Today we commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. He was a civil rights activist who was not afraid to fight for what he believed in. He inspired us with his eloquence and challenged us with his vision. His “I Have A Dream” speech, which he delivered to over 250,000 people from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D. C., was voted the top American speech of the twentieth century in a 1999 poll.

That speech has proven to be not just an oratorical masterpiece, but a prophesy of what was to come. Even though racial inequality still exists in our society, we are seeing the dream become a reality as races join together across the country to bring awareness to the need for gun reform, an end to police killings of black people and to issues that affect women.

Fifty years later the dreamer has departed, but the dream lives on.

What about your dream as a writer? Do you have one?  MLK shouted his dream to the masses every chance he got. Have you told anyone about yours? Writers are known to be shy, introverted types, but don’t keep your dream to yourself. Tell others about it. Some may support you, others may laugh, but don’t give up on your dream. Write it, speak it, share it, and one day it will become a reality. Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie was published between 1932 and 1943, and is still being read today. Maybe fifty years from now people will be talking about you.

Tweet: Some may support you, others may laugh, but don't give up on your dream. Write it, speak it, share it, and one day it will become a reality. #MartinLutherKing
Think about it.

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For those of you who may not know it, Easter is a very important date in the Christian calendar – maybe the most important date, even more important Christmas – although we seem to make more of a deal over Christmas. However, while Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ – the time He came to this earth – Easter commemorates His resurrection from the dead and the fulfillment of the reason for His coming. As a Christian, I enjoy celebrating both.

A few years ago, I entered a Writer’s Digest competition and won an honorable mention in the inspirational category for my short story For God So Loved. I was really blown away for two reasons 1) Writer’s Digest is a secular platform and 2) my entry was a religious story, but it did win a prize. So, with Easter right around the corner I would like to share this story with you free of cost.

For God So Loved is my creative interpretation of what the atmosphere must have been like that first Good Friday – when Jesus was crucified – and that first Easter Sunday – when He rose from the dead.

Here’s a short excerpt:

In the courts of heaven, the atmosphere is tense.

             The angel Gabriel and his musicians have laid aside their instruments, the elders that praise God around the throne are now seated, heads bowed on their knees.  Occasionally, a moan or a sigh escapes from some corner of the vast room. On the throne itself God sits in majestic silence, nothing in His demeanor betraying the depth of His thoughts. On the far side of the room, Moses and Elijah appear in deep conversation, seemingly oblivious to the uncomfortable silence.

Suddenly, from outside the walls sounds a great eruption. The elders jump to their feet and all eyes turn toward the entrance. The angels draw their swords and stand ready. Only God remains unmoved. In a blaze of smoke, a creature dressed in shining black garments, followed by smaller imps also clad in black, makes his way into the room. With a movement of His hand, God signals to the elders to clear the way for Satan to approach the throne.

Satan approaches and God looks down at him. Immediately, he falls flat on his back. His imps rush to his side and help him up. When he is once more vertical, God thunders from the throne, “What are you up to, Satan?”

“I am here to conclude our negotiations.”

God fixes him with a stare which he cannot return. “Do you want more riches?”

“I already have all the kingdoms of the world. I do not need any more riches.”

“Do you want more wisdom?”

“I have all the wisdom I need.”

“Do you want more power?”

“I have all the power I need.”

“Then what do you want?”

An evil grin sneaks across his face. “Your only begotten Son.”

A loud gasp emanates from every corner of the hall, followed by shouts and cries. The angels, swords thrusting forward, spring toward the intruder. God raises his hand and everyone falls backward. There is silence once more and God speaks, “You shall have Him.”


For God So Loved is part of a My Book Cave giveaway taking place right now until Easter. To get your free copy, all you have to do is click here  and it will take you to the page where you’ll see it and other Christian-themed books, all free of cost. But that’s not all. When you enter this giveaway, you stand a chance to win a $25 gift card. So take advantage of this wonderful opportunity and tell your friends about it as well. And remember, if you haven’t signed up for my newsletter, you can do so now to learn about other exciting offers.

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My Black History spotlight this week is on Terry McMillan, one of the most successful writers of our time. She is the  author of several magazine articles, and six bestselling books, two of which, Waiting to Exhale and How Stella Got Her Groove Back, became blockbuster movies.

Terry began her writing career in 1987 with the publication of her first novel, Mama, which started out as a short story. Terry followed the advice of members of the Harlem Writers’ Guild who told her that Mama ought to be a novel. After six weeks, she’d expanded her short story into a novel of over 400 pages. Terry sent her collection of short stories to Houghton Mifflin, expecting to get some free editorial advice. It turned out that Houghton Mifflin was more interested in Mama, which she’d mentioned briefly in her letter. Terry sent them some pages from the book and they loved it.

Here’s the opening line of Mama: “Mildred hid the ax beneath the mattress of the cot in the dining room.” Who wouldn’t want to continue reading after that?

For me, this is where the story of Terry’s rise to fame really got my attention. The writer of the article in encyclopedia.com says that typically first novels don’t get a lot of publicity. I can relate. But, the article continues, Terry was not about to let her hard work go to waste. When the publishers told her they couldn’t do more for her, Terry struck out on her own. She wrote over 3000 letters to bookstores, universities and colleges, and by the end of the summer of 1987 she was scheduled for several readings. Instead of waiting on her publicist to arrange her publicity tour, Terry did it herself. By the time Waiting to Exhale was published in 1992, Terry McMillan had become a sensation. The movie grossed $66 million.

So, what lessons can we as writers learn from Terry McMillan?

1. Read. Terry discovered the beauty of reading from working in the library. Prior to that, she had not been exposed to books by black writers. In an interview, Terry says she felt embarrassed when she came across a book by James Baldwin with his picture on the cover. After reading the autobiography of Malcolm X, Terry  realized that black literature was nothing to be ashamed of.

2. Study. Terry attended Los Angeles City College, where she immersed herself in African American classics. She then went on to the University of California at Berkeley and pursued a Master’s degree in Film at Columbia University. She also attended McDowell and Yaddo artist colonies.

3. Take advice. Had Terry not listened to the advice of the Harlem Writers Guild, she may not have published Mama, which launched her writing career.

4. Take charge. (This is my favorite) Don’t sit back and wait on others to do everything for you. Had Terry waited on her publishers to handle all her marketing for her, Mama may have fallen flat and her career may have never got off the ground.

In reading about this great, contemporary African American author, I feel proud to be a writer even though I have not begun to scratch the surface of what she has done. Still, she has motivated me, and I daresay other writers, to strive to be the best we can be. For that, we owe her a debt of gratitude.

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Langston Hughes photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1936.

As you all know, February is Black History month, the time when we celebrate the achievements of black folk here in America. As I researched on Google for an author to feature this week, I came across Langston Hughes, famous playwright, novelist, poet and social activist. Of course, I’d read many of his poems (who hasn’t?) but never knew that  I shared the same birth date – Feb. 1 – as this illustrious scribe.

Born of mixed heritage – his paternal great-grandfathers were of European descent, while his maternal great-grandmothers were African American – Hughes took pride in his African-American identity and stressed this in his work.

While in high school in Cleveland, Ohio, Hughes wrote for the school newspaper, edited the yearbook and began to write short stories, poetry and dramatic plays. He wrote his first piece of jazz poetry — a literary art form in which the poet responds and writes about jazz — “When Sue Wears Red” while still in high school.

Hughes’ first book of poetry “The Weary Blues” (1926) features the poem “The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” which became a signature poem. In 1930, he won the Harmon Gold Medal for Literature for his first novel, Not Without Laughter. Hughes went on to write many short stories, novels, essays, works for children, autobiographies, plays, and later formed a theater troupe in Los Angeles.

Although a major influence during the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s, Hughes was highly critical of other Renaissance men such as W.E.B Du Bois and others who, he felt, were too accommodating of eurocentric values and culture. In addition to his literary prowess, Hughes racial consciousness inspired and united black writers not only in America but around the globe.  He had a major influence on writers  such as Jacques Roumain, Nicolás Guillén, Léopold Sédar Senghor, and Aimé Césaire.  Hughes was greatly admired by young black writers whom he discovered and helped by introducing them to the publishing world. One such example is Alice Walker author of The Color Purple.

Reading and writing about this great man is like searching through an encyclopedia, trying to extract the most significant facts about his life and not knowing where to begin. The task is the same when it comes to his poems. However, I selected a few lines from The Negro Mother which is very touching to me and which, I believe, is so pertinent to these times.

 

Sometimes, the road was hot with the sun,
But I had to keep on till my work was done:
I had to keep on! No stopping for me –
I was the seed of the coming Free.
I nourished the dream that nothing could smother
Deep in my breast – the Negro mother.

You can read more of Langston Hughes’s work on PoemHunter.com

 

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(The Italian Saga, 5)
Women’s lit, NA, memoir
Date Published: February 6, 2018
Publisher: Kuki Publishing

 

 
 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png
Italy, 1998.
What does it take for a woman to be happy? Not a man, like twenty-year-old Leda Balni was raised to believe.
Weary of gender culture, Leda enrolls in Genetic Engineering. Surrounded by new friends, science, and even a sexy genius, she forgets her troubles until her restlessness resurfaces…
In a whirlwind of Vespa adventures, college exams, Italian culture, rock, philosophy, and chemistry—both the inorganic and the sizzling kind—Leda deconstructs happiness and establishes her own rules to the game of life, but is there room for love?
The question becomes urgent when an old acquaintance from her past resurfaces in all his brooding magnetism, but he is bad news, and smart, rational Leda should know better than succumbing to attraction…
If you love strong female characters and heartfelt advice, don’t miss this witty, introspective, feminist novel, part romance, part self-help, but always realistic and inspirational.
 
** “Finding Leda” is self-standing and directed at an adult audience,though suitable for teens, but it is the fifth book in “The ItalianSaga” and there are references to Leda’s previous adventures.  **
** The books are a fictional memoir based on the life of author GB Amman, a novelist and molecular biologist born and raised in Italy.**
 
About the Author

Gaia B. Amman was born and raised in Italy. She moved to the United States in her twenties to pursue her Ph.D. in molecular biology. She’s currently a professor of biology at D’Youville College in Buffalo, New York, where she was voted “the professor of the month” by her students. Her research and commentaries have been published in prestigious, international, peer-reviewed journals, including Nature.
A bookworm from birth, she wrote throughout her childhood and won two short story competitions in Italy in her teens. Gaia is an avid traveler, and many of her adventures are an inspiration for her fiction. Mostly she is passionate about people and the struggles they face to embrace life. Her highest hope is to reach and help as many as she can through her writing and her teaching. She authored the Indie Author Guide, the LGBTQ sci-fi fantasy Linked—Will Empathy Save the United Terrestrial Democracy?, The Italian Saga, a series of four novels that follows Leda’s adventures from childhood through the end of high school, and the Sonder Series, of which you just read volume one. The books, light-hearted and funny at first sight, deal with issues like sexuality, divorce, friendship, abuse, first love, and self discovery.
Among Amman’s favorite authors are J.K. Rowling, Jandy Nelson, Neil Gaiman, Chuck Palahniuk, Kurt Vonnegut, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Antoine de Saint Exupèry.
 
Contact Links
Blog   
Purchase Link
RABT Book Tours & PR

My review:

Finding Leda is the story of a young college student trying to navigate the maze of college life and at the same time find her true self. She has made a lot of mistakes, (which young person doesn’t?) getting pregnant at fourteen, hooking up with the wrong guy, and now seems anxious not to repeat those mistakes.

I can’t say the novel has much of a plot. It’s the typical self-discovery-coming-of-age type of story, but I like the way Amman juxtaposes the successes Leda has discovering science with the progress she makes experimenting on her true self. Most of the novel reads like journal entries, and I think this style does well to give us a clear picture of what is going on in Leda’s head. The references to Italian culture help to add authenticity and depth to the story.

I recommend this novel to readers of YA and NA novels and have given it four stars.

I believe 2018 is off to a great start. There are so many exciting developments on the literary scene, and new books continue to flood the market. I’m in the process of reviewing Finding Leda, a New Adult memoir, and will post the review when I’m done.

I will soon be making Coming Out of Egypt available on Smashwords once more so it can be found on Barnes & Noble and other retailers. I think it’s time to expose it to a wider audience. Also, I plan to publish In the Promised Land, the third and final book in the Egypt series early this year. This book is as captivating as the first two and I’m sure you will want to tell your friends all about it.

And this brings me to my news of the moment. In the Wilderness, book 2 of the Egypt series, is on a countdown deal starting today until Sunday. If you click right now you can get it for .99c, so hurry before the price changes. In the Wilderness has received some great reviews. Here are a few:

This book is so superbly written! I think the cover does a great job of setting the mood. This story will make you think, make you feel, and just touch you in a way you did not expect.
Wonderful characters, multi-dimensional and believable. A plot that’s pacing is right on and captivating, there are just not enough good things to say about this book. GREAT NOVEL! – Texas Book Nook

Wow, I truly enjoyed Angela Joseph’s writing style in this novel. Sometimes it can take me a bit to get into a story, but I felt like the way this story flowed was effortless. I truly enjoyed Marva as a character from the beginning and understood her motives throughout the story.
The story itself progressed nicely. I didn’t feel like it was rushed or dragged. I liked the focus of the novel. – The Indie Express Review

Good, honest reviews are to authors what honey is to bees, and as an author, I welcome them. So, after you’ve read In the Wilderness, will you post a good, honest review on Amazon?

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Until next time, keep on reading!

Greetings from sunny, but nippy, Florida. I hope you are keeping warm wherever you are and getting ready to enjoy the festivities. I just want to take a few moments to thank you for reading my blog and giving me your support in 2017. And as we move into 2018, I want to assure you of my continued commitment to bringing you the best in what I, and other authors, have to offer.

If you have enjoyed following me during the year, let me encourage you to sign up for my mailing list where you can get the inside scoop on my books and giveaways. Also, please share this post with your friends.
Remember you can always follow me on Facebook at https://facebook.com/AJose6
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Until next year, enjoy yourselves, stay safe and God bless.

Happy New Year!!!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. It is still the best time of year for me. I really knock myself out cleaning, cooking, baking, shopping and doing all the things that tradition dictates I should do. But this year things seemed a bit different. For some reason, the mercury didn’t rise on my enthusiasm, but I did the best I could.

On Saturday, the day before Christmas Eve, I left our daughter’s house where my husband and I had gone to spend Christmas and did something completely out of my league. I went shopping! In a store with wall-to-wall lines and shelves that reminded me of a pre-Hurricane Irma supermarket. But I stayed, hoping to get something to put under my daughter’s Christmas tree. As it turned out, I left the store hours later with two items, a bad case of frustration and a back that screamed for mercy.

After picking up a few items, I waited in line for about an hour and a half, before getting up to the counter. I told the cashier I wanted to get something from the locked cabinet for my husband. I left my stuff on the counter and followed the young man to the cabinet. Big mistake! When we returned, all my stuff was gone! Yes, gone! I approached a female employee who was gathering up every stray item in sight with the speed of an engine and throwing it into an empty cart. My face must have betrayed my ire for she gave me a look as if to say, “Don’t look at me.”

Long story short, I retrieved one item I’d bought for my daughter and that’s how I happened to leave the store with two items. I’d lost precious time and had very little to show for it. And so, my friends, maybe that’s the reason I got sick on Christmas Day. I came down with a nasty case of the flu – runny nose, sneezing and headache. I am a little better as I write this, but I think I learned my lesson. At least for this year.

As I look back on my almost futile shopping trip, I ask myself why did I do it. Was it to please my loved ones or to please myself? They would not have loved me any less if I hadn’t got them a Christmas gift. They are used to me giving them stuff, not only at Christmas but all through the year. Spending time with my loved ones and letting them know I love them is far more important than any amount of toys or baubles I could have bought.

To my fellow writers, and readers, let us reflect on what is really important -in our relationships as well as our work. Until next time, remember “A room without books is like a body without a soul.”
― Marcus Tullius Cicero

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When I first began plotting Coming Out of Egypt, I read a lot of books by other authors and experts on writing because I wanted to do everything right. Now I know I said in my last post that I’m a pantster and that’s true. I didn’t outline the story, but it just seemed to pour out of me. However, I wanted to structure it in a way that would grab my readers and hold their interest right up to the last page. I also wanted to incorporate some literary elements that would give depth to the story and make it stand out. You, the reader, may not be aware of them, but they are what lift the story instead of making it flat and boring.

One of the things I picked up from the writing book is the use of motifs. What on earth is that, you are wondering. First, let me tell you what it is not. A motif is not a theme. A theme is the central idea on which the story is based, neither is it a symbol, which might be an object or an idea that appears once. According to this article motifs are “images, ideas, sounds or words that help to explain the central idea of a literary work i.e. theme.” Motifs tend to recur throughout the novel.

In Coming Out of Egypt, I have used a few motifs. The weather -rain- is a motif in the book. The other motif is the bandana. When you read the book, you will see that my character’s signature piece is a bandana. She covers her hair with it most of the time. It signifies who she is and it supports the theme of the book.

If you are still looking to add to your Christmas gift list or just pick up a good book for your holiday reading, why not get a printed copy of Coming Out of Egypt? This book will captivate your heart and have you thinking about it long after you put it down. But the book is not all you get. You also receive a bandana, a tote bag with the cover design, pen and bookmark, all for fifteen dollars, including postage. If you buy the book online the cost is $12.95 plus postage. So, hurry and place your order to receive it in time for Christmas. Just drop me a line at aquildon@yahoo.com

Now I know that some people have a negative view of bandanas, however you don’t have to wear one on your head if you don’t want to. This young lady posed for me wearing one as a scarf. You can do that or use it in your holiday decorating. I tried a couple ideas that I picked up here and here,I must say I’m really pleased with the effect. I think you will be too once you try them.

If you don’t care for the print version of Coming Out of Egypt, you can simply purchase the kindle version here.

And don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter where you can get updates on my books and other offers. Until next time, stay safe and be blessed.

Is your head spinning from all the Cyber Monday sales out there? When all is said and done, what really calms you after a long, busy day is curling up with a good book and your favorite beverage. So, take a few moments to click on my offerings for Cyber Monday. They range from Christian non-fiction to women’s fiction with lots of suspense and emotion. Here’s the first one:

Some of the women featured in Women For All Seasons played an integral part in the life of Jesus, whose birth we celebrate at Christmas time. Read about Mary, the young virgin and the risk she took when she said “yes” to the angel and agreed to become mother of the Savior of the world. Then there’s Ruth, a woman outside of the Jewish covenant, but she became Jesus’s ancestor. Mary Magdalene, Mary and Martha who followed Jesus and ministered to Him. All the stories are told from the point of view of each woman so you get an intimate view of how God used them despite their flaws. This book will make a great gift for yourself or a friend this Christmas.

If you read my blog, you would know about my first novel Coming Out of Egypt, book 1 of the Egypt series. This book received a five-star rating from Katherine Bennet of Readers’ Favorite. Here’s what she said:

The story flows beautifully and is truly written in a compelling way. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to read a well written story with fully fleshed out characters who feel very real. You will not regret a single moment of time you spend with Marva and June.

Other reviewers expressed similar views:
Solid book. Well written. Important topic. Engaging characters – C.M

Suspense kept me glued to my kindle – Amazonia

In The Wilderness is book 2 of the Egypt series. In this book Marva and June are older and a little more, well, you’ll see for yourself. Here is what one reviewer said:

This book is so superbly written! I think the cover does a great job of setting the mood. This story will make you think, make you feel, and just touch you in a way you did not expect. – Texas Book Nook

And another:
Wow, I truly enjoyed Angela Joseph’s writing style in this novel. Sometimes it can take me a bit to get into a story, but I felt like the way this story flowed was effortless. I truly enjoyed Marva as a character from the beginning and understood her motives throughout the story.

For Cyber Monday and a few more days you can get each of these books for .99c. That’s a great deal for some great books. Don’t miss out!

Sign up for my mailing list so you can receive updates on special offers for all my books and those of other authors. Until next time, happy reading.

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