My Debut Novel ‘Destination Wedding’ is Now An Audiobook Courtesy of Recorded Books!!!

Hello World,

Y’all, I can show you better than I can tell you, but I’m telling you that your girl is back to regular blogging as of this post! Everyone is entitled to a break every now and then so I had to take a bit of a break. But now that I’m back, I’m happy to share some wonderful news with you: I RECEIVED A BOOK DEAL FROM RECORDED BOOKS AND NOW DESTINATION WEDDING, MY DEBUT NOVEL, IS ALSO AN AUDIOBOOK!!! GLORY TO GOD!!!

Below is the announcement from Recorded Books!!!

 

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I’m especially pleased with the nuanced narration by four talented actresses who portrayed the main characters: Tracey Conyer Lee (Jarena), Shari Peele (Senalda), Jasmin Walker (Mimi) and Lynnette Freeman (Whitney)!!! To listen to an excerpt, click HERE.

If you would like to know the backstory of how this all came to be, see an excerpt of my interview with David Wogahn of Author Imprints below…

Book Marketing Case Study—Destination Wedding by Jacqueline J. Holness

 

We first started working with Jacqueline in January 2019 for a release date of December 2019. Right there, that ought to tell you something: Jacqueline is not one to rush her book to market.

The reason I asked Jacqueline to answer a few questions is because she continues to actively market her book, a common characteristic of a professional self-publisher.

Now, more than eighteen months after her book’s release, Destination Wedding has won a major award, has been featured in a Barnes & Noble bookstore (and two independent stores), and on June 25 it is being released as an audiobook by the largest independent producer of audiobooks in the world.

In this interview, you’ll learn how Jacqueline has used—and continues to use—her networking skills and contacts to keep Destination Wedding in the public eye, how she got her book accepted into local bookstores, and the path she traveled before finally deciding to self-publish.

It’s also a story of perseverance, faith, and confidence.

PS: Don’t miss my summary of marketing-lesson takeaways at the end. If you read between the lines, many of her marketing tactics are as applicable to nonfiction books as they are to fiction books.

David: I know this is your second book. What did you learn from publishing your first book that you applied to your planning and marketing for Destination Wedding?

Jacqueline: I’m a planner in all areas of my life, even if I don’t always, regrettably, follow through with the plan! My first book, nonfiction, was published by a small company here in Georgia.

I knew that the company would have limited input in marketing and promoting my book; however, there is one critical thing that the owner of the company did for me that helped me with the trajectory of Destination Wedding. I will share more about that later in this interview.

Still, I had read that even with large publishing companies, authors were expected to do much of their own marketing and promotion, so I didn’t feel like I was being shortchanged. I created a marketing and promotion plan with the resources that I had available to me at that time, and I executed it to the best of my ability.

And how did that work out?

With my nonfiction book, I was able to garner a television interview with a local NBC affiliate and a mixture of national and local magazine and newspaper coverage. I must add that since I am a working journalist, I do have contacts in the media world that have helped when it comes to marketing and promoting. Through the efforts of a publicist that I hired, I was also interviewed on several radio stations. Additionally, I sold that book at a launch party and several in-person book events within Georgia and out of state.

This time around, I was interviewed on some of the radio stations where I had been interviewed before. I was also interviewed by another popular radio station in town that wasn’t part of my campaign with my first book. And I secured a thorough book review with a local newspaper that wasn’t part of my campaign with my first book.

With the increasing popularity of podcasts, I made sure to schedule several podcasts interviews as well. Some of these opportunities came through contacts I already had, but some of these podcast interviews came because I pitched my book to the hosts. Through my blog, After the Altar Call, I got contacted by the producer of a very popular YouTube show, The Jesse Lee Peterson Show, before the launch of my book. Prior to this interview, I was ignorant about the vast audience of YouTube!

Also before the launch, I got an endorsement from Candace Bushnell, the writer whose life inspired the hit HBO series Sex and the City. That series, in turn, inspired Destination Wedding, which one Amazon reviewer described as “similar in style to Sex in the City but with an Atlanta chocolate twist.” I was thrilled to also get the endorsement of my favorite childhood author, an author who is a Georgia Writers Hall of Fame nominee. Both of these endorsements, along with other author endorsements I received, truly boosted in my confidence as I continued to execute my marketing and promotion plan.

Read the rest HERE.

Y’all, if you have ever enjoyed even one of my posts, I would really appreciate your support of my audiobook AND tell your networks to support it as well!!!  You can buy your copy at several retailers including Amazon/Audible, Audiobooks.com, Kobo.com, and Downpour.com.

Thank you in advance!!!

Any thoughts?

 

Becoming a Mother Over 40 & Beyond…Janet Jackson isn’t the Only One…A Mothers Day Testimony & Miracle…

celeste

Hello World,

Editor’s Note: I originally published this blog post on Mother’s Day 2016, but for the benefit of my new subscribers, I decided to publish this blog post again because a miracle never gets old. Additionally, C. Celeste Marshall will be sharing her testimony on a radio program tomorrow, May 10, 2021. See those details at the end of the interview…

Last month when Janet Jackson announced she was postponing her tour to focus on creating a family with her husband Wissam Al Mana, my friends and I via text (our easiest way to communicate in our busy lives) speculated on whether Ms. Jackson If You’re Nasty was indeed with child at 49 years old (now our speculation has been confirmed) and whether being 40 or older is too old to become a mother.

Below are a few of our responses:

“It is weird.”

“It’s a miracle. If that is her dream. My friend just had a baby at 48. Not planned.”

“My grandmother had my mom when she was around 40. My aunt around 44. I had my son at 41. Let her story be a leap for womankind. She has led a fabulous life and is now embarking on a new journey.”

So Janet Jackson isn’t the only one who has defied the odds. That is the testimony of C. Celeste Marshall, a college friend who struggled with infertility for 10 years before finally giving birth to her son Terry Simeon Marshall in August 2013! Celeste recently released her book “Memoirs of a Barren Woman” Below is my interview with her about her journey to motherhood and her new book!

When did you get married, and did you want to be a mother when you first got married? Tell me about your desire to be a mother.

My husband, Todd, and I got married in 2001.  We were immediately ready to start our family.  During this particular time, we had a few nieces that I was very close to and we played the parent role for them at times.  My desire to become a mother intensified as I saw them grow and several months had passed and nothing had happened for us.

How and when did you find out you were “barren” or couldn’t conceive children? How did you husband respond?

After almost a year into our marriage, with no success, my doctor at the time felt that it was time to see a specialist.  A few days following this appointment, I remember getting the call at work.  The news was devastating, and work was not the place to receive it.  I was told that I would not be able to have children.  The doctor suggested that I have several female organs removed and that my best chance would be to try in vitro.  My husband responded in a very supportive way and tried to act like it would be fine if we weren’t parents, but I knew that his desire to be a father was just as strong as my desire to be a mother.

Why did you keep believing you would be a mother one day although you were told you couldn’t have children? Did you ever have any miscarriages? What were you doing for those 10 years?! Did you consider adoption?

In 2006, while recovering from my first surgery (fibroids and endometriosis), God led me to a scripture in II Kings.  It was II Kings 4:16.  It read, “this time next year you will be holding a son.”  I anticipated the day that I would be able to say that I was pregnant because I had never had a positive test before.  I never had any miscarriages because time after time I was always told that I would not be able to even conceive a child.  I had received a prior promise from God in 2004.  So during this time of waiting on God to fulfill His promise, I fasted and prayed about my desire and His promise.  After several years passing and my “this time next year” not happening, I mentioned adopting to my husband but he was not open to it.  I knew that it was my spirit settling and trying to rush God’s hand.

When and why did you decide to fast and pray and what was the result? Tell more about it.

I thank God that at the time of receiving this news, I was already saved and was a member of a church, Free Chapel, where fasting is literally one of the church’s foundations.  My pastor teaches it often and each year our church does an annual fast which has become a global practice for many denominations at the beginning of the year.  I had seen the results of fasting and praying in my own life and also in the lives of others in the church.  It is a powerful tool often overlooked in the Christian world.  I challenge anyone to try it for themselves.  When you abstain from food and replace it with the Word of God, there is an intimacy that comes only from fasting.  There are several types of fasting.

What was your “life-changing decision” after your fast?

My life-changing decision following a specific three-day fast in 2012 was to cancel a surgery, which would have been my 3rd during this 10-year period.  The doctor wanted me to have a full hysterectomy, but by the time the pre-op had rolled around, we had agreed on a partial hysterectomy.  It never felt right in my spirit because I knew my body had to be whole in order for God to fulfill His promise. However, my doctor deemed it necessary, but following that three-day fast, and hearing from God on 12-12-12,  I canceled the surgery completely.

How and when did you discover you were pregnant? Were you scared during your pregnancy after all that happened to you? Why or why  not?

I was back at work from Christmas break, and I knew I was “late” but really thought that it was stress related since I had spent most of the Christmas break caring for my niece who had broken her ankle.  I took an outdated pregnancy test at work of all places.  I had them everywhere because I always anticipated each month…..hoping…..praying…..waiting……When it came back positive I was elated and scared at the same time….when you read the book you will know why 🙂

What was it like to finally give birth to your son? When was he born? How old were you when he was born?

My pregnancy was good, but the delivery was a battle.  And when I say battle, it was a spiritual battle! He was born in August 2013.  I was 40 when I found out I was pregnant, and I delivered him when I was 41.marshall

Do you have any final words of advice for would-be mothers who are having difficulty having children or who are ready to give up? What about fathers who are married to women with these challenges and desperately want to be father too. Any advice for them?

I tell everyone not to put God on a timetable.  We have in our minds by what age we should do this, this and this.  If we are truly in line with Him, and we seek Him daily, then we have to trust Him with the desires of our hearts.  When so much time had passed for me, I started changing my prayer…for God to remove the desire and He never did.  I knew what He had promised me, specifically a son, but satan is real and while God had given a promise, satan took advantage of any weakness and tried to steal my promise from God.  However, each year, as I would fast and pray, God would always confirm His promise to me, but of course I grew weary in waiting, but I stood on His promise and His Word: specifically II Kings 4:16.  And to the husbands of barren wives, never make your wife feel “less than, inadequate, or insufficient.”  Because these are the word satan would whisper to her.  satan often tried to remind me that the one thing a woman was created to do, I could not do…I felt broken at times, but I know that God does not make mistakes.

book

Why did you decide to write “Memoirs of a Barren Woman?”

My book was truly written out of obedience.  I never desired nor imagined that I would write a book.  After I had my son, I started getting invitations to give my testimony and what I realized is that God used my household for the basis of this testimony but He did not intend for it to stay there. I believe that my testimony if for anyone believing God for anything.  We all have a “barren” area in our life, male or female.

Was it difficult to write and publish “Memoirs of a Barren Woman?”And what has been the response?

 The book was not difficult to publish so to speak because God led me to the right resource the first time I inquired.  However, I had no idea about all of the editing.  There was so much back and forth for several months, actually over a year.  I started questioning what I had started because there was just so much delay.  But even in delay, I tell you God is working…putting things together.  The number of people who have reached out to me since reading my memoir to tell me the impact that it has had on their life spiritually has been overwhelming.  Young, old, male, female, single women, even women with children have commented on how my book has impacted their life in some form.  I look forward to sharing it on any platform God gives me.

Below is a video of Celeste giving her testimony at her church Free Chapel:

To find out more about C. Celeste Marshall or contact her, go to her Facebook page. Click on this link to buy her book.

Happy Mothers Day to all mothers, but particularly to mothers who are 40 years old and over! And see this poem written by C. Celeste Marshall in which she includes how she will be sharing her testimony on Monday, May 10.

This poem that I’ve written is the harsh reality of so many women, on this Mother’s Day. I pray for those that desire…

Posted by C. Celeste Marshall on Sunday, May 9, 2021

 

***Again, just be sure you see this, C. Celeste Marshall will be on radio station WGTJ Glory 97.5 FM/1330 AM at 9:05 am. Following the community focus segment with Ms. Millie Miller of Get Out Stay Straight/ Restorative Ministry, she will be sharing her testimony.

Any thoughts?

Candace Bushnell from ‘Sex and the City’ Has Endorsed ‘Destination Wedding,’ Which is Out TODAY!!!

My Book Launch Event Will Be at Auburn Avenue Research Library on Dec. 11!!!

Hello World,

DESTINATION WEDDING IS OUT TODAY!!! As the topic of Destination Wedding is love, romance and dating in the city of Atlanta (although the story is applicable to love, romance and dating wherever you are), I was thoroughly inspired by Sex and the City, which is about love, romance and dating in New York City. In fact, below is the first paragraph of the preface of my book.

In December 2009, after nearly seven years of preparing myself to meet THE ONE through prayer, self-help books, counseling, online dating, seminars, and on and on, I finally lost hope that he was even out there at all. I felt like Charlotte on my favorite single-girl television show of all time, Sex and the City, when she whined to her friends Carrie, Miranda, and Samantha, “I’ve been dating since I was fifteen. I’m exhausted. Where is he?” before dropping her head, face first, onto the table in front of her. A relationship that I had dreamed of having years earlier finally happened—only to dissolve like a dream too good to be true within a couple of months. I was devastated and despondent. After swearing off my small library of self-help books on relationships that I had lovingly acquired over that nearly seven-year period and declaring that not a single dollar would be spent on another one, I concluded that God’s plan for my life did not include marriage and I would have to be okay with that.

So I wrote the preface at the beginning of this year. When I wrote that, it never occurred to me that I could seek an endorsement from Candace Bushnell, whose Sex and the City column led to the creation of the wildly successful HBO series of the same name! And I’m a major fan of Sex and the City! Just this summer, I attended a Sex and the City pop-up event at a local restaurant. But beside that, I have been on the Sex and the City bus tour in Manhattan, I have the Sex and the City trivia game, I have seen every episode of Sex and the City three times and more…

Well, at the beginning of September, I attended The Potter’s House in Dallas, Texas where Bishop T.D. Jakes preached a sermon entitled “Grasping the Moment,” and it really inspired me! Fast forward to the end of September! I attended a book signing event for Candace here in Atlanta. She was promoting her latest book Is There Still Sex in the City? Y’all, prior to the event, I wrote a letter asking for her endorsement and put it in a package along with an advance copy of my book. So when I got to the location of the signing, I contemplated sitting in the front row as I got there early and seats were available there. But this verse came to me: “But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests.” Luke 14:10. Y’all, I sat in the second row, and one of Candace‘s friends, who lives in Atlanta, just happened to sit in front of me in the first row. We got to talking. I told her about my book. She introduced me to Candace after the event. And it went from there. Check out a picture of us together (ABOVE) and the tweet she sent me after the event (BELOW)! Talk about grasping the moment! I wouldn’t have thought to do that if I hadn’t heard that sermon weeks earlier!

Below is her official endorsement:

“It’s terrific!” – Candace Bushnell, New York Times bestselling author of Sex and the City and Is There Still Sex in the City?

Short and sweet, but the point is made. But she is not the only one who has endorsed Destination Wedding! My favorite childhood author of ALL time Brenda Wilkinson also endorsed Destination Wedding! You can read how I tracked her down HERE: Lost Southern Voice Brenda Scott Wilkinson, a Georgia Writers Hall of Fame Nominee, Has Been Found…

Since then, we’ve met, and I took her out to lunch. And she signed my copy of her book Ludell and Willie that I’ve had since I’ve had since I was a little girl. And this is what she said about Destination Wedding:

“The timing of Jacqueline J. Holness’ story is perfect as the subject of ‘black women finding a suitable partner’ becomes the main topic of conversation when three or more of us gather. I discovered this to be true even among senior black women. I was a guest at a book club of professional women in New York recently where they went way off topic bemoaning the lack of mates for their daughters and nieces…Indeed, it is hard out there for a sister – which is why her book is important.”  – Brenda Wilkinson, Georgia Writers Hall of Fame nominee and author of LudellLudell and Willie and Ludell’s New York Time

And I’ve also been endorsed by three other authors that I respect for their work AND their character. Below are their endorsements:

“Jacqueline J. Holness has penned a delightful read that puts a new spin on the age-old dilemma of the beautiful, successful, single black woman finding a mate! Did I say beautiful and successful? Set in the Black Mecca – The ATL – Destination Wedding will have you asking, ‘Why is this so hard?’ I found myself in the moment, rooting for these women – and thoroughly enjoyed their journeys to happily-ever-after.” – Monica Richardson, author of the Talbots of Harbour Island series

“In need of a getaway? Destination Wedding is the read you need. Filled with characters that will remind you of your girlfriends and unexpected adventures,it’s the perfect vacation read.” Chandra Sparks Splond, author and blogger

“In Destination Wedding, Jacqueline J. Holness takes readers on page-turning twists and turns that hijack several friendships on the path to love. If you’re eager for an entertaining read that will leave you rooting for the characters as if they’re your friends, pick up your copy today.” – Stacy Hawkins Adams, multi-published author of Coming HomeWatercolored PearlsThe Someday List and more

Also, on Wednesday, Dec. 11, from 6-8 p.m., join me and Dr. Dianne M. Stewart, Emory University professor and author of the forthcoming Black Women, Black Love: America’s War on African American Marriage at a hub of African American culture in Atlanta, the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History, on Sweet Auburn.

We will discuss the hijinks in Destination Wedding AND systemic and structural factors that affect black women and black love in America from a research-based perspective –a robust conversation that is needed during cuffing season.

As this is the official launch for Destination Wedding, copies will be sold ($15 plus tax) and signed following the conversation.

To register for this event, go to Eventbrite.com.

To order your copy of Destination Wedding, click on one of the websites below!!!

                       

Yay Destination Wedding! Yay God! Yay Me!

Any thought?