Sunday, May 29, 2011

For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn



This book was referenced in The Life Ready Woman so I headed over to Amazon to check out the price. After seeing the 4.5 star rating from the customer reviews, I figured it might be worth the purchase.

For Women Only was written based on information collected from a survey taken by over 1000 men. The information was presented clearly and the chosen topics included thorough details about the feelings and thoughts of the men surveyed. 

The author uses numerous analogies to help women relate to the information. This makes it easy to see the situation from the man’s point of view.  A few times I found myself thinking, ‘So that‘s why he reacted that way.’ 

The information was good and I know from past experience that much of it can be useful, but I didn’t find myself itching to turn the page.  Several points were redundant and I think some may have been belabored for the sake of having enough text for a book. Each chapter's message could have been conveyed in just a couple of pages.

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For Women Only on Amazon

Interview: Jacquitta A McManus (author of CHILDREN'S BOOKS!)

In response to your requests for children's book reviews here at Reading Has Purpose,  I have decided to introduce you to a few children's book authors! Last week I introduced you to Sybil Nelson. This week you get to meet Jacquitta A McManus. Enjoy the interview.....
 
First I want to say thank you to Shannon for inviting me to her blogosphere and bringing some attention to children authors and publishers.

RHP: How did you decide that you wanted to write children's books?
JAM: The idea of writing children’s books came to me during a time when my daughter started growing out of watching Sesame Street and Blues Clues. I started looking for fantasy adventure stories with characters that look like her and quickly realized that I couldn’t find any. At first, I thought I wasn’t looking in the right places but the more I looked the more I realized that they weren’t out there. It was during that time that the first story concept started to develop. It was vague with very little detail but I wrote it down on paper. At the time I was working on producing and directing my first short film and didn’t give writing much thought.

The short film came out good and I started turning the story concept into a TV series. It was when I got to the third episode that I realized that it wasn’t what I wanted to do. I realized that I would rather create children fantasy adventures. 

RHP: How do you create characters for the books? 
JAM: Characters come to me in different ways. A name will pop in my head with a personality and from that I create a world. If a world comes to mind first I will work on populating it with characters. It really depends on the inspiration. 

For example, the planet Gala, in the book Talee and the Fallen Object came to me before the main character Talee did. She was created to fit into the world and her voice and personality didn’t really start to develop until I started working on the first draft of the book.

RHP: I have a job where reading level of documents is important since they are often being provided to children. How do you ensure that the content you're writing isn't too advanced for your audience? 
JAM:The reading level of my books is important to me because I write for children. Once I finish my final draft of a story, I send it off for editing. It's during that time that the reading level is looked at. I currently just went through that process with my up and coming book, Talee and the Fallen Object, which is for children 4-8. The main focus of the editing was to make sure the language was appropriate for the age group.

RHP: You have your own publishing company. Are you actively searching for authors?
JAM: I would love to work with other authors, but right now I'm focused on building the foundation of Worlds To Discover and I'm not actively seeking authors. But if I come across an author that fits my vision for the company I would not hesitate to work with them. 

RHP: Do you find running a publishing company as enjoyable as writing children's stories? How do you divide your time between the two? 
JAM: I do enjoy running/building my company. I do most of the work myself so I see it grow inch by inch. When I published Labyrinth’s Door – Anyia “Dream of a Warrior” last year I would tell people I finally got my toe and the floor. Now I tell people I have my feet on the floor and I’m starting to walk. It’s a lot to learn and do, but because of having to do everything step by step I’m becoming a better storyteller, which is one of my main goals. Right now I don't write as much as I do other things but I think it's a good balance for me for the moment.

RHP: What advice would you give to other women who aspire to be entrepreneurs?
JAM: I wouldn't be publishing books if I didn't love being a storyteller. It's hard work to get people to give you a chance. There are a lot of obstacles and a lot of do-it-yourself projects. But because I love what I do it doesn’t bother me so much. So I would tell anyone looking to become an entrepreneur that they should love what ever they decide to do and then figure out how to make it a business and go for it. There is nothing like waking up and doing what you love to do as your job. Just remember, there are going to be bad days. There will be tough times and decisions. And there are going to be days when nothing goes your way and you feel like it's you against the world, but if you love what you are doing that's not going to stop you. You will find a way to make it work and keep on going. And in the end it will all be worth it. 

One of my favorite quotes to read when I started was:
People say that what we're all seeking is a meaning for life. I don't think that's what we're really seeking. I think that what we're seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances within our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive. (Joseph Campbell)

Another one was:
It is sometimes necessary in life to do something extraordinary. (Sagalevitch)

So I say, find what you love to do and do something extraordinary.      

RHP: Can you identify any challenges while becoming an author and entrepreneur that you felt were the result of being a minority and/or a woman? How did/do you overcome them?
JAM: I'm not sure if my challenges are due directly to me being a minority or a woman, but I do think that I have struggles because my books are children fantasy adventure stories with strong black female protagonist. It's not an easy market and customers don’t leave reviews on the book, which really does help upcoming authors and publishers.

I also know that when I was working on my short film, a drama, I had a lot more people interested in helping me get it started. I didn't find that when I decided to write children fantasy adventure stories. Which is okay. The genre isn't for everyone. And I’m overcoming those challenges because I stay focused on my goals. I don't look at the challenges of being author and an entrepreneur as much as I look at the progress I am making. I'm just reaching for my dreams and because of that I look at the challenges as part of my journey.


RHP: What else would you like for us to know about you here at Reading Has Purpose?  
JAM: First I want to thank everyone for taking the time to learn more about my company and me. I invite everyone to stop by WorldsToDiscover.com to check out my books and become a friend at Facebook.com/WTDiscover and Twitter.com/WTDiscover. I’m also on GoodReads.com so look for me. I also blog and if you would like to check that out please visit Journey of a Storyteller. And if you read my books please leave a review. I would love to hear from you.

My latest book, Talee and the Fallen Object, will be available on May 27, 2011. Girls 4–8 will love it. It's a fun read. It will be available on Kindle and Nook as well as on GoodReads.com for $1.99 and the coloring book adventure will be available on my site, WorldsToDiscover.com for $3.99.

If you are looking for a book in the age range of 9-12 please stop by and check out Labyrinth’s Door – Anyia “Dream of a Warrior”. The paperback book is available for $6.99 on Amazon and at WorldsToDiscover.com. The ebook is available for $1.99 on the Kindle and Nook as well as at GoodReads.com.

For free downloads and previews of my books visit WorldsToDiscover.com

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

GIVEAWAY!!! Priscilla the Great by Sybil Nelson

Hopefully you had a moment to read my awesome interview with Sybil Nelson. If you didn't you'll need to do so to enter the giveaway! To enter for a chance to win a copy of her book Priscilla the Great, leave a comment letting us know your favorite part of the interview!



One random winner will be announced on Friday June 3.

GIVEAWAY!!! Life Is What You Make It by Carl Mathis

If you stopped by last week you saw that I hosted a blog tour. I'm giving away my copy of  Life is What You Make It by Carl Mathis. To enter, just leave a comment!


 


One random winner will be announced on Friday June 3.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Interview: Sybil Nelson (author of CHILDREN'S BOOKS!)

Several of you have requested children's book reviews here at Reading Has Purpose. Well I heard you and although I haven't read any children's books, I am bringing you something better - a children's book author! And you're going to be excited to find out what she's up to. Enjoy the interview......


RHP: How did you decide that you wanted to write children's books?
SN: I didn’t really decide it. I usually write older YA [young adult] books. But one day I had this idea about a girl who gets super powers along with her first period and I called it The Adventures of PMS Girl. It was only natural that the girl be aged around 12. After an editor at HarperCollins showed interest in the book, she convinced me to drop the period angle. So PMS Girl died and Priscilla the Great was born. Eight months and 3 complete rewrites later, HarperCollins rejected me.

RHP: I was able to read a synopsis on Priscilla the Great. Priscilla's character is definitely an attention grabber! Will you tell us more about her!?
SN: Priscilla is in a class all by herself. She’s witty, fun, strong, and…fiery, for lack of a better word. But she’s also sensitive and a typical twelve-year-old girl trying to navigate that narrow stream that leads to the ocean of adulthood.
Purchase on Amazon

RHP: You are currently pitching Priscilla the Great as a feature film and TV show to several studios. That's ambitious! I think Priscilla will be great on screen! Are you able to tell us how this is progressing and what are the biggest barriers you've encountered while trying to make this happen?
SN: I actually have no idea how it’s going right now and I’m too chicken to call my production company to see how the pitches went to Disney, ABC Family, and Nickelodeon. I haven’t really done much on the movie end besides write out synopsis for all five books for the pitch team.

I had dinner with the screenwriter last summer which was amazing because she’s super cool and we have like the exact same taste in movies. Her good friend wrote and directed one of my favorite movies Happy Texas.

RHP: If, or maybe I should say when Priscilla makes it to the screen, will you have to relinquish some control of the brand? How do you feel about that?
SN: Well, this is where Indie Publishing will be a huge benefit for me. Priscilla is all mine and I won’t have to share any branding money with a publishing company.

RHP: You've published under a pen name, Leslie DuBois. How did you come up with the name and why did you choose to publish using a pen?
SN: Leslie is my middle name and DuBois is my mother’s maiden name. Actually, all of my family calls me Leslie because my grandmother is also named Sybil and it got confusing in the house. I decided to use a pen name because my Leslie DuBois titles are a bit more edgy than Priscilla the Great. They deal with difficult issues like race, justice, and abuse. I didn’t want to expose younger kids to themes they weren’t quite ready for.

RHP: What are you doing when you aren't writing books?
SN: I’m a wife, a mother of two, and a PhD student at the Medical University of South Carolina so I’m pretty busy. I’m also really addicted to coupons so I do a lot of grocery shopping. The money I save with coupons I invest into promoting my books. It’s crazy because I spend the most money trying to promote Priscilla the Great and that is the book that sells the least. My Leslie DuBois books are much more popular.

RHP: I was really excited to see that you're working towards having Priscilla the Great become a TV show. I'm hopeful that you will make that come to fruition and I can only imagine the amount of energy it takes for such a project. What advice would you give to other women who aspire to be entrepreneurs?
SN: I don’t know if I can give advice yet. I’m still figuring things out. I would say the one thing is to never give up. I always get a little depressed when sales are going as well, but I have to force myself to keep going. If I quite, then sales would be even worse! I also advise people not to limit themselves. You have no idea what’s possible until you try. 

Purchase on Amazon
 RHP: Can you identify any challenges while becoming an author and entrepreneur that you felt were the result of being a minority and/or a woman? How did/do you overcome them?
SN: I meet challenges every day. So far only locally when I try to get into the newspaper or bookstores. I know all Indie published authors go through this difficulty, but I can’t help but feel like it’s been exacerbated in my situation because I’m a black female. I’ve tried for months to get into the local newspaper. When I first contacted the book reviewer I was told things like I had to contact him closer to the release date, when I contacted closer to the release date I was told it was too late.

I finally got the book into the hands of another editor, who loved it, but the features department won’t let her write an article about me. Why? I can’t say for sure, but I can’t help but feel it’s because of my race, especially since I live in South Carolina. Little things like that happen all the time. To overcome these challenges, I just have to keep going. People have actually suggested that I take my picture off of my website and my online profiles, but I refuse. If someone decides not to read my book because I’m black, then maybe I don’t want them reading my book at all. 

RHP: What else would you like for us to know about you here at Reading Has Purpose?
SN: I would like people to know how difficult the publishing industry is right now. I couldn’t get a contract with Priscilla the Great even after the movie option had been sold. And another company had my book The Queen Bee of Bridgeton under consideration for nearly three years before I finally pulled it and decided to publish it myself. And there are thousands of other authors out there like me who took a gamble on traditional publishing and just couldn’t seem to win. I would like for more people to give Indie Published authors a try.

There are some really talented people out there that the publishing industry has just decided to ignore for one reason or another. So for every traditionally published novel you buy, try to buy an Indie one as well. In fact, to raise awareness of Indie published authors, I’m holding a Kindle INDIEpendence Day Giveaway from June 1st to July 4th. The contest is really focused on Middle Grade and Young Adult books since those are harder to sell as eBooks. It’s free to enter, but you’ll gain extra entries for checking out different Indie authors. Visit KindleINDIEpendence.webs.com for more info.
 
To visit Priscilla the Great's website, follow the link: http://www.priscillathegreat.com/
To visit Sybil Nelson's website, follow the link: http://www.wix.com/jediprincess_3/sybilnelson

Stay tuned, I will give away a copy of Priscilla the Great later this week!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Blog Tour: Life is What You Make It by Carl Mathis

About the Book

"Carl Mathis wasn’t prepared for the devastation the loss of his wife would bring to his life. He soon found himself grieving, struggling to make ends meet, and trying to raise his sons, who were also dealing with personal turmoil from the loss of their mother. After months of waiting for someone to rescue him, Carl had to face the inevitable truth–no one was coming. He realized that if he wanted out of the mess his life was becoming, he was going to have to do it himself. 

Join new author Carl Mathis in this motivational story about one man’s struggle to put his life back together. Life Is What You Make It will teach you how to overcome any crippling situation you find yourself in and stimulate personal and spiritual growth by accepting the situation, taking responsibility, conditioning your mind, choosing to make right decisions, building a team, believing, and defining the new normal."


My Thoughts

This book got off to a shaky start and unfortunately it never rebounded.  The book reads more like a journal and contains many blunders that would be found in a draft manuscript. The writing is not very concise and  is somewhat disjointed. This in addition to numerous grammatical errors makes it difficult to grasp the message. I would think that a good publisher  is responsible for oversight of all of these issues.

If you can get past those things, the book contains valid take away messages. It is also filled with scriptures that can be referenced when going through tough times. I hope the author decides to publish a 2nd edition. Maybe then all of the issues will be resolved and his story will not get lost in the pages of his book. 

About the Author 

"Christian author, preacher and motivational speaker Carl Mathis began his work for the ministry in 2005 after a life-altering experience. At that time, the death of Mathis’ wife was the reason behind the dramatic turn of events that soon led him to his life’s purpose and calling.


Dealing with the loss of his wife and raising three children as a single father while struggling to make ends meet, Mathis had to contend with unbearable feelings of hopelessness and despair. It was during those moments that Mathis cried out for a strategy to overcome his situation. This experience soon pushed him to channel is grief and use its transforming power to change his own life and others as well.

Immediately after getting back on track, Mathis was moved to act on his burning desire to encourage and motivate people, especially those who have shared the same fate as him. It was then Mathis saw the need to reach out to the distressed and the depressed.


In 2010, he came out with his debut work entitled Life is What You Make It – seven steps to moving forward, a 104 page inspirational book drawn from his own personal life experiences and challenges. Filled with messages on how to deal with sorrow and ultimately survive the process of moving on, the book provides readers with the much-needed encouragement and motivation in order to strive better.


A man after God’s own heart, Mathis continues his passion today of reaching out to people using his God-given abilities, particularly speaking and writing, and becoming a blessing to others in return."


Visit the author at CarlMathis.com
Visit the blog tour schedule at http://bit.ly/LifeisWhatYouMakeIt

Affiliate Link
Life Is What You Make It on Amazon
View All by Mathis on Amazon

Sunday, May 15, 2011

All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum

Purchase on Amazon


I snagged this book at Border’s going out of business sale several weeks ago. I left if there after seeing it on my first two visits but on my 3rd trip the price was appealing enough for me to buy it. It wasn’t what I would expect from the title but I enjoyed it just the same.

The book is a series of essays based on situations the author has encountered over the years. Some of the essays left me puzzled and some of them made me laugh. I can’t imagine anyone would like every essay but there are certainly some you will want to tear out and keep with you.

One thing that becomes apparent quickly is Fulghum’s personality. You’ll come across a few dirty jokes and sometimes he’ll come off as just plain mean. Something he’s not hesitant to do is say whatever the heck he feels like saying, however he feels like saying it. But I have to be honest, some of his cynical comments made me laugh out loud.

Some people will question whether or not people can actually change, but I think it’s possible which may be the reason I really like the following quote which addresses why some of the essays in this edition of the book have been revised, “I will have changed my mind, recognizing that I no longer believe everything I once thought. “

One of my absolute favorite parts of the book came in the last 3 pages. I had a friend tell me something similar several years back. In summary, ‘You may never have proof of your importance but you are more important than you think.’ The rest, you should read for yourself! 

What’s the best thing you learned in kindergarten!?

Affiliate Links
All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten on Amazon
View all by Fulghum on Amazon

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Interview: Christine Nolfi (author) and Book Giveaway

Christine Nolfi and her children
I would like to introduce you all to Christine Nolfi, writer and proud mom! Enjoy the interview......

RHP: What was the inspiration behind Treasure Me?
CN: Unlike every other novel I’ve written, Treasure Me was a bolt-out-of-the-blue experience. I awoke one morning with the image of a beautiful young thief dangling from a windowsill, trying to evade the man whose pocket she’d picked. That first scene arrived in a mad dash of typing—my critique partners couldn’t stop laughing when I read the first draft. As the novel progressed I enjoyed the challenge of making Birdie sympathetic to readers. Why any of us should care about a common thief becomes clearer once the reader understands Birdie’s past, and her infamous mother, Wish Kaminsky.

Now, I’d already written a novel about the fictional town of Liberty, Ohio, which quickly gave form to Birdie’s story with a whole cast of secondary characters. That first novel, Second Chance Grill, was under consideration at Random House. The feedback from the editorial staff was positive, and I hoped the editors would offer to buy both books. A deal never came through. Soon after I completed Treasure Me, I found another literary agent and caught the interest of an editor at New American Library. She considered bringing the series of Liberty books out in hardcover. Then Wall Street melted down and so did her interest. It’s difficult to market a debut novelist when the economy is tanking.

RHP: When you write, is there a certain time of day that works better? Do you have a designated workspace? Do you take a systematic approach?
CN: I owned a small public relations firm in Cleveland, Ohio before adopting my four kids in my late 30s. Years of working on deadline made the transition to writing fiction a relatively easy task. I rise early and usually write until noon. Then I head to the gym for an hour or two, return home, and edit the pages written that morning.

My designated workspace is a large office in my house. Unfortunately, the room is right off the kitchen. This allows my young adult children to wander in at all hours to chat. Of course, they’ve learned that if  “Mom is in the zone” it doesn’t matter how hard they try to get my attention. I’m gone. Until I’ve completed the scene, the dialogue, the revision—whatever if is, I’m utterly focused when I’m working.

I take a systematic approach to writing insofar as I complete a first draft with my internal editor, for the most part, turned off. It’s rarely helpful to overanalyze a given scene while a work is in progress. Once the first draft is written, I start back at page one to edit in some cases, and to deepen characterization in others. Chapters are thrown out. New scenes are written. This goes on for many months until I’m satisfied with the final result.

RHP: What’s your cure for writer’s block?

CN: I think “writer’s block” is a misnomer. Writers are often overworked—if the pages don’t arrive on schedule, perhaps you need a night out with friends. A walk in the park to reconnect with nature. Or more exercise, and a bit more sleep at night. Here’s some motherly advice: Eat more fresh fruits and veggies. Oftentimes the well-balanced life produces the finest art. If you feel blocked, asked yourself, “What should I do to bring myself back into balance?”


RHP: What were the steps you took to identify publishers and how did you finally choose one?
CN: I began writing full-time in 2004 with every intention of building a career. I followed the tried-and-true path of joining a critique group, listening to feedback from published novelists, and becoming a finalist in various contests. All of which led to representation—twice—by literary agents. Given all that, why did I choose to self-publish?

Digital publishing offers a marvelous opportunity for authors who don’t fit a traditional genre to reach the reading public. As mentioned earlier, at one point Random House appeared ready to offer a contract. At another, it seemed a sure bet that a division of Penguin would contract the Liberty books. The declining economy definitely put a damper on each editor’s enthusiasm. But I suspect there was another problem too.

In both instances, the editors were flummoxed. Were my books romance or women’s fiction? Or something else? The prose was close to literary, with cozy mystery elements and snappy dialogue thrown into the mix. Given the financial investment a publishing house makes releasing a debut novelist, it’s understandable why both editors were hesitant to offer a contract. They weren’t sure, exactly, how to promote my novels. Which made the leap to publishing directly on Amazon a no-brainer.

Given the positive response I’m receiving from readers, it was the right decision.
 
Purchase on Amazon
RHP: Treasure Me is the first book of a series. When writing a series, how do you decide how many books are enough?
CN: When you run out of stories, I suspect.

This won’t happen with the Liberty series for quite some time. In Treasure Me, Birdie finds her roots in the story of the freed slave, Justice Postell, who built the original Second Chance Grill.  The notion of writing about a racially blended family was deeply satisfying.

When my youngest daughter was five years old, she said to me, “Mom, you’d be perfect if only you were brown.” It was a revelatory experience. In my mind, her comment turned upside down the awful history of “white is good” and “black is bad.” In truth, the color of my skin didn’t matter to my daughter. What Marguerite meant was that she’d absorbed my love fully. In the joy of finding a mommy, she simply wanted me to be just like her.

That moment gave birth to the back-story of a freed slave journeying to Ohio and creating a better life. I’ve spent years pondering the issue of skin color because it was an issue for my Asian children. Today, I suspect all five of us are a bit color-blind. People still stop us on the street—we certainly stand out as an adoptive family—but we’re past all that. The kids have changed me as surely as I’ve changed them. The best sort of blending.

In future Liberty books there will be much more about Justice, and the other ancestors of Liberty’s elderly matriarch, Theodora Hendricks. Theodora packs a Blackberry and a pistol—her nemesis in town is fluttery Ethel Lynn Percible.

I adore Theodora’s fire and courage. Don’t ask me when the series will end—when it does, it’ll be difficult saying goodbye to her. I hope readers feel the same way.


RHP: If you could choose to be something other than a writer, what would it be?
CN: Already chosen! Fifteen years ago I boarded a plane, traveled to the Philippines, and adopted my kids. Becoming their mother was—and still is—an absolute joy. Today I view parenting as a privilege, the finest blessing in my life.


RHP: You owned a public relations firm before become a writer. What advice would you give to women who want to become entrepreneurs?
CN: Research the market. Know your competition. Excel in the niche you create. Work hard, but leave room for “down time” to replenish your spirit and your relationships. And for heaven’s sake, choose a career path that gives you joy. You’ll find the most success when “work” feels like play.


RHP: What else would you like us to know about you here at Reading Has Purpose?
CN: Gosh, may I offer advice to aspiring artists?

If you burn with the need to paint, sculpt, write—whatever your passion—find time to cultivate your gifts. Ignore the parent who questions why you’re wasting that expensive education on frivolous pursuits. Explain to your significant other that your inner muse requires some of the precious hours of your life. The world is made all the more beautiful when the ballad of the human experience is sung in a chorus of voices.

To learn more about Christine, follow the link: http://christinenolfibooks.blogspot.com/

Christine will be checking in on the comments to answer your questions! So if I missed something,  feel free to ask!

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GIVEAWAY: Treasure Me

 

Treasure Me is not available in hard copy. Winners will receive the book as a PDF file or PRC (Kindle)

Rules for Entry

Leave a question for Christine AND tell us how you want your book (PDF or PRC)!


I will announce five random winners on Wed, May 25. The winners will need to email me: Shannon@readinghaspurpose.com and I will provide your e-mail to Christine to send you the file for your book. 

As you know, I rarely read fiction. However, I didn't want that to prevent me from introducing the author and the book. I have not read this book and I can not vouch for its contents.