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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Congratulations Evangelist Cookie, Winner of the novel, Noah's Wife by T.K. Thorne

Winner Announcement:

Congratulations to Evangelist Cookie, winner of an autographed copy of "Noah's Wife" by T.K. Thorne. I thank you for taking the time to comment on the interview and I hope you continue to be a mighty presence on my blog and a continued supporter of Mrs. T.K. Thorne's work.

Best wishes to you in all your endeavors Ms. Evangelist Cookie. Come back and let us know what you thought about the book once you've read it.


And again congratulations!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading? The Immmortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

• What did you recently finish reading? The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

• What do you think you’ll read next? Haven't decided. Will probably take a recommendation.

WWW is a weekly meme held by Should Be Reading.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tackling Tasks for a Terrific Tuesday

I have decided to regulate Tuesdays as my day of reflection for my blog. I reflect everyday, but we will stick to discussing them for now on Tuesdays. I suppose I picked Tuesday because it seem some people often try to get moving on Mondays but then Tuesday comes and they're beat, tired, exhausted or dreading the task that lie ahead for the rest of the week. So I hope today's tip gets you up and moving so you can accomplish whatever task you set out to complete this week.

"Being still & doing nothing are not the same." I heard that quote the other day while watching the Karate Kid and it made me think, "wow, he is absolutely right." Doing nothing means you have zoned out from the task at hand. Being still means you trust God to handle the burden, while you focus on the task at hand, listening for His guidance, meditating on His word, praying that strongholds be lifted and His will be done. So do your best to stay focused today! The devil or idle mind thinking , whichever you want to call it, will have you eating cookies, watching tv, waiting on a miracle. When in fact you are the miracle.

Have a Terrific Tuesday! Stay focused and get those tasks complete. There are books to be read, manuscripts to write, poems to create and miracles waiting to happen.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Meditating Mondays

Every Monday will be "Meditating Mondays." I will pose a question or thought and you give me your feedback or thoughts on the subject.

You may leave a link to your blog as well if you like for others to follow you or  a link to what you are reading or working on.

Happy Monday!


If you are reading or writing, what goal have you set for the beginning of the week? Are you going to read one chapter of a book you've been trying to finish, crank out a few thousand words for your manuscript or let your creativity flow into a new poem? Or do you have something else in mind?

"Reading without reflecting is like eating without digesting."  ~Edmund Burke

Interview with T.K. Thorne, author of Noah's Wife

I had the honor of meeting Ms. Teresa at the Alabama Conclave Writers Conference and she was one of the first people to greet and welcome me. Right then, I knew she had a generous and caring heart. So I wanted Ms. Thorne to be my first author interview for fiction. Her work is unique and in a category by itself. The depth and richness she gives to her work is in abundance and you can tell she has taken great care with her characters to make them believable.

Mrs. Thorne was so kind to answer a few questions regarding her novel and her writing. She has donated a free autographed copy of her book to one lucky person who comments on my blog in the comments sections at the end of the interview. Just tell us what you thought of the interview and you will be entered into the drawing. It's as simply as that. The contest drawing ends in 3 days, so good luck and please share the link and spread the word. I hope you enjoy the interview and we wish Mrs. Thorne the best in her future endeavors.

From Book Jacket:

Noah’s Wife is Na’amah, a beautiful young girl with Asperger Syndrome who wishes only to be a shepherdess on her beloved hills in ancient Turkey, a desire shattered by the hatred of her powerful brother, the love of two men, and a looming disaster that threatens her world.  Na’amah tells her story and sees the world through the unique lens of a condition known today as Asperger's Syndrome.  Her savant abilities and penchant to speak truth forces her down a dangerous path in an age of change--a time of challenge to the goddess' ancient ways, when cultures clash and the earth itself is unstable.  When foreign raiders kidnap Na’amah, her journey to escape and return home becomes an attempt to save her people from the disaster only she knows is coming.

The Biblical account of Noah's wife only gives us a nameless woman who bears Noah's children and is with him in the ark.  T.K. Thorne, an award winning author, has filled in the story with her imagination based on geological and archaeological evidence of a great flood in the Black Sea region 7,000 years ago.

1. Where did the inspiration for "Noah's Wife" come from?

I was looking for a topic and thought Sena Jeter Nashlund’s Ahab’s Wife was such a great idea—a story from the perspective of an unknown person about a really famous one.  I recently had a chance to speak with Ms. Nashlund and confessed I stole her concept.  She was very gracious and pleased that it worked for me.  (Isn’t it wonderful when writers help other writers?)

So with that idea in mind, I sat up straight when I heard a local poet, Irene Latham, read her poem, “Noah’s Wife.”  She prefaced the reading by telling us that in the Bible story of the flood, Noah’s wife is only very briefly mentioned and not even given a name.  That was an exciting moment (Can’t get more famous than Noah!) and I started researching a possible historical basis for the flood.  The clincher was discovering the geological and archaeological evidence about a great flood in the Middle East around 5500 BCE.  That gave me a date to work with and I began to play with the idea.  It took four years to write and research.

2. What genre would you classify your novel?

Primarily Noah’s Wife is an “alternative” story (It is fiction set in a historical context, and it is mostly generated from my imagination.)  That said, I tried to use all the Biblical names and follow the story from this angle:  What do I think might have really happened in that time/place without the overlay of moral/religious redacting that could have resulted in the story we have now?  It won ForeWord Review’s “Book of the Year” (2009) for Historical Fiction, so I feel pretty comfortable with that genre classification, although it has romantic elements, as well as adventure …and could fall into a literary genre too!

3. What would you like readers to get out of reading Noah's Wife?

I would primarily hope they, like me, would fall in love with the characters and feel as if they were transported back in time with them.  I’ve had many people tell me that the story they grew up with is now so much more real to them.  Like all good stories, there are multiple layers.  One of the most interesting aspects to me was learning about the historical roots of the divine feminine from which our patriarchal religious heritage grew.  Another layer is that my character, Na’amah, has a form of autism we (now) term “Asperger’s.”  I would love for my book to help open some understanding of people with that syndrome.

4. When did you begin writing?

My grandmother read to me when I was young and I learned to love books.  I wrote my first story at age ten…or at least part of a story.  It was about a girl who got lost in a forest looking for a magical fox.  I read it aloud to my parents.  My mother did the “encouraging parent thing” and praised me mightily.  My father said, “Where’s the end?”  From that day on, I always put an ending on my stories! 

My plans to be an astronaut didn’t pan out, so I had adventures by writing about them.  Then, on the way to becoming a social worker, I accidentally became a police officer.  (Too long a story for here.) That has been a rich source of experiences for me, and many find their way into my stories, including perspectives on human nature I might not have had growing up as a sheltered southern girl.

5. What is your writing process like? (Do you have a set time that you sit down and write or just write when the urge comes)

Because I have a full time job, I am mostly a weekend-warrior writer.  But the actual typing of the words is only part of the process.  When I am working on a project, I am thinking about it constantly—in the car on the way to work and back, while I am loading the dishwasher, or even in the shower.  I have to let my imagination go and put my characters in a situation, listen to what they have to say or do about it, work out the plot, etc. and then when I do sit down to write, it goes pretty quickly.  It’s when I haven’t done all the pre-work that sometimes I do the stare- at-the-white- page thing.

6. What are you currently working on and what can we expect from you in the future?

My work-in-progress is Angels at the Gate.  Like Noah’s Wife, it’s an alternative story, this one of Lot’s Wife. (Yep, she's the one who turns into a "pillar of salt" looking back at Sodom.)  I know, it sounds like I have a grand plan to write novels based on little-known women of the Bible, but here's how it happened:  One  of the guys I work with (and tends toward the sarcastic) out of nowhere one day, cut his eyes sideways at me, and said, "Noah's wife, eh? What's next, Lot's wife?"  My first reaction: No way!  Sodom and Gomorrah?  Too dark.  But, as the days passed, I found myself thinking about how I would do it, until I just sat down and wrote the first sentence—

 "If the path of obedience is the path of wisdom, it is one not well-worn by my feet.  I am Yildeth, daughter of the caravan, daughter of the wind, and daughter of the famed merchant, Zakiti. That I am his daughter, not his son, is a secret between myself and my father.  This is a fine arrangement, as I prefer the freedoms of being a boy."

And then one word kept following the next!

7. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

The only way to ensure failure is to quit trying.  Rejection is hard, but you have to endure a great deal of it.  If you are like me, each time will hurt, but pick yourself up out of that hole and start typing.  Oh, and always put an ending on your stories!

Thank you Mrs. Thorne for taking the time to do the interview.

Please visit Mrs. Thorne at her website or click the amazon picture below to purchase her book. Thank you.

Blogging at 

Free Book Giveway of "Noah's Wife" ends March 30, 2011, midnight. One winner randomly selected by

Monday, March 21, 2011

Premiere Party Beacons TV on the CW...Conclusion

Okay, I'll be brief. One reason it's after midnight. Secondly, it's after midnight. But back to the premiere, it was engaging, insightful and inspiring. What I took from the premiere was that Radar Magazine and Beacons TV are dedicated in helping their community. They want to take the local atmosphere of Huntsville and bring it to a broader audience, all while helping and uplifting business owners to expand their own brand and businesses. The men behind the show were sharp. Nothing like seeing men dressed up and looking good. The host, Joneia P. Brown was witty, funny and extremely calm. She looked amazing in a black stylish dress, sporting some fashionable jewelry pieces. I really enjoyed the segment where she interviewed Sylvia Smith, owner of Pro-Makeup Artists Studio. Ms. Smith gave excellent tips on makeup application and the how to properly wear a daytime look and a night-time look. I will be trying some of those tips myself in the near future.

The progam is an interview type format. I am looking forward to seeing some extraordinary talent from the Huntsville area on the show. It has promise and great potential. The only glitch I can see is that it comes on Sunday mornings at 10 am, the time where most people are getting ready for church. But that won't stop me. Dvr was made for times like these.

Beacons TV comes on the Valley CW, Sundays at 10am. Check your local listing for times in your area.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Tonight I'm off to the Premiere of the new tv show "Beacons"

Anyone that knows me, can tell you I love nearly all things media. I love books, film, television and plays. Give me some peace and quiet and I'm in my own universe. When a movie comes out, I'm the person sitting in the movie theater at 10:50 am, because I just have to see it first so I can tell everyone else about it. So imagine my excitement as I am preparing to attend the premiere of the new television show "Beacons."

The star and host of the television show is Ms. Joneia P. Brown. She is an outstanding woman, as well as an author, speaker and counselor. She has also written a book called "Keperu Ka", an exceptional book on the art and science of intimate connections. It's a small compact book, so I often keep a copy in my briefcase. The photos inside the book alone are worth it. They show the reader how to engage in intimate touch while still keeping your clothes on. Yes, I said keeping your clothes on. She gives great incite into each pose and how it can deepen the connection between you and your partner. A must for couples, especially those just starting a relationship. I highly recommend it.

Now back to the show "Beacons," I really don't know the premise of the show. But that's good, because that means I have no set expectations. And I love being intrigued and surprised. But you can bet, I'll definitely let you know what I thought.

In the meantime, you too can watch "Beacons" Sunday Morning 10am on the Valley CW. And don't forget to check out Joneia P. Brown's book available through Amazon.

Til later...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

What's Your Favorite Genre of Novels to Read

I can admit that I am not fond of certain genres of books, although I do try and add them to my repertoire of reading as often as possible. Novels that I am currently adding to this category are science fiction, suspense and thrillers. I recently read science novel, Kindred by Octavia Butler and wrote a book review. I must admit, I loved it. So next up on the agenda is to read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. This book was recommend to me by a friend Mr. Hank Henley, so I am going to hold him accountable if I don't like it (just kidding Hank). But seriously, I will. But I also heard great things about the book from other readers as well. So tonight will be the beginning of another adventure. I hope you stay tuned to see what kind of review I give it and if I give Hank the side-eye, for recommending it. :-)

In the meantime, tell me what is your favorite genre? Mainstream, science fiction, thrillers, suspense, YA, chick-lit, romance, historical, christian, urban, etc?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

10 Reasons Why Your Book May Not Get Published

Most writers have faced some form of rejection related to their work, whether we reject it ourselves or it lands on top of an agent's slush pile of queries and manuscripts. There are some tips writers can use to minimize receiving the dreaded standardized rejection letter in your inbox and I'll try and cover a few to help you stay motivated. If writing is truly your passion, follow through and don't give up. Some famous authors were rejected dozens, even hundreds of times before getting published, including Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, Dr. Seuss, John Grisham, Judy Blume, Agatha Christie and William Shakespeare.

When the world says, "Give up,"
Hope whispers, "Try it one more time." ~ Author Unknown

Reasons Why Your Work May Never Get Published

1. You haven't written it yet.
I think this covers most people who have chronic proscratination or lack of motivation. No one will ever know you are a writer, if you never write.

2. You haven't developed tough skin.
Do some self-reflection and ask yourself is this truly your passion, do you have what it takes to absorb the rejection that is surely to come your way?

3. You don't read often enough.
If your desire is to be a writer, you ought to have a desire for reading. You should read just as often if not more, than you write. Reading fuels creativity and it can help alleviate writer's block.

4. Your work is full of clichés.
Some writers fall into this trap because they're too lazy to find other ways of being descriptive. Clichés are boring to readers, and even moreso to agents and publishers. Add too many clichés and you'll be back to square one. (cliche intended)

5. You're writing like you're advertising and getting paid for it.
Avoid excessive brand name dropping unless it really helps describe to your readers what you're talking about. Readers don't need to know every designer car, jewelry and clothing in the story. Sometimes simple is better. Just be concrete.

6. You have no hook.
Most readers skim through the first chapter of a book when browsing through the store. They are checking to see if the book has any zip. If it doesn't, they put it down. Same applies to agents, if it doesn't catch their attention in the first few sentences.....slush pile!

7. You have a hook and no middle.
Have you ever bought a book and read the first few chapters and then put the book away, never to pick it back up again? Novels need to build in intensity. Your characters should find it harder and harder to reach their goals.

8. Your character never wins or loses.
How boring is it to listen to a story where a person always has good fortune? Or what about characters who can never catch a break? Characters need to reach some goals, even if they fall back a few steps after reaching them.

9. Your dialogue is disastrous.
There are so many dialogue No-No's, I can't possibly name them all in this post. But a few to avoid are, sing-song (characters are sweet as pie...oops cliche!), chit-chatty (too much talking, not enough doing), exclamatory (characters speak as if they are always having an emotional meltdown or argument), info overload (everyone can't be an expert witness), soap-box (telling the moral of the story), preaching (self-explanatory), gratuitous adverbs (minimize the use of "ly" and use solid verbs) and overuse of speech tags (stick with "he said," "she said")

10. You didn't do your research.
This is a common pitfall. It is the complaint I hear most from agents at writer conferences. Writers sending in work, but didn't do their research to see if the agent was the right fit. Sending your work to an agent who doesn't represent your genre is sure to be a waste of time on your part and the agent. Some agents receive hundreds of queries a week, adding your work to the pile just slows down the process for other writers. Also, not doing enough research on the topic you are writing about can be another issue. When you don't do your research on a particular topic, it shows.

"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail. " ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

BOOK #7 Kindred by Octavia Butler: 52 Books in 52 Weeks. 2011 Book Reviews

Kindred is a science fiction novel written by Octavia E. Butler.  The book begins with Dana, a modern black woman living in Los Angeles in 1976 who is celebrating her twenty-sixth birthday with her husband when she is abruptly taken from her home and transported to the antebellum South in Maryland.  There she meets Rufus, the son a plantation owner, who is drowning.  Dana realizes that Rufus is her great grandfather and if she doesn't save him, her lineage will cease to exist.  Dana saves him and is returned back to her present time.  She is summoned back several times to rescue Rufus, each stay in the antebellum South gets longer is filled with more adversity and hardship as Rufus get older.  Dana is confronted with saving Rufus, who at first she believes she can keep from becoming a hardened slave master like his father.  But with every stay, Dana learns that things can always be worse on a plantation. 

Rufus is a complex, multi-dimensional character.  At times as a reader, I couldn't understand why Dana cared and trusted him as much as she did.  However, Dana understood that given the opportunity she had to at least try to mold Rufus into the decent man she thought he could be.  By the end of the first chapter, you'll be wondering if Dana can survive the antebellum South alive and make it home or will she be forever trapped in an atmosphere that seems impossible to endure?

There are so many complexities to this story; for instance Dana's husband, Kevin.  A white man from modern society trying to assimilate in the era of slavery is jarring. Even when Kevin is taken back with Dana to the antebellum South, he still does not experience the injustice of slavery with the same depth as Dana does.  The stain of injustice is all around him but one can only wonder if Kevin is intentionally blocking it out because it is simply easier than feeling helpless or perhaps because he cannot feel the effects of slavery in a tangible, personal context and he may be incapable of fully comprehending the psychological, physical and emotional damage of it all.

Kindred is a poignant look into the institution of slavery and the affect it has on modern day society.  Ms. Butler takes the reader on a raw journey, covering such topics as literacy, influence of power, gender equality, inter-racial relationships, obligation, obsession, tolerance, racism, and most importantly, love.  The author shows the reader that all love isn't healthy; we can love to our own detriment at times.  By the end of the story, it is clear that Dana's past will always be a part of her future.  

I highly recommend this book.  I would not categorize this book as science fiction, although that is the genre for which Ms. Butler is known. However, Ms. Butler stated, "Kindred is not science fiction.  You'll notice there is no science in it. It's kind of a grim fantasy".  I believe this book could easily be categorized as historical fiction.  Ms. Butler is an outstanding writer, who no doubt, did her research.  Overall, this is a magnificent book written by an exceptional writer.  Ultimately, no niche is needed to categorize her work; it stands effortlessly on its own.

***** 5 STAR

Great Quotes/ Excerpts from Kindred.

“I was beginning to realize that he loved the woman - to her misfortune. There was no shame in raping a black woman, but there could be shame in loving one.”

“Slavery is a long slow process of dulling.”

“He had already found the way to control me - by threatening others.”

“I never realized how easily people could be trained to accept slavery."

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Book #6. "Water for Elephants" by Sara Gruen, 52 Books in 52 Weeks

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Water for Elephants is a novel set in the 1930's and present day about an elderly man named Jacob Jankowski. He doesn't remember how old he really is....90 or 93, he's slightly bitter about it as he recounts how he has forgotten. While living in a nursing home, Jacob and some of the elderly women at the nursing home are looking out the window and they tell him that the circus is in town. This triggers Jacob's memories of working and living in a circus. He starts to recount his years spent in a circus called, The Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show. The story is narrated by Jacob, alternating from past to present day through flashbacks.

Jacob's story begins with him recounting how he was set to be a veterinarian, but quit school just shy of finishing when his parents died in a car accident. Jacob is devastated and doesn't feel the desire to finish. Jacob has nowhere to go after losing his home, so he hops a train that takes the circus from town to town. As Jacob waits for the nursing home's  visit to the circus, Jacob relives his past in his mind, and the more he does so, the more he recounts the secrets that lie in his past.

Jacob is a likeable character, although in old age, his has become cranky for some odd unexplained reason. I would speculate that he is uncomfortable with being old. There are memorable characters in the story as well. The prominent character being Rosie, the elephant. Jacob was her caregiver and grew very fond of her. The novel also shows us the oppressive hierarchy within the circus, the cruelty shown to animals (which is why Jacob found it hard to leave the circus) and the relationships built and formed inside the circus.

Gruen is a great storyteller. She obviously did some research for this book due to the great lengths she goes to in order to describe circus life with great authenticity. At rare times, it felt like too much research. But the characters as odd and eccentric as they are, are very fascinating. Gruen weaved a gem of a story with humor, love, adventure, murder and loyalty....did I mention murder? I mean, who doesn't like a little suspense? Overall, I thought Water for Elephants was enjoyable. I think the love story between Jacob and Marlena should've been thoroughly developed but otherwise I would highly recommend. Now if only the circus would come to town.

**** 4 STARS

Great Quotes/Excerpts from "Water for Elephants"

"When you are five, you know your age down to the month. Even in your twenties, you know how old you are. I'm twenty-three you say, or maybe twenty-seven. But then in your thirties, something strange starts to happen. It is a mere hiccup at first, an instant of hesitation. How old are you? Oh, I'm--you start confidently, but then you stop. You were going to say thirty-three, but you are not. You're thirty-five. And then you're bothered, because you wonder if this is the beginning of the end. It is, of course, but it's decades before you admit it."

"Age is a terrible thief. Just when you're getting the hang of life, it knocks your legs out from under you and stoops your back. It makes you ache and muddies your head and silently spreads cancer throughout your spouse."

"Sometimes I think if I had to choose between an ear of corn or making love to a woman, I'd choose the corn."

"Now, go shovel some shit."
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Lena's Ramblings

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I am a writer, filmmaker, wife and a mom of five beautiful, intelligent, quirky kids. This blog is for writers, aspiring writers, filmmakers and movie lovers. Bringing you my favorite books, films and photos, as well as giveaways and updates on my journey. I'm currently in the process of producing my first short film from my collection of short stories titled, If I Had My Way. The first story to be filmed will be Tandarin Drive. My award winning book, If I Had My Way, is available now. You can purchase a copy at and You may contact me via email at:

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