Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Character Inspiration

Those who have been reading my The Stafford Brothers Novels know that only Nick's and Jesse's stories are remaining. I decided months ago to pattern Dr. Jesse's character after Jesse Williams from Grey's Anatomy. Readers will get a peek into his story at the end of I WANT YOU BACK. He's on the cover of next month's EBONY magazine with Harry Belafonte, one of the original actor/activists! 

Jesse is not only physically gorgeous, but he is a very intelligent, erudite man. I believe he will follow in the footsteps of Mr. Belafonte and eventually leave Hollywood to become a powerful leader in the movement against injustice in this country.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

New Release Spotlight

banner Genre: Contemporary Romance


Publication Date: 10-24-2015


Author: Joy Avery

cooltext1950058583   a_gentlemans_agreement_coverfinal When it comes to love, all deals are off! Blake Farrington knows exactly who to call when he finds himself needing crisis management. Yes, this task is outside Eunice Howard’s usual realm of responsibilities, but he’s willing to make it worth her time. Plus, she’s ideal for the role. Who better to play his pretend lover than the one woman who knows him almost better than he knows himself? The last thing Eunice Howard expects when summoned to her boss’s office is a request to play the role of his new love interest to appease his mother, restless to marry him off. Foolishly agreeing, she ventures with him to Farrington Estates for the Thanksgiving holiday. She thought she’d seen all sides of Blake Farrington, but the man who emerges is a man she could easily love. Their agreement blossoms into a connection neither expected—nor are willing to admit. When the lines between make-believe and reality blur, something phenomenal occurs.   cooltext1950057983 joy_avery1 Joy Avery is a contemporary romance author who loves watching her imaginary friends fall in love. When not crafting her next love story, she enjoys reading, spending time with the family, playing with her two dogs, and cake decorating. She’s the author of the novels Smoke in the Citi, His Until Sunrise (book 1 in the Indigo Falls series), Cupid’s Error-a Valentine’s novella, and His Ultimate Desire (book 2 in the Indigo Falls series).  


  The second they rounded the corner, Eunice snatched her hand away. “What the hell was that?” she asked in a whisper. “What?” He wasn’t truly that clueless, but played so. She released a heavy sigh and hiked up the stairs. Inside the bedroom, he was on her heels—right until the moment she stormed into the bathroom and slammed the door in his face. Blake leaned against the door jamb. “Are you upset?” “Yes. No. I mean—” She cursed under her breath. He couldn’t understand why she’d gotten so distressed. Okay, maybe he’d gone a little overboard, but… Eunice continued. “I don’t know. Did you—” She yelped once the door slung open and he was standing there. He flashed one of his award-winning smiles in hopes of lightening the mood. She pushed him out of the way and moved toward the bed. Her hair was pulled into a high ponytail, and she wore a simple white nightgown shirt. It was sexy as hell. “Did you have to take it that far?” she said. “We’re supposed to be a believable couple, right?” She narrowed her eyes at him. Had she been a bull, he had a feeling this was the moment she would have charged. “I’m sorry. I didn’t realize my words would affect you so…deeply. They were pretty poetic, huh?” Eunice snatched a pillow from the bed and hurled it at him. What was with him and women with pillows? “Enjoy the floor, Mr. Poetic.” Blake barked a laugh. Eunice climbed in bed. He sobered. She pulled the covers to her chin. Blake pulled his hands to his waist. “Eunice?” When she didn’t answer, he rested his hand on the back of his neck. “Come on. You can’t be serious. You’re really making me sleep on the floor?” “Goodnight, Prat. Sweet dreams.” There was a hint of laughter in her tone. Frankly, he didn’t find anything funny. “Seriously, that bed is the size of a small island.” “In that case, you should feel privileged. You have the entire ocean to yourself.” Every damn body is a comedian in this house. “Okay. I’ll remember this.” This time, humor played in his tone. “See if you get a Christmas bonus.” He escaped into the bathroom, did his before bed rituals, then returned and made a pallet on the floor. Using the remote, he shut off the lights, then attempted to find a comfortable position. “Blake?” Ah-ha. I knew she’d feel sorry for me. “Mmm-hmm,” he hummed. “Your story… This is going to sound strange, but it actually happened to me in Central Park. Weird, huh?” Not weird at all. Unlike her story, his had been steeped in truth. All except for the approaching her part. Unbeknownst to Eunice, he’d seen her in the park doing exactly what he’d stated. He’d also wanted to ask her out. But before he could, he discovered she’d recently started working for his company. Imagine his surprise when they’d bumped into each other at the annual Spring Fling he threw for his staff. “Huh. Yeah. That is weird.”     cooltext1950060718 download (5) connect socially

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Friday, November 6, 2015


One of the things I've been proud of in my writing career is my ability to start a book and be able to focus on the story until I type The End. Often, once I pass the halfway point in my current work-in-progress, ideas start coming to me for the next story. That has worked pretty well for me. I started working on Book Five in the Stafford Brothers series about a month ago, but this time something strange happened. Book Five is Nick Stafford's story. The last book in the series will be Jesse Stafford's story.

After that, I was considering writing a standalone book, but while Mr. Chicki and I were on vacation, I got a different idea. On our way to Panama City Beach, Florida, we drove through a small town in Alabama called Eufaula. It's a town on a huge lake bordered by beautiful contemporary lake homes. In another part of town there is a historic district with amazing Victorian, colonial and antebellum homes. I was so taken with the place, I started making notes in the car.


A couple of weeks after we returned home, I was hanging out on Facebook and saw a post by another author which said she was selling her books at the Eufaula Fall Festival! I sent her a message asking if she was in Alabama or Oklahoma, because both states have a Eufaula. She wrote back and said she lives in Eufaula, Alabama, and she agreed to answer my questions about the town. Having an insider to help me with the details is like hitting a gold mine! Since my books are always set in real locations, I usually do a lot of research on sites like Citi-Data.com, convention and visitor's bureau, Chamber of Commerce, etc.

I also have a hero of this book. He's a biker who is passing through Eufaula on his way from Atlanta to Panama City Beach with his motorcycle club. My Facebook friends chose him out of six character role models...


My challenge right now is to maintain my focus on Nick's book while these other two stories percolate in my head...

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

New Release Showcase

Today I am pleased to feature the brand new release from author Nigeria Lockley,
NRCTEMPTEDTOTOUCHBANNERPHARPER Author is giving away one autographed copy of Tempted to Touch and a $10.00 Amazon gift card. a Rafflecopter giveaway Tempted to Touch Publisher: Inheritance Books (October 27, 2015) ASIN: B013W6BUIY Genre: Christian Fiction Author: Nigeria Lockley About the book lockley_tempted_to_touch_cover Kira Seagram is frustrated by her husband Mason’s zeal for the Lord, so she pours all of her attention into her work and reserves her soprano singing skills for the shower. Kira would rather not use them if she get can’t the adoration and recognition she feels she deserves and doubts she’ll find singing lead for Mason’s choir. When a routine drop off at her son, Nate’s private school turns into a ten-year reunion with her ex-boyfriend, Quincy McAdams, Kira isn’t interested in Mason's half-hearted affection or willing to keep her voice to herself. With a firm offer from Quincy to help Kira cut a demo and possibly revive the love they let die, Kira has some choices to make. When Kira finds herself tempted to touch will she remain faithful to her husband or yield to the desires of her flesh? excerpt When I rounded the corner Meena, my secretary, was standing in front of her desk smiling and waving at me. Her attentiveness and bright smile cut right into my investigation into why my marriage was beginning to fail. “Hi, Meena. Did you miss me?” I asked, referring to the way she was waiting to greet me like a lap dog. “Mrs. Seagram, you’re so funny,” she said, swiping her wispy brunette hair out of her eyes. “I’m so excited to see you because I can’t wait to see the look on your face when you go into your office.” “Ugh.” I groaned, letting my arms droop at my sides. “You didn’t redecorate again, did you?” “No. While you were at lunch you received a delivery and it’s mighty extravagant. I hope that after I’ve been married for ten years my husband still does things like Mr. Seagram.” “Thank you, Meena. I’m sure it’s nothing out of the ordinary,” I said as I walked past her desk. I turned the knob and my stomach dropped to my heels. On the other side of the door a tall medley of flowers and fruit curled into a G clef awaited me. A smile spread across my face as I approached this massive fruit salad structure. I fingered the petals of the black orchids and inspected the assortment of fruits—pineapple chunks, mangoes, and strawberries covered in white chocolate. All of my favorite things were neatly assembled on my desk. Mason must have thought there was another dog sniffing around his backyard. “Excuse me,” I said to Meena who was still standing in the doorway gawking at the flowers as I picked up the phone and dialed Mason’s cell phone number. He probably thought this massive floral arrangement would get me to join the choir and keep my affections at home. I would have preferred some new shoes. Shoot, for a new pair of Fendi pumps I’d churn out “I Go to the Rock” in a heartbeat and have them saints running up and down the aisle of our church in a minute. “Praise the Lord!” Mason shouted into the phone when he answered. Why did he have to be all holy all the time? “Hello, Mason.” “What’s going on, my love? You usually don’t call me in the middle of the day.” “You tell me what’s going on, Mason. Do you think that a little gallant gesture and some white chocolate will get me to work on the record with your choir?” “What are you talking about?” “You know exactly what I’m talking about. The floral arrangement—” “Floral arrangement?” he queried, cutting me off. “If you thought that an oversized wreath would get me to sing with that little gospel choir of yours, you’re wrong.” “Kira, I did not send you any floral arrangement.” Half listening to his spiel, I dug my hand into the center of the arrangement and removed the card. Without your voice my music is all blues and no rhythm. ~Q I read the message again and flashes of heat coursed through my fingers. His vulnerability was sexy. Quincy McAdams had gone from a chemistry major to a music mogul and his life was still missing something. The words on the card spoke louder to me than Mason until he shouted into the receiver, “Well, where did the flowers come from? I will not ask again.”   About the Author lockley_author_photo.jpeg Nigeria Lockley possesses two master's degrees, one in English secondary education, which she utilizes as an educator with the New York City Department of Education. Her second master's degree is in creative writing. Nigeria's debut novel, Born at Dawn received the 2015 Phillis Wheatley Award for First Fiction. Nigeria serves as the Vice President of Bridges Family Services, a not-for-profit organization that assists student parents interested in pursuing a degree in higher education. She is also the deaconess and clerk for her spiritual home, King of Kings and Lord of Lords Church of God. Nigeria is a New York native who resides in Harlem with her husband and two daughters. connect with the author

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Sunday, October 11, 2015

Sample Sunday

By the time the day ended, he’d garnered some critical information and learned about a new surgical technique, but he was mentally drained. Some of the doctors had plans to hit the Magnificent Mile to check out the nightlife, but Vic wasn’t up for it. Instead he chose to have dinner in Andiamo, the hotel’s Italian restaurant. When he entered, he saw Heather sitting alone at the bar. She didn’t see him at first, and his immediate instinct was to simply take a seat without acknowledging her, but that was ridiculous. There wouldn’t be any harm in asking if she was waiting on a date. Their conversation last night had been friendly and upbeat, and God only knew how much he could use a little pleasant and positive interaction with a woman.
“Heather.” He came up behind her. “It looks like we had the same idea. Are you waiting for someone?”
She glanced up at him, with a surprised smile. “Vic, we meet again. No, I’m not expecting anyone. Just stopped in for a drink. Please, have a seat,” she said, indicating the stool next to her.
“Well, I was planning to have dinner. Would you like to join me?”
Her smile widened. “Yes, I’d like that.”
Vic took her hand to help her dismount the stool. She was only about five-foot-five, and while seated, her feet didn’t reach the floor. He inhaled as he got a whiff of her perfume, a light fragrance with a refreshing hint of lemon, and reminded himself of what he’d told Trey about white women. It didn’t take much to put a brother in a bad light when seen in public with them. The hostess sat them at a table with a high-back booth on one side, which gave it an intimate feel–more intimate than he would’ve preferred.
“My colleagues wanted to investigate the clubs tonight, and I wasn’t in the mood.” Vic’s gaze ran over her. She was well-dressed, wore just the right amount of makeup and exposed only a peek of cleavage beneath a feminine ruffled-neck blouse. “I hope you don’t take this the wrong way, but if you were hoping to meet someone tonight, I don’t want to block that.”
Her blue gaze dropped to his left hand then she studied him as though she were trying to figure him out. “I have met someone.” She smiled. “Let’s order dinner.”
“Why did you decide to become a doctor, Vic?”
“My father, my two uncles and two of my brothers are doctors.” He smiled at the way her eyebrows lifted.
“So you’re carrying on a family tradition then?”
“I guess you could say that. It’s all I ever wanted to do. A couple of my brothers say they felt pressured to go into medicine, but I didn’t feel any pressure. I admired my father and the good work he was able to do for his patients.”
Heather seemed fascinated to hear that he came from a family of physicians. She leaned forward and twisted a lock of her hair around her index finger. “That says a lot about him and what kind of man he is. I grew up in a small town in Arkansas and never knew any professional African-Americans.”
Vic marveled at how easily they communicated. It felt like a second date as he devoured his house salad, New York sirloin, mashed potatoes and a glass of Zinfandel. When he mentioned his mother had been a teacher, they talked at length about Heather’s job as an elementary school teacher.
She suggested they split the chocolate fudge cake topped with whipped cream and raspberry coulis, and he ordered after-dinner cocktails. She had been nursing a drink when he came in, and by the way she giggled and kept touching his arm, he thought she was a little buzzed. But when their dessert arrived, and she dipped a spoon into the rich treat and raised it to his lips, he was certain his pretty companion was now tipsy.
“Come on, taste it,” she said, drawing her words out lazily and locking her seductive gaze with his.
Vic parted his lips enough for her to insert the spoon then closed them and savored the rich fruity chocolate flavor. Actually, he used the brief moment to consider what he might say when he opened them. “I’m married, Heather,” he said, choosing to go the direct route.
“So,” she said, holding his gaze, refilling the spoon and bringing it to his mouth again.
The whole scene was so seductive, and his body responded against his will. Reluctantly, he received the second spoonful then, when he opened his mouth to continue explaining why this little rendezvous was improper, she filled it with her tongue. As much as he knew he should’ve resisted, he didn’t, and he responded with matching enthusiasm. A moment later, he literally pushed her away.
“Are you driving tonight?”
Her eyes filled with expectation. “No. What do you have in mind?”

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Sample Sunday

Today I'm sharing an excerpt from I'm Losing You. In this scene, Mona Stafford goes to visit her mother to talk about her issues with Vic.

Mona got into the car and hit the button to put the top down. She snatched her hair up into a ponytail and secured it with one of the elastic hair ties from the emergency makeup bag she kept in the glove box. It probably would’ve made more sense to leave the convertible top up and put the air on, but she felt as though steam was pouring from the top of her head. The breeze might help to clear her head.
Hadn’t Vic made it clear? The answer to their problem wasn’t for him to make more room for her in his schedule. No, he wanted her to busy herself, so he wouldn’t have to be burdened with her. The idea disturbed her deeply, because they had always shared everything. Even when he was an intern putting in eighty-hour weeks, she had been his sounding board. He’d included her in what was going on in his life. Their best times were when he confided in her after they had made love and lay in each other’s arms. Yes, he had given her all kinds of material things, but they weren’t what mattered most to her.
Maybe he was simply tired of her. After all, they had been married for more than a decade, but she’d followed her mother’s advice and done everything humanly possible to keep herself as close to how she looked on their wedding day. Granted, after two pregnancies she’d put on about fifteen pounds, and her body wasn’t as tight as it was when they met. But it was close. His brother, Charles had even given her a minor tummy tuck and a breast lift before he’d closed his plastic surgery practice. What more could she do?
Quite possibly he’d gotten bored with her. He worked with professional women who had degrees and could relate to him intellectually, which she couldn’t do, but it never seemed to bother him before. As she drove with no idea where she was going, visions of her husband engaged in stimulating conversation with different women at work raced through her mind. Her intention when she’d gotten into the car was not to visit her mother, but when she finally realized it, she was turning onto her street in Decatur. She’d been driving for a half hour. When she parked in the driveway, Mona sat for a moment asking herself why she was there. Of all the people in the world, she knew what her mother would have to say, but there wasn’t anyone else she could talk to about her current situation. She didn’t want to mention anything to Daphine until she knew for sure exactly what was happening with Vic.
“Hi, Ma,” she said when the older woman opened the front door with widened eyes.
“Ramona, what are you doing here?”
She stepped around her mother and into the living room of the cozy brick bungalow. “Gee, thanks for the warm welcome.”
“Stop it! You know I’m happy to see you. It’s just rare for you to come by on the weekend.” Cecily Cox or Cee Cee, as her friends called her, eyed her daughter with a skeptical squint. “So…what’s wrong?”
Mona headed down the wide wood slats of the hallway into the kitchen. “Why does there have to be something wrong? Do you have any coffee?”
“Of course I have coffee. You bought me the brewer, remember?” Mona approached the coffeemaker as though she were on a mission. After she chose a flavor from one of the boxes on the counter, she opened the lid, inserted the K cup, impatiently closed the cover and pressed brew.
“Don’t tell me nothing’s bothering you. I can tell by the way you slammed that lid. Sit down and talk, girl.” Her mother pulled out a chair at the table.
Mona slumped down onto the seat. “It’s Vic. I think he’s tired of me.”
“Why on earth would you think that?”
“He’s so wrapped up in his job, it’s almost like he doesn’t even see me anymore.”
“Impossible! You’re just as gorgeous as you were the day you walked down the aisle.”
“That’s just it. I think he’s lost interest in me. He keeps telling me I need to find something to occupy my time.”
Her mother reared back in her chair. “You have a house, two sons to take care of and your volunteer work. I would think that’s enough to keep any woman occupied.”
“Well…I don’t really take care of the house, Maite does. We have a cleaning service, a landscaping company and someone else to take care of the pool. I think what he means is I need to get a job.”
“A job!” Her mother looked stricken. “Ridiculous. Why in the world do you need to work?” The epitome of the pageant mom, Cecily Cox had raised her daughter to be a beauty queen, a woman who would be put on a pedestal by a successful man. And she had achieved her goal.
“He didn’t come right out and say it, but it’s what I believe he meant. Vic works around smart, educated women all day, and then he comes home to me. All I know how to do is walk a runway and smile.”
“And I suppose that’s my fault.”
“I didn’t say that. Why do you always read something into everything I say?”
“You have a bachelor’s degree, and you were crowned Miss Georgia, for God’s sake!”
“And both of those equate to absolutely nothing in the real world,” she said, knowing her mother had only sent her to college to find a suitable husband. And her mother’s plan had worked.
She gave Mona a confused look. “Didn’t he tell you from the beginning he wanted you to stay home with Trey and Julian?”
“Yes, but I guess he figures they’ve both been in school all day for years now.”
“So what are you saying?”
“I don’t know. All I know is I’m not willing to let Vic put me on the shelf as though I don’t matter anymore.”
“Ramona, Vic is a good man, and you have to do everything you can to keep him. Are you?”
Her hair swished as she tossed her head back and forth in frustration. “I know he’s a good man, but I don’t know what else I can do. We don’t talk the way we used to. Now he seems to want to keep everything to himself.”
“Well, if you don’t want to lose him, you’d better find out what he needs and start doing it.”
“Don’t you think I would, if I knew what it was he wanted? And did it ever occur to you that maybe he needs to start doing something? Vic has always been perfect in your mind. Well, guess what? He isn’t.”
“I never said he was perfect, but he’s as close to it as I’ve ever seen. No matter what you need to do to get his interest back, do it.”
The clock above the sink said it was only six o’clock, but Mona needed to escape from the unspoken accusations. She cringed at the idea of going home. The last thing she wanted to do was get into another disagreement with Vic, so she kissed her mother goodbye and headed to Cakes and Ale. If she went to a restaurant, she could waste a couple of hours, and since she wasn’t dressed up for dinner as she normally would’ve been, this was a perfect spot. By the time she got home, hopefully Vic would be asleep.
Women who went out to dinner or a movie alone had always seemed a little pathetic to her. It was as though they were advertising their loneliness to the world. Until now, she’d never found herself in this position. Once inside the casual, yet pricey eatery, she asked the hostess for a corner table and ordered a glass of wine instead of an appetizer and the pork loin with polenta and savoy cabbage as her entree.
The entire time she lingered over her meal, the advice of the two women she loved and respected kept replaying in her head. She tended to give more credence to Vic’s mother’s advice, because she’d been through it herself. Her mother was looking at everything from the outside, and she tended to glamorize it all. By the time she finished eating, Mona had come to a conclusion. Everything she’d done so far had failed to get Vic’s attention, but knowing her husband as well as she did, there was one thing that would make him take notice of her once again. It was risky, but nothing else had worked thus far. Just like his patients who coded on the operating table, he needed to be shocked back to life.

and in paperback - CreateSpace eStore: https://www.createspace.com/5760829

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Breaking new ground

I'm Losing You released two weeks ago, and sales have been fantastic. Thank you to everyone who bought a copy and also to those who bought the first book in the series. You are awesome!

I took a week off to get myself together and prepare to start the promotion parade, but now I'm back to writing and have jumped into I Want You Back, Book Five in the Stafford Brothers series. The first chapter had been written for inclusion at the end of Book Four, but I knew very little about Nick Stafford, the baby of the family other than the fact that he'd just graduated from medical school and had recently broken up with his girlfriend of two years, Cherilyn Vernon. I don't have a cover yet, but this picture represents the premise of the story.

Whenever I begin writing a new story, one of my favorite parts is uncovering the personalities, goals and motivations of the characters. As the title and this photo hint, Nick is on a campaign to win Cherilyn back after a seven-month breakup. Her hasty engagement to another man, who is an already successful neurosurgeon, complicates Nick's efforts at the beginning, but he refuses to give up.

As I write, I am finding out just who Nick and Cherilyn are. Being the youngest of the six brothers, he is used to having what he wants. He hasn't faced much opposition in his life, and he is thrown off balance when it becomes apparent that Cher isn't going to make his quest easy. 

Cherilyn, the only girl in a family of four siblings, has her own successful career. She makes a good living as a voice coach at an Atlanta HBCU and gives private lessons on the side, but she's battles with self-esteem issues because of her size. Unlike her fiance', Nick never seemed to notice or care that her dress size isn't in the single digits. In fact, he always expressed his appreciation for her physical assets. 


I'm only in Chapter Two, and I'm excited about starting a new story. I'll keep you posted on how it's going.