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Author | Blogger | Workshop Facilitator Visit my website at www.authordeelawrence.com to learn more about my romantic suspense novels, Gotta Let It Go and Gotta Get It Back, the sequel. Connect with me online @authordeelawrence (Facebook). Thanks for visiting with me today!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A Review of The Pastor’s Wife by ReShonda Tate Billingsley

In this novel, Pastor Terrance Ellis is pressured by the elders of the church to find a wife in time for the 100th anniversary Christmas celebration. Why? Because they were concerned that folks may start talking about the handsome and charismatic pastor who in his thirties and has never been in a serious relationship.  But the only problem with Pastor Ellis is that he keeps running into a bunch of crazy women who often times mistake his kindness (e.g. going for coffee) for being in a full blown relationship. 

Of course, the main person chasing the handsome pastor is Savannah who is well-known both in church and around town as a “floozy.” She would stop at nothing to get her man but she also mush past the test of Pastor Ellis’ three overprotective and meddlesome aunties.  Needless to say these three church ladies call it like they see it. They raised Pastor Ellis and were proud to see him turn from a troublesome teen into the man who leads their church.

This was a great premise. However, I found the novel to be slow in many parts. Pastor Ellis being street smart apparently left all that behind because there were times I wanted to help him smack some folks. I know – but he really could have put his foot down many times. Anyway, the story did pick up some steam towards the end when Pastor Ellis finally got a back bone to ditch Savannah who was blackmailing him and pledge his love for Raquel, his secretary.  I wanted more action. Nevertheless, it was a good read.

Some of my favorite lines:
“Let me explain something to you Reverend,” Savannah began, her voice laced with attitude. “You don’t play with a woman’s emotions and think it’s over just because you say it’s over.”
“Savannah, please don’t make this ugly.”
She let out a maniacal laugh. “You’ve got to be kidding me.  Sweet, trust me when I say things aren’t going to get ugly. In fact, they’ll be quite beautiful.”
Terrance shot her a perplexed look. “What does that mean?”
Savannah flashed him a smile as she headed to the door. “It means, darling that this” –she pointed between the two of them- “isn’t over. In fact, we haven’t even begun.  I’ll be in touch.”
Savannah left Terrance looking more confused than ever as she headed back to her car. She hadn’t wanted to go this route, but Terrance had left her no choice. It was time for the trump care, the one that would ensure she’d get exactly what she wanted.”

Rating: 3 stars

Monday, March 28, 2016

Interview with Glenora Wells-Sanders, Author of To Quierra, On Life and Trinny Bear and Dallas

Author’s Bio: Glenora Wells-Sanders is the author of To Quierra, On Life and Trinny Bear and Dallas. She is the director of Social Services and a Certified Dementia Practitioner for LifeBridge Health. She is also an adjunct professor at Coppin State University in Baltimore.

What inspired you to write your book? 
I was inspired to write my latest children’s book Trinny Bear and Dallas in memory of my grandchildren's grandmother who passed away in 2011 from Ovarian Cancer. I wanted to keep the memory of their grandmother in their hearts and minds, and I also wanted to bring awareness to the disease of Ovarian Cancer - also known as the silent killer in the area of the woman's reproductive system.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
I've always enjoyed and been greatly influenced by those authors and books that helped me become more introspective and want to make a positive impact on the lives of others. Some of my most motivating authors during my younger years were authors like Maya Angelou – I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Nora Neale Hurston - Their Eyes Were Watching God, and any one of Langston Hughes books.  As I became an adult, I looked to books that helped me realize the importance of the power of one's thinking in realizing his/her wants and dreams - Iyanla Vanzant, Oprah Winfrey, Dr. Scott Peck, Joel Osteen, and Dr. Wayne Dyer - The Secret, were most influential. However, if I had to name only one book, it would be Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach - I never forgot that book!

Is this your first book? How long did it take to start and finish your book?
This current book is my second book. It took about two weeks to write this children's book.

Do you write with an outline, or just let it flow organically?
I do a little of both depending on my mindset.  I find that when working with an outline, I am able to let those thoughts that flow organically have a place to be deposited.

Do you listen to music when you write? If yes, is there a theme song for this book?
I generally write anywhere: while driving, in my head, at home in front of the computer with the sounds of the TV background noise, while at a doc's appointment - waiting to be seen, or in complete silence. Complete silence is when I get the best of my writing done.

What are the keys to success in getting your book out to the public?
My success has been the basic traditional routes: signings, work place colleagues, church functions, and personal friends.

What advice would you give to new authors?
To the new authors I would say invest in yourself.  By that I mean be prepared to spend a little money to have a product that is well-written and appeals to your prospective readers. I also say continue to do all that you can to get your book out and read.  There are so many wonderful books out there, so one has to utilize all opportunities to get his/her book in the hands of everyone you can.

How about sharing an excerpt from Trinny Bear and Dallas?
Watching out for a younger brother or sister is a big responsibility. In the exciting new children’s book Trinny Bear and Dallas, see what happens when a baby bear joins the family.

Mama and Papa Bear are very proud of Dallas, their well-behaved and carefree son, who was named after the Dallas Cowboys. When Trinity is born, Dallas is expected to always look out for his younger sister and set a good example. However, this is not always easy because Trinny has so much energy that she always makes a mess and she loves to disappear playing hide and seek.

Dallas now has the job of keeping their room neat, which Trinny loves to mess up, and must watch over Trinny when they go to bear school. When the time comes to visit Grandma and Grandpa Bear during summer break, Dallas is delighted because he thinks he no longer has to watch out for his little sister. On the train ride to their grandparents in West Virginia, Dallas becomes annoyed with Trinny for hiding on the train. Suddenly, there is a screeching noise when one of the train cars jumps the tracks.

Dallas thought Trinny was right behind him, but she has gone missing! What could have happened to Trinny?

What’s next for you?
I am now working on my third book entitled:  The Courage to Die With the Spirit to Live, (And If I Wake-Up Tomorrow, I'm Gonna Be Pissed!). This book is written in memory of my late husband who died from lung cancer. It is a testimony to his courage, strength, and of course, his humor, as he lived the remainder of his life with the knowledge that his time in this life's journey would be ending.

Where can readers find out more about you and your book(s)?
My books - To Quierra, On Life, and my current children's book - Trinny Bear and Dallas can be found online through  Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, the publisher website, and one can go to any book store and order it through the sales personnel.

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

Dee - Thank you for the opportunity to talk about my latest book and have you share it with your readers!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Book Divas On Tour - One More Page Books

On Saturday, Marcy 26, 2016, the Book Divas On Tour (B. Swangin Webster, K.R. Raye, Puja Guha and I) made an appearance at One More Page Books in Arlington, VA. It was great to catch up with the divas because it's been a while since we saw each other. But you would never have guessed because we never missed a beat in presenting who we are, what we write and sharing nuggets about the publishing and marketing arenas.

The audience was great and the hostess was quite gracious in serving us tea and then later pouring us cute little glasses of wine. Let's just say that some of the divas left with several purchases of wine - they do have a nice selection there!

Well, here are a few photos from that lovely event! Enjoy!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

An Afternoon with the Authors

On Sunday, March 30, 2016 I spent an afternoon with a group of authors in celebration of Women's Month. This intimate gathering took place at an art studio called Art and Frame in Falls Church, Virginia. The food was catered and was very delicious (sandwiches, shrimp cocktail, a variety of cheeses, strawberries and Sangria) - now who could ask for anything more.

Anyway, while jazz music was playing in the background (courtesy of one of the authors husband and her sons - one of whom played a few pieces for the audience during the event), the guests milled around looking at our display of books. After they got their refreshments, they settled in for a treat of each of us introducing ourselves and then reading a snippet from our books.

At the end of our readings, one of the guests commented that we were so diverse that they were very intrigued. Our genres ranged included children's books, christian fiction, contemporary women's fiction and romantic suspense - so, yes they hit the nail on the head. Then we opened up the floor to a discussion about publishing, marketing, attending conferences, etc.

We had a BLAST! And it was great networking with such lovely ladies who ROCK! Here are some photos from the event...enjoy!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Interview with Cherrie Woods, Author of Where Do I Start? 10 PR Questions and Answers to Guide Self-Published Authors

Author’s Bio: Cherrie Woods is a 15-year public relations (PR) veteran who has a client list that includes self-published and traditionally published authors, visual artists and cultural and non-profit organizations. She has held staff and senior management positions in public relations at a variety of organizations including Baltimore City Dept. of Public Works, Reginald F. Lewis Museum, the Detroit Institute of Arts, Toronto Social Services and Public Health and Harbourfront Centre. Woods currently serves as the membership chair on the board of the Baltimore Public Relations Council and was the president of the National Black PR Society-Detroit Chapter (2005 to 2007). Woods is also a member of the Black Writers Guild of MD. Her latest venture is a PR workshop for authors called, “Promoting Your Own Book.”

What inspired you to write your book?
When I shared that I was a PR professional with other authors, I was inundated with many questions. Most self-published authors had little to no knowledge of how to do their PR, could not afford a publicist and had no idea what a publicist could do to help them. Some who had hired a publicist shared horror stories of paying considerable sums to a publicist and not believing that they got a good return. I shared with authors that there are existing books on PR for self-published authors, but they countered that these books were long and complicated and they wanted something simple, clear and easy to understand. My book was published January 10, 2016 and to date, the feedback is very good!

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
Many authors have influenced both my love of reading and my appreciation for their book content and presentation. They include Donna Hill, Judy Blume, Margaret Johnson-Hodge, Bernice L. McFadden, Eric Jerome Dickey and V. S. Naipaul on the fiction side; Iyanla Vanzant, bell hooks and Nathan McCall, on the non-fiction side, and on the poetry side (I’m a  published poet) my brother David Woods, Maya Angelou and Sonia Sanchez.

Is this your first book? How long did it take to start and finish your book?
This is my second book. I began to write this book in March 2015 and completed it in October 2015.

Do you write with an outline, or just let it flow organically?
I employ a combination of both methods.

Do you listen to music when you write? If yes, is there a theme song for this book?
I actually write best in complete silence. Which means early morning is my best time for writing,

What are the keys to success in getting your book out to the public?
Know your presentation strengths, know yourself, and of course know your book really well. In addition, know your genre and read the work of established authors in your genre. And of course, register for one of  my workshops and if you have a budget, consider hiring a publicist who has worked with authors (preferably me) J.

What advice would you give to new authors?
New authors need to understand the book industry, network, attend conferences, speak to other authors – traditional and self-published, attend authors book readings, analyze the published books in your genre - their presentation, formatting, etc.  

How about sharing an excerpt from Where Do I Start? 10 PR Questions and Answers to Guide Self-Published Authors
One of the first questions I ask self-published authors is this: “What is the genre of your book?” Your book’s genre defines and determines the direction of your PR and marketing efforts. If I could get $20 for authors who don’t know the answer to that question, I probably wouldn’t be a millionaire —but I would have considerably more money than I do now. 

"What is the genre of your book?" Genre is the type of book that you have written. The overall genre of your book may be fiction (not true), nonfiction (factual) or poetry. However, there are several subcategories including health and fitness, self-help, science fiction, mystery and suspense, romance, American poetry and poetry anthologies. Knowing your genre will also help you select the right reading opportunities, the best media to pursue for interviews and the best collateral to develop for your marketing campaign.

What’s next for you?
I’m working on a second book of poetry and a second guide for authors, Where Do I Start? 10 MORE Questions and Answers to Guide Self-Published Authors” and a guide for visual artists. Also, I am hosting a PR workshop for published authors only, “Promoting Your Own Book for Published Authors” on Saturday, March 26th for only $75 (which includes a FREE copy of my book, Where Do I Start? 10 PR Questions and Answers to Guide Self-Published Authors). Register soon at www.eclecticpr.com (limited capacity). This workshop is for all authors – traditionally and self-published.

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.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Bay To Ocean Writers Conference (19th Annual)

On Saturday, March 12, 2016, I along with a member of my writers' critique group attended the 19th Annual Bay To Ocean Writers Conference at Chesapeake College in Wye Mills, MD. This year's session offerings were hard to select from. Why? Because they were all great. Anyway, here are the 5 sessions, I finally settled on.

Session 1: How to Construct Story Lines that Don't Collapse, Evaporate, or Bore

Barbara Esstman as always gives a great presentation. In this session, she shared tips that work for a short story, novel or memoir.
  • Takeaway - Always start with a precipitating event that will drive your story!
Session 2: Your Manuscript: Build It  Right

Melanie Rigney's presentation pointed out similarities between building your novel and building a house. Basically, you need the foundation (plot, structure, etc.) to make your story stand strong.
  • Takeaway - Just like a house would have covenants so too do readers (e.g. a good story driven by a good plot with conflict).
Session 3: Finding a Compelling Voice: the Essential Advantage You Need in Order to Publish

Laura Oliver opened her session with a clip from The Voice 2015 (Jordan Smith). And it was a powerful way to show the importance of finding a voice that is so compelling that readers will tag along for the ride or in the case of The Voice - make all the judges hit the button and turn around in awe of the voice.
  • Takeaway - Tell your story in your own authentic voice because no one does it better than you!
Session 4: Ten Ubiquitous Mistakes You Can Save Yourself from Making

Barbara Esstman was at it again in this session where she talks about the 10 don'ts of writing a book. She said that she could have talked about more and I believe her.
  • Takeaway - The first line of your book should tell the story of your whole book (now this can be quite a feat).
Session 5: How to Write Sex Scenes

Bestselling romance author Mary McCarthy didn't disappoint in her presentation. She gave lots of great tips for writing sex scenes that would make you blush!
  • Takeaway - Don't shy away from research. Yep, this is key! 
Overall, it was a great day. I learned some new things and now I'm inspired to WRITE ON! So, if you are an aspiring writer and you need to be motivated to get published then attending the BTO Writers Conference or any other writers conference is a good place to start!

Here are some photos from the event. Enjoy!