About Me

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Baltimore, Maryland, United States
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!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A Review of The Deal, the Dance, and the Devil by Victoria Christopher Murray

When the going gets tough, how far would you be willing to go to stay afloat? Well, the Langstons have hit a rough financial spot and temptation was right around the corner with an offer from Shay-Shaunté, Evia Langston’s boss.  This was more of an indecent proposal with a five million dollar string attached to it. The deal was for Evia to agree to have her husband, her own Adonis to spend a weekend with Shay-Shaunté in celebration of her 50th birthday.

Evia balked at the thought but then her husband had to go through with it creating a chasm in their marriage. The dance was whether the Langstons could stand up to Shay-Shaunté who now sued them for breach of contract. Go figure. Then again they were dealing with the devil.

Great dialogue. Great story. Great read.

Some of my favorite lines:

SILENCE. THE QUIET THAT WAS BETWEEN us was like our fourth child. It was always there, and over the past weeks, we’d nutured silence, allowed it to live, allowed it to grow.

Shay-Shaunté was the cause, and now it was all over. There was no need to let silence stay and separate us any longer; the deal, the dance, the devil…it was done.

Rating: 4 stars


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Monday, November 21, 2016

Interview with Annie Rose Alexander, Author of RETRIBUTION

Author’s Bio: Annie Rose Alexander is the author of two published novels, Retribution and Evil In High Places. Her short stories are Murder In The Courthouse, and Eternally Yours. She won, the LOVEY Award for Best PI Novel at the Love Is Murder XIV Mystery Writers Conference in Chicago in 2015, for her novel Retribution. Annie earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Howard University, and a Juris Doctorate from Howard University School of Law.  She is admitted to the Maryland and DC Bars. She has fifteen years of experience litigating criminal and civil cases. She is working on her third Mystery/Thriller, The President's Assassin.

What inspired you to write your book?
When I read in the news about famous athletes being killed I started wondering what if the same person or persons were responsible and what if the deaths weren't accidents but murders. My imagination took over from there.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
As a child I was influenced by the TV show, Perry Mason. As I got older, I would read one author such as James Patterson and then Robert Ludlum, and the list goes on and on. I may stay with a particular author for a while and then move on to other authors.

Is this your first book?  NO. How long did it take to start and finish your book? I think it took me about two years to finish this book.

Do you write with an outline, or just let it flow organically?
I definitely use an outline.

Do you listen to music when you write? If yes, is there a theme song for this book?
No. I like peace and quiet when I write.

What are the keys to success in getting your book out to the public?
Good question. I think I am inspired by Austin Camacho. He really knows how to hustle and is always on the move with book signings. I wish I could find the time and do more of what he is doing.

What advice would you give to new authors?
Perseverance, and believe in yourself. And read good books in your favorite genre that are on the New York Times Best Sellers.

How about sharing an excerpt from Retribution.
He thrilled at the terror that flickered in Brian's eyes as he tried to push Mary out of the path of the speeding car. But the assassin smashed into them, heard a loud thump, and felt the vehicle vibrate as metal hit flesh and bones. The girl's screams shattered the night as she and Brian were thrown through the air. The assassin sped away, his tires screeching and sliding on the wet pavement.

What’s next for you?
My third novel, The President's Assassin.

Where can readers find out more about you and your book(s)?
  • Website: www.annierosealexander.com
  • Amazon Author Page: (coming soon)
  • Facebook: Annie Alexander Author's Page
  • Twitter: @annieralexander
  • Blog: (coming soon)
It’s been a pleasure having you here with us today. I know my readers will enjoy getting to know you and your work.







Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Interview with Chris H. Stevenson, Author of The Girl They Sold to the Moon

Author’s Bio: Author Chris Stevenson, originally born and raised on the beaches of southern California, moved to Sylvania, Alabama in 2009 and settled in with his twin sister. His occupations have included newspaper reporter, front-line mechanic and federal police officer. He has been writing off and on for 36 years, having officially published books beginning in 1988. Today he writes science fiction, fantasy, paranormal romance, young adult, adult thrillers and horror.

He has a total of 10 titles appearing on Amazon with nine more in reserve with his agent. He was a finalist in the L. Ron. Hubbard Writers of the Future contest, and just recently took the first place grand prize in a YA novel writing contest for The Girl They Sold to the Moon. He writes the popular blog, Guerrilla Warfare for Writers (special weapons and tactics), hoping to inform and educate writers all over the world about the high points and pitfalls of publishing.

He continues to write because he can’t stop. His agent has just enough steam to keep up with him when she’s not taking care of the rest of her stable.

What inspired you to write your book?
The Girl They Sold to the Moon was a spontaneous quirk. I was riding with my niece, and her daughter was acting up in the back seat. Fed up with the noise hollering, my niece told her daughter that if she didn’t straighten up she’d pawn her at the next gas station for a full tank. I thought wouldn’t that be unique, if in a dystopian society, parents or heads of household could pawn their dependents for huge cash advances and send them off to labor camps. That’s how it started.   

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
The very first piece of writing that caught my attention was a short story in Twilight Zone magazine. I thought, or assumed, I could write every bit as well as that prose and attempted to do so. Reading Poul Andersons’ The Virgin Planet, was the first novel that inspired me and launched my book writing career.

Is this your first book?
This is about my 25th book in total. Nearly have of them have been published, and I still have nine more finished and waiting in the wings for agent submission.  

Do you write with an outline, or just let it flow organically?  
I go solo (seat of the pants) with all of my writing projects. I think I outlined only one romance novel that was set in Martha’s Vineyard because it required intense and accurate research. I don’t like a plot that is confined.

Do you listen to music when you write? If yes, is there a theme song for this book?
Strangely enough, I do not listen to any music while I write. I can’t remember listening to any type of music while writing. I prefer the silence and concentration.  

What are the keys to success in getting your book out to the public?
You have to interact with as many writing groups and display sites as time will allow. No one will know you have a title out there unless they can find mention of it. It takes dedication and persistence, especially in today’s competitive marketplace.

What advice would you give to new authors?
Authors must be persistent and determined. They cannot let any failure, blocks, rejection and depression enter into their creative world. They can always write themselves out of a corner if they choose to. Look at writing as a fun project—no one is holding a gun to your head. Finish your book to the very end and prepare yourself for valuable criticism.

How about sharing an excerpt from The Girl They Sold to the Moon?

Im Reginald Breedlove.  Im here to pawn my daughter.
            Im here to pawn my daughter.  Tilly Breedlove knew they had another word for it—they called them “kickouts”, people who were sold to the establishment to cover debts. She and her girlfriends used to laugh at the K-Span commercial on late night Holoview.  She wasnt laughing now.  Shed never seen so many kids gathered in one spot, except at a school assembly.
The first floor of the auditorium-sized building had at least twenty standing lines and a waiting area filled to capacity. This building area was reserved for the Sunflowers, teenagers who ranged in age from 13 to 19 years-old. At 17 years-old, Till fit right in. 

Sure, there were sniffles and tearful goodbyes, with an occasional knock-down-drag-out, but the worst scenes were reserved for the six to twelve-year-old kids, the next wing over.  Those kids were on the Daffodil Plan, commonly called Daffys, and their screams pierced through the air conditioning vents. She’d seen the entrance door for the Daffys on the outside of the building, next to the Sunflower entrance, which was her admission portal. The Daffys were hardly equipped to handle the emotions of severing bonds with their parents, and Tilly couldn’t even begin to understand what kind of jobs assignments those kids would have in order to work off a debt for their parents.

What’s next for you?
I just finished my first romance novel and turned it in to my agent, Sara Camilla. She’ll have the line-edits done in a week and then I’m off to redline fever!

Where can readers find out more about you and your book(s)?
It’s been a pleasure having you here with us today. I know my readers will enjoy getting to know you and your work.




Sunday, October 30, 2016

A Review of Where Do I Start? 10 PR Questions and Answers To Guide Self-Published Authors by Cherrie Woods

If you are a self-published author and you are looking for a step-by-step guide on how to navigate the public relations (“PR”) arena, then you need not look any further than this book authored by PR guru, Cherrie Woods.  Cherrie’s book is a great resource that tackles the 10 most frequently asked questions by authors about book publicity and how to increase their book sales.

The book is practical and includes questions related to how to identify your book genre, how to choose the right book cover, how to build a platform, how to get reading opportunities and much more. I really liked how the book was formatted with each section beginning with a quote from “authors at varying points in their careers and from a variety of genres.” In addition, there is a notes section at the end of each question so authors can make a note of things that jump out at them.  

I have been an author for several years and while I know how to do a lot of the things covered in this book, I definitely picked up a few tips especially how to get local media coverage and the value of having a good publicist. It’s not enough that as writers we are expected to churn out a good product, but we also need to know how to do our own PR. Some of us are naturals at it while others struggle with it.

So, if money is not an object, I would definitely recommend that all authors (both self and traditionally published) look into getting a publicist. At a bare minimum, they should get a hold of this book - it’s a quick read and chock-full of tips to jump start their own PR.

Rating: 5 stars

 Product Details


Monday, October 24, 2016

Interview with Jeff Markowitz, Author of Death and White Diamonds

Author’s Bio:  Jeff Markowitz is the author of the Cassie O'Malley mysteries, an amateur sleuth series set deep in the NJ Pine Barrens. After penning three books in the series, Jeff decided to embrace his dark side. His most recent book is the award-winning black comedy, Death and White Diamonds. Jeff currently serves on the Regional Board of Directors of the New York Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America. He lives in Monmouth Junction, NJ with his wife, Carol. You can usually find him at his computer at 5:30 in the morning, plotting someone's murder.

What inspired you to write your book?
I “found” a dead body on the beach in Cape May. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say I “imagined” the dead body on the beach. You see, I have a writing exercise…I refer to it as finding the dead body. It’s an exercise in finding story ideas. When I find a body, I write a couple of sentences to capture the scene. But this time, the dead woman kept bugging me to tell her story.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
Dr. Seuss made me want to be a reader. I can’t begin to count the number of times I’ve read And to Think that I Saw it on Mulberry Street. It’s a story about a boy who likes to make up stories.

Is this your first book? How long did it take to start and finish your book?
Death and White Diamonds is my fourth published book. When I “found” the dead body on the beach, I had no plans to turn the scene into a book. As I explained, it was just a writing exercise, like a musician practicing his scales. Besides, I was busy at the time working on It’s Beginning to Look a Lot like Murder, the third book in the Cassie O’Malley Mysteries. So it was a few years before I decided to start writing the story. Once I began, it took me four months to finish.

Do you write with an outline, or just let it flow organically?
I think that writing a book is a lot like taking a cross country road trip. Before I begin the journey, I need to know where I’m going to start and where and when I hope to end. I need to know a few of the stops along the way. But in between, I allow the story to find its own path. I encourage the characters to explore uncharted territory.

But I’ve noticed a difference depending on whether I’m working on my series or on a stand-alone like Death and White Diamonds. I need to do a bit more planning for my series; I’m more comfortable letting a stand-alone develop organically.

Do you listen to music when you write? If yes, is there a theme song for this book?
This is another good example of the difference between writing my series and writing a stand-alone. Music is not significant in Death and White Diamonds, neither in the story nor in the writing process. However, jazz plays a significant part in the Cassie O’Malley series. When I’m writing Cassie, I’m generally listening to Miles Davis.

What are the keys to success in getting your book out to the public?
John Wanamaker once famously said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the problem is I never know which half.”

You will never have the time or the money to do all of the things that people tell you to do to promote your books. And you will rarely be able to accurately judge their value. So do the things you can and don’t stress about the things you can’t.   

What advice would you give to new authors?
Write the best book you’re capable of writing.

“When you die, I believe, God isn’t going to ask you what you published.  God’s going to ask you what you wrote.” (McNally, T.M. “Big Dogs and Little Dogs,” in Martone, Michael, and Susan Neville. 2006. Rules of thumb: 73 authors reveal their fiction writing fixations. Cincinnati, Ohio: Writer’s Digest Books).

How about sharing an excerpt from Death and White Diamonds?

The weather was changing, clouds blocking out the stars, wind whipping the surf into a frenzy. As high tide approached, the beach was nearly gone, just a narrow strip of sand between water’s edge and dune grass, the rhythm of the waves pounding at the shore, washing away the evidence. My attention was drawn to the distant lights of a lonely freighter. There was a chill in the air. I hardly noticed. The knife was still warm in my hand.
I looked down the beach. Not ten feet away lay Lorraine, her blouse ripped, an ugly gash just above her left breast, a delicate thread of blood making its way between her breasts and running down along her abdomen. I couldn’t take my eyes off the blood. Something in me stirred. Was it wrong that I saw her, at that moment, perhaps for the first time, achingly lovely?  
I forced my eyes away from her chest and peered at my wristwatch, the hands luminous. Three a.m. We had walked down to the beach together shortly after midnight, through the dune grass, giggling. I’d been carrying two wine glasses and a bottle of merlot. Lorraine had been carrying a blanket. I remember thinking, at the time, the surf sounds angry. And then? I can’t remember. I’m fairly certain I wasn’t responsible for the death of Lorraine van Nessen. But it took no great powers of deduction to realize that I was going to be the prime suspect when Lorraine’s body was discovered. If Lorraine’s body was discovered.
I pictured Lorraine’s body floating out to the middle of Castleton Bay. I wondered how long it would take for her body to sink.  And once it was submerged, I wondered whether it would stay underwater. I’d watched enough detective shows to realize that at least on television, bodies had a way of popping to the surface at the most inopportune moment, usually just before the first commercial break.  I couldn’t take that chance. Disposing of the body safely would be a gruesome bit of business. Still, I didn’t think Lorraine would mind.
Port Salmon was a ghost town in February, especially on the bay side of town, along Ocean Avenue, at three in the morning, the homes seasonal, rentals mostly, just a few hundred yards from the beach, but all of them empty during the off-season. Lorraine’s grandfather had built most of these homes and even in retirement, he looked after “his” houses. He remained one of the few year-round residents right up until the end. Lorraine was the only one left who made use of the house. And now that too was coming to an end.
I would have plenty of time to dispose of Lorraine’s body. I walked toward Ocean Avenue, turning back briefly to make sure that Lorraine wasn’t moving before hurrying back to the beach house. I didn’t have a plan, not at that point anyway. But I did have a glimmer of an idea.
I rooted through the cellar, searching for a proper tool.  Fifteen minutes later I was back on the beach. As I made my way through the dune grass, I sensed a presence on the beach. I was not alone. Someone was crouching low over Lorraine. I held my breath, trying to get close enough to see without being seen. I looked again. Not someone, I realized. Something. A dog was sniffing at the body. I scanned the beach, praying the dog was a stray. Suddenly I felt bad for Lorraine.
Scat, I hissed, waving the hacksaw in the dog’s general direction. The dog snarled, but backed away. I threw a piece of driftwood down the beach and the dog took chase. I stared at Lorraine’s body, a woman’s body, plump and inviting, even in death, especially in death, her full hips, her perfect round breasts, the four inch gash just above her left breast. I’m sorry Lorraine, I whispered, for what I’m about to do.
It was slow work, with the hacksaw. Before long, I was breathing hard. My shirt was soaked with sweat, the sweat drying cold against my skin. I had to face a hard truth. I was out of shape, twenty pounds overweight, unused to physical labor. The hacksaw had not been designed to cut through sinew and bone. At least not by me. My arm grew numb, but I had little to show for my effort, her body scarred by the hacksaw blade, but still intact. I was making more mess than progress.  The tide was coming in quickly now. I needed more time. Lorraine needed more time.
It’s funny, don’t you think? Whenever Lorraine wanted to talk about our relationship, about our future, I always put her off. We’ve got plenty of time for that later, I told her. All the time in the world. Now we needed more time.
Wrapping her scarred body in the blanket, I dragged Lorraine back through the dune grass. The path through the dunes was narrow and long. My feet sank in the soft sand. As I made my way through the dunes, the footing gradually grew firmer. When I reached the road that bordered the beach, I slung her over my shoulder and carried her across the street and down the deserted road until we arrived at the house. Pulling open the cellar door, I carried her body inside and collapsed in exhaustion at her side.
I imagine that most men would find it difficult to fall asleep next to a corpse, even if the corpse wasn’t your girlfriend, even if you weren’t about to be the prime suspect in her murder, even if you weren’t just a little bit turned on by the intimacy. I dipped my finger in the blood between her breasts. I drew my finger up to my lips. I wanted a taste. But that would be wrong. I kissed Lorraine lightly on the lips and said good-night.
I slept till mid-morning, on the floor in the cellar, Lorraine at my side, lying in a pool of dried blood and semen. I shook the stiffness from my shoulders and breathed in the day. The day, apparently, smelled of death and White Diamonds. Lorraine had a thing for Liz Taylor. Something about that made me happy. 

What’s next for you?
Upcoming new novel:

When you’re eighteen years old, it can be hard, under the best of circumstances, to balance the demands of your father and the desires of your girlfriend. For Ben Miller, graduating from high school in 1970, circumstances are far from perfect. His girlfriend’s mother, Mrs. Rosalie Bayard, has been murdered. Ben’s father, a detective in the Fifth Precinct catches the case. It’s not long before evidence suggests that Dr. Bayard may have hired a hit man to murder his wife. As Detective Miller conducts the homicide investigation and Dr. Bayard attempts to keep an affair with his secretary secret, Ben and his girlfriend Emily find themselves attracted by the philosophy, politics and lifestyle of the counter-culture. Hit or Miss raises questions that were important in 1970 and still resonate today – questions about American involvement in an unpopular war, about equal rights for women and about end-of-life decision-making and the right to die.

Where can readers find out more about you and your book(s)?

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




Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Don’t Talk About It...Be About It!

Speaking is a great way to grow your audience or your platform. Some of us are born orators while others of us must hone this skill. Some of us thrive on getting in front of an audience while others freak out before they do. Whichever category you fall into, there are some foundational questions to ask yourself if you want to dive into the public speaking arena.

Here are some foundational steps to get you started:

Speaking is a great way to grow your audience or your platform. Some of us are born orators while others of us must hone this skill. Some of us thrive on getting in front of an audience while others freak out before they do. Whichever category you fall into, there are some foundational questions to ask yourself if you want to dive into the public speaking arena.

Here are some foundational steps to get you started:

1.         Define your target audience.

This will help to ensure you are speaking in front of the right group of folks who you know will get excited about hearing your message. So, depending on your subject matter you need to research who will benefit the most from hearing your message.            

2.         Define what you want to speak about.

Once you’ve determined your target audience, you must then decide what you want to share with them that will add value to their lives, enrich their business, etc. So, package all your relevant information and be ready to engage them.

3.        Define what makes you qualified to speak about this subject.

Your audience will want to know what qualifies you to speak on the subject matter. Is it because you have a degree in the subject matter or you’ve had an impactful experience or you’ve had great results, or you’ve won awards, etc.? This will ensure their comfort level and their excitement to hear you speak.

Note: Now let’s go get that speaking gig!


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