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Shades Of Romance -

Multi-Cultural Literary Magazine

Have You Been On A Blog Tour?


Young Adult Authors Zetta Elliott Tanita S. Davis SORMAG READER Renee Williams

Are You Sharing Books? Mocha Memories

Children Book Authors Kay Gibbie Renee Watson Margaree King Mitchell Kelly Starling Lyons

The Everlasting Gift Cover Author

Children Books NOV/DEC 2012

TEACH ME - IRIS BOLLING Gents & Gems - Book One

The Lassiter family consists of six precious gems and six true gentlemen. They are all blessed with good looks, charm, and a wonderful sense of self-worth. They know who they are and who they want. Child number five, sexy, confident and fiercely loyal, Diamond Lassiter made her choice. She did not save herself for anyone less than a real man to teach her how to make love. When she met Zackary Davenport, there was no question in her mind, he was the one. With arson connected to his last project, the only mission on Zackary Davenport’s mind was ensuring the new home development progressed without a hitch. Working against him was an unknown force that was out to destroy his name. The last thing on his mind was any woman that was after his heart. To that end Diamond Lassiter was trouble, and he knew it. Revenge, family secrets and love will keep you engrossed as you wonder whose willpower will prevail.

IRIS BOLLING Romance Author

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Anna and Nick are reeling from personal tragedies when they meet in the friendly town of Regina Beach. Nick helps Anna feel safe and comfortable while he gains her trust. Despite his lifechanging injury, Anna inspires Nick to hope for a life he hadn't dared dream possible. Anna must discover if she has the strength to accept his career choice where he will be in danger.


I have just been reading MOVING ON on my Kindle. It's lovely... a gentle, feel-good book with a nice variety of individualized characters and a positive over-all message. The familiar setting was a treat too. Congratulations! I would recommend it. ~~~Mary Balogh, New York Best Seller In “Moving On: A Prairie Romance”, Annette Bower explores the redemptive power of affection. When we meet Nick and Anna, the characters at the centre of the novel, both are reeling from devastating personal tragedies, and both are fearful of making a connection that would open them to future pain. In the course of the novel, Nick and Anna slowly but surely learn to trust and to hope. Bower’s warm tale of the coming together of her two very likable protagonists is told with a keen eye and an understanding heart. This lake-side romance is perfect summer reading.~~~Gail Bowen, author of the Joanne Kilbourn

Sweet Love in Today’s World Annette Bower

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Contributors Dr. Linda F. Beed is an author, educator, speaker and performing artist. Visit her online at: and LaShaunda C. Hoffman is the editor of SORMAG. Her motto, the first promotion is on us (interview) the second one is on you. Need help in your online promotion, let SORMAG help you. - http// A.C. Lee wrote "Mocha Memories" while working in a coffee shop. Now she's writing a romantic suspense novel. It doesn't take place in a coffee shop, but she's lost count of how many mochas she's drank while writing it! Image courtesy Small Girls Reading Book" by Phaitoon pg 5 Opened Gift Box And Red Ribbon" by Surachai pg 18 Multicolored Hardback Books" by pixtawan pg 23 Gift Books" by Kittisak pg 30 Stacked Books And Heart" by Kittisak pg 36 Hot Latte" by akeeris pg 40

Volume 1, Issue 2


Letters To the Editor Advertising

Quote of The Month

Working on your dream is hard, never working on your dream is sad. Go Get Your Dreams – LaShaunda C. Hoffman Ads In This Issue Teach Me - 2 Moving On - 3 One Last Cry - 8 The Fixer Upper - 8 Dorsey Group - 29 The Ultimate Bookclub Experience - 39 WNL Virtiual Blogtours - 45 SORMAG Eblasts - 48

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Note From The Editor - 7 Notes From You - 9 YoungAdult Book Author - Zetta Elliot - 10 Simple Promotions - 12 5 Things To Motivate Your Writing - 13 Young Adult Book Author- Tanita S. Davis - 14 Children Book Author - Renee Watson -16 Article - The Everlasting Gift by Dr. Linda Beed - 18 Cover Author -Alexis J - 20 5 Things To Do This Month - 23 Article - Blog Tours by LaShaunda C. Hoffman - 24 Children Book Author Margaree King Mitchell - 26 Children Book Author - Kay Gibbie - 28 Article - To Share Or Not To Share by LaShaunda C. Hoffman - 30 Children Book Author - Kelly Starling Lyons - 32 Businesses Helping Writers - 34 Theme: Children Books - 36 SORMAG Reader - Renee Williams - 38 Short Story - Mocha Memories by A.C. Lee - 40 Seek & Find - Children Books - 46

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NOV/DEC 2012


Did You Miss These Books

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I learned to read at the age of four years old. My favorite cousin, Paula was a reader. I wanted to be just like her, so reading came easy for me. I can’t imagine a day going by without me reading something. My mother use to tease I’d read the cereal box if that’s all I had. When I hear a child say they don’t like to read it breaks my heart. I know it’s not that they don’t like to read, they haven’t found the genre they like. When they do, they become a whole new kid.

Note From The Editor

Books LaShaunda Loved A Child

This issue is dedicated to children books. I wanted to share with you some of the writers who choose to write for children. It’s not an easy task, but it’s one they love and it shows in their work. I’m especially excited to introduce you to a debut author who is only 10 years old. Now if she doesn’t inspire you to get your books out there, I don’t know what will. How do you feel about sharing your books? I decided to tackle this topic in this issue. Sharing books have serious consequences you might not know about. This issue also features our first short story - Mocha Memories. Tell me if you like it. We’ve come a long way when it comes to reading; but we still have a long way to go. Literacy is a problem in our community. This month I ask you to consider those you know who don’t read. Think about what subjects they like and buy a book or magazine about that subject and give it as a gift. You never know you might introduce them to something they will come to love. Books make wonderful gifts, give out a few this year. Now grab a cup of cocoa, find a good spot to read and enjoy this issue of SORMAG. Drop me a line and let me know what you think of it. See ya on the net, LaShaunda C. Hoffman Editor/Publisher of SORMAG

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One Last Cry: Revisited Why can’t love be easy? Vanessa is married and has it all: rich husband, house, cars, but she is missing something. She is missing the thrill of passion. The chemical and physical romance that two people share can lead to many twists and turns. When you encounter that person, how do you know when not to cross the proverbial line? Could you avoid the pitfall of love, lies, and lust? Follow Vanessa and Ron Williams as their lives are invaded by a stranger named Pete. Watch as the road less traveled can sometimes lead to hurt, then lust, and finally love. The only question is-can they steer clear of the dangers of such a curvy road and get their lives back on track? Or, will they be lost forever in their one last cry?

One Last Cry - Revisited By Manswell T. Peterson

The Fixer-Uppers By Cynthianna

Can a single mom find happiness on a blind date--or at least dinner with a male who can cut up his own food? Cassie and Mike believe they're "in like" not "in love." But when down-on-his-luck Mike is evicted, Cassie takes him into her home. Mike starts fixing everything from window screens to little boys' broken hearts. Will Cassie let him fix hers? When you least expect it, love happens!

Check out a novel by Cynthianna:

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Notes from You "Great magazine LaShaunda. Thanks for the shout out about WNL Virtual Book Tours" - Paulette - Harper Johnson "Big congrats to LaShaunda Hoffman on the debut issue of SORMAG! You're such an asset to African American romance! " – Farrah Rochon "Standing ovation!!" - Cheris Hodges "I love it! Glad to have it back!!!" - Bryckk Wilkes “Congratulations LaShaunda! Well done! - Rochelle Jefferson “Congrats to LaShaunda! I had a chance to read the issue and it is great!” - Beverly "Your magazine looks great! Congrats!" - Keith Thomas Walker “The article looks good, I cannot wait to get home and read it...LOL “– Missy

Very nice, LaShaunda, Well done ! “ - Bettye Griffith "AMAZING! Great as usual, LaShaunda!" - Jodi Kuehn Pierce "You are a true inspiration!" - Jennifer Stauber “I am so thrilled to see your dream come true. You are such a blessing and I pray favor over all that you set you hand to in integrity. “ - Linda F. Beed, D.R.E. “Great job, LaShaunda. Glad to see you're back to doing the magazine. Believe it or not I still have some ofthe print copies. ;)” - Lareeta Robinson “Congratulations LaShaunda Hoffman on the newly launched, printed, SORMAG digital issue! I'm so proud ofmy lit sister for taking SORMAG to the next level. “- Ella Curry “Oh, yeah, this is nice! Congratulations, LaShaunda!” – Maxine Thompson “Finally had time to read the magazine, I enjoyed it good job!!!’ - Kathy Hardy

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Zetta Elliott

What would you like readers to take away from your book? I hope that readers will care about my three characters—when they read that last page, I hope they’ll go back to their own world still thinking about D, and Nyla, and Keem. I want readers to believe in the power of friendship, and appreciate how love and loyalty really can triumph in the end. I also hope my novel ignites the reader’s imagination—we rarely see African Americans having fantastic adventures but I want all kids to know that magic can happen to anyone anywhere. What is your favorite scene from your book?

Born in Canada, Zetta Elliott moved to Brooklyn in 1994 to pursue her PhD in American Studies at NYU. Her poetry has been published in several anthologies, and her plays have been staged in New York, Chicago, and Cleveland. Her essays have appeared in Horn Book Magazine, School Library Journal, and Hunger Mountain. Her first picture book, Bird, won the Honor Award in Lee & Low Books’ New Voices Contest; it was named Best of 2008 by Kirkus Reviews, a 2009 ALA Notable Children’s Book, and Bird won the Paterson Prize for Books for Young Readers. Elliott’s first young adult novel, A Wish After Midnight, has been called “gripping,” “a revelation…vivid, violent and impressive history.” Her latest novel, Ship of Souls, was published in February 2012 and was included in Booklist’s Top Ten Sci-fi/Fantasy Titles for Youth. Zetta Elliott is Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies at Borough of Manhattan Community College and currently lives in Brooklyn.

I’m a big Lord of the Rings fan and I watched that film trilogy while writing Ship of Souls. I think my favorite scene is when D and Nyla are fleeing from the rock monster but it catches Nyla and pins her to a tree with a sharp spear. D can’t stand to see his friend suffer and so he offers up his most prized possession—even though Nyla tells him to just run away and save himself. I got chills writing that scene! And it’s similar to a scene in The Fellowship of the Ring where Frodo gets speared by a cave troll…

Speculative Fiction

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What did you learn while writing this book? I think I’m becoming a more effective storyteller. I wrote Ship of Souls as a novella—it’s quite short, and that’s very different from my other novels. But the story feels complete, and it’s fast-paced, and I realized that I could still tell a great story if I stripped it down to the bare essentials. I also realized that I’m fairly sentimental! What is the toughest test you've faced as a writer? Facing rejection, of course! But with advances in print-on-demand technology I now feel more confident about self-publishing. Only 3% of the 5000 books published for children in the US each year are written by black authors, so I no longer take rejection personally. It’s not me—it’s them! Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a children’s book writer? I recommend you get professional help—do join a writing group, do take a class at a community college or arts center, or hire a freelance editor (like Laura Atkins). Don’t reach out to an author you don’t know and expect him/her to drop everything and critique your work. It is YOUR responsibility to learn about the business—do online research, attend conferences, network via social media. And do it because you love it—not for the money. What are three things you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now? I wouldn’t take back any of the lessons I’ve learned. I started out wearing rose-colored glasses and now I’m more of a realist—but maybe I would have given up if I’d known how racist the publishing industry is. So having an open mind and open eyes is important. CONTINUE ON PAGE 43

When Dmitri, an 11-year-old bird watcher and math whiz, loses his mother to breast cancer, he is taken in by Mrs. Martin, an elderly white woman. Unaccustomed to the company of kids his own age, D struggles at school and feels like an outcast until a series of unexpected events changes the course of his life. First, D is asked to tutor the school’s basketball star, Hakeem, who will get benched unless his grades improve. Against the odds, the two boys soon realize they have something in common: they are both taunted by kids at school, and they both have a crush on Nyla, a beautiful but fierce eighth-grade girl. Then Nyla adopts D and invites him to join her entourage of “freaks.” Finally, D discovers an injured bird and brings it home from the park. D is stunned when the strange bird speaks to him and reveals that she is really a guiding spirit that has been held hostage by ghost soldiers who died in Brooklyn at the start of the American Revolution. As Nuru’s chosen host, D must carry her from Brooklyn to the African Burial Ground in lower Manhattan, but the ghost soldiers won’t surrender their prize without a fight.

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Simple Promotions Tips to Promote Online

Make a c o m m en t o n a blog

Join a reader's grou p

t s e u g a e B blogger on 5 blogs

Th an k a reviewer

a e t a e r C r e t t e l s w n e out Sen d ly m on th SORMAG Digital - NOV/DEC 12

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5 Things To Motivate Your Writing

5 Create A Vision Board Outline Your Next 4 Manuscript Treat Yourself To 3 A Massage Register For 2 A Writing Conference Read Your Favorite Author 1

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Tanita S. Davis is a 2004 graduate of the Mills College MFA program, a 2010 Coretta Scott King honored author (MARE’S WAR), and a traveler who these days reads and writes from sunny California. What would you like readers to take away from your book? I’d like readers to take away a sense of fearlessness and an understanding that it’s okay to love someone who changes. What is your favorite scene from your book? I think my favorite scene is the last scene, where the twins drop a post card in the mail to their father, whom they’ve just left. The words on the card bring the story full-circle for me, and lets the reader know it’s not over. What did you learn while writing this book? I actually wrote HAPPY FAMILIES as an exploration of some of my own thoughts, fears, and prejudices. That’s actually always the case – a writer writes from within his or her own insecurities and mental processes – but I learned, as I wrote this, how deeply held some of my beliefs were that turned out to be false. Shining the light on some of my own thoughts helped me to understand my characters.

There’s a real temptation to lie to your readers, to lie to yourself, even – to sugarcoat things or create some sort of happily-ever-after wherein no one has to work too hard, love comes instantaneously, and ugly never happens. I always say, “There’s fiction... and then there’s lies.” Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a children’s book writer?

What is the toughest test you've faced as a writer? And more to the previous question: DON’T neglect to do the work – to dig deeper into yourself, and into your The hardest test for any writer is to be true – characters for the real answers and for the real responses to or, you might say it as “keep it real". things – don’t take the easy way out, and give your characters too easy of a road. Life isn’t like that. DO read as much as you can – fiction, nonfiction, books you’d never otherwise pick up, mysteries, science fiction,

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Westerns, old romances. Read, and take in the world around you – it will make you a better writer. What are three things you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now? • I wish I had known that I am the last word on my work – no matter what editors or writing groups or professors think – my version is the important one. • I wish I had know that while writing is either a gift you have or you don’t, it CAN be improved with practice. • I wish I had known that every single book I would feel like it would never work – and that every single book, I’d push through. That would have been really nice to know!

Twins Ysabel and Justin Nicholas are lucky. Ysabel’s jewelry designs have already caught the eyes of the art world and Justin’s intelligence and drive are sure to gain him entrance into the most prestigious of colleges. They even like their parents. But their father’s secret has the power to destroy their happiness – and neither sibling knows what to think. Forced into a Spring Break visit, Ysabel and Justin struggle to come to terms with their dad’s new life. Their task is to decide if there’s still a place for them, with someone who is suddenly a stranger, and if there’s still a chance to be a happy family again. HAPPY FAMILIES is a love story to families, and a testament to the power of unconditional love.

What is something readers would be surprised you do? My readers might be surprised that until this summer I lived in Glasgow, Scotland for the past five years, and sometimes stumble into saying vowels really oddly – I by no means have a Scottish accent, but it’s not pure Californian anymore, either. How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website) I’m pretty good at keeping up with my website, and the webmaster sends along any contacts I get there.

Young Adult Fiction

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Renée Watson Renée Watson is the author of the children's picture book, Harlem's Little Blackbird and A Place Where Hurricanes Happen. Her middle grade novel, What Momma Left Me debuted as the New Voice for 2010 in middle grade fiction by The Independent Children's Booksellers Association. Renée's one woman show, Roses are Red, Women are Blue, debuted at New York City's Lincoln Center at a showcase for emerging artists. When Renée is not writing and performing, she is teaching.

Hurricane Katrina, and children who relocated to New York City after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Renée graduated from The New School, where she studied Creative Writing and earned a certificate in Drama Therapy.

Renée has worked in public schools and community organizations as an artist in residence for several years, teaching poetry, fiction, and theater in Oregon, Louisiana, and New York City.

I hope readers take away Florence’s determination and passion and her belief that regardless of where she was from, she could accomplish anything.

One of Renée's passions is using the arts to help youth cope with trauma. She has facilitated poetry and theatre workshops with young girls coping with sexual and physical abuse, children who have witnessed violence, children coping with the aftermath of

Renée currently lives in New York City. Visit Renée at What would you like readers to take away from your book?

What is your favorite scene from your book? I love the moment when Florence refuses to sing at an all-white theater if her black guests can’t come in. Florence was a young girl when this happened. I am so inspired by her boldness.

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What did you learn while writing this book? I’ve never written biography before, so this was very new for me. I learned a lot from what to leave in, what to leave out and how to take a “grown up” story and find the moments that resonate with young people. I was introduced to Florence’s story by my editor, Suzy Capozzi. I worked with Suzy on my first picture book, A Place Where Hurricanes Happen, and when I pitched my idea to her about writing a series honoring unsung heroes, she told me she had the perfect person in mind. Can a voice stop the rain? Can it take you around the world? Can it change people’s minds about justice and equality?

Growing up in Washington, DC, at the turn of the twentieth century, Florence Mills knew that she was blessed with a gift—a sweet, birdlike singing voice that everyone loved. But she also knew firsthand the profound ache of racism. When she moved to New York City, the stages got bigger, the lights grew brighter, and offers that could make her an international star were hers for the taking. Instead, Florence chose shows that helped promote other black performers. And she sang songs that heralded the call for civil rights. Together Renée Watson’s gorgeously evocative prose and Christian Robinson’s stunning mixed-media art shine a light on this little-known but much-loved member of the Harlem Renaissance elite—a performer whose story may have faded from the history books, but whose influence resonated long after she sang her last song.

I did most of my research at The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. There, I was able to read original newspapers that featured stories on Florence, and look through a collection of her personal artifacts, including the playbills from her performances, letters that she wrote, and her touring schedules. I also read the book, Harlem Jazz Queen by Bill Egan. Egan’s book is what made me fall in love with Florence. What is the toughest test you've faced as a writer? I’m not sure. I can name a challenge—it’s very challenging to wear the hat of writer and promoter. Even with all the praise, support, and excitement from your agent, publisher, editor, publicist, and friends you—the author—have to be the one willing to put in the work to get the word out there about your book. You can’t expect others to work harder than you to make your book accessible and successful. It is important for authors to bring ideas to the table about how to market, where to do author visits, etc. This is challenging when you are also expected to write the next book. I am learning the balance. CONTINUE ON PAGE 43

Picture Book

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The Everlasting Gift by Dr. Linda F. Beed


s parents, we’re the first teachers of our children. In the eyes of our children, we are the sun that no one and nothing can eclipse. We, the super parents, give gifts. Those gifts come in the form of bringing smiles to sad faces, magically kissing the pain of the boo-boo away, and being the protector of all things harmful, be they real or imagined. They’re gifts that will turn to precious memories in years to come. It’s a place and time in their lives we all cherish. Of all the gifts we can give, there is one that can open our children to worlds far beyond the confines of their neighbor. That gift is the one of literacy. According to the Foundations of Literacy Study1, children (especially at an early age) develop stronger literacy and language skills when parents: • • • • •

Value their role in their children’s literacy and language development Regularly engage their children in literacy and language enhancing activities Organize the home to support literacy and language Are role models for literacy Are active partners with their childcare providers

It has been shown that children who have been consistently read to are more likely to develop a love for reading than those who have not. The advantage of that love often results in a zeal for learning. In addition to the joy of reading to our children, parents have the opportunity to turn story time into early learning lessons. Those lessons can consist of having the child(ren) describe what they see in the pictures, relay what they believe the story is about. One game I found exciting for my young learners was The Challenge. The challenge begins by purposely stating a false fact about the story. When they protest the validity, have them prove their point by challenging them to find the truth in the book.

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If they’re a little unsure, help them by pretending to show them your truth (that you won’t find) on the page that supports their truth. Always reward them with praise for ‘retaining knowledge.’ The praise reinforcement they receive can assist in building confidence as they seek to build their vocabulary. There are a myriad of ways to engage our children through reading. All we have to do is choose one and begin. In this season of gift-giving I can think of no better gift than that of a book and a library card. But remember, the gift doesn’t rest in the physical book, it’s in the opportunity to bond and grow with your child(ren) as you snuggle together to read to or with them. 1. Foundations for Literacy Study -

Business Unusual is a Contemporary Christian fiction novel that reaches beyond the superficial in order to deal with the heart of matters. Unbeknownst to them, the lives of five people cross at a very crucial time. Bernadette Lewis' business endeavor is more than a financial blessing. For Treva Scott, Falimah Meyer and Brian Chin, it will become the ministry that shapes their futures. In terms of Hayes Davis, his skewed vision of women and life in general will be challenged beyond anything he ever expected when he seeks the companionship of Bernadette. Each individual is faced with a choice. It will be their choice that will determine if they will walk the ordained path to fulfilling purpose or detour down the road of self-satisfaction.

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Cover Author


lexis J. is a young storyteller who's always had a way with words. Writing is her favorite subject in school. She enjoys creating characters who go against what people in their lives would expect, and who even surprise her. Alexis' hobbies are singing and playing soccer. Bailey and the Bully is her first book. What would you like readers to take away from your book?

I would like for readers to read my book and to stay true to who they are and to not let anyone influence them to do something bad. Also, to treat people how you want to be treated and to stand up for what is right. And I would like for them to know that telling the truth is important. If someone is bullying you, you need to tell. And if you’re a bully, you need to stop and think about how you would feel if you were the other person. And grownups need to help the bullies also because the reason they’re bullying is because they’re hurting. And it’s okay to be different! Be you! Everyone else is taken!

Alexis J.

Eleven-year-old Bailey Baxter and her friends, Camilla and Aaliyah, are best friends who have formed the ABC Club, ABC being the first letters of their names. Bailey has always been known as the nice girl in school . . . that is until she develops a crush on schoolmate Josh Leroy. While trying to impress him, she takes on undesirable behaviors that disappoint her family, and could threaten her cherished friendships. Will Bailey come to her senses before it's too late, or will the pressure of being accepted cost her all that really matters, and damage the life of a fellow classmate in the process?

Fights Against Bullying

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What is your favorite scene from your book? My favorite scene is a very funny scene between Bailey and the school janitor. Why did you elect to write for children? I wanted to write for children because I am a child, so I can relate and I know what kinds of things kids like to read. I also think it’s important to learn a lesson in a story and children are still growing and learning, so lessons are important. I think the internet, tv and video games take up a lot of kids’ time, so I wanted to write the best book I could write that would want to make a kid stop playing the video game and read. What is the toughest test you've faced as a writer? The toughest test I’ve faced as a writer would have to be when I have writer’s block sometimes. If I can’t think of what to write next, I just stop and go on to something else and sooner or later, I’m not blocked anymore! What is the best lesson you have learned from another Children book writer? My mom and I read an interview with Jeff Kinney, who wrote the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. I love the part where he talked about the 10,000 hour rule. He said in order to be an expert at something, you have to spend about 10,000 hours doing it. He basically said you have to spend a lot of time doing it! He said you’re always learning and improving, so keep working and working and you’ll be great at it. He said to never give up. Can you give us five Children book authors you admire? Five Children book authors that I admire are Jeff Kinney, Ann M. Martin, Judy Blume, Carolyn Keene and Colleen Houck. When you’re not writing, what do you like to do in your spare time? When I’m not writing, I like to sing, make music videos, read, play soccer and hang out with my friends. How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website): Readers can visit my website at and they can order Bailey and the Bully on Amazon at Thank you!

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5 Things To Do This Month Give books as presents

Try a different genre

Write a book review

Take a bubble bath with a good book

Introduce a friend to your favorite author

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Blog Tours: Are You Going On One? by LaShaunda C. Hoffman Did you know a blog tour is a way to introduce you and your book to new readers? What it is not is a way to sell a lot of books. If you sale a few books while doing the tour that’s an extra bonus. I know you’re asking then why do a blog tour? It’s a waste of time if I’m not selling books? You have to look at it as an investment in your future sales. Most readers usually buy from their favorite authors. They know they can get a good book from writers they trust. Which means it’s hard for a new author to get added to a reader’s book buying list. This is where the blog tours comes in. A blog tour is your chance to introduce your book to a reader. You’re trying to woo them to add you to their book buying list. Now how can you woo them? Don’t turn your blog tour into an advertising page. Treat it like a real book tour where you meet readers. 1. Schedule a blog tour when you have time to give it your complete attention. If you’re on deadline a blog tour will only be added stress and you’ll put it on the, I’ll do it when I feel like it list. 2. Check out other blog tours and see what you like about them and incorporate them in your tour. You want to make the tour fun, something you want to do, not have to do. 3. Schedule a tour you have time for, one week is better than two weeks or a month. 4. Schedule your time to visit each site at least once a day. Two times a day is even better. 5. Schedule your blog tour on your calendar. Tell everybody you know about your blog tour schedule. Place it on your website and social medias. Be excited to meet new readers. 6. Create goals for this blog tour: How many new readers would you like to add to your mailing list? How many reviews would you like to get from this blog tour? How many new contacts

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You want the readers to get to know you and your book. Talk about your book, give some background I recommend you have something different for each info about writing the book. Tell the readers how you site you visit. Yes this takes work to put all this info want the book to make them feel. An excerpt is good, together but you want to look professional and you but talking the book up makes the reader want more. want the readers to follow you on your tour. No Treat this visit like you’re at the book store trying to reader wants to follow a blog tour that has the same sell your books. information at each stop. Interact with the readers. If they ask you questions, What to include: answer them. Even better, ask them questions see what they want in a good book and let them know Bio with picture your book fits that bill. Book Cover with synopsis Website address A call to action: This is the most important part ofyour content. Your goal ofthe blog tour is to find new readers. You want to bring them to your site and get them to sign up for your mailing list. Offer them a freebie to sign up to your mailing list.

The rest of the contents is where you get a little creative. You can offer a excerpt, write an article about the theme of your book, you can do mock interviews with the characters or an interview with you, you can host a contest. These are a few ideas to make each blog post different.

Blog Tour Dates Make sure you’ve sent the host the content for your blog tour. Show up for each schedule date. Don’t have the host trying to hunt you down. Stop by and say hello and thank you to the host. You want the host to know you’re thankful for them introducing you to their readers and you look forward to meeting them. Don’t worry about comments, sometimes readers just read and don’t leave comments. You want the readers to get to know you and your book.

Yes this takes time away from your writing, but as I mentioned before you’ve scheduled this time so you don’t have to worry about your writing. You’re giving your blog tour you undivided attention. After the tour, send a thank you note to the hosts and let them know how much you appreciate them hosting you on your tour. Revisit your goals for the blog tour, did you meet any of them? You’ve completed your first blog tour. It wasn’t too bad, you had fun and you met some great new readers. Now sit down and start writing that next book, because these readers loved the book you were promoting and they can’t wait for the next one.

You don't have to set up your own blog tours. Check out page 35 for blog tour businesses that will create tours for you.

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Margaree King Mitchell Margaree King Mitchell is the author of the Coretta Scott King Honor Book UNCLE JED’S BARBERSHOP, illustrated by James E. Ransome, Simon & Schuster, and GRANDDADDY’S GIFT, illustrated by Larry Johnson, Scholastic. An award winning musical featuring Broadway veteran Ken Prymus has been adapted from UNCLE JED’S BARBERSHOP. She is the creator of the EveryBody Has A Dream program, which empowers students in urban and rural schools to shoot for the stars with aspirations for their lives. Her new book, WHEN GRANDMAMA SINGS, illustrated by James E. Ransome, was published January 3, 2012 by HarperCollins.

What would you like readers to take away from your book? When children read WHEN GRANDMAMA SINGS I want them to know that they were born with a special gift. They should use their gift and be the best they can be at it despite whatever obstacles they encounter. When they least expect it someone will come along and will give them the resources they need that will take them to another level. What is your favorite scene from your book? My favorite scene is the last one when Grandmama Coles is at the train station and is leaving to go up North because she has a record deal. She tells her grand-daughter, “Belle, one

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day you will sing your own song.” She is telling her that one day she will use her gift to be successful. It may not be singing, but whatever it is, Belle will sing her song.

Set in the 1940’s WHEN GRANDMAMA SINGS is a story about the gift of love, the beauty of music and its power to bring people together, even in the segregated South. Eight year old Belle spends the summer touring the South with her Grandmama and a swing jazz band. Belle has never been outside her small town in Mississippi. She helps Grandmama read signs and menus and she becomes absorbed in the music of the era. There are many new things to see but Belle discovers that some things aren’t new. Everything is segregated, just like at home. But Grandmama stands up for what’s right wherever she goes. Grandmama’s singing earns her a recording contract and she has to leave the South and move North. Although Belle will miss her, she realizes that she too was born with a special gift and one day she will go places as she nurtures the song within her.

Picture Book

When visiting schools I encourage students to sing their own songs and not their best friend’s song, not their cousin’s song, not their parents’ song. I tell them that they are unique and each of them has their own song to sing. It can be teaching or dancing or playing ball or being a lawyer or a doctor. It can be being a fireman, a veterinarian, an engineer, a singer, an actor. Whatever! But whatever it is, do it to the best of their ability. If they love what they do, they will be successful. What is the toughest test you’ve faced as a writer? My toughest test was when a publishing company with which I had three books scheduled to be published was purchased by another company which waited over ten years to publish the first book. However, in waiting for these books to be published I kept busy writing. I wrote novels for adults, teens and middle grade students. Now it seems as if everything is coming together and I have several projects that will hit the market soon. During those ten years my first book, UNCLE JED’S BARBERSHOP, was adapted into a musical featuring Broadway veteran Ken Prymus as Uncle Jed. The musical has won several awards. It has recently been revised and several theaters are considering it. CONTINUE ON PAGE 44

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What is the best lesson you have learned from another Children book writer?

Kay Gibbie

If you believe in the success of your story more than a publisher, publish it yourself. What was your biggest obstacle in regards to getting published? How did you overcome it? My biggest obstacle was finding a publisher. I researched lots of companies, and then submitted my manuscripts. I received rejection letters every week, but I was persistent. I overcame this obstacle after having the opportunity to share my detailed marketing plan with a publisher.

Kay Gibbie is a Writer/Researcher. Her bilingual coloring book, My Mama’s Sweet Potato Pie/El Pay de Camote de mi Mama hit stores and online retailers in November 2011. Her real name is Rekaya Gibson and she has three adult fiction titles, Mama Don't Like Ugly, The Food Temptress, and the sequel, The Food Enchantress. Currently, she reviews What should a new writer know about the publishing business? cookbooks for Cuisine Noir Magazine. She resides in Newport News, Virginia. It's a business. A publisher wants to What would you like readers to take away know that you can move books. Develop a solid marketing plan and research every from your book? publishing company before submitting your work. I want children to understand that they can enjoy their favorite food, like French fries, in Lastly, make sure you understand your moderation. contract before signing. What is your favorite scene from your Can you give us five Children book book? authors you admire? Kia daydreaming about a french-fried water J. K. Rowlings, Theodor Seuss Geisel, fountain. Peggy Parish, Dana Satterwaite, and Carolyn Paige

Picture Book

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When you’re not writing, what do you like to do in your spare time? In my spare time, I dine at new restaurants and write reviews for my blog All Occasions Eater. How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)

Six year-old Kia loves french fries and she wonders, "Are There French Fries in Heaven?" Join her as she searches for the answer to this delicious question, eventually discovering that grandma holds the key. The response makes Kia salivate and teaches her a lesson about overeating.

Picture Book

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To Share or Not To Share by LaShaunda C. Hoffman

I used to believe loaning a book to a friend was a good way to introduce them to a new author or new genre, until I learned more about book selling. There are no royalties in loaning a book. You can’t make bestsellers lists if all your readers are sharing your book with each other. You can’t stay a published author if your fan base continues to buy one book and shares it with 500 people. I understand money is tight. I’m a big fan of the library and I believe libraries introduce readers to many writers, which I hope makes them into loyal fans of the writers. However money is tight for everyone, including publishers, who are canceling contracts because of low sales. The book publishing business is about making money. They’re not going to continue publishing an author who isn’t making any sales. They don’t care if the writer’s fans love the book. They need proof. Proof is you buying the books. You the reader have the power of making or breaking an author. You can take a book to the #1 slot on a bestseller's list or you can take an author to the cancelled contract list. A perfect example of this is the Shades Of Gray. Word of mouth made this book a best seller. Readers twitted about this book. Readers posted about this book on facebook and readers talked about this book to their friends. A few people shared their copies, but most readers wanted their own and gobbled up all three books. They took an unknown author and took her book to the top of the New York Times Best Sellers list. That’s the power of the reader. The last time I saw reader power like this was with the Harry Potter series and that lasted for years. No one can force you to spend your hard earn money on books or stop you from sharing your books, but we can inform you of what happens when you do share and you do stop buying the books. One day you will go in looking for your favorite author and their books will no longer be on the shelves. Eventually the publisher will decide they aren’t making money. If your favorite author’s books aren’t making money, they won’t be printing more. To share or not to share that is the question to ask yourself.

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How can you support your favorite author? Tell everyone you know how good the book is. Text all your friends. Post on all your social medias. Write blog posts. Write a review on the online bookstores When you attend a book signing buy extra books for the friends you share books with. They’d love an autograph copy. Ask them to do the same when they attend book events. Attend book events. Your attendance shows the book supporters you support your favorite authors. If you don’t show up they won’t host events. Have your local libraries order a copy of the book. Join book clubs – talking about books is great promotion Join online readers groups Join your favorite author’s mailing list – Sometimes they give out free books. Enter contests – Some blog tours offer free books Become a book reviewer

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Kelly Starling Lyons What would you like readers to take away from your book? I would like readers to cherish stories our elders tell and customs they pass on. So important for children to connect with grandparents, great-aunts and greatuncles and elder cousins. Those relationships are special. What is your favorite scene from your book? I love when Tosh gives his grandma Honey a tea cake to taste and tells her the family story. It brings everything full circle. What did you learn while writing this book? I learned that you have to be open to taking your story in new directions. When I first wrote the book, it had a different plot point. Tosh felt bad about being teased for bringing homemade cookies instead of store-bought ones like his friends. An editor told me teasing was a bit overdone and to dig deeper. That's when I thought about memory and how Kelly Starling Lyons is a children's book author important it is to carry on the stories and traditions whose mission is to transform moments, our elders give us. memories and history into stories of discovery. Her books include chapter book, NEATE: Eddie's What is the toughest test you've faced as a Ordeal, CCBC Choices-honored picture book, writer? One Million Men and Me, and Ellen's Broom, a Junior Library Guild selection. Her newest Rejection is always tough. You pour your heart into picture book, Tea Cakes for Tosh, debuted on a story and hope someone gives it a shot. I've been December 6. It's illustrated by award-winning turned down a lot. But I've been blessed to get some artist E.B. Lewis and published by G.P. Putnam's yeses too. Sons. Find out more at

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Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a children’s book writer? Do believe that your story will have a home. Don't think your first draft is perfect. Be willing to work hard to polish your piece and make it shine. What are three things you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now? 1. I wish I would have known how long it takes for a story to become a book. It's definitely a marathon. But the end of the journey is so sweet. 2. I wish I would have known how many awesome resources are available to aspiring and established children's book writers. That took time for me to discover. Grateful for all of the ways we can develop our art. I definitely recommend joining SCBWI if someone is interested in writing for kids. I did that early on. It has been wonderful. Check out your local arts councils for grants and other opportunities.

Tosh loves his grandma Honey and her delicious golden tea cakes. When 3. I wish I would have known how much I'd love what she tells the story of how the cookies I do. I would have started sooner :). became part of their family, he feels like he's flying back in time. But then What is something readers would be surprised you one day, Honey starts forgetting do? things, even an ingredient for the tea cakes. Inspired by his love for his I love to dance. Not sure if that's surprising. One of my grandma and respect for his family's heritage, Tosh finds a way to give favorite styles is Chicago steppin'. So much fun. Honey and himself a special gift that keeps the memory alive. How can readers get in touch with you? Readers can learn a lot about my work at my site They can also email me there at I'm also accessible through my FaceBook author page -

Picture Book

Thanks for the honor of sharing my work. Appreciate the important work you do.

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Businesses Helping Writers EDITORS Allyson M. Deese - Copy Editor Andrea Jackson – Content Editor, Copy Editor Fiction Cindy Matthews – Copy Editor Deatri King-Bey - Developmental Editor Genre(s): General Fiction and Genre fiction (except historical and present tense titles) Point ofView: Unlimited and Limited expert Website: ng-service/ Deesha Philyaw – Content Editor, Copy Editor Erica George – Line Editing Felecia Killings – Content Editor, Developmental Editor Genre: Christian writers Jaime L. Lincoln – Copy Editor Genre (s) All genres

Jessica Tilles - Copy Editor Joy Eckel - Copy Editor Genre (s) all genres except poetry J.R. Scott – Copy Editor Genre (s) Non-fiction writing, business writing, collegiate writing (papers, thesis, etc) All types of fiction with the exception of Urban Fiction Lauren Baratz-Logsted - Copy Editor any kind of fiction for all age groups and many areas of nonfiction Lorraine Elzia – Content Developmental Editor all genres from religious to erotica.


Maurice M. Gray, Jr – Content Editor, Copy Editor, Developmental Editor Christian fiction and nonfiction, mystery, science fiction, mainstream fiction and mainstream nonfiction no erotica or pornography Maxine Thompson – Content Editor, Developmental Editor Genre(s): Christian Fiction to Urban Fiction and street lit

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Book covers Owner, Shani Dowdell

Patricia Woodside - Copy Editor, Developmental Editor, Line Editing Rhonda Jackson Joseph – Content Editor, Line Editing Genre(s) All genres, as well as non-fiction works. Mostly in the romance and horror genres. Robin Caldwell - Copy Editor, Substantive editor

SORMAG Eblasts - Book Promotion Owner, LaShaunda C. Hoffman HELPING TO PROMOTE AUTHORS RAWSISTAZ

Shani Dowdell - Copy Editor fiction books and poetry Shonell Bacon - Copy Editor fiction and non-fiction; genres include romance, ya, sci-fi, fantasy, urban, street, Christian, literary, etc. Non-fiction, academic works (articles for journals in MLA and APA), memoirs, and essays. CLG Entertainment, http://www.clgentertainment Vanessa Madden - Copy Editor fiction and non-fiction works with the exception of erotica BUSINESSES

APOOO BOOK CLUB Black Authors Network Literary Talk Show Write The Vision Radio Show African American Literary Book Club EDC Creations Nia Promotions All The Buzz

WNL Virtual Blog Tours Owner, Paulette Harper Johnson Worth More than Rubies Productions Book Trailers, Websites, and Blogs Owner, Evangelist Cheryl Lacey Donovan

Graphic designer Bountifully Blessed Publishing Services Freelance Virtual Assistant Owner, Allyson M. Deese

Ty Webbin Creations Do you have a business that helps authors. Send info to:

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Our theme for this month is CHILDREN BOOKS Why did you elect to write for children? When my son was in kindergarten his school had Grandparents Day. They could bring their grandparents to school to spend the day with them. We lived in Memphis, TN at the time. My son’s grandmothers lived in other cities. One lived in Kansas City. The other in Atlanta. Therefore, my son had no one to bring to school. When he got to school, not only had students brought grandmothers, some had also brought grandfathers. When he returned home my son was sad. He said, “I don’t have any grandfathers. “ I tried to explain that both of his grandfathers had died before he was born. But he didn’t understand. Every day he kept saying that he had no grandfathers. After this kept up for about a month it finally dawned on me that this was really bothering him. So I set out to teach him about his ancestors and the type of lives they led. First I went to the public library looking for picture books that were set in the South and in the past. I couldn’t find the types of books I was looking for. Then I went to all the bookstores and still couldn’t find what I was looking for. I was searching for books that were similar to my upbringing. I grew up on my grandfather’s farm in Holly Springs, MS. My grandfather taught me important lessons about succeeding in life. I wanted to see books that imparted these life lessons to children. So when I couldn’t find the types of books I was looking for, I decided to write them myself. My first book is UNCLE JED’S BARBERSHOP. The theme of this book is to never give up on your dreams no matter how long it takes. In this book UNCLE JED’s dream is to own his own barbershop. He meets with setback after setback but he doesn’t give up on his dream. He opens his barbershop on his 79th birthday. My second book is GRANDDADDY’S GIFT. Voting was very important to my grandfather. Whenever each of his grandchildren reached the age of 18 the first thing he did was take us to the courthouse to register to vote. This book shows that there was a time in this country when black Americans did not have the right to vote. Because of GRANDDADDY and others like him, now we all can vote and make our voices heard. -- Margaree King Mitchell

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I’ve worked in elementary, middle and high schools for about twelve years. The pains and joys of adolescents are moments I witness on a daily basis, so I think their stories are always with me as I write. Also, for me, the lives of children and teens are interesting—they are always changing. Their conflicts are more dramatic, and there’s just so much to sort through. All of this makes for good plots and complex characters. With that said, I don’t think it was a conscious decision to write for children. I usually let the story tell me what it wants to be—a play, a poem, a novel. I write in multiple genres. -- Renée Watson

I started writing for kids when it became clear that I wasn’t going to find an agent or publisher for my adult novel, One Eye Open. I was teaching creative writing at the Frederick Douglass Creative Arts Center here in NYC and I needed to produce samples of the kind of work I wanted the kids to produce. I wrote one illustrated story and they loved it—so I wrote another and another. That launched my “kidlit phase” and by the time it ended three years later I had produced 20 picture book stories and two novels. -- Zetta Elliot

When parents approached my tables at events, I never had anything for children to read. I figured if I can get a child interested in my work, then they might become lifelong readers. That idea alone excited me. -- Kay Gibbie

I write for kids because I remember how it felt to rarely see children who looked liked me in the pages of children's books. I write to make sure all kids know their experiences and their history matters. I write to give back. - Kelly Starling

Well... I didn’t. I think those sorts of categories are largely for marketing purposes – to separate and organize things for shelving. I just wrote a story with youthful protagonists, because I imagined what it would be like to have a parent who was still in the process of finding themselves, just as a young adult has to work to learn who they are. I realized more than ever that it’s a lifelong task. -- Tanita Davis

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SORMAG READER Renee Williams

Renee Williams, an avid reader since her youth, loves anything that involves authors and books. This love has led to her reviewing for The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers, QBR The Black Book Review and establishing her own review site, All The Buzz, which specializes in author interviews, book reviews, event recaps and virtual book tours. Her reviews and appeared online and in national print magazine. Most recently, Renee’s focus has changed slightly. She still enjoys promoting authors and books, and that will never change, but Renee now focuses more on graphic and web design, for which she recently earned a college degree. Her client list includes Victoria Wells, Iris Bolling, Margie Walker and New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Brenda Jackson, just to name a few. What makes a good book for you? A believable story line, characters I can relate to and if the book makes me feel some kind of emotion like love, hate, love to hate, if it’s jaw dropping, etc. If the book can make me want to pull an all-nighter, then that’s a good book! What makes you throw a book across the room? Nothing! Books are too valuable! LOL But here’s what could make me do it: On the bad side Unrealistic story line and bad grammar/editing. On the good side – the book ended in a way I didn’t want it or expect it to end. LOL Write three writers would you like to see in the pages of SORMAG? Maureen Smith Melanie Schuster Kim Cash Tate

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Ebooks are the rave now, what makes you download a book? There are several factors - Price, availability to read the book instantly and if the book is only available in e-book format. Have you tried a new author this year (name/title)? What made you finish the book? Not that I can remember. LOL! I do have a few books on the Kindle by authors who I haven’t read before, but I have yet to read the books. I have Freeman by Leonard Pitts, You’ve Got Male by Chanta Rand and My True Essence by Shawneda Marks, to name a few, on my ever growing TBR list. What would you like to see a writer do in their writings that has never been done before? Hmm….good question. Seems like everything has been done before. I would like to see more storylines featuring plus sized heroines. We can do everything the petite girls do! ! As a reader what advice would you give to a new writer? Edit, edit, edit! Nothing distracts from a story more than glaring errors Websites:

The Ultimate Book Club Experience: How to Create & Maintain a Successful Book Club by TaNisha Webb Is a complete book club resource guide created to help take the ‘guess work’ out of creating and maintaining a book club. The Ultimate Book Club Experience is designed to prepare future book club presidents as they go through the steps of creating a book club, along with offering established book club presidents the information they need to help enhance their book club experience. Each chapter describes essential book club components, along with providing critical thinking exercises to help you create a strategic book club plan that will put you on the path to creating the book club that you want with the information that you need. Creating & maintaining a book club just got so much easier!

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MOCHA MEMORIES by A.C. Lee It’s nearly eight-thirty! He’ll be here any minute now!

Jenny’s heart began to race and she couldn’t help but get excited. The man she’d had a crush on for over a year now was about to walk through the door, flashing his brilliant smile and setting the tone for her entire day. Jenny straightened her apron and took a quick look in the mirror, ensuring she looked her very best for him. She knew what he would order: a tall café mocha and a multigrain bagel, toasted, with light cream cheese. She always thought it cute how he seemed so health-conscious about his breakfast, but then ordered the most fattening drink on the menu! Oh well -- she always had fun putting on the whip cream, daydreaming about the more interesting things she could do with it if she ever got the chance! Jenny sighed. She knew that day would never come. Michael Healy was an important ad executive, who was obviously accustomed to a lifestyle she could only dream of. It was apparent in the clothes he wore (she had his entire wardrobe virtually memorized), the car he drove, and the people he associated with. Jenny was a mere barista, who served coffee to people day in and day out; a simple girl who led a pretty uneventful life compared to most. Their worlds were so different and she knew he could never be interested in her. Today was casual-Friday at his work, so she wasn’t surprised when he walked in wearing jeans and a golf shirt. What did surprise her, however, was the woman he walked in with. At first she thought (or hoped) that maybe they weren’t actually together, that maybe they’d just happened to walk in at the same time. But then he put his arm around her and there was no doubt in Jenny’s mind that her worst nightmare had just come true. He was with someone. Jenny wanted to run to the back room so that she wouldn’t have to face him. She felt as if someone had just kicked her in the stomach and she wanted to throw up. “Mornin’ Jenny!” he said, as cheerful as ever. The beautiful girl beside him just smiled. “Good morning,” Jenny said, more curtly than she’d intended. She didn’t want him to know how upset she was. After all, she really had no right to be. But she was having extreme difficulty hiding

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her jealousy and holding back her anger. Michael appeared a bit taken aback by her tone, probably since she had always been sweeter than caramel syrup to him, but then he seemed to shrug it off. “It looks like it’s going to be a beautiful day again, doesn’t it?” he asked. Jenny didn’t respond, so he tried again. “Are you doing anything exciting this weekend?” “No,” Jenny replied. “Your usual?” Just be professional, she thought. “Huh? Oh, umm, yes, please.” He seemed surprised again by her shortness. “And what would you like, Karen?” he asked his companion. Jenny tried hard not to glare at Karen while she looked over the menu. “I’ll just have a small non-fat latte, please.”

“Well, I, uhhh--” Jenny's face turned red. This woman wasn’t supposed to be so nice. “Your drinks will just be a minute,” was all she could think of to say, as she hastily walked away to steam their milk. The nerve of this guy, Jenny thought. How dare he bring Karen in here? Jenny focused her attention back on to the milk she was steaming as it started to bubble over, making a mess of the counter and burning her hand in the process. “Oh shoot,” she whined, exasperated. Michael rushed over quickly. “Are you all right?” “Yeah, I’m fine,” Jenny said, upset with herself for acting like such a fool. She ran her hand under cold water and wiped away her mess. Michael didn’t move from his spot.

“Are you sure everything’s okay? I mean, besides Figures, Jenny thought. Little Miss Perfect Model your hand.” There was genuine concern in his lady wants NON-FAT! voice, which made Jenny feel even more upset. Why was she acting so stupidly? He had every “That’ll be eight-fifty, please,” Jenny said as she right to be with someone else, and really, she rang in their order. wanted him to be happy. Michael fished into his front pocket for change, while Karen stood beside him smiling ever so smugly. She was obviously gloating in her silent way, but Jenny was not about to lose face. There was no way she was going to give this girl the satisfaction! “By the way, Jenny, I'd like you to meet Karen. Karen, this is Jenny,” Michael said as he handed Jenny the money. The women exchanged courteous nods. “It’s nice to meet you,” Karen said. “Michael’s told me all about you. He says you make him the best mochas. And, that you’re the only person who knows exactly how to toast his bagel.” She chuckled as she gave Michael a teasing shove.

“I guess I’m just having a bad day,” she said. “Well, is there anything I can do?” he asked with the same sincere tone. Yeah, dump her and go out with me. “No, I’ll be fine. Thanks anyway.” Michael didn’t seem convinced, but he seemed unsure of what to say next, so he let it go. “Well, I hope things get better.” After Michael and Karen left, Jenny couldn’t stop the tears that had been welling up inside of her. She felt devastated beyond belief, and was tempted to hand in her resignation. The thought of seeing CONTINUE ON PAGE 42

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him everyday with his newfound love would be unbearable... Later that day, Jenny, who was walking around like a zombie, was surprised to see Michael return -- without Karen! He walked straight up to Jenny and declared, “Karen made me come talk to you.” What? Jenny stood motionless, dumbfounded. “She said that I was driving her nuts going on about you all day. I know something was bothering you this morning, and it seemed like it might have been because of something I’d said or done. So...” he trailed off awkwardly, looking at Jenny expectantly. That Karen has some nerve putting me on the spot like this! “Look, Michael,” Jenny said as politely as she could muster, “I’m sorry that your concern for me is driving your girlfriend nuts, but--” “Karen’s not my girlfriend!” Michael interrupted. “We work together...well, okay, we are dating. But, if you’re upset because she’s my girlfriend...” “No, of course not,” Jenny retorted. “Why would I be upset? It’s a free country and I’m not your keeper. I just serve you coffee everyday.” Jenny regretted the words as soon as they left her mouth.

you too.” He looked into Jenny’s eyes with an almost comical blend of longing and bemusement on his face, as if the revelation had just rung true for him for the first time. Then he smiled sheepishly, noticeably embarrassed. Jenny didn’t know what to say. He hadn’t actually denied that he had feelings for her, but he hadn’t come right out and said it either. She tried to look away from him, afraid that her face would reveal the truth she was trying so desperately to hide, but once their eyes had locked, she felt as if she were in a trance. It seemed as if words were no longer necessary, as though their passion for one another spoke in unfathomable ways. Finally, Michael broke the silence. “Have I ever told you how much I look forward to seeing you everyday?” “No,” Jenny replied. “You do?” “Yeah, I never really realized it until now, but if I don’t start my day off by seeing your beautiful smile first, then my day goes downhill from there.” Jenny couldn’t believe what she was hearing. Could this all be true? Was she dreaming? “Well, I...uhhh...look forward to seeing you too.” “Really? Well, maybe if you’re not doing anything later tonight, we could get together and have someone else serve you coffee for a change!” Jenny was elated. She gripped the counter, fearing her knees would buckle beneath her and whispered, “I would love to...”

“Well, you seem upset to me. And Karen thinks it’s because you have feelings for me. And she thinks that the reason I was going on about it with her all day is because I have feelings for

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ZETTA ELLIOTT CONTINUED FROM PAGE 11 What is something readers would be surprised you do? I watch a LOT ofTV. I even write in front of the TV—I’m doing that right now! I don’t have cable, however, so I mostly watch PBS and a little HBO. How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)

Would you like to be our next featured author, reader, poet or short story writer?

Everything you need to know is on my website:

Contact us at

Thanks for letting me share my story! RENEE WATSON CONTINUE FROM PAGE 17

Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a children’s book writer? DO read. Read books that are similar to what you write. Read them first for pleasure, then go back and read it to study what the writer did to keep you engaged, to move the plot forward, etc. I also suggest taking writing courses or joining a writing group for support and critique. It’s so important to get feedback from a diverse group of people. A great resource for children’s book writers is SCBWI ( DON’T send a manuscript to an agent or editor without being familiar with their work. To save heartache and time, do a little research and see who’s publishing what, what agent represents the types of stories you want to tell? Once you narrow your list down, you will have a much better chance of finding someone. What is something you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now? I didn’t realize how long publishing book actually takes. Something I have learned for sure, is patience. Pre-publication for picture books is a long waiting game because of the time it takes for illustrations to be complete. What is something readers would be surprised you do? I’m not sure this is surprising, but most people don’t know that besides writing, I also act. I miss the stage and would love to do another one-woman show in the future. How can readers get in contact with you? (email, website) Website: Email:

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Also during this time the Federal Reserve Bank developed lessons plans using UNCLE JED’S BARBERSHOP that teach students financial principles and economic standards. What is the best lesson you have learned from another children’s book writer? I’ve learned that I have knowledge that other people want and I can teach them what I know. What should a new writer know about the publishing business? New writers should understand that the world of publishing is changing. There are many options open to writers, including having their books published as eBooks and not having a physical book to hold in your hand and sign. Several publishing companies which specialize in the publication of eBooks have been formed. Publishing as an eBook takes years of the process of bringing a book to market. Can you give us five children’s book authors you admire? Mildred D. Taylor; Christine Taylor-Butler; Kelly Starling Lyons; Alice Faye Duncan; Cherrye Vasquez When you’re not writing, what do you like to do in your spare time? When I’m not writing, I’m reading, traveling, exploring and walking. How can readers get in contact with you? Readers can contact me through email:

NEXT ISSUE - WRITING ONLINE JANUARY 15th Tell us what you think about SORMAG for a chance to win a $10.00 amazon gift card CONGRATS TO SEP/OCT WINNER Tricia - LadyTee456

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In Memory This year we lost two amazing writers who were dear friends of SORMAG. Monica Jackson was a romance author and Miranda Parker (Dee Stewart) was a Christian Fiction author. Both ladies were powerful supporters of their genres. Monica with her outspokeness when it came to segregating the romances. Dee was a loyal promoter ofAfrican-American Christian fiction. She also was a teacher of the craft of writing and was a mentor to many aspiring writers. SORMAG sends our deepest sympthy to the families friends and fans of Monica and Miranda. They left a wonderful legacy with their books and will truly be missed.

Monica Jackson

Miranda Parker Dee Stewart

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SORMAG - NOV/DEC12 Children Books  

Children Books Issue - Featuring children book authors.

SORMAG - NOV/DEC12 Children Books  

Children Books Issue - Featuring children book authors.