Net Galley Reviewer

Professional Reader

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Spotlighting Shelia Goss-Sparkle

I'm honored and ecstatic to feature the amazing Shelia Goss. I would like to thank Shelia for taking time out of her busy and hectic schedule to chat it up with me.  Not only does Shelia write under Shelia Goss but she also has a pseudonym by the name of Sparkle. Sparkle is who I'm introducing you to today. I hope you will support her.

Have you always has a vivid imagination?

Yes, as far back as I can remember, I've always had a vivid imagination. For example, me and my childhood friends (Georgia and Cordella) created our own game called "mysteries." We would create scenes and act out solving mysteries. 

Where do you get your story ideas? Is there some sort of inspiration behind it?
My ideas are inspired by a variety of things.  I'm an observer of people and an information junkie. I read a lot and watch stations like ID, truTV, CNN, etc. My Christian fiction stories were inspired by biblical stories. Delilah is a modern adaption of Samson and Delilah. Ruthless is a modern tale of David and Bathsheba. I put my own special twists in the stories but keep the core theme intact.

Sade's Secret, my latest book, was inspired after hearing story after story about women being sexually abused at an early age. I also ran across news articles of teenagers going through emotional distress due to that issue. I wanted to bring an awareness of the problem and I hope that if anyone is or has gone through sexual abuse, they will no longer feel like they have to remain silent. So many times, secrets can hinder a person from living their life.

Shelia, I know you write adult fiction as well as YA Fiction, do you see yourself writing any other genre?
I want to continue to write in multiple genres. Whatever story comes to me, that's the story I plan to write. I currently write: romance, suspense, Christian fiction, urban, and as you mentioned YA.

When you're reading for pleasure, do you find yourself researching the craft of that author as well?
When I'm reading for pleasure, I don't have my supercritical eye on. I'm reading for enjoyment. When I'm reading because I'm trying to learn how a particular genre is done, then yes, my critical eye is on and I'm observing an author's technique, style, etc.

Do you have a favorite author? Or favorite book?
I have too many favorites to name just one. I'll name a few: Vincent Alexandria, Maya Angelou, Reshonda Tate Billingsley, Wahida Clark, K. Elliott, Brandon Massey, Michelle McGriff, Victoria Christopher Murray, Francis Ray, Kimberla Lawson Roby, and the list goes on and on.

Too many books to name too; however if I had to name one, it would actually be The Left Behind series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins.

How do you manage working full-time, being a full-time mother and writing?
Many would be surprised that I don't have any kids. Although I don't have a regular job, my freelance work and writing is a full-time business. It takes up the majority of my day and night. I've learned to juggle by putting in the majority of the hours during the week, but on the weekends, I'm rarely on the computer. If I don't take two days off, then I would end up burning myself out.

Tell my readers one thing they've be surprised to know about you.
I'm shy and I love stylish purses.

What is one tip you would give aspiring authors?
Learn the craft, research (Google is a writer's best friend) and last, but not least, write.

Book: Sade's Secret by Sparkle
Publisher: Wahida Clark Presents YA
Publication Date: May 25, 2012
ISBN-10: 1936649438

A note from the author: SADE’S SECRET is probably one of the most impactful books I’ve ever written. Its edgy and raw and will have readers, young and old, talking back to the book. It’s a book that both mothers and daughters can read.

Sparkle is the pseudonym for Essence Magazine bestselling author Shelia M. Goss. Shelia is a 2012 Emma Award Finalist and has over thirteen books in print. She writes in multiple genres: Christian fiction, romance, women’s fiction, suspense, and young adult. Sade's Secret is the first book by Sparkle. USA Today says, “She has an easy, flowing style with her prose…”

About the book
Fifteen-year-old Sade Washington has been harboring a secret from her two best friends, Crystal and Dena. Her secret is threatened to be revealed when she discovers she’s pregnant. Once Sade’s secret is out, it causes a wedge between her and her mother Joyce. Distraught at her mother’s reactions, Sade toils with a love/hate relationship with her.
Joyce struggles with keeping peace in her household. The relationship between her daughter and live-in boyfriend, Calvin has her in an emotional turmoil. Joyce is determined to make their home a happy one by any means necessary.

Sade attempts to have a normal teen life, but as she turns sixteen, reality hits her head on. She must make choices that will not only affect her future, but that of her unborn child. Sade’s Secret takes the reader on an emotional ride as it deals with a strong subject matter and the dynamics of mother-daughter relationships.

For more information visit

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Getting to know author, K.L. Brady

Today, I had a chance to sat down and speak with author Karla (K.L.) Brady. She just had surgery and still took time speak with me. Thanks Karla for the opportunity. If you've never read any of her books, I hope you will take the time to check her out.

Have you always has a vivid imagination?
Oh my goodness yes. I’ve always had flair for embellishing true stories. When I was a kid, I endured a number of difficult situations that might break most kids, but I took my pen to paper and wrote in my diaries which I’m sure helped pull me through my most difficult times. And I would always begin with the true a story, embellish it, and then write my own happy ending. I have no doubt this is why people who read my stories connect with the characters on a real, honest level. My stories are always based on truth but my endings are where the imagination comes in. 

Karla, I know you write adult fiction as well as YA Fiction, do you see yourself writing any other genre?
Yes, I plan on stretching my talents wherever I can find a story to tell that I think my audience wants to read. I started my career writing romantic comedy for adults and young adults because I believe in tackling serious relationship issues, familial or between men and women, with heavy doses of humor. Writing funny stories is very natural for me. But I’ve recently stepped in the world of romantic suspense which has been a challenge for me. The story structure is a different from what I’m used to so I had to do some research and read a few instructional books on writing suspense to pull it off effectively. It’s been such a great learning experience and I think my readers will absolutely love the new series when it comes out. 

When you're reading for pleasure, do you find yourself researching the craft of that author as well? 
Usually, I don’t read for research, but as an author it’s hard to read for pleasure and not also see the story elements that helped make a story successful or unsuccessful. But any author writing stories today understands that they are not doing anything “new.” None of us has invented a new way to tell stories or new tricks. What we do is take the tried and true and then put our own personal spin on it to make it our own. But I think reading books is imperative for authors to understand how to become and stay successful and reading is just part of the business of writing books. 

Do you have a favorite author? Or favorite book?
My God yes. I have too many favorite books. Too many favorite authors. It would be very difficult for me to pin my favorite down to one because I like authors for different reasons. For example, Toni Morrison is a literary genius and reading her books really stretches the bounds of my comprehension skills. I’m so not a deep thinker. I’m very much a left-brained, logical, analytical person with a few right-brained creative abilities. She forces me to step outside of my logical boxes and expand my thinking. I love Terry McMillan because she was the first author to affirm for me that “my voice” as a writer, which is very colloquial and non-literary, was okay, and I don’t have to be Toni Morrison to write books people love. I love Jane Austen because Pride & Prejudice made her the queen of the romantic comedy in my eyes and she’s proof positive that romantic comedies and humor are timeless. Without question, the author I’d most like to emulate in terms of work ethic is the late L.A. Banks. She is a writing hero for me. I only met her once in person but she had such a profound impact on me and my view of the publishing industry. I could add so many more authors to this list but I won’t. It’s safe to say I’m inspired by any author who works hard, respects their craft, and tells great stories. 

How do you manage working full-time, being a full-time mother and writing?
I don’t know. By the grace of God and with lots of patience on some days, and with a belt and a mojito on others. (lol) I think it’s a difficult balancing act that most writers have to contend with and somehow we just make it work. It really helps that I love writing so much that it doesn’t feel like work and I look forward to the moments I get to spend in my writing space. I’m usually up at 5 am writing or marketing. Then I do more work during my lunch break and then still more after my son goes to bed in the evenings. I’m usually up until 11pm to midnight working on projects and work through most weekends. I usually don’t get out a lot to socialize, but success won’t come without sacrifice. Fortunately, I’m a workaholic with a very independent son who allows me to do what I need to do (most days) to accomplish my dreams. 

Tell my readers one thing they've be surprised to know about you.
Most people know me as a writer, but I had entirely separate career before writing. I spent the first 12 years of my career one of less than a handful of black analysts/operations specialists working in the FBI’s counterintelligence program. Then I left the FBI and spent the next five years working as a senior analyst working for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Iraq war effort—again as one of the only black senior-level analysts supporting the U.S. military’s anti-insurgency efforts at the Pentagon. So, for 17 years of my career I met a lot of incredible people and did a lot of important work that most people will never see or know about because it’s classified. Fortunately, I’m a novelist—so you’ll see elements of my experiences in my future spy novel series. 

What is one tip you would give aspiring authors?
If I could give writer’s one piece of advice, it would be to write your truth, whatever that may be. Stay true to yourself and your writing voice. Don’t try to follow trends. Don’t try to write in another author’s style because it’s not a sustainable way to build a career. You may not express to the top of the NY Times Bestseller list this way, but you can rest assured that when you get there, you’ll know how to stay there because you stayed true to who you are as a writer and you know how to build your own stories. Along with this piece of advice, it’s so critical to learn your craft. Read books, take classes, and remember that learning is a continual process that should never end. The minute you think you know everything is probably the moment you will fail miserably.

About the Author
Karla is a woman of many jobs and interests. First and foremost she’s a mother of a beautiful 11 year old son whom she absolutely adore. Her first book, "The Bum Magnet" was published by Simon and Schuster in 2011. The sequel, Got a Right to Be Wrong was released January 31, 2012 (S&S Gallery). She just finished her second (YA) and third (sequel) novels and have started on my fourth (comedy/suspense). She’s busy but looking to slow down a bit and starting to take more long drives, get more rest, and just enjoy life in general. It's a process but, she’s getting there.

About the Book
Charisse Tyson is about to say “I do” . . .
But could the smart, sassy, curvaceous bride-to-be, who’s more than paid her dues with a string of worthless ex-lovers, have good reason for second thoughts? What if her fiancĂ©, Kevin Douglass—the gorgeous FBI agent who rescued her from a con artist boyfriend and promptly swept her off her feet—turns out to be like all the others? Rissey’s worst nightmare comes true when, one week from their wedding day, they hit a major bump in the road—a baby bump, that is. Kevin reveals that a one-time liaison with his former FBI partner produced a lot more than a one-night stand.
Thrown into a tailspin, Rissey turns to her beloved top-shelf vodka and her best friend Lamar, who makes no secret of his desire to replace Kevin. With her own family in upheaval when the father Rissey has never known enters her life and Kevin desperately trying to make things right, time is running out . . . will she and Kevin survive the drama and make it down the wedding aisle?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Chatting it up with Pamela D. Rice

Today, I had the opportunity to speak with author, Pamela D. Rice. Pam is a powerhouse with a pen. I always enjoy talking to her. If you haven’t read any of her books, I hope you will after you read this interview & feature.

Where are you from? 

I am from a small community in South Carolina called Little Africa that was founded by freed slaves in the 1800’s

What was your inspiration for The Monday Night Mistress?

I decided to write “The Monday Night Mistress” after seeing so many stories in the media about incestuous relationships. Prayerfully, writing about it will create a dialogue and bring healing. 

What other books have you authored? Tell us about them. 

My first book was “The Sunday Morning Wife”, which deals with domestic violence. You can read the entire first chapter @
Do you use an outline or do you let your story unfold naturally? 

A little of both. When an idea pops into my head, I write a quick synopsis and use it as a guideline to let the story unfold.
From your experience, what key ingredients do new writers need to succeed in the book industry? 

Continue to hone your craft. You have to invest time and research your topics in order to write a believable story. Also, develop a thick skin. Rejection comes with the territory.

Besides writing, what else do you like to do?

I love to travel, cook, and explore other cultures

About the Books

The Monday Night Mistress

Layla James has fallen passionately in love with Grayson Miles; a handsome man with the charisma to match his looks. The chemistry between the two is ignitable. The fire that lies between them is so tempting that breaking the rules is hotter than maintaining ambiguity. There is only one obstacle preventing Layla and Grayson from being a couple; Grayson is engaged to Layla’s cousin Sofia. Soon what’s done in secret comes out in the wash and the devastating emotional aftermath which follows discovery is overwhelming. The revelation leaves Sofia distraught as she struggles to deal with the infidelity of her fiancĂ© and the added sting that his lover is the one person she loved like a sister. 

Psychological torture ensues and brings the emotionally draining experience to a head and Sophia confronts Layla, and they both discover hidden secrets which are darker than anything they ever could have imagined. The family tree is shaken and uprooted from the core by one dark disclosure after another. 
Life becomes even more complicated for those involved in this intricate life triangle. As fate would have it, final options for survival lies in the hands of one person – the woman who was betrayed the most.

The Sunday Morning Wife

The old saying is true. You never know what's going on in someone else's home. From the outside looking in, Yolanda Clarke appears to have it all. She's a beautiful woman, and her husband, Timothy, is the pastor of BrightStar Tabernacle. They seem to have the perfect life. But, looks are certainly deceiving. Yolanda has become a puppet on a string, totally controlled by Timothy. While everyone at church thinks he walks on water, Yolanda knows the person behind the mask. His constant verbal tirades, physical and emotional abuse has become unbearable. In walks Andre Hunter. He's the type of man that can make any woman forget all her troubles. His chocolate skin, pearly whites, and beautiful smile enthrall Yolanda. She has never entertained the idea of infidelity, but the abuse and lack of intimacy at home makes her adulterous affair justifiable in her mind. Andre gives Yolanda everything she's missing at home- respect, conversation, and passion behind closed doors. But, Andre is hiding secrets of his own. Will Yolanda finally climb from the abyss of despair she's lived in with Timothy and move to a brighter tomorrow with Andre? Or will she forever remain "The Sunday Morning Wife?"

To learn more about Pamela, please visit her website at