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Friday, November 16, 2012

The Blood Done Signed My Name Virtual Tour

The Blood Done Signed My Name Virtual Tour with M. Ann Ricks November 16 – 20, 2012

Getting to Know More about M. Ann Ricks

What about your family, do they know not to bother you when you are writing - or are there constant interruptions?

Not usually. Most of the time I write when my sons are at school or engaged in other activities ( outside the house) and my husband is working. They pretty much know that when my office door is closed and my gospel house is playing that I am in the ZONE!

What does your husband think of your writing? Do you ever ask him for advice?

I often ask my husband for his advice and always his opinion. My husband really likes and is proud that I am doing something that I love. He seems to get the same rush that I do when God gives me something to share.

Fill in the blank favorites –Dessert: Triple Chocolate Cake City. Montego Bay , Jamaica Season: Spring Type of Hero.: Strong Silent Type of Heroine. Confidently feminine

What are some of your favorite things to do? I love to read (of course, ). Step Aerobics, Kickboxing and spending time with my boys and husband!

Where do you see yourself in five years? I see myself sitting on the movie set as I believe one of my novels will be on the silver screen!

Answer the following question and be entered to win an autographed copy of The Blood Done Signed My Name: What did my husband tell me during one of my pity parties? Go to my website, www.mannricks.net to find the answer....And come back tomorrow to find out even more about me!

About the Author M. Ann Ricks, a Christian Fiction novelist is the author of Awesome Wonder: The Gift of Remembrance , The Son and THE BLOOD DONE SIGNED MY NAME. She resides in Bear, Delaware and is a graduate of Rider University and formerly a national accounts insurance executive. Using Jesus Christ as her example, as He shared many parables, she creates stories with fictional characters who contend with real life issues and inserts the Word of God to communicate the genuine and unfailing love of God. She is honored to be used by God to spread His message with the stories she creates with the leading of the Holy Spirit, knowing that He will provide her with the stories that will lift up the name of Jesus as He promised that if He is lifted up, He will draw all men to Him. M. Ann is also what one may consider a motivational/inspirational speaker but prefers, “Godspirational” as one may only be truly inspired and transformed when hearing the uncompromised word of God.

About the Book Are the sins of the father and mother visited upon their sons and daughters?


Undoubtedly damaged, Honey Lamb is a descendant of a legacy of molestation, addiction, murder and bad decisions. As long as she could remember, she believed the unhappiness she experienced was bequeathed to her; almost as if her own blood tainted her DNA. Experiencing more than her share of misery, Honey believed she’d overcome her past when she married Mason. Unfortunately, unsettling memories emerge to crack the veneer of her happy existence. Feeling unable to escape what she believed to be her destiny, Honey makes a decision that may have ruined her life. Not realizing God places people in our lives, she embarks upon a journey that will open her heart to a divine inheritance. Will she accept what God has already given or shun the invitation of salvation, allowing her familial legacy to continue? Will she understand that Jesus redeemed us with a spiritual blood transfusion that could change us all?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Book Suggestion: He Loves Me, He Loves You Not by Mychea

Synopsis: It’s been years since their parents were murdered. Twin sisters Shia and Leigh are trying to readjust to life, while caring for their baby sister Remi. With the exception of Leigh s angry, dramatic mood swings every now and then, everything seems to be going great. That is until Demetri; the mysterious stranger enters their midst, and falls right in the path of the newly single Shia. After dating Trent for so long, she is looking for a man to treat her like a queen, and Demetri is heaven sent…until inexplicable things begin to happen. When one of her sisters goes missing, and was last seen with Trent and Demetri, Shia suddenly realizes no one is who they appear to be. The seemingly normal world she and her sisters recreated is destroyed. Shia begins to realize that her parents’ past deeds are coming back to haunt them all and no one can be trusted. It is unclear to Shia which man truly has her best interest – and safety – at heart. Staring at the wilted flower she calls life, she is slowly pulling back the layers to try to understand if He loves me, he loves you not… Book Available for Purchase: http://amzn.com/0615525970

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Lights Out by George Sherman Hudson

Synopsis:

It all started under the City Lights of Atlanta but now it’s Lights Out.

Real, with his first lady Constance by his side was living the lifestyle of the rich and famous. Just as things were looking up, it all came to a halt. Friends turned to foes and an all out Cartel war ensued. The results were hard times in a down south Georgia prison and the death of a loved one. Now Real is released and back in the city with only one thing on his mind…REVENGE!

With a list, Real hits the streets and hunts down those responsible, saving the Cartel bosses for last. He sets his sites on B-Low, his one time right-hand man and now a major player in the game, who is going to be hard to touch.

Cash, his other partner-in-crime turned snitch, sits next to B-Low on the list. From Atlanta to Miami, Real leaves no stone unturned as he takes the city by storm, in search of the ultimate payback.

Excerpt:

Back at B-Low’s crib, Ranjan and Jack were backing the van up in front of the garage door.

Jack jumped out of the truck and pulled the door open and was surprised to see the trash they’d been called to clean up was a woman.

Angela lay in the middle of the garage floor, all taped up and squirming around like a rodent.

Jack walked up and stood over her, trying his best to keep his excitement under wraps as he looked down at the thick, fine, completely naked dime-piece looking up at him with teary doe eyes, red and swollen. “Damn, lady! Who you piss off?” Jack asked jokingly, taken by Angela’s beauty.

“The wrong muthafucker,” Ranjan answered, stepping around the van to inspect the trash for himself.

Angela tried to plead with both men, but the tape had her words muffled.

Jack knelt down and pulled the tape from her mouth.

“Please help me! Please! I don’t wanna die!” she cried.

Jack and Ranjan looked down at her then at one another.

“Can’t spare her, bro, no matter what. We got a job to do, and we sticking to it,” Jack said firmly.

Angela cried softly, and Jack could tell her sobbing was bothering Ranjan quite a bit.

“Man, you know I don’t do no women or kids. Look at her, man. She ain’t no fuckin’ threat. What this li’l bitch gonna do?” Ranjan spat, looking down at the seemingly helpless girl, naked and bloodied and bound on the cold cement.

George Sherman Hudson, born and raised in Atlanta, GA, was continuously rejected by different publishers because of the subject matter contained in his books. This father of two did some research and while serving time, started G Street Chronicles, the urban book company based in College Park, Georgia. While George is determined to make G Street Chronicles a recognized name in the literary industry, he’s also working hard on his ninth novel.

Get to Know George:

1) Can you please tell us a little something about yourself?

My name is George Sherman Hudson, born and raised in Atlanta Ga. I’m 37 years old and the CEO of G Street Chronicles which is a subsidiary company of G Street Entertainment, which me and the hardest working V.P. in the business Shawna A. just made official. The parent company will incubate all facets of our upcoming businesses; G Street Chronicles, G Street Cinema and G Street Music. My days as an author are limited or should I say my writings will be far and few between. I hope my 10 titles will keep my supporters entertained until I’m able to come with another 5 star plot.

2) What inspired this particular novel?

Time… Doing time in prison and seeing the game from the other side was my inspiration. This novel has a lot of factual events, even down to the…just check it out. This is a sequel to City Lights which also has a lot of factual occurrences.

3) What motivated your writing career?

My struggle… This whole idea came to me while sitting in prison, in the hole, for a disciplinary infraction. The 110 degree weather, limited ventilation and a Triple Crown book gave me the idea. With the short stubby pencil and old crumbled up paper, I brought my vision to life.

4) Who are some people in the game that influenced you?

There was only one, Vickie Stringer. She brought this genre to the forefront and made her company a household name. I have never read one of her books but I have read some of her author’s titles. The writing isn’t what influenced me, it was how she nurtured a genre that wasn’t embraced by the masses. I hate how it all ended up but you know things happen to the best of us.

5) What’s next from George Sherman Hudson?

Hackin & Stackin, a novel based on white collar crimes with a splash of street.

6) How has the game changed since your inception?

One word…ebooks! Now everybody is putting a book out, which is cool because in the past a lot of stores and vendors wouldn’t give the indie authors a chance. Now they don’t need them. Now you see it’s a hell of a lot more talent out there than just the veteran writers. Ebooks opened the flood gates for new talent.

7) What advice would you give to someone getting into this game?

Stay focused on YOU and don’t get caught up in the competition stuff. Just do you and let your work speak for itself. Don’t think that since you signed with a publisher, it means instant success. You still have to promote and get the word out about your book. Don’t let the speed bumps, which could be people or situations, stop you. Perseverance and determination is a must.

Web-Links:

www.gstreetchronicles.com

http://www.facebook.com/gstreet.chronicles

https://twitter.com/gstrtchroni

gstreetchronicles@yahoo.com

Purchase books at www.gstreetchronicles.com

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Author Melissa Love exposed

VictoriaWinter wanted more than to just be a member of a multi-billion dollar church. She wanted to become Second Mother of the Church, a very high position for a mother-in-law. In order to have this accomplished, she must convince Naomi to fall in love and marry Pastor Kyle Smith; a wealthy and famous preacher of One True Worship. But Naomi has a secret, and this secret could ruin her family reputation as well as her mother's plans of getting the title and recongition she so badly wanted.

1. What inspired you to write this book? I have a co-worker that always bring up church this and church, but at the same time the things we do or the things she says always has us wondering. We joke about this all the time and I thought this would make a good idea for a book.

2. What was your biggest challeng in writing this book? The biggest challenge in writing this book is all the time and energy of promoting my book. Most traditional publishing company already has that set up, but for indie author like me I have to put my foot to the pavement.

3. What can you tell us about your main characters? My two main characters are Naomi the youngest daughter, dependable when it comes to doing what she has to do, and a private person. Victoria is a married and devoted christian woman, but she is boastful, cold-hearted, self-center, hot temper, and ambitious.

4.Do you have a general idea of what direction you want the plot to take ahead of time or does it come to you once you’ve started writing? I always have a general idea of where I want my plot to go before I even start to write. I build the twist around the plot.

Find the Author:

http://melissascandaloussecrets.blogspot.com/p/book-excerpts.html

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Tales of an Original Bad Girl by Mack Mama

Synopsis: Mack Mama has defied all odds and after being counted out by many she rises from the ashes of defeat. She served a total of 13 years in prison and after her last stint, she chose to concentrate on her music and literary talents. Her debut novel happens to be the story of her tumultuous life. “Make no mistake, I wrote my memoir not to glorify my lifestyle, but to save the children that are going down the wrong path. Hopefully they will say “If Mack Mama can change, so can I”

Born addicted to heroin, and taught to shoplift by watching her mother steal to support her habit. Mack Mama was destined for destruction. When her mother died from the AIDS virus, Mack spiraled out of control. She was bitter, and disgruntled, using her mother’s death as an excuse to destroy her life. She became very vicious, and treacherous, as she adapted to the grimey streets of Brooklyn in the 80’s. Drugs, violence, and sex ,was the norm. Mack Mama partakes in it all. As she searches for her sanity, she purges her soul in this shockingly honest memoir. Mack Mama was well known for being a hustler, and lived a lavish lifestyle, but after various bids in prison she realizes that she wasn’t beating the system. She, was getting beat and wasting her life behind bars.

She suffered from domestic abuse from her spouse, who was nine years, her senior, and inevitably became the abuser in her relationships with women. Her last prison stint changed her life and started her on her road to redemption. TALES OF AN ORIGINAL BAD GIRL is indeed a page-turner and a revelation, about the author’s wild life. She describes her life honestly, and with raw detail, taking the reader into the story as witness to the insanity of urban life in the underworld of Brooklyn, New York.

Get to Know Mack Mama: 1. What made you decide to start writing novels?

I was incarcerated and had read numerous books. I decided I had a story inside of me that would be unique.

I was tired of the same old urban fiction. I lived the lifestyle that was often depicted in the novels I loved, so I am an authority on an authentic street story.

I wrote Daisy Jones and an author was born. I didn’t release Daisy Jones until after I wrote and released Tales of an Original Bad Girl. I wanted people to read my memoir and get a sense of who I am opposed to popping out the blue as another street lit author.

2. Why did you feel that your life story would be interesting?

I have lived a life few people could imagine. I have experienced drugs, sex and alcohol and wasn’t a rock star. My mom died when I was sixteen years old from the AIDS Virus and it rocked my world. I turned into a very bitter, disgruntled wild teen and ran to the streets with a vengeance.

I knew that my story could possibly save a life or deter a person that can identify with my situation from choosing the path that I ran down. I was mentally, emotionally and physically abused by my ex-husband who was nine years my senior.

I had a bout with post partum depression that I discuss candidly. These issues affect millions of women. My story needed to be told so I wrote it and poured my heart and soul onto the pages. I purged and shared my life with such honesty and raw emotion that people that have read it love me!

3. How much time did you do in prison?

Thirteen years in total. I went from being the valedictorian in Junior High school to earning a degree from the school of Hard knocks. I ran in and out of prison like it was a time-share. I destroyed my record and let my family down time and time again.

4. What happened to your music career?

It never went anywhere because I did so much time. My music is my first love, I rap and sing and I put out a soundtrack with every book I have released. Tales of an Original Bad Girl has a soundtrack that sells on itunes called “Mack Mama”. The chapters in the book are the song titles on the cd. You read “Don’t turn out like me” and then pop in the song. It gives you the entire Mack Mama experience.

My books are like my husband that I love, they pay my bills and music is my lover, who makes me feel sooo good, but has no money. There was simply no money in it for me, although I am extremely talented. It is notoriously hard for females to make it in the music industry. I love books because even independently, as a self-published author you can make a living off of your writing.

5. What motivates you to write?

My daughter. She is so proud of me and I want to continue to keep her beaming and bragging that her mom is an author.

6. What do you do to give back to the community?

I have developed an online mentoring program to provide after care with the girls that I speak to during my speaking engagements. I felt like after I talk to the at-risk youth where do they go from there. If I had a mentor that I respected and believed that, they knew what I was going through, perhaps I would have listened. It sure would have saved me years of turmoil.

7. What would you like the readers to know?

Take a shot on my books. I may be a new author but I won’t be going anywhere soon. I am a reliable brand. I have two new books on the way and I’m determined to make Star Status Publishing a household name.

I also want them to tune in to my radio show on Mack Mama’s World Radio on blogtalk, you would absolutely love my show. I have interviewed the best in the business. My shows are incredibly untamed and lively. Check me out. I also blog for Corner Store Magazine my blogs are interesting and gives you my spin on life issues and gossip.

Also, go to my mentoring site and donate to a wonderful cause. I love the children and am dedicated to doing my part in saving the at-risk youth from their ruins. It takes time, and finances to get them into positive activities, workshops and outings. I need help!

Thank you AAMBC for allowing me to use your platform to introduce myself to the masses.

Thanks to all my supporters and “fam” that purchase, follow, listen and spread the word about MACK MAMA. I love you all from the bottom of my heart.

Blessings, Mack Mama

Web-Links:

www.mackmamamentor.com

www.starstatuspublishing.com

www.mackmamaworld.com

www.facebook.com/starstatuspublishing

www.twitter.com/mackmama

http://www.amazon.com/Tales-Original-Ultimate-Edition-ebook/dp/B008B7ZIWY/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1340954052&sr=1-3&keywords=tales+of+an+original+bad+girl

mackmama1@gmail.com

http://youtu.be/aLs3IM1NE04

http://www.cornerstoremagazine.com/index.php/component/content/article/705-relationships-drama-reality-tv

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Married in the Nick of Nine by Alretha Thomas

www.Marriedinthenickofnine.com.
Synopsis: Cassandra Whitmore is facing yet another Valentine’s Day alone. Her love life is as dry as the Sharpie pen she uses to mark an even more dreadful day on her calendar—her upcoming 30th birthday. Driven by the maddening ticking of her biological clock, Cassandra is determined to meet, fall in love with, and marry “The One” within nine months.

When Cassandra accompanies her cousin to a night club, her Type-A quest to meet a man is quickly rewarded by a stranger’s velvety, baritone voice asking if he might occupy the seat next to her. He’s Nicolas Harte, whose good looks leave Cassandra speechless, but not for long. After mustering enough courage to strike up a conversation, she learns Nicolas is everything she wants in a man—smart, successful, and available. There’s only one catch: He’s “GU” (geographically undesirable). Nonetheless, Cassandra falls in love with Nicolas and makes the uncharacteristic decision to move from Los Angeles to New York to be with him. But Cassandra gets a rude awakening when she discovers there’s something rotten in the Big Apple.

Excerpt:

The Speakeasy is jumping; the line to get in is crazy. I don’t know how Cyn does it. I just don’t see what people find so enthralling about club life, but it must have something to offer or half the women in Los Angeles wouldn’t be standing in line shivering their butts off. Parked outside the club, I glance at the clock on my dashboard and see that it’s already ten o’clock. I could have sworn we were supposed to meet at nine. I would call Cyn, but I forgot my Blackberry at home, and I’m not about to use the pay phone at the corner gas station. I don’t know why I didn’t fill up earlier. I could have spared myself the close encounter with that homeless man determined to wash my windows. Poor guy. I can hear my pastor now: ‘Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.’ I know he’s probably gonna buy a couple of forty-ouncers with the five dollars I gave him, but I couldn’t help myself.

Okay it’s way past ten now. I guess Cyn got confused. I wish she would get here. After that disastrous date with Lawrence, I need a pick-me-up. And speaking of pick-ups, I can’t believe he expected me to pick up the tab. According to his mother, the only way to tell a woman’s not a gold-digger is if she pays on the first date. I don’t know why Lawrence signed up with the dating service. Clearly, he’s already married.

“Lord have mercy. You scared the mess out of me!” I scowl at Cyn, who just appeared outside my passenger door.

“Let me in.”

I unlock the door; she opens it and sits.

“Girl, you scared me.”

“Why are you so on edge? What’s up?”

“I guess I’m still reeling after that date I had with Lawrence, the mama’s boy.”

“I told you you’re wasting your money on that dating service. You need to ask for a refund. It’s been a year, you’ve been out with over a dozen guys, and it always ends up the same. What was that last one’s name?”

“Richard.”

“Yeah, Richard. The one who asked for a loan after two weeks. And then there was Doug, the crackhead…”

“Former crackhead. When I met him he was clean and sober.”

“Right. Somebody put that crack pipe in his briefcase. And don’t let me forget Theodore, who wanted you to have a ménage a trois with his ex-girlfriend on your second date, or was that Phillip? No, that couldn’t have been Phillip, because he was gay.”

“I get the point!”

“Okay, so I won’t mention the four or five other guys who could have worked out if they had only worn the right color suit, lived in the right part of town, or had the right number of frequent flier miles.”

“Cyn, please! I get it.”

“Do you? I don’t know why you’re trying to get married anyway. You just don’t know how good you have it, living your own life with nobody to get on your last nerve. If it wasn’t for Shelby, I would have divorced David’s big, fat, funky butt a long time ago.”

“You don’t mean that. But even so, I’m not giving up.”

“You know what they say about people who keep doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results?”

“I’m not crazy. But never mind that—where have you been? We were supposed to meet at nine.”

“You said ten.”

“I did not!”

We exchange looks and take a moment to size each other up. “Never mind. Just forget it,” I finally say, by way of an apology.

“Girl, that purple cashmere top is kickin’ on you,” Cyn says, her way of accepting it.

“You look good, too. Looks like you’ve lost some more weight.”

“It’s the black, but thanks anyway. We’d better head in. I need a drink.”

“I dunno, Cyn. I’m not feeling that line.”

“Please, we’re not gonna stand in line. I have a hook-up.”

“Good. Then I think I’ll have a drink, too,”

“Little miss perfect is gonna have a drink?”

I ignore Cyn. We get out of my Lexus, and all heads turn when she slams the car door. A couple of women, wearing lace front wigs give us smug looks from the head of the line. Cyn and I exchange knowing glances as we approach the long, velvet ropes separating us from the competition. Now that I’m out, I wanna have a good time. Cyn’s right—I really need to loosen up. I’m gonna really try to be spontaneous tonight. I laugh out loud at my own thoughts and follow Cyn closely as we brush past these ladies-in-waiting. I wiggle my nose at the scent of perfume and hairspray wafting through the air. I suck in my gut and hold my head high, all the while praying that Cyn truly does have a hook-up. I couldn’t bear to get to the front of the line and be kicked to the curb.

“Ouch. You stepped on my foot!”

“I’m sorry,” I say to a short girl in braids and hardly anything else.

“Come on, Cass!”

“I’m coming,” I say, trying to ignore the daggers and snickers coming our way. I stare at the back of Cyn’s head as she looks up at the six-foot-five gatekeeper with neck and arms the size of tree trunks.

“Hi, I’m Cynthia Townsend. Roberta and I work together.”

The bouncer crosses his bulging arms over a huge, barrel chest and sneers at us. “Roberta who?”

“Roberta Jenkins. She’s a social work—”

“Oh Robbie, okay. Sure, you right.” He points at me and asks, “She with you?”

Cyn looks over her shoulder. I guess to make sure it’s still me and not one of the haters we trampled en route to the head of the line. “Yeah, that’s my cousin.”

“Y’all good.”

“Thank.”

He parts the velvet rope, we high-five one another, and waltz into the club.

An author and playwright, Alretha Thomas is making her name through her pen. Award winning plays and wanting to help her community, Alretha’s background is as diverse as her personality. She started at the age of ten, when her 5th grade teacher picked and read her short story assignment in front of the class – that simple, loving act empowered a new writer. Continuing in high school, her numerous original oratorical conquests on the Speech Team led her to a journalism concentration at USC.

Upon graduating, Alretha soon realized that her interest in journalism was not heartfelt. While at the taping of a live sitcom, the producer noticed her and encouraged her hand at modeling. Modeling didn’t mean much to her, but it did lead her to acting and a NAACP Theatre Award Nomination (1993) for BEST ACTRESS. Alretha left acting and began to write full time. Her church gave her an outlet to fulfill her writing desires through their Liturgical Fine Arts Department wherein Alretha penned twelve theatre pieces—the community response was overwhelming.

This led to full length plays outside of the church. In 2002, The Stella Adler Theater presented A Shrine to Junior. The play was nominated for an NAACP Theatre Award and in 2004, Alretha’s play, Civil Rites, was the recipient of an NAACP Theatre Award. Her play Grandpa’s Truth ran at the Inglewood Playhouse in Inglewood, California in 2006, and was extended more than once by popular demand. Not only did radio station KJLH support by recommending this production to its listeners, but notables like the Mayor of Inglewood, Roosevelt Dorn, and music legends like Freda Payne and Stevie Wonder had critical acclaim for Grandpa’s Truth. This wonderful piece was featured on Channel 5 (KTLA News) by Entertainment Reporter, Sam Rubin. Additionally, in 2007, Alretha’s play, Sacrificing Simone had a successful run at Stage 52 in Los Angeles and was called “an inspirational crowd pleaser” by the Los Angeles Times and in 2009, Alretha’s ground breaking One, Woman Two Lives, starring Kellita Smith (The Bernie Mac Show), directed by four-time NAACP Image Award Best Director recipient Denise Dowse, garnered rave reviews from critics and audiences.

In between plays, Alretha’s first novel Daughter Denied was launched in 2008 and has received glowing reviews from readers and book clubs across the country. Representing her book, Alretha has been the guest on many radio shows and television shows including San Francisco Public Affairs show Bay Sunday with Barbara Rodgers on KTLA Channel 5. In 2011, Alretha launched her second novel Dancing Her Deams Away, and it was also well received. Her third novel, Married in the Nick of Nine, is taking readers and reviewers across the country by storm. Alretha is currently preparing for the release of sequel to Married in the Nick of Nine. The Baby in the Window will launch in 2013.

Get to know Alretha:

Q: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

A: If you look up miracle in the dictionary, you’ll see my smiling face staring back at you. Nineteen years ago, if you had told me I’d be participating in an interview with AAMBC regarding my third novel Married in the Nick of Nine, I would have directed you to the nearest lost and found so you could hopefully locate your mind. There’s no way a young, black girl raised in a San Francisco housing project, with a sickly mother on welfare, and an abusive jailbird father could become a writer. There’s no way that girl, who finds her mother’s lifeless body on the living room sofa, at the age of fourteen, could even think about writing, let alone graduate second in her high school and get a scholarship to USC. There’s no way that girl, who becomes anorexic, bulimic, and falls prey to drugs and alcohol, could have any hopes of becoming a writer. Well, miracles do happen and with determination and faith in God, I was able to overcome my obstacles and fulfill my fifth grade teacher’s prophecy, that one day I’ll be a published writer.

Q: You refer to your books as your babies. Tell us how “Married in the Nick of Nine” was conceived and born.

A: In early 2011, I began putting together a skeletal outline for a story about a young, smart, and successful woman who was determined to meet, fall in love with, and marry “The One” within nine months. Around the time I was writing the book, I was launching Dancing Her Dreams Away, so after writing about thirty-five pages, I put Married in the Nick of Nine on the shelf. Dancing Her Dreams Away launched June 2011, and I was laid off my corporate job of twelve years in September 2011!

The Friday of the week I was laid off, I decided to query agents regarding Married in the Nick of Nine, just to see if anyone would be interested. Usually I have to query about three-hundred agents before I get a handful of responses, so I didn’t expect to get any replies, let alone any positive ones. So I submitted one query letter to one agent. To my amazement, the agent requested the entire manuscript. I was filled with glee and dread because there was no manuscript. I barely had forty pages. But this was an opportunity of a lifetime, so like Bradley Cooper in Limitless, I started writing. He had NZT and I had faith. I stayed up writing the book for four days straight, and by the following Monday I received an email from the agent asking if the manuscript had gotten lost in cyberspace. I told her I would get it to her the following day. So four days after the manuscript request, and one week after being laid off, I had completed Married in the Nick of Nine. Long story short, I submitted the book, got great feedback, but no cigar. After countless revisions, more submissions, requests, and rejections, I decided to once again self-publish! And I’m glad I did. Just think if I hadn’t submitted that one query letter, Married in the Nick of Nine would still be on the shelf.

Q: Which characters in “Married in the Nick of Nine” are you most like?

A: Wow! That’s a great question. I’m actually a combination of a few of them. I was very similar to Cyn in my twenties. I liked to party and like Cyn, I drank a little too much. I became more like Cassandra, in my late thirties. That’s when I got focused. There are aspects of both characters that I admire. I love Cyn’s free spirit and her tendency to say what’s on her mind. I love Cassandra’s determination and I admire how she managed to stay on point with her goals. She finished high school, went onto college, and now has a great career. I veered off the path during my journey, but thank God, I eventually got it together. By the way, I have a BIG crush on Nick! LOL!

Q: Is the life of a writer as you imagined it to be?

A: I never imagined what a writer’s life would be like. I’ve always envisioned what I wanted my life to be like as a writer. My dream is to be well off, free from the 9-5 grind, writing books, plays, having my books optioned for movies, and being a part of those movies as a producer. I saw myself being a part of every aspect of the movie making process, from casting to the red carpet premiere. I also saw myself being interviewed by Oprah Winfrey, Entertainment tonight, and all the other entertainment shows. Am I there yet? No. But I’m having a ball getting there. LOL!

Q: What are some of your favorite books?

A: There are hundreds. Top of my list is the BIBLE. Others that stand out the most are as follows: The late Bebe Moore’ Campbell’s, “What You Owe Me” and “Brothers and Sisters.” “Angela’s Ashes” by the late Frank McCourt. Terry McMillan’s, “Waiting to Exhale,” “Disappearing Acts,” “The Interruption of Everything,” and “A Day Late and A Dollar Short.” Wally Lamb’s “She’s Come Undone” and “I know This Much Is True.” “RL’s Dream,” by Walter Mosley, and all of Kimberla Roby Lawson’s books. Classics like “The Color Purple,” by Alice Walker and “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison. Too many more to list!

Q: If you could go back and change one day, what would it be?

A: It would be the day my mother died and yes, the reasons are obvious. I know she’s within me, and I believe she’s aware of my life. I actually had a very vivid dream wherein she appeared to me and she was very happy. She smiled and she said, “I heard you wrote a book.” This was around the time my debut novel came out. The dream was so real. I took one look at her and burst into tears. I was overwhelmed seeing her and I cried expressing the pain that I had experienced in my life not having her around. She hugged me and I woke up. I jumped up and ran screaming through the house. “My mother came to me! My mother came to me.” My husband, who was already up, reached out to me, and I collapsed into his arms.

Q:What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

A: NEVER GIVE UP!

Web Links:

http://www.facebook.com/MarriedInTheNickOfNine

https://twitter.com/#!/Marriedinthenic

www.Marriedinthenickofnine.com.

http://www.myspace.com/marriedinthenickofnine

Alrethat@aol.com

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Archie’s Psalm by Christopher D. Burns

Synopsis:

Archie’s Psalm is a glimpse into the life of a latchkey kid who is encountering situations that force him to learn about the changing world around him. A coming of age story with a carefully crafted narrative and subplot, Archie’s Psalm shows the transitioning world of a neighborhood in Memphis, TN ten years after Dr. King’s death. Through the setting, vivid character descriptions and moving storytelling a hot and humid southern neighborhood comes to life. Through the use of dialect and song the shifting tone and sound of the south reminds the reader of Zora Neale Hurstons’ novels. A work of literature that is artistic, powerful and important. A book that could become as relevant as Ann Petry’s The Street.

Excerpt:

He told stories to pass the time. A simple man, never loud. Carried extra quarters in his pockets, about ten patch made pockets on dingy coveralls, a soft white shirt beneath the faded denim straps over his shoulders. The only look on his face I remember was like the quiet warmness after a summer rain. His half smile marked with crescent moons at the corners of his mouth and lines like folds in brown blankets at the corner of his eyes. His skin soft with bristled hair, even on his hands hair grew. He carried a walking stick sometimes, and walked through the streets each morning and each afternoon. Maybe to see what we was doing, us latchkey kids, us thugs. But we wadn’t so bad, just bored, and he knew that.

He told stories to pass the time, stories of uprisings, niggers, Tom’s, fools, white folks, but mostly it was stories about the neighborhood that stuck to me.

Me and the guys ran all over the streets bothering and startling the old folks. He just stood when we would ride by, looking at us act up. He never did nothing to us unless he found us being too mannish. Folks used to say he carried bricks, a small piece of brick in each overall pocket. He caught Lil Tony trying to scare Ms. Phillips once. He saw him and from what Tony said,

“I was ridin right, ridin, Buck, I wasn’t even messin wit Ms. P. I ain’t lyin.”

“What’d he do, what’d he do?” I kept asking. Tony’s toughskins were scuffed pretty bad on purple knee patches. His palms was dirty with little scrapes on chubby hands. His jaws shook when he got excited.

“I ain’t lyin Buck, I ain’t-”

“Tony, what’d he do?”

“He threw one at me.”

“No he didn’t.”

“Yeah he did.”

“Did it hit you? Did it hurt?”

“You ask stupid questions Buck.”

“You the one that’s stupid. You know how Old Man Fishstick act when he see Ms. P.”

“Yeah but-”

“That’s why you got hit,” I laughed.

“Didn’t exactly get hit though, I just saw him raise his hand. So I jumped off my bike. He walked up an-”

“An he laughed at you an walked away, didn’t he? Don’t lie.”

“Yep, he jus laughed an walked off.”

“An he lef you sumthin?”

“A quarter.”

“Me too.”

‘Pretty Ms. P,’ was what he called her. Old Man Fishstick was what we used to call him. He always talked with Ms. P, but not much to many other folks. I even noticed him take out his folded red kerchief with the white designs on it to wipe his brow, before she would see him. He’d pull off his old blue hat and pull at the tufts of gray hair matted to the sides of his head. He’d even walk a little bit slower with longer strides. Such long strides I think would’ve been hard with a pocket full of bricks. I had found out that their wadn’t no bricks a long time before any body else. What it was, was quarters in small, cloth brown bags. But I didn’t tell nobody seein as he only had em every once in a while. Anyways, I asked him why he always fixed up himself, when he see Ms. Pat.

“Ya know what a peacock is?”

“Yes suh.”

“Find out why peacocks look like they do, an then ask me why, an I’ll tell ya.”

Still don’t know why peacocks look like they do, but I’m trying to get the answer.

Christopher D. Burns, MFA

Bio: Originally from Memphis, Christopher D. Burns joined the US Navy after getting into a lot of trouble as a teen shortly after graduating high school. Upon completing Aviation Electricians Mate school, Chris was stationed in San Diego, where he served in the military for four years and worked as an electrician on F-14 Tomcat aircrafts. When his military service was completed, Chris found himself trying to figure out his next move. He once again ffound trouble living in LA, so he moved back to San Diego and worked as a QA Analyst before being asked to play college basketball at San Diego City College. An injury cut short his basketball aspirations and led to visits to poetry readings in San Diego. At this time he began to write his first book, A Man’s State of Mind. He received an AA in Psychology from Mesa College (SDCCD) in 1997. Chris also began to work as a high school basketball coach and became one of the youngest head coaches in San Diego in 1999.

In 1997, Chris went on to attend San Diego State University where he earned a BA in English and a Masters of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing. While attending San Diego State University, Chris wrote Stages: a handbook on men and relationships, 100 Black and White Questions (co-authored by Kevin Pendleton) and Archie’s Psalm (which later became his Masters thesis).

After graduating with his MFA degree from San Diego State, Chris returned to his childhood home of Memphis and worked for two years as an instructor of English at Historically Black College, LeMoyne-Owen College. He resigned to teach high school English, complete research on building writing skills, and to focus more on the CB Publishing website www.cbpublish.com, Center Court Basketball www.centercourtbasketball.com, a sports and fitness website, and his footwear company ARCH www.arch-usa.com.

Get to Know Chris:

Chris Burns, you became a writer for what reason? I was inspired to start writing my freshman year of college. I was playing college basketball and working as a teacher’s assistant. One of the teacher’s at the school was a poet and invited us all to her poetry reading from her chapbook. When I got home, I sat down and started writing. I always told stories and I was a bit of a class clown in high school, so the writer was always there, but I guess I needed a push. I began writing poetry and one of the poems felt like a story so I kept writing and it became A Man’s State of Mind, my first book. I guess to answer the question quickly, I became a writer because I had these stories in my head and I just needed to get them out. Unfortunately it has taken me 17 years to begin working on my career.

Archie’s Psalm. That is an interesting title, where did it come from and what is it about?The title came from the original draft of the book. I attended San Diego State University’s MFA in Creative Writing program. During the fiction workshops I began submitting chapters to my classmates and the story didn’t really have a title. Like my first book the story began as a poem. I was going to get my MFA in Poetry so it was only natural that most of my stories began in this way. The chapters I was submitting were not labeled chapters. I was using verses from the Book of Psalms in the Bible to kind of inspire each section. My idea was to make the final chapter begin with a verse from Psalms. When I submitted the book as my thesis it was written this way. However, I had a serious Jean Toomer influence and the narrative felt disjointed. I cut a lot of the book and removed the references to Psalms, but kept the title.

When someone asks me now why this is the title and what it’s about, I can still say that it is about songs. Psalms are songs. Archie is one of the main characters in the book. He is an older man, kind of like the neighborhood sage. The book is built around Archie’s interaction with the main character Buck. Buck is a young boy on the verge of becoming a teen. Old Man Archie often sits on his porch and sings the blues while playing his guitar. Throughout the story Archie tells Buck stories that often parallel with what is happening in the text. His stories usually begin with a song.

The book is about the multiple layers that exist in families. It is about those hidden stories that every family has. Archie’s Psalm is also about the point when boys become men physically and how they learn to interact with girls and all of the problems that the world throws at them. The book is a commentary on a lot of different things and it will be interesting if people finish it and realize all of the things that have taken place.

Explain to us your writing style, how do you differ from whats current? My writing style varies. I play around a lot with character sketches and dialect. I don’t use a formula. I just make sure I am writing as much as possible. I do have a lot of influences and those influences come through at times. My favorite writer is Ralph Ellison, followed closely by Toni Cade Bambara and Zora Neale Hurston. There are random elements of Invisible Man in every book I’ve written. In my first novel, A Man’s State of Mind, I play around with setting and I never really tell you where the story is taking place; which allows the story to have the feeling that it could be happening right down the street from you. In my second book Stages: A Handbook on Men & Relationships, there is a comedic tone that is playful but hides a serious subplot. I got that from Zora. In Archie’s Psalm I also use a bit of Zora’s technique in using a shifting dialect. In Archie’s Psalm the exposition is written in standard English, but the dialogue is written in the voices I heard in my head from my childhood. Those voices always code switched. My mom would sound completely different talking with friends than she did on the phone with bill collectors.

I think how my work differs is that after 17 years of writing and just putting books out there without any promotion is that I haven’t had to write in a particular style because one of my books caught on. What I’ve noticed is that many writers stick with what gets them a livelihood, or what is going to make sure they stay popular. A person who writes urban fiction, sticks with that. A person who writes relationship books sticks with that. My work differs because I can’t tell you one novel that is written like Archie’s Psalm. No one is really writing and giving a voice to Black boys. Most stories are written for women because they read more than men. I write my books for readers and I write what is familiar because I want it to ring true. Archie’s Psalm is different because it finally gives voice to the boy that was, raised in the single parent household, raised in the neighborhood that was changing from the close knit Civil rights based black community to the neighborhoods on the verge of Reaganomics, crack and gangs. As simple as the story seems, it touches on a lot of the issues that affect our neighborhoods right now and it does all of this in the form of a coming of age story.

Your best work thus far, what do you think that is and why? My best work oddly enough is a work that I haven’t even mentioned and it is not readily available. It Often Deprives Me of My Sleep is a collection of short stories, poems, essays and a conversation with the muse, that I wrote for about 15 years. For the sake of this interview though I guess I will say Archie’s Psalm is the most important… scratch that. All of the books are important.

When I was in grad school I had a professor who told me to write for me. He told me that I shouldn’t worry about my race or background and that I should simply write. I could never get past that. Everything I write in some way has a point. Everything I write means something and attempts to cut you and leave a scar. I need my books to live and breathe. I want each book to give you a character that when you are finished you want that character to keep living.

If I did have to choose one of the books that people can actually buy and answer the question, what is my best work… it would have to be Archie’s Psalm. I know the book is hard to read and is not what is the norm, but I think the payoff for finishing the book and then discussing it will create an experience.

Tell us about your next line of work, what can reader’s expect from you? The great thing about never promoting my work is that everything is new and there are multiple titles for people to choose from. If you want something that will reach in and pull at every emotion, you can read A Man’s State of Mind. If you want to laugh and learn how to read men, Stages: A Handbook on Men and Relationships. If you want to get into something that reminds you of classic literature with a contemporary setting, read Archie’s Psalm. If you want to read about business I have a Kindle download named One Hour to Wealth that gives you the guidelines I used to launch my own sneaker company. I have in my computer right now a book that I am co-authoring titled Winter in Hip-Hop, a nonfiction book that deals with Blacks in the post civil rights era. I also have a work of fiction that is about a preacher who murders a gangbanger. There are other projects I’m working on as well, but who knows if any of this other stuff will ever see the light of day? If you want to keep up with what’s happening with me you can definitely read the blog on www.cbpublish.com. I even do a Hi Lites section on cool places to visit in Memphis. I also write a fitness blog at www.centercourtbasketball.com that works in conjunction with my sneaker company on www.arch-usa.com. I like staying busy and I try to write in some form everyday.

How are you managing to write and then tell the world you have these great books you want them to read? I am not. That is why I don’t have a writing career. I have never taken my own advice about working on a dream in regard to my writing. This will be the first year that I have actively worked on promoting my books. I did do a little bit of promoting when I hosted an Open Mic, but not really. What I hope now is that people will see your interview and take a chance on my books. If they do, that would be great.

A book that can compare to Archie’s Psalm is? I think the closest relatives to Archie’s Psalm are The Street by Ann Petry and actually a short story: The Lesson by Toni Cade Bambara. As many books as I have read I find it hard to make a direct comparison. I guess another title would be Stephen King’s The Body (the movie Stand By Me was based on this short story). I like the fact that I’m actually promoting this over my other books. I think it would be easy for me to push Stages or A Man’s State of Mind, those books kind of fall into the contemporary market. However I feel that people are ready to change gears.

Web-Links:

http://www.cbpublish.com

http://www.facebook.com/chris.burns.714

http://www.twitter.com/archbyccb

http://amazon.com/author/christopherdburns

http://www.cbpublish.com/author-christopher-d-burns-mfa/

cdburns@cbpublish.com

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Get to know Madison author of WWW.com

Who is "the real" Madison Taylor?

The real “Madison Taylor” is every character in every one of my books. As I write, my personality naturally seeps into each story to give it authenticity that people can relate to. But honestly, I am a real laid back type of person. I keep myself busy with writing and other projects.

How many books have you written thus far?

This will be book number 5.

How has your feedback been with the Scattered Lies Series?

It has been surprisingly awesome. As a first time writer, I never really thought of becoming an “author”. I was hesitant in the beginning, not because I was unsure of myself but the market was so saturated with the “hood come up” story that I knew I needed something that would burnish through. Scattered lies kind of took on a life of its own. As I started writing part one, the words just kept flowing. Every time I thought to end it, my positive feedback forced a trilogy.

Are your fans ready for a new novel or the next novel from you?

At this point, I think the fans are in “need” of a new novel from me. Scattered Lies was a blessing but it’s easy to turn people off with repetition. Many times people hold on to what has been working for them not realizing they are setting precedence that may eventually put them in a circle that they cannot escape. Then when the time comes to venture into something new it’s gonna be hard to get people interested because they already know you for something else. I think it’s better to start out as a diverse author than to become a limited writer. That’s why I try to keep my release dates as close as possible so not to fall off the radar and have to get it all back. What will be your new release dropping in July?

The new release will be WWW.COM What is www.com about? Without giving the plot away, it’s about four regular women fed up with the iniquity of the world. The story brings four women together for different reasons and from different seasons. Each bringing their own spark to the group, this ‘robin hood” like criminal enterprise ignites the pages of this book with the simple motivation of women scorned by different circumstances of life and their pursuit of satisfaction through remuneration.

What was your inspiration for writing www.com?

Writing was my inspiration for WWW.COM. It’s like once you get started, you can’t stop. I sit on the train, on the bus, and in my car just looking around at everything and everyone, gathering little pieces of real life; that blended with imagination and motivation, it becomes book number 5. To my knowledge, your strong point with being a novelist has been writing a storyline that is not typical and definitely keeps the readers guessing, as well as writing novels that anyone no matter the genre preference can thoroughly enjoy.

How do you keep your writing quality efficient and was it difficult to continue to do so with www.com being a new storyline?

In the beginning I prided myself on being the author that “strayed” from the group. There are so many urban stories that made me feel that readers were stuck in a “MATRIX” world of sex, money and murder. The proof came in all the negative feedback I received on my book covers. Many naysayers felt the covers weren’t “urban” enough to catch an audience as most books have naked woman with their “booty” out. Even though my novels replay many of the same scenes, I wanted my characters to have finesse. Like in Scattered Lies, Denise was the best dress, red bottom wearing diva that ever did it, a bourgeoisie bandit. In WWW.COM, yes it was a bit difficult. As a writer, I wanted to make sure people reading it did not relate back to Scattered Lies because this book reminded them of it. I want readers to read this and say, “Wow, I need to go get that Scattered Lies Trilogy”, and/ or vice versa. What sets your novels apart from every other book in the urban-lit genre? Me. I set my novels apart from every other book in urban-lit genre. Of course, we hustle it for the money but our motivation is what sets the standard. Many times people write anything because they have to. They are on a schedule or missing a deadline. I never get pressed because my respect for the industry won’t allow for that type of betrayal to my fans. My readers expect a “better than” the rest and you have to produce. Writers comes a dime a dozen but to be an author takes commitment and dedication.

Who is your favorite character in www.com and why?

I don’t want to sound cliché, but all of the women in my book are my favorite. They all represent a part of me. I know what it feels like to have a family member taken away and fighting for truth in a chaotic situation. However, for the sake of the interview, Justice is a character that many will probably relate to. Again, without giving too much of the plot away, she takes on a dangerous task of deception. But as always, real life kicks in, like getting pregnant by a mark, which leads to a very interesting story line.

Who do you think your readers will love the most?

I think everybody will relate to a different character in their own way. All four women have a story to tell and it is surprising who will be the hero in the end. Through the Scattered Lies series I was pleasantly amazed at whom some made the villain. Many felt sorry for Morgan; others thought she got what she deserved. You never know.

How do you think your new novel will compare to what people have been buzzing about with the Scattered Lies Series?

This will definitely be a change of pace from the Scattered Lies Saga. Even though it hints towards sex, money, murder, it’s more of a description of the people in the book than a story line. This book is more about reprisal through rouge activity.

Are you going to give your readers a sneak peak at your next novel scheduled to be released the end of the year "Roman's Revenge," which is the last and final chapter of the Scattered Lies Series?

Maybe. Scattered Lies has definitely held its own, each segment wanting you looking for more. I decided to do WWW.COM before “Roman’s Revenge” to give my fans a change of pace and to give myself enough time to create a “Scattered Lies” saga ending that will resonate through the industry.

Why should people support you and purchase www.com?

WWW.COM is a different kind of story. It’s unique, different, and shows women can be just as dirty without taking their clothes off.

Why did you switch from being self-published to having a publisher?

It’s hard being a self-published author. Having a publisher allows for different marketing and networking opportunities. Once I got a publishing deal, I found things to be a little less stressful. I only write. It’s important to be proactive in your own right but overall, having a publisher opens the industry up to you.

How and why do you find the time to stay so interactive with your readers?

My blackberry is the best and as someone who wants to continue selling a product has to remain a buzz. This industry is non-forgiving and there are so many already established authors and with up and comings every day, it would be suicide not to make the time for your supporters. Its part of the hustle; guerilla tactics to marketing and advertising. We are on our phones all day anyway; why not make it as productive as possible.

Find the Author:

iammadison27@yahoo.com madisonme twitter madison taylor (authormadison) fb www.5starpublications.net

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Book Alert: Vengeful Intentions Part II of Trouble In Paradise

Danielle Shumaker gets her freedom and is release after serving eight months behind bars, with plans to turn the heat back up on Victoria she runs into drama of her own...

Meanwhile Victoria’s problems continue to rise her rocky relationship with Joshua is hard to mend when Greg continues to show up to make claims on her and things get hostile when Caroline can not get what she wants and takes matters in to her own hands.

Will these couples forgive and forget and let bygones be bygones or will this love story end in tragedy? Find out in this blazing hot drama that is sure to feed your need to read part II of Trouble In Paradise. Check out the current contest to win a copy of part II of Trouble In Paradise “Vengeful Intentions” http://stephaniennorris.blogspot.com/

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Into the Web by Shonell Bacon

Synopsis: The minute twins and mystery novelists Jovan and Cheyenne Parham find their lives settling into a nice rhythm, all hell breaks loose – in their personal lives and in the latest crime they find themselves mixed up in. Jo is trying to build a relationship with Mark Brockman, but the deaths of her husband and Mark’s wife, and the sordid nature of their coming together keeps her from jumping into the relationship with both feet. Cheyenne is head over heels in love with former detective-now P.I. Ian Davenport, but unexpected news and Ian’s involvement in a new case causes Chey to second guess the deepness of their love. Trying to figure out their love lives becomes all the more complicated when Jo and Chey are thrust into a series of kidnappings and murders involving young girls who seem to make the wrong friends online. When a mayoral candidate’s daughter is kidnapped, Ian finds himself on the case, much to the chagrin of Chey considering he spends an awful lot of time holding and caring for the candidate’s wife. Bringing the girl home safely and finding the killer pushes the twins to the limits of their personal and professional lives. Going into a web of infidelity, lies, deception, and murder often leaves all involved in disarray. Will Jovan and Cheyenne find themselves, once again, trying to pick up the remaining fragments of their lives once this is all over?

Excerpt:

October 21

Take down.

Those words rang in Jovan Parham’s mind as she danced around the ring, staring into the eyes of Derryck, her kickboxing trainer.

“Come on, Jo,” Derryck said while holding up his padded hands. “Pay attention. Jab left, cross right, jab right.”

“I’m doing it,” she said, her voice nearing a whine.

“You look lazy.” Derryck’s left hand made its way to Jovan’s headgear. She just managed to move, but heard the sound of his fist whizzing by her face. “I haven’t tagged your face in nearly four months.”

Jovan smiled and took two jabs to the side of Derryck’s face; the second one connected.

“And you didn’t get me this time either,” she replied.

The two continued to spar, sharing words and punches and kicks, but Jovan’s mind was still stuck on two words: take down.

She woke up in the middle of the night after a horrific nightmare, one she had almost every month since she moved into her new condo a year ago. The nightmare was always the same: she watching as a host of characters took part in killing her. She lay, shackled to a metal table, dressed in a white loose gown that had been ripped to shreds. Every few minutes, someone would come into the dimly lit room and cut her with a sharp, curved blade. No words were ever exchanged. She screamed with each flick of the blade, begged for her life, but it was all for naught. Cordell came in and took a chunk of her. As did his mother. As did his brother. Alisha took her share as well, as did Sarah, which broke Jovan’s heart more than Cordell wanting to kill her. She had thought Sarah was her best friend. Finding out she had slept with Cordell and carried his child tore at her heart. To know that even in her nightmares Sarah wanted to hurt her more nearly broke her.

The last person to come in was always Linda Hayes. And unlike the others, who were more like automatons, coming to do their robotic bidding, Linda had a sparkle in her eyes, a curl of her lip, an extra dig of her cut when she took her swipe of Jovan. She had hoped that her time at the altar during service that morning, where she begged God, begged him to remove the nightmares, might give her a night of respite, but it wasn’t to be. If she actually took time to think about it, she’d realize that her continuous thinking about the nightmares would only create more of them.

When she woke up last night from the nightmare, Jovan rushed to her office—a place that held warm, soft thoughts for her as it was the place where words took to life. She reached for the small blue bible she kept on the desk and rifled through the pages before landing her finger on Luke 10:19, I have given you authority …to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.

The words brought her peace, but she had an even better way of using her authority to overcome her enemies. She took out a pad and pen, and spent a good hour creating a list of people she needed to take down.

Linda Hayes was at the top of that list. For going on two years, the Trés Chic head reporter-now executive producer had been relentless in her pursuit to find something bad to report about Jovan. Even after everyone else had put the murder of Jovan’s husband and the fallout of it behind them, Linda was determined to continue to bring up Jovan’s painful story: Cordell’s murder. Cordell’s affair with Alisha. Cordell’s affair with Sarah. The baby Sarah carried. The complex scheming and plotting that revealed Cordell’s drugged-out brother was supposed to kill Jovan but instead killed Cordell. Jovan’s reaching out to Mark, Sarah’s husband, in a time of need and the subsequent relationship that continued long after Cordell was buried. The justice (though not peace) that was brought to Jovan and her family.

In all parts of the world, Jovan’s soap opera of a life had come and gone as new, crazier stories unfolded. But in Baltimore, where she and her twin Cheyenne were deemed stars for their bestselling-authors status and their charities, Jovan’s story continued to live—mostly thanks to Linda Hayes.

And somehow, she had managed to overcome her anger at Linda and this ferocious, tenacious need Linda had to break her down.

But then yesterday arrived, and Jovan became undone.

She had tried to go about her day. She went to a speaking engagement for her solo inspirational non-fiction, Picking up the Pieces, a book that detailed the story of her life with Cordell and the aftermath. She met with Cheyenne to work on the outline of their next mystery, Vanishing Keys. She even got ready to meet Mark for a dinner date down at the Inner Harbor.

Not once did anyone in her inner circle mention the significance of the day: the second anniversary of Cordell’s death. They knew it wasn’t needed. They knew Jovan would have stayed up the entire night prior, still crying over the loss, still angry over the betrayal, still unsteady on what to do with her life. She was still fragile from the coming and going of Cordell’s birthday nearly three weeks ago. She had spent that day in quiet reflection, wondering why, yet again, she couldn’t find out about Cordell’s lies before anyone had to die. She still felt like an idiot over believing Sarah was her friend. She had spent hours talking to Sarah, telling her about the decline in her marriage—never realizing that her supposed friend was sleeping with her husband.

Any normal person, knowing what she’d been through, would have given Jovan this day to grieve, to feel, to think in her own personal space.

But not Linda Hayes.

Jovan had expected to hear from her. After all, she saw commercials regarding Linda’s anniversary special. Linda had her assistant call her earlier in the month, trying to get her to talk about Cordell on the day of his birthday. Jovan had told her to “Go read Picking up the Pieces if you’re so damn interested in learning what I’m willing to say about Cordell. Other than that, leave me the hell alone, Miss Hayes.” It was only a matter of time that Linda would call her again, trying to get some comment to use for her latest special.

Linda’s assistant called. Six, seven, eight times. Every time, Jovan would hang up.

On the ninth time, as she slipped her feet into her black stilettos, Jovan finally relented. She picked up the phone and yelled, “Let me speak to Linda.” She quickly raced into the office and picked up her digital recorder, turning it on and setting her phone on speakerphone.

Linda came on to the phone, her voice warm and soft as she said, “I’m so sorry for your loss, Jovan.”

“If you’re so sorry, why are you harassing me? Obviously, I have nothing to say to you.”

October 24

Jovan needed three things when she woke from her restless sleep: a comb to tackle her mangled mane, a strong cup of coffee, and a medication strong enough to drop kick the pain that throbbed behind her right eye.

The hair could wait awhile, Jovan decided as she rushed to the bathroom to down some pills, then headed to the kitchen to make a pot of coffee.

“Man,” she said, sitting at the island in her kitchen. She massaged her temples. “You’d think I drank all night long.” She moaned, then grabbed the remote to the small flat panel TV in the kitchen. Turning the volume down low, she mixed sugar and creamer into her cup of coffee while watching the morning news.

She sighed. Her mind was befuddled, filled with Linda, Mark, and Cheyenne. She had managed to have an encounter with Linda that left her unscathed, but seeing Linda’s anger toward Mark piqued her interest. She wasn’t sure why Linda would be so angry; she had nothing to do with Sarah or Mark. Jovan had left the café with questions about Linda and further sadness over her relationship with Mark. And though she wanted to spend the evening lamenting and thinking over both, the rest of her night and early morning was spent focusing on Cheyenne.

She barely slept the night before as she and Cheyenne sat up and talked.

Not once did Jovan smack at Cheyenne’s hands as she cracked her knuckles. She’d let her do whatever she wanted after learning possible-baby news.

“I can’t believe you didn’t tell me before this,” Jovan said. “We share everything.”

“I know.” Cheyenne sighed. “It wasn’t my intention to leave you out, sis. Hell, I haven’t known for long.”

“How long?”

Cheyenne looked at her hands, then Jovan. “Few days. Was in the bathroom and saw my sanitary napkins and was like, ‘Yeah, I haven’t used you in a while.’ I went to my calendar and saw I was two weeks late.”

“So,” Jovan said, taking Cheyenne’s hand, “you could be pregnant right now?”

A smile grew wide on Cheyenne’s lips. “I could very well be.”

“Then let’s find out.” The two hugged, and Jovan watched as Cheyenne hopped from the sofa, grabbed her bag of tests, and ran to the bathroom. She watched as her sister took four pregnancy tests, all negative. For a fleeting moment, Jovan smiled at the thought of Cheyenne being a mother, she an aunt. It saddened her when Cheyenne walked into the living room for the fourth time, holding a false pregnancy test. Tears clung to Cheyenne’s lashes.

“I really wanted to be pregnant, I think,” she muttered. She dropped onto the korndal green Karlstad sofa and rested her head on Jovan’s shoulder.

“You should still go to the doctor, sis,” Jovan said. “Make it official.”

Cheyenne lifted the pregnancy test. “Four of these ain’t official enough?” She hiccupped before the onslaught of sobs took over.

Jovan wrapped her sister in her arms and hushed her to sleep. After putting her to bed in the bedroom down the hall, Jovan fielded hourly calls from Ian wanting to know how Cheyenne was. After the fifth hour, Jovan turned off the house phone and all cell phones. She needed at least a nap before the start of the day.

What she got was a 45-minute nap and waking up on the tiled floor of the foyer near the front door. The last thing she’d remembered was sitting in one of the diline multi-colored chairs in the living room, reading pages of her and Cheyenne’s work-in-progress. Slowly, she had stood, moaning at the stiffness of her neck, the sore shoulders, the migraine that stabbed at her right eye, nearly taking her breath away. She didn’t even question how and why she’d end up on the floor. If she wasn’t having nightmares, she was walking in her sleep, something she still did when stress and anxiety overtook her. On her way to the kitchen, she had peeked into the living room and found pages puddling around the chair she had sat in.

“I need a damn vacation,” she muttered.

She lifted her cup to her lips as she stared at the TV screen. A breaking news flash appeared, and she dropped her cup and jumped from her seat. Hot coffee splashed her, but being burned was the furthest thing from her mind.

She drew closer to the screen and read the headline that flashed to the right of the anchor’s head: Leland Henson’s Daughter: MISSING.

The image changed from the TV studio to the front of the Hensons’ home where Leland Henson stood before reporters, his eyes a blistering red while Jocelyn cried in Ian’s arms.

“Ian!” Jovan shouted. She raced to the island, grabbed the remote, and turned up the volume.

“Cheyenne!”

“Our daughter is the most precious thing in our lives,” Henson said before breaking down. “Please… please bring her back to us unharmed.”

“Cheyenne.”

Cheyenne walked into the kitchen, rubbing her eyes. “What in the hell are you yelling for?” she asked. “This place better be on fire.”

Jovan pointed to the television.

Cheyenne sidled up beside Jovan and stared at the TV. Her jaw dropped.

“Is that Ian?”

Jovan nodded. “Leland Henson’s daughter is missing.”

“But what is my supposed man doing there hugging the wife?” Cheyenne’s nostrils flared.

“I have no idea, but we’re going to find out. Shower and dress. Quickly.”

Shonell Bacon is an author, doctoral candidate, editor, educator–everywoman. She has published both creatively and academically–novels, short stories, essays, and textbooks. She has had an essay of hers developed as part of a live theatre documentary production. In addition to her love of writing and what the future holds in her literary life, she is also an editor who loves helping writers hone their literary craft. Since 2001, she has edited for hundreds of writers who have gone on to pursue self-publishing careers and have been published within the traditional publishing arena. Her love for helping writers also moved her to begin writing articles and commentaries regarding the writing life and craft, and she publishes these articles on various websites. She is an educator, having taught English and mass communication courses in addition to fiction writing and other courses related to creative writing. And while taking part in all of those things, Shonell also finds the time to pursue her Ph.D. in Technical Communication and Rhetoric at Texas Tech University. Now a doctoral candidate, she is conducting research and writing her dissertation.

Get to Know Shonell:

When did you get bitten by the writing bug?

I was ten. My mom and I were at a flea market, and she bought me a .25 cent green diary. Instead of writing the typical 10-year-old girly things, I wrote sports articles on my beloved Baltimore Orioles and my own scripts to my favorite soap at the time, The Guiding Light.

When did you know that you wanted to pursue writing in a serious manner?

Probably the same time I got that green diary. During my teen years, I wrote a lot of bad screenplays, all featuring the same story – a woman who somehow comes to own a sports team and ends up falling for and getting the hot, great player on the team. LOL I finally broke away from those and in the 90′s, having recently graduated high school, I started studying the industry, trying to figure out how to become a better writer and how to break into the industry.

Plotter or pantser?

Definitely plotter. I visually write my stories bit by bit until they are pretty much developed, then take to drafting an outline and writing the story. I don’t let the outline confine me, however. I often go outside the outline; however, doing an outline gives me structure and enables me to be a fast writer. And not a fast writer who gets an idea and jumps to the computer and a few chapters in peters out. I typically go hard and fast until the story is done.

What genre(s) do you write?

Hard question, and it shouldn’t be, right? I consider myself a life writer–I write the stories of life. Extraordinarily vague, I know. Sometimes, my stories fit really well into a genre, and sometimes, they don’t. For the most part, I write mysteries/thrillers, and the bulk of my work tends to fall into women’s fiction.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

1- Do not write to fit a trend; they come and go, and so will your work.

2- Write from the heart; if you don’t care about your work, no one else will either.

3- Study the writing craft; it’s great to write because you have the love of it, but at some point, you have to show people you are serious about growing as a writer, too.

4- Get into PR; no one is going to promote your work as hard as you do. Study the various ways, online and offline, that you can sell your work to your audience.

What is your very favorite thing to do when you’re not writing?

Two things – watch sports and listen to music. Music evokes the same emotions I receive when a story lulls me to the laptop. It soothes this savage beast and sparks me to write. I ADORE sports and before I became a teacher, writer, editor; my dream was to be a sports anchor for ESPN, and it doesn’t matter if it’s a Sunday NFL game, the frenzy of March Madness, or a Saturday afternoon baseball game, you can often hear me commentating on the games just by walking past my house, LOL I’m THAT vocal!

We’ve talked about how you came to writing, the kind of writer you are, advice to aspiring writers, and your non-writing time. Let’s get to one good question about Into the Web. Why should people buy it?

OK, time to sell myself, I guess. LOL. Reason? Death at the Double Inkwell, the debut novel in the Double Inkwell series, has been my favorite book to write. I consider it the best story I’ve written, and I have plenty of novels written in the arsenal. Readers have enjoyed DDIW, giving it a 5-star rating, and they still purchase it and tell me how much they love the story. Once I finished the last sentence of Into the Web, I knew it was the best thing I’d written–better than DDIW. I loved the entire process of writing it and loved the layered stories that find their way into ITW. Love, lies, secrets, murder, mayhem, and the great sisterhood of Jovan and Cheyenne? Not much more a reader could ask for!

Web-links:

Website: http://shonellbacon.com Facebook: http://facebook.com/shonbacon Twitter: http://twitter.com/chicklitgurrl CLG Entertainment (blogsite for editorial services): http://www.clg-entertainment.com Email: sdb6812@hotmail.com

Monday, June 11, 2012

Checkmate by Jonean L. McClain

Synopsis:

CHESS is a game meant to be enjoyed, but what happens when the life you live seems to have turned into the game you’ve played for so long? When your friends, whom you’ve once protected in one way, are doing everything now to protect you in another… even if it involves sacrificing themselves.

In chess, you can pretty much predict what your opponent is going to do and when, and in each and every move lies a consequence. In life, you can’t predict anything, you simply live it. Jim Westergren once said, “Probably the biggest difference between a game of chess and life is that in chess you know all the rules and how everything works.”

Follow Jonean as she brings life to the game, using people as the pieces and their real life situations as moves with consequences.

This great read will have you on the edge and anxious to know more, while educating you about chess at the same time.

Learn the game… but more importantly… learn the lesson.

“You Can Run But You Can’t Hide”

CHECKMATE

Excerpt:

THE KING, in chess, is the most valuable piece known for his slow movement. He can only move one square, but in any direction he pleases…

Once your KING is lost, so is the game.

I figured I owed him that much. I can’t quite remember the last time I stepped foot in his church. Shit, I can’t quite remember the last time I stepped foot in anybody’s church.

“Praise the Lord Brother,” said a man with white gloves on as he extended his hand to direct me where to sit.

“Praise the Lord,” I mumbled back.

It was only right.

Ain’t mean nothin’ to me though.

Jonean McLain (pronounced JOHN-NEAN), born to John and Jean on February 27, 1981. At the age of one, Jonean was introduced to her mom’s friend, Ricky Alford; who later became her step-dad. “He’s the greatest Pop a kid could have,” she says. As a child, Jonean always expressed to her mother that she’d be famous or something BIG because her birthday was a TV show “227″. Jonean has had many jobs from hard hats and steel-toed boots to high heels and three piece suits. She currently resides in Baltimore, MD where she’s a School Bus Driver, referring to her bus as “The Magic School Bus.” Jonean shared that she’s had a passion for writing for as long as she can remember. She would turn any project she had to do in school into a poem or short story. She still refers back to a poem she wrote in seventh grade at Hamilton Middle School called “BLACK” where her teacher told her she was an Excellent Writer, and later in her Ninth Grade year at Western High School, she had to do a report for Biology on a plant cell and created a short story called, LIFE IN A PLANT CELL and just as her seventh grade teacher, her ninth grade teacher Mrs. Seiler told her the same thing, “You’re an EXCELLENT writer!”

“I’m not a big reader,” she’d say. “I just love to write.”

Get to know Jonean:

Q: Why do you write?

A: I write because it gives me that chance to show my creativity, opening those doors where my imagination resides.

Q: Who is your biggest inspiration?

A: My biggest inspiration would have to be two people; therefore, my mom and my son. There’s so much I’d like to do with and for the both of them… They’re my reason(s) for not giving up.

Q: What is your most proud moment?

A: My most proud moment is NOW! I’m actually finishing something I’ve started. I’ve always had great ideas, but that’s how far they went… an idea. I’ve actually set goals and met them.

Q: What’s the top item on your bucket list?

A: The top item on my bucket list would have to be, sky diving. I’ve always wanted to jump from a plane. Don’t ask me why… It’s just a rush I get at the thought. Lol.

Q: What one word best describes you?

A: One word that best describes me is… hmmm… I’d have to go with Creative. Yeah, that’ll work… CREATIVE.

Q: How long have you been writing?

A: Wow! I’ve been writing since I was a youngster… Not that I’m old now. Lol. I’ve always had a thing for painting pictures… even when I tell a story verbally, I’m very descriptive.

Q: What inspired you to write CHECKMATE?

A: I was actually watching my two cousins play chess when I decided to write CHECKMATE. Just something I thought I’d like to take a stab at.

Q: What’s your purpose in life?

A: I’m still wondering what my purpose in life is… I was diagnosed with Lupus in 2004 going in to 2005… I experienced one of the biggest scares. After being in a coma for two weeks and the doctors doubting if I’d make it through the night… Seven years later, and I’m still here. You ask what my purpose is? I can’t answer that Matter Factly… I just know I have one. It may be to help others… I love to help people genuinely without needing the glory or recognition of doing so.

Web-links:

Website: www.LYFEpublications.com

Twitter: @jmclain227

Facebook: jonean.mclain@facebook.com

http://facebook.com/jonean.mclain

Saturday, June 2, 2012

When is Strong – Strong Enough? by Souraya Christine

Synopsis:
When is Strong – Strong Enough gives a riveting account of the life events of author, Souraya Christine. Although Souraya is not a celebrity of any sort, her mission, with this book, is to provide an avenue of self-help for any female who may be struggling with molestation, abuse, lies, promiscuity, alienation, death, teen pregnancy, domestic violence, or any other traumatic situation. Souraya’s family was what we call a “sweep it under the rug” kind of people. No one really discussed issues, which caused Souraya to “deal” with her experiences the best way she knew how – on her own. It wasn’t until adulthood that she sought counseling, however, each time she left with the feeling that her level of knowledge surpassed that of the therapist who intended to help her. As a result, she was left feeling unsatisfied and un-rescued. This book details Souraya’s bad decisions, wild ways, and subsequent recklessness as she learned to cope with her tragedies, process pain, and ultimately forgive and love herself. She is still a work in progress, but as a recently baptized Christian, she is slowly learning to trust againand to extend her new-found love to others. This is a gripping true story that will have you on an emotional rollercoaster from beginning to end!
Excerpt:
These girls had it in for me. Every day, the chase was on. It had gotten to a point that I no longer wanted to go outside to play. Stepping outside would make me instantly nauseous. Pretty soon, the twins had enlisted the assistance of other girls on the street to torture me. I remember being surrounded by a fairly large circle of girls, shoving me back and forth, pulling my hair, hitting me. I was terrified. I wasn’t a fighter. I had absolutely no intentions of fighting, not even to defend myself. Where were the parents of these children? For that matter, where were my parents? I mean, we’re right outside of our homes and no one recognizes this commotion? Do they assume that we’re all just playing? This was ridiculous, and getting completely out of control.
“Stop crying”, my mom would say. “You don’t let anyone bully you. If you can’t stand up and fight, then I’ll beat your ass when you come in this house.” Wow! I guess that’s one way to build character. Or begin the cycle of insanity.
Souraya was raised in a relatively low-income household, by a single mother, with one younger sister. Originally from Cleveland, OH, she lived in Atlanta for a couple of years, and has resided in Las Vegas, NV since 2003. She endured a lot of trauma early in life, and throughout her early adulthood. It was during these times that she would often ask God exactly how strong she needed to be because it seemed as if the blows kept coming without any time for a breath in between. Throughout school, although “gifted” academically, she experienced many problems stemming from the traumatic events in her life, including drugs and alcohol, promiscuity, associating with the wrong people, near death experiences, and becoming a single parent herself at age 16. She used these experiences to fuel her love for writing. She began writing poetry and short stories early in school, and even had the divine opportunity to be introduced to Maya Angelou in elementary school.
Through many more traumatic and dramatic events, including two failed marriages, she is now the proud single parent of 3 children. One daughter age 20, who graduated with high honors, works and goes to college full-time; another daughter, a high school freshman, and well on her way to living a very productive life; and a five year old son just starting school and learning who he is. Souraya is not proud of the events of her life, but she feels truly blessed to have lived the life she did, because to this credit, she has been led to a fulfilling relationship with God, and the opportunity to use these events to help others through this book. She is currently in the process of releasing her first book, entitled “When is Strong – Strong Enough….How to push through the pain”, that chronicles the events that shaped her life. In addition to working full-time and being a single parent, she is working toward finishing her Bachelor’s Degree, owns and operates a phlebotomy and CPR training company, and looks very forward to a long career of providing her readers with stimulating and alluring works that will help fill the soul.
Get to know Souraya:
Introduce yourself and style of writing to readers.
My name is Souraya Christine. Having escaped a turbulent past, I am the proud single parent of 3 children, living my dreams, and keeping it real. My style of writing is what I like to call, “Girlfriend Language”. To me this represents an easy, light-hearted approach to life that anyone can relate to.
What inspired the title?
The title, “When is Strong – Strong Enough?” represented the questions I would ask God throughout my life. I was always the “strong” one in the family, the one who could handle and push through anything. So, it just seemed fitting for this book.
With the onslaught of books available to the public, what can you do to get your books into the hands of readers?
One thing, that I am very proud of, is the radio show that was created as a spin-off of the book, entitled “Never Strong Enough”. The show has been increasing its audience over the past few weeks since it first aired, and will hopefully and eventually reach to every corner of the world with internet or phone access. Additionally I plan to travel promoting the book. I am also developing relationships with different organizations at the fore-front of the topics that relate to my personal struggles, such as, sexual abuse/assault, domestic violence, and being fatherless.
The radio show can be found at www.blogtalkradio.com/never-strong-enough.
What will readers enjoy most about “When is Strong – Strong Enough”?
I believe that my readers will enjoy the fact that I am so transparent. People with similar struggles will be able to relate to me on a personal level. They will also appreciate the advice given at the end of each chapter on how to push through the pain.
Where did you get the idea and inspiration to write this book?
The idea and inspiration actually came many years ago. Growing up there was no real outlet for me to be able to face and deal with the pain I was experiencing. My family did not discuss problems, and never sought any help for me, so I was left to figure it all out on my own. I started writing poetry and short stories in grade school, but gave that up after a while. Well into my twenties, I realized that I still hadn’t coped with all of the traumatic events of my life and therefore couldn’t grow as a person. I reverted back to writing and figured that if I could get all of it out of me and onto paper, then I would feel much better and be able to heal. The result was a novel.
Compare writing to your poetry, what are the similarities and differences?
My writing and poetry styles are very similar in that I write just the way that I talk. Again, this is where the “Girlfriend Language” comes into play. I really want people to be able to relate to and understand everything that I present before them. I don’t ever want anyone put my book or poem down and look puzzled, wondering what that was all about, as I have done so many times.
As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take for you to start and finish “When is Strong – Strong Enough”?
My writing process, I believe, has developed a little over the years. Now I begin with an outline, from there I develop a summary of the book’s plot, and from there the story is created. With “When is Strong – Strong Enough”, I just started writing….I went all the way back as far as I could remember and began writing out all of my experiences in as much detail as I could recall. The book originally took me years to write because it was for the sole purpose of healing for me, so I would just write periodically when the need struck. Eventually, however, it took on new roots and developed into more of a self-help book that could be shared with the world. With that in mind, and once over my fears of sharing the book, I went back through it and re-wrote it and developed it further. That process took less than a month.
Web-links:
www.sourayachristine.com
www.sourayap@gmail.com
www.blogtalkradio.com/never-strong-enough
Twitter: @sourayachristine
Facebook: Author Souraya Christine
LinkedIn: Souraya Christine

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