Sharon C. Cooper

Just thinking…

Guilty Pleasures

Dark chocolate, romance novels, and weekly date nights with my hubby (although without the guilt) are the first guilty pleasures that come to mind. Oh, and did I mention chocolate? According to Wikipedia, a guilty pleasure is something one enjoys and considers pleasurable despite feeling guilt. And as far as I’m concern, they are also the things that make life all the more enjoyable.

How boring would life be if you couldn’t go to a shoe store and try on every shoe that the store had in your size? Or for those who enjoy sneaking off and having sex in unusual places (I’m sure that’s someone’s guilty pleasure), how monotonous would it be if they had to limit this activity to the bedroom? Oh, and what about those closet junk food eaters? You can’t tell me that life would be worth living if they couldn’t curl up in the corner of the sofa with a pack of chocolate chip cookies!

I don’t know about you, but I can’t imagine not indulging in some of my guilty pleasures on a regular bases! I recently allowed myself a four-day staycation and filled up on one of my all-time guilty pleasures – romance novels. I’m telling you, I probably read more books in those few days than most people read in a month! I am such a sucker for happy endings – hence my addiction to romance novels!

But how much is too much? Is there such a thing as over doing it with your guilty pleasure? And what are some of your guilty pleasures?

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May 3, 2012 Posted by | Authors, Books, Reading | , , | 18 Comments

12 Wishes

Forget setting New Year’s resolutions; let’s talk about having wishes granted!

This weekend I watched a movie, well part of the movie, where the main character was granted 12 wishes to use any way she pleased. Initially she couldn’t believe it, so her first few wishes included things like: wishing someone would send her flowers, wishing for a new pair of shoes; and I think one of her wishes was that her friend could get her hair done before she ran into her ex-boyfriend (smile). After using up the first few wishes on things of that nature and getting them granted, she then went big and wished to win the lottery. Once she’d used up all 12 wishes, she found out the wishes came at a cost (there was a catch – of course), unfortunately, it was around that time I stopped watching (ha!) so I can’t tell you how it ended. Sorry. 

At any rate, the movie did get me to thinking. I pulled out my journal and jotted down 12 of my wishes. Although some were selfless like: I wished that there were no homeless people and that everyone had a nice place to live; another wish – no hungry children. It makes no since that some of us eat until we have to release the top button on our jeans and have leftovers, while some children barely get a meal a day. Those were a couple of my huge wishes. Then there were those that were a little more selfish: I wish I had a Neatdesk Scanner. I wish I was debt free (of course I was thinking – then I could do more for the homeless and the hungry); but one of my biggest wishes, besides getting a lucrative three book deal/contract with a mainstream publisher, is that I wish Beverly Jenkins and Brenda Jackson would call me up and say that they would like for me to be in a three story anthology with them (contemporary romance or romantic suspense)! One story by each of them and then my story would be between theirs. Ahh, I can see the cover now with all three of our names. Hey, I figure, if you’re going to wish – wish big!

So if you were granted 12 wishes, what would your list look like?

December 28, 2011 Posted by | Authors, Just Thinking, Reading, Writing | 8 Comments

Live As God Intended

Just thinking about a devotional I ran across the other day. It included some wonderful reminders and I felt compelled to share them with you. Here are ten scriptural principles to help you live as God intended.

  1. Guard your tongue. Always say less than you think and others will respect you.
  2. Make promises sparingly, keep them faithfully and people will trust you.
  3. Never let an opportunity pass to say a kind word, and someday you will look back with joy and not regret.
  4. Be genuinely interested in others; show it by listening attentively and expressing your appreciation.
  5. Be cheerful. Don’t dwell on your aches and pains; everybody has trouble. There are people in hospitals who’d gladly trade places with you.
  6. Keep an open mind and try to get all the facts. Discuss, but don’t argue. Learn to disagree without being disagreeable. Give other people the benefit of the  doubt.
  7. Discourage gossip, it’s destructive.
  8. Be sensitive to the feeling of others. If you do, people will consider you to be wise.
  9. Pay no attention to ill-natured remarks about you. Live so that nobody will believe them.
  10. Don’t worry about getting the credit, just keep giving your best and be patient. God records and God rewards!

Source: The Word for You Today – www.rumc.com

October 31, 2011 Posted by | God's word, Just Thinking, Reading, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

My Time with Morehouse Men

Yesterday I had the pleasure of spending some time with Morehouse men. Dr. Gwendolyn Williams, a faculty member at Morehouse, invited me to be a judge in her Reading and Critical Thinking class. The young men in her class participated in group assignments that were based on Hill Harper’s book: Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny.

For those of you who are not familiar with the book, Harper, through a series of letters to young brothers, addresses several topics that young men have asked him personally. The topics cover everything from school, money and careers, to girls, family life and achieving goals. The book is an inspirational read, ideal for any young man whether he has questions or not. As far as I’m concern, it should be mandatory reading for any male who is age 13 or older. Keep in mind there are some sensitive topics Harper covers in the book, but he does it expertly.

But getting back to the presentations. Out of five groups, I judged two of them. Each group took a different aspect from the book and presented on it using their personal styles. The first group’s topic was part three of Harper’s book – The Real Deal: Girls, Sex, and Responsibility. They presented using monologues/poems and had videos to drive home their point. Needless to say those  were some pretty…dicey topics, but I thought they handled them beautifully.  The second group I observed did a skit for their  presentation. Their group’s topic was from part two of Harper’s book – School, Work, and Money: Mining Our Resources.  Through a series of scenes, the skit followed a young man as he confronted various issues in his young life where he had to make tough decisions with the assistance of an angel consulting in one ear, and the devil chattering in his other.

Personally, I was impressed by both groups! It was encouraging to see young men who were not only able to articulate their words and thoughts superbly, but who also exhibited passion on the topics they spoke on. My hat goes off to Dr. Williams for giving these young men a platform to show their intellectual, acting, and creative abilities. I felt honored to be invited!

Let me know if you’ve ever read Harper’s book.  And if so, what did you think?

September 15, 2011 Posted by | Just Thinking, Morehouse Men, Reading | 4 Comments

Suzanne Brockmann Rocks!

I was just thinking about how normally when I’m in the mood for a good book, I tend to gravitate to stories by some of my favorite authors – Beverly Jenkins, Brenda Jackson, Francis Ray, Sherri Lewis, and the list goes on.  But a couple of months ago Suzanne Brockmann was the guest speaker at Georgia Romance Writers monthly meeting. And unlike many, it was the first time I’d ever heard of her. She captured the audience’s attention (including mines) with her candidness, writing knowledge, and her quick wit – so much so that I immediately went out and picked up one of her books. Since then, I have read probably about five or six of her expertly written novels (mind you, she has over 50!).

As a novice writer, I no longer read for just pleasure, but I also read in order to learn the craft of writing (mainly fiction). I remember Brockmann, during her talk, had mentioned that we novice writers have all probably read a book that was just okay – and we immediately ask ourselves  “how did they get publish?” or we say something like “if they got published, I shouldn’t have any problem getting published.” But then Brockmann said something, that as a writer, I’ll never forget.  She basically said that we shouldn’t write a story with the worse book we’ve read in mind, but we should aim to write a story as good as one of the best books we’ve ever read. Of course I can’t say it as eloquently as she did – but I thought those words were so powerful. I’ve never wanted to get a book publish just to say that I’m published, but I’d rather put the best possible story out there for my readers to thoroughly enjoy. So needless to say, after listening to Brockmann, I’ve been tweaking my latest story in an effort to make it even better.  Make it so that when my reader finishes it, they are still thinking about the characters and leave the reader wanting more.

So going back to Suzanne Brockmann. Have you ever read a book that even after you’ve finished it, you’re still thinking about the characters? Or like you feel as if you were a part of the story – right there in the trenches? Brockmann’s attention to detail, intriguing characters and sense of humor make it hard to put her books down! I truly think she has a gift of storytelling and writing…well actually I feel that same way about my favorite authors who I mentioned earlier.

The other night during one of my writer’s group meeting, I talked about how even after you finish Brockmann’s book, you still think about the characters, their situation, and you long to read the next story (which often have some of the characters from her previous stories). I’m taken back on how I now gravitate to her books. I’m usually not a big fan of stories with so many characters (and most of hers have easily eight to ten active characters), but she weaves a story so expertly until you become friends with her characters! As most know, I’m a huge fan of romance (whether it’s in a book or personally), and Brockmann’s stories are mixed with romance, suspense and plenty of action.  Her alpha men, usually military – Marines or Navy Seals – make you want to get to know some of them personally! If you haven’t read any of her books, and want a good fulfilling read, I’d recommend checking her out.

Let me hear from you. Who are your favorite authors and why? Have you ever read a book that left you wanting more, or that pulled you into the story to the point of feeling like you were friends with some of the characters?

Sharon C. Cooper

June 16, 2011 Posted by | Authors, Just Thinking, Reading | 2 Comments

Readers Come First

I was just thinking … today I attended the GRW (Georgia Romance Writers) monthly meeting, and it did not disappoint!  If anything, it got me to seriously thinking about whether or not I’m really ready to become that “kick butt” romance writer I’ve dreamed of becoming!

Diana Love and Barbara Vey, guest speakers, did an outstanding job.  They discussed building reader loyalty, and brought across some things I had never thought about.  Though I walked away from the meeting feeling informed, the part that stuck with me the most was when they stated that if you’re not ready to do the book signings, connecting with readers, and some of the  other PUBLIC things you need to do to build reader loyalty – don’t even show up.  Stick with doing things online. Don’t  do book signings.  Don’t go out in public telling everyone you’re an author – if you don’t love that part of the  business, and if you’re not ready to love on your readers.  They said that readers can tell if you don’t care anything about them.  That was so powerful!  I  immediately thought about a bestselling author, whose work I use to read.  I won’t go into details about the brief conversation we had via email – but her response told me that questions or thoughts  from her readers (even somewhat good ones) meant nothing to her.  I had asked…oops, I said I wouldn’t go into details…

At any rate, Diana (hopefully she doesn’t mind me calling her Diana) said that you have to be “on” the moment you walk out your house because you never know who you will come in contact with.  Your readers need to know that you value them!

Though I think I would be overjoyed to have a “following” and to do book signings, I’m not sure I’m ready for all that is involved in
doing “successful” book signings and guest appearances.  Diana Love has a massive following and I loved when she said that when they (co-authors) do book signings, they stay until the last person’s book has been signed – even if the venue hosting  the event has closed – her and her co-authors will move their table outside and keep signing.  Even if there are hundreds  of people (and this is no exaggeration) waiting to get their book signed or to get a picture with them – they stick it out until the last person leaves. How cool is that?

It actually reminds me of a book signing I attended recently – the great Brenda Jackson.  She was gracious, funny, and took her time talking with all of us, and posing for pictures.  Ms. Jackson got it right!  I will be one of her loyal readers for a long time coming.

Thanks Diana and Barbara for giving an aspiring author some things to think about!

May 21, 2011 Posted by | Authors, Reading | 4 Comments

48 Days

Yesterday I started reading this book 48 Days to the Work You Love by Dan Miller.  It’s not one of those books that you just read from cover to cover, no, it’s a laid out plan meant to guide you to your purpose in life, giving you the tools you need to discover part of the plan that God has for you.  It looks like I’ll be spending some time on my internal being in order to help me find my true purpose.  Though I feel like I know what my purpose in life is (as it relates to the work I enjoy), I’m curious to see if this plan will help me get to where I want to be in fulfilling this purpose on a higher level.  I’m looking forward to trying this 48 day plan.  Besides…I’m curious to see if it really works.  I figure I have nothing to lose. 

Okay, so after each chapter in the book, the author has a section entitled: Countdown to Work I Love, where he poses several questions.  I’m only on chapter 1 (remember I just started yesterday), but one of the questions is: What would be the key characteristics of an ideal job or career?

I’ll share a little from my response.  At this point in my life, I believe that the key characteristics of my ideal job or career would be: 1) Doing something that I’d be willing to do for free.  2) Flexibility to do my work when I want, as long as I get the job done in a timely manner and in a way that is pleasing to me and my client. 3) Satisfies my financial needs and wants.  These are just a few that I’ve come up with.

What would you say if someone asked you to name the key characteristics of your ideal job or career?

November 12, 2010 Posted by | Just Thinking, Reading, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

A Woman’s Revenge

Three of my favorite author’s have come together to collaborate on their first joint book project. In their anthology – A Woman’s Revenge, Tiffany L. Warren, Sherri L. Lewis, and Rhonda McKnight well known for their edgy brand of Christian fiction, spin three fantastic stories using their own unique styles. 

The stories are faith based, but for all of you who might only read secular, trust me when I say, you will thoroughly enjoy these stories.  They depict how far a woman scorned will go to get revenge, while having you questioning whether or not revenge is the best answer.  Hats off to these women for spinning a tale that will keep you turning the pages, and wanting much more long after the story has ended.  A Woman’s Revenge is full of humor, some heartache, and definitely some surprises.

Here’s a little about each story:

A Slim chance By Tiffany L. Warren

“Nadine Robinson was a plus-sized girl with a heart of gold.  So golden, in fact, that her best friend, Angelique was able to swoop in and steal the only man she’d ever leoved, Jamal Bennett.  Now, thanks to a gastric bypass surgery, Nadine is one hundred fifty pounds lighter, and revenge is on the menu.  She uses every underhanded trick in the book to snatch Jamal back, and success is eminent.  But will her heart turn cold in the process?”

The Sweet Taste of Revenge By Sherri L. Lewis

“Sabrina Rogers is devastated when she finds out that the man of her dreams has another woman.  She’s mortified when she discovers it’s her mother!  At odds for years, mother and daughter finally settle their differences to join forces against Blake Harrison.  Revenge never tasted so sweet as they team up to put this player out of commission for good.  But after the dirty deed is done, are forgiveness and faith enough to keep their relationship together?”

A Piece of Revenge By Rhonda McKnight

“Where do broken hearts go?  If you’re Tamera Watson…to the pawn shop to buy a gun.  Tamera Watson’s husband is gone and so is her life savings and all the corporate grant funds for a non-profit program for underprivileged kids.  With the last of her pennies she pays a private detective to hunt him down, so she can gun him down.  When she finds him will she be able to pull the trigger?  Or will the God of her heart stop her before she lets her desire for revenge take her too far.”

For more information about these dynamic authors, and how you can get your copy, visit www.3sistersbooks.com.

July 30, 2010 Posted by | Authors, Reading | 2 Comments

Accidental Best Seller

I think it’s safe to say that every author’s dream is to see their name followed by, New York Times Bestseller.

A few weeks ago I made mention of a book I was reading, The Accidental Bestseller, by Wendy Wax.  Well, I recently finished it, and Denise, you were right.  It was outstanding!  It was engaging, witty, and gave some interesting insights (whether fact or fiction) about the publishing industry.

Although I believe any reader would find it enjoyable, I think it should be required reading for new up and coming writers or newly published writers, especially those who write fiction.  Wax, wittingly, takes you through what every writer experiences at some point during their writing career – writer’s block, anxiousness to meet a deadline, the editor who just doesn’t get it, the writer friends you vent to – who know exactly what you’re going through because they have either experience it or are going through it currently; and my personal favorite – the juggling of writing a book, working, and making sure the home front stays in tact.

Here’s a little from the back cover:

Once upon a time, four aspiring authors met at a writers’ conference…

Mallory St. James is a workaholic whose novels support her and her husband’s lavish lifestyle.  Tanya Mason juggles two jobs, two kids, and a difficult mother.  Faye Truett is the wife of a famous televangelist and the author of bestselling inspirational romances; no one would ever guess her explosive secret. Kendall Aim’s once-promising career is on the skids –as is her marriage.  Her sales have fallen, her new editor can barely feign interest in her work – and her husband is cheating…

No one is more surprised than they are when the book becomes a runaway bestseller.  But with success comes scrutiny and scandal…

The Accidental Bestseller is a fun and refreshing read, that I highly recommend.  It’s a great reminder for all of us struggling to come up with that perfect word; stressing over that not so over the top scene; or trying to decide between two great endings for our novel, that we’re not alone.

July 30, 2010 Posted by | Authors, Reading | 1 Comment