Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
April is National Poetry Month! I was excited to be one of several poets featured for WrittenVoicesBlog.com, National Poetry Month segment. If you have not visited yet, I strongly urge you to do so. I esteemed myself to be in GREAT company of poets, as they are fierce with the written word and awe inspiring. I have included the link to our interview and podcast. That's right you can hear poets recite their written words. Happy Poetry Month!
Tyora Moody is a writer, blogger, web/graphic designer and an all-around encourager. Join her each week as she blogs about "African American Literature That Edifies the Soul." WrittenVoicesBlog.com and WrittenVoicesPodcast.com spotlights fiction and nonfiction authors who incorporate their Christian faith and/or personal experiences into their books. Written Voices Editor & Podcast Host.
In 2006, she officially started writing on a regular basis again after a long dry period. Tyora enjoys reading and writing mystery/suspense novels. In the near future, she hopes to join the ranks of published Christian Fiction authors that she enjoys reading. She is a member of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers), Christian Fiction Blog Alliance and several other online writing groups. Tyora loves to encourage and promote authors. You can visit her online at TyoraMoody.com.
Monday, April 13, 2009
Please enjoy my chat, with LaShaunda Hoffman founder of SORMAG, an online magazine for readers and writers of multi-cultural literature. Join me as I get to know the woman behind the business.
Richardson : Hi LaShaunda, I would like to thank you for chatting with me. Could you please share with our viewers who you are?
Hoffman: Vanessa, thank you so much for having me and SORMAG today. My name is LaShaunda C. Hoffman and I’m a lover of books who took that love and created an online magazine called Shades Of Romance Magazine. It was my way to say thanks to the writers who wrote the books I loved. Nine years ago, I never dreamed we would still be online and still promoting writers and their books.
In my real life, I’m happily married with three children. I work for the government and that part of my life keeps me as busy as my fantasy life. In the little spare time I have I write Christian fiction. One day I hope to be a published writer.
Hoffman: I’ve always wanted to have a magazine unfortunately after doing my research I realized I didn’t have the funds to do it the way I wanted. So I decided to try my hand at online publishing. SORMAG started out as a bi-monthly online magazine on sormag.com
It was a process putting the magazine out every two months, but I loved every minute of it. As the writers of romance started moving on to mainstream fiction, I realized we had to move with the writers and the readers. We started promoting all literature and eventually moved to the blog concept which helped us be more interactive.
Richardson: There is spiritual awakening passage that goes: What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? I am a huge fan of Langston Hughes’ poem "A dream deferred" and have often times quoted that familiar passage as an source of inspiration and encouragement. How do you/did you deal with rejection?
Hoffman: Vanessa I’m a witness who can say that the dream doesn’t dry up. It sits in the pit of your stomach and it aches every time you think about it. When I started SORMAG, I pushed my writing dream to the back. I was busy doing the magazine, I thought I didn’t have time to write and I believed the magazine would satisfy the writing need. Unfortunately the characters in my head refuse to listen.
I decided to take up my pen and my dream of publication and that’s when I had to deal with rejection. I will admit I wasn’t very good at it. I let the word FEAR scare me away from submitting for years. I was afraid of rejection and I thought I’d write my books and some day my time would come. However you can’t get published if you don’t experience rejection. You have to put yourself and your work out there. Yes, you might get a few nos, but one day it might be a YES. The only way you can find out is to step out and just do it.
Richardson: What advice do you have for writers and/or aspiring entrepreneurs?
Hoffman: Don’t let FEAR cripple you from seeing your dreams come true. If you have a dream to write or to start your own business, believe in yourself or no one will. When it came to SORMAG I’m all talk but when it came to my writing, I was closed lip. I’m still learning to have confidence in my writing ability. Put the FEAR behind you and you’ll go far.
Richardson: Are there any future projects your working on that you could share with us?
Hoffman: We are currently scheduling for the summer teleseminars we host each month. We’re looking for presenters to teach. If you have a subject you think others would like to learn. Send your idea to me at – http://firstname.lastname@example.org
We also have our Bi-Annual online conference this summer, August 23 – 26, 2009. Registration begins May 1st.
SORMAG - Shades Of Romance Magazine - http://sormag.blogspot.com/
An online magazine for readers and writers of multi-cultural literature.
Author/Book Promotion/Book Reviews/Literary News
Online Book Tours/Online Workshops/Online Bookstore
Promoting books and their authors for nine years.
Richardson: LaShaunda, I would like to thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to chat with me. You are such an inspiration and a helper to many. I am looking forward to hearing greater things from you, until then please continue to let your light shine as it has allowed many people to see the gift within themselves and others, too.
Hoffman: Vanessa, thank you again for having me. I appreciate you letting me introduce SORMAG to your readers. If anyone has a question for me feel free to leave a comment. I will be checking back throughout the day to answer them.
I invite the readers to become a member of our community. I’d also like to offer a special report, FIVE TIPS TO BUILDING AN ONLINE PRESENCE.
Send an email to http://email@example.com with special report in the subject and I’ll send you a copy.
SORMAG BLOG TOUR GIVEAWAY
A SORMAG GOODY bag will be sent to one lucky blog winner who leaves a comment on this blog. (10 winners)
If you join SORMAG’s Community this month, you have a chance to win the following:
$25.00 Gift Certificate to Amazon.com (2 winners)
Much Ado About Reading PROMO AD (value 70.00) (2 winners)
Visit the following blogs for a chance to win.
Meet SORMAG April 6 - Elaine Cantrell - http://www.elainepcantrell.blogspot.com/
CONNECT WITH US ON THE NET:
Join our community
LaShaunda C. Hoffman -SORMAG's Publisher
SORMAG - Shades Of Romance Magazine is new and improved. We invite you to consider promoting your books on our new sites. We have rates for every budget – http://sormag.com/advertise.htm
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Hello Everyone! I hope that your still persuing those goals you've set. Remember time waits for no man. You do not want to have any regreats in the future. So take faith and do what you are chosen to do. If you make one step, God will make two. Believe this. I recently had the pleasure to interview one of my favorite authors of ALL times. She is just gifted as a writer and loving as a person. Please enjoy our chat below.
With multi-book deals with the highly esteemed publishers of Harlequin's Kimani Press (New Spirit imprint), Moody Publishing (Lift Every Voice imprint) and Urban Books (Urban Christian imprint), Kendra has risen to become one of the most acclaimed voices in Christian fiction.
Among other honors, Kendra has been named a bestselling author on the Black Expressions Bestsellers List, the Walmart Bestsellers List and the Essence Bestsellers List, where her novel, "Crossing Jhordan's River" peaked at #1 for paperback fiction. Most recently, Kendra was presented (by the African American Literary Awards Show) with the 2008 awards for Best Christian Fiction of the Year (for "Battle of Jericho") and Best Anthology of the year (for "This Far By Faith").
Richardson: You are releasing your latest series installment titled: "The Lyons Den." Could you please tell reader about this delightful read.
Norman-Bellamy: This book released on April 1st and it is the third (and possibly final) book in the Shelton Heights series. Each book in this series are surrounding the lives of people who live in or are connected to an infamous community called Shelton Heights. It is believed that this community is somewhat cursed, so those who are connected to it often find themselves in very bizarre, unexplainable situations. In "The Lyons Den," Stuart Lyons (who is a police officer and the head of security at his church) begins to be stalked by an unknown perpetrator, and he has no idea who it is. The stalker will only identify himself by a signature that is left behind at every prank and crime that is committed. The signature simply says: Dr. A.H. Satan. That's the only evidence ever left behind. At first, Stuart is certain that the power of the capable police force will be able to nab this faceless predator, but when the culprit continues to avoid capture and begins to threaten the safety Stuart's family, Stuart realizes that if there is any chance of his stalker being captured, he's going to have to stop putting his faith in man and trust God to solve the mystery on their behalf. "The Lyons Den," like the other books in the Shelton Heights series, is a faith-based romantic suspense novel.
Richardson: Wow a faith based romantic suspense novel. This sounds intriguing and I love an intrigue. I can not wait to get my hands on my copy! Kendra, why did you "decide" - if I can call it that- to write Christian Fiction?
Norman-Bellamy: There was never a decision-making process involved. I'm a double PK (preacher's kid). Both my parents are preachers, and I was brought up in the church my whole life, accepting Christ as my personal Savior at the age of twelve. I didn't make a conscious decision to write Christian Fiction. When I started writing, what came out of me was what had been poured into me from infancy. I didn't choose Christian fiction, it chose me, and somehow, through it, God has given me a worldwide ministry of sorts.
Richardson: I believe that in all things we should give God glory. As an reader I respect author's written works. As an writer, I want to "know" their stories. Do you want to testify? Kendra what is your story behind the glory?
Norman-Bellamy: Oh, honey....how much time to you have? LOL! I love to give my testimony and it's really too long to print in detail. But not only did I not aspire to write Christian Fiction, I didn't aspire to be a writer at all. I found my purpose through pain. Writing began as a form of therapy for me after the death of my first husband. When I began writing, it brought me healing, and God spoke to me and told me that just as my writing had been a source of healing for me, He would use my pen to do the same for others. So my stories, although they are fiction to me, they are nonfiction to someone else. The fictitious situations that I write about in my story are God-inspired. So whereas they aren't my own reality, they are someone's reality, and in spite of the entertainment value, the books serve their purpose to those who read them. Knowing that my books bless people is the greatest reward ever.
Richardson: I can certainly attest to the fact that your books are certainly a blessings to many. There are no greater rewards than being in the perfect will of God, and in His will a chain reactions occurs. As you;ve stated: People are blessed, encouraged, inspired, and we are rewarded, our homes, families, church, and our quality of life. Kendra you are also founder of CRUISIN' FOR CHRIST, an annual Christian cruise that celebrates artists who use their gifts to glorify God! This sounds delicious! How can readers become apart of this event?
Norman-Bellamy: It is delicious indeed! The website is http://www.msplinks.com/MDFodHRwOi8vd3d3LkNydWlzaW5Gb3JDaHJpc3Qub3Jn. It's an awesome at-sea adventure that brings people and their favorite Christian artists, authors, musicians, actors, comedians, etc. together for a fun-filled week of ministry, education, entertainment, and relaxation. It is just an amazing experience, and this year we set sail September 5-12. Cabins are still available, so now would be a great time for readers to register!
Richardson: What advice do you have for aspiring writers, who opt to traditional or Self Publish?
Norman-Bellamy: I'm an advocate of self-publishing because I believe it forces writers to learn the ins and outs of the industry and I think it's important that we know the whole of what we are a part of. I also believe that self-publishing gives writers a higher appreciation for their own gift. I started out as a self-published author, and it's a great way to get your foot in the door and begin building a name for yourself while you wait for the traditional publishing deal to manifest itself. And yes, it can be a waiting game when your goal is to become a traditionally published author. The market is saturated and it's not easy to land a mainstream publishing deal. The current economy has made it even more difficult now than it was just a year or two ago. You have to have a tough skin and some true stamina to survive the challenges.
That's why I often tell people that there are three ingredients that every aspiring writer needs to have - regardless of whether they are self-publishing or going the traditional/mainstream route. Prayer, Patience, and Perseverance. Without those three things, the climb to success can seem uphill every single step of the way. But if you're prayerful, patient and determined to persevere, the process is a lot less stressful. God will arm you with all you need to sustain the pressure. I also think that it is important that aspiring writers be aware that this is not the industry to get into if the sole purpose or the main goal is to get rich. There's not a lot of money involved, especially at the beginning of a writer's career. A lot of hard work goes into being a successful novelist. The competition is stiff, and readers have an abundance of books to choose from. If you want a reader to notice your work, you need to be willing to write well and work hard!
Richardson: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me. I am looking forward to hearing nothing but the best from you, by you, all through Christ. Continue to inspire as you aspire.
Norman-Bellamy: Thank you, Vanessa. I pray God's best to you and your readers.
Christian Fiction Author: Kendra Norman Bellamy