Friday, October 28, 2011

Donna Hill Newsletter

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Hello My Reading Family,

Fall is definitely in the air!  The weather has shifted into jacket and coat mode.  Some of my friends have already awakened to snow.  I'm a Summer girl by nature so this is when I really hunker down and get busy.


In the coming weeks I'll be putting the final touches on all my graduate paperwork, completing my next Lawsons of Louisiana series--Sultry Nights, and starting on another series, Sag Harbor Village. (you''ll see some familiar faces).  In the meantime, I'm in the throes of applying for faculty positions at several colleges and universities.  (Please send up your good vibes and prayers that I will find the right home to teach).


On other fronts, I am also setting up an online school for writers. Stay tuned for details. I'll be sure to keep you posted. 


In this issue the Spotlight is on Sistahfriend Book Club and their latest endeavor a cookbook!


I want to also send out a big thank you to all of the readers who went out and got a copy of Legacy of Love and many thanks to all of you who wrote to me to tell me how much you enjoyed it.  Reader support has made Legacy a success.


This month's recommended read is The Taste of Salt by Martha Southgate. Be sure to support this wonderful author.  


And last but not least, my dear friend and colleague Chike who is extremely talented is working hard to produce his amazing film.  It's worthy of your time and I hope you will find it in your heart to support this wonderful brother.  Every little bit counts.


Well, that's it for now folks.  Back to writing and reading! 



Until next time

In This Issue
Spotlight On
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Recommended Read


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SistahFriend Book Club's
Perfect Parties! Cook Book



We believe that the ingredients for a perfect book club meeting includes: a thought-provoking book, an open mind, laughter, and good food. So, naturally, our first major publication would be food for your soul. From Bahamian cuisines to southwestern sizzle to sexy southern desserts, these dishes will be the talk of the your party.


With over 100 recipes, we're giving you a sneak peak of what's inside:


cocktails and drinks: Pink Panties, X-Rated Pink Lemonade, Luscious Slush Punch, PD's (If you've been to a SFBC meeting, you know what these are!)


appetizers: Sistah Cheese Twists, Conch Chowder (Bahamian)


desserts: Forgotten Tea Cakes, Pineapple Tarts, Spiced Pecans, Sex in a Pie


main dishes: Cajun Crawfish Pasta, Glazed Baby-Back Ribs, Apple Walnut Stuffed Pork Roast


sides: Michelle Obama's No-Cream Creamed, Bahamian Macaroni & Cheese


Sweeten up your kitchen with a splash of pink-SistahFriend Book Club's Perfect Parties!-today. Purchase here.




Legacy Legacy of Love


Superstition and crazy stories...that's how Zoe Beaumont views the unlucky-in-love history of her family. On their thirtieth birthday, the Beaumont women are said to come into a mysterious "sixth sense." And if they choose to give themselves fully to the wrong man, they lose not just their powers, but the family's good fortune.


Despite her doubts, Zoe has started having strange, intensely passionate dreams. Her fantasies feature a man who seems too perfect, too sexy, too mesmerizing to be real. Until, one rainy Atlanta evening, Zoe runs into Jackson Tremé. Their attraction is as overwhelming in person as it is in her dreams. Though all of her ancestors have tried and failed, can she overturn a legacy of heartache?




It's the weekend and Obi has a school project due on Monday about his family history, thus he needs to solicit information from his mother. Failure to perform well on this assignment will mean his grades will slip even further and he would have to quit his band, which is the last thing he would ever want to do. When an unexpected incident renders his mother physically unable to communicate with Obi he is faced with the angst and anxiety of finding someone to provide such specialized knowledge on such short notice. He seeks hope in his grandmother, who is currently visiting from Nigeria, but doesn't know how to converse with her because he doesn't speak her language.

"My Mother's Tongue" is a short film about a rebellious teenage boy that learns to value of communication when he needs to express himself the most. It is a story of family and fortitude, multiculturalism and individuality. The film will be shot in Washington, D.C. and showcase the rich cultural heritages of both the immigrant African and African-American communities. It is a passion project written by Chike Nwabukwu and will be produced by Afropolitan Legacy Theatre.

For more information about it's fundraising campaign please visit 

The Taste of Salt 

Martha Southgate   


Award-winning novelist Martha Southgate (who, in the words of Julia Glass, "can write fat and hot, then lush and tender, then just plain truthful and burning with heart") now tells the story of a family pushed to its limits by addiction over the course of two generations. Josie Henderson loves the water and is fulfilled by her position as the only senior-level black scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. In building this impressive life for herself, she has tried to shed the one thing she cannot: her family back in landlocked Cleveland. Her adored brother, Tick, was her childhood ally as they watched their drinking father push away all the love that his wife and children were trying to give him. Now Tick himself has been coming apart and demands to be heard. Weaving four voices into a beautiful tapestry, Southgate charts the lives of the Hendersons from the parents' first charmed meeting to Josie's realization that the ways of the human heart are more complex than anything seen under a microscope.  


Do you belong to a book club? Would you like your book club and the great things that you are doing to be featured here? Do you have an author that you would love to see featured here? BOOK CLUBS  send your information and a group shot  to  Please put Bookclub in the subject line.

READERS  send your author requests to and please put Author in the subject line.



Thursday, October 27, 2011

Announcing the debut from Novel Publicity President, Emlyn Chand

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Greetings, Novel Publicity friends!

You've been taking my advice about book marketing and publishing for some time now, but it is only today that I can finally call myself a published author! And it feels GREAT.

My debut novel Farsighted is available as an eBook today. The print edition will release on November 24th (which is also my 27th birthday). Novel Publicity is running a tour from 10/24 – 11/25 with over 200 participating blogs, so get ready to see Farsighted everywhere.

To kick off the tour, we'd like to share a bit of info as well as a Q&A with me about my novel. We're further celebrating by declaring this week Farsighted week on the Novel Publicity blog. Don't worry, you're not going to be hit with a sly version of BUY MY BOOK, BUY MY BOOK, BUY MY BOOK. Instead I'll be sharing a number of posts about my writing journey, and they're chock-full of advice. Here's what we have ahead:

  • Tuesday. Why being a self-published author is kind of like being a Salem witch
  • Wednesday. Why I'm self-publishing Farsighted even though I have a literary agent
  • Thursday. 10 things I wish I would've known BEFORE writing my first novel
  • Friday. Why I write YA:  10 reasons why Young Adult is the genre for me

You can also tune in for a live twitterview with me at 4 PM EDT by following #emlyn on Twitter (the transcript will be posted on the site for those who have to miss it). What's more, I'm getting interviewed on Page Readers Radio at 12 noon EDT, you won't want to miss that either!

  • Finally, a request before we move onto the Q&A and blog tour info:  If you're a fan of Novel Publicity and have ever enjoyed something you read on the blog or have benefited from a karmic initiative, please consider showing your support by purchasing a copy of Farsighted. Your help in making my debut novel a smashing hit will mean the world to me (and I would love to take out Sookie Stakhouse, the book that is currently #1 in my target category – quite fitting since my campaign slogan is "Vampires are out! Psychics are in!").

That's it! Now on with the fun…

ABOUT THE BOOK:  Alex Kosmitoras's life has never been easy. The only other student who will talk to him is the school bully, his parents are dead-broke and insanely overprotective, and to complicate matters even more, he's blind. Just when he thinks he'll never have a shot at a normal life, a new girl from India moves into town. Simmi is smart, nice, and actually wants to be friends with Alex. Plus she smells like an Almond Joy bar. Yes, sophomore year might not be so bad after all.

Unfortunately, Alex is in store for another new arrival—an unexpected and often embarrassing ability to "see" the future. Try as he may, Alex is unable to ignore his visions, especially when they begin to suggest that Simmi is in danger. With the help of the mysterious psychic next door and new friends who come bearing gifts of their own, Alex must embark on a journey to change his future.

Q:  Why did you choose to incorporate psychic powers intoFarsighted?

A:   Everything started with a single image—my face in these tacky oversized sunglasses reflecting out at me from the car's side mirror. I was daydreaming while my husband drove us across Michigan for my sister's wedding. Something about my image really struck me in an almost horrific way. I felt the glasses made me look blind but found it so weird that there was still a clear image within them; it seemed so contradictory. At the time, my book club was readingThe Odyssey, which features the blind Theban prophet, Tieresias. I started thinking about what it would be like to have non-visual visions of the future and began forming a modern Tieresias in my mind. Lo and behold, Alex Kosmitoras was born. I didn't want him to be alone in his psychic subculture, so I found other characters with other powers to keep him company. Thank God for my poor fashion sense. J

Q:  What was the research process like for Farsighted?

A:  I spent about three months trying to talk myself out of writing Farsighted. It's too ambitious, my inner critic pointed out. You'll never get it done, not in the way it deserves to be done, it pressed. But there was another part of me that couldn't resist; I knew I had to at least try before giving up. I started by reading tons and tons of books—I read about world folklore and superstitions, religions especially Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, and Sikhism, psychic powers, the occult, blindness, and even Nostradamus. I learned how to cast runes and perform a ten-card Celtic Cross Tarot reading. I had nightmares for several weeks, but then they eventually stopped, and I started writing.

Q:  Which character do you identify with the most?

A:  This is a really tough one for me to answer, because all the characters are so different than I am. I definitely identify with Alex and his desire to be accepted but to also remain independent. His battle between the two sides of himself is another thing I understand very well. In high school, I was also that person on the periphery. I was always different, which was both a challenge and a mark of pride. My favorite character would have to be Shapri; she's kind of the person I wish I could have been like back then. She's strong, always true to herself, and won't let anyone disrespect her. Sure, she has fears, but we all do. Shapri is the kind of girl I would love to be friends with. You know she'll always go to bat for you when you're too tired to step up to the plate.

Q:  Do you draw from any personal experiences for any of the incidents in the book?

A:  Oh, gosh. The only thing I can think of is the multiculturalism. Grandon is based on my hometown; it's small and kind of boring. I couldn't wait to escape and move on to bigger and better things. My home town was mostly Caucasian, but somehow I ended up with a very diverse set of friends even though they made up less than 1% of the student body. Fast forward a few years, and I end up marrying a man from India. He's from New Delhi, like Simmi. I've always been fascinated by other cultures; I even decided to pursue my Master's in Sociology for this very reason. I credit two early life influences for this attraction:  1) My adoration of A.C. Slater in Saved by the Bell, 2) Disney's Aladdin being the best movie ever.

Q:  What part do different cultures play in Farsighted?

A:  A huge part. I don't see why my characters all need to belong to the same culture or ethnicity. What fun is that? Culture shapes our characters in a big way, so by diversifying my cast, I was able to hit on more types of personalities and situations. Simmi, for example, is very polite and reverent. Alex is shaped by his own way of looking at the world too—his blindness. This may not seem like a culture at first glance, but look again. How different would your world be if you couldn't see it? Another important thing to remember is that Alex has always been blind; he's always known the world to be a certain way. Not everyone understands that, and they have trouble talking about it with him. I gave Alex a tendency to overcompensate. He knows who he is and what he's capable of, and he wants the world to know it too, so sometimes he overdoes things a bit.

Q:  What motivated you to structure the book around the runes?

A:  Remember how I said my Master's degree is in Sociology? It's actually Quantitative Sociology. I'm a numbers person as well as a word person. I love things to be organized just so. If you set a stack of papers in front of me; I'm going to fuss with them until they are lined up in a perfect stack. It's just the way I am. Shaping each chapter around a rune gave the story order, which made me feel happy and comfortable. Whenever I got stuck and didn't know what should happen next, I was able to learn more about that chapter's rune and get the inspiration I needed to continue. The runes themselves tell a story, one that is successfully completed. I felt that boded well for Farsighted.

Q:  What do you hope readers will take from the book?

A:  First and foremost, I hope that readers will enjoy themselves. My primary goal is to tell an interesting story that people will find entertaining and be glad they read. Secondly, I'd like to infuse contemporary Young Adult fiction with a bit more diversity and teach readers about the beauty of other cultures and other ways of life. I also hope that Farsighted is a book that leads to introspection—what would I do if put in Alex's place? Did Alex ever have a choice or was this path his destiny? What would it be like to see the world the way he sees the world?

Q:  Who or what were your greatest influences in writing Farsighted?

A:  India is my eternal muse for this and everything I write. Farsighted in particular was heavily influenced by the prophecies of Nostradamus (as you'll see in the epigraph for part III). I also drew a good deal from Zoroastrianism and its core concept of dualism—all light contains dark, and all dark contains light. Oh, and coffee. I was influenced by the desire to go to the coffee shop and order a gigantic latte with extra chocolate sauce, all in the name of writing.

Q:  What can readers expect from the next books in the series?

A:  Readers can expect to not know what to expect until the book releases. I'd like to shroud the entire thing in mystery, which feels appropriate for this series. One thing I can tell you is this:  a character other than Alex will be narrating book two.


THE BOOK:  Alex Kosmitoras may be blind, but he can still "see" things others can't.  When his unwanted visions of the future begin to suggest that the girl he likes could be in danger, he has no choice but to take on destiny and demand it reconsider. Get your copy today by visiting's Kindle store or the eBook retailer of your choice. The paperback edition will be available on November 24 (for the author's birthday).

THE CASH PRIZES:  Guess what? You could win a $100 Amazon gift card as part of this special blog tour. That's right! Just leave a comment below saying something about the post you just read, and you'll be entered into the raffle. To increase your chances of winning, visit more blogs. One commenter on one tour blog post will be selected by and win the cash prize!

THE GIVEAWAYS:  Win 1 of 10 autographed copies of Farsighted before its paperback release by entering the giveaway on GoodReads. Perhaps you'd like an autographed postcard from the author; you can request one on her site.

THE AUTHOR:  Emlyn Chand has always loved to hear and tell stories, having emerged from the womb with a fountain pen grasped firmly in her left hand (true story). When she's not writing, she runs a large book club in Ann Arbor and is the president of author PR firm, Novel Publicity. Emlyn loves to connect with readers and is available throughout the social media interweb. for more info. Don't forget to say "hi" to her sun conure Ducky!


Monday, October 24, 2011

5 Minutes, 5 Questions With… @OmarTyree, author of Corrupted from @JoeyPinkney

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Joey Pinkney 

5 Minutes, 5 Questions With… Omar Tyree, author of Corrupted

Posted: 22 Oct 2011 09:25 PM PDT Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Omar Tyree, author of Corrupted
(Omar Tyree, Inc.)

In an era where hundreds of aspiring writers play an anxious game of musical chairs to entice a shrinking group of New-York-based book editors to buy their freshly printed manuscripts and grant their dreams of becoming nationally published authors, Vincent Biddle reigns supreme.

Coined the man with the "golden eye", in the past decade, Vincent, a native Bronx, New Yorker, has hand-picked, edited and positioned more than a dozen bestselling books from his stable of authors, while generating more than a hundred million dollars in revenue for the Williams & Klein Publishing Group.

With a tight circle of volatile authors in his midst, their every weakness soon becomes bait to be used against them, while their power-dunk editor assumes a position of absolute authority. And things fall apart around them.

Corrupted, a serial ebook of aspirations, fame, fortune, sex, shame and scandal, as Omar Tyree uncovers the dark, passionate and sinister side of the American publishing industry. Rated R.

Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the inspiration to write Corrupted?

Omar Tyree: I didn't have an idea or an inspiration to write at all. I wanted to play professional football with my life and become a business owner. I attended the University of Pittsburgh and ran track with all intentions to walk-on the football team. Then the politics of sports and education hit me dead in the face, with so many athletes who didn't make the pros and didn't graduate either.

At the same time, I was becoming a very effective writer and speaker on campus my freshman year. I went with my new calling to write and speak instead, and I never looked back.

JP: What sets Corrupted apart from other books in the same genre?

OT: Corrupted is a brand new book concept in a multitude of ways. Number #1, it's a serial book which means it's ongoing and not complete. Number #2 it's an ebook which means you download it and read through your computer sources. Number #3, you can only download a chapter at a time each Friday as I continue to write it.

presently, we're on chapter 4 until this next Friday hits for chapter 5. Number #4 is that each download chapter is only $1. Number #5, as I continue to write and post it for sale, that means you can comment on each new chapter and where the book is headed with what you would like to see or read. I can implement that as I continue to write the next chapters, making the book totally interactive.

And number #6, Corrupted is all about the inside world of the publishing industry, which really makes it interesting for all those folks who would like to be writers themselves or who think about our writing and publishing world.

JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that led toCorrupted getting out to the public?

OT: Well, it used to be the book and your personality got you over when we all used to get individual attention and do national book signings. But now, with so many new writers popping up every week, and the national book signings not being as exciting as they used to be.

It's all about the word-of-mouth, the heat of your book and how hard you hustle it as a new jack. The new jack hustlers have the advantage these days, but only to a certain degree.

No one is really able to sell big numbers of one book anymore unless you can get the type of individual attention that Steve Harvey got for his best-selling book. That man sold 2 million copies in hardback, but that's after Oprah, Tyra and his own radio show and celebrity lifestyle blew it up that high.

JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take you to start and finish Corrupted?

OT: My writing process is generally fast. I will come up with a subject, then a character, then a city, then research the city, the character and the subject. Then I write the book for the next 2-4 months and finish it through the 2-3 month editing period.

Then I get ready to market and promote it, go on tour with it, read it and discuss it with the leadership and media. Then it's on to the next book as a solid and professional career writer.

JP: What's next for Omar Tyree?

OT: Actually, I want to write more non-fiction books now, keep doing the ebook thing, keep hammering at film deals, teach writing and publishing and marketing at the college level, and continue to enjoy my life and all that I've been fortunate to do…

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