Sunday, August 23, 2015

3 THINGS with NIGERIA LOCKLEY




Nigeria Lockley is steadily building a name for herself in the  literary industry. Her novel Born At Dawn won the 2015
Wheatley 2015 First Fiction Award. Her second novel
 Seasoned with Grace released in July 2015.
 

Below are ‘3 Things’ about the author and her work.
 
3 THINGS ABOUT NIGERIA LOCKLEY

1.      I’m a native New Yorker.
2.      I took dance class when I was a child at the Boys and Girls Club.
3.      My first job was at McDonald’s.
3 Things about Seasoned with Grace
1.      I wrote most of the book on my cell phone.
2.      There is a parallel between some of the events in the book and the Bill Cosby situation. That was totally unplanned.
3.      The protagonist, Grace King struggles with drug and alcohol addiction.

Book Synopsis: Sentenced to probation, thirty-year-old, supermodel Grace King must put her plans of transitioning into acting to extend the longevity of her career on hold. Desperate to keep a close eye on Grace and his job Grace’s ambitious lawyer, Ethan Summerville has her complete community service in the last place Grace wants to be. His church.

Instead of God, Grace finds a "chocolate drop" of a man-Brother Horace Green. However, Horace isn't looking for a supermodel. He wants his woman saved and sanctified, but Grace has never met a man who has been able to resist her. Will Horace compromise his faith for a tast of fortune, fame, and Grace?

While Grace focuses on the pursuit of passion Ethan finds one director willing to take a risk and cast Grace in his debut film, but this role fits Grace all too well. Will this film revive Grace’s relationship with God and her career or bring her closer to destruction?
You can learn more about then author at her home on the net: www.nigerialockley.com

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

'TIS the SEASON


The summer season is fast approaching and many have already made the decision to attend some type of reader or writing event.

As an aspiring, novice or established writer there is wisdom in seeking to enhance your skill set and/or gain visibility within the reading and writing community. To better understand the value of industry based knowledge one might consider attending a writer’s conference, writer’s retreat, writing workshop, book festival, book club event or reader’s convention.

While most may view these venues as a social event, the majority of them are the valuable tool writers can benefit from attending. They are worthwhile in an ever-evolving industry because most serve multiple purposes. Chief among those purposes is the ability to expose the writer to the world of possibilities they may not have known existed or did not previously have a way of connecting to.

Over the years these once primarily academic events have evolved into a combination of continuing education and memorable social events. To date there are a myriad of options to satisfy a writer's need. However, before you rush to fill out registration and push send, be sure that you understand what it is you need and if the event you’re considering will fill that need. To assist you with your making your decision, brief definitions of various writing events are listed below.

Writer’s Conference – For the most part a writer’s conference provides the attendees with introduction to basics and continuing education as it pertains to the craft of writing and publishing. Those offerings most often are taught in a one-hour classroom setting by industry professionals. There may be many classes offered, and for the preservation of time, they are run simultaneously. It will be up to you to determine which will be the most beneficial for you. At some conferences there is also opportunity to pitch to an agent, editor or publisher representative, receive free books and interact with popular authors. The conference may offer a luncheon and formal dinner, both with a keynote speaker (usually a popular author), and book signing events.

Writer’s Retreat – The writer’s retreat is less formal than the writer’s conference. The retreat offers concentrated instruction in the area of writing in a comfortable and often secluded environment that lends to a sense of fellowship with attendees. The primary focus is to instill a sense of confidence in the writer while teaching foundational skills that will inspire their creativity.

Writing Workshops – Writing workshops are often locally held events hosted by a literary professional. The offerings are usually in the areas of writing basics and editing.

Book Festivals – Book festivals are events that give opportunity to expose the author to a large number of readers. Some festivals offer a main stage/VIP event with headline authors. Author participants can be as few as a dozen tor as many as several hundred.

Book Club Conferences/Conventions – These events often cater to fans of a particular genre, but some have expanded to encompass several genres for a greater impact. The convention offers programs and events that give opportunity for attendees to meet experts in that field, popular personalities and to become a part of the culture for the duration of the convention.

Attending one of the many literary events offered each year can be a memorable and life-changing event. Before registering, be sure to know what it is you want to experience and take away from your investment.
For those who feel that the investment of travel, accommodations and registration fees may be out of their budget—don’t despair. Online conferences may be the perfect option for you.
To find out what writing events are being held online or in physical locations, type your request into your favorite search engine, ask a friend or those in one of your writing groups. You may be surprised at what you might find that will fit your industry and budgetary needs.

 
Until next time, I encourage you to use your words to bear good fruit!

 

Linda!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Do You Have the Victory?

Claim the victories in your life. They may be small or large, but they are worth celebrating.
 


Linda!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

UNITY



In this world there are so many who have embraced the ‘Me-Me’ mentality. Too often we’re so consumed about an individual agenda being met that the good of whole gets lost.
It warmed my heart yesterday as I watched the groups of Baltimore residents ban together to clean the aftermath of a night of violence in their city. To me that signified a sense of unity.
Their actions may not have impressed everyone, but to me their collective effort displayed the true heart of the city.
 
 
Linda!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


Trust is something that we all would like to have in all of our relationships. Trust is something that has to be earned, is highly regarded and can be easily broken.
Placing trust in ourselves is something that is developed over a period of time.  Like other relationships (yes you should have a relationship with yourself), when trusting yourself, it requires a measure of belief.
In this life having a healthy trust/belief in your abilities is necessary. Without that trust, that belief in your abilities it will be easy for others to tell you who you are and what you’re not capable of. Likewise, a lack of trust in self defeats the purpose you’re born to as you convince yourself of who you aren’t.
Trust in ones abilities is not being conceited; its understanding who you are and what you’re capable of. Trust your gut and trust that you are all that you've been set on this earth to be.
 
Linda!

Monday, April 27, 2015

SOLID PLANS


Over the years that I’ve been writing and reviewing many people have asked how I’ve been able to achieve the measure of success that I have. My answer is a very simple one. I wrote what I believed to be a solid business plan and did my best to stay on track with it.
Many believe that writing the story is all that you need to do. I’m sure that many authors will tell you that writing the story is only a portion of what it takes to achieve a measure of success in the industry. And if I may so bold, I will dare to say that whether your business is featured on the stock exchange, an established fixture in your community or the most important one of all, seeing to the budget of your family, having a solid plan is vital.
 
It is said that a person without a plan is planning to fail. That is true in some many ways.  Although it is, I’d also submit that a solid plan doesn’t always have to be a long drawn out process, but it should be one that is thought out and executed with care.
 
Linda!

Friday, April 24, 2015

LIVE YOUR PERSONAL RAINBOW


I often tell people that I’m not afraid of color—and I’m not. I love vibrant colors and wear them often and incorporate them into the d├ęcor of my home, workplace and the multiple projects I create.
To me, color, my personal rainbow represents the many attributes that makes me – ME!
I’ve embraced who I am and live being unapologetically me. I encourage you to do the same. Whether your color palate consists of earth tones, deep jewel tones or tips the color spectrum with the vibrancy of electric pink; the point is to dare to live out loud embracing the multiple colors of your personal rainbow.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

QUENCH NOT


There’s a scripture that warns against quenching (denying) the Spirit of God. What that scripture is saying is that believers are to shy away from distractions that prevent them from being led by God's Spirit.  
Likewise I would like to give this charge to artists – Do not allow the opinions of others to quench the ideas, inspiration and authenticity that has been entrusted to you.
 
The artistic mind is one that most won’t understand. However, artistic management often quenches creativity in order to mass produce the ‘current trend’. Good for them – not good for the authenticity of the artist.
Accepting sound advice should not be mistaken with being detoured from inspiration for the sake of ‘trend’. But, be mindful that what’s been given to you was never meant to be replicated for the sake of exchanging who you are or your gift, for monetary gain. Therefore I encourage you to go forth with who you are and allow no one to quench the gift entrusted to you. Have no qualms about walking away from that which would quench your authentic muse.
 
 
Linda!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

PATIENCE

 
My literary journey began long before my first release. Shortly after publication, a fantastic book release party and invitations to numerous book clubs, my father became seriously ill.
 
Plans that I had painstakingly made now had to take a back seat to caring for my dad. It’s something that I gladly did, but I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t admit that I was bit bummed.
 
Rather than stew in my own juice (as one of my sisters would say), I exercised the patience most were surprised that I had.
 
During the time away from writing I used what was in my hand and began to delve deeper into the literary world. I inherited an online writers group and worked with and learned from them, developed a blog and when time allotted, I ventured out to conferences.
 
It wasn’t what I had planned, but because I chose patience, many doors opened for me. Through those opened doors I was able to develop relationships and a knowledge base that not only helped my future, but allowed me to support others.
 
They say that patience is a virtue and I believe that it is. It’s also a way of keeping us from putting our cart before the horse.
 
 
Linda!
 


 
 
 

 

CENTER STAGE with RHONDA BOWEN

It is my absolute pleasure to present to you, author Rhonda Bowen and her latest release Under Covers.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Naomi Savoy is five days away from marrying Jordan Lennox, the man of her dreams, when she is faced with her worst nightmare. Her sister is missing. When her search for her sister sets her on a path into her past, she is forced to ask for help from the last person on earth she ever wished to see again - Garth Duhaney - a man she has both loved and hated for most of her life and whose power over her she has never been able to break.
Jordan Lennox knows his wife-to-be is hiding things in her past. But his love for her keeps him believing that one day she will come clean. But when the secrets force him on a trip across the ocean only days before their wedding, he begins to question whether love is really enough.
Will love keep them together or will it all fall apart when everything is uncovered?
 ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rhonda Bowen knew she would be a writer as early as eighth grade when she wrote her first novel with a classmate in a dollar notebook. While waiting for the day to come she completed a degree in Communications and spent a few years working in Public Relations and Event Planning. Throughout this time however, her desire to write stayed alive. She eventually completed her first novel, Man Enough for Me, which was released under Kensington Books’ Dafina imprint in February 2011.
Several years, a stint in Asia and a career change to youth work finds her still writing. She has written four romance novels and her books have been featured in PUBLISHERS WEEKLY and LIBRARY JOURNAL. Her latest novel Under Covers was released March 16, 2015. She writes about the themes of Real Life, Real Love and Real Faith, weaving stories about strong women who must deal with life and love without losing themselves. Sometimes they succeed, other times they make a mess of things while trying.
When not writing or being schooled on what’s current by the youth she works with, she enjoys chilling with her family, trying on shoes she can’t afford, bargain hunting online on Asian clothes websites and enjoying the great outdoors.
Visit her online at: Amazon
or drop her a note at rhondakbowen@yahoo.com.
Purchase at: Amazon
 

 
 
 

 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

IT'S OKAY!



How often have you been asked:
  • What's wrong with you?
  • How are you feeling?
  • Is this what you wanted?

How often has your response been:
  • I'm okay
  • It's okay
How often was your response a lie based on the following definitions of 'OKAY'?
  • Used to express assent, agreement, or acceptance
  • Satisfactory, but not exceptionally or especially good
You said you were okay but you weren't. You didn't really feel good, but you pretended that you were. What was presented wasn't what you needed, but you accepted it anyway because in your opinion, it was okay.
 
Often we say okay because we either don't want to rock the boat or we don't want to hurt someone's feelings, but either way, we aren't being honest. 
 
Why? Because while we're internalizing what's best for another, 'OKAY' is growing into stress that can lead to a variety of medical issues. Or, equally as detrimental, years of OKAY has the potential to erupt into a rage with the ability to destroy the future of many.
So how do you overcome this? By giving yourself permission to tell the truth.
If you’re angry, not feeling well, not in agreement with what’s being presented to you—say it.
Say it because it’s OKAY to do so. Say it because it can save you much health-wise and in your personal and professional relationships.
 
 
Linda!

Monday, April 20, 2015

NETWORKING


NETWORKINGa supportive system of sharing information and services among individuals and groups having a common interest.
Being a very social person, one of the components that I enjoy most about my literary journey is networking. Most people view this aspect of the business as one of formal business meetings, skype and teleconferences. Those scheduled interactions are definitely a part of the process, but not the only way to develop and maintain business relationships. Below is a snapshot of what networking can look like:
  • That formal meeting, teleconference or Skype encounter that has already been mentioned
  • A conversation over coffee
  • The passing out business cards in line at the grocery store
  • That chance encounter with an individual shopping for something you've spotlighted in your book
  • Opportunity to speak to a group/organization whose cause connects with yours 
  • Professionals hired to develop a plan for your goal
  • Nonprofessionals dedicated to supporting your goal  by helping to get the word out about your work
This list could go on, but for the sake of brevity I'll sum things up this way, networking is a valuable tool for the authorpreneur. It's also a tool that has to be nurtured.
Don't forsake turning those appointments or chance encounters into success.  Follow up on leads or information given at the end of that unexpected or chance meeting.  What's in your hand could be the door opening to what  you’ve been longing for.  
Follow up should be made within 48 hours of meeting. When you do:
  • Don’t try to oversell yourself
  • Take the time to understand who the individual/group is , what they're about and what they have to offer
  • Determine if you’re able to reciprocate
  • Be honest on both fronts
Why is this important?
 
Because although what looks like opportunity is offered, you have to determine if it is the one you should partake of. Likewise, don’t offer something you shouldn’t. As the saying goes, everything that glitters isn’t gold.  For that reason alone consider what connecting to certain people and entities will do to your personal and business reputation. 
 
 
*It's good to hand out your card, but don't walk away from someone you've engaged without getting their contact information.

 

Linda!

Friday, April 17, 2015

MARKETING--Isn't That for Groceries?

When I was creating the strategy for my first book I enrolled in a class geared toward the business side of writing. I enjoyed all that was being taught until the 'M' word rolled off the facilitator's tongue.
 
Marketing.   
 
I leaned in and pretended that I hadn't heard what had been said.
 
Marketing, she couldn't be talking about a subject I dreaded on a good day. As far as I was concerned marketing was for groceries, and anyone who knew me, knew about my aversion to the grocery store and cooking on a regular basis.
 
My saving grace was that the woman didn't know me and gave me what I needed in spite of my self-proclaimed and unresolved issue. In an emphatic voice she told the class that unless our goal was to keep our books on our own shelves, we had to have a marketing strategy.
 
Over the next hour she filled our heads with must-do and never-do tips to help us create our very own plan for pre and post release promotions. Initially I looked at it as another burdensome task, like going to the market. In time I found myself adjusting because my goal was to get my books into your hands.
 
 
Linda!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

CENTER STAGE


It is my pleasure to introduce to some and reintroduce to others an author, entrepreneur and a woman I'm proud to call my friend, Tyora Moody.
 
In the time that we've known each other, Ms. Moody has quietly established herself as an internet and social media powerhouse whose services are in high demand.  A woman of faith, Ty believes in giving to others and has been the silent force that has contributed to the success of many. As a hybrid (traditionally and independently published) author of fiction and non-fiction books, the awards she has won and has been nominated for speak to the quality of her work.

Below is just a glimpse into what the power of her pen produces. Please enjoy this spotlight for HOSTILE EYE WITNESS the first installment from  her new SERENA MANCHESTER SERIES.
 
~ ~ ~
 
Depressed from the complications of a head injury, SERENA MANCHESTER seeks solitude in the hometown she left almost twenty-five years before. Unknown to Serena, her hometown’s landscape has changed and unseemly elements have seeped into the quaint Southern seaport town.

One night Serena witnesses a gang-related crime. She thinks she recognizes one of the young men, but chooses not to identify him. What if her brain injury has deceived her perceptions? Her estranged family has already reminded her why she left town in the first place. Drawing attention to herself and perhaps threatening her well-being is the last thing Serena needs.

Serena is determined to keep a low-profile, but Trey Evans persistently tries to draw her from her hiding place. With her track record with men, Serena isn’t interested. What does she have in common with a minister even if they were childhood friends?

When tragedy strikes close to home, Serena can no longer keep her head in the sand.  Feeling responsible, Serena’s reporter skills kick in and to the angst of the local police, she decides to start her own investigation.

What began as journey to recover her sanity now becomes a fight for redemption.
 
                               ~ ~ ~ ~
 
Visit Tyora Moody at her home on the web:
 
                                                                      
                                                                     
   
                                        

Loving to Learn

 
Some may call me a bit nerdy because of my need to know. I can't help it, I love to learn. 
 
I love research because it's a way for me to discover something new or learn more about a subject I thought I was well-versed on.
 
As a writer my natural inquisitiveness came in handy, but only to a degree. I soon found that the art of research was good, but not if it didn't yield the appropriate data.
 
In my first novel, Business Unusual, I wanted to create a quick-witted conversation between the two protagonists as it pertained to  roses. I knew that roses from a man signified a strong interest in the woman he sent them to. What I didn't understand was that there were specific meanings behind each color of a rose. Having that knowledge allowed me to add another layer to the personalities of my characters.
 
The enhanced confidence in my skill set prompted me to dare to go deeper with forthcoming storylines, scenes and plot development. Developing that habit wasn't as easy as it sounded. It wasn't, but I learned to love the time it took to bring you reading enjoyment. So far you've told me I've done a good job.
 
 
 
Linda!
 
 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

BEING KIND

A few days ago a friend and I were discussing how so much had changed in our society. The consensus was that we're living in a world where being mean had become the rule rather than the exception.
 
As we continued our talk we touched on the mindset that when kindness was offered, it was perceived as an ulterior motive. That alone caused me to question why. What happened to us? What happened to us? What happened to us?
 
After a few more repetitions of my question the answer became clearer than it ever had been--we (society) made a choice.
 
As choosing to be unkind/mean gained notoriety virtually everything around us took on the mantra, "It's not personal--it's business." That  somehow became the medication that absolved us of our bad behavior.
 
On the other hand, being kind is more often looked upon as a sign of weakness; the blinder that prevented one from having that killer instinct that men and women of power are made of.
 
Fortunately, being kind or unkind is a matter of choice. It's up to you to choose which path to take. 
 
Linda!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

I'M JUSTIFIED

Okay I admit it--I'm just plain tired.
 
As a writer or anyone with a full schedule, fatigue can sneak up on you.
 
I spoke previously of being addicted to 'hurry' and took the only step in my 'one-step' program. Those first few days were glorious. Had the chance to get away for a few days, relaxed, slept and did very little.
 
However, before I made my way home, chaos came-a-calling. The extra day I took off from work turned into a need to handle some private business. So right now I'm tired and  I feel justified in taking time to take care of me. I'm going to bed.
 
See you tomorrow.
 
 
Linda!

Monday, April 13, 2015

It's In Your Hand

A few years back it seemed like the world was crashing down around us. Many were concerned about their savings, investments and employment. I was too, but then I remembered something I
used to say to myself and others when faced with the possibility of a government shutdown in 1995 and 1996. When people asked if I was worried I'd respond with, "If God can't take care of me then I can't be taken care of." 
 
Those words ignited a belief in me that if push came to shove I had a few skills in my hands I could draw upon that could keep the roof over our heads and food on the table if it came down to it. It didn't come down to 'it' and I'm grateful for that. Although it didn't it made me reconsider what was in my hand.
 
I was surprised at what I found. You might be surprised at what's in your hand as well. It could be anything from artistic abilities to the discovering the cure for diabetes. So, the next time you're trying to figure out what to do with your life, look at your hands--you might be surprised at what you find.
 
 
Linda!
 
 


Friday, April 10, 2015

ADDICTED TO 'HURRY'

In this age of electronic convenience it's very easy to schedule our lives out to the millisecond if we choose to. The problem is--with that convenience it can become too easy to believe we can do it all, and before we know it, we've become addicted to 'hurry'.
 
What does that mean? Just what it says. We find ourselves in a  hurry to finish this because we have to meet this deadline because we're scheduled to do this by this date or time. The rationalization can become the force that drives us to exhaustion and/or distance us from what's important.
 
Do you feel like you're always in a hurry? For most of us the answer is yes. For me the answer was YES-YES.
 
Juggling what is expected of us with what we look forward to can place us on a treadmill to nowhere with deadlines we can't always meet without stress or guilt. I know because I can honestly say that I had to acknowledge my addiction to 'hurry' and sign up for the one-step program back to 'slow down'.
 
 
What was that one step -- just stop.
 
I hear you out there screaming, "but I can't." Well, you really can, but it's a matter of choice. So today my encouragement to you is to take what you do seriously, but don't allow it to overtake your life. Slow down, because if you don't, you may soon find yourself back on that treadmill to nowhere while life passes you by.
 

 
Linda!
 


Thursday, April 9, 2015

THE POWER OF THE GORGEOUS BOOK COVER

How many times have you looked at a book and passed it by due to lack of eye appeal? How often have you been drawn to and even purchased a book because of the gorgeous cover?
 
As human beings we're naturally drawn to things that are attractive. That's not to say that everything attractive is a good thing. But, human nature proves that the majority of society is drawn to what they find attractive.
 
I've reviewed books for many years. Along the way I've surveyed readers about what helped them decide what would provoke them to purchase. The majority response they gave is as follows:
 
  • An appealing cover
  • Intriguing back cover blurb
  • The mid-book test
 
As writers please consider the three tips above when preparing the cover for your book.  A gorgeous/eye-appealing cover could make a huge difference to a potential reader.
 
 
 
Linda!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

FEROCITY

FEROCITY -- The quality of being ferocious.
 
In the midst of a tense roundtable debate one of the panelist insinuated that I had a Napoleon complex. Years of experience taught me that the remark had two objectives. The first was to divert focus from the point-of-view the panelist couldn't support with their rhetoric. The second was to possibly tone down how I defended my position.
 
The subject matter on the table that day had long been a passion of mine. The ferocity in which I defended it had been embedded in my spirit for years. I applied the same to the passion to my family, ministry and business. I have because early in life I found that once I took a stance about subject I would be challenged. I would because of the limitations society had sought to place on me by virtue of gender, stature and ethnicity. In time I learned that the challenge wouldn't be the issue; how I stood, would.
 
On my quest to fulfill purpose, it was not promised that the road I'd travel would be easy. But I won't be turned way by those who don't understand what I've been called to do. I encourage you to go after whatever you're called to with a ferocity that would stun even you.
 
 
 
 Linda!
 
 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

BE THE EXAMPLE

When I was invited to co-host a  literary event I'd long admired, I was excited. I floated around the room for about two hours. At hour two and one second I hit the floor hard. I did because the reality of what I had been charged with weighted me down.
 
When I got up the nerve to call back and ask why I had been selected, the simple response floored me. I was told by the host that they had been watching me and they liked what they'd seen. Bottom line was that from those observations it was felt that I would be a good example of caring and source of information at the venue that attendees would benefit from interacting with.
 
It's amazing to find out that people have been watching you and what they determine about you from their observations.
 
Whether you're in business or just going about what you consider your ordinary day, people are watching. What example to you want to set?
 
 
Linda!