Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Author of the Week: Lutishia Lovely

A&RBC: How did you become a writer?
Lutishia: I've always loved words and began penning poems in junior high. But my professional writing career began quite unexpectedly. I was an actor working in theatre when an idea for a play came to mind. I'd been involved in a production that a fellow thespian had written so I went to him with my idea and asked him to write it. After talking nonstop for several minutes, laying out the scenes, the characters and what they were saying, he looked at me and said "why don't you write it?" Well, I did, and when that show was produced, it received very good reviews. I went on to write more stage plays and a few screenplays as well.

Similarly, my foray into novel writing was equally unplanned. I'd just been laid off from a well-paying internet job and was sitting in front of my computer looking at a blank screen. "What do I do now?" I asked Spirit. I'll never forget the answer. "Sex In The Sanctuary...and it's a book, not a play." And the rest, as they say, is history.

A&RBC: What are you hoping readers take from your books?
Lutishia: I want readers to come away from Lovely novels feeling entertained and inspired. I want to write stories that allow the reader to walk a mile in somebody else's shoes, or perhaps think on a certain subject or situation in a different way. And for those readers who just want to get away from it all for a minute...I want Lovely novels to take them on a wild literary ride!

A&RBC: Who is the hero in your life? How does your hero inspire you?
Lutishia: I have a hero and a shero: my mom and my dad. From an early age, my dad told me that I could go anywhere and do anything. He's encouraged me in every project I've ever undertaken, and is one of my biggest cheerleaders. My mom had five of us and then, when I was in junior high, she went back to college to get the degree that she'd put on hold after marriage and motherhood. She was often older than the teachers but that didn't sop her from getting two bachelors, one in nursing, and a masters in social work. He nursing career spanned five decades! Hopefully, my writing career will last as long...

A&RBC: What are two things you want your readers to know about you?
Lutishia: That I am a "down-to-earth diva"-approachable and grateful to everyone who's ever picked up one of my books. That I personally respond to every single email, and t hat if they've heard something crazy about me... it's probably true! Okay, maybe not THAT... ::wink::

A&RBC: What are your favorite marketing and/or promotional tools?
Lutishia: The internet is by far my most used and most productive tool, specifically social networking sites, such as Facebook, as well as my own website. Also, I love writing and producing video promos (book trailers) for each of my novels. They help the story come alive and help to create a buzz...

A&RBC: What is one thing you have learned about the publishing industry?
Lutishia: That it is a complex industry that changes constantly. The writing game isn't always an easy one, but it is a very rewarding one.

A&RBC: What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
Lutishia: Be prepared! Writing is not as easy as it looks, and a career in writing requires talent, skill and the ability to multi-task effectively. Especially if an author wants to get with a traditional publisher, he/she needs to have honed their writing chops and researched the industry enough to present a professional package. Some editors receive thousands of manuscripts PER MONTH. What is it about you and your story that is going to stand out from the rest? Be able to not only answer this question...but to back it up with proof.

A&RBC: Who was the first author you read? What was the title of the book?
Lutishia: Whew...I honestly don't know but if I had to guess I'd say Dr. Suess! I've been reading for as long as I can remember. One of the first "grown up" books I read was Maya Angelou's autobiography: I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings. I think I was in junior high by then.

A&RBC: Tell us what new projects you are working on?
Lutishia: As we speak, I'm finishing up novel two in the Business Series, titled Mind Your Own Business and working on the next romance novel for my alter-ego, Zuri Day. There's also a couple irons in the fire that I can't talk about yet but let me just say this...I'm VERY excited about them!!!

A&RBC: Where can your readers find you?
Lutishia: The easiest way is through my website, LutishiaLovely.com. Once there they can follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, and even hit me up on Myspace. I look forward to chatting with y'all.

A&RBC: Authors & Readers Book Corner appreciates your time!
Lutishia: Thank you for having me.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Book Review: Wanting It

Wanting It
Delilah Dawson
4 Stars
Reviewed by Teresa Beasley

In the last book of the Orchid Soul Trilogy, author Delilah Dawson invites readers into a sensual and exotic love nest with Jenna Miller and Troy Rucker. Jenna owns a florist shop in a small town and business has been growing, so she has no me time. It has been awhile for her and feelings of loneliness are starting to set in. When her friend, Eileen, asks her to partake in an online matchmaking service, Jenna does not hesitate to say yes. Jenna soon finds out that helping her friend will give her more than she bargained for and she loves it.

Troy has been focusing on running his business and has forgotten his need for fun and relaxation. When he meets the lovely Jenna at a party, it seems he is having a hard time getting her off his mind. A new business venture comes up and Troy uses his skills to land right in her path. He just does not want Jenna to know it. Jenna is playing hard to get and Troy is enjoying the chase. What will happen if his secret is revealed?

Wanting It is the story of two strangers starting a love affair that will change both of their lives. A page-turning book it makes readers curious to know if Jenna will find out Troy's secret. The storyline follows along with the other books in the trilogy but could stand on its own. I recommend this book to others.

Author/Business of Week: Natalie P. McNeal

A&RBC: Tell readers a little about yourself.
Natalie: I'm Natalie P. McNeal, author of The Frugalista Files: How One Woman Got Out of Debt Without Giving Up the Fabulous Life. I stayed just a little more than $20,000 worth of debt and had quite a ride doing it. I also created the blog, thefrugalista.com.

Frugalista is my superpower name. Some (really most) would call me a journalist, too.

A&RBC: What is the meaning behind Frugalista Files?
Natalie: A Frugalista is a frugal and fabulous woman who loves to live well but refuses to sacrifice her finances to do so. She believes she can have it all, on sale! I detailed the year in my life when I decided to become a Frugalista. I discuss the ups and downs of trying to manage my money during that time. After reading the book, I hope readers understand that they should work hard, save money and take a risk in life.

A&RBC: What inspired you to turn your blog into a full length memoir?
Natalie: A lot of my readers said that I should. I also wanted to tell my story. Blogging is great, but you can only share so much.

A&RBC: What are 4 benefits from living a Frugalista lifestyle?
Natalie: You gain confidence from managing your money well. You learn to be self sufficient. You learn to get the best deals on everything you buy. You have fun!

A&RBC: Do you believe you have achieved creating a brand for the Frugalista Files?
Natalie: Oh yes! People think of me as the "No-Buy Month" woman. I have a book and a blog. I have a brand.

A&RBC: What do you hope to accomplish as an author, journalist, and Frugalista in the next 4 years?
Natalie: As a journalist, I would like to manage managers. As an author, I would like for The Frugalista Files to have performed so well, that publishing houses would be beating down my door! As a Frugalista, I would like to take the brand onto television.

A&RBC: What advice would you give to a person wanting to budget and save for the future?
Natalie: I would start small. If you're not used to saving money, I say go a week without spending any extra cash. Yes, pay your bills, but don't dine out. Cook at home. Don't do any shopping and don't go to any nail or hair salons. I bet you notice that your bank account looks much better at the end of the week. Use that experience to find more ways to save money and to get used to having money in your account.

A&RBC: How has creating and developing the Frugalista Files changed you?
Natalie: Frugalista changed my life. When I created the blog, I was in debt and stuck in a dead-end job. The blog was supposed to be a one-month experiment of me trying to not spend any money for the month. After it launched, I discovered the power of the Internet to connect with people like me and people who could advise me in my situation. I kept it going.

Learning to manage my money has given me so much confidence. I've created a whole new career for myself. I have online skills as well as money management skills. Most journalists have had a hard time finding work in this economy. I  have been blessed to find work.

A&RBC: The main question inquiring minds want to know is if you're still living a Frugalista lifestyle?
Natalie: Oh yes, I NEVER want to be in debt again. I paid off my car note and other debts. I still use the same car and will ride it until the wheels fall off. I set saving goals now, which I couldn't do while clawing out of debt. Being frugal is empowering.

A&RBC: What new projects are you working on?
Natalie: I'm shopping around the film rights for the book, now. Wish me luck!!!

A&RBC: Where can readers find you?
Natalie: You can find me online, always. Please follow me on twitter: @frugalista or join my facebook group. Of course, thefrugalista.com is my permanent home!

A&RBC: Authors & Readers Book Corner appreciates your time. We wish you much luck in turning an amazing book into a film. We will definitely by a ticket to see it on the big screen.
Natalie: Thank you for having me and I am glad you enjoyed by book.