Friday, November 29, 2013

So You Want To Write?

As a new author of Christian fiction no matter where I go, I meet someone who tells me that they've written a book or toyed with the idea of writing. I first starting writing thirteen years ago because I knew I could tell stories. But, being able to tell stories and being able to write is, as the saying goes, like comparing apples to oranges.

A few considerations to think about:

1. Do you like to Read? 
To become a writer, you must read. Read, Read, and then Read some more. Read books by authors in the genre you desire to write. You would be surprised at how many people who claim they want to write admit that they hate to read. I'll be blunt, if you don't like to read, don't write.

2. Are you learning how to write?
There are many great books that teach the art of writing. Writing is a skill. You must attend retreats or workshops to build your craft. You must be willing to improve as well and your writing should demonstrate your growth as a writer. As with any profession, the only way to move from mediocrity is to develop professionally.

3. Are you ready to have your work critiqued?

As I stated previously, there are many people who love to write but for them it is primarily for personal satisfaction. Their work is their 'baby' and they don't want anyone to mess with it. There is nothing wrong with that, but if you're not ready to get an unbiased opinion about your work- meaning no family, best friends - then you are 'journaling'. You're recording your emotions and feelings about a given topic.
Getting your work critiqued or evaluated by a qualified professional is necessary if you desire to transition into becoming a writer. One of the best advice I was given is to use an editor-not a proofreader-but an editor who will work through your manuscript and pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses. A great editor will make you a better writer.

Stew on This: Unless you're ready to see your work bleached, sanitized and torn apart, you're not ready to become a writer. The transition from storyteller to writer is painful, but nothing good comes easy. The rewards are mostly intrinsic. There is nothing like having your work move people and influence them to be better. There is nothing like seeing readers tear through your pages because they couldn't stop until they get to the very end.

Michelle Lindo-Rice is an author with Urban Christian Books. Her published works are Sing A New Song (Feb. 2013), Walk A Straight Line (Jan. 2014), and My Steps Are Ordered. (Aug. 2014) Feel free to connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, Goodreads or through her website at www.michellelindorice.com

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Getting to Know Michelle Lindo Rice

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Tell us a little about yourself – Where you grew up, your spiritual background, family. 
I am originally from the island of Jamaica, and I migrated to America at eleven years of age. I lived in New York City most of my life before relocating to Florida about 10 years ago. My family is close-knit and most of my siblings live in the same town. My father is a minister, so I am highly involved in ministry from a child.

Are you single, married or engaged? Children?
 I am a single mother of two teenaged boys.

What inspired you to become a writer?
I have always enjoyed writing, and began writing songs from a teen. I love words, and telling stories. I was inspired to become a writer because I love to read. I also know that this is a ministry that God has given me to draw others to Him and His word.

What hurdles did you have to overcome through this process?
I have overcome 12 years of rejections to get here, but God sent me on a trip to a Faith & Fiction retreat in Florida where I learned, pitched my work and was offered a book deal.
 I also had low self-confidence, though I was capable. Because I realized that I needed to write, and that writing was my passion, I have begun learning to self-promote, to believe in myself and to am learning how to market myself.

Who are your favorite authors and why?
 I have so many, and the lists are growing LOL. I have read every single Victoria Christopher Murray book because her books were the first I read that showed characters I could relate to. She has amazing writing skills. I also love work by Shana Johnson Burton, and Rhonda McKnight because their characters never fail to make me laugh and root for them. Author E.N. Joy pens the Divas Series that I have been following. 

Tell us a little about your upcoming novel. Who is the protagonist and what is the premise?
WALK A STRAIGHT LINE looks at the lives of two best friends and how the dynamic of their friendship changes in the course of a year. Colleen, a newlywed, is the protagonist who has rededicated her life to the Lord and learns how much God is needed to sustain her marriage. She has to fight some serious battles, including an interfering mother-in-law. It also has a juicy storyline, of her best friend, Gina who is dating one brother while falling for another, which makes for a delicious, entertaining read.

You can read a sample chapter at www.michellelindorice.com

What do you believe is the take away message?
I believe the take-away message is that friendships are to be valued and treasured and a good friend will stand in your corner. I want readers to see God as the main ingredient for a successful marriage. Colleen and Terence are flawed, human, but they have a perfect God who will help them overcome even the most trying circumstances.

What advice would you give to those who have a desire to write a book?
My advice is one I am taking now, which is to continuously work on improving your craft. If you want to write, it requires learning from the best. I also urge someone who wants to write a book to believe in yourself and work consistently everyday on writing, and developing your writing. I also strongly recommend working with an editor - one who has been working with authors in the genre you desire to write.

What is your greatest challenge as a writer?
So far, my greatest challenge as a writer is time management. Making the time to write and juggling that with other commitments - having a full-time job and being a mother. So balancing priorities

What was the best advice you ever received?
My best advice was to attend writer’s retreats and workshops. My second best was to hire an editor.

What is the greatest lesson you’re learning from  your experience as a new author?
The greatest lesson I am learning is the importance of promoting your work and having a sharp, quick answer to “What is your book about?” That is a work in progress. Someone once said that if no one knows you, they won’t purchase your book. I am learning marketing skills. 
From my actual book, I have learned that my words do impact others. I have had people cry and share their stories with me because of my book.

Are you working on any other books? If so, can you share any details?
I am working on third novel, MY STEPS ARE ORDERED which is the second installment of the "On the Right Path"series. It is in the revision process and is scheduled to publish next August 2014. It continues with the lives of Keith, Gina and Michael over several years chronicling Keith’s and Gina’s path to salvation.
I am also working on a novella to be released early 2014, tentatively titled, Color Blind.

 Tell our audience how to purchase your book and share any upcoming information.
WALK A STRAIGHT LINE  is available online through Amazon as a paperback, Kindle. It is also on Nook, and ebooks. Barnes and Noble and Books-A-Million as well as many local bookstores have it in stock.



Monday, November 18, 2013

Note to Self... The Diary of a Divorcee

Looking forward to reading this!
Have you ever told a guy that you loved him and got silence on the other end of the phone? Or have your date's father try to hit on you? Or break all of your personal rules for a shot at romance?
What do you do when love knocks you down? Fire up the laptop and write about it!
I'm so excited to introduce you to my new (and first) memoir, Note to Self...The Diary of a Divorcee.
The most tumultuous period of my life was from November 2008-October 2009. Within a year’s time, I went from being a happily married woman to a disillusioned wife, watching my marriage’s slow hemorrhage, which led to its eventual death. By the end of fall 2009, I was no longer a wife. I was a divorcee and single parent. More importantly, I was a woman brave and crazy enough to step back into the dating arena after a 12-year hiatus in the hope of finding a love that’s everlasting.
Thus began the journey of 1,000 dates and just as many lessons about love and life, all documented in my personal journals that make up this book. Written with humor and often brutal honesty, Note to Self is realistic first-hand account of challenges professional women over age 30 face when re-entering the dating market, proving that even for authors, real life is often stranger than fiction!
Click the link below to read an excerpt from the book or to purchase it for your Kindle ($2.99). 


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Giveaway Alert: Sing A New Song on Goodreads


If you found out you were dying, would you suddenly confess all your past sins?
When former chart-topper Tiffany Knightly learns that she's dying
from cancer, she leaves behind her plush California lifestyle to return
to Hempstead, New York, with Karlie, her reluctant teenaged daughter.
Her fans think she has simply gone home to die, but Tiffany has another
mission. She desperately wishes she could leave her past in the past,
but in order to secure her daughter's future, she must tear open past
wounds.


Life wasn't always easy for Tiffany. With a stepfather who abused her
and a mother who didn't believe her, she acted out by becoming
promiscuous. Fifteen years later, she's back to reveal to her ex-husband
that he might not be Karlie's biological father. In fact, there
are four men who could have fathered Karlie--four that she's willing to
acknowledge, anyway.


As Tiffany reveals her truth and searches for Karlie's father, she
reconnects with old friends and old lovers. Some reunions are happy, but
some innocent lives are torn apart, leaving Tiffany to wonder if she's
doing the right thing. Through it all, she will have to learn to rely on
the healing power of God's unfathomable love.

Chapter Excerpt: (Chapter Four)

“Never say never,” Tiffany chided herself bitterly. She tossed herself on the king-sized bed in the expansive guest quarters of Winona’s majestic Park Avenue apartment.
Tiffany held onto her head with both her hands. The demons of her past attacked and whipped her with guilt. Her mind raced about 100 miles per hour as she contemplated the magnitude of the task before her.
The past she had to revisit.
Tiffany mulled other alternatives for Karlie and her estate. Sadly, the truth twisted within her being, pushing her to belch it out. She needed to dig up ancient history because Karlie needed family.
Family.
There was always Tiffany’s mother—Merle Peterson.
***
Tiffany rented an Escalade equipped with GPS to drive to her mother’s home in Baldwin. She had dutifully purchased the home but had never paid a visit. She knew if she ever set foot in her mother’s house, she would regret it, but now she had to.
Merle was blood.
Tiffany hoped her mother would look beyond the past and see that. She purposely went alone because with Merle, well, one could never know what to expect and it could not be expected of Winona to remain cool when faced with Merle’s rancor.
Traffic was light and approximately forty-five minutes later, Tiffany pulled up to the curb outside her mother’s house. She sat in her car and studied the two-story structure for several minutes.
Tiffany dreaded this moment. Her palms felt sweaty as she gripped the steering wheel column. Exactly two weeks after learning about her imminent death, she was about to break the news to her mother. A woman who couldn’t care less if she ever rested eyes on her again. 
Her knuckles were taut and white.  Perspiration soaked her Armani blouse. She had not seen her mother face to face in over fifteen years.  Not that it would matter to Merle. Knowing her, Tiffany anticipated she would not be there long. Taking a deep breath, Tiffany whipped her sunglasses on her face, opened the door, and stepped out.  Her sleek high heels crunched on the gravel as she walked towards the sidewalk. 
The kids in the neighborhood stopped playing to stare at the lovely woman. Tiffany was not worried that they would not recognize her. She had been before their time.
Gathering her courage, Tiffany sped up the three steps and rang her mother’s doorbell.  Almost immediately, Merle opened the door and stood in the doorway. “What do you want?”
Tiffany’s demeanor changed with her mother’s abrupt question. “You haven’t seen me in almost sixteen years and this is how you greet me?” 
Merle did not answer.  She frowned and gave Tiffany the once over that left no doubt how she felt. 
Tiffany knew she was the last person her mother wanted to lay eyes on, but this was a matter of life and death. “May I come in?”  She pointedly asked since her mother had not made any motion to invite her into her home. The home she’d bought. Tiffany tried to swallow the bitter thought.
Merle reached into her pocket and took out a pack of gum. She opened the wrapper and stuck a piece in her mouth.  She stared Tiffany up and down once more, before she begrudgingly stepped aside. 
Tiffany bit her tongue to refrain from saying something nasty and entered her mother’s house. She walked into the living room and sat on the edge of the sofa. Painted a soft buttercup yellow with green trimmings, the living area was warm and inviting, opposite to her mother’s temperament. The sofa and loveseat were color coordinated and the d├ęcor impeccable.
Merle sat down and gave Tiffany a look of utter unconcealed disgust.
Tiffany took a deep breath before spitting out her news, “Mama, I thought it best to let you know in person that I am dying.” Tiffany nervously wiped her hands on her dark crimson jeans. She wore a thick black sweater with a matching jean jacket but the coldness in the room chilled her very core.
Merle remained unresponsive and her face mirrored no emotion. In fact, she gave no indication that Tiffany had even spoken.
Tiffany sat in suspense as she waited for her mother to cry, say something, or provide some sort of human feedback. Merle displayed none of those reactions. She remained stoic, unaffected as she popped her gum. Then she bit out, “So, what did you expect me to do about that?”
Enter the Giveaway