I Don’t Brag Much…However:

The Rosaries -- FINAL COVER -- KindleMy friend, Sandra Carrington-Smith, just completed her sequel to her first novel, “The Book of Obeah” and it went out on Amazon in e-book format.

I woud ordinarily say, “Hey, Sandra just put out another amazing book,” but this time, yours truly had a little input. 🙂

The cover is two Rosaries (hence the name, “The Rosaries,”) created by Shannon Choppa, on red velvet, and the cover image and back cover were shot by your’s truly: ME!

I had a bit of a “down” day at the day job, whereupon I closed my office door and sweated about the spreadsheet for an annual report for a good 7-plus hours. I got home and found that Sandra had emailed those of us on her production team (this would be the team making “The Book of Obeah” into a movie) a note that The Rosaries was online and available for download on Amazon.

Sherrill Suit Craig, the graphic designer for this series, and I have been working closely on this cover, and we’re both kicking up our heels and slapping each other, virtually, on the back, for making something ridiculously amazing together, for our friend, Sandra Carrington-Smith, who fixes us the best coffee, ever, on a regular basis.

So, click on the following link to get your e-copy of “The Rosaries” and tell them Jules, the Type A Workaholic sent you. 🙂

And if you haven’t already read “The Book of Obeah”? I recommend you do so. I’m not kidding. This is the first in the Crossroads series and you not only will be unable to put it down, but you will be clamoring for more, which “The Rosaries” will help you with. HOWEVER…if you think you had questions at the end of “Obeah”? You’ll have more after you read “The Rosaries.”

Until Next Time…

“The Book of Obeah” – The Movie

Greetings, all, and a very happy Friday to you all.

Sandra Carrington-Smith (photo by Wall 2 Wall Photography)

This evening I want to share with you another interview I did with one of my favorite authors and amazing friend, Sandra Carrington-Smith.

Author of “The Book of Obeah,” “Housekeeping for the Soul,” and “Killer in Sight,” with the Obeah sequel, “The Rosaries” coming out soon, Sandra is an amazing writer. We have recently found out that “The Book of Obeah” is going to be a movie. Of course, we are all extremely excited about this. I wanted to take this opportunity to share my interview with Sandra about this upcoming event, so without further ado, here it is:


Me: You wrote “The Book of Obeah” as a work of fiction. What was your initial reaction when talk started about making it into a movie?

SCS: I guess it is every author’s secret dream to see his/her creative babies come to life on the silver screen, so I won’t deny that even before the possibility of turning The Book of Obeah into a movie became reality, I already started casting in my head. I met the producer a couple of years ago, and over time, we have discussed this project several times; yet, when I logged into Facebook and saw the movie page, I grinned from ear to ear. I don’t think I can even explain how I felt in that moment…


Me: Voodoo is kind of a taboo subject. Witchcraft was taboo until the Harry Potter series, and Vampires were made “cool” by the Twilight series. Do you foresee Voodoo, in its real form (not a Hollywood Voodoo doll-type portrayal) becoming more understood with the making of this film?

SCS: That’s certainly my greatest hope. This religion has been demonized long enough, mostly because of fear, greed, and lack of knowledge. I believe that once people are shown the beauty and the spiritual richness hidden behind the mystery, a new awareness is bound to arise.


Me: Where would you be filming? I know that Eastern North Carolina and New Orleans are integral parts of the location.

SCS: Shooting will begin in southern Louisiana — in New Orleans and surrounding areas – and it will move north to include Raleigh, NC, and Clayton, the small town where the protagonist’s grandmother’s farm is located.


Me: How difficult is it to convert a good work of fiction to a movie?

SCS: As with all creative projects, there is more work behind the scenes than what meets the eye. Pre-production includes creating a screenplay, preparing a proposal, securing investors and casting. Writing a good screenplay that will be loyal to the original story is a difficult task, but it can be done.


Me: If someone were to want to invest in this project, what would they need to do?

SCS: The official movie website will be announced next week, and it will include links and contact information. For the time being, if anyone is interested in investing in the project, they can use the movie page on Facebook to leave a message for the executive producer, Milena Rimassa. Also, I would like to invite anyone who visits the page to ‘like’ it. Every day, we post new tidbits and magical recipes, so it is a lot of fun to navigate and learn something new.


Me: If I wanted to get an e-book, where are these available?

SCS: The Book of Obeah is currently available as an e-book on Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and most other digital readers.


Me: Where did you get your initial knowledge of Voodoo?

SCS: I grew up around it, for the most part, but didn’t practice. My mother practiced Santeria and Candomble’, so those are the paths I felt most comfortable with; however, as I grew older, I found myself gravitating more toward Haitian Vodoun. When I wrote The Book of Obeah, I intentionally mixed Orisha and Lwa to drive home the point that different entities connected to the elements they represent share a common core even if they have developed unique identities within different cultures. Traditionally, it is a big no-no to interchange these entities, but in reality, there is no harm in doing so. Unlike humans, who so enjoy to catalog and separate, spirits adhere to the concept of the One.


Me: Who would you ideally like to see portray the main characters of the story, if money were no object?

SCS: Maybe Evan Rachel Wood for Melody. Mark Consuelos or Danny Pino for Mario. Definitely Morgan Freeman for Legba.


Me: I know that “Obeah”‘s sequel, “The Rosaries,” is going to be released soon. Would you like to see this work converted to a movie?

SCS: I certainly would. I think the whole Crossroads Series has the potential to do well on screen.


Me: Do you see the series going to film as a way to enlighten people or do you prefer the Hollywood route to glamorize the Voodoo religion?

SCS: I honestly think it needs to be a bit of both. Awareness must be raised, but it needs to be threaded into a story that’s thrilling and commercially viable. A film that is strictly spiritual in nature might be appealing to a certain niche, but it won’t go very far, as many people just aren’t ready to accept a complete turnaround; if we aim at shifting awareness, the more people we reach the better.


Me: Do you have any advice for writers who might aspire to see their works on the big screen?

SCS: Dream, pray and network. I met Milena Rimassa a couple of years ago, and we became friends before the idea of working on a common project crossed our minds. You can also write your own screenplay and try to sell it to a production company. Writing a screenplay is no small feat, but some authors really like to be in control of the new creative incarnation of their book.


For more information and juicy Magickal tidbits, please visit Book of Obeah: The Movie’s Facebook page.

New Fiction Monday – Killer in Sight, Sandra Carrington-Smith

My girl, Sandra…

You know, one of the things that I love about having jumped into the blogosphere and Twitter-ville with both feet is that I have had the opportunity to meet other like minded writers, and have actually made some really amazing friends…

That said, however, I want to dedicate this particular blog to a “home grown,” if you will, author: Sandra Carrington-Smith.  She’s written The Book of Obeah and Housekeeping for the Soul, both of which I have read. and enjoyed thoroughly!

I met Sandra several years ago through a local news outlet’s blog site (which, amazingly enough, is also how I’ve met most of my Raleigh besties, LOL), and told her that when she was ready for a head shot for her books to let me know, and sure enough, we met in person a few years back for our first photo-shoot and we have been great friends ever since.

Now, Sandra’s just put out a new piece of fiction, Killer in Sight, which is, by the way, available at Amazon.Com for digital download…

Knowing that this was coming out, I had to ask Sandra some questions because I KNEW that I needed/wanted to feature her on my blog on a New Fiction Monday, so without further ado…May I introduce Sandra Carrington-Smith:

Sandra, how long have you been writing?

 I’ve been writing for fun my whole life, but I started writing professionally about six years ago when I penned The Book of Obeah, my first novel.

Have you always wanted to write?

I always liked to write, and language arts was my favorite subject in school, but I never thought I would, someday, REALLY write. I wrote a few poems when I was a teenager, which were published by an independent publisher in Italy, and I thought my writing career would end there. I remember wishing to be a journalist at times; other times I wanted to be a librarian; more or less, I always enjoyed the written word, no matter what side of the paper I was on.

What genre really inspires you?

I love mystery and all things spiritual, so anything paranormal, ghost-related, and/or mysterious, has a special place in my heart. I enjoy psychological thrillers that make me forget my house is on fire.

Do you remember some of the authors/book titles you read as a child?

Growing up in Italy, some of my favorite authors at the time were Italian writers. I liked to read anything by Oriana Fallaci, but I also loved translated works by Richard Bach. One book that had a tremendous effect on me was “The Archetypes and the Collective Subconscious” by  Carl Jung.

Does anyone in your life encourage you to write your heart out?

My family, especially my sister and my parents, are extremely encouraging. My husband and my children are also very supportive, as is my husband’s family. And of course my closest friends, because they know how much writing means to me.

What advice would you have for a newbie writer that wants to break into the world of fiction/non-fiction?

DON’T GIVE UP! I received hundreds of rejection letters when I got started — not because my writing was bad, but because I wasn’t presenting myself the right way. Opinions are subjective, so if you are determined to go down the path of traditional publishing and you get rejected, TRY AGAIN. If instead you prefer to get your work out there on your own, do your homework. There are many options for new writers these days, so there is no longer a reason for good books to remain in the back of a drawer.

To date, what is YOUR favorite story that you have written?

The Book of Obeah was my first story, so it holds a special place in my heart. However, like all skills, even writing improves with time and practice, so I have a good feeling for Killer in Sight.

Who/what gets your creative blood pumping?

Life. No, seriously. I have this weird passion about observing people and situations, and if I notice something interesting, my imagination immediately shifts and begins to produce mental films around it.

If you were’t writing, what would you be doing?

I would probably just be a mom, which is still my number one job.

Do you have pets, and if so, what kind?

I have three cats, Wizard, Lucy and Holly. I have been the proud parent of other animals before, such as squirrels, a snake, mice and birds, but cats are my favorite companions.

What do you do for fun (I.e. Hobbies, leisure time, etc.) (And yes, that is on the assumption you have leisure time…)

I love to read, cook, read Tarot cards and make worry dolls, which people assume are the same thing as voodoo dolls but are not. Voodoo dolls are customarily crafted to control others; worry dolls are little handmade dolls that hold worries for you in their large bags.

If you had one wish, what would you wish for?

At the risk of sounding trite, I would like to see all my three children happy and settled into what they love, someday. If they are happy, I am happy, so I can dedicate all my time to writing.

If someone were to begin to dictate your writing, how would you feel about that?

The only way I can write is to write freely. I can’t write about what other people want, or in the format they choose for me — it limits the creative flow and produces a flat story.

If you were told you could no longer write about the things that moved you, would you be able to adapt and move onto a different genre or would this force your hand to stop writing?

We can’t always expect life to adjust to us — everything changes, and writing preferences are no different. If I couldn’t write mysteries, I could try something different, although I doubt I could be as passionate about it.

How do you handle adversity when it comes to your writing?

Well, I guess every writers sees his/her creations as children, so hearing something negative can be painful; but, time and experience have taught me an important lesson: While you can’t make everyone happy, it is important to pay attention. Criticism can be constructive or destructive, and learning how to discern the two is vital.

How important are reviews to you, as a writer?

Reviews are life-giving blood for artistic creations of any type, so I love them. Of course, I am thrilled to receive positive reviews, but I also don’t mind to read the less-than-stellar ones, because any type of feedback helps me grow.

Have you ever written a bad review for anyone else? If so, why?

I have a real hard time doing that….knowing how hard artists work, I can’t find it in my heart to beat someone to death. If I can’t write a nice review, I’d rather not write one at all.

How important is editing to you? Do you ever edit your book before it goes to the editor?

In the business of writing, editing is not only important — it is vital. Poor quality and bad editing are two things that have always given self-published books a bad reputation. It doesn’t have to be that way. Edit your book within an inch of its life, and when you are done, pass it to other people and ask them to show no mercy. Extra eyes can see mistakes and typos you have become blind to.

What about book covers inspires you? How do you go about selecting yours?

The cover must reflect the core idea of the story. Color is also very important, because different hues trigger specific emotions. I have an amazing graphic artist, Sherrill Suitt-Craig, who is able to bring my stories to life with the most perfect images, so I don’t have much to worry about in that department.

How do you write? Are you able to listen to music to inspire you or does it have to be quiet?

I love silence, probably because it is a luxury in a house with three children. If the weather permits, I love to keep windows open and listen to random sounds outside, especially if a good storm is brewing.

Where do you choose to write? Do you have an office or do you surround yourself in places that pertain to your writing?

I made an office for myself in the dining room of my house, so that’s where I usually write. I write at night when everyone is in bed, so even if I am in one of the rooms that are most trafficked throughout the day, I don’t have to worry about being distracted.

If you were asked to appear on a talk show of your choice, which one would it be and why?

Unfortunately, my favorite talk show, ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’, is no longer airing, so maybe ‘Good Morning America’ or ‘Jay Leno’?

Now…that being finished…from a human/friend perspective, I can only say that Sandra is so totally human, down-to-earth, and just so damned kind. She has encouraged me through some of the darkest days I have ever known, and how do you repay a friend like that?  I don’t think you can, so I just have to say:  I LOVE you, Sandra…I think you are all that AND a bag of baked chips. 🙂
Oh, and when you read this and you find that the photographer might remind you of…well, you know…me? That’s not a coincidence. 🙂