Carol, a diverse and talented writer-blogger-author-all/around/amazing/person posted an article (click on the link below) on her site that I am pleased to share. I appreciated learning more about Carol and her writing plans/projects and I also appreciate the enormous shout-out. Thank you Carol and I hope you all check it out for yourself.
I am always excited when a new year rolls around because it offers three great months—back to back no less—to celebrate greatness. In January we honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In February we trumpet the achievements of African-Americans and in March we shine the light on the accomplishments of women.
Due to a writing deadline and a series of family situations, I was unable to celebrate Dr. King or Black History Month. This means I must do March BIG, and I am. I am merging two great things—Women’s History Month and A Tour through Blogland (an online tour of various blogs that deserve recognition) to spotlight four remarkably talented women writers (who have amazing blogs or outstanding content on their websites) and the women in history who influenced them. These four women have agreed to blog on my site this month and I am proud to present them to you now. They are:
Becky Baggett – week of March 8
Carol Balawyder – week of March 15
Lovenia Leapart – week of March 22
Serena Wills – week of March 29
Some of the guest writers will answer four questions about their creative selves and their creative process (this is the A Tour through Blogland portion) before sharing remarks about their chosen history-maker (this is the Women’s History Month portion). I am so excited to learn more about them and I can’t wait to read their articles because I know it will be yet another opportunity to stick out my chest and proudly call myself a woman.
To start off this great month, I will present my history-maker. She is not a woman who is known worldwide and she is not recorded in any history books that I am aware of, but she is an historical figure nonetheless. She is Rev. Bonell Fields, my mother.
Honor the Choosing
It is an established fact that education for girls and women is the most effective way to elevate the living conditions (wealth, health, emotional stability, future, etc.) of families and subsequently communities. I can attest to this in my own life.
In her twenties, my mother was a divorcee with three young children. We moved in with my grandmother and my mother immediately enrolled in nursing school at a vocational and technical school. After completing her studies, she worked full-time as a pediatric nurse and focused the rest of her time on raising her children, managing to send all of us off to college. In her forties, with her children grown and gone, she began work on her undergraduate degree at seminary and graduated within four years with a higher grade point average than any of her children. This while also working full-time in nursing and raising one nephew and two of her teenage nieces. She then embarked on a five year pastoral study to receive her license to preach and pastor. Ordination was next, followed by her first assignment–pastor of St. Stephen’s AME church in Enid, OK. This marked the occasion of the first female African-American pastor in Enid. And when I tell you she went through hell in those early years, that’s an understatement. In the Christian world, one would not expect pastors to be judgmental and unwelcoming, but that’s exactly the treatment my mom received. She was ostracized, criticized and harshly judged. Sounds an awful lot like the treatment Jesus received, huh? But, she endured and today although she is retired from both nursing and pastoring, she mentors neophyte pastors, both male and female, and writes about her life experiences.
I thank God for choosing my mom to be my mom. She is an amazing woman! Even though her name is not in the history books, she is my history-maker, my role model, my positive influence, and I love her dearly. So in honor of Women’s History Month, I salute my mother—Rev. Bonell Fields.
So we’re in the second full week of the new year and new people and new things are continuing to come my way. I hope for you too. One new person I met was paranormal romance author, Maggie Tideswell. Maggie and I share a common thread of romance and the paranormal. She weaves them together in sensual paranormal romance books, and I had my start in romance before moving into the paranormal genre. I am pleased to spotlight her (and her books) through her guest post (see below) and I hope you’ll support her through book sales, social media, referrals, etc. Here’s Maggie…
Let’s face it, love really is all around us. Even when you read a murder mystery or a horror novel, there are romantic elements in it, because people fall in love. Even in the most unexpected or dangerous situations, people find each other. It is human nature.
What fascinates me about romance is firstly what characteristics attract people to each other enough to fall in love and secondly, what traits keep them in love for a lifetime when one in three relationships fail. This is a throw-back from studying psychology at university.
People want to be scared. Fright gets the primitive fight or flight response going. And that is where the paranormal comes in. When I say paranormal, I don’t mean zombies and vampires. Creatures with tentacles and many teeth also don’t interest me. Those are not scary and only have entertainment value as far as I am concerned. Don’t get me wrong, I am not putting authors of those genres down, all I’m saying is that those elements are not what I write about. I am interested in what isn’t visible to the eye, things that go bump in the night, ‘nothing is as it seems’, and witches getting up to mischief or doing genuine work to help. And ghosts, of course.
We all have those creepy little experiences of something moving just at the edge of vision and when you look, there is nothing there. Or the sound we hear for which there are no logical explanations. And who of us haven’t know what was going to happen next or what somebody was going to say before it actually happened? This is what is termed deja-vu.
People are not always what they seem. It is a known fact that people represent themselves in the best light and what they show to the world is only the tip of the iceberg of their personality. I like to say people wear ‘masks’ to hide their true selves from others, for reasons of their own.
But my biggest interest is ghosts and why some people seem to get stuck on the earthbound plane after death. I even joined a paranormal investigation group, but I am yet to come face to face with a ghost I could have a conversation with. I have been told I look too hard and that was why I am unlikely to see a ghost, but I do experience them. On one occasion I had fallen asleep on the couch and I startled awake with the distinct feeling that somebody was leaning over me. There was nobody there, but the room had been freezing. It was the middle of summer.
Romance in combination with the paranormal is what I write. Instead of placing my characters in mortal danger of burning buildings, an erratic gunman or in the path of a tidal wave, I scare them with what they cannot see.
I have two paranormal romance novels in print, both published by All Things That Matter Press, a small press in Maine, USA.
My debut novel, Dark Moon came out in 2011.Chance meetings can have far-reaching effects. Loved ones may not be who they seem. The line between comprehension and confusion is thin, particularly when one’s thoughts are being manipulated by another.
My second published novel, Moragh, Holly’s Ghost (2013) is, well, a ghost story.A marriage of convenience, helpful fey friends, a custody battle that cannot be won and a haunting – could love blossom?
Still to come is Roxanne’s Ghost, Poppet Nicole, which is the sequel to Moragh, Holly’s Ghost, and a story set on one of the Portuguese islands off the coast of Africa called Bazaruto, titled Adorable Crook.
As I was born in South Africa and still live here, I like to set my stories in South Africa, in and around Cape Town to be specific. South Africa is a country of breathtaking natural beauty, diverse population and many unexplored ghosts.
Please follow my Wonderful Words blog for more on ghosts, updates on my books and many other interesting things.
Both Dark Moon and Moragh, Holly’s Ghostare available in paperback, ebook and audio formats from Amazon here:
Follow me on Twitter :https://twitter.com/LunaMags
I thought I would start the new year by doing something I’ve never done before–review a book on my blog. Yes, I have featured authors in the past and I have featured books, but I have never posted a book review along with an author/book feature. So this is new for me, and it’s way too early to say whether I will continue this practice or not but for now I want to introduce you to an author I’ve known for a while and always admired–Sean C. Wright. When I learned Sean had a new book out (beautiful cover above), I wasted no time buying and reviewing it. I hope my review inspires you to read more of Sean’s works and to visit her entertaining website and blog Oh, No Typos. Happy new year! Happy new readings! Happy new beginnings!
Title: Honey Riley
Genre: Fiction, African American Literature, Women’s Literature, Supernatural
Length: 52 pages
Honey Riley is about a biracial clairvoyant who uses her precious gift to keep others out of danger, but is blind to the gift when it concerns herself. Her heroic life often rings of pain, but Honey never wavers in her strength for her loved ones and the people she helps. Honey’s legacy starts just after The Civil War and weaves through the mid 1980s.
Ann’s Review: Honey Riley by Sean C. Wright
This short novel of less than 100 pages conveys a lot. It is the story of a spiritual gift that travels multiple generations, and like most gifts, it can be a blessing and a liability. But the gift is only the foundation of the story.
The cast of characters, mostly women, and how they serve (or not) the gift create the framework of the story. I think it interesting that most of the characters use the gift for the good of others, to serve and protect. But a few allow the gift to destroy them. I also think it clever how the name, Honey Riley and variations of it, is handed down with the gift.
This is a vivid story that is reinforced with a bit of history and bold, colorful descriptions. Beware: this story is not easy on the emotions. Readers will experience anger, triumph, sadness, joy, satisfaction, fear and more. You will not arrive at the end feeling encouraged or hope-filled, and you may feel the story should have ended before its actual stopping point, but regardless, you will have been glad you spent time getting to know Honey Riley.
You know how there are some things that happen that may remind you of a related, yet unrelated other thing? I’m not being clear, am I? Well, here are a couple of examples. I’ll have my head in the refrigerator, looking for something to eat, see a bowl of grapes and up pops a memory of me and mom at the Farmers Market. Or, I’ll be driving and turn left on Stella Street and up pops a scene from the movie, “Rocky.” You remember the one where Stallone is yelling his lady love’s name? So I say all this to say that recently I was on Facebook (something I find totally overwhelming which is why I visit my page infrequently), smiling at photos of my nephew on the beach and up pops a memory of the most terrifying moment in my life. It’s close to Halloween so I thought, heck, why not share?
In 2000, I attended the Maui Writers Conference, which is one of the best writing conferences I’ve attended (and not just because of the setting although that had a lot to do with it). The hotel where I stayed sat on the edge of a cliff and the cliff eventually eroded into the Pacific. I was so delighted when I reached my room and saw that I was on the ground floor with my patio facing the ocean. Visions of early morning coffee on the patio with my laptop and/or my journal and pen danced in my head.
Well, it turned out that my schedule was so heavy with lectures, writing exercises, feedback sessions and group meetings that I didn’t experience a single lazy morning on the patio, not one, so instead I started leaving the patio doors open at night. At least that way the ocean breeze could fill my room while I slept and the sounds of nature could soothe my soul while I rested—a satisfying concession. On the fourth or fifth morning there, some primal instinct woke me a few hours before dawn and before I could open my eyes I knew I was not alone. Instant fear shrouded me, constricting me from head to toe. I could not move except to open my eyes and face the fear. Normally in the dark, the eyes need time to adjust, but not this time. I immediately saw in the corner of the room a dark form. It was not a solid form; I could see through it, but it was material enough that I could make out the shape of a fully grown man; and, its presence was commanding, powerful. I knew at every level of my being that it was EVIL, and I also knew that it was there to take me out, to end my life by snatching my soul. I was so afraid, so wrapped in fear that I could not yell out, turn on a light, or hide under the covers—any action that would protect me, as if those things could. The spiritual entity didn’t move. It stood still, posing as an ironic juxtaposition to the innocently billowing curtains behind it. Finally, my mind freed itself from fear, just enough to allow me to do one thing—cry out to Jesus. It was a feeble cry, not even articulated, simply carried out in my mind, Help me, Jesus, help me. I closed my eyes and not even a second later opened them. Evil was gone. In an instant, I was freed of its presence. In a flash, I was freed of fear. Peace settled within me and I fell back asleep.
Later that morning when the sun was fully dazzling and I sat in group lecture, I could not concentrate. Even though my heart and soul were still at peace about the encounter with evil, my mind would not release that terrifying moment. The incident from beginning to end had only lasted a few seconds yet the intensity of it forced my mind to rewind it over and over. And I could not shake the accompanying questions: why me, why here, why now, what did the visit mean?
My time in Maui came to a close and on the long plane ride home and for months afterwards, I continued to ask why questions. Then one day while meditating and praying, answers started pouring into me. The answers did not come in audible tones but as thoughts, simple ordinary thoughts: The Evil One had come to dissuade me from my life’s purpose–writing. It especially did not want me to write the particular book I had been working on in Maui, “Fuller’s Curse.” And, it did not want me to live because of the impact my words and works would have on others.
When the answers came, I was transformed. I experienced an awakening that led to discontent with my current profession (I resigned from my corporate career four months after the conference) and forced me to accept my call as a writer and to pursue my writing career more seriously.
The most terrifying moment of my life led me to life fulfilled and this I recall all because of my handsome nephew’s photo on Facebook. Go figure! Oh, and happy Halloween!
On September 2-3, I celebrate my new year! …the start of another year of living and learning.
I am so excited about what the next twelve months will unwrap for me that I’ve decided to share my excitement in an unusual way. Instead of receiving birthday gifts, I plan to give gifts.
For one day only, on September 2-3, the ebook version of “Fuller’s Curse” will be free on Amazon.
To claim your free gift, simply go to www.Amazon.com, access the ebook version of “Fuller’s Curse,” click download, then select your method of delivery. Just four steps to my birthday gift to you!
Happy birthday to me!
Restrictions: One ebook per reader. Promotion runs for one 24-hour period. Cake and ice cream not included!
Many of you know that I started my writing career as a romance writer in 1990. My first romance book was published in 1996 and I was blessed to have four additional romance stories published before I got the nudge (from a Higher Being) to move into the horror genre. Even though I’ve been MIA in the romance genre since 2002, I still love everything about it–the camaraderie of the authors, the loyal readers, the generous opportunities, the blended storylines, the supportive affiliates, etc., which is why I have on occasion attended RSJ (Romance Slam Jam) since “semi-retiring” from romance.
RSJ is an annual conference of African-American romance readers, writers and affiliates. It is a traveling conference that is hosted by a book club and a romance author in the city (or state or region) in which it is being held. Next year in 2015, RSJ lands in Dallas, Texas. I am excited about this because it is close to my home base which means…I am already making plans to be “in the place.” And you’re welcome to join me and about 200 additional participants. Just click here (www.romanceslamjam.org) to learn more about this fabulous organization, conference and opportunity.
See you March 2015!
A share from the heart and mind of the talented Faith Simone.
In previous weeks, I introduced several women writers who are featured in the recently released anthology Voices from the Block: A Legacy of African-American Literature . This week I am pleased to introduce yet another–Toyette Dowdell. I met Toyette years ago and know her to be a highly skilled writer. I consider it an honor for my work to appear with hers in Voices. I can’t wait for you to learn more about this gifted writer through her interview below, and if you’re interested in meeting Toyette in person, she and many of the other contributors to Voices will be at Absinthe Lounge at Southside on Lamar, Dallas, Texas, Saturday, April 5, 7:00 pm.
When did you know you wanted to write?
Toyette: I was an insatiable reader as a child and wrote lots of short stories and plays when I was young, but I decided I wanted to pursue it more seriously after watching the movie Purple Rain by Prince. I said to myself, “Prince wrote a movie so I know I can do that!”
What was your first written work?
Toyette: My first written work was a youth mystery patterned after the Encyclopedia Brown series. My first published piece was a play I wrote that was performed on stage when I was a freshman in high school.
What is your inspiration for writing? Or, where do you get your ideas for your stories, poems, etc.
Toyette: My inspiration for writing is to make other people feel the way I do when I read a really good book which is to be totally immersed in the story. My writing is all about entertaining and engaging my readers. I want them to be caught up in what’s happening and if there is a little bit of thought provocation then all the better.
What are you currently working on?
Toyette: I am currently working on a mystery thriller based in Texas about a female Texas Ranger.
Today reflects the third installment of highlighting women writers during Women’s History Month (March).
Today I introduce you to one of the most diverse women writers I know…Sharron Pete. Sharron is not only a great short story writer but also an accomplished article writer and novelist. In essence, she writes well in either long or short form.
Sharron, along with six other talented women writers, is one of the featured contributors in the recently released Voices from the Block: A Legacy of African-American Literature, a compilation book of poems, essays and short stories written by some of the most prolific members of the Writer’s Block.
Read on to meet this talented young lady…
When did you know you wanted to write?
Since I was a child, I have always written stories and poems. I’ve always loved to read and I enjoy the aspect of developing characters that others can enjoy. I began to write more seriously (i.e., entering contests, submitting articles) as an adult when I was searching for a way to explore my creative side.
What was your first written work?
The first thing I ever wrote for public consumption was a short piece about my travels overseas and how it deepened my relationship (and dependence) on God. I wrote it in response to a weekly challenge contest sponsored by Faithwriters.com.
What is your inspiration for writing? Or, where do you get your ideas for your stories, poems, etc.
I see myself as a writer whose main objective is to help spread the word of God to others. Not through a preachy, hit-you-over-the-head message but instead through flawed characters and everyday life experiences (big and small) that we can all relate to.
What are you currently working on?
Currently I am revamping my blog. I have a passion for helping others see how God works in their everyday lives and my blog (still very much under construction) aims to do this. I’m also exploring the world of freelance in small bite-sized pieces as I manage my typical day-to-day obligations.