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Lawyer | Romantic Suspense Author | Speaker | TV Junkie | Foodie | Sweet Wine Addict | Savvy Shopper You can visit my website at www.authordeelawrence.com to learn more about my romantic suspense novel, Gotta Let It Go, which is set in Baltimore. You can also connect with me online @ thewritepen (Twitter and Facebook). Thanks for visiting with me today!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Interview with Dominique Fortune, Author of You Can!

Author’s Bio: Dominique is a self-help book author, poet, and blogger from Newtown, Virginia. She enjoys spending time with loved ones, traveling, and reading.  Her goal is to enlighten, comfort, and motivate individuals all over the world to pursue their dreams in order to live a life of maximum value.   She focuses on providing awareness on life traps and a perspective on how to conquer them.   To get to know her more and follow her motivational quotes, connect with her on social media.   “We are given everything we need to fulfill our purpose, so why not pursue it?  When we operate outside of our purpose, we cheat ourselves and the difference we are to make in the lives of others.”

DL: What inspired you to write your book?

DF: You Can is my first book.  One day I was feeling very emotional and down.  All I could think about was all the things going wrong in my life.  They were all things out of fear, I wasn’t able to talk about.  I was writing a poem about all of those feelings and what made me feel that way and it hit me that I had everything I needed to not only overcome what’s going wrong in my life but the fears that were holding me back from acting on them.  That’s when I knew I needed to write a book on overcoming fears.

DL: Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

DF: I will have to say that Maya Angelou is the author that has greatly influenced me as a woman growing up.  My mind could be in 100 different places but hearing her voice or even reading a truth from her would pull me closer to who I am and give me peace. She was the best at what she did and she embraced that. I always looked up to her for that reason. 

DL: Is this your first book? How long did it take to start and finish your book?

DF: You Can is my first book.  It took me about a month to fully write it.  I knew what I wanted to write but didn’t quite know how to organize it or even sit down to begin the process.  I was writing a section every day until it was finished.

DL: Do you write with an outline, or just let it flow organically?

DF: Once I figured out that I needed organization, I did my research and came across a successful blogger and book author, Stefan Pylarios.  I basically took his advice and used an outline as well as some important facts that I wanted to add as I went along.  Other than that I just wrote straight off the dome. Lol

DL: Do you listen to music when you write? If yes, is there a theme song for this book?

DF: I don’t listen to music while I write.  I do listen to it before and after I accomplish a chapter.  It hypes me up to write.  Afterwards, I like to do a celebration dance. Eeeyy.  I do have a theme song for the book.  It’s Rockwell’s “Somebody’s Watching Me.”  Just kidding.  I don’t have a theme song for this book.  However, one song I like to listen to that motivates me to keep pushing forward especially when I need motivation to turn my fear into fuel is the song “Closer” by Goapele. 

DL: What are the keys to success in getting your book out to the public?

DF: Believing in myself and taking action.  Remaining positive and true to myself knocks out any fear or doubt from getting the book out to the public.

DL: What advice would you give to new authors?

DF: Believe in yourself! Dismiss doubt and use your pain and fear as fuel to keep moving towards your goal.  Don’t be a perfectionist.  Only be true to who you are.  People will be more acceptable to your work when you are relatable and human. Also, research the 5-second rule because writers' block is a real thing!

DL: How about sharing an excerpt from You Can?

Courage needs to be a skill and a habit in your life in all things.  A skill is the ability to do something well.  A habit is a constant behavior pattern that is second nature.  That means you don’t even have to think about it.  You know what that means.  That means when that ole fear comes at you, you are prepared for it.  That means you don’t even have to think twice about it.  Your natural reflex is, I know you did-nt! Fear don’t live here!  Then the action kicks in and that fear ends up under your feet, ran over with your car and a new piece of your past.  I know that’s right.  You can do it.  It’s already done.  That’s how it’s going to be.  I see it now.  You should have seen me on Election Day.  There was a particular person I didn’t want to run into and I won’t say who because I don’t know all the people that are going to read this book. Haha. It’s not on a bad note at all guys.  This person was a person of my past.  Here comes that ole fear telling me what’s going to happen if I run into this person.  Guess what?  I drove past that place so fast.  Dropped it in 3rd gear and sped up! But I stopped on the side of the road and told myself who cares.  That’s my past.  I am stronger than this and I need to vote whether I see them or not and I’m wasting time over nothing.  So I have to get going.  By that time my car was already at 45 mph.  I conquered that fear. As I was walking back to my car after voting I was celebrating.  GET SOOOME! NEXT! I was saying that in my head though not out loud.

DL: What’s next for you?

DF: I have another book that will be released shortly after You Can.  It’s called Encourage Yourself.  It focuses on showing people how to create and keep the right state of mind in order to push through life no matter what’s going on.  We can only depend on other people but so much especially when it comes down to matters of the mind and heart. 

I am also a freelance writer looking to inform more people how to make a living writing online. I will be releasing my blog on that in the next couple of weeks as well as a blog that focuses on mental wellness. 

Friday, September 1, 2017

A Review of The Ties That Bind by Electa Rome Parks

This novel introduces us to Brice and Christian, two best friends who loved roaming the streets for their next conquest. But once Brice met Mia, an ambitious, young and beautiful woman he turned in his player card for marriage.

Christian was very surprised that Brice got married but understood why when he met the lovely Mia. She was the type of woman who could make him turn his player card in too but she was married to his best friend.

Mia gave up finishing college and dreams of becoming a school teacher so that she could immerse herself into married life with Brice, who promised after a year that she could return to fulfill her dreams. That didn’t happen and as time went by, Mia began to see Brice’s true colors: he drank too much, was too controlling, very egotistical and physically abusive.

So, when she couldn’t keep hiding the bruises and the fights became more frequent, Christian stepped in and came to her rescue. This didn’t sit well with Brice because not only did he lose his wife, but he lost his best friend too. And in the end, the ties that bind were severed.

Electa Rome Parks delivered a novel that was very relevant to how folks view love and marriage.  It’s not always a bed of roses and when abuse enters the picture, it’s sometimes difficult to get out of the situation. But I admired Mia. She had a support system and she was brave enough to walk away from a man she adored but ultimately didn’t really know. She pushed forward, finished her degree and looked toward a new future for herself. 

Good read!

Some of my favorite lines:

            Mia. I know I have lost her for good. I can’t even think of life without her. So I am not going to give up. I am not going to let her give up on us. I will get help. Go to therapy, do whatever it takes to win her back. I know that this is something I have to do for myself, not just for her. But I want her back if she will have me. I have never stopped loving her and never will. Mia is my African princess, my woman, my soul mate, my heart. It will take some time, but time is all I have now. My first stop will be resolving some issues with my father. Yeah, that’s definitely the first stop.

Christian and I have had a lifetime of friendship and love. I don’t know…my brotha betrayed me with my wife. No, he didn’t sleep with her or even make a move on her. In fact, he was the good friend that she needed when I was putting her through all those changes. But for Christian to lust after my wife, not just some man’s wife on the street, but me, his brotha. I don’t know…

            Like I said before, I have all the time in the world. I have to take one day at a time. Everything will work out. It always does for me.
Rating: 4 stars

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Interview with Austin S. Camacho, Team Member of the C3 Convention

Today’s guest, Austin S. Camacho, is a mystery author and also is part of the team that puts on the Creatures, Crimes & Creativity Con, September 8th thru the 10th. He says it’s the Mid-Atlantic’s book lover event of the year and he’s here to tell us why.

DL: How did you come up with the name for the conference?

AC: We chose the name Creatures, Crimes & Creativity Con (C3 Con for short) to indicate the genres we embrace. Creatures and crimes appear in: suspense, mystery, thriller, horror, science fiction, fantasy and paranormal fiction. We gather readers AND writers those genres. Our attendees have become a little community, and we hang out on Facebook at

DL: How did this conference come to be?

AC: We’ve attended and enjoyed writer’s conferences all over the country like Bouchercon, Thrillerfest, DragonCon etc. After all that travelling we wanted to see something like that closer to home. It’s a great opportunity for writers to meet their fans, and for avid readers to meet their favorite authors.

DL:  How long has your conference been held? When did it debut?

AC: This is the fifth C3 Con. In past years we’ve had wonderful keynote speakers
2016: Reed Farrel Coleman and Alexandra Sokoloff
2015: Heather Graham and F. Paul Wilson
2014: John Gilstrap and Rebecca York
2013: Jeffrey Deaver and Brian Keene

This year we’re blessed to have Peter Blauner (bestselling thriller author and executive producer of the TV show Blue Bloods) and Jonathan Maberry (bestselling science fiction, fantasy and horror fiction.)

DL: Why would writers want to attend the C3 Con?

AC: First, it’s great promotion. Published authors get to spend time with their fans, and to expose new readers to their writing by presenting on panels. Their books will be available in our on-site bookstore and there will be two book signs open to the public. Their name and a link will be posted on the C3 website.  They will be pictured in the C3 program book. And a video interview is included that authors can use on their own web sites after the Con.

Also they can learn a great deal from the panels and presentations. And it’s a priceless opportunity to network with successful authors and other industry professionals.

DL: And why would readers and fans want to attend?

AC: Readers and fans will enjoy panels and presentations from favorite authors, including our keynotes. They can have more contact with the writers at the meals all weekend, which are included in the registration fee. Plus, each attendee will receive a goodie-bag filled with cool stuff including books, magazines, and our exclusive anthology filled with stories written by attending authors. They can collect autographed books at the two giant book signings. And we hold a Twitter contest where someone will win a gift basket of wine, coffee and a Kindle Fire.

DL: You’ve mentioned panels and presentations. Can you tell us about some of them?

AC: We work hard to have panels that appeal to both writers and avid readers. You can see the entire schedule with all the panels listed at http://creaturescrimesandcreativity.com/?page_id=368 .
I will mention a couple of special presentation.

Jeffery Deaver will give a session called: Bringing It All Together: An Example of Writing a Thriller. The international best seller and current president of the Mystery Writers of America will walk us through his process for planning and outlining, actually writing a book, editing and polishing, and getting feedback. Get the how-to from a master of the craft.

Michaela Hamilton, Executive Editor at Kensington, will also give a one-person presentation. She'll offer the insider's view of the submission and acquisition process at her press. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn how the publishing industry REALLY works.  

DL: Okay, down to the nitty gritty. What does all this cost?

AC: Registration for all 3 days is $285, which includes Friday dinner, three meals Saturday and Sunday breakfast. You can also register for one day only for $150. There are no extra charges for any of the presentations or panels.

DL: And give us the details of where and when, and of course how to register.

AC: Gladly.  Again, it’s September 8 – 10 at the Sheraton, Columbia Town Center, 10207 Wincopin Circle,  Columbia, Maryland. More details and registration is at http://creaturescrimesandcreativity.com.

Remember, the C3 Con is intended to be a meeting place for fans and avid readers of the genres of fiction we represent to get up close and personal with authors in those genres. So if you love to read any of this stuff, or if you write these kinds of books and want to make contact with fans (and make new fans) this is the Con for you.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

A Review of Charcoal Joe by Walter Mosley

Walter Mosley never disappoints especially when it comes to writing about one of my favorite detectives…Ezekiel “Easy” Porterhouse Rawlins. Mosley has a way of taking readers along for some very dangerous rides with Easy Rawlins as he navigates the streets in the Watts neighborhood in Los Angeles.

In this novel (14th in the Easy Rawlins series), Easy and two of other detectives – Saul Lynx and Tinsford “Whisper” Natly are partners in a private detective agency named WRENS-L. Together they can solve any case, find anyone anywhere with brute force or with a few smooth words.
And when Easy is approached by his longtime friend Raymond “Mouse” Alexander to do Charcoal Joe a favor (get Seymour Brathwaite off a murder rap), all hell breaks loose.

Although this story was peppered with a lot of characters, Mosley did an excellent job of weaving in great descriptions and dialogue that placed the reader in the heart of the investigation. Each character brought a different element and added flavor to the story and if you are an avid fan of the Easy series it was great to see some of them. One of my favorites being Mama Joe and her potions like the tea she gave Easy to achieve a certain level of clarity after having his heart broken by Bonnie Shay.

I also enjoyed watching Easy charm and outsmart some of his captors as well as working alongside his partners to solve the case. The twists and turns were great from start to finish.
Great read! Two thumbs up!

 Some of my favorite lines:

            I didn’t need to ask why Mouse hadn’t come to me with this information. For him killing was simply a tool of the trade, hardly worth discussing. And we were friends. Where we came from this was the kind of thing that one friend did for the other.
            “And what can I do for Mr. Joe?” I asked
            “Last night a white man named Peter Boughman and some other guy named Ducky were shot dead in a house down on the beach in Malibu. Ducky was killed outright and Boughman was tortured before they shot him in the eye and the heart.”
            “And Joe is involved?”
            “Not directly. But he has a friend who has a son who went to that house, by accident, and fount the body. His bad luck was that somebody heard the shot and called the police, who got there before Seymour, Joe’s friend’s son, could call them himself.”
            “Seymour what?”
            “Brathwaite.  Dr. Seymour Brathwaite.”
            “I thought you said he was a kid.”
            “Twenty-two-year-old doctor of physics. Doin’ what they call postgraduate work at UCLA.”
            “White guy?”
            “Not unless Sidney Poitier’s a white guy.”

Rating: 5 stars

Monday, July 17, 2017

Interview with Arketa Williams, Author of A Sinner’s Circle: Church Is Where I Learned to Sin Professionally

Author’s Bio: Arketa Williams has been writing and performing r over 15 years. She’s received numerous awards and recognitions throughout the years for her creativity. She has published 4 books, released a CD of poetry, and a poetry DVD. She is currently working on her next series of books of poetry and novels. Alongside her writing career, Arketa developed Pen2Pad Ink Writing Consultants as a way of helping others find their voice on paper and Co-Founded Infinity Empowerment & Development Corporation (IEDC), a community development and outreach organization. Arketa uses creativity to shine a light on the devastations in her life so that she can help others gain a mental freedom over the pains that bind them. She uses her escape from trials and tribulations as a ray of hope for those stranded where she used to be. She strives to let the world know that there is sunshine after the storm.

What inspired you to write your book?
AW:  I’ve gone through a lot of tragedy and heartache throughout the years and began my journey towards healing. Therapy and writing helped save my life. As I conquered both physical and emotional challenges I began writing my story in hopes that it would help others heal, grow, face their truth, encourage them to tell their stories, and to show people that no matter how challenging life maybe you can overcome it.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
AW: I fell in love with books by Maya Angelou and Kimberla Lawson Roby. The creative way in which their characters consume you amazed and intrigued me. As a teenager, I aspired to be as great of a writer as they were.  

Is this your first book? How long did it take to start and finish your book?
AW: No, this is my fourth published book. I had the project for about a year and a half only working on it here and there. I had a lot of things I had to emotionally heal from before I could really get into writing this book. However, once I was at a point to where I could consistently work on it I was able to complete it in 6 months.

Do you write with an outline, or just let it flow organically?
AW: I do a little of both. My outlines though are more of a check list for me. They consist of a list of all the situations, stories, and subjects that I am comfortable with writing about and details with how far into the stories I am willing to go. From there I just let everything else flow naturally. 

Do you listen to music when you write? If yes, is there a theme song for this book?
AW: No, I do not listen to music. I get too caught up in what I’m listening to. I have to have it completely quiet when I write.

What are the keys to success in getting your book out to the public?
AW:  Marketing is very important in getting your book out to the public. I use social media to spread the word about my book. I also joined a lot of author groups on Facebook and Meetup. I do actual and virtual book signings as well as book fairs. Word of mouth and giveaways are also great options that help draw attention to your book. 

What advice would you give to new authors?
AW: I would tell new authors to make sure you schedule time with yourself to write and write every day, even if it’s only a sentence or a paragraph or two. Even when it seems like it’s too difficult to write push past what you’re feeling and write. Don’t try to edit while you’re writing just write and get it all out then go back and edit. I would also tell them to make sure you thoroughly read through everything you’ve written. Don’t assume you’re ready to go to print after the first draft.

How about sharing an excerpt from A Sinner’s Circle: Church Is Where I Learned to Sin Professionally?

“We are here to serve the Lord and not to feed into petty insecurities. I’m the judge of my children’s wardrobe and will decide what is appropriate and what isn’t. Maybe the problem doesn’t lie with the young girls that are developing beautifully in God’s image. Maybe it lies in the lustful eyes of those who need to focus more on the word instead of acting like pedophiles glaring at young children”.

I was so proud she attended church with me that day. Some of the other women were not happy with my mom’s comments but did not dare come back at her or the others in her corner. But, of course, there was one who just wouldn’t let it go. Sister Bigsby named off several of us girls whom she thought were too well endowed for our ages… as if we could control how our bodies grew. I remember how nasty the tone of her voice was when she spoke.

“They should be ashamed and should feel convicted enough to want to wear oversized clothes so that their features aren’t so noticeable.” Before I knew it all hell broke loose! Sister Bigsby, Sister Jones, and Sister Smith were standing up and calling names with fists swinging, hair pulling, weave flying...

What’s next for you?
AW: Well, part 2 of A Sinner’s Circle will be released this fall along with an anthology and another book of poetry.

Where can readers find out more about you and your book(s)?
·         Website: www.pen2padink.org
·         Email: pen2padink@gmail.org
·         Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/arketa.williams
·         Twitter: https://twitter.com/Pen2PadInk
·         Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pen2pad_ink/

It’s been a pleasure having you here with us today. I know my readers will enjoy getting to know you and your work.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Interview with Leon Thornton, Jr., Author of The Shadows of My Soul

Author’s Bio:  Leon Thornton Jr.’s exposure to poetry began at the age of 12, when a teacher recommended his mother enroll him in a reading club to improve his comprehension.  His subsequent love of poetry became his outlet to cope with pain in his life, including witnessing his father’s alcoholism, his uncle’s drug addiction and resulting death, and his near death experience after his body almost succumbed to diabetes.  Thornton’s writings about these dark times in his life as well as the darkness in world events, friends’ lives, and his general observations of everyday circumstances are shared in his first book, The Shadows of My Soul.  He credits his sports and writing poetry as the catharses that helped him release and move past his emotional pain.  Thornton lives with his wife, two sons, and mother-in-law in Maryland.

What inspired you to write your book?
LT: My son, Jabari.  Before he went off to college, I told him to never give up on the pursuit of his goals and dreams.  I started thinking about myself and how I cast aside my poems for so many years.  I really felt like a hypocrite.  At that moment, I said “Son, there is something I haven’t told anyone but you, but I was thinking about publishing my poems…and now I will.”

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult? 
LT: Great question!  Aside from poetry by Langston Hughes, it would probably be Native Son by Richard Wright.  In my opinion, Native Son is one of the greatest novels I ever read. Similar to Bigger Thomas, at times I felt like I was looking through a knothole in a fence at others who fully embraced, enjoyed and were proudly apart of the fabric of American Society.

Is this your first book? How long did it take to start and finish your book?  
LT: Yes, this is my first book.  It only took a few weeks to arrange the poetry in the book, because I had written many of the poems years ago.  What took a while was contracting with a non-traditional publisher, designing a cover, editing, and getting the book into production.  Overall it took about 6 to 7 months (August 2015 to February 2016) to release the book.

Do you write with an outline, or just let it flow organically? 
LT: No, I do not write with an outline.  Thoughts and ideas come to me anytime and anywhere.  Normally, I write based on what or how I feel and try to put my finger on the impulse of the moment.  If my poems are left unfinished, I’ll go back and attempt to correct the structure, rhyming pattern, line breaks, etc.

Do you listen to music when you write? If yes, is there a theme song for this book? 
LT: No, not usually.  But, sometimes I listen to music and sing along while in the shower. Uhh, for better acoustics, of course!  Sometimes I’ll sing the song, forget the words, and then substitute my own words.  I use the melody or mood of the song as background noise to help motivate me to create my own lyrics/poems.

What are the keys to success in getting your book out to the public?
LT: First, having something meaningful and profound to share.  Second, connecting with the right people who have the experience and knowledge about the literary industry.  Third, getting exposure on radio and promoting my poetry book and talent in various literary and artistic events.

What advice would you give to new authors?  
LT: If you decide to use a non-traditional book publisher, please make sure you do your own “background” check on the publishing company.  If however, you decide to self-publish, there are resources and self-help books like Cherrie Woods’s book, Where Do I Start? 10 PR Questions and Answers to Guide Self-Published Authors.  And my last advice would be to trust your instincts, stay positive, and always remain your biggest supporter! 

How about sharing an excerpt from The Shadows of My Soul.

I was born not out of love
but of…
Purple pain and pure pleasure
Tossed into an obscure
Pot of hot Cajun despair.
Lonely nights hunger
Company of any kind.
Meek eyes are destined
To stare into bloodstained eyes
And intermingle for
One night, for one kiss of bliss
Beneath the naked stars…
(Poem by Leon Thornton, Jr., July 12, 1998)

What’s next for you?  
LT: Well, on Thursday, July 13, 2017 at 7:00pm I will be a featured performer at the RL Hotel Inner Harbor for C3: Create, Connect & Conquer presented by Liberated Muse and the Artists Compound, LLC.

Where can readers find out more about you and your book?
·         Website: www.Thorntonspoetry.com
·         Email: Thorntonpoetry@gmail.com
·         Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheShadowsofMySoul
·         Book buy Links: visit www.Thorntonspoetry.com

It’s been a pleasure having you here with us today. I know my readers will enjoy getting to know you and your work.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

A Review of True Confessions by Electa Rome Parks

Meet Kennedy Logan, a twenty-eight-year-old educated and gorgeous woman who is in love with the wrong man (side bar – no surprise, we have all been here at some point). Anyway, she has a confession to make which she unravels slowly through writing in her diary (and yes, it’s filled with sexual escapes) after a failed suicide attempt.

As I read this novel, I got to know more about the man (Drake Collins) who led Kennedy to the brink of her destruction. He had a high sexual appetite that Kennedy tried to live up to. He was a control freak who demanded that she change to suit him from the clothes she wore, not drinking sodas, changing her hair, etc. Putting back the pieces would take some time and her overbearing mother, Dorothy Logan would make sure she broke free of Drake. This was no easy task as Drake worked in the same department as Kennedy and with every turn she made he was right there to taunt and try to control her.

If this pressure wasn’t enough, Kennedy wanted to find her birth mother because she had tons of questions as to why she was abandoned. With the help of Taylor, her best friend, and her absentee father dealing with his own breakup with his younger girlfriend and her mother, Kennedy would soon have better days.   

Overall this novel was a good read. The characters were realistic although at times I felt Kennedy was too weak and should have confronted Drake (he got off really light). But after her true confession was revealed I understood the reasoning behind her resolve. In the end Kennedy found her answers and removed herself from the ever controlling Drake in pursuit of a better life. Good for her!

Some of my favorite lines:

Snippet from Kennedy’s diary – After each breakup, I really psyched myself up in order to rationalize him being back in my life. And, of course, Drake came back with every desire to please me. He knew the right words to speak, the correct gifts to buy and the right places to take me. All to make me fall swiftly back under his spell. That didn’t last long. When all was said and done, it was always about Drake. Always Drake. Whatever lies and misdeeds he had to tell and do to achieve his happiness, he did it. The truth was boring and his motives were always the ultimate goal.  

Rating: 4 stars