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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!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

A Review of Home by Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison is a profound writer who that takes you on a journey of self-discovery in her novels. Her writing evokes questions about life, the choices you make, the heartaches you experience, the pain you feel, the joyous moments that uplifts you, the tragedies that plague your family, the regrets you ponder, and the list goes on.

In her novella, Home, Toni Morrison pulls no punches when she writes about Frank Money's journey back to Lotus, Georgia. Frank aka "Smart Money" is a Korean war veteran who is angry, broke, occasionally delusional, suffers from nightmares,  hates where he grew up, but would risk everything to go back home to save his medically abused younger sister.  Life hasn’t been easy for this man who loses himself in a bottle of whisky and the occasional warmth of a woman’s bosom. All this would take a backseat once he receives a letter to come rescue his sister before it’s too late.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novella. It was chock full of great dialogue and descriptions that pulled you into the scenes with raw emotions.  I was right there walking next to Frank as he stumbles in and out of his war memories, his delusions of the man in the Zoot suit, his inability to really show his feelings for the woman who showed him love, etc. I felt his pain and also his love for the one person he felt needed protection…his sister, his only family.

Although this story was set in the 1950s, the same struggles that plagued Frank still applies today to soldiers who have faught in more recent wars. The feelings of isolation, abandonment, destruction, and being fragmented from society were all things that Frank dealt with and Toni did an excellent job in showing readers how he made peace with it all. 

Overall, this was a story about introspection, forgiveness, strength, courage and love of family. But more importantly, it was about starting over with a new appreciation for life! Two thumbs up!

Some of my favorite lines:
Lotus, Georgia, is the worst place in the world, worse than any battlefield. At least on the field there is a goal, excitement, daring, and some chance of winning along with many chances of losing. Death is a sure thing but life is just as certain. Problem is you can’t know in advance.

In Lotus you did know in advance since there was no future, just long stretches of killing time. There was no goal other than breathing, nothing to win and, save for somebody else’s quiet death, nothing to survive or worth surviving for. If not for my two friends I would have suffocated by the time I was twelve. Thy, along with my little sister kept the indifference of parents and the hatefulness of grandparents an afterthought. Nobody in Lotus knew anything or wanted to learn anything. It sure didn’t look like anyplace you’d want to be. Maybe a hundred or so people living in some fifty spread-out rickety houses. Nothing to do but mindless work in fields you didn’t own, couldn’t own and wouldn’t own if you had any other choice.

Product Details

Rating: 5 stars

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Empower Your Writing!

So you want to enhance your writing skills, but don’t know where to start? Well, here are some pointers that will help get you started:

1.      Read something that is well written.  To be a better writer, you have to read what others have written, preferably, high quality content. Why? Because this helps to improve your writing style tremendously. Some places you can look to include Harvard Business Review, New York Times, The Washington Post, etc.  

2.      Read something funny. Most of my writing is relatively serious. However, I find that when I read something humorous it shakes up my brain and loosens up my creativity. So, every now and then I check out Buzzfeed and others.

3.      Read something outside your niche. As a romantic suspense writer, I expand my reading to include books on a wide variety of subjects including non-fiction books. I find that the style and the author’s approach helps me within my own writing niche.

4.      Read something you wrote in the past. You’d be surprised how much you can learn from reading something you’ve written in the past. Every now and then I re-read some of my past blog posts and compare them to my current blog posts. After assessing what was good, not so good and what worked, I’m amazed how much better I’ve become as a writer.

5.      Speed writing. Don’t worry about punctuation, grammar, typos, etc. – just write and see some of the good stuff you can come up with. You can always edit later.

6.      Google any grammar questions. If you don’t have a good book about grammar at your fingertips, then do a Google search to make sure you’re not breaking any grammar laws.

Note: Remember writing is a journey…so keep empowering your skills!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Interview with D.B. Corey, Author of CHAIN OF EVIDENCE

Author’s Bio: DB Corey lives in Baltimore with his wife Maggie and two dogs. Former Navy, he currently works in I.T., and wants desperately to retire so he can write full time.

What inspired you to write your book?
The wife. Before she was the wife. She thought I’d get rich. Fooled her.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
I was never a big reader growing up. Comics mostly … but I guess that counts. Then in high school, Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea was a reading assignment. I still remember much of it today. Santiago and the boy … and the fish … and the battle. Great book. As an adult, Patriot Games by Tom Clancy had me up all night. Could not put the book down. I think that’s when I began to realize the power of the written word.

Is this your first book? How long did it take to start and finish your book?
Yep. And too long. Five years and many fits and starts, frustration and determination. When it was finished, I decided to do it again.

Do you write with an outline, or just let it flow organically?
A little of both. I start with notes and expand from there. Not an outline really. More of a road map.

Do you listen to music when you write? If yes, is there a theme song for this book?
No. I like it quiet so I can think. The two dogs in the house, one of them a hundred pound lab, tend to bark at things and I jump out of my skin. I think that’s because I am so zoned in I forget about everything else. Easily distracted. 

What are the keys to success in getting your book out to the public?
Used to be publishers. Now it’s the writer and social media.

What advice would you give to new authors?
Don’t give up no matter how long it takes. Like I said in one of my blog posts a while back (stealing a line from A League of Their Own):

“If it wasn't hard everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great.”

How about sharing an excerpt from CHAIN OF EVIDENCE?
How about the book trailer instead?

What’s next for you?
I’m about to self-publish THE LESSER SIN, a vigilante-themed tale of a murdered woman, a killer set free by a corrupt judicial system, and the sister who struggles with her Catholic Faith to deliver justice for her family.    

Where can readers find out more about you and your book(s)?
·         Website: www.dbcorey.com
·         Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00D37RZ4G
·         Facebook:
·         Twitter: @dbcorey
·         Blog: http://bit.ly/DBCorey_BeyondtheNovel
·         Book buy Links:
o   Harlequin - http://bit.ly/2985gg3

Join DB’s Infrequent Newsletter – No SPAM – All the Time!

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

Thank you so much for the great opportunity, Dee. Hope to see you again soon.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Ginger Me...

The other day I was listening to the lyrics of "Ginger Me Slowly" by Somi and thought how strikingly it applies to me as a creative writer. For starters, I love that the lyrics put me in a very sexy and seductive mood with words like "Ginger me, with pillow talk and pretty things...with poetry and roses in the  afternoon...with trips to Monaco and to the Nile...with power and humility..."

These words take me to another place and have me thinking how things, places and people affect and inspire me as a creative writer. When I receive gifts from someone, it's special and close to my heart and I'm thankful for the time they spent thinking of me. When I travel  to places both near and far, I relish the newness of the culture and the energy I derive from the experiences. And when I meet new people, it's a joy to see how much they enrich my life even if it's just for a season.

As a creative writer, these experiences ginger me and make me embrace, enjoy and appreciate life even more. They are like life lessons that shape my writing to create something new and fresh for my readers while giving them an insight into my life. So, ginger me but ginger me slowly! 

Here's the link to the song for your listening pleasure: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nIYYAdxMG18

Monday, July 4, 2016

Interview with Jeffrey Westhoff, author of The Boy Who Knew Too Much

Author’s Bio: Jeffrey Westhoff has served as a film critic, feature writer, reporter, and copy editor in his career as a journalist. Jeffrey wrote his first novel, The Boy Who Knew Too Much, while working as a freelance writer. He grew up in Erie, Pa., where he spent his Saturday mornings at the library and his Saturday nights at the movies. At age 13, he fell in love with James Bond movies when he watched The Spy Who Loved Me on HBO one afternoon. Jeffrey studied journalism at Marquette University in Milwaukee and worked as a film critic for 25 years. He lives in Chicago’s northwest suburbs with his wife, Jeanette.

What inspired you to write your book?
It was sort of an accident. While I was still a full-time feature writer at a newspaper in the Chicago suburbs, I was working on a story about teen spy novels (Alex Rider, Young Bond, etc.) I attended a book signing by my friend Laura Caldwell one evening and, looking for sources, I asked her if she knew anyone writing a teen spy novel. She misunderstood me and said, “You’re writing a teen spy novel?” I told her I wasn’t, and she said, “You should!” I replied, “You’re right, I should!” And that’s how I got started.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
The book that had the biggest influence on me growing up was Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh. That’s the book that made me want to become a writer, and I pay tribute to it in my book. The three authors who most influenced The Boy Who Knew Too Much are Robert Louis Stevenson, Elleston Trevor (who wrote the Quiller spy novels under the name Adam Hall) and especially Ian Fleming.

Is this your first book? How long did it take to start and finish your book?
Yes. It took nearly 10 years from start to finish, but that included several long periods of self-doubt when I didn’t work on the book.

Do you write with an outline, or just let it flow organically?
I plotted out the book on notecards. A few things changed along the way (I decided I couldn’t bear to kill off one character) but overall the story is the same as originally plotted.

Do you listen to music when you write? If yes, is there a theme song for this book?
I listened to James Bond soundtracks as I wrote, particularly “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service,” and an Internet radio channel called Secret Agent Radio. If the book has a theme song, it’s a little-known but terrific Smokey Robinson track called “Come Spy With Me,” which comes from a spy movie that probably deserves to remain obscure.

What are the keys to success in getting your book out to the public?
I wish I knew, though I keep plugging away on Twitter and Facebook and making appearances when I can.

What advice would you give to new authors?
Don’t give up. And work up the courage to do pitch sessions at writers’ conferences. That’s how I found my publisher.

How about sharing an excerpt from The Boy Who Knew Too Much?

An excerpt from Chapter 10, “Stairs”
Exhausted from two getaways in one morning, Brian fell asleep as soon as the train left the station. He awoke six hours later in time to watch the sun sink into the Mediterranean, a circle of orange melting into wine-red ripples. He went into the bathroom and changed into a pair of olive drab cargo shorts and a black polo shirt. His left shoulder was still a deep purple, but with fewer black highlights. Brian returned to his seat and spent the remaining two hours of the trip reading about Toulouse and studying the maps.
By the time he arrived in Toulouse, Brian had learned that its train station was separated from the central city by the Canal du Midi, the manmade waterway that connected the Mediterranean to the Atlantic Ocean. Stepping outside the station, Brian saw the downtown lights half a mile away. He took the nearest bridge over the canal and then spent the next fifteen minutes crisscrossing streets and doubling back on himself to make sure he hadn’t picked up another tail. Satisfied no one was following, Brian hailed a taxi in front of a hotel and showed DeJonge’s address to the driver.
The cab headed south, which didn’t surprise Brian. Université Paul Sabatier was south of the city. As the cab entered residential neighborhoods, Brian hoped his ordeal would be ending soon, that he would reach Eduoard DeJonge in time and that the professor would arrange for his protection. The driver told him they had reached DeJonge’s street. Several vehicles were parked along the curb, including a dark red van. Brian imagined he saw the orange pinprick of a lit cigarette glow briefly behind the van’s windshield. The cab pulled up outside a small two-story house on a street crowded with similar homes. Brian looked at his Batman watch as the cab pulled away. It was 9:27. “Gotham Standard Time,” he murmured to himself.
Brian doubted the professor typically received foreign visitors this late, but what could he do about it now? He rang the bell, hoping the door led to his safety.
The door opened, and there, wearing blue jeans and a Ramones T-shirt, was the most beautiful girl Brian had ever seen.

What’s next for you?
I have a short spy story in the anthology “Young Adventurers,” also from Intrigue Publishing. I am close to finishing a short story featuring Foster Blake, who is the James Bond-like agent idolized by the hero of The Boy Who Knew Too Much. Then I will start working on my next novel, which is also a spy story, though aimed at a younger audience.

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.