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Author | Blogger | Workshop Facilitator Visit my website at www.authordeelawrence.com to learn more about my romantic suspense novel, Gotta Let It Go, which is set in Baltimore. Connect with me online @authordeelawrence (Facebook) and @thewritepen (Twitter). Thanks for visiting with me today!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

A Review of Resurrecting Midnight by Eric Jerome Dickey

WOW, just WOW. EJD didn’t disappoint in the fourth installment of the Gideon series (Sleeping with Strangers, Waking with Enemies, Dying for Revenge). This time, when international assassin, Gideon is approached by his former lover and grifter Arizona for a job offer in Miami things go awry and he becomes indebted to Scamz, her lover who saved his life. The job takes Gideon to Argentina to locate and get the “package” that contains material that another group would kill to obtain and protect. This group, aka the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (the Beast, Medianoche, Senor Rodriguez, and Senorita Raven) is a deadly force to be reckoned with.

What happens throughout the 442 pages is a roller coaster ride that introduces the readers to some characters that scratch, claw, lie, cheat and kill to get what they want. I really liked the introduction of Shotgun and it was great to see Hawks (assassin and Gideon’s lover) and their leader, Konstantin in action.

In midst of it all, Gideon learns some truths about Catherine/Thelma (former prostitute) the woman who raised him that takes him into a tailspin and makes him question whether Medianoche (Midnight) could be his father. And if that’s the truth could he kill him.

There are very tense and emotional moments in this roller coaster of a non-stop thriller that makes you see just a glimpse of humanity in the characters which didn’t last that long. I know, no time to be liked in these novels. Anyway, EJD’s description puts you in the various locations so you can see, hear, smell, taste and touch everything the characters are experiencing.
Some readers may find that EJD went heavy on the description but I didn’t mind because I got lost in the locations (slums, opulence of some places, clubs, etc.), the storyline, the dialogue and the action. And of course, I love EJD’s history lessons and back stories and that he makes you reach for that dictionary – I certainly did on a few occasions – lol

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this non-stop thriller of a novel from start to finish. The twists and turns were quite surprising without spoiling it for those who haven’t read it. I can’t wait to crack open the fifth installment, Finding Gideon, that’s sitting on my book shelf right now! YES!
Two thumbs way up! A must read!

My favorite lines:
        I yelled out my panic, told Shotgun to start making his way down the stairs, told him to move as fast as he could because it was about to get ugly. Real ugly. I kept my eyes on the people in front of me while I picked up their weapons, threw them out the window, let them fall down into the mud. I made them all get down on the floor with their backs to me and their faces turned away. Otherwise I'd get shot or stabbed in the back as I tried to escape. Had to keep my eyes on them as I crawled out the window. On the one-foot-wide landing, the stairway wobbling underneath me, I saw Shotgun had made it halfway down.
       I didn't move. My weight and his weight might rip the stairs from the wall
       Had to wait for him to clear the winding and weakened stairs.
       Heart racing, briefcase tin hand, I listened. The rain. The storm. 
       Somewhere behind those clamors were the echoes of hooves.
       Not horses, but frantic Horsemen charging through the slums, racing this way.
Rating: 5 stars



Monday, February 26, 2018

Interview with Bobby Richardson, author of Center City

Author’s Bio: Bobby is a novelist who hails from Yeadon, Pa. who lives and works with his wife. He is an alumni of the Art Institute of Philadelphia with majors in Art History, Photography, Graphic Design, Oil Painting, Drawing, and Illustration. After many years working as a freelance artist at various Philadelphia ad agencies, he eventually became an advertising executive for multiple newspapers. Oil painting has always been his passion, and his proudest moment was when he was awarded a prestigious "red ribbon" for one of his paintings that was judged by "The Godfather of The Academy of Fine Art" the eminent Dean/Professor, Sidney Goodman.  "To receive an award from Mr. Goodman was a thrill beyond my wildest dreams," Bobby admits modestly. More recently, Bobby has turned his creative energy toward writing urban novels. His first book is called The Neighborhood and is now being followed by his new novel, Center City.

DL: What’s the inspiration for writing your book?
BR: I write stories that have messages that remind the reader that it is possible to achieve unimaginable success in life if you use your intelligence intelligently. By that, I mean maximizing whatever talent you have been blessed with great relentless passion while always keeping GOD first.

DL: Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
BR: Yes. I love reading Stan Lee’s comic books as a child. And all the adventures of Sherlock Holmes as an adult. But I would be remissed if I did not mention that Martin Luther King’s “Letter from a Birmingham jail” has had the most powerful impact on my desire to become a writer.

DL: How long did it take to write your book?
BR: About a year, give or take a month or two.

DL: Do you write with an outline, or just let it flow organically?
BR: Basically the massage comes first, then thoughtful meditation, and then the rest flows and unfolds organically towards a satisfying conclusion…hopefully.

DL: Do you listen to music when you write? If yes, is there a theme song for this book?
BR: Oh absolutely when I feel it might be appropriate. That’s always the fun part.

DL: What are the keys to success in marketing your book(s)?
BR: A relentless effort identifying your precise target helps a lot.

DL: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
BR: Write something and keep writing. You are not a writer if you don’t write. The same way a chef is not a chef if he never cooks; a writer is not a writer if not writing constantly.

DL: How about sharing an excerpt from Center City?

“His priority was that first and foremost, the office had to reflect his architectural taste and high-tech metropolitan style. His office’s ambience itself was designed to be an active selling tool for its owner. It’s objective was customer comfort, flexibility, and service, with plenty of accent lighting, glass, polished metals, exotic woods and plush rugs for warmth. Every detail was selected to “speak” to clients so that it was clear that Marvin Robinson & Associates was a first-class operation with refined style and taste. Marvin would personally make sure clients understood that his company was not only modern and contemporary, but “all business.”

DL: What’s next for you?
BR: Next is the third and final edition of this story about the main character Marvin Robinson. Then, after that will be several other books that are now in various stages of development. (God willing).  

Where can readers find out more about you and your book(s)? 

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

The pleasure has been all mine! Thank you, Dee!
  



Sunday, February 25, 2018

5 Tips to Consider on Your Writing Journey to Publication and Beyond (Part 2)

So, you want to WRITE! Here are 5 more tips to consider on your writing journey to publication:

1.     Join a community for support and feedback (writing critique group, writers’ association, etc.).

2.     Know your publishing platform (self-publishing versus traditional publishing and the benefits of each to determine which is right for you).

3.     Attend and/or exhibit at book events, festivals, etc. This gives you visibility to readers.

4.     Market yourself and your book by leveraging social media and other platforms (e.g. print, television, radio, etc.).

5.     Treat your writing as a business (track your expenses and maintain good financial records).





Sunday, February 18, 2018

5 Tips to Consider on Your Writing Journey to Publication and Beyond (Part 1)


So, you want to WRITE! Here are 5 tips to consider on your writing journey to
publication:
1.     Determine what you want to write: fiction versus non-fiction.

2.     Learn the art of writing by taking a creative writing class, attending writing workshops, conferences, etc.

3.     Read. Read. Read. (Books within and outside of your genre).

4.     Write. Write. Write. (Develop a daily schedule you can stick to).

5.     Research. Research. Research. (Subject matter, people, places, marketing strategies, etc.).


Monday, February 12, 2018

Interview with Becky DeWitt, author of Stolen Property

Author’s Bio: As a Christian author, Becky's writings reveal trials and tribulations as well as edification to the soul. Her books express the Christian journey from the ordinary everyday perspective with titles and cover art that are uncommon.

In 2008 she published her first children's short story, Destiny's Closet, which developed into a book by 2009. Destiny's Closet teaches children the importance of developing a personal relationship with God.  The success and well-reception of "Destiny's Closet" inspired Becky to write two more books, "Destiny's Closet - Circle of Friends" and "Destiny's Closet - The Wonder School," for a series.

In 2017, Becky released her first novel, Stolen Property, which is an adventure into the supernatural from the Christian perspective, with awe inspiring and breathtaking experiences. It is available on Amazon.com.

Becky has contributed articles for several websites and magazines and a library of her writings are on the Authors Den website (www.authorsden.com/beckydewitt).

What’s the inspiration for writing your book?
BD: God and my Pastor.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
BD: No.

How long did it take to write your book?
BD: It took one year.

Do you write with an outline, or just let it flow organically?
BD: I just sat down to the computer and asked the Holy Spirit to let the words flow.

Do you listen to music when you write?
BD: If yes, is there a theme song for this book? Yes. I did listen to music for this particular book. There was no one specific song, but I listened to Elevation Worship.

What are the keys to success in marketing your book(s)?
BD: First, I have to identify the target audience and then expand locally, nationally, and even internationally. Second, is networking through word of mouth by speaking about your book at churches, book clubs and other various events. Third, utilization of the Internet through social media.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
BD: Always believe in the gift that you have been given to write. Try to write every day to develop and keep the focus. Remember it is your story and if you do not believe in what you are writing, no one else will.

How about sharing an excerpt from Stolen Property?
It was another Sunday morning and Pastor Esther Goldstein had been up and down all night praying and seeking God for the word to speak to His people. But there was something different today and she could not exactly discern what it was. She made a cup of tea and sat down at her kitchen table looking out at the ocean through her glass doors that led to the deck. As she watched the waves roll on to the shore, she looked at them and thought of the awesome power of God and all of His creation and particularly how the ocean just stopped at the shoreline.

Just then the sky began to change and it was the breaking of day. It was really the best time of day, especially for her. She loved the early mornings. Pastor Esther had always felt that it was the best time to get a prayer through with no distractions. She took the scripture about seeking the Lord early literally.

As she sat there stirring her tea, she wondered ‘Lord what is it?’ She knew that there was something going on and she would continue to seek the Lord until she got an answer. Still stirring her tea, she thought to herself ‘I should have put another spoonful of sugar.’

Soon it would be time to get dressed and she did not even have a topic. Well, that is how it went with her sometimes.

What’s next for you?
BD: I have just published Faith Is Calling You, which is a Christian inspirational book. Currently, I am working on the sequel to Stolen Property and another book.

Where can readers find out more about you and your book(s)? 
It’s been a pleasure having you here with us today. I know my readers will enjoy getting to know you and your work. 




Sunday, February 11, 2018

A Review of the play, Skeleton Crew (Baltimore Center Stage)

Last Sunday, I braved the rain and cold weather to see the play "Skeleton Crew" by Dominique Morisseau which was directed by Nicole A. Watson. This play was part of the Women's Voices Theater Festival.

This play is a depiction of folks working the line in a stamping plant in Detroit, Michigan, circa 2008. Meet Shanita, pregnant and without a man; Dez who's trying to save enough money to open his own business; Faye, who is simply trying to get in her 30 years before retiring; and Reggie their boss who is caught between executing management's plan to let them go or trying to save their jobs. This was definitely a tumultuous time in the auto industry where everyone's job at any given day could be yanked away.

All of these actors gave the audience an excellent performance. You could feel their joys when they talked about choosing a name for their baby (Shanita), or when they smoked a cigarette against company policies (Faye), or anxiety when a weapon was found in their backpack during a "Stop and Search" by management (Dez), or conflicted when they had to enforce company's rules (Reggie). Despite the uncertainty of losing their jobs and despite their flaws they stuck together as a family till the very end for an outcome befitting them all.

I thoroughly enjoyed this play. The actors engaged the audience and made you feel like you were right there working in the stamping plant. This play runs now through March 3, 2018 and it's a must see!

Cast members:
  • Brittany Bellizeare - Shanita
  • Stephanie Berry - Faye
  • Sekou Laidlaw - Reggie
  • Gabriel Lawrence - Dez
Check out the trailer and the actual set below:




Sunday, February 4, 2018

Do the Opposite and Win as a Writer! (Part 3)

Welcome to Part 3 of my review of Dawn Field’s “How to Fail as a Writer” blog and why you should do the opposite to WIN as a writer.

1. Do not ever read for other writers. Critiquing will just cloud your mind and take your focus off your own work.
This is so not true. I have been running a writers’ critique group for almost 10 years and we enjoy reading each other’s work. I find that constructive criticism only makes my writing better through their feedback. And nothing beats having your work polished to the best that it can be.

2. If an editor critiques your writing, stick to your guns that it’s his fault he didn’t understand “what you really meant.”
Sometimes a third party (an editor) pointing out what’s wrong with your storyline can be a very hard pill to swallow. But the good thing is that they are objective and will make your work so much better once you get over the fact that as writer’s we don’t always know it all.

3. If a reader gives you feedback that something in the plot seems to be missing, ignore her. Better yet, prove it’s “all there” by pointing to page 224, where three words in the middle of a paragraph at the end of the chapter “explain it all.”
Readers can be very astute so as a writer you have to ensure that the plotline overs all the bases and explains the character’s motivation, etc. So instead of dismissing the reader’s feedback, writers should see how best they can address the reader’s concerns.

4. Never back up the electronic copy of your work. It’s good for your creative juices to be in constant fear of losing your book beyond the event horizon of the cyber black hole.
This is laughable. Without a doubt PLEASE do save your work.

5. Forget the idea of practicing any kind of writing other than your book. It’s just a distraction.
It’s not a distraction when you can flex your creative muscles while engaging in other types of writing other than your book. As for me, I enjoy blogging and writing book reviews. So, go ahead and flex those muscles.

6. Do not stoop so low as to take the advice of writers who have walked the path before you. You need to find your own path in your own way.
I know we all have to find our own path but why reinvent the wheel when embarking on the writing journey. If there are writers who have experienced the ups and downs of the writing industry, I think it would behoove writers not to take a few lessons from them.

7. Never show your writing to anyone.
That’s the worst thing a writer can do. You have to show and share your writing to get feedback to ensure you are on the right track in keeping readers engage. As I have said before, I run a writers’ critique group and I really enjoy sharing my work with the members and welcome their feedback too.