Sunday, August 2, 2015

Character crisis

I haven't posted anything about the next book in the Stafford Brothers series since April 30th when I did the cover reveal, mainly because I've done some reworking of the early chapters after my beta readers and my critique partners expressed some concerns about the main character, Ramona Stafford.

As an author, I don't bend to the whims of the reading public, but I do listen to those with whom I've partnered to help me create a story that makes sense and is a pleasurable read. As a reader, I've come across some books where I didn't particularly like the hero or heroine, but as I continued reading my opinion changed. I've also read books where one of the main characters irked me so badly I put the book down and never picked it up again. I don't want the latter to happen with those who buy I'M LOSING YOU, so I spent extra time tweaking Mona's personality and changing the way I've written some of the beginning chapters.

Part of the issue with this story is that I write mostly romance, but since two of the brothers in the series were already married when Book One released, their stories are women's fiction and not romance. During this process, I discovered that it is much harder for me to write about married people and their issues, perhaps because they hit too close to home. 

Ramona is the beautiful, pampered wife of Dr. Vic Stafford, who is the first black and the youngest man to be appointed as chief of surgery of the largest medical center in Atlanta. At Vic's insistence, she spent the early years of their twelve-year marriage as a homemaker. Once their sons entered school, Mona busied herself with representing Vic in the medical community by heading up two different groups to raise money for medical charities.

Her life is SO different from mine. She has a live-in housekeeper. When she's not seeing to the needs of her sons or conducting charity events, her time is her own to shop, keep up her physical appearance at the gym, spa or beauty salon. This is the life she has as a result of being married to a man who makes a half-million dollars a year. 

The problem was that a few of my beta readers felt she came across spoiled and ungrateful. That's the last thing I wanted. One of my readers resented Mona's life so much, she refused to continue reading! My whole purpose in writing this story was to show that even with all of the benefits of his salary, Mona and Vic have issues in their marriage that money can't fix.

During the rewrites of the first few chapters, I made a point of showing Mona's background. Her parents divorced, and she was raised by a "pageant mom" who committed her life to entering her beautiful daughter in competitions from the age of three. 

She believed if she taught Mona who to be attractive, poised and fashionable, she would have no problem finding the perfect husband. The only reason she sent her to college was to place her in a pool of possible eligible men, and her plan worked. The problem is that this kind of upbringing taught Mona that being pretty is the most important thing in the world.

I've worked hard to show that Mona is a good woman who loves her husband and sons, but when it seems as though she's losing the man she loves, she attempts to regain his attention in the wrong way. This book is the shortest one in the series, and it does have a happy ending.

Vic's issues revolve around his new job, and I'll talk about those in my next post.


I'm hoping for an early September release, if not sooner...



Thursday, July 30, 2015

New Release Spotlight - M. J. Kane

Author M. J. Kane has a brand new release, NOBODY'S BUSINESS! She's here today to introduce us to her main character and to give everyone a chance to enter her giveaway.



An Interview with Trevon Campbell

One of the fun things about being an author is getting to know new characters. I say getting to know, because that’s exactly what happens when characters break into your head to tell you their story. As an author, sometimes we just make stuff up, other times; we listen to what our characters have to say. And when we can, we grab them by the shirt sleeve and make them sit down and answer a few questions! So, with that said, join me as I get to know Trevon Campbell!

MJ: Trevon, it’s good to see you! How have you been?

Trevon: Hi, MJ. Things have been good, challenging, but…good.

MJ: I understand, believe me. First, let me tell you how much I appreciate you taking the time to sit down and share me your life story. This is what, the third time we’ve sat down to chat?

Trevon: Yeah, and it seems like each time leads to another story. Am I getting paid for this?

MJ: (Laughs) Well, for one of them…the first time around was a freebee.

Trevon: (cocks and eyebrow) Hmm…

MJ: What? I had to do something to get my readers invested in your story. They know your sister but they don’t know you.

Trevon:Whose fault is that?

MJ: (clears throat) Look, let’s stay on task, okay?

Trevon: Fine, but you’re paying my babysitter.

MJ: I’m glad you mentioned your son, Justin. How is he?

Trevon: (smiles, full of pride) What can I say, he’s my heart.

MJ: I can tell. I remember the day we meet; you came off as a man who didn’t want to become a father. You were all about your car and your condo and living the life of a bachelor.What changed?

Trevon: (looks off in reflection) My past. Some people can’t live with their past mistakes. Me…well, (he chuckles), I was fortunate enough to have my past mistakes turn into a blessing. I will never forget the day Trina showed up and told me I was a father. Just wish she had told me when she found out she was pregnant. Two years was a lot of time to miss out on, you know?

MJ: Yes, I do. As a mother of four kids, I couldn’t imagine not being with them from day one. I must say, you seem to be a good dad.
Trevon: I learned from the best. It hasn’t been easy, though.

MJ: How so?

Trevon: Trina, for starters. I hurt her and she’s not ready to forgive me. I’m pretty sure if it wasn’t for the fact that Justin was sick, I would have lived the rest of my life never knowing that I had a child out there. Maybe she would have told him about me years from now. Maybe I would have looked up to see an eighteen-year-old man standing before me saying I was his father. Who knows? But, she didn’t, and now I have a chance to fix the mistakes I made…if she’d let me.

MJ: Well, I can only wish you the best. Keep your head up; keep doing what you’re doing, and maybe one day she’ll come around.

Trevon: Maybe. And can I tell you something?

MJ: Sure.

Trevon: Thanks for giving me a chance to tell my story.

MJ:You’re welcome.

####

***To celebrate the release of the fourth novel in The Butterfly Memoirs series, I am giving away a basket filled with Butterfly Memoirs goodies, including autographed paperback copies of ALL FOUR BOOKS!!!!  All you have to do is follow the month long blog tour and Tweet, Like, and Share!***


Trevon Campbell’s world changed the moment his ex-girlfriend announced he was a father. Determined to make up for his past mistakes, he gives Trina what she wanted before their breakup, what feels like his soul, which means forgetting the woman he had a one-night stand with, the woman who stole his heart.

Kai Malone doesn’t want to play by her family’s rules. Instead of working for the family business, she became a firefighter. Being a female of multicultural descent, working in a field dominated by men, Kai focuses on her job to ignore the infidelity of her fiancé. Tired of his deceit, she gave in to a one-night stand with a complete stranger, someone she’d never have to see again…or so she thought.

When tragedy strikes, their worlds collide, leaving them no choice but to deal with each other again. It doesn’t take long for them to realize the attraction that brought them together the first time is stronger than ever, forcing Trevon to make the biggest decision of his life.

  
Excerpt:

“Daddy!”
Justin jogged as fast as his little feet could carry him up the walkway to my home the moment Trina released him from the car seat. I bent down to catch him. “Hey, mini me.” I tickled him as I swooped him up.
He laughed, wrapped his little arms around my neck, and squeezed.
“Hi, Trina.” I tried not to stare too hard at the mother of my child and the tight jeans she had on as she leaned over in the back of her Trailblazer.
She regarded me as she unhooked his car seat. “Hi.”
I grabbed his weekend bag she held out to me, tossed it over my free shoulder, and walked towards the house. Trina followed with the car seat.
“You’re all dressed up for a Friday night. Got plans?” I fought the urge to look over my shoulder and read her body language.
“None of your business, Tre. We’ve been over this before.”
I decided to ignore her reply and focused on my son instead. “Are you ready for a fun filled man-weekend?”
Justin giggled. “Yes!”
 “Make sure you stay on top of his medication, regardless of how much fun you’re having.”
“I always do. How did his doctor’s appointment go?”
“He’s doing well. The doctor is pleased with the results. There’s still no sign of tissue rejection which means he’s on his way to being completely free of the disease.”
Inside, I sat the bag and Justin on the sofa. He rolled off and ran for his room, attempting to drag his oversized bag behind him.
Trina watched in awe. “I just can’t get over how much more active he is. It’s like he’s trying to make up for the weeks he spent lying in the hospital bed.”
“True, plus I think he likes it here. It’s better than living in the confines of an apartment.” I wiggled my eyebrows. “Large rooms, no nosey neighbors, huge fenced yard. Perfect for a boy to run around in with his dog.”
Trina’s arms went across her chest as she sighed. “For the fifteenth time, no.”
“Come on. We’ve lived together before and it wasn’t bad. I know things didn’t work out last time and it was my fault. I promise it won’t be like that this time. We have a reason to try again.”
“No, you have a reason. We are fine where we live now. Justin has his own room and everything he needs. Quit trying to act as if your stepping into the picture is doing more for him than I have.”
“I’m not saying that at all. What I’m saying is with the two of us together, that will double the income─”
Her hand went up. “No, don’t go there. I make enough to pay my own bills. Keep doing what you’re doing. You know every bit you give goes into the bank to care for him. We’re good. There’s no need to mess up what works.”
I shook my head and kept my sigh internal. Trina could be stubborn and hard headed when she was hell bent on not listening to reason.
She brushed past me to go to Justin’s bedroom. I grabbed her arm and pulled her close.
In the eight months since she and Justin had entered my life, we’d made love once. Correction. It was one night fraught with emotion and worry before Justin’s procedure. The act itself happened multiple times.
Tears were shed. Hurt feelings revisited.
Resolution reached.
If Justin survived, we’d do our best to make things work between us.
That’s where our opinions differed. She wanted split parenting. I wanted them to move in and get back to what we used to have.
I wanted marriage.
Trina’s body came to rest against mine, her hand landed on my chest. The fragrance of the sensuous perfume she wore had me inhaling deeply.
“You know, this doesn’t have to be just a boy’s night. Stay with us,” I murmured, looking into her eyes.
Trina looked away and leaned against me for a moment, then met my gaze. “Tre…”
“Yes?” I took a chance and ran a hand over her shoulder and strayed towards her hip.
“That’s not a good idea. It’ll give Justin the wrong impression.” She looked away, though she hadn’t broken the physical contact.
My hand came to a rest at the top of her jeans.  I leaned lower, letting my lips graze the top of her ear. Her body trembled. “I think the three of us spending time together as a family would be reassuring. Once he goes to sleep, we can spend some time alone, you know, see what it would be like for us to be mom and dad.”
“It would be a lie, Tre, and I’m not about to sleep with you out of convenience.” She pulled away and walked down the hall, severing the momentary connection.
“Trina, that’s not what I meant.”
She ignored me and walked towards Justin’s bedroom.
I stood in the hall and ran a thumb over my forehead. That didn’t go the way I planned. Not that I was planning anything in particular. I just wanted her to see what I saw…what our family could be if she stopped being defensive and gave in.
The walls between us had been breaking down for the past eight months, but the progress was slow. I wanted to move forward. Trina was the type that would stall for as long as possible unless someone took charge.
I may have lost this round, but there would be others.

#####


About the Author:

M.J. Kane stumbled into writing. An avid reader, this once stay at home mom never lost the overactive imagination of an only child. As an adult she made up stories, though never shared them, to keep herself entertained. It wasn’t until surviving a traumatic medical incident in 2006 that she found a reason to let the characters inhabiting her imagination free.  Upon the suggestion of her husband, she commandeered his laptop and allowed the characters to take life. It was that, or look over her shoulder for men caring a purple strait jacket. And the rest, as they say, is history.

No longer a television addict, if M.J. isn’t reading a book by one of her favorite authors, she’s battling with her creative muse to balance writing and being a wife and mother. She resides in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia with her high school sweetheart, four wonderful children, and four pit bulls. During the day, MJ is a librarian, in her spare time she is director of a local writer’s group, or online connecting with readers and other authors. Other activities she enjoys include: creating custom floral arrangements, assisting her children in their creative pursuits of music and art, and supporting her husband’s music production business, 3D Sounds.



Monday, July 13, 2015

New Release Spotlight!

Since I am sweating out the end of I'M LOSING YOU, in order to keep my blog alive, I've invited some of my author buddies to share here. Today, Te' Russ is introducing us to her new release, Just One Night.


Available on Amazon.com - http://amzn.to/1Sj6qCE

About the book:

Just one night. That's all it was supposed to be for Anthony McAllister and Denise Monroe. But then one night turned into one weekend. And one weekend turned into one test that would change both of their lives forever.

Now all Denise wants is for things to go back to the way they used to be, but Anthony soon discovers that he wants more and he'll do whatever it takes to convince her that just one night can lead to just one beautiful lifetime...together...

About the Author:


Growing up an introvert, Té Russ found solace in literary arts at an early age. She found reading to be a vehicle to broader horizons and writing a form of self-expression. She began writing love stories in her adolescent years as a way to expel her youthful thoughts of love into words. Since then she has gone from writing stories and thoughts of love in journals to attending college for journalism and falling in love, which has allowed those youthful words of love to blossom into a series of stories in her romance novels. Though she has an immense appreciation for the sheer smell that books collectively exert, she also has found balance to her introverted nature with adrenaline inducing activities. So if she does not have her nose pressed deeply into a book or her pen ticking through a pad, you may also find this mother of three jumping out of airplanes, cheering her husband on at the top of her lungs at MMA fights, buzzing down the interstate on the back of motorcycles, or kayaking.

Readers can get in touch with Te' at any of these links:

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Cover Reveal - The Forbidden Dance

My friend, the lovely Stella Eromonsere-Ajanaku has a brand new release coming out on Wednesday, July 15 at 11:00am, and I wanted to help her tell the world about it! Today is her cover reveal. Look at this gorgeous cover...


To tell you a little bit about Stella, she, loves writing romance novels that are as intriguing and flirty as they are entertaining. The witty dialogue between the characters keep you thoroughly entertained. Flirty & Feisty Romance Novels are a wide range of toe-curling, skin-tingling romance books with compelling characters who have heart and soul. 

The stories are set in fascinating Africa, enticing Europe and enchanting America and are dotted with unexpected twists, turns and conflicts. If you want to cuddle up and relax, grab a copy, travel with the characters and sail away to Pleasure Island. The stories cure boredom and relieve stress. 

In 2010, Stella created Flirty & Feisty Romance Novels. Her first contemporary romance novel; Loitering Shadows was published in May 2010. Other Flirty & Feisty Romance Novels are, Stormy Defense, Beyond the Lady, The Gardener’s Ice Maiden, Sparkling Dawn, Husband to Rent, Stolen Valentine Kiss (Holiday Series #1) & Kiss My Lips (Holiday Series #2). Royal Cowries (Cowries Series #1) is her first historical romance.

On her writing desk at the moment, are three exciting romance stories.

Stella is married to her gorgeous best friend and lover and they are blessed with two teenage children. They live in London, UK. 

In her leisure time, Stella goes swimming, reads romance novels, goes to the Cinema with her family, and watches TV. 

She has shared a blurb for the book with me, so I'm sharing it with you.



Coming soon to Amazon.com!

Monday, June 22, 2015

New Release Spotlight - Charmaine Galloway

I have another new release to share today! It's the new novel from author Charmaine Galloway entitled JORDAN'S CONFESSIONS.



Charmaine Galloway was born and currently resides in Toledo, Ohio with her two children. Writing has been her passion and a positive emotional outlet since middle school. As a teen, writing in her journal allowed her to escape from the negativity of her world. Around that time she also began writing her debut poetry book. 

Charmaine has a Bachelor of Arts in Family Life Education and an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education. Titles by Charmaine includes: My World, Through My Eyes, Girlfriends Secrets, The Secrets They Kept, Tyree’s Love Triangle, Golden, Heaven’s Cry, Girl Talk, Find The Princess Within, Mommy’s Little Superhero and I love Myself As I Am.
Ms. Galloway is passionate about writing reality based stories about imperfect people. She hopes to enlighten, inspire and touch the hearts of her readers. She is currently working on new projects, so keep a look out for her upcoming releases. www.charmainegalloway.com



Synopsis

Jordan was a very outspoken teenager, until she lost a very close friend of hers. She began carrying a lot of grief and sorrow in her heart. All she wanted was someone to comfort her and tell her that life would get better after the loss of someone special.

Jordan thought she could trust, Darnell, her mother’s boyfriend, until he deceived her to the fullest. See how he pulls Jordan into his web of deceit, leaving her hurt, broken and confused. Can she build the courage to confess to her mother the secret that she had been holding on to, Would anyone believe her?

JORDAN'S CONFESSIONS will be available on June 27th on Amazon.com, BN.com and on Charmaine's web site, www.charmainegalloway.com

Thursday, June 18, 2015

New Release Spotlight - Bejeweled

Today I am so happy to feature BEJEWELED, the new release from my friend and fellow writer's group member, Chelle Ramsey.

                                                  

ABOUT BEJEWELED: WHAT A TANGLED WEB WE WEAVE

Olivia’s dreams have finally begun to come true, as she marries the man who’s held her heart for twenty years. Her beauty salon is prospering, and she has begun rebuilding her team, after seeds of discord were sowed and bonds were broken. Everything is beginning to look up, or so she thinks. When a scandal is leaked to the media, Olivia’s dream of expanding is in jeopardy. She must step up and play hard ball in a game with which she’s unfamiliar.

Nikki had dreams of building a beautiful family with a loving husband. But after looking at the shattered pieces of her broken life, she is losing hope and desires more. She wants more than the shame of barrenness, and more than physical abuse from his drinking binges. One phone call gives her courage to escape the deadly clutches of her husband. Yet, when she finds strength in another’s arms she finds herself spinning more lies. Nikki’s web of deceit is going to cost all those who are close and it could just cost her, her life.

When deception is the name of the game, who all will have to share the pain?

EXCERPT:

Going into the salon, she was prepared to hear some good, old-fashioned gossip. It was healing for the soul sometimes. And with the strange moods her husband was experiencing lately, she needed some healing. She thought back on Nikki’s words and hoped the gossip would be fun rather than malicious.

“So, is it serious, Ty?” Maya asked.

“To me it is,” her master stylist, Tyrone, replied as Olivia sat in her chair. She maintained a chair of her own, because despite being a business woman, doing hair was her first love.

“Who are you in love with now, Ty?” a client asked.

“Nonya” he replied with a smirk.

“Who is that?” the young girl asked.

“None of yo business,” Tyrone replied and started laughing.

Olivia shook her head at his foolishness.

“Honey, don’t pay Ty no mind. He in love with somebody new every two weeks. He fall in love more than some folks get a paycheck,” Belinda cracked.

“Girlfriend, at least I got somebody to fall for, and I ain’t playing with them toys on lonely nights.”

“Ladies, gentleman, let’s not be crass,” Olivia corrected.

Tyrone put his hand over his mouth and apologized. He had not seen Olivia enter the hair salon from her office in the rear.

“Hey, is that our shop?” Darla asked, pointing at the flat screen TV hanging on a wall overhead.

“Yeah. What’s going on?” Maya asked.

Someone turn that up?” Belinda hollered out.

As they were turning up the volume, Olivia had risen from her chair and began fast-walking towards her salon doors. She clicked the locks just as she saw someone attempting to enter.

“What the hell is going on?” Belinda asked with her hands on her ample hips. Frown lines creased the folds of dark brown skin around her eyes and across her forehead. She laid down her beveling iron to move closer to the TV screen. There wasn’t an eye that wasn’t glued to that tube, except for Olivia’s. She was closing the blinds over the windows of the shop. When the waiting clients in the lobby noticed what she was doing, they jumped up to do the same thing.

“Mrs. O, come here and check this out,” Tyrone called.

“…and it happened right here in this very shop. Here’s a clip of that fight that occurred back in the spring.” The TV panned to a very clear shot of Angel and Kianna brawling in the middle of the hair section of BeJeweled.

ABOUT CHELLE RAMSEY:
An original Georgia Peach, Chelle Ramsey is the author of five published and several waiting-on-the-shelf contemporary fiction books, with a focus on women's fiction. Many of her stories are based in her birthplace of Atlanta or her husband’s hometown of Cincinnati, where readers can relate to local hot spots and events. Chelle wants people to become empowered to rise above life's adversities, with faith in God, and belief in themselves. She sprinkles words of encouragement and inspiration throughout all of her real life fiction novels.

Chelle holds an MBA in Human Resource Management, which she puts to use in her property management role by day, while she writes her fiction novels by night. Her most important roles are those of a wife and mother of three. During her “me time,” she loves listening to music, and becomes enraptured with the enthralling stories of Terry McMillan, and Nora Roberts. She especially enjoys trying to solve the engaging mysteries of James Patterson and Stuart Woods, while eating a bowl of butter pecan ice cream. Chelle resides in a rural community of Atlanta, GA and enjoys writing, family time, ministering through dance at church, and watching NBA games with her husband.
CONTACT INFO:
PURCHASE BOOKS:
PAPERBACKS: https://www.createspace.com/4706061v

Friday, June 12, 2015

Fun Friday!

It's been ages since I posted a Fun Friday entry. For years, my friends used to send me funny stories and cartoons, but they stopped, so I've decided to share some of the best things I ran across online recently.








Hope these made you smile.