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Welcome To SORMAG's Blog

Friday, April 20, 2012

FEATURED AUTHOR: Brian Thompson


Author, Speaker and Publisher Brian Thompson mixes inspirational themes and unforgettable characters together in unique stories. The Lost Testament, his debut novel, is a historical fiction thriller set in the 1960s. There, a pastor passing for white discovers proof of a resurrected Jesus Christ and uses it to spark a spiritual revolution.

Thompson's sophomore effort, The Revelation Gate is a historical fiction epic named a 2011 favorite read by Amazon 1,000 reviewers Michelle Sutton and Cyrus Webb. In it, an enslaved race rests its hopes on the shoulders of a boy with unbreakable bones.

His third novel, The Anarchists, is a speculative fiction thriller set in 2050. When a single mom, unemployed engineer, military hopeful, and psychiatrist are struck by tragedy, a supernatural force offers them a chance to improve their lives. Their decisions will destroy the world or save it.

Writing is his first love, but teaching comes in at a close second. Thompson combines them both with Creating A Positive Environment (C.A.P.E.): a training/mentorship platform to lead aspiring writers down the publishing path.

When he's not writing, or showing others how to do what they love, Thompson spends time in his East metro Atlanta home with his family.
 
How did you start out your writing career?

I wrote my first novel, The Lost Testament, between 2002 and 2009, and finally published it in 2010. I've been writing ever since!

What did you learn while writing this book? 

I've learned to let go of regrets, which is a journey several of the characters have to take.

What did you hope to accomplish with this book? 

I'd like for my readers to come away enlightened, empowered, and entertained. I actually didn't plan to use all "e" words, but they work.


What came first with this story, the characters or the plot? Why? 

The plot came first - it was my wife's idea. She suggested the characters too, but the people she made up for me were a little too good for me, so I started with a few ideas and messed with them.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?

I thought that when I went into business for myself, that all of my former teacher co-workers, my family, and friends who said "Go on! I'm proud of you," would end up supporting me by buying a book or two. Initially, some do, but most do not. Which is fine - I was wrong to expect them to. What can I say? I'm a glass-half-full kind of guy.

What aspect of writing do you love the best, and which do you hate the most?

I love writing layered characters and letting them act out my plots. I HATE researching. I'll do it, but I despise it.

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

I wish I'd known good marketing people, like Kemya Scott of Phisco Marketing or Maria Joyner of Under 30 CEO, two years ago when I launched The Lost Testament. I probably could have saved a ton of money and done the same sales-wise. That's really the one thing I wished I knew -- the marketing side. It's just as important as the writing side. If you do one incorrectly, you might as well not do the other.

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

Do: Get in a critique group and take their criticisms to heart. If you're a writer and don't develop a thick skin, you'll never grow.

Don't: take every criticism to heart. Everyone has an opinion, and they're not all correct. Learn the proper balance between "I-should-fix-this" and "It's-fine-the-way-it-is-we-just-don't-agree."


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

That I don't sit at my computer all day, listening to Pandora, and typing my life away. Most writers don't/can't do that. Some of my former co-workers have said to me, "I wish I could quit and write." The reality is, you can. But with great power comes great responsibility.

Tell us something few know about you? 

On a hot day, I love a cold Yuengling; cold days, it's hot tea - my new addiction is Lipton Cranberry Pomegranate. Good days are when a reader tells me how my writing changed their life; and on bad days, I say a prayer for strength and hug my family and everything's okay after that.


When you're not writing, what do you like to do in your spare time? 

My wife and I are expecting, so my favorite thing to do is lay on our bed and feel my child move. Though he/she doesn't do it much; it's like I automatically calm him down or something. I love superhero movies, and I read, when I can.


What do you do to interact with your readers? 

I tweet, Facebook, and "pin" (as in Pinterest) -- I'm perfectly comfortable with my masculinity in admitting that. Sort of.


Our theme for this month is Ebooks. Do you own an ereader and if so, what the last book you downloaded? 

If you don’t own an ereader, do you see yourself purchasing one in the future? I have an e-reader app on my iPad, and I just finished a good one, "When Rain Falls" by Tyora Moody.

Who was the first author you ever met? 

Alex Haley, two months before he died. I still have the autographed copy of Roots on my shelf.


Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure? 

I know God, and that God created me to do what I'm doing right now.

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

I'm writing two. The first is called Gates of Kuzimu and it's a sequel to The Revelation Gate. It takes place 51 days after the end of events in The Revelation Gate, where people are picking up the pieces following a devastating war. The second book is a Young Adult read that I don't want to say much about, other than it's the first book in a fantasy series.

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

They can reach me anytime at my e-mail address, brian@authorbrianthompson.com and the website is www.authorbrianthompson.com

The Anarchists, is a speculative fiction thriller set in 2050. When a single mom, unemployed engineer, military hopeful, and psychiatrist are struck by tragedy, a supernatural force offers them a chance to improve their lives. Their decisions will destroy the world or save it.

Trailer 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_qdprqYmwc&context=C4192f28ADvjVQa1PpcFOdKeem1dIl6VREPHfGb0VlalQFGf6shuU=



Trailer 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0HViY2hwJk&context=C4905b77ADvjVQa1PpcFOdKeem1dIl6QCZ2oBTxeUCCJaocEyFUFY=

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Coming Home Virtual Book Tour



About the Book

If forgiving your ex-husband was easy, everybody would do it.

Brent had cheated on Dayna and coldly said goodbye to her seven long years ago—dashing her hopes of having children or growing old with the love of her life.

Working hard to make herself successful as a hospital executive, Dayna has moved on, finding comfort in a new relationship with a faith-filled colleague, Warren.

But when Brent resurfaces on her doorstep at just the wrong time, Dayna’s heart threatens to come unglued. Why is Brent asking for forgiveness now? And why are he and his new wife, Tamara, interested in reconciliation with Dayna? The unbelievable answers begin to surface as Brent boldly asks Dayna to support him at the most crucial time of his life.

While Tamara’s heart brims with guilt, both women will discover what it means to reach beyond pain and baggage to love unconditionally, while leaving the consequences to God.



Tell us about Coming Home

Coming Home tells the story of Dayna, Warren, Brent and Tamara - four people who don't consider themselves friends, but wind up walking a difficult journey together toward healing, forgiveness, and ultimately, love. Dayna is the former wife and Tamara is the current one. Brent is the husband they've shared, and he is asking them to do the unthinkable. Each woman must ask herself if she can set aside fear and frustration, and pain from past mistakes, to honor Brent's request. Reading this book will cause you to ask yourself, 'What would I do??'

How did you come up with ideas for this book?

I started writing this book around the time there was a lot of news coverage about single African American women and their limited prospects for finding true love. I initially wanted to write about a character on the journey to finding Mr. Right who in the process, discovers how to better love and accept herself. I still tackle that theme through a minor character in Coming Home, but the main character, Dayna, eventually took over the story and led me down another path, to a story about unconditional love for others, and what it means to truly sacrifice and forgive.

Who are your main character(s)?

As I said in my first comment, the main characters are Dayna, Warren, Brent and Tamara. While all four are heavily involved in the plot, the book really is about the struggles, growth and transformation of Dayna and Tamara.

Did you have a favorite character(s)? Who and why?

Great question, but difficult to answer! :) I always tend to like my main character because I "understand" her so well - flaws and all. Yet I can't say that she's necessarily my favorite. If I have to choose a favorite in Coming Home, it would be a minor character in the story, an older woman named Duchess who dispenses wisdom to Dayna.

Did you have to do quite a bit of research for this novel?

Yes. While Dayna and Warren live in a fictional town, it is based in central Florida, so in order to make the story authentic, I had to make the setting true to Central Florida by researching restaurants, the interstate system, nearby cities and more. There's also a specific piece of the storyline that required a lot of detailed research to make it believable. A recent reader of Coming Home who works in that particular field told me I nailed it, so that was gratifying (and a relief)! :)

What do you hope readers will learn/discover from reading Coming Home?

This is ultimately a story about forgiveness, and how one must find the courage to not only to forgive others, but to also forgive oneself for intentional sins, mistakes, flaws and missteps. It's a reminder that God's grace is extensive and never-ending, and that when we learn to accept the grace He offers us, we can more freely share it with those around us.

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

LOL. Tough question for sure! With my "writer hat" on, I find them important because I love to hear firsthand from readers how my characters are resonating with them and how a particular book has impacted them. From the practical perspective, reviews are helpful for busy readers with tight budgets, who want to make sure the books they are buying will entertain or inspire them. We live in a culture where the Internet has given all of us the power to inspect before we buy, and book reviews are a necessary part of that. I'm always hopeful that the reviews are reflective of the book's intent, but I know that not every book connects with every reader, and I'm okay with that.

Tell our readers where they can find you online.

I love to hear from readers and hope they'll join me on my Facebook and Twitter pages, at www.Facebook.com/BooksByStacy and www.Twitter.com/SHAdams. I also invite them to stop by my website, http://www.stacyhawkinsadams.com/, to read an excerpt of Coming Home and leave a message on my blog. Thanks for this interview, LaShaunda!

About the Author

Stacy Hawkins Adams is an award-winning inspirational author, speaker and freelance journalist who has written about women’s relationships with God, each other, and themselves for more than a decade. She has penned seven nationally published women’s fiction novels and one nonfiction book, and is at work on her ninth book. Stacy also operates a group coaching service for aspiring authors called Author In You. For more information about Stacy, her books or her coaching services, visit http://www.stacyhawkinsadams.com/ or http://www.authorinyou.com/.

Purchase the Book Online at:
Amazon.com
BarnesandNoble.com

BOOK TRAILER - http://youtu.be/KJ0k-97gtzc




For More Information
Visit the author online at:

www.StacyHawkinsAdams.com or http://www.authorinyou.com./

View the blog tour schedule at:

http://www.tywebbin.com/blog-tours/authors-on-tour/2012-tours/


COMING HOME BOOK GIVEAWAY

Answer this question for a chance to win a free copy of Coming Home by Stacy Hawkins Adams.

What is Stacy's coaching service called?


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Monday, April 16, 2012

FEATURED AUTHOR: Shonda Brock


Shonda Brock graduated from Bethune-Cookman College, followed by a career in the US Army. She leads a fun-filled life with her husband, four children, and a rather large dog that needs its own healthcare insurance card. She loves the art of a good conversation. She often turns six shades of red when any of her children tell her, “Mommy I’m bored.” Her answer is always the same, wait fifteen minutes, something will definitely happen.

Eternal Traces is her first self-published novel. It is a paranormal romance. She hopes it will find a home and become a series. Shonda published the first installment last November and has started the second installment and has outlined the third. This is a feat while trying to understand the art of the publishing world.

To help in this journey, she has joined the Romance Writers Association (RWA), and She Writes.com. She has also started a blog site in which she comments on everything from romance to raising children in this fast, paced everything-must-be-now world.

Please visit her website where you can learn how to define yourself in six words, under her Bio.



Eternal Traces

Dr. Meryt Brownstone, a talented cardiologist, is developing a breakthrough for transfusion patients—synthetic blood. Her lifestyle doesn’t allow the luxury of getting involved with people. As an ex-military officer and undercover mercenary for the US government, personal drama is something she can do without.

But her solitude is broken when Dr. Fritz Daniels appears, seemingly drawn by her blood research, and joins her in the laboratory. Then Rene, his equally mysterious blue-eyed brother, mesmerizes Meryt in a way she can’t ignore.

Just when love is within Meryt’s reach, she is called to duty on a secret mission in Sudan, but before she leaves she discovers the peculiar Daniels family’s shocking agenda. This catapults her down a bloody path, a path she may have travelled before.
The vapor of dreams surrounds Meryt. Centuries ago in ancient Africa, Nitocris fights for her nation and the man she loved. Parallel events shape both women’s lives. Does this Egyptian queen hold the secrets to Meryt’s modern day dilemma?

Meryt is in a race against time and unknown enemies. If she can’t figure out her true mission soon, she will be forced to relive her gruesome past and again face losing everyone she loves.

How did you start out your writing career?

In the literal sense, I started my writing career when I first understood the concept of the five-paragraph essay. It is still my favorite way of expressing myself. I use it in everything.


What did you learn while writing this book?

I learned that fictional stories are based in truth. I would have never guessed there was so much research involved in a totally fictional novel.

As I started to develop the plot, I quickly realized it became more interesting the more truths I added. I likened it to playing a game my husband started for a dinner conversation, “Two truths and a Lie”, the person tells two truths and one lie and it’s up to the rest of the quests to figure out which is the lie. When writing a fictional story, there is a lie grounded in the truth. In my mind, it allows the reader to take a journey in which they can believe in the, “What if”

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

In this book, I hoped to take the reader on a shameless, exciting, quick journey -- with no passport, no airports, and no waiting in line. I introduced a little bit of Egyptian/African culture. I wanted the reader to remember our bloodline ties to the ancient sands of Africa, the birthplace of civilization.

What came first with this story, the characters or the plot? Why?

The character came first. For the past few years I’ve been extremely interested in Queen Nefertiti. If you look closely beyond mainstream media she has a mysterious upbringing. There is no proof of her bloodline to the pharaohs until she marries Akhenaten. Her name means, ‘the beautiful one has come’. Once she makes her appearance in Egypt a new monolithic religion is introduced causing a new capital to be created, plus a movement in Egyptian art starts with her and the pharaoh at the pentacle. The most astonishing rumor is she may have been the Pharaoh replacing Akhenaten.

I found so many little interesting facts that it started me on a path of, “What if.” From there the storyline was born.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?

I was surprised at the business itself. Writing and reading have such a rich noble history. Literacy was used and is continuously used to segregate people by classes, yet when a person creates a body of work, it is extremely difficult to get it publicized.

There is always someone there to promise the world for the low, low price of two arms and six legs and in return you’ll receive one brand-new painted fingernail. What I was most surprised about was publishing a book is a business and there is always somebody willing to sell you short for your dreams. To write a book of fiction or non-fiction is a labor-of-love, to publicize a book of fiction or non-fiction is a production.

What aspect of writing do you love the best, and which do you hate the most?

I love going into a dream state creating the characters and their storylines. It was almost addictive to be in their world witnessing their actions.

The part I could do without is editing. I’m in search of a good editor. A good editor is worth their weight in gold.

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

1. I wished I had published a book earlier in life, by now I would have understood the business better. I am so happy for my son. He and I published at the same time. He is 21 years old and I am forty-something. He will be so much more ahead of the game. I am very proud of him and I hope he continues on with the written word.

2. How important a good editor is to a book.

3. Publishing a book is similar to the entertainment business.

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

If you want to write, write. I’ve met so many people that said they have a story and they wish they had time to write. My answer is ‘write’.

Two things I always hear as a complaint, there is never enough money and there is never enough time. This maybe true, but somehow things still get done. Please just write.

Don’t let anyone stop you from writing, to include you. You maybe the next best selling author or you may not, but you’ll never know until you write it down on a piece of paper or type it out across a screen. Don’t let anyone take your dreams.

I tell my husband all the time, “You can’t win the game, if you don’t play.”

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

I wish my friends and family members understood it takes a lot of time and a huge imagination to create the written word into a story that stimulates all of yours senses. Sometimes it’s difficult to turn ‘On’ the story in my head and sometimes the story can’t turn ‘Off’ and it continues to play, so if I look distracted or short tempered, “It’s me, not you.” I’m caught between two worlds.

Tell us something few know about you.

I am an open book; if you ask a question mostly I’ll answer it.

Something odd about me, I like books, but I love, love magazines. I could single handily keep the hard copy magazines in business. I buy four to five at a time.

When you’re not writing, what do you like to do in your spare time?

In the words of the late comedian, Robin Harris, “There is no such thing as Spare Change.” I believe there is no such thing as Spare Time. I do enjoy writing but when I’m not writing I’m living the rest of my life with my loving husband and children. I love to cook, invite friends over and serve high calorie foods and drinks. To me, that’s when the best conversations occur followed by this statement, “What the ---, you must be kidding! Now we have a party.”


What do you do to interact with your readers?

Excellent question. I am a brand spanking new author and I am not certain how many people have actually read my book. Hence, if I have not said thank you to Shades of Romance, I will say it now.

“Thank you very much Shades of Romance for featuring me on your website. You have no idea what this means to me as a new author trying to learn how to market a paranormal romance novel especially in a time where the publishing industry is changing within itself, as the boom of eBooks grows and the descent of the hard copy book leaves, not mention the explosion of the internet.”

I have a friend Christa, who runs Webbella.com, a web design and digital marketing site. She has helped me immensely. Plus, I have another friend preparing a book signing at a popular dessert bar called Crave. In addition, my husband and I have handed out numerous of free copies to anyone interested in my romance tale.


Our theme for this month is EBooks. Do you own an eReader and if so, what’s the last book you downloaded? If you don’t own and eReader, do you see yourself purchasing on in the future?

Yes, I own an eReader. To be very honest, this is my third one in the past four years. I’ve passed them on to my children and I have given them as gifts to friends. If you love to read, what better way to travel? You can download as many books as you want and only carry one eReader. You can download samples, free books and the books themselves at a cheaper price than the hard copy. To me, this is a Win-Win. (Except for magazines, I love the feel of the shiny paper and the free cologne samples.)

I downloaded few books last week: Third Grave Dead ahead, Taming the Vampire and Chariots of the Gods. I’m currently reading a series by Kerrelyn Sparks’s Secret life of a Vampire.

Who was the first author you ever met?

General Colin Powell and just recently another friend of mine, Shoran Reid author of Waking The Sleeping Demon, a true story of the Atlanta Courthouse Shooting.

15. Oprah always asks, “What do you know for sure?”

I have been blessed. I have received so much. I only hope that I can be a blessing to others.


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

This is a small excerpt from the second installment:

“Deacon! Just stop!” Meryt raised her voice above his, “Just stop for one minute and open your mind. Stop thinking, stop analyzing, stop trying to make it fit into your special boxes so you can file it away for future use. I want you to open your mind to the ‘what if’. If you can open your mind to the ‘what if’ for one single moment……” Meryt stopped in front of his desk, staring directly into his eyes, trying to control the anger in her voice by measuring every word and infliction in her tone, “Then I can make you believe in the ‘why not’.” Meryt took a step back to allow the intensity of her words to melt into Deacon’s conscious. As precious time slipped away, she wondered if the weight of her words would ever change his mind.

If he didn’t believe her now, Meryt had no more time to waste. She had to leave. Meryt took two more steps back into the shadows heading towards the door. She stole one last look, as she turned back to study Deacon’s expression. Meryt witnessed the ‘what if’ take root in her old comrade. It was a sparkle in his left eye. Her words had seeped through. Even though time was running out, she now had hope.

Deacon’s mind was open to the ‘what if’ so Meryt told her ‘why not’ story on how it all began two years ago when Rene and Fritz walked into her hospital.

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

I can be reached or followed by:

Shondabrock.com
Twitter: @shondabrock
Facebook: Eternal Traces
I would love to hear any feedback.


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Friday, April 13, 2012

FEATURED AUTHOR: Aretha C. Smith


Born and raised in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, Aretha's passion for writing began at the tender age of nine. Growing up in a home without a television sparked her love of books where she would spend hours reading, caught up with the characters and their fictional worlds. So fascinated with how a series of words strung together could create imaginary characters and bring them to life, she decided she wanted to write fiction more than anything. Over the years she has written numerous poems, short stories and full-length novels. Hard at work on her next novel, she looks forward to coming up with more compelling characters, and sharing future stories with her readers for many years to come.


Hearts of Time

Isn’t it funny when the thing you want the least becomes the thing you want the most?

Olivia Putnam is a fiercely independent, twenty-nine year old career woman. Having survived her mother’s untimely death eight years ago, she's managed to raise her younger sister all on her own along with fulfilling her dream of becoming successful corporate attorney. She has lots of money, designer clothes, and the other luxuries of life. The man in her life, Theo Griffin, wants her for a lifetime and would gladly marry her on the spot, but two things stand in the way: Olivia's reservations about commitment and her obsessive work habits. She's torn between finding time for her relationship and devoting time to growing her career. But when she meets successful realtor, Alistair Davenport, at her best friend's wedding, her ideas about love and commitment are met with change.

Although falling in love is the last thing on both their minds, Alistair's chance business proposal to Olivia proves to be the catalyst that ignites their passion for each other…

How did you start out your writing career?

My writing career was born out of an intense love of reading. I learned to love reading as a child and fell in love with the idea of being able to write stories. The whole creative aspect of thinking up characters and plots woven with drama and conflict resounded with me. I decided at a very early age that writing fiction was something I wanted to do.

What did you learn while writing this book?

Writing Hearts of Time helped me learn to trust the characters’ instincts and let them be who they want to be, regardless of how hell bent I was on following my outline. The characters know themselves better than I do, so I learned to just let them be and tell the story on their own terms.

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

My goal for writing Hearts of Time was to show that sometimes the things we fight against the hardest are what we need the most. The irony is the realization that the thing we spurned becomes something we now wonder how we ever lived without.

What came first with this story, the characters or the plot? Why?

The characters came first. I pictured career-driven individuals who had it all, money, power and success—everything but that special someone in their lives to balance everything out. The idea of plotting a story around these characters appealed to me. I've written other stories where the plot came first and then the characters fell in line afterward. Sometimes it varies. Writing is so intuitive that I've learned to just go with the flow and let the story come together. Sometimes the story doesn't fall into place all at once. There have been times where I’ve had to leave a story alone because it wasn't coming together. Then, coming back to it at a later date with fresh eyes proved invaluable for breathing new life into it and getting things moving along again. During my time "away" from a story I remain in tune to the story since the characters have a habit of popping up in my head out of the blue to give me new perspective for telling their story. I keep a notebook in my purse so I can jot down new ideas any time they come to me.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?

The biggest surprise about becoming published is the sense of community among us authors. It truly is a close-knit community of genuine “togetherness”. I've grown to appreciate the way authors’ network with each other. Social media is the medium that links it all together in that it allows authors to share tools, tips and advice with each other to help enhance our writing experiences. I am pleasantly surprised at the lack of competitiveness between us authors. With so many of us out there one would think we're all stepping on each other's toes to get where we want to be, but it’s not like that at all. The general sentiment is that we're all in this together, and ultimately the only thing that really matters is writing great stories to entice, entertain and affect our readers.


What aspect of writing do you love the best, and which do you hate the most?

The creative aspect of writing keeps me giddy with excitement. When I set out to write a story, thinking up plot ideas and characters is the icing on the cake. The sense of power that comes with creating characters and surrounding them with drama, conflict and triumph is something I enjoy immensely. Being able to write intriguing stories that capture the interest of the reader gives me a true sense of accomplishment. I feel honored to have been blessed with the gift of writing fiction. It's one of the things that make me who I am as an individual.

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

I wish I hadn't been plagued by the editing demon for so many years. For many years I couldn’t get past the hurdle of editing every chapter to perfection before moving onto the next chapter. It was a vicious cycle. I was bogged down in the details of making the story perfect along the way that it hindered me from completing any of them. I wish I’d had more faith in myself and hadn't compared myself to other writers. I used to think my writing wasn't good enough and that no one would want to read my stuff. That insecurity forced me to keep my writing "behind closed doors". For many years no one even knew I was a writer. Writing makes you feel naked and exposed. Sometimes it’s hard to come from behind the curtain and unashamedly say, “Hey world, here I am, I’m a writer…now come and read this story I wrote!” I feared people would think what I wrote was stupid. Thankfully, I’ve since learned there’s nothing to fear about putting your words out there.

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

One “do” I would give to aspiring writers is to let your characters tell their stories. Sure, you may be the one doing the writing but your characters ultimately know their stories better than you, so trust them to do the telling. My “don't” for up and coming writings is not to compare yourself to other writers. Just be the writer that you were meant to be.


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

I wish non-writers could understand that we writers take our craft very seriously. Meaning, when we say we can’t go on that outing to the mall or hang out with you today because we're busy writing—we really mean it. Non-writers should understand that when writers are dedicated to their craft it means they sometimes have to make sacrifices.


Tell us something few know about you?

I am an unapologetic, diehard, professional wrestling fan. Enough said.

When you're not writing, what do you like to do in your spare time?

My other passion is health and fitness. When I'm not writing, I usually have my head buried in the pages of fitness magazine reading articles on staying healthy. I love donning my workout gear and delving into a sweat-inducing workout, whether it’s pumping iron or intense cardio. Few things are as invigorating as finishing a workout, being covered in sweat and feeling like you've accomplished something. Working out refreshes me and makes me feel brand new again. Staying strong and lean is my recipe for defying the process of aging.

What do you do to interact with your readers?

I interact with my readers mostly via social media.


Our theme for this month is Ebooks. Do you own an ereader and if so, what the last book you downloaded? If you don’t own an ereader, do you see yourself purchasing one in the future?

Ironically enough, even though my book is being published as an ebook, I myself do not yet own an ereader. But the good news is I am on the hunt for one and busily doing my research to find the one best suited for my needs.


Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?

One thing I know for sure is that timing is everything; when the time is right, everything falls into place exactly the way it's supposed to be.

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

My next book is an interracial romance entitled, Embracing Fate. Its premise is that sometimes, bravely stepping forward and trying something new means you get more than what you bargained for. But the trails and tribulations you face along the way make the end result all the more special. The publication release date is unavailable at the moment, but please stay tuned to my blog for updates!

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

Readers may contact me through the following formats:

Blog: www.arethacsmith.wordpress.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Aretha-C-Smith

Twitter : https://twitter.com/#!/acthewriter

Email: acthewriter@hotmail.com


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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

GUEST BLOGGER: 7 Ways To Attract Twitter Followers by Tyora Moody


Facebook and Twitter are two very different social networking platforms. Most people like one or the other.  I really enjoy Twitter because it fits my passion for sharing information.  As a business owner, Twitter allows you to interact with customers quickly. Authors can interact with readers. As with most social media, you must remember it is “social.” Don’t let all your “tweets” be promotional, but aim to build relationships first.

To get started, you will need a twitter account. To create a new account, go to http://www.Twitter.com and fill out the form.  On the next screen you will be able to choose a username. This probably isn’t the time to choose a cutesy or strange username. Try to choose one that fits with your branding.  For example, I use my name for my author twitter account - http://www.twitter.com/tyoramoody. If you write under a pseudonym, use it as your username.


1.    Invite Existing Contacts. After you sign-up for a Twitter account, you will be invited to add people based on categories.  Twitter will also invite you to add contacts via your email account (yahoo.com, gmail.com, etc). This is a good way to start your follower’s list.

2.     Use Your 140 Characters Wisely. Twitter only allows 140 characters. Once you start to follow people, you will be able to see their tweets in your feed. To quickly engage with people you follow, you can reply, retweet or favorite a tweet as they appear in the feed. Be on the lookout for @yourusername in the timeline or under @Connect at the top. You want to respond back to tweets directed to you in a timely manner.

If you and another tweeter are following one another, you can also communicate with a direct (d) message.  This is a private message you can view on your timeline that’s not visible to others. Don’t tweet inappropriate or sensitive content to the public timeline. You don’t want alienate anyone unnecessarily.

3.    Tweet regularly. The more followers you have, the more you want to get people in the habit of seeing your content.  You may want to use outside tools. I use a combination of Hootsuite and Buffer to post tweets throughout the day. Don’t be too automated though. Remember it’s about relationship building so seek ways to share and engage in conversations.

4.    Use RT @name to retweet. I’ve never been a fan of Twitter’s retweet format. If you’re retweeting someone’s tweet, make sure to use the “RT @name” format so you can give them credit and also show up in their mentions.

5.    Tweet quality content. People love tweets that share tidbits of information. Shareable tweets will encourage people to follow you so they won’t miss the valuable tips you tweet every day. They will also more than likely retweet you.

6.    Add the icon. Place a Twitter icon on your main website, on your blog, and anywhere people can find you. It’s quite common to see Twitter (and other social media) icons on business cards, print materials and multimedia materials.

7.    Branding. Make sure your avatar and background represent your brand.  When someone lands on your twitter page, they should immediately “feel” like they’re interacting with your brand or personality.




 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tyora Moody is an author and entrepreneur. She owns and operates TywebbinCreations.com, a design and marketing company. For over twelve years, she has worked with authors, small business owners and non-profit organizations to develop their online presence. For free tips, how-to guides and ecourses, visit DIYwithTy.com.

Tyora is the author of the novels When Rain Falls and When Memories Fade (March 2013).

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Monday, April 09, 2012

FEATURED AUTHOR: Carlton N. Brock III


Carlton is a third year English Major at the University of Buffalo. From Buffalo, by way of Pittsburgh, Carlton has been a writer from an early age. Some of his notable credits include being a regular writer in UB’s student run magazine, Generation, reading poetry aloud at various readings in Buffalo ranging from high school to the present day, and being on the executive boards of UB’s College Democrats and English Student Association.



Enhanced is a Young Adult Adventure Novel, which takes many influences from the Suspense and Science Fiction Genres. The story, set in the mid 2080’s, focuses on Rio Orca, a member of the rebellious Red Army in their conquest to overthrow the dictator of earth, Magini Tirocher. In addition to the main plotline, several characters, including Rio, are enhanced, meaning they have genetic super abilities. As the story progresses Rio along with his compatriots, Fritz, Remy, Dimitria, Rex and their morally ambiguous leader Red clash with themselves as frequently with the enemy in an attempt to change the world to suit the people. On the other side the reader is introduced to Magini and his conquest too not only maintain his global domination but to achieve perfect obedience, even if he has to destroy his own men to achieve it.

How did you start your writing career?

I started my writing career when I was a kid. I was always interested in writing and making stories. I made comic books and short stories as early as third grade. When I was in fifth grade I was in The Publishing Club at school and wrote a story called A Very Scary Fairytale that focused on the Monster Under the Bed. In college I write for papers and contests and as far as a professional career I guess it started with Generation Magazine at UB.

What did you learn while writing this book?

I learned the importance of developing momentum. You really can’t start a book at full momentum and expect to continue that pace without it ending in five pages. So I found myself slowing down scenes and adding a lot more explicit details. In a weird way I have a harder time writing shorter pieces now.


What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

I really would love to just get it noticed, have people read it and like it. My favorite part about the whole process is when people tell me they have read it. Selling a lot would be nice too.

What came first with this story, the characters or the plot? Why?

Everything sort of came around the same time, I’m a very character driven writer so I started out with the two main characters Rio and Magini who are on opposite sides of this global civil war in complete opposite roles and the rest continued from there.

What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?

For me it’s really been the reactions to Enhanced, which has been really positive. A lot of people that I didn’t expect to read it have come up to me and wrote me letters and emails saying that, what I’m doing is worthwhile.

What aspect of writing do you love best, and which do you hate most?

The best is easy, my best friends Taylor and Ally and my stepmother Shonda are all writers and I’ve met countless of other writers since. It’s like its own community of people who for the most part respect one another. A close second is the ability to control and manipulate the world we live in. I don’t really hate anything about writing these days.


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

I wish I’d known a bit more about publishing, like the business side of things because that’s what I want to do when I finish school. I also wish I knew more about editing while I was actually writing because that’s my weakest point in writing and I’m trying to correct that. Third I wished I’d known how Enhanced was going to end, I spent about a month debating it and annoying Taylor with random two am texts asking if things made sense. It would have saved her a ton of missed sleep time.


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

Do make sure you think out your world and your characters. Especially if it’s science fiction, even if you don’t write it into the final product you should know everything that could happen in your world. I like to use the coffee example, would your character drink Starbucks or Tim Horton’s or make their own. Rio, in Enhanced, probably wouldn’t even drink coffee.


Don’t fall in love with the first draft or idea. That’s how plot holes occur.

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

It’s really not a waste of time! I hate when people tell me that, I don’t get it often anymore since I have published a book. Before then, I think people who didn’t understand, thought I was wasting my time or living in a fantasy world. It was infuriating.


Tell us something few know about you?

I’m a huge wrestling and MMA fan. I like all of it college, UFC, WWE you name it. All of them have different purposes for me, I was a wrestler in high school and my first few semesters of college, so that explains why I watch the NCAA tournament every year on ESPN and MMA events but I love WWE because it’s a constantly changing story and I look at it from a writer’s point of view and try to see the most logical move for the characters.

When you’re not writing, what do you like to do in your spare time?

It’d be remiss if I didn’t say homework since that consumes my time. I love to go to the movies, workout and play video games and of course playing with my siblings.


What do you do to interact with readers?

I try to do a lot with my readers; I maintain a twitter page (@TheCarltonBrock) and a facebook page (Enhanced by Carlton N. Brock III). I have a website I’m still developing and I’m in the process of making a YouTube show about being a writer in college called the ‘Awesome Show’. More often than not, I ask my followers about their thoughts about how I can connect with them more or which characters they like so I can feature them on the pages. Locally, I give out Enhanced T-shirts that I’ve made by hand and I sign any books that people buy if they bring it to me. I’m always open to new ideas.

Our theme for this month is Ebooks. Do you own an ereader and if so, what the last book you downloaded?

I own an iPad, I’m a huge fan of it, growing up in the digital age and all. I recently downloaded Song Yet Sung by James McBride, Eternal Traces by Shonda Brock, The Art of War is Free on iTunes and that’s my favorite book so to have it constantly there is great. I downloaded Enhanced too, a few comic books, and most of the novels I read for class. It made my backpack pounds lighter.

Who was the first author you met?

In actuality I’ve met several through the University at Buffalo’s Creative Writing Program. My senior year of high school, I did a poetry reading and shared the stage with a poet who’s name I forgot, I didn’t meet him though. The first author I really interacted with was Alex Porco, my first Creative Writing Teacher here at UB.

Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?

I know that I love my family and friends.

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

This is a part of a scene from my next book Altered. I don’t know when it’ll be out but I’m hoping within the next year:

The Gargoyle struggled to level out before it broke free of Rose’s hold. Rex abandoned all plans of catching Rose and galloped off toward the highest point in the village, Godhand’s palace, the largest building for over one hundred kilometers in any direction. He was surprised that he was running at a much faster pace than the Gargoyle was flying. By the time the Gargoyle reached his field of view again he had already began scaling the side of the palace. Rex paused briefly for a moment, as he thought about his chance of success; he knew he had only get one attempt.

He braced himself to tackle the Gargoyle from midair. He exhaled and let out a roar as he jumped on top of the Gargoyle, narrowly missing Rose in the process. The Gargoyle quickly rolled over in the air and started to fly upside down. Rex held on tight and started digging his claws into the Gargoyle’s side.

Rose called out, “Rex just drag him down.”

“We’d all die that way.” Rex out of breath replied.

Rose continued on, “No, we won’t! Stop arguing and do it!”

Rex wrapped his hind legs around the Gargoyles waist and used his massive claws to hold its wings spread like a kite.

“You get off me!” The Gargoyle yelled out as Rex guided the gliding creature toward the side of the palace.

“Make him nose dive.” Rose yelled.

Before Rex had the chance to debate Rose’s newest scheme in his head he felt the Gargoyle tremble violently. It shook and trembled as it began to drop toward the ground. Rex braced himself for impact, wondering what caused the Gargoyle to lose all ability to maintain flight. The ground became a clearer image as the seconds flew by him with the rest of the sky. Rex tried to reach and grab Rose and the King to avoid either of them being crushed on impact but to no avail, he couldn’t hold the Gargoyle’s wings and the two humans simultaneously.

How can readers get in contact with you?


Like me on Facebook: Enhanced by Carlton N. Brock III
Follow me on Twitter: @TheCarltonBrock
Or they can even send me an email at brockenhanced@gmail.com



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Friday, April 06, 2012

FEATURED AUTHOR: Linda Taylor


Linda Taylor, owner of Koach Konsulting LLC, is an author, consultant, trainer and motivational speaker who is known for her real world approach to developing people and transforming organizations. Linda is dedicated to motivating and inspiring others to dream bigger and to reach their maximum potential in both their personal and professional lives. She is a proven leader and coach who understands what it takes to achieve and sustain extraordinary results, both as an individual and as an organization.

After working many years in a billion dollar industry, Linda followed her dream of becoming a business owner, transformational coach, and author. She gave up her high paying career to follow her passion for developing and serving others. Today, Linda inspires people to unleash the power of intention in their personal and professional lives by setting goals and taking action. She specializes in leadership development and maximizing the effectiveness of teams. Linda will partner with you and your organization as you travel on your journey toward self development and transformation!

How did you start out your writing career?

I have always enjoyed the writing process because it allows me to share my knowledge, my experience, and my blessings with others. I was inspired to write The Truth In Your Heart because while speaking with coaching clients and listeners of my radio show, I learned that other people were feeling exactly what I had been feeling for years; they wanted more for their life! I knew that if I wrote this book I could be the voice of inspiration that so many people are searching for to reassure them that what is in their heart can become their reality.

What did you learn while writing this book? 

While writing The Truth In Your Heart, I learned that so many people are feeling unfulfilled, stuck, and surprised to have found themselves in a place that was created for them and not by them. As I spoke with different people, they wanted to share their story. They wanted to be heard. They wanted to know that they were not the only one searching for more out of life! It was important for me to not only share my story, but to also share with readers how they could learn from their past and present experiences so they can begin walking in their purpose. One over arching theme in the book is that every experience and every person, whether good or bad, is present in our lives by design. Life experiences are there to teach us more about who we are and who we are to become. Our responsibility is to listen to our heart and act.

What did you hope to accomplish with this book? 

The purpose of writing this book was to encourage the reader to take an honest and intentional look at every aspect of their lives (physically mentally, spirually, relationships, and career) and ask themselves, "Am I happy? Am I living a life of truth, the life that I know God has planned for me?" If they are not, after reading the Truth In Your Heart they will feel compelled to take action starting today so they can begin living the truth that has been hidden deep in their heart.


What has surprised you most about becoming a published author? 

The feeling that I get when readers share how deeply the book has affected them. I knew that it would change lives. What I did not know was just how hungry people are for someone to sincerely support their dreams. As an author seeking to inspire hope, readers now see me as a member of their ‘Dream Team’! The feeling I get when a reader shares not just ‘their story’ but also ‘their plan to begin walking in their purpose’ is more than I hoped for.


What aspect of writing do you love the best, and which do you hate the most? 

I loved the opportunity to have time for myself to just think and be honest with myself. Writing became a cleansing process for me to free my mind, my heart, and my soul. The downside to writing was that I always had this feeling of needing to be finished. People were asking for the finished product, and I couldn’t type fast enough! I learned a tough lessson - you cannot rush the writing process. It has to come naturally!

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

1. Build a support network before the writing process begins. Have a clear idea of who will support your project and how they will support you. Get the best people in your corner early in the process

 2. Fully understand all of the publishing options, including self publishing, subsidy publishing, and traditional publishing.

3. I should have began researching marketing opportunities before the book was published. Even though I had a few events lined up and have sold quite a few books, I should have had events lined up for the first 3 to 4 months consistently.


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

Do: Allocate time weekly (daily if possible) to research, brain storm, and write. Gaurd your time and do not give in to the desire to put your writing off until another day. Remind yourself daily of the importance of what you are doing and why you are doing it.

Don’t: Make excuses for why you can’t become a published author. For every excuse there is an answer. Find it and keep moving toward your dream.


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

As a writer, I want and need others to understand that writing doesn’t just happen! Writers need inspiration to deliver a product that is well thought out and serves the purpose for which they are seeking.

Tell us something few know about you?

Although I am a writer and motivational speaker, I get incredibly nervous prior to every speech I give!

When you're not writing, what do you like to do in your spare time? I love playing tennis. It is an outlet for me and allows me to maintain balance in my life.


What do you do to interact with your readers? 

I am active on all forms of social media. I have a faceBOOK club in which readers are able to share their thoughts on the book and can engage in an interactive discussion with me and other readers. I TWEET daily! I love sharing inspiration and excerpts from my book.


Our theme for this month is Ebooks. Do you own an ereader and if so, what the last book you downloaded? 

I own an IPAD and I love it! The last book I downloaded was Lif Interrupted by Priscilla Shirer

Who was the first author you ever met? 

The first author I met was one of my professors in college. The first author I met who was willing to share their experience was my friend Phyllis Thompson, author of Joy Comes In The Morning.


Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?

The two key things I know for sure is this: In regards to writing and being an author, I have to make sure that my intentions are pure. I am not in this for me! I wrote my book so that other people would be set free from the bondage of their mind and their circumstances. This project was about encouraging people to make a bold leap toward their dreams. Also, I have learned that people will surprise you! The people who have supported me the most during this process were not even on the radar a year ago! What I know for sure is that my destination is certain, and my journey and who I allow to travel with me is up to me and God. He will send people into our lives just when we need them to support us. Because of this, I have not feared nor worried about anything during this process.

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

No book is in the works yet, but I am planning on writing more in the near future!

How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website) Readers can connect by:

Email: linda@koachkonsulting.com
Website: www.koachkonsulting.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/truthinyourheart or
www.facebook.com/lindajeweltaylor
Twitter: www.twitter.com/koachkonsulting
Radio Show: www.blogtalkradio.com/koachscorner
Press Kit: www.myPPK.com/get/lindajeweltaylor
 


THE TRUTH IN YOUR HEART - What Is Your Heart Saying To You?

There was a truth that had been hidden in my heart and it made itself known. For years, with every beat, it spoke to me. Much like a sudden piercing feeling in the chest that comes and quickly disappears, I heard the faint whispers. The discontent, the uneasiness, and the boredom all hung out for far too long. My heart spoke clearly to me. I knew this was not what was meant for me. Your heart knows you too. Every day that you are not operating in your purpose it is sending you warning signals. Until you make the choice to go ALL IN for what God has planned for your life, you will continue to live a life that falls just short of your truest potential.

There is a truth that has been hidden in each of our hearts and our job is to listen and take bold action. The Truth In Your Heart shares why you should seek the power in your past, play to your passions, and dream without limits. If who you are and who you were meant to become is in conflict, it could be time for change. What is your heart saying to you?

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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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