Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Something Different: Our Mothers Recipes

What inspires you as a writer?
Our mother was our inspiration.  When she was cooking, she always made us part of the process.  Both Dorene and I love to cook so the book was a natural for us to write together.
When did you have that ah ha moment when you knew you were a writer?
The cookbook came out of our discovery of hundreds of our mother’s recipes we found in shopping bags after her death.

What is your writing process?
We started looking for and organizing our favorite recipes.  Each recipe brought wonderful memories of our mother, the smells in the kitchen, the flavors or the foods, and even the history of some of the recipes.  We infused some of those memories into the book.  It was a cathartic experience.  We live far from each other.  Dorene lives in the Milwaukee area and spends her winters in Scotsdale, AZ.  I live in Denver, so we don't get to spend as much time together as we would like.  Writing this book was a wonderful experience because we were able to make time for each other and our shared memories.

What are you currently working on?
We are working on a Holiday cookbook.

Any upcoming events?
We are on our first virtual book tour.  By the way, thanks for hosting our tour.  We are excited to have readers learn about our book and our website.  We have a fantastic website with lots of free recipes and demonstration videos.  In addition, we have a recipe of the week club. The most exciting news is we have a contest where we are giving away a $100 Amazon Gift Certificate towards a Kindle of your choice and two $50.00 Amazon Gift Certificates as well as part of our Book Launch on Amazon on February 1. Visit our website to enter using our contest form.  You can also enter on our brand new Facebook page:

If you could be anyone you like, who would you be?
I am pretty happy being me.

Do you have any advice for new writers and something that a seasoned vet can learn?
We are new writers so it would be difficult to give advice.

 Where can your followers find you?
Our book is sold on Amazon .  We have both a Kindle version and paperback
We have a Facebook Page
You can see all our videos  on our website: and on our
YouTube  Channel:  please leave comments.  Finally you can follow us on Twitter

 Any last words?
As I said before, we have an excellent website at  Go visit, enter our contest, sign up for our recipes of the week.  This week you can learn all about Hanukkah  from an amazing infographic on our Home Page.  Then pick up a couple of Hanukkah recipes on our Recipe Page.  Before you leave , you can watch our cooking show where we demonstrate some of the recipes. Get the latest news from the authors and join with a passion for cooking and Jewish recipes in particular.

Thank you for stopping by. I love cooking so I will be sure to try out some of your recipes.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Holiday Writing Blues

It's the holidays and everyone is all festive and extra chatty. At the office and at home there seems to be more people around letting their hair down. This is great to keep the mood upbeat but what if what you really need is a little solitude to write. How does one do it over the holiday without being rude? Most of us probably can't.

In my case the holidays mean my kids are home from school. Writing during the day is futile. Even while writing this I have been interrupted three times already. What to do? Give in to the holiday spirit and join in. My kids aren't going to leave me alone and neither are your coworkers or family. Take this time to recharge those batteries and come back fresh.

Until Next Time (I am off to fight zombies)

Omegia Keeys

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Up Close with Rachel Thompson

I also write occasionally about serious stuff, like the death of someone I once loved or lost love--so don't be shocked if you come visit and don't see the funny.

Don't come here looking to find advice about how to be sweet or nice. I'm pretty much allergic to both of those words.

If you want to learn how to find humor in everyday life, well, I'm really not your girl either. Mostly I just laugh at stuff and make up words (See "Refrigeratoritis and Manesia.") Yet somehow it all seems to work.

And don't call me cute. (Hint: babies and puppies are cute. Grown women are not.)

Special note to men: I write frequently about "The Mancode" -- like how you guys do goofy stuff and we women try and often fail to understand. (Um, change the toilet paper roll much? Yea, that's what I thought.) If that offends your sensibilities, keep walking, er, typing.

So, welcome to RachelintheOC. Now go read a post or two and find something to laugh at, would ya?

I have to go help my husband find the butter. Again.

What inspires you as a writer? I’m a humor, non-fiction writer (primarily) who writes about men, women, sex, and relationships so pretty much my life is daily inspiration. I’ve been married for nineteen years, so it’s the interactions between the sexes that are constantly fascinating and sources for me.  

When did you have that ah ha moment when you knew you were a writer? My fourth grade teacher read us THE SECRET GARDEN and I was hooked! The story, the words, the characters…I knew that someday I wanted to write something that people couldn’t wait to turn the page.

The second moment came when I first saw the movie Blade Runner – that “tears in rain” line was so beautiful – “all those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.” (Some say that line was unscripted and the actor Rutger Hauer improvised it on the spot; others contribute it to one of the screenwriters. Regardless, all agree it’s as famous as the movie.) 

Confession: I’m a total sci-fi geek girl. Not in the ‘shows up at Star Trek conventions dressed as a tribble’ nerd. More like I’ve seen and am a fan of most sci-fi movies, read Gibson, Bradbury, Clarke (look for the reference to Hal in MANCODE), Verne, Asimov, and Wells. Give me a time travel story, I’m GONE. Huge fan of THE TIME-TRAVELER’S WIFE by Niffenegger, though in my opinion the movie was a piece of total *&%^$#. 

What is your writing process? I write on a MacBook Air. But before I get to an essay I have some kind of kernel in my mind that I noodle over for a little while – it could be a minute or a day. I write for both my blog and I’m working on my next book CHICKSPEAK: UNCOVERED so I’m wearing really two hats. In addition, I’m working on an outline for a paranormal Valentine’s Day short fiction story. Kind of amazing how the brain can keep it all straight. 

Tell us about your favorite character and why you chose to write about them? Well, since I write non-fiction, I’ll go with my favorite topics, which are Mancode and Chickspeak. My original Mancode essay was titled “Men are from Seinfeld, Women are from Friends,” and is, to this day, THE most popular essay on my blog. I included it in my first book, A WALK IN THE SNARK, a humorous and at times, poignant collection of blog essays and original material I released this past January. It hit #1 on the Kindle Motherhood list for the first time in September and continues to hit that sweet spot – fifteen more #1 hits (so far) which has been incredible exciting for an indie author.

People really love the Mancode essays (with the exception of a few grumpy men) so I expanded them into a full book of all original material, THE MANCODE: EXPOSED and released just after Thanksgiving this year. Chickspeak started a kind of a counterpoint to Mancode – you know, what “I’m fine, dear,” really means. So that’s what I’m working on now. It’s all fun. 

What are you currently working on? The next book, CHICKSPEAK: UNCOVERED of course, as well as the promotion of THE MANCODE: EXPOSED which I just released on November 30. I’m also creating a paperback version of this book, so I’m working with my graphic artist and editor now to get that out in January. 

Any upcoming events? So much great stuff going on! This wonderful tour of course, which includes multiple stops, reviews, and interviews as well as a Kindle giveaway! I’m also a featured author for the Indie Book Collective’s Indie Book Blowout Twelve Days of Christmas event where over 140 authors have priced our books at only 99cents through Christmas. It’s a wonderful deal with terrific authors.
And the BIG news I’m happy to announce here is that THE MANCODE: EXPOSED is the next Bestseller For A Day featured book on January 6th. This is a wonderful program where one author/one book is priced at 99cents for that one day to drive it up the Amazon charts. It’s a chance for readers to grab a great deal, and support an indie AND there are four great Bonus Buy books free AND a free Kindle contest to all participants. It’s fun and a great opportunity for everyone involved! 

If you could be anyone you like, who would you be? I took classical piano for eight years so I would have pursued music as a career. Not so much as a pianist, but as a composer. I’m in awe of Thomas Newman, the prolific composer of Oscar-nominated soundscores like American Beauty, WALL-E, Lemony Snicket (gorgeous score BTW) and many more. I listen to his music a lot while I write, actually. 

Do you have any advice for new writers and something that a seasoned vet can learn? I interact with both everyday as the cofounder of the Indie Book Collective aka @IndieBookIBC as well as a paid social media consultant. To quote my good friend (screenwriter of the movie KNOWING and MERCURY RISING) novelist Ryne Douglas Pearson, ‘What is the best way to promote your book?...Write another.' That first book is a huge accomplishment, so rejoice in it! Promote it – I spend a good two hours at least every day on marketing and promotion. BUT – you are a writer. So write! Making your name requires a backlist. I’m working hard on my own right now. Give and receive to other writers – don’t just spam your own stuff. 

Where can your followers find you? I’m RachelintheOC everywhere: my blog is, Twitter: @RacheintheOC, Facebook, even my email is I’m happy to connect and answer any questions I can. I also run the Indie Book Collective Twitter stream so hit me up there: @IndieBookIBC. (I’m even on Goodreads, Shelfari, and LinkedIn, but I rarely hang out there – one only has so much time, ya know? But if anyone wants to friend me, I’m also RachelintheOC on those platforms also.) 

Any last words? The process of writing is not hard for me. I’ve always got something going on in my brain and can’t wait to get it out. That, to me, is what writing should be. That said, it took until my forties to make it my career – life got in the way. I’m fortunate to have a supportive family and be in a position where I’m making money now at it. 

Do what you love. If writing is a struggle for you, maybe rethink if this is the right career for you. If you find yourself doing everything BUT writing – social media, procrastinating, outlining, researching, reading about writing – examine if it’s the right fit. 

I’d never discourage anyone from writing – that’s not at all what I’m saying. People ask me frequently if the process is a struggle or should be a struggle. It’s my belief that if you love what you do, it shouldn’t be. That’s not to say that my opinion matters at all! Gore Vidal is famous for saying that he hated everything he wrote and thought it all junk. He went into deep depressions over it. Many artists suffer for their art. If that’s your story and you want to stick to it, by all means, suffer. I’d love to hear what your readers have to say. 

Thank you so much for stopping by Rachel. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Up Close with Author Rochelle Melander

1. What inspires you as a writer?
I’m usually most inspired by the creative work of other people. I love going to plays, art exhibits, and author readings. Whenever I feel stuck or down, these events can light a fire under me. I make sure I am never without a journal or a notebook, so I can write down my impressions. When I cannot get away to see something, I listen to music, podcast interviews with musicians and artists, and read books.
2.When did you have that ah ha moment when you knew you were a writer?
I was in college and my theater professor had asked me to write an article about our May Seminar Abroad. I wrote it on the plane home from London. I noticed that I just loved the process—sketching out ideas, putting them into words, revising and making it sound better. I loved the feeling I got while I was writing.
3.What is your writing process?
I am a very disciplined writer. I try to write every morning. I usually know what I want to write about before I leave my desk in the afternoon. I let my subconscious work on the topic during the evening and in the morning, while I work out at the gym. When I get back home, I have a snack and write. On good days, I am done with my writing assignment before lunch at 11 or 11:30. On less good days, I sometimes come back to the writing in the afternoon. During the afternoon, I spend time on social media, meet with clients, teach, and answer email. If I have an editing project to do, I sometimes will split my writing time in half, and edit in the morning. When I am writing a book, I often spend the evening doing reading or research for the book. But most days, I try to finish working by 5:30 or 6 so that I can spend the evening with my family.
4.Tell us about your favorite character and why you chose to write about them?
My favorite characters are the two girls in my work in progress, a chapter book for young readers. These girls are brave, spunky, and creative. I love watching what they get into! I chose to write about these girls because I have a 10-year-old daughter who is brave, spunky, and creative. I wanted to write about characters she could relate to and look up to.
5.What are you currently working on?
I am editing the series of books that I mentioned in the last question and thinking about writing some more in the series.
6.Any upcoming events?
I am in the middle of a blog tour, so I am writing blog posts and visiting various blogs every day. Readers can check out the events page on my website for information about where they can find me:
7.If you could be anyone you like, who would you be?
I have always wanted to be like Madeleine L’Engle, my favorite childhood writer. She was able to blend raising a family and writing her books. She also wrote a combination of fiction books for children and nonfiction books for adults.
8.Do you have any advice for new writers and something that a seasoned vet can learn?
I’d encourage all writers to write and read a lot. Nothing—not technique or trick or tool—can substitute for putting in the time writing and reading. After that I would say, be persistent. Traditional publishing is a tight, crazy market right now. The good news is that you will have to write a stellar piece of work to get accepted. And who doesn’t want to do that?
9. Where can your followers find you?
I am online at, where I blog pretty much daily. You can also find me on twitter @writenowcoach
10.        Any last words?
Thank you for having me as a guest on your blog. I’d like to encourage your readers to take the plunge and start writing their books! Carve out time in your schedule, even it is just fifteen minutes a day. You owe it to yourself and your future readers!

Thank your stopping by Rochelle! For those aspiring authors this is the book for you.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Street Vibes Radio Amazing Interview with Omegia

Had some technical difficulties at first but we got it together.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

What Authors Should Know about Advances

An advance is a topic brought up a lot in the publishing industry both by the publisher and by the author. Is it a thing of the past? No? Are they more selective on who is getting an advance? Yes. Do you feel you should be getting an advance? Probably. My question is, who the heck are you to deserve an advance? 

I say that not to mock but to make you think. Do you really know what an advance is? It’s a loan. A loan based on anticipated sales. If you are a first time author you haven’t proven you can sell anything. Now if you are a celebrity then that is something different all together. People are buying your name. Publishers know you will sell. 

Over the past year of book touring I have been asked numerous times if Passionate Writer Publishing, the company I work for, gives advances. All I can speak for is myself. I am on book number seven and no I have not been given an advance. But, I don’t want one either. So to the people who keep sending emails to the Publisher saying, “Omegia guaranteed I would get an advance.” Please stop the madness! Your book needs to be accepted first. Sorry, got a little off track there. I don’t want an advance for the reason I stated above. Advance=loan. 

Let me run some numbers for you.  Let’s say Publisher X really sees something in your work and gives you a $7000 Loan Advance. Advances are paid back off your royalties. I will go with the higher median and go with 15%. Royalties are based off net profit. Oh, you thought it was the actual list price of the book? No, someone has to pay a print charge and then those distribution discounts (see previous blog on book pricing for this). An average $15.00 book net profit is around $3.50. 15% of $3.50 is about $0.53. The author will need to sell 13,207 books! And that is just to pay back the publisher. If the author does not sell the promised amount of books within a certain time frame then Publisher X will be seeking legal action—meaning they can garnish you day job checks. I know three authors personally this has happened to. Two were published under Simone and Schuster and one is still under St. Martin’s Press. Yes, they may even drop you as an author.

You still want that advance? I would rather focus on selling books than losing my mind over how to make back money owned. From experience, the 15+ events I attended this year alone, it is much easier to sell books with no pressure than knowing you have to sell a certain amount. Authors under pressure come off like a used car salesman. On my last event at the Miami International Book Fair, a lady was in the booth next to me selling books via name your price. I watched her for hours and not one person took her up on her offer. I on the other hand sold over 40 of my titles and that is with me pushing other authors, under Passionate Writer Publishing’s, titles.

In the end if you are dead set on the advance know exactly what it is you are asking for. Also, make sure your book is worthy of it. 

Until Next Time,
Omegia Keeys
Rise and Fall of a Track Star
Publishing Liaison
Youth Motivator  

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Omegia Up Close

Up Close with O. Keeys 

From Pan Am Game bronze medal winner to All American, Omegia Keeys was once touted in Track Magazine as one destined for greatness, but walked away from it all. Rise and Fall of a Track Star is Omegia's firsthand account leading her to the breaking point. For years Omegia held on to the shame of a dirty little secret, one too common in the African American Community.

Through her memoirs, Omegia takes you on a painful journey through her childhood into her adult years. Her struggles as a teenage mother is only a checkmark on the list of life altering experiences, one she hopes young girls and woman can learn from. 

Omegia's goals for this book are to educate others about the struggles of young women dealing with assault, help others gain the strength to change their circumstances, and to release the personal pain of hiding a long standing secret.

Rise and Fall of a Track Star is powerful and inspiring.
- Darci Fielding, Senior Editor 
Omegia's voice and courage will help us to save our girls.
- C.H. Towns author of Night and Day

Omegia's  writing touches the soul of every young girl fighting to find her voice.
- Alexis "Cherie" Norwood author of Bittersweet: Diary of a Safegirl

Rise and Fall of a Track Star is a must read for every young woman in her teens.
- Toni Odom author of Sistah's in Sisterhood



Entrepreneur, Award Winning Author, Publishing Liaison, and Motivational Speaker are just a few of the makings of Omegia Keeys. After serving two terms in the military Omegia went on to apply her strategic planning to the publishing industry. She has garnered numerous awards and praise to include the Scribe Award for the National Black Book Festival and ranking in Conversations Magazine's top 100 books of 2010 and 2011. She is currently on tour promoting her memoir Rise and Fall of a Track Starand finishing up the sequel entitled Single, Black, and Government Owned.

O. Keeys Highlights
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You Can Find Out More About
O. Keeys by visiting these
Review 1Review1

Does anyone listen when a child is saying that he or she has been victimized? Does the child fear telling someone? Or should the child keep it bottled inside? In Rise and Fall of a Track Star by Omegia Keeys readers will learn about one situation where the child had no choice. Omegia Keeys was raised by a strong woman who did her best to provide for her seven children. Omegia is the youngest and came along eight years after her older siblings. She is a bright student with a love for track because running gave her the freedom she needed.

One day Omegia's bright light starts to dim after someone she knew assaults her. Omegia tries to deal with her emotions through alcohol. When Omegia finds out she is pregnant her whole life changes because every day she is reminded of her assault. Omegia continues to turn to track as a relief mechanism that helps control her emotions and to forget the negative.

Rise and Fall of a Track Star is about a teenager struggling to move past her assault and controlling her emotions. As a teenage mother, I can relate to the emotional experience the author endured. I applaud this author for sharing her personal and private information in hopes of helping others. This book is a testimony that you can rise above alcoholism, peer pressure and disappointment. I recommend this book to others.

This book was provided by the author for review purposes.

Teresa Beasley
APOOO BookClub

Review2Review 2

Rise and Fall of a Track Star by Omegia Keeys was definitely not what I was expecting. This title will have you feeling so many emotions as you flip through the pages. I give her credit for putting it all out there like she did.

There were times I was angry at her mother, then at her friends, because really? How could friends do that to you? In the end though, I was left with a strong respect for Omegia and her Mother, feeling sorry for all this woman and child had to endure yet amazed at the strength she portrayed through it all.

If you are not touched by this story, then you are just completely heartless. Instead of her experiences breaking her, she found the strength to survive. Kudos Omegia! There are several messages involved in her story, the one that stands out for me is to never let your dreams die. This is a very fast paced, intriguing story that you will find you can't put it down until you are finished just to see how it all ends. She holds nothing back and I can only imagine how hard it was to write it all down, then bare it for the world to see. I highly recommend Rise and Fall of a Track Star, giving it 5 lattes!

B. K. Drury "BK Walker"
BK Walker Books and Reviews

Review3Review 3

We all have someone in our lives that inspires us because of their dedication and commitment as well as their honesty. For readers who are looking for a book that they can relate to and someone who embodies what they are wanting to achieve, Omegia Keeys' RISE AND FALL OF A TRACK STAR is a book you will appreciate. Don't let the title and even the cover fool you: this is more than the story of a woman who has found success in a certain field and wants to share her experiences. What Omegia has done is take us into the the life she has lived that has made her current success possible.

We find out how a betrayal by a cousin, an unexpected pregnancy and the challenges of life could have brought a promising future to an early end. What happened instead is that Omegia was able to focus on the best of herself and not allow things that have happened to her define the person that she was and wanted to be. Along her journey she came in contact with individuals who would go on to make big names for themselves, but this author's success was really not about headlines. It was about showing what was possible when you believe in yourself and go for your dreams.

RISE AND FALL also chronicles how Omegia had to deal with her own demons and not allow them to destroy her. This again showcases the importance of the choices we make, and how we deal with the hand in life that we are dealt.

This book is all about believing in yourself and being able to rise above the challenges of your past and even current situation. If Omegia Keeys could do it, then so can each of us.

C.A. Webb
Conversations Book Club