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Author | Blogger | Workshop Facilitator Visit my website at www.authordeelawrence.com to learn more about my romantic suspense novel, Gotta Let It Go, which is set in Baltimore. Connect with me online @ thewritepen (Twitter and Facebook). Thanks for visiting with me today!

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Social Media Marketing and You!

Once you have written your book and decided which publishing route you want to take, it’s time to market your work. And one of the best ways is through social media marketing. It has a wide reach and it’s a great way to engage in building your brand and generating buzz for your book.

My recommendation is that you select maybe 2 or 3 platforms that you are comfortable using and be consistent in your communication with your audience. If you decide to use more than 3 platforms, you can schedule your messages by using Buffer, Hootsuite, etc.

As for me, I use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and my monthly e-newsletter to engage with my audience. However, you may find that other platforms such as Instagram or Snapchat may work better for you.

In addition, if you want to maintain privacy in your life you can still use social media to your advantage. So, go ahead and get started on your social media marketing by reading this article - great stuff!  


Monday, March 12, 2018

Interview with Diane Wilbon Parks, author of The Wisdom of Blue Apples

Author’s Bio: Diane Wilbon Parks published her second and most recent collection of poems, The Wisdom of Blue Apples, and is one of six PG County Poets whose poems have been highlighted in Bowie and Oxon Hill, Maryland Libraries, Metro Building 3, and College Park Community Center for Dr. Sues’ Book Festival. Diane is also a visual artist and is currently exhibiting her art in Metro Building 3 in Hyattsville, and will be exhibiting her art in Oxon Hill Library, March 2018.  Diane has been a featured poet in Washington DC, VA, and MD. Diane read at a Cultural Academy For Excellence event with gifted musicians and award-winning poets. Diane also celebrated reading and recording for Grace Cavalieri’s "The Poet and The Poem” at the Library of Congress; holds a degree in Information Systems Management and is an U. S. Air Force Veteran.   

DL:     What’s the inspiration for writing your book?
DWP: Everything inspires me to write. As a poet, I hear the world’s heart beat and have to write in cadence with it. There is a lesson waiting on the other side of decisions, experiences, laughter, pain, etc., my most recent book speaks to the wisdom found in the lessons of all life experiences.

I am awakened by what is happening in the world socially, politically, spiritually; I am intrigued by squirrels gathering acorns, the flow of rivers and the rocks that sparkle underneath them, the melting glaciers, birds building nests from borrowed things, and new and old relationships. I am influenced by the stories that we continue to write from the pages of our lives – hence, the writing of the book, The Wisdom of Blue Apples.

DL:     Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
DWP: I would have to say that there were many authors who I’ve enjoyed reading as I was growing up, but I don’t think that there were any direct influences.  

I still enjoy reading poems from my favorite poets:  Gwendolyn Brooks, Franz Wright, Rita Dove, Nikki Giovanni, Lucille Clifton, and Sonia Sanchez. Each of them found his/her voice in his/her poetry which certainly has been a great influence in having your unique style and distinctive voice.

DL:     How long did it take to write your book?
DWP: The Wisdom of Blue Apples took about two years. Since, I write poetry daily, it was a matter of selecting a variety of poems that deposited a bit of wisdom, a bit of hope, some guidance, laughter, introspection and pain. I wanted the reader to experience life, its lessons and see wisdom and dedication in art of writing, while reading my book.  

DL:     Do you write with an outline, or just let it flow organically?
DWP:  Everything flows organically in my writing, I find truth there. At times, I realize that there is pain from truth, but there is also freedom that lives beyond your truth. I enjoy the surprises of letting my poems write me.

DL:     Do you listen to music when you write? If yes, is there a theme song for this book?
DWP: I cannot write with music. Actually, it has to be completely silent in order for me to write. There are so many whimsical things floating around in my head, I have to be in an isolated space, completely silent and alone when I write. So, there is no music or theme song for my book.

DL:     What are the keys to success in marketing your book(s)?
DWP: I think that you have to be willing to introduce your book everywhere you go. I’ve had successful book launches, was invited to book club meetings to be the featured author, created my own book tour, continuing to accept invites on being a featured Poet, and sharing updates on Facebook.

DL:     What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
DWP: To understand your writing style and be true to it. You will be influenced by others, but your writing will have its own signature that will pave roads and highways only meant for you to walk or drive.

To journal daily and read. Whatever your genre is - research best writers in that category and learn from them. Let those before you teach you the way. But make sure you stay true to what your message is.

DL:     How about sharing an excerpt from The Wisdom of Blue Apples?
DWP: Here are two short poems from my book:

You play inside musical notes

that slip away to have coffee,

then linger at the base of crescendos

like drums leaving tunnels inside me.

The chord of my vein is

traced with legends of you

slanted in prepositional phrases - of love,

crooked like elbows, misplaced on purpose,

hanging out of shelves, and sentences, and me.

There’s an unnatural syncopation of rhythm

that happens when I balance

you over the bridge of London

where thoughts turn into songs.

Why does it rain in my head when I think of you?

My hair becomes long, heavy, wet leaves and

my head, a turntable of droopy love songs.

Your voice coils around the first star and

the most intimate part of my ear –  the drum,

and waits for the base of your voice, then beats, the moon.

There is an eighth note that slips away to dance with you

then quickly turns into a promise and a sheet of music.

I beat the moon at midnight, fetch the north star from the sky,

place it neatly on your pillow and curl inside your ripened notes.

The Puddle

At the root of barbed wire,

all things are convinced of something;

Even the insistent

puddle sleeps with the assuredness

that it will fester into something more than raindrops.

DL:     What’s next for you?
DWP:  Here’s the line-up:

·         I’m completing a Chapbook of Poems.

·        I am currently exhibiting my visual art in Metro Bldg. 3 in Hyattsville, Maryland and   Oxon Hill, Maryland Library.

·         I will continue to read and support Poetry Readings throughout the DMV.

·         The biggest news of all, I will be publishing two children books in 2018.

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

·         Facebook: Diane Parks

·         Book Buy Links: www.amazon.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.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

So, You Want to be Published!

One of the tips I posted a few weeks ago was to conduct your research on your subject matter, people and places but it also applies to researching how you would like to present your work to the world.

With that being said, if you are looking to publish the traditional or the self-published way, there are things to consider before you take the leap. These include how much creative control you are willing to give up, how much you are willing to spend, how much marketing help you are looking for, the type of print distribution in bookstores you are looking for, etc.

This article does a great job at diving into the pros and cons of the publishing world. So, please read carefully to determine which publishing route is right for you. Also, there’s nothing wrong with using a hybrid approach if that works best for you!


Sunday, March 4, 2018

Nine Manuscript Editing Software Programs to Consider

Some people like to write and edit using a pen and paper while others enjoy the ease of using the computer. If you belong in the latter group, then this article comparing nine manuscripts editing software programs is right up your alley. Some of the versions are free and if you give a donation, you will get some added benefits. 

Good Stuff! Check it out!


Tuesday, February 27, 2018

A Review of Resurrecting Midnight by Eric Jerome Dickey

WOW, just WOW. EJD didn’t disappoint in the fourth installment of the Gideon series (Sleeping with Strangers, Waking with Enemies, Dying for Revenge). This time, when international assassin, Gideon is approached by his former lover and grifter Arizona for a job offer in Miami things go awry and he becomes indebted to Scamz, her lover who saved his life. The job takes Gideon to Argentina to locate and get the “package” that contains material that another group would kill to obtain and protect. This group, aka the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (the Beast, Medianoche, Senor Rodriguez, and Senorita Raven) is a deadly force to be reckoned with.

What happens throughout the 442 pages is a roller coaster ride that introduces the readers to some characters that scratch, claw, lie, cheat and kill to get what they want. I really liked the introduction of Shotgun and it was great to see Hawks (assassin and Gideon’s lover) and their leader, Konstantin in action.

In midst of it all, Gideon learns some truths about Catherine/Thelma (former prostitute) the woman who raised him that takes him into a tailspin and makes him question whether Medianoche (Midnight) could be his father. And if that’s the truth could he kill him.

There are very tense and emotional moments in this roller coaster of a non-stop thriller that makes you see just a glimpse of humanity in the characters which didn’t last that long. I know, no time to be liked in these novels. Anyway, EJD’s description puts you in the various locations so you can see, hear, smell, taste and touch everything the characters are experiencing.
Some readers may find that EJD went heavy on the description but I didn’t mind because I got lost in the locations (slums, opulence of some places, clubs, etc.), the storyline, the dialogue and the action. And of course, I love EJD’s history lessons and back stories and that he makes you reach for that dictionary – I certainly did on a few occasions – lol

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this non-stop thriller of a novel from start to finish. The twists and turns were quite surprising without spoiling it for those who haven’t read it. I can’t wait to crack open the fifth installment, Finding Gideon, that’s sitting on my book shelf right now! YES!
Two thumbs way up! A must read!

My favorite lines:
        I yelled out my panic, told Shotgun to start making his way down the stairs, told him to move as fast as he could because it was about to get ugly. Real ugly. I kept my eyes on the people in front of me while I picked up their weapons, threw them out the window, let them fall down into the mud. I made them all get down on the floor with their backs to me and their faces turned away. Otherwise I'd get shot or stabbed in the back as I tried to escape. Had to keep my eyes on them as I crawled out the window. On the one-foot-wide landing, the stairway wobbling underneath me, I saw Shotgun had made it halfway down.
       I didn't move. My weight and his weight might rip the stairs from the wall
       Had to wait for him to clear the winding and weakened stairs.
       Heart racing, briefcase tin hand, I listened. The rain. The storm. 
       Somewhere behind those clamors were the echoes of hooves.
       Not horses, but frantic Horsemen charging through the slums, racing this way.
Rating: 5 stars

Monday, February 26, 2018

Interview with Bobby Richardson, author of Center City

Author’s Bio: Bobby is a novelist who hails from Yeadon, Pa. who lives and works with his wife. He is an alumni of the Art Institute of Philadelphia with majors in Art History, Photography, Graphic Design, Oil Painting, Drawing, and Illustration. After many years working as a freelance artist at various Philadelphia ad agencies, he eventually became an advertising executive for multiple newspapers. Oil painting has always been his passion, and his proudest moment was when he was awarded a prestigious "red ribbon" for one of his paintings that was judged by "The Godfather of The Academy of Fine Art" the eminent Dean/Professor, Sidney Goodman.  "To receive an award from Mr. Goodman was a thrill beyond my wildest dreams," Bobby admits modestly. More recently, Bobby has turned his creative energy toward writing urban novels. His first book is called The Neighborhood and is now being followed by his new novel, Center City.

DL: What’s the inspiration for writing your book?
BR: I write stories that have messages that remind the reader that it is possible to achieve unimaginable success in life if you use your intelligence intelligently. By that, I mean maximizing whatever talent you have been blessed with great relentless passion while always keeping GOD first.

DL: Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
BR: Yes. I love reading Stan Lee’s comic books as a child. And all the adventures of Sherlock Holmes as an adult. But I would be remissed if I did not mention that Martin Luther King’s “Letter from a Birmingham jail” has had the most powerful impact on my desire to become a writer.

DL: How long did it take to write your book?
BR: About a year, give or take a month or two.

DL: Do you write with an outline, or just let it flow organically?
BR: Basically the massage comes first, then thoughtful meditation, and then the rest flows and unfolds organically towards a satisfying conclusion…hopefully.

DL: Do you listen to music when you write? If yes, is there a theme song for this book?
BR: Oh absolutely when I feel it might be appropriate. That’s always the fun part.

DL: What are the keys to success in marketing your book(s)?
BR: A relentless effort identifying your precise target helps a lot.

DL: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
BR: Write something and keep writing. You are not a writer if you don’t write. The same way a chef is not a chef if he never cooks; a writer is not a writer if not writing constantly.

DL: How about sharing an excerpt from Center City?

“His priority was that first and foremost, the office had to reflect his architectural taste and high-tech metropolitan style. His office’s ambience itself was designed to be an active selling tool for its owner. It’s objective was customer comfort, flexibility, and service, with plenty of accent lighting, glass, polished metals, exotic woods and plush rugs for warmth. Every detail was selected to “speak” to clients so that it was clear that Marvin Robinson & Associates was a first-class operation with refined style and taste. Marvin would personally make sure clients understood that his company was not only modern and contemporary, but “all business.”

DL: What’s next for you?
BR: Next is the third and final edition of this story about the main character Marvin Robinson. Then, after that will be several other books that are now in various stages of development. (God willing).  

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.

The pleasure has been all mine! Thank you, Dee!

Sunday, February 25, 2018

5 Tips to Consider on Your Writing Journey to Publication and Beyond (Part 2)

So, you want to WRITE! Here are 5 more tips to consider on your writing journey to publication:

1.     Join a community for support and feedback (writing critique group, writers’ association, etc.).

2.     Know your publishing platform (self-publishing versus traditional publishing and the benefits of each to determine which is right for you).

3.     Attend and/or exhibit at book events, festivals, etc. This gives you visibility to readers.

4.     Market yourself and your book by leveraging social media and other platforms (e.g. print, television, radio, etc.).

5.     Treat your writing as a business (track your expenses and maintain good financial records).