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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Black History Month Blog Hop Giveaway

The Black History Month Giveaway Hop is hosted by Reflections of a Bookaholic and Mocha Girls Read.  It starts February 1st and ends February 7, 2012 at midnight.  It's a hop, so there are more than twenty other hops participating as well. So don't forget to hop on over to the other blogs and participate in their giveaways. You could win some great prizes.

What am I giving away? I'm giving away 1(one) ebook copy of my book, If I Had My Way to three (3) different participants. So that's a total of three (3) ebook copies. You will receive the copies through Kindle, Nook or PDF, whichever format you prefer. Also, each participant that wins will also receive a $5 Amazon Gift Card. So that means, each winner will receive a free copy of my book, If I Had My Way and 1(one) $5 Amazon Gift Card. 

How to enter?

You MUST be a follower of this blog. And you must leave a comment with your email or blog address and tell me what book by an African American author is your favorite?

To get a sense of what If I Had My Way is about visit my Youtube Channel and view all the book trailers.  

Here's my Available Now Trailer for your viewing pleasure.

To visit all the other participants in the hop, click Here.

Sweetheart Stroll Giveaway Hop

It's blog hop giveaway once again. This is the Sweetheart Stroll Giveaway, hosted by Freckleberry Finds. I love blog hops, I haven't participated in one in over a month. So I'm looking forward to hopping to all the other blogs participating as well. To enter, just follow the instruction on the Rafflecopter form. This giveaway ends, February 9, 2012 at midnight.

Here are the rules.

1. Sign up for my newsletter.
2. Follow this blog.

That's it.

All other options on the Rafflecopter are optional.

Now on to the best part. What am I giving away? I am giving away (1) one, twenty-five dollar gift card to and (1) Free Kindle or Nook copy of my book, If I Had My Way. Giveaway is open to U.S. and International participants. If the winner is international, the participant can opt to receive up to $25 in purchases from the Book Depository.

To sign up for my newsletter, enter info below. And then proceed to complete the Rafflecopter form.

Sign Up For My Newsletter by Email
Good luck and don't forget to visit the other blogs participating in the hop.

Monday, January 30, 2012

A Seductive Kiss by Francis Ray: Book Review

Product Details:
Publication Date: January 31, 2012
Received: By Publisher
Mass Market: Paperback: 304
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks; First Edition
Language: English
ISBN-10: 031253647X

Dianna Harrington is known throughout the world as "The Face"-the stunningly beautiful spokesmodel for her family's fashion empire. She could probably have her pick of any man she wants. But Dianna would rather kick back and relax with a good friend-namely Alex Stewart, who she's known, and harbored a crush on, her whole life...

Ever since they were kids, Alex has been Dianna's protector and pal, a shoulder to cry on. But as the brother of her best friend, Alex always seemed untouchable. Now a handsome, successful New York lawyer, Alex never realized how lonely Dianna's life has been-or how innocent she is in the ways of love. Alex wants more than anything to reach out to her, to heal her heart. But is his desire worth the risk? After a lifetime of longing building up between them, somethings gotta give. Maybe all it takes is just one kiss...

In the fifth installment of the Grayson Friends and Family series, we see Dianna Harrington, a famous model since she was a teenager. She is the face of her family's modeling house, The House of Harrington. She often believes that her family is using her for their own selfish pursuits. She in turns feels unloved and despite her beauty she has low self-esteem. Dianna's childhood friend, Alex, wants to pursue a relationship, but knowing Dianna's low self-esteem and her feelings of being used by people who supposedly love her, he is hesitant to take their friendship to the next level. But Dianna has a proposition to take their relationship further. Now it's up to Alex to see if he will take the risk of getting the love of his life or lose his longtime friendship with the woman he loves.

What I Liked: The tenderness of their romance. It was delicate and gentle as with all of Francis Ray's novels. You get a sense that the author cares about her characters because she gives them traits and characteristics that readers can relate to. I love her female characters, such as Dianna, have some wits about them. We get to see Dianna come into her own as an independent woman, searching for love and taking risks. At times, she can be a little naive and it was frustrating to read. But once she began to discover who she was as a woman, it was nice to watch her blossom. We also see Alex, an attorney, who is smart, loving and caring, but wants the woman he loves to be happy more than anything. Alex was by far my favorite character in the book. Together, Dianna and Alex tip toe around this romance that lingers in the air and as a reader you know when the match strikes, it's going to be good. This book is also in a series, but you don't need to read the other books, to know what's going on. It definitely stands on its own.

What I Didn't Like: It wasn't much I didn't like, except the romance took too long, as with most of Francis Ray's novels. She loves to have the romance simmer. For me simmer is good, but then it starts to fizzle and I become impatient. I want them to open their eyes, see the love there and get it on. And then perhaps when it's going good, throw in some turmoil. But that's not how Ms. Ray writes. She takes her time. And so with that, you'll have to make up your own mind.

I highly recommend this book.

I give it FOUR STARS


Friday, January 27, 2012

Ollie, Ollie, Books Free!

Hello everyone, I want to introduce you to Ollie Moss. She loves reading and she is always finding the most enjoyable free eBooks. She has graciously agreed to do my Friday's Free eBooks. But instead of it being called Friday's Free eBooks, it will now be called Ollie, Ollie, Books Free! Please help me welcome Ollie by saying hello. Hi Ollie!

Finding free books is a lot of work, so I truly appreciate Ollie taking the time to do this for me. She will post a diverse selection of eBooks and if you have any suggestions for her, please feel free to share them with her in the comments section below. Without further adieu, here's this week's Ollie, Ollie, Books Free.

Disclaimer: These books are free and offered by Amazon for Kindle, Nook Book or various forms of digital download. I have not read most if any of these books. But they are free, and everyone likes something free. These books were offered at no cost (free) at the time I posted them, but make sure and confirm that the offer is still available before downloading.

Fresh Powder  by Susanne O’Leary
FREE on Kindle 
Lucy and Claire were once best friends but after a row, they haven’t spoken in ten years. Imagine their shock when they are thrown together, not only in the same ski resort in the French Alps but in the same chalet… Then they are snowed in, together with two attractive men and a couple with relationship issues, which puts both their friendship and their survival skills to the test. B & N Price $1.99 in Paperback

Seven Exes Are Eight Too Many  by Heather Wardell
FREE on Kindle 
The fiercely private Madeleine-Cora Spencer is the last person who should be on a reality TV show, but when she’s shunned by a friend’s new wife because “you can’t trust desperate single women” her pain and humiliation drive her straight to the “Find Your Prince” dating show’s web site. Armed with date-appropriate clothes and a detailed game plan she arrives to meet her potential loves, only to be dumped… on a remote island with seven ex-boyfriends.Seven exes! Could this be any worse? B & N Price $12.95

FREE on Kindle
There’s nothing like gathering around the table for a homecooked meal. Our favorite dinners are always those tried & true recipes that have been handed down, or ones shared by a good friend. Start with Homestyle Baked Spaghetti, Oven Beef & Noodles or Barbecued Honey Ham, and then add a tasty side dish like Confetti Coleslaw, Creamy Macaroni & Cheese or Mom’s Potato Salad. And who can resist scrumptious desserts? Cherry Delight, Peach Crinkle, Crustless Apple Pie and Sunny Day Brownies are all yummy ways to end a family meal. B & N Price Free.

Kindle Free
When a woman's fed up...she changes. I Need to Make Promises: a Novella and Stories is a collection of fiction writing about women overcoming childhood trauma and the tragic relationships of their adult lives to become their true selves. Not available on B&N.

Her Daughter's Eyes by Jessica Barksdale Inclan 
FREE on Kindle 

What do you do when you have a secret so big you can't tell a soul, not even your sister. Kate Phillips has a secret this big, and only when she is forced to, does she tell her sister Tyler--but then no one else. Not a soul. Until it is almost too late.

Her Daughter's Eyes is a novel about this secret and then about how the two sisters, their family, and their neighbors learn to live with it. A story of decisions made--for better or worse--and promises kept. A story about two teen-aged sisters who are able to navigate an adult world in a way they never thought possible. On B&N for $0.01.

To Live and Die in L.A. by Terry L. Wroten
Free on Kindle (For 48 hours)

When struggle over position of power hits the fan, Darrell Davis, a.k.a. Dee Bastard, the presiding general and founder of the dangerous TLB Crip set, decides to wage war on the elders of the block. But when he does, he finds himself doing prison time.

Meanwhile, the mean streets of Los Angeles, California are a constant war zone, and the TLB crew, under new management, is waging war on everyone outside of their inner circle. Young, wild, and hard-headed, the TLB crew will find their backs against the wall when the elders of the block decide to reclaim their righteous territory hand over fist.

On the other hand, Dee Bastard’s bid in prison has dulled his thirst for violence. He wants nothing more than to go home to his girlfriend and live a normal life, but a series of murders amongst his crew and a ghost from his past change the dynamics of that drastically. 

In the streets of Los Angeles, you have two choices: to either live or die. The choice is yours.

Get your copy today, this title has sold over 5,000 copies in 24 hours. So get it while it's FREE!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Interview with Author Robert Browne

Robert Browne is an AMPAS Nicholl Award-winning screenwriter who ran screaming from the movie industry and jumped into writing novels. His first novel, Kiss Her Goodbye, was recently produced in Chicago as a pilot for a CBS Television series tentatively titled The Line, by Sony Pictures and Timberman/Beverly Productions, with a script written and directed by Michael Dinner. 

Before the jump, he developed screenplays for Showtime, Viacom, Saban/Fox Kids, Krost-Chapin, and Marvel. He was also staff writer for Fox Kids’ Diabolik, and a contributing screenwriter for Spider-Man Unlimited. Post jump, Rob has written four thrillers for St. Martin’s Press in the U.S., Macmillan in the UK, Droemer Knauer in Germany, with books also published in Russia, Bulgaria and the Netherlands.

His books Kiss Her Goodbye and Whisper In the Dark, are critically acclaimed. As well as his third novel, Kill Her Again and Down Among The Dead Men. His short story, Bottom Deal can be found in Lee Child’s Killer Year: Stories to Die For. The story has been optioned for television. His new thriller, The Paradise Prophecy, is in stores now.


Before you became a novelist, you were a screenwriter. What made you take the leap from one form of media to another?

As much as I love movies and enjoyed writing screenplays, the screenwriting business is often a case of too many cooks in the kitchen. Beyond the first draft, screenplays never belong to the writer. Everyone has changes they want made to the story, the characters, the structure—oftentimes based on a whim. 

From beginning to end, novels belong to the writer, and I wanted that control over my stories. Writing my first novel was a liberating experience.

Which is harder, writing for film or writing a book?

A book, by far—although they're different disciplines and have their own sets of problems.

Why did you choose to write thrillers?

I grew up reading thrillers. I loved the novels of Donald Westlake, Ed McBain, Raymond Chandler, Ross McDonald. They always say you should write what you know. Well, I think you should write what you love.

Bad guys on occasion will win at the end of a movie. Is it okay if the bad guy wins in a novel? Why or why not?

I think it all depends on the book and reader expectations. When you write a thriller, readers tend to want a happy ending. But, of course, my endings aren't always walk off into the sunset moments.

Can you describe your journey to publication?

I wrote a screenplay that a friend read and convinced me to write as a novel. It took me a few years, writing off and on at night to finally finish it. When it was done I contacted my old screen agent and asked if she'd read it and she said, of course. She read it, sent it to an agent friend in New York and a few months later it sold.

Aside from entertainment, why do you think readers are drawn to thriller and crime novels? Is there a difference between a crime novel and a thriller novel?

There are people who will tell you there are differences, but truthfully, the lines are so blurred these days that the difference is negligible. I think a lot of readers are drawn to thrillers because thrillers give them a momentary sense of closure. Despite these horrific crimes being perpetrated, everything is wrapped up in the end and the good guy usually wins. That doesn't often happen in real life.

I read that authors should welcome the occasional negative review because having only five star reviews doesn't lend to credibility. What do you think about negative reviews and do you accept it as just part of the process?

Reading is such a subjective endeavor that it's inevitable that you're going to get bad reviews. I honestly don't mind them too much—some people have tastes that my work will never satisfy—but I do find myself annoyed by reviews that seem to have been written by people with an axe to grind.

I remember reading a review of a book (the title and author escape me) in which the reviewer said something along the lines of "I usually only read the classics, but I thought I'd slum a bit and read this book. What a mistake."

Well, if you usually only read classics and you already have that attitude about the book, of course you aren't going to like it. So why bother to do a review?

I'm also highly annoyed by literary snobs. Those who feel that there's only a certain type of book that's worthy of the world's attention and everything else—meaning genre work—is crap.

The truth is, we all have different tastes and one person's garbage is another person's treasure.

I know your first novel, Kiss Her Goodbye, was produced as a pilot for CBS, tentatively titled, The Line. As a screen writer, which of your books would make the perfect adaption to film?

I think the latest one, The Paradise Prophecy, would be spectacular as a movie. In fact, many of the emails I get about it are from readers hoping it'll be made into one.

The books has been optioned by the folks who make the Twilight movies, so there's hope we'll see it on the screen one day. But you never know in Hollywood.

I must do my WWW's. What have you recently finished reading, what are you currently reading and what will you likely read next?

I recently finished 11/22/63, which is a brilliant time travel book by Stephen King. I didn't want it to end. I'm currently reading The Redbreast by Jo Nesbo, which is a Norwegian crime novel. I have no idea what direction I'll go in after that.

Let's say a reader can only purchase one of your books, which one would you recommend?

That's like asking which one of my children do I like the most, but I'll try. I have a soft spot for Down Among The Dead Men and Whisper in the Dark. And of course, we always love our most recent work, so I'd throw The Paradise Prophecy in there as well.

That's about the best I can do, I'm afraid.

Can you tell us one thing an aspiring writer should do and one thing an aspiring writer should not do?

I've said this before, but I'll say it again. An aspiring writer needs to stop aspiring and start perspiring. Get your butt in the chair and start writing. That's the only way you'll learn and the only way you'll get published. 

You can spend days, months, years studying other writers, studying books on craft, but you'll never succeed unless you sit your butt down and do the work. What you write will be crap, at first, but practice makes perfect.

What's the best advice you were ever given?
"Finish this book."

Which character in any of your books is most like you? Which character is most unlike you? 

Well, they're all like me to varying degrees, even the bad guys. I look at writing as similar to method acting. You rely on your own sense memories to make the characters real.

Have you ever walked out during a film in a movie theater or fell asleep during a film? If so, what film was it?

I seem to remember falling asleep during The Seven Percent Solution, which was a story about Sherlock Holmes teaming up with Sigmund Freud written by Nicholas Meyer. I'm sure the movie was great, but it was late at night, the third of a triple feature and I was exhausted after a long day. There may have been some alcohol involved, too, but that was a long, long time ago, so I can't be sure.

Can you tell us what projects you are currently working on?

I'm currently writing a mystery thriller called Trial Junkies, the first in a series which I'm pitching as The Big Chill meets Silence of the Lambs—although at this point I'm not sure how accurate that is. 

It's about a group of old college friends who come together to help one of their friends when the friend is arrested and put on trial for murder. They soon decide to take matters into their own hands and find the real killer themselves.

Thank you for sharing with us today Mr. Browne.

To keep up with author Robert Browne, please visit his website.
Click titles to purchase any of the books by Robert Browne.

Down Among the Dead Men
Whisper in the Dark
Kill Her Again

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

The Troll by Sculptor Kim Graham

Monday, January 23, 2012

Week in Review and Giveaway

I hadn't had a chance to blog or visit blogs all week :-( I had a jam packed week and eventful weekend. But I enjoyed it. This past Thursday, bestselling authors Victoria Christopher Murray and Reshonda Tate Billingsley came to my area for a book signing. It was nice to see them again and briefly talk. I bought their new book, Sinners and Saints, and I can't wait to read it. The two ladies make a great duo. They are funny, informative and a delight to be around. And I must congratulate Ms. Reshonda on her NAACP Image Award Nomination last week.

Friday, my girls basketball team had a game, and we lost. As the coach, I was devastated. But my team is still number 1 in their league. Woot! Woot! We will have to step it up at the next game. I also saw the film, Red Tails this weekend. It was enjoyable. I highly recommend it. The flight scenes were fantastic. Terrance Howard was sexy as all get out in his pilot uniform.

Then Saturday evening, January 21st, was the She Speaks book signing. I'm a featured poet in the anthology She Speaks, so I was asked to get up and bless the mic. It was my first time reciting any of my poetry. My poem is called, A Song for Queen. Talk about nervous, my knees shook the entire time. I was so elated to finally sit down. I've been in stage plays before, I currently give workshops and I sing in the church choir. So being in front of an audience doesn't bother me at all. I think I was nervous because it was the first time I had recited any of my poetry pieces. But I think I fared well and I can say without a doubt the event was fabulous. Some of the other talented poets rocked the mic as well and I can say that some of them left the mic smoking hot. My hat goes off to Dr. Kim White Glenn and Kimeko Farrar, those ladies always bring it whenever they touch the mic.

She Speaks is by poet Katina Walton and I must say she did a great job putting everything together. Her piece at the end had me snapping and popping my fingers and I got teary-eyed because I knew the emotion coming from her was raw and sincere. Singer, Gina Brown graced us with her voice at the close of the event, she is anointed and talented. She has worked with greats like the late Etta James. Gina Brown's voice is powerful and sultry. I could feel all the love and support in that room for Katina Walton. So I wish her the very best of luck in all her endeavors.

Well, that was my week in review.

I will be giving away THREE (3) FREE copies of the book She Speaks by Katina Walton.  Each book is valued at $15.99. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment below and on Sunday, January 29th midnight, 2012, I'll choose 3 winners randomly using Winners will be announced Monday, January 30, 2012. Open to International and U.S. participants.

Don't forget my short story collection, If I Had My Way, will be available on February 1, 2012. The date is fast approaching. If you want a free copy of my short story, Tandrin Drive, please sign up for my newsletter located in the upper right hand corner of my sidebar. Everyone that has signed up for my newsletter should receive their free copy before the end of the week.

If you want a FREE copy of If I Had My Way to do a book review for your blog or to do a review for Amazon, Goodreads or Barnes and Nobles, please send me your email address along with your request at and where you will likely post your review and I will get it to you. I'm also available for book club discussions via Skype. 

Thank You and Have a Fantabulous Week!

Claim: B9P36Z7R2V26

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

10 Unique Ways to Market Your Book

Most of my readers know by now that my debut book, If I Had My Way, is being released on February 1, 2012. I have had to do a great bit of marketing in the last year to get to a place where hopefully readers other than my loved ones will buy my book. I will admit marketing can be difficult. I say difficult because there is always something else to do or that you could be doing. But I found out through lack of sleep, that I can't do everything because I have other priorities. So I learned to do what works and what is most beneficial to me in the long run. There are hundreds if not thousands of marketing strategies and tips available that can be useful to sell books, but today I will share only ten.

1. Get Actively Involved. 
Join associations and organizations geared toward networking, helping or supporting writers and authors. But don't just join and fade into the background. Get active, volunteer or sponsor events to get recognition. By doing so, you could meet potential publishers, editors and agents. Not to mention you can make lasting literary connections. Most associations and organization have a newsletter. When your book is being released, you can request to have it mentioned in the newsletter which is usually sent out to hundreds or more members. I am currently a member of several literary organizations. The one I'm most involved in is The Alabama Writers' Conclave. It's one of the oldest writers' organizations in continuous existence in the United States. I am also the Publicity Chair for the Alabama Writers' Conclave. The AWC holds an annual writers conference every year in different parts of Alabama. This year it will be held in Huntsville, Alabama. There you can network, attend workshops, and meet great people. If you are a member of the AWC, you can get a discount on the conference as well.

2. Attend Local Book Fairs and Festivals
By attending book fairs and festivals you have the opportunity to meet readers. People who attend book fairs and festival are there because they love books. Most book fairs and festivals have opportunities for authors to rent tables or booths to sell their books. But even if you can't afford to rent a booth or a table, you can mingle amongst the crowd with a large book bag filled with books ready to sell should you meet a potential reader or buyer. Or you could go fully stocked with bookmarks and business cards to hand to passersby. There are a few festivals and book fairs that are opened free to the public. Check out my list of book fairs and festivals page.

3. Get Noticed in the Community News
When you go to any public event to talk about your book such as a book signing, make sure the local newspapers list your event in the Event section of the newspaper. In my area, the local newspaper offers this service for free.

4. Attend Trade Shows and Conventions
Nearly every genre or literary market is represented at trade shows and conventions. There you have the possibility of meeting publishers, editors, agents, manufacturers, buyers, authors, suppliers, media and distributors. You can network, draw up leads and contacts in one weekend that would likely be more beneficial than attending in other event. To find trade shows visit Gale,  Expo Guide and Trade Show News Network.

5. Visit the Library
The library is an abundant source of information for any author. Libraries can give you feedback on what people are reading, what genres are being read the most, provide databases, information on publishers, websites, magazines or general information to help you find more resources and facts. The library can also help you find a list of directories for periodicals and associations for marketing purposes. And most libraries will let you use their facility for a book signing. Possibly for free, but some may charge a small fee. To find a library in your area, contact Public Libraries.

6. Virtual Book Tours
The person to person book tour is not as popular as it use to be. Mostly because some publishers don't want to foot the bill with so much competition going on with eBook publishing and one hit wonders. Virtual book tours have become popular with some authors because it's more economical; there's no need to get dressed, rent a car or buy an airplane ticket nor is it necessary reserve a hotel room for a days stay. Nope, with virtual book tours you contact a virtual book tour company, go over their fees or packages and they essentially do the rest for you. What a virtual book tour company does is contact several blogs that are already signed up with them to host authors or do book reviews on their blog. Once the virtual book tour company contacts its host, the host then receives a copy of your book, and they are asked whether they'd like to do an interview with the author, a book review or let the author do a guest post on their blog. Each day the author is hosted on a different blog. So lets say, I'm on tour, I would be hosted on 10 different blogs in say 10 days. Each day is an opportunity to meet new readers and make contact with bloggers that might like my book or that I could develop a future relationship with for future book releases. It also gives the blog recognition and page views because the virtual book tour owner would likely do some advertising to announce where the author will be each one of those 10 days. It's like a blog hop for authors. I am starting a virtual book tour company called Spotlight Virtual Book Tours and I'm in the process of accumulating potential hosts for virtual book tours. If you own a blog and would like to be a host, contact me at or read the Spotlight Virtual Book Tour info in the upper right hand corner of my sidebar.

7. Start a Blog
Blogging is beneficial for authors because it gives the author a way to connect to readers and fans in a more personal format. Also, search engines spider blogs more frequently than websites. Search engines look for new content, and websites usually don't have daily or weekly updated material like a blog. Once the blogger post the content, generally and hopefully readers will comment. Comments are new content/updates. The more comments, the more inbound and outbound links, the more search engines assume your blog is popular. Thus attracting more readers. More readers means increased potential to sell books. To find out other reasons why blogging is great for authors, check out my post, 5 Reasons Authors Should Blog.

8. Become active on Amazon
Amazon is a useful tool to use to get your name in front of readers. You can do this several ways. I will cover just a few. First, create lists using Listmania. Listmania is a list of books categorized by whatever title you give it. For instance, I could create a list titled Best Book for Self-Publishers. Once I have a title, I then add books that would fit into that category thus creating a list. Then people searching for books for self-publishers could choose to search using Listmania. Then viola, your list pops up along with your user name and author page info. You are now drawing attention to yourself as an expert or someone that is familiar with those types of books. Another way to get recognition on Amazon is do reviews of products or books. Trust me, people read reviews and they check the authority of the reviewer to see how many times the reviewer has reviewed something. Readers check for credibility. So don't just post one review, get in the habit of doing one a week. Plus, if your book is listed on Amazon, you'd likely hope someone would do the same for you when your book is released.

9. Be Prepared to Give Away Free Copies
I once read an article that said any author should be prepared to give away 10% of the books they expect to sell. So if you plan to sell 6,000 copies, be prepared to give away 600 copies for free. Why free? Free drums up publicity. Publicity generates sells. You can give copies away to doctor's offices for their waiting rooms or give them away as part of a contest or promotion. You can partner up with other authors or events to give away your books. Make sure when you give books away there is a way to contact you for future sales. You can create your own label and stick it on the back cover or in the inside jacket of the book. Also, as discussed above, you need reviews. You can get reviews easier when you give away copies. People are more inclined to do it considering they received the book for free. If you request a review, just be sure to ask for an honest review and once you receive the review, make sure and say thank you. Also, don't get upset if the review is not 5 stars. You want honest and fair reviews. Remember readers check the credibility of the reviewer.

10. Do a Radio Interview
There are so many radio blogs on the Internet. Some of them are searching for guest speakers to fill their time slots. Others would love to interview an author and talk about the author's recent work. It can be done by phone and pre-recorded for a later date or on air. And it's free. I was recently interviewed by bestselling authors, Reshonda Tate Billingsley and Pat Tucker for their literary radio talk show, From Cover to Cover on FM and Internet radio. It was my first radio interview, so I was extremely nervous. But it helps that both authors were welcoming and supportive so it eased some of the jitters and butterflies I had. I think I will do even better the next time I do a radio interview. But it's good to get your feet wet and get prepared to talk about your book and why you love doing what you do. No one can express the love and passion you have for your book better than you. So practice and be prepared to talk about yourself, your book and make that sell. You never know who may be listening.

Good Luck and Blessings!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

New Year Resolutions of Authors and Poets

Two weeks into the New Year and it seems this year will come and go faster than last year. I don't make resolutions per se. I just try to do whatever worked the previous year and do it better and take what didn't work and try to improve upon it. Don't get me wrong, resolutions are great. Resolutions help people set goals and encourage people to attain them. Resolutions can also be measured, thus holding the person accountable to a certain degree. But it never works for me. I've tried. But it's interesting to hear resolutions from other people, namely authors. So I asked a few authors and poets what their resolutions are for 2012 and here's what they had to say.

"My resolution is to work less and live more. 2011 was a great year for me. My novel Silver Sparrow was published, I won two major fellowships, got great reviews. But there is a lovely bottle of champagne in my refrigerator that has been there for almost a year. Why? I had plenty to celebrate, but I could never take the time out to sit back and enjoy it. I was always racing toward the next goal. So in 2012, I resolve to drink all the champagne in the world." ~ Tayari Jones, author of Silver Sparrow

"My 2012 resolution is to set reasonable and measurable productivity goals just like I did in the beginning of my writing career. If you write 3 pages a day (or even 1 page a day!), you'll finish a book or be well on your way to finishing one by end of the year." Teresa Medeiros, author of The Pleasure of Your Kiss

"My goal is to finish revising my 3rd novel, Every Good Wish, and send it to my agent. (Hopefully this March). And I have plans to write a nonfiction book this year, which I'm very excited about."
~ Carleen Brice, author of Orange Mint and Honey 
 She is also the author of Children of the Waters. (Orange Mint and Honey was made into a Lifetime movie called Sins of the Mother starring Jill Scott...y'all know how I feel about Jill Scott, I'm still officially Jill Scott handed :-)

"This year, for the first time, I resolve to do only one thing. I didn't fast or give up anything....I resolved that every single day before I went to bed I would reflect on the blessings that I'd had for that day alone. I started this back on Thanksgiving and decided this would be my resolution for 2012. And, I love it. This one exercise alone has kept me HAPPY! #teamgrateful #365daysofgratitude."
~ Victoria Christopher Murray, author of The Deal, The Devil and the Dance and co-author of Sinners and Saints with Reshonda Tate Billingsley.

"I resolve to go from process mode to product. This is the beginning of my blogging. The spoken word CD and book of poems are priorities." ~ Dr. Kim White-Glenn, professor and poet

"To write as many books as humanly possible -- for me, at least -- and continue to grow my reader base." ~ Robert Gregory Browne, author of Kiss Her Goodbye

"My new years resolution is to become a better business owner. I want to reach across America and collab with better business partners to create a dynamic team so we can build other companies and enhance the lives of other artists." Troy Lewis, Poet and CEO/Founder of The National Poetry Awards

"I vowed to get more organized because I have the best ideas, I create forms, etc...then I can't ever find the forms because my office is so messy! And don't get me started on tax time! So, I'm definitely pledging to get more organized in 2012!" Reshonda Tate Billingsley, author of Say Amen Again and co-author of Sinners and Saints with Victoria Christopher Murray. 

What are your resolutions or goals for 2012?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: The Gatekeeper

A nice writing prompt isn't it?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Google Reader for Newbies...What is it?

    As a blogger it can be extremely helpful to have a system of organizing the blogs you visit or plan to visit. I find it easier to manage the blogs I follow with Google Reader. 

    What is Google Reader you ask? 
    Well, Google Reader is a free, Web-based reader for RSS feeds. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. These feeds can be found on most every web site. RSS feeds provide a simple view of content, including pictures, text and video without the sites' style and formatting and allows websites to distribute new content as it becomes available.

RSS Feeds can be found by this universal symbol. 

    How do you find RSS Feeds? 
    Google Reader allows you to subscribe to feeds easily by clicking on the RSS universal symbol and subscribing. There are different RSS readers available, but Google is my favorite and one of the best in my opinion. So lets say for instance, you have a Blogger blog and want to follow a WordPress blog. Since Blogger has decided to retire Google Friend Connect for all non-Blogger sites on March 1, 2012, in order to follow a WordPress blog, you would need to bookmark it, search for it with a search engine, type the url directly into your address bar or subscribe through an RSS feed to stay up to date. By subscribing through RSS, you can find the blogs you subscribe to in one location, which is your Google Reader.

    To find the RSS feed to subscribe to on a website, look for the orange box with the white arches like in the photo above. Now if you don't remember the website url you want to subscribe to, you can find it within your Google Reader, type in the name of the site or use a keyword in the search box and Google will usually find it for you with its own directory.

    I subscribed to several feeds, but how do I organize them? 
    Now that you have subscribed to several blogs using the RSS feed, you can organize how you access or view the sites within your Google Reader. The less complicated way to find your Google Reader is to sign into your Gmail account. If you don't have one, it's easy to sign up for one, just go to and sign up.  Once you are inside your gmail, you will see a list of tabs at the top, the very last tab should say more. Click More and then scroll until you see Reader. Click it. Now you should be in your Google Reader. Now to organize the feeds/sites you subscribed to, you should create folders. Click manage subscriptions in the lower left hand corner of the main page of your Google Reader. There you will find options to create or delete folders. One of my folders is called, My Favorite Blogs, to help me navigate to my favorite blogs without having to search. You can also delete feeds and categorize feeds into folders for better viewing.

    How do I create a folder? 
    Your feeds will be in the left sidebar. On the right side of each feed, there is a drop down menu with a black arrow to change or make a new folder, bundle, etc. Click the arrow and then create a new folder, click on it, and choose the new folder option. After naming it, the feed you clicked on in the first place will automatically be sorted into this folder. Once you've created a folder, you can quickly add several feeds by clicking the drop-down button on the far right to change folders.

How do I star a post?
    You can also star and label a post for quick sorting later. I often do this when I'm pressed for time and then I'll go back to my starred post and categorize them. You can star a post by clicking on the star icon on the top left of the post, or add a star option on the bottom left. To find the posts you starred, click the starred items feed on the top left menu.

How do I label a post?
    If you blog, you probably know what labeling is, it's like adding a tag. To label or tag any feed item, click the edit tags button on the lower right hand side of the post. To search or find labels or tags, you will need to use a keyboard shortcut; pressing g followed by t. This allows you to go through stories by tag using your keyboard arrows. 

To learn more about Google Reader watch the video below. Or visit Google Reader Help and Support.

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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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