Friday, March 29, 2019

Beauty Grown from a Concrete Life

March 29, 2019

Today's blog is focused on one woman, Pastor Shirley Lucas Cain, a Godly woman who I have had the honor of working with to help her publish her book. It has been months since we first met and during that time I have gotten to know her and respect not only who she is but also what she stands for. I have had the pleasure of serving as her developmental editor and helping her to publish her book through Absolute Author Publishing House and I want my readers to get to know her and her book Beauty from a Concrete Life: Blossoming in My Greatness. I hope you enjoy her interview as much as I have gotten to know her. Meet, Pastor Shirley Lucas Cain.

Shirley Lucas Cain 
Facebook: Shirley Lucascain

Tell your readers a little about yourself. Where you grew up, where you live now, where you went to school, etc. Let them get to know the personal you.
I am Shirley Mae Lucas Cain, born in New Orleans, Louisiana, later relocated to Baton Rouge, Louisiana where she grew up. I am a current resident of Houston, Texas. A graduate from M.C. Williams Jr.- Sr. in Houston, Texas. I am a single Mother of three sons, six grandchildren and two great-grands. It was impressed on my heart to start up a church of “Win the Walk to Jesus Ministry” as of May 23, 2008, in my home in Houston, Texas. I attended Hazel Hughes Whole Life Success Ministry Institute, Houston, Texas in October 2007 to further pursue my ministry and graduated with my diploma and became a licensed as Minister on January 10, 2010. As of June 2014, I became licensed and ordained as Pastor by Dr. Yvonne Mitchell. I am the founder of “Helping the Homeless to Jesus” serving them food and preaching the word of God and prayers.

Employed with Texas Department Human Services, later promoted to Office of Inspector General as Fraud Investigator II in Houston, Texas, I served 27 years and retired in December 2008. I was inspired to continue my education with Houston Community College majoring in “Liberal Arts & Humanities” pursuing my Associate Degree. My future vision is to start up a shelter for women “Overcoming Life’s Adversity” which will also provide counseling services. It is a place where women can come to find their place in society, be renewed, become refreshed, and learn how to adapt after being exposed to negative opposition in their lives.

What inspired you to write this book?

I believe that there are many individuals out there who have experienced pain, hopelessness, and rejection - the same as I have. My primary goal is to let you know that there is hope, there are healing and people who can support and love you. It was not easy reliving the abuse I suffered in my life. There were times as I was writing in my diary, the ink was running by me erasing the words from my tears. I had to tell my story not realizing it was my healing as well. This is my expression of “Beauty Grown from a Concrete life” which entails the details after the trails and storms have passed in my life. Now I am sharing with you how I overcame the hurt and rejection, but in this book, you will see my transgression turn to blessings. That is my motivation for doing this book.

Where did you get the inspiration for your book cover?

My concrete life showing that beauty has emerged.

Who has been the biggest influence on you personally and as a writer?

I have to give the glory to God for the late nights and support from my family when I wanted to give up writing this book.

What were your struggles or obstacles you had to overcome to get this book written?

What struggles did I go thru? “Laughing” There are too many to talk about at this moment. I guarantee the book will tell you how something beautiful came out of a life that was so tragic. Let it be known that my biggest struggle was with Leukemia and having the strength to continue writing this book. It was the memories of old pain. I finally allowed myself to heal since I have finished this book.

Tell your readers what the book is about.
Have you ever experienced your life as useless and painful? Do you get to a point that you just want to end it all? Do you believe that there are advantages and disadvantages to the lives of most human beings?

It is indeed a pleasure for me to share with all of my readers the aspirations, impartations, failures, and experiences I have endured. There were positive spiritual events that really shaped my life. It is important that you read each chapter intensely so you can be helped and blessed, especially the trigger points that changed my life. I was a little girl born out of wedlock to a mother who was a deaf-mute and who fell in love deserting me as her child. My life was as if I was living motherless not from death, but because my mother chose not to be a parent. I was living from house to house on the streets with nowhere to go. In my life, I was misused, abused, raped and stripped of all my dignity. My journey was painful, but God had a plan for me.

Who is your target audience and why?

Anyone who has experienced. But, there is somebody who has experienced a concrete life as well as someone that has not had a concrete life. This is for everybody.

If you were going to give one reason for anyone looking at your book to read, why should they buy it?

We deal with people that are prisoners to their pain. I want to be that voice for those who don’t have a voice or choose not to use that voice. Allow this book to be the tool to help you heal. 

What do you consider your greatest success in life?

My greatest success was when I first gave my life to God who has allowed me to live from a disease that wanted to take my life. Having the courage to write this book so I can close the final chapters.

Everyone has life lessons to learn, tell your readers one or two of yours and how they make you the person you are today.

Having the courage to write this book so I can close the final chapter of my life. Living a rough life and losing my way in life so that God gets the victory for the reason I am still here. What I do know, God had a calling on my life allowing me to trust him to do his will in my life.

What one unique thing sets you apart from other writers in your genre?

Tell your readers anything else you want to share.
It is my greatest desire that this book is a blessing to you and that you share it with someone that may be inspired by it. 

COMING MAY 10, 2019

It is getting really close to this month's giveaway contest. Be sure to subscribe for your chance to win a book by Max Hawthorne from his series Kronos Rising.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

An Author's Press Kit

March 28, 2019

Yesterday was my birthday and it was one of the best I have ever had. My family and friends really showed up for me and expressed their love. Wow! I feel like a queen. THANK YOU! I feel loved and here is how:
1. One daughter sent me a necklace with crystals and Amythest. Also, a swimsuit cover-up.
2. My Mom gave me a silver antique box that holds rings.
3. Another daughter took me to see Hamilton.
4. Another daughter brought me a pineapple upside down cake that she backed and took me to lunch for Sushi.
5. My best friend came over, brought a bottle of wine, colored, cut, and styled my hair and made me beautiful for the day.
6. My husband made coffee, did the dishes, laundry, had flowers delivered and is taking me to Austin's Steakhouse for dinner.
4. My sisters called. One sister pampered me with an upcoming cruise and another sister pampered me with going to the beach.
5. Friends from across the world sent me Memes, cards, emails, and called me.
6. My four-year-old granddaughter called me and sang Happy Birthday. It melted my heart.
7. Sons-in-laws either called, texted or sent me a birthday card. I love them.
8. One grandson wrote his name backward, he is four and sent me a birthday card.
9. Another grandson texted me and said he loved me and that I was his hero.
10. Another grandson texted me a short story he had written.
and the list goes on.
I guess what I am trying to say, I feel loved and I am overwhelmed. If I knew that turning 61 would be this good, I would not have fretted it.
I love ya'll, and yes, I am had the best birthday of my life.

Dr. Mel with her husband Mike celebrating her birthday.


An Author's Press Kit
As an author, it is important that you establish a press kit which helps you to market your book to journalists, bookstores, libraries, and book clubs who ask you to speak. Here is a list of what goes in your PDF press kit:
·         Your Press Release
·         Your Sell Sheet
·         Your Bio
·         An Excerpt
·         A PDF Business Card

   Your printed press kit will be identical to the PDF version except you want to either bind it or put it in a folder. Upon delivering it include your business card and a bookmark. After my book launched, if I sent or hand delivered a press kit, I also added my book. In fact, your book is your best business card. A national television producer interviewed me for a show, and I sent her review copies of all my books. They sit on the edge of her desk. Why she keeps them there, I do not know, but I owe her a huge favor because her colleagues see them. She told me they always ask about them, and then they end up buying them. I have had several who called me and ordered an autographed copy. Make sure that you post your press kit on your author's website.

This month's giveaway is for a chance to win three books by Max Hawthorne from his saga Kronos Rising. I had the opportunity to read one of his books and found it action-packed and a page-turner. It was full of excitement, so you don't want to miss this opportunity. ENTER TODAY!

If you want to get to know Max better, here is an interview he did. Enjoy!


In just three days my book HOW TO LAUNCH AND MARKET A BOOK will be published. This book is a resource for authors to market and launch their books as the #1 New Release on Amazon. I provide a step-by-step approach, seven checklists, and real examples. Pre-order the book today from Amazon.

Watch the Flipbook Trailer to How to Launch and Market a Book

Monday, March 25, 2019

Spring Cleaning Your Manuscripts by Eliminating Dialogue Tags

March 25, 2019

Happy spring! I don 't know about you, but I am glad spring is here. I love the crispness in the air, the birds singing to me in the morning, and to watch the fruit of my labor in my flower garden. The picture to the left is one I took in Oregon of a lily pad in full bloom. I remember that day clearly. I was with one of my daughters and her two sons.

Oh, then there is the ultimate spring cleaning that I do. This year was a little different for me because not only did I do spring cleaning in my home, but I also added items that I cleared to my corner of my family's antique store. I worked all weekend packing things from my home and carrying to FAMILY TREE ANTIQUES & TREASURES located in Bay St. Louis, MS. Here are a couple of my treasures added to the store. If you see something you like, let me know and you can purchase it and I can ship it to you.

 I have an extensive antique marble collection with some rare ones for sale.

The store is full of crystal antiques, glassware, and more.

Another angle of the section called Mel's Marbles.

See the necklaces hanging on this, most are the necklaces like the one Jackie found in the antique store in my novel Never Stop Running.

 Look at the fabulous vases, trinket box, and platter from Ivory Dynasty. These are true collector's items.

I have antique lunch boxes and comic books. I also have my books The Keystroke Killer and Never Stop Running which are autographed available too. Oh, BTW, this is the antique store that Jackie, my main character in Never Stop Running visits. I also have the necklaces pendant domed watches available for sale.



Today's author tips have to do with spring cleaning your manuscript. What does that mean? Simply put, as authors we sometimes junk up our manuscripts by adding unnecessary information. By unnecessary I mean the pesky dialogue tags. Ouch! Too many dialogue tags bog down your readers. More importantly, when it comes time for the book to be made into an audiobook, dialogue tags make the audio version sound horrible. Maybe this is just a personal opinion as I NEVER use dialogue tags in any of my novels. Instead, I focus on showing rather than telling through strong action of my characters which allow my readers to visualize everything that transpires. I challenge every author to rework your opening chapter and eliminate dialogue tags from it. Once you get used to writing without them, your writing improves. So how do you do that?

Challenge Step - Use the find and replace area in Word and locate the word 'said.' Once you find it, look at your dialogue. Ask, is the tag necessary? If you can remove it without losing who said it, do so. Make sure you adjust your punctuation mark to a period. Once you remove the dialogue tag, make sure it is easy to understand who is saying what. Remember when writing, it is important that your dialogue is strong and reflects the character. If you are successful in that area, the dialogue tags can be eliminated. If you are confused by who is saying what without a dialogue tag, then add a character's action or feeling. Look at my example below:

"I am so glad you came," Martha said as she rolled her eyes.

"Thank you for inviting me," Tom said with a smile.

"I wouldn't think of any other person that I wanted to come," Martha mumbled beneath her breath.

"What was that?" Tom asked, "I didn't quite hear you."

The above example is correct in every sense, grammar, structure, and punctuation. However, I added the bold font to the dialogue tags that aren't necessary. Now read the example where I eliminated the dialogue tags and added the action of the characters. Notice how easy it is to read now.

"I am so glad you came." Martha rolled her eyes as she sighed.

"Thank you for inviting me." Tom flashed a white-toothed grin of male satisfaction.

"I wouldn't think of any other person that I wanted to come." Martha titled her nose high into the air as she covered her mouth.

"What was that?" Tom's brow furrowed.  "I didn't quite hear you."

Now that you can compare the two, one with dialogue tags and one without, which one to you lets you visualize what the character is doing? How they responded? The last one without the dialogue tags proves that they are not needed. I challenge each writer to eliminate all dialogue tags to become a better writer.

The book Giveaway Contest for Max Hawthorne's books is in full swing. It is only the second week in and hundreds of new subscribers have entered. Thank you for your support. If you want to get to know Max a little more, he was on a radio show. Listen to the interview by clicking this link.

Also, don't forget to either subscribe or for additional chances to win leave a comment below.

This blog's author interview is very special as I have identified a talented and gifted writer -- Katherine Moore and her book Elementals Mystic Warriors. Who doesn't love mystical warriors? And, do I dare mention how beautiful the cover is? Please enjoy getting to know Katherine More and her novel Elementals Mystic Warriors.

Elementals Mystic Warriors - Synopsis

Enter into the enchanting world of the Mystic Warriors where an ageless immortal society of gifted and powerful supernatural beings exist, unknown to man, with magic and the ability to control the elements of nature and use these abilities to fight the forces of darkness. Desire, love, and adventure lie ahead for two unlikely souls destined to be together.
A powerful shifter, telepath, and practitioner of magic, Bly La Croix is a true daughter of the earth. She’s a descendant from a long line of Elemental warriors and magical beings as a protector of mankind while living among normal man as one of them. The various roles she’s assumed over time afforded her the secrecy necessary to fulfill her protective role to man
Andrew Von Erikson, the eldest of the Von Erikson triplets born over six hundred years ago. The situation surrounding their birth created the one of a kind warrior that he and his siblings are. Known to the society of Elementals as Day Walkers, they are a triple threat to combat the evil of the world. Due to the circumstance of his birth, Andrew exists in a world of isolation, expecting nothing, to never find a mate who can save him from the shadows that haunt his being.
They were both summoned to return to Nos Ysse Kraggenra – Sanctuary Mountain, by the governing council of their society. Trouble is brewing and danger of the dark forces is presenting itself. It’s prey, mankind, and their weaknesses. From the moment they meet, Bly and Andrew are drawn to one another, helpless to resist the desire that ignites between them. Destiny has brought them together but is it enough to overcome the obstacles that malevolent force has thrown in their path.

Will the desire they share be enough to overcome the barriers of their lives that separate them?


Name of Book:  Elementals Mystic Warriors

Year Published: 2019
Publisher: Self-Published

Tell your readers a little about yourself. Where you grew up, where you live now, where you went to school etc. Let them get to know the personal you.

I grew up in Iowa, LA a small town in southwest Louisiana, where everybody knew everyone.  I am the third child of eleven children, six girls, and five boys.  My parents moved to Houston when I was sixteen and I finished high school at Kashmere Sr. High, here in Houston.   I married at an early age but that didn’t stop me from pursuing my education.  Maybe delayed it but I eventually continue on. First at San Jacinto Junior College and later transferred to University of Houston-Downtown campus where I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science with a Minor in Psychology.

I was a single mom of four children after a failed marriage.  This in itself was a struggle, but it just made me more determined to give my children a good life and that came with working hard.  Sometimes I worked two jobs in the process, too provide for my family.  Even as a single mom I was able to provide stability by purchasing our home.

What inspired you to write this book?

As a child, I always had a vivid imagination and I liked to read.  In reading, I escaped into other worlds.  Through reading, I travel through time and space and become whatever I wanted to be.  My mom was an avid reader and that is where my love for reading came from.  I wanted to share my thoughts on the written page, the adventures and characters I mentally create with others.

Where did you get the inspiration for your book’s cover?

I was inspired by the characters that I am writing about.  A few of them are among the oldest ones, members of the first-born of the earth, Elves.  These are preternatural beings, especially from mountainous regions, with magical powers.  To me, they are the personification of the supernatural.

Who has been the biggest influence on you personally and as a writer?

Authors like Christine Feehan, Cecilia Kyle, and Isabel T. Lucas. They present great stories that make me want to read more

What were your struggles or obstacles you had to overcome to get this book written?

Time!  Working for myself or being self-employed, running a small home office can be very time consuming, leaving only late hours after closing my office to work on my book.

Tell your readers about your book.

The Elementals are descendants of generations of powerful shifters, telepaths, and practitioners of magic. They are magical beings, protectors of mankind living and working among normal man as one of them.  The protect mankind from dark evil forces seeking to destroy man.

Who is your target audience and why?

My audience is anyone who has a love for the supernatural. The things that go bump in the night…the mystical and magical with a bit of romance, fighting and life challenges included.  Adventure and action filled with the challenge of trying to maintain some normalcy in life in their abnormal world. 

If you were going to give one reason for anyone looking at your book to read, why should they buy it?

If they love the paranormal world, with scenarios of almost immortal beings living beside us daily, as they work and function as peace officers, teachers, doctors even grocery clerks but unknown to normal man in everyday life this book is for you.

What do you consider your greatest success in life?

My greatest success in life was the ability to have raised four amazing children successfully as a single mom with the help an influence of my family.

Everyone has life lessons to learn, tell your readers one or two of yours and how they make you the person you are today.

My father was a believer of that you can do and be anything you wanted to be if you truly wanted it enough.  I took his message to heart in whatever endeavor I pursued.  When things seemed impossible I just pushed a little harder until I achieved my goal.  You have to work hard for what you want out of life… If at first, you don’t succeed, it just means that you need to approach your goal at another angle.

What one unique thing sets you apart from other writers in your genre?

My characters are a part of me.  I feel them and I know them like they are old friends and family.  My stories unfold as the characters identity and personality presents itself revealing their place in my story. 

Tell your readers anything else you want to share.

Elementals Mystic Warriors is the first in a series of Mystic Warrior novels.  Each book will open up the paranormal world with refreshing new characters that my audience will love.  My second novel in the series is Dragonborn Search For A Dream.


Time has really flown by with my pre-launch campaign to launch my new book HOW TO LAUNCH AND MARKET A BOOK which will be published on April 1, 2019. Although this is April Fool's Day, this book is no joke and provides a serious marketing strategy to launch your book. Where did the time fly? It seems like it was yesterday that I started writing this book to help other authors to navigate a pre-launch campaign to make sure their books make it to the #1 New Release on Amazon. Not only have I successfully launched my books as the #1 New Release, but I have also helped dozens of others to do the same thing. The book is a step-by-step guide that starts six months prior to your publication date for maximum exposure. This is one resource you must have as an author. I am including to videos, the book's trailer so you can take a peek inside, and a sample audio version narrated by Timothy Burke. 




I am always excited to publish a new book and right now you can pre-order my new science fiction novel A.D.A.M. - The Beginning of New Life. This book was so much fun to write as I delved into the world of a government conspiracy and the cover-up of an alien lifeform. This book has all the hallmarks of becoming a bestseller. Take a look at the book's trailers and pre-order your copy today.


And, don't forget to get your copy of my other two novels, Never Stop Running and The Keystroke Killer.