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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Conversations w/ AAMBC Author Rachel Berry


. Tell us briefly about the topic of your book

Family Pictures is a family saga about two women from different life, age, educational, and financial backgrounds, but bonded by blood. These women are confronted by a few past family secrets that changes both their present life but also their future. Together they learn about sacrifice, themselves, unconditional love and how life mistakes can be transformed into life lessons and growth. Family Pictures is also a literary visual of their challenges and celebrations with those people they call family.

2. Why do you want to be the book of the month?

I think this is a story that many people can relate to in many ways. We all have family, and we all experience our own celebrations and challenges both individually and with family. I want this journey to be an insight to some deep experiences that unfortunately some of us go through, but also to see how we all can grow in a positive way from things that affect us negatively. It is also my goal to show that the decisions we make in life often affect not only us but loved ones as well.

3. What do you hope to gain from the AAMBC members?
I hope to gain new friendships, perhaps mentors and mentees, and a kinship with other wordsmiths and wordfairys who have been gifted to entertain others with the stroke of their creative pens and minds.
4. How did you hear about AAMBC, and what do you like about the organization?
I heard about AAMBC while doing some research on the web in order to network with other author’s, literary organizations etc. I am also a BTR host and have listened in to a few shows hosted by AAMBC. What I love about my connection to this organization is that it’s reaching all over to many states and creative souls that might not ever physically come together but still hold an alliance by our literary connection. I also like the many platforms that this organization uses to promote authors and book clubs; its commitment to the promotion of reading, and all genres. I think AAMBC is embracing technology and all the available venues that are now open to authors and poets to not only learn their craft but in their promotion and exposure to their public. For all of this I am grateful. I continue to be thirsty for all I have yet to learn.
Promotional Info
1. Are you apart of a virtual tour, if not would you like to be?
I am not a part of a virtual tour, but would love to be able to work one into my budget.
2. Will you like to arrange a date to meet with one of the AAMBC chapters?
If there is a chapter that is not within a long driving distance of Virginia, yes I would.
3. Will you like to have advertisement and promotions done after your book of the months promotions?
Oh yes. Of course I’d like to know what’s available so I can fit it into my budget as soon as possible.
4. Would you like to attend the AAMBC National Meeting?
Yes
5. Tell us any general information that you feel will be beneficial to you to gaining a promotional month?


Web Links
Author’s site 1: http://www.RachelBerry.webs.com
Site 2: http://www.Lulu.com/RachelBerry
Book Trailer: http://www.YouTube.com/wordfairy4u

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Conversations w/ Nicole Dawson


Seven Questions


Why I started writing?

I started writing as a form of therapy and discovered hey I really can write. So I began to become intrigued by creating characters and bringing them to life through story telling.

Why I chose to write this book?

I wrote “Trapped” because I felt the need to exploit the misconception of troubled youth and the theory that these children are just born bad. Society unaware of the contaminates that our youth are affected by on a day to day struggle of just trying to survive in the hood. I feel often times they just need direction and someone who cares, and when they don’t get that or they feel threatened they are headed for destruction like my character “Black”

What’s different about Trapped?

The reason “Trapped” is different is because it exploits the lives of inner city youth and the metastasis of crime, prostitution, and drugs that run rampant in our urban communities. My novel portrays positives and negatives of choices made and paths taken. It will uplift and encourage, leaving the reader with the one and only solution to their day to day struggles. “Jesus”

What can listeners expect from you as an author?

They can expect to be captivated from beginning to end clinging to each page longing for more and more disappointed when they come to the end, yet not being left with wondering of what the purpose was for the read.

What authors do you like?

I love Victoria Christopher Murray she is one of my favorites. I will always love Zane, Jerome Dickey, and Terry McMillian. I have to admit I haven’t explored a lot of the newer authors because I have been pretty busy trying to polish my upcoming read.

What are some of the ingredients in your opinion a good novel should have?

I think it needs to be a page turner; it should have a good plot and a purpose. I don’t want to put a book down and be like what was that about. I have read books that had terrible editing, but I could look past it because the narrative was on point.

When you complete a novel what would you like your reader to take from your narrative?

I want them to be able to visualize it as if they were really there, so it has to be very descriptive. I hope that they can relate to the characters in some way and that they can be inspired and moved by the lessons learned and the metamorphosis that takes place through each character from the beginning to the end.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

AAMBC Winter Tours w/ Natasha Usher


Interview w/ Natasha Hunts

When did you begin writing, and who nurtured you as a writer? Do you write for children only? What inspired your decision to write children's books?
Unhappy with the ending of the many of the books I read, I began creating my own endings in elementary school. My efforts were nurtured by my teachers and my family, especially my grandmother. Since I’m a middle grades school teacher and deal with children on a daily basis, I’m always on the look out for a great book for my students. What better way to know what they’re reading than by writing the books myself.

Who are some of your favorite children's authors? How do their works differ from the children's authors of your childhood?
I don’t read a lot of books by “new authors”, but if I do read something, it is usually a Walter Dean Myers novel or something by Sharon Draper. I’m still drawn to the classics, I guess, of my childhood. By classics, I mean books that I was introduced to in school.

What are you currently reading?
I am currently reading (and for the second time) Hill Harper’s Letters to a Young Sister. It’s such an amazing novel.

As an educator, what do you feel that we children need to see more in their books? How will you help fill this void?
As an educator, I just want children to read; it doesn’t matter to me what they read. Still, I would like to see more humor and less seriousness in books. To me, books have always served as an escape, and in this world, I think children need all the hideaways they can get. I also believe that there is a great need for more children’s books with African American characters. When I go to the bookstores, it’s always hard for me to find good stories (for my children) that revolve around the lives of African Americans.That’s why in THE HUNTS, I created a funny story around a group of African American siblings.

Briefly tell us about The Hunts and where did you get the idea for this story.
I have a colorful cast of nieces and nephews, eight of them, who keep me in stitches. They inspired the mischievous bunch of Hunts.

What is your targeted age group audience? How are readers and their parents and/or teachers responding?
My targeted age group is 9-12. So far the response to my book has been positive. Parents and teachers are telling me that they are laughing just as much as the children.

What advice would you like to share with aspiring writers?
Write down every idea you have, no matter how crazy or whacky it seems to you or other people. The best stories come from unusual ideas. Don’t be afraid to take a risk. You only fail when you talk yourself out of trying. And of course, good luck!

Natasha Usher Bio-
Natasha Usher is a wife, a mother, and a middle grades teacher who lives outside of Atlanta Georgia. When not writing or nurturing young minds, Natasha enjoys reading, watching movies, photography, and cooking. She is a graduate of Mercer University where she majored in Business and earned her initial teaching certification. At seven years old, after being denied a role in an elementary school play because of a lack of character roles, Natasha decided she wanted to be a writer. She wanted to write plays and stories that had enough roles to keep all children happy. Since then, she has been sharing her stories with family, friends, and anyone who will listen. The Hunts is her second novel for young adults.

The Hunts Synopsis

Victoria, Luther V, Tyler, Tyger, and DougRoss Hunt. Sure these five African American children are named after their parents’ favorite celebrities, but they still have a lot going for them. Despite their young ages, the Hunts are very resourceful. They have managed to live alone ever since their parents abandoned them. Their survival strategy is quite simple - if it is not given to them, they simply take it.
When the Hunts decide life is too boring in their small town of Acon, Georgia, they decide a trip to the big city of Atlanta is just what they need. The fact they have no money for the trip doesn’t faze them at all.
After the Hunts’ attempt to raise money fails, the townspeople, eager for a quiet weekend, take up a trip collection fund for them. When most of the people hand over their credit cards, the Hunts are on their way. Atlanta and the Hunts will never be the same again.

Web Links

http://www.thehuntsstory.info – official book site

http://www.myspace.com/runningwildacon - myspace site

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Conversations w/ Julia Press Simmons


1. Why did you decide to become an author?
I am a writer simply because I write almost everyday and have done so since I was a child. My desire to become an author was a natural progression.


2.Where do you get the inspiration for your stories?
Oh, my God. The voices in my head… lol. I have an overactive imagination, and a wealth of dramatic life experience that keeps the words flowing.


3. We know that Strawberry Mansion is loosely based on your life, can the same be said about Begonia Brown?
No Begonia Brown is a purely fictional character. I met her while writing Strawberry Mansion, and I fell in love with her story. I struggled to make Begonia real. I wanted to create a novel based on what I knew went down on the streets. I’ve never been privy to the glamorous side of the hood that a lot of my peers write about. I’m not knocking it, mind you, I’m just not familiar with it and I like to write what I know,


4. Do you stick to a writing schedule?
How much writing do you do per day? Yes, yes, and yes. I have too. I am easily distracted and unorganized person. If I don’t stick to a schedule then nothing will never get done. I usually start with an outline and once that is finished I’ll write anywhere from 2 thousand to 5 thousand words a day.


5. Do you experience writers block?
All the friggen time. I usually get blocked when I try to make it perfect. I get stuck in an editing loop that can take a few days to get out of. When this happens I usually take a couple of days off, watch a few movies, and then come back to it with a fresh perspective. If I’m facing a deadline, I’ll just write through it until the inspiration bug bites me again.


6. Will you aver write in a different genre?
Hell yes! I am a writing a fantasy novel about African Dragons now. I love sci-fi fantasy and am a self-proclaimed nerd!


7. What’s next?
I have three novels in the works: “Hell Couldn’t Be Any Better” coming out in February 2010, the final installment of the Philadelphia Story series, entitled “Violet,” coming September 2010, and my first sci-fi fantasy effort “Adjua’s Fire” will debut in January 2011.


Begonia Brown: A Philadelphia Story


We were named for the flowers in Grandma's Garden. Begonias, Violets and Daisies, and much like those flowers, we were showered with a love that rivaled sunrays. We knew nothing of pain, or sorrow, or just how cruel the world could be until the day God saw fit to call Grandma on home. Her heart stopped two weeks after Daisy was born. My mother smoked us homeless two weeks after that. Now with Grandma gone and mommy on a constant crack high, it's up to me to keep our little family together, and you best believe I'll stop at nothing to do just that…


Begonia’s carefree world has been turned upside down. Forced to become the head of her household she has to trade her paintbrush in for a switchblade, and her love of art into a love affair with the hood. Lying, stealing, and turning tricks, Begonia will do any and everything she can to protect her sisters from the ugliness of the world. However, it just isn’t enough… When her younger sister Violet, desperate to escape the hell her life has become is seduced by an up and coming Corner boy, and their baby sister Daisy is riddled with disease that could be fatal if not cared for, Begonia is caught between the hard knocks of the streets and the nightmare of her home life.


From the critically acclaimed author of Strawberry Mansion comes the tale of Begonia Brown. Raised in the unforgiving streets of North Philadelphia, Begonia Brown is undoubtedly a product of her environment, young, ruthless, and criminally minded.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Get to Know Cherilyn Vonn



1. Describe yourself for our visitors.
The best way that I can describe myself is simply by saying that I am a vessel and a servant. I live by the mantra, that I may be the only Bible that someone else reads. First and foremost, in addition to the many hates that I wear it’s my passion to fulfill my God-given mission!

2. What inspired you to write Weekly Wisdom: 52 Ways to Live a More Fulfilled Life?
Pain was the guiding force that paved way for the conception of Weekly Wisdom. I finally got to a point in my life where I was “sick and tired of being sick and tired!” I knew GOD had a larger vision of me than I had for myself. I found myself on an emotional merry-go-round of complacency, failed relationships and negativity. It was honestly draining the life out of me.
I believe we all come to a point in our lives in which we question our existence. For me I knew there had to be more to life than merely working a j.o.b. that I hated, living paycheck to paycheck and spiritually exhausted! I started a journey of understanding and forgiveness that allowed me the opportunity to find myself and embrace the essence of who I am and not the illusion of others perception of who I was or should be.
I released self-loathing for self-love, self-sabotage for self-acceptance and self-criticism for self-knowledge and forgiveness. I wanted to help others. Weekly Wisdom is a life-enrichment tool that has information and insight for everyone who is ready to release the shackles and be free!
3. There are many motivational and self help books on the market today. What sets Weekly Wisdom apart?
I don’t consider Weekly Wisdom to be a motivational book! Motivation is based on how one feels and feelings are fleeting! Weekly Wisdom is a blueprint for making the necessary changes to be stress free, debt free and drama free. It’s an owner’s manual that never loses its value or importance. The wisdom embedded throughout this book is what I have used to transform my life as well as others who have used these very principles and are now reaping the benefits of living authentically and purposefully!
Many “motivational” books out today offer a sugar rush without giving you the “meat and potatoes” that will sustain the readers. It’s like eating dessert without the main course. This book is the dinner that gives you the valuable nutrients needed to live a healthy life.

4. What has been the most rewarding aspect of your publishing journey?
The entire process has been an amazing journey! It’s truly a humbling and amazing reward to go from having a dream to seeing that dream manifest, it’s incredible! I would have to say that the most rewarding aspect of my career as an author/speaker is when people contact saying that my book has changed their lives! When I open my emails and receive testimonial after testimonial how transforming and powerful my book is and how it is helping others to live an authentic and fulfilled life, that is the most rewarding aspect of my journey thus far!
5. What advice would you give our visitors?
The best advice I could offer anyone would be to know your craft! Research and study everything there is to know about the literary field, ask questions and seek advice from the ones that have already achieved some form of success! You must believe in yourself and have faith in your vision!
6. What’s next for Cherilyn Vonn?
I am currently working on my second book titled: Unveiling the Mask: Stripped & Silenced, Never Shattered which is due out March 2010 as well I have co-authored several books, Unleash the Passion for your Purpose and Sisterfaith: Believing Beyond Boundaries!
7. How can our visitors connect with you online?
This is the best part connecting with my readers!
Website: www.unveilingthemask.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/cherilynvonn
Twitter: www.twitter.com/cherilynvonn
Myspace: www.myspace.com/unveilingthemask

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