Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Review of Yesterday's Promise

About the Book

Melinda Johnson has always felt called to ministry. So, when her father, Bishop Langston Johnson, decides to step down after thirty years of leadership at Omega Christian Center, it seems only natural for her to take his place. But Bishop Johnson feels led by a God who has other things in mind, and to succeed him, he appoints Steven Marks-a man who is opposed to female pastors, not to mention the fact that he is Melinda's ex-fiancé.

Feeling defeated, Melinda nevertheless maintains her position as the church's Missions and Community Outreach Director. Frequent interaction with the new bishop incites bitter sparring-and rekindles long-suppressed attraction, which grows only stronger when Melinda develops a relationship with Steven's precious daughter, Brianna, who's still struggling with the death of her mother.

Can Steven and Melinda set aside past pains, forgive each other, and learn to love again? Or will their opposing positions regarding women preachers keep them forever at odds? 

My Review:

Real stuff, real issues, real Good!
A broken engagement, a grieving little girl, a bitter difference of opinion…
I have to admit that I have never really considered the plight of the female preacher on the male dominated preaching circuit, so the plot of this story gave me pause and in the end taught me some things. Mainly, “It’s a man’s world” and it really is a struggle for the women to get in, even in the house of our Lord.
I was impressed with this story, moved by it and as I’ve said educated by it. Miller’s writing style and voice captured me from the first page and kept me up until two a.m. finishing the last. I admit that Melinda’s character worked my nerves for a while. I couldn’t see why she was being so stubborn about the broken engagement from Steven when it seemed to me it was a joint decision, but the author took me there, the explanation of the depth of that broken promise and all the preceded and followed it was pure story telling mastery. I love when an author ties it all together. Every little piece. Miller did that and so much more. I actually cried.
 I recommend Yesterday’s Promise to anyone looking for a good read. I can hardly wait till the next book in this series is released.
5 of 5 Stars

Monday, April 12, 2010

Selling My Soul Blog Tour - Day One

Sherri Lewis’ writing was put on hold while she attended Howard University as an undergraduate, then medical school at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. After working almost fifteen years in the medical field, Sherri left her position as a staff physician at a Georgia Department of Corrections’ Women’s prison to pursue writing and ministry full time.

Sherri is co-founder of the Faith-Based Black Fiction Writers of Atlanta with Essence Best-Selling author Tia McCollors. Selling My Soul is the anticipated sequel to Sherri’s debut novel, My Soul Cries Out. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.  Visit Sherri online at

List your published books.

 My Soul Cries Out, Dance Into Destiny, The List, and Selling My Soul.

Which book did you find the hardest to birth?

 I would have to say that My Soul Cries Out was the hardest to birth. It deals with the controversial issue of homosexuality in the church. It was scary to deal with such a taboo issue and I anticipated all sorts of hate mail after its release. It was also difficult to write because I had to face my own personal prejudices to find the heart of God to be able to write the book.

Which book is your current favorite?

I love all my books because they’re like my children and it’s hard to say I like one more than another. The one that was the most fun to write was The List. It deals with successful single women trying to find their soul mate and is pure comedy mixed with some good teaching on love, life, and relationships.

How would you describe your writing style?

I write edgy Christian women’s fiction that deals with real issues and goes deep into the heart of the characters. It’s not preachy or churchy but displays life lived in intimate relationship with God. I hope that my writing challenges my readers to look at their own lives, their faith, their relationship and intimacy with God and whether they’re living their God ordained purpose and destiny.

Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what kind?

 I almost always listen to music while I write. I usually listen to instrumental jazz or neo-soul music because it creates the perfect atmosphere for creative release. I can’t really listen to gospel music while I write because I get distracted by listening to the lyrics.  

Tell us anything about you as a writer that you think might be interesting or unusual.
I look like a CRAZY person while I’m writing. I could get locked up if I’m writing at one of my favorite coffee shops. I have my iPod blaring and I’m either talking out loud to the characters in my head, staring at the computer screen with my squinted eyes or I’m reading out loud to hear how the story is flowing. I really connect with my characters and let them tell their own story. 

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Study the craft. Anyone can tell a story, but it’s those that study the art of writing that can tell a story well. Read every book you can get your hand on about voice, plot, self-editing, characterization, point of view, etc. – all things that will help you tell a story well. Also, if you’re approaching an author for advice, make sure you’ve done some research on your own first. It proves that you’re serious about what you’re doing and makes us more likely to help you. General questions like “how do I get published” or “what advice can you give me about writing” are too hard to answer in an email. Ask a specific question that shows that you’ve done some work. AND, if you go to an author’s book signing or vending table at an event, if you want to ask a million questions and get their advice about writing, at LEAST buy a book to show your support. 

Writers are often encouraged to write what they know. Have you found that to be the case with your writing?  Absolutely. Writing my first three books was like therapy for me. Dance Into Destiny dealt with my own struggle to live a life of purpose and destiny and to pursue my dreams rather than my parents’. My Soul Cries Out was my experience with divorce as a Christian woman. I didn’t deal with homosexuality in my marriage, but the pain of betrayal is the same in any situation. The List was my life as a Christian single on the dating scene and showed how hilarious and painful that can be. Selling My Soul has now become my story. The book is about a woman returning from a missionary trip in Africa. When I wrote it, I had never set foot on African soil. Since I wrote it, I’ve been to West Africa twice and will be leaving again in a few months. To write the book, I did research by talking to missionary friends and reading books about missions. It’s scary how I wrote the book and then lived the experience, feeling a lot of the same things as the main character.
About the Book
When Trina Michaels steps off the plane after her two-year missions trip in Africa, she realizes that other than longing to see her mother and her best friend, her heart aches to fly back to the place that now feels more like home than anywhere she’s… ever lived. And to the man who’s stolen her heart.

Her dream of a quick return to Mozambique fades within hours when Trina discovers that her mother has been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. Trina is forced to go back to her job as a publicist to cover her mother’s health costs.

She’s assigned a damage control client, Bishop Walker, a megachurch pastor accused of covering up a church sex scandal within his church involving the molestation of young boys. Representing him could cost Trina her most valued friendship, the love of her life, and her soul.

View the blog tour schedule and read an excerpt at

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

April is Austim Awareness Month

In order to highlight the growing need for concern and awareness about autism, the Autism Society has been celebrating National Autism Awareness Month since the 1970s. The United States recognizes April as a special opportunity for everyone to educate the public about autism and issues within the autism community.

Want to get involved with the autism community this April? Show your support this month by joining the Autism Society in wearing the ribbon, bouncing for autism, texting, and more!

Put on the Puzzle! The Autism Awareness Puzzle Ribbon is the most recognized symbol of the autism community in the world. Autism prevalence is now one in every 110 children in America - that’s 13 million families and growing who live with autism today. Show your support for people with autism by wearing the Autism Awareness Puzzle Ribbon this month – as a pin on your shirt, a magnet on your car, a badge on your blog, or even your Facebook profile picture - and educate folks on the potential of people with autism! For suggestions and resources, visit

Spread the word. Helping the autism community can be as easy as updating your Facebook or Twitter status! On April 1, the Autism Society is asking supporters to change their status on Facebook and/or Twitter to “Autism affects 1 in 110. Text “AUTISM” to 50555 to donate $10 to the Autism Society. Help spread the word:” For the first time ever, supporters can now simply text “AUTISM” to 50555 to donate $10 to the Autism Society. 100% of your donations will go to support the Autism Society’s mission of improving the lives of all affected by autism.

Make a difference. There are several important bills moving through Congress that will have important effects on the autism community – safer educational settings (Keeping All Students Safe Act), better autism services (Autism Treatment Acceleration Act), greater financial independence (Achieving a Better Life Experience Act), better protection against toxic chemicals (Toxic Substances Control Act Reform, introduction anticipated soon), and more. For more information about this legislation and to take action to support it, visit

Connect with your neighborhood. The Autism Society and inflatable playground franchise Pump It Up are bouncing again with “Bounce for Autism” – over 100 community-based fundraising events that combine family fun with raising awareness and support for autism in locations nationwide that welcome children on the autism spectrum. Many Autism Society local chapters also put on events in the community through the month of April. But if you can’t find an event that suits you just right, create your own! 1Power4Autism is an online tool that makes it easy to mobilize friends and family and help make a difference.
Watch a movie. Did you know that something that seems as simple as going to the movies is not an option for many families affected by autism? The Autism Society is working with AMC entertainment to bring special-needs families “Sensory Friendly Films” every month. Our special showing of How to Train Your Dragon is coming to a theatre near you on April 10. Or, you could see a movie about autism itself - the Autism Society is partnering with the Independent Television Service (ITVS) to support 70 community screenings of the new movie The Horse Boy, based on the memoir of the same name. In the film, Rupert Isaacson shares the inspiring story of how he and his wife learned to think of their son’s autism as an adventure rather than a curse, a beginning rather than an end. Find participating locations for both events at:
Content taken from

Monday, April 05, 2010

My God and Me Blog Tour - Day One

My God and Me Blog Tour
LaShawnda Jones is the publisher and author of Jazzy Media LLC. Her latest publication, My God and Me: Listening, Learning and Growing on My Journey is full of inspiration and testimony of personal growth.

Jazzy Media’s early publications brought local recognition to LaShawnda Jones’ work and requests for speaking engagements poured in. In 2004, she began facilitating body image and self-esteem workshops. Over the years, she has facilitated workshop discussions on the effects of family, friend, media and societal influences on our body image, self-esteem. She combines all that and more in My God and Me as she addresses, explores and strengthens her and her readers’ identity in Christ.

List your published books.

I self-published two editions of VoLux Full-Figured Calendar, two volumes of poetry titled Fantasies: A Metamorphosis of Sexual Attraction and Clichés: A Life in Verse. I am a contributing author in Go, Tell Michelle. And my current work, the reason for this interview is My God and Me: Listening, Learning and Growing on My Journey.

Which book did you find the hardest to birth?

Hard? You have to define hard….(smiling) The words and the images were in me. Each work was a natural evolution for me. I just wrote was on my heart and mind. The birthing wasn’t really hard. Rather effortless. The sharing has been more difficult. I’ve completely left myself open and vulnerable.  

Which book is your current favorite?

My God and Me is my favorite. It’s a summation of everything in my life. All my other publications are rolled up into the storytelling. My journey to those efforts were part of my journey to God and to myself, which is the story told in My God and Me: Listening, Learning and Growing on My Journey.

How would you describe your writing style?

Conversational. I write with the hope and expectation of receiving feedback. To that end, I write as if my audience is seated right in front of me.

Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what kind?

I write best in complete silence, except for the natural noise in a particular environment. However, once I get going I tune out even those noises.

Tell us anything about you as a writer that you think might be interesting or unusual.

I’m not as interested in making money as I am in sharing my message. I didn’t go through all my trials for nothing. Someone needs to hear how I’ve not only gotten through and overcome but how I continue to florish. My writing is my voice. In this way I will continue to speak until I’m told to pipe down. 

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Write! That was the best advice I ever received. With the exception of my calendar each of my publications have been compilations of previous work I had written as individual pieces with no thoughts towards publication. With both of the poetry books and My God and Me I looked up one day and said, “Wow! I have enough material for a book!”

Writers are often encouraged to write what they know. Have you found that to be the case with your writing?

Yes and no. I absolutely write about what I know. But writing is about embellishing. To embellish, you need imagination. And what you imagine isn’t necessarily your physical reality. It’s better. I can be effusive in speech – rarely. However, I am very effusive in my writing. I have a flair with the written word that I don’t use in my regular speech. 

About the Book
Relationships change with the tide of life. When your relationships ebb more than flow, do you find yourself asking, “Were my dying relationships ever real relationships? Are the people who maintain contact, but with whom there is no connection, worth holding on to? Should I expect a person’s presence in my life to equal dependency in my time of need? Does the quality of interaction determine the level of importance?”

These questions and many more flow through the interactions shared in My God and Me: Listening, Learning and Growing on My Journey.

LaShawnda Jones Read an Excerpt

View the blog tour schedule and read an excerpt at