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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!

Monday, May 30, 2016

A Review of I’d Rather Be With You by Mary B. Morrison

I have come to expect Mary B. Morrison’s style of over the top drama in her novels and I’d Rather Be With You was no different. This novel is the second installment in the If I Can’t Have You Series and although I didn’t read the first novel, Mary B. provided enough backstory to acquaint me with the characters and their situations.

Madison is a beauty who always gets what she wants. She thought she had hit the jackpot after marrying Roosevelt “Chicago” DuBois, a wealthy football Executive VP/GM. Little did she know that the marriage would be short lived after he was shot three times by Granville Washington (her stalker) at their wedding reception. She blames herself for Granville walking into her life but sleeping with him was a bet she made with Loretta, her Christian girlfriend, who dared her to sleep with her ex. This bet was scandalous and I know I couldn’t do it.

It gets even better – there’s a sex tape with her and Granville to prove she won the bet which Granville stole and uploaded online, she is pregnant and not sure who the father is, and she is battling breast cancer, all at the same time. She then decided to sign the papers that would take Chicago off life support and run off with his money. But she didn’t anticipate that he would make a full recovery. The drama kicks into high gear as Loretta tries to win Chicago’s love, Sindy Singleton, a new woman wants his attention and Madison wants her husband back.

The dialogue was realistic, the scenes were very descriptive and I was pulled in. However, this novel fell short for me as there were too many twists that didn’t make sense and too many unanswered questions. I guess I’ll have to read the third installment to see how things play out. Anyway, if you’re looking for a novel with scandalous characters who thrive on deceit, lies and craziness, then this one’s for you.

Some of my favorite lines:
She looked out the passenger window, back at me, and then said, “How long have you known?”

As long as I’ve been pregnant. The doctor said my having cheated with Granville might have saved my life. If I hadn’t had sex with him, I wouldn’t have had a reason to get a complete checkup.”

            I went in for a Pap and came out a mother-to-be.”

            “You’ve known for four months?
            I nodded. “Don’t pretend you’re surprised. I know Loretta told you.”

            Tisha shook her head. “It’s kind of hard for her to tell me anything. We don’t talk. But you’re going to beat this. You know our councilwoman is forty-five years cancer free.”

            If attitude dictated the outcome, I’d live another thirty-five years, have a few grandkids, and die a billionaire.

Rating: 3 stars

Image result for i'd rather be with you by mary b morrison

Monday, May 23, 2016

Interview with Puja Guha, Author of The Confluence and Ahriman: The Spirit of Destruction

Author’s Bio: Puja Guha began writing in 2010 by participating in the National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo). She lives in the Washington DC area where she divides her time between writing, travel, and consulting work on international development programs. Her experiences around the world are a key component of her inspiration and weave their way into each of her stories.

What inspired you to write your book?
The idea for The Confluence came to me during a business trip with the World Bank in Sudan. The setting there is what inspired me. I had many expectations of Khartoum, the capital, all of which were completely contradicted by the city itself, and I found myself imagining a story set there. After that, the pieces fell into place.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
Growing up I read all the books off of my dad’s bookshelf. In particular I loved all of the thrillers, especially Frederick Forsyth’s book Icon. Instead of studying for my finals in high school, I hid out in my room to finish reading it. Since then I’ve reread it every few years and I still love it. Reading those books was definitely a part of why I started writing.

Is this your first book? How long did it take to start and finish your book?
This is my second book. I finished the first draft in about two months of concentrated writing, but the editing timeline afterward took about a year.

Do you write with an outline, or just let it flow organically?
During my first draft of a story, I just let things flow. During the editing process though I do some story mapping and outlining to make sure everything fits together the way I want.

Do you listen to music when you write? If yes, is there a theme song for this book?
Sometimes, I do, but it’s usually to Pandora or another streaming service. Once in a while, I put the song "How Far We’ve Come" by Matchbox 20 on repeat. The song’s a little bit dark but the beat gets me going.

What are the keys to success in getting your book out to the public?
The best tool that I’ve found is promoting 99 cents sales through targeted mailing lists such as Kindle Nation Daily, BookBub, and Ereader News. The recipients of these newsletters are actively looking for new deals on books, which helps to make putting the book on sale a really effective marketing tactic.

What advice would you give to new authors?
Remember that the most important thing you can do with your time is to write. Don’t give into writer’s block. Set realistic goals for yourself and stick to them. Don’t waste time being hard on yourself, just focus on attending to your goals.

Remember that writer’s block is a construct. Everyone procrastinates. It’s part of human nature. I believe that writer’s block is a form of procrastination. What’s much worse about it is that we as authors have empowered it by calling it writer’s block. We’ve made it excusable. I believe the only way to get past it is to sit down at your computer (or other writing vehicle) and put in the time.

How about sharing an excerpt from The Confluence?

Memories. Some of them are as distant as the day they occurred, while others reside at the forefront of our minds. I’m not sure why this occurs. I spent three years studying biology in college when I was supposed to be premed, and I never found anyone able to successfully explain the operations of the human mind. My grandfather once told me that being able to forget was humanity’s most important blessing. How else would we be able to forgive? How else could we move forward after experiencing egregious loss? Perhaps being able to forget enriches our existence. Some memories will always evoke certain emotions from our minds, hearts, and souls, but the bite that resonates can lessen over time. While I agree that being able to forget is important, every time I look at you, I have to disagree with him. There can be no disputing it—memory is humanity’s most important blessing.

No matter how many years have passed, the first time I saw you still feels like yesterday. Nikhil, you were only three at the time, sitting on your haunches stacking Lego blocks onto the back of a large green toy truck. You were so meticulous and attentive to the last detail, even then. I should have known you would go on to become a civil engineer. Nothing else would have made sense.

We never told you about the circumstances that led to that meeting, or to your adoption. I can give you all kinds of excuses. Your father and I were worried about how much pain it might cause. We didn’t want to confuse your ideas about your heritage. Mostly, we were just afraid. Afraid that you would think that we loved you less than your sister. Afraid that you might believe that you were not really our son. Afraid that you wouldn’t know how to relate to your sister knowing that you are not blood siblings. Afraid that you would want to seek out your biological parents rather than continue to live in the home that we had built as a family.

When we finally told you that you were adopted, you didn’t seem to be too surprised. Perhaps you saw the signs. They are everywhere if you know what to look for. We never did tell you about how your adoption came to be, though. We never told you that you and I do indeed share blood, just not as your parent. We never told you who your biological father was and how much he meant to me. Nikhil, we were always family, even before your adoption.

Last week I watched you march across that stage in a cap and gown to receive your PhD. When Kanika told us that you two were expecting, we could not have been more excited. But it made me realize that you are a grown man, and you deserve the truth, especially now. As you bring your own child into the world, you should know every detail I can tell you about your entire past. So here it is, in all of its pain and glory.

What’s next for you?
I’m working on the sequel to my first book, Ahriman: The Spirit of Destruction. It’s a spy thriller. The description is below.

After the events of Ahriman: The Spirit of Destruction, Petra Shirazi settles into a life in Paris under the alias of Ana Zagini. Her new world comes crashing down after a visit from a former Agency colleague forces her back into fieldwork. As they race to stop a mole that has infiltrated the Agency, they uncover an insidious plot to destroy the leadership of the International Monetary Fund and place it in the control of a corrupt nuclear power. The investigation spirals downward and she is forced to enlist the help of the Ahriman, now in hiding and presumed dead by most intelligence sources. Together they must face their demons to stop a conspiracy that threatens to bring the world’s financial infrastructure to its knees.

Where can readers find out more about you and your book(s)?
·         Website: www.pujaguha.com
·         Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Puja-Guha/e/B00LLI70V2/
·         Twitter: @GuhaPuja
·         Blog: https://pujaguha.wordpress.com/
·         Book buy Links:
Ahriman: The Spirit of Destruction http://smarturl.it/ahrimanIntl

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, May 22, 2016

Embracing the Creativity in Me

Recently, I wrote a post about embracing the creativity in me in reflection upon the passing of my all-time favorite artist, Prince. In this post, I stated that I will be taking a page from the life of this genius of a men who enjoyed his life in a very artistic and creative way.

With this being said, I'd like to share with you that not only do I enjoy writing romantic suspense novels, short stories and poetry, I also enjoy oil painting. Here are some of my latest art work currently being exhibited at the Columbia Art Center. Enjoy!

Upper right hand side - "Afrolicious"
2nd down - "Flamenco Anyone?"
3rd down - "Dancing Queens"

Upper left hand side - "Sunrise"
2nd down - "Dance This Way"

Monday, May 9, 2016

Interview with Sharon Lucas, Author of Plan It! The Complete Resource Guide for Authors, Book Clubs & Literary Event Planners

Author's Bio: Sharon Lucas is an author, founder/president of the Reading Divas Book Club, and the planner and host of the Black Authors & Readers Rock Weekend, an annual two-day literary conference. Since her retirement in 2010, Sharon has worked tirelessly as an advocate for African American authors and book clubs. Sharon and her husband David, the parents of three adult sons and grandparents of five, are both retired and reside with their two cocker spaniels, in Bowie, MD.

What inspired you to write your book?
I wanted to share what I had learned about how a well organized book club can be invaluable in spreading the news and about great books and talented authors, and there is no better way to achieve that than by bringing the two groups together in a well-planned and executed literary event.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
No particular author or book has influenced my journey. I have, however, been greatly influenced by well written books and the African American authors and readers who take pride in what they write and read. There is no substitute for a well-written book whose characters look like you.

Is this your first book? How long did it take to start and finish your book?
Yes it is. I first wrote it over several months in 2013 but when I shared it with a few people in the industry they told me they didn’t believe there was a market for it so I put it away, but continued to brood about it. I felt the information was useful and I believed in what I was trying to do.  Early in 2015 I submitted the manuscript to Victoria Christopher Murray of Brown Girls Books and she immediately responded that Brown Girls was interested. The book was published in October 2015.

Do you write with an outline, or just let it flow organically.
I let it flow!  I write a section, read and reread, make adjustments until it feels right.

Do you listen to music when you write? If yes, is there a theme song for this book.
There is no theme song. I’m a T.V. listener and as long as Criminal Minds, Law & Order, or Blue Books are playing in the background, I am in heaven. My only requirement is uninterrupted time.

What are the keys to success in getting your book out to the public?
From the day a person decides to play any role in this industry, they should begin to develop followers. Everyone you know and meet should be added to your email list, and become a Facebook and Twitter friend. You should create a webpage to promote you and your work. Start a blog or send out a regular newsletter. Join on-line groups that you can contribute to and learn from. By the time I wrote Plan It! I had already developed a presence as a literary event planner. As soon as I knew, I would be a published author I used those resources to let people know about the upcoming book release.

What advice would you give to new authors?
Network! Network! Network! And that doesn’t always mean spending money. Attend free events at your local library and in the community. Talk with people. Give away bookmarks, post cards, etc. Be prepared with a one-minute introduction that will make people remember you.  When you can afford to, exhibit at local events  - if you can’t afford the fee, buy a ticket and mingle with other attendees. When you sign on to an event, actively promote it by adding it to your calendar and website and “talking it up.”

How about sharing an excerpt from Plan It! The Complete Resource Guide for Authors, Book Clubs & Literary Event Planners
“During a chat with another reader, I asked what type of books her
            club read. She responded that they “used” to read only African
            American authors but now with so many authors self-publishing, they
            decided that level of support was no longer necessary. I was stunned.

            In conversations with other readers, I have learned they have never
            heard or read anything by many of today’s prominent African
            American authors. This is such a sad commentary on the state of our
            literary world. If we cannot count on African American readers to
            support African American authors, whom can we count on?

            I am not suggesting that we should be one-dimensional and not
            read works by authors who do not look like us, but rather that we
            should recognize the depth of need in our community to keep
            our history alive and for our authors to receive the recognition
            they deserve.”

What’s Next for you?
My first short story, The Circle of Life, was recently published as part of an anthology, The Ex Chronicles, and I am currently working on a full-length mystery novel, but so many people continue to have questions about book clubs and literary events, I am also considering an updated edition of Plan It! Of course, I will continue to plan and host the annual Black Authors & Readers Rock Weekend each October and to work with the Wayne Curry Sports and Learning Center in Landover, Maryland to bring quality literary events to the facility.

Buy book: Wherever sold including @ http://browngirlspublishing.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.

Dee, it’s been a pleasure being here. Thank you for the opportunity to reach your readers.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Let's Go Crazy

Recently, my all-time favorite artist…Prince left this universe. And when this iconic and musical genius left us, he left a void that is irreplaceable. Those close to me know that my admiration of this man stems from the fact he was creatively fearless: singer-songwriter, prodigy multi-instrumentalist, record producer, actor, etc. Like anyone else, he’s had his failures and disputes within the entertainment industry, but like cream, he always rose to the top time and time again.

There are way too many songs that I love by this man that evoke many memories from my teenage years to adulthood.  So too are the many lessons to be learned from him about creativity. For now, the takeaway lesson that I’ll be incorporating into my life is to simply embrace being creatively me (fiction writer, painter, poet, etc.). And for this, I’ve penned the following poem about life.

This Thing Called Life

This thing called life,
is a fleeting thing:
it ebbs and flows,
bumps and scrapes,
burns and tugs
at your heart.

This thing called life,
changes you:
for better or worse,
sickness or health,
praises or not,
shapes your soul.

This thing called life,
makes you yearn:
to call your shrink,
your lover,
your friend or
your foe.

This thing called life,
is all you’ve got:
to embrace,
to learn,
to share
and call your own.
So, dearly beloved
as we gather together
let’s go crazy
in this thing called life.

Blowing BIG kisses to this GENIUS of a man as I jump into my little red corvette and trying not to move too fast. Will you…my readers come along with me for the ride?