Tuesday, February 28, 2006

In Memory of - Don Knotts

We also lost funny man Don Knotts this weekend. I loved the movie he played in where he turned into a fish. I hope to show it to my children one day.

Don Knotts
My deepest sympathy to his family and friends

In Memory Of - Octavia Butler

Octavia Butler

Science Fiction Writer

My deepest sympathy
to Ms. Butler’s family and friends.

Monday, February 27, 2006

My First Speech

This weekend, Ann Clay, a published author invited me to speak in front of an English Lit class at a local college. It was my first time speaking about my experiences as a writer and publisher of an online magazine. I think it went well. The students asked a few questions. I think they wanted to ask more but were shy as we writers can be sometimes.

At this college was a fellow MORWA member, Pricilla. We talked about writing and she shared her experiences with submitting. We both felt as if we had attended a MORWA meeting.

I also met Rose Beavers who is a writer and book publisher. I enjoyed talking with her and Ann about the book publishing business. They have definitely piqued my interest in self publishing.

I shared with a church member that I write. He was surprised, but very encouraging. His words inspired me to continue down the path and to continue letting God.

I’m in the process of getting my book ready for submission. I realized after converting it to Times New Roman that this lowers the page count and if I use the Word word count, my word count is lower. Instead of being frustrated, I’ve decided to give the book one last look over and see if there is something I can do to bump up the word count. Say a prayer for me, because I need some more words.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Are You Lonely?

My daughter asked me this question. I replied, "I have you and CJ I can never be lonely." She then said, "what about when you didn't have us?"

I thought about it and I realized I never felt lonely. When I did, I called out to the Lord. Even when I wasn't a Christian, I talked to him. I knew he was there listening when no one else was.

Isn't that a wonderful feeling to know that you are never alone. God is with you always.

Are you lonely? Call to him, he'll listen.

Monday, February 20, 2006

AUTHOR INTRO - Sabra Robinson

I had the pleasure of meeting Sabra online when she introduced her first book, Micky, Ticky, Boo Says Hello. I interviewed her on SORMAG and I’ve kept in touch with her over the years. She has gone on to do great things with her writing.

See Ya On The Net: Please give a brief bio on you the person and the writer.

Sabra Robinson:
I'd be glad to!

Me, the person

I'm the 9th child out of ten children and originally from Baltimore, Maryland where I am a proud alumni of Morgan State University.

I currently assist in the youth ministry at my church and enjoy singing on the praise team.

In the Summer of 2006, I will be attending Billy Graham's Seminary school, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary here in Charlotte.

In addition to writing my first multicultural children's picture book, Micky, Ticky, Boo! Says Hello, my vision to animate my characters for film and television allowed me to become recognized as a finalist out of over three hundred applicants for the ABC/Disney New Talent Development program for 2003.

Me, the writer

I am the founding editor of the inspirational anthology, The Lost Sheep: How I Got And Am Still Getting Over the Hump, an annual inspirational anthology which features true stories of God's restoration.

My first published book, Micky, Ticky, Boo! Says Hello, is a multicultural picture book of which I was a finalist for the ABC New Talent/Development program for my proposal to animate the characters for film.

I am also a member of the following professional organizations: The Christian Writers Fellowship International (CWFI), The African American Children's Writers and Illustrators (AACBWI), The Atlanta Urban Mediamakers Association (aUMi) and soon to form a Christian ministry, The Lost Sheep Ministries.

I anticipate writing for all age groups and anticipates featuring my children's book characters on film.

SYOTN: What is your current book and what inspired you to write it?

Thanks for asking! My current book is "The Lost Sheep: How I Got Over The Hump." I was feeling overwhelmed with emotion because I was actually "lost." The Holy Spirit inspired me and guided me throughout my writing process.

SYOTN: When you're not writing, what do you like to do in your spare time?

Go to dinner and a movie with the family...oh, and to Staples (so my daughter can play with the Easy Button!)

SYOTN: What was the most profound lesson you learned while writing this novel?

Well, there is a lesson I learned before and after. Before writing, I learned that all I had to do was call on the name of the Lord for my needs for the project and He provided. When I needed an illustrator, Jolene Myles came along. When I needed a couple of pair of eyes, He sent me Brian and Tracie. When I needed a graphics person, He sent me Tracie again. It was wonderful in knowing He had my back!

I would also have to include that after writing the novel, one of the contributors strayed away from Christianity. It broke my heart because I knew this person for a couple of years. But the Lord just told me to pray - and I'm still praying. The lesson I learned from this is the power of prayer. Now, my desire is to be an effective intercessory prayer warrior for the body of Christ.

SYOTN: Is being a published writer what you thought it would be like?

Being published is just like any other job to me. I don't see myself any different from anyone else, only that I have the experience and knowledge of self publishing a book.

SYOTN: How are you marketing your book and what are your thoughts about the importance of marketing for authors?

At the moment, my book is available through Amazon.com and Lulu.com for those interested in purchasing a copy (please look for updated information on my Web site for updated distributors). However, I've spent most of my investments in giving books away to church members, friends and online acquaintances. My main goal was to reach the "sheep."

SYOTN: What advice would you give to a writer trying to get published?

If employed, take some time off work at various increments. At times, I took a week, then one-to-two days if it was a long weekend. I spaced out my vacations several months in advance according to when the final product was set to be published.

-Join a writers community, whether it be a physical meeting place or online.

-Get your worked reviewed by those individuals in certain areas of your writing that you are not sure of. Because a portion of my book is comparable to a memoir (my personal chapters) I consulted my pastor, my friend who is an Evangelist and family members on certain situations for clarity on dates, people, and scriptures.

- Take chances and be prepared to SPEND MONEY!
-As always, be prayerful.

Thank you Sabra for taking time to introduce yourself to my readers. Many blessings to you and your writing. Stop by Sabra’s site and say hi.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

African American History Month Contest

In honor of African American History Month, See Ya On The Net is hosting a contest.

Each Wednesday for the Month of February I will feature a contest.

The contest, Do You Know What These African American Writers Wrote?

Below are four pictures of African American writers. The first reader to leave in the comment section the correct titles of their works is the winner of one of the prizes donated by Warner books and Baker's Books. (one win per blog)

Want another chance at winning - Check out the contest at SORMAG

FEB 15th

FEB - 8

FEB - 1 - WINNER - Kim W

Gwendolyn Brooks -In the Mecca
Ann Clay - Waving From the Heart
Fredrick Douglas - My Bondage and My Freedom
Gwyneth Bolton - I'm Gonna Make You Love Me

Friday, February 10, 2006

AUTHOR INTRO - Brenda Coulter

I met Brenda through her blog. She has some interesting opinions that keep me coming back daily. When I asked her to participate in the online conference, she was right there, so that gives her a few points on my book. Brenda writes inspirational romance. I thought an interview would be a nice way to plug her book and introduce you to another writer.

See Ya On The Net: Please give a brief bio on you the person and the writer.

Brenda Coulter: I've been married for 30 years and was a contented stay-at-home mom for almost two decades. I baked bread from scratch, volunteered in our public schools, and was heavily involved with church activities. When my "baby" was preparing to enter high school and the mommy years were winding down, I began looking around for some new ways to spend my time. I had never tried writing fiction before, and I'll never know what made me think I could write a novel, but it turned out that I could. When that first manuscript sold (just over a year after I started writing), I knew what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.

SYOTN: What is your current book and what inspired you to write it?

The hero of A Family Forever is a semi-pro cyclist and is very loosely based on my 23-year-old son, who has been crazy about bikes all his life. His first love was mountain biking, but he now rides and races track bikes. He and I have been watching cycling events on TV for years, so all the "bike stuff" in the book came right off the top of my head and was a blast to write. Oh, I should add that my hero's physical attributes are based on cyclist George Hincapie, Lance Armstrong's faithful workhorse.

SYOTN: When you're not writing, what do you like to do in your spare time?

I'm a blogging maniac. But I occasionally tear myself away from the computer to spend time in the garden. I love my roses! I also enjoy hunting through antique stores for bone-china teacups.

SYOTN: If you could pick one of your books for a movie, which one would you,
choose, and whom would you cast in it?

Well, I've published only two books, and I'm not sure either of them would make a good movie without a whole lotta quality screenwriting to make them more visual. And I think I'd rather see my characters played by unknown actors rather than big names.

SYOTN: Is being a published writer what you thought it would be like?

I got The Call about 14 months after I decided to try writing a novel, so it wasn't as though I'd spent years dreaming about what it would be like. I'm not sure I ever thought about it at all.

SYOTN: What advice would you give to writer trying to get published?

Nobody's going to hold your hand and lead you to publication. If you don't have the gumption to figure out what you want and how to get it, you'll probably never be published. So if you really want it, go after it with everything you've got.

SYOTN: In honor of Valentine's what would you consider a perfect valentines gift?

Roses, chocolates, and jewelry are always nice, but no gift on earth beats a handwritten love letter.

Read the first chapter of A Family Forever, an inspirational romance coming in March; pick up some romance-writing tips; and browse several "afternoon tea" pages at http://BrendaCoulter.com

Sign up for my quarterly(ish) newsletter by sending a blank e-mail to

Read my daily musings on "writing, life, and the writing life" at No rules. Just write.

Are you reading?

I’ve interviewed many authors over the years. One thing that surprises me is how many who say they don’t read anymore. Most say they don’t have time to read.

I remember before I had children, I read three or four books a week. I enjoyed spending the day in bed with a good book. While I was pregnant a co-worker told me to enjoy my reading why I can, because once the children come there won’t be time. She was right; however as a book lover I decided I wouldn’t give up my books. I made it my treat for when I had time to spare or when I completed a project. I try to read at least one book a month.

This year I’m trying to read one book a week. It’s hard sometimes because life gets in the way, but I make it my business to read.


For enjoyment, I love being transported into a new world or learn about a place I’ve never been. I like meeting new characters and falling in love with them. I know it helps my mind continue to function. With non-fiction I learn how to improve myself. For example, some books help me to see how I can improve my writing, what I’m doing wrong, what I’m doing right.

I think this last reason is why many writers don’t read.

This week I’m reading a book by one of my favorite authors, Rochelle Alers and listen to a book on tape by Carly Phillips. WOW these women are blowing me away with their words. I’m thinking I’ll never get to their level, what was I thinking.

These type of thoughts can destroy your ego and take you away from what you’re doing. This week I understand why others don’t read. It’s hard to read someone and then compare yourself to their work.

I also learned that you can’t compare yourself to others you only can write the way you write. If everyone wrote the same there would be one style of writing and one genre. People probably wouldn’t read.

The books I’m reading continue to inspire me to be the best writer I can be. Yes I still think what was I thinking. Then I turn the page and know my name is LaShaunda, I have my own unique voice. One day, someone is going to read my book and think, I’ll never get to her level. Now that’s wild.

Keep reading! Make time to read. Read outside your genre.

You learn from each book even the bad ones. Each book will help you make your book a better book.

Happy reading,


Tuesday, February 07, 2006

HIV/AIDS does it affect you?

Sunday night I watched a commercial that reminded me of how I use to be. The commercial was about HIV/AIDS. In the commercial the lady said she wasn’t affected by HIV/AIDS because she didn’t have it or know anyone who did. It didn’t exist in her community, so it really didn’t faze her. Then we see her traveling overseas to Africa. She meets all these children with the disease and she realized just because she doesn’t see it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

Why do we think this way?

HIV/AIDS didn’t affect my life either. The closest to my community was hearing about Majic Johnson contracting HIV. We were all shocked, how naive an uneducated I was back then.

HIV/AIDS stepped on my doorstep about twenty five years ago with a family friend. Her husband gave her HIV and later died. Again I was shocked, mainly due to miseducation. I had never heard of a husband giving the disease to his wife. However after learning more about the disease I found many women contract the disease from their husbands.

My friend is still living, praise God. She has good medicine and she changed her way of living. She’s probably healthier than some of us who think we are.

She’s one of the happiest people I know. She knows her purpose in life. She’s a caretaker of cats. She takes in sick cats and nurses them back to health. It’s amazing to me because I believe the stray cats communicate to others about her, because they show up on her doorstep. She makes them well and a lucky family adopts them.

Today is national HIV/AIDS day. My prayers of strength and courage go up for those who have this disease.

I say to those who think as I did, open your eyes and see this disease affects you and your community. Just because you don’t personally know someone who has it doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect you. Learn about HIV/AIDS, talk about it in your communities, in your churches. It does exist and I pray one day with the help from God it won’t.