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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, January 30, 2017

Interview with Cori Quinn, Author of Calloway

Author’s Bio: Plus-size curvy model, actress, and author, Cori Quinn is a multitalented, multidimensional woman. Born in Washington Heights, New York, Quinn spent most of her childhood and early teens in New York, before relocating to Baltimore, Maryland, with her mother. In 2011, she began a career as a plus-size curvy model and has achieved a high level of notable success in that field. She is also employed as a corporate executive. Quinn is the granddaughter of Wali Muhammad, who trained boxing legend Muhammad Ali. “My grandfather was a wise, successful man,” says Quinn. “People gravitated to him, because he had a skill and integrity. I want to carry on his legacy with humility.”

What inspired you to write your book?
CQ: What inspired me to write my book were my life’s experiences. I was once a young irresponsible street girl that was into drugs and criminal activity until finally things got serious and I received some felonious charges that impacted my life, career and civilian opportunities in a major way. Once my eyes were open and I knew I was headed for self-destruction I decided to take steps to get my life back on track. Ultimately, I survived a lifestyle that was attempting to overthrow me; now I’m here to share the ins and outs of my experiences and what I did to conquer the obstacles with the world. Calloway, my new book, is the first tool designed to create this platform.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
CQ: Growing up I was inspired by the classic novel, Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Souljah. As an adult I was inspired by Ashley Antoinette’s Moth to a Flame. Both novels are very intriguing and share some of the same story lines as Calloway but all three are distinctively different.

Is this your first book? How long did it take to start and finish your book?
CQ: Yes, this is my first book and it took me all of 2015 and some of 2016 to write it.

Do you write with an outline, or just let it flow organically?
CQ: Yes, I used an outline to keep me on track so that I don’t veer off so much and wouldn’t appear that I was rambling.

Do you listen to music when you write? If yes, is there a theme song for this book?
CQ: Yes, I listen to music with many things that I do and I often did as I was writing Calloway. Believe it or not there was no theme song at the time that I was writing; I just put my personal playlist on shuffle. However, Calloway now has a theme song entitled “Fly Away,” written and recorded by me. It is a heartfelt song that tells who Calloway is and how she assumed the position she inherited from her father Calvin Sharpe also known as Low. Fly Away is track number 6 of 8 tracks on the Calloway EP/Soundtrack. The music video for Fly Away can be found on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1X_z2cXp7cs).

What are the keys to success in getting your book out to the public?
CQ: The keys to success in getting my book out to the public are the constant belief and faith that this is a story that wants and needs to be heard; publicizing and socializing Calloway’s existence, and marketing it to the appropriate demographic.

What advice would you give to new authors?
CQ: I would advise new authors to be as creative as possible with their writing, create some sort of angle that separate themselves from every other author and have a substantial budget to market and promote their book effectively.

How about sharing an excerpt from Calloway?
Please don’t let this blue pull me over… I am not in the mood. Not today. She eyes a cop trailing directly behind her but isn’t too concerned. Her mind is somewhere else and although it would’ve been much easier to catch a red-eye flight out of Dulles, she just wanted this time alone. She needs to think. She needs this drive to sort through some things spiraling around in her head.

With a few pieces of designer luggage filling the trunk and a portion of the back seat of the SUV, she slows down moderately. It’s not even dawn but the skyline reveals transitioning shades as certain portions of the horizon begin to brighten, making way for the sun’s inevitable appearance. She is dressed casually but still fly. Her stiletto nails with tips dipped with just a hint of shimmer are still intact from the last photo shoot, and just for the time being, are the only telltale signs of the glamorous yet complicated life that often consumes her. Otherwise, she appears on the outside to be just a regular girl. But Calloway Sharpe is not your ordinary young lady and she is far from basic. Even in jeans and a blazer, there is an aura about her that exudes both sexiness and confidence. She is refreshingly beautiful, stunning actually, even with no makeup. Wearing just a hint of lip gloss, she’s a light-skinned black woman with a complexion that makeup artists go crazy over.  Wearing some boot-cut jeans and a modest heel, with her mid-length hair tied back into a ponytail, one might mistake her for a teenager. And although she is nearing the very end of her twenties in just a few months, there is still a youthfulness, almost a girlish ambience, about her that is all the more magnified in her natural state when her face is not beat to the gods and she’s not wearing a sleek, form-fitting, curve-hugging outfit.

The officer initially trailing behind her car for several miles finally maneuvers over to the right side to turn off at the next exit. Cali is unbothered and much too preoccupied at that point to even give a damn. Out of the speakers comes Mary J. Blige’s “Take Me As I Am” and suddenly, Cali’s mind trails off to a time that wasn’t necessarily easier but in hindsight seemed much simpler to a certain degree than her present situation. It didn’t seem that long ago but in reality about 10 or 11 years had gone by, about 18 years since she last saw her father and about 14 since the first arrest. Cali catches a glimpse of herself in the mirror and for just a few seconds she sees the younger version of herself. She sees a young girl that had to grow up way too fast. She sees the teenager in baggy jeans and a hoodie with a long bang swooped over her right eye. Her mind takes her back to a moment in time that can be considered a turning point. All of a sudden, Cali is abruptly interrupted from her daydreaming by the all too familiar and unwelcome sound of a police patrol car signaling her to pull over. “Oh shit,” she murmurs under her breath. Cali pulls over but still isn’t concerned enough to break a sweat. She rolls down the window as the uniformed officer that at first glance appears to be male approaches her car from the driver’s side where she is seated.

What’s next for you?
CQ: What’s next for me is the “Strong Black Women College Tour” that I will be headlining in Winter/Spring 2017. Also, my next single “Love Letter” off of the Calloway Soundtrack is scheduled to be released on or around Valentine’s Day. It’s a very sexy song! Overall, I will be ramping up to make Calloway a household name.

Where can readers find out more about you and your book(s)?
·         Website: www.CoriQuinn.com or www.CallowayTheBook.com
·         Amazon Author Page: Cori Quinn
·         Facebook: Cori Quinn & Calloway The Book
·         Twitter: Calloway The Book
·         Blog: http://www.coriquinn.com/in-the-media/
·         Book buy Links: http://www.coriquinn.com/bookstore

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, January 29, 2017

A Review of Make Your Life Primetime: How To Have It All Without Losing Your Soul by María Celeste Arrarás

Life has a way of teaching us many lessons, some of which can be very painful. Yet, it all boils down to how we react in deciding how to move forward on the journey.

In this book, María Celeste Arrarás shares thirty-four (34) life lessons which I found very candid and which resonated with some aspects of my life. It depicted her journey as a child driven to settle for nothing but the best by a father who pushed her very hard to excel. He once told her, “Be the best of the best or the worst of the worst. Never mediocre.”

She took this innate drive into her professional life which propelled her from being a rookie journalist to being an Award-winning journalist, author and host of her own show on Telemundo (Al Rojo Vivo). Her journey wasn’t always easy. Along the way, she dealt with folks who criticized her because of her accent and the way she dressed, she had two divorces, a nanny who physically abused her infant son, an assistant who stole her identity and her money, etc. She could have been angry, bitter, and resentful toward these folks but after taking a step back, she learned a few life lessons.

The folks who criticized her pushed her to make changes to herself which benefited her in the long run. When the tables were turned, she gave the green light for one of them to be hired and even accepted a congratulatory handshake from another who treated her condescendingly in New York. She assessed how her marriages came to a halt, made peace with the ending and moved on after assessing the goodness within each relationship. I really admired her for being the bigger person when her second husband, Manny and the father of her children, married his mistress. She pressed forward for the sake of the kids in showing them they are loved. And despite what the nanny and her assistant did, she didn’t lose her faith in humanity.

Wow! I admire her strength and resilience. Like her, I’m a firm believer that your word is invaluable, your reputation should be protected but most of all, the universe has a way of making things right especially when you have the right mindset and stand on principles. This book is a must read as there are several lessons that’s applicable to your life!

Some of my favorite lines:
"Instead of being afraid, we have to be daring in the face of our mortality. And we have to choose: Do we wait for the inevitable as observers, or do we play an active role in our lives? It is up to us. As for me, I’d rather risk being devoured by a tiger or slipping down a cliff while climbing a volcano."

"Forget reason. When your intuition says something is wrong, pay attention. It will never fail you."

"The note is a reminder that your name is built upon every decision you ever make. And when it comes to defending it, you must be relentless. After all, your name is a legacy that lives on after you’ve gone to the grave. So what’s in a name? Everything."

"There are things in this world that are more meaningful than money. One of them is speaking out on behalf of the weak and the voiceless. You should do it selflessly and at every opportunity. Who knows, in the end, you may be rewarded with more than just a good feeling."

"It was only after I began charting a new course that I was able to accept the turbulent seas I fought so strongly against. And in the end, I made peace with the storm. Resentment is an anchor that keeps you from moving forward and sinks everyone who reaches out to help you. Let go of the weight and set yourself free."

Rating: 5 stars

Sunday, January 22, 2017

It's Time to Harness Your Connections!

I’m a firm believer that once you tap into your creativity to create works that touch, hook and elevate your readers, you need to keep the dialogue going. This means continuing to reach out and engage your readers off the pages of your published work.

Here are some ways to bridge the connectivity gap with your readers:

1.         Newsletter – monthly or quarterly (I wouldn’t go longer than quarterly)

2.         Social Media connection – FB, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.

3.         Invite your readers/audience to reach out to you via email – I welcome this as it’s much more personalized.

4.         Social gathering – coffee anyone? It’s always great to meet my readers in person.

Note: Let’s keep that connection going!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Interview with J. R. Lindermuth, Author of Shares The Darkness

Author’s Bio: A retired newspaper editor, J. R. Lindermuth is the author of 15 novels, including seven in his Sticks Hetrick crime series, and a non-fiction regional history. Since retirement, he has been librarian of his county historical society, assisting patrons with genealogy and research. He is a member of International Thriller Writers and a past vice president of the Short Mystery Fiction Society.

What inspired you to write your book?
JRL: Shares is the seventh book in the Sticks Hetrick crime series. Each has been inspired by a particular type of crime and is set in a small fictional town near Harrisburg, PA. The crimes are solved by Sticks, former police chief and now a county detective, and his proteges. Officer Flora Vastine is the primary in this one. The actual inspiration for Shares was a documentary on bird-watching. Though a series, the books are structured so they can be read as stand-alones.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
JRL: I've been a reader since a very early age and I'm sure I've been influenced to a degree by a number of writers. But I wouldn't want to blame them for any good or bad habits that have rubbed off on me over the years.

Some of my favorite "classic" writers would include Alexander Dumas, Robert Louis Stevenson, Emily Bronte and Edgar Allan Poe. Some favorite contemporary mystery writers would include James Lee Burke, Ruth Rendell, Harlan Coben, Charles Willeford and Georges Simenon.

Is this your first book? How long did it take to start and finish your book?
JRL: Shares is my 15th published novel. I've also published a non-fiction regional history. As to time, that depends on the book. Some germinate in the mind for years, other come quickly. I try to write every day, but don't set a word count target. I prefer to progress steadily without setting particular demands. I find the work goes easier that way.

Do you write with an outline, or just let it flow organically?
JRL: I'm a pantser. Usually I know where I'm headed, but welcome some surprises along the way. Knowing too much in advance would bore me. I do jot some notes to keep me on track; nothing you could really call an outline.

Do you listen to music when you write? If yes, is there a theme song for this book?
JRL: There's always music playing in the background as I work; usually Symphony Hall on Sirius Radio and the classics; sometimes folk music or the Blues. Depends on my mood. No theme song for Shares The Darkness.

What are the keys to success in getting your book out to the public?
JRL: It's important these days you utilize all possible means of getting your name recognized. Book stores are scarce on the homefront, so I seek library and other outlets for signings and similar events and write a weekly newspaper column. I also maintain a heavy footprint online. The best road to success remains word of mouth, but people must know about you to pass the word.

What advice would you give to new authors?
JRL: As Stephen King and others have advised, read a lot and write a lot.

How about sharing an excerpt from Shares The Darkness?
JRL: Here you are:
Chapter 1.

            “She didn’t come home last night.”
            Flora Vastine hesitated. She knew Mrs. Kepler as the type of overly protective mother who wouldn’t take kindly to a suggestion her daughter might be sleeping around. “Maybe she stayed with a friend,” Flora said without specifying gender.
            Mrs. Kepler shook her head. “She didn’t have an overnight bag or even a toothbrush. Besides, I’m sure Jan would have told me if she was going to do that.”
            The woman had shown up just as Flora was preparing to leave for her shift. Mrs. Kepler had come down the street in her nightgown and robe, fuzzy slippers on her feet, sans makeup and without even having run a brush through her sleep-knotted gray hair. Obviously she was distraught and Flora had no choice but to invite her in. Besides, as a police officer she had a responsibility to those who sought her assistance--no matter how tenuous the situation might seem.
            Flora’s father was still at the table, having a second cup of coffee. He looked up in surprise as the two women entered the kitchen. “Jan didn’t come home last night. Mrs. Kepler is worried,” Flora quickly explained.
            “Oh,” her father said. “Of course you’re worried. What can we do to help? Have a seat. Would you like some coffee, Sylvia?”
            “No. Thank you, but no,” Mrs. Kepler said, sliding onto a chair next to him. “My stomach is acidic enough. Coffee would definitely not help.”
            Sneaking a quick glance at the clock, Flora saw she was going to be late. “Sorry,” she said, drawing out her mobile, “I’ve got to call in.”
            “Oh, I don’t want you to be late.”
            “It’s okay. I just have to let them know.” She made her call, told dispatch she was delayed and would explain on arrival.
            Mrs. Kepler drew a hand across her face. “I hope I’m not getting you in trouble, Flora.”
            Flora leaned on a chair on the opposite side of the table. “Not a problem. Do you know where Jan was going when she left the house yesterday?” Jan Kepler was a high school biology teacher who still lived with her widowed mother. When not working, she helped her friend Peg Peabody conduct birding tours spring and fall. As far as Flora knew, neither woman had a boyfriend.
            “She had her binoculars and her bag. She didn’t say, but it was obvious she was going birding.”
            “With Miss Peabody?”
            “No. I called Peg last night. She said she hadn’t seen Jan since Tuesday.”
            “Does she often go by herself?” Bill Vastine asked.
            “Oh, yes. When she isn’t helping Peg she loves to go out alone. She says it’s better that way. No crowds of people making noise and scaring off the birds before you can find them.”
            “Dangerous, isn’t it? What if she fell or something?”
            “I’ve said the same thing myself. That’s why I got so worried when she didn’t come home.”
            Some other dangers came to mind for Flora, but she didn’t mention them.  The woman was agitated enough. “Did she have her phone?”
“Yes. At least I didn’t see it at the house.”
“Did she give any idea where she was going?”
            “No. But probably out to the Preserve. That’s one of her favorite places.”
            “Did you say anything to Fred?” Officer Fred Drumheiser was Mrs. Kepler’s next door neighbor and also her brother. While Flora had been a police officer for several years now and proven herself on numerous occasions some members of the Swatara Creek squad—most notably Fred Drumheiser—still considered her a rookie.
            “No. I thought of you first, dear, since you and Jan have always been friends.”
            Though they’d lived on the same street all their lives and gone through school together, Flora had never considered Jan Kepler and herself as friends. Acquaintances. But never friends.

What’s next for you?
JRL: I'm finishing up the next in the Hetrick series and also working on another non-fiction book about my railroading ancestors.

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.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Interview with TM Brown, Author of A Life Not My Own

Author’s Bio: Born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, TM Brown holds a BA in Psychology and MS in Systems Engineering. Tina is also the mother of two amazing people and the grandmother to the cutest little boy ever! Her books include:

·         A Life Not My Own -  Tina shares her personal experiences of child abuse and neglect, her struggles as a teenager and in her young adult life.

·         Just Between Us – Inspiring Stories by Women.  Tina joined forces with Janice Ross, Selena Haskins, Adrienne Thompson, Tamika Christy and Nicole Dunlap as they share a collection of short stories about the life challenges that they overcome. 

·         The FAPA award winning and bestseller Struggles of the Women Folk.  An engaging, fictional, though powerful piece from the stories that her grandmother shared with her as a child.

·      Tethered Angel - PART TWO of Struggles of the Women Folk. Angel has a special gift hearing the thoughts of the people around her, but only if she reminds pure in mind and heart.
She shares her inspirational stories of encouragement and invites you to visit her website at www.authortmbrown.com or contact her directly - tm.brown35@yahoo.com

What inspired you to write your book?  I was struggling in my personal life and began journaling, evidentially deciding to share my experiences with others life me.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
There are many.  Ralph Ellison’s book, invisible man, really opened my eyes to the possibility of writing our truth as black Americans.

Is this your first book? How long did it take to start and finish your book? 
A Life Not My Own was my first book.  I waited 15 years before publishing it.  My journaling was therapeutic but I also wanted to be respectful to my family who were unaware of many aspects of my past. 

Do you write with an outline, or just let it flow organically?
I just let it flow.  My writing process is a visual exercise, capturing what I see in my mind’s eye.

Do you listen to music when you write? If yes, is there a theme song for this book?  
No, I often do my best writing in the tub with the water running

What are the keys to success in getting your book out to the public? 
Continually reaching out to new readers.  My readers often recommend my books to friends and family.  I also participate in a lot of vendor events.  I’m hoping that 2017 will offer more opportunities to do group talks and discussion.

What advice would you give to new authors?
Just keep writing and dig deep.  The best work comes from the heart.

How about sharing an excerpt from A Life Not My Own?
In all of my books, readers can expect to feel an emotional response when they read the words, “It was a day like any other day”: 

It was a day just like any other day. Ya know, that’s the really crappy part about death, it doesn’t usually come to my door in the expected form of, for example, a sick relative departing. No, it’s been much sneakier in most of its dealings with me. Well anyway, I was sitting in the living room doing my homework before dinner, just like any other day, when the telephone rang:

“What, what, what did you say? No, you don’t know what you’re talkin’ ’bout. No she ain’t. Who is dis? Hello, hello . . .”

Crying: “Oh no, oh no, oh no.”

I had never seen Ma cry before. She was always so strong. Even when something bad happened, she would say things like, “I told dem, if dey keep going like dey going . . .” This was very different.

Shortly thereafter, a policeman knocked on our door and confirmed what the mystery caller had said. Betty was dead. My heart was filled with guilt and relief. Guilty about telling her not more than two months previous that I did not want to live with her and relief that she wouldn’t be hurting herself doing those drugs anymore. The dream that I had came to mind as well. I was sure that somehow the two were connected. Betty’s death would be the beginning of a test for me. I knew that.

What’s next for you?
I’m currently writing an untitled piece about a young girl who runs away from a dysfunctional family existence.  I’m not sure how the story will unfold and that exciting to me.

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.