Hello Pat how are you!
1. Tell us, what led you to write “Somebody’s Sinning In My Bed”? I was led to write my current title “Somebody’s Sinning In My Bed” as a result of my curiosity. I’d often read St. John 8: 3-11 and wondered if the woman was caught in the very act of adultery then what happened to the man? The church folks dragged her from the bed and were about to stone her when Jesus came along and turned things around. However, the man’s name nor his involvement were ever addressed. So I wanted to explore hypocrisy, forgiveness and self-worth as a platform for discussion.
2. What genre is it? It is Inspirational
3. What is “Somebody’s Sinning In My Bed” about? A pastor and First Lady learn the hard lessons of playing with God with different outcomes brought about by their acceptance of responsibility and forgiveness. That’s my uppity answer On the real side, pastor and first lady played one time too many with God and He set His house in order. God used the punishment of a reprobated mind, a murder and ultimately shining daylight on some church folks while still forgiving, reshaping and using them for His glory and purpose.
4. Are any of the characters you or someone you know? I believe there’s a little bit of the writer involved when we write fiction. However, yes, there was one or two characters in this book that were based upon someone I know.
5. Introduce us to your characters and what do you like most about them? Hmmm… Reverend Grayson Young. Narcissistic, he is the extremely handsome and talented young pastor of a Brooklyn, NY mega church. He is what I call a church puppetmaster. I didn’t really like him. He represented the unidentified man who got away with adultery in the Bible.
Chyna Young. She is the wife and First Lady. Seemingly she has it going on. She’s beautiful and adored but at home sexually and emotionally abused by her husband Grayson. If there is one thing I truly liked about Chyna was her ability to go through the steps God set in order for her to return to a place where He could use her. Even though God gives new mercies, and new graces daily, she was truly repentant and it was almost as though God had to work overtime to convince her that He’d forgiven her. Some folks dismiss the idea that sometimes we must be reshaped to be used.
Of course, there’s my favorites: Janelle; she’s Chyna’s older sister. She’s a rebel and when it came to a sense of decorum, Janelle had none. I loved her feisty spirit even when she faced cancer. And finally, there’s old Deacon Pillar. I didn’t set out to make the old wizen fella a favorite with the readers but he certainly stepped up to the plate in this story. His habit of saying what needed to be said, doing what needed to be done even when he shouldn’t have said it or have done it and his own brand of serving God made him priceless. He’s based upon two deacons I know and I love them both.
6. You have another book coming out also, Don’t Blame the Devil, let’s chat about that
7. What were the easiest and the hardest parts to write? Because I was battling cancer during this story I found the humor the easiest part; I needed and wanted to laugh so much during this time, and the relationship between mother and son the hardest.
8. Has writing Don’t Blame the Devil given you any AHHH HAAA moments? There definitely a few. Because I’d been separated from my mother from the age of nine to nineteen I had a chance to see her side of the situation when I wrote Delilah’s situation. It was my biggest AHHH HAAA moment. Then there was a few with Deacon Pillar. For all his boasting and thinking he had a relationship with God that couldn’t be challenged…. Well folks will have to read the book to have those AHHH HAAA moments… but I promise the reader, they will have them.
9. Has a fan, ever realized a point in your book, that you failed to realize? All the time.
10. Has your journey been what you expected? Not even close.
11. How many books have you written? I self published two books. For Kensington I’ve written seven and I’ve contributed to two anthologies.
12. Not calling any of your babies ugly, but which was your favorite? Somewhat Saved is my all time favorite.
13. As a writer, what has been your epiphany? I must say that my epiphany came about when I started writing for a major publisher. I learned quickly that it was no different than the music business… it’s a business and it’s called a business because that’s how it is set up. Once a writer accepts that then I believe they won’t be so thin skinned or buy into “I’m the greatest author because my publishing company told me so and other myths.”
14. Have you ever written anything that left a bad taste in your mouth? I haven’t done so thus far… although there was a scene with Grayson Young that came close.
15. What else do you have brewing? In addition to the upcoming release of Don’t Blame the Devil in September 2010, in July I will be honored by the AA Geneological Society for the creation of Sister Betty and my other literary works. I will also later in the year celebrate thirty-five years of writing and performing Sister Betty.
16. Who are some of your favorite authors? Well, there are so many. However, those who know me will tell you that I’m a huge fan of Jacquelin Thomas. There’s also Tracy Price Thompson, Angela Benson, James Patterson and Vanessa Davis Griggs… those are just a sample.
17. Why do you write? I write because I must. It’s akin to being constantly pregnant… ya gotta push that baby out!!!!
18. What makes your book stand out and entice a reader pick it up? I believe that it’s different for each reader. However, I’ve been told that it’s been everything from the covers to the synopsis. I’d love to think it was because my name was attached to it but I won’t
19. Where do you get ideas? Where you receive motivation? The church and observations of life laced with my own experiences.
20. What do you do while writing? Music etc? My writing environment depends on what I’m writing. For instance when I’m writing Sister Betty stories it’s best that I have music… sometimes those chURch folks will make me crazy if I don’t have a counter balance. For the most part I like to write in quietness where I can hear my characters and how God wants me to portray them. That is very important to me.
21. When you finished writing Don’t Blame the Devil-? How did you celebrate? I celebrated by going to a neurologist.. I’d gotten a pinched nerve in my neck from sitting and writing for hours. Thank the Lord I’m better now but it scared me.
22. Which of your books was the most difficult to write? I believe Cruisin’ On Desperation was the most difficult. There were so many strong women in the story and each vied to tell their part. I won’t be doing that again.
23. Which of your books has bought the most responses from readers? All of the Sister Betty books brings a ton of emails, letters, etc. However, when I tried something different such as Somebody’s Sinning… some didn’t know what to think. There was still the humor and the message but I’d gotten right up in the reader’s face with this one…
24. Do you read you? No. Once I finish with copy edits I move on. It’s probably why sometimes I forget a character’s name, etc.
25. Thus far what has been your greatest reward? For me there’s been many but to have God place into what I call my unworthy hands the gift of Sister Betty is just amazing. He’s done everything from allowing me to create a new genre of literature to winning awards for my comedy performance and writing. Yet on another note, when I receive letters from those who are suffering and they tell me how one of my books brought them through…well that’s just too amazing for me, but I accept it and thank God for it.
26. What are a few things you’ve done to promote your work? One of the most effective things I’ve done to promote is to create the Sister Betty One Woman comedy show. I’ve received awards and traveled extensively performing which cross promotes the books. I’ve also cross promoted with other authors as well as used Simply Read promo materials… was that too shameless of me?
27. Who are your mentors? I’ve several. One of my first ones (although it was only a two-three minute conversation) is Dr. Maya Angelo. Another mentor is my third grade teacher, Ms. Bobbi Madison-Mackey (Williamston, SC) and Dr. Rosie Milligan (Milligan Books in California).
28. What advice do you have for aspiring authors? The publishing industry has changed since I’ve started. However, some things don’t change. My advice to aspiring authors in addition to prayer is to know your craft, limit your circle of friends and follow your own voice. Don’t try to be anyone but you.
29. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? In five years I would like to see myself possibly putting out a book every 3-4 years apart. I love that about J. California Cooper. When you hear she has a new book coming you start to salivate.
30. What do you want people to know about you? I want people to know that I LOVE the Lord. I’m also a very accessible person. What you see is what you get. I’m also a wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother.
31. What are your future plans? My future plans are under wraps at the moment. I hope to be able to share some good news in the forseeable future. Any new books? I have the sequel to “Somebody’s Sinning in My Bed” coming out in September 2010. It is called, “Don’t Blame the Devil.” Upcoming book signings? I have several book signing/performances coming up. My whereabouts can be found on my website. www.patgorgewalker.com Other literary events I will be at the Capital Bookfest in Largo, Maryland. There’s also the Harlem Bookfair on Long Island. I will be limiting some signings this summer as I finish up the Sister Betty Christmas novel. The working title is “The Last Noel.”
32.If you could have been a co-author, with any writer living or dead who would it be? I would love to co-author with Zora Neal Hurston, JJ Murray, Andrea Michelle Bowen and Bernice McFadden.
32. What has been your greatest challenge? Trying to marry family and career is a big challenge. Some days are just better than others but it keeps me in prayer.
33. What do you do for fun? Fun? What’s that I love going to plays and concerts. Some days fun for me is just being quiet and doing nothing.
**Other than the Bible
1. One book that changed your life: “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelo was a definite life changer for me. It showed me I wasn’t as strange as I’d been portrayed by some family members.
2. One book that you've read more than once: “Their Eyes were Watching God.” I could read it over and over.
3. One book you'd want on a deserted island… The Coldest Winter… was and is an awesome book.
4. One book that made you laugh: “Grandmothers, Inc.” by L. Barnett Evans & C. V Rhodes.
5. One book that made you cry: I make it a practice not to read sad stories if I can help it. Right now I can’t think of one that’s made me cry with the exception of perhaps a sad scene or two in “Sugar.” I didn’t cry but I sure could’ve tear up and whupped some butt.
6. One book that you wish had been written: “Sugar” by Bernice McFadden
8. One book that you are currently reading: Game Change by John Heilemann, Mark Halperin.
9. One book that you've been meaning to read: Samson by Jacquelin Thomas
10. One book you've been meaning to finish:
11. One guilty pleasure: Karaoke
12. What’s your theme song? “Victory” by Ty Tribbett
What is your Book and Contact information?
I do not have a literary agent. I can be contacted through Kensington Books/Selena James @ 212-407-1500 or EDC Creations (Ella Curry) email@example.com. When all else fails I can also be reached through my attorney Christopher R. Whent, 212-679-8710. For those who wish to have a Sister Betty performance or for motivational speaking please call 516-502-6405.
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Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
1. Tell us, what led you to write STAND THE STORM? It was a story that I wanted to tell. This is the story of enslaved individuals who build a cohesive, productive, protective family in the face of the horrible realities of the slave system.
2. What genre is it? historical fiction
3. What is STAND THE STORM about? STAND THE STORM is the story of Sewing Annie and her son, Gabriel who build upon their own traditions of needlework. Along with sister, Ellen and Gabriel’s wife, Mary, they manage to purchase their own freedom and build a self-sustaining business in Washington, D.C. in the mid-nineteenth century.
4. Are any of the characters you or someone you know? The short answer would be “no.” But when I write fiction I do feel as though the characters are in some sense composites of people that I know or have known. Of course, in their relationships they do echo relationships in my own life.
Introduce us to your characters and what do you like most about them? I’ll introduce them. Even the characters I don’t like. ;-) The characters at the heart of STAND THE STORM are Annie Coates, Gabriel Coates, Ellen Coates and Gabriel’s wife, Mary. They comprise the courageous, industrious family who purchase their own freedom and establish a thriving business in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. in the years leading up to the Civil War. Jonathan and Aaron Ridley are the white, slave-owning antagonists in STAND THE STORM. Rev. William Higgins, Daniel Joshua and the young girl, Delia are the supporting cast of the novel. Sewing Annie is born enslaved on a plantation in southern Maryland. She is trained as a needleworker. She trains her son to the work and he works alongside her until he is hired out to work in Georgetown, Washington, D.C. Annie’s daughter, Ellen, is also hired out and has experiences that change her circumstances. Gabriel marries a woman who has self-emancipated and struggles to stay free. They manage to purchase their freedom though they are cheated, jailed and denigrated. Gabriel fights with U.S. Colored Troops during the Civil War.
6. You have another book coming out also, MAROON, let’s chat about that - In fact, it’s still being written so is not yet ready to come out.
7. What were the easiest and the hardest parts to write? The hardest part of writing MAROON is the sexual violence. I find it difficult to write about because it is difficult to think about. It’s hard for me to have characters do morally reprehensible things. For me allowing the characters to be flawed is a test of personal courage -- maturity as a writer.
8. Has writing MAROON, given you any AHHH HAAA moments? Yes. I read over material written several weeks ago and am pleasantly surprised to see what I know. I always like the moment of reviewing and thinking “who wrote this?” I particularly like it when washing dishes or driving or cooking or swimming that I get a snatch of conversation from one of my characters. Sometimes I hear myself saying the words out loud as if they are coming from another person. I like this deep involvement.
9. Has a fan, ever realized a point in your book, that you failed to realize? I don’t recall.
10. Has your journey been what you expected? Yes -- in a way. I believe in creative visualization. I think about goals and dream about them actively and work out strategies to achieve them. I’m not rigid in outlining my novels. I do know how to implement my system though. The suspense is that things don’t progress exactly the way they are imagined -- in life or in novels. They take a more circuitous route and that is the fun part of living. I like the “who would have thought we’d be here” moments.
11. How many books have you written? I’ve written three and a half books. Two have been published. One is in a drawer. I’m working on a manuscript now.
12. Not calling any of your babies ugly, but which was your favorite? “Not calling any of your babies ugly” - LOL LIke any good mother I will say I love them all equally - but I love them for different reasons. RIVER, CROSS MY HEART is where my publishing career began. It was a very successful book and very personal. STAND THE STORM is a more mature, writerly effort for me. I love the characters very much. The one in the drawer is autobiographical and is waiting and mellowing. MAROON has my attention now.
As a writer, what has been your epiphany? My young son’s death in 1989 was an event that compelled me to write regularly -- to accomplish a project. I began keeping chronological notebooks. This practice -- priming my pumps -- helped me to organize as a writer.
14. Have you ever written anything that left a bad taste in your mouth? Yeah. I won’t identify it. Sure. We all have a bad game -- even LeBron.
What else do you have brewing? I’m working on another novel. I’m calling it MAROON. It has a 19th century setting like STAND THE STORM though most of it takes place in a different geographical area. The characters are a community of escaped slaves and their descendants, Indians and Europeans.
16. Who are some of your favorite authors? Ernest J Gaines, Toni Morrison, Joyce Carol Oates, Alice McDermott, Walter Moseley, Jean Toomer, Ann Petry, James Baldwin, Saul Bellow, Toni Cade Bambara, Cheryl Clarke, Dorothy Allison, Isabel Allende, Georges Amado, August Wilson, Tennessee Williams, Edwidge Danticat - these are my most major favs. I have many, many more whom I’m merely nuts about.
17. Why do you write? I write, first and foremost, because I read. I have always read -- since my parents first taught me.
What makes your book stand out and entice a reader pick it up? Subject matter I hope.
19. Where do you get ideas? Where you receive motivation? I do a lot of reading -- non-fiction histories. I also visit historic houses and am fond of walking tours. I like to look at old objects, especially work tools. I enjoy imagining the people who use them.
20. What do you do while writing? Music etc? Yes, I listen to music. I rise early and put on my ear phones and listen to contemplative music - without lyrics.
21. When you finished writing STAND THE STORM ? How did you celebrate? My husband and I went to an Indian restaurant in NYC.
22. Which of your books was the most difficult to write? RIVER, CROSS MY HEART was most difficult for me to write because I was learning the ropes with this effort. I feel I had learned many “techniques” by the time I was working on STAND THE STORM. I think I’ve learned a few things through the process of working on STAND THE STORM - so that MAROON will be a better book. That’s what I’m aiming for.
Which of your books has bought the most responses from readers? That would be RIVER, CROSS M HEART. I got a lot of reader feedback because of the Oprah Book Club selection. I’ve been gratified that book clubs have been especially supportive of RIVER.
24. Do you read you? Yes. I’m particularly pleased when I read something that delights and surprising me in my own work.
25. Thus far what has been your greatest reward? That my parents were able to share the excitement of having my books published.
26. What are a few things you’ve done to promote your work? I’ve done quite a few radio interviews to promote RIVER, CROSS MY HEART and STAND THE STORM. I do readings, school visits, lectures, book club visits.
28. What advice do you have for aspiring authors? Get organized and go for it. Not all time spent writing is time actually putting words to medium -- much of the time thinking, wool-gathering -- is writing, too.
29. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Still alive and writing more. Writing is a mature person’s game.
30. What do you want people to know about you? I’m a keen observer and a reliable recorder.
31. What are your future plans? Any new books? Upcoming book signings? Other literary events. My immediate plan is to finish MAROON and get it published. I want to develop a collection of short stories.
32.If you could have been a co-author, with any writer living or dead who would it be? Lorraine Hansberry
33. What do you do for fun? Read
**Other than the Bible
1. One book that changed your life: THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD - by Zora Neale Hurston
2. One book that you've read more than once: ADA OR ARDOR: A FAMILY CHRONICLE by Vladimir Nabokov
3. One book you'd want on a deserted island - CANE by Jean Toomer
4. One book that made you laugh: THE PLOT AGAINST AMERICA by Philip Roth
5. One book that made you cry: THE STREET by Ann Petry (also THE PLOT AGAINST AMERICA by Philip Roth)
6. One book that you wish had been written: BELOVED by Toni Morrison
7. One book you loved to hate THE BONFIRE OF THE VANITIES by Tom Wolfe
8. One book that you are currently reading: BLACK GIRL/WHITE GIRL by Joyce Carol Oates
9. One book that you've been meaning to read: ONE DROP, MY FATHER’S HIDDEN LIFE - A STORY OF RACE AND FAMILY SECRETS by Bliss Broyard
10. One book you've been meaning to finish: THE BONDWOMAN’S NARRATIVE by Hannah Crafts
11. One guilty pleasure: LADY CHATTERLY’S LOVER by D. H. Lawrence
12. What’s your theme song? I’M PULLING THROUGH
What is your Book and Contact information?
Hachette Book Group USA
Cynthia Cannell Agency
Breena Clarke’s debut novel, “River, Cross My Heart,” was an October 1999 Oprah Book Club selection. Ms. Clarke, a native of Washington, D.C., is the recipient of the 1999 award for fiction by the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association and the Alex Award, given by the Young Adult Library Services Association.
Breena, who has survived the death of her only child, writes with depth and clarity about grief. Her work is marked by compassion and magnificent use of language. Fascinated by the vast array of small and insignificant objects that contain finely detailed denigrating images of African-Americans, Breena is a passionate collector of Black Memorabilia.
A graduate of Howard University, Breena Clarke is co-author with Glenda Dickerson of “Remembering Aunt Jemima: A Menstrual Show,” which is anthologized in Contemporary Plays by Women of Color and Colored Contradictions, An Anthology of Contemporary African-American Plays. Her short fiction is included in Black Silk, A Collection of African American Erotica, and Street Lights: Illuminating Tales of the Urban Black Experience. Her recollections of Washington, D.C. are included in “Growing Up In Washington, D.C., An Oral History,” published by The Historical Society of Washington, D.C.
Breena credits having learned to swim nine years ago with changing her life. After completing a course of classes at New York’s Asphalt Green Aqua Center, she has become a member of an aqua aerobics class, swims three times a week and practices Qi Gong.
I started a writing career after reading my first African American novel. I was almost thirty and reluctant to read anything other than financial reports pertaining to my banking career. Upon finishing "Brothers and Sisters" I was convinced I could also write an interesting story worth the price of purchase. 18 months later, it was finished and so was I. Or, so I thought. It was harder than I imagined but I was addicted.
“The Secrets of Newberry” is about, Ivory Bones Arcineaux and Julian Bynote, where life in 1950s New Orleans couldn't be sweeter. Friends since they met in an illegal gambling house in Newberry, Louisiana, they have their pick of all the fine women, good food, and hot nights they can handle. They seem to have it made-especially Julian who begins to make a new life for himself after meeting the beautiful, classy Magnolia Holiday at a social. But both men are about to find out that letting the good times roll can be deadly when a simple robbery goes wrong and Julian witnesses Bones murdering a man in cold blood. The victim was a white city councilman with all the right connections-and if the two are discovered, it will mean the end to everything they've built together. With the New Orleans police hot on their trail, Julian must decide whether rolling in the fast lane is worth losing his freedom and his life.
What did I learn while writing "The Secrets of Newberry"? Through researching New Orleans and its rich culture, I realized that Voodoo, Black Magic, faith, hope and determination can co-exist in a riveting story created to be savored and shared liberally... like gumbo.
I feel the hardest parts to write in any story are the transitions. Making transitions from scene to scene and chapter to chapter as seamless as possible is rough at times. Believe me, it takes lots of practice. Perhaps the easiest thing to write is the last chapter. Bringing a heart-felt story, all of the dialogue and action packed scenes to an end is such a rush. Then, there’s an immediate lull that goes on for weeks when there is no more of that story to tell.
There is always a point or theme in my novels where fans discover something I’ve written then subsequently make an astounding find or revelation. When characters and storylines become real to readers, they often draw inferences from their own lives and past histories. I really dig it when my readers go even deeper than I have. Pun intended.
My literary journey has spanned 12 years and 12 titles. It has been more challenging, rewarding, and disappointing than I expected. But, such in life, if I were 100% satisfied, I wouldn’t be me. “Never satisfied,” I think that’ll be my new mantra. Yeah, I like that.
My epiphany in writing occurred after I’d written “Ms. Etta’s Fast House” then read it as a reader the following year. I thought, “Man, I’m getting pretty good at this. Everybody can’t create a story circa 1947, build a community and all of its characters, then deliver an unforgettable story.”
Baltimore Floyd is my favorite all time character. He’s a cross between Walter Mosley’s Easy Rawlins and his sidekick Mouse. Baltimore is a good man to know, a smooth ladies man who every woman wants and every man wants to be.
I write because I’m half the man I’m intended to be when I don’t!
I purposely study the styles of Kimberla Lawson Roby, Walter Mosley and John Grisham… each are masters of putting readers inside of the rooms, situations and dilemmas of their characters. I love a skillful writer and will always aspire to join them in their mastery.
While writing, I must listen to music… syncopated beats, rhythmic sways and sighs of torment and joy. It sets the mood for me to connect to my characters on the same level.
When I finish penning a novel, I thank my Heavenly Father for all he inspired and helped me to become. Then, I enjoy an adult beverage to celebrate another milestone.
“Down On My Knees,” my first Christian Fiction novel was the most difficult to write. I wasn’t comfortable putting Christian characters in adult situations. So, I called Victoria Christopher Murray for advice. She quickly asked me a very pointed question, “How do you think we get little Christians?” After I fell over laughing, I thanked her immensely then got on with writing the novel.
The best and worst advice I've received as an author were both from E. Lynn Harris. He told me to grasp the idea of a franchise character that readers look forward to loving or loving to hate, time and time again. What I would consider the worst, "to stay published". Although I agree wholeheartedly with the advice, I also believe it provides excuses for authors to do and/or say anything to stay published; including writing junk with hopes of remaining relevant.
I would like non-writers to understand that writers expose ourselves in every story we share, including the depths of our souls.
Do's and Don'ts for aspiring writers: Do write what you believe will make a great story. Don't write anything else.
The toughest test I've faced as a writer is staying true to my original story concepts. With each new book proposal, there is always a possibility of allowing the story to dictate the pace and prospective. Remaining focused on the outline, written aforehand, is so difficult once the characters have their say. Especially those with the steepest bravado.
“Brothers and Sisters” changed my life. After reading it, I became immediately convinced that I too could write a novel. A month later, I had a 45 page novella and an embolden desire to complete it.
I have read several of Walter Mosley’s and John Grisham’s novels over and over again. Loving and learning from every noun, verb and well-plotted adjective.
Visit me at www.VictorMcGlothin.com or email Thewritebrother@hotmail.com
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Hello Michelle McGriff, how are you?
I’m doing great. Busy, but that’s a good thing.
1. Tell us, what led you to write Swerve?
I have been working on the series that this book will be a part of for years. It seems really fun at that time (1991) to show what it would be like to have spies among us. Not just any spies but those with special talents and abilities. I know since that time other great minds have come up with similar ideas for TV shows and many other writers have gone there. As you know there is nothing new under the sun, nonetheless my story is original to me and I can’t wait to see what the response will be to the new direction of storylines.
2. What genre is it?
It is action, suspense, dark comedy and a little romance. It’s got a little drama, touches on the paranormal (very slightly) and oh did I say a lot of action?
3. What is Swerve about?
Swerve is about a woman who thought she had an normal life but the sins of her parents are about to come back in the form of a horrible haunt that she cannot avoid. Haunt, not meaning ghostly but, what I mean is that often as parents we don’t stop to think what our actions will do to our children. Well Romia (using my literary license) inherits an ‘ability’ that her parents had and she doesn’t even know she has it until someone from her past (a past she didn’t know she had) brings it to her attention. It quickly becomes a matter of life and death now, to use what comes naturally to her.
4. Are any of the characters you or someone you know?
Every book I write has either a characteristic or name of someone I know. I can’t tell who it is but yes… someone I know is in this book.
5. Introduce us to your characters and what do you like most about them?
Romia: she’s beautiful and cool, smart and extremely talented. She’s fearless and when put in a situation where fear is an option she works her way around it.
Keliegh: He’s sexy and passionate. Not afraid to stand up for the woman he loves even before he realizes he loves her.
Tommy: She is a good cop and a terrific friend. Beautiful and funny she’s just someone good to have around
Jim and Lawrence: they are my returning characters. They are cops and appear in several books. They are funny and usually pretty crude but you gotta love em. They may bumble a little but they get the job done.
6. You have another book coming out also, West End Girls 2, let’s chat about that
This book is coming out under my pen name. The publisher exposed my pen name with the release of West End Girls 1 so it’s safe to say that Lena Scott is me. She is my Urban Side and her books are urban and a bit more gritty and down to the elements of ghetto living. I’m not a ‘street’ writer from a ‘living the life’ view point but more from the observation seat. I’ve done my time below the poverty line.
West End Girls is about three sisters who make all kinds of normal mistakes trying to find their way to their dreams … that of getting out of the ghetto into a better life. They make the common mistakes many girls make. They think finding a man is a solution. For them, it isn’t because their choices in the ghetto are limited and those men are also just a tad up from down and some of them not even that much. In book one, one of the sisters suffers a great loss and in book two before they can even get over the grief more drama strikes.
Tangueray is the oldest she’s a sex kitten who has learned how to use her body to get a man even though she’d rather find comfort in a dollar bill and a blunt. In book two we see just what happens to her because of her chase of the dollar.
Unique is the middle sister. She lives on welfare and has more kids than anyone young woman her age should… without a better way to support them. Her house hold is unstable and she runs from man to man looking for love and comfort, which often puts her and her children at risk. In book three we’ll see again her family is facing repercussions of her actions.
Sinclair is the baby and her life is actually in a holding pattern. She is innocent and smart yet stuck in the ghetto cocoon which could possibly damage her wings leaving her unable to fly. In all the books we watch her with nervous eyes wondering which youthful mistake will be her last.
7. What were the easiest and the hardest parts to write? Of which book....? Of Swerve it was the action scenes. I am working on being more scenic in my stories. I am a character writer but I want to have my stories be more of the type where readers can taste the scene, smell and feel it. So the fight scenes were hard for me, but they were fun too. In West End Girls, I think it was the language. I’m not a big user of profanity and so I had to really try to think back to the speech patterns of those angry folks around me, frustrated and tired of being broke all the ‘damn’ time (*wink). The easiest part of a book to write is the character’s dialog. I try to get to know my characters so well to where I know what they would say next under any circumstance.
8. Has writing Swerve given you any AHHH HAAA moments?
Most definitely… while writing it, I became convinced that a good story MUST be written. Even if it’s not popular… one day it will be so write it anyway.
9. Has a fan, ever realized a point in your book, that you failed to realize?
They do it all the time. When I wrote For Love’s Sake, a fan realized that I was not a romance writer and that my books were not romantic. I was like, wow… until then I thought I knew what romance was.
10. Has your journey been what you expected?
No, and I think I should just leave it at that *wink.
11. How many books have you written?
I’ve written many, many books and short stories and all kinds of stuff… writing is my life. It’s hard to say how many books… a hundred …. Now in print… no I don’t have that many in print yet.
12. Not calling any of your babies ugly, but which was your favorite?
Oooh I have an ugly baby… Deadly Tease… but it was a HUGE seller… people are scare to read it because it’s so dark and ugly but it’s a read and a half… but my favorite oh mann…. I guess my first one... Majestic Secret.
13. As a writer, what has been your epiphany?
That I have to write. No matter what people THINK I should be doing, I should be writing… everyday.
14. Have you ever written anything that left a bad taste in your mouth?
Most definitely. I have written scenes that turned my stomach…
15. What else do you have brewing?
I am also finishing up my academic paper. I’m writing my dissertation. It will complete my journey as a scholar practitioner. I will have PhD in organizational management
16. Who are some of your favorite authors?
Shelia Goss and others like her who write mainstream stories that are clean and family friendly but with an interesting storyline. Ed McBain. He’s passed away but his stories are rich in character development. He was my mentor (unbeknownst to himself). I have more favorite books than authors. I loved The Money Changes by Sidney Sheldon. I loved That was Then this is Now by TS Hinton. Seventeenth Summer, and Body of a Crime, Lightening, and Nothing last Forever, Let the Necessary Occur (Gayle Jackson Sloan. The perfect Shoe by Kimberly Matthews.
17. Why do you write?
I write because it’s something I know how to do. It’s what I do, like musician’s play music just because they have to. When my boy was little he said… mama I hear a song in my head and I can’t control it. I fed his muse and he’s a musician today. When I was little I told stories, my family fed that love, tolerated it and now it’s what I do… I can’t help it.
18. What makes your book stand out and entice a reader pick it up?
That’s a very subjective answer *wink. I’m not an A-lister so as far as ‘standing’ out… I don’t know. Um but for those who BUY my books and LOVE them… I’d say it’s the passion and realism that my characters bring to the storyline. Most ‘fans’ want to know what so and so is gonna do next.
19. Where do you get ideas? Where you receive motivation? I’m a people watcher. I’ll go the mall or take a walk or simply dream something that turns into a book. I do not write from my own life, I don’t think my life is fiction-book-worthy… non-fiction maybe but definitely it wouldn’t hold up to a vacation read (smile)
20. What do you do while writing? Music etc? I listen to a lot of music. It moves the story. I write a lot in my head so I guess I do a lot of walking too.
21. When you finished writing Swerve, how did you celebrate? I used to celebrate with Champagne and Kippers but I became Vegan a few years back so now I just have champagne and flat bread… with salsa… yeah baby!!!
22. Which of your books was the most difficult to write?
Deadly Tease and Colored Summer. Deadly Tease because of Content and Color Summer because it was mostly first person.
23. Which of your books has bought the most responses from readers?
24. Do you read you?
Yes I read all my books to see what the editor did so that I’m able to respond to readers when they ask me things about the book (beyond the storyline). Many readers want to know about grammar and covers and spelling and typos and such (I feel bad that they miss the story itself) but I like to know what they’re talking about if in fact there were some changes that I don’t know about in a book of mind. Sometimes I read me just because I enjoyed that particular story and like many writers, we get in such a ZONE when we write we have no idea what we wrote until it’s in print and we go… did I write that???? Hehehe.
25. Thus far what has been your greatest reward?
Seeing my book in the grocery store… and Wal-mart. Being a part of a writer’s panel where I got a chance to speak about writing with the ‘experts’ and A-listers like Mary Morrison, Valorie Wilson Westly and … It was rewarding and validated me.
26. What are a few things you’ve done to promote your work?
I have created websites and interviewed with several people, like you. I network pretty heavily online and just hope for the best.
27. Who are your mentors?
They have changed over the years but Ed McBain (virtually), Evelyn Palfrey, Maxine Thompson.
28. What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
To write all the time, love the writing not the fame, not the money… remember only the writing will last.
29. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I see myself teaching in Europe or somewhere in New England at a university
30. What do you want people to know about you?
Not much hahah. Just kidding. But I want people to know what I love writing. I love telling stories and yes it hurts when people slam my books just being mean. This isn’t a game to me; it’s my life and take it seriously. You don’t have to give me 5 stars but to give me one just because you have that power is mean—especially when I’m so available to talk to. Reach out, let’s talk because I write for the reader, not the critic, I write for those who love a story not for those who love to rip a book apart, I love people who look for good not bad because if you look for bad that’s what you’re gonna find… I write to be READ enough said.
31. What are your future plans? Any new books? Upcoming book signings? Other literary events
My future plans are like top secret mannnn. Hahaha. Just kidding again, but seriously my future plans are up in the air right now but just know I’ll be taking notes and writing it down along the way.
32.If you could have been a co-author, with any writer living or dead who would it be?
32. What has been your greatest challenge?
Pleasing my audience and finding my niche market.
33. What do you do for fun?
Dance. I love to dance. Oh and also enjoy playing games online… Farmville whoohooo! I enjoy hanging out with my grandchildren and my friends. Going to plays and shows and shopping… I’m pretty balanced in my personal life. I like doing a lot of things.
**Other than the Bible
1. One book that changed your life: It was a book called Seventeeth Summer. That book totally engrossed me as a teenager. It made me love the young adult romance. I wanted to write one after that and I did. That story was good and it was one of those books that made me say, I could write that.
Also Chances by Jacki Collins, it make me LOVE characters in a book.
2. One book that you've read more than once:
Big Bad City by Ed McBain
3. One book you'd want on a deserted island
Chances by Jacki Collins
4. One book that made you laugh:
So many book have made me ‘laugh out loud’, but I think the late Erma Bombeck’s books are really a hoot!
5. One book that made you cry:
None so far
6. One book that you wish had been written:
Chances by Jacki Collins
7. One book you loved to hate
Anything by J California Cooper. They are so dang hard to read but mannnn they are SOOO undeniably good!!!
8. One book that you are currently reading:
His Invisible Wife… I’m behind the curve on my reading but Shelia Understands.
9. One book that you've been meaning to read:
Crossing over by Jennifer Coissiere
10. One book you've been meaning to finish:
Somebody’s Sinning in my Bed by Pat G’Orge Walker
11. One guilty pleasure:
oooh a big bag of Coconut, dark chocolate chips, dried cranberries all mixed together…
12. What’s your theme song?
Well my friends says it’s I will Survive by Gloria Gaynor…. and well, I’d like to argue but I can’t.
What is your Book and Contact information?
Currently: Blood Relations by Michelle McGriff
Upcoming: Swerve by Michelle McGriff
Pen Name: West End Girls I, II, III
@mdmcgriffm – tweet
1. What made you decide to start Blue Planet Publishing?
My husband and I started Blue Planet Publishing for new authors with extraordinary talent, but who were without a publishing home. We wanted to provide an outlet for those committed artists.
2. How long have you been doing it?
I’ve been a publisher for four years, but I’ve been writing since I was nine years-old.
3. What types of services do you offer?
As a publisher, we offer novel production services for new authors. As a literary professional, I assist new authors with developing their work for publication.
4. Who are you clients?
Blue Planet’s clients are authors with exceptional manuscripts. As a consultant, my clients are authors who are just entering the literary world and need help navigating through the many paths of novel writing.
5. What is the most rewarding aspect of your business?
As an author, it is extremely rewarding to be able see my work in print. It is equally as rewarding as a publisher to help authors realize their dreams. In terms of being a consultant, I enjoy sharing what I’ve learned as an author so that I may possibly help develop great artists who will bring positive change to the literary world.
6. What has been the most difficult?
The most difficult aspect of writing and publishing has been spreading the message that art has no color. So often, African-American authors are classified by what we look like as opposed to what we write about. This “categorization” has a great impact on literature and affects how our work is perceived and therefore purchased. When I work with new artists, I try to help them develop a good story, not a good black story or a good white story. Sometimes, the point of my message is missed or ignored and that is often difficult.
7. What has bought you the most joy?
I’ve found the most joy in sharing with the many book clubs and readers I’ve met. It is wonderful to know that others enjoy my work and understand the underlying messages. By far, the people I’ve met have made me smile and appreciate my gift the more.
8. How do you promote your services?
Blue Planet Publishing has its own website and aspiring authors are free to visit the site and make a query. I also have a website and blog for my personal writing, as well as networking pages. These venues as well as book shows, conferences, and workshops are where we promote and market our imprint and my writing. With regard to my consulting, individuals generally find me through word of mouth.
9. What do you see people do that drives you crazy?
The many contradictions of mankind drive me more to writing than anything else. I find it nothing short of interesting that people say they believe one thing, but don’t realize the conscious effort it takes to really walk in that belief. This contradiction is the premise that the Lost & Found saga series is based on.
10. Where would you like to be in 5 years?
In five years I plan to be helping to rebuild the power of art in our youth. Years ago, art was as crucial to the healthy development of our children as was math and reading. Today, art has been the easiest component to remove from the educational system. A civilization without art is a doomed civilization. I can’t stand idly by and allow that to happen.
11. Who would you love to work with?
I love working with authors who are not just talented, but who are motivated as well. I love what I do and believe cultivating my craft is as important as anything I will ever do. It is wonderful to work with artists that feel the same way.
12. Who are your mentors?
I have met a lot of great artists since my debut. I hate to name names because the list is never complete. That being said, there have been publicists, marketing specialists, readers, book club presidents, and artists that have opened up and honestly shared with me. Each of them have helped light my path thus far. I’m grateful to them for their love.
13. What makes your business or service, stand out from the rest?
There are many houses that publish authors, but not many that develop artists. Blue Planet develops authors so that their talent will grow exponentially and their visions will expand. I work to provide the same service to those I consult.
14. Are you adding any future services to your business?
Blue Planet has been developing a literary magazine for several months. The concept has evolved and emerged and we plan to release it soon.
15. Do you have a staff or is it all you?
As a consultant and author, it’s all me. As a publisher, Blue Planet does employ a staff.
16. What do you want people to know about you?
I want people to know that I love art and want to share that love with world.
17. What do you want people to know about your business?
I want people to know that Blue Planet Publishing values artists and the voice they bring to the literary world. Our house is built for the artist and the development of outstanding literature.
18. When you have completed a project, how do you celebrate?
I celebrate a completed project with a little down time and a fudge ice cream bar. From there, it’s on to the next phase.
19. What has been the most surprising thing you’ve learned from your business?
The most surprising realization we’ve had is that artists aren’t always serious about being the best they can be. I have heard more excuses and seen more fear in the literary world than I could have ever imagined. That has been both surprising and disappointing.
20. Would you change anything about your journey?
Despite the challenges and let downs, I wouldn’t change anything about my journey so far.
21. Do you have any advice for people in business?
There is so much going on in the literary field and so many paths. It’s important for those in the business to remain true to themselves and the goals they’ve established. Don’t be swayed by the latest, hottest new thing. Stay focused and do you.
22. Success leaves clues, whose clues did you follow?
I’ve taken hints from not just the literary world, but from all walks of life. Those that have been the most successful have been consistent, true to themselves, and people of integrity. I believe that success translates in ways other than finances. While it is very important to follow the clues of financial success, it is equally important to observe the inspirations of personal achievement.
23. What have you realized about yourself since doing this business?
I’ve found that I know more than I thought I knew. This walk has been a learning experience and a test. While I continue to learn and grow, I find that I have that much more to give. More importantly, I’m willing to give it.
**Other than the Bible
1.One book that changed your life: Hinds Feet in High Places by Hannah Hurnard
2. One book that you've read more than once: Hinds Feet in High Places
3. One book you'd want on a deserted island: The Stone Flower Garden by Deborah Williams
4. One book that made you laugh: The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
5. One book that made you cry: Can’t think of one
6. One book that you wish had been written: None. I appreciate each work for its own voice.
7. One book you loved to hate: Gone with the Wind (the longest book in mankind, but a classic)
8. One book that you are currently reading: The Art of Racing in the Rain
9. One book that you've been meaning to read: What Mother Never Told Me by Donna Hill
10. One book you've been meaning to finish: Daniel X: Watch the Skies by James Patterson
11. One guilty pleasure: PartyLite candles and accessories
12. What’s your theme song? Not so much a theme, but one I enjoy: Holy Spirit Move, Joe Pace
Sites and Contact information:
Avey World – www.avahlareaux.com
Search Avah LaReaux on FaceBook, Twitter, and MySpace.
Blue Planet Publishing – www.bppbooks.com, www.myspace.com/blueplanetpublishing
Join the Blue Planet Publishing page in FaceBook
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Biography of Aarica J. Blackett:
Born in Memphis, TN, Aarica Jihan Blackett is an Information Technology (IT) consultant, a visual artist and the author of the book No Longer Daddy’s Little Girl.
The inspiration for writing her book No Longer Daddy’s Little Girl came to her when she was in the middle of rebuilding her relationship with her father during her time in college. With the staggering number of fatherless African-American households in the United States, Aarica saw it as her responsibility to reach out and help others. She wanted to share her experience and lessons learned to other young girls who were going through similar experiences of growing up without a father.
Aarica earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics with a minor in French from Spelman College in 2008, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa.
She is an active Big Sister in the Big Brothers Big Sisters Organization of Atlanta, and she is a board member of the Express Yourself School of the Arts organization. Aarica is also the founder and artist of her company Art Pieces of a Dream, which is the company that encompasses all of her visual artistic products.
During her spare time, Aarica loves to play soccer, paint, and listen to music.
The new book, No Longer Daddy’s Little Girl, gives young girls who are growing up without a father in the household a new sense of perspective and responsibility for their own future.
In 2008, 51% of African-American households in the United States were fatherless. The odds are stacked against children in single mother households from the onset. Children raised in these homes are:
· 63% more likely to commit suicide than their dual parent counterparts
· 71% more likely to drop out of high school than their dual parent counterparts
· 111% more likely to become pregnant as a teenager than their dual parent counterparts
· 164% more likely to be a single parent than their dual parent counterparts
Is this the only future that fatherless daughters have to strive for?
This book, No Longer Daddy’s Little Girl, will encourage young girls to take responsibility for their future by respecting themselves, their bodies, and their family. With the growing number of fatherless African-American households in the United States the author, Aarica J. Blackett, sees it as her responsibility to reach out and help where possible.
This book has three attributes that will make readers take notice:
· written for young girls by a young woman
· shares the experiences of other young women in this situation
· reads like a conversation as opposed to a dissertation so that the intended audience can readily digest the information
The author’s father abandoned her and her brother for six years while he tended to the needs of his new wife and new son. No Longer Daddy’s Little Girl is the author’s opportunity to share the diverse lessons she has learned. These lessons touch everything from forming healthy relationships with men to managing her emotions when her father made his reappearance. The combined experiences of the author and other young college women will empower all young readers to love themselves and triumph through adversity.
The book No Longer Daddy’s Little Girl is available for purchase on the book’s website, www.nolongerdaddyslittlegirl.com.
To contact the author, please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Book Website: www.nolongerdaddyslittlegirl.com
Art Website: www.artpiecesofadream.com
7 Interview Questions
How did you start to write this No Longer Daddy’s Little Girl?
After being fed up with being caught in the middle of trying to convince my mother of my loyalty to her and attempting to rebuild a relationship with my father, emotions just came out of me from every point of my body. As tears were rushing down my face and anger filled my veins, I started writing down everything that I was feeling. Every thought, every tear, every scream, every pain was written down in my journal that night. The next day, I returned to my journal in order to comprehend the thoughts that were running on my head. As I was reading, I realized that I had a story to tell. Too many young girls go through this, and no one is there to tell their story from one young girl to another.
How is this book different from the other books that discuss strained father-daughter relationships?
This book has three attributes that will make readers stand up and take notice:
· written for young girls by a young woman (written at the age of 20 years old)
· shares the experiences of other young women in this situation
· reads like a conversation as opposed to a dissertation so that the intended audience can readily digest the information
What are the two most important messages that you convey in your book?
I want young girls in any and all situations to know that despite the negative statistics that face you, you have the strength inside you to fight it. Be the exception to the statistic! In addition to that, forgiveness is a very important lesson with this book. It is important to forgive people in life because it provides closure and builds your character. It takes too much energy to hold a grudge against someone, especially when you can forgive and move on.
How did your parents react to the book?
Both my mother and my father knew about the book while I was writing it. They are both very supportive of me and the book.
Did you always dream of being a writer?
No, I have written poems since I was younger, even had a few published, but I never thought about being a writer. With that said, everyone has talents that they should explore!
What’s next for Aarica J. Blackett?
Well, anything is possible at this point. I am just excited about life and will continue to explore different avenues. Besides writing, I am also a visual artist. I paint positive images of African American women. To see some of my artwork, visit my website at www.artpiecesofadream.com.
An artist? Wow, don’t tell me that the cover of No Longer Daddy’s Little Girl is one of your art pieces?
Yes it is. I painted that piece particularly for the book cover.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
An Inconvenient Friend
Samaria Jacobs AKA Rae Burns has her sights set on Dr. Gregory Preston, a very successful surgeon that can afford her. He’s married to Angelina, The Good Wife, a real Christian, with a broken heart.
As the story unfolds Samaria joins the Women’s Bible Study group to get a look at Angelina, her competition. She meets Angelina and an unlikely “friendship” is formed. “Rae’s” agenda is to get a leg up on Mrs. Preston, but the goodness and sincerity from her prey, puts a very interesting twist in the story. Even though Rae’s plan…”Operation Steal Greg” is in effect. She can’t help but to like Angelina.
The Preston’s lost a child and Angelina wants another child so bad she is willing to look over the late nights, perfume and lipstick stained shirts. Believing her marriage can be saved, she tries to hold things together in spite of the obvious distance and evidence.
Rae Burns method to her madness is desperation. Some self inflicted most were growing pains from a difficult childhood and a love that betrayed her. She’s in serious debt and has the burden of a mother whose mission in life is NOTHING.
Angelina has no clue that the other woman is right in her face. The story line when she gives “Rae” a bible lesson on the book of John and the Samaritan woman, had me laughing out loud because “Samaria” thought she was busted, but it was a lesson in God’s grace. Only Samaria saw the parallels. Very Clever Rhonda!
This 5 star read was excellent. I so loved the twists and the story telling ability of Ms. McKnight. She had me from page one.
ABOUT THE AUTHORRhonda McKnight is the owner of Legacy Editing, a free-lance editing service for fiction writers and Urban Christian Fiction Today, a popular Internet site that highlights African-American Christian fiction. She’s the vice-president of Faith Based Fiction Writers of Atlanta. When she’s not editing projects, teaching workshops about writing or penning her next novel, she spends time with her family. Originally from a small, coastal town in New Jersey, she’s called Atlanta, Georgia home for twelve years. Visit the author online at http://www.RhondaMcKnight.net.
Friday, July 16, 2010
The Little Black Book of Success: Laws of Leadership for Black Women
Written by Elaine Meryl Brown, Marsha Haygood and Rhonda Joy McLean
Little Black Book is a #2 Bestseller on Amazon in the "Management and Leadership" category!
In this engaging and invaluable “mentor in your pocket,” three dynamic and successful black female executives share their strategies to help all black women, at any level of their careers, play the power game—and win.
qualifies as one. It’s chock full of sound and thoughtful advice on how to build a successful business career.
I commend it not just to black women, but to anyone seeking wisdom on leadership and success.”
In-Laws From Hell Book Synopsis
Marriage: The epitome of a catastrophe! In-Laws From Hell describes unbelievable and uncompromising predicaments. Try adding an offensive stench of meddling in-laws vexation; and if you can surpass the maliciousness you could actually enjoy years of wedding bliss. This book will keep you in awe and well entertained.
Andrionna L. Williams was born July 2nd, 1975, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
She was educated in parochial schools in both Las Vegas, Nevada and Los Angeles, California. She graduated in 1993 from St. Mary’s Academy in Inglewood, California and then traveled down south to attend college. Williams attended Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana where she also resided for 15 years.
Andrionna is no stranger to writing, she began writing at the tender young age of 10 years old. Williams first literary piece was titled “I Am Somebody”. She also wrote for her college newspaper as well as some free lance writings for The Answer newspaper and others. However, In-Laws From Hell was her first published novel.
In-Laws From Hell has actually been blessed to see a whole other level. It has T-shirts and boxer shorts available. Webisodes coming soon, Stage play coming next year, and the talks of a Reality Show!
At this moment Andrionna is working on several various projects, to which, include three (3) different anthologies, an Ask Andrionna column in Kreative Connection magazine, and her short story titled Loves Last Secret in The Freak Files erotic anthology.
Although, writing is Andrionna’s calling radio is her passion. She can be heard on Simply Andrionna on Blog Talk Radio, Open Book Radio on KKVV, and The Talk of Las Vegas on KLAV.
Andrionna currently resides in Las Vegas, Nevada with her three (3) beautiful sons.
Andrionna Williams Interview
1. What genre do you consider In-Laws From Hell to be?
In-Laws From Hell is an Urban Fiction, but is also listed as Family & Relationship Drama.
2. What do readers like most about your book?
I would have to say the realness, comedy, and drama that unfolds. This book tells about predicaments that the average person has gone through with their in-laws or the baby mamas.
It is a great and smooth read that is hard to put down, because you definitely do not want to miss what will transpire next!
3. Is In-Laws From Hell a true story?
Yes to certain degree. It has many factual circumstances in the novel, however, some comedy and untruth was added to make the story less unpleasant and more comedic.
4. How do you juggle being a mother first, author, and a radio show host of 3 different shows?
Well it is overwhelming at times, but you have to put everything in order to ensure that it all gets adequate time. My sons go with me to book signings, galas, and various events and they love it more than I do. I set aside time for their sporting and school events as well.
I set away designated time and days when I just write and nothing else. I don’t answer the phone, accept company, or obligate myself to any events. I just write and my children respect that!
My radio shows are easy I just go to the station(s) and do my thing!!! I am in another world when I am on the microphone. Then I host a Blog Talk where I can do in the comfort of my own home.
So it all works out well and flows smoothly believe it or not!
5. What else does In-Laws From Hell have in store for the fans?
In-Laws From Hell has become more than a novel, it has become a brand.
We have webisodes coming, a stage play, and talks of a reality show!
We have T-shirts, boxers, and other novelty items as well.
So just stay tuned is all I can say!
6. You have been acknowledged as a deep sister… Why?
I have very deep thoughts and I am known for the explosive show topics on my radio shows. I am a very intense thinker that has to analyze and dissect all things before I can even speak on them. It is not a second of the day when I am not deep in thought!!!
7. Where can readers find your novel?
They can always find information on www.inawsfromhell.net.
For Booking Information:
(866) 350-1107 or (702) 386-6407
Mr. William Catling P.R
Thursday, July 15, 2010
1. What made you decide to start Shades Of Romance Magazine?
I decided to start Shades Of Romance Magazine to help promote my favorite authors. At the time there weren’t many magazines that promoted multi-cultural literature. I wanted to introduce authors to the readers who were looking for them.
2. How long have you been doing it?
This September we celebrate ten years online.
3. What types of services do you offer? We offer free interviews and reviews to authors. We feature articles about the craft and business of writing. We also offer promotional packages for authors and businesses.
4. Who are you clients? Writers, literary businesses and other business looking to reach readers.
5. What is the most rewarding aspect of your business? Meeting authors and introducing them to the readers.
6. What has been the most difficult? I only have eight slots per month, so it’s kind of difficult trying to pick the authors to promote.
7. What has bought you the most joy? Knowing that people are actually reading the magazine. Sometimes when you put things online, you really don’t have a clue if it is being enjoyed.
8. How do you promote your services? I do eblasts to our membership and on social networks. I also promote on other sites.
9. What do you see people do that drives you crazy? Not having contact info on their sites. I love introducing authors, but I can’t invite them to an interview if there is no way to get in contact with. It’s nice to have a website/blog, but remember to have contact info for the media.
10. Where would you like to be in 5 years? I would like to see SORMAG offer more workshops for the aspiring writers. I’ve been thinking about hosting a live event, maybe a retreat.
11. Who would you love to work with? That’s a hard one because I’ve met most of my favorite authors. I think I’d like to work with Oprah. She’s still on my dream interview list.
13. What makes your business or service, stand out from the rest? We were one of the first in the market of promoting multi-cultural books. My love of books shows with everything I do. Most writers know when it comes to SORMAG it’s not about the money it’s about the book.
14. Are you adding any future services to your business? We just started up our workshops again. This year we’re returning to online workshops along with teleworkshops. We are looking for instructors to host these workshops.
15. Do you have a staff or is it all you? I have 15 reviewers I work with, but the day to day operation is just me.
16. What do you want people to know about you? I try to read atleast one book a month. From most of the interviews I’ve done, most writers say they don’t have time to read. So I promised myself that I would not give up my books.
17. What do you want people to know about your business? We are here to help you promote your book.
18. When you have completed a project, how do you celebrate? I read, to me that’s always a great way to celebrate.
19. What has been the most surprising thing you’ve learned from your business? That this is a small community. Yes there are many writers in it, but somehow we are all connected.
20. Would you change anything about your journey? If you’d ask me this years ago, I would say that I wished I was published. However now I know there is a season for everyone. The years have taught me about the business, something I didn’t know in my twenties. I’ve learned more about promoting and the craft of writing. Yes there have been some hard days, but I wouldn’t change one. This journey isn’t one I planned, but I’m so glad I’m on it.
21. Do you have any advice for people in business? Make a plan and update it yearly. Network and don’t burn bridges, because it always comes back to bite you in the butt. Have fun because if you lose your passion for your business you won’t enjoy and it will come across in your business, nothing like a rude owner.
22. Success leaves clues, whose clues did you follow? I wish I can say I had someone to follow. There weren’t many going down the path I was going. I had to learn a lot on my own. I’m thankful for the internet and google. They helped me connect with people and read tons of articles so I could learn what works and what didn’t.
23. What have you realized about yourself since doing this business? They say if you do something for free and you enjoy it, that’s what you should do. When I started this I did it for fun. I didn’t make a dime for the first three years. I did it because I had passion for it. I still have passion for it and it grows daily. I have loved books since I was four years old and that love has never died. To be able to do something you love is the best thing in the world.
**Other than the Bible
1.One book that changed your life: My Brother’s Keeper by Rochelle Alers. It introduced me to African-American romance, changing my life forever. If I hadn’t read that book, I would have never gotten on the path to start SORMAG.
2. One book that you've read more than once: I think the only books I’ve read twice are the Hideaway Series by Rochelle Alers and Beverly Jenkins historicals.
3. One book you'd want on a deserted island I think I’d take Topaz or Vows because those are my all time favorites.
4. One book that made you laugh: The Blessing Series by Beverly Jenkins. Both books cracked me up.
5. One book that made you cry: My Sister’s Keeper. I cried like a baby at the end.
6. One book that you wish had been written: Harry Potter’s series. JK Rowland has an imagination out of this world.
7. One book you loved to hate. I haven’t found a book I hate yet and I hope I never do.
8. One book that you are currently reading: Always Watching by Brandilyn Collins and Amberly Collins
9. One book that you've been meaning to read: The Shack. Everyone has talked about it, I just need to get it from my huge pile and read it.
10. One book you've been meaning to finish: I always finish the book. It drives me if I don’t.
11. One guilty pleasure: Ice cream, I can have it every day.
12. What’s your theme song? The God In Me by Mary Mary
Sites and Contact information -
SORMAG website – http://sormag.com
SORMAG’s Blog – http//sormag.blogspot.com
SORMAG Special: Order our best selling promotion this month(JULY) BOOK INTRO for $60.00 and receive one for free. That’s two promotions for the price of one. When you make your purchase, let me know you read about it here on Debra’s blog.
LaShaunda C. Hoffman - http://sormag.blogspot.com
Need help with your book promotion?
Katrina Spencer Unbeweaveable
Mariah "Weavy Wonder‟ Stevens doesn‟t take no for an answer. Her take charge, tough-as-nails exterior has helped her become Book Review Editor at Spirit Magazine—no small feat considering she‟s only 29. She lives in a stunning apartment in Manhattan, her clothes are ripped straight from the runways, and her manicured nails are never chipped. Life is good.
Her secret weapon? Her long, glorious weave, which she‟s been wearing since she was 16. It‟s her power, her strength, and she‟s completely addicted to it. She can‟t even remember what her real hair looks like.
In a sudden move, Spirit Magazine folds, and for the first time in her life she‟s left asking, “What‟s next?” With her savings dwindling, she‟s forced to remove her weave and make the call that she hasn‟t made in years—the call home.
Now Mariah is back home in Houston, living with her well-to-do biracial sister and light skinned mother, both who are blessed with hair long enough to sleep in. Mariah has always stuck out like a sore thumb, and is constantly reminded of such with her dark skin and kinky short hair.
Living in Houston has Mariah facing her old demons and without the support of her weave she‟s losing her most important asset: her confidence. When she discovers a family secret, it opens the doors to her past and threatens to break her already fragile world apart. With her sister by her side, Mariah is determined to learn the truth. Unbeweaveable is about Mariah‟s quest to confront questions of love, loyalty, and family to find her way back home.
Katrina Spencer Unbeweaveable
Release Date: July 6, 2010
Publisher: Genesis Press
Thursday, July 8, 2010
I love common sense; it’s the voice of reason amongst the madness. Just remembering the core values you were taught as a child, makes life easier, less stressful and brings less drama. Do unto others as if you were the others, is just common sense. I remember clearly listening to my Mom and Grandmother rambling on their” ism’s”. I also remember rolling my eyes saying what do they know. But I also clearly remember how even to this day, when they just made sense. Observing the obvious, and how the core values always kick in.
I just got finished reading
Angelia Menchan’s, Re-Rambled. She should have subtitled it “life in common sense”. I really loved her random discussions and observations on life. I laughed because I have often thought the same things and had these conversations in my head. Angelia’s thoughts are reminders of our core values. I found myself naming people at the end of each essay who I could dedicate it to, as well as adding an “ism” that I was reminded of from my core. This book is a treasure, of what makes just makes sense.
Be the peace you seek
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
About the Book
Looking for Love . . .
Lifelong friends Coco, Nita, and Audra have spent years looking for love in the arms of flashy pro athletes, hoping to land a baller but ending up with a stream of failed relationships. The beautiful and demure Coco has endured years of physical abuse from her boyfriend, Sonny, while Audra, a single mother, has dated her fair share of cheaters and yearns for a stable companion who will be a father figure to her son. And feisty, seductive Nita is tired of being the million-dollar mistress and wants to settle down—if she can find someone worth coming home to.
Changing the Game . . .
Now that the women are approaching thirty, they’re finding it harder than ever to compete with the pro groupies. Determined to change the game and find some worthwhile men, Audra hatches an outrageous plan. Soon the trio is "holy rolling," masquerading as God-fearing churchgoers at a local conference for young ministers in the hopes of snagging a prominent pastor. But will their big gamble pay off? Men of the cloth are still just men, after all. As the three friends meet their potential life partners, they will have to decide how far they want to take their holy rollers scheme—each risking heartbreak while taking a chance on finding a reliable, responsible man to love and cherish, flaws and all.
About the Author
ReShonda Tate Billingsley is a national bestselling author of 19 books, all published by Simon and Schuster/Pocket Books. In 2000, after numerous rejections from publishers, ReShonda stepped out on faith, established her own publishing company, and self published her debut novel, My Brother’s Keeper. The book caught the attention of one of the country’s top literary agents, who secured a deal for ReShonda with megahouse publisher, Simon & Schuster/Pocket Books.
The rest, as they say, is history.
ReShonda went on to sign one deal after another with Simon & Schuster and to date, is considered one of the country’s top inspirational authors. Her sophomore novel, Let the Church Say Amen, is being made into a movie of which she is Executive Producer and actress Regina King is the director. ReShonda’s literary career is such a success that in 2007, she was able to leave her job as a reporter with Fox 26 News in Houston to write full time.
ReShonda has appeared on the Essence Bestseller’s list more than 20 times, as well as The Washington Post, Dallas Morning News and Ebony Magazine Bestseller’s lists. Her books include The Devil is a Lie, Can I Get a Witness, The Pastor’s Wife, Let the Church Say Amen, Everybody Say Amen, I Know I’ve Been Changed and My Brother’s Keeper. Her inspirational teen novels include Nothing But Drama, Blessings in Disguise,With Friends Like These, Getting Even, Fairweather Friends, Friends ‘Til the End, and Caught up in the Drama. She has one non-fiction title, Help! I’ve Turned into my Mother. ReShonda has won numerous awards for her journalism, fiction and poetry writing skills. She is a five-time winner of the National Association of Black Journalists Spirit in the Words competition, one of Rolling Out Magazine’s Top 25 Women in Houston and H-Texas Magazine’s Top Professional.
ReShonda’s upcoming projects include Holy Rollers (July 2010), Say Amen, Again (July, 2011), the teen novel Drama Queens (Fall 2010), and two travel suspense novels. The Houston native also serves as a freelance editorial and marketing consultant. She has ghostwritten four fiction projects and five non-fiction projects. She is married with three small children and does not hide her addiction to Reality TV and Facebook.
She welcomes readers to her websites at