Get Your Entire Life: Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

What’s up, beautiful people? I know your girl has been posting at random for the last couple of years, and I appreciate those of you that have stuck with me. It’s been all kinds of real ’round my way, and I’m finally getting my bearings.

With that being said, I’m posting a book review for the first time in YEARS. I’ve gotten my reading and writing mojo back with a vengeance and I had to share this book with y’all. Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult is truly a work of art. It’s cadence and nuances and in your face gritty realness gave me life!

I could go on and on, but I’ll shut up and let you watch the video.

 

Look, I’ll simply say that Jodi Picoult is a white woman with a number one bestseller on the African-American fiction literature list via Amazon. You don’t see that everyday, and you can stay mad, because SHE EARNED IT.

Listen to me carefully: READ THIS BOOK!

You’re welcome.

 

Have you read Small Great Things? What did you think of it?

If you haven’t read it, do you plan to? What do you think of all the buzz?

 

 

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New Release: His Final Deal!!!!

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#newrelease #christian #fiction #urban #fridayfinds

His Final Deal

by Theresa A. Campbell

Book Blast will run March 1, 2016

About the book

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Raymond Brown, popularly known as Smooth Suave, is one of Jamaica’s biggest drugs lords. With eight children by six baby mommas and counting, he’s a player for life. A true baller, he lavishes in his wealth. He’s a shot caller with “soldiers” wheeling and dealing all over Jamaica. It’s Suave’s world, and everyone else just lives in it . . . or so he thinks.

However, his nemesis, King Kong, sees it differently. Rivals since childhood, King Kong is hell-bent on destroying Suave at any cost. As the war over power, drugs, and money intensifies—from Wilton Gardens (Rema) to Arnett Gardens (Jungle)—bodies are dropping like flies, washing the island of paradise in blood.

But it is the murder and kidnapping of two of Suave’s loved ones that bring him to his knees. Being framed for murder, hunted by the cops, pursued by his enemies, betrayed by friends, tormented by a horrid secret, and fighting to protect his family and empire, Suave is nearing his breaking point. Yet, he isn’t going down without a fight.

Voilà! Suave makes a deal to eradicate his enemies—but if it backfires, it could very well cause him his own life. Then God counteroffers Suave’s deal with His own—one that will undoubtedly give Suave the victory he needs but requires him to give up his drug empire and turn his life over to the Lord. With his motto being, “I don’t do God,” will Suave accept God’s deal or take the risk of his own deal?

 

excerpt

“Today, I want to talk to you about redemption,” Bishop Hudson began. “Ephesians 1:7 says, ‘In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.’ Amen. Redemption is possible through the blood of Jesus! Hello, somebody? I said, you can be delivered from the bondage of sin and find peace with God. Am I speaking to somebody?”

“Amen, Pastor,” a member shouted from the front.

“You better speak to me, Bishop,” a young lady in the choir yelled.

Bishop Hudson paused, took off his jacket, and handed it to his assistant. He grabbed the microphone out of the stand and paced the pulpit. “We all are in need of redemption. You know why? Because we all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God.”

Hmmm, interesting, Suave thought. Even Christians need redemption, too.

As if he read Suave’s mind, Bishop Hudson remarked, “So you can act like you were born holy, pure, and righteous all you want, but that’s not the case. We were able to become a child of God because Jesus paid the price for our sins on the cross. His death was in exchange of our life.”

“Praise the Lord,” “Thank you, Jesus,” and “Hallelujah” rang throughout the church.

“Do you want to be free from the burden of guilt?” Bishop Hudson asked, looking out at the congregation.

Suave shifted in his seat, wondering why the bishop was looking at him.

“Do you want to be free from curses and bondage?” Bishop Hudson stepped down from the pulpit into the aisle. “God already purchased our freedom,” he said, his eyes wandering from one face to the other as he moved closer to the back.

He better stop picking on me, or else I’m stepping. With his arms folded and face screwed up like a dried apple, Suave defiantly stared at the bishop as he seemed to get closer. I’m no punk.

“I said, you can go from being a sinner to a saint if you accept God’s gift of eternal life.” Bishop Hudson was now at Suave’s bench where he paused.

Suave glanced at the bishop through the corner of his eyes, his head held straight. He didn’t acknowledge the bishop, and for his own sake, Suave was hoping the bishop wouldn’t acknowledge him.

“I’m glad to see you this morning, my brother.” Bishop Hudson looked down at Suave, who still wasn’t looking at him.

All eyes in the church turned toward the back where Suave sat. Alwayne and Annette held hands and nervously looked on. Bishop Hudson was known to prophesize to his members, revealing things that no one else knew but God. He would also predict certain happenings that always came true. This usually made some members excited about receiving a blessing, and others nervous when they hadn’t been walking on the “right” side.

“God is going to give you a second chance.” Bishop Hudson rested his hand on Suave’s shoulder. “Those demons that are haunting you are leading you down a narrow road.”

Suave’s heart began to gallop in his chest. He wanted to brush off the preacher’s hand, but he felt compelled to hear what the man had to say.

“Your mind gets so mixed up at times that you find it hard to differentiate between the real thing and your imagination. But God says to tell you that He is going to give you the victory.”

Some people were now standing on their feet clapping, some praying, and others speaking in tongues.

“Deliver him, Lord,” an elderly man shouted.

“Set your son free, Father Jesus,” screamed another member.

“God is going to right the wrong that was done to you, so you can be free to serve Him and His people.” Tears filled Bishop Hudson’s eyes as he leaned over to Suave, his face only inches away from Suave’s.

On a will of its own, Suave’s neck turned, and he locked eyes with the bishop. Suave’s tears betrayed him and seeped down his face.

About the Author

 

theresa_a._campbell

Theresa A. Campbell is the author of the captivating novels, “Are You There, God?” and “God Has Spoken.” She was born and raised in Jamaica West Indies. She received her bachelor’s degree in business administration from Baruch College, and a master’s degree in business administration from Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Theresa has had a deep passion for reading since she was a child. It is her desire to inspire readers by writing stories from the heart to uplift their faith in God

connect with the author

 

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Y’all got scared in the beginning of reading that description, huh? Was probably like, King Kong? Bodies dropping like flies? What in the world is Faith helping to promote? No worries, edgy Christian Fiction is what it’s all about these days. As long as redemption is featured, I’m down for the get down. What about you?

Author Spotlight: Patty Rice!!!! #Authors #ChristianFiction #Books

What’s your name or pen name?
Patty Rice
What are your genres?
I’ve written two chicklit bestsellers and I just released a Christian novel.
What have you written? 
My books are “Somethin’ Extra,” “Reinventing the Woman,” and the new book, “He Restores My Soul”
When did you begin your writing career?
I’ve been writing from childhood, but I took it seriously when I was about 25
Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How do you make time to write?
I am a part-time writer. I spend the latter half of my day creating on my laptop.  I believe you make time for anything you want to do; since writing is like breathing to me, I make it a top priority and care out time for my work each day.
What’s your writing process?
I write every day. My most productive creative time is around 4:30 or 5 am.  I work for three hours st that time of day where the words and ideas just flow. I think I’m just more clear and fresh at that time.  Then in the afternoon, I put in another three to four hours.  Hey. That’s about six or seven hours. I guess I do write full-time!
Do you keep a journal? If so, for how long? Do you find it helpful for your professional writing?
I kept a journal in the early days just to help me organize my thoughts and ideas.  But now, I have a goove where a character starts talking in my head and then I build from there. I always know the end of my stories from the beginning and somehow I’m able to keep all the details straight because I become pretty engrossed in their fictional lives.
What’s your inspiration?
I’m an observer and a people watcher, like at the grocery store and subway or if I’m seated by the window of a restaurant, I LOVE watching people walk by and wondering what their story is, based on how they’re dressed or what they are doing in that moment. I also listen to things people say and love the cadence, the rhythm of conversations. The new book, “He Restores My Soul” came from a conversation some of my friends were having about how they felt about black men dating and marrying white women. That moment was so interesting because I was meeting a black colleague who was picking up tix from me to an event. He is very handsome and walked in with his white wife, and the four women with me were so disappointed. I knew I had to recapture that moment in time and present it in my work, really look at why that issue might exist. It was so much fun to write about!
What kind of legacy do you expect your writing to leave?
I want a body of work that makes my family proud, but most importantly, I want God to be pleased. Words have a profound impact and it is a vital responsibility to have a platform. I want people to be encouraged, edified, and entertained.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Start journaling if you aren’t already and write every day. Stick with one story and be a finisher. Too many people start and stop projects and never get anything done. Read a lot of books by the best writers and study their techniques, and take a grammar class every few years, as well as participate in writing classes, workshops, and join a writing group. These are things that most serious writers do.
What’s on your bookshelf or in your e-reader library?
I read a lot of Christian Fiction and Romance.  I just finished Vanessa Miller’s Praise Song series and one of the best romance novels I’ve read in a long time is, “Perfect” by Delaney Diamond.  I also read a lot of biographies and autobiographies.  I just read since April Nile Rogers, Toni Braxton, Norman Lear, Penny Marshall and Garry Marshall. All awesome reads!
What are you currently working on?
I have two things going.   I’m actually developing a half-hour scripted show with a friend as well as working on the second book in my Living Water series.  It’s called “Love and Reverence.”  I thought it would be interesting and helpful to marriages on the brink out here if I looked at how a failing Christian marriage can be restored after the trust is broken and both sides have caused careless pain. The characters will be implementing some of the tools God taught me as He restored my own marriage.  I’m big on the message of restoration.
He restores my soulLatest release and book blurb?
When a single selfish act destroys a family…
Former Assistant Pastor Martin Fisher abandons his family for his much younger, white pregnant girlfriend and everything goes haywire. His frigid wife, Justina puts on a good face in public, but privately she copes with anxiety pills and struggles between finding a new identity and giving up on life completely. Their daughter, Zina comes face-to-face with a crippling, long-buried secret just as she’s about to take the biggest risk of her career. Meanwhile, the Fisher’s son, Ryan decides he must bring stability by starting a family with his wife, Sierra, only to discover that her dark past just might railroad his best-laid plans.
…Only God can pick up the pieces
With the Fisher family in ruins, will they ever be able to let go of their pride and allow God to bring wholeness? Or will they continue to suffer the relentless consequences of bitterness and unforgiveness?
The twists and turns will leave you breathless! 
 
Tell us about your main character? What actress or actor would you cast to play him or her in a movie about your book?
Zina Fisher is a smart, funny, and ambitious beauty with absolutely no filter. She’s very high strung, and because she grew up sheltered by her family, she thinks she can have it her way every day.
Someone sassy would have to play her who can fuse their natural fire into the character, like Zoe Saldana.  If we pushed slightly older, I would say Gabby Union.
How  can we purchase your work?
http://www.amazon.com/ (print and kindle)
How can we stay in touch with you?
On Facebook: Patty Rice
Twitter: PattyRice1
Instagram: PattyRiceWriter
I love her advice for aspiring writers! Just do it, and study the greats. You can’t go wrong by following that wisdom. Feel free to ask Patty additional questions in the comments below!

Who Else Wants to Be a REAL Writer?

My blogger buddy and fellow writer M. Simone Boyd of My Family Fantastic is here today to dish on everything you ever wanted to know about attending a writer’s conference! She attended one for the first time this year, and she kindly agreed to share her experience. Get ready to take notes and/or bookmark this page because, I’m telling you, this information is GOLD. Enjoy!


Who Else Wants to Be a REAL Writer?

“You should go to a writer’s conference.” That’s what my writing mentor said to me about four years ago.  Until that point, I had implemented every piece of advice she’d given me with great fervor because she’s a REAL writer.

I, on the other hand, always felt like an impostor…kind of like I was faking this whole writing thing. Yes, I write a blog. Yes, I’ve had a few freelance pieces published.  Yes, my Twitter bio says writer.

But, secretly, I lived in fear that one day I would be found out as a fraud. And the thought of a writer’s conference gave me the heebie-jeebies.

My First Writer’s Conference…

That all changed at the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) conference a few weeks ago. There is just something powerful about being with a community of people who are reaching for the same goals, and it was a life-changing experience for me.

I found out about ACFW by internet stalking my dream literary agency, Books & Such. They mentioned in Writer’s Market that they accepted few debut authors. However, the best way to seek representation from their agents was to meet them at a conference.

So, I looked at their conference calendar and selected one. This was my first conference and initially I was a little overwhelmed by reading the bazillion things I needed to do to prepare.

Pre-Conference Preparation

A writer’s conference is VERY different from most other conferences. Because you are going with the intention of “selling” your manuscript. (Some people go just to learn, but most folks go to get something i.e. an agent, an editor, a publisher, etc.)

At ACFW there were editors from Harper Collins, Revell, Howard, Bethany House, Love Inspired, Guideposts, Tyndale House, and a host of others. As a registered attendee, you choose your top four picks for appointments. However, you are guaranteed only one 15-minute appointment with an agent, editor, or mentor.

Editor and Agent Appointments

At that 15-minute appointment, you can pitch your story idea to an editor with the hopes they’ll express interest in seeing your full manuscript. The thing is, a tremendous amount of research goes into learning what interests each editor or agent.

For example, you wouldn’t pitch a suspense novel to a Love Inspired editor…because they generally look for historical romance. The same general rule applies to agents and each agent is looking for something different.

What Editors and Agents Want to See…

Additionally, each editor or agent wants to see different documents during the appointment. As far as I can tell, it boils down to a combination of one of four items:

  • One Sheet – includes an author bio, tagline, and back-cover copy.
  • Book Proposal –a business plan for your book and how you plan to ensure sales success
  • Three Sample Chapters –first three chapters of your finished manuscript
  • Verbal Elevator Pitch –three sentence explanation of book

These materials take a TON of time to write. The great thing about ACFW, is that when you register you can sign up as a first-time attendee and receive emails via the First Timer’s Loop.

Beginning in July, you’ll receive almost daily emails on how to prepare the suggested materials and helpful links. Best-selling author, Brandilyn Collins critiqued each of the first-timers elevator pitches and gave us great feedback on how to make them “punchy.”

Conference

The conference is basically three days. Workshops are organized based on where you are situated in your career:

  • Freshman Courses – some writing experience, little to no conference attendance
  • Sophomore Course – novelists with moderate writing experience, making progress on a novel
  • Junior Course – significant writing experience, benefits those previously published
  • Senior Course –established writers who are contracted

But, attendees can select any workshop they choose.

On Thursday night, there were agent and publishing house panels. Agents discussed what they look for in clients. Publishers discussed what types of manuscripts they are currently seeking. Attendees get to ask questions.

Saturday night there is an awards gala for titles in different genres. Francine Rivers won a lifetime achievement award, and she sat two tables over from me at lunch one day. (But, I was too scared to say howdy to Mrs. Redeeming Love.) The ACFW 2016 conference is August 25 – 28th in Nashville, TN.

The Definition of Success Differs…

I learned that the definition of successful book sales vary at different houses. For example, at Howard Books (a division of Simon & Schuster) 25 thousand copies sold in one year is successful, at Waterbrook/Multnomah 10 thousand sold is the benchmark, and for Lion Fiction its 5 thousand copies sold over a period of two years.

Indie Author Support

There also seemed to be lots of support for indie authors. Both of the authors I met, told me they’ve made more money on their indie published books than their traditional published books. Also, indie authors can submit their books for the Carol Awards if the author has earned $4000 from a single novel in a twelve-month period.

Post-Conference

Follow up. Follow up. Follow up.

I’m currently following up with contacts. One of the agents said she’s amazed at how many people she invites to submit full manuscripts that never do.

This doesn’t surprise me, because maybe they suffered from the same impostor syndrome as me and simply couldn’t risk being rejected.

My Main Takeaway…

In the workshop “The Wildness of Writing with God” the speaker explained that “our enemy loves to keep changing the definition of success…so that it never quite arrives.”

That was life-changing for me.

Because I realized, my identity as a writer comes from within and it is not based on some external measure of success that is forever elusive.


M Simone Boyd - Head ShotBio: Last year, M. Simone Boyd quit her job as an energy analyst to research what makes relationships thrive or die. She interviewed 10 Christian Black Men to get their advice on relationships and wrote a free guide. Simone is one of eight kids, and her awesome husband is an only child. She leads workshops, writes, and goes to the gym at least once a month. But only because she likes to eat gluten-free cupcakes.

Keep up with Simone via her website: MyFamilyFantastic.com


HAVE YOU EVER BEEN TO A WRITER’S CONFERENCE? IF SO, WHAT WAS YOUR NUMBER ONE TAKEAWAY? IF NOT, DO YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT ACFW?

 

Book Review: Mama’s Boy by ReShonda Tate Billingsley

I’ll admit that I’m a speed reader, but it’s rare that I finish an entire book in just a few hours. That’s what happened this past weekend when I devoured Mama’s Boy. Deets below!

mamas boyTitle: Mama’s Boy

Author: ReShonda Tate Billingsley

Genre(s): Inspirational Fiction, African-American Fiction

Summary:

When her son is in trouble, a heartbroken mother finds the courage and faith to save him, in ReShonda Tate Billingsley’s powerful family drama—a novel as timely as today’s headlines.

The breaking TV news rocks Jasper, Texas, to the core: a white police officer is fatally shot in a scuffle with three black youths—and a cellphone video captures Jamal Jones, the sixteen-year-old son of esteemed Reverend Elton Jones, escalating the tragic encounter. Now, as the national spotlight shines on a town already rife with racial tension, Jamal is a murder suspect on the run. And all of Jasper—even the Reverend’s congregation—rushes to judge the boy they thought they knew.

But Gloria Jones knows her son best, and she races to find Jamal before the law does—to the outrage of her workaholic husband. Once she finds him, she has to decide whether to turn him in or help him run. With ruthless prosecutor and Houston mayoral candidate Kay Christensen hungering to put another young thug behind bars, Gloria will face her biggest battle yet. And when long-hidden secrets and shocking lies come to light, throwing Jamal’s case and his destiny into a tailspin, all Gloria can do is pray that the truth—and a mother’s unconditional love—will be enough to redeem the mistakes of the past and ultimately, save her son.

My Review: 

Y’all know I’m all about spoiler free reviews, and this one is no different. The problem is that it’s hard to give a thorough review without giving away something. So bump thorough, all I can say is that you HAVE to read this book! It’s full of twists and totally unexpected turns. What starts out as one family’s problem quickly escalates into a tapestry of intertwined stories that would make Dr. Freud pause and shake his head. Billingsley took a hot topic (racial profiling/police brutality) and turned it on it’s head. This is not your typical racial injustice saga. This is an honest look at an emotionally charged societal problem from varying perspectives. Do yourself a favor, get the book and one for a friend, because you are definitely going to want to discuss this with somebody after you read it!

*Bonus*

Check out this radio interview with ReShonda via WLUV Radio Station!

What’s the last book you read in a matter of hours? What was it about the book that gripped you? Don’t keep it to yourself! Fellow nerds like me want to know. 

I was given a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review, which I freely give.