Nigeria Lockley is in our Author Spotlight!

I’m thrilled to have had the opportunity to interview debut novelist Nigeria Lockley and get the deets on her new release ‘Born at Dawn’! This author has been hailed as ‘one to watch’ and has already earned a place on my short list of favorite Christian Fiction authors. I hope you enjoy!

What’s your name or pen name?

Nigeria Lockley

What are your genres?

I currently write Christian Fiction.

What have you written?

My first novel Born at Dawn is scheduled to be released September 30, 2014.Author166 (800x532)

When did you begin your writing career?

That depends on what you consider a writing career. I’ve been writing since I could hold a pen in my hand, but I received my first publishing contract in 2013.

Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How do you make time to write?

I am a part-time writer. I use my spare moments to write, which includes typing during my commute to and from work, late nights, and lunch breaks.

What’s your writing process? (Number of days you write per week, a.m. or p.m., specific music you play while writing, or anything else that you feel is a vital part of your creative process.)

I need absolute quiet when I’m working at home. I don’t know why, but when I’m at home I cannot deal with any distractions. When I’m at Starbucks or on the train I can tune everything out, but at home I need peace and quiet to get anything done.

Do you keep a journal? If so, for how long? Do you find it helpful for your professional writing?

I keep a journal for my personal and spiritual development. I’m not consistent enough for it be effective or helpful for professional use. The notepad on my phone has been the most useful for keeping effective notes that can be used for my professional writing.

What’s your inspiration?

My inspiration comes from real life and I get confirmation from the Lord on whether or not to pursue the story. For instance, when I began writing my current work in progress, Seasoned with Grace there were a lot sermons being preached about the grace of God and I knew that this was the story line for me to develop.

What kind of legacy do you expect your writing to leave?

I want to be remembered as the writer whose work was edifying and entertaining. I’d like to be remembered for making bold choices and being true to what I believe in.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Write what is in you. Don’t think about the readers, the editor, or the publisher. Begin with the story you want to tell and then tailor it to suit the needs of the reader, match the suggestions of the editor, and the demands of the publisher. Don’t just tell a story tell your story.

What’s on your bookshelf or in your e-reader library?

My bookshelf is a wild mix—Emerson and bell hooks are right next to Tiffany L. Warren. My eReader is jam-packed with some great Christian Fiction by E.N. Joy, Michelle Stimpson, Michelle Lindo-Rice, and Vanessa Miller to name a few. I’m currently reading, Are You There, God? by Theresa A. Campbell.

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on Seasoned with Grace, my second novel. In which Grace King, a volatile model with aspirations of becoming an actress, is placed on probation for assault and is forced to do community service at church. While doing community service not only does she meet the man of her dreams, while serving him on the food pantry line, but she also encounters some demons from her past. Grace must figure out whether she can fight those demons off to achieve her dream or be held captive by them once again.BORN-AT-DAWN-FRONT

Latest release and book blurb?

My latest release, Born at Dawn, is scheduled to be released September 30, 2014 and is currently available for pre-order today!

Thirty-four year old Cynthia Barclay knows that marriage is supposed to be for better or for worse. Unfortunately, for the last ten years of her marriage Cynthia has experienced the worst that marriage has to offer at the hands of her abusive husband Marvin Barclay. With the hope of saving herself and her family she turns to the Lord. Expecting to see God manifest himself greatly in her life sooner than later Cynthia is not content just waiting. She wants out.

Abandoning her hope, her husband, and her two young sons Cynthia boards a bus from New York City to Richmond, Virginia. She begins a new life armed with six thousand dollars on a prepaid credit card, a sketchy plan for success, and a promise to return for her sons. That is until she meets Cheo, a photojournalist with enough connections to take her where she wants to be and forget where she came from.

After six years in Richmond Cynthia’s dark past resurfaces. At the risk of losing it all—her past and her present Cynthia returns home to right her wrongs. Has Cynthia chosen the right time to return home or is it too late for God to restore everything she has broken?

Tell us about your main character? What actress or actor would you cast to play him or her in a movie about your book?

Cynthia Barclay is battered, confused, and blames herself for everything that has gone wrong in her life. In an attempt to fix it she turns to the Lord and when that doesn’t go as she expected it to she takes matters into her own hands. When Born at Dawn is turned into a film I would love for Taraji P. Henson or Nicole Beharie from the movie 42 would be great as Cynthia.

How can we purchase your work?

Born at Dawn is available wherever books are sold including:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1i6VKs0

Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1izSGRU

The Burning Bush (independent Christian bookstore): http://bit.ly/1sJAY6K

Books-a-Million: http://bit.ly/1gRLvTV

How can we stay in touch with you?

To keep up with me you can find me all over the web:

Website: www.nigerialockley.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/authornigerialockley

Twitter and Instagram: @NewNigeria

STAY TUNED FOR MY REVIEW OF ‘BORN AT DAWN! ANY QUESTIONS FOR NIGERIA? LEAVE THEM BELOW!

PRE-ORDER ‘BORN AT DAWN’ HERE.

Very Inspiring Blogger Award!

My heart is full at receiving another blogger award! This one is very dear to me as it is given for being a very inspiring blogger. That’s one of my number one reasons for blogging. I love to motivate and inspire people. I’m grateful to Kim Gosselin of kimgosselinblog.com for nominating me. Please check out her wonderfully positive blog about family, blessings and life lessons. You’ll love it!

blogger award

Now on the award. I’m supposed to nominate 15 other bloggers for the award, but that seems super daunting to me. I’ll just put it like this: if you’re a blogger and you’re reading this, then I nominate you. I’m sure that’s against all sorts of rules, but you’re obviously a person of excellent taste so I think it’s okay. If it’s not then I suppose the award committee will come and take my award away…that would suck.

I’m also supposed to list seven interesting facts about myself. Here goes:

1. I’m currently obsessed with lipstick, especially the Butter line by NYX. I’ve sworn off all other forms of make up for a while and lipsticks have become my security blanket. I think I’ll do a blog post about WHY I’ve sworn off other make up soon. The reason is more complex than you might think.

2. I’m having separation anxiety about my first novel. It’s past time for it to go to the editor, but I keep putting off my final read through of the last few chapters. The thought of letting it go and starting to write my next novel makes me hyperventilate.

3. I have issues. See number 2.

4. I have a passport without a single stamp in it yet. That can either be seen as a testament to my unwavering optimism or as a kind of pathetic fact. Your choice.

5. Public speaking terrifies me, but acting doesn’t. I have no idea why. Maybe it’s because when I act, I become someone else. Maybe I need to invent an alternate persona to help me speak publicly about my book and perform my poems. Something like Faith Fierce? See number 3.

6. I attract weirdos like bees to honey. Unusual people consistently seek me out at grocery stores, social gatherings, etc. I guess like does indeed attract like.

7. I primarily enjoy receiving these blogger awards because it affords me the opportunity to talk about one of my favorite subjects: me! I’m okay with that.

DO YOU LIKE TO TALK ABOUT YOURSELF? DO YOU SOMETIMES BREAK THE RULES? TELL US AN INTERESTING FACT ABOUT YOURSELF! 

Avoiding Distractions While Writing

Practical advice and tips from a seasoned writer. Check it out, you won’t regret it!

Michelle Stimpson.com

Fellow author Jeaninne Stokes and I recently corresponded about a common question: How do you keep from getting distracted by your writing while writing. Specifically, if you’re working on chapter three, how do you keep from going back and fixing something in chapter one without getting stuck in chapter one again?

Just so you know: I am not the queen of staying-on-track. However, I have devised a few tricks that keep me from getting completely derailed when I write.

1. Write description later – If I’m writing a restaurant scene and I have no idea what the restaurant looks like, but I know exactly what I want my characters to say to one another at their table conversation, I skip to the conversation because I don’t want to mess up my flow. I make myself a note in the text (see below) and then I come back through and describe the…

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Know Me…

silhouette of man and woman

I don’t just want a man to hold me

I long for someone to know me

Console me…Intimately explore me

Then grow me and show me

That true love is so much more

Than any man has ever told me

Not interested in sex with the ex

Or even the next

Unless…

He chooses me

Not to use me

Never to abuse me

Willing to lay down his pride for me

Wife me…and commit his life to me

I don’t need a man to pay my way for me

Not looking for one to fight my battles for me

Just ride beside me and

Understand the passions that drive me

Take time to see me for me

No comparison to any woman who ever came before me

Except to confess

That they were so much less

Than the one he has now…

Cream of the crop

In other words ‘the best’

Never bringing the stress

Flying past every test

Got your heart drumming

Staccato beats in your chest

Yet still bringing your soul

To that place of rest

So will the brother

That considers him self able

To meet this challenge

And abide at my table

Make him self known so that he can

Feast on my delicacies

Grow strong on my heartiness

Compliment all about me that is savory

And indulge in my sweetness?

But only if you are ready to

Know me…

Did you relate to this poem?

Read more like it by purchasing “Voices from the Block’, the wonderful anthology I’m featured in!

Click here to check it out.  You won’t be disappointed!

 

Book Review: Panther in the Hive by Olivia Cole

panther in the hiveBook Title: Panther in the Hive

Author: Olivia Cole

Genre: Sci-Fi

Book Description: Panther in the Hive is at once an unforgettable coming-of-age story and a captivating vision of an unsettling future. Tasha Lockett, orphan, oddball, and former fashion addict, is alone in a Chicago overrun with citizens-turned-weapons, the result of the cybertronic disaster that brought the country to its knees four days ago. When Tasha receives a letter from her estranged sister warning her of the catastrophe and urging her to travel to the South Side where there is rumored to be a safe zone, Tasha must face what the world has become. With only her precious Prada backpack and a sturdy kitchen knife, she embarks on an epic journey through the wasteland Chicago has become, forming alliances and discovering that although the world may be in pieces, she might still become whole. Readers who enjoy the likes of Margaret Atwood and Octavia Butler will enjoy this coming of age adventure in a not-quite unrealistic setting. Readers have called Panther in the Hive “the intersection of I Am Legend and The Devil Wears Prada.”

My Review

You HAVE to read this book! I’m so glad I stumbled across it while reading a Huffington Post article. I typically don’t read Sci-Fi. Like ever. But I’ve heard from a few of my fellow writer friends that they don’t read books in the genre they write in because they don’t want their work to be influenced.  So I thought, why not take a leap of faith and read a Sci-Fi book?

Best. Decision. Ever.

This story gripped me from the first page and held my attention until the very last word. That’s saying a lot because the book is 472 pages long. Don’t let that intimidate you, because there’s so much action the pages turn themselves. You’d think that with a bunch of zombie like shenanigans, there wouldn’t be much room for depth. You’d be wrong. Cole manages to delve into the topics of socialism, racial stereotypes, elitism, and propaganda.  All while showing the evolution of her protagonist, Tasha, from a superficial label whore to a confident woman finally comfortable in the skin she was born in.

You’ll root for Tasha. You’ll question your own superficiality. You’ll think about investing in a really good kitchen knife set. Chick Lit meets Sci-Fi and they have a genius baby: Panther in the Hive. Read it. You won’t regret it.

Buy “Panther in the Hive” via Amazon here!

Have you ever read a book that surprised you? How often do you read a book outside of your typical genre? Do you agree with the advice to avoid reading books in your genre when writing?

Confessions of Faith: A Child, A Quarter and A Cheating Man

What does a child, a quarter and a cheating man have in common? No, this is not a riddle or a dirty joke. It’s something to think about.Quarter

Since this is my blog and I can do what I want, I’ve decided to start posting some of the random thoughts I have on a variety of subjects. They won’t always be pretty, but I promise they’ll be one hundred percent real. I’m all about encouragement and inspiration, so today I’d like to talk to women that have had the unfortunate experience of being cheated on and/or left by a man. As in played for a fool. As in dumped. I told you it wouldn’t be pretty. It happened to me. I also told you I’d keep it real.

Having lived through the betrayal of an unfaithful spouse, I can personally identify with the feelings of low self-worth that come along with it. I know what it’s like to question your value as a woman when you’ve given the most sacred and beloved parts of yourself to someone who essentially treated you like rubbish at a yard sale. More than the pain that comes with having your heart broken by a stab in the back, is the lingering doubt about what you have to offer long after the bleeding stops and the wounds heal.

It took me while, but I got over it and fell in love. With myself, that is. I had to treat myself with tenderness. I had to remember my own individual dreams and goals. I had to show myself that life does indeed go on. Somewhere in the process of nurturing me, I started to celebrate me as well. The two go hand in hand. My self-esteem increased and so did my standards. I surrounded myself with people who love and celebrate me.

Which leads me to the scenario I thought of as I ate lunch under the shade of an oak tree yesterday. If you give a young child a choice between a shiny new quarter and a crisp one hundred-dollar bill, the child will most likely choose the quarter every time. They see it as sparkling and holding weight. It glimmers and beckons to them. They have no idea that the one hundred-dollar bill is of far greater value. They’ll happily collect dozens of quarters and ignorantly shun the bill. Anyone observing would probably smile ruefully and shake their head.  After all, it’s just a child and he doesn’t know any better. What they wouldn’t do was get angry at the child or start questioning the value of the bill themselves.

The same is true of a good woman. She holds her value whether other’s recognize it or not. If a woman is the crisp one hundred-dollar bill and a cheating man is the child, why should she question her value simply because he didn’t see it? Why should she allow herself to become bitter and angry? For all intents and purposes he is just an ignorant child playing with quarters, unable to see that they are of little value. Distracted by pretty packaging without the desire or where with all to look deeper. And while he’s busy playing with quarters, a man will come along that knows the value of what the child overlooked. He’ll be a man that appreciates the finer things in life and fully understands the responsibilities that go along with having them.

Ladies if you’ve been overlooked by a child playing games with shiny things, don’t despair. You’re still worth being faithful to. You’re still desirable. You’re still valuable. You still matter.

XOXO,

Faith

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.—1 Cor. 13:11 NIV

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Bucket List–Writer Style

parees-bucket-list-2

You may remember the movie The Bucket List starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman from a few years ago. While it wasn’t my favorite movie, it did spark a trend: creating a list of things to do before you die. Having such a list is supposed to make you more aware of what really matters in life. Any item on the list can be as big or small as you like. It just needs to be something that you’ve always wanted to do and haven’t done yet.

I already know that writing is of paramount importance to me, so I thought: why not make a bucket list specifically for my writing goals? Without further adieu, here it is!

My Writing Bucket List

  • Become a published author (completed March 2014- Check it out here).
  • Write and publish my first novel (coming December 2014, yay!).
  • Write and publish a novel that sparks social reform and inspires conscious awareness.
  • Write and publish a novel based on the relationship between sisters and dedicate it to my sisters.
  • Write and publish a solo book of poetry and short stories.
  • Write and produce a stage play (kinda did this one already, but I was 13. I’d like to give it a shot as an adult).
  • Become an Amazon top 100 seller in my genre.
  • Either publish an article or be featured in Essence magazine.
  • Visit New York city, specifically Harlem (I consider New york the mecca of modern-day publishing, and Harlem because I’m nostalgic about the Harlem Renaissance, so that’s why it’s on my writing bucket list).
  • Attend a writer’s conference.
  • Attend a blogging conference.
  • Co-write a book with another author.
  • Mentor/Teach/Assist new authors once I’m an established author myself.
  • Plan and go on a nation wide book tour.
  • Attend a writer’s conference/event overseas.

There it is folks! I’m sure it will evolve.  I’ll add more items to the list as I grow and learn more as a writer. I hope you choose to make your own Writer’s Bucket List. If you do, share it in the comments below. If you have a blog, feel free to leave a link to your bucket list post below as well.

Happy Writing Y’all!

 

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