I Was On the Radio Y’all!

Hey Peeps,

Just wanted to drop by and let you know that I had my very first radio interview this past weekend! I was excited and nervous and I’m pretty sure I said ‘um’ much more than I wanted to, but other than that I think I did okay. The host, DuEwa Frazier, was warm and engaging. She made me feel comfortable and asked some great questions; that helped tremendously. So, here it is!

Interview with Author Faith Simone on Rhymes, Views and NewsTalk Radio

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Shout out to Your Vision in Ink for obtaining this interview for me. Don’t sleep on the author services offered there!

OAN: I’m on Periscope y’all!!!! Well, technically I haven’t actually done a broadcast yet, but I am a registered user. For those of you not in the know, Periscope is a spin-off created by Twitter that allows users to stream live video to their followers. Think YouTube only live and much more casual. It’s like being invited into someone’s life for brief moments.

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So far, I’ve toured an English garden in the UK, saw a couple of live concerts and got schooled on some publishing tips. The one caveat is that the streams are only available for replay for about 24-48 hours. So if you missed it, well… you missed it.  I’ll do my first broadcast once I familiarize myself with the platform a little more. I’m all crunked about it (are the kids still using that phrase?) because the broadcasts are live and I’ll be able to interact with you lovely people in real time! You can ask me questions and send your comments while I’m on the air. Chile, I’m over here feeling all Jetson like and whatnot. Where’s my flying car, ’cause we are doing the dog on thang!

Get yo’ life and follow me on Periscope @FaithSimone2011

If you took time to listen to my first radio interview, first of all thanks! Do you have any tips for me? I have another radio interview scheduled in August. School me now so I’ll have some time to get myself together. 

How do you settle your nerves before doing something out of your comfort zone? Me? I have a come to Jesus meeting, A.K.A. pray like it’s my last time! What’s your one bad habit when engaging in public speaking? 

Book Review: Seasoned with Grace

I first discovered author Nigeria Lockley during a blog tour for her debut novel Born at Dawn. God was all in that thang, because she’s since gone on to become one of my top cyber buddies. So it is with great pleasure that I share with you Nigeria’s sophomore effort: Seasoned with Grace!


Seasoned with GraceTitle: Seasoned with Grace

Author: Nigeria Lockley

Genres: Christian Fiction, Urban Fiction, Inspirational Fiction, Women’s Fiction

Description: Sentenced to probation, thirty-year-old, supermodel Grace King must put her plans of transitioning into acting to extend the longevity of her career on hold. Desperate to keep a close eye on Grace and his job Grace’s ambitious lawyer, Ethan Summerville has her complete community service in the last place Grace wants to be. His church.

Instead of God, Grace finds a “chocolate drop” of a man–Brother Horace Brown. However, Horace isn’t looking for a supermodel. He wants his woman saved and sanctified, but Grace has never met a man who has been able to resist her. Will Horace compromise his faith for a taste of fortune, fame, and Grace?While Grace focuses on the pursuit of passion Ethan finds one director willing to take a risk and cast Grace in his debut film, but this role fits Grace all too well. Will this film revive Grace’s relationship with God and her career or bring her closer to destruction?

My Review: Grace is one of those characters that you love to hate. At least in the beginning. She’s vain, selfish, abrasive and a real piece of work. Grace is the type of woman you wouldn’t want to leave your man around. But once you find out why she’s the way she is, you find yourself rooting for her to come out on top, despite her obnoxious attitude.

Like the main character’s name and the title of the book, grace is a paramount theme in this novel. Grace is surrounded by supportive characters that show her exactly what her name means, whether it be through tough love, protecting her reputation (what she has left of it) or standing with her once her full story comes to light. All of the characters are flawed in some way, which in my opinion makes them more believable. I’m a sucker to Christian Fiction that dares to tell the ugly truth, and Seasoned with Grace does not disappoint!

Pre-order Seasoned with Grace here! It officially drops July 28th.

What’s the name of the last book you read with a character that rubbed you the wrong way? Did you eventually grow to care/understand him or her? Do you think books always have to have main characters that readers can relate to?

***I was provided an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review, which I freely give.***

This Then Is the Work of the Spirit

I like to consider myself to be a bit of a poet, so when I come across someone who clearly has the skill down to an art form I have to share their words with the world! I’ll start with you. ;) I hope you enjoy this poem by Louis Alan Swartz. It’s featured in his book of poetry entitled Constructed of Magic and Other Poems on the Immortality of the Human Spirit.


 

constructed magic
This Then is the Work of the Spirit
(Written for and dedicated to Carla Cohen)
You were sitting across from me,
That was the apparency.
Do you fully realize what you
Enabled me to see?
The depth of the aesthetic
You opened in me?
We stand in awe
As the spirit is freed.
In the little room
Faced to the south
Couldn’t believe the words
That came out of my mouth.
You listened beyond all
Imaginable listening,
Helped me see
A profound aesthetic that had
Always been part of me.
The depth of your listening
Has enabled me to hear
A music that has no sound.
This then, is the voice of the spirit,
It was always right there,
I was always right near it.
But before you listened to me
I just couldn’t hear it.
Bless you and the work you do.
This is the actual holy work.
The work of the heart.
The work of the spirit.
Thank you for listening to me
With such unearthly intensity.
There was truth
Right next to me
That for vast, vast eons
I couldn’t quite see,
An aesthetic that comprises
The very best in me.
You’ve helped me open this
For all of eternity.
For this, I cannot express
The degree to which
I thank thee.

Good poetry leaves much to be interpreted by the reader, and this poem reminded me of what excellent counselors do: provide a safe place for people to open their emotions and their eyes to the endless possibilities life brings. What’s your interpretation of this poem?
If you want to enjoy more poetry by Louis, click here!

 

Stand Your Ground #Race #Politics #Justice #NewRelease

In light of recent racial terrorism (because say what you will, that’s what the Charleston massacre was all about), it seems fitting that I should help spread the word about this captivating novel that seeks to help start the conversation about race, prejudice and laws (or lack thereof) that make up the current American culture. If you dare to face this controversy head on, keep reading.


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Book Summary: 
From the #1 Essence bestselling and award-winning author Victoria Christopher Murray comes a new novel about three women forced to grapple with their faith and their belief in the justice system when they become involved in a high-stakes murder trial.
Janice Johnson is living every mother’s worst nightmare. Her sixteen-year-old son was murdered in the parking lot of a convenience store and the shooter hasn’t been arrested. Janice and her husband want justice for their son, but disagree about whether to trust the police investigation—or take matters into their own hands.
Shelly Vance cannot believe the nightmare that has become her life. Her husband is facing murder charges for shooting a sixteen-year-old who he says attacked him in a parking lot. This tragedy is only magnified by the racial divide it has created, and Shelly feels herself being judged by everyone from her employer to her friends. She’s vowed to stand by her husband no matter what, but how can she keep quiet when she’s keeping a secret that could blow the whole case wide open?
Alax Wilson would rather be anywhere else but on the jury of this highly charged case. Not only is she missing work—which she can’t really afford to do—but she’s been chosen as the jury’s foreman, which means she has to take her role seriously if there is any hope of reaching a verdict.
Faced with the tragic death of a teenager and a dramatic trial that has turned into media frenzy, Janice, Shelly, and Alax are forced to face their own prejudices and those of the world around them. But will the truth come to light?
Purchase Links

Author Bio:(null) (1)
Victoria Christopher Murray always knew she would become an author, even as she was taking an unlikely path to that destination. A native of Queens, Victoria first left New York to attend Hampton University where she majored in Communication Disorders. After graduating, Victoria attended New York University where she received her MBA.
Victoria spent ten years in Corporate America before she tested her entrepreneurial spirit. She opened a Financial Services Agency for Aegon, USA where she managed the number one division for nine consecutive years. However, Victoria never lost the dream to write and when the “bug” hit her again in 1997, she answered the call.
Victoria originally self-published her first novel, Temptation and in 2000, Time Warner published that novel. Temptation made numerous best sellers list and remained on the Essence bestsellers list for nine consecutive months. In 2001, Temptation was nominated for an NAACP Image Award in Outstanding Literature.
Victoria has received numerous awards including the Golden Pen Award for Best Inspirational Fiction and the Phyllis Wheatley Trailblazer Award for being a pioneer in African American Fiction. Since 2007, Victoria has won seven African American Literary Awards for best novel, best Christian fiction and Author of the Year – Female. Her 2014 NAACP Image Award nomination for Never Say Never was her third Image Award nomination.
Several of Victoria’s novels have been optioned to become movies, including The Deal, the Dance and the Devil and the Ex Files series.
With over one million books in print, Victoria is one of the country’s top African American contemporary authors.
Victoria, along with ReShonda Tate Billingsley, is the cofounder of Brown Girls Publishing.
Contacts: 

What I appreciate about Stand Your Ground is the fact that it looks at the situation from three entirely different points of view. I can attest to VCM’s ability to manage these perspectives because she’s done it before.  There are so many people on both sides of the divide that refuse to entertain the thought that there could be valid points on either side. My hope for this book is that is sparks genuine conversation. Your thoughts?
PRE-ORDER STAND YOUR GROUND HERE!

Confessions of Faith: Beauty for Ashes

beautyThe month of June is usually full of melancholy for me. At least it has been for the past few years. The explanation for my feelings of melancholy and sadness I’ll save for another day. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that gratitude lifts depression. So my confessions today are expressions of gratitude for some of the blessings I’ve received over the last couple of weeks. These occurrences reminded me that I am loved, appreciated and valuable. For all these things and more, I’m grateful.

My Uncle came to paint our house…well technically it’s his house, since we’re renting from him. But that’s besides the point. While he’s been there working over the last week, he put my new license plates on my car (I was riding dirty with my Texas tags for years!), promised to replace my brake pads, fussed at me for remembering to set the house alarm but forgetting to actually lock the door, and gave me pointers on improving my sweet potato pie recipe. It’s a blessing to have family near by, and our conversations about everything from the Rachel Dolezal media circus to the progress I’m making on my new book warmed my heart.

I was feeling a little discouraged about the progress I’m making in building a writer platform, and briefly entertained the thought of giving up. I wondered if I should put all the time and energy I’m currently giving to writing and publishing into something else. That same week I got an email from The Knowledge Maven stating how much she’s enjoying reading my book! It validated me that a fellow writer thought enough of my writing to make sure she told me that I’m good at it and to keep going with it. I also received a shout out from a fan on Facebook who said that she can’t wait to read my next book. Those expressions of recognition lifted my spirits and reminded me that I have to keep going. There are people all over the world who could one day be blessed by the work of my hands. That can’t happen if I give up.

Gratitude

What I’ve said so far are the major things that come to mind, but there are so many little things that make me pause and say ‘thank you’. Laughing at Melissa McCarthy in the movie Spy on a beautiful sunny day while feeling ultra feminine in a cute polka dot sundress. Discovering the Thai chicken salad at Panera Bread (try it, you’ll thank me later). Finally taking time to get the air conditioning in my car repaired; If you’ve ever experienced a Southern summer, you’ll know what a big deal that is! Seeing two men pray in the parking lot of Chick-fil-a. Visiting the library for the first time in over a year; I was almost dizzy with the hypnotic smell of books and knowledge. Rediscovering my love of cooking since my mama hit the road for the last few months. A text message from a friend I hadn’t heard from in a while. Getting a perfect eye brow wax. Finding a discount code for a business expense. Singing at the top of my lungs while washing dishes.

When it’s all said and done, all of my good outweighs the bad. There are so many random things that I’m grateful for, and when I begin to count my blessings, I give myself permission to live in the here and now rather than in the ache of the past. Does the sadness still creep up on me when I least expect it? Yes, and that’s ok. Because I’ve learned to sit with it for a moment, then let it fly away on the wings of gratitude.

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified. Isaiah 61:3 KJV

XoXo,

Faith

Have you ever felt like giving up on your passion? What keeps you going? What are you grateful for today? 

 

Photo credit: Nick Kenrick.. / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Photo credit: jmtimages / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Book Marketing for Dummies

So yeah, if you read the title and immediately clicked on the link to read this post, you’ve come to the right place. You’re obviously slightly desperate and probably equally clueless, which is why you thought, “Book marketing for dummies? Sign me up!”. The idea for this post came about due to a text message from my cousin and fellow writer Inilya Spencer. She’s a new author and wanted to know if I had any advice regarding marketing. I was all, ummmmmm…nope.

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Then I thought about it for a few days and realized that I have learned a thing or two about book marketing over the last year. I’ve mastered the art of ballin’ on a budget.


Start a Blog or Website– To me this seems like a no brainer, but you’d be surprised how many authors are out in these streets without a web presence. As in, you go to Google them and all that pulls up is their Amazon book page. For real? Let me check my calendar real quick; yep, it’s 2015. As a legitimate author, you must have  web presence. Whether it’s a blog or website is up to you. But if a reader cares enough to seek you out, you should care enough to make it easy for you to be found. Plus, that blog or website creates a one stop shop for said reader to find all of your books in one place. Winning.

Join Goodreads–This is seriously the single best thing you can do for yourself as an author. In case you live under a rock, and are not privy to Goodreads, it’s a social network similar to Facebook dedicated solely to people who love books! I’ll admit that I slept on Goodreads for a while because I didn’t want the headache of managing another social media platform. I was stupid, but you don’t have to be. Even if your book is nothing but an idea at this point, you should still get on Goodreads quick and in a hurry. Once you’re there, join as many groups within your genre as possible and interact with them. You can use Goodreads to solicit book reviews from readers who actually have an interest in your genre, promote giveaways, drive traffic to your blog, and create ad campaigns, which we’ll talk more about later. Goodreads is so important that I’ll wait while you go there now. Seriously. (Add this to your shelf while you’re there.)

Work Your Social Media Jelly– Again, this seems pretty obvious, but you should have a few social media platforms that you’re comfortable using and are actively engaged in. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or whatever. Pick your poison and promote yourself. Notice I said promote yourself, not your books. Social media is meant to be, well, social. As in readers follow you in an effort to get to know you, not just your books. Engage regularly. Post about random thoughts, family events, cute bunnies, that delicious burger you made or whatever. If you’re doing it right, it should be fun. If you’re doing it wrong, it becomes a chore and you get blocked for being a spammer. I’ve stalked the pros and I’ve noticed that most of them only post about their books when they have a new release or event coming up. Keep it classy and keep it moving.

Postcard Anyone?–As you can see in the text message pic above, I love a good postcard or bookmark. These are oldie’s but goodies in the marketing game. They’re an inexpensive way to promote your book. Get some great ones designed with your basic information and pass them out like candy. I carry a stack in my purse. You can give them away at the hair salon, grocery store, book store, library, gym or wherever. They’re like over sized business cards that you should never leave home without.

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Ad Campaigns–This is one marketing strategy that’s going to cost you a little more than time. Ad campaigns are targeted ads that run for a specific period of time on a particular platform. You pay-per-click on your ad. The good thing about these types of campaigns are that you get to choose your budget, the length of time the ad will run and your target demographics. Some platforms that offer per click ads are Amazon, Goodreads, Facebook and Twitter. I’ve only run one ad campaign and I used Goodreads. So far I like it. Using a $25.00 budget I designed an ad that will only be shown to readers that previously rated books by similar authors in my genre at 3 stars and up. This is an awesome feature. I write in Christian Fiction and I listed about 20 other authors in that genre. It’s great that I know my ad is being seen by people who are fans of the genre and who also take the time to rate books they read.

Put Your Book on Sale–Fluctuating the price of your book is a great way to draw attention to it. Make it 99 cents for a period of time and hashtag the mess out of it on Twitter and other platforms. Contact promotional book sites to have them list it during your sales period. List it under the Kindle Count Down Deals.  If you’re only selling your book on Amazon, you can also enroll it in the KDP Select for maximum exposure.  One of the best tried and true strategies is to offer one of your older books for free to help boost the sales of your newer books.

Show Up and Show Out–One of the best pieces of advice I received was from a super popular author who said that new authors should focus on becoming well-known where they live. She admonished authors to keep their efforts local because it’s cheaper, easier and just makes good business sense. Go to every local book related event you hear about. Call up local bookstores and ask them to order copies of your books. Contact your local libraries and offer to host a reading or donate copies of your books. Join local book clubs.  Look for opportunities to showcase your books through speaking engagements and community events. Get out there and strut your literary stuff!

The American Way– Last, but certainly not least, you can always pay someone to market for you. I’m in cahoots with my blogger friend Quanie Miller who has just started her own business which assists writers with all things publishing related. You can pay someone to do the leg work for you and do what we all would rather be doing anyway: write!


I hope this helped get the wheels turning for those of you who don’t have a clue where to start when it comes to marketing. With a lot of effort and patience, you can sell your books. Once I stepped up my marketing game, I’ve watched that little graph on my sales report steadily climb over the last month. As long as I’m selling at least one book a day, I count it a success.

By the way, you can get my cousin’s new release here! Can you tell I’m excited for her in this pic? Excuse the treadmill and random suitcase in the background. I guess we stay ready to go ’round my way.

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What kinds of marketing advice do you have to offer? Don’t leave us hanging! Tell us all about how you get down in the comments below!

Book Review: Catch Me If You Can by Christina C. Jones

It’s been a minute since I’ve posted any book reviews. That’s mainly because I haven’t had all that much time to read, what with learning about book marketing, working on my next novel and dealing with beau-coup family drama. But I’m back and following is my review of Catch Me If You Can by Christina C. Jones. I purchased this book back in December when I lost my entire mind and went on a book buying frenzy. Hope you enjoy!


Catch meTitle: Catch Me If You Can

Author: Christina C. Jones

Genre(s): Romance, Suspense

Description:

Diligence. Focus. Agility.

For Naomi Prescott, it’s not just a cute little saying. It’s a critical mantra, words to live by if she wants to retain her freedom, and more importantly, her life. Impeccable planning is the only way to ensure she sets off the small flutters that will trigger the big ripple she needs to pull off the score of a lifetime — no matter the stakes.

FBI Agent Marcus Calloway is a straight-shooter… if you overlook his sometimes unconventional, law-skirting, expensive ways of solving a case. A big arrest would do wonders to restore his reputation, and he has one woman in mind: Jolie Voleuse

Unforeseen circumstances force them into a closer proximity than either — especially Naomi — would like to be. Sparks fly, and as surely as fire ignites,eventually their undeniable chemistry combusts into a passion that neither expected as they join forces in the dangerous pursuit of a common bounty.

[PLEASE NOTE that Catch Me If You Can is the first title in a continuous series that will carry over three books. Book 2 will be released in February 2015]


My Review:

Christina normally writes in strictly romance, so adding suspense is a new venture for her. I certainly couldn’t tell, because she did it with such expertise that my little fingers couldn’t push the ‘Next Page’ button fast enough on my antiquated Kindle. Naomi and Marcus’ chemistry practically cast flames across my screen. Add the titillation of piecing together how their pursuit of the bad guys connects them on levels they never imagined, and you’ve got a perfect recipe for stellar entertainment. I’ll tell you one thing, I couldn’t figure out the end and I pretty much stopped reading suspense years ago, because I always figure out what’s going on. Not so in this case! If you’re looking for a great quick read with romance and mystery, I highly recommend Catch Me If You Can.

This was my first book by this author, but it definitely won’t be my last. I’ve got A Crazy Little Thing Called Love waiting for me now.


What genres do you normally shy away from reading? Do you have an issue with book series or do you like the continuity of characters and whatnot? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!