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Lawyer | Romantic Suspense Author | Speaker | TV Junkie | Foodie | Sweet Wine Addict | Savvy Shopper You can visit my website at www.authordeelawrence.com to learn more about my romantic suspense novel, Gotta Let It Go, which is set in Baltimore. You can also connect with me online @ thewritepen (Twitter and Facebook). Thanks for visiting with me today!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Interview with Charles Stokes, Author of Love Pain & Poetry

Author’s Bio: Charles Stokes is an avid writer and military veteran from Baltimore, MD who served as a paralegal in Iraq and Afghanistan. His time served at war and his interactions with others throughout his life have given him a deeper understanding of the human experience. In his free time, Stokes is a car enthusiast, appreciates sports, and target shooting. Love Pain and Poetry is his first book.

What inspired you to write your book?
CS: I don't know what inspired me. I was writing daily.  I’d written 50 poems in ten days. It was the most productive thing I'd done in eight months.  It eased the worries of depression and cleared my head.  The thoughts of a book came after allowing my brother to hear it.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
CS: No, honestly it was music if anything that got me writing. As far as writing poetry goes, there is Dr. Angelo, Tupac, and Langston Hughes. I really like their poetry however, I had been writing for years before actually reading any of their work.

Is this your first book? How long did it take to start and finish your book?
CS: This is my first book.  It took me three weeks to write. I had no training in writing poetry, but I worked through it and I used some older poetry in this book.

Do you write with an outline, or just let it flow organically?   
CS: Depends, I am currently working on eight books and two books have an outline.  

Do you listen to music when you write? If yes, is there a theme song for this book?
CS: Yes I do listen to music, but there’s no theme. It ranges from Drake or similar artists playing in the background.

What are the keys to success in getting your book out to the public?
CS: I am too early in the game to comment on keys to success… but social media, book bloggers, radio, marketing and using a publicist is what I’d suggest.  I tried everything to include Amazon and Goodreads reads giveaways.  The most important thing is to have an organic following.  You build that by starting your own Blog, FB page, Twitter, Instagram and word of mouth. Try to impact everyone you meet. Sell yourself not your product.

What advice would you give to new authors? 
CS: Write it and worry about everything else later. Pay someone to format it.  Start writing the second book.

How about sharing an excerpt from Love, Pain & Poetry?
CS: I love excerpts so, here are two:

a.       Money can't buy me/I'm a cut above the rest/promise me with a diamond/show me in your last breath

b.      Love did prevail/despite your disgusting attacks/cleverly veiled at destroying me/I still love us/still love you/and still love the idea of we.

What’s next for you?
CS: I have already selected the poetry and developed a theme for book two and three. Book two will be further thoughts and reflections.  Book three will focus on situations in New York City with a heavy focus on Brooklyn.   

Where can readers find out more about you and your book(s)? 
·         Website: www.lovepainandpoetry.com
·         Facebook: @lovepainpoetry
·         Twitter: @lovepainpoetry
·         Blog: www.lovepainandpoetry.com and Writeforlife on apple news
·         Book buy Links: https://www.createspace.com/7288700


It’s been a pleasure having you here with us today. I know my readers will enjoy getting to know you and your work.



Monday, November 6, 2017

Interview with Valerie J. Lewis Coleman, Author of The Forbidden Secrets of the Goody Box – relationship advice that your father didn’t tell you and your mother didn’t know

Author’s Bio: Valerie J. Lewis Coleman serves women who struggle to experience a fulfilling relationship by revealing The Forbidden Secrets of the Goody Box to attract and keep lasting love. She helps women identify the four types of male hunters, avoid 70% of men who only want the goody box and win the heart of Mr. Right-For-You. With proven techniques to help you get off the crazy cycle of relational demise and advice from men women would be crazy to ignore, you, too, can become a man whisperer. Request your complimentary copy of Every Man's Private Marriage Check List at TheGoodyBoxBook.com. #TheGoodyBoxBook

What inspired you to write your book?
I was tiredand this next statement must sound familiarof making the same relationship mistakes over and over. Like many women, I vented to my mother, sister, and girlfriends, but their advice was tainted with broken hearts, betrayal, and disappointment. I had left my relationships to chance instead of intentionally designing the relationship I desired and deserved, so I went straight to the source. For years, I researched, surveyed and interviewed men to find out why they do the things they do to women in relationships. When I realized that I didn’t have a man problem, but rather a me problem, I committed to sharing this man-cave, barber-shop, locker-room relationship advice with other women. I wrapped the real, relevant relationship advice into fictional characters and The Forbidden Secrets of the Goody Box was born!

Is there an author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
Dan Poynter, Victoria Christopher Murray, Lynnette Khalfani Cox and Tressa Azarel Smallwood are amongst the “celebrity” authors who have presented at my publishing conferences. However, the author who had the most direct effect on my writing career is Vanessa Miller Pierce. In the late 90s, I worked with Vanessa to write, publish and promote The Rain Series as a self-published author. She now writes for three traditional publishers, topped Essence and Amazon bestsellers lists and earns her living as a writer.

Is this your first book? How long did it take to start and finish your book?
The Goody Box Book is my third book and first novel. It took four months to write (excluding the years of research) because the characters came to life in front of me. The story flowed without restraint. I have published over 30 books for clients through QueenVPublishing.com.

Do you write with an outline, or just let it flow organically?
My method of composition for The Goody Box Book was to capture inspirations in my cell phone. Once I was ready to write, I transferred the notes into MS Word, organized them by character and then composed on my laptop. I didn’t use a formal outline because the process was organic.

Do you listen to music when you write? If yes, is there a theme song for this book?
OMG! Yes, I listen to music! Depending upon the mood I want to create in a scene, I may listen to Jasmine Sullivan’s I Bust the Windows Out Your Car, Maxwell’s Pretty Wings or Kirk Franklin’s He’ll Take the Pain Away. As I coach my clients, music, and water are great conduits for creativity (I’m hosting a three-day writer’s retreat near a body of water next year). As for a theme song, I had an original song written and produced. Your guests can hear it as part of the book trailer at TheGoodyBoxBook.com.

What are the keys to success in getting your book out to the public?
Marketing accounts for 60% of the time, energy, and money invested in your book (writing is 10%; publishing is 30%). Although a bazillion options are available, below are seven of the top tips I share with my PenOfTheWriter.com mentoring clients:
·       First and foremost, produce a quality book. Great content coupled with professional editing and cover design are an author’s best defense.
·       Author website. You must have a “home” for your books that you can control (unlike social media) to connect, communicate and convince your fans.
·   Amazon Author Central page. Having your book on Amazon is essential, but maximizing the platform is critical.
·     Interviews. Like this wonderful opportunity to be a guest on Dee’s blog, your book success is contingent upon reaching as many potential readers as possible. My proven strategies have landed features in newspapers, magazines, radio, TV and online.
·      Speaking engagements. By far, my most-effective strategy is speaking engagements. When executed correctly, the face-to-face interaction is powerful.
·    Book Reviews. Every author believes (or at least should believe) that their book is amazing. Readers want to know what other readers think about your book, not you. Book reviews offer credibility that convinces others to buy (or not buy) your book.
·    Book Fairs. This tool allows you to interact with readers, make your awe-inspiring pitch and then close the deal. Caution: Before investing time and money into a book fair, solicit feedback from previous attendees to ensure it’s a good fit for you. My event, the Dayton Book Expo, the region’s premier book event, has served over 500 authors and thousands of book lovers since its 2010 inception. For a minimal investment, authors get access to some of my POWERful strategies, corporate marketing with a media reach exceeding 4 million impressions and more. DaytonBookExpo.com

What advice would you give to new authors?
Research the industry. Understand the nuances of publishing. Recognize the great service providers from the so-so and downright awful ones. Hire a seasoned mentor with a track record of repeating success to help you navigate the mysterious labyrinth of self-publishing. Many of my clients tried to go it alone only to make costly mistakes, produce a subpar book and lose thousands of dollars.

How about sharing an excerpt from The Forbidden Secrets of the Goody Box?  
Chapter 1 For the Love of Vincent
Sunday-morning service stirred Debra Hampton’s heart. The poignant message convinced her to resolve a matter that had her torn for almost a year. She had been undecided about whether to marry her live-in boyfriend, Vincent. He didn’t share her religious beliefs and refused to go with her to church, but she knew that he was the best man for her. He laughed at her silly antics, talked with her about her ambitions and encouraged her to greatness. He made her the focal point of his life and involved her in every decision no matter how minute. But it was his touch that held her hostage, kept her toying with God’s love by giving herself to a man who was not her husband.
With her head bowed to hide the free-flowing tears, she exited the church without speaking to anyone. She sat in her Mercedes S550, took a moment to freshen her makeup, expelled a sigh of relief. She looked to Heaven through the panorama sunroof, smiled, closed her eyes, gave thanks. The decision to accept Vincent’s proposal resonated; filled her with peace as she trusted the Lord with her soul mate.
The thirty-minute drive from the inner-city church to her suburban home gave her ample time to reflect upon the life they would build together: three children, business partnership, and unlimited mind-blowing sex. The rush of blood to her southern bell—the name her mother called her vagina when she was a child—gave her pause. Fortunately, she was stopped at a red light. She clicked through the Sirius Satellite stations and then opted to enjoy tunes Vincent had downloaded to her iPod a few nights prior.
            As she turned into Creekwood Estates—a lavish community north of Dayton—she admired the mansion-sized homes set hundreds of feet from the street. Manicured lawns featured rows of exotic trees, shrubbery, and blooming flowers. Cobblestone driveways boasted luxury cars and backyards had customized gym sets or in-ground pools.
              Her stucco and brick palatial home was small in comparison to those of her neighbors, but it was big enough for her family-to-be. She loved the side-entry, three-car garage because it camouflaged the unpacked moving boxes from passersby. She parked in the usual spot—closest to the mudroom door— and then she smiled wide. “He’s home.”
Debra grabbed her purse and Bible and then jaunted into the house. She placed her belongings on the granite countertop, careful not to make noise. Since the television wasn’t locked on a sporting event, Vincent had to be resting in the master suite. A 3,500-square-foot home and he preferred the family room and bedroom.
She slipped off her stilettos, tiptoed up the stairs. Her heart beat faster with each step. She wiped her palms together to dry the sweaty moisture, pressed her ear to the door. His subtle snores seeped through. She giggled and then covered her mouth to halt the escape of more laughter.
She opened the door, peeked in, swung it wide. “Vincent! What the devil?”
“Debra, what are you doing here?” After a quick dismount, he rummaged the floor for his Fruit of the Looms. “When’d you get home?”
“Who is this woman and why is she in my bed?” She ran to the side of the bed, towered over her betrayer. Breath stalled in her throat, eyes widened. “Catherine!”
Catherine—the first person to welcome Debra to the neighborhood—reached for her clothes, scurried to dress.
Debra lunged at her, snatched her by the ponytail, drew back her fist. Just as she connected with Catherine’s right jaw, Vincent grabbed Debra around the waist, pulled her away. She flailed her arms, kicked at his shins, head-butted him in the mouth. When he released her, she pursued Catherine who was halfway down the stairs, underwear in tow.
Debra leapt from the top stair, using Catherine as a landing pad. Spewing expletives, she pummeled her in the back of the head, until Vincent pulled her off.
He tightened his grip on Debra’s arms, spun her around to look him in the eyes. “Stop it!” A trickle of blood oozed from the corner of his mouth.
“I cannot believe you had that female up in my house.” The same channels that had released tears of joy now flooded her face in sadness. “Vincent, how could you?” She watched Catherine sprint through the backyard; battered, bruised and butt-naked.
“I tried to tell you, but—”
“You tried to tell me what? The last thing I knew, you were looking for an engagement ring.”
“It was…for Catherine.” Debra’s head danced like a bobble-head doll, her vision blurred. Her body quivered and then went slack as she collapsed in Vincent’s arms.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
A few minutes later, Debra awoke on the family-room couch. She picked up the note that sat on the table.
Debra, I’m sorry you had to find out like this. I’ll be back to get my things. I love you, but not enough to make you my wife. Vincent
As she let the note float to the floor, the back door opened and then closed. The man whom she was willing to love forever had tiptoed out of the house and driven out of her life.
The agony of unreciprocated love left Debra in despair. Virtual restrainers confined her to the bedroom—the viaduct of deceit. She cried until her body heaved and the reservoir of tears was empty.

Chapter 2 Wallow
Depression infiltrated Debra and she withdrew into an abyss of desolation. She called off from work using a flare-up of Crohn’s disease as the reason. Given that her body responded with similar symptoms—loss of appetite, abdominal cramps, fatigue, and diarrhea—she resolved that it was a legitimate excuse for at least a week of sick days.
Unable to lie on the bed stained with the passion of another, she walked through the French doors that separated the bedroom from the sitting room: her “Me Time” room. On chilly nights, she’d cozy up in the oversized chair next to the crackling fireplace, sip on hot chocolate and admire the wooded backyard through the picture window. On occasion, deer emerged to nibble on bark.
Debra rested on the chair and would have slept away her sorrows but for the fact that memories of Vincent invaded her dreams. When she tired of the torment, she forced herself to walk past the bed to the walk-in closet. She changed out of her church clothes into black satin pajamas. The soft material alleviated the itchy sensation that spread across her arms and legs like poison ivy on a scantily dressed trail hiker: a side effect of stress.
As she stood in the closet, she looked at herself in the full-length mirror. She rationalized that her actions caused this life disruption. “Why did I come home early? My life would be so much easier.” She bowed her head, released a sigh from the depths of her belly, cried.
She wiped the tears with the back of her hand and noticed Vincent’s dress shirts—pressed with light starch—hanging on wooden hangers. She stared at the array of shirts, most of which she had purchased. She caressed her face with each shirt, inhaled hoping to get a whiff of his scent: Dolce & Gabbana. She slid her size-six feet into his favorite dress shoes and then reached for a necktie. When she contemplated using it as a noose to dangle strange fruit from the loft balcony, she fell to the floor. After a minute or so of unbridled tantrum, she sat up, pulled her knees to her chest, rocked back-and-forth, side-to-side. The movement lulled her into a brief nap.
Having relaxed the tension in her neck, her head jerked and startled her awake. She left the comfort of the closet floor only to be assaulted by a recall of Vincent and Catherine. Unwilling to revisit the experience with each glance of the bed, she made the arduous trek to the family room. She grabbed the trashcan from the powder room in case her dry heaves manifested into something more than mini convulsions and then positioned herself on the couch.
She skimmed through the channels, but didn’t see anything to complement her melancholy mood so she let reruns on the Lifetime channel keep watch over her.
Debra alternated between bouts of nightmarish sleep, crying and reminiscing. She recalled Vincent’s attentiveness. He loved to cook. He often had dinner prepared and the table set when she walked in the door. And on those days when the demands of the job overwhelmed her, he massaged her feet, caressed her hands, made love to her.
In return for his passion, she upgraded him. Lavished him with expensive gifts, exposed him to exclusive restaurants, fine arts, and music. He often traveled with her on business trips and enjoyed the lifestyle of the rich and famous at the expense of her clients: first-class airfare when private jets weren’t available, five-star hotels, limousine service and meals by world-renowned chefs. While Debra prepared for trial, Vincent spent her money on clothes, cologne and probably Catherine.
Instead of bringing her a semblance of peace, the memories served only as weapons of destruction. How could he love her the way she wanted and needed to be loved, yet give his heart to another? Why wasn’t her love enough? What could she have done differently? Where did she fall short?
When the house phone rang, Debra let it roll over to voicemail. She turned off her cell, disconnected her laptop. Like a tree planted by the water, Debra took root on that couch and left only to relieve her bladder.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Want to know how Debra handled this situation? Get your copy of The Forbidden Secrets of the Goody Box today and understand…
·         Five secrets to attract and keep lasting love
·         How to eliminate 70% of the men who only want to play games
·         The top three things every woman should know about men
·         What makes a woman irresistible to a man

What’s next for you?
I’m traveling the nation and abroad empowering women with the message of how to attract and keep lasting love. I am committed to helping women experience fulfilling relationships by catapulting their relationship success beyond the average woman. As a result, testimonials of engagements, marriages and being happily single pour into my email and inbox. I will continue to conduct keynotes, facilitate workshops and host live events as I serve women who desire and deserve more. The audio production is available as a free download and I hope to complete the sequel to The Goody Box Book soon.

Where can readers find out more about you and your book(s)?
·         Website: TheGoodyBoxBook.com
·         Amazon Author Page: Amazon.com/author/valeriejlewiscoleman
·         Facebook: Facebook.com/valeriejlewiscoleman
·         Twitter: Twitter.com/penofthewriter
·         Book buy links:
o   Autographed copy: TheGoodyBoxBook.com

It’s been a pleasure having you here with us today. I know my readers will enjoy getting to know you and your work.