Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Author Spotlight (Shelia M. Goss)

This week's author spotlight is on my sister & fellow author Shelia M. Goss. I was privileged to ask her some questions, and I believe her responses will inspire you to go forward (especially if you're an aspiring author).

Shelia M. Goss writes in multiple genres. She is the author of the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News and Black Expressions Bestseller My Invisible Husband and Roses are thorns, Violets are true, Paige’s Web, Double Platinum, His Invisible Wife, Hollywood Deception, Delilah (January 2011), and Savannah’s Curse (February 2011). She’s also the author of the young adult book series The Lip Gloss Chronicles: The Ultimate Test, Splitsville, and Paper Thin.

Her books are available in stores or from any of the online retailers or order direct from

Her 10th novel, Delilah,  was released in January 2011 and it’s her first Christian fiction novel. Her suspense novel, Savannah’s Curse will be in stores at the end of February 2011.

Shelia also writes young adult fiction. Be sure to share the news of her books with a teen in your life. The website is The Ultimate Test, Splitsville, and Paper Thin are the three books in the Lip Gloss Chronicles series.

Although Shelia has a Bachelor of Science in Engineering, her passion for writing has always been there. Shelia decided to pursue her life-long dream after being down-sized from a fortune 500 company.
She’s received many accolades since embarking on a writing career:
  • 2011 EDC Creations Top Books Award - Delilah
  • 2010 Dallas Morning News Best Seller - Paper Thin: The Lip Gloss Chronicles Vol. 3
  • 2009 EDC Creations Top Books Award – His Invisible Wife
  • 2009 EDC Creations Author of the Year – Lip Gloss Chronicles series
  • 2009 Amazon Best seller - His Invisible Wife, The Ultimate Test, & Splitsville
  • 2008 – Best Female Author Site
  • Disilgoldsoul 2007 YOUnity Guild AwardMost Outstanding Book Debut Promotions- “Paige’s Web”
  • Infini’s Outstanding Author 2006
  • Literary Divas: The Top 100+ Most Admired African-American Women in Literature
  • ESSENCE MAGAZINE Bestsellers List
  • #1 Black Bestseller
  • Honorable mention in a New York Times article & Writer’s Digest article
  • 2004 OneSwan Productions Female Author of the Year
  • Three Shades of Romance Magazine Reader’s Choice Awards
  • Dallas Morning News Bestseller
Was there a time as you were writing, you thought about quitting (and what made you keep going)?
No. I've always enjoyed writing. I write because there's something within me that won't allow me to NOT write.
What are your sources of inspiration when you write your novels?
Life is my inspiration. I sit, observe and listen. Ideas are planted and usually come to the forefront of my mind via dreams.
How did you overcome the adversity when people reject your book?
Since I feel like my writing is a God given talent, I wouldn't or couldn't allow rejections to stop me from pursuing the path that I went on. I used the rejections to give me the fuel I needed to push forward.
What would you want to say to those who know they’re to be writing, but don’t make the time to follow-through?
If you want to be a writer, then write. Don't talk about it, do it.  If you're waiting to find enough time to write, you'll never write a paragraph. You have to make time to write. If you need to get up early or stay up late to do so, then do it. Remove the excuses from your way of life and just write.
Which project was your longest project to complete?
The longest project was a book that I collaborated on with another writer. We had two different schedules so when you're partnering with someone else, you have to make time adjustments.
Was writing your ultimate dream in life?
Yes. I've been wanting to be a writer since I was a freshman in high school; maybe even before then since I've always been on the newspaper staff or yearbook staff.
What are your thoughts on authors needing to support each other and needing to not compete against each other?
For the most part, authors are very supportive of one another. We each pass on information about our peers books as well as purchase our peers books. Once a reader finishes reading one of our books, they are eager to read other books.  As an avid reader, I love discussing books with my network of people.

When you started your first project, was it mandatory that you believed in yourself?
Absolutely.  You have to believe in yourself first, before anyone else will.
When is your best time in the day to write?
I write better in the morning.
What do you want readers to know about you?
I'm down to earth. I love my family and cherish my friendships. I'm shy but I'm also a people's person.  I love stylish purses.
What do you want readers to understand when they read your works?
I want readers to not only be entertained but encouraged or inspired after reading some of my books.
Apart from writing, what else do you like to do or what else are you gifted in?
I love doing graphics work. I do banners, websites, etc. It started off as a hobby but has blossomed into extra income to me.
More information about her can be found on her website:

Monday, July 18, 2011

Tips For Joining A Writer's Group

There's a saying that goes, the rich build networks while others are trained to look for work. I have been extremely blessed just from meeting this woman (and I know many others have been blessed also). Without further ado, this column was written by my sister & fellow author Barbara Joe Williams. This is a must read if you are called to be a writer/author.

Tips for Joining a Writer’s Group

Submitted by: Barbara Joe Williams

If you haven’t joined a writer’s groups yet, don’t think about it anymore…just do it. For most authors who’re serious about the writing craft, a writer’s group will give you the motivation and support needed to further develop your literary skills. You’re likely to meet local authors, aspiring writers, avid readers, professional editors, seasoned photographers, and accomplished publishers willing to share their experiences with you. The benefits are endless and some of the contacts you’ll make will probably last a lifetime. Not only will you feel like you’re a part of a positive organization, but you’ll also grow as a writer if you become an active participant.

While getting together with other like-minded individuals, sharing information, and socializing is important, you should never lose focus of your writing goals. Make sure you maintain a balance between the group and the actual writing process. A good place to find a writing organization is online, libraries, colleges, and bookstores.

Never underestimate the importance of joining a writer’s group and networking with other writers. If you’re interested in improving your writing skills and want the support and accountability of other writers, check out these tips for joining a local or online writing group:

1.      Local vs. online group. The first step is to decide how you’d like to spend your time as part of the group. For extroverted writers, I’d suggest that you find a local group to join so that you’ll have direct interaction with members of the organization. For writers who’re more introverted, you might want to join an online group. And it might be advantageous for you to join both if you have the time and willing to make the commitment.
2.      Determine your needs. Make sure that the objective of the group meets your needs or objectives as a writer. Are you looking for a group to do critiques or simply a place to share ideas? Do you need a group that’s focused on romance, mystery, or welcome all genres? You have to determine whether or not the group is a fit for you and proceed accordingly.
3.      Making a commitment. You shouldn’t join any organization unless you’re willing to make a time commitment. If the group meets once a week, can you handle that? If not, you might be more suited for a group that meets once a month or every other month. Either way, once you join, you should be committed to the organization and at least try to attend all physical meetings.
4.      Giving and Receiving. Hopefully, you’re joining the writer’s group to contribute to the organization as well as receive valuable information and make important contacts. The group forum definitely isn’t a place for blatant publicity stunts or one-way information exchanges. Writing groups are as much about giving as getting!
5.      Formal vs. informal. Some writing groups are more formal than others and may be incorporated with officers, have strict procedures, guidelines, registration fees, and monthly dues. However, other writing groups may be very informal with an open format. But either way, the group has to have a leader who’s the contact person and guides the development of the organization.

When I co-founded the Tallahassee Authors Network in 2008, it was formed as a means to bring all locally published authors, aspiring writers, and avid readers together in one venue to learn from one another. It was never meant to be a formal organization, a critique group, or a publicity machine, but just a place for members to network and grow together as a unit. After years of being on the road promoting my work, attending conferences, and visiting writing groups, I felt it was time to come home and build a place where all authors (and literary lovers) could feel comfortable.

Since that time, we have established a strong local presence and hosted group book signings at schools, bookstores, the library, and the State Capitol. I believe that I have accomplished more as a part of a group than I could ever accomplish on my own. As a general rule, bookstores are more likely to schedule a group signing than an individual signing because it brings in more patrons. So if you’re looking for a way to improve your writing skills, need feedback as well as support, and you’re ready to commit to an organization, don’t think about it anymore…just do it.