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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 @authordeelawrence (Facebook). Thanks for visiting with me today!

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

A Review of The Long Fall by Walter Mosley

I’m a huge fan of the Easy Rawlins mystery series. However, I was very curious to get to know Leonid Trotter McGill (aka “LT”), the old-school PI working in New York City filled with many secrets some of which could get him killed.

In this first installment of the series, readers meet Leonid (aptly named by his Communist father), a former boxer, and a married man whose wife left him for a lover but came back to make amends. He’s the father to one out of three almost grown children. He’s had an affair with Aura who works in the building but must now cast her aside now that his wife whom he insists didn’t love him was back. But he stayed with his family because he “had a job to do, and more than one debt to pay.”
Leonid was contracted to find four men. One was dead, one in prison, and the third was awaiting trial. The fourth, Roger Brown was the one he couldn’t locate. The job seemed pretty straightforward until folks started dying and he was attacked and almost killed. That’s where the story sends readers all over NYC to back alleys, bars, in the homes of the wealthy and of course, under the watchful eyes of the police.

The plotline was at times somewhat complicated but then I’d come to expect that much from Walter who weaves a tale that calls for readers to pay full attention. The dialogue was snappy, and the characters were well-developed. I enjoyed watching LT’s complex character unfold: whether questioning where he belonged in the world, whom to trust, how much love to show, trying to walk a straight line, and plotting how to escape when circled by deadly sharks. The ensemble characters were well developed and stood out as well. I liked Hush who reminded me of Mouse’s character - the only difference was that Hush was white but just as deadly as Mouse.
Well, Mosley has got me hooked and I can’t wait to read the next installment.  

Great read! Two thumps way up!
My favorite lines:

Carson was looking into my eyes so he knew I was lying, but he couldn’t figure out about what exactly.
“Do I know you, Sergeant?” I asked the homicide cop, partly to avoid Carson’s stare.
“I used to be in vice,” she said, smiling enigmatically. “Had a snitch named Dolores Devine back then.”
Dolores Devine, one of my many guilty victims. She’d set up half a dozen prominent men for prostitution stings with the feds and the NYPD. The wife of one of those men wanted revenge and was willing to pay. I found out that Dolores smuggled H for a man in Newark now and then. All I did was drop a dime, or maybe it was a quarter.
“Never heard of her,” I said.
“Oh?”
“Friend of yours?”
“We’ll check out your story, Mr. McGill,” she replied, getting to her feet. “Let’s hop that you’re more innocent than Dolores was.”
Rating: 5 Stars



Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Sisters In Crime - Mystery Author Panel (Let's Talk About Crime Fiction)

On Thursday, October 18, 2018, I was a panelist on the Chesapeake Chapter of Sisters In Crime: Mystery Author Panel at the Walkersville Branch Library in Walkersville, MD. The other panelists were: Eileen McIntire, R. Lanier Clemons, and Ginny Fite. The panel was moderated by Carla Coupe who did a fantastic job.

Although we each write different types of mysteries and suspense novels, we all had something to share about how the framework of crime fiction conveys the concept of justice. The audience was also very interested in hearing about our writing process especially how we created our characters.

I had a great time! And to tell you the truth, I really stepped outside of my comfort zone going to parts unknown with barely any streetlights and very windy roads. I was instructed to "Watch out because it's deer season." And I certainly heeded those words as I drove cautiously home.












Sunday, October 28, 2018

Marc Clarke Presents: Words & Wine Event (Totally Cool Authors Mixer)

On Wednesday, October 10, 2018, I hung out with some really cool authors (LaDawn Black – Multimedia personality, Carlos Avent - Program Director, Boys Hope Girls Hope of Baltimore, Aaron Maybin – author of Art Activism, Charmel McMillian – President/CEO, Char-Town Entertainment, and Sean Yoes – AFRO Editor) at Spirits of Mt. Vernon in Baltimore. We were all a part of Marc Clarke Presents: Words & Wine where he tapped local authors to read and sell their books.

When I arrived, Marc was chilling in a corner playing some good music and introducing us authors as we walked into Spirits of Mt. Vernon. It was great to meet the man behind the voice back in the day on 92Q Big Phat Morning Show – Baltimore’s legendary hip hop and R&B radio station…missed those days.
I loved the laidback atmosphere that allowed us to meet, mix and mingle with each other and with readers looking to purchase the next book for their nightstand. It was great to see Victoria Adams-Kennedy who stopped by to show me some sisterly love!  

Anyway, the owner, Vicki Schassler was very gracious in giving us samples of some of the wines she sells. In talking to her, I had no idea this spot had been on Charles Street for 15 years. Looking around I saw a wide variety of wines and liquors from the US and Europe. I was quite impressed with this neighborhood wine shop and would highly recommend it.
So, if you’re looking for wine tastings (FREE) or to host an event, don’t hesitate to check out this spot because it’s the place to be! https://www.spiritsofmtvernon.com/ Oh and you can tell Vicki that Author Dee Lawrence sent you.

And to Vicki: Thanks so much - I can’t wait to crack open my bottle of Cupcake Vineyards Moscato! Cheers!














Friday, October 26, 2018

Lights! Camera! Action! The C3 CON was on FIRE!

During the weekend of October 5 – 7, 2018, I attended and had a wonderful time at the Creatures, Crimes and Creativity (C3) Con at the Sheraton Columbia Town Center in Columbia, MD. I have to say that this conference has grown since its inception in 2013. Throughout the years I have made some great author friends and it was a joy to meet them again and add some new author friends to the circle (Jaime Freveletti, Glenn Parris, Ellen Butler, FJ Talley, Natalina Reis, David Swinson, Shawn Cosby, Helen Chapman, Jacki Kelly, Suzanne Gilbert, and the list goes on).


So, let’s get into the action of the conference. For starters, the addition of Noir at the Bar hosted by Ed Aymar on Friday night after dinner was simply awesome. The lineup of readers captivated our attention and made us yearn for me. John Gilstrap brought his “A” game and knocked his reading out the park.
Saturday was nonstop. Right after breakfast, I hit the ground running as the moderator for the panel titled “A Nooner – The Sex Panel.” The panelists were Ellen Butler and Natalina Reis. We had a great time on this panel discussing when to insert the romantic scenes in our books, the difficulty of writing such scenes, etc.

Next up, after lunch I was a panelist alongside Jamie Freveletti and Annie Alexander on the panel titled “Bail, Jury or Affidavit? Getting The Legal Facts Correct” which was moderated by Norwood Holland. The audience had tons of questions and we were all too happy to answer them. I wrapped up the afternoon as a panelist alongside Helen Chapman and Suzanne Gilbert on the panel titled “How to Put the Social in Social Media” which was moderated by Denise Camacho. This was fun.
Book signings. I had great tablemates – Ellen Butler who plied us with wine and David Swinson who shared some good stories. I even got to sign my short story, When The Walls Come Tumbling Down, that appeared in the C3 anthology for a few fans. 

Time for dinner. The southern cuisine menu (fried chicken, fish, mac n cheese, rolls and desserts) was very delicious. The dinner keynote speech was given by Jamie Freveletti, author of Blood Run (can’t wait to read this). Jamie talked about her writing journey, her upcoming creative projects, and Calexia Press, her publishing company. But most of all I loved her philosophy of being “joyous.”
Chill time. This was where we all huddled at the bar, talked about our novels, muses, WIPs while enjoying a few cocktails. This day was fueled with lots of energy that put our writing souls on FIRE!

Sunday. Well, I wasn’t there but I’m sure it was equally great.
That’s about it folks! And like I said…the C3 Con was on FIRE! Here are some photos (Lights, Camera, Action) to enjoy! Don’t forget to register for the 2019 C3 Con here: http://creaturescrimesandcreativity.com/?page_id=2249 Hope to see you there!












Monday, October 22, 2018

Interview with K.L. Brady, author of Trouble’s in the Cards

Author’s Bio: USA Today Bestselling author K. L. Brady is a D.C. native and award-winning author of 15 novels. She self-published her first book, THE BUM MAGNET, after an Oprah "live your best life" moment, which was picked up by Simon & Schuster in a two-book deal. She’s been publishing romantic comedies ever since.

K.L. is a Washington football fan and professed nerd-girl who loves all things Star Trek, Star Wars, and Big Bang Theory. She lives to write stories involving hilarious quirky characters looking for love. She's hard at work on her next several projects, including the sequel to her story ACQUIRED which, as part of the BILLIONAIRE EVER AFTER anthology, hit the USA Today Bestseller list!

DL: What’s the inspiration for writing your book?
KLB: TROUBLE’S IN THE CARDS is my new romantic comedy centered around a greeting card company called Keep It Real Cards.  I guess you could say it's inspired by a lot of the interactions that I see on social media. When I was growing up, political correctness wasn't a negative concept. Being kind and decent wasn’t cast in a negative light. Nowadays, I think people underestimate the power of words and how they can impact the lives they touch. So, at the core of TROUBLE’S, we have a greeting card company sells tell-it-like-it-is cards, truth with a heavy dose of snark, no holds barred. The owner of the company, who never recovered from a brutal breakup, has convinced herself that it's okay to tell a blunt truth, even if it hurts, as long as it’s done in the spirit of helping. But what she finds out is we can control our words, we can control intention, but what we cannot control its impact. And she finds out the hard way that words, and how you communicate them, matter. This idea is centered in a romance between a successful CEO of a publishing enterprise—Kody— who buys the greeting card company of his ex-girlfriend—Tessa--and the drama and hilarity that ensues.

DL: Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
KLB: Without question, Terry McMillan was probably most instrumental in helping me to find my own voice and helping me to realize that I didn’t need to be Toni Morrison or Maya Angelou (both of whom I idolized for their beautiful prose) to write good books.  I’ve never had a literary voice. I’ve always been more real and comedic.  For years (decades), I was afraid to write because I didn’t think that I could find an audience with my voice. Terry McMillan and her books DISAPPEARING ACTS and WAITING TO EXHALE helped me to see that it was possible.

DL: How long did it take to write your book?
KLB: Typically, my books take three to six months to write. TROUBLE’S IN THE CARDS took about four months. I probably could have written it faster but I experienced a lot of turmoil in my other (non-writing) life this year, so the words have come a little more slowly.

DL: Do you write with an outline, or just let it flow organically?
KLB: I used to be a “pantser.”  I used to believe that to create your best work it had to flow organically.  What I have come to realize as a writer who still needs to maintain a full-time job to find my passion is I don’t have the luxury of “organic,” nor do I have the mental space. If I want to produce consistently, within my time and life constraints, I need to outline. Now, outlines and organic creativity, to me, are not mutually exclusive. You can have both. I find that an outline keeps me productive every day, whether my “muse” is working on not. But I don’t live and die by outlines. If my character does something that veers away from the story I have planned, I allow it. If it sticks, I just implement the necessary changes to the outline and narrative. I think the biggest mistake pantsers make is treating the outline as if it’s law instead of a changeable guideline.

DL: Do you listen to music when you write? If yes, is there a theme song for this book?
KLB: At this point in my life, I need silence to be truly productive during the creative phase. I can listen to music while I'm proofreading, but not during the story-building phase. Music comes last. For this song, I would have to say Like A Star by Corinne Bailey Rae. It’s about loving someone who incenses you at the same time. That’s the relationship between Tessa and Kody, a constant tension but also an attraction.  

DL: What are the keys to success in marketing your book(s)?
KLB: Consistency. I’m most successful when I’m consistent. Whatever you do, whether it’s blogging, or buying ads, or newsletters, I must be consistent. Admittedly, I have put more focus into writing books than marketing them. I need to get the words out of my head or they haunt me. But I have put plans in place to market more, joining groups of like-minded writers who market together. That way, we combine our marketing power.

DL: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
KLB: Focus more on writing and your craft than the publishing. Invest time in the writing. If you don’t have a book written, don’t worry about publishing. Worry about finishing your first draft. Don’t be afraid to write a crappy first draft. That’s what it’s supposed to be—a brain dump.

DL: How about sharing an excerpt from TROUBLE’S IN THE CARDS?
KLB: To set up this scene, Kody has acquired Tessa’s company. His best friend and VP, Kyle, is romantically interested in Tessa and has invited her to dinner. Kody, miffed that Tessa stood him up for lunch, not only recommends Kyle take Tessa to a restaurant where she got food poisoning, but he showed up on her date (with his girlfriend) and invited him to sit at their table.

Kody wasted no time pulling out a seat for Chandra.

She flaunted a cheerful mask even if wished to slap him into the New Year. This uncanny capability was one of the things he told himself that he loved about her, a stark contrast from the woman now sitting across from him.

Unlike Chandra, Tessa would’ve announced her displeasure on the spot, turned on her inner witch full tilt and, with barely a swish of her broom, embarrassed the hell out of everyone within a 50-mile radius.    

“That’s fine, Sweetie. You know what I always say.” 

“Let me guess,” Tessa piped in. “What your Kodykins wants, your Kodykins gets.”

Chandra giggled and, for reasons unbeknownst to him, the sound weighed on his nerves like chest fat on a healthy heart. He remembered the time, mostly during their honeymoon phase, when he thought her laugh angelic and cute. Now the sound had the same effect as fingernails dragging across a chalkboard.

“Kody, you better hang onto this one,” Tessa said, the smirk she wore a less subtle than a micro-aggression. “You two truly are a perfect match.” 

            A brief lull in the conversation led Chandra to lean over and rub Kody’s arm. Kody narrowed his eyes with a clear understanding of precisely what she meant, knowing Tessa intended nothing good. 

             “Thank you,” he said, glaring at his foe. “You are too kind. And I really appreciate you for allowing us to join you since you already have a waiter. Now, we don’t have to wait to order. I’m famished, you know, since my lunch plans took an unexpected turn.”

            “You don’t say.” Tessa tilted her head toward him and feigned a pitying expression. “I really hate it when that happens. I’m a bear when I miss a meal. What happened to your plans? Do tell.” 

DL: What’s next for you?
KLB: More writing. More books. I’ve got holiday books planned for the next couple of years – the next one is the 007th Day of Christmas. It’s about a woman who finds intrigue, and maybe gets a shot at love, during a New Year’s Eve Spy Ball. I’ll be finishing the next book in my spy novel series (J.J. McCall novels) over the next few months…and so much more. Please stay tuned!

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

·         Website: www.klbradyauthor.com


·         Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KLBRADY/

·         Twitter: https://twitter.com/KARLAB27

·         Book Buy Links: TROUBLE’S IN THE CARDS is coming December 2018. 

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, October 8, 2018

Interview with Eva Tremaine, author of the Unstable Trilogy (Part 1, II, III), Seven Again: Coming Full Circle, and Betrayal Served Cold

Author’s Bio:  Eva is the self-published author of five novels: Unstable, Unstable II, Unstable III, Seven Again: Coming Full Circle, and Betrayal Served Cold. The Unstable trilogy is a psychological thriller that captures the transition of Stephanie from a little girl to a violent, unstable woman. The book speaks volumes of what can happen when the psyche of a child is broken and the pain is buried within. Seven Again: Coming Full Circle is co-written with Author Lubran Edwards and expresses the true definition of girlfriends. The story is a testament that if you have just a mustard seed of faith and a few BFFs, you can make it through any situation. Betrayal Served Cold is a story of secrets, lies, and deceit. The betrayal is so cold that will surely chill you to the bone.

Eva Tremaine has many different sides to her and that versatility can be seen in her writing style. It is her hope that through the gift of literacy, she can make a lasting impression on her readers.

DL: What’s the inspiration for writing your book?
ET: Unstable – the name came to me in a dream even before I knew what it was.  Unstable: She was not supposed to survive was my first book.  My book club was having a short story contest and I wrote Unstable.  Many encouraged me to turn it into a book after reading it.  The rest is history!

DL: Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
ET: I always loved reading Stephen King.

DL: How long did it take to write your book?
ET: Each book takes roughly six months to write and another six months of editing and getting it published.

DL: Do you write with an outline, or just let it flow organically?
ET: I write a rough outline and edit it as the characters speak to me.  There are always changes to what I originally outlined.

DL: Do you listen to music when you write? If yes, is there a theme song for this book? 
ET: No, I like quiet and a glass of red wine.

DL: What are the keys to success in marketing your book(s)?
ET: I believe book clubs help self-published authors survive and I do my best to stay in connection with them.

DL: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
ET:  Write from your heart, not worrying about being perfect and let the characters’ voices be heard, not your own.

DL: How about sharing an excerpt from Unstable:  She was not supposed to survive?
ET: Here you go.

He silenced her screams when he picked her up by her throat and laughed as her legs swung in the air trying to find the ground. He squeezed his huge hands against her tiny throat, choking out what little life she had left. Once she stopped moving, he dropped her limp body to the floor. He then kicked her in the head a few times to ensure she did not move again. Blood dripped from the corner of her mouth onto the floor. He picked up a dirty sheet he found in the corner of the room and placed it over her body. He had to give some respect to the dead.

He walked away, leaving her in the abandoned crack house for anyone to do with her body as they wished. He was done with her. He walked away thinking there was no life left in her. 

Fiends who entered the crack house were so fixated on getting high that they easily overlooked her body and disregarded her screams. By the time anyone found her, it would be too late. She was not supposed to survive. The pedophile did not realize this deed would later cause hell to be released on all those who crossed her path.

DL: What’s next for you?
ET: I would love to have Unstable turned into a movie.  I can literally see it happening.  I also have a few stories in my head and a few new characters.  What I write will depend on which character screams the loudest!

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

·         Website: http://evatremaine.com/

·         Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Eva-Tremaine/e/B00BY5TAA6

·         Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/evatremaine

·         Twitter: https://twitter.com/evatremaine

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, October 1, 2018

Interview with Austin S. Camacho, Team Member of the 2018 C3 Convention

Today’s guest, Austin S. Camacho, is a mystery author and also is part of the team that puts on the Creatures, Crimes & Creativity Con, October 5th thru the 7th. He says it’s the Mid-Atlantic’s book lover event of the year and he’s here to tell us why.

DL: How did you come up with the name for the conference?
AC: We chose the name Creatures, Crimes & Creativity Con (C3 Con for short) to indicate the genres we embrace. Creatures and crimes appear in: suspense, mystery, thriller, horror, science fiction, fantasy and paranormal fiction. We gather readers AND writers those genres. Our attendees have become a little community, and we hang out on Facebook at
https://www.facebook.com/groups/452670518248659

DL: How did this conference come to be?
AC: We’ve attended and enjoyed writer’s conferences all over the country like Bouchercon, Thrillerfest, DragonCon etc. After all that travelling we wanted to see something like that closer to home. It’s a great opportunity for writers to meet their fans, and for avid readers to meet their favorite authors.

DL:  How long has your conference been held? When did it debut?
AC: This is the sixth C3 Con. In past years we’ve had wonderful keynote speakers

2017  Peter Blauner and Jonathan Maberry

2016: Reed Farrel Coleman and Alexandra Sokoloff

2015: Heather Graham and F. Paul Wilson

2014: John Gilstrap and Rebecca York

2013: Jeffrey Deaver and Brian Keene

This year we’re blessed to have Jamie Freveletti (bestselling thriller author) and Keith DeCondido (bestselling science fiction and fantasy author who has novelized a multitude of TV, movie and comic book characters.)

DL: Why would writers want to attend the C3 Con?
AC: First, it’s great promotion. Published authors get to spend time with their fans, and to expose new readers to their writing by presenting on panels. Their books will be available in our on-site bookstore and there will be two book signs open to the public. Their name and a link will be posted on the C3 website.  They will be pictured in the C3 program book. And a video interview is included that authors can use on their own web sites after the Con.

Also they can learn a great deal from the panels and presentations. And it’s a priceless opportunity to network with successful authors and other industry professionals.

DL: And why would readers and fans want to attend?
AC: Readers and fans will enjoy panels and presentations from favorite authors, including our keynotes. They can have more contact with the writers at the meals all weekend, which are included in the registration fee. Plus, each attendee will receive a goodie-bag filled with cool stuff including books, magazines, and our exclusive anthology filled with stories written by attending authors. They can collect autographed books at the two giant book signings. And we hold a Twitter contest where someone will win a gift basket of wine, coffee and a Kindle Fire.

DL: You’ve mentioned panels and presentations. Can you tell us about some of them?
AC: We work hard to have panels that appeal to both writers and avid readers. You can see the entire schedule with all the panels listed at http://creaturescrimesandcreativity.com/?page_id=368 .

I will mention a couple of special presentations.

Jamie Freveletti will teach a one hour class on “Writing Conflict in Thrillers” at this year’s C3 Con! Jamie was tapped by Robert Ludlum’s estate to take over his Covert One series.
New York Times bestseller John Gilstrap will offer a class called "Whose Story Are You Telling? The Critical Role of Point of View."

Another NY Times Bestseller, Rebecca York, will give a class on self-editing.
And John Dedakis, a former CNN Senior Editor turned mystery writer, will give his popular class, “How to Write a Novel."

DL: There’s a lot to the conference. Anything new this year?
AC: I’m glad you asked. For the first time we will present a Noir at the Bar event, which is free and open to the public. Ten authors will read from their thrilling work.at 7:30pm. We hope readers and fans will gather for the free readings and a cash bar. The authors will be competing for an engraved trophy of sorts, so you can bet they will be performing their best! Attendees will choose the winner.

Also, C3 Con attendees, and those who come to the books signings and Noir at the Bar will be able to participate in a charity raffle. The C3 Con is partnering with the Howard County Library System's Project Literacy - a highly successful adult basic education initiative. HCLS Instructors and volunteer tutors have taught 8,400 adults since 1987 through free, one-on-one tutoring and class sessions. To raise funds for this worthy cause we they will raffle off several book-related gift baskets. Every dollar collected for the baskets will go to the HCLS Project Literacy.
DL: Okay, down to the nitty gritty. What does all this cost?
AC: Registration for all 3 days is $285, which includes Friday dinner, three meals Saturday and Sunday breakfast. You can also register for one day only for $150. There are no extra charges for any of the presentations or panels.

DL: And give us the details of where and when, and of course how to register.
AC: Gladly.  Again, it’s October 5 – 7 at the Sheraton, Columbia Town Center, 10207 Wincopin Circle,  Columbia, Maryland. More details and registration is at http://creaturescrimesandcreativity.com.

Remember, the C3 Con is intended to be a meeting place for fans and avid readers of genre fiction to get up close and personal with authors who write it. So if you love to read any of this stuff, or if you write these kinds of books and want to make contact with fans (and make new fans) this is the Con for you.

2018 Baltimore Book Festival

Sunday, September 30th was such a beautiful day. I had a fantastic time at the Baltimore Book Festival at the Inner Harbor. I participated at the Black Writers’ Guild of Maryland (Tent #22). My tablemates were Claudette Bard and Michael Phillips. 

We enjoyed meeting new readers and introducing them to our various works. It was also great to run into author Denise Cuffie, who was also a Baltimore Book Festival Ambassador and author Victoria Adams-Kennedy. 

Here's the day in photos: