Please welcome today’s guest blogger and please leave a comment on this blog entry by midnight tonight for a chance to win an autographed copy of SECRET AGENT REUNION.
LaConnie Taylor-Jones holds advanced degrees in community public health and business administration and has written several scientific research publications for the past fifteen years. When not writing, she’s involved with the Contra Costa Alumnae chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., the African American Community Health Advisory Committee, and Black Women Organized for Political. An active member of the San Francisco Area and Black Diamonds chapters of RWA since 2003, Ms. Taylor-Jones has combined her writing skills with a twenty-five-year passion for reading romance in the completion of two full-length multicultural romance novels, When I’m With You and When A Man Loves A Woman.
What would you like your readers to take away from your book?
Actually there are three. First, I want readers to understand the beauty and power of love that exists between the right man and woman, Secondly, I want readers to know and cherish the importance of family. Finally, I hope readers can discover some strategies from my stories that they can apply to whatever real-life situation they’re facing to help overcome it.
What led you to the idea of writing this book, and then to the actual writing of it?
The thing that got me from reader to author was my husband. In the spring of ’03, I was in bed reading a novel that was horrible. It was past midnight and I think my husband was tired of hearing me whine about the book because he said, “Honey, if you can write a better book, do it, but baby, turn out the lights.” I took him up on the challenged\ and I’ve never looked back. The inspiration for both When I’m With You and When A Man Loves A Woman came from my experience as a health educator. For the last fifteen years, I’ve taught health education primarily to African American women in community-based settings. Oftentimes, before I can lecture on the risk factors associated with chronic diseases disproportionally impacting African Americans, I have to deal with the socioeconomic deterrents women face. Unfortunately, abusive relationships top the list.
How long did it take from first word to sale? What were some of the steps along the journey?
I started writing When I’m With You in August 2003 and finally completed it in May 2005. Four months later, I began working on When A Man Loves A Woman and finished it by the end of the year. However, I didn’t sell to Genesis Press until October 2006. So, all-in-all, it was a little over three and a half years from first word to sale.
The journey to publication was long and let me tell you, the road was B-U-M-P-Y!! It was a tedious voyage, but I never gave up on it!! After completing When I’m With You, I submitted the manuscript to sixty-eight agents. Eleven requested a partial, but afterwards, declined further interest. Finally in November 2005, I gathered the courage to submit the manuscript directly to six publishing houses, followed two months later by When a Man Loves A Woman. By the spring 2006, three of them had requested the complete for When I’m With You and the rest is history.
What have you learned throughout the process of writing, pitching – and now, promoting your book?
The one thing I’ve learned as an author is that two fundamental elements exist between all three entities – tenacity and perseverance. If an author loses sight of the interchangeable connection between writing, pitching, and promoting, they will not be successful.
When you write a story and subsequently pitch it, the target audiences are publishers and agents. However, once that story has sold, you’ve got to promote it, thus the focus shifts to readers. So, as an author, I must use the same diligence to convince readers that my story is worth buying, as I did to convince publishers it was worth printing.
Any exciting things happening before or during the time period while the book is releasing?
Absolutely!! For me a couple of things occur. One, I begin outlining the next story bouncing around in my head. Secondly, I work hard to balance writing that new story while promoting the story that’s already sold.
How much marketing do you do? What have you found that particularly works well for you?
I’m a firm believer that you don’t need to promote yourself into bankruptcy!! My marketing covers a broad spectrum of promotion techniques including: book signings, blog touring, and book club appearances, to name a few. So far, all are working very well.
What are three things you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now?
1. How long the road to publication would really take
2. The secret to juggling the life I had before writing with the life that exist now
3. That sleep deprivation would increase
How did it feel to hold your first book?
Holding that book in my hands for the first time was awesome!!! It was then that I realized how much had gone into turning a dream into reality.
Name your top five favorite writing books.
1. Building Better Plots by Robert Kernen
2. Writing Novels that Sells by Jack Bickham
3. The African American Writers Handbook by Robert Fleming
4. The Practical Writer by Therese Eiben & Mary Gannon
5. Getting The Words Right by Theodore A. Rees Cheney
What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?
When an author says their characters are talking to them, they aren’t crazy nor or they ready to be hauled off to the nearest mental institution!!
How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)
I always enjoy hearing from readers. My website address is: www.laconnietaylorjones.com. Also, readers can follow the link on my contact page and drop me a note via e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Plus, there’s also my snail mail address, which is 3377 Deer Valley Road – Antioch, CA 94531
Book: When I’m With You
Publisher: Genesis Press
ISBN: ISBN-10: 1585712507; ISBN-13: 978-1585712502
When your life has been terrorized by violence, how do you manage to go forward, looking over your shoulder at every turn? This is the daily question that haunts Caitlyn Thompson. She has been in hiding from an ex-boyfriend for three years, always careful not to slip up and allow him to find her again. Working for a neighborhood youth center, she has found her niche. This is something she believes in, having grown up in inner-city New Jersey herself. Submitting a grant request to a wealthy philanthropist foundation, Caitlyn is soon to meet the man who will make her want to stop running, want to trust and love again; Marcel Baptiste. It will take a will of iron and a courage she didn’t know she possessed to battle her fears and open up to the wealthy entrepreneur. But when violence comes knocking again, will she have the courage to face her biggest nightmare?
For more information on Laconnie, please visit http://www.laconnietaylorjones.com/
Also check out this great trailer: http://www.laconnietaylorjones.com/WIMW_trailer.php