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Welcome To SORMAG's Blog

Monday, June 30, 2008

EXCERPT: Even Sinners Have Souls


Even Sinners Have Souls

by Noire, Chunichi, KaShamba Williams, B.L.U.N.T.

Each gritty tale is told in a raw and real voice, luring the readers in by the poignant storylines, themes, and the genuine talents of each of these prolific authors. The characters face the same struggles and tragedies that any other person growing up in the hood might endure, but what makes these stories phenomenal is that although these characters might be living a dangerous, immoral and unacceptable lifestyle according to society’s standards, they are not so far gone that they can’t acknowledge the power of a higher being and a life changing moment that could alter their lives forever.


The email address is : enjoywrites@aol.com
The website is www.enjoywrites.com
myspace: www.myspace.com/enjoywrites

Trust No Man
By
Chunichi

Chapter One

"Whatever!" Tatiana put her hand all up in Tike's
face as she walked by him with her signature strut; legs
stretched strong, behind tooted out.

"Dang, loose booty," Tike replied, uncut by Tatiana's
razor sharp tongue. "I got a G stack on dat, Goldie.
What's up?”

Tike was just some young hood who, for someone his
age that banked lots of money, still lived at home with
mama. But one couldn't tell he had paper by his appearance,
though. He pretty much wore the same dingy
white tee with worn baggy jeans. Unlike some of the
other young hustlers on the block, Tike liked to stack
his loot. He claimed that while all the other young cats
were being stupid by spending all their money on brand
names that made Sean, Jay and Russell millionaires,
instead he would save up his money until he became
one himself.

The rude group of guys that were hanging out on the
block with Tike paused their dice game long enough to
watch the word "Juicy", printed on the backside of
Tatiana's sweat pants, bounce up and down as she
passed by. With bow legs, light eyes, curly, shoulder
length hair and a coke bottle frame that barely hit five
feet, she had the attention of all the fellas in the hood.
They yelled one comment after another as she made her
way into the corner store.

With one hand on the store's door, and the other
hand on her hip, she paused, "It ain't nothing a dude
can do for me but break bread. If you ain't breaking no
bread, this convo is dead," Tatiana spat, as she rolled
her eyes and then stepped into the store.

Tatiana picked up a pack of backwoods, a bottle of
water and a lighter. She was fiendin' for a smoke so bad
that she could practically taste the weed on her tongue
as she headed to the register and placed her items on
the counter.

"That will be five dollars and ninety-seven cents," the
clerk said after ringing up Tatiana's things.
Tatiana went into her purse and pulled out the
money.

"I got that for you, Ma," a male voice said as he
grabbed her hand to prevent her from paying the clerk.
"Wow, thanks. A whole six bucks, and all for little ole
me," Tatiana said sarcastically, as she turned around
and faced the smiling, thugged out looking dude that
stood behind her.

He was a perfect six feet tall. He was rocking cornrows,
Tru Religion jeans and a fresh white tee; looking
like the average thug. All he needed was a blinged out
grill.

"Don't get it twisted, lil mama. I woulda done the
same for you if you were an old lady, lil kid, or junkie on
the street. Dat's just me, baby girl."

Tatiana eyeballed the Good Samaritan up and down
as she placed her money back in her purse. The way
this dude talked had really caught her attention. His
tone wasn't smart-alecky, but had enough spice to let
Tatiana know that his act of kindness towards her
didn't make her special.

"Oh, so it's like that? You all generous and things to
just any ol' body, huh?" She asked her first test question.

"I guess. If that's how you want to put it." The guy
grabbed the bag of items that the clerk had packaged up
and then handed them to Tatiana, who just stood there
looking at him. "You gonna say thanks?" he asked as
she accepted the bag.

"Dang! Give me a chance." She rolled her eyes and
then paused for a second before saying, "Thank you."
Tatiana emphasized the words while rolling her neck.

"Anything for you, sweetie." He winked, letting
Tatiana know that he wasn't all hardcore; that he had a
soft side buried somewhere within as well. "Can I do
more?" He proceeded to pay for the soda and bag of
chips that he was purchasing for himself while he waited
on her reply.

Little did he know, that was just what Tatiana
wanted to hear. Like she'd told many men before, there
was nothing a man could do for her but buy her things.
Other than that, no man was any use to her. So when
this gentleman offered to do more, the answer was not
just "yes," it was "Hayellll, yes," with a capitol H.

"It depends on what you are trying to do," Tatiana snapped
back, sure not to seem too eager.

"I'll let you call it, Lil Miss Attitude," the young man
calmly responded, acknowledging Tatiana's feistiness.
"And it's Goldie; Miss Goldie to you." Tatiana licked
her lips. "Miss Goldie can be reached at 328…" She gave
him her nickname and then read off her phone number.
He took out his cell phone and entered and saved it
into his electronic phonebook.

"Aight, Miss Goldie. I'll holla at you. And since you
asked," he said before telling the clerk to keep the
change, his words laced with a dose of his own sarcasm,
"the name is Jo," he winked and then headed out the
door. Jo nearly ran into Tike, who stood right outside
the exit, staring in.

Tatiana exited the store soon after. She hadn't even
gotten out of the store good before the comments from
the boys in the hood began again.

"Oh, a G stack wasn't good enough, huh?" Tike said
after witnessing Tatiana giving up the digits to Jo. "You
be playing games." Tatiana ignored him and kept on
walking. "Forget you. You'd probably rather bump monkeys
with your home girl, Kandi, anyway; homo trick,"
Tike yelled to Tatiana, knowing of one of her best
friends, Kandi's, bisexual orientation. "So what dude
offering? A spot on his trick block picking up where yo'
mommy left off?" Tike said, entertaining all the dudes on
the block like he was the hood comedian.

To Tatiana's ears, his audience's laughter was like the sound
of a microphone nearing a speaker getting too much feedback.
That comment Tike made set it off for Tatiana. She
stopped in her tracks and turned around. She looked up
at the dirty little boy that she stood toe to toe with and
said nothing. Her eyes alone said it all. Her mouth moistened
as all sorts of thoughts ran through her mind. Her
mouth filled with fluid as she prepared to empty her
wetness in Tike's face. She took a deep breath and
cleared her throat to bring up every ounce of sinus
phlegm she had in her body until her mouth was full to
the point she wanted to throw up.

"Yo!"
Tatiana heard a voice then felt a shove as Jo
forced his way between her and Tike.

"Chill out, lil man, fo' you be off dis block," Jo said as he
stood between Tatiana and the nothing little peon that had disrespected
her. His towering body was like a shadow over Tike's
five foot, six inch, thin frame.

"It's all good, homie," Tike said, raising his arms in
surrender. "We was just playing around with Miss Lady,
here. It ain't nothin'." It was obvious that Tike didn't
want no drama with Jo. He was all talk and no action.

"Just make sure nothin' never turns into somethin'
and we good." Jo held his hand out to Tike, who hesitantly
shook it and then made his way over to the game
of dice like a wounded pup.

"You alright, baby girl?" Jo asked, sincerely concerned
as he turned his attention to Tatiana.
Tatiana stood silently, trying to calm herself back
down. She then spat on the ground and looked up at Jo.
"I'm good. I can handle my own, though. I don't need a
big brother," Tatiana snapped, as she headed toward
the truck that just that afternoon she had convinced
some naive boat boy to let her hold while he was out to
sea.

"Dis you?" Jo asked, following behind her, surprised
to see her driving a 08 Cadillac Escalade.
"Nope. Another dude's whip. That's all y'all good for
anyway; just to use and abuse. All y'all the same; disrespectful,
dead beats, womanizers, and woman beaters. But I know one thing,
you can bet cha last stack this chick here will never fall victim."
Tatiana, got in the truck, shut the door, and then sped off, leaving Jo
speechless.

Once on the road, and out of sight from anyone on
the block, Tatiana's eyes filled with water. She didn't
know why she had let Tike's words get to her. She
thought she had mastered the art of tuning men out
after breaking it off with Touch, the last dude she had
called herself playing the part of wifey with. All Touch
did was belittle her with his tongue; putting her down in
an attempt to build himself up. That was something
Tatiana took note of that men often did as a twisted way
of making themselves feel like a man.

Tatiana hated all men. Even when she tried to give a
guy a chance, he would always end up being just like
the others. She knew she was bitter when it came to
men, but that's all she'd ever seen or known. Not one
man had ever done anything to even make her think
twice about the way she felt about them. And for that
fact, she always said that if God was a man, then she
hated him too.

"I look way too good to be innocent." Her phone
interrupted her thoughts as it played the lyrics of
Conceited by Remy Ma. The number that showed up on
the caller ID was unfamiliar. "Hola?" Tatiana said with a
fake Spanish accent, disguising her voice just in case
she had to play stupid to the person on the other end of
the phone.

"Miss Goldie?" a male asked from the other end.
Tatiana knew it could be only one person calling her
Miss Goldie, besides, the sound of his voice was still
fresh in her head.
"Yes, Jo?"
"You aight?"
"Yes, I am." Tatiana's tone was as if she was more so
aggravated by his concerns rather than flattered.
"Yo, ma, why you so mean? You got me confused, on
the real. I ain't been nothing but chill since I met you
and you ain't gave me nothing but grief. Why you even
give me your number if it's all like that?" Jo asked, trying
to figure out what was up with Tatiana and all her
attitude.
"For the dough." Tatiana kept it real. "Like I said,
that's all men are good for."
Jo chuckled at this girl's directness before replying,
"Okay. I'll take that risk. I'm still gonna holla at you
even with dat said. In the end, I'm sure you'll realize you
got a good man on your hands," Jo said confidently.

He could tell by the hurt look in Tatiana's eyes when Tike
was clowning on her, that she had some issues. But he
knew just who could resolve them. Tatiana's hard attitude
didn't scare him off, nor was it a threat. It was a
challenge; one that Jo was willing to take.

"Don't be so sure, boo. I don't know what a good man
looks like, acts like, talks like or walks like. I ain't never
seen one. To keep it real, I ain't know they even existed.
If you're a good man, you better breed fast, 'cause I
think you the only one left on the face of this earth."
"Just give me a chance. That's all I ask."

"You want a chance, Mister Jo? Cool, I'll give you
that. Because guess what? It's real easy to keep me
around." Tatiana began to break it down like it was part
of the Ten Commandments. "Keep the money coming
and you'll keep me. And it goes the same when it comes
to losing me. Money gone; I'm gone. They don't call me
Goldie for nothing! Got it?" Tatiana said with no shame.
This chick is really trying to play me like a sucker, Jo
thought to himself. It seemed as though Tatiana was
becoming more brazen by the minute. Maybe her wall
was too strong to be broken down. Jo contemplated on
whether or not he should just hang up and erase her
number, but he decided to play this thing out. He was
in it to win it.

"Why do they call you Goldie anyway?" he
asked in an attempt to make her believe that he was
ignoring all of her other statements.
"For a few reasons." Tatiana prepared to break it
down. "One, because the opportunity to holla at a chick
like me is golden. Two, I'm straight gold digging and I
don't keep it a secret. And three, the chances of a dude
hitting this is like the chances of him finding a leprechaun
carrying a pot of gold. Now, like I said before,
got it?"

The thought of hanging up on Tatiana popped into
Jo's head again, but something just wouldn't let him do
it. "Yeah, aight." Jo chose to swallow his pride and listen
to the angel whispering in his ear on the right rather
than follow the constant whisper of the devil on his left
telling him that this chick was unsavable; that he could
never get her to change her mind about men. "But just
one thing." Jo paused. "What's your government name?"
She hesitated, preferring that he call her Goldie like
all the other dudes, but then her real name just came
out. "Tatiana."

"Aight, Tatiana. You got my number; it showed up on
your phone, I'm sure. Just give me a shout when you
ready to get with a real man-the man." Jo ended the call
by hanging up in her ear without saying so much as
"later," giving himself a little self esteem boost.

"Whatever!" Tatiana said to herself after Jo hung up
in her ear.

She thought to herself as she continued her route
home that Jo probably had plenty of game; but not
enough to change the thoughts of Tatiana Turner. The
way she felt about guys was set in stone and there was
nothing that anyone could do, or say, to change that.
One thing that Tatiana had promised herself was
that she would never be a man's punching bag, baby
mother, ex-wife or mistress. And the world could give
thanks to her sperm donor, Silk, and that no good
mother of hers, Jan, for blessing her with the foundation
for those thoughts, and for losers like Touch that
she let into her life for confirming it. They had ruined it
for every man that crossed her path and got burned
with the golden torch.

But little did Tatiana know, if Jo was to have his
way, he just might have the water to put out that flame
of the golden torch.

Friday, June 27, 2008

FEATURED AUTHOR: Vivian Elebiyo


Vivian Elebiyo was born in 1979 in West Africa. Ms. Elebiyo’s specialties include abstinence, humor, spirituality, goal setting, and topics pertaining to self-packaging, women’s struggles, self-help on relationships, and finances.

Ms. Elebiyo is a Life Coach, Speaker, and Poet. She is a Certified Abstinence Educator for the State of Florida

She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in counseling at the Center for Biblical Studies. She currently resides in Houston, Texas where she writes about sex, dating, and the teenage experience.

My Virginity is Ruining My Sex Life

What does "virginity" really mean? Is there really any difference between sexual intercourse and making out? My Virginity is Ruining My Sex Life discusses everything about virginity, all the questions that ravage today's youth, what to do—and what "not" to do—with the opposite sex. An honest first book that is both brutally frank and firmly morally grounded, it will be instantly recognized as an invaluable addition to the literature on abstinence. What the book has to say is so forceful, so charged, so unflinching—yet, so true—it will leave readers both wincing in embarrassment and nodding in assent on recognizing its truth.

My Virginity is Ruining My Sex Life is a book geared towards young adults, it teaches the tools to saying “No” to premarital sex and it gives good dating tips and tips on setting boundaries. In today’s world young adults are bombarded with sexual innuendos on T.V., sexually perverse messages on the radio, and nude images on magazines. My Virginity is Ruining my Sex Life helps them find that inner strength to stay untouched by the gratification the world has to offer which does not last long. Whether dealing with lack of self-control, or hurt from participating in sexual activities, or with emotional and out of control relationships, My Virginity is Ruining My Sex Life encourages and challenges readers to make a choice to walk in abstinence and not to give up the fight to stay sexually pure.


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

My Virginity is Ruining My Sex Life will teach you the art of saying ‘no’ and how to command respect for your values. You will learn that as a woman, you set the standard and any man who is not willing to follow the blueprint must find another builder. This book will nourish your mind, body and spirit.

You will trade away your weaknesses, disappointments, and failures for a more resilient, stronger, and self-assured YOU! You would learn to transmute your sexual energy in more productive ventures.

What did you learn while writing this book?

While writing this book I had to share a lot about my experiences and digging into my past mistakes wasn’t particularly exciting. I have made my share of mistakes; I have some regrets and I have gotten confused about how chaste I really am. But over the past few years, I decided to live a life that I could look back on and be proud of, by keeping my body intact, everything together, the way God intended it to be. I still have to fight temptations every day; some days I have fallen, at least in my mind. The truth is, no one is perfect. You make mistakes, you learn and you move on. I have learned that I am only human and that I am not perfect but most importantly I have learned that overcoming our mistakes and weaknesses can someday help somebody else.

What inspired this book?

The inspiration for this book came from a conversation with a friend about saving sex for marriage and getting rejected by men in the process. The conversation lasted for hours as we both recounted all the men that broke up with us because we decided not to have sex with them.
What is the hardest part about the writing business?

Writing can be very exciting but like other things in life there can be issues. The hardest part about the writing business is actually being able to sell your ideas to others and get your book published for others to read. Most writers dream of seeing their works in the hands of millions of readers around the globe but for a lot of talented writers it’s a dream that never happens because the writing business is the hardest to break into.

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

Our words are our weapon and writing is the greatest weapon of all, created by God and given to men.

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

The word of mouth marketing has been the most effective for me and the marketing of my book. I also use the internet as a tool, most of the networking pages like myspace, and facebook,
have been really helpful.

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

1. Listen more to my heart
2. Give more time to my passion instead of other things.
3. Be more aggressive about my dreams.

This month our theme is Mainstream Fiction. Can you give us five mainstream authors you read?

1. Jackie Collins
2. Nora Roberts
3. Danielle Steel
4. William Shakespeare
5. Maya Angelou

Do you have any advice for the aspiring writer?

My advice to an aspiring writer is to focus on your passion for writing put all you can into it and venture out on your own first and keep trying to submit your manuscript to publishers.
It is also important to do your research and understand the business aspect of writing it takes more than just passion to get your work into the hands of readers.

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

Readers can contact me through mail at:
Vivian Speaks, Inc.
P.O. Box 7018
Tallahassee, FL 32314

info@vivianspeaks.com, vivianelebiyo@yahoo.com,
http://www.vivianspeaks.com/, www.myspace.com/vivianelebiyo

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Featured Author: Cherilyn L. Azubuike


Cherilyn L. Azubuike

An avid reader since the age of 5, Cherilyn is no stranger to expressing her ideas and captivating her audiences by inspiring them to live powerfully and purposefully.

After a corporate layoff, Cherilyn started putting faith in motion by living her life to the fullest and on her own terms, armed with nothing more than a pen in hand and a will to succeed; she started her entrepreneurial journey as a transformational speaker and business coach. July, 2007 she launched her syndicated radio show: Unveiling the Mask to more than 1,000,000,000 listeners. Currently she resides in St. Louis with her three children.


Weekly Wisdom: 52 Ways to Live a More Fulfilled Life

Weekly Wisdom acts as a mirror reflecting those images that we often avoid looking at because it reveals the truth about ourselves that we often try to disguise or avoid all together. As women we are taught to be strong and never reveal our insecurities are fears and yet in trying to be everything to everyone we often loose ourselves in the process. This book serves as the foundational platform that allows you to be stress free, drama free and debt free in order for you to live your life to the fullest.

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

Since I write non-fiction books I want readers to be able top take a deeper look into who they really are. Dropping all pretenses, other people’s perceptions, releasing the grips of their past and see the truth of who they really are, knowing that it doesn’t matter what you did, your social or economic background what matters is you and your belief in yourself and know that you alone have the ability to change sails and rewrite the script of your life.

What did you learn while writing this book?

I learned that we don’t get in life what we want; we get in life what we are. I learn that people will be people and that we are all here on our journey in life learning our lessons the best way we can. Some have excelled to different phases of life and others may not be as far along as others are but we are all where we are suppose to be at each moment. I learned that wherever you find yourself at any given time you made a divine appointment to be there.

What inspired this book?

It’s been said that when the student is ready the teacher will appear! When I finally decided that my past does not dictate my future and that I have the power to change my life just by willing to do so, then all those areas that I had the most difficulty with constantly kept resurfacing in my life. I began to see just how out of balance my life really was and as I started working on myself, changing people , places and things then I began to see excel in various aspects of my life and began attracting new experiences and new people in my life that was parallel to the direction I wanted in my life. I was inspired to help other women who are constantly finding themselves in the same vicious cycle year after year and are blaming their spouses, their finances, their parents, their past for the conditions and situations they are facing in their life. Weekly Wisdom gets down to those core principles that allow you to stand face to face with your biggest enemy which is the in-a- me!

What is the hardest part about the writing business?

Getting your name out there and establishing yourself.

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

I wish that non-writers would understand that this is a business and that we take our love and passion for our craft seriously.

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

I am still learning the game of marketing. Right now I can say word of mouth and networking.

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

I wish I had researched every aspect of the writing and publishing world; you must educate yourself on every aspect of the business not just writing your book, but also know about every phase of the writing industry.

Also I wish that I had understood that marketing is vital to your career and that everyone is not going to be supportive of your endeavors.

This month our theme is Mainstream Fiction. Can you give us five mainstream authors you read?

Lately I have been focused solely on the inspirational/self-help genre, but five of my favorite mainstream authors are Kimberla Lawson Roby, Eric Jerome Dickey, E. Lynn Harris, Donna Hill, Connie Briscoe and I must mention the late great Bebe Moore Campbell.

Do you have any advice for the aspiring writer?

Yes! The best advice I believe I could offer aspiring writers would be to study your craft. Research every aspect of your craft from A-Z, you should be informed and educated in every aspect of your writing journey from writing, to publishing to marketing. Ignorance is not bliss and know that no one is going to have your best interest at heart like you, there’s a bottom line in it for everyone so make sure you know that this is a business and not just a hobby or favorite pastime. Keep the faith in all that you do. You have to know, that you know, that you know that everything will work out for your good and that with GOD all things are possible.

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

Yes, I love hearing from readers as well as aspiring writers. I look forward to connecting with you all.

I can be reached via snail mail at Unveiling The Mask Enterprises P.O. Box 5960 St Louis, MO 63134

Website: http://www.unveilingthemask.com/

Email addresses: info@unveilingthemask.com

www.myspace.com/unveilingthemask

www.shoutlife.com/cherilynspeaks

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

FEATURED AUTHOR: MaRita Teague


MaRita Teague has a Master’s in English and teaches at Northern Virginia Community College. She has publications in A Cup of Comfort Devotional for Mother, All My Good Habits I Learned From Grandma, and Living the Serenity Prayer.

MaRita writes in the Christian fiction genre because she is compelled to draw others to God through realistic and entertaining stories. Most importantly, however, she has said the stories she writes are characters faced with heart-wrenching losses and revelations who ultimately find solutions to their problems with Biblical principals. She has often said writing Christian fiction is her heartfelt passion and ministry.

She currently teaches English Composition at Northern Virginia Community College and lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, Zedric, and her three sons. The Taste of Good Fruit is her first novel.

THE TASTE OF GOOD FRUIT

Have you ever wondered why bad things happen to good people?

Sydney Ellington, her sister, Sherese Hightower, and their closest friend, Chanel Dubois, each ask this question as they encounter seemingly insurmountable challenges in The Taste of Good Fruit.

Sydney has what she’s always dreamed of—a loving husband, a thriving career, and unshakable faith—that is, until she is faced with unimaginable heartbreak. Sydney has always worked hard to live a life that’s pleasing to God, but an unimaginable tragedy causes her to question how a loving God could have a purpose in her life.

Sherese prides herself for avoiding hypocrisy at all costs, vowing that her childhood of sacrifice and neglect as a preacher’s daughter wouldn’t be continued through adulthood. Destined to be free of church drama, Sherese distances herself from church and faith, but the revelation of a devastating secret causes her to question all she thinks she knows about herself, faith, and the church.

Although Chanel has shaken nearly all of the remnants of her turbulent childhood, she can’t seem to forgive her mother for the past. Her anger and trust issues gradually seep into Chanel’s already troubled marriage making her blind to the blessings around her. Only her faith can keep her from indulging in a tantalizing affair and from destroying the family she’s always prayed for.

On a road trip to the south, the three best friends from upstate New York discover that heartache and loss can ultimately lead to The Taste of Good Fruit.


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

I’d love for readers to be able to connect to the characters in the sense that we all go through trials and even during those hard times, God is still in control and sovereign. Sometimes things happen that we don’t understand and we simply can’t make sense of. However, even during our times of bewilderment, we can make it knowing that God has a divine purpose for allowing grief, pain and hardship. If God allows it, then ultimately He can get the glory out of it.

What did you learn while writing this book?

I’ve learned so much that I can’t tell it all! As cliché as it sounds though, I’ve learned that you have to have passion for writing. I’ve learned the value of being open to constructive criticism, especially from those who have already been where you want to go. Also, I realized how invaluable being a reader has been to my own writing process.

What inspired this book?

The major theme of The Taste of Good Fruit is inspired by questions I had during a particularly difficult time. Watching loved ones suffer and experiencing loss and grief in my life caused me to wonder why a loving God could allow such pain. However, after searching the Word of God and through praying earnestly, I discovered peace from the questions I had wrestled with for so long. Although the characters and specific experiences are fictional in the story, their pain and how they respond to it is grounded in my own quest for answers and ultimate discovery that there is hope and peace when we are anchored in Christ. Finally, my inspiration for the story has come from knowing that if the Lord allows trials and suffering, He has a purpose which can be an opportunity for us to bear fruit for Him.

What is the hardest part about the writing business?

I think it can be getting your work published--although I was really blessed in that regard. Still, I would say that when you send that manuscript off, it can be scary because as a writer, you’ve invested so much of your heart and soul. Other than that, revisions and editing can be intense and tedious.

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


So many people tell me that they are going to write a book one day, but I don’t think they realize the dedication and discipline it takes to really complete a novel. Overall and quite simply, non-writers should understand that writing can be a lot more than what it seems.

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

Venues like Sormag are wonderful marketing tools for writers! I’m learning how to use the internet to market, but I must admit that I’m a novice. I think that when you really believe in what you have and are focused, you will sort of naturally market your “product” well. Fellow authors insist that writing a good book and having that good old-fashioned word of mouth is best though.

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


I wish I’d known how invaluable having patience is in the whole writing process, and to be honest, I wish I’d been more knowledge about the publishing industry overall. Finally, I think I would’ve really paid attention to some of the more technical aspects about writing a novel, ones that I’ve learned even since this story has been published. I teach college/university level English composition, but I found myself totally clueless about writing a novel. I never stop learning new things, which is exciting.

This month our theme is Mainstream Fiction. Can you give us five
mainstream authors you read?


Toni Morrison is one of my favorites. Other mainstream authors I’ve read recently and enjoyed are Khaled Hosseni, Delores Phillips, Pearl Cleage, and Jodi Piccoult.

Do you have any advice for the aspiring writer?

Aside from writing all you can, I think reading is just as important. Reading in the genre you are writing is important as well, but I don’t limit myself to reading just Christian fiction. In addition, it’s wise to accept constructive criticism from other writers and avid readers.

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

I would love to hear from readers!
e-mail: mteague307@comcast.net
website: http://www.maritateague.com/

Thursday, June 19, 2008

FEATURED AUTHOR: Stephanie Mara Dawson


Stephanie Mara Dawson has had a passion for reading since childhood. She celebrates the power and joy of reading in a spectacular way for all readers. Having taught second grade in the Houston area for several years, Ms. Dawson expertly creates a reflective view of life as a child. The strength of her work is fueled by the desire to write stories that encourage readers to share her belief that despite life’s obstacles, happiness will ultimately prevail. Another major goal of her work is to inspire a love for reading and to promote literacy. Stephanie Mara Dawson fulfills this goal through writing, storytelling, and public speaking.

In The Best Recess Ever, author Stephanie Mara Dawson has captured a young child’s desire to achieve a balance between individuality and acceptance. The main character, Stephanie, has been so preoccupied with reading that she hasn’t had time for any recess games. Unfortunately, Stephanie’s love for reading does not replace her strong desire to have friends. Join Stephanie in this colorful, page-turning journey as she discovers how to combine the joys of reading, recess activities, and friendship.


Victory, chronicles the struggles faced by the title character as she transitions from middle school obscurity to high school freshman. Victory Young is faced with balancing friendships, family, academics and athletics as she enters high school. Readers will also discover how Prince, Victory’s older brother, handles his little sister’s “crush” on his best friend, Eric. Join them as their intriguing escapades cleverly unfold in this award-winning caliber novel. Victory is a great story for pre-teen and teenage girls and boys.

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

In both of my works, I most want readers to appreciate their traits and attributes. I aspire for readers to observe how my characters overcome adversity and to discover a way in which they can do the same in their lives.

What did you learn while writing this book?

I learned that the kid in me is still alive.

What inspired this book?

My love for young people aspired me to write my books. Young people have so many pressures and obstacles to face. I wanted my works to provide a feeling of warmth, encouragement and hope.

What is the hardest part about the writing business?

The hardest part about the writing business is finding the time to write. Writing involves a full time commitment.

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

I wish that non-writers would understand that writing is a craft that we writers constantly nurture and develop. People often tell me about their “great idea” not realizing that it takes time and talent to develop an idea into a great piece of literature.

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

The marketing strategy that works for me is book singing appearances. I meet so many people that introduce me to many other people in the book business. You have to be visible in order to promote your work.

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

I wish I would have known that just because someone has a steep price tag for their marketing package does not make them an expert, that you can have a great product but sometimes people are more interested in bling-bling than buying a book, and that we still have a long way to go to promote literacy.

Do you have any advice for the aspiring writer?

My advice to aspiring writers is to know why you want to write. Is it for the love of money or for the love of the craft? The latter will ensure you the former; however, if money is your motivator you will be in constant pursuit of it rather than the craft of writing or anything else. As an aspiring author, if you wish to get advice from other authors, the best way is to show interest in them as well as their work. Most aspiring authors bombard established authors with questions and wanting to consume their time without even showing a remote interest in the author’s work. The author community is a share and share alike community.

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

The best way to contact me is by email: stephiemara@aol.com, book orders, (832) 721-7655, and general info http://www.stephaniedawson.com/.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

AUTHOR INTRO: Vanessa Richardson


Vanessa enjoys reading, writing, acting, and meeting new and interesting people. She is an active member at her church. Vanessa has written several stage productions and has been blessed to perform them at various venues. Some of her stage productions are Mama Rainey, Someone to Love Me, Why Do Bad Things Happen To Good People. Lord, I Don't Understand, and The Fullness of Time. Vanessa is currently at work on her second novel. A suspense Christian romance titled "Love Found Me. ”

The Certain Ones

Why do certain ones suffer more than other people do? That is the question she wanted answered. The path of life is not just a journey but also an assigned one she discovered as she witness the journey of the lives of others.

No longer a peripheral bystander she will embark on her own private journey. On this journey, she deals with personal issues that have been handicapping her life. On her path, she encounters hurt and rejection. Hurt can cause a person to do things that they normally would not do. On the heel of self-discovery, she finds that she is not alone and that she was a certain one. Chosen for purpose.


Website address
http://www.vanessarichardson.com/

Saturday, June 14, 2008

In Memory Of - Tim Russert



Yesterday we lost a great journalist. I was totally shocked to hear of his death. I admired him as a newsman and learned a lot about politics from his show, Meet The Press. I once saw him on Book TV, where I learned he was also an author. Listening to him talk, I found a humble man who loved his family.


While listening to the tributes about him last night, I found out he was also an interesting man, who many admired. He will truly be missed and Sunday mornings will never be the same.


My deepest sympathy to his family, friends and fans.

Friday, June 13, 2008

FEATURED AUTHOR: Brenda Farrar-Ejemai


Brenda Farrar-Ejemai is an author, educator, conference speaker, and business woman. She is a contributing editor for BrooWaha Newspaper, located in New York, Los Angeles, London and Paris. She writes motivational articles on various blogs. She is also a board member and the Training Director of the United Black Writers Association.

She was born and raised in New York City. There she attended elementary, junior/high school, and college. After attending the City University of New York, she graduated Magna Cum Laude, with degrees in education/sociology.


THE FAMILY IN THE CAR, A Revelation, which the author describes as “on-time”, time-lines the journey of a struggle. It shows how members of a family who were all their lives sheltered, as well as privileged, now were without. “The trauma was so unbelievable, I felt that period in my life was a dream and not actually lived,” Ejemai said. Although it was written in 2004, the author felt led to release it in 2008 and reveal the true characters in the documentary. It is impacted with trials, but ends with triumph. This documentary will not only encourage, but will inspire those who are experiencing or have experienced this trauma.

There are a number of middle class Americans living secretly homeless today.

Brenda Farrar-Ejemai has taken a leap-of-faith in the writing of this documentary. With the rise in foreclosures in the United States today, this documentary is not only timely, but relevant. The face of the homeless is changing rapidly. No longer can the homeless be viewed only as the poor, criminals or mentally ill. Homelessness is involving the middle class as well.


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

I want readers to some how be able to, after reading this book, look beyond difficulties. The reason I want this for them, is because it’s not an easy thing to do, when one is faced with trauma. It’s hard. But I do know that hind sight gives a better sense of why things happen. When people are facing trials and tribulations, they usually can’t see things getting better, so they lose hope. I would like readers to take from this book the encouragement to hold-on when they face harsh situations.

What did you learn while writing this book?

I learned that I had a story to be told that was relevant and timely.

What inspired this book?

This book was written in 2004, but I was led to release it in 2007. The inspiration for this book came from my love of writing.

What is the hardest part about the writing business?

The hardest part about the writing business, for me, is the promoting part. Writing and editing is hard enough, but getting the word out requires more work and time.

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

One thing I would want non-writers to understand is the writing is not just simply putting the pen to the paper. Writing is a skill. It must be well thought through. This is especially so for non-fiction writing. The message you are trying to convey must be crafted so that it is perceived exactly the way you intended it to.

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

So far, live radio interviews have worked quite well. I’ve found that it draws people to the web site and thereby increasing readership. Also, book signing works well, due to the fact that it gives me the opportunity to meet and greet readers on a personal level.

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

One thing is that I wish I had known a long time ago that writing was my purpose.

Secondly, I wish I had taken a Business/Marketing class in school. I believe it would have helped with the marketing of my books.

Finally, I wish I had known what a wonderful world the writing community is. Even though it has been and still is hard work, there are a lot of great people in the writing community.

This month our theme is Mainstream Fiction. Can you give us five mainstream authors you read?

I have read books by Walter Mosley, James Baldwin, Margaret Atwood, Robert Kiyosaki, and T. D. Jakes.

Do you have any advice for the aspiring writer?

Just write!

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

My mailing address is: P.O. Box 765, Columbia, Maryland 21045
E-mail: favorblooms@thefamilyinthecar.com
Websites: www.TheFamilyInTheCar.com

www.ebookstand.com/books.grp/BR2191.html

Thursday, June 12, 2008

BLOG TOUR - A Promise for Tomorrow



In the mid 1950’s small town, Sugar Hill, Alabama was quiet and sleepy in every way imaginable. Fannie Lea Rockwell has few pressing concerns, save for her dreadful nickname, Flea. Few concerns that is until she crosses paths with Mr. Boyd, Sugar Hill’s resident hermit and mysterious citizen. Mr. Boyd lives across the railroad tracks deep in the woods and his anti-social tendencies only fuel the gossip fire; its rumored that he keeps his daughter, Mavis, locked in the attic all day and that he brews moonshine in the woods behind his house.

One day when Flea and her brother, Rand, trespass on Mr. Boyd’s property to get a better view of Mavis, they encounter more than they bargained for. A grip around her waist, a knife to her throat and a threat on her life are quite enough to convince Flea to never return. His breath which smelled of rotting cabbage only served to fuel her fear.

As she unravels the mystery behind Mavis Boyd, Flea uncovers secrets of other Sugar Hill residents and soon discovers how little she actually knows her neighbors. Soon Flea will find herself in a life-or-death situation where she places herself in danger to save the life of someone more helpless than herself.

About Sara DuBose

Sara DuBose is a motivational speaker and author of three other novels: Where Hearts Live, Where Love Grows, and Where Memories Linger. Sara is also author of Conquering Anxiety, published by the Presbyterian Church in America. Her other writing credits include numerous articles and stories for publications such as The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Today’s Christian Woman, Virtue, Decision, The Christian Reader, and Family Life Today. She also appears in several anthologies published by Multnomah and Barbour. Sara received a first place fiction award from Putting Your Passion into Print and a first place fiction award from the Southeastern Writer’s Association. She currently travels as a speaker for seminars, festivals, civic clubs, schools and churches and may be contacted at www.saradubose.com. Sara and her husband live in Montgomery, Alabama. She is the mother of two daughters.

Everyone seems to be affected by today's tenuous economic environment. From housing to jobs, it seems there's always bad news on the 5 o'clock news. How can you 'live expectantly' in these uncertain times?

Sometimes our children show us how to live expectantly. Years ago I lifted my sick three-year-old from her bed and plopped us both in the rocking chair. Cherie felt hot and clammy. I was hot with fatigue and anxiety, having nursed sick people for over a month. I said, “Honey, I’m so sorry you are not feeling good.”

Sensing my frustration, Cherie pushed the hair back from my eyes and replied, “Dats all right, mama. We pray about it, den you won’t haf to worry.”

Can three or four-year-old children show us the way home? They can when our home is with the heart of God who said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27). So, whether it’s personal, financial, or even a global crisis, the Christian won’t find rest in another news report of the latest terrorist attack, freeway accident, or stock market slide. No, lasting peace is only found in Christ who lifts us from our sick bed of worry, pushes the hair back from our eyes, and rocks us for awhile.

Worry seems to be the opposite of 'living expectantly,' but isn't some worry necessary for day-to-day life?

Yes, some anxiety or tension is warranted. We want to be alert when we pull into a six-lane highway at rush hour, take a test, or interview for a job. Above all, we want to be anxious to please God. As we begin to recognize and appreciate a holy, sovereign, just and merciful God we begin to lose our fear and anxiety over other people, our needs, adversities, or any uncertainties of life. The closer we draw to the Lord the further we withdraw from worry and fear.

In A Promise for Tomorrow, Flea learns a lot about God's promises to His children. What can we derive from His promises for tomorrow?

Flea observes, and later interacts, with a neighbor who has become a victim of her circumstances. By applying what she has learned from her father and through her own spiritual growth she is able to offer a compassionate reprimand. Flea also learns the truth of Proverbs 17:22: “A cheerful heart is good medicine.” As the story progresses, Flea begins to understand a basic principle. Life is hard, but it can still be lived with hope.

I've heard it said that faith is the opposite of fear, but many times Christians feel afraid even though they have faith that God will deliver them from the situation at hand. How do you balance faith and fear?

Yes, Christians are sometimes afraid just as Christ’s disciples were fearful during a storm (Luke 8: 22-25). In fact, those guys panicked as the squall continued and the boat began to sink. After bailing the water with little results, they called to their sleeping Savior. Three words from Jesus and the winds and waves obeyed.

“Quiet! Be still!” Then came the questions. “Why are you so afraid? Where is your faith?”

I think we should take note of these questions. Jesus didn’t say, “You have no faith,” but he did tell them to exercise it. As you and I apply our faith, fear must leave because faith and fear don’t belong in the same mind. Alarm, fear, and worry should never rule our lives, not when Jesus is in the boat with us.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

SUMMER READING LIST

This summer I plan to tackle the big pile of books in my bedroom.
Below are the following books I plan on reading.

Amen Sisters
L.A. Banks

I, Robot
Howard S. Smith

Love the One You're With
Emily Giffin

Too Little, Too Late: A Novel
Victoria Christopher Murray

Sin No More
Kimberla Lawson Roby

Release Me
Farrah Rochon

Business Unusual
Dr. Linda Beed

Death, Deceit & Some Smooth Jazz (An Amanda Bell Brown Mystery)
Claudia Mair Burney

Wind Follower
Carole McDonnell
What's on your list for the summer?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

PURPOSELY SAID - Dr. Linda F. Beed

EDITOR NOTE: I'd like to introduce a new member of the SORMAG family, Dr. Linda F. Beed. I asked Dr. Linda to share some of her wisdom with us. On the second Tuesday of the month, please stop by and enjoy her knowledge.


The Independent Author
By Dr. Linda F. Beed

Hello everyone. I am so happy to be a part of the Sormag family. The premise of Purposely Said is to speak on and discuss a wide range of subjects.

Today, I choose to speak on the option of Independent Publishing.

Of late there has been much discussion regarding the pros and cons of independent publishing. At one time being in that category carried a stigma that relegated you and your work to the lower rung of the literary ladder.

Time does change things. The evolution of publishing processes as well as access to literary consultants (editors, graphic artists) for individuals has narrowed the chasm that once separated pipedreams from reality. Of late there have been a number of mainstream authors, for a variety of reasons, who are seeking to return to and/or select independent publishing as a viable option for their works.

There are those who will debate the validity of the option. My opinion on the subject is that independent publishing is gaining respect among its mainstream relatives. It is no longer the only alternative for those whose manuscripts were not accepted by an established publisher.

Even with its momentum progressing at a measurable speed, it must be understood that choosing the road of independence is not a sprint, a race with a finish line to be crossed at lightning speed. Independent publishing, like its traditional sibling is a process that requires education, skill and endurance.

During the process that brought me to publication, I found myself seeking advice from many of our esteemed literary professionals. What they knew about the industry they candidly shared. One piece of advice consistently given was, “Study, read and take the time to do it right.”

Doing it right is not limited to the writing of the story. The parameters reach out to encompass everything from conception of the story to promoting the final product. This requires having a Business Plan. As Napoleon Hill once said, “Create a definite plan for carrying out your desire and begin at once, whether you are ready or not, to put this plan into action.”

What plan have you written out for your vision?

You say you want to publish a book. That is fine, but there comes a time when you have to do more than talk about it. You have to do it. Beyond writing, what is your plan for publication?

Do you:


Have a marketing plan?

Understand the process of the publishing industry (traditional and independent)?

How will you fund the enterprise?

What is your writing skill level?

If it is not adequate what will you do to improve it?

Do you have a literary mentor?

Are you part of a writing community?

The aforementioned items are by no means a complete ‘to-do’ list for your enterprise. They are, however, items that should be at the top of your master plan. Note that it is not enough to just have the list. You must effectively follow through.

What I share with you in today’s blog is what I have learned via wisdom from others, research as well as trial and error. I do not proclaim to know it all, but what I possess I gladly share with you.

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

Dr. Linda Beed is an educator, speaker, Children’s minister
and author of
Business Unusual and
Review
Editor for KDgospelMedia Magazine
You can find her on the web at:
www.lindabeed.com / On Assignment Reviews/ R U Living On Purpose

Monday, June 09, 2008

FEATURED AUTHOR: FARRAH ROCHON

EDITOR NOTE: You know how much I push promoting yourself, so I’m always happy to hear from new writers. Farrah is one of those writers who has no problem promoting herself. She sent me an email introducing her self when her book was about to debut. I was happy to help promote her. I also am a fan of her blog. She always has interesting posts. Farrah was a big winner this year with the SORMAG Reader's Choice Awards, the readers loved her debut novel, Deliver Me. I had the pleasure of meeting her in person at the Slam Jam. She’s is as sweet in person as she is online. Please take a moment to see what’s she’s been up to since her first book.

FARRAH ROCHON

A native of south Louisiana, Farrah Rochon officially began her writing career while waiting in between classes in the student lounge at Xavier University. After earning her Bachelors of Science degree and a Masters of Arts from Southeastern Louisiana University, Farrah decided to pursue her life-long dream of becoming a published novelist.

Her debut novel, DELIVER ME, garnered rave reviews, earning Farrah several SORMAG Readers’ Choice Awards. When she is not writing in her favorite coffee shop, Farrah spends most of her time reading and surfing the Internet. An admitted sports fanatic, Farrah feeds her addiction to football by attending New Orleans Saints games on Sunday afternoons.

RELEASE ME

When NBA hopeful Tobias Holmes was injured in a car accident, he had to find a new passion. After a couple of false starts, Toby is making a name for himself in the music industry where he gives raw talent a star turn. When his most promising client is chosen to be on a reality TV show, Toby knows exactly where to turn for help.

Sienna Culpepper has spent years convincing herself that Toby will never be able to see her as a woman instead of a childhood friend, and working with him to bring success to his new star has all of those carefully buried feelings starting to surface. It seems almost too good to be true when Toby starts responding to the heat simmering between them. But can Sienna trust his heart to follow where his desire leads?

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

I want someone to read the last page of this book, then flip back to the first page and start all over again. Even if they only get to page five after coming to their senses and realizing they have a bunch of other books to read, I still want to have that affect on readers. I want them to become so attached to the characters that they don’t want to let the book go. I’ve read books that captivated me, and they are all on my keeper shelf. I want to be on someone’s keeper shelf!

What did you learn while writing this book?

I learned that the “friends turned lovers” storyline is not as easy to write as I thought it would be. I constantly questioned whether the relationship was moving too fast. I’ve read other books where characters have known each other their entire lives, and then, Eureka!, they’re in love. Sometimes it works, but I knew it wouldn’t for Toby and Sienna’s story. I learned to be patient and let the characters dictate the pacing of the emotional and physical relationship.

What inspired this book?

That’s easy, my love of basketball and reality television. Well, that and the incredibly hot hero. When developing the plot for Toby’s story, I knew basketball would have to play a role because he was a former NBA player. I added the American Idol-theme reality TV show because, first, I love American Idol, and secondly, I thought it would be fun and different. I hope readers think the same.

What is the hardest part about the writing business?

The business aspect of it. The constant promotion, wondering if you’re doing enough, wondering if that next contract is going to happen. I miss the days of being blissfully ignorant of all that goes into getting a book on the shelf. Even during times when my manuscript is giving me fits--like right now--I’d still take the actual creation of the story over the business side of writing any day of the week.

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

That it is not easy! So often I’ll hear people say that they are going to write a book soon, when they get a little extra time, as if it’s the easiest thing to just throw out a book. No, people, this is hard work. Even the “formulaic” romance novels that I write. Did that sound a bit snarky? :)

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

Thank goodness for the internet. I’ve met so many readers through MySpace, my blog, and online readers sites like SORMAG. It’s the virtual face time with readers that works best for me. I love talking to book people about books, and as we all know, romance readers are fanatical about their books and love to talk about them.

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

One: That you can’t just throw together a book (I was one of those people I mentioned in the question above).

Two: That my personal reading time would diminish so dramatically. I would not have spent my grade school years playing Nintendo if I knew I wouldn’t have time to read for pleasure.

Three: That even after completing seven full-length novels, I would still have days where I want to pull my hair out.

This month our theme is Mainstream Fiction. Can you give us five mainstream authors you read?

I read very few mainstream authors, which is funny because at one time that’s all I read. You couldn’t get me to read romance for a million bucks! I can’t give you five, but one of my favorites for the moment is Steve Berry. He writes fabulous mainstream thrillers.

Do you have any advice for the aspiring writer?

If this is really what you want to do, just stick with it. Don’t let fear of rejection stop you. Also, don’t make excuses for why you can’t write, and then get upset when other writing friends start to see their dreams come true.

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

I love hearing from readers. I can be contacted through my website, blog, and email:

http://www.farrahrochon.com/

http://www.farrahrochon.blogspot.com/

farrah@farrahrochon.com

Friday, June 06, 2008

FEATURED AUTHOR: Keshia Dawn

EDITOR NOTE: It is always a pleasure to introduce you to new writers, even better when they are a loyal SORMAG member. Keshia was our 2003 I Want the Next Page Winner. We are proud of her.


Keshia Dawn currently resides in Texas with her her young daughter, Chayse. Completing her studies in mass communications, Keshia Dawn's sequel, His Grace, His Mercy will release September 2009.

By the Grace of God


By the Grace of God is a powerful story about betrayal, pain, and the power of God. When Gracie’s fiancé, Dillian, leaves her one day without even so much as a warning, she is devastated and confused. All she wants is a reason for his abrupt departure. But when Gracie finally learns the answer to her question, it is not at all what she was expecting, and it causes her world to flip upside down. Even as friends and family try to console her, Gracie is a wreck, falling into despair when she discovers more secrets and lies about Dillian. Gracie starts to wonder about the man she has loved and lived for all of these years. As Gracie looks to God for strength, can she find her faith through the thick, dark clouds of pain and tribulation?

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

I would love for readers to take away the truth that with God, forgiveness is possible on every level. Even within the harsh world that we live in.

What did you learn while writing this book?

I learned that I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me. I had been wanting to write a book but didn't know the first thing about it. You never know what you can accomplish until you try. I also found out that if you want to write something with substance...there is an audience!

What inspired this book?

Life is inspiration enough to pick up the pen and start on the journey of writing. I believe to be a great storyteller has to first dwell within. It's a craft and can be learned but you have to have the want inside enough to push it forward.

What is the hardest part about the writing business?

I could say the hardest part is the becoming published part, but because there is a self-publish route, things have become, if not, equal. On the other level, to become a household name, I would say, make sure you are up for marketing!

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

Even though the stories are vivid in our ever wandering minds, there is still a point when the information has to be put on paper. Some writers are fast paced writers while others struggle. I claim myself to be somewhere in the middle. But all in all, we want to get the best story on paper and that possibly may not be two weeks after one book has just hit shelves.

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

Promoting is a must! You have to be willing to spend on bookmarks, postcards, and making sure they hit the spots that need to. I'm a frequent visitor at the public libraries and I make sure to leave behind bookmarks there. You also have to be willing to branch out and do things that you normally don't. I don't consider myself a speaker or even good at public speaking, but radio spots are great avenues! Making friends in the industry actually help open doors, helping to market yourself, while helping out a friend, all in the same breath.

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

I wish I would have known that Christian fiction really was going to evolve into what it has, therefore I would have pushed harder.

I wish that I would have known that the devil would try to sidetrack anything that God saw promising (Thus, me losing my job the same month my self-published version was released).

I wish I would have known that I wanted to become a writer a long, long, long time ago.

This month our theme is Mainstream Fiction. Can you give us five mainstream authors you read?

I'm a avid romance reader so right off the top of my head:

Francis Ray, Brenda Jackson, Linda Hudson-Smith, as well as Kimberly Lawson-Roby and Victoria Christopher Murray.

Do you have any advice for the aspiring writer?

My advice for any aspiring writers would be to simply write what is true to your heart. Don't write just to be the next big name (even though that would be a plus), but write because good writing is an extention of yourself.

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

To visit the website, they will need to go to http://www.keshiadawnwrites.com/
Readers can reach me via e-mail at Keshia@KeshiaDawnWrites.com

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

DEBUT AUTHOR: Dr. Steven Haymon, EDD


Stress: Climbing Out of Its Pits with GOD
by Dr. Steven Haymon, EDD

Although stress can be good or bad, its nature is intense and encompassing. If not addressed appropriately it can precipitate

Addictions:

· gambling
· alcohol
· drugs
· sex
· pornography

Physical illnesses:

· cancer
· Alzheimer's
· heart attacks
· strokes
· pneumonia
· immune deficiency
· viral infections
· susceptibility to all forms of bacteria and germs

Mood disorders:

· Major Depression
· Bipolar/Mania Disorder
· Postpartum Depression
· Seasonal Affective Disorder

Stress can evoke the use of distractions in an attempt to diffuse its undesirable effects. Many of us use alcohol, church and relationships in an attempt to feel better; instead our condition worsens.

Through understanding stress and how it relates to your relationship with God, you can get answers to help you live the healthy life God wants you to live.


Dr. Steven Haymon was born in St. Louis, Missouri where he also received his primary and secondary educations. He is the second of five children reared by his mother who was born in Mississippi and father who was born in Arkansas. His parents were very limited educationally and economically, but they stressed religious/righteous living and education all of his life.

In 1994-1995, God allowed him to have a debilitating experience. It served as an epiphany for him to seek God with everything he had. This experience precipitated in him the sincere desire to do the will of the Lord and also increase his studies in Christian education by attending the Bethesda Temple Bible Institute. As a result of the leading of the Lord through his life experiences and his private practice, God gave him the book Stress: Climbing Out of Its Pits with God, along with a workbook and study guide.

Dr. Haymon practice is christian-based and he has helped thousands of clients across the country for over 34 years. He has also conducted various interactive seminars, workshops, and training sessions on stress and the multiplicity of ways it affects us mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually.

http://greaterinsight.net/

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

What's On The Net - Kelli Martin Interview

I had plan on interviewing Kelli Martin - Senior Editor of Kimani Romance, however one of our SORMAG member did such an excellent job. I thought I'd share the link with you and introduce you to one of our members.

Tracy Montoya is also a writer so take a moment to check out her books too.


Part One of the interview

Part Two of the interview


Don't forget to tell her I sent you by.

Monday, June 02, 2008

COVER AUTHOR: Victoria Christopher Murray


EDITOR NOTE: I was introduced to Victoria’s book through the library. I was flipping through the AA section and came across her book, Temptation at the time I didn’t know there were AA Christian fiction, so I quickly checked this book out. I was not disappointed. She blew me away with her writing style. I’ve been a fan every since.

Victoria Christopher Murray always knew she would become an author, even as she was taking an unlikely path to that destination. A native of Queens, Victoria first left New York to attend Hampton University where she majored in Communication Disorders. After graduating, Victoria attended New York University where she received her MBA.

Victoria spent ten years in Corporate America before she tested her entrepreneurial spirit. She opened a Financial Services Agency for Aegon, USA where she managed the number one division for nine consecutive years. However, Victoria never lost the dream to write and when the “bug” hit her again in 1997, she answered the call.

As a Christian fiction novelist, Victoria’s objective is to pen entertaining page turners that most importantly, exalt the message of Jesus Christ. Through the pages, Victoria hopes to introduce readers to the love of Christ and at the same time show that we all have the same trials, tribulations and temptations – it’s how we solve these issues that makes a difference. The novels all show that no matter what you’ve done in your life God’s redeeming love, grace and mercy is there for you.

Too Little Too Late (June 2008)

Jasmine Larson Bush returns to her devious ways in this tale of two marriages -- each threatened by lies and betrayal.

She took marriage vows to be honest and true, but Jasmine's still hiding secrets to keep her husband, Minister Hosea Bush, by her side. When Hosea's ex-fiancée, Natasia, suddenly appears in New York, Jasmine knows it's not a coincidence. A former manstealer herself, Jasmine is very aware of Natasia's motives -- even if Hosea is not.

Complicating Jasmine's life is the secret she's kept from her baby's daddy. Luckily for her, Brian Lewis has problems of his own. His wife, Alexis, is convinced he's cheating on her -- but Brian's real betrayal is much worse. Revealing the truth to his wife could lead him back to the biggest mistake of his life...Jasmine.

Two marriages are in desperate jeopardy. Will Jasmine be able to scheme to save her own? Or will she have to choose between protecting her past and compromising her future? Even if Jasmine and Brian find the courage to stop the lies, it may be too little, too late....

Divine Divas Diamond (March 2008)

The Divine Divas. They're fifteen and they're fine, and they want to be the hottest, hippest new girl group to hit gospel music. First they'll have to win the team talent competition. But with looks, energy, and voices like theirs, they are sure they'll go right to the top.

Diamond Winters is the one who formed the Divas. With her wealthy, loving parents and an endless supply of charm, she's always been able to sweet-talk her way into anything. But this time, has Diamond talked her way right into trouble? Diamond has support for her group from her family and church, but she has a lot going on. She's made it onto the school's varsity cheerleading squad, and she's caught the eye of the totally cool senior Jason Xavier. Jax is sweeping her off her feet, but Diamond is starting to feel as if she's in over her head.

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

All I ever want my readers to take away is an entertaining experience. Since I write fiction and not non-fiction, it's always about entertaining for me. However, I feel blessed whenever anyone takes away anything else - like the love of Jesus Christ and how God is not a concept, but a part of our lives everyday.

What did you learn while writing this book?

I can't say that I learned anything really. I had to do some research about sexual addictions, but I didn't get a lot of new information.

What inspired this book?

I always find that to be such an interesting question. I think what inspires most authors is what inspires everyone else. Writing is our job. So, we're inspired to get a paycheck so that we can eat and sleep. But the idea for this book came from my fifth novel, A Sin and a Shame. I wanted to complete that story.

What is the hardest part about the writing business?

Writing everyday, putting your heart and soul into it and then having people criticize your work. That is tough!

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

What a great question! I wish non-writers would just read the story and accept it for what it is. I'm always amazed when someone writes me to say, "I wouldn't have done that!" Well, the story is not about them. I'm surprised by people's limited views. I met a woman once who'd never left Greenville, South Carolina, yet she made a statement like, "No Black woman would behave that way." I was shocked - how would she know? She's never been 100 miles away from home.

What advice would you give someone writing a connecting series?

I don't have any special advice for sequels at all. I'm not an expert on that. Now for someone wanting advice about writing, I always tell people that there are two things writers do - writers read and writers write. Writers definitely need to be reading the type of material they wish to write - for motivation and education.

What makes your writing style unique?

I don't think my style is unique at all.

What do you do to make time for yourself?

I wish I had time for myself. Right now, over the last few years, I've had no time. I've written three books a year and I've been touring. I'll be keeping up this pace for a few more years at least.

Oprah has--as one of her magazine columns--a section where she talks about what she knows for sure. What do you know for sure?

That God is alive! And that He takes care of every part of my life!

What is one of your lowest moments during your career and one of your highest moments, and how did you deal with them?

My lowest moments have been when I had to write my books through my husband's passing and then a few years later, after my father's passing. That was the absolute hardest thing to do - to try to sit down and create when you're filled with so much grief. Through a lot of prayer, I was able to sit down every day and do what I had to do. I have so many high moments - every time I receive a kind email, or when I go on tour and people are waiting to meet me. There is nothing like knowing that your work is appreciated.

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

Word of mouth! I'm no difference than any other author. I depend on the readers to help me sell my books.

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

I wish I'd known how long it was going to take to build this career. I wish I'd known just how tough it was going to be to write and live. I wish I'd known exactly how much money writers made. (It's no where near what readers think.)

This month our theme is Mainstream Fiction. Can you give us five mainstream authors you read?

E Lynn Harris, Eric Jerome Dickey, Kimberla Lawson Roby, Jackie Collins, Lolita Files.

Do you have any advice for the aspiring writer?

I think I said it above - writers read and writers write. You have to write something (no matter what or how much) every single day to get closer to your goal.

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

http://www.victoriachristophermurray.com/ or http://www.thedivinedivas.com/

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.

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Contact me at:lchwriter@gmail.com

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