Characterization: real people with real issues

How do you write real people with real issues? I write inspirational fiction and shy away from calling it “Christian fiction” because of the genre’s tendency towards squeaky-clean people or the other side of the spectrum: wrong-side-of-the-tracks bad boys or girls. My preference is for a multi-cultural cast of characters. They have screwy childhoods andContinue reading “Characterization: real people with real issues”

Let love in or shut it out? You decide.

How do you move beyond the pain to start a fresh relationship? I’m knee-deep in Isoke: a character I’ve known for about a year. Isoke’s background is littered with issues. Her mother, Hawa, left the family to pursue a calling greater than the responsibility of a family. When Hawa was present, she berated Isoke, whoContinue reading “Let love in or shut it out? You decide.”

Time does heal all wounds

I can talk about it now. This August, my wife and I got pregnant, or so I thought. Basically, her body thought she was pregnant, but there was no heartbeat or fetal pole — an empty eggshell, if you will. I prayed fervently that this would end naturally. It didn’t. I’ll spare you the details,Continue reading “Time does heal all wounds”

How to plan a book wedding

I wanted to help plan my wedding. OK, not the flowers or colors. I didn’t pick the bridesmaid dresses. With some things, I asked “how much?” and passed off to my future bride. But I had a hand in the important things. Planning your book release is a similar process. Start with choosing a relevantContinue reading “How to plan a book wedding”

On the inside with a book agent

Last Saturday, I joined Nancy Knight of the Sullivan Maxx agency for a workshop. You can read more about Nancy and her qualifications here. If you’ve decided the indie route is not for you, and your dream is to make it to the frontlist of one of the Big 6 (Macmillan, Hachette, HarperCollins, Penguin, Random House,Continue reading “On the inside with a book agent”

Save time & money: Why you need a publishing mentor

I call myself a “publishing mentor,” and not because I like cutesy titles (I actually HATE them). Authors interested in indie publishing (ESPECIALLY self-publishing) need information to successfully navigate the publishing process. You could use someone on your team who’s not trying to hawk their wares instead of offering you another, efficient, time-saving way, couldn’t you?Continue reading “Save time & money: Why you need a publishing mentor”

Guest Blog: How to get a five star book review was started simply to help an avid reader keep track of what it’s creator, Lisa, was reading.  It focuses on all things literary, particularly: books written by and/or about people of color, African-American, Latino and Asian lit. Historical fiction, memoirs and books geared toward women also have a home on When not reading, which isContinue reading “Guest Blog: How to get a five star book review”

3 Key tips on marketing your book

The following guest blog post is by Kemya Scott. Scott (or “Miss Kemya” across the web) is the self-titled “solopreneur” of Phisco Marketing: a stratetegic marketing consultant agency that specializes in helping small business. Scott, a 15-year marketing consultant veteran and MBA grad, believes small businesses are “the lifeblood of our economy.” She is anContinue reading “3 Key tips on marketing your book”

Writing to sell or selling out?

“Booker T. and W.E.B.” by Dudley Randall is a poem describing the ideological differences between Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois. One advocated conformity to pursue change, while the other bucked conformity to propel change. It seems to me that conformity/nonconformity is a challenge every artist must take to task: produce what the market demandsContinue reading “Writing to sell or selling out?”

REVIEW: “Setting Boundaries with Difficult People: Six Steps to SANITY for Challenging Relationships” by Allison Bottke

Setting Boundaries with Difficult People: Six Steps to SANITY for Challenging Relationships by Allison Bottke My rating: 4 of 5 stars Setting Boundaries with Difficult People in 140 characters or less: “sanity=analysis, introspection, support, trusting God. Practice!” If you find spiritual self-help books to be trite and preachy, Allison Bottke’s “Setting Boundaries with Difficult People:Continue reading “REVIEW: “Setting Boundaries with Difficult People: Six Steps to SANITY for Challenging Relationships” by Allison Bottke”