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Introducing…

3HoneyCover

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

Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=honey+riley

 

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 ReviewHoney 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.

About the Author
SeanHeadShot
Sean C. Wright is native to Dallas, TX. See all of her published works here:  http://askdavid.com/reviews/book/african-american-fiction/9736. Get to know Sean at www.iwrightaway.com.

From Me to You…Happy Birthday!

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.

Fullers Curse Front Cover Promo

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!

Five Quotes on Reading

Recently, I read five quotes on writing by Elmore Leonard (Western and mystery writer, screenwriter, novelist, and more). They are listed below:

1. “… The writer has to have patience, the perseverance to just sit there alone and grind it out. And if it’s not worth doing that, then he doesn’t want to write. …”

2. “A writer has to read. Read all the time. Decide who you like then study that author’s style. Take the author’s book or story and break it down to see how he put it together.”

3. “The main thing I set out to do is tell the point of view of the antagonist as much as the good guy. And that’s the big difference between the way I write and the way most mysteries are written.”

4. “It is the most satisfying thing I can think of, to write a scene and have it come out the way I want. Or be surprised and have it come out even better than I thought.”

5. “Write the book the way it should be written, then give it to somebody to put in the commas and shit.”

I think these are some of the most “spot on” descriptions/explanations of the writing process. But writing and reading go together, right? Two sides of the same coin, right? So when considering one, it’s nearly impossible not to think of the other. Right? Right. So as I considered these quotes I couldn’t stop myself from tossing reading quotes around in my head. And of course, as a writer, once it’s in the head, paper is next. So I found myself typing a short list of reading quotes. I’m not sure where I read or heard the quotes below but they well represent the readers’ side of the writing process. Give it a quick scan and tell me if you agree.

1. “Giving one’s time and attention to reading is as vital as giving one’s time and attention to thinking.”

2. “Reading a variety of genres is the equivalent of having a variety of spices in one’s pantry.”

3. “Reading is to mental growth as prayer/meditation is to spiritual growth.”

4. “A good book is near even when family and friends are not.”

5. “Reading forms bonds of friendship by unraveling the many artificial threads meant to separate.”

Aaahhhh! Reading and writing, writing and reading…gotta love ’em!

Summer Reading & Book Reviews

I don’t know about you but for me summer and reading go together like salt and pepper, bacon and eggs, animals and Dr. Seuss–you get the picture. So I thought I would share some of the books I’ve downloaded to my Kindle and/or purchased so I can enjoy a well-stocked supply of reading material for the beach and travel, which I’m planning a lot of this summer.

Person reading a book on the beach

The books are not listed in any order, but I encourage you to check them out. I’ve interacted with some of these authors and know their writing and storytelling ability to be “spot on.” For other authors on the list, I’m planning to finish the series/trilogy or read the latest by some of my favorite writers. Feel free to monitor my Goodreads and Amazon accounts for my review of some of the books; the reviews may help you plan your own summer reading. If you already have a summer reading list, I’d love to acquire a copy of it. I always make time for a good read!*

Happy Summer & Happy Reading!

1. Missi’s Dating Adventures by Carol Balawyder

2. No Conditions by Dr. ViVi Monroe Congress

3. Voices from the Block:  A Legacy of African-American Literature by various authors (anthology)

4. Dark Justice by Donnie Light

5. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson

6. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

7. A Dangerous Kiss by Francis Ray

8. Hell’s Corner by David Baldacci

9. The Haunted House Symphony by Sue Latham

10. Reserved for a referral*

Worth Sharing

I love listening to NPR. They have some of the most interesting shows and interviews. During one particular broadcast of All Things Considered, the reporter filed a story on The American Scholars’ pick of the Ten Best Sentences. These are sentences in fiction and nonfiction books that made the editors at The American Scholar pause and marvel at the beauty of words. I think their picks are remarkable and worth sharing. So if you’d like to read some beautiful words and sentences, if you’re ready for your heart to race and for the world to be righted, click here.

Until next time…to the best of life, to the best of living.

Week Two

It’s week two of National Poetry Month and wow, it’s already been a great time of reading and listening to great poetry. I had the extreme pleasure of attending the book launch for Voices from the Block:  A Legacy of African-American Literature last weekend and enjoyed two entertaining spoken word poets. I also had a super time at the Writer’s Reception, sponsored by the Texas Writers Journal. I read poems, met new authors, and learned more about the Texas Writers Journal’s updated and expanded literary journal.  And the fun continues in a few days when I attend Poetry Out Loud at Lucky Dog Books in Dallas (Oak Cliff). I am eagerly awaiting that event, but until that date arrives, I am content to get my poetry fix from reading (in some cases, re-reading) presidential inauguration poems.

If you watched or listened to the United States presidential inaugurations for President Barack Obama (2009 and 2013), you know that a poet participated in the swearing-in ceremonies. Elizabeth Alexander and Richard Blanco are the two poets who stood at the podium before the nation sharing their words of hope, history and unity. They joined a short list of poets who either wrote a poem specific to the occasion and/or recited a previously written work to honor the incoming president. Other poets on the list include Robert Frost, who was the first to kick off the tradition in 1961 (John F. Kennedy), Maya Angelou (William Clinton), James Dickey (Jimmy Carter), and Miller Williams (Clinton).

Many of the presidential inauguration poems have been published (or re-published) as a solo piece in a gift book edition which includes beautiful leather binding and specially crafted paper. In honor of National Poetry Month, I encourage you to scour your local bookstore or resale shop for these editions. They make for special reading and are a nice collector’s item. The titles to look for are:

The Gift Outright – Frost

The Strength of Fields – Dickey

On the Pulse of Morning – Angelou

Of History and Hope – Williams

Praise Song for the Day, Praise Song for Struggle – Alexander

One Today – Blanco

Until next week, happy poetry reading and writing!

Happy National Poetry Month

I’m a little behind in sharing my well wishes for an extraordinary and exciting poetry month. There are many events and programs planned throughout the month of April which will highlight the gift of poetry and its importance to humanity. I, too, am planning to shine the light on poetry through my weekly blog posts. In my posts, I’ll focus on the poet laureate position, presidential inauguration poems, poems as songs, and poetry giants. So without further ado, my first nod to National Poetry Month…

When I first heard the title Poet Laureate I was intrigued. I had just learned that Gwendolyn Brooks, a Black woman, like me, had been appointed poet laureate for the United States. I was so proud but also ignorant. What the heck is a poet laureate? I wondered. What do they do? I don’t remember what life event was going on at the time that prevented me from researching answers to my questions, but here it is years later and I now have the answers.

First, poet laureate is an appointed position. The Librarian of Congress selects a status poet to the position. A status poet is one who has published a collection(s) of poems, has achieved some level of recognition for their work, has probably won awards for their writings, and is involved in promoting the art of poetry, and more.

Second, the position’s length of term is one year but some terms have been extended at the pleasure of the librarian such as with the current poet laureate, Natasha Trethewey. While in the position, the poet laureate is responsible for pushing the agenda of poetry. It is up to the poet laureate to determine how this is achieved but most conduct readings, lecture, host literary events, conduct radio and TV interviews and programs, compose poems for the nation, etc.

Third, there is not only a poet laureate for the United States but also for each state. Well, for many of the states; a few states do not have a poet laureate position. Responsibilities and requirements at the state level may differ from the national role.

NTrethewey

Trethewey, our current United States Poet Laureate claims Mississippi as her home state. She is the author of four books, one of which Native Guard won the Pulitzer Prize. Her work tends to focus on history, tragedy and mixed race issues; all subjects that have touched and therefore shaped her life. Below is a list of her other titles:

Domestic Work

Beyond Katrina

Bellocq’s Ophelia

Thrall

This April during National Poetry Month, I encourage you to take some time to check out one of her books. Her words will move you beyond belief.

Until next week, happy reading and writing of poetry.

(Photo copyright Jon Rou)

Alas, The End

Today, another Women’s History Month comes to a close. It’s been a fun month of spotlighting many fine women who also happen to be talented writers. Prepare to meet the last of the seven soul-deep, inspiring women writers who I chose to feature this month. These women writers pooled their talents to make “Voices from the Block: A Legacy of African-American Literature” a five-star anthology; a must read!

Meet

Ingrid Lawton & Breggett Rideau

Both Ingrid and Breggett have rock’em, sock’em poems in “Voices,” and Ingrid also has a short story that will leave you gasping in surprise.

Ingrid Lawton
Ingrid is a native Texan, who writes poetry and short stories. She has also completed a screenplay for young adults. The short story “Cornbread and Buttermilk” and the poem “Schizophrenia” which appear in “Voices from the Block” are her first published works. She enjoys reading and spending time with friends and family.

Breggett Rideau
Breggett was born in New Orleans and is a graduate of Louisiana State University, where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Natural Science. After college graduation, she worked as a food microbiologist for years until it gave way to her passion—being a jazz singer. Her interest in jazz started when she was three years old, as her father, a jazz purist, had Nancy Wilson and Carmen McRae records playing day and night.

After her first CD, The Opportune Time dropped, Breggett garnered critical acclaim not only from local publications, but also from international institutions. By the invitations of Dr. Gene Cho, Ph.D., Regents Professor, University of North Texas and the Hang Zhou Conservatory, Breggett performed and lectured at Shanghai Conservatory, Shanghai, China in the spring of 2005. She was the first woman of color and jazz artist from the United States to perform and lecture at the conservatory. Currently, she travels extensively singing and sharing her love of jazz.

Featuring Women Writers for Women’s History Month

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.

And the Women Keep Coming

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…

Sharron Pete

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.