Saturday, June 30, 2007
This morning I had a conversation with an author friend who wants me to host a press junket/book party for him. I love to throw parties, but organizing a product launch party(what I call it) fizzles out the fun for me unless I know that what we are going to do at this party will be worthwhile for the press I invite, for the readers, and for the guest of honor. Here are a few of things I think a book party should have if it plans on getting readers out the house. And you are welcome to comment .
1. It needs a theme.
The party colors should match the book cover. The atmosphere should match the mood of the book. A theme does that. If your book is about pirates, then a pirates themed party. Sounds like a no brainer. If its a romance novel, a romantic theme. We readers like to visualize, so putting us in the setting would be great.
2. It needs a book giveaway display.
You need to have a nice book display of books that number your RSVPs already signed by you to give-away. It would be nice to include a coupon from a local bookstore or bookstore that will be signing your book in the next few weeks, along with something to remind everyone that you will be doing a booksigning soon.
People are here to party not worry about their pocketbooks. Think of it as a parting gift.
3. It needs to include a party press pack.
I don't want to be loaded down with a lot of stuff, but I need to have certain media items that I can read once I'm home or at an editorial meeting. Make it small, easy to carry and inclusive of the theme.
4. Make this event exclusive, but large enough to create buzz.
Booksignings are for everyone, but book parties are not. Invite newsworthy or media or pastors, other authors, entertainers and your top supporters(family, friends, coworkers.)
5. Make this event free.
It's a party...Treat it like you treat your child's birthday party. People are drawn to that, will talk about it, and they have a copy of your book in their hand. People will want their own copy and go purchase it.
6. Have light, but tasty party food and a variety of drinks.
You don't want people to become tired from full bellys. Have your food stick to theme. Ask friends to serve.
7. Make this party photo and e-friendly.
You can even podcast the party and interview guest in realtime. But take lots of pictures.
8. Location. Location.Location.
Have this party in a nice venue. It could a friends home, a trendy newspot or a church. But make sure it fits the theme. It's not too spacious. You want people standing and mingling. Not sitting and eating.
9. Talk up your book.
You can read it or have a dramatist, but give us five minutes of this book. The best part :)
10. Have fun.
Now what would get you to come to my book launch party?
Title: Editorial Assistant
Company: Harlequin/Kimana Press
Location: NY, NY
Benefits: 401K, Bonuses, Dental, Flexible Hours, Health
Administrative and editorial support for Kimani Press, a division of Harlequin focusing on fiction for the African American woman. Assist the general manager with administrative tasks as assigned; logging and trafficking manuscripts on in-house database; reading and evaluating slush manuscripts; coordinating author communications; gathering prelim materials from authors and editors; coordinating freelance workers on copy-writing and line-editing projects; assisting in creation of PowerPoint and Excel presentations; organizing mailings to support marketing campaigns and assisting in placement of advertising.
- Communication and proofreading skills are required.
- Minimum of a bachelor level degree.
- Previous office experience. a
- An understanding of and affection for women’s fiction is a plus.
- The ideal candidate will be looking to build a career in publishing.
233 Broadway, Suite 1001
New York, NY 10279 USA
Qualified candidates only, please send cover letter with resume by email or fax. No phone calls please.
An excerpt from the Spirit of Sweetgrass...
Gullahs are real respectful of the dead, and they want to make sure they go onto the afterworld, and don't come back for haunting. Back in 1939 when my grandma died, I can remember ma turning the mirrors in the house backward, facing the wall, so Gran's spirit wouldn't reflect.
The black community is fascinating to me in that spirituality spreads throughout ever facet of life—in speech, in family life, everything. I come from a background where spiritual things are not talked about very much except in church. If you do talk of such things you feel funny, people are uncomfortable. As a Christian, I want my connection to God to permeate every facet of my life, no matter how people look at me. This is my heart’s connection to the black community.
Monday we will explore the Gullah people and the art of sweetgrass. If you have questions for Nicole, leave them in our comments section.
Friday, June 29, 2007
Today CFB is having I think its first author interview of the year. Haven't done these in a while, but poll results show that readers want more interviews. So we're giving it to you. :)
For the next few days Nicole Seitz will be sharing her love for Christ and writing with us. Remember this month CFB is featuring her debut novel, The Spirit of Sweetgrass. If you have any questions you want to ask Nicole, leave them here in our commennts section.
Nicole, define Christian Fiction.
I'm not sure I can say I chose this character. It was more like she chose me. I had a general idea for the book, started some research and the next morning at about 4 AM, woke up with Essie Mae “speaking” through me loud and clear. It sounds strange, I know. But true.
Tomorrow we will talk about Black Spirituality and is importance in Christianity.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Their stories could fill the pages of a novel —- the 8-year-old who delivered clean syringes to her mother; the 13-year-old who contracted hepatitis from shooting up with her dad; the abused wife who fought back with deadly consequences.
Many of the accounts that prison doctor Sherri Lewis frequently hears sound like fiction. Unfortunately, they aren't.
Lewis, a chronic care doctor at Metro State Women's Prison in Atlanta, says she may someday use the stories as the basis for a book. For now, she's marking the release of her first novel on a different topic —- a marriage ended by homosexuality. "My Soul Cries Out" will be released July 3 by Urban Christian, an imprint of Urban Books. More...
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
I was a little girl when the Atlanta Child Murders took place, so I don't remember much. But I do remember a time when my Mom was too scared to let my brother and I play outside. Bringing this case up reminds me of such a scary time. I wonder what will it take to bring closure to this tragedy?
A great book that explores this time is Tayari Jones' Leaving Atlanta.
In his 6/19/07 email message to his fans, to writes:
One person asked why does the mama have to be a "FAT BLACK WOMAN" and said that I am perpetuating stereotypes by putting these overweight people on the show, as if there are no fat black women in America that are mothers. My mother and aunts are fat black women. And it upsets me to think that people, especially Black people, would say that I'm doing a disservice to America by putting them on T.V.I sincerely think that TP doesn't understand how black women have been historically systemically degraded and how this effort has affected the black woman psyche even today. But in his defence, TP shouldn't be singled out for his portayal of black women. Hollywood and societal pressure also play a role in this(Big Momma, Norbit, Soul Food.)
When I look at Cassie Davis' performance on the show I think she is very sweet and her weight is a non-issue. No one puns her or debases her for her wieght. In fact she seems to be the most beloved member of the family. While CJ's thin wife, Janine is a crack addict and a big pain in the Payne Family.
So who's the bigger pain for this show?
My opinion: I like Cassie. I think the show needs better writers, better directors , and the female cast should have more to say than an occasional punch line. And...if TP wants to give his naysayers a more balance view of women, have one of his male charaters fall for a hard-to-get, gorgeous, and intelligent phat girl lke me:)
Monday, June 25, 2007
Sunday, June 24, 2007
6/12/07, , NY/East Orange, NJ—Steven Zacharius, Chief Executive Officer and President of Kensington Publishing, and Wade Hudson, Chief Executive Officer and President of Hudson Publishing, announce a joint publishing agreement and new imprint dedicated to children’s books with spiritual and moral themes geared to the African-American market, as well as similar projects targeting the multicultural audience. The new imprint, called Marimba Books, begins publishing in 2008 with six titles.
Both of the Hudsons are authors in their own right and some of their works are reflected on the 2008 list. The list includes two titles in the I Love To… series, From Where I Stand by Cheryl Willis Hudson (Illustrator: Nancy Devard), Prayers from the Smallest Hands by Lauriece Hudson, and Pudding, Jeffery & Leah: Best Friends (Illustrator: Nancy Devard) and It’s Church Going Time both written by Wade Hudson (Illustrator Peter Ambush).
I'm excited about this, because Selah begins reading Chapter books this year. I have searched the public library and bookstores for a series She would like. Cam Jansen isn't her cup of tear or Ivy & Bean. But when I showed her NEATE and Kid Caramel online this past weekend her eyes lit up. SHe's at an age where she knows she is different than her friends and she notices that there aren't many black people in school and in her school books, so this line is important for her self esteem and to get her reading
Friday, June 22, 2007
4 hallelujah handclaps
This contemporary remake of the Book of Hosea is an urban treat with a juicy cherry on top. Filled with characters you hate to love and love to hate Miller has set the pace for the urban Christian sub-genre. It’s gritty, heartwarming, drama-packed, and tender in just the right places. I was pleasantly surprised.
However, Nina, Keith, Isaac, Cynda’s flashbacks slowed the pace down. Readers note that this story contains graphic language and violence
The romance that developed between Keith and Cynda was great wish fulfillment. The two deserved each other by the end. Keith’s passion reminded me of the Late Great Reverend Hosea Williams more so, then the Prophet Hosea. Although the Bible doesn’t go into great detail of bad girl Gomer, her indiscretions didn’t pail in comparison to Miller’s Cynda.
Summary: What if God told you to marry the man of your nightmares? Rev. Hosea Keith Williams faces that horrible fate when something inside him—God—leads him to believe that he has to marry Cynda Stephens, the most troublesome prostitute in Chi-town. To make matters worst Cynda is holding a secret that he can’t keep from his best friend, Isaac, a secret that may shatter Isaac’s marriage to his wife, Nina. Yet with a name like Hosea, he has no choice but to do the right thing or the wrong thing depending upon how his church members, family and friends look at it. Did God really speak to him or did his lust?
Feisty, overbearing, but gorgeous Cynda Stephens needs help, if only she could believe it. This drug addict’s only redeeming quality is her quest to change her daughter’s future for the better. When she decided to trust Keith with her daughter, Iona found herself also trusting him with her heart. If only she can realize it before it’s too late to reconcile their relationship…
(Urban Books, May, 288pp., $14.95)
—Dee Y. Stewart
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Monday, June 18, 2007
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Thursday, June 14, 2007
From her post I felt reaffirmed to contine writing the kinds of stories that I write. Sometimes the pressures of becoming published makes me want switch gears. I know what stories sell and I know how to write them. But my soul wants me to do more than that. And so that's what I have to do.
I hope you read thi Jeanne's entry. It is beautiful.
Question: Do movies encourage your art?
To Be Fabulous
Best of 2005 Shorts & Poems
There are publishers, movie execs, music execs that say urban inspirational doesn't have enough grass roots appeal to be a worthwhile business pursuit. Wrong.Paynefully wrong.
Although this show's writing isn't the best, it is a foreshadowing of what is to come. Like John crying in the wilderndess TP is saying to mainstream meadia that black praying people are in mass and have a money and will follow if you make it.
So let's get after it!
I want to give a hallelujah handclap to New Greater Union Baptist Church in Valdosta, Georgia. They have launched their own theatre group and will be producing their own stage plays for the South Georgia/North Floria area. Kudos to you.
If you are an urban inspirational artist, hit me up offline.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
I am so close to finishing this race that I see my book cover. I see my booksignings. I see what the end's gon' be. But I'm not there yet. I'm chasing my past dissappointments. I'm gasping for air...
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Synopsis: A single father of three daughters fights to win custody with the help of his arrogant boss, a lonely lawyer.
Review: The girls are cute, the romance is nice, I loved seeing bits of Atlanta here and there. My only reservation is the villains. They always seem caricature to me. But my Mom loves it, so...
Monday, June 11, 2007
Yesterday I met a new client, a minister, who wants topublish a book. She is a sweet soul, passionate about her life’s work and is dedicated to the vision for this book. What it should look like. How it should read. If I ask her why was she so confident, she would most assuredly say that
God gave her a vision. I hear this often. But I am troubled by it a little.
Let’s be honest. If we truly believed our stories divine, we’d take then to Kinkos, then give them away. But when you want to make money from your vision, honey…it takes on a whole new vein. The trick is you must first determine whether your vision can maintain the Master’s Voice once it enters the marketplace. Most importantly, can you humble yourself if the marketplace isn't where your Vision should be.
What do you mean, Dee?
Continue reading "A Vision Festering in the Marketplace" »
Atlanta Ballet and Grammy Award Winning recording artist Big Boi are collaborating on an April 2008 world premiere performance. They w.ill be holding open auditions for children 9 to 11 years-old at 10:00 a.m. and 12 to 15 year-olds at 1:00 p.m. on July 7 at Atlanta’s Fabulous Fox Theatre. All attending should be prepared to dance. Dance or pedestrian shoes/attire are sufficient. Selected participants must be able to attend all rehearsals.
All participants must be pre-registered to guarantee an audition spot. Registration forms are due by Friday, June 15. In-person pre-registration will take place Saturday, June 16 at the Fox Theatre from 12:00 to 4:00. For additional information and pre-registration sites, please call 404-873-5811 x 140.
Registration Forms: here
Permission Forms: here
Send to: Attention: Big Boi Collaboration Audition 1400 West Peachtree Street Atlanta GA 30309or fax to: 404-874-7905
Friday, June 08, 2007
Sometimes you have to come out the church boostore to hangout with Christ. Free Food for Millionaires is that kind of book. It is not a Christian novel. And Min Jin Lee, the author, definitely doesn't want this story to be labeled as such. There is profanity and sex and Casey, the protagaonist is such a pill that at times I wish God would have an angel throw a bolt of lightening down on her arrogant head. But there is something about the christian motifs and the importance faith plays upon this disentegrating family that is interesting to me. Great, lean writing. Sometimes Lee overdoes it with all the characterization, but nonetheless, its the kind of story I would take more time to read throught, particular during the summer. Thick book, but light enough to carry in a beach bag. Read an excerpt here to read what I mean.
Thursday, June 07, 2007
Title: Tell Hell I Ain't Comin!
Performance Location: Woodruff Arts Center, Atlanta, GA.
Perfomance Dates: Sept. 7, 8, 9
Cast: EMI Gospel recording artist Micah Stampley
Director: Leslie Small
Seeking: Dancers, Actors, singers.
Audition date: June 16
Audition Locataion: You will receive the location and time once your response has been received.
Audition info: The Atlanta performance will be recorded for a nationally distributed dvd.
Special note: Again, we are looking for professional, experienced talent. ALL RACES/NATIONALITIES PLEASE APPLY. We want a diverse cast and there are parts for all races.
More info: www.dontugo.com or more info call or forward your resume and headshot to: firstname.lastname@example.org
This week I submitted my review for Maxine Billing's Time for Hope to RT for theAugust edition.My review for this novel will on the newstands in July. But I thought I would drop y'all the cover. It''s pretty, elegant and very appropriate for the author's style. Kimani has been hooking her up with some great covers. What do you think?
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Monday, June 04, 2007
Some of my favorite new writers have a fresh vibe to their work. I think because they are having loads of fun and infusing their passions on the page. Mair Burney is a CSI fan, so her Amanda Bell Brown mysteries feel so good reading down. Mary Griffith's If The Shoe Fits (Steeple Hill Cafe) fits her personality so well, I had to call her midread to tell her. Cyndy Salzmann's Crime and Clutter (A Friday Afternoon Club Mystery) is chock full of home cleaning tips. I could tell that Cyndy watched Martha along with me everyday. There's just something about including your passion in your stories that make you stand out.
What keeps you up all night? Are you writing about it?
photo courtesy of Atlanta Cupcake Factory. Cute!
Saturday, June 02, 2007
NICOLE SEITZ is a South Carolina Lowcountry native and freelance writer/illustrator published in South Carolina Magazine, Charleston Magazine, House Calls, The Island Packet and The Bluffton Packet. Her artwork inspired this book. Thomas Nelson publishers used her painting to design this beautiful book cover. Wow!
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Essie Mae Laveau Jenkins,a 78-year-old sweetgrass basket weaver, who has spent her life creating "love baskets," and praying over her customers. Yet her
her daughter Henrietta wants her to retire from her roadside stand and move into a senior living center instead. When Essie realizes she owe $10,000 in back taxes to, she loses her faith in life's worth. Her dead husband Jim is calling her home to live with him in Heaven. Will she go? Can she save her family from the other side?
Nicole can be reached through the Contact link on her Website
Friday, June 01, 2007
THREE WOMEN . . . ONE MAN . . . A GATHERING STORM
In the path of a devastating hurricane, three very different women find themselves trapped in the elevator of a high-rise office building. All three conceal shattering secrets unaware that their secrets center on the same man.
The betrayed wife, eager to confront her faithless husband, with rage in her heart and a gun in her pocket . . .
The determined mistress, finally ready to tell her lover she wants marriage and a family . . .
The fugitive cleaning woman, tormented by the darkest secret of all . . .
As the storm rages ever closer, these three must unite to fight for their lives in the greatest test of courage and faith any woman could ever face.
Now does that sound like a good read or what?
It is JUNE 1st, time for
the FIRST Day Blog Tour! (Join our alliance! Click the button!) The FIRST day
of every month we will feature an author and his/her latest book's FIRST
and her book:
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Rebeca Seitz is Founder and
President of Glass Road Public Relations. An author for several years, Rebeca cut her publicity teeth as the first dedicated publicist for the fiction division of Thomas Nelson Publishers. In 2005, Rebeca resigned from WestBow and opened the doors of GRPR, the only publicity firm of its kind in the country dedicated solely to representing novelists writing from a Christian worldview. Rebeca has worked with such esteemed authors as:Robin Jones Gunn, Ted Dekker, Frank Peretti, Walter Wangerin, Jr., DiAnn Mills, Brandilyn Collins, Colleen Coble, Melody Carlson, and numerous others. She has secured coverage for novelists in a variety of media outlets, including The Today Show,USA Today,Chicago Sun-Times, AtlantaJournal-Constitution, Publishers Weekly, Christian
Retailing, Aspiring Retail, Southern Living,Daystar Television, HarvestTV, WAY-FM, K-LOVE, and others. Rebeca makes her home in Kentucky with herhusband, Charles, and their son, Anderson.
"Girl, where are you?" Lydia tightened her grip on the cell phone as she
wondered anew how any woman could be late to every single thing in her life.
She had thought Jane might’ve changed in the two years they’d been apart, but
Jane was evidently still living up to her old high school nickname of Late
Jane. The woman would get to her own funeral about an hour after they started
"I’m coming, I’m coming." Jane kept one hand on the steering wheel while
frantically sifting through the things in the passenger seat of her Blazer.
There was a brush somewhere, she just knew it, but finding anything at seven in
the morning was difficult at best. Why in the world she’d allowed herself to be
talked into attending a sale that started at seven a.m. was beyond her ability
to fathom. Finding her shoes had been a reason for cheering. A brush might just
be asking too much.
"Do I need to grab anything for you? This stuff is going fast." Lydia watched a
woman stretch for the last package of Times-style foam alphabet letters and
readjusted her own heavy shopping basket. In the five minutes she’d been in the
store, it had already begun biting into the skin on her arm.
"Nope, I don’t think so. I’ll be there in about two minutes," Jane said, still
searching for the brush while trying not to drop the cell phone from her
"Okay, but hurry. I’ll be over in the baby girl section. I need to find
something for Olivia’s first bath pages and get ribbon for Mac."
"Got it. Baby girl. Be there in a flash."
Jane snapped the phone together and slammed to a stop at the red light. Turning
her attention to her still searching hand, she finally grasped the elusive
hairbrush and quickly raked it through her long black hair. She had been
looking forward to this sale all week but, of course, Mr. Wonderful had chosen
to make his appearance a mere thirty minutes before she walked out the door.
They had fought over Wilson. Again. When would the man get it through his head
that Wilson was in her life forever?
She pushed thoughts of her soon-to-be ex-husband out of her mind as the green
arrow finally appeared. Squealing her tires, she tore into the parking lot of
The Savvy Scrapper. Tossing the hairbrush back into the passenger seat, she
threw the car into Park, grabbed her purse, and flung open the door.
Jane looked up just as her door collided with the midsection of one very tall
"Ohmigosh. I am so, so sorry. I’m just in a rush. The sale is happening and I’m
Mr. Tall held his hands up as if to ward off any other car doors she might be
hiding somewhere and she noticed the coffee cup in one hand and bagel bag in
the other. Bagels would be so heavenly right now.
"I’m fine, really." He set the bag down on the ground and brushed the dust off
of his olive-green sweater, then looked at her. "I know how women can be when
there’s a sale involved." He grinned as he knelt to pick the bag back up.
She tried hard to ignore his sexist statement and not remind him of how many
guys camp out at golf stores before a sale or sleep in the parking lot to get
tickets to a concert.
"Are you sure you’re okay? I mean, I have insurance and we can call somebody."
Jane forcefully tucked her hair behind her ears, willing herself to focus on
the problem at hand rather than the sale happening about ten yards away or the
way her stomach was now grumbling for coffee and a bagel.
"Really, go ahead. I’m fine."
"Okay, thanks." She turned and made her way around the back of the car.
"Really, I appreciate this. It’s just that this only happens once a year and my
friend is waiting . . ." She stopped on the far side of the car and looked at
him. He could sue if he was really hurt and her luck with men right now meant
he would definitely sue and she would surely lose. "You’re absolutely fine?"
"Go." He made a shooing motion with the bag. "Happy shopping."
Her mother always said to never look a gift horse in the mouth and this was one
time Jane would be obeying Elizabeth rather than giving in to her own desire to
argue. She practically sprinted to the front door of The Savvy Scrapper, yanked
it open, and burst inside.
"Jane!" Lydia was in the front corner of the store, surrounded by pink, yellow,
blue, lilac, and pale green. She waved a die-cut of a bathtub and bubbles above
her head. "I found the perfect stuff for Olivia and Oliver’s First Bath page."
"Great." Jane joined her, looking a bit frazzled but otherwise okay.
"Okay, here’s the deal." Lydia turned toward the back of the store and pointed.
"All the Times letters are gone, the vellum is quickly going, and the dog
section is getting riffled through as we speak. Where do you want to start?"
"Dog section, definitely." Jane stuffed her keys into her purse. "I took great
pictures of the ex this morning picking up Wilson’s poop while stepping in
"You are so gross. What was he doing there?"
"Trying to get me to give him Wilson again." Jane scanned the rest of the
store, making a quick plan to get the most stuff. "He’ll get the picture one
day, just not today. He’s insane if he thinks I’m letting my puppy come live
with him while he’s spending all hours online with his e-mistress."
"Okay, that still sounds so weird." Lydia’s eyebrows rose as she gave Jane a
disbelieving look. "E-mistress? Really? That’s what we’re calling her?"
"E-mistress is the only thing I could think of that’s fit for public
consumption." Jane grimaced. "Anyway, forget her and him. I’m here to shop,
"Right. Go on over to the dog section. I’ll come over there when I’m finished
here. Can you grab me that new paper with the red stripes and dark-brown bones?
I’ve got some pictures of Otis with Olivia and Oliver from last week."
"Dale let that pug get near his precious twins? I thought you said the only
thing he cared more about than SportsCenter was those babies."
"Dale hasn’t seen the pictures yet. He never comes in my scrapbook studio. Says
it’s my workspace and that I spend too much money on all this junk as it is."
Lydia waved her hand to encompass the store. "He’s probably right."
"Oh, please. Men are never right," Jane said and turned toward the dog section.
"Dogs, on the other hand, are absolutely wonderful companions who never cheat
and can’t even turn a computer on."
Lydia laughed and turned back to the wall of baby-themed paper in front of her,
leaving Jane to take care of the dog paper. Stripes or flowers? She didn’t want
to make the scrapbook too babyish, but she also didn’t want it to look too
grownup. The papers were all on sale, so maybe she would just get both. Dale
would never know since he didn’t come into her studio anyway, and she could
give some of it to Mac for Kesa’s baby book. She took two sheets of the
pink-and-lime-green-striped paper, then two of the blue rosebud ones.
"Men are never right," she muttered under her breath. Maybe Jane had a good