This is something I don’t usually do, but as a member of Amazon Prime, I am entitled to benefit from some of these great Amazon deals and therefore I thought I should share them with you. If you are already a member of Prime, you know that you can get free shipping on your Amazon orders, download music, movies and TV shows free of cost. With the kids home for the summer, you can keep them occupied with Outstanding Preschool Children’s Animated program or Original Children’s series including Wishenproof, Annedroids and others.

If you are not already a Prime member you can sign up here or if you are not sure Prime is for you, you can sign up for a free trial. But now there is something even more exciting. Sign up now and take advantage of the deals going on right now and leading up to Prime Day just 5 days away. Just click on the banner below to learn more. And if you do sign up, as an Amazon associate, I will receive a commission.

0677845-R1-007-2_aTomorrow is the anniversary of our nation’s independence. Fourth of July is one of the most popular holidays here in the US, and many people have the day off from work. That means barbecues, trips to the beach or some other hangout venue, and of course, fireworks when the sun goes down. If you are like me, you would take advantage of the time off to catch up on some reading.

Let me recommend a book that is sure to become a summer reading favorite. It’s my first novel Coming Out Of Egypt which I’ve written about before. This is a clean, compelling read about two sisters trying to forge a new life for themselves while trying to put their abusive past behind them. It’s a story that combines romance, suspense and redemption in a way that will leave a lasting impression on the reader. There is no cussing or swearing and no sex, but trust me, you won’t want to put it down.

So today, I have a special reason for bringing this book to your attention. I’m running a special promo until Tuesday. You can get Coming Out Of Egypt on Amazon kindle during this special promotional period for just 99c. Or you can download it for FREE on Kindle Unlimited. Just click on the image below.

Happy reading and Happy Fourth!

ebookAJOver the past weeks, I have been giving you little tidbits about my new novel Coming Out Of Egypt, the first book in the Egypt series. Today I’m giving you the opening scene to the novel. Read, enjoy and please leave a comment below.

~CHAPTER ONE~
Thunder rumbled in the distance, and Marva Garcia looked through the window at the tall trees silhouetted against the sky. On a clear day, she could identify most of the trees by name, but with the growing darkness she couldn’t tell which was cedar or mango, breadfruit or samaan or any of the stately trees that flanked the estate. It was as if they had all banded together to disguise themselves against the threatening storm. Only the coconut and gru – gru palms were distinguishable by their long, slender trunks and fringed branches.
Nearer the house, the smaller fruit trees were still visible, but their leaves hung down as if bracing for what was to come. The door of the storage shed where they stored their produce – grapefruit, oranges and bananas – rattled as the wind blew through it. Marva had heard it multiple times, but tonight the sound grated on her nerves. She looked at her younger sister, June, sitting huddled on a stool, head buried in her arms like a sleeping chicken. Occasionally, a sob escaped from beneath the bush of hair. If only she didn’t have to experience any of this.
Marva cast another anxious glance at the heavy rain clouds hanging like wet sheets on a clothesline. Might as well do it now before the storm hit.
She tugged at June’s arms. “Come on. It’s time.”
The girl raised her head, showing eyes reddened and wide like those of a frightened deer. She opened her mouth as if to speak then closed it and stumbled to her feet.
Marva softened her tone. “You don’t have to come if you don’t want to.”
June nodded, indicating she would go.
Marva closed the window. Steeling herself, she opened the bedroom door and crept forward, June following right behind her.
He lay on his stomach on the floor in the same position in which he’d fallen, head at a
rakish angle, arms flung out in front him, one knee slightly bent. June gasped, and Marva glanced over her shoulder. June’s lower lip trembled, her face pale, arms crossed over her bosom. Marva hesitated before turning back to the body on the floor.
Her heart pounded so hard, it sounded in her ears, and for one frightening moment she thought she would faint. But fainting was a luxury she couldn’t afford right now. She leaned against the wall for a second to quiet her heart then with a grimace, bent low and spread her arms. Something swelled in his back pocket. She pulled out the wallet, flung it on the bed, then straightened and looked back at June, peeking from behind her fingers. Lord, I can’t do it.

Now, if you would like to read more, why not click on the image below?

As every indie author knows, one of the best ways to move forward in our writing career is to support other indie authors. So today I’m happy to participate in this promotional blitz of Kimberley Nadine Knights’ debut novel The Cilantro In Apple Pie. In case you didn’t know it, cilantro is an herb commonly used in Trinidad and Tobago, Kimberley’s birth place. As you read the synopsis of the novel and the author’s bio, you’ll understand the relevance of this catchy title. You can further help spread the word about this fascinating new novel by participating in the giveaway, sharing with your social media friends, purchasing a copy and writing a review on Amazon.

Below you’ll find a synopsis of the novel, author bio and interview and other important links.

Book & Author Details:

The Cilantro In Apple Pie by Kimberley Nadine Knights
Published by: Ravenswood Publishing
Publication date: May 5th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

Kimberley 2

Cilantro

Synopsis:

Fragnut. Confused? Well so is everyone else at Lumiere Hall Prep when sixteen-year-old Rubie Keane rolls in from Trinidad and Tobago talking her weird lingo. Not that she minds the culture confusion; she’s determined to leave the past behind her and be overlooked—but a certain stoic blue blood is equally as determined to foil her plans.

Gil Stromeyer’s offbeat personality initially makes Rubie second-guess his sanity, but she suspects his erratic outbursts of violence mask a deeper issue in his troubled, charmed life. Despite his disturbing behavior, a gradual bond forms between the two. However, on the night of the annual Stromeyer gala, events unfold that leave Rubie stripped of her dignity and kick Gil’s already fragile world off its axis.

Both their well-kept secrets are uncovered, but Gil’s revelation proves that sometimes the best remedy for a bad case of lost identity, is a dash of comradery from an ally packed with flavor.

Goodreads
Amazon
B & N

AUTHOR BIO:
Kimberley Nadine Knights knew when she kept willingly opting out of parties so she could stay home and write instead, that she was destined to be an author.

Born and raised in the tropical twin islands of Trinidad & Tobago, when this Caribbean girl isn’t creating new plotlines for her ever growing lineup of fictional characters, she spends her time strumming her guitar to indie rock songs and snapping once in a lifetime photos halfway across the globe in countries such as Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and France.

She’s an avid fan of The Walking Dead series and firmly believes that The Food Network should consider her being a judge on the next Chopped challenge.
Visit her website http://kimberleynknights.wix.com/author and learn more about this up and coming author.

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR KIMBERLEY NADINE KNIGHTS

1. What inspires you? Definitely music – specifically original scores from films. My favorites are from The Village, Finding Neverland, Pride & Prejudice, Meet Joe Black and Life as a House.

2. What’s your advice to an aspiring author?
Write what your love not what you like. You have to be passionate about a topic to reach those magical words of ‘the’ and ‘end.’ Never write a book because that particular genre is popular – by the time you’re done it’ll be saturated. Also ignore the naysayers…you’ll be part of a very exclusive club when you finally finish your book 🙂

3. Do you ever experience writer’s block? I like to call it writer’s diversion lol. Suddenly my idea isn’t as exciting as I initially thought, so then I drift into another storyboard. But absence makes the heart grow fonder and I usually return to book 1 with full force after a few weeks. For normal writers block I force myself to write 1000 words a day even if it’s 1000 words of crap.

4. Who is your favorite character in The Cilantro in Apple Pie?
Believe it or not it’s the male protagonist Gil. His character was so much fun to develop because he’s such a drastic departure from anything I know firsthand. He’s flawed in so many ways but for the right reasons…so you can’t help but root for him.

5. Could you describe your definition of a perfect writing day?
I can’t write in the day…only at night. Guess that makes me some kind of literary vampire – but my ideal writing ‘time-period’ would be locked in a cold room with a desk and my laptop, burning the midnight oil till 6am with my score mp3’s and a cup of java.


https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKimberleyNadineKnights
https://twitter.com/Knightsley
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15048879.Kimberley_Nadine_Knights

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The first time I heard this expression I couldn’t help laughing. In case you don’t know what molasses is, it’s a thick,15 Health Benefits of Blackstrap Molasses dark liquid extracted during the refining of sugar cane to make table sugar. I was born in Trinidad and Tobago, a country that grew sugar cane and produced sugar for export, and maybe because of that, molasses was very popular with Trinidad housewives. My mother used it to make toloom, a dark, sticky, bitter-sweet candy, which was, and I believe still is, well liked by the kids. I found the recipe here. But that wasn’t all she made. She used molasses to make all kinds of medicinal drinks which, if they didn’t always cure the illness, certainly tasted like medicine.

So why am I writing all this? Because I was always fascinated with the slowness with which the molasses ran – no, it didn’t run – came out of the bottle, as if gravity was non-existent. So, could you imagine molasses having to work its way uphill against gravity? Well, these past weeks I have been feeling like molasses going uphill as far as publishing my book Coming Out Of Egypt goes. I had originally planned to have it released the middle of April, but I lost my battle with the Createspace template, and that’s when my horrors began.

After struggling to format headers, footers and everything else, I gave up and outsourced it to someone on Fiverr. She did a fine job. Every header and footer was where it was supposed to be and she even did a beautiful Drop Cap. I was about to do a happy dance when I realized that more than half the book was missing. Had I given her only half the file? It’s possible, since I started and stopped so many times and each time I carefully saved the darned thing. So back I went to Fiverr, told her what happened and what I needed. I even offered to pay her to do the rest. She said she would do it by Sunday (yesterday), but she didn’t give me a quote. I uploaded the file – the complete one this time – but haven’t received it yet. No reply from her.

But remember I said the toloom has a bitter-sweet taste? Well, I tasted something sweet today. The file I uploaded to Smashwords to place my book on preorder made it successfully into the premium catalog. And I did the formatting all by myself! You may be asking why didn’t I tackle the Createspace monster myself? Because Createspace needs headers and footers with page numbers. Digital files don’t need all that. That’s the beauty of technology. So now my book is still going to be on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo etc.

Whether you are writing, querying agents and editors or self-publishing, you are going to have to climb the hill. Anything worth having has a cost factor. It may cost you your hair – one friend said she almost lost hers – or your sanity, but it will cost. Just be prepared for it, and keep on climbing.

_______________________________________________

Audiobooks have become very popular. You can listen to them almost anywhere, and so you get to “read” more books in less time. Now you can get even more books by signing up for Amazon’s Audible Membership program. In addition you get,

  • 2 free audiobooks after signing up for a 30-day free trial
  • 1 audiobook of your choice every month
  • 30% off every additional audiobook and much more.  Click on the link below to learn more.

 

 

ebookAJWhen I first started shopping around for an agent for Coming Out Of Egypt, I came up with rejection after rejection, one of the reasons the book took so long to get to the publishing stage. Since most of the people I queried did not give a reason for their rejection, I thought the reason was the subject I was writing about. I had polished and had the story critiqued by some of the best authors one can find anywhere, until I thought it dazzled like a new coin in the sun. I did receive a few requests for the full manuscript, but that was as far as it went.

One agent at a conference said that women who had been sexually abused would not want to read about sexual abuse. That may be true for some, but as I scan through social media and blogs with the limited time that I have, I am finding books on the subject. These books focus on encouraging those who have gone through this horrible experience rather than on the abuse itself. And this is my reason for writing the Egypt series. Coming Out Of Egypt is the first book in the series. The other two are already written and show the progression of two sisters from scared, desperate, beaten-down individuals who make bad choices to beautiful, well-rounded, productive members of society.

Of course, there are other reasons for writing the book. I want you to be entertained and remember the characters, places and events long after you reach The End. The plot is multi-dimensional. It explores themes such as romance, forgiveness, suspense and family relations, all of which I will deal with in future posts. The book is now on preorder at Smashwords. You can order it here and please tell your friends about it.

BTW, you may notice that I have a new cover. This is the final one.

———————–

With Mother’s Day right around the corner you may be looking for something to give that special woman in your life. As you know, if Amazon doesn’t have it, you won’t find it anywhere else, so click on the link below and make your selections.

Years ago I received the pleasant surprise of my short story winning an honorable mention in a Writer’s Digest contest. Since then I haven’t been able to find a suitable market for this story. Now with Easter upon us I thought what better time to publish a creative non-fiction piece that deals with the story behind Easter? So, after reading about authors who are publishing short stories on Amazon, I decided to give it a try, and here it is:

If you do purchase a copy of this story, I would appreciate it if you would tell your friends about it and leave a review on Amazon. Thank you!

Also at Easter time, you may decide to purchase cards and gifts for your loved ones and prepare your home to celebrate Easter. You can find all you need by clicking on the link below.

As I promised some time ago, I’m going to give you a sneak preview of my soon-to-be-published novel Coming OutAngelaJosephCOE. Of Egypt. This novel has had a gestation period of several years, beginning with a different protagonist and with a much more complicated plot.  Then, at a writer’s conference, an editor critiqued it and well, sort of tore it apart. Not that she didn’t like it. She did, but thought it was too much for one book and suggested I make two books out of it, with the female adult character as the protagonist of the first book. Then my critique group who had read both books felt that the original version was better, so back I went to the keyboard.

Coming Out Of Egypt, written in the Christian women’s fiction genre, is the first in a series of three books. It is a tale which, I believe, will tug at the heart of every woman, and the men who love them. At the risk of writing my own review, I will say that the story is warm, compelling and, though set in the eighties, evergreen.

You might be wondering what makes Coming Out Of Egypt stand out from other books. In this first post, I give you a brief overview and a glimpse at the main characters.

Overview –  Coming Out Of Egypt deals with a subject that most people tend to sweep under the rug – sexual abuse. However, this is not dealt with directly in the book. I have tried to show the effects, physical as well as psychological, that this horrible experience has on the lives of the victims. No matter how hard they struggle to hide and overcome the effects of the abuse, it follows them nevertheless.

The characters are lifelike and likeable. Marva, the protagonist, is taciturn, strict with few friends, desperately longing for love and fiercely protective of her younger sister. Works as an automotive technician.

June. Marva’s younger sister, junior high school student, beautiful, outgoing, loves her sister but tries to wriggle out of  her control.

Cicely, Marva’s former teacher, is a Christian whose goal is to mentor two teenage sisters, lives with her ailing father.

David, Cicely’s fiance, a detective trying to solve a murder without clues – no eyewitnesses and no weapon. All he has to go on is motive, and it is one that makes him very uncomfortable.

 

Coming Out Of Egypt, a tale of two sisters, their roller coaster journey out of bondage and a God who delivers.  Pre-orders will soon be available.

 

Christmas is over, but you may still be enjoying time with your friends and family. Part of the conversation around Christmas and Thanksgiving tables usually centers on what are we thankful for. What are some of the moments over the past months that made us do a happy dance or pump our fist in the air and say “Yes!” Even though we may not think of being thankful at the time, all of these incidents should call forth a feeling of gratitude.

So, as a writer, what are you thankful for? It doesn’t have to be a lot. Maybe all you did was start a blog or website, join a writer’s group or write some words for NaNoWriMo. Whatever it is, it’s more than you did before, and you should be thankful and proud of yourself. See it as a stepping stone to better and greater things so that by the end of the year you can have more things to be thankful for.

For me, I am still thankful to be able to wake up each morning and see the sunrise, feel the fresh air on my face and hear the sounds of birds as they call to each other. I am thankful for my family who makes every day worth living. I am also thankful for the gift God has placed inside of me. I call it a gift because not everyone has the ability or the desire to sit down and write something that others will enjoy reading or even pay for.

Even before I started writing seriously thirteen years ago, I had a short story published in a college magazine. At that time I was an inexperienced writer and my writing was a diamond in the rough, but I joined a writer’s group and the members helped me polish my writing to the extent that I have now been published in such reputable anthologies as A Cup of Comfort for Mothers by Adams Media and Chicken Soup For the Soul: Reboot Your Life. I have self-published a Christian non-fiction book Women For All Seasons  and written a fiction trilogy Coming Out of Egypt. In addition, I have written hundreds of articles on health, fitness and education for online sites.

So, I’m thankful for all these things, but especially for God and the people who helped and encouraged me along the way. People like you, my readers, who take the time to read and follow this blog. So, what are you thankful for? Share it in the  comment box below.

 

 

 

A 1993 survey conducted by polling firm Bruskin-Goldring showed that fear of public speaking consistently ranks as the number 1 one fear in America. Yet, as writers, we are told that one of the best ways to promote ourselves and our books is through speaking engagements. This week I interviewed my friend and critique partner Glenda Mathes to get her take on what is involved in being a writer/speaker and what advice she can give to fellow writers.

Glenda Mathes

Glenda Mathes

Glenda has authored several books, fiction as well as non-fiction. Her non-fiction works include two devotionals, A Month of Sundays: 31Meditations on Resting in God and Discovering Delight: 31 Meditations on Loving God’s Law. Another nonfiction book, Little One Lost: Living with Early Infant Loss, offers biblical hope for the pain of miscarriage, stillbirth, and infertility (a form of infant loss). Not My Own: Discovering God’s Comfort in the Heidelberg Catechism is the first workbook in the Life in Christ catechism. Glenda is currently collaborating on a memoir with Uriah Courtney, a man who was wrongfully convicted and incarcerated for over eight years before being exonerated. They anticipate this powerful story will be titled Exoneree.

Glenda has six grandsons, and wrote The Matthew in the Middle series of three novels: Matthew Muddles Through, Matthew Makes Strides, and Matthew Moves Ahead with boys in mind, but girls and entire families enjoy it as well.

 

Questions:

1. Did you always want to become a speaker, or did you just slip gradually into it?

Although I was involved with speech activities in junior and senior high, I never longed to be a speaker. It’s stressful! But because writers are encouraged to build their platform through speaking, I try to embrace the opportunities God sends. I may attempt to schedule an engagement when I plan to be in a specific area, but for the most part I haven’t actively sought speaking opportunities. They have come to me gradually, so in that sense I’ve slipped into it.

2. What topics do you speak about in your presentations? Who is your target audience?

I usually speak to women’s groups on topics related to the Christian life and to my written work: experiencing God in the Psalms, resting in God, or delighting in his word. I also teach seminars on becoming discerning readers or excellent writers. I’ve been blessed to teach Christian sisters in prison and a seminar on writing to male inmates. I enjoy sharing about my life as a writer to elementary students on career days. I even managed to engage junior high students. My toughest audience was a high school youth group. I haven’t been asked to return.

3. Do these topics relate in some way to your books?

My speaking topics often relate to my published work, but also to subjects I’ve studied and written or blogged about—like literature and writing. My regular writing for a couple of publications piques my interest in a variety of subjects and allows me to meet—often only virtually, but sometimes in person—people from different backgrounds and countries with fascinating stories. These experiences add depth and authenticity to my speaking presentations.

4. How do you juggle your schedule as a writer with your speaking engagements?

Your verb choice triggers the apt image of juggling. Speaking means adding another ball to the family and work obligations I’m already spinning. Before accepting a speaking engagement, I carefully consider if I can fit it into my scheduled deadlines and family commitments. I pray about it, and I discuss it with my husband. Scheduling includes more than simply setting aside time for travel and speaking. Adequate time must be allowed for writing a speech and possibly crafting a PowerPoint presentation. How much time is adequate? I always have less time than I’d like.
An instructor at a recent writing conference asked, “How long does it take you to prepare a speech?” I answered, “Forever.” That’s how it usually feels.

5. Can you cite two memorable experiences from your speaking?
When I presented a writing seminar to male inmates participating in a seminary program, they kept me on my teaching toes. They fired questions like bullets, and I had to think extremely fast. It was exhilarating and exhausting.
For a recent trip to speak to women inmates, I prepared two speeches. But I ended up speaking five times on five different topics. Because I like to prepare far ahead of time and write out my entire speech, speaking with little preparation and only a bare-bones outline forced me to depend on the Lord like never before. But God demonstrated that it’s not about me, it’s all about him and how he equips even a weak vessel for his glory.

6. How can someone overcome the fear of public speaking?

I can’t give a step-by-step plan to overcome this fear. Before I speak, I get so nervous I can’t eat. Afterward, I’m starving. But while I’m speaking, God enables me to relax and enjoy it. He expands my mind to work on different levels: I’m concentrating on what I want to convey, focusing on engaging the audience, paying attention to the time, and communing on a deep level with God. If that sounds something like an out-of-body experience, it kind of is.
Perhaps your fears decrease the more often you speak, so the best solution may simply be to do it. And keep doing it. Many books and websites offer practical advice such as video-taping yourself or speaking in front of a mirror, but I find the less I think about myself and the more I depend on God, the better he equips me.

7. What advice would you give an aspiring writer/speaker?

If you want to get into speaking, start small. Perhaps you could offer to lead devotions for a women’s group at your church. Maybe you have something valuable to share with a local parenting group. Look at your church and community for small opportunities to gain speaking experience. You don’t always have to be paid for speaking, especially if you’re a beginner. Even if you’ve published books, you may simply accept whatever honorarium or love offering the group chooses to give you. But be sure to ask for a table where you can display, sell, and sign your books.
Once you have secured a speaking engagement, pray and prepare. Ask God to soften the hearts of the people who will hear your speech—and the heart of the speaker! Seek his direction on what to say and how to say it. Find friends who will pray for you while you write and give the speech.
Don’t be afraid. It’s the most frequent command in the Bible, and it applies to so much of life, particularly speaking. Unfortunately, not fearing is easy to say and difficult to do. My best advice is to lean on the Lord. Don’t try to impress people with your brilliance or beauty or poise. Don’t speak only to sell books or build platform (although that may be the hoped-for corollary). Do it for God and his glory.

Great advice from a writer who has taken the plunge and done what she needs to do not just to get her book into the hands of readers, but also to encourage and inspire others. Updates on this and Glenda’s other projects can be found on her website here.

Are you a writer/speaker, or do you aspire to become one? Please share your thoughts in the comments box below.

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