writing part is easy; it’s the rest of the work that’s hard.

How to market myself better.

How to market myself better.

How do you reach new readers?

By networking. I also write devotionals and I reach new readers by sharing those and encouraging my readers to share them with others as well.

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

Stephen King, I would love to know how his mind works.
Lorraine Hansberry. To be so successful at such a young age.
Donald Goines. I grew up reading Donald Goines and he was the first African American author I felt a real connection with. He wrote about the streets of Detroit , where I grew up.

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

Do establish a writing routine. The more consistent you are with a routine, the more you can accomplish. Grant it, there may be days when nothing real gets done but when you are in the habit of sitting down and writing as part of a regiment, you will accomplish so much more.

Don’t give up if this is what you truly desire to do. If you need help, seek it. If you don’t know, learn it.

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

My email address is http://us.mc518.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=jackiemoore@virtuousliving.com
My website is http://www.virtuousliving.com/
myspace is http://www.myspace.com/mamajacq

Our theme for this month is Getting The Call. How should a writer prepare after getting the call?

Be ready to work. Pull together your contacts, call on friends, and seek out resources to help you market you. Some of the many lists that you can start pulling together before you get the call are local media contacts, bookstores, book clubs, etc.

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

“Caught in the Middle” What happens when a woman gets involved with a man BEFORE the divorce is final?

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Getting The Call - Your Experience

Every writer dreams of getting the call.

Share your experience with us.

Where were you when you received the call?

What did you do to celebrate?

Sunday, April 05, 2009


SORMAG is going on tour.
We invite you to come along on our tour.


April 6 - Elaine Cantrell - http://www.elainepcantrell.blogspot.com/

10 Tips For A Perfect Online Interview

April 7
- Dara Girard – http://www.daragirard.com/blog/

10 Tips For Promoting OnTwitter

April 8
- Chelle Hicks - http://chellehicks.blogspot.com/
SORMAG Tours - http://sormagtours.blogspot.com/

Tip For Writers Who Are Promoting Online

April 9
- Ty Moody –http://WrittenVoicesBlog.com/

10 Tips For Promoting On A Blog

April 10
- Wanza Leftwich - http://thegospelwriter.blogspot.com/

5 Reasons Why You Should Attend An Online Conference

April 13
- APOOO –http://www.apooobooks.com/

Meet LaShaunda Hoffman

April 14
- Vanessa Richardson - http://thecertainones.blogspot.com/

10 Tips For Promoting Online

April 15
- Patricia Woodside - http://readinnwritin.blogspot.com/

10 Tips For Promoting With A Podcast

April 16
- Bettye Griffin –http:// http://www.chew-the-fat-with-bettye.blogspot.com/

5 Low Cost Ways To Promote With An Online Magazine
April 17-
Andrea Jackson - http://www.pbdiva.wordpress.com/


A SORMAG GOODY bag will be sent to one lucky blog winner who leaves a comment on tour blogs. (10 winners)

If you join SORMAG’s Community this month, you have a chance to win the following:

$25.00 Gift Certificate to Amazon.com (2 winners)


Much Ado About Reading PROMO AD (value 70.00) (2 winners)

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Getting The Call

Getting the call is every writers hope and dreams. We submit the book then wait for the I loved it, we want to buy it call. What happens after you get the call? Here are a few links to help you survive the call.

First Sale Stories


What Happens After You Get Published?

After the sale: part one

Do you have any advice on what to do after you receive the call? Leave a comment.

Welcome To SORMAG's Blog

About Me

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

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

I’m available for:

Online promotion coaching
Contact me at:lchwriter@gmail.com

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