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Book Spotlight: Wifey by Fey Ugokwe

WifeyTitle: Wifey
Author: Fey Ugokwe
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Pink Purse International
Pages: 154
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0615764908
ISBN-13: 978-0615764900

Purchase at AMAZON

When life as a curiously paired, young married couple in California–in the midst of a growing state and national economic crisis–becomes literally unworkable, Rodney, an earnestly toiling, playboy of a husband, unilaterally determines that he and P.V., his ambitious but naive, exotic wife, should relocate to Texas. So P.V., a struggling sophomore realtor and avid foodie, and Rodney, a newly unemployed marketer and sports addict, sell virtually everything they own and embark upon a downsized existence in the heart of North Texas–Dallas. But an eerie and horrifying morning dream that P.V. previously experienced becomes a dark and ever-unfurling, pain-filled prophesy that ultimately threatens the very foundations of their humanity. Sex, depravity, despair, and an uneven pavement of good intentions lead to a black, one-way road with a shocking and hair-raising end.

Book Excerpt:

But then one day, unexpectedly, the sun rose sweepingly black upon the state—and it wasn’t the only one—and they awoke to find themselves holding onto nothing but what was standing in three dimensions, and what little they had jointly saved. They had eagerly spent—as if single college co-eds—without much store-housing, always encouraged by the reality that together, they could easily generate sufficient and more. So, in the fresh darkness, their carefree, economic togetherness began to crack, splinter, web. It all started when on a Monday, Rodney’s bosses assigned him to train a new marketing team member from their New York office, and then summarily that Friday, swiftly laid him—and his entire marketing unit—off, except for the one employee he had been forced to mentor. The fragmenting downspiral continued with P.V. realizing that the once flock of eager, wild-eyed buyers had run, scattering well deep, into hiding. Accordingly, she helplessly—an additionally, inexperienced one—watched as her real estate-for-sale listings inventory rolled and aging sat, month after nail-biting month. Resultantly, for income, the two began to snatch away anxiously at the rest of their dwindling, pea-sized savings, and at the vapors of P.V.’s plummeting realtor commissions.

Suddenly, the two together were thinking older, living older—too much older than their individual years. They began redefining the meaning of frills, and withholding those like penny-pinching pensioners, things they once thought of as basics, that they used to, in better times, allow themselves without blinking. And so, they were struggling to maintain no longer the burgeoning, middle income luxe that they had begun to build, but dearly, just the very safe that they had at least, once been. Yet, somehow, the very last to be redefined—to go—were Rodney’s expensive man-crew weekends away to revel, and the first to be jettisoned, long before the redefining, P.V.’s buffering girlfriend trips to cook and soothingly dine. And then one day, in the choking grit and dust wake of it all, for the first time—inclusive of the days of their respective singlehoods—they were broke, miserable, and officially stuck with someone. They were left id-minded, like runaway children caught up in a typhoon at blind-side—force-dragged into an undertowing cycle downward and downward still, eyes squeezed shut intermittently and little arms looped, each round the other’s, league by league in the under together.

About the Author:

Fey Ugokwe was born in Washington, D.C., to immigrant parents–one from British Guiana, South America, and the other from Nigeria, West Africa. She was subsequently raised in Pennsylvania, and attended both college and law school in Massachusetts. Fey is an attorney, and the founder of a socially-conscious media activity. At the age of three, she was taught to read and write by her maternal grandmother, a British-trained schoolteacher, and has been writing fiction and poetry since a child. She received her formal training in novel writing, genre fiction writing, contemporary fiction writing, and political fiction writing in Massachusetts, where her professors included renowned authors at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her interests are, namely, in genre, contemporary, and political fiction, and she has a strong interest in uniquely combining the essences of the three, in order to highlight the underpinnings of the human experience.

Her latest book is the contemporary fiction, Wifey.

Visit her website at www.pinkpurseinternational.net.

Connect & Socialize with Fey!

TWITTER | FACEBOOK

Interview with Deb Elkink, author of ‘The Third Grace’

When author and city-slicker Deb Elkink fell in love and married an introverted cowboy, she moved from her bright lights to his isolated cattle ranch far off in the prairie grasslands. Still—between learning to pilot a light aircraft, sewing for a costume rental store, and cooking for branding crews of a hundred—Deb graduated with a B.A. in Communications from Bethel University in St. Paul, MN; she also holds an M.A. in Theology (both summa cum laude).

Her award-winning debut novel, THE THIRD GRACE, is set in the contrasting locales of Parisian street and Nebraskan farmyard, and incorporates Greek mythology and aesthetics with the personal search for self. Her writing has been described as “layered and sumptuous,” “compelling,” and “satisfying.”

Visit her website at www.DebElkink.com.

Friend her at Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/#!/deb.elkink.

Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Deb.  Can we start out by you telling us, are you published for the first time or are you multi-published?

Thanks for your invitation. The Third Grace is my debut novel and, like the mommy of a first baby, I love talking about her!

Q: When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published or self-published – and why or how did you choose this route?

Greenbrier Books is a fairly new and small press out of North Carolina, introduced to me by my agent. It’s a royalty-paying house but not traditional in that it doesn’t stock store shelves, instead distributing high-quality print and eBook versions through most online booksellers. I’ve been satisfied with my inauguration into the publishing world, as Greenbrier has maintained a good and personal relationship with me, “holding my hand” through the whole scary process.

Q: How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?

I signed the publishing contract in early July and the book was released five months later, on December 1, 2011.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

I vividly recall holding the advance reader copy of The Third Grace in my hand for the first time. I’d been driving alone in my car after visiting my rural post office, with the package from the publisher still sealed shut on the seat next to me. I was thinking I’d wait till I got to town to fondle the book, but I was trembling with anticipation, and decided I’d better stop speeding and just pull over to open the box. When I caught sight of the glossy cover art and flipped the pages, while sitting there on the side of the highway, with semi-trailers screaming by and shaking the wind out of me, I couldn’t hold back—I jumped out of the car and whooped and danced with pure, unmitigated delight at seeing that novel in print. It was glorious! On a wintry evening a few months after that, with stacks of the official novel ready to sign, I celebrated with a proper book launch party at the finest arts venue in our small city. I invited the whole world to it, and allmost a hundred friends showed up (not bad, I thought). I wore very high heels and a clever little “fascinator” hat of black feathers and netting to set the tone.

Q: What was the first thing you did as far as promotion when you were published for the first time?

Of course, I contacted local news outlets as well as announcing the publication on my social media sites. I began to promote The Third Grace through speaking engagements and signings. I also entered the novel in a contest and was delighted to receive a prestigious prize (the Grace Irwin Award of $5,000 for the “top pick” of entered books published in 2011), which has given me some exposure and also funds to hire a publicist.

Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?

My confidence has grown. I was raised under a prolific artist—my mom still paints almost every day, and her work is visually beautiful, able to be fully appreciated the moment the viewer sets eyes on it. But with a novel, it’s different. The reader needs to invest significant time in analysis, and this means the writer, breath held, must be patient in learning how the work will be received. The publication of The Third Grace—and especially the win of a significant literary award—has given me the gift of validation by my peers. I’m much more secure in my wiring abilities as I work on my second novel, believing in the likelihood of its publication. I expect the first novel to act as a stepping-stone for my next one.

Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?

Before I was a published author, I didn’t realize how rigidly the industry observed genre; that is, I thought that if I just wrote a “good” story, an editor somewhere would find it engaging and put it into print. You know—I believed that if I worked hard, I’d be rewarded. Not so! Many excellent books by fantastic writers remain unpublished. I now see the necessity of an agent to ensure that the manuscript—clearly labeled as to category and target market—is put into the hands of the correct publisher, in the proper format, at just the right time. Writing a good story is only the beginning of success!

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?

At first blush, it’s the accomplishment of meeting a goal and the encouragement to keep on writing. And then, I admit to being a little surprised at the notoriety I suddenly have; starry-eyed strangers are asking for my signature! This means I have the new responsibility of properly representing myself and what I’m all about, because I now have a growing readership that will hold me accountable for my words and actions—an obligation I hold seriously.

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

I say: Go to a writers’ conference! Becoming connected with other “real” writers and agents and editors was instrumental in pushing me to complete the novel to industry standards and meet the practitioners who could get the book into print. I’ve found acquisition editors and agents and publicists to be eager and friendly—they’re honestly just looking for the next new author, and it might be you! But you need to go where they congregate.

A Chance to Say Yes – author interview – Tina Murray

Romance readers will recognize Southwest Florida resident Tina Murray from her published work Dead Palm Trees in Jackie Hofer’s anthology Tree Magic and from her essays in the USF literary journal Palm Prints.

A recluse at heart, Tina has ventured her way into the publishing world after years spent in a wide range of pursuits. Insight gained, especially as an actress and artist, subsequently enhanced by degrees in art education, education, art and drama from the the Florida State University and the University of Miami, has fed her imagination for her debut romance novel A Chance to Say Yes. Now she enjoys the sunny shores of paradise as she prepares the sequel in her movie-star dynasty.

          www.tinamurrayauthor.com

          www.tinyurl.com/ACTSYamazon

          www.tinyurl.com/ACTSYbooktrailer

INTERVIEW:

 

Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Tina.  Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

A: I am multi-published. My published works include essays, a short story, and an article. A Chance to Say Yes is my first published novel.

Q: What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?

A: The very first novel I conceived—years ago, when I didn’t know you could work to have novels published–was Lace and Glory. I wrote only parts of it. It was my foray into writing, my first experiment. I used the title and concept in my first published novel A Chance to Say Yes. Lace and Glory: The Movie appears on my leading man Heston Demming’s list of movie credits. In Lace and Glory, Heston portrayed a Civil War general. He was filming in New Orleans when he met his second wife, top model Maude Winston.

Q: For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?

A: I experienced no rejection of A Chance to Say Yes. I met my publisher before submitting a manuscript to him. His traditional, but innovative publishing house, ArcheBooks, was brand new then. I knew he was looking for certain qualities in a manuscript. I incorporated those qualities into my submission. While finding my way as a new writer, however, I experienced my share of rejection letters.

 

Q: How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?

A: Rejection letters are never fun to receive. It helps to know that they are commonplace—you know, just part of the process. So, to overcome the blows, I remind myself of that fact. I never let one deter me from pursuing my ultimate goal. The best thing to do is to keep writing and submitting–and smiling and laughing and papering your walls with them, or whatever else it takes to help you put them to rest and move on.

Yes, it is possible to learn from rejection letters, under certain circumstances, but sometimes you don’t grasp their meaning until you’ve grown as a writer. Sometimes there is no meaning. Sometimes it’s not about you. It’s about them. They didn’t need your material.

Q: When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?

A: ArcheBooks Publishing, Inc., published A Chance to Say Yes. I didn’t choose them. They chose me—and I’m so glad they did.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

A: I felt a tremendous sense of accomplishment. Over the years, I have learned how to set and achieve goals. Few goals I have reached, however, have given me as much satisfaction. I was profoundly elated. The only celebration I recall was a lunch meeting with my publisher and friends. That was good, too! I was so excited I spelled his name incorrectly when I signed his copy of A Chance to Say Yes, the first copy in print. That was bad!

Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

A: I bought a ton of expensive bookmarks and postcards. After addressing, stamping, and posting hundreds of postcards, I decided there must be a better way.

Q: If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?

A:  No. I learned what I needed to learn from this experience.

Q: Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?

A: My second novel, A Wild Dream of Love, is in the works. It is the sequel to A Chance to Say Yes. I have been spending my energy on writing it. In addition, I expect to have articles published online in the coming months.

A Wild Dream of Love will be my second published novel. Writing a sequel presents new challenges. The process has helped me to grow as an author. Also, I have grown as a human being–and, therefore, as an author–because I’ve just lived through a very difficult time in my life.

Q: Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up?  What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?

A: Now that I know how long it takes some publishers and agents to respond to submissions, I would have sent out more submissions. When I first started submitting, I plodded along at my leisure. As a result, I lost some time.

Q: What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?

A: On a professional level? I’ve learned how to function as a published author. You think it’s hard to publish?  Just wait you until start promoting your book.

 

Q: If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?

A:  Lately, I’ve been wishing I had become an astronomer. I signed up to receive emails from NASA because I am awed by the pictures coming from space telescopes. Seriously, my talents fall elsewhere–artist, actor, film-maker, songwriter, or mystic. Notice I have listed no practical fields. In a way, I’m an airhead, but the air is filled with ideas, images and sounds. I’m winding my way towards nothingness.

Q: Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?

A: Right now, I wouldn’t trade being an author for any profession. I like it.

 

Q: How do you see yourself in ten years?

A: I see myself as the author of several published books. Naturally, bestselling books, critically acclaimed books are what I would prefer, but I can’t control these aspects of the process. I can only do my part—writing and promoting—and leave the rest to unseen forces.

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

A: I would suggest that writers aim as close to the power source as possible, and I would take to heart the advice hugely successful author Pat Conroy gave me several years ago at the Miami International Festival of Books. I allude to the conversation I had with him in the acknowledgments of my novel A Chance to Say Yes. He told me not to let anyone—with the emphasis on anyone—tell me I could not succeed as a writer, no matter what. I will be eternally grateful for his kind, insightful, and totally unexpected advice. No doubt, he is often generous to fledglings.

Beyond the Books with Contemporary Women’s Fiction Author Joy DeKok

Joy DeKok is the author of five published books, a professional speaker, and an author coach. She recently opened an office in Rochester, MN where she offers private coaching, group coaching, and holds writing seminars. Her debut novel, Rain Dance, released with Sheaf House Publishers in August. You can learn more about Joy at www.gettingitwrite.net, www.joydekok.com, www.raindancebook.com, or www.believe4kids.com.

Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Joy. Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

A: Thanks for having me. I have four books in print right now with a fifth releasing in March 2010.

Q: What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?

A: Under His Wings was published by Barbour Publishing. After a couple of years out of print, it is being re-released by Sheaf House Publishing in March. I didn’t set out to write this book. At a writer’s conference a speaker invited us to send her our bird stories. I picked a couple I’d written and submitted them. She asked for a few more. Eventually, Cristine Bolley edited and agented the book and although all the stories are mine she is listed as my co-author. Cris taught me a lot about the writing, editing, and publishing process.

Q: For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?

A: None. It was a much different story though for Rain Dance. Every major publishing house and several smaller ones rejected it. With those dreaded responses came several personal letters encouraging me to self-publish. After carefully considering the options, I chose Print-on-Demand. My new publisher discovered the novel after reading the POD version.

Q: How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?

A: Rejection is hard. I tried to separate the emotion from it and see everyone as a professional decline. Sometimes this worked and sometimes it didn’t.

Q: When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?

A: Barbour Publishing chose Under His Wings and I accepted. I had done my homework though. Their devotionals were priced low and popular with book sellers and readers. It felt like a good match and it was.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

A: I was excited. I loved the cover, format, and the way my name looked in print. My husband took me to our favorite restaurant.

Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

A: I did a bunch of stuff all in one day. I made and printed book marks and postcards, and sent them out. Then, I sent out emails and set up a book signing at a local store. I sent out a press release to our local newspaper as well as the radio and TV stations.

Q: If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?

A: No. Even with Rain Dance. Utilizing POD got the book in the hands of a publisher who not only liked it, but had a vision for it. I learned so much from the POD process and am thankful for it. Some people think that POD or any kind of self/vanity publishing is the easy way out. That cracks me up. I became the investor, designer, and marketing department. If that book was going to get into the hands of readers it was up to me to get it there. I was told I was vain and my book was illegitimate and would always be second class. Vanity had little do with the decision – I followed the advice of two very big publishing houses and two well-known and experienced agents. As for the illegitimate part, I know they meant it was unauthorized. (see Webster’s Dictionary) It hurt to hear that. I’d put myself into the book heart and soul. Then I’d invested financially and become a professional who had readers writing to her weekly. I saw then that no matter what someone says, readers are the only authorization needed.

Q: Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?

A: I am published traditionally and I continue to publish using a POD press as well. My children’s books have not been accepted traditionally and I enjoy the POD process and my books are selling well.

A year ago, I became a co-owner in Sheaf House Publishers, a traditional publisher who has contracted 17 authors in both fiction and non-fiction. I’m the VP of Marketing and Promotions as well as the acquisitions editor for their non-fiction imprint, Journey Press.

At first glance this might all seem contradictory. To me, it makes perfect sense. I believe there are many publishing options and none is more acceptable than the other. Being traditionally published is great. Publishing via POD is great. All my books are selling and I hear from readers who are asking for more. They don’t care where the books were published as long as the writing satisfies.

Q: Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up? What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?

A: I’m not sure. It’s so easy to shoulda, woulda, coulda ourselves. Every experience in the process was valuable – even the painful ones.

Q: What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?

A: Joining Sheaf House Publishers. We are publishing some fantastic books. In fact, we recently signed with Joe Bonsall (a member of the Oak Ridge Boys) for his latest project One Man’s Perspective. I get to work with all our authors and while we’re all working extremely hard, we’re also having a blast. Joan Shoup stepped out in faith and then I got to step up and join her. What a privilege!

Q: If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?

A: Well, I sometimes day dream about being a NASCAR driver. Really. Or maybe that’s what they call fantasy – the dangerous thing you think about doing, but wouldn’t really do?

Q: Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?

A: No. I love writing, speaking, publishing, and coaching. For me, when a coaching client succeeds or one of our authors sells a book, it’s as for me exciting as when it happens to me.

Q: How do you see yourself in ten years?

A: I see me doing the same things and loving them just as much or more.

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

A: Trust your heart with your story and your publishing process. Write and publish like no one’s looking. Then dance.

Virtual Book Tour: Interview with Contemporary Fiction Author William Petrick

william-petrickWilliam Petrick is an Emmy Award-winning documentary producer/director who has created programs for National Geographic, Discovery, MTV, Court TV and many other cable and broadcast networks. He is currently a senior producer with Bill Moyers Journal on PBS. You can find out more about William’s book by clicking here.

Welcome to Beyond the Books, Bill.  Can you tell us whether you are published for the first time or multi-published? Can you give us the title(s) of your book(s)?

The Five Lost Days is my first novel. I’ve been writing short stories much longer and have had the good fortune of my of them finding a home in various literary magazines.

For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?

Years of rejections including an agent who talked me into spending six months re-writing a section of it only to tell me she couldn’t sell it as soon as I turned it in.

How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?

De-moralized and angry. I jumped back into the fray partly out of a strange sense of getting even. “I’ll show them”. But after this wore away, I tinkered with the book a little more and sent it out yet again. I was too bull-headed to give up.

When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?

Pearhouse Press—because they wanted me and I was very impressed with what they were trying to do. They really wanted to keep literature—writing—alive and available.

How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

Immense gratitude. I just felt lucky because I know too many good writers where things haven’t turned out that way—at least not yet.

What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

the-five-lost-daysA pre-publishing party in L.A., set-up by “Power of Art”.

If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?

Anything easier. I hear so many different stories about how people get their first book published and none are very alike—other than an ungodly amount of perseverance or luck.

Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up? What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?

Honestly, I think I was too focused on publishing in the beginning. I was always worried about where one of my short stories might get placed. I wish I hadn’t wasted so much time and anxiety with it. It’s a little like yearning for a romantic relationship, isn’t it?—you can’t will it so you might as well go on with your life –without giving up hope but not wasting so much time worrying about it.

Would you give up being an author for that profession or have you combined the best of both worlds?

I’m lucky. I like what I do as a Documentary Producer and I love to write fiction. For years, I couldn’t reconcile the two. Now I’ve come to see them complementing one another.

How do you see yourself in ten years?

Writing.

Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

Don’t stop dreaming—or writing. Just don’t let yourself be held down by an age or a time limit. Sooner or later, if you keep at it, it will happen. In the meantime, enjoy what it is you love to do best—and leave your ego behind.

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