Friday, January 30, 2009

Mary Morrison Joins Me on Blogtalk

Please join me and my co-hosts Debra Owsley, Marc Lacy and Joy as we meet and greet NYT Bestselling Author Mary Morrison aka Honey B on BlogTalking on Sunday with Donna Hill & Friends.

Known for her spicy hot stories, an off the chain website,and true freedom of expression, Mary will talk to us candidly about her career and her alter ego Honey B. Be sure to set your reminders for Sunday, February 1 at 6 pm EST. To call in and speak to Mary dial 347 426-3649 or visit us in the chat room

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Celebrate Black History 365 Days Per Year


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Does Reading Make You a Better Writer?

I recently devoured three books in the past couple of weeks. To voracious readers this may sound like “so what.” But for me, as a writer, finding the time to read is like taking a mini-vacation. And I need to make the most of my time. As a result I have more books in my house than I will ever read (I’m always compelled to buy at least one book everytime I pass a bookstore!–It’s an illness). So when I do get that rare break in my hectic schedule I have to find a book that hooks me from the beginning, that is intriguing, enlightening, and exceptionally written. Needless to say I have tossed many books aside that don’t live up to that criteria.

In any event, I’ve recently read ORANGE MINT AND HONEY by Carleen Brice. A damned good book on all levels and a must read. Then I read SCARPETTA by Patricia Cornwell one of my favorite authors. I followed that up with the master of the short chapters James Patterson’s CROSS COUNTRY. And I just picked up Eric Jerome Dickey's DYING FOR REVENGE, the latest in his Gideon series.

I say all of this to bring me to the point of this post. When we as writers read good work it can only enhance, stimulate and encourage us in our own solitary endeavors. After reading a good book I feel charged and want to up my writing level. Do I? Hmmmm, only a reader will know for sure, but I certainly hope so.

Although my motto is “A writer writes” my other one is, “Any writer worth a damn reads.”

Thursday, January 15, 2009

When Writing is No Longer Fun

When I first started writing back in the early 90's (ouch that sounds so looooong ago), I was totally fascinated by the process, of seeing my ideas unfold on the page, of breathing life into inanimate folks. Over time, when contracts and deadlines continued to loom in front of me, that spontaneity and zest for the written word at times gets sucked out of me.

I never want to be a writer that simply grinds words out on the page. I want to have the time to write the book of my heart, not just the book that will pay the bills. So often I find myself at a crossroad between art and survival. And that's when it stops being fun.

What to do? When moments like that hit me, I think about all the wonderful readers that I have met in person, through snail and email and how much joy the words that I've poured onto the page have given them. And ya know what--it ain't so bad afterall.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

PR Workshop for Writers--Register NOW

PR Workshop Email Announcement:

SELF-PROMOTION: Does the very term make you cringe? Do you suffer from "Not-Doing-Enough-Self-Promotion" guilt? Do you think self-promotion is something you'll have time to learn AFTER getting The Call?

In February, PR consultant Marcia James and over TWENTY promotion-savvy guest lecturers will present "PR Is NOT a Four-Letter Word", a month-long, online workshop that will provide insider tips, hard-won knowledge, and tools to pick the PR options right for YOU.

The speaker fees for this workshop will be donated to Best Friends Animal Society (, which runs the largest no-kill animal shelter in the U.S.

Here's the workshop's topics and presenters:

Introduction & "What's Your PR Personality" Quiz by Marcia James, Berkley/Cerridwen author

Promotion According To Deadlines, Paydays, And The Real World... by Kate Douglas, Kensington author

Promoting Yourself Before "The Call" by Beth Morrow, Wild Rose Press author & workshop presenter

Author Branding by Jenn Stark, Golden Heart winner & workshop presenter

Web Site Design by Karen McCullough, Cerridwen author & Karen's Web Works designer

Chats, Reviews & Banners by Marcia James

Online & Print Press Kits by Patricia Sargeant, Kensington/Berkley author

Introduction To Co-Promotion by Dianne Castell, Kensington, Berkley & Harlequin/Silhouette author

Co-Promotion Through Group Blogs by Donna MacMeans, Berkley author

Cross-Promotion by J.C. Wilder/Dominique Adair, Samhain/Ellora's Cave author

Author Promotion Sites by DeNita Tuttle of

Advertising In RT, RWR, Etc by Janice Maynard, NAL author

Print & Trinket PR Materials by Marcia James

Public Appearances/Public Speaking by Karen Harper, MIRA author

Promoting To Acquaintances by Laurie Kingery, Steeple Hill/Love Inspired author

Networking I: Power-Schmoozing by Susan Gee Heino, Berkley author

Networking II: Mentoring & The Farleyfile by Jennifer Stevenson, Ballantine author

Social Media Sites I: Navigating the Galaxy of Social Networks – Kathy Kulig, Ellora's Cave/Cerridwen Press author

Social Media Sites II -- Social Networking: A Curse or the Great Coming? – Donna Hill, Harlequin author

Author Newsletters by Kay Stockham, Harlequin Superromance/Berkley author

Readers' Loops by Carol Ann Erhardt, Wild Rose Press author

Published Author Contests & You by Jenna Petersen/Jess Michaels, Avon author & workshop presenter

Books, Shelves, and Signings by Linda Keller, RWA Bookseller of the Year & Barnes & Noble CRM

Interviews by Marcia James

Book Videos by Barbara Satow, PPA author & owner of NovelTeaser

Podcasts by Melissa Alvarez w/a Ariana Dupre, Nonfiction/Cerridwen Press author

Thinking Outside The Heart-Shaped Box & Wrap-Up by Marcia James

The workshop is sponsored by the Yosemite Romance Writers (YRW) RWA chapter, and registration information can be found at their site: The fee is $25 for non-YRW members, and the deadline for registration is 2/1/09.

"PR Is NOT a Four-Letter Word" is a fun, informal workshop, and attendees are encouraged to print out the lectures for a binder of PR tips. In addition, Marcia James offers a 200-page Microsoft WORD file, filled with detailed information on all types of promotional options, to all attendees.

Published and aspiring authors: Learn to love (okay, LIKE) self-promotion. ;-) And banish the guilt of not doing enough PR. Join us online in February! See you there!

Tuesday's Tip

Every writer whether seasoned or a newbie can use a little help in sharpening their skills. Frederick Douglas Creative Arts Center (in New York) is gearing up for the Winter Classes. Check them out below:

Saturday, January 17
3:00 to 6:00pm
Winter '09 Open House
An opportunity to learn more about the 8-week workshops and classes being offered this winter beginning the week of January 26th and meet some of the instructors.
more info at

Thursday, January 29
7:00 pm - 9:00pm
Crafting the Novel-From Concept to Publication by Donna Hill
This class is for those who have a story concept or draft of their novel and those who wish to flesh out their novel in progress. Made possible in part by support from NYSCA/Literature.

Wednesday, January 21st
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Free Staged Reading of seed By Radha Blank Directed by Niegel Smith at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture located at 135th Street and Malcolm X Boulevard.

More Info at
Monday, January 26
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Writing and Re-Writing the Novel
Led by the award winning author Grace Edwards
An emphasis in this class on those who have already their first draft but also open to those looking to get started. Sponsored in part by NYSCA/ Literature Grant.

Monday, February 2
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Advanced Acting Workshop
Led by the award winning director/co-founder of the Classical Theatre of Harlem
Alfred Preisser. Monologue, scene study, and audition technique. Includes play and character analysis, and uses of improvisation and theatre games to explore character and encourage creative freedom.This workshop is sponsored in part by funding from NYSCA/Special Arts Services.

Monday, January 26
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Writing for Daytime Television
Sojourna Collier
A workshop for those interested in drafting a daytime television pilot or with an interest in learning to write for that field. This workshop is made possible in part by support from NYSCA/Electronic Media and Film.

Monday, January 26
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Advanced Playwriting
Leslie Lee
A workshop directed to those who have at least begun the first draft of their play or have a good idea of what they want to write and have finished a draft of a play previously. This class is supported in part by funding from NYSCA/Special Arts Services.

Tuesday, January 27
7:00 - 9:00 pm
Creative Writing
Sherée R. Thomas
Prize-Winning author and editor and also former FDCAC student, Ms. Thomas takes the class through a selection of writing exercises that include the short story and non-fiction essays, with an eye to assisting in the process of selecting the style of writing most appropriate for the individual students goals. This workshop is sponsored in part by support from NYSCA/Literature.

Tuesday, January 27
7:00 - 9:00 pm
Short Story
Nathasha Brooks-Harris
A workshop involved in not only writing and polishing your short stories, but also in offering guidance in where and how to get your stories published. This workshop is sponsored in part by support from NYSCA/Literature.

Tuesday, February 3
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Shakespeare Performance Workshop
Led by the award winning director/co-founder of the Classical Theatre of Harlem
Alfred Preisser. An intensive class dealing with Shakespearean text from the actor's viewpoint. Introduction to scansion and script analysis, the style and form of Elizabethan Theatre, and in-depth scene and monologue work.This workshop is sponsored in part by funding from NYSCA/Special Arts Services.

Tuesday, January 27
7:00 - 9:00 pm
Childrens Books
Laura Pegram
This fiction workshop AND craft class includes a close reading of excerpts from diverse voices within the genre (e.g., Angela Johnson, Cristina Garcia, Sherman Alexie, Christopher Paul Curtis, Karen Hesse, etc.), as well as a structured written commentary. Emerging writers at all levels will learn to develop their craft and the language of critique during this intensive workshop. This workshop is sponsored in part by support from NYSCA/Literature.
Tuesday, January 27
7:00 - 9:00 pm
Acting Jacqueline Wade
A workshop for all levels of actors. Sponsored in part by support from NYSCA/Special Arts Services.

Tuesday, January 27 (tentatively scheduled)
7:00 pm - 9:00pm
Fusion Film Writing
Alan Zatkow
In this workshop for which the Screen 1 workshop is a prerequisite, the class will work on reworking their film scripts, and get an understanding of how the industry works. This workshop is made possible in part by support from NYSCA/Electronic Media and Film.

Wednesday, January 28
7:00 - 9:00 pm
Jacqueline Johnson
A workshop devoted to the structure and creation of the poem with insight on where and how to get published. Made possible in part by support from NYSCA/Literature.

Wednesday, January 28
7:00 pm - 9:00pm
Alan Zatkow
In this workshop the class will begin the first draft of their screenplay getting feedback from both the class and the instructor with insights into what to do once the screenplay is completed. This workshop is made possible in part by support from NYSCA/Electronic Media and Film.

Wednesday, January 28
7:00 pm - 9:00pm
Beginning Playwriting
Sophia Romma
In this workshop the class will begin the first draft of their play getting feedback from both the class and the instructor. There will also be discussions of individual goals for the completed works. Sponsored in part by support from NYSCA/Special Arts Services.

Wednesday, January 28
7:00 pm - 9:00pm

Literary Non-Fiction/Memoir
Michel Marriott
In this workshop the class will explore all forms of non-fiction writing, including journalism. Sponsored in part by support from NYSCA/Literature.

Wednesday, January 28
7:00 pm - 9:00pm

Beginning your Novel
Jaira Placide
In this workshop the class will begin the process of taking that idea for a novel and transfer it onto the page. Sponsored in part by support from NYSCA/Literature.

Thursday, February 5
6:00 pm - 8:00pm
Led by the award winning director/co-founder of the Classical Theatre of Harlem
Alfred Preisser. An introduction to the role of the director in creating work for the stage. Covers choice and analysis of play, working with the actor to shape a performance, use of physical elements (scenic, costume, music) to strengthen interpretation and expression of the "director's voice". Sponsored in part by support from NYSCA/Special Arts Services.

Thursday, January 29
7:00 pm - 9:00pm
Advanced Screenwriting
Myla Churchill
In this workshop the class will edit their screenplay, getting feedback from both the class and the instructor with insights into what to do to improve their work. Sponsored in part by support from NYSCA/Special Arts Services.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Sor Mag Interviews Donna (Me)

LaShaunda Hoffman of was kind enough to want to interview me for her Featured Author Blog. So here is what I had to say. Hope you enjoy. And be sure to support SORMAG and LaShaunda as she supports us!!

Seduction and Lies

In Book 2 of The Ladies Cartel Series, Danielle Holloway is the newest member of the group. Her first assignment: infiltrate a ring of identity-theft criminals. With cool wit and seductive charm, Danielle uses her skills to piece together the clues, and she's shocked to discover that a cloud of guilt hover over her beau, the very sexy and charismatic Nick Mateo. Listen to an excerpt

What would you like readers to take away from your book?

I would hope that readers come away with the notion that in order to love anyone else and give yourself to them completely, you must love yourself first and foremost. Often to do that, it requires looking at places inside of yourself that you don't want to see and come to terms with them.

What is your favorite scene from your book?

The last scene, which I cannot, of course, reveal!

What did you learn while writing this book?

That writing a romance is still hard work!

What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?
I wish that they would understand that writing is like any other craft, it takes practice and patience. You have to study and you have to read.

What is the best lesson you have learned from another writer?

I learned from Sandra Kitt years ago that editing isn't as awful as you think and it makes for a better book.

What is the toughest test you've faced as a writer?

Making the transition from a romance author to a mainstream fiction author and having reviewers and readers accept that I could write other types of books.

How long does a novel typically take for you to complete?

Usually about 3 months. That's once I actually start writing and all of the pre-work has been completed.

What is something readers would be surprised you do?

My own laundry! LOL

What are three things you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now?

Find a way to maintain and store the tons of reader addresses I'd gathered over the years. Invest my writing money wisely. Checked my earlier contracts for those movie rights.

How do you reach new readers?

Well, now it 's much easier than years ago with the internet. I use my blog, myspace, website and fanclub site. I do a newsletter, as well as virtual book tours. And I have my own weekly internet radio show on Sunday evenings. I'm on Facebook and I "Twitter" as well. LOL

If you could have dinner with 3 authors to talk with about their writing (living or deceased) who would you invite and why?

James Baldwin. I would want to ask him to what place did he go inside himself to bring his stories and characters to life. James Patterson. I want to sit down and pick his brain on marketing. He is a whiz. Toni Morrison. I'd really like her to tell me how she is able to use words the way she does.

Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?

Do your research and reading if you want to be a good writer. Don't think that a publisher or a publicist can make you famous!

Our theme for this month is Family Literacy, what do you do to promote literacy in your family?

Short of hitting my sixteen year old son overt the head with a book to get him to read.... I try to always keep plenty of books and magazines around, invite my kids to events, keep them abreast of what I'm doing. Hopefully it will encourage them to believe that this reading and writing thing is worthwhile. My son seems to be interested in the electronic readers and even said he "might" be more interested in reading if he had one. So, guess what his Xmas present is going to be!

How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)

My email is,,,

Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?

Anyone who picks up a copy of Seduction and Lies, available now... will get the first three chapters of Temptation and Lies in the back! Temptation and Lies hits bookstores in February 09.

New Novelist Sponsor Short Story Contest

Short Story Challenge 2009

The Short Story Challenge 2009 is an international creative writing competition, now in it's 3rd year, that challenges participants to create original short stories in as little as 24 hours. The event is organized by NYC Midnight Movie Making Madness, an organization dedicated to discovering and promoting a new wave of talented storytellers. NYC Midnight aims to provide the exposure necessary for writers to take their next big step towards writing professionally.

Writers compete to see who can produce the best short story (2,500 words max.) on an assigned genre and subject in one week. Winners advance to compete for thousands in cash and prizes by writing a short story in just 24 hours. The Final Entry Deadline is January 14, 2009. Space is limited, so register today! To register or learn more, visit (copy and paste this link or click on the title of this article)

Special Discount - use the discount code STORYTIME for $5 off the entry fee.

Best of Luck!


Wednesday, January 07, 2009


"CALL FOR PAPERS!!! On Octavia E. Butler"
What: Lecture
Host: Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College, Brooklyn, NY
Start Time: Thursday, January 15 at 4:00pm
End Time: Thursday, January 15 at 7:00pm
Where: Medgar Evers College, CUNY

To see more details and RSVP, follow the link below:

Monday, January 05, 2009

Intimate Monday with Anna Dennis

Anna, thank you so much for taking time to chat with me. I know my readers will enjoy getting to know you.

1. What is a typical writing day like for you? Anything but typical. I seize the opportunity to write whenever I can.
2. Do you need anything special to write? Quiet, music, a special place? Not necessarily, just motivation. Often times, I like to write in long-hand first, though.
3. What is the one thing about you that people would be surprised to know?That I wanted to be a newscaster when I was in high school.
4. What is your writing process? How does a novel begin for you? A lot of mental formulation. I go over the beginning, middle and end, over and over again in my head. Once it is relatively clear, then I begin writing.
5. Where did you grow up and do you think it has impacted/influenced your writing? I grew up in San Francisco, California a place rich in diversity, creativity and expensive rents, (Ha, ha, ha!) But it absolutley had an impact on my writing because half of what we write about is what we see, i.e., our experiences, conversations, etc.
6. Do you have siblings? And if so where do you fit into the mix? I have one sister and I'm the oldest.
7. If you could choose a profession other than writing, what would it be? Something deeper into the entertainment a radio personality or talk show host.
8. What is your definition of success? Being good at what you do and happy doing it.
9. Who did you share your first kiss with and when? My first real kiss was with my husband, then boyfriend, in 1984. Whew!
10. If you could have dinner with someone living or dead, who would it be with and what would you want to know? I envy those who attended the Last Supper with Jesus. There are so many questions about life, death, pain and suffering that I would ask. But, I would ultimately want to know what kind of job am I doing right now, here on earth.
11. Your favorite past time? Unquestionably, spending time with my husband and children.
12. What is your greatest fear? One day, not being able to spend time with my husband and children.
13. What writers have influenced you and in what way? Mary Morrison, E. Lynn Harris and J. California Cooper. But more than any of them, was Donna Hill. She creates rich characters and develops tasteful love scenes. She is a true romance writer. She is also very real and down-to-earth and always willing to help in any way she can to help writers grow in their craft.
14. What is one book that you would insist that everyone read? (other than your own) And why? The Bible, no other book will edify you the way it will.
15. Your favorite fictional character from someone else's book. My favorite character is Reese Delaware from Donna Hill's Intimate Betrayal. She was a strong, grounded, inspiring character.
16. Who is your favorite character from one of your novels? It is actually Veronica Webb, from the novel I'm currently working on. She's strong, confident and charismatic. I must say that my previous characters have not been as stong.
17. What do you want readers to take away from your work--other than being entertained? A closeness with the characters and a feeling of saying goodbye to a friend at the conclusion of the book.
18. Your favorite saying? When someone shows you who they are...believe them the first time. Oprah Winfrey
19. Your favorite curse word? I don't swear anymore, so I don't have one.
20 What is the best advice you've ever received? It was from my mom, "Friends are great, but don't mind spending time alone...because you will never disappoint yourself."
21. One thing that always pisses you off? Haters!
22. What are you currently working on and when can readers expect to see it? First, there's On The Line, a compilation with you and 17 other authors (I'm so excited!) that will be due out in January 2008. I can't wait to see the final product myself. Then, I'm not sure, it will either be Memories or the sequel to Who Will Hear My Screams. I think it depends on which one I finish first, but I anticipate mid-2008.
23. Where do you see yourself in five years and how do you plan to get there? With a nice book deal and a good relationship with a reputable publishing house. I don't think that's too much to ask.
24. If there was only one thing in the world that you could change what would it be? I would erase the word Cancer and have it be a disease that never existed.
25. If you had the chance to go back and do something over in your life, what would it be? I thought long and hard about this one and the answer truly is...nothing! I am blessed and I believe that it is both the good and the bad that brought to me to where I am today.

Now, tell us a bit about your current book on the shelves and why should readers buy it?

The Purest of Pain is truly a touching and real story that focuses on an upper class, married couple. They are having problems, but then 9/11 happens and that's where the story really takes off. Readers should buy it because 9/11 affected absolutely everyone and with each anniversary, continues to do so as well as remind us of how fragile life can be. That, is what I hope readers can take away from it. The book also serves as a memorium to those who lost their lives and continue to lose their lives as a result of that day.

SOR Mag Online Conference

SOR Mag has found a way to beat the financial challenges many of us face by hosting their online conference. All the info and entertainment of a conference without leaving home.

Follow this Link and Sign Up Now

Thursday, January 01, 2009

On the Air with Books!!!


Bringing the book world to life on the airwaves

WBAI99.5FM: FRI JAN 02 09 @11AM

WHAT? Off The Page is the provocative, powerful radio talk show about the world of books. This week is a FIRST TIMERS special. First time authors tell all about their powerful debut work. We delve between the sheets of two very special literary virgins and their must read work on controversial histories. Tune in!

WHEN? Friday January 02 2009 @ 11am til 12 noon. Check out Off The Page every FIRST and THIRD Friday of each month.

WHO? Your host? International award-winning journalist, playwright and author Esther Armah. Off The Page's special guests? KAREN CHILTON and FRANK WILDERSON III in a FIRST TIME AUTHORS special.

WHY? Off The Page brings the book world to life. Tune in and hear from those who write, critique, publish, profit, publicize and organize - with a particular emphasis on people of color, nationally and internationally.


First Timers Literary virgins hit the airwaves and reveal all about their debut work. Our theme? History brought to life on the page. Hear about one of the most famous black couples in Hollywood and political history - known only by their first names; HAZEL & ADAM. Pianist, activist, the first black woman to have her own tv show, HAZEL SCOTT; and controversial congressman and activist ADAM CLAYTON POWELL JR from debut author KAREN CHILTON. Tune in to FRANK WILDERSON III dubbed a threat to Mandela and South Africa as he scoops the 2008 American Book Award with his powerful literary debut Incognegro: A Memoir of Exile & Apartheid .



FRIDAY JAN 2ND 2009 @ 11AM ON WBAI 99.5FM.


Want to comment on or contact Off The Page?


Check out 'BOOKTALK' the regular debate section on books by Esther Armah in New York's weekly newspaper theAmsterdam News;

Becoming a Better Communicator

As a writer, my job is to communicate with readers. Communicate ideas, images, people and places. And for the past 18 years I've been doing a fairly good job of it. (I hope) But as 2008 came to a close and shouts of joy was heard around the world as we heralded in 2009, and all of the perfunctory calls were made, something hit me deep in my spirit.

I'd been for so long, especially this year, tied to social networking sites, twitters, and facebooks, and podcasts and email and texting that I'd forgone the art of real communication: picking up a phone and talking to someone live.

I'd gotten into the ugly habit that if someone was not on my buddy list, or in my social network, or autosaved in my email address book, I didn't connect with them, I didn't communicate. And on the eve of a new year, I received calls from two of my dear friends who aren't in my networks or on my buddy lists, and something inside of me shifted. I missed my friends. Deeply. I loved hearing their voices. I enjoyed the exchanges and I realized how much I'd convinced myself that I didn't like the phone, so much so that I'd neglected some of my friends.

So in 2009, I am not resolving to lose weight, save money, stop smoking or eat healthier. I resolve to be a better friend and communicator--the old fashioned way. Technology is a wonderful thing but it has made us strangers. As much as we connect with people on the other side of the world in an instant, we really are not connected at all.

This year I'm going to work hard to step out of the cyber world every now and again and in to the real world with flesh and blood people who talk on the phone, pay each other visits and ... I might even write a real letter!