The Reading Corner and Literary Tips

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Reviews Hurt: Taking Criticism and Using It Positively by Rose Jackson-Beavers

One of the hardest things for an author to hear is that the story they wrote wasn't good enough. We writers want to create a story everyone is talking about – the story that begs for a sequel. But what happens when the compliments don't come? How should a writer feel when the story told is not that interesting? Edward Booker, author of A Hole in My Heart, said, "I was upset.  How dare someone say something negative about my work?  It hurt.  I had never heard or read negative responses to my writing. Then one day, I read a review that said the book was good, but needed more editing.  That was surprising because I intentionally wrote some of the dialogues in the way folks spoke in the hood. So I was like why should I changed that! Then I was told in order to be taken serious as a writer, it was important to give my best. So I made the changes."
Reviews should help writers become better at their craft. If the reviews are valid, make sense and gives constructive criticism that's helpful, the author should take the information and use it positively. As a writer, you should want to be better and grow to be the best.  If readers can help you, why not listen?  After all, readers are the people who are buying your books. The information you receive may be extremely valuable and when not utilized may be just the thing stopping you from hitting the best seller's list.

The first time Edward received a negative review, he said he learned something very important, "I didn't handle criticism well. I blamed the reader for not understanding where I was coming from with my story. But I listened, learned from it and moved forward. I also had the story re-edited. That was hard."

It feels so good to get great reviews, but you cannot allow a critical one to stop you from doing something you love. There are many professions such as educators and doctors, who must update their skills regularly, because things change and nothing stay the same.  As a patient, you want your doctor to be the best and to give you the best service, so health professionals must stay relevant and keep improving their skills.  It's the same with authors; they must continue to take classes, and learn new things to write about to keep readers engaged in their books.  If you want readers to follow your work, and purchase your novels, you have to have an open mind, be willing to listen and  eager to become better at your craft. You have to present a good book.

The first time I received a bad review I called my friend who is a therapist.  I felt terrible.  She said, "Everyone is not going to like your work.  Get over yourself.  Remember even bad reviews get publicity." Another one of my friends who's a bestselling author reminded me that reviews are other people's opinions. Stop reading them if they affect you like that and keep writing and learning."

Reviews can be helpful to the author and to readers who are looking for a good book to read. Edward stated, "Reviews are valuable but when written in a spiteful way, will only make an author feel like you're a hater and not someone who is seriously giving valuable criticisms. When the information is real and helpful, then I'm willing to utilize the suggestions to change for the better."   As a writer, it is necessary to build up your courage and to strengthen your heart because you will need it through this journey of writing. Remember each step you take will make you better and stronger to reach your goals. Not all people will support you, but that's okay too. For every person who puts you down, rejects you or simply don't like your work, two more will pick you up.

Rose Jackson-Beavers is an author, publisher and freelance writer.  She lives in Florissant, MO, with her husband and daughter.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Meet Kim Brooks, author of She That Findeth

NEW RELEASE - She That Findeth by Kim Brooks  #shethatfindeth

About the Book

Ten years of believing, yet still no husband in sight for Shenita Love. The Bible does say “Wait on the Lord,” which, for Shenita, means waiting for God to deliver her a soul mate. Then again, God helps those who help themselves.

On her thirty-fifth birthday, Shenita’s fear of never starting a family has reached a fever pitch. Her trusty “rule book”—filled with guidelines for dating—simply isn’t cutting it. Soon Shenita is signing up for online dating sites, hitting on men at sporting events, and putting herself out there in ways she never imagined.

When Shenita stops playing by the book and takes matters into her own hands, she finds anything can happen.

Meanwhile, her closest friends are struggling with their own issues of sexuality, acceptance, divorce, insecurity, and financial strain. Always the faithful shoulder to lean on, Shenita wants to be there for them, but her desire to find a man leads her to an unforeseeable circumstance. A place where she must examine her relationship with God and reconsider her priorities.

About the Author

Kim Brooks is the Award-winning author of non-fiction and fiction books for singles including Black Expressions Bestseller, He’s Fine…but is he Saved? and her newest novel release, She That Findeth.

Kim is a former guest columnist for Gospel Today Magazine and featured on The Word Network and she publishes a monthly eNewsletter, The Single Heart, and an online daily devotional for single women which encourages thousands worldwide and is subscribable for free on her website,

Order This Book

SHE THAT FINDETH (Trade Paperback):


     Amazon Kindle
     B&N Nook
     Google Play

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Monday, March 31, 2014

Meet Author Tyora Moody

About the Book

Reverend Jonathan Freeman and his wife Lenora are quickly becoming Charlotte’s “it” couple. All eyes are on them as Jonathan is named pastor of a church following the death of his father and Lenora has become a sought-after wedding planner. The Freemans are media darlings and a model couple; the picture of perfection. Or are they?

Behind the scenes, Jonathan struggles with his role as pastor of a megachurch while Lenora grows increasingly and uncharacteristically distant. A number of odd and tragic incidents push her further away from the love of her life and the façade of perfection begins to crack.

A carefully guarded secret catches up with Lenora and it threatens her security as well as that of her family. Has an imperfect past finally caught up with her? Will the ghost of someone she thought long dead rise like Lazarus from the grave and destroy all she has worked to preserve? Or will Lenora fight to protect the man she loves and the beautiful life God has blessed her to have?  

About the Author

Serving up a creative mix, flavored with FAITH

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.  — 1 Colossians 3:17 NIV

Tyora Moody is an author and literary entrepreneur.  Tyora has coined her fiction books as Soul-Searching Suspense. Her debut novel, When Rain Falls, was released March 2012 (Urban Christian). This is the first book in the Victory Gospel series. The second book in the Victory Gospel Series, When Memories Fade, was released in April 2013 (Urban Christian).  The final book in the series, When Perfection Fails (Urban Christian) will be released March 2014.

Deep Fried Trouble, the first book in the Eugeena Patterson Mystery series was released June 2013 (Tymm Publishing LLC). She is currently working on the second book in the Eugeena Patterson Mysteries, Oven Baked Secrets (October 2014) and the first book in a new romantic suspense series (April 2015).

Tyora won 2nd Place for the 2014 Yerby Award for Fiction. She is the 2013 Urban Literary Awards Debut Author Winner and 2013 Urban Literary Awards Mystery/Thriller/Suspense Winner.  Tyora is a member of Sisters in Crime and American Christian Fiction Writers.

As a literary-focused entrepreneur, she has assisted countless authors with developing an online presence via her company, Popular services include online publicity, social media management, book trailers and book covers.  The Literary Entrepreneur’s Toolkit was released January 2014. On Mondays, Tyora hosts The Literary Entrepreneur Podcast.

When Tyora isn’t working for a client or doing something literary, she enjoys spending time with family, catching a movie on the big screen, and traveling. For more information about her literary endeavors, visit her online at the author online at


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Monday, October 14, 2013

Without Faith by author, Leslie J. Sherrod

About the Book

A diva and a gentleman have shown up for couples counseling, but now Sienna is the one in danger....

She’s a sleuth. She’s a scorned wife. She’s a sista on a mission. Sienna St. James is more than a sharp-witted social worker. She’s a problem solver who keeps getting pulled into life-and-death mysteries that only complicate her already complex life. With a head-strong teenage son and a missing, estranged husband - who could be anywhere on the globe - Sienna has to figure out what gets her focus first: the questions she has about her own love and loss or the dangerous quirks and dark confusion of her current clients... And then there are the current eligible men around her who are jockeying for position, waiting for her to make up her mind about it all.

 About the Author

Leslie J. Sherrod, the recipient of the SORMAG Readers Choice Award for Christian Author of the Year (2012), has a Masters in Social Work and has worked as a therapist, just like her current protagonist, Sienna St. James. Her novels, Losing Hope, Secret Place, and Like Sheep Gone Astray have been featured in Baltimore’s Enoch Pratt Free Library Writer’s LIVE! Series, as well as local CBS and NBC affiliates, and on AOL’s Black Voices. She has received a starred review from Booklist and is a contributor to the bestselling A Cup of Comfort devotional series. A graduate of the University of Maryland, she also took courses in writing at The Johns Hopkins University. Leslie lives in Baltimore, Maryland with her husband and three children.

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Friday, October 11, 2013

October Is National Bullying Prevention Month

October Is National Bullying Prevention Month: Help Put a Stop to Bullying

A Hole In My Heart                   

Caught in the Net
True story: My sister told me she was bullied daily at school. She was called ugly and believed it. I was shocked. Why didn’t you tell us? You have 7 brothers and sisters; we would have put a stop to it fast. But she felt hopeless.

A young girl I know was being bullied daily. She never told a soul. When she became older she did the same thing to others. She said,                                   
 “I suffered from depression and low-self-esteem because of bullying.”                   
I heard a 3 year old bully a 9 year old. The 9 year old just cried.
I personally witness this conversation with a group of kids no older than 8.
Kid 1: You are fat and ugly. He said this to the 6 year-old.

Kid 2: No I’m not.

Kid 1: Yes you are, and you’re ugly too.

Kid 3: You are fat and eat too much.

I confronted them all. I told the 6 year old she was beautiful. Get this! She was very skinny and small. My nephew and I wrote these books to help young people. Stop Bullying Now!

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Monday, September 23, 2013

My Thoughts After Reading Reviews on A Sinner's Cry

I have never responded to a review before and after this I never will again. When I think about churches, I always think about the sick. My mother always told me that churches are like hospitals, people go there to get better. However, if you are not converted, which takes time, as a person you will continue to fail. That is how I see many churches, and this doesn’t have anything to do with race. Many denominations have their own particular set of problems from abuse of children, stealing money to illicit sex in the church. Still there are many churches that don’t have these problems or these types of issues have not surfaced to the congregation as a whole.

I try to write real stories. We are not perfect, only God is. But if people understand they can come to God no matter what they've done in the past without fear of rejection, then I’m doing my job. I get letters from potential church members saying how my book changed their lives by letting them know God forgives all sin. They feel they can walk through the doors of the church and believe God will do as He promised. Some people are offended by the church’s problems and choose to see churches as a place for perfect people. I see it as a place for imperfect people trying to live as God wants us to. I’m not living in a glass house. I know people fail. I know preachers fall. I believe when people fall, they can still be redeemed.

My book, A Sinner’s Cry is about people. Most of the drama happens at church. But a church is not Heaven, and I do not glorify church as such. I don’t glorify church because they are still managed by people. Imperfect people! I glorify God. I don’t follow men. I follow God. Even if there is sin in a church, you cannot run from it because wherever you chose to move your membership to, you may find sin there also.

When I read I have descriptive sex in my book, I smile because I know I had to do a good job writing this book. This is because the book is a little raunchy, but the scenes are not descriptive. Maybe it’s me, and the kinds of books I read but this isn’t very descriptive, play by play to me. I am providing an example of the two scenes and also an article written by my former publicist. The link for the article is below.  Here are two examples:

Example 1:

 As I pulled into the driveway, Darren drove up behind me. I parked in the garage and he followed. Before I could get the garage all the way down, he pulled on my clothes and started kissing my neck. He started unbuttoning my blouse and tried to take my skirt off in the garage. I gently pushed him away and ran into the house through the garage door.

Darren kissed me. He acted as if he was starved, like he hadn’t eaten or had sex in weeks. My skirt fell to the floor and I stood there naked. I wanted him as badly as he wanted me. So I unbuttoned his shirt and he helped me to pull it off. It dropped to the floor. He took me right there in the living room, standing up.

He held my face in his hands. “Denise, I love you, girl.”

I didn’t respond because I was thinking of Pastor Davis, not him. I was scared to speak for I may have said something wrong. I prayed and asked God to help me to be a Christian.

“You okay?”

“Yeah.”  I kissed his lips. I felt so confused. I loved Darren, but I loved God, too. I didn’t know if I should follow my heart and keep on loving Darren, or follow God and live according to His will? Loving Darren was so easy, but losing my soul was so hard.

 I walked to the bathroom and filled the Jacuzzi. Darren put on his pants and shirt and walked to the car to get out the food he’d picked up for us. He was so aroused that he left the food and took me first.

 As we sat in the Jacuzzi, I lay my head on his shoulder. “I love you so much.”

“I know. It won’t be long. I saw my lawyer today. I wanted to find out what I needed to do. I told you I was going to divorce my wife soon.”

“I hope you don’t feel as if I am making you do that. I will not allow you to blame me.” I lifted my head off his shoulders and looked into his eyes. Lately, I had been feeling weird, being with another woman’s husband. When I found out he was married I stayed because my heart had planted vines in my soul and I had fallen in love. I couldn’t leave. Then I became comfortable. I got used to him and I did not like the idea of being back out in the world unattached.

“What are you thinking about?”

“Us and where we are headed.”

He swiped a strand of my hair behind my ear. “We are headed to the altar; you are going to be my wife.”

He grabbed me and pulled me onto his lap. We kissed as his hands slowly moved over my body like an x-ray machine, looking for areas to pinpoint for more observation. I felt his warmth that connected from his body to mine. We became one again, the second time that night.

Example 2:

When Darren arrived I opened the door and let him in. Grabbing me, he kissed me hard and I kissed him back. The guilt was killing me, but not enough to stop me. I needed his arms to hold me and to make me feel safe. We made passionate love on the floor in front of my fireplace. He held and kissed me and I kept my head under his armpits. I felt safe and I didn’t want him to leave. As we lay there, saying nothing, the phone rang and I jumped.

“Why are you so jumpy?” Darren turned his head and watched me.

“Hello?”  There was no sound.

I slammed the phone down. “Darren, please stay tonight, please.”

Jumping up, he knocked over the crystal lamp and it crashed to the floor, but it didn’t break. He grabbed me and looked deep down into my eyes as I looked up to him for comfort. “What’s going on?”

“Someone keeps calling and hanging up. Tonight someone followed me all the way from East St. Louis.”

“You didn’t let them see where you live, did you?”

“No, I drove straight to the police station. That scared them and they kept driving. A police officer escorted me home and waited to ensure that I was okay.”

“That was smart of you.” Kissing me on my forehead, he whispered, “I will not let anyone bother you. But I can’t stay. I have to get home. If Jill becomes suspicious, she will take me to the cleaners. We have to be careful. I already stayed once this week, I can’t do it again so soon.”

“Darren, baby, I don’t know how much longer I can do this. I miss you when you are not here and I want you so bad to be here with me all the time. I’m so tired of sharing you. Plus, Darren, what we are doing is wrong. It is against what God requires of us.”

“There you go with that mess again.”

“What do you mean that mess? Don’t you believe in God?”

“Yes, I do, but I don’t think God is sitting around worried about who I am seeing with all the problems in the world. I just think that wouldn’t be His concern. Not who I am sleeping with.”

“I’m not going there with you. You know that if we want to see Heaven there are things we need to do.”

“Yeah, but right now I want you before I leave.”

Picking me up and taking me to the bedroom, he worked me over good before he showered. We lay in bed and talked before he left. I lay in bed thinking that lately we had been spending a lot of time in bed. I wondered if that was all our relationship was about. I was beginning to hate myself. I jumped out of the bed and stared at myself to see if I looked dirty. I wanted to know if my sin was noticeable. I looked at every inch of my body, searching for something to show me that people knew I was sleeping with a married man. I didn’t know what I was looking for, but I knew I felt dirty and sinful.

 As tears rolled down my face, Darren exited the bathroom and stood behind me. He was naked. His body was beautiful like a naked god’s—no marks, no fat, no inches of fat over his waistline—just muscle and beauty. He watched me.

“What are you doing, Denise?”  He had a perplexed look on his face. His eyes were looking up and his head was leaning to the side.

I just stared at him through the mirror. I looked for a reflection of something. I didn’t know what I was doing. I was crying and touching my body.
“What is wrong with you? I love you. Stop this now!”

He pulled on his clothes and shoes. Then he checked his phone to see if he had missed any calls. My phone rang again. I didn’t budge; I stood steadfast in the mirror.
Walking behind me, Darren wrapped his arms around my body as if he was trying to shield me from the cold and pain that was so deep in me that if he didn’t spread warmth over me he would lose me. He rocked me as if I was his baby. He kissed me and told me he loved me. I believed him. “I’m gonna take care of you. Don’t you worry a bit, pretty lady?”


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