The Reading Corner and Literary Tips

Friday, June 26, 2015


On June 7th, 2015, Prioritybooks Publications and New Jerusalem Seventh-day Adventist Church hosted a Christian Literary Brunch in East St. Louis, Illinois.  The featured author and speaker was Pat Simmons, a national best-selling and award-winning author from Florissant, MO.  

We had a great time as Pat discussed her journey in writing, gave valuable information to aspiring writers and a testimony about this journey.  The late lunch was great, the people were happy and Pat sold her books.  There were about 40 people there.  The PathFinders, a Christian Stepping youth group performed.  We enjoyed Pat and her husband. It was a nice evening.

We are looking forward to repeating this brunch next year and presenting other literary activities.  Literacy and being a good reader is so important to our community, and our goal is to encourage more people to read and support authors.













Pat's Books





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Saturday, April 18, 2015

Meet Author Chizellé T. Archie







NEW RELEASE | 
His Grace, His Blood, His Mercy! 

 by Chizellé T. Archie 

#hisgracebloodmercy



About the Book

Victoria Diamond Bouviér is back!
Now living in Atlanta, Georgia, as CEO of Diamond Investments, wife to husband, Marcel, and mother; this time she gets way more than she bargains for. Life for Victoria has become a never-ending cycle, and on top of it all she has the arduous task of being the mother to Gabrielle Grace Cartiér, a thirteen-year-old trapped in the body of a twenty-one-year-old, who just happens to be a child prodigy! Can you say thermodynamics by age 5? OMG...

In this modern day epic, Gabrielle deals with the daily woes of teenage-hood, but like most girls her age, her mind isn't all focused on the books. Hers is set on other things like being the flyest girl at Benetton Prep Academy, along with getting her one true love, Andrew Harrison, 23-year old owner of Club Etcetera. 

When Gabrielle gets a Facebook "friend request" from Rishard "Big Pimpin'" McCants, her life takes a new direction. Following the "Rule Book" her best friend, Quinn, authors, Gabrielle grows up faster than she can imagine. Once she discovers love, sex, drugs, and money doesn't equal to three, she suddenly has help remembering what does, but is it too late?

As Victoria tries to balance life, love, and health, she once again gets caught in a web of past treachery and deceit. It's said, what's done in the dark, comes to light, so be careful who you sleep with. Generational curses can be lethal! With her ride or die bestie, Lucy, by her side, will Victoria learn that even in motherhood with God anything is possible? IJS...


About the Author

Chizellé T. Archie hails from Atlanta, Georgia by way of the sunny Gulf Coast of Mobile, Alabama. She is a Registered Nurse for the Infectious Disease Program with Grady Health Systems.

Several years ago, after noticing the alarming statistics of the HIV rate of African American women, Chizellé became fed up with the way her African American brothers and sisters (young alike), were beginning to settle for any and everything, in that having safe sex was not an option anymore. Lastly, what disturbed her most was there are so many people sitting in the church pews each Sunday masking their hurt, because of the stigma associated with this epidemic, and yet the one place they feel most comfortable is the one place that leaves them feeling so alone.

In 2010, Chizellé landed on the literary scene with authority, and it was with great fortitude that she penned her debut novel, The Fearfully and Wonderfully Made Diamond, in which her life experiences have allowed her to grab hold and take nothing less, realizing she is a Diamond! She continues the story in the sequel, His Grace, His Blood, His Mercy!



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Book Review

If you have time to review the book, please post your review here and also don’t forget to post online at Amazon.com  and Goodreads.com.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Oven Baked Secrets by Tyora Moody



























There are some authors who just pull me in with their colorful words and interesting storylines.  It is normally hard for me to get into mystery books but when I read the first Tyora Moody book, I was hooked.  Her book, Oven Baked Secrets is about Eugeena Patterson, a retired school teacher who with her friend Louise Hopkins were like the neighborhood watch team.  Whatever happened in their little corner called Sugar Creek did not easily get past them.  Unfortunately, Louise son decided to put her in a nursing home, and that doesn't sit well with Eugeena.

 There is a lot of drama in Sugar Creek, people disappearing, a blossoming romance, an unknown visitor, and a murder. In addition, Eugeena haven't been allowed to visit her dear friend.  There is no way Eugeena is going to ignore what's happening, plus she misses her friend.  When your friend is down, who's the best person to find out what is going on? In this case, it's the nosey neighborhood watch keeper Eugeena Patterson.

I enjoyed this story and found the book hard to put down. Tyora Moody has written a witty and interesting read.  You'll be intrigued with Eugeena and the host of characters who are working to solve this mystery.  I enjoyed reading Oven Baked Secrets, the second book in the Eugeena Patterson Mysteries. I look forward to reading more from this author.


Buy the book, Oven Baked Secrets

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Q &A with Shana Burton, Author of #Flawbulous



1. Tell us all about you, the author.

 In addition to being an author, I'm a Christian, educator, mother, friend, sister, and occasionally someone's girlfriend. I'm an author because that's the only thing I know how to be. I have no other employable skills aside from writing and teaching, and I don't particularly enjoy teaching. 

2. How long have you been writing and what has the experience been like for you? 

I've been writing for as long as I've been able to hold a pencil! The writing experience has been easy. Writing comes naturally to me, like breathing. It's the selling, promotion, and business side to publishing that's a challenge. If I could just write and hit "send" on my laptop and let the book sell itself, I'd be a happy camper!

3. We like to show support to those who motivate, support, and push us. Please identify any of the people who have helped you on your journey to become a writer. 

So many people to thank for that! My mom, of course, for supporting me in everything I do. My fellow writer chicks Crystal, Traci, and Latravius keep me honest with the writing craft and aren't afraid to tell me when I've written something that sucks. I'm also cool with a lot of authors who keep me motivated and inspired to keep writing.

4. What is your writing process like and how did you come up with your style of writing?

Generally, a guy I'm dating, a co-worker, or a friend does something unfathomable or pisses me off and then I go write a book about it. That's honestly my process! I wish it was more contrived and detailed so I could dazzle you with my ingenuity. Unfortunately, that's pretty much it.

5. Do you write full time or part time? 

I'm always writing, so it's full time in that sense, but I still work so it's part-time from a financial prospective. 

6. How do you come up with the titles for your books? What about the character names? 

I get inspiration for titles from everywhere-- song lyrics, cliches, scriptures. I had to be a little more creative with the Flaws series since the titles had to have the word "flaw" in them somewhere. 

The English teacher in me likes to use symbolism with my characters' names. The names always reveal something about them. "Vashti Hunter" was on the prowl for a man. "Sullivan Webb" is always tangled in her web of lies. "Kina Battle" is always in some sort of fight, be it external or internal. If I base a character around someone I know, I try to use a derivative of that person's name. 

7. What motivates you to write? 

Not liking my day job is a big motivating factor. Plus, once the characters in my head start talking, there's no stopping them until I write. At that point, it's either write or go crazy. I also get great fulfillment in telling stories that make people think, laugh, and feel or just escape whatever is going on in their lives for a few pages.

8. How does writing affect every other area of your life?
It definitely affects my friendships and relationships. My friends are scared to tell me things now and preference statements with, "Now, Shana, don't put this in one of your books!" Guys are often very fearful of ending up characterized in a book, which is good because it makes them act right. Aside from that, it doesn't affect too much. I'm still very much the same person I was before the books. The only difference is that you can Google me now!

9. Tell us about your book(s) in as many words as you'd like. 

My books are about how ordinary people deal with extraordinary circumstances. I like to take those things that people swear they'd never do-- be it cheat on a spouse, betray a best friend, compromise principles for money-- and put my characters in those circumstances. You rarely find "good" characters in my books. They have layers, they're complicated, and they're messy, just like all of us. The reality is that we're all one bad decision away from self-destruction and are saved by grace. That's the message in all of my books. 

About the Book
 
Has there ever been a time when you did the one thing you swore you’d never do?
For fabulously flawed friends Lawson, Sullivan, Kina, Angel, and Reginell, that time is now! When Lawson is pushed against the wall, she fights back by betraying those closest to her. A split decision changes Sullivan’s fate and family dynamics forever. Kina is searching for love again but finds it in all the wrong places. Happiness is finally within Angel’s reach, but another woman may cause it to slip through her fingers once again. Reginell has made her share of mistakes in the past, but she never thought trusting her sister would be one of them until now.
All of the lies, drama, love, fights, and prayers have led to this moment. Join the ladies for one last ride in this critically-acclaimed book series!





About the Author
Shana Burton is the bestselling author of Suddenly Single, First Comes Love, Catt Chasin’, Flaws and All, Flaw Less, Flawfully Wedded Wives, and a memoir, Note to Self: The Diary of a Divorcee. The two-time Georgia Author of the Year nominee is also an educator and resides in Georgia.












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Saturday, October 11, 2014

Putting Your Best Foot Forward While Interviewing




I received a phone call from an author who had blown a television interview. Apparently after 30 plus takes they told her that they would contact her later. She knew that they wouldn’t. Not only could she not answer questions about her life, she froze and forgot what her book was about. She was so upset because she realized that she lost a great opportunity to be seen by thousands of people. Plus, she felt that the host would never call her back and so far she was right.


I immediately contacted my publicist and asked her to take this author and two others through media training. The training we received was from  Media  by Sistrunk. The owner of the company Deborah gave us some valuable information. I have used some of the information from participating in the training, in this article.  Often when you are being interviewed you plan what you are going to say, but what is just as important is what you don’t say. Not only is it important to have good talking points and good verbal skills but you must also have great non-verbal skills. The ability to communicate both verbally and non-verbally is essential. Nonverbal communication is often referred to as body language and includes gestures, expressions and postures.


Here are some do’s and don’t to help you navigate through the interview.

Do:
· Maintain eye contact with the person who is interviewing you. Keeping eye contact is a sure sign to the interviewer that you are focused on what they are saying.
· Sit up straight and lean forward to show that you are interested in what the person is saying.
· Keep your hands folded on your lap or the arm of the chair when listening to the interviewer.
· Smile when appropriate.

Don’t:
Don’t pick your hands.
Don’t slouch or slide down in your chair.
Don’t tap your fingers nervously.
Don’t fiddle with objects on the desk or near you.
Don’t ignore the interviewer by looking away from them.

Finally, know your subject matter. It is easy to forget information, but you can lessen your chance of this happening by practicing in front of a mirror. Maybe practice does not make perfect all the time, as said, but at least it will make the interview better. Practice these tips and you’ll appear as a confident and assured person while putting your best foot forward.

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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Path From Pain to Purpose





















I've been going through a lot of thinking about what is my purpose and wondering if I am doing what God planned for me to do. But mostly, I've wanted to know how do I know if I'm working in my purpose.  I asked the question earlier in the year on one of my statuses how do you know what your purpose is in life. I've bought books and have been reading the Bible but still I felt lost.  Several days ago I downloaded one of my favorite Christian author newest non-fiction book.  I had read her previous non-fiction book, I Shall Not Die: Living A Psalm 118:17 Existence.  From this book, I realized that I couldn't complain, and how truly important it is to have faith in God.  Now I reading, The Path From Pain to Purpose: Living A Romans 8:28 Existence (The Life Series), and already I feel like I know what God's purpose is for me. If you're going through something, you should never waver in your faith.  There are times we become afraid, and fearful if we hold on to God and have faith in Him, He will provide. Another thing, I love the way she explains why it is okay to ask God questions about things. Many of us have been instructed to not question God,  but the way she breaks it down, makes perfect sense that we can talk to Him about things without blaming or badgering.  Check the book out!

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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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