Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year's Gratitude


If you visit this blog regularly, I’m sure you’ve noticed that I don’t always post on a regular schedule. I’m always so busy trying to finish my current book, post on social media, complete online interviews and other tasks that I often forget about my lonely little blog. It’s hard for me to come up with topics I think will interest readers. After all, I’m a fiction writer. One of the things I’ve tried to do in 2015 was to feature other author who had new releases, and I will continue to do so in 2016. 

Today, as we close out the year, I want to share the great news I woke up to this morning… DON’T STOP TILL YOU GET ENOUGH, Book Three in the Stafford Brothers series, was chosen by one of the USAToday columnists as a “must-read romance of 2015!” I am in the illustrious company of some of my favorite authors, including Dame Beverly Jenkins, and to say I’m humbled and grateful is an understatement. You can read it here: http://happyeverafter.usatoday.com/2015/12/31/must-read-romances-2015-michelle-monkou/

First and foremost, I have to thank all of my readers. Without your support, I couldn’t call myself an author. The thought that you put out your hard-earned money for my books still amazes me. You are incredible! Also, I want to thank the Facebook groups/bookclubs, and friends, my Twitter tweeps, my Google+ family and every book blogger who has featured or promoted my work. 

To my author buddies, you ladies (and a few gentlemen), keep me going when I’ve been discouraged. You also make me laugh and remind me of what’s important in this author life. 

Wishing you all a Happy New Year and an upcoming year full of great things for all of us! 



Thursday, December 24, 2015

Getting ready for Christmas...

Getting ready for Christmas like...

Posted by Superfruit on Thursday, December 3, 2015

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

New Release Showcase!

Today I am honored to be able to share the new release from author Tia Kelly. She is the author of contemporary and women's fiction, and is known for her candid way of capturing life's moments, one character at a time.

To connect with Tia, please visit:


Tia is sharing from LOVE IS, and offering my readers a chance to win a signed copy of the book and a $25 Visa gift card.

It took a once-in-a-lifetime bond to teach her what love is, and a once-in-a-lifetime betrayal to show her what love is not... Love Is. A different kind of love story.

Diane Collins had big plans for her life, and hoops star Warren Scott was not among them. He doesn't want to be the face of the NBA, and she doesn't care that he is. His reluctance to be part of the limelight disarms her and the two embark on an unlikely friendship that becomes an even unlikelier romance.

Soon, his life is her life - filled with VIP treatment, parties and luxuries beyond Diane's wildest imagination. But Warren is harboring a secret, and once it's revealed Diane's decision to stay or go could change the very fabric of who she thought she was.

Excerpt from Love Is:

“Good afternoon, Mr. Scott. Good day, Miss Collins,” the man said as she exited the elevator, and once her bags were removed, she watched Warren slip money into the man’s hand. They both nodded before the doors closed.

“I’ve never been greeted like that before when visiting friends. You know how to leave quite an impression,” Diane said once they were alone. Seeing him unnerved her, and the tension that had mounted between them since the day she left Jamaica faded.

Before she could get a good look at the surroundings, Warren opened his arms and she walked into them. Relieved. Sighing silently as she snuggled into his warm, comforting embrace.

“Thanks for coming,” he murmured.

She lifted her head and caught the worry in his eyes.

He kissed the top of her head and reached for her bag. “How was your flight?”

“A little bumpy. Glad I’m back on the ground now.”

“Says the woman that once couldn’t sit still during a storm in the sky.”

She laughed, keeping her eyes trained on how he moved in his bare feet with athletic grace across the hardwood floors.

“You know I’ll never want to fly coach ever again now. I better get this job just to support the travel upgrades. Limos to and from airports. First-class flights. Exclusive resorts and staying in this building the rest of the week…”

“Should I book you a room at a motel near the airport instead?” he asked, setting her bag down in the middle of his living room.

She paused, taking in her surroundings. Furniture was sparse, but the space didn’t feel bare, just minimalist in a sophisticated way. Creams, beiges and grays against natural white oak floors and dramatic high ceilings made her feel at peace. She recognized the Boston Harbor just outside his penthouse windows. Walking toward the view of the water, she pressed her hands on the side of the steel frames encasing the floor-to-ceiling windows, taking it all in. “This is simply amazing.”

“Ever been to Boston before?”

Diane looked back at him and shook her head. “Never had a reason to visit, but always wanted to check it out. The accent alone always fascinated me.”

“Anyone comment on your Texas drawl?”

“A few,” she said with a smile.

“I made reservations for…” He trailed off when she turned around.

She’d only meant to give him her undivided attention because they still had a few issues to resolve between them, but the heat in his eyes made her breath catch. He took three long steps toward her before pressing her back against the glass, kissing her until they both forgot what they were talking about. Until Diane forgot why she’d wanted to keep herself emotionally distant from him in the first place.

Copyright © 2015 by Tia Kelly

Available Now


#LOVE IS GIVEAWAY

Tia Kelly is giving away a signed copy of Love Is and a $25 Visa gift card to one lucky winner!

To enter, all you have to do is share what you believe love is. Just visit Rafflecopter for details. Contest ends December 31, 2015. Good luck! Winner will be notified on or around January 1, 2016 via email. No purchase necessary to enter. Winner selected at random.


Sunday, December 20, 2015

Sample Sunday

Sharing another unedited excerpt from I WANT YOU BACK, Nick Stafford's story, Book Five in the Stafford Brothers series.
                                                             
Cherilyn broke down as soon as she closed the door. Her bridesmaids rushed to her aid, helped her sit on one of the white ottomans in the middle of the salon. One of them fanned her with a paper plate from the table with the appetizers that had been provided for the bridal party. Her maid of honor poured her a glass of cold water and pushed it into her hand.

Her mother paced around the room ranting about Nick being an ignorant barbarian, and then she asked, “How could he intrude on your special day like that? What is in the box?” She reached for the gift, but Cherilyn snatched it away and clutched it to her breast.

“It’s personal, Mommy,” she sobbed, her professionally-applied makeup beginning to run down her cheeks. Another one of her attendants dabbed her face with a tissue.

“Girl, what is wrong with you? You are getting ready to marry a wonderful man, and you’re letting that…that boy get you all upset. Nick Stafford is your past. Don’t let him ruin your future!”

“Your mother is right,” another one of the bridesmaids agreed, tipping the water glass up to Cherilyn’s lips. “Forget about him. If he’d wanted you, he would’ve married you when he had the chance.”

“That’s the problem,” she blubbered. “I didn’t want to admit it to anyone, but I still love Nick, and he’s realized he still loves me.”

Her mother stopped pacing and stood in front of her daughter with a red-faced scowl. “How can you be sure that’s why he came? Maybe he just resents being beaten out by a better man.”

“Stop!” Cherilyn waved them all away. “I need time to think.”

“Baby, you don’t have time. Derrick is waiting for you at the altar.” Mrs. Vernon pressed a hand to her forehead and grimaced as if she were in pain. “You can’t do this to him.”

“Would you rather I married him knowing I’m still in love with Nick? That would be starting our marriage out with a lie.”

The bridesmaids all stared at each other as though they were at a loss for anything to say.
Shamika, her maid of honor, took her hand. “What do you want us to do, Cher?”

“Go get Derrick, please, and everyone leave us alone for a few minutes. I have to tell him this face to face.”

“Tell him what?” her mother asked, looking at her as though she already knew the answer.

She clenched her jaw to kill the sob in her throat. “That I can’t marry him.”

“Oh, Cherilyn,” her mother moaned. “Don’t you know how that will hurt him?”

“It would hurt him more to know I married him but was still in love with Nick.” She dropped her head into her hands and covered her face. “Somebody go get him, please.”

“I’ll do it,” Mika said, standing and smoothing her gown. Ladies, let’s go downstairs to the ballroom, so they can have some privacy.” She stuffed a wad of tissues into Cherilyn’s hand and kissed her cheek. “I’ll stay in the hall in case you need me.”

Girding herself with resolve, Cherilyn imposed an iron control on herself while she waited for Derrick to come upstairs from one of the wine cellar rooms he and the groomsmen had on the lower level. How was she going to say this? 

Several minutes later, Derrick stood in the doorway looking suave and handsome, yet his face was clouded with uneasiness. “What’s going on, Cherilyn?”

She slid the box Nick had given her underneath the ottoman and stared wordlessly at him, her heart pounding and lower lip trembling as she returned his gaze. “I…I can’t…”

“You can’t what?”

“I can’t go through with the wedding.” Her voice was fragile and shaking. So were her hands as she dragged them over her face smearing her makeup.

Derrick moved closer and knelt in front of her. “Oh, sweetheart, it’s just cold feet.” He took her hands, held them between his and gazed into her eyes. “Let me get you a glass of wine. That’ll help calm you down.”

Cherilyn grabbed his hand as he went to stand. “I’m still in love with Nick.”

The tension between them increased with frightening intensity, “And you didn’t know that yesterday or last week or last month?” His voice was absolutely emotionless and it chilled her. “How could you?” He pulled the door open with such intensity it slammed against the wall and he stormed down the hall.

Mika ran in and pulled Cherilyn into her arms. “What happened?”

“When I told him I wanted to call the wedding off, he thought I just had cold feet.” She sniffed and blew her nose into a tissue. “But then I told him how I felt about Nick. Oh, God, Mika, the way he looked at me was so awful! Did I make a horrible mistake?”

“Not if you love Nick,” Mika said with a hint of a smile. “Let me help you out of this dress. Do you want to put on what you wore here?”

“Yes, and could you take me home, please?”

“Sure, honey, but you’re still pretty shaky. Maybe you should sit for a few until you calm down. Stand up for a sec.” She started unbuttoning the first about twenty buttons at the back of the gown but stopped when Cherilyn’s parents entered the room. “I’ll go get you a drink,” she whispered in her ear.

COMING LATE WINTER 2016
Two previous excerpts are posted below on Dec. 13 and Nov. 29.

The Stafford Brothers series is available on Kindle - http://amzn.to/1GeCtE4 Nook - http://bit.ly/1MMUrju Paperback - www.createspace.com UK series link -http://amzn.to/1L17mXT

In case you haven't seen it, here's the video trailer for the series: 

                                    

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Cover Reveal!

I just wanted to share the cover for I WANT YOU BACK, Nick Stafford's story created by Cover Me Book Covers. Love it!

Here's an unedited excerpt:
Chapter One

Nick Stafford’s hands trembled as he straightened his tie. He needed to be at The Estate, a well-known Atlanta wedding venue, early before all the guests arrived. His gift for the bride had to be delivered in person. It was a gift with special meaning to her, and he’d spent hours coming up with the two lines he’d written in the card. He wanted to put it into her hand himself, even though he knew he wasn’t supposed to speak to the bride.

Rather than have someone else drive him, he took his own car. The peace and quiet of being alone was necessary for his sanity before the ceremony began. His stomach clenched with anticipation and anxiety, yet he couldn’t wait to get there.

Only a handful of cars were already in the parking lot of the Buckhead venue known for its beautiful weddings when he arrived. Nick parked and entered the eighteenth-century antebellum mansion through the beveled glass double doors and absentmindedly gazed at the artwork lining the walls as he passed through one of the front salons.

“Are you here for the wedding?” a tuxedo-clad man asked when he saw Nick stop and gaze into the ballroom decorated in white and peach, Cherilyn’s favorite color.

“I’m here to deliver a special gift to the bride. Can you tell me what room she’s in, please?”

“Sure. The ladies are in the bridal suite upstairs on the right. You’ll hear them cackling.” He laughed and went on his way.

“Thanks, man.” Nick proceeded up the steps, turned to his right and stopped outside a closed door where he could hear the sound of women’s voices. He swallowed hard and knocked. A woman he didn’t recognize partially opened the door and peeked out.

“May I help you?”

“Yes, I’m here to deliver a gift to Cherilyn Vernon.” He struggled to keep his voice from shaking.

“I’ll take it,” she said with outstretched hands.

“Sorry, I have to give it directly to the bride. You understand, right?”

“I guess.” She turned her back to him. “Cherilyn, there’s a man here who says he has a gift he can only deliver to you.”

“Ooh, really?” The bride’s voice rose in expectation. “Tell him I’ll be right there.”

“She’s coming. I’d ask you in, but there are ladies getting dressed in here.”

Nick held his breath and waited. A few seconds later, a rustling sound preceded the door opening wider. He lost his breath when Cherilyn appeared looking like a vision in a strapless gown with sparkling jewels adorning her ample cleavage. When she saw him, she merely stared, tongue-tied.

“Cher, I know this is inappropriate, but I had to come and bring this to you.” She stared down at the box he held out to her. “Please open it.”

She still hadn’t spoken, but she took the gift from his hand and removed the top. A soft gasp escaped her as she stared down at the elegant white gold pendant of the Eiffel Tower that captured the tower’s distinctive beauty. Round diamonds brought the brilliance of the tower's lights to life. He’d taken three-hundred dollars from his already anemic bank account to buy the necklace.

Tears immediately sprung to her eyes. She stepped out into the hall and closed the door behind her.  “What does this mean, Nick?”

“It means you’re getting ready to make the biggest mistake of your life.” His eyes drank in the sensuality of her full-figure in the form-fitting strapless gown. “It means I still love you, and I don’t believe you love Derrick. He was just your rebound man. If you don’t marry him today, I promise you we’ll go to Paris, and I’ll marry you beneath the Eiffel Tower just the way you’ve always dreamed. Please don’t do this, Cher.”

The door suddenly opened, and Cherilyn’s mother stared at him open-mouthed. “How dare you come here, Nick! Leave now, or I’ll have security escort you off the property.”

“I’m sorry, Mrs. Vernon, but I had to speak to her before she did this.”

Her nostrils flared. “How dare you!” she repeated with mounting rage. “I’m going to find security.”

Cherilyn held up her hand. “No, Mommy. Please close the door. I need to talk to him for a minute. Her mother glowered at her and turned away muttering under her breath as Cherilyn closed the door again.

“You wouldn’t return my phone calls, Cher. What other choice did I have? I’ve called you every day for the first two months, and you wouldn’t return my calls, so eventually I gave up.”

She blinked as though she were bewildered. “Why are you doing this? It’s been almost a year.”

“Because I can’t let you marry him. I messed up. I know that, baby.” His heart thundered in his chest. “I panicked at the thought of added responsibilities on top of medical school, but I was wrong. If you can look me in my eyes and tell me you don’t love me anymore, I’ll leave.” He knew the answer by the way she averted her gaze from his face.

“I can’t do that to Derrick. He’s a good man.”

“Look at me, Cher. I’m sure he is, but if you still love me, you’re doing an awful thing to Derrick by marrying him. Your marriage would be a lie.”

A tear cascaded over her cheek. “Please go away, Nick.” She shoved the box into his chest. “I can’t. We have two-hundred guests waiting upstairs. I can’t! You need to go, please.” 


He pressed the box into her hand once again. “Wear it until I can replace it with a ring.” 

She swallowed a loud sob then shut the door in his face.

Coming late Winter 2016...

Monday, November 30, 2015

New Release Spotlight

Today is Cyber Monday, and if you're online trolling from gifts for someone else or looking for books for yourself, here's a brand new one from my online buddy, Chantel Rhondeau.
Title: Love's Ride (McCallister's Paradise - 4)
Author: Chantel Rhondeau
Release date: November 24, 2015
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Family Saga Romance

Brad McCallister has always felt estranged from his family. He thought taking over as manager of their paradise resort would make him feel more connected but that hasn’t happened. To top it off, his siblings are finding life partners and settling down while Brad’s still single. If only he could stop obsessing over the island's psychologist, Chelsea Taylor.

Chelsea loves working at McCallister's Paradise. She enjoys the large family of employees and feels at home in the sand and sunshine. The only thing missing is the spice of adventure. She longs to explore the island and conquer her longstanding fears.

After Brad’s sister schemes to bring Brad and Chelsea together things go horribly wrong, but Brad refuses to give up without a fight. A two-week island adventure will not only help fulfill Chelsea’s lifelong dream of being a survivalist, it will give them a chance to get to know each other—away from his meddling family.

This couple gets more than they bargained for when survival takes on a new meaning in paradise.

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1N0mO7Q
Nook: http://bit.ly/1RpPbR8 
Apple iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1035524163 
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1RpPfk2 


~~Excerpt~~

She pouted slightly as she thought, her full red lips begging him to suck on them. “I felt like dinner went well the other day, but…” She paused and scarlet flared against her cheekbones.

“Dinner did go well,” he agreed. “I wasn’t sure you thought so, but I had a great time.”

“I was surprised when you left so fast.” Looking down at their hands, she avoided his eyes, seeming unsure and flustered. “I thought you’d want a goodnight kiss.”

She felt insecure because he hadn’t kissed her? Well, hot damn!

Brad chuckled and tugged her hands, pulling her close to his chest. She was enough shorter than him that when her hair swished around her face the silky strands rubbed against his chin, catching slightly in the evening stubble he hadn’t had time to shave.

Pressing his lips against her forehead, Brad released one of her hands to caress her cheek and slide his hand down her neck.

The passion he felt in being so close to her was echoed in the soft trembling of Chelsea’s body against his and the sweet, contented sigh she released.

Wrapping both arms around her, Brad held her close to his heart, enjoying having her so near after spending several days apart. If only work would slow down and he could see her more often. He knew it was too sudden to be sure that he wanted things to work out with Chelsea, but holding her felt right. Since the moment she arrived on the island, Brad hadn’t been able to stop thinking about her, wishing he could call her his lady. Now he might have a chance.

Chelsea’s arms circled him, and she rested her head on his shoulder. The soft puffs of breath coming from her mouth bathed his neck with their warmth, making him wish he were less of a gentleman.

“You smell delicious,” she whispered, sniffing deeply. Her lips brushed his collarbone, setting his heart rate racing. 

If he didn’t stop this soon, the problem twitching to life in his pants could make a family dinner awkward. Kissing her forehead once more, Brad gently gripped her shoulders and pushed her away.

About McCallister's Paradise: 


Fall in love with the strong men and smart women of McCallister's Paradise!

At their tropical island resort, the McCallister family works hard. Life in Paradise should be perfect. After all, the place is great for a romantic getaway. Unfortunately, the five McCallister siblings are still searching for their happily ever afters... and romance always seems just out of reach. 

But determined hearts won't be denied. And when love is on the line, a McCallister doesn't fall halfway!

Series:
Happy Endings (Quinn)
Diving Into Love (Parker)
For Love or Charity (Sydney)
Love's Ride (Brad)
Cooking Up Love (Shane - coming soon)



Available at these vendors:

~~About the Author~~

Bestselling Author Chantel Rhondeau once thought a mystery or fantasy book with strong romantic themes was the highest level of reading bliss. After reading her first romantic suspense, she never looked back. Chantel is author of six romantic suspense novels, three Christmas novellas, a sports-themed novella, and the McCallister’s Paradise contemporary romance/family saga series. She lives in the western United States and when she's not writing, she loves playing cards with her family, bowling on leagues, and snuggling with her lazy kitties.

Want to contact Chantel?
Mailing list: http://bit.ly/1qKSN0q (FREE copy of Season For Love for new sign ups!)
Join my Facebook Group: http://on.fb.me/1JlKFNC

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Sample Sunday


I'm 28,000 words into I WANT YOU BACK, Book Five in the Stafford Brothers series. Here's another UNEDITED excerpt:

***********

Following a long sigh, she rested her fork on the edge of her plate and looked as though she were contemplating her answer. “We were together for two years, Nick. That’s longer than a lot of people stay married, but we had gotten into such a routine. You’d come here after working a God-awful shift at the hospital. I’d feed you. We’d watch TV until you crashed, which was usually about twenty minutes after you ate; then I’d wake you up and we’d have sex then you’d go back to sleep until you had to get up and go back to work.”

He twirled his fork into the spaghetti and hesitated before raising it to his mouth. “Sounds pretty monotonous when you put it like that. I saw things totally different. I loved coming here because I have a roommate, and there’s no such thing as privacy with him and all of his friends traipsing in and out. You gave me the three things a man needs–good food, good sex and quiet.” He smiled. “Coming here and spending time with you was the best part of my week, but I understand how you felt you were getting the short end of the stick. I didn’t take into consideration what you needed. I’m sorry, baby.”

“It was my fault, but if we’re going to be together, things will be different. No more spending the night. No more doing your laundry here. If you want me, you have to date me like you should’ve been doing all along.”

Nick mulled over her words for a moment then nodded. “That’s fair. It’s what you deserve, but don’t expect any gourmet dining or weekend trips to South Beach on a resident’s salary.” He added with a mirthless chuckle.

“Oh, my God! You make fifty thousand dollars a year, more than half of the households in this country. I know that doesn’t compare to what your brothers make, but please stop acting like you’re poverty stricken.”

“I do, but I’m also two hundred thousand dollars in student loan debt, and if I ever plan to get out from under, most of what I earn has to go toward repaying my student loans. I don’t want to still be paying them off ten years from now.”

She crossed her arms and shook her head. “Think about it this way. If we were married, my salary plus what I make from giving lessons on the side would go into the family pot. We would only have one rent payment instead of two and only one set of utility bills.” She gave the ceiling a brief glance. “I’m just saying.”

He grinned. “You’re right. I have to stop imagining this anvil hanging over my head with 200K written on it.”

“Yes, you do.”

“Am I ever going to get to enjoy your cooking again?”

“We’ll see,” she said with a smirk.

“Let’s finish eating, because you need to be on your way before it gets too late.”

Nick had the distinct feeling he was in for a fight. Cher had never been a pushover, and that was one of the things he loved about her. She wasn’t going to make this easy for him. On top of that, when the word got around about what happened at the wedding, his name, as insignificant as it was, was going to be mud in the Atlanta medical community. So many of his father’s and his brother’s colleagues were sitting in the salon at The Estate this afternoon, and it was just a matter of time before the rumor mill started churning.

After they finished dinner, he helped Cherilyn clean up. She kissed him goodbye before he left and said, “Call me if you want to see me again.”

“Stop it, Cher. Don’t play like that.” He kissed her lips, which tasted like powdered sugar and cream from the cannoli, and left with thoughts of where would take her on their date. He shook his head as the word echoed through it as he drove back to his apartment. She was right, not since they had first met would he consider what they did as dating. The first few times, he’d taken her out to dinner and a movie or they visited one of the popular clubs in Buckhead. What they had was a relationship, one that was more like a marriage than he cared to admit.


COMING LATE WINTER 2016

Friday, November 27, 2015

New Release Spotlight!

Today is "Black Friday," which is traditionally is a shopping day, so I wanted to share a wonderful book to buy for your children or grandchildren. It's titled, Nappy and the First Day of Kindergarten.

The author is Arnitris Strong, and she is giving away a copy of the book to one lucky commenter.

Here's what she has to say about her writing and this delightful new book:



Earlier this year, I began my blog Blessed be the Tie as an exploration into the intricacies of the mother/daughter relationship. That relationship is the filter through which that child will identify and relate with the world around them. I began to realize that the strained, almost non-existent relationship with my mother was affecting the bond with my own girls. I was determined to break the  cycle. My mother and I committed ourselves to working on our  
bond.Blessed be the tie was my way of chronicling that journey. I have gotten support from people that I have never met, it seems that difficult relationships with mothers are universal. At some point, each of us have experienced a disagreement with our mothers. If we are  
persistent we can get past it, but I realize everyone isn't so fortunate.

Since January, the site has expanded to include Mom, You 
are the real MVP- my monthly tribute to mompreneurs. As a busy working mom, I struggled to incorporate quality mommy and me time. I vividly recall a scene a few years ago as I drove my daughter, Destani to  school. I asked about her best friend, Kerry Ann. Destani told me that they were no longer friends. This wasn't an especially rare occurrence, friends grow apart or have differences all the time. But, I felt this tremendous amount of guilt. I was so busy working and providing for my girls that I wasn't enjoying their childhood. I felt like a failure as a mother. In fact, I cried all the way to work. The Lion King on Broadway was scheduled to perform in Atlanta the following weekend.I bought tickets and scheduled a date with my daughter, just her and I. We had lunch and saw the show, we called it a mommy and me date. Each month I try to schedule time to spend with each one of them alone and just catch up. The dates are not always so  elaborate, they can be as simple as Netflix and popcorn. The point is to create memories and to have quality time.  I have begun to include a section of mommy and me experiences on the site, along with recipes that can be prepared with the help of the little ones. There is also a section where I discuss current events called A Spoonful of Sugar with Arnitris that is being revamped for January 2016. I also plan to provide live mommy and me experiences to encourage the strengthening of the ties that bind mothers and their children.

Nappy and the First Day of Kindergarten is the first physical product that Blessed be the Tie is offering. It is a result of a partnership through the CoLAB project. The CoLAB project is an effort by Latina bloggers, the ALT society and Be Blogalicious to bring awareness to  
bloggers of different communities. Each participant was paired with a blogger from a different community. My partnership can only be described as divine intervention, because I was paired with an amazing artist - Beth Allen.

A few years ago, it was a habit to entertain my 
coworkers with the antics of my girls. A coworker remarked that I should write a book about them, and the seed was planted. Initially, I was only interested in winning tickets to Blogalicious, but it only seemed right to monetize the book. This is the first in a series of books, as you can see this one is centered around Nappy's first day in kindergarten. The plan is to follow her through each grade, eventually progressing to chapter books. I also have plans to introduce literacy aids based on the characters in the books. My experience as a reading tutor with AmeriCorps prompted me to create innovative ways to ensure my students grasped the concepts. Now it seems that all of that training was just preparation for this journey into my destiny.




Here's an excerpt from the book:

Destani scowled at her. She snatched the earbuds out of her ears and  said, “What do you want?”  She was always so grumpy.

“Never mind,” said Lynn.

Destani laughed. “How did you get butterflies in your stomach? Did you  eat caterpillars, Nappy?”

“I knew she heard me,” thought Lynn.

“No, I did not eat caterpillars. And don’t call me Nappy!” Destani  pushed Lynn as she walked past her.

“Why don’t you want me to call you Nappy? It is your name.”

“No, it is not,” Lynn replied.

Mom walked into the kitchen just in time.

“Stop teasing your sister, Des,” she said. “Are you going to eat  cereal or do you want oatmeal, Lynn?”

“Do we have peaches and cream oatmeal?” Lynn asked.

Yes, we do. I will make it for you.” She looked at her watch.  “Go  ahead and get dressed. Put your robe on over your clothes so you don’t  get dirty before you get to school.”

“She is going to be dirty when she gets home anyway,” Destani yelled  from her bedroom.

“Shut…” Lynn began before looking up at her mother. She was not  allowed to say “shut up”.

“Be quiet, Des,” Lynn said before she ran into her room to escape her  mother’s gaze.


Mom had pressed Lynn’s white uniform shirt and navy blue skort last  night. A new pair of white tights hung next to the skort. Lynn hated to wear the tights because they made her itch, but her mother thought she looked so cute in them. Lynn sat on the side of the bed and put on her tights, then she slid on her  skort, and slipped into her blouse. Just then, her mother walked into her room.

Let me help you, baby,” she said.

“No, Mommy I can do it!” Lynn replied.

Mother glanced at her watch. “I know you can do it sweetheart but we need to leave soon and you still have to eat. Let me help.”

“Moommmyyy, I cann do it,” Lynn said before the first tears began to fall.


You can get in touch with Arnitris at the following links:
http://www.blessedbethetie.com
Twitter & Instagram handles - @arntrs77
FB fan page- Blessed be the tie
email- arnitris@blessedbethetie.com

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
A GENTLEMAN'S AGREEMENT
Publication Date: 10-24-2015
ASIN: B0172YH9XM
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 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).  
excerpt
  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

Focus

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?”