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Welcome To SORMAG's Blog

Friday, April 30, 2010

FEATURED AUTHOR: Desiree Day




Spiritual Seduction is a sexy tale with a paranormal twist puts one unsuspecting woman in the center of a dangerous struggle between her conniving dead husband and her irresistible immortal lover.

Widowed with two small children, Riley Tyson is devastated when her husband, Bradley, is murdered. She doesn’t miss his fiery temper and heartless philandering,
though. In fact, now that he’s dead, their relationship is better than ever. Bradley’s spirit sneaks into her bedroom at night, tempting her with gentle, seductive caresses and showering her with the attention he never gave her in life. It seems too crazy to be true.

Enter Malik Davenport, Riley’s boss and longtime friend. At six feet seven, with smooth, almond-colored skin and vibrant blue eyes, Malik rarely goes unnoticed. An ancient warrior prince who specializes in slaying demons, he’s the only man who can save Riley’s life—and the only one whose passionate touch unleashes the sexy vixen inside her.

As Bradley’s ruthless spirit orchestrates a deadly power surge against the living, Malik and his team of paladins prepare for a war of the worlds that has been brewing for ages.

How did you start out your writing career?

I actually started my writing career in 1997 when I self-published my first novel Bourgeois Blues. That went okay. I enjoyed the self-publishing process, it taught me a lot. Then I wrote another manuscript, Crazy Love, and after months of querying hundreds of agents I finally secured one, Bob DiForio.

What was your most difficult scene to write?

Spiritual Seduction is a paranormal romance, so there are some scenes that are gruesome and on the flip side, some very hot sexy scenes. The hardest part was writing the gory scenes. I didn’t want to be too grisly, but I wanted it to be a little scary, it was a delicate balance.

Have you had a "Wow" moment since you have been an author? What made it a "Wow" moment for you?

I have had several wow moments. The most impactful is when a reader writes me, telling me how one of my stories affect him or her. They reinforce to me how powerful words are.

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

I’ve never written paranormal before and I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to do the genre justice. But the reviews are coming in and they are pretty good. And I wanted a paranormal that was exciting and sensual.

What’s playing on your CD while you’re writing?

It’s funny, I know some writers thrive on mood music, but I don’t. I need complete silence when I’m writing. Music just distracts me, I always end up paying too much attention to the lyrics and not on my writing.

If you had the opportunity to talk with three writers, who would you choose and why?

Great question, but the first person would be Zora Neale Hurston, she is my all-time favorite author. She has such a gift for story telling. I would love to talk to Maya Angelou, her writing is like reading poetry, it’s so fluid and smooth. Would Oprah be considered a writer? I just love her. I admire her business and philanthropic style. She’s a tough cookie and she’s proof that if you work hard enough you can achieve your goals and then some.


What movie had the greatest impact on you as a kid? Why?

The movie that I always remember didn’t have a positive effect. It was The Lost Boys, that movie scared me to death. For years after watching it, I couldn’t sleep with my window open. My bedroom was on the second floor, and I thought that a vampire would get me.

If you could be on a Reality TV show, which one would it be and why?

I would love to be on HGTV Design Star. I love that show. All the contestants are so creative. I know that I wouldn’t win, but it would be so fun shopping for furniture and all the accessories.

If you could visit any place in the world where would you travel to?

I would love to go to Tokyo, Japan. Every time I see pictures or video of it, I am always impressed with the sophistication of it. And the pictures of the city vibrate with energy.

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

That writing is hard. Writers don’t wave a magic wand and a story appears. It takes a lot of time and energy composing a novel.

What was the best advice you’d ever gotten about the publishing industry? The worst?

The best advice that I received is to remember that writing is a business and to treat it as such. The worst advice that I’ve gotten was that African Americans authors were not helpful to each other and to not trust them. And this was from an African American male. I have found that so untrue. I have been helped by so many African American writers. We are a supportive group of people. We all realize that there are enough readers out there for all of us.

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

I’m going to cheat and give you two dos. My first one, is to always write, even if it just writing in a journal or blogging. This will make you feel comfortable writing and expressing yourself. My don’t is to not give up. If you want to be a published writer, either through a mainstream publisher or being self-published, learn all you can and go for what you want.

What is something readers would be surprised you do?

I read about five novels a month. A lot of people believe that just because you’re a writer you don’t read other authors. But since I’ve been reading since kindergarten, I find it very hard to stop. I do it for the enjoyment and to also learn.

Our theme for this month is GETTING THE CALL. Did you receive the call from the editor? What was the experience like?

My agent actually e-mailed me about the book deal. And I was so shocked that I didn’t respond right away. He finally called me later that day to ask if I had gotten the message. The experience was surreal. You know, you pray for it to happen, then when it does, it doesn’t seem real and you’re speechless.

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

I’m very excited about this novel, it’s still untitled. It has a strong female protagonist. Sasha is a demon catcher and Jason, her husband, is a demon slayer they make a formidable team.

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

My readers can reach me at http://www.desireeday.com/

They can also read an excerpt of Spiritual Seduction, a paranormal romance. I am also on Facebook, Goodreads, Shelfari, and Myspace.

Leave your name and email for a chance to win a copy of Spiritual Seduction


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If you enjoyed this post, please consider becoming a member of SORMAG's community - Join Today

Thursday, April 29, 2010

WIN THIS BOOK - APRIL



FOXY by Pam Grier

Beautiful, bold, and bad, Pam Grier burst onto the movie scene in the 1970s, setting the screen on fire and forever changing the country's view of African American actresses. With a killer attitude and body to match, Grier became the ultimate fantasy of men everywhere. But she quickly proved that she was more than just a desirable film goddess. She had the brains, courage, and tenacity to sustain a career that would span more than 30 years. In FOXY, she chronicles the good, bad, and steamy highlights in her life and career.




THE REMEDY by Supa Nova Slom

In this two-part health guide, Supa Nova Slom shares his cleansing program that revitalizes as it cleanses and restores balance by flushing and feeding your body. The second half of the book focuses on The Five Week Power Plan that provides amazing energy and the pathway to real weight-loss through healthy living and a green diet. With tasty recipes and lifestyle secrets from stars such as Erykah Badu, Chuck D, Hype Williams, Melyssa Ford, Tyson Beckford, and Dr. Benjamin Chavis, The Remedy will change your body and your life.


Leave your name/email and which book you would like to win.

U.S. Readers are eligible only. Deadline April 30th 12:00 A.M easter time.

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Amazing Grace Blog Tour with Donna M. Watford

Donna Michele Watford, RN was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She has degrees in Sociology and Health Studies; and currently attends Drexel University Graduate School. She’s married and resides in the Metro Atlanta area.

Donna realized a void in her life after the loss of her mother; it was then she asked God’s permission to share her experiences to offer others encouragement. Embarking on a new journey involving a closer walk with Jesus the Christ, she now shares her journey with Him through writing poems, songs and books. Donna’s goal is to first and foremost give God glory, provide hope in the face of despair, and be encouraging.

Tell us about Amazing Grace: A Tribute to You, The Story of Us.

Amazing Grace: A Tribute to You, The Story of Us is my testimony to a dying world of a faithful God. It is a heartfelt memoir of extraordinary relationships between the author and her mother and their relationship to Jesus. It's a spiritual journey; the conclusion is peace, be still. A journey anointed with the potential to revolutionize the thoughts of mankind. This inspirational book focuses on social challenges including senseless killings and substance abuse. It has a subtle political twist that considers the sacrifices of Martin Luther King; unforgettable change. Their time together echoes the sentiments of President Barack Obama by depicting the effects from helping; circumstances change. A story offering the only love capable to change lives: John 3:16.

How did you come up with ideas for this book?

After the loss of my mother in December 2006, I asked God if I could tell our story; it was then revealed to me that I was in the Will of God. He told the story of my life in a perspective I’d never noticed or imagined. This is a story that written before the beginning of time; a blessing for me, and hopefully for others. God.
Did you have to do quite a bit of research for your book?

This is my memoir. I did spend time researching how to put together an appropriate manuscript.

What do you hope readers will learn/discover from reading Amazing Grace: A Tribute to You, The Story of Us.

John 3: 16. The path is made straight thru God. The journey is always for Jesus. If you get nothing else from my story; it is my desire for those walking in darkness to see the marvelous light: “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Okay, a not-so-fun question. How important are reviews to you as a writer?

Everyone wants a good review and that would include me, but I’m in it for the results. Souls flocking to the Kingdom. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world.” As I took a hit from the enemy; because of Jesus, I stand on a firm foundation. I’ve returned to the fight armed with the Word of God; steadfast and unmovable. The reviews I write for will be provided by the multitudes; men, women, boy and girl saying, “I read your story: it inspired, encouraged, empowered, and I said yes to Jesus.” For then, the review I long for will be heard as: job well done servant.

About the Book


Amazing Grace: A Tribute to You, The Story of Us is the author’s memoir. It’s a spiritual journey of a mother and daughter; the conclusion is peace, be still. A journey anointed with the potential to revolutionize the thoughts of mankind. This inspirational book focuses on social challenges including senseless killings and substance abuse. It has a subtle political twist that considers the sacrifices of Martin Luther King; unforgettable change. Their time together echoes the sentiments of President Barack Obama by depicting the effects from helping; circumstances change. A story offering the only love capable to change lives: John 3:16.
Amazing Grace: A Tribute to You, The Story of Us is available online at Amazon.com. The book will be available on other online bookstores and in bookstores located in the US and UK June 2010.

A Message from Donna



CREDIT: “Amazing Grace” is sung by Hazel Miller.

View the blog tour schedule and read an excerpt at http://bit.ly/AmazingGraceBlogTour.




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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

FEATURED AUTHOR: T. Nicole


T. Nicole has always had a love for writing. As a young child she could be found in her room writing anything from poetry to short stories and graphic novels. Her love for the written word has continued to grow and she now has decided to share her projects with the world. T. Nicole has experienced much in her short time on this earth and she allows her everyday occurrences to guide her in creating innovative and never to be duplicated works. She takes every moment in her life and uses it as inspiration to do better things.

T. Nicole currently resides in Philadelphia, Pa. where she works as a Social Worker to at risk youth. She enjoys reading the works of others, listening to music, and hanging out with her girlfriends. She takes life as it comes, one second at a time.

To find out more about T. Nicole go to http://www.tnicoleonline.com/
.

How did you start out your writing career?

I started writing when I was around 7 or 8. Being an only child I had all the time in the world to be creative. I never took my writing seriously until I became an adult. I started out with my notebook of poetry and from there I have two books of poetry and two novels published.

What was your most difficult scene to write?

There wasn't a difficult scene to write. The most difficult part of the writing process is the times where I don't particularly feel creative.

Have you had a "Wow" moment since you have been an author? What made it a "Wow" moment for you?

I have had several WOW moments. Being an author and doing book tours, you run into so many different kinds of people. You would be so suprised at the stories you hear because you wrote a book about a particular topic. It is just amazing.

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

This book and my first book are the books I consider to be my starters. These books served the purpose of getting people to know who I am as a writer.

What’s playing on your CD while you’re writing?

I listen to so many different kinds of music, so I just put my ipod on shuffle and just listen to whatever comes on.

If you had the opportunity to talk with three writers, who would you choose and why?

I would talk to Karen Quinones-Miller because she started out as a self-publishing author and now she has a traditional contract and is doing very well. I would just like to talk to her even if it's about the weather...I just want to get a taste of her vibe. I would as talk to Terry McMillan because I have hopes of my books becoming movies one day. I would like to pick her brain on how she got that accomplished. Lastly, but certainly not least, I would have liked to talk to E. Lynn Harris because he broke through so many barriers. Just his accomplishments alone make him someone I would want to sit down and have a discussion with.

What movie had the greatest impact on you as a kid? Why?

I loved Charolette's Web. Considering I have to read the book for a school project, when the movie came out it made me go back and re-read the book. It opened my eyes to the translation process from book to movie.

If you could be on a Reality TV show, which one would it be and why?

I would be on The Apprentice because I am so business minded. My writing career is more to me than just a hobby; it is a business and I treat it as such.

If you could visit any place in the world where would you travel to?

There isn't one particular place I would like to visit. I know I want to go Egypt, Paris, Rome, and Australia.

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

That it takes so much longer to actually write the book than it does to read it. I have had many encounters with readers who want the next installment of a book to be available as soon as they finish the first one. I appreciate the love, but the demands are hard to meet.

What was the best advice you’d ever gotten about the publishing industry? The worst?

I can't really recall getting any advice from the publishing industry. However, I have gotten good advice from other authors. I love the openness and willing to help that other authors give. It's a great community to be a part of.

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

Do - believe in yourself and what you are doing and know you are your own worse critic.

Don't - fall by the wasteside. No one loves your work as much as you do so treat it that way. Never think a publicist, agent, publisher, or anyone loves you work as much as you do so you must be an advocate for your work.

What is something readers would be surprised you do?

Readers should be suprised that I don't have a set schedule to write. I can go months without typing a word and goes months not being able to move from in front of the computer.

Our theme for this month is GETTING THE CALL. Did you receive the call from the editor? What was the experience like?

I have yet to receive a call from an editor, but I am waiting patiently for my turn.

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

My next project is The Diary of the Secret Wife. Here is a quick synposis -

People always say that journaling is good for the soul...those people don't know Sheree. She knew the deal when she married Matt. She was supposed to be the silent wife, but when that silence made her invisible, it was a problem. Her invisibility allows Kelly to be the woman in the eye of Matt's friends, family, and colleagues. Matt was the kind of professional that had to keep a perfect image; an image that didn't include a black wife and mixed breed baby. Trying to deal with Matt, Kelly, and all the fact that she can never be seen was proving to be too much for her. To add injury to insult, Little Matt is stuck not knowing his fathers side of the family; he is the biggest secret of all.

All the while she continues to be the perfect wife and mother. The rage inside and builds until she can't hold it anymore. There is a plan brewing and her journal is the only one that knows...

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

My website is http://www.tnicoleonline.com/
. My email address is tnicoles.spot@gmail.com. My line especially for readers is 267-296-4895.


My Own Terms 2: Never Settle

Shana is back and she is ready for whatever the world has to give her. She knows how to live her life and have fun with it. Despite all the drama she has been through, she finds a way to keep her mind focused on where she wants to be.

Determined to be free from all the chaos that her life has brought her, she is ready to set the record straight. No matter what happens, she is not going to settle for anything less than a perfect life.

Leave your name and email for a chance to win a copy of My Own Terms 2.

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Monday, April 26, 2010

FEATURED AUTHOR: Vickie McDonough


Vickie McDonough is an award-winning inspirational romance author, with 18 novels and novellas published. She was recently voted 3rd Favorite Author in Heartsong Present’s annual readers’ contest, and her book, Outlaw Heart, placed 2nd in the Favorite Historical Romance category. Vickie is currently the treasurer of ACFW(American Christian Fiction Writers) and has written book reviews for nine years. Vickie is a wife of thirty-four years, mother of four grown sons and grandma to a feisty four-year-old girl. When she’s not writing, Vickie enjoys reading, gardening, watching movies, and traveling. To learn more about Vickie’s books, visit her website: http://www.vickiemcdonough.com/

How did you start out your writing career?

I never actually planned to be a writer. If someone had suggested that, I would have thought they were crazy. I was a math kid in school and didn’t care for English classes and writing, however, I’ve always been an avid reader. One day I got a story idea running through my mind and it wouldn’t go away. It was interfering with my sleep big time, so I decided to write it down hoping it would go away and leave me alone. I finished that book, and right on its heals came another story idea. I wrote it too. Then I began to wonder about this odd phenomenon and decided to look into writing. I started taking classes locally and online, joined several writers groups, and started learning the craft of writing. It’s been an amazing journey, but not one I ever dreamed I’d have.

What was your most difficult scene to write?

You know, I think I’m actually working on that one right now. I sold a book that have a really great beginning and a fabulous, exciting ending, but as I was writing it, I realized I’d failed to plot much for the middle of the book, other than developing the romance. It’s been difficult, because I have a deadline looming, and my characters aren’t talking to me much. I’ll just have to muddle through, but you can be sure, I’ll plot out the next story better.

Have you had a "Wow" moment since you have been an author? What made it a "Wow" moment for you?

The first wow moment was the day I got the call for my first novella sale. That was so exciting. The next big wow came at the 2004 ACFW conference. My publisher, Barbour Publishing, issues several contracts at the conference each year, and in 2004, I received my first book contract among the cheers and clapping of my many friends.

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

I touch on a number of issues in The Anonymous Bride. The first is forgiving past offenses. My hero battles forgiving the woman who betrayed his love. The heroine is a single mother from an abusive marriage who has a little girl who runs wild. Having been abused, she fears disciplining her daughter but knows she has to do something. My main goal with this book is to show readers that they are never beyond God’s redemption.

What’s playing on your CD while you’re writing?

Nothing. I actually prefer total quiet when I’m writing.

If you had the opportunity to talk with three writers, who would you choose and why?

This is a hard question because I’ve gotten to know many of my favorite writers.

What movie had the greatest impact on you as a kid?

I can’t think of a particular movie that had an impact on me, but I loved any movie with a horse in it. Why? I’ve always loved horses, and when I was about twelve, I talked my parents into getting me one. That was the first of three horses that I had. As a writer, I look back to my horse riding days and realize how much those experiences helped me to write horses in my stories.

If you could be on a Reality TV show, which one would it be and why?

The Amazing Race. Does that qualify? I’ve always wanted to travel, but with raising four boys, we never could much. I think it would be a blast to race around the world like the competitors on The Amazing Race do.

If you could visit any place in the world where would you travel to?

Oh, there are soooo many places I want to visit. Here are a few of them: Alaska, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Scotland, Fiji, Europe

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

How much time and effort goes into a book. It takes most writers months to research, plot, write, and rewrite a book. A lot of sweat, prayers, concern, and hard work is involved, but we do it to give the readers a product that will take them away from their hectic lives for a while and hopefully gives them enjoyment.

What was the best advice you’d ever gotten about the publishing industry?

To persevere. Writing takes a long time, but selling a book can take even longer. You may submit a proposal to a publisher and then wait months or even years to hear back, only to have your “baby” rejected. You cry a little, then dust off your hands, and get back to writing. Just keep at it and don’t give up. The worst? I can’t think of any bad advice I’ve been given.

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

Do get involved in a good critique group where you can get feedback on your story. Don’t get overly excited and submit your book too soon. You’ve worked hard and you want to be sure that what you’re sending to an editor is your best work.

What is something readers would be surprised you do?

I think my life now is pretty cut and dry, but when I was much younger (and thinner—), I bought a motorcycle. I loved it!

Our theme for this month is GETTING THE CALL. Did you receive the call from the editor?

I’ve only received one “call” because my publisher communicates via email. The call I did receive was when I sold my first novella, which was to be included in a collection with three other authors. Several of the authors has meet me online and took an interest in my writing. I got a call one day from Cathy Marie Hake telling me that we’d sold our novella collection. What was the experience like? I asked if she was kidding, then sat stunned when she said she wasn’t. Then I squealed and thanked her immensely. Then I called my husband and told him the good news. It was a fun day!!

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

Sure! Second Chance Brides is the second book in my Texas Boardinghouse Brides series and tells the story of two of the mail-order brides who were leftover from the first book. Neither gal can return home and are stuck in Texas. Their only means of survival is to either find employment in the tiny town of Lookout—or find a husband. I’m being purposefully vague here, because I don’t want readers to know which brides are left until they’ve read The Anonymous Bride.

Suffice it to say, there’s plenty of drama, humor, and romance in the book.

How can readers get in contact with you?

mail: Vickie McDonough
PO Box 592
Jenks, OK 74037

Email: fictionfan1@cox.net

Website: http://www.vickiemcdonough.com/

Thanks so much for having me as a guest today. I wanted to let your readers know that I also have another book that released this month called Wildflower historical North Dakota.


The Anonymous Bride – book one in the Texas Boardinghouse Brides series

Three mail-orders brides arrive in Lookout, Texas, each expecting to marry the local marshal. But—he didn't order a bride. When a contest ensues to discover which bride will make him the best wife, there is a surprise fourth entry--an anonymous one. Mayhem occurs as the whole town tries to figure out who the anonymous bride is, and the mayor pressures the marshal to pick a bride or lose his job. Will Marshal Davis tuck tail and run for the hills? Or will he lose his heart and his bachelorhood?

Leave your name and email for a chance to win a copy of The Anonymous Bride.

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Saturday, April 24, 2010

BLOG TOUR: Trouble Down The Road by Bettye Griffin


Suzanne and Brad Betancourt have a lot to be grateful for-their home, their children, and each other. They've even survived the fact that Brad's ex-wife lives next door and Suzanne's intrusive mother and siblings are just down the road. But Suzanne's confidence unravels at Brad's fiftieth birthday blowout, when young, voluptuous, neighbor Micheline brings a specially wrapped gift: herself. Suddenly, Suzanne feels like she's the one having the midlife crisis...

Hoping to impress Brad, and ease family troubles that are already straining their relationship, Suzanne goes into business with a friend. But the endeavor stretches her too thin, leaving Brad hurt and alienated. Soon he begins to distance himself from her-moving right into the waiting arms of Micheline, who is all too ready to ditch her own husband.

Now, with marriages on the line across the neighborhood, Suzanne and Brad will have to question their notion of loyalty to one another-and to themselves.

Can you give a brief overview of what Trouble Down The Road is about?

Bettye Griffin: Let’s see…secrets being found out, lies being exposed, marriages in trouble, misguided loyalties…does that whet your appetite for a good book to devour? Publisher’s Weekly calls it a “tart and torrid tempest” and says that “Those who crave their drama fast and furious will surely enjoy.” And the editor of the Black Expressions Book Club (Trouble Down The Road will be offered as a Main Selection in their catalog) told me her staff loved the scenarios the book addresses.

Even with that very un-romantic plot overview, it’s important for me to note that Trouble Down The Road is not a romance, but women’s fiction. When you write both, as I do, you want to do all you can to make sure readers know which is which…and there will no doubt still be some who will write to me and say things like, “That was no way to end a romance.” Sigh….

Is this a sequel?

Bettye Griffin: Yes, it focuses on characters first introduced in my 2005 novel The People Next Door. Also, the character of Micheline Mehu from Nothing But Trouble (2006) plays a prominent role (hence the title). If you haven’t read either previous book don’t worry; Trouble Down The Road contains sufficient backstory to fill readers in on what they need to know.

What prompted you to write a sequel after 5 years?

Bettye Griffin: I’ve never been big on the idea of the never-ending story that has sequel after sequel after sequel, from either a reading or writing standpoint, but I couldn’t forget the reader mail I received asking me to write a follow-up. I actually found the gap in time to be beneficial. Not only did the characters feel fresh to me after the long break, but five years later was a nice point at which to develop a new storyline, particularly in relation to the younger generation, who are now adults in their early 20s. This years-later follow-up is the type of sequel that works for me, and the reader in me is pleased to see that other authors are doing this as well: Donna Hill’s sequel to her novel Rhythms, Sandra Kitt’s sequel to the classic romance Adam and Eva, and Terry McMillan’s sequel to Waiting to Exhale.

Do you see yourself writing another sequel to this story 5 years from now?

Bettye Griffin: That answer will largely depend on reader response, so it’s too soon to know.

You write both contemporary romance and women’s fiction. Which do you prefer?

Bettye Griffin: Women’s fiction was always my first love. I started off in romance because it was what was open to writers at that time, but after just a few books I began to feel my collar tightening under the long list of ‘don’t’s.’ I had a story I loved that didn’t fit the mold (these days many romance novels are based on the premise of the one-night stand in order to get the hero and heroine in bed by page 40) and published it myself through my own Bunderful Books. I’m pleased to say that Save The Best For Last has met with positive response from readers, and Urban-Reviews.com named it as an Honorable Mention on their Best Reviewed Books of 2009 (my women’s fiction effort of last year, A New Kind of Bliss, made their Best Reviewed list).

What can readers expect from you in the future?

Bettye Griffin: I’ve been working on a synopsis that’s been kicking my butt for a complicated story that will be smoking, if only I can get it all worked out. I also see myself moving into more mainstream romance fiction, and I just completed a synopsis for a proposal to do just that (none of my previous mainstreams, Trouble Down The Road included, have contained significant romance threads). And I’m also working on another contemporary romance to be published by my own Bunderful Books. The rule I break here that would prevent this book from being published by a traditional romance publisher is having three very different romantic relationships unfold in a single novel.

What’s the best way to keep up with you?

Bettye Griffin: My website, http://www.bettyegriffin.com/
(you can read an excerpt of Trouble Down The Road there and sign up for my newsletter as well), my Facebook page, and my YouTube channel, http://www.http//www.youtube.com/user/bundie702, where my book trailers can be viewed.


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Friday, April 23, 2010

FEATURED AUTHOR: Gina Holmes


In 1998, Gina Holmes began her career penning articles and short stories. In 2005 she founded the influential literary blog, Novel Journey. She holds degrees in science and nursing and currently resides with her husband and children in Southern Virginia. Her debut novel, Crossing Oceans, is set to release summer 2010 with Tyndale House Publishers. To learn more about her, visit: http://www.ginaholmes.com/ or http://www.noveljourney.blogspot.com/

How did you start out your writing career?

I began my writing career working on everything I could think of, from children's books to magazine articles to greeting cards with very little success besides an article here or there. It wasn't until I heard a girl, (yes, girl) in my church talk about writing her second novel that I even considered such a large endevear. But, I told myself, if a 17 year old can do it, so can I. And so I did. Although that first novel wasn't all that great, it still was good practice. As was books two, three and four before I sold my fifth work, Crossing Oceans.

What was your most difficult scene to write?

The most difficult scene is also one of my favorites. It's the scene my main character, Jenny, has to tell her little girl that she's dying. She takes her to the oceans and tells her to look for the other side. Of course the child can't see it. Jenny says, but there is one, even if you can't see it from here. Heaven is like there...

I cried every time I edited it. I'd cry again if I read that chapter now. It was powerful as a parent. Every parent can relate I think.

Have you had a "Wow" moment since you have been an author? What made it a "Wow" moment for you?

Ha. All I can think of is "I could have had a V-8." Let's see... I get wow moments every time I read a piece of fantastic fiction. Right now I'm reading The Help and thinking 'wow'. I've had early readers who are tough critics tell me how my book touched them and made them think about forgiveness, their own mortality and Heaven. Reminding someone that death for the Christian isn't so scary is a wow moment.

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

Well, I'm greedy, so alot. I hope to entertain people. I hope to touch their hearts and souls. I hope to remind everyone that forgiveness isn't optional, and that Heaven awaits those who believe. I want those who read Crossing Oceans to consider that it's not always about us, what feels good in the here and now but about the legacy we're leaving behind. Like I said, I'm greedy.

What’s playing on your CD while you’re writing?

Depends on the scene. While writing Crossing Oceans I listened to "A woman's work" over and over. You may remember the song from She's having a baby. It's a beautiful song. I also listened to Toad the Wet Sprocket's Walk on the Ocean. With the novel I'm working on now, I haven't needed to listen to music to get the right feel yet so I'm listening to my dog bark and kids laugh or bicker or whatever.

If you had the opportunity to talk with three writers, who would you choose and why?

Hmmm. I'd like to hang out with Ann Lamot just because I think she'd be interesting to talk to. I like people who aren't b.s-ers. Stephen King would be cool too for the same reason and I guess Francine Rivers. Her books move me and I wouldn't mind telling her so in person.

What movie had the greatest impact on you as a kid? Why?

I loved Clash of the Titans. I watched it over and over, that and Legends. They were both Greek Mythology type fantasies. I think other than entertain me the grew my love for fairy tales.

If you could be on a Reality TV show, which one would it be and why?

Yikes. I'm not a big fan of TV and that goes for reality TV. I don't know. I guess Dancing with the Stars because then I'd have to get into shape.

If you could visit any place in the world where would you travel to?

I want to go to Israel. To walk where Jesus walk and to be baptized in the Jordan. I know it probably sounds pat and cliche but I'm truly burning to do this.

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

That even when I'm staring into space, I'm working. When I'm reading, I'm working. I'm sure writers look like terribly lazy people and the worst procrastinators and maybe that's true but not entirely.

What was the best advice you’d ever gotten about the publishing industry? The worst?

The best advice was to write what you know. I say this because of http://www.noveljourney.blogspot.com/ we ask this question and everyone's worst advice is just that. They argue that if they only write what they knew they'd be writing about their boring daily lives or whatever but I think that's not the point of "write what you know." To me, it's write what you know in your soul. With Crossing Oceans, I don't know what it's like to be dying or to have to tell the man who broke my heart that he's about to inherit the daughter I never told him he had, but on the deeper level, where it matters, I know loss. I know love. I know how afraid I'd be if I were dying. Afraid for myself and for the child I'd leave behind. I know bitterness and I know forgiveness.

The worst advice: someone I interviewed once said writing a book was just like writing a long letter without the salutations. I'm sure that was true for them but not for me.

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

Do: Go to writer's conferences. Don't: try to get published before the people who know the industry say you're ready. You get one chance to debut. Better to have it be on your tenth book that's fabulous than your third that's just okay. Readers have great memories. One chance. Make it count.

What is something readers would be surprised you do?

Those who know me say I'm a lot of fun. I pick at people I like constantly. I sing while I work without realizing it. I sometimes get dates waaaaay wrong like writing 1988 on a check instead of 2010. I have a lot of brain farts, though I doubt anyone would be all that surprised. I think writers are naturally scatterbrained. Our minds are always elsewhere.

Our theme for this month is GETTING THE CALL. Did you receive the call from the editor? What was the experience like?

Well, the call came in parts. First there was the call from my agent, Chip to tell me he was in negotiations. Then there was the call which was actually an email I received before my agent from Tyndale saying they accepted his offer, and then the sweetest call was when Chip called me at work and said, "Gina, it's okay to scream. We've got an offer."

I'll never forget that day.

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

Dry as Rain is the story of a couple struggling with growing apart, infidelity, love and forgiveness.

How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)
www.ginaholmes.com I have a link they can clink that goes directly to my email.



Crossing Oceans

Jenny Lucas swore she’d never go home again. But being told you’re dying has a way of changing things. Years after she left, she and her five-year-old daughter, Isabella, must return to her sleepy North Carolina town to face the ghosts she left behind. They welcome her in the form of her oxygen tank–toting grandmother, her stoic and distant father, and David, Isabella’s dad . . . who doesn’t yet know he has a daughter. As Jenny navigates the rough and unknown waters of her new reality, the unforgettable story that unfolds is a testament to the power of love and its ability to change everything—to heal old hurts, bring new beginnings . . . even overcome the impossible. A stunning debut about love and loss from a talented new voice.


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Thursday, April 22, 2010

HER MOTHER'S HOPE blog tour with FRANCINE RIVERS


Francine Rivers began her literary career at the University of Nevada, Reno, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Journalism. From 1976 to 1985, she had a successful writing career in the general market and her books were awarded or nominated for numerous awards and prizes. Although raised in a religious home, Francine did not truly encounter Christ until later in life, when she was already a wife, mother of three, and an established romance novelist. Shortly after becoming a born-again Christian in 1986, Francine wrote Redeeming Love as her statement of faith. First published by Bantam Books, and then re-released by Multnomah Publishers in the mid- 1990s, this retelling of the biblical story of Gomer and Hosea set during the time of the California Gold Rush is now considered by many to be a classic work of Christian fiction. Redeeming Love continues to be one of the Christian Booksellers Association’s top-selling titles and it has held a spot on the Christian bestseller list for nearly a decade.

Since Redeeming Love, Francine has published numerous novels with Christian themes – all bestsellers-- and she has continued to win both industry acclaim and reader loyalty around the globe. Her Christian novels have been awarded or nominated for numerous awards including the Rita Award, the Christy Award, the ECPA Gold Medallion, and the Holt Medallion in Honor of Outstanding Literary Talent. In 1997, after winning her third Rita award for Inspirational Fiction, Francine was inducted into the Romance Writers’ of America Hall of Fame. Francine’s novels have been translated into over twenty different languages and she enjoys best-seller status in many foreign countries including Germany, The Netherlands, and South Africa.

Francine and her husband Rick live in Northern California and enjoy the time spent with their three grown children and every opportunity to spoil their five grandchildren. She uses her writing to draw closer to the Lord, and that through her work she might worship and praise Jesus for all He has done and is doing in her life.

How did you get started as a writer?

From the time I was a child, I knew I would be a writer. Because I didn’t know what I would write, I majored in English (emphasis in literary writing) and minored in journalism (emphasis on who-what-when-where-why). My parents had always been non-fiction readers. Rick’s family loved all kinds of books – and lots of fiction. Mom Edith loaned me novels and I loved them. On a dare (from Rick) I decided to write a combination of my favorite genres and wrote a “western-gothic-romance”. Romance novels were booming in the general market, publishers were on the look-out for new writers. My first manuscript sold and was published. I was hooked! I followed with eight or nine more (of what I call my B.C. (before Christ) books). They are all now out of print, are never to be reprinted, and are not recommended.

When I turned my life over to Jesus, I couldn’t write for three years. I tried, but nothing worked. I struggled against God over that because writing was my “identity.” It took that period of suffering “writer’s block” to bring me to my senses. God was trying to open my eyes to how writing had become an idol in my life. It was the place I ran to escape, the one area of my life where I thought I was in complete control. (Hardly!) My priorities were all wrong and needed to be put right. God first, husband and children second (we had three children by then) and third-- work. I prayed God would change my heart. My love for writing and reading novels waned and my passion for reading and studying God’s Word grew.

Rick and I began hosting a home Bible study. I began working with Rick in his business. The children came along and played in the office, hiding in the shipping popcorn. Writing ceased to matter. I was in love with Jesus and my husband and children. God never stops with the transformation process. We began studying the book of Hosea, and I sensed God calling me to write again – this time a romance about Jesus’ love for each of us. Redeeming Love was the result. It is the retelling of the Hosea story, set in Gold Rush-era California. After I turned it in, I wasn’t sure whether I would write anything more. I had so many questions about what it means to be a Christian, how to live for God, different issues that still haunted me. I felt God nudging me toward using my writing as a tool to draw closer to Him. I would ask my question, create characters that would play out the different viewpoints and seek God’s perspective. I began work on A Voice in the Wind. Writing has become a way to worship the Lord through story – to show how intimately He wants to be involved in our lives.

Tell us about your current work.

I have just completed the second in a set of two books about mother-daughter relationship over four generations. This was intended to be one long novel dealing with the different ways generations have lived out their faith – but became so long it needed to be divided. Her Mother’s Hope will be released March 16, 2010. Her Daughter’s Dream will follow in September. There are numerous family and personal details woven into both books and I plan to share those things on my blog.


Where do you get your ideas for your plots?

Almost every story I have written since becoming a Christian has come from a question that regards a struggle in my own faith walk. The plot centers around the different ways that question can be answered by “the world” – but the quest is to find God’s answer. Here is a list of my novels with the questions that started each story:

A Voice in the Wind: How do I share my faith with unsaved family members and friends who have no desire to read the Bible or hear me talk about my faith?

An Echo in the Darkness: How many times are we called upon to forgive people who hurt us deliberately -- and (in many countries) would like to see us dead?

As Sure As the Dawn: How do you deal with anger – especially when there is “good” cause? What is “righteous anger” and how does it look?

The Scarlet Thread: What does “sovereignty” mean in man’s relationship with God? If He is in control of everything, what does that say about the bad things that happen to people?

The Atonement Child: Is there complete forgiveness and restoration for a woman who has aborted her child? Does abortion have any effect on the woman and the man involved in the crisis pregnancy? Does it impact people around them? (This was my most painful and personal book because I needed to face and deal with my own abortion experience. The character of Hannah is based on my story; Evie is based on my mother’s.)

The Last Sin Eater: What is the difference between guilt and conviction? This book came out of The Atonement Child. What I learned: guilt kept me imprisoned for years. Conviction sent me to my knees before the Lord where I received forgiveness and experienced His love and grace.

Leota’s Garden: Are abortion and euthanasia connected? Is euthanasia merciful or an act of murder? This novel also came out of my work on The Atonement Child. While studying the abortion issue from all sides, I realized the arguments for abortion are exactly the same as those for euthanasia. While going through a post-abortion class with other women (one a nurse), I learned that the elderly are already at risk. One scene in the book continues to shock people. I wrote it for that purpose. I want people to understand life is precious. The movement toward legalizing euthanasia continues to gain momentum (and has less to do with “mercy” than saving money for care).

And the Shofar Blew: What is a church? How do you build it? During my travels around the country and speaking at various churches, I saw many struggling through building projects and massive programs to draw more parishioners. Size of building and number of people in the pews seemed to define success or failure. Like a government out of control, the “church” (in many cases) has forgotten its foundation and purpose. Christ is the cornerstone. Believers meet together to study the Word of God, worship Him and encourage one another – and keep their doors and hearts open to those seeking God. Unfortunately, too many congregations have left their first love (Jesus Christ) and turned to idolatry (placing a building/drawing a crowd/being “politically correct” above a relationship with the Lord).

Her Mother’s Hope / Her Daughter’s Dream: What caused the rift between my grandmother and mother? When my grandmother had a stroke, my mother raced from Oregon to the Central Valley of California to be with her. Grandma died before she arrived. My mother was heart-broken and said, “I think she willed herself to die just so we wouldn’t have to talk things out.” I have wondered since: What causes people (even Christians) to hold grudges? What might have brought resolution and restoration to these two women? Could my grandmother have loved my mother without my mother understanding it? The two books have many personal, family details woven in and I will be sharing this information in my blog.

Which is your favorite book of those you’ve written?

My favorite book is Redeeming Love. It was my first as a born-again Christian, my statement of faith, and the most exciting year I’ve spent writing anything. I felt God’s presence throughout the months of work, as though He were telling me His story through thousands of Scriptures as well as explaining the inner heart-ache and quest of each “my” characters.

Christian fiction continues to boom. What would you like to see happen in the field?

I want to see Christian fiction speak to the hard and real issues that tear people’s lives apart. We need writers who are willing to ask the hard questions and go through the soul-searching and agonizing to find answers – and present these stories with skill that surpasses the general market. Some of the greatest works or art and literature were rendered by Christians. I believe God is at work in these areas now. I would also love to see more Christian stories make it to the big screen and into the world of television, and to have the Christian worldview presented fairly. Much of what comes out of “Hollywood” appeals to the basest side of mankind and crushes the spirit. Right now, with war and a failing economy, people are hungry for stories that inspire them, lift them and give them hope. People need to know there are solutions and we can have peace and an abundant life -- even in the midst of trials.

What advice would you give to a new writer?

Write what you need to read. Write from your heart and. Write truth. Sometimes it hurts to peel away the layers of self-deception and see ourselves in the mirror, but it will also draw us closer to Jesus. And your work may minister to others struggling with the same issues. Read the Bible every day so that it will flow naturally into the story. Study the Bible from beginning to end. It is the most exciting reading in the world. It is also alive – and will help you recognize when you are entering into sin and need to realign yourself with the Lord. Keep your focus on Jesus.

Tell us about your family life?

Rick and I met in the fifth grade. We were good friends through school, and graduated together in 1965. I went away to college and he joined the Marine Corps. When the hometown newspaper carried the story of my brother’s capture in Hue during the Tet Offensive, Rick wrote to me from Vietnam and we began to correspond. We married a year after he returned from Vietnam (1969). We have three children and five grandchildren. (Note: My brother was seriously wounded, escaped from his captors when the Marines entered Hue, and is alive, well, happily married with two grown children and living the blissful retired life in the woods of Northern California.)

Are any of your novels going to be made into movies?

The Last Sin Eater was produced and directed by Michael Landon, Jr. and Brian Bird (They did an outstanding job.) The movie was released in theaters in 2007 and is now available on DVD. You can see the trailer on IMDB.com. Rick and I were invited to visit the set during filming in the mountains north of Salt Lake City. We had a great time and there are pictures of our trip in the movie-edition of the novel.

A film based on Redeeming Love is currently in development with Abba Productions/ Christy Lee Taylor. She has partnered with producer Ralph Winter and they are trying to pull together funding to get the project off the ground.

HER MOTHER'S HOPE

The first part of an unforgettable epic family saga about the sacrifices every mother makes for her daughter and the very nature of unconditional love. On the eve of the First World War, fiery Marta Schneider leaves Switzerland and her difficult childhood behind, determined to find a new life on her own terms. Barely out of her teens, Marta is haunted by a devastating loss that fuels her ambition to one day own a hotel. From the cramped quarters of a French housekeeping school to the portrait-lined halls of a stately English manor, Marta becomes a hard working domestic who has little time to dwell on what might have been. Instead, she draws her strength from what could be. Then, Marta meets Niclas Waltert, a man just as determined as she to forge a better life in a new place. Niclas captures her heart and together they endure the harshness of life as tenant farmers on the vast prairies of Winnipeg, Canada, before following the promise of the American dream and migrating to the agriculturally rich Central Valley of California. Marriage and motherhood bring both joy and heartbreak, as Marta must surrender her long-held ambitions for the sake of her husband and children, including her daughter, Hildemara, upon whose shoulders her own hopes now squarely rest. Only the strong survive and Marta is determined to raise a daughter as strong as she. But as Hildie reaches young womanhood and another war is fast approaching, those hopes become too heavy a burden for Hildie to bear. Born with a heart to serve others, Hildie pursues her calling as a nurse, something Marta can’t understand. Marta’s years of hardnosed parenting have left Hildie still hungry for her mother’s love…and now for her mother’s respect. Amid the drama of WWII, Hildie falls in love and begins a family of her own. She wants her daughter, Carolyn, never to doubt her love—but the challenges of life conspire against her vow and the only person who can come to her aid is the person she remains so desperate to please: Marta, her mother. With hallmark touches of brilliant prose and gripping characterizations, Her Mother’s Hope is a rich, moving epic about faith and dreams, heartache and disappointment, and ultimately the resilience and tenacity of love.

First chapter excerpt at:

http://rivers.authorsontheweb.com/books/84/excerpt

Book trailer video at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-EgopBa4IY&feature=player_embedded


PLEASE NOTE: A complimentary copy of this book was provided to the me as a blog tour host by Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for posting this interview on my blog. Please visit Christian Speaker Services at http://www.christianspeakerservices.com/ for more information about blog tour management services.



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BOOK INTRO: Empowered For Purpose From Pain To Promise


Empowered For Purpose From Pain To Promise
By Shereeda L. Bowers


Poetry

Inside the gifted pages of written words in From Pain to Promise, you will travel along the journey as Author, Shereeda L. Bowers reveals her soul's thoughts about love, pain, society and purpose. From Pain to Purpose is a powerful testimony of endurance, victory, triumph and faith even during some of the most tumultuous times of life.


Websites: http://www.empoweredone.com/


http://www.shereedalbowers.blogspot.com/

To order your copy click

http://www.publishamerica.net/product89639.html



SHEREEDA L. BOWERS IS OUR POET OF THE MONTH


FROM PAIN TO PROMISE!


To be empowered by purpose!

Was the purpose that gave me power!

Empowered to laugh rather than scream.

Empowered to cry and continue to dream.

The cries that showered over power,

Covered the pain that made me wise.

Like the wood, of a sunken ship out in the vast of the sea,

Were the flames of life's afflictions that continued to haunt me.

Out of the depths of my ashes

I purposed to elevate my mind.

Empowered on the inside, like "Maya Angelou, Still I Rise!"

Empowered to conquer strongholds, to my name, they held their claims.

Enjoying the liberty of being free, from all that was common to me.

Experiencing the fear of being hurt again.

I became acquainted with hurt's pain.

Defending myself endlessly,

not knowing if I could change.

Locked up in my mind was all the evil on the outside.

Cutting the flow of blood from my heart,

made it even harder for me to cry.

"No Woman, No Cry" were Bob Marley's greatest words,

the feelings of being outcast were feelings I didn't deserve.

Empowered by the hate of memories

I couldn't come to escape.

Taking heed to all the days that I had to meditate.

I became empowered by my purpose

From my purpose, free from the pain.

From my pain I saw the promise,

believing in my promise I became,

Empowered to know me again,

for the purpose of making a change.

Leaving my pain in the hurts of my past,

grasping hold of the promise that lies ahead,

and claiming the joy I never had.





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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

COLUMN: Fresh Manna: Breaking of Bread From Heaven


Waiting on Your Boaz

Reading an intriguing “page-turner” romance novel or watching a romantic “tear-jerker” movie is entertaining for me. I love it when my favorite character captivates my heart from the beginning, embarking me on a real emotional roller-coaster ride. Through each thrilling scene, the plot thickens; and nothing but “bad news” drama unfolds. Alas! It looks like total defeat for my character. The antagonist has won. The supposedly conqueror was conquered. Nothing but doom and gloom loom on the horizon. Have you ever read a romance novel or watched a romantic movie with a similar sequential pattern?

My husband has this saying, “It’s all she wrote and the pencil lead broke.” One of my favorite sayings is “But God….” This is not the end of the story. Through some unexpected twists and turns of events, the story provides
a game changer for my character. After all have been said and done, my character prevails and victory triumphs. When I turn to the last page of the novel or the movie has ended, the caption reads, “…and they
lived happily ever after. The End.” If you are a single woman looking for a mate, this column was tailored just
for you.

The biblical romance found in the book of Ruth is a good example of the above scenario, and it is a perfect illustration of Proverbs 18:22, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing.” Let’s focus on three key words in this verse, “He who finds….” I really want you to read this verse. So grab your Bible, blow off the dust… if you must… and read it for yourself. Underline or highlight this verse with your favorite pen or marker. Write your thoughts on how this verse speaks to you.

In this story, Ruth was a young widow who was estranged in a foreign land living with her mother-in-law, Naomi. No, I’m not kidding! She travelled with her mother-in-law to Bethlehem; the native land of Naomi. Both Ruth and Naomi had lost their husbands in Ruth’s native land, Moab. During this difficult time, they cultivated an inseparable and compassionate bond. A relationship in today’s society is quite uncommon and it is not found in your typical
in-law relationships. Ruth vowed to her Naomi, “Your people are my people, and your God is my God.” When you listen to today’s chatter, most in-laws have become out-laws. In my own personal story, I beg to differ. My mother-in-law is so sweet. Still after some 39 years later, she is like a mother to me.

In this story, Ruth made some quality decisions that invoked God’s providence and intervention; thereby catapulting her into her destiny. Unbeknownst to her, Ruth worked as hired help in the barely fields of her soon-to-be-husband. Boaz, who was a relative of her mother-in-law, was also the richest man in the land. Naomi mentored Ruth on how to conduct herself in the fields. As a result, Boaz noticed her immediately. His attraction gravitated to her because her work ethics were different from the other female laborers. While they flirted with the reapers trying to get more barely, Ruth displayed honesty and integrity. She minded her own business and worked with her own hands. Boaz was impressed so he instructed his reapers to leave extra barley in the fields just for her on purpose. Now that’s
the favor of God at work.

After suffering much emotional grief and physical turmoil in her past; love and redemption came into play for Ruth. Boaz became her kinsman redeemer, he married her, and they had a son named Obed. In an instant, her status was elevated from rags to riches. Her family heritage included King David and the King of Kings, Jesus. This is a good place to pause and take a praise break! The rest of the story was history. The Bible did not record this, but I believe Ruth and Boaz lived happily ever after.

Like Ruth and Naomi, women are single for many reasons:

(1) Circumstances and situations occur beyond their control, i.e., unexpected
illnesses which may lead to untimely deaths.

(2) Some women are single by choice.

(3) Adultery, verbal and/or physical abuse by a spouse may lead to separation and divorce.

(4) The husband walks away from the marriage and family without giving a justifiable reason.

Can you relate your singleness to this story in any way? Do you desire a godly mate? If so, the good news is your Boaz is looking for you. What will you be doing when He finds you?

Journaling assignment:

What are you doing in preparation of your Boaz finding you?

List some quality decisions you have made (or you would make) while waiting on your Boaz.

Evaluate your relationship with God. Is it personal & imitate? Or is it casual and cool?

Evaluate your inter-personal relationships with your parents, spiritual parents, siblings, friends, coworkers, etc.

What are your work ethics like in your home? On your job? In your school? Or in your church?


Happy Journaling!

Claudia Newby-Tynes, entrepreneur of Write 4U, is an author, speaker, teacher, and mentor. She has written two books and is a contributor to one. Claudia has approximately 200+ published credits online and in print publications. She served as both a columnist for The Spirit-Led Writer and a planning committee/faculty member for the Sandy Cove Christian Writers’ Conference. She is married and has one grown son. For more information, visit
http://claudiatynes.com/.


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Monday, April 19, 2010

FEATURED AUTHOR: Seressia Glass


Seressia has always been a voracious reader, cutting her teeth on comics, cereal boxes–anything at hand. So it came as no surprise to family and teachers when she began creating stories featuring some of her favorite characters. One of her earlier works included the autobiography of a piece of bubble gum, and a short Halloween story was turned into a PTA play in elementary school.

Her proudest writing moment remains winning the first Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday “Living the Dream” essay contest as a high school senior and getting to meet Coretta Scott King. Since then, she’s channeled her belief in the power of the written word by creating rich, emotional stories of diverse people coming together to achieve the universal goals of love and acceptance.

When not working on her next story, Seressia is an instructional designer for an international home improvement company. She spends her free time people-watching, belly dancing, and watching way too much anime.

How did you start out your writing career?

I started out by being a reader, reading everything I could get my hands on when I was a kid. When I ran out of reading material, I started to write. I wrote off and on during school until I wrote an essay for the first MLK celebrations in Atlanta. That essay won first place and made me realize that I could evoke a response from people by the way I put words together. I decided then and there to become a writer. The dream was deferred until I was thirty, but it's all good now!

What was your most difficult scene to write?

Hhm, I always find the end scenes to be the most difficult to write. In all of my stories, the endings have been the hardest.

Have you had a "Wow" moment since you have been an author? What made it a "Wow" moment for you?

Wow moments still happen. The "wow" of getting a contract, fan mail, a hug from a reader who was touched by my book. Writing is a solitary endeavor for the most part, and it's always a surprise when there is someone out there interested in my work.

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

I wanted it to be a breakout book, a book that would have readers of all races and persuasions and genders.

What’s playing on your CD while you’re writing?

Most of the time, I have Discovery or History Channel on in the background. When I do listen to music, it's instrumental--either soundtracks to movies like King Arthur or the 13th Warrior or "New Age" music like African drums.

If you had the opportunity to talk with three writers, who would you choose and why?

Hhm, I'v never really thought about it, but if I could, I'd talk to (in no particular order) Stephen King, Octavia Butler, and WEB DuBois. Each of them are inspiring in different ways. Stephen King never gave up, despite the hundreds of rejections he got before his first sale. Octavia Butler wrote in a genre that wasn't very receptive to women or blacks for the longest time. And WEB DuBois's writings inspired a people and a nation.

What movie had the greatest impact on you as a kid? Why?

I loved all of the Godzilla movies. Bruce Lee movies too! They just captured my imagination and wouldn't let go.

If you could be on a Reality TV show, which one would it be and why?

I don't watch the competition reality shows, but if I could be on Ghost Hunters I'd enjoy it! I'm actually thinking about going on a couple of investigations here in Atlanta later this year.

If you could visit any place in the world where would you travel to?

I've watched Planet earth on the Discovery Channel. There were some beautiful scenes in that. A tour that revisits some of the locales and wildlife the crew filmed would be wonderful

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

That it really is work as much as it's art. I enjoy it, I love it and I hate it--usually all in the same fifteen minutes!

What was the best advice you’d ever gotten about the publishing industry? The worst?

Best advice? Throw up the story and clean it up later. Also, to remember the ABC's: Apply Butt to Chair.

Worst advice: That paranormals don't sell. Glad I didn't listen to that one!

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

Do keep writing

Don't think you've learned all you need to--join writing groups, professional organizations. Always be open to learning

What is something readers would be surprised you do?

Belly dance. Then again, maybe not all that surprising, since I do have a belly!

Our theme for this month is GETTING THE CALL. Did you receive the call from the editor? What was the experience like?

Actually, my "call" for SHADOW BLADE was in the form of an email from the editor. We'd been communicating back and forth via email anyway, so it wasn't a surprise. Even better, it kept me from sounding like a blathering idiot on the phone!

It's always a heady experience to make a sale. Again, it's validation, and writers are always in need of validation for their work--whether it's a sale from a publisher or a reader.

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

My next book is called SHADOW CHASE, and it picks up where Shadow Blade ends. Kira takes her mentor's ashes back to London. A fellow Shadowchaser has gone missing, and so has a unique artifact imbued with astonishing magic. Unless the Vessel of Nun is returned, it will cause destruction beyond anything the modern world has seen. Kira’s got a team at her back, including Khefar, a near-immortal Nubian warrior who’s already died for her once. But as complicated as her feelings for him are, they’re nothing compared to the difficulties of the task she faces. And the only way to defeat the enemy is to trust in a power she can barely control, and put her life—and her soul—on the line.

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

Readers can follow me on twitter at http://twitter.com/seressia
and facebook at http://www.facebook.com/#!/seressia?ref=profile and of course, via my website at www.seressia.com


SHADOW BLADE

For Kira Solomon, normal was never an option.

Kira’s day job as an antiquities expert, but her true calling is as a Shadowchaser. Trained from youth to be one of the most lethal Chasers in existence, Kira serves the Gilead Commission dispatching the Fallen who sow discord and chaos. Of course, sometimes Gilead bureaucracy is as much a thorn in her side as anything the Fallen can muster against her. Right now, though, she’s got a bigger problem. Someone is turning the city of Atlanta upside-down in search of a four-millennia-old Egyptian dagger that just happens to have fallen into Kira’s hands.

Then there’s Khefar, the dagger’s true owner-a near-immortal 4000-year-old Nubian warrior who, Kira has to admit. looks pretty fine for his age. Joining forces is the only way to keep the weapon safe from the sinister Shadow force, but now Kira is in deep with someone who holds more secrets than she does, the one person who knows just how treacherous this fight is. Because every step closer to destroying the enemy is a step closer to losing herself to Shadow forever. . . .

LEAVE YOUR NAME AND EMAIL ADDRESS FOR A CHANCE TO WIN A COPY OF SHADOW BLADE. TWO LUCKY WINNERS WILL BE CHOSEN.

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Friday, April 16, 2010

FEATURED AUTHOR: Janice Jones


My name is Janice Jones. I was born July 6, 1966 in Detroit, Michigan. I lived in the great state of Michigan until August, 2007, when I moved to Phoenix, Arizona. I am the mother of two sons, Jerrick & Derrick Parker, and grandmother to Jevon Jerrick Parker.

My author credits include Still Standing which is my own autographical spiritual testimonial; His Woman; His Wife; His Widow, my first novel and From Sinner to Saint, my second novel. I am currently working on my third novel, which is a sequel to His Woman; His Wife; His Widow.

I am a member of First Institutional Baptist where Dr. Warren H. Stewart, Sr. is our senior pastor. I am also employed at my church as the Assistant to the Director of Operations. In addition to working full time, writing full time and raising my youngest son, I am also in training to become a licensed minister of the Gospel.

How did you start out your writing career?

My writing career starting long before I realized that I wanted a career in writing. I used to write poetry, but simply for release. I would also write letters to my friends and family whenever I became upset with them. Instead of having a back and forth verbal argument, I would sit down and pen them a letter. This way, I would get my point across without interruption. Though the letters would sometimes be unkind in nature, the receipients would always comment on well they were written, stating that they oft times took on the life of a short story. I am an avid reader. My favorite novel is The Coldest Winter Ever, by Sistah Souljah. Shortly after reading that book, I heard God speak to me and say, "write His Woman His Wife His Widow". Like I said I had no intentions of ever really writing a novel, but in obedience to God, I began utilizing the gift he blessed me with and my writing career began.


What was your most difficult scene to write?

It's hard to answer that question without giving away too much of the stories. In His Woman His Wife His Widow, the hardest scenes to write were the emotional scenes between Lindsay and Shyanne, the best friends. I would cry as I wrote them. Even now I cry when I go back and read them. LOL. In From Sinner to Saint, I guess it would be the scenes where Antonyo really delved into his own emotions. Since this book is written with a male as the lead character, I really had to trust God to be able to give me the words and emotions from a male perspective.


Have you had a "Wow" moment since you have been an author? What made it a "Wow" moment for you?

I have had several "WOW" moments since His Woman His Wife His Widow has come out. I have to say though that the biggest moments come when I am reading the reviews of my books. The readers are so kind and you can sense that they are very honest in giving their opinions. Thus far I have yet to see a review with less than a 4-star rating. Praise the Lord.


What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

Well I have two novels out now, but the answer is the same with both. It is my goal, my purpose to show the redeeming power of Christ love and sacrifice for us. I want to utilize entertaining and inspiring stories and scenarios to show that no matter how bad you yourself or others may think you are, God loves you despite. You are never too far gone for Jesus to rescue you.


What’s playing on your CD while you’re writing?

I have a playlist that I composed called writing music. It is an ecclectic mix of smooth jazz and r&b music; all male artist. This music helps me to relax and focus while writing. Music is another passion of mine. When I hear a great song it inspires me in so many ways. The artist on my playlist are Kenny G, Babyface, Stevie Wonder, Doobie Brothers, Kenny Rogers and others.


If you had the opportunity to talk with three writers, who would you choose and why?

Victoria Christopher Murray. She loves God and is grounded enough to keep her stories from sounded preachy or too goodie-goodie. She writes about true saints who are sinners that are saved by grace. Beverly Jenkins. This is the author who introduced me to the African American romance novel. I love history and her historical pieces which date back to just after the ending of slavery are fabulous. They offer great romance without the filth, a rich cultural heritage and storylines that weave families together and create other great stories without them actually becoming sequels. Awesome. The third would be Carl Weber. Although he is the publisher behind the Urban Christian imprint, I have not had a chance to ever sit and talk with him about his novels. They are so action packed and drama-filled, I just want to know where he comes up with some of the stuff he writes. There are also a few characters that I would like to meet in person and have a "conversation" with as well. LOL. These three authors can pin a book with 26 pages and put one letter of the alphabet on each page and I would buy it. They are the greatest.


What movie had the greatest impact on you as a kid? Why?

A Piece Of The Action with Bill Cosby & Sidney Poitier. There is no deep reasoning behind why this movie impacted me as a kid. I just remember that I enjoyed tremendously. It was one of the 1st movies my parents allowed me to go and see without them. It was just me, my brother and one of my best friends. I guess I felt pretty grown up getting to go to the movies without my parents. LOL

If you could be on a Reality TV show, which one would it be and why?

It would be the Keisha Cole show. That was one of the most realistic reality shows I have ever seen. I could feel the true pain and kind of relate to the disfunction of those situations. I would want to be there to offer more comfort and share with them in their faith in God. I would want to have a one on one conversation with Frankie and hopefully help her to understand how hard it was/is for her children to be openly forgiving toward her.

If you could visit any place in the world where would you travel to?

Jamaica. I have not yet had the opportunity to visit. It looks to be one of the most beautifully romantic places in the world.

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

I guess I want them to understand that even though we love what we do as writers, it is not easy. It is not as easy as it seems to put together the words that create the paragraphs that create the chapters that create the books that you all enjoy reading. There are some days that we actually HATE writing. LOL.

What was the best advice you’d ever gotten about the publishing industry? The worst?

The best advice came from a fellow author and child hood friend. She told me that the process of having your manuscripts reviewed is very subjective. Whether or not your manuscript is chosen for publication is based on who is assigned to read it. So you really can't take rejection personally. I honestly can't think of any bad advice I have been given.


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

Do - outline your stories before you begin penning your work. Don't - choose too many characters. It is very difficult to keep them all straight in the story.

What is something readers would be surprised you do?

I don't know. I mean, I don't think I do anything that others may not do. I will say this. It took me several writes and re-writes to get His Woman His Wife His Widow completed. Since its publication, I have read it all the way through twice. EACH and EVERYTIME I have read certain sections, I cry as if I have never seen them before.

Our theme for this month is GETTING THE CALL. Did you receive the call from the editor? What was the experience like?

I did receive the call from Joylynn Jossel, editor of Urban Christian Books. It was two days after Christmas, 2007. I had complete faith that I would eventually be signed to a publishing deal, but finally getting the call was extremely exciting. I submitted my manuscript to Urban Christian books in late November. My agent told me that if they were going to get a call from any publisher, it would be sometime after the new year. I was completely surprised and overjoyed when Joylynn called to tell me they wanted to sign me to a two-book deal.

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

My next book will be the sequel of His Woman His Wife His Widow. When I completed the novel initially I thought I was done with it and its characters. However, those who have read it insist I need to tell them what happened next. The sequel with continue with Lindsay and most of the characters from the 1st novel. While His Woman His Wife His Widow took place over a 13-year period, the sequel will span only about a year in time.

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

My email address is jnyce766@live.com. My website is http://janicejonesliteraryworks.com


The website is still under construction. Please be patient with me. I also have a Facebook page and a Facebook fan page: fans of Janice Jones Literary Works.



From Sinner to Saint

Antonyo Ian Demonté Simms treats women as casually as most people treat their socks, changing them frequently. With the help of his aunt LaTrece, his mother’s irresponsible twin sister, Antonyo learns how to use his good looks and charisma to win the hearts—and treasures—of a vast array of female companions. Each of these women thinks that she may just be the one who can turn this hot hunk into a husband, but Antonyo has no intention of changing his womanizing ways.

The only woman Antonyo can’t get over on is his no-nonsense mother, LaTrina. After struggling as a single teen mother, she has worked hard to change her life and be a good example for her son. She attempts every day to stir into her son all the right ingredients to turn him into a man.

LaTrina gives her life to Christ, and as she grows in her relationship with God, she does all in her power to convince Antonyo to do the same thing. Antonyo is impressed with the new person his mother is becoming, but he’s certain that his life is fine exactly the way it is.

Can a mother’s love and God’s all-encompassing power, grace, and mercy change a young man from sinner to saint before Satan drags him into the pits of hell?


His Woman; His Wife His Widow

One woman, three lives . . .

His Woman: Sixteen-year-old Lindsay Westbrook meets the fine and intelligent Shaun, and she knows instantly that he’s the love of her life. There’s just one problem—Lindsay is a devout Christian, and Shaun is a drug dealer.

His Wife: Defying her mother and holding only loosely to her faith, Lindsay marries Shaun. From the start, their union is plagued with baby momma drama, infidelity, and betrayal.

His Widow: Lindsay decides it’s time to end the struggle between her commitment to God and her love for Shaun. She’s ready to walk in the way of the Lord once again. But after all these years, is her faith still strong enough?



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