Thursday, December 31, 2009
I am excited about my new inspirational suspense, Love Found Me! If you have not ordered your copies, please do so, and then drop me a line. Best to you and Happy New Years!
Mike Montgomery once lived the American dream. Gainfully employed, beautiful home, and a wonderful loving wife. Growing up in a loving family whose faith was unbreakable was his source of strength. Mike's faith would one day be shaken after losing the love of his life in an unexpected tragedy. Mike thought he would never love again until he meets Sheila Lawson. Everything about Sheila made him want to love again. Could he risk his heart again?
Sheila Lawson, a woman’s health advocate was strong and independent, yet something was missing in her life. Immersing herself in her work, she vowed off any relationships. Sheila would find her self-made decree shaken when she meets tall, dark, and handsome Mike Montgomery. There is an evil lurking in the shadows. Mike and Sheila will have to unite to overcome evil forces trying to keep them apart. Will their love be enough to see them through the testing of their faith?
Nov 20, 2009 Dream 4 More Book Reviews rated it:
Read in December, 2009
Vanessa Richardson delivers an electrifying, undeniable love story between two people who do not believe it is happening immediately before their very eyes and their hearts beating at a rapid rate. Their first encounter speaks for itself.
We first meet Michael and his twin brother, Bryan, and see their agape love for one another regardless of their different lifestyles, paths, and personalities. Then, we see Shelia Lawton, who does not want to go back in the house of God with her bes...more Vanessa Richardson delivers an electrifying, undeniable love story between two people who do not believe it is happening immediately before their very eyes and their hearts beating at a rapid rate. Their first encounter speaks for itself.
We first meet Michael and his twin brother, Bryan, and see their agape love for one another regardless of their different lifestyles, paths, and personalities. Then, we see Shelia Lawton, who does not want to go back in the house of God with her best friend and colleague Rayna Peterson. These ladies met at college and remained friends since. We see Rayna go from graduating in Political Science/Pre-law major to wanting to become partner at Hudson, Fist, and Hudson law firm. Shelia majored in Sociology is now working as a Domestic Violence Counselor.
Vanessa captures the readers attention from the Prologue, where you do not want to stop reading in one-sitting. I enjoyed reading every character in the book, also seeing love electrifying over the emotions and souls of the characters--where I can picture them in my mind as if it is a TV series on Lifetime. I cannot wait for the sequel. This is a must-read, especially if you love inspirational-suspense (or Christian Fiction, Contemporary Romance).
Dream 4 More Reviews,
5 stars--Wooed Us!
I shared this article with Tyora Moody, I wanted to share it here with you! Enjoy.
Author and poet Vanessa Richardson shares her testimony about being diagnosed with a rare disease, Catamenial Pneumothorax. Resources are included after the article.
The year: 1999 – Age: 24 – Am I forsaken?
My name being hailed pulled me from my quiet appraisal of the handsome soap opera star I was watching on the small television in the waiting room.
Standing I approached the X-ray technician and my heart plummeted. In his eyes was that of concern. I recognized the “look” as I often time gave them, when offering comfort to someone in pain.
“Hi. Ms. Richardson?” The technician queried.
I offered a weak nod. I was tired and just wanted to sleep for years. The technician concerned eyes hastily scanning my face should have been an indicator that something was amiss.
“Have you been in a car accident recently?” he softly questioned.
I was shocked by the question. “No. I have not.” I breathlessly replied. Not impart to fear, however. It was a strange occurrence; as of late, I had been experiencing chest pains and could hardly breathe. Talking had become a chore for me and I was exhausted all the time. All these symptoms prompted my emergency room interview with the hospital technician.
“Ms. Richardson you have a collapsed lung.”
Reeling from the announcement, I slumped against the wall in disbelief. I was certain I had misheard him.
“Your right lung is down 100% and it is covering your heart. You must be admitted.”
A bevy of nurses ushered me to a bed. I was given a hospital gown. I was given an IV and was placed on oxygen. All the while, I was in a state of shock and disbelief. I had never been hospitalized in my life. I had a collapsed lung! I was overwhelmed with myriad of questions. How did this happen? Am I going to die? What was the procedure to curing a collapse lung?
I was not in an accident. I do not spoke and I was not heavy into sports. These were all the entities associated with a collapse lung. I was diagnosed with a Spontaneous Pnuemothorax. This is when the lung collapses with no apparent reason. The treatment was a chest tube insertion. My hospital stay was seven days. I would like to say this is where my story ends. However, it was only the beginning. From 1999 to 2005, I’ve had a total of ten chest tubes and a major lung surgery.
My diagnoses changed spontaneous pnuemothorax to that of catamenial pneumothorax. This condition is difficult to diagnose as it is so rare here in America.
What is Catamenial Pneumothorax?
This is when a woman has her menstrual cycle and her lung collapses with in 42-72 hours. About 2%-5% of women suffer from this health issue. Here is when I had to step out on faith. My last recourse was that of a hysterectomy. I was single and had never had children. I felt alone and forsaken. Is it true that good guys finish last? I have no choice in the matter. Should I give up in the face of this great travesty?
The Year 2009 – Age: 35
The Certain Ones: You’re not forsaken. You’re Chosen for Purpose.
At an early age I had made a vow to God to refrain from premarital sex until marriage. I journaled from age 16 until present day. I wrote of how I wanted to one day get married and have kids. So this setback threw me for a loop. Yes, I wanted to have children but I also wanted to be healthy. I was tired of the pain. It seemed I slept and awoke with pain. What was I to do?
Here is my testimony. I did have the hysterectomy. I suffered a loss and dealt with it. The road was not easy for me as I dealt with the issue of infertility. I realized I had a purpose. God’s purpose for me: To encourage women who are experiencing sicknesses and/or infertility. I was tried and emerged dignified. My lesson learned: Happiness is a choice that we make. I decided that I wanted to be happy; so I pursued it. My journey has not been an easy one but I made it. I have written a non-fiction book titled The Certain Ones. The certain ones will find the hidden doors leading to happiness and success. Although I may not be able to physically conceive a child it does not mean I can never be a mother. There are other options. God plans for me were different, yet wonderfully perfect. God knows my name and He knows yours, too!
Resources about Catamenial Pneumothorax
Catamenial Support Group – www.experienceproject.com/groups/Have-Catamenial-Pneumothorax/89797
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Stacy-Deanne is an awarding-winning novelist of mysteries and thrillers. She's been in the writing industry for twelve years. Her latest novels are published by Simon and Schuster. Stacy was featured in 2006's "Literary Divas: The Top 100+ Most Admired African-American Women in Writing". She was born, raised and resides in Houston, Texas.
I decided to write this article because there is a slight trend that has started to annoy me. I felt it my duty to warn newbies about certain practices and to remind them to use their best judgement. New writers have high hopes and dreams that are easily preyed upon by those with more power or knowledge. This has left many writers heartbroken, depressed and contemplating just how much they should continue their path to publication.
The answer is you should never give up despite any setbacks. I’ve had setbacks, every published author has. Every new writer will. Some things we cannot control but there is a lot that we can. I’ve written this article to remind writers that you have value and you are just as important as anyone else is. I hope this inspires confidence and you take my words as you see fit.
On your journey to publication your eyes will be open to many things. What I’ve listed below are some you might have never thought of but should pay attention to. Be smart, cautious and responsible in all of your choices. You might find yourself in some of the situations I am about to outline below. In case you do, I’ve offered some heartfelt advice.
Never Be or Act Desperate
The main problem with aspiring writers is that they are so desperate to be noticed. This is a very bad thing to be. You never want to be desperate. You should always work hard and create the best book you can, but you shouldn’t ever be desperate for anything. Desperation leads to horrible choices that you’re most likely to regret. Hold onto your confidence, believe in your work and you’ll see you’re good enough to resist desperation.
Be Careful of Agents and Publishers Who Ask for Extensive Revisions Before Offering You A Deal
Be careful of agents and editors who make you jump through hoops before giving you a contract. A lot of newbies are revising their work to the point of no return because of the suggestion of an agent. I’ve known some that have worked with agents and pubs for as long as a year, thinking they were "in the door". At the end they were rejected and to me this is the cruelest kind of rejection there is. It’s fine if an agent or editor gives you tips along with a rejection. But it’s much different when someone makes you believe you will soon be a client or an author on their roster and months later you’re not.
This is a big thing newbies need to recognize and signal out while searching for agents and publishers. Personally, I wouldn’t ever sign with someone who asks me to "change" my entire book before they offer me a contract. That means that they didn’t like my work in the first place. If an agent or editor really likes your work they are going to offer you a contract based on what you’ve sent them period. It’s common to do revisions after you’ve signed a contract but chopping up your work on hope is not smart and is another sign of desperation.
If you find yourself in this situation, you should openly communicate with the agent or editor and make sure they are seriously considering taking you on and get all the details. You need to value your work and if you do not agree with something you should speak up. Do not be afraid that you’ll risk possible agent representation if you don’t act on someone’s suggestions. If an agent really wants to sign you, most likely they would have offered a contract before tying you to obligations. Why would you want to work with someone who led you on for months then dumped you in the end? That’s a sign of how they do business and you might not need that type of agent as your own.
Go For The Best From The Beginning
While searching for agents or editors, don’t be afraid to query the big guys. In fact you should. I also suggest querying the big publishers even if you don’t have an agent. Yes, we all know big pubs don’t want unsolicited manuscripts but believe me, they won’t reject an author if they see talent. If you’ve exhausted your search for agents and want to start querying pubs, go for the best first. Most publishers say "no unsolicited" materials to cut down on traffic. If they find a jewel in their slush pile they aren’t going to ignore it. Sometimes rules can be broken. If you are thinking of doing this, it’s best to find out the name of a specific editor before sending your work. It never hurts to try right? Remember that a lot of big pubs have imprints that do not require agents. Even if you decide to try the publishers on your own do not give up on agents for they can help you build a solid career.
You should have the same mindset when searching for agents. Go for the best and don’t shortchange yourself. Resist that mouthwatering temptation to take "the first offer". Make sure you really want to work with an agent or editor who is offering you a contract. Too many newbies sign up with the first agent who’s interested without any hesitation. Just because they have offered it doesn’t mean they are the one for you. This is why agents call writers before offering them representation. They want to see if you’re a good fit for them. You should do the same. Always remember you have a choice.
You Deserve Respect
If you treat others with respect then you deserve it back. Do not let anyone make you feel afraid to communicate with them or make you feel you need to suck up. Agents and editors are people just like writers with different personalities and emotions. If you are afraid of someone then that is a big sign that you don’t need to begin working with them. You should only work with those who make you feel comfortable and not intimidated.
Publication isn’t owed or rewarded. It’s deserved if you’ve put in the hard work. The same thing goes with respect, kindness and dignity. Do not sell your soul to the devil for publication. Nothing in the world is worth that. You have the right to make a choice. You can say no if you don’t agree with someone or something. You’re a human being just like everyone else. You deserve to get back whatever you give.
You can visit her sites to learn more about her and her books. http://www.stacy-deanne.net http://www.myspace.com/stacydeanne
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Richardson: Hello Rhonda! I am excited to chat with you, welcome.
McKnight: I’m excited about the release of my novel. Thanks so much for having me and taking the time to share it with your readers.
Richardson: My Pleasure. Your Christian fiction, Secrets and Lies, is slated to be released in December 1st. of this year. What is the synopsis of Secret and Lies?
McKnight: Faith Morgan is struggling with her faith. Years of neglect leave her doubting that God will ever fix her marriage. When a coworker accuses her husband, Jonah, of the unthinkable, Faith begins to wonder if she really knows him at all, and if it’s truly in God’s will for them to stay married.
Pediatric cardiologist Jonah Morgan is obsessed with one thing: his work. A childhood incident cemented his desire to heal children at any cost, even his family, but now he finds himself at a crossroads in his life. Will he continue to allow the past to haunt him, or find healing and peace in a God he shut out long ago?
Richardson: What do you want readers to take away from Secrets and Lies?
McKnight: Secrets and Lies is a story about faith, forgiveness and reconciliation. I believe it will resonate differently with each individual, but if I had to name one thing, I'd say I’d like readers to understand that forgiveness is a decision. Once a person decides that peace is more important than bitterness and pain, they will have a fuller, more complete life.
Richardson: Have you always known that you would write Christian Fiction?
McKnight: No, I’ve been writing since I was a teenager, and I didn’t even know Christian Fiction existed until 1998 when Victoria Christopher Murray introduced me to her novel, Temptation. That was when that I started to think about the kind of stories I wanted to tell. But even then I wasn’t sure I was the right person to tell a “Christian” story, but as I’ve grown spiritually, I’ve realized that it’s really the only kind I can tell. I write who I am and I love the Lord.
Richardson: You deal with Depression, suicide, and faith, in Secret and Lies. Did this require a great deal of research?
McKnight: Jonah Morgan is a pediatric cardiologist, and what he does for a living is central to the story. I had to do tons of research about pediatric heart disease. I enjoyed every minute of it. I love doing research. I’m personally acquainted with faith struggles and it just organically comes out as I write. I think we all know people who have or are dealing with depression, and I struggled with that for a short period of time when I first moved from New Jersey to Atlanta. I did do some research about suicide and I had to research the incident in the novel that led up to one of the characters considering suicide. So, yes, I guess I can say it did require a lot of research.
Richardson: What have you discovered about yourself on your journey to publication?
McKnight: Other than how to write a book, (LOL), I learned that this (writing) is what I was really born to do. (That is other than be a mother).
Richardson: Being a mommy, is one of the best jobs in the world! There is always a story behind the glory. How do/did you handle rejection (s)?
Ha! I never got rejected. I sold my book to the first publisher I sent it to. I did get a rejection letter two weeks later from another publisher, but I didn’t care. I had already sold. I must say I believe that was more about God’s timing than my writing.
Richardson: That is both wonderful and encouraging to hear! God timing is perfect and true. I have a book titled, The Certain Ones. Sometime, certain ones have to dig a little deeper and stretch a little wider. Delayed but not denied. God's timing, presents awesome testimonies; of how I made it over. :) What advice would you offer aspiring authors, Rhonda?
McKnight: Read, write and then read and write some more. Study the craft of writing. Buy craft books or take writing classes. Attend a writers conference. You’ll learn so much about writing and the publishing business. The more you know, the less mistakes you’ll make and the less painful the journey will be.
Richardson: Wonderful advice. How can readers contact you?
McKnight: The best way to reach me is by email at firstname.lastname@example.org . I love having people stop by my website and sign my guestbook www.rhondamcknight.net and I am a total and complete Facebook addict. You can catch me every day that the sun rises at www.facebook.com/rhondamcknight
Richardson: Rhonda, it was wonderful chatting and discovering with you. As always in closing, continue to inspire as you aspire.
McKnight: Thanks so much for having me Vanessa and all the best with your writing and ministry work.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
I am excited to have marriage coach Jewell R. Powell, the Marriage Coach and author of Marriage 101: Building a Life Together by Faith blog stop by my blog today!
Here is a question for our viewers and Jewell: How can a wife balance her time with out losing herself in the process?
Meet Jewell Powell, author of Marriage 101. In July of 1992, Jewell met her Prince Charming at a Roy Rogers restaurant. When the couple decided to marry four years later, both were aware of the latest marriage statistics and the legacy of divorce that lay between them. Her parents divorced when she was four, after moving the family to Maryland, leaving her to be raised by a single mother. To circumvent the odds, they went through pre-marital counseling, attended church regularly and felt a strong love for one another. They believed they were ready for marriage.
While desiring to have a happily ever after, Jewell found life after marriage anything but a fairy tale. In 2001, she and her husband, Lewis, had been married for five years but were growing apart, after experiencing problems with infertility, sleeping in separate bedrooms and Lewis’s increasing disinterest in going to church. As she searched for answers to her marital troubles, Jewell found herself on a journey, seeking answers to save her marriage.
Despite a shaky beginning, the Powells now have a relationship with a strong foundation. After successfully resolving their marital problems, they started the Happily Ever After Marriage Ministry to help others do the same. Her new book, Marriage 101: Building a Life Together by Faith (Revell Books February 2009, ISBN 978-0-8007-3332-2, $13.99), offers hope and guidance to help transform broken relationships through the use of biblical wisdom in a simple workbook format. Jewell serves as co-owner of Antiok Holdings, an emerging full-service management consulting firm, which she owns with her husband. She earned a Bachelor of Science in business from the University of Maryland and is pursuing a Master of Divinity. The Powells reside in southern Maryland with their two daughters. For more information, please visit www.marriage101.us.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Your marriage can be strong, healthy, happy, and blessed. Marriage coach Jewell Powell shows you how in this 8-week plan for marital success. She reveals how God’s truths can transform two individuals into the union he desires. Laying a spiritual foundation is crucial to your marriage. In Marriage 101: Building a Life Together by Faith, you will discover God’s purpose for marriage, how to develop godly character, how to communicate effectively, and much more. With biblical examples, study questions, and Scripture meditations perfect for individuals or couples, you will be challenged to examine areas in your life that may need change so that your marriage can thrive.
Jewell R. Powell's: 15 Ways to Communicate Effectively with Your Spouse
1. Listen attentively while your spouse is speaking, rather than concentrating on what you are going to say in response. This way, you can hear what your spouse is really saying. You may be also able to hear what your spouse is not saying, as well as what he is.
2. Learn to speak the same things (for example, you want to live debt free or have a happy, fulfilling marriage). If you are speaking the same things, you are in agreement. The scriptures ask, “Can two walk together unless they are in agreement?” The answer is no. Therefore, agreement is very important in a marriage.
3. Make eye-to-eye contact when you are speaking. Eyes will reveal anger, pain, sickness, and so on. Eye-to-eye contact also creates a connection between you and your spouse.
4. Think before you speak, thereby giving yourself time to speak your words with love. People are easily offended. Once anger or offense enters the conversation, the person who is offended stops listening and goes on the defensive. So think carefully before you speak.
5. Pray together. Again, this brings agreement, but more importantly, brings God into the conversation.
6. Dream together and write a vision. Understanding the purpose for your marriage should drive you and your spouse to accomplish God’s will for your life. Whether His reason is for you to raise your children a certain way, to start a business, to start a non-profit organization, to start a prayer meeting in your community, or to sing, every couple has a purpose.
7. Know your spouse and why she does what she does (for example, is it based on her upbringing? military background? being from a single-parent home? growing up poor?). Knowing this will help you to communicate more effectively. For example, if your spouse grew up poor, then you can understand why she responds a certain way when you spend a lot of money. Because of your spouse’s past, she might be used to people telling her to not spend as much or feelings of poverty may rear their ugly head.
8. Communicate with your spouse—he is not a mind reader. You must communicate your wants and desires.
9. Know what your spouse expects from you (such as dinner every night, or a phone call to let her know you are okay). You have been with your spouse long enough to know what she expects.
10. Understand what your mate is trying to say. Men are definitely from Mars and women are different from Venus. We can speak the same things, but in different ways. Understanding your spouse’s background and gender, and knowing his heart, will help you to decipher what he is really trying to say. For example, your spouse may have a hard time expressing love verbally but may be able to express it physically, giving you hugs or kisses that say, “I love you.”
11. Forgive one another. Every marriage, including yours, will get to a point at which your spouse will do something to hurt you. At the end of that day, make up in your mind to forgive your spouse. If you don’t, that unforgiveness will grow day by day until your heart is hardened or your ears get dull and you no longer want to hear what he has to say. Those are walls that start the separation process. Don’t let that happen. Forgive and move on. God says that He gives us new mercies every day; therefore, because He has given freely, you should give freely, too.
12. Complement and say “I love you” and “I appreciate you” often. By doing this every day, this is something that can keep a marriage peaceful and strong.
13. Know the best time to talk with your mate. If your spouse is not a morning person, 7 AM is not the best time to have a serious conversation. If your spouse needs an hour after work to relax, wait to have that heart-to-heart.
14. Conduct family meetings regularly. This allows you to discuss what’s going on with the child(ren), plan dates and vacations, agree about large purchases, and other important matters.
15. Control your emotions. Keep your mouth shut! DO NOT discuss issues when either of you is upset. If your spouse is trying to discuss a matter while angry, find a way to let her cool off first. For example, excuse yourself to the bathroom and go pray. If you are the one who is upset, definitely pray first and wait until you are able to speak nicely.
© Jewell R. Powell, the Marriage Coach and author of Marriage 101: Building a Life Together by Faith. For more information, visit www.marriage101.us
Follow the blog tour at http://bit.ly/Marriage101.
For more information about, visit Jewell at http://www.marriage101.us/.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
The Gate House Author Kathleen Heady
I spent my childhood on a farm in southern Illinois, where I was fortunate to have parents who encouraged me to study, travel and learn about the world. Besides rural Illinois, I have lived in Chicago, Costa Rica, Colorado, Maryland and Pennsylvania.
V. Richardson: Hello Kathleen! Thank you for talking with me. Please, tell readers about your book, The Gate House?
K. Heady: I love to travel, and I am currently working on a novel set in Costa Rica and Italy, as well as developing a sequel to The Gate House. I have spent most of my professional life as a high school teacher, teaching English, Spanish and social studies. I share my home with my husband and two cats, Tang and Púchica. I have a daughter, two sons, a son-in-law, a daughter-in-law and a grandson who are all really cool people.
I was inspired to write The Gate House, while traveling in England, when I stay at a bed and breakfast very much like the one where my story is set. Later I visited Lincoln Cathedral in the same area of England, and found the inspiration for the sense of history and suspense that I hope comes across in the novel. I had written an earlier story in which I created the main character, Nara.
So for The Gate House, I moved her forward in time a few years, and from a Caribbean island to Britain. The story is set in an old gate house that Nara’s aunt, who runs the bed and breakfast, insists holds nothing more than useless trinkets and cheap copies of nineteenth century art work. When Nara awakes in her bedroom in the village in Lincolnshire, England, fretting once again about why Davis, her fiancé on the Caribbean island of St. Clare, has not called her, she surprises a burglar trying to break into the house.
That same night, a local church was burglarized and several valuable artifacts are stolen. Suddenly the police force of the small English town where nothing ever happens is besieged with burglaries and a murder. Even as romance begins to blossom between Nara and Alex, an art expert who works with the police, he begins to suspect that Nara’s family is involved in the thefts. As the net of British law begins to close in on the art thieves, Nara finds herself and her family caught in the net. And the new man to whom she opens her heart is helping the police to close in on them.
V.Richardson: How long did it take for you to write The Gate House?. What would you love for readers to take away from it?
K. Heady: It took a total of about two years to write the novel. I wrote it in bits and pieces while teaching in a public high school in Maryland. After writing about half of the first draft, I traveled to Lincolnshire for further research.
Once I finished revising, it took me about six months to build up the self-confidence to submit it to Virtual Tales, and I was thrilled when they accepted it for publication.
First of all, I would love for readers to enjoy The Gate House as a good story. That is foremost. If they enjoy it, I hope they also appreciate that I have tried to create characters with the same doubts, uncertainties and failings that all of us have, but somehow we muddle through and become better people. Or at least we have that potential.
Since I wrote about the theft of art and antiquities, I hope the readers will think about the importance of preserving the cultural heritage in any country, and that art and history are for all of us, not just a wealthy few.
V.Richardson: What has your literary journey been like?
K. Heady: I have enjoyed writing since I was in elementary school. But sadly, I was never encouraged to take it seriously as a profession. I love to create stories, and several years ago I had the opportunity to join a couple of writers’ groups where I developed some confidence in my work.
I had a few articles published, and began playing around with longer fiction. I have two “almost novels” filed away on my computer. Eventually these led to my decision to write The Gate House.
V. Richardson: Promotion and advertisement comes in various packages nowadays; especially with online presence leading the way. How do you establish a connection with your readers?
K. Heady: The proliferation of sites like yours for promotion of writers and their works, as well as blogs and other book sites are a real boon for writers. I feel that I am able to reach many more readers than I would have if I were relying solely on signings at local book stores.
Especially as a new novelist, the Internet allows me to reach out and make my presence known in ways that would not have been possible a few years ago. And I appreciate the readers around the world who have found me while browsing the Internet.
V. Richardson: Are there any forthcoming projects you are working on that readers should look forward to?
K. Heady: I have a manuscript for a very different novel about relationships between mothers and daughters, and sisters, that is almost finished.
I am also in the beginning stages of a sequel to The Gate House, which will take us back in time to England during World War II, and Nara’s great-grandparents. This story will be partially set in Wales, where I spent some time this past summer.
V. Richardson: Thank you Kathleen, for chatting with me about your novel, The Gate House. In closing, please continue to inspire as you aspire!
Kathleen Heady can be reached at: http://www.kathleenheady.com
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Her first Christian fiction novel is The Lovechild, published by Urban Christian Publishers in 2008.
The Lovechild by Ashea Goldson (excerpt) -
Follow the blog tour at http://bit.ly/TheLovechild
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Author Lori Johnson
Lori Johnson has a master's degree in Urban Anthropology from the University of Memphis. Her stories and essays have appeared in Upscale Magazine, Memphis Magazine, The Commercial Appeal, The Tri-State Defender, The Emrys Journal, The Best of Memphis Anthology 2003 and Obsidian II: Black Literature in Review. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with her husband and their young son.
For additional information about Lori, visit the profile page of her blog "Lori's Old School Mix" at http://www.loridjohnson.blogspot.com/.
V. Richardson: Hi Lori! Thank you for chatting with me today!
Lori Johnson: Thank you for extending the invitation Vanessa.
V. Richardson: You have just released your latest book, A Natural Woman. What is the synopsis of A Natural Woman?
Lori Johnson: A Natural Woman revolves around Dr. Aliesha Eaton, a young anthropology professor who seemingly has it all--a nice teaching gig, a respected role in her church and an adoring boyfriend. However, while searching for the right someone to cut and style her natural hair, she finds herself drawn to a dark, handsome, mysterious barber named Dante. Unfortunately, Dante's complete disappearance within hours of their first night together leaves Aliesha wondering if he'd been out to play her from the start, or if he's become a victim of foul play at the hands of either her spurned boyfriend, or . . . yet another man from her recent past.
V. Richardson: What do you want readers to take away from this book?
Lori Johnson: Among other things, I'd like readers to be open to questioning some of the commonly held concepts and standards of beauty, particularly as they pertain to African American women. I think it's important to point out that in A Natural Woman, the focus isn’t solely on hair, it’s also on skin tone. For the record, the female protagonist in A Natural Woman, Dr. Aliesha Eaton, is a dark-skinned woman who sports a natural hairstyle. I'd also like readers to reflect on how the past influences the present and how the actions of our ancestors quite often exert a measurable impact on the choices we make in our everyday lives.
V. Richardson: What have you discovered about yourself on your journey to publication?
Lori Johnson: I've discovered that I'm wiser, stronger and much more resilient than I would have ever imagined. Through the course of this journey, I’ve also been able to confirm what I've long suspected to be true-- that neither my integrity as an African American woman nor my vision as an artist is not something I'm interested in compromising.
V. Richardson: What strong convictions to live by Lori! I love it! There is always a story behind the glory. How do/did you handle rejection (s)?
Lori Johnson: As a writer, you soon learn that rejection awaits you at nearly every turn. During the submission process, there will always be agents and editors primed to tell you, "no." Even after you finally achieve publication, there will always be readers and critics who diss and outright pan your work. So in some respects, rejection really is an essential part of the process. It can either help you grow or else lend you an excuse to quit and/or give up. What I've learned to do is absorb the knocks and move on. I refuse to let any of it keep me down for long. I think it helps to bear in mind that not every "no" means "never." Sometimes it just means "wait" or "not now . . . but come back again when you're ready."
V. Richardson: I was delighted to be a subject of interview in your series, “Natural Women: Our Hair, Our Stories.” Tell us readers about this series and why you formed it?
Lori Johnson: The hair series is an on-going feature of my blog, Lori's Old School Mix. (www.loridjohnson.blogspot.com). It's not a new concept. A number of bloggers are profiling African American women who sport natural hair styles. I think what makes my series a bit different is the focus. My interest in natural hair goes beyond the visual or the stylistic, My aim is to shine a spotlight on attitudes and emotions. How do we feel about our hair? How do we respond to negative comments about our natural hair? Those sorts of things interest me. I also wanted to illustrate that not all "natural women" think alike or define their state of "naturalness" in quite the same way.
V. Richardson: What advice would you offer to aspiring authors?
Lori Johnson: 1) Read--and not just anything, read and study the work of those who write better than you 2) Write--everyday, when possible.
3) Learn to take criticism and accept rejection because it comes with the territory and 4) Make a librarian your friend--they can introduce you to a number of valuable resources, networks and connections.
V. Richardson: How can readers contact you?
Lori Johnson: I love hearing from readers and they are welcome to reach me via my website (www.lorijohnsonbooks.com). My email address there is email@example.com. They can also reach me via the profile page of my blog, Lori's Old School Mix (www.loridjohnson.blogspot.com).
V. Richardson: Lori, thank you so very much for chatting with me. It is always delightful when connecting with you. As always in closing, continue to inspire as you aspire.
Lori Johnson: It was my privilege and pleasure, Vanessa. And what a truly wonderful closing statement, "continue to inspire as you aspire. I want you to know that I intend to embrace that as both a challenge and a mandate. Thank you.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
I can not believe that Thanksgiving and Christmas is only day away! It is tradition that we start our Christmas shopping two months in advance. With the economy in the shape that it's in---it is best to shop early.
Humm, I am going to contribute to cooking Thanksgiving dinner this years. I am the one who is banned from the kitchen at my house. It is a unspoken rule that I was the dishes and put away the food. Well this year, I am determined to break that rule! I am going to make the best foods the microwave has to offer! huh, no can do? Kidding. I am going to purchase a vegetarian cook book, and make it do what it do. It shouldn't be too difficult. All I need is some water and several pots to cook out of. The rest should be easy. Yes, I got this. I will even bake some sweet potato pies. Oh, and some of those circle thingy I seen on a television show I watched recently. Humm, what was that dish called? I will find it and keep you posted on my Thanksgiving dinner.
I was privileged to discuss my journey with wearing my hair natural in an on-going series, created by Lori Johnson that focuses on African American women who wear their hair au naturel. Please click on link below to read my contribution to the series. Feel free to leave a comment or two. :)http://loridjohnson.blogspot.com/Look out for Lori's latest release: A Natural Woman.
Too please check out my Singles Column: You Are Something Strange! in Faithwebbin Online Magazine. The founder is Tyora Moody. Feel free to leave a comment or two. :) http://faithwebbin.net/2009/10/you-are-s
Monday, October 12, 2009
Richardson: Sharon, you've just released your freshman novel, Communions with Christ. Please tell readers what is it about?
Sharon Ellis: Thank you Vanessa for believing in my work and inviting me. Hi everyone! I am so happy to be here chatting with all of you reading this! Communions with Christ is my true Testimony and a fascinating accounting of Redemption. I don't call it a novel because by definition a 'novel' is 'fiction'. My story is all true. Miraculously, unbelievably true. From the moment that God allowed his heavenly angel Raphael to appear to me with his harrowing knee dropping message that took me into higher holy places ... from then on I've just been going up to heaven, higher and higher! This angel had the audacity to ask me to put on a monk's robe and become one with his God and begin the journey of being in the habit of being holy! What? It scared the bee jeebies out of me because I knew nothing at all about God! From that point on the miracles just began to flow into my life!
Richardson: What do you want readers to take away from Communions with Christ?
Sharon Ellis: I think I realized that Jesus is REAL. It is apparent to me totally now that Holy Spirit takes us and ingests the Word of God into us, and we can speak with Him personally. However it happens, I'm not sure, but the miraculous is a totally natural way to live, to experience and to understand. I think I realize now that Christ takes us, here on earth, and He brings heaven to earth to us, and His power totally enables us to live within the realm of incredibly harrowing experiences all the time. I mean, the Lord just plows us up and plants in us, and fields grow there, where we can grow up to heaven and be there in upper rooms. I mean, He drops me to me knees daily. I spend my years now in figurative on my knees prayer to Him who is my Creator all the time. You can too! It is the right of the righteous to be In Him Christ at all times, hearing, knowing, and understanding ... heavenly style, naturally.
Richardson: What has the reception been like for you releasing Communions with Christ?
Sharon Ellis: On one level, God has been hiding me away from evil, protecting me and sending His Angels out before me. I thank God for that. On another level, I have seen the incredible Heart of Christ take the time to minister one on one with thousands of people - I've noticed that God is a very personal Holy Creator. I thought I was going to do "ego boosting masses of people." God quickly showed me that "we were going to do one on one", and when ever the time was right, it would just be that one who needed Jesus then.
Richardson: You have a wonderful Group here on Goodreads called PEACE. Tell us about that?
Sharon Ellis: Yes and thank you Vanessa for being the Vessel that really inspired me to start an online group. PEACE is an assembly of Christian women who wish to find PEACE and rest and friendship. Please go to link to join: http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/22968.PEACEI also have a Q. &A. with Sharon Ellis group that is open to everyone. Here we talk and I sometimes give prophetic words as Holy Spirit tells me them. Sometimes from the other side of the world a man will respond with his prophetic word form the Lord. It is awesome and the Holy Spirit guides us. Please go to this link to join: http://goodreads.com/group/show/23384.Q_...
Richardson: I was delighted to hear of a wonderful ministry you are a part of: Cowboy ministry. You used the book of Esther from the Bible. Share that story with us.
Sharon Ellis: I was battling cancer and I asked God to please let me ride a horse just one more time before I die! A flyer came to my door advertising a country Cowboy Church - so we went. To my amazement, they had and arena and horses and bulls there. After Sunday church they barrel raced and did bull riding! I was in heaven when the Youth Pastor let me ride his horse named 'Matthew' and God gave me the desire of my heart to ride a horse one more time! I started going to this church, became church secretary and had a camera so I took pictures of all the cowboys and girls who showed up with muddy boots and old clothes and sun weathered faces on Sunday and stood with one muddy boot out the door while the Preacher preached. The owner of this land wanted Cowboy church off his property. There was a feud going on. I heard God say to me "Take the land owner a bouquets of flowers and be like Esther."
I took all the photographs for my bouquet and I met with the Landowner gave him the book of photos for his bouquet gift. I showed him all the faces of the cowboys who had been baptized in the horse trough and the children who had been saved and were holding up their new Bible smiling because they gave their lives to Jesus. The Landowner changed his mind and let Cowboy Church stay. It was an Esther moment, to be there doing Kingdom Work "For Such a Time as This." Interview continued: An "Esther moment" is the time in your life which you were created for, when God places you in some circumstance and asks you to do some thing for Him that you know He asks you to do for Him and for the good of the people in His Kingdom. And how fully it is true that you can either turn the tide of an entire community towards God and salvation, or you can turn away from this place, by your simple choice to obey and "Go before the King, or not."
Richardson: What an powerful experience; your calling is just as powerful. God equips us with power and knowledge and at the same time He doesn't put too much on us than we can bare. What are the next projects you are working on?
Sharon Ellis: I have a book underway that is again a total Holy Spirit led work. I am not writing the book I wanted to be writing. That one is on hold till next time. I am writing the book God told me to write. This time the Lord has asked me to write the story of my life, the situations and events as I grew up that He put there supernaturally. I came to understand by His Grace that the entire prophetic pathway of my entire maturing process is what He chose to gift my life with - because He was placing a calling of a Mystic and a Prophet on me.
I have been very reluctant to admit this to anyone until my ending years of life because I am a very shy and private person. And even now I write this with great reservation, and not because I want to. But the truth is I think God wants this testimony recorded before I die, for the generations to learn from. So, I am full out tearing my robes of privacy off and bearing the whole supernatural trail of my life, God experience after God experience as I walk into His calling of me to His work. This book will be released after the New Year 2010. (Not ready to tell the title yet). I hope that I do His will justice. I know I have drained my very DNA into this testimony and gut wrenching truth unveiling.
Richardson: What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Sharon Ellis: (1) Work. Show up everyday to work, and work at your craft. I heard Thomas Kincade, the painter of Light, say once that he showed up to his art studio every day and stood before his blank canvas ready to paint. He didn't go lolly-gagging in a field of clover. ha ha. I took that advice. I show up to work, and I produce. God is my Boss. (2) Never expect anyone to read your work, it doesn't matter. In the end of life, it's really only about the relationship between you and God. Stop expecting to be the next world wide best seller, stop wanting to get rich. (3) Know that someone will read your work, and God will make sure it is the very person who should. And remember as Vanessa Richardson said to me recently, "Be encouraged. Someone out there needs your story!"
Richardson: Awesome! How can readers reach you?
Sharon Ellis: I am on Goodreads.com and you can "friend me" or join one of my groups! My email box is always so full and bumping off my mail, that it really is best to talk to me through Goodreads.com because I always get those messages and love to hear from you! When I get a Goodreads.com message, I know you are a book reader, and I always read those messages!
Richardson: Thank you for taking the time to chat with me. It was a joy and delight. As always please continue to inspire as you aspire. Joy and Peace. :)
Sharon Ellis: I've enjoyed this very much and I really hope that the readers will buy and read Communions with Christ. We are one world and one in Christ. I know God has much Joy in store for us who love Him!
Readers can purchase their copies of Sharon's awesome testimony at Amazon.com.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
But at what price?From her wardrobe and hairstyle to her friends and her choice of church, Lawrence seems to want to change Jana into someone she’s not . . . and soon, the man Jana thought she knew will test her values and her faith with a shocking revelation that goes against everything she believes—how far will Jana be willing to go to keep the man she loves? With her “ideal” marriage falling apart, Jana—the real, modest, smart, and strong girl who knows what she stands for—must put her trust in God, and follow His guiding light out of the darkness of a broken relationship.Drawing from a moving scripture tale with an insightful message for women today, Jacquelin Thomas delivers a provocative and enlightening new novel.
Monday, October 5, 2009
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Muta: My publishing experience as a new author was not bad, and it was not bad because I had some realistic expectations. As much as I wanted to get published by Big Traditional Publishers, I realized how slim the chances were and so I made sure I had a backup plan which was Self Publishing and that’s what I did.
Richardson: Do you have any future projects readers should be aware of?
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Angela's Good Words from the Good Word!
I see this verse at work in the life of Abraham Martin, one of the main characters in Sins of the Father. Abraham made wrong choices in his life that negatively affected him and those he loved. And though he tried to make things right, he was unable to set them back the way they were supposed to be.
The essence of Romans 8:28 is that even though we can't always make our wrongs right, if we trust God, He can use our wrongs to bring about good things in us. In Abraham's case, God taught him that the money he valued so much meant very little compared to the love and life of his family.
Abraham is not alone in making a mess of his life and the lives of those he loves. Many of us are in that situation now. Like Abraham, we have to try and make amends. And like Abraham, we have to accept that our efforts might not yield the results we want. Our comfort is in the knowledge that God will use our mess to teach us a lesson that will make our lives richer and our futures brighter.
Prayer: Father God, I've strayed from the path you planned for me and I want to get back on track. Give me the courage to make amends and the strength to accept the consequences of my actions. I thank you that even though I went wrong, the legacy of my wrongs will be a renewed experience of you, your love, and your forgiveness.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Successful media mogul Abraham Martin has great wealth, an elegant wife, Saralyn, and a rebellious son, Isaac. He also has a secret: a second family that no one knows about. Now, after thirty years -- driven by the urging of his long dormant conscience -- Abraham is determined to do the right thing by finally bringing his illegitimate children into light...and into the family fold. But beautiful, manipulative Saralyn will never accept the proof of her husband's indiscretions.
Angela Benson's Sins of the Father is a powerful story of a house bitterly divided -- a rich, multi layered family saga of betrayal and redemption, rage and compassion, faith, forgiveness, and ultimately, love.
Follow the blog tour at: http://bitly.com/SinsoftheFather.
For more information about Angela, visit her at http://www.angelabenson.com/.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Murder on the Down Low
Pamela Samuels Young
I am a very happy woman right now. I have finally got my own copy of Muder on the Down Low by Pamela Samuels Young. I love an intrigue and I think I've found in in Pamela's lastest book. Thank God It's Friday! I've got plans for a weekend of intrigued and mystery with Murder on the Down Low.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Spiritual Spotlight: Vanessa Richardson
This very accomplished writer is 'on the move' and
a kingdom builder as you will see as you read on.
CCLE: What is your motivation/inspiration?
CCLE: What is the best thing about being an artist in your field?
CCLE: What character in the Bible has influenced you the most? Tell us why?
CCLE: "WWJD" is a popular slogan- how does it play a part in YOUR life?
The Certain Ones is made available for purchase on my websites or just visit me and drop a line or two, I love hearing from readers. http://www.authorvanessarichardson.com/
or Amazon.com, or Barnesand Nobles.com
Author of "Butterfly Kisses"
Monday, August 3, 2009
Adrienna Turner writes inspirational non-fiction and fiction books. Under pseudonym names, she writes also science-fiction, fantasy, Young Adult (YA) inspirational drama, suspense thrillers, and new genre created by author called romance draspensedy (drama, suspense, and comedy). Her latest works are "The Day Begins with Christ," "Half of the Battle is to Surrender all I Have," and "From the Depths of my Soul: Collection of Poetry and Songs." Adrienna other titles for upcoming spiritual books: Unleashing the Spirit; Counsel Me Lord to be a Vessel for Christ; Miss the Mark Series (inspirational drama-suspense); and Desire at Will: Giving all the Glory to God through Prayer, Praise, and Worship -- Let it Overflow!
Richardson: Hello Adrienna! Thank you for talking with me. Please share yourself with our readers.
Turner: Thank you for this opportunity to share my books with you and your audience.
Richardson: It is my pleasure. The Write Vision has selected you as their featured author. Day Begins with Christ was a vision you had to write. Give us a synopsis as to what it is about it. And what has your journey been like bring it to life?
Turner: The Day Begins with Christ is an inspirational non-fiction book. It focuses on Christian men and women who want to walk with Jesus Christ. What makes my book more unique than the typical inspirational book is the journey that it takes you on to become one with Christ. It is a 50 day to day journey that helps strengthen the Christian faith.
Additionally, the main purpose of writing my book is to build godly character by taking a journey on their godly path with the true intentions to dedicate their lives to God, while it also encourages them to become a better man or woman.
The journey to bring this book to life had taken roughly a year to write, research, and edit. After first print, I wanted to make changes to the book and paid another editor to assist with the reconstruction process that took 2 months. I am undergoing other revisions for last reprint of the book. I am trying to find the market for this book and following audience.
Richardson: Where ever I go when asked for advice I tell aspiring people, (not just literary hopefuls) to develop a thick skin. I say this to encourage and not discourage aspiring authors. Adrienna, what advice do have for aspiring authors?
Turner: We have to be open to networking with other authors, literary agents/publicists, and readers. As authors, we are not to only focus on becoming the next best-seller, but to have readers who are following and admiring our work. We are also to research the literary market and other resources that can benefit us as authors.
I constantly research the market and speak about it on my blogs or blogtalkradio show. You can find me at www.adriennaturner.webs.com and www.dreams4more.com, www.blogtalkradio.com/adrienna-turner.
More importantly, God created you to write and gives you a story to write, do it! Trust God and He will provide what you need to do it. If He called you to write, do not doubt, trust that He choose you since He sees the Gift in you. He sees the 'end' and you are afraid to 'begin'. It is not always about your degrees and credentials, even though they are resourceful for the haters/criticism, but believe in you and your work...and the rest will come to pass.
Richardson: How do/did you deal with rejections?
Turner: I learn from them. I re-evaluate the rejection and find new ways or resolutions to improve my craft, artistry, and myself as a person. We are branding You and second your gift or talents. As believers, we are representing Christ, there is always room for improvement. Understand that things will not always happen the way you anticipate or expect, but there is a reason for everything and to pick up the pieces and learn from it. How can I make it better? What can I change? What did I learn from it?
Richardson: Do you have any forthcoming projects readers should be made aware of? I know also your a reviewer and you've started your own business.
Turner: Forthcoming projects are listed on my website: adriennaturner.webs.com. I am looking forward to writing a YA version of Day Begins with Christ that God laid on my heart after the previous release. Unleashing the Spirit Volume 1 and 2 will be out the end of 2009 or 2010, accepting pre-orders now! Miss the Mark Series (5-7), inspirational suspense-drama fiction and The Guardian Watch, supernatural fiction. I am also writing under pseudonym names for other fictional writing projects.
Stage play: Are you Ready? www.areyoureadyplay.com as one of the 6 characters in the play.
Business: Dream 4 More Literary Consulting Firm (www.dreams4more.com) (new and aspiring authors to learn more about the literary market and other services) and working on a future Publishing company: Dream Your Reality Publications. I am also looking at partnering or working for a publishing company that will be coming out soon--Heavenly Publishing and write articles for Heavenly Magazine (www.heavenlymag.com).
Three divine connections are contemplating on creating a virtual bookstore called Divine (Devine) Connectionz (or Connections). We will see what God has in store for me and those divine connections I met along the way.
Richardson: Adrienna, thank you for taking the time out to chat with me and sharing your goals and aspiration with us here on The Certain Ones Blog. Please continue to inspire as you aspire!