Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Between books...

INNER CITY BLUES went to my editor on Sunday! 

Since then I've been working on my "between books to do list". When I'm in the process of writing, I don't do much of anything else besides read and little bit and watch some TV at night.  That means the house only gets the minimum vacuuming and dusting. All of the craft/business articles I've printed out during the six months I'm in my writing cave are stacked up in piles in my office and on the dining room table along with everything else that needs to be filed. I also had to make up folders for the research I did on all of the Stafford brothers books.

So every day I'm spending time going through the piles and sorting out what I need to read and what I just need to file, and every afternoon I'll be reading the craft and business stuff. Getting organized always makes me feel good. The idea of starting a new book/series with everything in its place is wonderful.

My editor blocked out two weeks to do the book, and that means I have fourteen days or less to get everything done.

On the fun side, I'm reading a great book, ALWAYS AND FOREVER, by the queen of historical African-American romance, Beverly Jenkins. 
Yes, on the surface (front cover) it looks like a traditional historical romance, but the story is actually about 35 women traveling from Chicago to Kansas by wagon train in the late 1800's. They are going to become wives to men in a town founded by blacks where women are few. All the women have to base their choice on are sketches of the "grooms" and a description of what each man is looking for in a wife. Grace Atwood has personally interviewed each of the woman, chosen the ones she feels fit the descriptions sent by the men and those she feels are tough enough to make the trip. She organizes the wagon train and hires Jackson Blake to be their wagonmaster. The romance that unfolds is between Grace and Jackson, but all of the things that happen during the trip is what makes this book amazing. Ms. Jenkins, who always does detailed research into actual African-American history, did an incredible job on this story. I'm enjoying it immensely, and I thank God I'm living now. I wouldn't have made it back in the old days. 

As soon as I get the manuscript back from my editor, I'll do the revisions, format it for Kindle and Nook and then send it to the woman who formats it for Createspace. It still looks good for a release the first week of November. To all of the readers who've sent me Facebook messages or e-mails asking how long it will be before they meet Jesse, I say...

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

New Release Spotlight!

While I wrap up Book Six in the Stafford Brothers series, I thought I'd give fellow authors time to share their books.

Today I'm proud to feature author Suzette D. Harrison and her historical romance novel, Taffy.

Please join author Suzette. D Harrison as she tours the blogosphere with  Write Now Literary Book Tours 
and her new release Taffy on
October 4, 2016.
Author: Suzette D. Harrison
Genre: Historical Fiction; Historical Romance
Book Title: TAFFY
Publication Date: February 11, 2016
ISBN-10: 1523298251
ISBN-13: 978-1523298259
About The Book
Welcome to the sleepy, all-Black southern town of Bledsoe, where Colored residents proudly declare "ain't nothing white here 'cept milk and teeth." It's 1935. A press-and-curl costs a quarter. Records play on phonographs. And a telephone is a luxury. Meet twenty-three-year-old Taffy Bledsoe Freeman. She doesn't need her gift of second sight to know her "mockery of a marriage" to a man twice her age is far from good. After a seven-year exile Up North, Taffy travels down-home to the small town bearing her family's name, plotting her escape from a marriage not worth the price of a press-and-curl. She only needs to retrieve the son her husband banished to her parents' care, before boarding a train headed for the Windy City filled with liberty and opportunity. Instead, Taffy stumbles into Roam Ellis: the man Taffy meant to marry. Twenty-six-year-old Roam Ellis is a "broad-shouldered, hard-bodied" Pullman porter riding the rails coast-to-coast, outrunning the bitter heartbreak Taffy left behind. Now, after a seven-year absence, Roam is face-to-face with his first love. Anger ignites. Old wounds are exposed. But when pain subsides, passion rises, thrusting Taffy and Roam into a hurricane of buried secrets and lies. Reminiscent of the works of Bernice McFadden, Bertice Berry, and Andrea Smith (The Sisterhood of Blackberry Corner) this Historical Romance is bathed in southern lore and sweeping imagery. Lyrical and powerful, Taffy is a story of restoration and redemption that you won't soon forget.
About The Author

Suzette D. Harrison, a native Californian and the middle of three daughters, grew up in a home where reading was required, not requested. Her literary “career” began when her poetry appeared in a volume of creative writing published by her junior high school. While Ms. Harrison pays homage to Gloria Naylor, Dr. Maya Angelou, Alice Walker, and Toni Morrison for initially inspiring her creative spirit, it was Alex Haley’s Roots (which she read at the age of fourteen) that unveiled the tremendous power and importance of African American literary voices. In addition to being the wife of a university professor and mother of gorgeous children, Suzette is a cupcake proprietor who loves singing gospel-with-a-hint-of-jazz. An elementary school librarian, Suzette is currently working on her next novel…in between batches of cupcakes.
Taffy made ready to fuss him out only to reconsider. That steel-headed man won’t move. She would. Taffy eyed the fence, knowing she’d earlier hopped it with ease. But she couldn’t hike her dress up before present company. “Go ahead,” Roam goaded, popping peppermints in his mouth, ready to enjoy the spectacle. “I’d like to see you try.” Options were few with the opposite side of the road lined by a ditch and a frighteningly out-of-control briar patch. Taffy could reverse her path. I’m not! Taffy had long ago learned how to do what she had to. “You ‘bout to break something,” Roam warned, shaking his head as Taffy prepared to climb. “Gal, quit acting up and walk this way.” Ignoring Roam, Taffy hoisted herself onto the bottom rail. Fumbling, she tried climbing with shoes in hand, finally dropping them over the fence, onto the other side. Roam moved quickly before Taffy, too, was beyond reach. Taffy felt an arm snake about her waist, effortlessly hauling her backward as if it didn’t cost Roam a thing. “What’re you doing?!” “Whatever I want,” Roam responded, setting Taffy on her feet, anchoring an arm about her waist when Taffy spun, spitting heat. “Move, Roam.” Taffy strained against Roam’s iron hold. “Get off me before I hurt you!” “Already did.” Her fire fizzled. Voice softened, tongue tasted regret. “Roam, what do you want?” “You.” Taffy stilled. Roam reinforced his hold. “Two things I won’t do with you: mince words or waste time.” Lifting her chin, claiming her mouth, Roam proved his point. His lips were hot, soft, sweet. Taffy got lost savoring them and him, and the bombarding emotions of mere moments before became nonexistent. Oh my blessedness, Taffy inwardly purred, feeling a slow, unsanctioned melting. They’d shared quick, quaint kisses in adolescent sweetheart days. Never this. Never with man-to-woman savoir faire. Resuscitated passions exploded and multiplied. Taffy could barely breathe let alone think, so she followed love’s lead and held on for the ride.
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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

New Release Spotlight

Please join author Paulette Harper as she tours the blogosphere with Write Now Literary Book Tours and her new release Secret Places Revealed, on September 27, 2016.

In celebration of Paulette’s upcoming release, Secret Places Revealed, she’s giving away one (1) autograph copy of Secret Places Revealed.

This contest is open for US only through October, 7, 2016

Publication Date: September 16, 2016
Paperback: 342 pages
Genre: Inspirational Romance
ISBN-10: 0989969150
ISBN-13: 978-0989969154
About The Book

A broken man, a woman on the run, a love that won’t be denied.

Single—and very content—real estate developer Aaron Blackman is determined not to become involved in another relationship. He’s experienced enough drama to last a lifetime. The only thing garnering his attention now is his growing business. And he plans to keep it that way. Then Simone Herron waltzes into his life, beautiful and confident. Fighting to keep his promise to himself—to remain single—he soon discovers that when it comes to love, some promises must be broken.

After losing her fiancé in an untimely death, Simone Herron relocates. She desperately needs to put the past behind her and start a new chapter in her life. While love is the farthest thing from her mind, she experiences an attraction to the handsome Aaron Blackman that frightens her. She's built a wall around her heart, but can she find the strength and courage she needs to welcome love again? To do so, she must conquer her fears and allow God to put all of her broken pieces back together.

About The Author
In addition to being an award winning author of Completely Whole, Paulette is an inspirational speaker, as well as a writing workshop instructor. She has a passion to coach aspiring authors and speaks into the lives of women from every walk of life. Her literary works have been spotlighted in a growing number of publications, including CBN, Real Life Real Faith Magazine, and Black Pearls Magazine. She has also appeared on numerous local and online radio shows.

Paulette resides in Northern California.

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Friday, September 16, 2016

Thursday, September 15, 2016

New Release Spotlight!

Today the spotlight is shining on author Sheryl Lister. She has a brand new Kimani romance that I hope you will buy. Here are all of the details.  Sorry about the spacing. This was an HTML document, and I didn't know how to fix it...

Please join author Sheryl Lister as she tours the blogosphere with Write Now Literary Book Tours and her new release Places In My Heart, Pre Order Blitz and Contest on September 15, 2016.
In celebration of Sheryl’s upcoming release, Places In My Heart, she’s giving away (5) five prizes: (4) four mini-swag packs and (1) one Grand Prize of a Reader Lovers Basket, including a Kindle Fire and $25 Amazon gift card. 
Pre-order your copy: Amazon:
Once you've ordered, enter the contest here:
This contest is open to US only through September 30, 2016. 
Publication Date:  Oct 1, 2016
Genre: Contemporary Romance
ISBN-10: 0373864701
ISBN-13: 978-0373864706
About The Book
Omar Drummond is a pro football superstar with a body that’s a pure work of art. But Morgan Gray is forbidden to act on their chemistry, or repeat their impulsive kiss. Proving her worth as a sports agent means securing the notorious celebrity as a client, not a lover. Yet between flowers, sweet notes and heady hotel interludes, Omar is shamelessly seducing her...
Other agents—and exes—have tried using Omar as a meal ticket, and he’s closed himself off from emotional entanglements. With Morgan, it’s a whole new playbook. Smart and tough, she can negotiate a contract and turn him on all in one go, and he craves more. But in matters of trust, he’s just fumbled badly. To win her he has to show her the man he can be away from the field and the limelight, and hope that this time they’re both playing for keeps.
About The Author
Sheryl Lister has enjoyed reading and writing for as long as she can remember. She writes contemporary and inspirational romance and romantic suspense. She been nominated for an Emma Award and RT Reviewer’s Choice Award and named BRAB’s 2015 Best New Author. When she’s not reading, writing or playing chauffeur, Sheryl can be found on a date with her husband or in the kitchen creating appetizers and bite-sized desserts. Sheryl resides in California and is a wife, mother of three daughters and a son-in-love, and grandmother to two very special little boys.
Omar knew he had taken a risk showing up at Morgan’s office, but he was desperate. It had taken a lot to persuade Malcolm to share his sister’s information, especially since Omar had declined to say what had happened between them. He toyed with calling first, but changed his mind because he didn’t want to chance her refusing to see him. The woman seated outside Morgan’s office, whom he assumed was the assistant, greeted him with a wide smile and an exaggerated sway of her hips as she led him to the office. Omar ignored the not-so-subtle brush of her breasts against his arm when she turned to leave. In his peripheral vision, he noticed the slight rise in Morgan’s eyebrow and knew she’d seen it, too. He waited until the woman closed the door before turning to face Morgan.
Morgan folded her arms. “What are you doing here?”
“Hello to you, too,” he said.
An embarrassed expression crossed her face. “Sorry. Have a seat.”
Omar took the chair opposite her desk. “I apologize for stopping by without calling, but I figured you wouldn’t see me otherwise.”
“You were probably right. How do you know I won’t call security to throw you out now?”
“I don’t, but I’m counting on your love of football to work in my favor.” They engaged in a stare-down for several seconds until she looked away first.
“How did you know where I worked?”
“Malcolm.” She frowned and he added, “If it’s any consolation, he adamantly refused to divulge your home address.”
“Well, maybe I won’t kill him, after all.”
He chuckled.
“Since you went through all this trouble, I guess I can spare you five minutes.”
Omar knew the mention of football would rouse her curiosity. “I’d like to talk to you about a business proposition.”
“What does that have to do with football?”
“My contract is up for renewal in six weeks and—”
“Don’t you have an agent? If memory serves me correctly, you have one of the best agents around.”
“Things aren’t always as they seem.”
She sat up straight. “What are you saying?”
“I’m saying it’s time for a change, and I’d like you to negotiate my upcoming contract. You’re an attorney and, according to your brother, you know football like you’ve played it all your life.”
Her eyes lit up and her mouth fell open. “Are you serious? Wait a minute.” She sat back again and angled her head. “What about your current agent? Did he dump you or something?”
Omar sighed. “No.” There was more to it, but he would only tell her if she agreed to represent him.
Morgan narrowed her eyes. “There are dozens of sports agents out there, and I’m certain any one of them would be happy to take you on, especially with your numbers from last year. Yet you’re in my office.”
He smiled. “You checked my stats? So, you’re admitting I’ve got game?”
A rush of color darkened her face. “Why me?” she asked, ignoring his questions.
“You want to be an agent, and I need one.” He leaned forward and whispered, “And I know you passed the sport’s agent certification test. It’s a win-win situation for both of us.”
“On second thought, I am going to kill Malcolm,” she muttered.
“I need your help, Morgan. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t.”
“I have to think about this.” She turned slightly in her chair and stared out the window, and then back at him. “You realize I already have a job. And I’m working on a case.”
Omar nodded. “I understand, and I have no problems working around your schedule.”
“Even on weekends or late evenings.”
“I see.” She went back to staring out the window.
He could almost hear the wheels turning in her head. She bit down on her lip, drawing his attention and reminding him how much he enjoyed kissing her.
Finally she angled her head his direction. “I’ll agree on one condition.”
“What’s that?”
“You keep your hands and lips to yourself. No more kisses.”
Omar groaned inwardly. There was no way he could go without kissing her. In fact, it had been the first thing on his mind from the moment he saw her today. “Morgan—”
“No. More. Kisses,” she repeated.
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Tour hosted by WNL Book Tours
Today the spotlight is shining on author Sheryl Lister. She has a brand new release that I hope you read. Check out the details... Follow Sheryl on Tour

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Sample Sunday

I'm much closer to The End of Inner City Blues, the final book in the Stafford Brothers series, than I was the last time I posted an excerpt here. Right now it looks like the book will have a November release date, and I'll put up one more excerpt on the first Sunday in October.

This unedited clip opens Chapter Two where the family is together for Christmas and Mama Stafford takes the daughter-in-law out for the day.


Jesse watched his brothers in amazement. The moment the limo pulled off with the ladies, something peculiar kicked in. None of them would’ve admitted it, but the men actually looked forward to this assignment. They all cared for their own kids at home, but this was different. All six of the brothers and their father along with all nine of their children only happened once a year. The amazing thing was how competitive each of them became. They were all educated professional men, but today it became of utmost importance to prove they knew how to be Mr. Mom.

Of course, his father walked around as though he were the ultimate authority on child rearing sent from On High to oversee them. After he’d offered his unsolicited opinion on everything from what to feed the kids for lunch to how to get Jax to stop crying, Jesse called his brothers into a huddle. “We need to shut him up. What can we do to keep him occupied for the next couple of hours?”

“Let him make the sandwiches for lunch,” Vic suggested.

Charles groaned. “That’ll only take fifteen minutes tops.”

“I have an idea,” Marc said with a sly grin. “I need some lunch. I could send him on a food run. That should get him out of here for at least ninety-minutes.”

“And while he’s gone, we have to think of something else.” Nick finished putting the breakfast dishes into the dishwasher and cleared his throat when he saw their father coming into the family room.

Marc jumped right into their plan. “Daddy, can you do me a huge favor?”

The older man nodded his gray head. “What do you need, son?”

“You guys have leftovers from yesterday’s dinner to eat for lunch, but I don’t have anything. Could you make a restaurant run for me? I want something from Tassili’s Raw Reality over on Abernathy. I know it’s a little out of the way, but I’ve been there before, and they have what I want.”

“If you ate normal food like the rest of the world, that wouldn’t be necessary,” their father grumbled with a touch of laughter behind his word. “All right, call it in and give me the address so I can plug it into the GPS.”

Marc sent his brothers a furtive smile. “Thanks, Daddy. I’ll call them now.”

Jesse added onto the plot by saying, “It looks like Cyd didn’t send enough diapers for Aniyah, and I’m afraid I might run out. She can only wear a certain brand because her skin is extremely sensitive and the other brands give her contact dermatitis. If that happens, Cyd’ll kill me.

The old man gazed toward the ceiling as though he felt they were taking advantage of him and then stuck his upraised palm out for some cash. “Fine.”

Twenty minutes later, he left and the six remaining men broke into a fit of laughter. “If he hadn’t left, I might’ve tried to kill him,” Jesse said.

“You’d think nobody in this world ever changed a diaper before he showed them how,” Nick fussed as he carried Jax over to the play yard filled with toys and placed him inside with Jelani and Lili.

Charles chuckled. “The worst part is he isn’t even a pediatrician.”

“He thinks because he had six sons, he knows everything there is to know,” Greg agreed. 

“But when you hear Mama tell it, he left all of that up to her when we were little.”

“You know how it was back in the day, childcare was considered woman’s work,” Vic chimed in.”

“Hmph! I’d hate to see what would happen if I told Cher that.”

“They’d probably the last words you uttered before your lights went out, man!” A howl came in reply to Greg’s words.

The brothers spent the time while their father did the restaurant pick-up and diaper run refilling their coffee mugs and playing with the children.

Jesse put Aniyah in the swing Mama had bought in from the garage. He pushed the button hoping she’d also remembered to put new batteries in it. When the seat started to move, and she giggled, he settled back into the sofa pillows and watched Marc as he brushed ChiChi’s hair. “It’ll really be good to have you back in the A, man.”

“I’m looking forward to it.” Marc awkwardly twisted her thick, curly hair into two ponytails and fastened them with an elastic tie with little plastic animal faces on them. When he finished, they were lopsided but neat. “My years in Vegas served their purpose. I proved to myself that I could build a business, and it gave Daddy and me time to work out our stuff.”

“Thanks for having my back about the arrest.” Jesse sent his brother a lingering, heartfelt glance.

“Hey, not too long ago I was his target, so you know I understand. Seems like you really enjoy volunteering at the clinic.”

“I do, man. My work at the practice is fulfilling but in a different way. Saving lives is always rewarding, but I feel like my patients at the clinic need me in a different way. What I do there is actually more like family practice, and it’s for people who might not get the care they need anywhere else. I don’t even think about the money.”

Charles leaned over the plastic barricade keeping the babies confined and ended a tug of war between the two girls by taking away the doll they were fighting over. “Pro bono work is the most gratifying, in my opinion. I’m proud of the work I do at the children’s hospital, but what I did in Nigeria will stay with me forever. I honestly can’t wait until Adanna and I go back for our next tour.”

“When will that be?” Vic asked, then said, “Wait a minute, I hear some arguing downstairs.” 

He jogged over to the open door leading to the theater. “Hey! What’s all that noise about?” his booming voice asked.

Jesse couldn’t hear the kids’ response, but Vic ended it quickly by telling the quarreling children, “If I have to come down there, nobody’s going to see anything. Settle it. Now!” A sudden silence drifted up the stairs. “Yeah, that’s what I thought.”

“We’re going again in April for three weeks,” Charles said when Vic returned to the sofa. 

“Mama said she’d keep Lani for us.”

“Sweet. You know Mona didn’t support my doing pro bono work, but she came to me a while back and said, ‘I never understood how you and your brothers could work all those hours for free. Now I get it.’ It seems that one of the women who runs the business incubator that helped her get the company off the ground told her about a charity that provides clothing for women getting their first job after being homeless or in a shelter for domestic abuse. She started giving pieces from her collection to them. They asked her to come to a luncheon where she met a few of the recipients and heard their personal stories. She even took a carload of her clothes and shoes to them. I’m proud of the way she’s grown since she’s been in business for herself.”

“No kidding. That’s major.” Jesse paused for a moment. “Mama and Daddy taught us well. That’s why I can’t wrap my head around why he wants me to separate myself from what’s going on in the Hollowell area.”

“It’s because you’re personally involved. He’d be happy if you were just sending a check.”

“This is a different situation, though. Money isn’t going to bring that kid back. Only visible, vocal protests will keep the media focused on the case. Black men have to be seen and heard speaking out against what’s happening with the police in our neighborhoods.”

“Just be careful, man.” Marc slapped him on the back. "Bullets don’t discriminate.”

Coming to Kindle, Nook and paperback November 2016

Saturday, August 20, 2016

New Release Spotlight!

Today I am proud to share with you a new release from inspirational author Kristen Marquardt entitled Releasing Jesus from the Weeds. More about this interesting title in a minute. First, I'd like to tell you a little about Kristen.

Kristen has been serving the church and God both volunteer and professionally for over 30 years, starting as a Sunday School teacher, CE Director, and Licensed Pastor. She holds a dual B..A. from Connecticut College in English Literature and Environmental Science and an M.S. In Theology and the Arts from Andover Newton Theological Seminary. She lives in Connecticut in a multigenerational home with her husband and many pets. She enjoys her family, writing, gardening and so much more...

About the book:

From the pew to the pulpit to prayer, Kristen Marquardt’s writing has been serving God’s People in Connecticut for over thirty years. Her unique style in prose, poetry, and short story reminds us of our shared humanity and how our faith and faith struggles are no different than those of both biblical characters and the people we see everyday in our daily walk. With rare insight, Marquardt looks deeply into faith and strips away the boundaries that we all assume exist, reminding us that our hope is not ours alone, we all share a common path as God’s children.

"Kristen is a gifted writer, a writer that stirs the soul and causes us to think more openly the existence of God in ordinary life. I call Kristen a wisdom writer." ~ Rev. Dr. Sharon Ledbetter

You can find out more at any of her online homes:

You can buy the book from: